Friday, September 30, 2005

There is a praying mantis that lives in the nasturtiums under the kitchen window. I see him often, though I've never caught him hunting. Tuesday afternoon he was sunning himself and I decided to try the ultra close up button on my camera...

I think he (she?) enjoyed posing for me.

The trucks keep coming and the great mountain of corn silage continues to grow... I think they might be finished next week. I certainly hope so. The constant rumbling of trucks coming and going is doing its annual thing on my nerves, though I think resignation is finally setting in and it is just too '"been there done that" to get so worked up about it any more.

We must find our silver linings where we can... :-)

Earlier this week, I was working on putting the garden to bed for the year. On Monday I attacked the climbing rose bush as it was starting to overstrain its support. It fought back visciously. Seriously, you should see my arms!

Can you see that the seeds are all gone from the sunflowers? The little finches that live under the eaves have filched them all! They are like a flock of little brown butterfiles. When they fly away from me and my camera the "whoosh" of all their wings is amazingly loud. I don't know why they are so frightened of me. Perhaps the cats have taught them to be careful...

Even though it is the last day of September, the roses are still as beautiful as ever, even though the nights are getting colder and the buds aren't as perfect as they could be. I have had them blooming at Christmas some years, though never as lavishly as they do in May and June. I love my roses so much. This bush is one of 4 that Jake bought me as a valentine gift a month after we moved on to the dairy. Truly, a gift that keeps on giving!

I still need to cut back the perrennial herbs, and then pull up the dying annuals. That's the one gardening task I don't enjoy. It is just seems a little mean, like kicking someone when they're down. I know, I know they are just plants, but I have been taking care of them as living things all summer and abruptly killing them just goes against the grain.

I finally cleaned out the upstairs studio on Wednesday when the constant coming and going to the trucks drove me inside. Yesterday I sat down at the desk and promptly messed it up again with my scrapbooking stuff. I have made it an ongoing project to recover our photographs from the old style "magnetic" pages and put them in something more photo friendly.

I am about half way through 1995 now. My goodness but I was skinny that year! And it's been fun to relive the girls' childhoods in memory. I don't really want to do it again for real, even though they were fun as children. They are fun now too, especially now that Lydia has her drivers' license and takes a little of the pressure off for errand running.

I always swore I would never get into scrapbooking, and at least I haven't gone completely overboard. Yet. My layouts are very simple -- no yarns or ribbons or embellished bottle caps. I do love stickers though. As much as any kid! I think maybe I'll go shopping for some new stickers today. At least it will get me away from the trucks. Is that a great excuse or what!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Isn't this just a fantastic sunset? I can never get over, no matter how many sunsets I see, how many and varied are the colors. The most captivating aspect is the way the light glows like fire. No painting and no photo will ever be able to capture that quality of light in just that way...

So, now I want to "collect" an equally gorgeous sunrise. After all, Mount Hood is right there just outside my front door to the East. A spectacular sunrise ought to be easy enough to see, right? Well, maybe. If I were to get up early enough, be awake enough to remember what I wanted to do, AND be able to find my camera before the sun was well up it might be possible. I'd better start getting up earlier; the rains will be starting soon and then there simply won't be any sunrises until next February when the winter high pressure systems start rolling in.

Anyway, here is this morning's sunrise. It was pretty enough, but I confess I prefer a few clouds to toss the light around a little more. I know -- picky, Picky!

I've been trying to get back into drawing again. I love to do it, but I get frustrated and quit a little too easily, especially if I get interrupted. It is so hard to regain the single-minded focus that comes over me when I am really into a drawing. This is why I hate the telephone!

I'm taking an online class and so far we have begun with some "ice breaker" exercises to loosen up the muscles and investigate the scope of marks to be made with different points. Yesterday I did a plain old 2B pencil. When I finish here I will get out my pens. It's nice to begin playing like this so deep within my comfort zone. I can reacquaint myself with my pens and pencils in a relaxed and non-threatening way. There can be no performance anxiety when there is no need to produce anything more than a mess. Love it!

(I wonder sometimes if I don't have too much respect for my tools and materials; I need to remind myself that
I own them and not the other way around!)

When I have something worth sharing I will scan it and upload it. ~~Watch this space~~

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Escape through dressmaking

Sigh... I really really hate corn harvest season. I can't really say why, except for the fact that there are huge trucks rumbling past the house every few minutes all day. Or the fact that I won't see my husband except to feed him for the next week or so. Maybe it's just old habit; I've hated it so much for so long I just sort of fall into the pattern!

Still, these are the days when I wish I wasn't too old to run away from home. Just for a little while!

Speaking of patterns, today I pulled out the length of burnout velvet and simple duster pattern I bought last month. I have put off working with it for fear of ruining the fabric, but my studio is overflowing and I can't justify buying even one more bead until I clear out some of the accumulated projects. So today it is dressmaking.

The duster turned out beautifully, though I still have to put in the bottom hem. I think I have finally figured out how to fit my back and shoulders. I am still not quite happy with the fit at the front of the underarm, but it lays without a wrinkle and with reasonable range of motion.

I really like wearing drapey, pretty clothes, even if I do spend most of my time in sweats or jeans. I don't know if I want to wear straight or flowy pants with it, but I do want to keep it simple. With a really nice necklace under it.

It will be the perfect thing to wear to TalkFest next week. I can't say that I'm wildly excited about going, but Jake is so excited to be meeting Tony Snow that I have to be there to share the moment with him.

It has been fun to sew again, especially now that the weather has moderated and it's not so hot in the studio. I still have 2 more lengths of fabric on the "use soon" pile. I think I will spend some time going through my patterns and seeing what I want to make with them.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Wow. Oh wow, oh WOW! How fun is this! I never thought I would be able to figure out this new way of journaling without spending days and days and days at it... It's waaaaaaayyy easier than it was when I first attempted blogging back in 2002. So anyway...

This is my latest completed project. I don't complete everything I begin, which I'm not always proud of, but it's the truth. This blanket took 2 weeks to weave, but I've been collecting the fiber and spinning the yarn for it for 3 or 4 years. There are 8 colors of yarn in it, but if you count the colors which were created where the yarns intersect, there are 225 colors visible.

It is made of a blends of romney wool and mohair which I bought from Linden Lane Farms. Liz's blends spin beautifully, and the colors just sing. The resulting yarns are soft and warm, though if one is at all sensitive they might seem itchy. That would be from the halo of the mohair, which I find irresistable.

Magik the cat has given his official "meow" of approval. He and my other cat Mocha Chu have very discerning taste in fibers.

I have begun to warp the loom for another blanket in the same general style, but the colors will be much more random as I want to use up a bunch of single skeins. Weaving sure eats up the yarn!

This is me attempting to make a self-portrait for my profile. Posted by Picasa

Trying again with blogging

I want to try blogging again, as I am desperate for a means to communicate with the Outside World through words and pictures.

I am married to the most wonderful man on earth, who happens to be a dairy farmer. We have a small farm in northwest Oregon. It is a beautiful place, and I can't imagine living anywhere else, but we are a little isolated. Also, there are no other artists in the family, so I am seeking critique and feedback (especially compliments! LOL) on my work from others who understand what drives me to do the things I do.

A word of explanation about the title of my blog... It is a reference to a verse of scripture from the Old Testament book of Malachi, chapter 4 verse 2: "... but for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall."

I LOVE this imagery. I wish everyone could see what for me is a common sight; calves released for the first time from a stall will run and jump and leap for hours, simply because they can. Their uninhibited, unrestrained delight is so pure... I could watch them for hours.

OK, now it is time for me to figure out how to put up pictures... and then I will leap for joy too. :-)