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...a glimpse into life on Vancouver Island, needle felting, photography, food, gardening, etcetera...etcetera
"Happiness always looks small when you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and at once you learn how big and precious it is."
Maxim Gorky

Saturday, March 26, 2011

It felt different...

This past week, I decided to experiment with wet felting.
I do a form of dry felting with a sharp, barbed needle to make my sculptures.
All felting is just a form of agitating fibers to get them to mat together.
I didn't want to use up any of my 'good' colours, so I used some Alpaca roving which I can't use for needle felting because the fibers are too long.
I took some tips from farmlady down in California.
(her blog is full of great goat stories, wool experiments and so many other adventures)
She's been having a real go at it and has made some really cool stuff.
So bubble wrap and roving to start...
I wanted to make a 'vessel' of some sort so I had to make a bladder to form around...
Lots of hottish water and a bit of dish soap in a spray bottle in a big bowl in the sink...
Start layering the roving and spray and smooth out...
This process takes a really long time to get it thick enough for strength...
It gets really sloppy too but your hands get SUPER clean!
It started to look like I was making bread but didn't smell like it!
In fact, I love the smell of the wet roving...something earthy and comforting about it, although if you
shrunk your favorite sweater, you probably wouldn't feel the same!
Next I decided to add another colour...
This dark brown took FOREVER to get wet and stick...I guess that's why sheep can stay out in the rain and it doesn't seem to bother them.
I took the bladder out and started really working the wool...
But the brown was not co operating!!
The great thing about working with fibre, is that it's so forgiving...you can mess around with it and it won't necessarily ruin the piece.
I decided after I tore off the dark brown, that I would add a bit of green to it...
 Again, long fibers seem to work best, but, lesson learned,
I should have put it in with the beige at the beginning.
When I was finished (tired actually!) I formed it around a bowl to dry...
...but the more I looked at it, the more it just looked like a giant hat.
I imagined people seeing my apples sitting in an upside down hat on the dining table
with puzzled looks on their faces.
So I thought I would get all artsy and add some dimension to the shape by sticking some
wine bottle corks (why I have so many saved up corks is another story)  under the edges and sculpting the form a bit...
...but then it just looked like a big wool tortilla bowl!
Once again, I manipulated the form while still wet and came away with something I thought
looked kind of interesting...
Then Tom says. "Hey that's a cool boat".
Yeah, right, thanks hun...
Anyway it's officially my seed packet basket.
 I think I'll stick to needle felting for now.
My fingers are quite wrinkly from the whole episode.
Maybe one day farmlady will come up and give me a few pointers.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Song for Friday...new beginnings...

Nothing says spring like Felix Mendelssohn.

This music always brings to mind...
bees buzzing...
birds fluttering about...
the new warmth of spring in the air...
Promise.

Have a beautiful spring weekend all!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Book review...

I found this book in the thrift shop a while back and now I want to buy it for everyone I know!
It will change the way you think about food; whether buying it, growing it, cooking it or eating it.
The book, takes you on a year long journey, with the author and her family moving from Arizona to
rural Appalachia where they decide to spend the entire year either growing their own food, buying it locally 
or going without .They are each allowed one thing that they can't live without.
Olive oil and coffee are on that list.
I believe I would choose chocolate. Hands down.
Month by month they come up against many challenges and become extremely educated
about the food industry both near and far.
It will inspire you to think twice when you walk into the grocery store for that pineapple in January.
By no means are they fanatical about any of it and humbly learn what it is to respect food holistically.
Barbara Kingsolver is a great writer and this 'essay' into local food is entertaining, full of wit and wisdom.

(by the way, if you haven't read any of her fictional stories, I recommend: "Prodigal Summer" "The Bean Trees" or "The Poisonwood Bible")

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Celebrating green and black...

More on that later....but first.
A spring walk down the Galloping Goose.
This is Roche Cove...
(and Griffin!)
It's part of a long regional trail which goes from Victoria to Leechtown.
That's 60 kilometres long.
It used to be a rail bed but has been converted to a cyclist, walker, horse riding trail 
which can be done in bits and pieces.
We chose this little bit near our neck of the woods on St. Patrick's Day.
What a beautiful spring day it was...
All that is green came out to show off...
Thick, spongy moss...
Delicate sprouting moss...
Fuzzy, furry moss...
Lacey, fern moss...
This time of year, everything is awakening to the warmth...
Skunk cabbage glows bright in the dark forest creeks...
Another name for this is Lantern weed...
 Sprouts of Salmon berry staring to show...
Walking down into the woods was magical on this day with the bit of sun...
bringing out the lovely tones of green...
This creek, babbling away...
Bugs looking for food in the Indian plum blossoms...
One of the old railway ties turning itself into a moss planter...
And Griffin, always stealing my glove when he gets the chance!
(eat your heart out Carl!)
Now back to the note on the windshield...
Lucky for us, one of our favorite pubs is very close to this part of the Goose!
This is the 17 Mile House...
It's a historic pub built in 1894 as a carriage stop on the 3 day journey from Victoria to Sooke.
Now it takes 45 minutes by car.
The floors are creaky and uneven, small nooks and booths invite you to sit by the fire...
Lovely stained glass...
We come for the ambiance, of course, but today we met Norene and Bill for a pint of the best...
Celebrating the green with the black!
Cheers!