Friday, December 30, 2011


Two of my most admired holiday gifts may be regarded as symbols for the contradictory life I am leading.

I aim to simplify, slow things down, and un-clutter my existence. I sort through cupboards, clean out closets, trying to rid us of plastic junk and poorly made things. Mark and Sally Bailey's book The Hand Made Home, is a refreshing inspiration for pared down living. Pages of pages of beautiful images, ideas, and inspirational places. Here, you will not find television sets, computers, or advanced machinery. Everything is tactile and plain, patinated and charming. This is how I want my surroundings to be.

Enter my new iphone. Yes, the one who patiently answers your questions about weather conditions, and nearby grocery stores. I confess, I love this little device. It makes me feel contained and safe, in a different way. It holds the people I cherish, my endless to-do lists, my favorite music, and impromptu photos. It relays emails and messages, and keeps me connected, even when I am all alone. And she does talk.

I hope your holidays where wonderful. May 2012 bring joy, health, and peace. I wish your dreams come true, whatever they are. Happy new year!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

wishing warmth and joy

The holidays are near and I will take a break from work and blogging to spend time with my mom and sister who just arrived from Sweden, and my boys who both finished exams and are back home! I wish all of you a joyous and peaceful holiday season.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

rushing and running

My life is mostly a blur these days. Much to do, so little time. Running over here then dashing over there. And the to-do-list is growing miles long. Here is a sample in no particular order: caring for a feverish boy, filling post-thanksgiving orders, setting up the studio for first friday, book keeping, continue the page design for our family history book project, vet visit, making inventory for craftacular the weekend after next, cleaning the shower (yes, it is really needed), finding a wholesale source for moleskine books, buying more thread, sending baby gifts to the Martz twins, dinner for tonight (and tomorrow), finish Jane's pillow. Well it goes on.

So I decided to take a break and took my camera out in the garden, looking for the little things and the big, wanting a different perspective. This is what I found. Beauty all around.

last rose of the season

forgotten string in the kitchen garden

everlasting beech leaves

vivd color – osage orange

vivid color – burning bush

the oak tree reminding me about what's next

buds holding the secret of spring

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

giving thanks

I have much to be thankful for. Health, family, happiness, friends, work... but without my boys, life would just stop in its tracks. They continue to amaze me with their accomplishments, compassion, smarts, and love. I am so lucky.

And my girls makes me to wake up every morning with a smile, whether I am ready for it or not.

Happy thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, November 18, 2011

pecan love story - weekly bundles no. 9

My infatuation with the pecan leaves continues. This time I used fallen leaves from a couple of trees in our neighborhood. They were yellow, withered, and tattered. But the prints still turned out beautiful. The long wool piece was previously dyed with eucalyptus, and had a wonderful coral hue before being bundled up and simmered in the iron pot. The leaves turned a rich gold color on the thick silk organza and muted brown on the linen. Both kinds of fabric squares were layered with the leaves between glass plates and clamped tight. The paper prints were done on thin craft paper that my art store uses for wrapping – I love the faint imprints and the tissue like quality of the paper.

pecan on eucalyptus dyed wool jersey, simmered in iron pot. 

pecan on linen, pretreated with alum and soy milk

Pecan on silk organza, simmered in iron pot. 

Pecan on craft wrapping paper, simmered in iron pot.

You probably have realized by now that the weekly bundles no longer are that weeekly. It was a bit ambitious for someone who only blogs once a week on average anyways. I will continue, and I will still tag and call these posts weekly bundles, but they will not appear as regularly as I first intended.

Lastly, a brief sum up of some of the fun I've had the last few weeks. My days on the farm were amazing with spectacular weather, lovely companions (bovine, feline, canine, and human), and lots of work produced. This past weekend's Artisan Studio Tour was a great success. Both of my new books were snatched up, and I also sold a few wall hangings and met many, many lovely and interesting people. Thank you to all who stopped by!

Friday, November 11, 2011

ready for the tour

It will be a perfect weekend for this years Artisans Studio Tour. Thirtyfive talented artists will display their incredible work in 19 studios in Charlottesville and surrounding areas. I will be in studio no. 10 with my dear friend Mary Beth Bellah, and furniture maker Brian Rayner. I am excited about the new work I am bringing along. My first handmade books in the tree series are finished, inspired by my recent eco dyeing on paper. I will have new small wallhangings on display, as well as notebooks, pillows, linens, sachets, and much more. The studio is open from 10 - 5 both Saturday and Sunday. The weather is supposed to be glorious and I would love to see you there!

Friday, November 4, 2011


I have loaded the car with all imaginable sewing supplies, including the ironing board, two large pots, two sewing machines (in case one breaks), the typewriter, yards of fabric both printed and not...

I am heading back here, to look after the critters while our friends and their beautiful daughters are zipping over to London. The few days in solitude will be used to get ready for the Artisans Studio Tour taking place next weekend. I am planning to dye, stitch, and stock up. I will report once I return.

Monday, October 31, 2011

weekly bundles no. 8

Pecan leaves! My sister-in-law and her family have a great pecan tree in the back of their house, and after our last visit I came back with a bagful of leaves, still green and fresh. I bundled them up, clamped some between paper, and simmered them in tap water augmented with iron. The results are amazing. I am thrilled and humbled by the beauty of these prints.

It is obvious that the iron water really penetrated the wool (which started out light gray). The impressions on the linen are more blurry, and much lighter in color. I think a longer processing time would have benefitted the linen prints to ensure the water gets through all the layers.

The paper prints are even more stunning in real life. The texture is breathtaking and the colors are vivid and deep. I tested a few raspberry and dogwood leaves as well, and I think all were enhanced by the addition of iron.

So a happy bundle experiment this time. The long wool piece will be a scarf for me, and the splendid impressions on paper also deserves to become something very special...

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