Wednesday, February 28, 2007

They threatened snow today! Mostly scattered snow/rain showers, they said! Well, here is one of the first snowflakes. More like a blob-o-snow, actually. It is on our deck railing, complete with moss, lichens and peeling paint.

Then they really started coming down. Big blobs of snowflakes. It snowed pretty heavily - accumulated maybe an inch or so, then it melted away midday.

But . . . wait . . . hail! Again the deck was covered with white - this time, little balls. And, again, it melted away.

But . . . then . . . it started snowing again! This time, it snowed in earnest. And kept on snowing - we probably have 3 inches now! It did stop around dusk, and hopefully won't freeze too hard tonight.

This is looking up at the sky while the snow was falling.

Buzz and I went out to play in the snow, and take some more photos. I just joined a new Group called Photo Journals, and it promises to be interesting and fun. The hostess creates books from photos that everyone sends in - there is a theme every month or so. If 20 people are playing, you send 20 copies of your photo, as does everyone else, and the hostess binds them and sends you a complete book with 20 different photos. One of the next themes is black and white photos, and the snow seemed like a good subject. So here is one that I took of snow on the birch branch.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

After several weeks of warmer weather, we had frost last night. The grass and roofs are lightly dusted. The sky is clear - sunrise was brief but pretty. When I saw the sky, I wandered out in my robe and slippers to see better. Cool breezes wafted up my nightie! Wheeee! It was chilly all day, but nice and sunny.

The roof over the shop is uninsulated - you can see the lines where the rafters are slightly warmer and the frost didn't stay.

Monday, February 26, 2007

I finished my February Journal quilt! The group I'm in has a theme, color and technique every month - you don't have to use them, but it's fun to try and incorporate them into your ideas. This month's color was red, the theme was love songs, and the technique fabric painting. I didn't paint my fabric, but I did use the color and theme.

I love taking moon photos, and "Moon Dance" is one of my all-time favorites! I manipulated the photo of our roof and the moon on the computer, and tried several ways to make the moon "dance", but then I came up with the idea to change the color to red. I ended up just copying the moon and resizing it a few times. I printed it out on my printer, and pieced it with some of my sister Cris's handwoven fabric, then quilted with some shiny variegated thread. I like it!

It's hard to get a good photo of shiny things - the quilting doesn't really stand out as much as it looks in the photo.
I caught Buzz dozing in the sun this afternoon, with the shadow of the palm falling on him.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Another post today - I added several new links to my links column. The website that started all of this photo-a-day for me is Photojojo. I'm on their email newsletter, and they have some pretty interesting information sometimes.

One idea is the camera toss. It looks like a riot, but I'm not quite prepared to let my camera fall. Maybe after I get a new one?

Another great site was the Mirror Project. The requirement is that you and the camera must show in the reflection in some way. Now, that is something I could do! In fact, I have taken many reflection photos, even made a little book with some of them.

I also added a link to a photo editing site - it looks like it could be pretty good, and it's free!

The last link is to a live map site - you can zero in on your house, and see enough detail to see people! You can switch between the "bird's eye view" which is an aerial photo, and maps. In the aerial views, you can rotate the scene and view it from any direction. Very cool.
Got outside and had a delightful ramble in the woods. I realized that I didn't go out at all yesterday! Well, it was pretty wet and windy. Today is cool and showery, but the sun came out a little while I was out there, filtering through the trees.

I love the way these cedar boughs drape gracefully above the water. The cedar tree is beautiful, and was called the "tree of life" by the native Americans. They used every part of the tree for day-to-day living - the branches for bedding and roofing, the bark for clothing and baskets, the wood for canoes, tools and housing, and the roots for lashing and fishing lines. And of course much more! And, it is still extremely important to the tribes now, for a lot of the same reasons.
And, here nestled into the dropped cedar leaflets at the base of a huge cedar tree, I found an owl pellet. It is rare to find one intact, as they disintegrate quickly around here.

And, even more rare, is to find an intact skull inside! A poor little mousey, I'm thinking!

And, deep in the woods, the pussy willows are out much later than those around the house. Most of them are pretty well finished now. I went out looking for the skunk cabbage in the swamp, and I did find some, but the deer had trampled over it and broken the budding leaves. I'm sure there will be more, so I'll keep an eye on them.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Cory came for the weekend, and he's helping go through boxes of stuff for the garage sale. He found a box full of trading cards that are about 15 years old, still in good shape, too. He's going to sort through them, and the comic books, and see what they're worth.

It's been cold and rainy, an indoor kind of day. I've done a little housecleaning, a little laundry, a little work, and got a good start on my Journal quilt, and some more done on the t-shirt quilt. Saturday is always a catch-up day for me, a good time to do all those little things that add up during the week.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The weather was pretty nice all day, but in the late afternoon when I went into Freeland, it was sunny and rainy at the same time. Click on the photo for the enlarged version, and you can see the rain drops coming down, while the sun is blazing through the clouds, and bits of blue sky are peeking out. This is Main Street from the Post Office - rush hour!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thursday is art day! We're meeting at Carol's while Audrey is in hospital, and I took adavantage of Carol's felt design wall for laying out the t-shirt quilt. Everyone had good ideas to offer, and now I have a definite plan. I'm excited about it - I wasn't sure what to do or how to put it together. That is what I love the most about this group - there is never any shortage of ideas, or ways to help. Between us all, there are years and years of experience in almost every media - it's great!

Carol commissioned Gretchen to paint a portrait of her cat, and she has it hanging in her studio. It really captures Abbey, shown with her favorite toy.

And, another day they said would be cold and rainy, but we ended up with blue sky after all. And some great clouds.

Buzz says, "See the ball, Mom? See it? See it? There it is! Throw it? Please?"

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Well, you just can't believe what the weather people say on TV - it was supposed to be cold and rainy today, but just look at that blue sky! I went out to check on a job site, and ended up staying quite a while, just enjoying the day. The lot next door was full of brambles, and the brambles were full of birds! If you look closely in the tree and brambles, you can see several birds. Red-wing blackbirds, robins, what I think was the red finch, and many others that I couldn't see. They were all singing and chirping and tch-tch-tch-ing - quite a symphony - or should I say cacophony?

This view is across Holmes Harbor looking east at the Cascades - Whitehorse Mountain is in the center, and I think it's Three Fingers on the left. Our property is just to the right and below Whitehorse, about at the top of the ridge that you see.

While I was looking over my client's lot on the golf course, I ran into a previous client, Tom, who invited me into his house to see how it looked finished. I must say it came out beautifully; he is very happy with it, and gets lots of compliments. He has done a great job with the interior finish. It gets lots of light from the windows and skylights, and he loves the vaulted ceilings.

He is right next to one of the greens on the golf course, and has had a problem with balls hitting his house. He had to put up a fence, which is almost 15 feet tall, and is hung with netting to catch the balls. Unfortunately, we put a steel roof on the house, and now it has dents all over it. He also had a window broken, and some other damage before the fence went up. But he loves living there!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Yet more signs of spring! The alder trees are blooming, or at least they are developing their catkins, which are sending out pollen on the four winds! There was an article on the TV news about several areas around Puget Sound that woke up with a strange powder dusting everything outdoors. No one knew what it could be! Then, the next night, after testing, it was found to be . . . can you guess . . . .pollen! The cedar trees are sending out pollen now, too, so they got a double whammy.

You can also see on the branches some of last year's cones, or seed pods on the alder trees. When the catkins are full of pollen, they appear reddish, and when you see a stand of alders, it's almost more colorful than the leaves turning in the fall. When they begin to drop off, the tiny chartruese leaves will start to show. Then everything will turn green!


I brought some forsythia in to force, and they just popped out! They light up the whole entry area in the perfect yellow vase Marjorie gave me. My Royal Copley vase is on the left.

I walk by the crocus buds every day - they're right next to the walkway, and was just waiting to take a photo of the blooms. Well, obviously I waited too long - someone had them for dinner!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Today is the Chinese lunar new year, the year of the boar! The China City restaurant served free walnut-shrimp dishes in celebration, and boy, was it good! The shrimp was lightly breaded and deep fried, then coated in a sweet sauce with candied walnuts. Yum!

Other than that, I spent the day finishing odds and ends that never seem to get done during the week, and David started sorting through his stuff for garage-sale items. Guess I'll have to start doing that, too. It might be nice to get rid of some of our excess!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Nice sunny day today. I love walking through the woods when the sun streams through the trees. This little knoll is on the edge of the swamp, and created some great shadows. The photo doesn't really show it, but the woods around me were quite dark, so this was an attraction from a distance. It reminded me of the book The Light in the Forest, which I read in grade school. I don't remember anything about it now, except that I loved the book. It had something to do with pioneer settlers and the native Americans. I have always remembered the title, for some reason.

Buzz loves his walks in the woods with me, but he loves the water more! I caught him jumping in the pond - he'll run and launch himself into the water. Mostly he'll be chasing a stick, but sometimes he'll just swim around the pond for a while. In the summer, sometimes he'll come to the pond by himself and jump in to cool off. He'll swim very seriously out to the stick, but as soon as he grabs it in his mouth, his tail pops out to the water and begins to wag while he swims back to shore.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Well, here's another challenge - I'm planning to take this pile of t-shirts and turn them into a quilt. I belong to the Northwest Basket Weavers Guild, and these are some that haven't sold for one reason or another. The attire committee was going to offer them at a deep discount, but another member had the idea for a quilt, and of course I offered to make it. (What was I thinking??) The quilt will go in the auction - it's one of our main money-raisers at the annual retreat. I'll keep you posted as I go along - we'll see how it turns out. There are several different basket designs, and a nice assortment of colors. I have some thoughts, but no real idea of how I'm going to lay it out.

I am on the committee that manages the Retreat, and it's a lot of fun. We all really look forward to Retreat in March - it's the time when you get to see all those guild members that you never see the rest of the year. There are workshops if you want to take them, time to just sit around and weave, or walk around the lake, or nap! You get to spend 3 days doing nothing but baskets, with wonderful folks. And, no cooking, cleaning or taking care of kids!!!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Thursday is Art day! Today we went on a field trip to visit Audrey, instead. The Olympic Mountains were sharp and clear with their mantle of new snow. The sky was dark to the north and lighter to the south, with some light rain here and there.

Here's a little closer view. I'm looking at getting a new camera, and would love to get one with a bigger zoom. Most of the new ones will compensate for a little bit of wiggle, so you can hand hold them while zoomed out.
We brought Audrey lunch at the CareAge nursing home - she's not too thrilled with the food there, and in fact is losing weight because she doesn't have much of an appetite. She was in good spirits, but maybe that was the drugs! They took bone from her hip to rebuild her foot, so her hip is sore, but the foot doesn't hurt too much yet, unless she bumps it. But in the week she's been there, she can feel improvement already. She likes the people who work there, and is getting her physical therapy - at this point, mostly learning to move the wheelchair and use her good foot to support herself. Of course, the sooner she manages that, the sooner she could go home.
Margaret is on the left, then her daughter Jamie, then Carol and Audrey. We set up camp in the lobby, which was very nice. We also learned that there is a conference room that Audrey can reserve, so that will be even better. We had stopped at the deli and brought sandwiches - they were big enough that she'll have a snack for later.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Oh, I'm just sittin' on the dock in the rain,
Watchin' the cars roll by,
Sittin' on the dock in the rain,
Wastin' time. . . . . .

Actually, I don't mind waiting for the ferry, except late at night when I'm tired. But today is Basket Guild meeting, and dinner with Cody before that.

Tonight's speaker was a man who has studied in Germany to learn the fine skein willow technique of basketry. He gave an entertaining talk about his experiences, and had some beautiful baskets to show. This is one of the first ones he made at the German school.

This is a set of example baskets made by the German master teacher, each one showing a different weave. They are woven around wooden molds. That's Ann peeking from behind.

The material is willow, which has been split into thirds lengthwise. Each piece is thinned by pulling through a pair of sharp blades, or skeined, into uniform strips, which are very fine. The maker must mathmatically determine the number of spokes, and the size of the spokes and weavers, and then skein enough for the basket. Each basket takes a week or longer to make.

It was very interesting to learn about, but I don't think I'll pursue it any time soon!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

David built this greenhouse for his Mom - it's just too cool! The ends are from the spools the telephone company used for it's fiber-optics cable. You can even see one if you look through the back of the greenhouse - it's next to the train BBQ on the left.

Here's how it looks on the outside. There is a table along each side, and rods to hang pots from the ceiling. When you're inside, it is a very unique feeling.

Tonight was my book group meeting, and we discussed My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult. Everyone liked the book (unusual for our group!) and we had a lively discussion. It's about a 13-year old girl who was conceived as a blood and tissue donor for her sister, who had a rare form of Leukemia. After years of donating, she was being asked to donate a kidney. She initiated a lawsuit against her parents for the right to control her own body. I won't say what happened - you'll just have to read it. The book is very well written, and brings up some interesting insights into a family with such an unusual situation. It really makes you think about what you would do!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Another mild day. Since I have a meeting on Valentine's Day, we decided to go over to town and have a nice dinner out. This view is from the Everett Marina, looking west to Whidbey Island and the Olympic mountains beyond, just before sunset. It had been cloudy all day, but cleared out in the west, and the mountains were just crystal clear. The clouds were strange-looking, with the sun just about to pop out from under them. We had a wonderful dinner, too!

Before we ate, we had several errands to run, and while driving down an alley, we passed this color faux-pas! Quite a scene.

Later, we saw this car parked in front of the book store, and got a kick out of the way the word BOOKS was reflected in it's rear window. Of course, just when I was taking the photo, the owners came out!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

A quiet Sunday, and this afternoon was the Bead Nuts meeting. We learned how to make a Peyote Curl. Below you can see the beginning, where it is just starting to curl, and above, it's curling well, and I added a stripe of a different color. This was only the second time I tried the peyote stitch, but it worked out well. And I feel very comfortable with peyote, in fact, I really enjoyed it.
You just keep on adding rows until the curl is the way you want it, so we'll see how much more I'll do. Then, you can nest a large bead inside, and make a pendant, or add it to another piece.
Here is the group during the meeting, with some folks beading away, and others relaxing!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

I had originally planned to laze in bed this morning, but when I saw this sunrise developing, I stayed up and watched it. It turned into a really nice day - I worked outdoors in my t-shirt all day, pruning and general garden clean-up. There's still lots of branches from the storms to pick up, and I finally disposed of the christmas tree, which had been lying in the yard for the past month.

Having lost a number of trees in the woods, we have new views, and can see what was previously hidden in the woods. I've noticed that we have quite a few birch trees scattered around. I love the white bark and markings.

Both the cat and dog came with me as I rambled around, but they weren't very cooperative when I tried to get their pictures! Amy's coat is pretty good camouflage among the leaves and ground litter. Now if only she would stand still!

Buzz was sitting so nicely, but just when I was ready to snap . . . .

OK, so here he is, finally sitting and staying! And, of course, the ever-present object in his mouth.