Monday, August 18, 2014

Making the Rounds

Recently, Maggie of Normandy Life, invited me to take part in a tour of blog land. Maggie is British and writes about her life in the gentle countryside of France. The blog land tour involves answering four questions about my own creative process. Thank you, Maggie, for inviting me. The answers to these questions have made me do some serious thinking.

1.  What am I working on right now?

This shouldn't be too difficult to answer. Right now I'm working on a blog post.

In the larger scheme of things, I usually have many projects on the go. Right now there are a couple of sewing projects cut out and ready to stitch, a hexagon quilt that I piece in the evenings, a bit of crocheting I just began, garden produce to freeze and can, weeds to keep at bay, and a major writing project.

2. How does my work differ from others in this genre? 

I first began blogging because I was looking for a creative community - some place to share my love of sewing and creating things with my hands. I found that, and much more. I found friendship and encouragement. I found so many others who look for the beauty in everyday life in much the same way that I do.

But each of us is unique. Because of that, my work is unique, just as yours is. We draw inspiration from each other and combine it in ways unlike the original. If I were to define my style I would say I strive for simplicity and elegance, be that in my photos, in my fashion, my decorating, and even my cooking. At the same time, I recognize the complexity in life and appreciate the multi-layered facets of photography, fashion, decor, cooking, writing, etc. 

3. Why do I write or create what I do?

If I didn't, I'd go mad. Stark, staring crazy mad. Headed for the loony bin mad. Give me a medium to express myself, any medium!

I've kept a journal for years. My blog is like a more visible journal. Words string themselves together in my mind and flow to my hands and the pen. 

The pen (or keyboard), the wooden spoon, the needle and thread, the paintbrush, the ivory piano keys, and the stick in the sand all provide ways for creative expression. I like to use whatever is at hand.

4. How does your writing process actually work?

My blog post topics are often triggered by the photos I take. Details are important to me and many of my photos are close ups of marvelous bits of creation that reveal the paradox of complexity and simplicity. 

I'm fairly guarded in my public writings and sometimes wish I were not. I'm that way in real life, too - unwilling to share too deeply until I know that I can trust the listener. I want my writing to have some sort of take-away value - a question for my reader to ponder and respond to, a thoughtful quote to appreciate, a bit of encouragement, a new way of looking at something, a recipe to try, or some beauty revealed.

I could go on here, but if you've hung on this long, I'll take pity on you and stop.

The idea of the blog hop was to link to 3 other bloggers who would then answer these same questions, however, I was unable to find anyone to participate. Katherine, of Sew Me Something Good, had the same difficulty so we agreed to link to each other's blog. Katherine is a sewing whiz and creates beautiful, intricate quilts. She also has a Craftsy site where she sells patterns.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Gifts from the Sea

Head down I walk along the beach, looking for bits of sea glass. Opaque bits of white, green, turquoise, brown and blue lie in the sand, tossed ashore on the ocean's whim. They have tumbled over and over in the water, colliding with rocks, with sand, with debris, until their once sharp edges are worn into smooth loveliness.  I pick them up and put them in my pocket. Small white stones find their way into my pockets until the fabric sags with the weight. They, too, have been shaped by the force of the sea. 

I am not the first to draw parallels between the experience of life and the sea. I know that, by God's grace, my rough edges are being worn down like the sea and sand polished flotsam.

Linking to Mosaic Monday, hosted by Judith of Lavender Cottage Gardening.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Five on Friday

1. Several people have asked about the zucchini soup base I mentioned in a recent post. I wrote up a rough recipe from my memory and posted it on my recipe blog here. Don't forget to remove the bay leaf - bay leaves don't puree very well. Ask me how I know.

2.  We welcomed rain this week. Rain + clouds + shortening days = I don't want to think about fall. So yesterday one Little Miss came over and played in the little pool until she came in shivering. I wrapped her up ("in this soft blanket, Nana") and we cozied up together on the couch reading stories.

3. Garden produce. There's something everyday - kale, tomatoes, cucumbers. I harvested the potatoes from the two plants I put it. Delicious! My green beans are terribly slow this year but I hope to pick enough for dinner one day soon.

4.  Another Little Miss, this one just two, said something this week that still makes me laugh. Her mother and I were chatting via Skype (just across town) and Miss S came running by saying "My website is gone." Miss S is barely exposed to technology - she doesn't watch television or play electronic games. Skype is about the extent of it. But somehow, she's captured the idea of websites and creates them at her little desk, on paper, with markers, crayons and stickers.  Not all drawings are websites, though. Little minds are amazing.

5. I'm still savouring the memory of our lovely, relaxing days out on the water. Tim jumped right back into work on Monday but I've been having a more difficult time getting back into a productive mode. Today there's a house to clean if I would only get to it. 

I used to get more done in a day, even with three children. My goal was always to accomplish the household tasks in the morning, then take a little lie-down after lunch (the children either napped or played on their own in their rooms), and then spend the afternoon sewing, going for walks, shopping, etc. I'd like to get back into that routine. Do keep some sort of schedule at your place?

Bon week-end, everyone! 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rainy Day This and That

We're having a spectacular summer, weather-wise. Endless days of sunshine, but not too hot. Almost endless days, that is. Last night I awoke around 2 am to hear water trickling through the gutters. A gust of rain-freshened air blew across my face. Ah, delight.

The rain has mostly stopped now and the earth is busy absorbing it all. Perhaps this will help the forest fire situation, and will certainly green things up a little around here. Our Bolero Rose had another bloom, all sweetly scented ruffles.

Zucchini is busting out all over. I made a big batch of garlicky zucchini soup concentrate and froze it in jars for cooler days ahead. Ratatouille is next, when I get to the market for some eggplant and red peppers.

Our new favourite summer salad. Tomatoes picked warm off the vine, sweet Okanagan peaches, a little red onion (or not), fresh basil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Nothing could be simpler or more delicious.

This is the scene showing on my walk last night around 7:30. Summer holds so many delights. Are you still enjoying this season? What's delighting you at the moment?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Back to Everyday Life

Real life isn't always filled with pretty sights. Here's a photo of my basement freezer/pantry room. I've dilly dallied and avoided cleaning out the freezer, something I like to do BEFORE the current crop of berries and produce begins. Delaying just made the job a wee bit more difficult as I had to deal with the packages of this year's blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and rhubarb.

I took everything out, filled the coolers, filled boxes and covered them with quilts to keep them cold while the ice in the freezer thawed. While sitting here at my computer earlier, I heard a rather loud commotion and realized the ice had fallen to the bottom of the freezer. Time to get the towels, the soapy water and bend down, waaaay down. It seemed deeper this year.

Everything's back with the fresher things at the bottom and the others at the top where they'll get used up first. 

Three bags of cranberries didn't make it back into the freezer. They've been converted into cranberry sauce, something we enjoy all year round. 

Wild sweet peas made a little table decoration on the boat over the weekend. I picked another bouquet and it's sitting on my dining room table.

Something not so nice happened last week on the boat. I set my camera on a little shelf, under a window. In the morning there was a lot of dew on the outside of the boat and a little leak in the window seal - just a little one - but it dripped on my trusty Nikon. I fear the camera is now toast. We let it dry out and it will turn on but nothing else works. On the advice of a camera salesman, I'll be taking it into a camera store tomorrow. It might be that the cost of repair will not be worth it. We'll see. I've been using my IPhone camera instead. It's just not the same. I miss my camera.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Queen Anne's Lace

Do you find that the Internet can lead you on wild goose chases? Or in this case wild carrot chases? I looked up Queen Anne's Lace and found all sorts of weird and wonderful folklore and uses for the plant. 

I just think it's pretty. Especially growing beside the water. 

Two collages - the first in Picasa, the second in BeFunky. I like them both. That little boat in the top left corner of the water photo - that's our Solitude. We've had such peaceful, relaxing times on the water these past couple of weeks. Seems a shame to go back to real life.

Judith of Lavender Cottage Gardening is the new host of Mosaic Monday. Thanks to Mary who hosted for so long and to Judith for picking up the torch. 

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Personal Photography Challenge: August

This month's photography challenge subject was animals. I love watching animals in the wild, although I'm not particularly fond of pets in the house, nor visiting zoos. Each of these photos was taken while out and about.

This Moon Jellyfish is just one of dozens seen in Tod Inlet this weekend. I paddled around in the dinghy, pausing to look at the bottom and all the wonderful life scurrying about. These graceful jellyfish, about 8 inches in diameter, pulsated like translucent ghosts along the shore. This photo was taken with my IPhone and the contrast enhanced slightly.

An unintentional animal photo - I was intent on the flower and the bee photo-bombed the capture. The mad blur of wings indicates the speed he was going. Taken with my Nikon D7100 and nothing was done to the photo, taken on Portland Island.

This is another straight out of the camera photo, taken with my Nikon. Mr. and Mrs. Purple Martin. They were not very shy at all. Nesting boxes at the Ladysmith Marina were filled with their swooping comings and goings.

I'm late to the party this month as we've been out on the boat again. Tim returns to work on Monday so things will be a little more back to normal. 

Thanks to Donna for hosting the Photography Challenge.