Tuesday, April 22, 2008

These lovely tulips are such a gorgeous color! It's hard to capture it exactly. My friend Cyndi gave me the bulbs many years ago, and I have enjoyed them every spring since! They've been in bud for quite a while now, with the cooler weather. Finally, it's beginning to warm up a bit, and they're responded by opening slowly.
This will be my last post for a week or so, while I'm traveling to Ohio. But I'll be back, with some traveling photos!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Spent the day doing all those little things that need to be done before leaving on a trip. I'll only be gone a week, but wanted to get loose ends tidied up at work. So I didn't get out until almost sundown, where I found this pretty reflection in a pond. Pollen has coated the surface, but Buzz made a trail through it, and created the gentle ripples. Still way colder than normal, but at least it didn't snow today. At least not here, at any rate! Hoping for warm weather in Ohio!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Yes, that's hail. The weather continues to be very, very strange - rain, snow, hail, thunder, sun, clouds - alternating throughout the day. This has been happening for 3 days now - get over it , already!!
Boy, is everyone ready for spring and somewhat warmer weather! But I took advantage of the sunny spots to try again for my "hand" photo.
in the immortal words of Mr Spock.

I'm so excited - Suze and I have begun a new blog venture, sharing our photos. We call it 47 hours 42 minutes, which is how long Google maps told me it would take to drive from my house in Washington to her house in Florida. Since we're so far apart, this is a way to connect more often. We're still feeling our way, so check back often.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

In between the rain/snow showers today, the sun came out. And here's the proverbial silver lining in person!

For a while, it was streaming in through the windows, casting wonderful shadows of our houseplants on the carpet.

Friday, April 18, 2008

April showers bring May flowers....

What the heck??? That's snow!!! Jeez!

And it's cold!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Well, finally! Blogger wouldn't load my photos last night, but seems to be working OK now. This is my latest thrift store find - a silver plate woven wine basket. I know it looks yellow, but that is from the lighting - I kind of liked it! But it's really silver, a bit tarnished, but that adds to the appeal.
I love to collect silver wire and flat woven baskets. This one has a silver mark, which I traced to Isreal Freeman & Son. Originally from Sheffield, England, the firm moved to the US around 1920, and was still selling silver into the 1990's. They did have a website, which is now defunct, though, so we can assume they've closed the doors for good.
I couldn't find any way to judge the age, so I'm guessing it's not too old, not an antique yet.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Well, David got a new tool for his shop - a steel bending brake. He'd been looking for a long time, and hadn't found one that worked for what he wanted to do. Finally, at the used machine store, way in the back, covered with dirt and dust, they found this machine, which obviously had come over on the Mayflower.
But that's the beauty of this kind of machine - they never break down. Parts may get dull or bent, but they can be repaired. It's manual - those big yellow things are counterweights, and performs very well it's many functions. He's very excited - they even located a manual for it!
Now, that was easy!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I love seeing the bare bones of a building - the mellow colors of the wood, the fact that you can see through the walls and ceilings and floors, see everything that goes into making that building stand up on it's own. I don't get out nearly enough to see all my houses - there's no excuse for not taking the little bit of time out and going on a field trip. This isn't even one of mine - I've been called to draw up an as-built for the changes they made as they built. Even so, I love walking through the house and seeing the views for the first time through empty window openings. Before the wiring, before the plumbing, and insulation, and sheet rock and paint.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Lots of rain today, and colder again. 30 degrees cooler than Saturday, which broke a record. The rain was coming down so hard it pooled up on the deck boards for a while. Makes you want to curl up in front of the fire with a cup of hot tea.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Again as they predicted, we had a big change in the weather, but it wasn't so bad. Cloudy and cooler than yesterday, it was still pretty warm, and only a little bit of rain. A bit more conducive to staying inside and doing my taxes, which I have managed once again to put off until almost the last minute. But, they're done now.

I didn't get outside until after dinner, so it was a challenge to take a night-time reflection of our neighbor's house. I sat the camera on a fencepost, and altho it's quite dark, you can see the one window light reflected in the pond. I sat and listened for the owl, but she was quiet, unlike the frogs, who, as I walked along the edge of the swamp, chorused ahead of me and behind me, but always quiet where I was.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

An absolutely glorious day! The forecast was actually right, and we had sun and warm temps just like they said. So I got some work done in the garden and took some photos of the flower pots Cyndi had given me, full of blooming spring bulbs.

I also watched the Dalai Lama speak on TV - he is interesting to listen to - he sounds like Yoda on Star Wars! He emanates peace and tranquility, and spreads his message of peace and compassion. He is a happy person, in spite of all of his tragedies and struggles, and you can just feel the warmth of his passion.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I decided an early morning stroll was in order, as the sky was clear and the birds were vocal and active. The mallard drake uneasily swam back and forth, until my presence finally promted him to erupt into flight and quack away down the valley. The sun shining on a clump of willow is reflected on the now-still waters.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I found a drift of these sweet little succulents growing in the sand near the beach. From a distance the ground looked purple from the hundreds of tiny blossoms.
Our weather is improving, and supposed to warm up to 70 degrees by the weekend. Today was mostly sunny, with those big, fluffy clouds, so I just had to go to the beach!
And I can't believe I never noticed this post planted in the sand with the perfect hole through it. I couldn't resist!

That was after our Thursday morning art group - here Carol is showing the results of a workshop she attended last week. Those are all pieces of fabric that she cut out and fused into blocks, then assembled into a quilt! She enjoyed the class, and is looking forward to using the technique in her art quilts.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Our Basketry Guild meeting was tonight, and the program was a slide show and talk by Dawn Glinsmann. She produced a dissertation on Northwest Coast hats, made from spruce roots by most of the Native Americans. She studied hats from 400-800AD up to the early 20th century, as well as current artists. She also took workshops and learned from Native American teachers from the area.
She is a vibrant and energentic speaker, and delighted us with her stories and slides, even showing us some instances where the hat-weaver made a mistake, and instead of taking it out, just left it, and started a new row of weaving.
She also presented the Guild with a bound copy of her dissertation - over 200 pages, with lots of photos. This is a page showing some of the hats she studied in museums here and in Europe, where hats are displayed which were brought back by early explorers.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

April showers? Yes, things are certainly blooming, but, it's COLD!! We're ready to warm up a little! Maybe by the end of the week, they say. Well, we'll see! Anyway, I was inspired by the Embrace the Blur photo art journal we made to try some more blurry shots. This is shot from inside the car, through the windshield with the rain coming down. I think it captures well the dark, cold, wet aspect of today.

We had our Surface Design group meeting today, at Fine's house. She has a beautiful home filled with her incredible fabric art. We were so busy I forgot to take photos! We're discussing how to put on a group show, so there was lots of input about that. Then, everyone had something to share, and finally Fine showed us her progression through the years. She started as a child with hand embroidery, then began weaving and designing clothing, then creating fabrics specifically for a piece of clothing. She also creates fabric collage art of many kinds - her latest idea is to depict a garden (her other love) with fabric collage, trying to capture a view from above showing the architecture, some type of perspective view, and a detail of some item found in that garden, in order to show the many experiences of being in that garden. They were amazing!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Here are some photos of my Hanging Flower willow basket. I made a braided detail for finishing the handle - I love the look of the braids, but they were very hard on the fingers, especially after spending two days working with the willow.
The basket has an extra tall handle, so it can be hung. We used a flower pot as a guide for the size, and will use the pot for planting. You can also line the basket with spagnam moss, then fill with soil and plant, but it will last longer with the pot.
We could choose from a variety of colored willow withies, but I like the greens and blacks, so I kept it simple. The colors are subtle, and will dry more brownish. The smell of the willow will eventually fade away, too, but I love the scent when I'm working with it.
Our teacher, Katherine Lewis, got a photo of me rapping down the sides - using a heavy piece of steel, you have to pound the weave down tightly to keep shrinkage to a minimum. You can see another student's basket with the flower pot inside as a guide.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

This is another of my Retreat classes - a "Wear Your Art then Frame It". It was one of those fun, messy classes! We started with a 5"x7" pre-stretched canvas, tore up a piece of pretty paper, and covered the frame with it using wallpaper paste.

The trick was to push a piece of wire through the canvas - on the front, heat the ends until they melt and bead up, while the back forms the hanging loop. It was covered with paper and paste to secure it in place. Then, you have a way to hang up a piece of artwork or jewelry, allowing you to take it off and wear it, then put it back easily.
We painted on the top of the frame, but you could decorate it in any way you want.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Well, as predicted, we woke up to a rainy world. By late afternoon, it had started to clear, and the view north up Holmes Harbor even showed sun for some lucky far-away folks!

The perfect cone shape of Mount Erie commands your attention even at 70 miles away. The gray day was reflected in the waters, the sailboats rocking back and forth around their tethers. A cold wind blew, encouraging me to scuttle back to the warmth of my car!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

This is a detail look at the willow bark pouch I made at Retreat. I love the texture of the knotholes and things growing on the bark!
We wove with the bark wet - it had been soaking in tubs of water, so it was heavy and saturated. When it finally dried out, the weavers shrink up and create spaces, but it's still very strong and sturdy. The weaving technique is called diagonal plaiting.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

It was frosty again this morning, but sunny all day. It looked like it should be warm, but it was cool. That didn't deter Buzz from jumping into the pond, though - he loves to swim. Even more, he loves his stick. "Where's the stick, Mom? Stick? Stick? Throw the stick!"

Down in the swamp, I collected some willow bark to try weaving some more. I love working with it, and the smell, especially when it's fresh, like this. The inside of the bark is so creamy smooth, eventually drying to a darker brown. It needs to be harvested when the sap is down, before the leaves begin coming out. It's getting a little late, but I did get some off of a three-year stick. I tried some older bark, but it was stuck on way too tight to peel smoothly.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Well, with the clear sunny days come the cold, frosty nights. Still. In April. Some April fool's joke! Ha! I don't mind, because the days are lovely, and the frost makes interesting patterns on the cars. Above, it is slowly starting to melt across the windshield, large cracks making inroads.
Meanwhile, at the rear of the car, the frost is heavier and spiky. The air is cold, but the sun warms my soul.