Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Bad & Good

Recent months have seen cosmic realities being dealt in equal portions of bad and good; and isn't that always the way? 
So we step up, keep going, maybe glance at a few self-help articles, contemplate yoga (again), and try not to eat potato chips for dinner instead of the endive and spinach salad.
It's little things that are sometimes the most cheering, such as this book, discovered via a San Francisco blogger/sewer extraordinaire. Sanae Ishida has long been on my blog reading list; I like to bookend reading her with a browse at Japanese Sewing Books, another long-time favorite.
The white shirt (pictured at bottom) has been on my sewing bucket list for a year or so; and so am looking forward to tackling the version featured on the cover. 

Seen on Pinterest… apologies for no attribution!

Sunday, January 24, 2016


 …the house reno is finally underway—bit by bit instead of all at once. This is both good and bad as it prolongs living with the disruption but requires fewer split-second decisions to be made. (very good, I'd much rather proceed at a leisurely pace and mull over my choices).
We're inching towards spring and that too, of course, is good.
Hope to be back here with fresh focus in a few weeks…

Sunday, January 3, 2016

This and that

Well it's coming on spring and we know what that brings. Sorting out things, cleaning, purging and the like. I tend to not join the throngs doing it at this time of year. 10 months volunteering at a thrift store teaches you a few things about how to treat your discards; and the people who have to handle them on the receiving end—with consideration and an eye to timing.  Small incremental loads—bagged or boxed with like things together, and delivered at off-peak periods are SO appreciated by the staff and volunteers sorting the incoming. It's truly disheartening to work through a wall of sagging garbage bags filled with mystery detrius; some of it smelly and much of it damp.
The two little painting of posies were spotted at the home of a lady I used to meet on my way to the nursing home. She lived right across the street, in the tidiest little california cottage in what I imagined to be the Usonian style. Board and batten on the outside, vaulted ceiling inside… flooding the tiny 1400 square foot 2 bed 1 bath home with light.  She had a front entry porch enclosed; its window choked with the palest of coral pink geraniums. 
We talked briefly a few times, I liked her geraniums, her house, her tidy garden, her sweet little pictures. Turns out she was in her 90s, one of those persevering just-getting-things-done seniors we have so many of here in little old Sidney, British Columbia. Anyway, she fell, and was moved into care. The sale sign went up and the house sold 5 days later.  Soon after the reno evidence piled up in the driveway. Cedar tongue and groove on the ceilings—ripped out. A mountain of smashed drywall indicates "Good-bye Rooms and Hello Open Concept". Dated fixtures trashed. Fully functioning but Not Stainless appliances turfed to the dump. Geraniums chucked into the compost heap.
I found her pictures at the thrift store recently. It may take me a while to track her down, find out which nursing home she's in; but when I do these little pictures are going back on her wall. It may take a while.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Monday, November 9, 2015

Flower pounding, 'hapa-zome' made famous by India Flint's 2010 book Eco Colour
For a first time 5-minute project I'd give it a 10 out of 10, especially if I still had a wee one around the house to wield the hammer. 
Top: false dandelion—Bottom: common tansy 
And to make the pounded print colorfast, am going to brew up a tannin-rich mordant from the leaves of a native Gary Oak tree. Since my leaf pile is about the size of a Volkswagon, I'm in no danger of running out of raw material.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Fall walk

Vancouver Island fall colours, a palette heavy on the russets and cordovans, soft yellows and mosses that range from whispers to screams in their green-ness. Lovely, leathery salal and mushrooms galore, of course… perfect hideaways for wee folk. The forest duff is dotted with stones wrapped in moss mantles. Nature getting it right, as usual.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Random rain day stuff

It started with hemming a small quilt/coverlet for a small sofa. 
Rain + Mud + Small Dog = lots of laundry, so I like to have a supply of good lookin' covers for dog's favorite couch. 
I was dissatisfied with my messy looking whip stitch, so went looking through my books for alternative hemming stitches… and discovered a nice, neat and strong version of backstitch. In the book they call it Pin Stitch, or Point Turc. It's a great little stitch, highly recommended.

Well, that led down a rabbit hole of internet searching which involved a labyrinth of heirloom sewing sites, and ending up at punched paper embroidery templates by the hundreds here. So interesting, and puzzling, too, whether they are in the public domain or not. A few patterns have attribution, but many appear to be from books. There's an endearing ugly/cute quality to this kind of thread on paper stitchery. I confess that I enjoy looking at the patterns more than I have a craving to complete the projects. 
Look how pretty… aren't they fun?