Monday, October 20, 2014

Rainy Days and Mondays

It seems the rain is well and truly here now, the scent of pumpkin flavored everything is in the air, and things have started ramping up for the coming season.

I haven't planted the garlic, or my bulbs, so there may yet be some digging in the mud soon.

The bread baking has begun and slow cooked comforting meals are happening again.

Oh, that reminds me, I need to add cocoa to the shopping list!

I'm pulling out the sweaters, Pony Girl needs some new rain boots, and has anyone seen my winter hat?

It's harder to get out of bed in the morning when it's dark out, especially on a Monday.

Happy week all!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

In the garden - Seeds of sharing

"Most immigrants to North America did not come with treasures of gold in their pockets, but treasures of a botanical nature – seeds. Seeds so important they were sewn into the hems of dresses or into the brims of hats. Immigrants experienced a full spectrum of emotions from fear to hope to delight; emotions that vacillated with every ocean wave during their long voyage. They had the security of seeds from their familiar garden plants as they planted a new life." 

Do you garden? Do you save seeds? Do you share them?

I'm finally getting around to organizing my seeds saved from the garden this Summer. I do love sharing seeds of plants that I am particularly fond of. This year my favorite was from a Charentais melon. I bought the plant from a local organic nursery and saved the seeds from the best of the fruit. I promised to share some of the seed with friends and family. Along with other seeds of course.

I have a few friends with whom I trade seeds. When I plant the seeds from a friend, I always think fondly of the resulting plant as, "Oh, that's Amy's Marigold, or, those are Crystal's scarlet runner beans." I like that my garden is such a friendly place.

It is a good thing to save and share seeds. If you would like to learn more head on over the Seed Savers Exchange!

I figure, if the seeds are special, why not send them on to new homes in special packets. So I thought I'd show you some of mine in case you were so inclined to do something similar.

This is a muslin tea bag filled with seeds and closed with a fold and a simple embroidery running stitch and a tag with all the information about the seed.

There are also a ton of free printable templates online that you can print onto any paper. I printed mine onto an old and crumpled brown paper bag. I used the template from HERE. If you search the internet for "seed packet templates" you'll find lots to choose from and blank ones you can add your own design to. You just cut it out, fold along folding lines, glue into place and voila!

You can easily sew up a little seed pocket (you all know how much I love a handy dandy pocket). I chose some cheerful vintage feed sack material and used a vintage blue button tied with embroidery thread for a closure. I'll send an info tag along with it.

I even used some parchment paper to stitch as well as fold little packets of seeds. There really are so many possibilities! A great project to do with children as well. 

Saving and sharing seeds really is wonderful and important work.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hello Monday - Frosty

I'm feeling a bit frosty this Monday morning. No, it's not the weather, in fact the sky is about the blue of that ribbon and the sun is shining gloriously. What is frosty is my attitude about this pile of slippery sparkly stuff. Still, I must get over it, I must dive in and get it sorted as the month is whizzing by and in no time I will be out of time. Darn you Elsa!

You see, after having a gander at the pattern, I decided I hated it, it wasn't right you know. So now I've got to re-design some key elements and put in some corset lacing instead of a zipper perhaps, and change the neckline and, and...

Well, it will all be fine. Though if you hear some unladylike language coming from my sewing studio, don't be alarmed.

Happy week all!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Stitched Journal Project - September

The Stitched Journal Project is: Makers from around the world creating one "page" or piece of work per month and sharing. It is a project to get the ideas flowing, to process the days in a creative way, to try new techniques and to push past fears that keep us from making something.  It isn't about perfection, or getting it "just right," it is about process and perspective.

Fabric, Thread, Old Jeans, Cotton, Printing, Embroidery

I don't really know what to say about this piece. It's part practice, part evolution of process. Inspired by a recent dream of odd dolls, wanting to add a bit of dimension to a piece, and the real life feeling that I am always forgetting something. 

This was a first attempt, a little clumsy and a long winding road away from my original concept.  

Long time ago, I saw a film on Picasso. There was footage of him painting. I will never forget watching him paint in grainy black and white; just when I thought he had painted the best thing ever, he kept going. As he added brush strokes and swapped out eyeballs and noses, I remember clasping my hands in anxiety while sitting in my theater seat. I kept thinking in my head, almost begging him, "Ok, stop now, it's perfect, no stop now! It's still good! No! Stop please!" In the end the painting was a mess and he blanked it out in entirety with gesso - to begin all over again on another day. He said something to the effect of, "Sometimes, you need to let it go, to stop before you ruin it completely" Actually, I have no memory of the actual words he spoke, but that's the gist I took with me.  

If you over think it to death, you become your own worst enemy. So, when I was working on this, I thought of that Picasso scene. I kept trying to add too much, I kept trying to tell the story, I was trying to be understood. But then I remembered - leave it alone, keep it simple, stop going. The truth is, it doesn't matter if anyone gets it. It's an odd piece. It was a huge lesson for me in making. Sometimes you just have to stop and let it go.

Below you will find links to the wonderful makers and their Stitched Journal Project pieces for August. Please keep your eyes on this spot in the next couple of days as more add their links. Be sure to visit them and leave comments!

If you think you would like to join in as well, it's not too late!  We will be sharing our pieces the last Friday of every month at least until the end of the year. We'd love to have you.

All of you wonderful Stitched Journal Project participants please link up below! Remember to add your photos to The Stitched Journal Flickr Group! and be sure to share with Facebook, Twitter, etc!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Blame it on the Rain

On the first day of Autumn the rain started to fall. It looks like we will be getting our first real rain in some time for the next couple of days. While we desperately need the rain, I suddenly feel a bit nervous about the coming dark days. Already our girls, our hard working hens, have stopped laying everyday. The thought of buying eggs from the store makes me feel a little iffy.

On the upside, the weather is conducive to hot tea, baking bread, and getting back to my sewing machine. I have plenty of projects floating around in my brain. I want to make something interesting from the fabulous silver metallic denim in the photo above that was sent to me by my friend Nancy.

I have a rather urgent mandate from Pony Girl to create this costume (how is it almost October?)!

To be honest, I'm not feeling too jazzed about it. Now had she gone with her other choices; Wonder Woman or Little Red Riding Hood, I might be a bit more stoked. But this isn't about me, right?

Then there's this skirt that just needs a decision made about fabric. I'm not feeling the "Rainbow Like" suggestion from the previously mentioned Pony Girl, but I'm indecisive. I had a thought about going full on Roller Derby style with this one. We'll see.

Well, happy Autumn all, or happy Spring to those of you on the flip side!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Lost in Transition

The weather doesn't quite match the season. We've had the longest, warmest, and driest Summer for as long as I can remember. Still, there are signs; signs that things are changing, that the shift is coming. I mean other than the obvious, other than school starting and the whole world turning upside down, waking up at 6:30 am every morning, making both breakfast and lunch 15 minutes after you wake up and please just let me make coffee before anybody talks to me.

I have to admit, I feel a little lost in transition. I keep waiting to feel like I've gotten past the hard part and can dig into work again. Yet, when I do have time to make, to sew, to create; I have too many ideas and can't settle. So instead, I do laundry, I mop the floor, I wander the garden looking for signs.

The signs are there. Things are changing. I am just adjusting, getting my feet back on land after a long Summer of sea legs. 

I am covertly, quietly, hesitantly, happily going forward... lost in transition for a brief moment. It all comes back around, we slip into the new routine, we get ourselves together and brave the change... we find our way.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Tiny Miracle

Yesterday whilst out in the garden I spied a tiny miracle. Well, to be honest, I actually caught the scent of a small miracle before I spied it with my little eye.

Earlier this year I took a few leaps of faith when it came to planting in the garden. I have told you of the many fruit trees we have and the abundance we are gifted with. Still, I wanted to try growing something I have never grown before, melons. This is not the complete truth, I have on one other occasion grown melons, watermelon actually. However, that is a tale of woe for another time.

A cantaloupe melon, a Charentais Melon to be specific. Pony Girl is wild for melons, so I thought I'd throw caution to the wind and plant one small plant. Over the Summer months I diligently watered and cared for said melon plant. I was quite beside myself when the first little green globe appeared on the plant, and then 2 more joined the party.

As time went on I noticed that the small green globes were not growing to the size indicated on the information tag that came in the plant. Last week as I checked them again I sighed the sigh that says, "Well I gave it a go, what a shame."

Yesterday though, as I was returning from my errands I walked past the garden bed with the miniature melons and caught a whiff. The scent of a ripe melon! upon closer inspection  the little fruit fell off the stem into my hands. Oh my thought I, surely it wont taste good, it's only the size of a softball after all, not nearly the 2 pound fruit it was supposed to be.

I cut the melon in half, hmmmm... it looks good. And then I took a tentative taste. This my friends was the best tasting melon I'd had in an age. It tasted like candy! Amazing! Hurrah!

I saved the rest of the melon for Pony Girl, who did in fact agree that it was most delicious.

Though in the scheme of things it was truly the tiniest of miracles, I'll take it. It's the everyday little happy surprises that make for a happy life.