Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More than sipping Tea

I've been doing a lot more than just sitting around sipping tea. Sorry for being gone. Things are getting a little crazy. I'm working like mad on dresses for one of my daughters wedding. Of course, I've waited too long, so now I'm rushed. The wedding is April 10th. The next two and a half weeks will be fun with family coming, and everything we do in preparation for her wedding

In between the rushing, I relax by making bread. I've used some recipes from this book.

You mix up some dough, and let it sit in the frig. til you want some bread. You can make a large loaf or something small. It's nice to adjust the size for how many people will be at dinner, or how much you want sitting, smelling wonderful, waiting to munch on.

It will be great to have a large amount of this on hand when the crowds descend in two weeks.

We took a little break and went to the Cannon Beach for a day. It was a little chilly, but I aways enjoy walking on the beach no matter the weather, just breathing the sea air.

Mmmmmm, Wonderful! We seem to enjoy the beach more than the many shops.

Then we stop and eat at one of the many cafes that serve fantastic food. This work of are is a gingerbread waffle topped with sliced pears and whipped cream.

I had this yummy Cobb salad.
Now I'm back home, sewing dresses. I'll get back to you soon.


Thursday, March 11, 2010


Dreams to inspiration, to dreams. I have been so blessed with children. My children are dreamers. Dreamers, who are inspired to go out and live their dreams. Children, who then dream some more, and help others live their dreams. All of the "kids" have traveled, or still travel. Some close to home, other to far off lands. During some of their "down" time, they seek non tourist "treasures" to bring back home. Much of the time I am the recipient of some "treasure". Recently, one daughter traveled to Mali. She brought back several pieces of textiles. There seem to be two kinds of cottons that are most often found in the markets. You see them stacked above.
The finer cottons are what a Malian woman would use to make an outfit for herself. There, you don't by fabric by the yard. You purchase it by the piece, about 12 yards. That is the amount needed to make a traditional outfit, always with matching headpiece.

The finer cottons are actually woven in England and sent to Mali for dying.

Mali is famous for it's bright designs. Also for it's indigo dyes. Indigo dye is more difficult to achieve and is more expensive.

Cotton fabric woven in Mali is much heaver. The spun cotton fiber in rather rough by out standards. It is not woven in the wide widths we are use to, but in 4"-6" strips. The piece above was woven using two colors, then sewn onto more white strips. You can see it in the top picture. Some strips are dyed then sewn together to make wider pieces of cloth.

Some are sewn together, then dyed to make a large pattern. This is mud cloth. Not quite as rough as our burlap.The Bozo people in northern Mali make this traditional cloth. The white parts are non dyed areas. The people gather dark mud and let it ferment in a container for a year, then use it to paint the designs on the cloth.

A piece such as this might be used as a covering for a doorway. Or it might be the covering on a sleeping platform.

This is large enough to be a bed spread. Again, narrow strips were sewn together, then dyed. Then the indigo edging was added. The color varies in intensity over the whole cloth.

The Malian people still use traditional methods their people have used for centuries. Gathering from the earth around them, blending, manipulating, experimenting for a verity of colors, and creating great beauty.

From another part of the world, Panama, one daughter brought this shawl. Woven, using fine threads, native Indian woman create these incredible designs. Traditionally, the tribal women would wrap these around themselves to wear, their only garment, in the humid, intense, heat. Now, the women sell their weaving to people who travel to the remote mountain regions of that country.

India is another country rich in fiber. A wonderful silk shawl.

The Indian people in remote areas densely embroider strips of fabric. Later, it is pieced together to form a large decorative piece.
I am privileged to receive many different fabrics. I marvel at the different kinds of beauty, the different skills, the different mediums and techniques. Each one so different, yet all using many of the same "ingredients " and tools. Spinning wheels, looms, dyes,and needle, all products of hard working hands. I wonder about the dreams each creator had in her mind. Did she envision the completed piece in her mind even before starting? Did she "wing it" and see how it developed as she went along? What was the inspiration for each design? Did she dream about what this completed piece would do for her family? Would her child have shoes, or books for school? Was it letting part of "herself" go. Does she wonder where the labor of her hands is now? Would she be surprised that I think of her as an artist? I would love to tell her that what she dared to dream, then create, has inspired me. Her artwork does not end. It has created new dreams.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I'm not sure what it is lately. I have so many ideas. Maybe it's the coming of spring. Maybe it's the flowers blooming or their aroma. Maybe it's getting outside, saying good bye to winter. Maybe I'm getting use the the kids being gone. Maybe......it really doesn't matter. I have ideas and energy, and it's great! Here are two projects I've used some of this energy on. I so enjoy stitching. There was pleasure seeing these develop as I stitched along. Sometimes I work from a book. Sometimes I draw a pattern myself, then stitch. Sometimes I just start with a idea and start working and see what happens.
This is stitched on a wool/ poly blend, that has a nubby look and texture to it.
Actually, It started out as a pair of dress pants that I found at goodwill. They had a hole in them, and were frayed at the hem. Now there is new life in this bag.

Sweet little flowers and buds in a garden patch, circled with full bloomed flowers.

Lined in a light tan checked cotton, with a darker checked pocket to hold necessities.
Finished with a magnetic clasp.
For a completely different look is bag with a mix of applications.

Wool patchwork, topped with vintage buttons.

Wool applique, whipped stitched for a textured primitive look.

And embroidery.
It's amazing how quickly this kind of work goes. A quiet evening after working in the garden.
I am content.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Welcome March

I was expecting a lionish day. A little cooler. Rainy. A little breezy. But...
..... it's rather lambish. OK....a rather cheesy beginning.....It's the first day of March....it just had to be said. LOL I worked outside for a couple of hours this afternoon and just loved it. Getting my hands into the dirt, the scent of the cherry trees, the scent of all the early springtime flowers, created a very heady two hours playing in the yard. Remember when you were a kid, that first sunny day you could get out and play, you just reveled in the luxury of the outdoors? Yep... that was me today.
Planted a few spinach. The leeks remain from the fall planting and will soon be ready for harvest. In just a couple of weeks, we will be having our own fresh greens. Yum, can't wait.

Time for a new calender page. March, a typically rainy month. Keep your umbrellas handy.