Monday, October 24, 2011

A Stone house, a Haunted house, and a Wooden bridge!

Fall is finally here and a good ol' road trip was a-calling this weekend. I took a drive with my favorite person through the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. Though the craft shows we went in search of didn't quite deliver as we had hoped, the views on the way made up for it. Autumn in the Blue Ridge is magical.

Stone house, south of  Woodstock, Virginia.

A perfectly creepy haunted house in  Mt. Jackson, Virginia.

Meems Bottom covered bridge, south of New Market, Virginia.

Nothing says fall like a corn maze in the Shenandoah Valley!
Pardon the pics. I'm using a new "toy camera" effect I've been playing around with--in this case because the original pics didn't come out so well.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Post Offering to Irene

Greetings, readers. I hope everyone has had a nice few weeks (or has it been longer??) since my last post. My how time flies for me during summer when there are all sorts of little distractions to whisk my attention in many directions! What have I been up to? Well, it's hard to say in particular but it seems I've been having fun. Summer for me is mostly about gathering inspirations and moments and cooler weather in autumn is when I get the crafting bug and draw on those memories. Mostly it's too hot to sit in one place for very long!

This week my main squeeze and I were on our annual dreamy summer week in exile in the Outer Banks of North Carolina when we were evacuated due to that storm hussy known as Irene. Though we were saddened to leave our cozy cottage unexpectedly early at least we're only tourists and didn't have to worry about losing anything other than a little relaxation.

View from the cottage porch

We've been renting a small cottage on the island of Ocracoke for a few years now and have fallen in love with its quirkiness. It was built as a fishing cottage during mid century and I love that it still has architectural vestiges of that life. All sorts of pulleys and hooks are still intact on the porch and you can just imagine the hustle and bustle that once took place there.

The island itself is a dream for an archaeologist. It's filled with eighteenth century history including the  story of the infamous Springer's Point which was the location of the largest known meeting of pirates during the eighteenth century in North America. This meeting included all the major players like Blackbeard who met his ultimate demise on the Queen Ann's Revenge just off the coast of Ocracoke.  The island also has the oldest operating light station in North Carolina, a beautiful structure built in 1823 (An earlier 1795 lighthouse was about a mile away and no longer stands.)

I could go on and on but here are some pics of the lovely cottage that beckons us back each year.

                             Good night, Irene. Have mercy on the east coast.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Etsy front page!

I was super excited to see that a treasury I made a couple of days ago made the Etsy front page! Since none of my own items were in the treasury I can't really brag about my stuff being front page news but cool stuff I picked out was! (Isn't that beetle display peculiarly cute??)

'Muted' by harvestcrafts

Softly, subtly, beautiful.

SALE - cij Cover Up...

Vintage Bandolino S...

An Old Friend - fin...

On Sale Vintage 10m...

Normandy 01 - Origi...

Silk Ribbons: Sea S...

THE SEAMS cotton je...

Vintage Spoons - S...

Entropy - 8 x 10 - ...

Muted Rainbow bunti...

A Good Book- print ...

BOGO SALE - Love - ...

Chrysina beyeri Lea...

Muted Colorblock Vi...

vintage Wool Blanke...

quilted fabric coas...


I think my clock must be wrong again--it says the weekend is almost over!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The bounty of Worm Hollow Farm & a Thank me later Thursday

So, awhile back I posted a pic of the barren land that was to be our plot in the brand spankin' new community garden in our neighborhood.  In the meantime, my beau has tirelessly given it lots of TLC this summer (and a little water) and lo and behold, a garden sprang up! He coined our plot Worm Hollow Farm and made a cute sign that says so.

My "Thank Me Later" tip this week (geez, I've been behind on that, haven't I??) is....
  • You must download Adele's album "21". I promise, you won't regret it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A couple o' finished tea towels

It was so hot in Virginia today I had to wait quite awhile once I got the camera outside for the fog to disappear from the lens! Just listed Rapunzel in my etsy shop...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Back in the saddle

Well, it's been awhile since I've been in the sewing seat and today I finally sat for a spell. I can't say that I created anything complex -- I just whipped up some dish towels but hey, it was something. Last week I got some of Heather Ross's latest fabric from "Far Far Away III" and am smitten. I couldn't bring myself to take the scissors to it quite yet so I settled for making some towels with some of her "Far Far Away II" line that I still have on hand.

Now I just need to take some decent pics of the finished towels so I can list them in my etsy shop but it seems the sun went down and the weekend got away from me!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Twenty thousand leagues under the sea and other ramblings

The Nautilus Passengers

Illustration from "20,000 Leagues under the Sea"

by Alphonse Marie de Neuville
It's good to be back in blogland! Hope your summer is relaxing and inspiring. Speaking of inspiration, I just got back from an annual family trip to a coastal island off of South Carolina. We stayed at a rental house where I picked up a copy of Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Science fiction isn't really my thing so I've never read it before but I was hooked from the beginning! I can't believe it was written in 1869. If you've never read it, you should do so. Unfortunately I started reading it and wasn't able to finish it before I left (yes, I did think about taking it with me but my conscience won). Upon returning home I searched my usual used book stores but it seems it's required reading for students in these parts and none were left! Next stop: the library.

Anywhoo, reading the book has got me inspired to do some sort of tribute quilt. The imagery described by Verne is so fantastical. It brought back memories of the first times I went snorkeling and scuba diving. It was an epiphany that this other-worldly place exists on earth that I had never seen the likes of. I'm thinking lots of sea-related applique is in order. We'll see.

Oh, Little Rabbit, a seller on Etsy has the most awesome screen-printed flour sack towels with sea themes that evoke those fantastical images from the book, including these lovelies:

Before now, The Old Man and the Sea has always been a staple summer beach read. Last year I added Treasure Island to the list too. Love them both.

Got any favorite books you like to read at the beach or during the summer?

Saturday, May 21, 2011


It's good to be back working in Jamaica for a short time. In addition to doing some work, I've been stuffing my face with mango, as predicted in an earlier post as well as other yummy fruit. The house we're staying in has several fruit trees in the yard including a lime, avocado (called pear in Jamaica), two types of  mango (okay, technically not in our yard but limbs from a neighbor's tree hang over into our yard :) and a grapefruit.

On the work front, we've been jointly running an archaeological field school with the University of West Indies and have had good luck locating some sugar plantation buildings we were hunting for using old survey maps. The crew had fun macheting our way through bush in order to uncover some of the overgrown treasures.

All this is providing a little break from the sewing machine and though I find myself twitching a little and sewing in my sleep I think it's probably a good thing :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Quote Tuesday

I'm participating in Pepper Stitches' "quote Tuesday" this week...

Ten years ago I left my job in Georgia to drive out west to Washington state, stay with some friends and find a new job. It was short lived (I ended up coming back to the east coast in three months) but it was fun nonetheless and I got to drive cross-country twice! A friend in Georgia painted this lovely gourd as a going away gift and wrote the following on the bottom:

Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.       ~Aristotle
It always makes me smile when I turn it over.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Owl and the Pussycat and David Sedaris

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
‘O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!’

Pussy said to the Owl, ‘You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?’
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

‘Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?’ Said the Piggy, ‘I will.’
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

"The Owl and the Pussycat" poem by Edward Lear

The fabric lines by Kokka based on artist Heather Ross's illustrations are irresistible. I especially like the Far Far Away collections based on fairy tales and other stories (Far Away I and II have been out for some time with III scheduled to come out this summer). The Owl and the Pussycat is from Far Far Away II and makes me smile (especially in plum, pictured above :). I made some tea towels out of it for the show I did a couple of weeks ago.

Lear's poem makes me think of David Sedaris's essay about the Squirrel and the Chipmunk, another unlikely romantic pair. He writes,

"The squirrel and the chipmunk had been dating for two weeks when they ran out of things to talk about: acorns, parasites, the inevitable approach of autumn."
You should check him out if you haven't. He's a humorist and writer who does book tours and recently came to Charlottesville during one. I was lucky enough to get to see him with some friends this April. My belly was sore the next day from all the laughing. He's hysterical.

P.S. The Kokka fabric is also really nice to work with. It's a heavier-than-usual quilting weight and is a cotton/linen blend. It's got good hand.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thank me later Thursday -- a mango detour

watercolor and colored pencil by my friend, Leslie Pierce
I'm scheduled to go to Jamaica in a couple of weeks for work and cannot wait to get my hands on some juicy mangoes. Here in the states we tend to only get a few of the varieties but in Jamaica there are more than you can imagine.

Originally from the Indo-Burma region of the world, a serendipitous event involving a captured French boat with seeds onboard in 1782 brought the first ones to Jamaica. Many varieties were introduced during the nineteenth century from India and later from other Caribbean islands. 

my watercolors from a trip a couple of years ago--can you tell I was obsessed?

A few of the Jamaican names for the different varieties:
Tie-tie, Cedot, Amelie, Jacot, Mazagan, John crow bellyful, Cashew, Busha's wife, Ladies' fringe, Yam, Saltfish, Miss Cuskett, Dandy Williams, Duckanoo, Grandfather and Bees' box, Zil, Julie, East Indian, Bombay, Graham, Haden, Kent, Robin, Long and Black mango, Keitt and Tommy Atkins (to name a few).  Some are simply known by numbers.

The textures, shapes, colors and taste of different mango types vary. Hmm. Maybe it should be my goal this time to try them all. My absolute favorite is the Julie, so juicy and delicious. It would be hard to top it.

Tip: If you get them here in the states, you can buy them when they're green (they're usually varieties from Mexico) but have some willpower and wait until the skin changes to splotches of gold and red before you eat it. That's when it's ripe and delish!

Read more about Jamaican mangoes here.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Inspirational detours

"We quit smoking after 40+ years"
Fiber portrait by artist Susan Lenz.

"I forgive those who look at me with hate"
Fiber portrait by artist Susan Lenz.

"Just like the day I was born"
Fiber portrait by artist Susan Lenz.

"Mastectomy over chemotherapy"
Fiber portrait by artist Susan Lenz.

"At 15 I hitch hiked to NYC"
Fiber portrait by artist Susan Lenz

On my way to South Carolina last week I took a detour through a town called Salisbury, North Carolina to see an exhibit called Decision Portraits by fiber artist Susan Lenz. Two rooms in the Salisbury Waterworks Visual Arts Center are filled with an amazing display of embroidered portraits that represent a decision made in each subject's life. Some are sad, some are amusing and some inspirational. All are evocative.

Each portrait is made from a photograph transferred onto cloth and each has stitched words as well as lovely embellishments including beading and other mixed media. It is definitely an exhibit worth seeing and made that detour off I-85 a good decision indeed!