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Showing posts from August, 2014

August Reading

"The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien This is not an easy book to read.  The author writes candidly about the war in Vietnam.  He describes, in the form of short stories and snippets of stories, the things the men carried with them into battle both physical and emotional.  I"m finding it hard to read because it's real and raw.  In some ways it reminds me of the tv series "Mash" which was humorous one moment and desperately sad the next.  It's a book I won't forget.
"Maisie Dobbs" by Jacqueline Winspear I love these books and I'm re-reading the series.  This is the first book in the series and we are reading it for Book Club this month.  With the "upstairs downstairs" stories of life in a big house and Maisie's uncanny ability to get to the truth, it is part Downton Abbey, part Sherlock!  The book is set between the first and second World Wars and when we first meet her, Maisie is a psychologist and private investigat…

On My Worktable This Week

This week has been another busy week at home with all the usual chores plus a few extra events(not chores!) like a riding lesson for my daughter after school and Back To School Night.  It is a holiday weekend this weekend and I am in the mountains with my daughter and two of her girlfriends and there is much happy giggling, a wonderful sound.  Today we spent time at the lake, playing in the water and sunning ourselves on the warm rocks while enjoying the antics of two ospreys and the occasional appearance of a bald eagle.  Tomorrow we plan to take the kayaks out.
I worked on a few things for my shop this week and also for the Quilt Show which is coming up quickly (it's the last week in September).   The tags are stamped and embossed with white embossing powder and then shaded with distress inks and a foam applicator.  The tags were a yellowish cream color to begin with and this has affected the color of the inks, making the blues more greenish than I like.  I will probably re-do th…

Embroidered Cushion

Some time ago I wrote about this piece of embroidery in this post.  I pulled it out again this weekend and decided to make a cushion cover.  I had been procrastinating because I forgot to wash the linen before beginning the embroidery and wasn't sure what to make with it because of this (linen shrinks significantly).  If it needs it, I will have to carefully spot clean it. For the back I used a piece of lime green fabric with a woodgrain print on it.  I've had this in my fabric stash for a long time and I love it.  I think I've used a little bit of it in nearly all my quilts!  

It didn't take long to make the cushion cover.  I didn't have a zipper the right size so I made a simple envelope closure.  It looks pretty cute sitting on a vintage beechwood chair in my dining room. 

A Handful Of Carrots!

On the Saturdays that we are here and not in the mountains, I go to our local farmers market.  I stock up for the week on wonderful fresh local produce.  In this part of California there are several different climate types close by (coastal, inland and mountain) resulting in an incredible variety of produce.  From mountain blueberries to lemon grass and ginger, goat cheese to strawberries and greens.  I truly am very fortunate to live here with this abundance.  I got these carrots today.  They are almost three inches in diameter at the top and they are some of the sweetest carrots you could hope to taste!

Thank Goodness It's Friday...

It's been a week of early mornings now that my high schooler is back at school.  I'm tired!  It's time for a cup of tea, a snack and my latest "Mollie Makes" magazine.  

The Drought Goes On

I try and fit a walk into my morning routines and one of the places I like to go is our local recharge ponds.  These feed into our underground aquifer and are filled from local reservoirs.  Except, at the moment, they are not.  They have been allowed to dry up, causing the birds that called them home to move on.  There are no ducks, geese, herons, egrets, wading birds, or coot left.  When I walked there this week, early in the morning before the marine layer had burned off, the only birds I saw were turkey vultures and a shrike.  It was dusty, smelled of dry grasses which made my nose run, and the tall dry grasses rustled in the light early morning breeze.   It could be a while yet before we get any significant rain.  It often doesn't rain much until after Christmas.  I wonder how this will impact the migrating ducks and birds that rely on this place later in the year?  

Back to School and New Routines

My apologies for the radio silence!  Last week we went back up to the mountains for a few days of hiking and kayaking again.  It was gorgeous weather and we had a great time.  On Monday, however it was Back To School!  My daughter is a high school sophomore this year and although she was looking forward to seeing her friends and meeting the new teachers, she had all the usual first day of school anxieties.   School starts at 8am so for my "not a morning person" daughter this is always hard!  This week the mornings have started with a thick marine layer which is keeping the temperatures more comfortable.  It was strange for me, being without her, and I missed her.  This summer was very precious, we spent a lot of time doing things together.  It's going to take me a while to settle into my different routines!  

The first day of school, I spent the day doing laundry and cleaning after being away but yesterday I spent the day sewing and working on my Etsy shop.  I finished up…

Scrapbooking Weekend, Scrapbook Expo Santa Clara

Each August, my daughter and I go to Scrapbook Expo in Santa Clara.  We spend Friday and Saturday scrapbooking together, shopping for the latest products, searching out bargains and snacking!  We reserve a table for both days and meet friends there.  The Expo is in two parts.  In one area are the vendors and in the other, the crop space where you can scrap from 9am till midnight.  We enjoy being able to work on our pages and then pop over to the vendor booths for specific things as needed.   We stay overnight at the hotel which is connected to the convention center even though it is only a 40minute drive from where we live. This means I only have one really late night drive home when I'm tired and all the crazies are out and about.   

This is us ready to go, what you can't see is a big bag of assorted yummy snacks hiding behind my rolling tote bag!

This is a terrible (taken on my old iPhone) photo of the crop room.  The space is huge with ferocious air conditioning.  It is fun t…

On My Worktable, Embroidered Pumpkins

It's still summer here, hot, desperately dry and dusty but school goes back in a little over a week and the stores are full of Fall colors.  I love Fall and Winter.  They are my favorite seasons.  I love the warm colors of Fall and the holidays that happen during these months.  I enjoy decorating my mantlepiece with leaves, acorns and pumpkins, then later with faux berries and always with candles (I can't burn candles in the summer because the ceiling fans make them spill wax everywhere!). I am thankful for the respite from the unforgiving glare of our California summers and the promise of frosty mornings, cool weather hikes and ski season.  But we are not there yet!  In anticipation of all this, however, I began to play with some small pieces of hand dyed wool felt in shades of orange and red that I purchased recently.  They were crying out to be made into pumpkins and I am very happy with how they are turning out.  


Yesterday I finished up two mermaid pincushions that I had been working on over the weekend while we were away.  As usual I began with drawings and then made a paper template.  I picked this aqua felt for the background because that is the color of the Pacific Ocean on a sunny day.  Last time we were at the beach it looked like this and we saw dolphins playing in the breaking waves.  As the waves rose up we could see the dolphins inside the wave, it was awesome.  No mermaids though!  Around the sideband I have embroidered ocean waves in shades of blue/green with some white on the tips of the waves.  For her tail, I embroidered rows of tiny chain stitches using a variegated thread.  She also has a pearl necklace and little pet fish.

I have listed this mermaid pincushion in my Etsy shop.
The inspiration for this pincushion came from a picture my daughter gave me for my birthday.  She has so much talent and has spent countless hours drawing and exploring the possibilities of her lovely Cop…