Tuesday, August 30, 2011


hey folks. i'm headed south for a few days to hang out with the lizards amongst the sagebrush. and maybe climb some rocks. okay, and maybe also to see these folks. i'll be back after the long weekend with hopefully more pics like the ones above. and some other new stuff (sometimes i sew and knit and dye, if ya didn't know). wishing you all a great labour day holiday if you're in north america, or just a great step into september (!!!) if you're elsewhere.


ps. the shop will remain open while i'm away, but any orders won't be shipped until after the 6th. thanks for your understanding!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

scenes from the weekend...

sashiko-stitched tail

fresh bread


working on my aidez

• am now finished two out of three of my pieces for plush you! in seattle. now for the hardest one...
• A and i went paddleboarding on the river yesterday evening. the tide was high and we headed up river away from the wind, where the water gets very clear when the surface isn't ruffled, watching for salmon swimming upstream and the sea creatures that are quite willing to chase them. curious to look down below your board and see a fish 'swimming' sideways, only to realize that is because it is in the mouth of a seal. said seal popped up above the surface looking very pleased with the fat salmon in its mouth.
• baked this easy little bread from 101 cookbooks. just as the name says, it was easy, and also delicious.
• baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. except different. that is to say this recipe has been in the family forever, and i get pretty free with the substitutions, so they are never the same twice.
• did some early recon on a nearby forest trail, assessing the mushroom possibilities. i don't know that it has too many prospects for that, but i did pick a bunch of oregon grape berries for dyeing - i'll keep you posted once the jar stews for a few days.
• still plugging away at my aidez cardigan. it's nearly there, almost. i think i have to rip back a bit on one of the sleeves, which is disgruntling, but i am nearly done the body to a point where i will split off for the armholes.

how was your weekend? i hope anyone on the east coast is safe and warm after irene stormed through. i do not mean to downplay the seriousness of the storm or the damage many folks suffered, but it did almost have me wishing for a rainy day around here. we'll have many of those soon enough though.

wishing you a good start to your week!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


morning fog, long beach

heading out

south florencia bay

on sunday, i was sitting on a towel on the sand, watching A surf his paddleboard through mist that was turning to rain, my camera snapping away. the day before had been hot and humid, barely a breeze. and yet i hadn't been able to un-notice the high cirrus clouds above, signalling a weather change. sunday woke up in heavy fog, and even though it lightened here and there, there had been a definite shift. august, and the wind was picking up; i was getting cold even with my thick cowichan sweater.

suddenly there was a young man beside me (suddenly because peering through a camera lens at the sea makes me lose my peripheral vision). actually truth be told, before i even noticed him, i noticed that he'd placed his SLR down in the soft, salty sand *shudder*. but maybe that's just me? anyway, it turned out he was a visitor from switzerland, asking if i would capture his arrival on the far west coast of canada. i did, and then we got to chatting a bit, about cameras, and photography. he asked a question i hadn't really thought about before: do you like to shoot happy pictures or sad pictures?

foggy walk

misty forest

fog and swell

i don't know if i could define it in such simple terms, and i definitely do like a bright blue sky day and a bright smiling face, but yes, i love a gloomy, moody photo. kind of like i love a gloomy, moody day, like the ones these photos were taken on. on the west coast people often call this month "fogust", for obvious reasons. a misty day spent walking in the rainforest, following rickety stairs and ramps down to the shore where waves appear out of the grey to crash on the sand, sound perfect to me. as you can see we encountered a fair bit of fog and wet after that first sunny day, and my camera kept clicking quite happily.

exploring Halfmoon Bay

coast rainforest

hope you are all heading into a happy weekend, be it hot and sunny (i think that's what we're in for) or grey and gloomy, this last august weekend. i know i will be spending time stitching as the submission deadline for my plush you! pieces quickly approaches. while those are my main priority for the next little bit, i do hope to fit in some shop stitching too, but no promises at the moment.


other things i'm liking today:
• the photo gallery from the ucluelet aquarium. we had fun there last weekend - can't wait until they finish building their new home!
• Annie's TILT mosaics are always filled with the beauty of nature and the people who explore it.
• and if you couldn't tell by my love of mossy, damp forests, i am right on board with Lisa in my eagerness for mushroom season to begin.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

giveaway winner!

grunt sculpin

thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway and for all your well wishes on my shop (and blog). i loved hearing about all your favourite sea creatures. i don't know if i could every pick just one, there are so many that are dear to my heart. however, the little guy above did a good job of trying to win me over, during out trip to the ucluelet aquarium yesterday. he is a grunt sculpin, a curious little fish. he likes to scoot along the sea floor, using those wispy front fins to grip the bottom. i think he might fall under that "so ugly it's cute" category, but i think he's awesome.

okay! i'll stop leaving you hanging. the winner of the starfish is:

elisa.b! elisa, please email me at fogandswell [at] gmail [dot] com with your mailing address so i can send the sea stars on their way. thanks to all for your support - hope you're having a good start to your week.


other good things today:
• i just received my soap order from tara at on a branch and they all smell divine. can't wait to try them out.
pinterest is a very good place to find dinner ideas; tonight i'm making mushroom & kale stuffed phyllo pastry. just from the smell of the mushrooms sauteeing, i can tell you it will be delicious.

another treat day...

i...feel like i'm being watched.

back from the beach, thanks for your wishes, we had a good time as usual. pictures to come soon. and since you were all so kind as to share your favourite sea creatures with me, i thought it was about time to share some shots taken last week out on the boat up johnstone strait. these are just a few of the many i love (oh and two that are not sea creatures of course!) that we were lucky enough to see that day. above, a bald eagle who stared me down as i took some snaps - perhaps i was interrupting him from his fishing.

rock sausages

a couple of "rock sausages" (aka harbour seals) hanging out.

a whale of a tail

a juvenile humpback whale making its way lazily down the strait.

squee! baby orca

a large (15-20 individuals) but disparate group of resident orca was amazing to watch in the still water, including this sweet little baby killer whale.

can't you see i'm eating

a black bear who was much more interested in the ripe salal berries than us watching from the boat.

a perfect pair

too close!

a couple more orca shots, including this big bull above who surfaced right beside the boat with his companion, making me (for a moment) bemoan the telephoto lens on the camera as i struggled to fit him in the frame.

tidal rapids

and although it was a pretty calm day, the passages can always be counted on for a bit of swirling and whirling - these are the tidal rapids at Seymour Narrows during flood tide. even with two large and powerful engines on the back of the zodiac, the whirlpools nip at the boat and tweak it left and right as you move through.

just another day in paradise, right? i am very lucky to have a friend who lets me ride along on her boat tours sometimes.

back again this evening with the winner of the giveaway!

Friday, August 19, 2011

anniversary giveaway...

happy weekend! we are headed out to the west coast of the island tomorrow morning, for a little getaway just the two of us. unfortunately, despite the sunshine today, the forecast implies mother nature is a bit adamant about the "rain" in raincoast, but nonetheless i'm sure it will be a good trip, as all trips out there tend to be. a bit of camping, surfing, beachcombing, forest walks, and small town wandering.

but! now to what i'm sure you came here for, not just my week-end rambling. august 23 marks the one year anniversary of the fog and swell shop! also, a quick check tells me that the end of august is the five year anniversary of this here blog - who knew? as a thanks to all those who have checked out my shop, and all of you who stop by here to visit me, i hope you will comment below and enter to win:

a (nearly) rainbow of sea stars

six happy starfish! it's not quite a rainbow, because as far as i can discern there are no green sea stars, at least not on this coast, but nearly. annie's teal one is the closest i have seen, although my approximation of it is a bit more blue, since that is what i had on hand. so there is a blood star (red), ochre star (orange), cookie star (yellow-orange), unknown seastar (teal), bat star (blue), and another ochre star (purple). all are hand stitched from hand dyed linen), and stuffed with local alpaca fleece.

sea stars

to enter to win this little collection, please leave a comment below sharing what your favourite ocean creature is, big or small, mammal or fish, invertebrate, etc. the draw is open until monday evening, and i will announce a winner on tuesday. wishing you all a wonderful weekend, with some exploring in the outdoors, at the beach or wherever you like to wander!


ETA: comments are now closed. thanks to everyone who entered and i will announce a winner tomorrow!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

lights in the forest...

spirit bears in the rainforest

little black bear has gone away to a new home, but in his place two ghostly creatures have stepped in to keep me company for a little bit. neither albino nor polar bear, these spirit bears are really brother and sister to the black bear, a pale incarnation that appears only in a small region of the central coast of british columbia known as the great bear rainforest. it is estimated that about 1/10 of the population of black bears there are born creamy white, white cubs with black mothers, white mothers with black cubs. they are very important to the mythology of the First Nations of the BC coast, although often they are not talked about in an effort to keep them safe from the outside world. someday i will visit that mystical place. in the meantime, there are great articles and photos in the august 2011 issue of national geographic on both the spirit bears and proposed oil pipeline threatening the region.

spirit bear no. 1

these little spirit bears are my own humble attempt to recreate some of the magic of the real thing, pieces stitched in repurposed and hand dyed fabrics with each one having a slightly different character. i have mentioned my concerns about the pipeline and tankers that the oil company enbridge wants to bring to our coast, but now i would like to make a little more of an effort than just bitching about it. and so, i will be donating 50% of the purchase price of these and any other spirit bears i make to pacific wild who are working hard against this cause. you can find the first little boy here and what A has deemed the girl here. (gender designations are totally random, although they do each have a sort of feel about them).

spirit bear no. 2

i had planned a bit more of a post about this but now it's late and my mind is falling asleep. evening paddleboarding and an unexpected dinner guest stepped in to distract me from my evening plans, but in the best way possible. but i apologize if i'm leaving you short. the links above have great information on the cause, or please ask in the comments and i will do my best to follow up.

my other evening plans had been to finish up something for the giveaway i am planning for this weekend. i hope though to still have a post about it later tomorrow - please check back. august 23 is the one year anniversary of my shop and i've got a giveaway planned for you lovely people. i am headed to the west coast this weekend but will give details before i leave. thanks for all your support! for now, sove godt, as my mother always says.

Monday, August 15, 2011

boats and docks...

still morning

if i mentioned this before, please just enjoy the photos. i have fond memories of childhood days spent with my dad down at the government wharf. he had an old converted fishing troller at the time, one of those old wooden boats requiring constant tinkering. i remember exploring the old docks as he worked, and then afterward he would often take me to mcdonald's for lunch (ah, the days when that sounded like a good treat!) or sometimes over to kmart and buy me a toy (i fondly remember a she-ra doll). as i got older my dad switched in to aquaculture as a profession and so i spent time in a rowboat exploring remote shores by myself or with friends during weekends on the farm. and finally when i was an adult, hot summers as well as bone-chilling february days were occasionally spent working sorting shellfish.

cape spruce

all that is my long-winded way of saying that i will always love old boats, marinas, and decaying wooden docks, nooks of those who have explored these winding waterways for the past couple hundred years, especially the working folk, the old salty dogs. yesterday was a day spent out on the water, and i captured a few shots of these spots that i treasure.


flood tide

we stopped for lunch in a spot where the mainland juts well toward vancouver island, cleaving in amongst the labyrinth of islands in johnstone strait. port neville is a quiet little outpost, a spot among many that used to be home to a larger population, but now features a few houses and a closed up general store. i took more shots that i hope to share later. in the meantime i was entranced with the swirling tide making its way into the inlet, watching all the bull kelp line up with the current along with hundreds of little perch swimming in place. i also snapped at some of the lichen on the old dock, these bright yellow sunspots so regularly seen on these kind of structures. joni thinks it is because it likes the rich nitrogen found in bird poop, which is of course also strongly featured on these structures! either way, i love it.

that particular lichen...

if you caught the pics from my last boat trip, you might be wondering if there are some other shots to share, perhaps of the wildlife persuasion? the answer of course is yes, plus a bunch of other shots! i will post more later this week.


loving today:
• this sounds like idyllic scamp camping
• joni's lovely stitched scarf

Saturday, August 13, 2011

forest gold...


soon enough, when the first rains of autumn begin to come in, treasure hunters will take to the forest, slipping through the trees and moving silently over rich beds of moss, in search of gold. there are several types of treasure that haunts the minds of these foragers, but one in particular captivates the mind of many: the pacific golden chanterelle. this ruffled beauty pokes up through the mossy duff, often blending deftly into the dry leaves of autumn. lucky hunters hoard their patches, filling up buckets to sell, or just take home and feast upon. it is a bit early in the season, but i lucked out and found two. oh wait, is that because i stitched them up myself?

pacific golden chanterelles

some of you may remember the white chanterelles i stitched last fall. but as mentioned, the golden chanterelles are often considered the real prize around here. with my lovely golden fabric dyed with yellow onion skins, i thought i had a good fit to stitch a few up. these are hand stitched with both linen and silk, giving them a wonderful glow such as those real prizes of the forest. and whether you are a mushroom hunter or not, i think they are a great reminder (and less perishable!) of the treasures to be found in the woods. this pair is in the shop now. i still have the white pair; they sit on a shelf with other nature paraphernalia (real and not so real). i might have to stitch some more of those to put in the shop too.


and i can't wait until there is real gold to be found amongst the trees, bounty to be cooked up for dinner! along with chanterelles i love tasty puffballs and giant cauliflower mushrooms. i hope to each year become comfortable one or two more 'shrooms that are edible - if i am lucky this year i would like to find some boletes. if i can pry open the notoriously tight lips of some seasoned foragers, we'll see what else can be found!

Friday, August 12, 2011

friday flickr faves: beginnings of a shift

friday flickr faves

1. blueberries overboard, 2. natural dyed scarves, 3. stack, 4. brewing, 5. Pacific Sea Nettle, 6. sun dance, 7. Dusk Grass, 8. pause, 9. Sea Urchins, 10. Sunset spotlight, 11. Good... Good... Morning, 12. meadow grasses, 13. Grasses and Tree, 14. Untitled, 15. feather grass, 16. yellow forest walk


it's been a mostly beautiful week here, but the weekend forecast is looking a bit damp. i'm just fine with that - i have no specific plans and will take what is given to us. next weekend we are headed to the west coast, just the two of us; a bit of camping and surfing and raincoast exploration. soon after it will be the beginning of september (wow, already?) and we are headed to the eastern side of the cascades in washington. and other obligations and preparations are starting to appear. so a quiet weekend sounds just fine to me. what are you up to?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

if you go out in the woods today...

remember that song? i've been singing it a lot this week, even yesterday as i wandered through the forest. i'm partial to the anne murray version but perhaps that is just the canadian in me.

perhaps our trip to the rainforest is to blame, but i am brimming with ideas for woodland creatures and fungi. here are two to start, the first obviously inspiring my singing of the teddy bear's picnic.

coastal black bear

my first bear, a black bear like the ones seen commonly all over the island, and much of north america. he is a quiet sort, preferring to keep to himself but is happy to keep you company too, as long as you feed him some berries now and then. He is stitched from repurposed wool and has a soft neck ruff of alpaca fleece, while his furry feet have soft little suede pads. to remind himself of the tall trees of his home, he wears a length of red cedar cordage around his neck, but if you ask nice he might also let you wear it as a bracelet. if you think he might be happy snuffling around in your home, you can find him here.

black bear

i already have some other bears in the works, more kinds (including this fellow's ghostly counterpart) as well. they seem to be my fascination for the coming autumn. and below is of course my other fall fascination, the usual one, an obsession really. i can't wait until there are actual shrooms to be foraged and cooked up for dinner! these though, are not edible, even if they were real.

witch's hats on a rock

two little witch's hats, firmly clinging to their rocky home, anchored in a bed of moss and sporophytes. i love to find these in the lush green forest, a bright spot of orangey-red bursting forth. these are much easier to keep at home, although i think they fit in quite well on this mossy perch, don't you? they are available here.

more stitching coming soon...


i might also be stitching some feathers this weekend. have you heard about jude's magic feather project? i plan to send a few her way, you should too.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

[mostly] wordless wednesday*

yellow trumpets





alpine heather


little pinks

*one last post from our hike, a few of the many flowers we saw through the woods and up into the sub-alpine. most squat and close to the ground in this harsher environment, but all bright and cheerful and thriving. love. you can click on any of the photos to pop over to my flickr stream, where i've tried to name them if i know it.