Tuesday, November 29, 2011

autumn sunshine

autumn sunshine

today is another grey day with rain and wind in the forecast, much like many other november days. mother nature has been giving us little reprieves here and there though, spots of sunshine interspersed between storms. the above photos were taken a couple weeks ago, but we had a similar bit of sunshine yesterday and A and i went for a walk in the same spot. a long stretch of shoreline stretching out into the bay, eyes low against the bright sun and searching for treasures nestled amongst the rocks and sand, including a giant pink sea star, which i had never seen before. a friend suggested i should make some sea stars that are bean bags, so they can be draped over things like a real starfish would cling to something. a large star like the pink sea star might be perfect for that. what do you think?

Monday, November 28, 2011


fresh dough ribbons


hard work

making shapes


yesterday was spent in my sister's kitchen, ringing in the start of advent with traditional baking and a bit of crafting with three generations of family. for those who don't know, my parents immigrated to canada from denmark in 1970, shortly after they were married. many scandinavian traditions have always been part of my and my two sisters' lives, along with visits from our relatives who all still live in denmark, and trips there occasionally. now with my sisters both having children, it is nice to continue these traditions into the next generation. my niece especially has been learning about her family history through school activities, so when my mom and i talked about meeting up to do some holiday baking together it seemed like a good idea to include my sister and her daughter as well. fittingly, they also live halfway in between my mom and i, so their house made a good congregation point as well.

after a nice lunch prepared by my sister, and including my BIL and my nephew, the boys headed out for some exploring in the woods and we set to work. my mom brought her hefty old meat grinder with the special attachments to grind out the dough for vanillakranse, classic danish vanilla wreaths. my 8-year-old niece had great fun turning the crank of the grinder while my mom caught the long strips of dough coming out. the dough is then cut in shorter lengths and joined in a circle for baking. my niece also found room in her tummy for her fair share of raw dough and finished cookies. these are my sister's favourite, although i have always preferred the second cookies we made: brunkager (yes, that translates to brown cookie).

the closest comparison i could say for brunkager would be gingerbread, but they have citrus zest, cloves and cinnamon for spice. they are rolled out very thin and cut into shapes, and bake up nice and crispy. oh yum, just writing about them makes me want to head into the kitchen for a little snack. normally my mom makes both of these all on her own, so i hope we were a help rather than a nuisance all joining in. then again, very generously, she left us will all the cookies, insisting she would make more at home later. i hope she knows we all appreciated her spending her day with us making goodies to eat.

woven hearts

we also spent a little time making woven heart baskets (flettede julehjerter) - well, mostly my sister and i. hearts are a common motif in danish holiday decorating. these hearts are two halves of folded paper woven together and then a strip glued on to make a hanging basket that can be put on the tree, sometimes with a little treat inside. the trick is to make sure you weave the pieces correctly so the basket can be opened when you are done. i admit it had been a little while since i made one, and very confidently i chose the most complicated template (top heart in photo) to make. i didn't realize until i was done that i'd made a mistake halfway through, so while my sister mocked me (as sisters do) i had to take it apart again to correct it.

the weather was pretty miserable all weekend, but today the sun has peaked out. i think a walk is in order in a little bit. last night A and i went to watch lots of mountain films at the banff film festival and i am starting to get excited for snow season (the local mountain opens next weekend). a little fresh snow this week would be great, but the sunshine in the forecast is also pretty appealing.

thanks for stopping by to 'visit' and hope your week is starting well.


• have you seen the growing indigo blog? so much gorgeousness.

Saturday, November 26, 2011



ochre stars


tea and cookie

• reinventing an old pair of jeans with some unfortunate holes into something new. heavily inspired by traditional japanese boro fabrics.
• finishing up some custom orders, including a "shore fragments" ochre stars piece.
• thought several times about a walk to see the wild waves at the seashore, but each time the wind and rain outside made the warm house seem that much more inviting.
• instead, melted chocolate to make a modified (read: less sugar, added whole wheat, walnuts, ground flax & hemp seeds) version of these chocolate espresso cookies
• and enjoyed those cookies with a warm mug of tea.
• looking forward to going out to dinner with friends in a little bit, to celebrate A's 30th birthday (tomorrow). mmmmm, fresh margaritas and mexican tastiness.
• unfortunately, A has to work all day on his birthday, so I may head to my parents' to bake traditional danish brunkager with my mom.
• then back home for an evening outing to the banff film festival world tour.

what are you up to?

Monday, November 21, 2011

mind of winter coming on...

chilled plums

frosted edges

frosted seed pod

frost & glow

under snow and frost

frost & glow

frozen berries

last week was full of cold days. i love finding the frosted highlights on leaves and seed pods, the ice holding on berries, the thin layer of snow covering the blanket of leaves. still over a week left in november and it's already snowed twice. that never happens here, or never used to. my quiet mind, encouraged by winter's stark lines and bare palettes, is a calming break from the other half, the side already feeling overwhelmed with the oncoming bustle of the holiday season. a little clean simplicity for the side exhausted after long days in real life.

but the mercury has risen and tonight i'll fall asleep to the waterfall of rain coming off the gutter outside our bedroom window. gale after gale is moving through this week, howling winds and an alarming amount of rain. a blustery, wet finish to a month well-known for them. a quiet mind is good, but sometimes a little storm helps to clear things out too.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

saturday & nearly snowing...



i went for a walk in the woods nearby this morning. the temperature is hovering around freezing and i was bundled up as i meandered along. remnants of yesterday's snow lingered on lawns as i walked past, now hard and icy. everywhere else had fresh coatings of frost, silvery linings on leaves and moss. the sky that was clear at first light was now filled with pillowy clouds, and the anticipation of snow was in the air. we are supposed to get more tonight, although then it will probably turn to several days of rain. fun. snow in november used to be unheard of, but now this is two years in a row. la niña is settling in for another winter.

last night we went to a screening of the art of flight. i'm still reliving some of the amazing scenery and skills of the snowboarders (and helicopter pilots!). if you are looking to get your stoke on for the ski season ahead, i highly recommend it.

new page

i'm getting more into my sketchbook - it is definitely distracting me from other work i should be doing. but i'm really enjoying drawing again, and except for some glitches here and there, i like how my book is developing. if you click through to flickr (click the photo), there are some notes about certain items in the drawing.

current stitchings

and above is a few of the current stitchings i'm working on, and the reason i might get less of them done this evening than hoped. i got a new iphone today. i'm a long time user of macs & ipods, but i've never had one of these before. should be both fun and also wholly distracting. hmmm.

i think i'll light some candles and make the house cozy for when A gets home from work. i'm still deciding on dinner, but i think i might bake some walnut rum cookies. they're super good, and i'm trying to slowly stock up my freezer with holiday baking. what are you up to?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

soaking up the sunshine...

bright blue day

today the wind howled, coming through the trees in thundering gusts and sending the last of the leaves in large swirls across the streets. the rain was heavy, sideways. at times it even became snow, twirling in blizzard like swirls. when i came home there was remnants of white slush on the grass. i love a good storm, but you'll forgive me if today i choose to turn back the clock a couple days to the gorgeous sun we had on monday.

soaking up the sunshine

rose hips and sunshine

comox glacier from the airpark

in between errands, i took a walk along the river estuary, letting the sounds of the city and even the people walking the path with me fade out, and focusing instead on the gentle rustling of leaves in the north wind, and the cheep and call of so many birds. the glacier in the distance, blinding white under the bright sun. i watched two eagles cartwheeling high above, and ducks weaving in and out of the weeds in search of food. one did a spot-on impression of donald duck. i sat for a long time just soaking up the light, my eyes following the eddy lines as the tide swirled back out into the bay. the glistening heads of harbour seals popped up here and there, until with a gentle arch of speckled grey-brown back they would disappear again.

it is an island pastime to talk about the weather. there is always something to discuss - it changes constantly and its fluctuations seem so ingrained in our daily routines. "they" are predicting another cold, stormy winter, and today was certainly an indication they could be right. so i'll take my sunny days where i can get them. all the better when i have a moment to pause and soak it all in.


• love seeing another maker at work, especially when they are also enjoying a bit of sunshine
• i think i need to bake this apple, aged cheddar & sage loaf this weekend

Monday, November 14, 2011

light and dark...

seed pods

sun through the grasses

i think most of the time i'm pretty good at getting my exposures in the right range; maybe not perfect, but not bad. 90% of the time i am in full manual mode too, and i am settling in to the particular sweet spots of my current camera. but nonetheless, sometimes i am not paying attention or playing around, and i come home with a couple shots like the ones above, the first so very overexposed, and the second under (not helped by shooting directly at the sun). and i love them both! the top photo is so dreamily bleached out, faded and washed like a bright prairie afternoon - perfect for the colourless simplicity i'm liking right now. and the second, almost like a dark moonlit night through the grasses, over saturated blue sky and silhouettes. anyway, sometimes things work out when you step outside the "correct" exposure. happy accidents.

well, it's a start.

and i'm finally making some strides on my sketchbook. a bit of stitching and a lot of pencil drawing. i'm not sure about colour or ink yet - i cling comfortably to pencil when drawing, unlike all the colours i embrace when doing other crafts - but i imagine there will still be some additional work on this page. however, i'm on to the next while i think about it. back to it now, as a matter of fact...

another mushroom monday

these little fellows have completely overtaken my lawn this year. not sure what they are.

elfin saddle pair, helvella lacunosa
elfin saddle

a set of fly agarics, amanita muscaria
fly agaric

orange jellies, dacrymyces palmatus
orange jelly

coral mushroom - i wish i'd caught these when they first appeared, they are so bright orange, like burning fires on the forest floor.
coral mushroom

i think this is dyer's polypore, phaeolus schweinitzii. i must go back and check on it - in this photo it was only a couple inches across, but perhaps now it is bigger and suitable for dyeing with.
dyer's polypore


i just got back from a walk in the estuary. the sun is gorgeous today, the air crisp and clean. i sat for a long while on the rocks, soaking up some vitamin d. i will share some blue sky and sun-filled photos with you tomorrow. hope your week is starting off well. i spotted some frosty leaves in a few spots, where the sun hadn't touched just yet. it's given me a bit of an idea - more soon if it works out.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


wintry pair

three clams

at top is a pair of hanging ornaments, a sand dollar shell in soft linen and a pale sea star in shimmery silk. below and a trio of clam shells in silk & sparkly linen, embellished with stitches and a few tiny barnacles. they are all now in the shop.

i am having a white moment, a pre-occupation with the cleanness of winter, the renewal of it. there is no white on the ground here, despite all of it that i'm seeing around the interwebs. that's okay - it's beginning to pile up in the hills, which is the best place for it, most of the time. still, photos like this and this make me wish for one little moment to be outside with it drifting down around me, edward scissorhands-style.

instead i'm trying to create my own little winter wonderland here. a few items stitched up in the palest of fabrics, a new ongoing collection i'm calling "frostbitten" (and don't ask if that refers to the pieces or just the winter focus of my brain!). an exploration of wintry whites in the coastal landscape. i may venture up into the arctic too - keep your eye out for more belugas and some other polar explorers.

for today though, i will switch focus back to some colour, with a couple lovely folks requesting a crew of crimson blood stars. red looks beautiful with winter white too.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

that light...

heavy sky

high tide

more seaweed rainbows

well after i wrote yesterday's post, i was perusing the marine forecast, as i regularly do. it's a habit ingrained by years of being around both my salty dog father and the maritime life we were raised in. anyway - i noticed that besides the gale warning in place for those gusty northwest winds (which didn't amount to much here in the end, although it sounds like farther south there was some big action) there was a waterspout watch in effect. what? yeah, exactly. waterspouts are not something i'd ever heard of around here, but apparently one had been spotted in the strait not far from here, and there was a watch in effect for the next couple hours. consider my curiosity peaked, so A and i headed out to see what we could see.


more seaweed rainbows

as you may have guessed, we didn't see any waterspouts. in fact, the water was surprisingly calm, and the wind that was rattling at our house earlier seemed to have died off. one half of the sky was heavy with pregnant looking clouds, waiting for the moment to release their burdens. the other half was bright with sunshine, giving the sliver of high tide beach a sparkle and glow. it was good for a quiet little walk, just the two of us. the beach is still full of seaweed rainbows, although these ones seemed more bright and colourful than the last ones. the visibility in the water was incredible, allowing us to see sand rocks far out from shore. a few ducks bobbed here and there in the gentle swell. a good peaceful walk.


today is drizzly and dreary, just as one expects from november. but i'm doing my best to make it cosy inside. bread is rising, and cookies are in progress. i'm thinking of watching a favourite old movie (maybe this one? or this? or perhaps even this one?) and doing a bit of crafting or drawing. and i think a cup of tea is in order.

what are you up to today?


• i just discovered the work of adrian villar rojas, and the piece mi familia muerte has me spellbound.
• scout & catalogue's new shine collection is perfect - i think i have to have this bag.
• i think my ginger kick (see above cookies) will continue as the season progresses, quite possibly with this ginger spice cake from roost.

Friday, November 11, 2011

friday flickr faves: peace

friday flickr faces

1. sea spray, 2. sunrise on the gatineau river at wakefield, 3. head to head reflecting, 4. amazing patterns, 5. shirt front coming together, 6. how i love thee, 7. Untitled, 8. first snow this morning, 9. frozen, 10. Winter reflection Nanaimo River, 11. brewing, 12. White Horses, 13. stack, 14. tiny dreamcatcher, 15. north wind sunset 2, 16. Cling


sending peace to you on this remembrance day.

the air was mild and the skies mostly clear as we stood at the cenotaph, joining a large group of others in the ceremonies. there was something in the air though, and dark clouds began moving in with the swiftness of the north wind as the ceremonies came to a close. A and i walked around the corner to get a hot drink, and while waiting for them to fill our travel mugs, saw the hail storm start outside. very nice of mother nature to wait until after the crowds had dispersed. we rushed back to the car and drove home through a mix of hail, rain and slush. it is not raining here at home but the northwest wind has blown in with strong gusts creaking at the trees. i'm feeling a bit on edge because of it. our prevailing wind, especially at this time of year, is the southeaster. maker of heavy rains and howling winds, and generally milder temps. but we're used to it, and so are the trees, for the most part. when a strong northwesterly comes in, the temperatures drop, and the tall trees get pushed in the opposite direction, one they're not used to. this is when they come down. we've already heard one good crack from outside, and i tense up each time a gust comes through the yard and bends the long cedar branches outside the window. there won't be any walks in the woods today.

if the rain does't set in, there might need to be a bundled up beach walk though - do you see that north wind sunset photo above? taken just south of here. the north wind definitely has some beautiful benefits that are not seen when a southeaster rain storm is blowing through.

wishing you a peaceful and warm november friday.