Friday, July 25, 2014

On My Worktable, notebooks and dragons!

I am so enjoying my new workspace.  It is wonderful to finally have a place for everything.   I'm loving the counter height worktop where I can stand to work on paper projects, like the notebooks pictured below.  It is also great to be able to leave work out so that the next time I have some time, I'm all ready to go.  


I got these notebooks finished up today, photographed and added to my shop here.  This week I've been mostly working on some more dragon pincushions in new color combinations.  I like to use some sparkly metallic thread on these but it is horrible stuff to sew with!  When I first designed these, I wanted to make them breathe fire, but my daughter said they looked too friendly to be doing that so I have put some flames on the side band instead, along with the phrase, "Here there be DRAGONS".  I wrote about the history of this phrase in this blog post back in April.

The blue and green dragons have metallic thread and the teal dragon has a variegated satin thread on it's wings and chest.  This is a little easier to work with than the metallic thread but still seems to have a mind of it's own!  I also got these finished pincushions photographed and listed in my Etsy shop today.  

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Whale Watching, An Awesome Day Out

Earlier this week, we went on a four hour whale watching cruise out of Moss Landing in the Monterey Bay.  We've done these trips before but usually out of Monterey itself.  This time, since we'd recently seen whales close to Moss Landing, we decided to try a different company.  We went with Sanctuary Cruises.  They have a great website, with tons of information and stunning photos from their trips.  The Captain is a photographer and seemed to be having just as much fun as we were!  The boat was smaller than we've been on before and the Captain kept reminding us that the whales were larger than the boat we were on!  It was an unusual summer day, no marine layer and a calm ocean in fantastic shades of silver, blue and deep green.  Best of all, there were humpback whales in every direction.  We have never seen as many whales as this on one of these trips.  The whales were close enough for us to feel the spray from their blows and smell their whale breath!  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Shoot Like A Girl

When she was in 7th Grade, my daughter took an elective called Physics Of Sports.  It was taught by a teacher who also taught math and physics.  The elective wasn't very high on her list of preferences and so initially my daughter was not very impressed about being the only girl in a class of sport obsessed boys.  However, the teacher was wonderful and the class turned out to be interesting and full of practical experiments.  It ended up being one of her favorite middle school electives.  At the end of the year the class spent a morning at a local archery range learning the basics of shooting a recurve bow.  She found she loved to shoot, and persuaded us to buy her a recurve bow which came with some free lessons from the shop owner who competes and is successful in international competitions.  It wasn't long before the rest of us wanted to learn too and archery has become a family hobby.  We discovered two archery ranges in local County Parks.  There are practice ranges and then there are targets set up in the woodland so it becomes a hike and a challenge to shoot on different terrain.  It is beautiful in the trees, quiet, with dappled light, and you can imagine yourself in a different time, that of Robin Hood perhaps.  The whoosh of the arrow as it leaves the bow, the thwack as it hits the target, these are very satisfying.  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Let Them Eat Cake

A couple of weeks ago my daughter had her 15th birthday.  On Saturday she had her best friends over for a sleepover for which we had to make another cake, I know shame about that right?!  The preferred cake for birthdays in our house is chocolate but this wasn't the actual birthday cake so we decided to go for something new.  This cake was fun to make together and all the more special because usually I won't have food coloring in the house (I just don't like to think about all those chemicals in our bodies!).  We made a three layer vanilla cake and separated the mixture into seven cereal bowls which we then colored using gel food colors.  Wow those colors were vivid!  The mixture got put into disposable piping bags and we piped colored rings in the pans.  Each pan had a different combination of colored rings.  My daughter did most of the work, it was sticky, colorful fun.  Then we simply baked, oohed and ahhed, frosted and sprinkled.  Done.  Perfect giggly girl food.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Slight Boot Obsession

I love boots.  Here are some that I'm drooling over right now

I have these boots and some shoes from this maker in my favorites list on Etsy.  They are just gorgeous!
You can see them HERE.

I've always loved Dr.Martens!  I find their sizing a bit difficult but the designs are so cool.  I've been eyeing THESE pink patent ones for a long time!  And then there are these rain boots.  It doesn't rain much here in California but when it does, it really rains hard with resulting flooded storm drains and much drama.  I think I could weather any storm quite stylishly in THESE!  Way cooler than wellies!

These beauties are another Etsy favorite.  They would be completely perfect if they were ankle boots.  I love that outrageous color and they come in red too, sigh!  Gorgeous pink boots.

And another pair of Dr.Martens.  THESE BOOTS remind me of lovely Liberty fabric.

Sadly this brand of boots and shoes is hard to find here in the U.S.  It seems no-one sells them online and they are only available in small independent shoe shops.  I did see a pair once in a very cool little shoe shop in Santa Cruz.  I know the ones below are shoes but I had to include them because of the ribbons.  They are so pretty, I especially love the heel shape!  

So many lovely things!

Friday, July 18, 2014

An Impromptu Picnic by the Lake

Saturday July 19th 2014

Yesterday at about 6.30pm my daughter and I decided to pack up a picnic and take it to a local reservoir.  It was a beautiful warm evening and the early evening light was soft and golden.  The light breeze was ruffling the water but not enough to prevent us from skipping rocks successfully.   We don't often do spontaneous things like this and it was perfect. There were only a couple of boats left on the water and they were getting ready to call it a night.  We had a family of mergansers, some terns and a few elegant grebes for company.  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Homemade Craft Show Display Board

Friday 18th July 2014

We have been working on a display board for my booth at the Quilt Show.  It is designed to hold my notebooks and some hanging items, owls probably.  My husband built it using just what he could find in the garage.  Since he makes a lot of things, he has a pretty good stash of wood and lots of offcuts.  He made the pegs using branches from trees at our cabin in the Sierra Nevada and a special router bit.  He bought the router bit to make pegs for hanging things at the cabin, towels, sweaters etc.  The pegs are beautiful.  Sometimes he varnishes them and sometimes they get left plain.  They are simple and rustic.  

I used this paint for the first time after seeing it at my local scrapbooking store.  It is a thick paint, containing clay and chalk.  It is completely non-smelly and dries in a flash.  It has a nice flat (matte) finish and the brush was easy to clean afterwards. I like that the paint has some texture, it's not perfectly smooth.  The finished piece has a rustic feel that goes well with the natural pegs.  We did two coats of the white paint and then I put on a coat of a protective finish by the same manufacturer to prevent scratches.