Sunday, April 29, 2012

The April mission card:

On the inside: 
"Spring has returned.
The Earth is like a child that knows poems."
-Rainer Maria Rilke

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Crabapple tree is blooming in my favorite color!  

The other day my dog and I had the most wonderful time
hanging out under the tree (see my coffee cup there next to Pompeii?).  

It was a sunny day with no wind, and the blooms smelled SO sweet. 

The tree literally buzzed with bees! 

Bees bees, everywhere bees!  

This little lady enjoyed the moment too.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Now that the weather is warming up a bit, my dog comes along for the ride when I go to fitness classes at the YMCA.  She waits in the car, staring at the door I disappeared into, for the entire hour.  She knows that when I reappear, we will be going for a walk on the path that runs along the road by the YMCA.  She gets so excited in anticipation of our walks that the bark/whining begins as soon as we turn into the parking lot.  Then the poor girl has to wait.  But this does not diminish her enthusiasm.

Today as we walked, I saw this chalk message on a sidewalk.  Smile!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ok, this is more like it.
The snow we got a few days ago has melted,
now it's business as usual in the garden.
Things are happening out there.

This pretty glass basket vase was my Grandma Marianna's.
It reminds me of Spring and of the handmade May Day baskets
my sister and I would hang on our neighbors’ doorknobs when we were kids.
What fun it was to ring their doorbell and hide,
then watch them act surprised to find our paper baskets 
full of violets and dandelions.
I wish people still did that.
Good times.

Friday, April 20, 2012

This is not what I have in mind
when I envision myself tiptoeing through the tulips in mid-April!

We got an inch or two of the white stuff overnight.
I was outside in my snow boots, cutting off the blooming daffodils before they got zapped.
The snow should melt by the end of the day...but still!
I'm SO over it.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I've been loving copper lately, and have amassed quite a collection of copper baubles for jewelry making.
The last couple of days I've been putting together bracelets, earrings and necklaces using some of my copper collection.  

The whole time I was working, Lucky the Studio Cat was at his post on my worktable
- right smack in the middle of everything and in my way -
but I didn't have the heart to make him be lazy somewhere else.
So I used him as a photo prop.  He loved it!

Lucky the Studio Model

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Awhile back I walked into Jo-Ann fabric store, armed with coupons and very dangerous.  I walked out with a Rit dye kit.  Well, I paid for it...then I walked out.  Can’t remember now if there was a plan for the dye, or if it was purchased just so the coupon didn’t go to waste.  Anyway, the dye kit sat on a shelf in my studio, unopened for months.  I thought about it once in a while, but usually after I was already elbows-deep into another project. 

Last week with a clean slate, I started working on a submission for a reader challenge offered by Cloth Paper Scissors magazine, and out came the dye kit.  I played around with different color combinations, adding a pinch of color here, a bit more water there.  I tore strips from different kinds of fabric and varied the dipping time.  No plan, just tearing and dipping.  Tearing and dipping.  I left the strips to dry overnight - and couldn't wait to check on them the next morning.

I'm really pleased with the vibrant colors and varied textures that resulted after the strips dried.  I've been working on the piece that I'll be submitting to the contest.  And just for fun, I also made this!

Hand-dyed vintage fabric adhered to an 8X8" canvas with vintage tacks,
free-form machine stitching and rubber stamp.

I've just about used up all the dyed fabric strips from my first batch.  Now that I sort of know what to expect, there are a few things I want to mess around with on my next batch.  Maybe try some patterned fabric, longer dipping times, variegated hues, maybe a jewel tone color palette...

I really need to get some different rubber gloves before I attempt this again.  I used my awkward heavy-duty cleaning gloves and couldn't feel a thing, making it hard to wring out the thin little strips.  I ended up using just my bare fingers.  Which stained my fingernails so bad I had to cut them super short.  Yeah, better gloves will be good.  Then I'll Be Happy. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I fell in love with lemongrass tea on our recent vacation; been craving it since our morning yoga session outside the spa where we stayed.  We served ourselves from a large clear glass container with a spout.  It was love at first sip; I couldn’t get enough of it!  Right then and there I vowed to make lemongrass tea at home.    

There's been a lot of research about the health benefits of lemongrass.  It helps our organs remove toxins, aids in digestion, reduces symptoms of cold, flu and fever, and it even helps with menstrual problems, inflammation and acne, among many other benefits.  
Lemongrass will be part of my diet from now on.  I bought four small bunches at a local Oriental market for $1 each.  I'd love to grow lemongrass in my garden this summer, so I put a bunch in water, hoping it will sprout some roots.  

I had been wondering if the magical lemongrass tea would taste as heavenly,
when not under the spell of yoga by the sea.
Yep...sure does...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

We are enjoying the season's
first fresh flowers
from the garden!

Monday, April 9, 2012

We spent the Easter weekend up north at our cabin, near where my husband grew up and still has family living nearby.  One evening as we were headed back to the cabin, we spotted two albino deer along the road, a mama and its yearling.  They must be used to cars slowing down to gape at them, as they didn't seem too phased by our watching.

Yesterday I snapped some photos of our niece Madison.
Isn't she cute?

Happy Easter Everyone!

Oh dear, almost forgot
to post the monthly mission card for March...

This Irish Wedding prayer was found at .

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

* She Saw Shorn Sheep On The Seashore *

(Not really something you see every day!)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

We're just back from our annual family Spring Break trip.

This year we journeyed to the British Virgin Islands.
Little Dix Bay, Virgin Gorda, BVI

Each year we travel with my parents, sister and brother-in-law, and their three boys.

Our crew at The Baths, Virgin Gorda, BVI
I've always been drawn to the beach and water.  Even back in junior high, my sketches were of colorful beach scenes with palm trees and tropical sunsets.  I definitely embraced the mid-1980's "Life's a Beach" merchandising fad.  My Life Plan was to head south, chasing the warmer climate and laid-back lifestyle that Jimmy Buffett sang and wrote about.

To this day, a piece of my heart and soul is still in the tropics, even though my life's journey has -thus far- only taken me even further north!

Our annual trips come at the perfect time of the year, just when I'm about to lose my mind from months of self-induced hibernation.  After a long winter of being covered up, dry and flaky, my skin and hair soak up the moist humid air.  My fingernails grow at light speed and my hair develops a natural curl that needs no product or blow-drying.   I have tons of energy, getting fuel from the sun and a diet of fresh fish and fruit.  (Interestingly, years ago during a struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder, a doctor gave me instructions to eat foods that remind me of warm weather and summer - I think he was on to something there!).

Of course, it helps that on our adventures I'm surrounded by all my favorite peeps in a bubble of Auntie love...

...and creative inspiration is everywhere!

The Jumbies at Leverick Bay, Virgin Gorda, BVI

The Baths, Virgin Gorda, BVI

Handmade paper hats at our favorite gift shop, St. John, USVI

A sand castle we made from found objects on the beach!

Ready for me to move right in!

I even got to cross something off my Bucket List.

One night I slept outside under the stars by myself, on a boat!

Sunrise from the boat, Cruz Bay, BVI
I'm not giving up on my dream of living in the tropics.
In fact, on our trip my husband suggested I stay there - and offered to ship my cat to me.

Still not sure how I feel about about that...

Monday, April 2, 2012

thanks for checking in
I've been on vacation for a week with my family.  Today is the first day back and I'm catching up.

The wash machine broke the day before we left so I'm waiting for the repairman to get here,
cleaning sand out of the crevices of our suitcases,
eating what's left of our snack bags from the plane,
downloading almost 2000 pictures that need to be edited,
giving the dog and cat lots of pettins and kisses,
fighting sea legs that make me feel like I'm still on the water,
wearing the lotion from the hotel, wishing I was back by the Sea with my peeps.