Thursday, May 28, 2009

While I was traveling last month I had the pleasure of discovering the loveliest little (well, not so little really!) yarn and knitting shop in the small town of Independence, Oregon. Since Independence is one of the three small towns nearest our property, I was excited at the prospect of future visits to Rose & Ram Knit Shop & Studio. The owner Jan was just as lovely. (she was wearing a ghost tour t-shirt - I don't think you can go wrong with someone who has a cool t-shirt like that!) We gabbed for the longest time.

In one of the windows, a cute felted koala and gecko. I love the gecko. And bags, and scarves. She had lots of creations on display to inspire.

This knit and felted bird house was one of my favorites. She has the pattern for sale if you love it too.

Jan (on the left) and another local shopkeeper who stopped in (on the right). They were supposed to be pretending to be helping a "customer" but uhm, well, it's hard not to pose when the camera comes out. Check out the curvy paper floor lamp. Too cool.

There were luscious colors everywhere you turned. I really should have taken a photo of some of the taller shelves filled with deep autumn colors. I am NOT going to tell you how many of these skeins ended up coming home with me, nor will I admit to how much I spent. Just doing my bit to energize the economy. That's all I'm gonna say.

Clearly I favored all the adorable knit animals around the shop. Not sure if those squirrels are cute or evil looking but I want one nontheless. And the fuzzy little hedgehog too.

I'm not actually knitting much anymore. I knit a lot more when the weather is cold and the nights are longer. I have spent a few minutes here and there while watching television working on a second pair of wrist warmers (in the wine red I wanted and finally found thrifted). Mostly though, all my energy and creative efforts have been spent in the gardens. An update on how that's going over on Beach Treasure.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

There's no studio time still, not with a busy little granddaughter visiting plus working hard to make beauty out of the chaos that is the dug up courtyard/backyard. But, on the way back from dropping off some videos yesterday, I stopped at the thrift shop. There was a potential new desk for William's room sitting out in front. The desk turned out to be too wobbly to bother with, but I found an entire box full of gorgeous tapestry, shinies, and velvet fabrics.

I spread it all out along Rosie's fence so you can see them. Not very good photos, but you can click to enlarge. A couple are small pieces, but most are two, three or even four yards. Nice big usable amounts. From the left: a half yard or so of paisley quilting cotton, larger amount of brown glossy tapestry, shiny blue - enough for a faery gown!

L to R: a plum floral Asian looking print, a shimmery burgundy with even more shinier polka dots, a .... dang, there's a name for this soft gloss pink cotton fabric but my brain is fried by the wind today and I can't remember...

A yard or two of midnight blue velvet, a heavy cotton floral (I'm thinking bags), some cranberry velvet, another tapestry piece in red and gold.

A small piece of satiny white, a gold and purple tapestry, a gold tapestry, and a deep burgundy with a golden shimmer.

Plus, dozens of handknit cotton wash cloths (and a couple of thick cotton hand towels) - these are the best for both kitchen and bath use.

Joli decided to make a nest of the blue fabrics. Isn't this what all us quilters and seamstresses swear we go home and do - roll around in our fabrics? When I called her name a muffled voice answered "I'm not in here!"

All bow to the Princess Joli!

"Luke, I am your father!"

"No Grammy. It's DADDY!"

She looks like a magical little flower.

I also found a couple decorative shelves for the wall, some night gowns, a couple skirts, a top and some glass blown earrings for Lisa and....

... this amazing green velvet dress for the faery festival. It's my size but the zipper just isn't gonna come together for me, I have a large rib cage. So Lisa's sister is gonna use it this year, and next year I think I'll refashion it into a corset and skirt for me.

All this for an embarrassingly small amount, practically pocket change. I love small town thrifting! Once I finally get finished with the garden and the painting and the cleaning and everything else on my to-do list, I've got all this great fabric to turn into .... well, the possibilities are endless. Anyone have any ideas?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Long ago I promised the rest of the photos from the botanical gardens. Finally -

The children's area was filled with all sorts of goofy creatures. Here's Ashley not quite sure if she's creeped out by this strange bird.

This was a little children's play house, but I'd love one slightly larger and more open as a gazebo in my yard.

I love water features. This one was totally unexpected.

Bright blue fountain in the middle of "nowhere" around a curve on a less traveled path. A treat for investigating more than just the main walkway.

Ashley found a fuzzy friend.

Part of the gardens were color themed. This was the purple section. The other colors weren't blooming much. Purple must be a spring color.

Another odd creature. A bug? A ......?

Hidden deep in the forest....

A blue bird.

The front of the purple gardens.

These flowers were so tiny, barely a quarter inch across each, but in such great numbers that the bush was aflame!

None of these strange creatures look particularly Disney-ish. More Grimm's Fairytales "be careful if you mess with me". Perhaps Tim Burton does The Nature Channel?

I like how the moth wings are so sheer you can see the flowers through them.

The biggest thing in the gardens, the Sundial Bridge towering in the distance.

My favorite work of art there, my son Sam.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

I promised the rest of the pics from the botanical garden but.... been busy. For now, I finally remembered to take a photo of this carved wood piece at a local Mexican restaurant that I've always loved.


It used to have a neutral background but the restaurant recently changed hands and the new owner added the blue paint. I'm glad they left the Virgin de Guadalupe and I think I like the new colorful background.

Check out my new lawn ornaments over on Beach Treasure.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

My daughter-in-law Lisa made this beautiful crib baby quilt to contribute to a fund raiser for pediatric cancer research. It's to honor a beautiful two year old, Tuesday Fiona Whitt, who recently lost her battle with neuroblastoma.

Go to Lisa's blog to see how to enter for a chance at the quilt.

And go here to make more donations and see all the other great fund raising gifts will be given out.

Monday, May 04, 2009

The dust bunnies have.... ahem.... gotten a weeeee bit out of hand. Will post more garden photos tonight. Perhaps tomorrow.

Not only am I under pressure to get the house somewhere within calling distance of orderly, but, I'm dealing with zombies.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Wait! Don't go! You're not in the wrong place. I changed my blog template, or rather, I started the change. I was tired of my photos not fitting in the old format. I also felt like some people might have had a problem with white print on dark background. I've lost a lot of my sidebar gadgets and links but the sidebar has needed updating for ages anyway. Maybe now I'll be more inspired to actually do it. More to come. But for now, let's move on to more garden photos.

Today I'm only sharing one garden feature, but I took a zillion photos of it.

A million (or did I say zillion?) photos, and not one photo of the work in it's entirety. Oops. Here's the most overall pic of it I have. Isn't it amazing! It curves on to the right and the left and there's another solo animal and in the middle, the bottom of it just visible, a fountain.

A close up of Mr. Turtle, ready for children to climb on his back.

The creator is a mixed media artist named Colleen Barry. Surprisingly, she doesn't have a website or even a blog so I can't link there for you. You can Goggle her name and find other sites that show photos of her work however. She must have ordered these letter tiles for her signature. And I love the little dancing skelly with a heart.

I spoke with Colleen for a brief bit. Signed up on a mailing list for a possible class in the autumn. I so hope the timing works for me to take it. I've been a frustrated in-my-head mosaic artist for years. The only mosaics I ever attempted got left outside unfinished and with no grout, fell apart through a series of rains.

She said the tile and other pieces for this work were partially donations. It's like dozens of single pieces that also make a cohesive whole. I could have spent a lot more time finding all the pretties hidden in her design. Had to take a photo of the lady bug parade for Joli.

The top of the fountain. It was mottled shade, difficult conditions for photographing, and yet it fits the mosaic well, makes it difficult to tell where the mosaic ends and the shadows begin.

And the bottom of the fountain. Silly me didn't take a photo of the whole thing. Sheesh.

At the foot of the drinking fountain.... was it a drinking fountain? Didn't photograph that either, but hmmmm, I'm certain it was there..... anyway, these embedded keys were one of my favorite bits.

Another favorite, agates and spirals hidden on the back side of the wall that curved behind the benches. Forgot to go to macro so it's not the best photo. I was pretty blown away by it and a little distracted.

The other free standing animal, a friendly green frog. Or is he a toad?

A section of the beautiful back of the sculpture. I thought those shimmery white tiles in with the blue were glass that you could see through but now I realize that can't be possible. Maybe they were mirrored tiles. I guess I'll have to go back and look again.

Yesterday's pics didn't open for me like I'd hoped so I tried a new technique today, knock on wood. If you can open the photos to a larger size, you'll see that square tile says "Prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child." That confuses me. I'm not sure if I agree. Maybe I'm hearing the intent wrong. It sounds sort of "Mold the child to fit the path" to me. What about Thoreau's different drummer or Frost's road less traveled?

Oh no! Watch out little green ladybug!

The center of the wall is this gorgeous butterfly. I like that I unknowingly captured Sam and Ashley in the background.

A coolio bat.

A dragon fly with glowing green eyes.

It makes me want to run out and make a dozen of these gorgeous mosaic balls. I wonder what the middle is made out of? Do they make cement balls? Okay, here's where you can stop and make ball jokes. I'll wait......

It makes me want to collect all these wonderful different bits and pieces. Much to the family's consternation, I already have a huge pile of broken ceramic and glass stored in the backyard. I have it in my head to have a mosaic making day or weekend with others. I have no idea who these "others" might be. And there's the little thing of having to put my backyard back together again. It's rather Humpty Dumpty after the fall-ish at the moment. We'll see if I can do what all the king's horses and all the king's men could not.

Okay, blogging is hard work. After all that chatter, I think you can leave me here to sit a spell. You can check out Beach Treasure. I think I'm going on about books again over there.