Sunday, October 12, 2014

A most wonderful Autumn day

Children weaving
The sky is just the clearest blue, one of those skies that you can see in California or on the western coast of Scotland. The warmth of the sun is pleasant still in the 80's but easy to work out side, hang the laundry, dry seeds type of day.

Yesterday was just as nice. We headed down the hill to Patrick Historic Ranch near Durham. It was the Fibre Fusion event, and we were not disappointed. The work by these folk is amazing, all hand done, from rearing the animals, to shearing their coats, spinning into the most delicate and wonderful fibres that some of us love to touch, and create things from.
Felted artwork


Angora rabbit in the lap, spinning directly from bunny

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I learnt about growing flax in the area locally, where they want to grow and create linen from it, very interesting, and I signed up to join the group, I think they are called Chico Cloth.
threshing the flax

I even managed to get some flax seeds that I plan on growing a little patch in the garden as my little experiment to see how it does.
 The event was geared towards encouraging young ones to try working with fiber, and they had some kits but you had to be much younger than me to have, for free!!! I wished Zadie had been with us, I think she would have enjoyed herself immensely.

I did buy ginormous knitting needles and a crochet hook. I wonder how I will use them, I mean ginormous, these are not for the fainthearted tools.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Stool Cover amongst a couple of other things

And in my spare time gather the end of the harvest from the garden. I made Moroccan Zaaloouk last night, very tasty, it's a warm Eggplant and Tomato Salad. Best of all the husband who is not keen on Eggplant, liked it and was surprised that it was this vegetable. We also grilled Squid, and included a simple green salad to finish off the supper. Tonight a good old fashioned Roasted Chicken, stuffed with apples from our garden. Bones will be used to great a soup base in a couple of days. I think that's called frugal. That's me being a true Scot, and love it. Sometimes I'm so tight I squeak.

All the eggplant are the small heirloom Japanese variety, and taste sweet and delicious. The plant size stays medium and is perfect for our raised beds.

Gathered up all my bits and bobs from projects I've been working on for months now, and need to sit down and write out directions so that anyone who is interested can create some little whatnots of their own.

Late spring I snagged several stools from Jeannie's Consignment shop here in town (amazing place, really amazing, prices unbelievable 35. for 4 wood stools, perfect condition) and  I've really wanted to cover them in something soft, so that they were comfortable while working on projects. I have a friend who is interested in holding Zentangle classes in my studio and I'm pretty sure they would appreciate something cushiony under their tush while they are drawing and creating little magic tiles of art. Really looking forward to having the classes here in my studio.

So I mentioned the other day about a conversation that I had with my husband whilst we drove down to the SF bay area.

Sunday October 5th

Knitting in the car, listening to Sirius Radio, Frank Sinatra crooning in the background. Then I was asked "How would you like to listen to the ball game?"

Small inward sigh, "Okay but only because it's your birthday weekend." What a good wife I am becoming after 35 years of practice.

He, I swear almost did a skippy dance trying to drive at the same time, he of course manages to locate the sports station rather quickly, I suspect it's programed for moments like this.

"What?" Unfortunately, he thought it was 1:30 PM, but it's only 12:30 PM, drats another hour of Frank I'm sure he's thinking.

I smile and say "Well you can chat to me for the next hour instead." He does look glum, but manages to ask "Don't you have to count?" That must be in reference to my knitting, or as in this case crocheting. Meanwhile he reaches over and has Mr. Sinatra entertain me.

The rice paddies are fully ripe and brown, more than ready to be harvested I think soon.

After a while he finally gets through his glumness and asks "So what are you making?"

I respond "A stool cover."

He smiles, okay he smirks, then says "A cover for a stool, oh poop." Huge grin on his face. How very clever of him, so smug with his own joke.

Got to love manly conversations waiting for the ball game to begin. Men can be so foreign sometimes. Can't wait to get to 4th Street, Cafe Rouge and I get to order a glass of wine.

Once we arrived I ordered 2 dozen oysters, I felt good again. The oysters were divine.

For his birthday dinner we went to Bocanova. Excellent meal, always something new that must be tried on the menu and we did try some new things. We ordered Platanos Maduros, Potted Smoked Black Cod, Fried Peppers, Shrimp Creole, Caesar Salad and Seasoned Papas Fritas. Absolutely stuffed. I must go on a diet post haste.
Sunday evening
Monday Morning

Whur's the pool boy?

Mr. Poop patiently waiting for breakfast vitals

I must say I have never seen Jack London Square so busy in all the years we have stayed at The Waterfront Hotel.

But a new business (I think it's called M Plank) that is a family oriented business has bust into town and it's amazing, so many happy folk, families all enjoying themselves. Bocci Ball, Bowling Alley, Firepits, wonderful venue for many and it was lively.

Two women who were leaving the area as we walked towards the restaurant, stopped us to tell us how happy they were that this happened in their town. Great and good vibes for the Jack London Square area in downtown Oakland. Congratulations to the JLS and the City for putting in a venue that encourages an evening out. I have always felt safe walking around here, it's quiet and the views over to SF wonderful. The ferry is very close by, walking distance and you can pop over the bay without the fuss of the traffic on the Bay Bridge..

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Back to my roots

Not a bad thing I suppose, been asked by a couple of good friends over the last few months to join them in business, and I said oh no I'm doing something online, been working on it for ages. But as it turns out. It didn't turn out. Disappointed a little, but it's today, here and now.

Moving on,  I have a couple of other sites since starting on Etsy back in the day, way back like 2007 where I have sold some of my creations. On Etsy the first couple of years they were fabulous I sold paintings hand over fist and was really chuffed. Opened another shop and sold a product called Seed Keeper Kit ..... couldn't keep up with the orders. In fact this was how I managed to help family without delving into our savings too much. That and the Twig Letters I made. It does take a huge amount of time to produce items as an individual, but due to how much time needs to be allocated to being responsive and on top of orders, I finally stopped and began to enjoy my garden more.

For several weeks I have been experimenting with paper clay, one little disaster after another. Which ended up challenging me, and I was down to winning the battle. I found a good solution, and the results are very pleasing. The little sculptures have a thickness and weight that make them substantial rather than blow away in the wind weight.

This weekend we were down in the San Francisco Bay Area, and went to one of my most favourite places to visit The Gardener on 4th Street in Berkeley. I checked out their air plants, whew mighty pricey, the one I picked up that fit in my hand was a whooping 45. I did put it back with a sniffle. It would have looked wonderful in one of my sculptures. Not to worry I shall find a solution I always do.

I also have another project that I am working on Rainbows and Raindrops ..... drift/bleached river wood from The Feather River ...... I think will be rather lovely with my danglers.

I finally finished developing a pattern for stool covers, there is another story behind this and I shall post in a few days the conversation between me and my man driving down the I-70 Highway over this last weekend .... Quite funny. So once I write down the pattern I shall post for downloading. I used roving from Turkey and it's strong and thick enough to be put over a form on a stool. Rather pleased with the results. Watch for the new post with the pattern and story.

On a final note, I gathered the seed pods from my Naked Ladies, they resemble little globs of pink pearls. I keep dividing the bulbs and this year I decided to collect the seed pods. These are wonderful plants which I never realised were Amaryllis Belladonna. What a beautiful name for a wonderful plant. In spring the leaves heave up out of the earth, rather like the Lillies of the Nile plant. Then early summer the leaves all die, seriously die back to nothing. Late August all of a sudden into September these wonderful spears or thick stems bolt skyward. The end result is a most wonderful flower, hardly needs water, no care that I can think of either. I pretty much forget I have them until the cycle happens, and I clear up the dead leaves.  These pink pearls, little gifts I think coming for the holidays to share with special folk I know.