Monday, March 31, 2008

I went to the beach today to shoot some photos, as the sun came out. Across the road is a wonderful little swamp, and today it was full of ducks and red-winged blackbirds beginning their nesting season. I love the sound of their songs.
There's just a hint of green leaves beginning in the brush beyond the swamp, and now the water will get lower and lower, and eventually disappear completely by late summer, just in time to harvest the tulles for making baskets!
One of my next Photo Journal assignments is "hands", so I'm trying some different shots.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Lake Flora had just a hint of mist floating over it, so we quickly posed for a portrait. Sue, Ginnie and I shared a cabin, and have for a few years. We also go camping in the late summer to pick black huckleberries in the mountains. It's fun to get together!
Rae and Cathy are from the Northwest Territories in Canada. They made these wonderful random-weave hats, but didn't have room to pack them in their bags. So they're going to wear them on the plane home! They might turn a few heads in the airport.
The last class of the week, at the far end of the dining room. Marilyn Moore, standing at the back, showed us a fun way to make a frame for a piece of woven jewelry. This room is where we eat, have the auctions, slide shows, and meetings, and some of the classes. It's a great room, and they recently added some skylites, so it's much brighter there now. And that's it for another year!
Ann made a little cedar hat for her friend, who is actually quite pleased with her new headpiece!
My class today was with Mary Hettmansperger - here, students are trying to see what she's doing with that piece of waxed linen. We made several pieces with knotless netting, or looping. I'll have some photos later of the finished pieces.
Saturday is the auction, where we have a live auction of some wonderful basket-related items that are donated to the Guild. It is one of our main money-raising ventures, and always a lot of fun to watch. Most of the audience also has some type of unfinished class project to work on while they watch - here, Sue watches Ginnie braid a strap for her clutch.
FRIDAY, MARCH 28, 2008
We woke up to a wet snow - it was very pretty across the lake on the tree boughs.
My class today was weaving a pouch with willow bark - quite different than yesterday's willow! Miriam carefully cuts her weavers to the same width.
We had plenty of peeled willow bark to choose from!
Our fearless teacher, Margaret Mathewson, fashioned a scary mask from the willow bark, peering out of knotholes!
The goofiness continued when Ann put an unfinished rib basket over her head!
One of the highlights of the Retreat is the Gallery exhibit, where everyone is welcome to bring their baskets to show. We have a wide array of extremely talented artists in our guild, but we encourage everyone to contribute, so here's a photo of my purple necklace pouch sharing display space with some other beautiful baskets.
It continued to snow all day, but luckily didn't get really cold, and the snow was gone by morning. This is the camp road, going past some of the cabins that we sleep in.
Today the willow class continued, my basket is making progress! I love the smell and colors of willow.
Katherine Lewis was our teacher - here she's preparing to tie the ends together before wrapping the basket in plastic to keep it damp while we eat lunch.
And I actually finished it! We made the baskets to hold the plastic flower pot, so we can put plants in them, and the extra-long handle will allow the basket to be hung. It came out great, and was a good class.

In another classroom, Mary Hettmansperger is acting goofy, to the amusement of her students.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I left early for Basket Retreat so that I could spend some time at Fort Worden State Park beachcombing. It was rainy and snowy when I left, but the sun was out at the park. Above is the Lighthouse where I parked, with Whidbey Island still cloudy and stormy in the background.
This seagull was busily eating it's catch of the day, when the crow began his approach, exclaiming loudly to all that it was, indeed, HIS catch. He eventually grabbed the goodie right out from under the seagull's beak! The other gull politely ignored all the bickering.
I found plenty of interesting rocks, shells and clouds.

After dinner at the camp, we had a short class period, where we started the Willow Flower Basket class. We made our base and got started up the sides.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Received another Photo Art Journal, "Embrace the Blur". This is a very fun one - I imagine most of the photos were the result of unintended movement or low light (mine were!), but they are all very interesting.
This first page is of a lighted yoyo - very colorful.
Catherine created a folding back cover that wraps around the book, using a blurry shot of flowers.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The sun came out this afternoon - everything looks so bright and cheerful! The hyacinths are out - can't you just smell that sweet scent!
These happy pink flowers are the first to bloom in my entry garden - I'm not sure what they are, but it's always good to see them at the end of the winter. They've been blooming for more than 4 weeks now! They are quite tiny, just a few inches high, and spreading every year as a ground cover.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Cory came over, as he does every Sunday for a real meal and laundry. He brought these jumping stilts to play with. It takes a while to get used to walking in them, but after you're comfortable with them, you should be able to run and jump higher and farther. They really look bizarre, but he was having fun with them, and only fell a couple of times.
It was sunny and bright, with clear blue skies while he was strapping them on. In the short time he walked around the yard, it started to cloud up, and the wind picked up. Just as we went inside, it began to hail, then rained hard for a while. Then, it all went away again!
We saw several jets fly over today - seems like there were more than usual, but, hard to say.
I don't celebrate the Christian holiday of Easter, but most peoples celebrate the vernal equinox as the return of spring and the season of new growth.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The forsythia is now in full bloom - and today the morning sun was shining brightly through the petals. Lovely! I didn't cut any branches to force inside this year, so I'm enjoying immersing myself inside the bush! I'm not fond of many yellow flowers, but I do have to say I love forsythia - it's such a harbinger of spring, even though it is my birthmonth flower, November. So enjoy this cheery bright flower with me!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Well, I finally finished the tote bag that I made from the wool sweater I felted in February (you can see the before and after of this and a couple of other sweaters). It was a very fun project - I had to work out some design issues in order to show as much of the flower design as I could. I had planned to sew the neck together for the handle, but that didn't leave a very big opening. So I used one of the sleeves for a handle, and sewed it onto the neck area, then used a decorative blanket stitch around the openings.
I used part of the other sleeve to make a little pouch for my camera, and the drawcord is the ring of stitching where the sleeve originally was sewn on the sweater.
Working with wool feels so good - it was soft and cozy in my lap as I stitched, and it just feels good to the hand when I'm holding the handle. It will be comfortable to use, and I'll have a pillow if I need it!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring is finally here! Well, you can't really tell by the weather, but things ARE blooming and buzzing and carrying-on, as they will do in spring, so I guess we can consider winter over for this year. And what better to do than spend a morning with good friends making art.
But wait - there's way too much to look at, since everyone brought books and magazines and show and tell. Eventually, we did get around to working on our various projects. Carol shows the table runner she's working on, while Andy looks at my Heart book with the Photo Art Journal group. Jamie and Audrey look at some of the magazines.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Signs of spring, on this, the last day of winter....the salmon berry is one of the first wild flowers to bloom, before the leaves come out, in a tangle of brown brambles. The fresh green of the leaves compliments the vivid fuchsia of the blooms.
It's always a struggle to emerge, as this wrinkled blossom shows.Not as much of a struggle to emerge from the mud, the skunk cabbage reflects it's chartruese leaves in the dark, still water.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Spring is in the air! Last night we first heard the spring peepers, those tiny frogs with the giant voices. And today the little birds are bouncing about - a small flock swooped in under the covered porch and tittered and chattered and flew into the windows, then, just as suddenly, they were gone! As I waited for my oil change, I wandered into a near-by wooded area which was filled with robins and nuthatches and chickadees and other IBB's (itty bitty birds), busy first on the ground, then up in the branches, then back down to the ground again. It was a veritable flurry of activity! In the trees, they are working on the pollen from the alder trees.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The wearin' of the green! One of my favorite sweaters.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Steel-blue iridescent berries join fresh buds and newly-opened flowers on this viburnum bush.
It is best enjoyed close up!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

We were awoken this morning by the sound of rain on the roof - and for us to hear it through the insulation means it's coming down pretty good! And so it was, but it didn't last long. I went out after it ended. The forsythia bush is beginning to bloom, and those new buds and blossoms caught a lot of rain.
I love the bright "yellowness" when you get right into the bush!