Monday, December 28, 2015

My Idea Of A Perfect Winter Day

My daughter and I are back in the mountains for a couple of days to enjoy the five feet or so of snow that has fallen here in the last week.  Our cabin is blanketed in snow and looks so welcoming with lights at the windows and fragrant wood smoke curling up through the trees.   When we ski, it's an early start.  The drive up the mountain that takes 30minutes in the summer takes twice as long when you are driving on a snow packed, icy road.   However well it has been plowed and gritted, you still can't take any chances.  I'm thankful for my 4wheel drive SUV and the slower pace that gives me a chance to enjoy the beauty of the snow in the trees.  It hasn't been windy so the trees all wear their frosty cloaks still.  

It was an awesome powder day with an extra few inches that drifted in last night.  The light changed all day.  Some of the time we could hardly see our feet for the fog or low cloud.  We had a couple of magical chair lift rides where the sun shone faintly through the cloud while it snowed around us, lighting up tiny, perfect, glittery flakes. It was like being in our own snow globe and we joked there should be a "snowbow"!  Then it was blue sky again and then it wasn't.  

There was expensive hot chocolate with marshmallows and whipped cream to warm us up (it was 18f or -8C) and when the lift lines got too long we relished our last run and went home.  

Later in the afternoon, I wrapped up again and ventured out in my tall boots - not tall enough it turns out!  I got snow down my boots over and over again but it was so powdery and dry it just brushed off and I stayed dry.  Again, the light filtered through the trees and changed minute by minute.  

Don't you think this (below) looks like a troupe of dwarves trekking across the land behind my cabin?  I think they are on a quest, following the edge frozen creek, somewhere between my daydreams and their magical realm.

Tomorrow we plan to ski again and then we will make our way back down the mountain and the dog, cats and other family members will be happy to see us home. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015


I hope your Christmas was wonderful.  Ours was lovely, quite civilized now that our kids are older (21 and 16).  This year, for the first time, we were up before them!  I never take many photos at Christmas because they never seem to come out how I want them to, but here are a few from our day which began with freshly squeezed orange juice from oranges we went outside to pick, grapefruit (also from the garden) and delicious, warm, homemade gluten free cinnamon bread.  We had coffee and tea in my new handmade bird cups.

Remember this hoop?  I made it a few weeks ago for a friend who started keeping bees this year.  Guess what...on Christmas Eve she stopped by with a beautiful jar of her precious honey.  This is truly a precious gift and much appreciated because earlier, in the Fall, she was telling me she wasn't sure she'd have enough honey to harvest this season.  I love that she tied the jar with some of her hand screen printed fabric and that cute little wooden spoon.  Oh, and I tasted the honey, it's wonderful. 

We picked out a new squeaky toy for Tia.  She loves things that squeak but she is rough on toys and they have to be pretty tough.  This one fits the bill.  She loved it from the moment my daughter ripped open the wrapping and she immediately carried it off.  She plays with it, she carries it around, she sleeps with it.  Sometimes we are allowed to pick it up!  

When I was in England this summer I wrote about my sister in law who does silk painting.  You can find that post here.  This gorgeous cushion arrived in the mail a little while before Christmas and was hidden away till the big day.  It is now on one of my sofas now, across from me so I can look at it and smile.  It is so perfectly Tia.  

This was a year for thoughtful gifts.  

There were technical electronic things (our son is doing a degree in Sound Design),  art supplies and clothes and a giant jar of Nutella (our daughter),  cookbooks, a novel, homemade cards and cozy slippers which the dog better not carry off (me) and a book on using chainsaws, plaid shirts and gluten free beer (my husband).  There was too much good food, energetic and competitive games of Boggle and bracing walks with Tia.  It's been a really crazy and very stressful few weeks.  It feels good to unwind a bit.  

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas

I'd like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas.  I hope you are warm, content and with people you love.  

Monday, December 21, 2015

A Grey Morning

It's a grey, damp morning here today.  No gift of a beautiful sunrise, filling the house with warm pink light, like yesterday but I do have an illicit cup of black coffee in one of my special new cups!  Gluten free toast and marmalade, coffee and time to catch up on my favorite blogs, this is precious quiet time before the business of the day.   

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Some Very Special Handmade Cups

Today I got a package from Canada that I have been waiting for with great anticipation.  A little while ago I ordered two handmade cups from fellow Etsy seller White Owl Porcelain.  I have to admit, I do have a bit of thing for pretty cups and mugs but hey, they make me happy.  

I was so excited that I had to photograph and share them right away instead of waiting for better light tomorrow.  Although actually, thinking about it, it's supposed to rain tomorrow so the light probably wouldn't be any better anyway.  

Aren't these lovely?  They are hand built and then carved.  I've been trying to pin down why I love them so much.  I think it is because they remind me of relief prints.  They have fantastic texture and a simple graphic appeal.  Also that blue/green glaze on the inside is a gorgeous contrast.

And look, I ordered two cups and they are different designs.  So pretty.  

And they are the perfect size.  I'm not supposed to drink coffee but I do still enjoy the occasional cup (shhh, don't tell my doctor!) and these will be just the right amount of delicious, restorative caffeine.  They'll be great for tea as well.  

So please do visit Laura's Etsy shop, read her "About" page and visit her website.

Friday, December 18, 2015

A Walk In The Hills

Today we took the dog in the car and headed for the hills.  It's supposed to rain tomorrow and then carry on raining through most of next week, it doesn't seem possible or likely looking at this sky does it?  This was Tia's first walk on the wild side.  Up till now we've walked our neighborhood.  Unfortunately the trail was a bit gravelly which was hard on her still soft paws but when we found a bit that was just packed dirt, she was really happy.  So many new smells!  It was wonderful to be outdoors in the fresh air and we pretty much had the trail to ourselves.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Embroidered Hoops

At least once a month I meet up with two friends for coffee.  We meet at a local Starbucks right after we've dropped our kids off at their respective schools.  We've known each other for years and we've been there for each other through all that life has thrown at us during that time.  Friends like that are pure gold. 

This year I wanted to make them something special and this is what I came up with.  One of them started keeping bees this year and the other has a crazy Boston Terrier, hence the designs.  

The hoops are 4inch diameter embroidery hoops which makes those little English paper pieced hexagons about ½ inch in size!  They are pieced together and then appliqu├ęd to the linen.  I really enjoyed using a mix of materials.  The backs of the hoops are finished with a circle of white felt. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Custom Pincushion

Last week I was contacted by someone to see if I could make a custom dog pincushion.  She wanted a wire hair fox terrier on her pincushion.  These are really cute little dogs, I had no idea what they looked like till I checked The American Kennel Club website and looked on Pinterest.  

My process for custom orders is to first provide the customer with a sketch and get approval before working together to choose colors.  After that I set up a custom listing in my Etsy shop and then after the customer purchases it, I start work.  I worked on this over the weekend and finished up this morning so now this little puppy is winging his way East.  

I wish I had taken a bit more time to photograph this pincushion but time was tight this morning and I wanted to get this packed up for shipping.  It came out cute though!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

A Sparkly Winter Wreath

I feel like I am really struggling to get into the Christmas Spirit this year.  

I know part of it is because I am still coughing and not feeling myself.  My car is still being fixed, it was supposed to be finished on Friday but then wasn't and should be by tomorrow.  Earlier today I spent a hideous hour at the very busy Mall while the Apple Store tech wizards fixed my computer which actually turned out to be a problem with a simple (and cheap) cable connecting the hard drive to everything else. That was a huge relief, I can't tell you how much I missed my laptop!  Even earlier today, at 3am, my cat that was sick at Thanksgiving was throwing up violently again and I had to take her in to the Emergency Animal Hospital.  She was there all day, on fluids and is now home again.  

I could really do with a few more hours in the day and a bit more sleep!  

On my to do list for this weekend was making a wreath to go over my mantel.  I have been collecting some wintery branches, sparkly leaves and sprays of berries from Michael's.  In my head I could see a wreath that looked like it had been snowed on, crisp and sparkly with fresh flakes.  This wreath came out exactly how I imagined, don't you love it when that happens?!  We are not having a Christmas tree this year because of our new dog so safe decorating has been a challenge.  Sometimes all you need is some glitter.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Finished Bunny Pincushions

I've had a tough few days this week.  I've had a nasty cold/cough which has been making me feel really tired, my car is having something expensive done to fix the four wheel drive and as the lovely glossy cherry on top of all that, my laptop had a meltdown yesterday and went into catastrophic hard drive failure!  After a better night's sleep last night, I am at least feeling a bit more human today and with that rest came a better attitude.  My car should be fixed by tomorrow afternoon, I'm coughing less and I have an appointment at the Apple Store Genius Bar on Sunday!  

I finished these pincushions this last night.  Unfortunately I can't list them in my Etsy shop yet because my desktop computer is refusing to upload photos from camera...what's up with that????  I love how these turned out though.  

I started a new part time teaching job this week and have been powering through my cold. I am teaching a costume design elective at a local middle school.   I have a small class of enthusiastic girls.  We will be working on costumes for the middle school production of The Lion King and it is going to be really fun. For now, I had them each pick a Lion King character and they are making a fabric art doll of that character.  Doing this lets me see how they handle a sewing machine, iron, hand stitching and problem solving before we start on any actual costumes!

Stitch-along part 6

  Stitching the ridge tiles to finish the ornament Take one ridge tile and wrap it over the ridge of the roof as shown below.  Using two str...