Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summer Advice

"Slow down. Desynchronize from standard time frames and surprising opportunities may present themselves."

I have a theory about time. Western culture values what I call linear time. We run on schedules, our watches, the clock, our daily organizers. The economy depends on productivity, which requires linear time.

I am trying to adapt to circular time. As a creative being, circular time allows me to think, to experience, to wonder, to lose my awareness of time "passing by". The natural cycle of a day and of the season allows me to immerse myself in the studio or the garden.

I'm a much happier person!

Unfortunately I've also forgotten to pick up my husband from work a few times.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Long Eared Owl Photos

A local photographer, Christine Koltun, generously shared her photos of a long eared owl and her chicks. The photo of the mother won an award and was published in our local paper The Sudbury Star this past Saturday.

Christine writes:
"These are the pictures of the long eared owl and her babies. I had spotted the mama in her nest a couple of months ago and have been watching her ever since. She was nesting in an old crows nest along a nature trail on our property. She had four babies. The first baby that I saw was at the bottom of the tree and had died. The next day there was another baby at the bottom of the tree and he was alive. For the next seven days I checked on him. Mama owl took care of him by bringing him dead mice. I noticed a fox one morning and sure enough the baby was gone. Mother nature took control. So there were two wide eyed babies left in the nest. They grew quite quick. Within 7 days they were gone but not before I took pictures of them and their mama. She is beautiful."

Thanks Christine!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Blooming Today

Three stunning blooms:

Oriental Poppy
A gift from my gardening friend Sherry.

'Tiny Rubies' Dianthus
The size of your thumbnail and oh so fragrant!

'Flame' Peony
Breath-taking colour and it doesn't flop in the rain.
What's not to love?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mark Lipinski is Distracting Me

I should be doing this:

But all I want to do is play with this:

This is Mark Lipinski's new fabric line called Oakdale (on the left) and his basics line called Elements (right). Mark designs for Northcott, which shipped the fabrics to me last week.

I've had a quilt pattern idea for over a year now, but hadn't been able to find the right fabrics to express it. I wanted something Country-ISH, but not Country-Cute (to which I am allergic). I also needed the correct scale of print, and complex colours that were fun and funky without being too crayon bright. When I saw Oakdale, I knew it would be perfect! And Mark's Elements line also fills the colour variety I needed for my new pattern.


Mark is an award-winning television talk show producer and programming executive who has taken the quilt world by storm with his magazine Mark Lipinski's Quilters Home, his no-holds barred blog, and his dynamic fabric collections. I've heard him speak, and he's a hoot!

So Mark, my strawberry garden calls out for me. And on a gorgeous sunny morning in June I am inside the studio, playing with you.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Mulching Strawberries

The mulching has begun!

I'm using several layers of newspaper or newsprint (saved from the packing material we used during our last house move). Overlap the newspapers about 6". Wet the paper as you lay it down so it doesn't blow away in the wind.

I'm adding the shredded cedar mulch as I go, to hold down the newspaper. I buy cedar mulch on sale at the end of the summer, to be used for the next summer. I like it because it smells good, stays in place, and keeps the plants clean. It also saves me countless hours of weeding and watering work.

Voila! Doesn't that look nice? This job took 3 hours to complete, and I didn't rush it. Two more sections to go, then I move on to the next job!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Fruit and Herb Garden

I am working on a fruit and herb garden in my back yard. I used to have a huge vegetable garden (25 years ago!), and spent the entire months of August and September making preserves and blanching veggies for the winter. And I NEVER want to do that again. This one, though, makes me very happy.

This is my garden yesterday morning. The composter is the black thingy at the back on the left, and my hon made me a cedar obelisk as a focal point. The boards were salvaged from my neighbor's bonfire pile. They make the pathways so I don't get muddy feet and also prevent the soil from being compacted when weeding and watering.

Lily supervises nearby while enjoying a little bush salad of her own.

So, this garden contains only my favorite food plants:

6 different tomatoes
June and ever-bearing strawberries
daylilies to make salad (you can eat daylily flowers - they're delicious)
tea herbs: lemon verbena, peppermint, chocolate and ginger mints
cooking herbs: cilantro, basil, flat-leaf parsley, sage, chives, garlic

I was done the planting by mid-afternoon. Strawberries are in the right and left sections. Tomatoes and herbs are in the centre section. Each section measures about 4' x 20'. You can comfortably reach about 3' for weeding, so I can easily reach into each section from either side.

I planted a Dropmore Scarlet Climbing Honeysuckle in the centre of the obelisk. This hardy climbing vine will fill the entire structure within 3-4 years. The flowers are tubular, and they attract hummingbirds!

Today I'll begin to mulch the entire garden. Mulch will reduce the weeds, retain moisture, and prevent soil from splashing up on the berries and herbs.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Blooming Today

These are blooming around my house today:

Rosy Lights Azalea
I've planted one of these just about everywhere we've lived. Love the fragrance, love the hardiness and I LOVE the colour!

Mountain Ash

Jack Frost Brunnera
This gorgeous shade plant came with a gorgeous price: $40. I don't regret paying that one little bit. It blooms for almost 2 months and the leaves are beautiful.

Hadspen Cream Brunnera
This one keeps it's variegation throughout the summer and also blooms for about 2 months.

Fernleaf Bleeding Heart
My gardening friend Sherry gave this to me. The original plant came from her grandmother's house in a town nearby, so she said I had to have it.

Emerald Carousel Barberry
One of my all-time favorite shrubs. These yellow flowers turn into tiny bright orange drops of fruit, and the leaves turn fiery red-orange in the fall.

And let's not forget these Dandelion boogers...

... which turn into this! And yes, this IS my lawn...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Lily and Nyx

Lily had a stare-down with Nyx last night.

Nyx became upset.

When you're a happy Golden Retriever,
sometimes things don't make sense!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Whirlpool Socks

I just finished a pattern called Whirlpool Socks, from Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn by Carol J. Sulcoski, published by Interweave. It has a pretty picot edge and easy pattern repeat. I used ONline Supersocke 100 superwash wool, colour #1137.

I love the patterns in this book. Unfortunately there are a number of errors, and Interweave has published a set of PDF files on their website with corrections. Their files do not include an error I found in the Whirlpool pattern, however. On page 60, under Heel Flap, 2 lines down, the pattern should read: slip 2 (0,7)

I'm beginning a new set of socks using Patons new Stretch Socks yarn.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Reverse Sewing

I began a quilt for my daughter on Christmas Eve, and lately have been working on it again. I chose the Stone Cottage design from Judy Martin's Log Cabin Quilt Book. The queen size Stone Cottage measures 99" x 99", which is the size I made. But I've since realized that I should have made it smaller to fit my daughter's bed.

SO, I'm reverse sewing! (Quilt speak for picking out stitches...) I'm removing 3 rows off the side and one off the bottom. The new reduced size will be 81" x 93". An added bonus is that I can use a standard queen size quilt batt now, whereas before I would have needed a king size batt.

Our weather has been awful: cold, wet, did I say cold? It freakin' snowed on Sunday morning. Seemed like a good idea to get back in the studio.