Monday, October 29, 2012

Pumpkin Custard

My mother recently gave me this lovely set of fluted ramekins.  They were practically crying out for something yummy.  I like custard!  And, I like pumpkin.  So, I decided to combine the two.

First, I lined the bottoms of the ramekins with a simple crust of crushed gingersnap cookies (biscuits) and melted butter.

Farm fresh eggs from a friend.

Add some sugar, vanilla, whole milk, and a pinch of salt and you have lovely custard.  Then stir in a cup of cooked pumpkin and some pumpkin pie spice and voila!

You have pumpkin custard!  I sprinkled a tiny bit of nutmeg on top just to make it pretty.

They smelled so heavenly when they were cooking!  I had to have a taste while they were still warm.  About halfway through,  I remembered to take this picture for you.  I guess you can tell, it turned out well.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Exorcising Perfectionism

A little self-portrait in cloth.  I recently asked a sweet and brilliant artist friend of mine the question, "If we are creating art for the purpose of self-expression, what part of ourselves are we trying to express?"  As usual, she gave a thought provoking answer, "Different things at different times."

Yes.  That's perfect.  And so, this little self-portrait reflects some of what I have been feeling lately, and is a deliberate exercise in embracing imperfection.  Sometimes life leaves us feeling a little frayed around the edges, a little tattered and torn, and feeling a little fragile.

Our imperfections help make us interesting and beautiful in our own unique ways.  This little piece is a celebration of that.  A little reminder to myself that it's ok to not be perfect.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Looking and Listening

Not knowing what direction to go next, I pulled out my fabric stash and laid it all out on the table. These fabrics began to whisper to me.  Indigo, red, and that wonderful striped fabric I love.  Yep, that's a pair of old blue jeans that are worn and tattered and just the perfect color.  They need to be recycled :)

So, I listened.  And I looked.  And I got out my trusty scissors and went to work.  Just making some simple shapes to play with.  Playing with color, texture, and arrangement.

And looking some more.  I'm trying a new approach.  I'm trying to let the materials tell me what they want to do.  And I am trying to learn to listen.

I like what I'm hearing so far.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"A Haunting We Will Go!" is Finished.....

Well, at least I think it is.  For the moment anyway. 

I added a little footpath out to the graveyard,  and changed the gravestones to cover up my horrible stitching.

I also added a spooky tree and a little stumpwork pumpkin. I guess the tree qualifies as stumpwork too?  It has a base of felt with yarn couched down and then fly-stitches on top of the yarn in varying shades of gray. And then I got tired.

So here it is as it stands today.  I had planned to do more, but I'm ready to move on to something else!  I'm relatively new to embroidery and I guess I'm a slow stitcher, but it seems like I've been working on this project forever and a day.  Perhaps next year when I am feeling in the Halloween mood again, I will pick it back up and add a few more details to it.  But, for now, this is it.  I hope you like it.  I am learning, and sometimes it is a bit frustrating when things don't turn out as you wish.  But, we must keep trying!  Keep working, keep learning, and don't give up!  Chin up, chest out, deep breath, and move on.  And when all else fails, have some tea and a cookie.  Thanks for visiting ;)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Halloween Vignette

My favorite Halloween decoration - my witch!  She is actually a wind-up music box and when she is wound, she bobs up and down behind her cape and the right side of her cape swings in and out.  She's wonderful!  And then there is her little work table where she mixes her potions and researches spells.  She is my most prized Halloween possession!

Next we have Mr. Pumpkin in his purple velvet coat and top hat standing next to a lovely haunted pumpkin candy dish.  I love the little ghosties peeping out of the pumpkin. 

And here is the whole scene set up on the buffet in the dining room.  Can you make out the black wire tree in the center?  It holds votive candles and really makes the scene nice and spooky at night when lit by the candlelight.  We have another little scene on the mantle and another one on top of the entertainment center.  It's really looking like Halloween around here!  How are you celebrating the spooky season?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Tree Sculpture

Along one side of our driveway, there is a long line of water oaks that we guess to be nearly 100 years old.  Nearly all of them are dying.  This tree in particular has been dead for a while, and my husband decided that it was a safety hazard and needed to be pulled down.  So, he took the tractor and tried to push it over, but it would not go down.  She is old and decaying, but she is not ready to lie down just yet.  Her heart is still strong as you can see in the third photo, and it is all that is holding her upright. Some people may pass by this tree and only see a decaying stump.  But, to me it is a poignant image.  It is all that remains of a once tall and mighty oak.  Children played under this tree.  Couples kissed goodnight under this tree.  Birds and squirrels and countless other creatures made their home in this tree.  And she is not ready to say good-bye just yet.  I was struck by the sculptural beauty of its shape and form, and I am still appreciating the beauty she has to offer those who will see it.  I will be sad when this tree finally falls to the ground. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tree Bark: An Interpretation

Inspiration.  The shaggy, overlapping, tiled bark of a white oak.

Inspiration #2.  A stack of coordinating fabrics in lovely autumnal hues - just aching to be used somehow.

And this is my interpretation of the bark of a white oak rendered in said stack of lovely autumnal fabrics.

Each individual "tile" is machine stitched to add texture both physically and visually and then cut and stitched onto a canvas backing.  I've been longing to interpret tree bark in some way for a long time, and this is my first attempt.  The first of many I'm sure.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ghostly Beauties

Aren't they beautiful?!  How fitting that these ghostly colored beauties popped up on my trail this month.  Very fitting for the month of October, yes?  Notice how the mushrooms are the same color as the piece of firewood they appear to be sprouting from.  And also how their caps seem to have the same striations that are in the wood. I wonder if that is just a wild coincidence? Anyway, I just love them!  They make me think of a beautiful french gown like the one Audrey Hepburn wore in My Fair Lady.  Or perhaps a ballerina's tutu.  They're so delicate, so ethereal, so ghostly.  Happy haunting everyone ;)

Monday, October 8, 2012


My latest abstract. The colors are much more vibrant and beautiful in person.  I promise.  Those inner rectangles that appear black in the photo are actually a deep purple.  My poor little camera just cannot pick up colors accurately.  Oh well.  A new camera is on my Christmas wish list!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Haunted House Project Update

I have attached my little house to a lovely purple calico background (which looks blue in the photos for some strange reason).  And the little surprise behind the door is a needle felted ghost!  My sweet friend, Emily, from The Floss Box has made an adorable little needle felted witch doll, and she kindly sent me some roving to play with.  It was the perfect thing for a wispy, ethereal ghostie.  I have also added a graveyard and a swirly starry sky ala Vincent van Gogh.  Soon, I hope to add a nice spooky tree and some pumpkins to complete the scene.  Hope you like it :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Spider Soiree'

A very early morning walk.  Just as the sun was coming up.  I could see my breath in the chill morning air.

We had a good soaking rain yesterday.  The dewdrops were clinging heavily to this old red cedar.

And everywhere  I looked - in the meadow, in the woods, in the yard, there were spider webs....

Lots of spider webs......

Clearly, there was a party here last night, and I wasn't invited!!  Considering that the whole of Wonderland Woods appears to be draped in silky webs, there are surprisingly few spiders to be found.  I guess they're sleeping it off.....;)