Sunday, July 31, 2011

whispers of things to come...

whispers of things to come

whispers of things to come

whispers of things to come

it's not even august. so i'm sure no one wants to see these pics, and think about what's around the corner. i'm not really sure i do. feel free to turn away and head back to happy summerland; i don't mind. it's not like the air has shifted yet (you know that slight change?), and certainly all kids are studiously avoiding thinking about being, well, studious. but i came upon these leaves on the beach the other day, and the message, while whispered in the softest, most quiet breath of wind, was still clear.

but maybe it is because summer seems like it has never really arrived around these parts, wet and cool days being the norm this un-normal summer. there have been little spurts of summer, but never anything to settle into. i could count the languid, warm summer evenings on one hand. and so i can't help but let the faintest promise of the next season wiggle into my thoughts. it is my favourite one after all. and august, just one more day away, is often a good start to that season, despite what many may say. that late summer feel is very similar to that early fall feel. and september and october are often our best months around here, weatherwise. so i'm enjoying the little kiss of autumn these leaves give. but a brief kiss is all i need for now. it's still july, after all. :)

whispers of things to come

Saturday, July 30, 2011

a bit of time spent stitching...

morning stitching

...under a temperamental sky, shifting hot sun and chilly overcast, the clouds swept back and forth by gusts of wild wind, the leaves rustling with each flicker of air.

Friday, July 29, 2011

summer whales...

humpback whale no. 15

boro grey whale no. 3

humpback whale no. 14

denim combined with mottled hand dyed cottons in blues and purples makes this feel like an especially summery pod of whales. two happy humpbacks, ready to frolic and play, and their friend of many patches, a grey whale. yesterday they were finished while sitting in the lightest sprinkle of a shower, and today they enjoyed a bit of sun on their backs. you can find them in the shop.

we are hoping to hike into the mountains for an overnight trip this weekend, but tonight and tomorrow might bring a bit more stitching first. wishing you all a good weekend, whether you are getting a long one in canada or just a regular one elsewhere!

Thursday, July 28, 2011



to a rocky beach at high tide, the shore tucked up against a steep embankment of trees, late afternoon sun on a hot day disappearing behind, leaving the water's edge in shade. plenty to be discovered along this stretch, a place i've somehow never been to before. an meandering shoreline found after a walk through lush woods, following a winding switchback trail down to the beach. do you follow the same route (be it beach, forest, field or street), a set of regulars, or try to find a new trail each time, if you walk? i suppose i have a few regulars, beach and forest (sometimes both in one), but i am always happy to discover a new one.


the uneven terrain of large rocks kept my eyes low, careful of my footing, but it is always good to stop once in awhile and gather one's bearings, see what is on the horizon. i spotted the above collection of rocks, waiting on a larger stone to be discovered. it's interesting to wonder who collected them, what they were aiming for, if anything. and i found some of the largest mask limpets i've ever seen - one was easily 2" across, which my book tells me is the max size for these fellows (although i don't suppose the limpets themselves read the reference books), and many were nearly that big. i normally see them about 1" or less.

mask limpet

and tucked amongst some rocks at the edge of a shallow pool were these ribs, four of them. i suspect they are from a seal, although none were broken to expose the telltale porous structure typical of marine mammals versus those on land. i suppose they could be from a deer too, although they seemed too small for even our tiny coastal black-tails. what sort of things do you keep an eye out for when exploring the local landscape? i can certainly say i have found considerably more curious items in all my years of beachcombing, but there is something about bones that fascinates me.


we are heading into one of the busiest long weekends of the year around here, although since i already have mondays off this summer it doesn't feel much different. in this case though, A has sunday and monday off, so we are trying to plan a last minute adventure that hopefully avoids the crowds (no ferries, no tofino). how about you? what are you doing this weekend?


• loving this wonderful little story from Regina.

Monday, July 25, 2011

light through the trees...

walk in the woods

sunlit leaves

forest galaxy

sword ferns

a late afternoon walk through the woods, with the boy. past the loud crowds of teenagers beside the river, and into the quietness of the forest. it was hot today, finally, and the forest felt nice under the tall trees. actually, it was warm most of the weekend, a nice change. i hope you had a good one. mine seemed to blur along, although today had a slower pace to it. we are drifting into those later summer days (wow, nearly august already?) and i'm feeling the lure of the next season already, although i'm reluctant to actually say its name. plans and ideas are forming, for stitching, for foraging, for dyeing, and the knitting has started already...

there is some summery stitching going on though, and there will be a few whales in the shop by the end of the week, maybe some other things too.

Friday, July 22, 2011

friday flickr faves: berry blush

friday flickr faves

1. ihateroses, 2. new love., 3. sweet hearts for my little love, 4. fecund forest, 5. quilts for india, 6. “There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul”, 7. Bzzz, 8. Lucky Mama. , 9. glass&yarn, 10. raspberries meeting their end, 11. optim 160g, 12. Dragonfly, 13. Balance, 14. Edgerton Garden Blooms, 15. Basting!, 16. Hot Sunset


the sun has come out and the weekend is stocked with friend-filled events. hopefully there'll be a little stitching time in there too, if i can tear myself away from the currently all-consuming cardigan that seems to fill all my free moments. wishing you all happy days!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


handful of salmonberries

delicate thimbleberries

bowl o' huckleberries

the strawberries are mostly over (but heavily stocked up in the freezer), and after a few good pickings of cherries i have mostly given them over to the birds (yesterday i came home to at least eight robins in and around the tree). this weekend i'm planning to raid my mother's raspberry bush, but a little wander around the yard and down the street yielded some other delicious fruits to be found: tart, juicy salmonberries in a jewel-like array of colour; fragile thimbleberries that taste like raspberry jam; and little round huckleberries, so vibrant nestled amongst the green leaves on the bush.

soon enough these rich red berries will yield over into the darker fruits of late summer around here - blackberries, purple plums, blueberries, salal berries. a shift in palette, a hint about the coming seasonal change. soon enough, but not quite yet.

what berries/fruits are you enjoying right now?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

solar dyeing (now with less solar)

solar dyeing

well okay, not no solar. but i have probably mentioned once or twice (and feel free to tell me to shut up) that our summer has been kind of lacking in the sun and heat department. so while i started this dye bundle in the sunshine, and finished it there too, much of in between was grey days and rain. and yet...

dye bundle, before & after

dye bundle unwrapped

solar dye results

on impulse after reading margie's article in the newest issue of b.a.h. magazine, i decided to start my own dye bundle with assorted plant materials from the yard, mainly dandelion heads and those purple bellflowers. laid out on white linen and wrapped up into a tidy bundle with some wool yarn, i plunked it into a jar full of water (with a bit of alum in) and set it on the bench outside. and let it sit for about nine days. what came out was a mainly greenish fabric with pleasing splotches of saturated yellow, bright green and a bit of blue here and there.

solar dye results

have you done any dyeing like this?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

in search of sun...

as mentioned yesterday, this summer has been a bit grey, wet and gloomy of late. today i decided to find my own sunshine:

finding my own sunshine

in my new aidez cardigan that is moving along quickly in squishy soft cascade eco+ wool.

finding my own sunshine

in a gorgeous crocheted stone from a very talented friend of mine.

finding my own sunshine

in a new stripey pillow for the couch i abruptly decided to make today (featuring saturated yellow linen from yorktown road and pretty birds from bookhou).

found some sun!

and would you look at that! when i ventured out for a beach walk this afternoon i even managed to find a bit of the real thing, poking through a ceiling of grey clouds. the yellow flowers along the shore certainly helped too. and now as i'm typing i'm peering out the window, and spotting a golden pink sky through the trees. i wish we had a better view of the sunset, but it makes me smile all the same.

hope you all had a happy weekend and managed to find your own sunshine, whether it was the real thing or found bits of gold.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

a sea of purple...

sea of purple

when i posted these flickr faves a few weeks ago, it seemed some people are not necessarily as enamoured with the colour as i am. but i'm quite happy to say that i love purple; it's one of the colours i wear regularly. which is funny, as my favourite colour is red, but i wear it a lot less often, although there are many red accents about my house. okay, back from that tangent...

this week i was definitely in a purple frame of mind with my stitching, as you can see from the collection above. a new sea urchin in natural dyed linen, a dark purple sea star in repurposed wool, a lighter purple sea star in natural dyed wool, and a varnish clam in bits of natural dyed cotton and silk.

varnish clam

the ochre stars and sea urchin are similar to items i have made before, but the clam shell is something new. after i made a half mussel shell, i knew i wanted to try a complete shell that could open and close. erin had mentioned on flickr, upon seeing some of my natural dyed fabrics, that the purple cabbage dyed silk reminded her of the inside of these specific clams. when you walk the beaches around here, there are many of these shells washed up on the shore, and their vibrant purple insides are a beautiful spot of colour. so her comment spurred me on a mission to make one. varnish clams (also called dark mahogany clams) have a curious brown outer layer (the periostracum) that peels off, giving them their name. it was fun to stitch on the brown layer, and the nature of my stitching helped give it that fragile, curling appearance that you see on the real clams. all the fabrics on this clam shell are natural dyed except for a bit of white repurposed cotton.

varnish clam

i heard someone on cbc yesterday refer to this as our "bummer summer". while i know most of the rest of north america is experiencing a heat wave, we are not seeing that here. it has been raining off and on for several days now, and temps are well below normal. it's a bit gloomy to be sure - no wonder i've been picking up my knitting more frequently, which is exactly what i think i'm going to do for the rest of the afternoon. if you are where it's sunny and warm, have a nice cold bevy for me, okay?


what i'm like today:
• maggie's pinky summertime evening photos
• and i'm thinking about making these whole what raspberry ricotta scones later this weekend

Thursday, July 14, 2011


fishing great blue heron

fishing heron

patience and calm can be good attributes, waiting for the right moment to seize. this great blue heron was so still and patient, ready to stand for a long period, waiting for the perfect opportunity to reach and snap up a little fish. he was also standing on a floating bed of kelp, seemingly quite stable on an unstable surface, floating at least 20 ft from the ocean floor. finding a moment of zen despite his precarious position, able to focus on his goal even when he didn't quite know when he would achieve it.

perhaps i could learn a bit from mr. heron.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

grizzly of the sea...

Steller Sea Lion

Steller Sea Lion

just before i head out this morning...i wanted to share my new steller sea lion. he is completely hand stitched (hmm, and i have a bit of a sunburn to show for my time stitching on the lawn yesterday). i layered hand dyed (and natural dyed) silk and wool and linen on top of his linen body to create the ruff around his neck, and i think he's got great texture. so many little stitches covering his body. quite different than the last sea lion, as mentioned, but i think it shows how my work is evolving. he has a great character, i find, stoic like so many mature bulls, and he comes without the fishy smell of a real one!

if you're wondering, the head and some of the mane around his neck were dyed with red onion skins - i love the warm bronze-y tone that i got from them. the other fabric around his neck was dyed by margie, but it has a great mottled tone too. the incredible depth of natural dyed fabrics never ceases to amaze me.

anyway, i seem to be rambling. i think it's too early, even though it's not really. you can find this little sea lion here. wishing you all a wonderful sunday.


and if you need some sunday reading, i recommend you check out the new issue of b.a.h. magazine. a great read - and after margie's article on solar dyeing i tried her technique yesterday. we'll see what develops this week!

Saturday, July 09, 2011



sometimes a new perspective helps change the flow, offer a break from the lull of everyday, freshen things up. jennifer, lena and a few others have been making dreamcatchers lately, and i was inspired to try my own last night. it was a quiet evening and A was out, and it seemed like a perfect summer activity with little commitment needed.

little limpet

there are so many tall cedar trees in our yard it was easy to find one (or maybe hundreds) of fallen twigs on the ground, supple for the task of being bent into a circle. i scavenged through the yarn stash and came out with some beautiful purpley malabrigo sock yarn, that was thin but had good strength for this project. from the tutorials i found online - there are many, i used this one - i learned a bead is typically strung on somewhere to symbolize the spider on this "web", but i thought this little limpet shell i had with a small hole already in it worked perfectly.

beach feathers and shell

i tied some feathers on the end, combed from the high tide line on one of my walks, and a leafy hornmouth shell that had a large hole through it which made it easy to hang. lastly i wrapped a small piece of natural dyed wool around the feather tops. tada! dreamweaver. you should try one - they are really quite straightforward once you get into it. (seriously: A came home from his evening out and saw what i had made, said 'i didn't know you knew how to do those', 'i didn't', said i. 'only learned just this evening'.) i'm thinking to make a few more, they seem like great little gifts.


the sun is beautifully shining today. i'm watching the cherry tree out the window, which is heavy with *almost* ready fruit. it's a waiting game how long i leave them there to ripen, and risk the birds that invade and steal my treats. i may bring some nearly ready cherries inside in a bowl, as i found out last year they will ripen after picked, like tomatoes.

tomorrow i am headed down island to the big city (very relative term), where i haven't been in at least a year or so. but my friend is visiting all the way from kuwait, so it is a perfect time to go. wishing you all a great weekend!

Thursday, July 07, 2011


i've been feeling very quiet lately, not much to say, not much to share. life has been busy, not always good. i generally like to keep this space "happy", but i suppose that is often a false aspect of the dark space that my mind seems to inhabit much of the time. i wish i could say that that's just a temporary thing, but i'm coming to realize it's been a very longstanding issue. so i will continue to try and keep it positive here as much as possible, but i also think acknowledging my dark moments now and then is the best way to deal with them.

the happy couple

but! definitely some happy to share; the happy couple i call them, in fact. these two whales were a custom order, heading to a beach wedding on the west coast of the island. i think they'll fit right in. i tried to make them a good pair without being exactly the same. from the same pair of jeans, but different sections so one is a bit lighter. different colours of thread, but complimentary, on each. and of course a unique scattering of barnacles for each one.

and another whale, that i mentioned earlier this week. a new orca, tweaking the design a bit from the first one, and using different fabrics that may have worked a bit better. he is here.

i'm a bit stuck on one project i mentioned a while back now - after a promising start my inspiration has waned a bit. but it will come eventually, i'm sure. so instead i am building on a burly ocean fellow. some of you might remember my sea lion from last summer. i thought he was endearing and the shape was right, but my mindset now wants a beast with more texture and layers, rugged and worn from his life at sea. photos to come as he develops.

in attempting to give my brain a little more focus, i think i will continue to stitch on ocean creatures for the summer. but my mind is already wandering to fall, when i have plans for some beasts who ramble and wander through the woods, not to mention those that sprout from the forest floor...


things i'm liking today:

• leslie williamson's photos of kay sekimachi's amazing home and studio space
• margie's ombre indigo shoes
• lisa's mushrooms!

Monday, July 04, 2011

where did the weekend go?

feels like the days have been full and yet i wouldn't mind a bit of relax time too. a few snippets (although i think the better moments did not get captured):


• wading, for just a moment, in the cold river under a grey sky
• exploring the quiet forest, quite gloomy despite the july 1 date
• looking for huckleberries and finding only one
• making up for it by picking 18lbs of strawberries at the local organic farm
• suddenly realizing that's A LOT of ripe berries, and struggling to get them cleaned and (mostly) in the freezer before they turn

just one

• visiting friends' riverside home for an evening fire
• brunch out with a good friend i haven't seen in ages
• then following that up by having her and her husband over for dinner
• and then visiting yet another group of friends for another dinner at their place
• taking a short, late afternoon paddle on a windswept (but gradually calming) lake

sunday breakfast

• working on a custom order with a tight deadline (and in my stupidity, forgetting i needed some supplies on canada day, when everything was closed
• so instead, making a new whale for the shop
• sorting through photos for a couple other possible orders
• trying to escape to the beach this afternoon, however briefly

candy stripes for canada day

hope you have all had a great weekend, whether it was just a regular weekend, or a long weekend (canada and the us).