Simply Beautiful.

Every day we are faced with the choice- how can I make life better today? What can I say, do, make, give or be to make my life and the lives of others better. Here I want to focus on the positives of life in each day, in each moment. By choosing how we answer those questions in a positive way, we make the world a better place for every single one.

I am trying a new format starting today. I will be posting Studio project and shop updates on Mondays. Each Wednesday I will post a "World Wednesday" update with things found in nature, or other nature related topics. On Fridays I will post a tip or project I suggest. Hopefully it will be a fun and exciting change!

All images and texts are copyrighted, please contact me for permission to use anything you see here.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fairy House

The only thing better than being outside on a warm spring day is making your own fairy house to enjoy it in.  My mother-in -law found a huge piece of lace in an antique store for a ridiculously low price.  She bought it and brought it home, knowing her granddaughter and I would certainly find some use for it.  She was very right!  It's been many many things, but this is one of my favorites.  We used the lace to make a sweet roof for our wonderland home.  We used another bargain find for the "floor" or rug.  After filling the house with herbs (Fairy food according to my girl) and Nekots and water (girl food according to me ) we were almost set!

With the addition of a Nancy Drew book we were reading for an hour of reading.  I couldn't believe a five year old could sit still for so long!  Rose petals fresh from the garden made our rooftop dreamy...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cathedral Quilt

I started a cathedral quilt last week and have become quickly obsessed.  Yes they are complicated, but I've wanted  to make one for a long time.  I love the option of including so many different colors, kind of like framing beautiful individual pieces.  I have so many fabrics that I love, I just wanted bits of them all together.  Some people do these quilts in tiny pieces.  I knew I would not have the patience for that, so I started at about triple the size of the normal quilt.  You have to fold and fold and fold these suckers- Origami Quilt might be a better name in fact.  After creating a rather large piece I realized that I didn't want every diamond to be filled in with a patterned piece.  I wanted some places for the eye to rest.  Here I noticed my mistake.  If I left the quilt as it was, there would be more solid pieces than fantastic patterned pieces, no matter how many squares I added.  I let it sit for a day.  Could I really undo all those squares I had completed?  All of that hand stitching?  I made my choice this morning.  I set to work with some trusty scissors and undid them all.  I knew that looking at that quilt as it grew and grew and wasn't quite what I wanted would eventualy break my heart.  Sometimes it's worth a little...okay a lot of extra time invested to get something you'll be really proud of.  I feel oddly relieved.  I made the right choice in something!  It's not a What do I do with my life kind of something, but it will bring comfort and joy to me every time I look at it.  That's great too!

You can see I'm really into oranges and greens right now. 

I've decided to do a lot of rearranging since I have to take it all out anyway.  This red piece will move to a completely different part of the quilt.  It was too big of a show-off here!  I love this print though- it looks Scandinavian to me, or maybe like a story book pattern.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cicadas, Lavender and the Search for Spring

I have had the pleasure of spending some lovely time outside the past few days.  Even though my daughter would have everyone believing it is full on summer with her chants of "PLEEEEEZE can I run through the sprinkler!" (at 8:30 in the morning when it is a balmy 45 degrees and overcast with rain likely) or "Let's go swimming in the river!! (later in the day- basically same weather conditions.)".  She simply can't fathom why everyone doesn't want to be in water all the time...okay she comes by that honestly!  So despite her desires it is Spring.  This is certainly spring, with it's fickle weather and lovely beginings everywhere.

These lovely baby lavender blooms caught my eye today.  I didn't even see the spider web line as I took the picture.  I love the general soft  green that fills the landscape.  These petals look soft and they are, already fragrant too.  The leaves smell wonderful and taste pretty good too.  I've baked lavender in bread before, but only recently tried it on its own.  It's slightly spicy and bitter at first with a very sweet aftertaste that lasts for a long time.  Definitely worth the initial bitterness.

Also new this week were these red eyed cicadas.  Apparently the Joe Schmo every year cicadas have black eyes, but the ones that are cyclical, with long underground larvae stages have red eyes (or other colors).  These guys live years- from 2 to 9 years underground where they feed on plant roots.  Then they emerge for a few weeks to shed their skins, grow their wings and mate to create the next generation.  The one who love my Iris leaves have most likely been underground for seven years. Today they are slow, barely moving around.  They look like I feel- trying to take it all in and wondering exactly what's going on!

I found this shell, left by a cicada probably earlier today.  There were many on the sword-like leaves or the giant irises.  I thoughts this one was truly remarkable, so tenuously hanging on to the very tip of a tiny vine.  It made me wonder in the little guy climbed out there purposefully to lose his shell, or if he was just exploring and got stuck when the change started.  I think it just goes to show that any time, any place, can be a ripe time for change.

Well, as I'm writing this my daughter has just said, "Mommy Mrs. Sun just gave me the most wonderful present!!  She knew I wanted to use my 'slipping slide' today and so she's making it hot!! My body says 'get in the water right now!  Can we?"  Oh my.  Well at least one of us likes Spring!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Designing's Devine!

I have been in full design mode for the past couple of weeks.  The more life starts to swirl around me the more I want to join in.  I mean that in two ways- as spring pushes more and more things into breathing, scampering, twittering, growing, glowing life all around me I just want to create too.  I want to show my love for all of that energy and the beauty I see around me. 
As events are swirling around me, the whir of global events and personal decisions I want to feel more connected to something sure. I want to feel a little more control over something. Creating, and being in control of that process feels great.  I may not know what will be going on in my life, or in the world, next week or next month, but I know how to finish this row, or where to put that button.  That just feels lovely.

Here's one of my latest designs, a convertable shawl/ wrap in a soft combination of yarns.  The colors made me think of all things comforting and luxurious- green growth, soft white clouds, dark delicious chocolate.