"I started photographing my domestic world and writing not just about what I had made,
but why I made it, examining the thoughts that accompany creativity and the act of making."
Jane Brocket from The Gentle Art of Domesticity p. 189 UK edition

Monday, June 12, 2017

Crafting in Late Spring

Welcome!  While I had hoped to publish posts once a week since my last post, it has been over four weeks since then. I have been easily distracted by happy and sad events around me.  Creative projects stoke my happiness and combat my sadness.

 One sunny afternoon I packed the basket pictured above with some creative pastimes and hiked out to our front pond and sat at a picnic table to try to capture photos of wildlife, and then use my watercolor pencils.
 Can you see the squirrel in the upper V of the tree?  He scampered in the branches above me.
 And Mr. Mallard came into the view of my Panasonic zoom lens.
 Another day I stopped at the corner of Waybill Road and used my 7Plus iPhone to capture this zoomed in view of Mt. Hood with a row of mystery to me trees in front of it.
 Our flowers on the front porch are fluffing out in a lovely way.
 I am using Alicia Paulson's book, Stitched in Time and Helen Philipps' book Quick and Clever Cross Stitch to prime myself as I plan to do a stitching piece similar to my mom's I showed you several posts back.  My mom used linen to stitch on, but I have decided to use cotton Aida cloth.
Mid May I was given flowers to celebrate Mother's Day.  Some are now planted in the garden, but this bouquet lasted a long time and seemed to be happy on the Pioneer Woman brand tablecloth I found for a bargain price.
 We went to Wildwood State Park to celebrate birthdays while our friends from California were on a week long stay with us.
 Our friends stayed through Memorial Day, and we saw this Sandy cemetery especially decorated to honor those who have died in service while trying to establish and protect the peace.
 The first week of June my youngest daughter, son in law and son and I went camping on the east side of Mt. Hood.  We played miniature golf and the guys went back and played several rounds of golf on the big course as well.
 We had a bit of rain, hail and chilly temps, but even though we were deep in the woods we glamped thanks to being in a camping trailer.
This big black crow was our alarm clock on several mornings...just as effective as roosters!
 I have started the second part of the Ruby Shawl pattern. Guess what!  I have only seven more rows to crochet to complete the shawl!
Look what just arrived in the mail from my blogging friend, Joy, who lives in Lincolnshire, England, an area from which some of my ancestors immigrated in the1600's.  She sent a wonderful letter, and shared some lovely yarn left from a winter cardigan she just knit, some beautiful buttons, and knowing I like sheep, too, she sent me a learned one to help me count stitches! Thanks so much, Joy, for your kindness.
A few years ago a Mothers of Preschoolers group sold banners at the church I belonged to.  I bought the banner pictured above and have it hanging above my front door to remind me that it is my aim in life to get better and better at crafting love for those around me in the world, including you!

What are you crafting in the world around you in this season?

Gracie xx

Friday, May 5, 2017

~~Lilac Time~~

Welcome!  Thanks for coming for a visit today.

 At a local grocery store yesterday morning I was thrilled to see a huge display of bouquets of Lilac branches with blossoms in many shades of purple. The scent of the blooms wafted about in a wonderful way.  I rushed home to check on our old fifteen foot tall and nearly as wide Lilac bush out back, and was rewarded to see a number of buds up high. I was able to cut this plume of blossom that was down low on the bush and bring it inside to enjoy. Please enjoy a cyber whiff through your computer screen.

Since I last posted I found an inexpensive picture frame online like the one I showed you several posts ago that holds an embroidery piece my mom stitched.  The frame I purchased came with an E. A. Abbey print of a woman knitting [Katrina Van Tassel from the Legend of Sleepy Hollow], and I am enjoying viewing it on my living room wall.  I am planning to make an embroidery piece like my mom's to put in the frame. My track record for completed projects stands to be improved and the planning of this project is encouraging me in that direction!

I believe the frame is from the early 1900's Arts and Crafts Movement Period, as is the one above it.  My Uncle George made the framed mirror piece in his high school shop class and gave it to my mom for her birthday.  It had pride of place in all the homes my folks had as long as I can remember.  I especially like the print of the sheep wandering down a country lane.  I think my mom told me that she thought her brother had cut the print from a calendar.

 Several weeks ago at my worship art group our facilitator gave us some sketched forms on white paper that we cut out and glued on a acrylic painted background that we stamped with a fence form and some birds...following her example each in our own way. She had us glue both sides of the sketched papers before painting them in order to discourage the paper from puckering which was a helpful tip for me since I have made other pieces with lots of wrinkles.

 Then a week ago I found a Traveler's Journal that has papers that are lined or blank or gridded.  It is handy to have one journal in which I can record in a variety of forms, my creative explorations.  So far I have written and sketched on some lined pages, I am plotting my embroidery project on gridded pages, and I painted this wonky view of sunflowers with watercolor pencils on a blank sheet..trying to learn more about perspective and shading and process.

 At my Wednesday morning stitching group I am crocheting a new baby blanket and using Deborah Norville Serenity acrylic Baby Yarn.  I am stitching in a single crochet, double crochet repeat across which makes a soft bumpy texture.

 After cutting the lilac branch some of my girls joined me outside and they perched for me on the back steps by the recycling crate.  They are among the next able generation being trained to be  recyclers!  Their attire reflects the fantastic sunny 83F weather we have enjoyed the last two days, although boots are helpful since the ground is still wet and mucky.

The sky is the limit!  I thought this view of the Red Maple tree across the driveway from the steps where the girls were sitting was so pretty and up lifting! 

The post I published last night around midnight  in a thunderstorm disappeared. I used my iPhone, iPad, and laptop in the process of composing and publishing and received comments from Joy and Tammy which I hope I can recover as I reconstruct and republish the post.  The sky may be limitless but technology and my use of technology not so much!

Have you enjoyed views of limitless skies or enjoyed some creative pursuits since I last heard from you? I would love to have you share with me!

Gracie xx

Friday, April 21, 2017

Spring Around Here

 While I have not been posting much of late, and still have not caught up visiting many blogging friends, you can see from this sketch that my nine year old granddaughter, Haley, has pictured me with pen in hand after she and I were working on reading together one day. [very kind of her to make me appear thinner than I am]
 Several weeks ago I was thrilled to see Mt.Hood from 307th Street near our home.  We are dashing about through many April showers so views of Mt. Hood are precious and few!
 One day between showers, my oldest daughter and her five daughters and I, hiked around our ponds to see what we could see.  Molly caught this beautiful little green frog who soon leaped down along his way.
 We admired the Holly trees still showing us their pretty red berries.
 Last year we could not find any Trillium in the woods, but this year we saw four!
 Johnson Creek is full and flowing along at a merry clip.
Thanks to Karen's post, I believe we saw a patch of Salmon Berries.
 These Pansies somehow survived our winter.

 Our neighbors across the drive had profuse blooms in their Camellia hedge.
 The Mallards are visiting us, and we hear geese cheering their way south in the skies over us.
 The Wild Cherry tree has gorgeous white blooms.
 Although, they were battered by an impressive hail storm recently.
However, after one such storm I looked up and saw this rainbow through the window to the right of the fireplace, then saw the other end of the rainbow through the window to the left of the fireplace.  By the time I aimed my camera through the left window the rainbow had faded and did not show up well in the photo, but seeing the rainbow that way is an exciting memory for me!
 Aren't these sweet heart coasters and hand painted card lovely?  My dear blogging friend, Pat, blessed me with them. Thank you again, Pat.
 Completing this crocheted pocket for my iPhone is my main crafting achievement since my last post...unless you count frogging many rows of a baby blanket as an achievement...sigh...
 While driving around our neighborhood I loved seeing this row of trees.
 The local nursery arboretum was coming alive with fresh colors.
 The Saturday before Easter my five granddaughters went hunting for eggs in the yard.
Sarah was pleased to find this one.
 Then on the way to church on Sunday while my youngest son in law was driving, this flock of sheep and our church sign came into view. Sheep not only remind me of my love of trying to tame fiber into yarn and fabric, but they also bring to mind numerous scripture verses that challenge and comfort me...chief among them, Isaiah 53:6 NKJV All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; Psalm 23 NKJV The Lord is my Shepherd...He restores my soul...I will fear no evil for You are with me...
Joy, my retired nurse, blogging friend from northeast England, sent me a wonderful hand-made card and note and a book mark for Easter, which I really appreciate and I thought some of you might like to see as well. Thank you again for your kindness and encouragement to me, Joy.

What season is around you there?  May you know comfort and joy in it!


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Latest Crafting Life

During my February trip to Burbank I made seven red hearts as gifts for some family members.  This one hasn't been stiffened into shape yet.

I left Portland, Oregon, in an ice storm thanks to my brave youngest daughter who drove me oh so carefully to the airport and  I was oh so grateful to land in sunny warm southern California!

While at my older sister's home I took a photo of this sampler our mom stitched well over fifty years ago. It hung in all the homes I can remember in which my parents lived and expresses the loving feelings I have about "home."

My mom painted this rock a little over fifty years ago.  It reflects our family's love of the sea and I took a picture of it at my sister's house because I always thought it was precious artwork.

My young great nieces, Lauren and Maddie showed me how to finger knit while I was visiting them, and Maddie gave me this necklace which I have enjoyed wearing.

I arrived back in Portland in time to celebrate Valentine's Day with our traditional spaghetti dinner and a viewing of the movie Lady and the Tramp with its romantic spaghetti eating scene!
The first tulips of the year I saw at the grocery store found their way home with me.

Then on my birthday I headed down to Lincoln City with some friends for a scrapbooking weekend. I have almost finished Sarah's first year scrapbook.

We were blessed to be able to eat at a restaurant with this gorgeous view.

We were also blessed to see this stunning sunset over the ocean.

Then using Teresa's great pattern, I also crocheted four more hearts.

Once home again I started another preemie blanket using Teresa'a pretty pattern.

Then for a friend I made this bookmark.

In March I flew back to Burbank for a memorial service for my brother-in-law at the Miramar military cemetery in San Diego.  This view is looking west toward the ocean.  My brother-in-law was in the Air Force.  We thought he would have appreciated that two military jets flew low over us while Taps was being played.

There were wonderful orangey gold patches of California poppies along the freeway.

We visited the Birch Aquarium in San Diego,

and got to see such interesting creatures as this Dragon Seahorse.

Also along the way we stopped to admire this Torrey Pine

at the only location Torrey Pines are known to grow.

On the way home at the Burbank airport I spotted this book. It made me think of my British friends...and appealed to my ever present desire to be calm.  It was a quick, encouraging read!

It was raining when I left Portland the second time and raining when I got home a week later.  Since then it has rained...a.lot.more... and Spring is progressing!
See the Snowdrops Teresa and Dayle gave me last year?

Mallards and Wood Ducks are visiting the ponds again!

I watched a YouTube video to practice finger weaving one day thinking that I would teach my granddaughters how to do it, but instead their mom showed them how to make a different sort of friendship necklace weaving, and I found myself weaving this friendship bracelet using a pattern I used years ago.

My little granddaughters, Joy and Rosie brought in some Daffodils for us to enjoy.

Then I picked some sweet violets from the plants that Teresa and Dayle generously gave me last year, and put them in a little blue jar.

Earlier this evening I submitted my taxes...Yay...and several days ago I filled out a new calendar which includes camping with some of my adult children on the other side of Mt. Hood for the first two weeks in June, and a cross country trip with my two sisters in July and August.  Now we three are widows launched in new seasons of our lives...wondering what creative adventures the Lord will cheer us on to know.

What is your latest crafting life?

Gracie xx