"I started photographing my domestic world and writing not just about what I had made,
but why I made it, examining the thoughts that accompany creativity and the act of making."
Jane Brocket from The Gentle Art of Domesticity p. 189 UK edition

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Five on Friday: Autumn is Falling !

What season in your life are you welcoming?  Here near the base of Mount Hood near Portland, Oregon, I am celebrating the official arrival of Autumn!  With thanks to Amy at Love Made My Home, I am joining in  her Five on Friday link and I hope you will enjoy visiting some of the others who are doing the same.  Just click on Love Made My Home on the right sidebar or click on Amy's name to connect with others' posts; and here are my five for the week.

A tree by our front pond is the first around us to don orange-red-yellow leaves and all of a sudden there are enough dried leaves on the ground my older granddaughters went outside today to try to rake up a pile of leaves to jump in.

I brought out an autumnal tablecloth and some Fall decorations I have used for several years.  I knit one pumpkin and crocheted several others and a gourd.  The big yellow Maple leaf on the right of the basket I brought in from outside today.  My youngest son, Tim, has been successfully salmon fishing.  Tonight he made salmon cakes for us and we sat at the table to enjoy eating them.

At this time of year it seems I have an extra challenge trying to discourage spiders from weaving luxurious webs inside.  I have been wielding various dusters in battle.  Today I used some orange oil on the sea chest and rearranged some yarn and dishcloths, and acorns and Oak leaves on the chest after raising a cloud of dust while dusting.

This afternoon by my favorite chair I fixed some Pumpkin Spice tea and enjoyed it while recovering from inhaling the cloud of dust I had raised.   While sitting in my favorite chair this past week I tried my hand at making an arrangement of acorns and painting a watercolor painting of them.  Then just from my imagination I tried to make a painting of a bunch of radishes. I still have not got the hang of making shadows in proper places, but I am having fun trying.

It is definitely getting darker earlier these days, and I have been enjoying my little electric fire in the fireplace again.  The other evening I even was inspired to find my Ruby shawl and crochet some more on it.  Do you think I will finish it this Fall?  I know it is risky, but I hope you will cheer me on to to complete it before another Autumn falls!


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Five on Friday: Late Summer Delights

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!  Overall we have been having perfect late summer days since I last posted.  I am cherishing the sunshine knowing that soon our days will be more gray and rainy and I might need you to remind me how delightful I told you the days are now.

With thanks to Amy for hostessing, I am joining in with Amy on Five On Friday, I have five late summer activities to show you some photos of and type to you about. 

One: Canning Apple Butter
While I have not dunked canning jars in and out of boiling water, I have helped a little with trimming fruit before we preserved it.  One day we gathered two of our Crock Pots into my room and we made some Apple Butter using a recipe from our Betty Crocker Cookbook.  Our Apple Butter has no fat in it at all, but is made with apples, water, sugar and spices that lushly perfumed the air in our home.  Mmmmmmm~~~

Two: Tea for Ten
Attending a tea held at my friend Carol's backyard was delightful!  I truly wish you could have attended with me.  There were ten of us there. Through the many years they have lived in their modest home, Carol and her husband have arranged in their yard, plants and seating areas that welcome and embrace you.

 Three: Four Courses, Three Teas
Carol served us four courses: Sorbet, Scones, Salad and Sandwiches, then Cookies, Tarts, and Fudge. The three flavors of tea were Lavender Tulsi Tea, Chai Spice Black Tea, and Raspberry Earl Black Tea. While I did not try everything, what I had was delicious, and we all enjoyed our time together.  I learned that Carol had made the vases out of pickle jars and covered the jars with river rocks...organic and lovely.

Four: Artistic Garden Planning
Carol and her husband are self taught gardeners.  Through the years they visited garden centers in each season of the year.  They picked plants in each season that pleased them so that throughout the year their garden has colorful highlights hugged by various textures of green.  Carol is a self taught artist as well, and particularly enjoyed making garden mosaics on stepping stones, birdhouses, benches and water fountains.  She also imprinted a very large leaf on a piece of concrete and tucked it under some bushes which is a delight for one's eyes to spy.

Five: Across the Columbia River in Washington State
It has been a great blessing for me to ride across the Columbia with my dear friend, Teresa.  We love stopping at various parks to enjoy the view. Yesterday it was pleasantly windy, and we enjoyed watching the kitesurfers sailing on the water and in the air.

Rain is supposedly headed our way in the next few days which will make the plants happy, and me too, because I do like the rain even if I do eventually fuss about prolonged periods of gray skies.

Whatever your weather may be, what is bringing you delight...or challenge?


Friday, September 2, 2016

Five on Friday: Watercolor Art Gallery

While I admire the art work of many artists, I somehow am especially interested in painting with watercolor paints, but have only fiddled around mostly on my own.  Saturday, I had the joy of attending a watercolor workshop taught by Carolynn Wagler.  First she had us experiment with four different kinds of color washes (upper page on the right). Then we started out with three free hand paintings on the lower right just trying to follow her example of forming cone flowers, northern lights over a house with trees and the moonlight gleaming on water.  The last four paintings she had us use graphite paper to copy a sketch and then tried to help us see how we could shade the objects with different tones to add depth of detail.
This is Carolynn's painting of Buttercup, a local cow.  Note the shadow of the daisy on Buttercup's nose.  She showed us how to create the daisy and the shadow of the daisy, but painting Buttercup was our last painting of the day...our grand opus...and I was so tired from concentrating all day, I did not try to paint the daisy or the daisy's shadow.  I was just happy to paint something that looked a little like Buttercup!
By Tuesday, I had recovered from all my concentrating on Saturday, and I looked up a photo of a colorful Bantam Rooster on Google images.  Using a pencil I sketched out the general shape of the rooster and then began applying watercolors.
My three oldest granddaughters wandered in while I was painting and I invited them to join in the fun!  We had a great time, but they took their work off to show their folks before I got a photo of their finished products.
While my Mr. Bantam is not as brilliant and glossy as his photograph, I did have a grand time painting him and am eager to practice and learn to become more skilled.

Are you practicing some skill that brings you joy?

Thanks Amy, for hosting Five on Friday and giving us the opportunity to share with each other in this format.


Friday, August 26, 2016

Summer's Height

 The first Saturday in August, our family friend, Grantie, invited us to picnic with her at her favorite nearby Oregon state park, Wildwood near the base of Mt. Hood outside Portland.
 Under a huge  green canopy of leaves we stayed cool at Wildwood and wandered out in the sunshine when we wanted to warm up playing catch or soccer or just strolling about.
 Our little wildflower patch at home is featuring sunny golden flowers now.
 Our Sweet Pea vines are producing more seed pods than flowers now, and the Sun Gold cherry tomato plant [on the right] is giving us some sweet tomatoes.
 The preemie baby blanket I have been single crocheting with Deborah Norville Serenity  medium weight acrylic Baby yarn this summer is complete. I made an edging on the ends with Knit Picks gray acrylic yarn, 3 single crochet stitches in one stitch, slip stitch in the next stitch, repeat.
In the two years the ladies at our church have been making blankets they have made over 250 blankets.  It is a fun challenge to find patterns that are tight enough not to catch on the equipment needed to care for the NICU babies.  This is a photo of some of the last fifty blankets the ladies made.  The different colors and stitches inspire me!
 After "discovering" a nearby Japanese garden this past Spring I decided to try to visit the garden in each season and note the difference in colors of the plants.  These photos show more highlights of golden yellow at the height of Summer.
 There are touches of orangey reds here and there, too.

 And I love the different shapes and shadows I saw, too.

 Going out the Main Street Park from the Japanese Garden there is a sunny bank of Black Eyed Susans that I admired.
 At the height of Summer Mt. Hood often looks hazy, but I am thankful the haze is due more to heat than wildfires this year.
 From where I stopped to photograph Mt. Hood on 302nd Street, I saw this little tree sporting pretty Fall colors...a little ahead of schedule.
 One day recently I came home to discover a wonderful package from my dear blogging friend, Pat.  She spends part of the year living at her home in Turkey; and, thinking of photos of my tea table I sometimes show you, she decided to send me a set of Turkish Tea glasses with golden spoons to stir one's tea. She sent me two kinds of fruit teas, Pomegranate and Apple both of which are delicious.  She also sent the cobalt blue round glass piece that is hanging from my tea jar.  On the other side of it there is a teardrop shaped white shape on the blue with a little black round circle in the center.  When I Google imaged the piece I confirmed it is called by some the Eye of God. It reminded me of the blessing in Psalm 32:8, "I will instruct you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye." Thanks again Pat for your lovely gifts to me.
 Then a few days ago I came home and discovered another package from my blogging friend who lives in Kuwait, Tammy.  She sent me a pretty moon with palms notecard, a crocheted white coaster and a bookmark from Bethlehem. Thanks again for your lovely gifts, Tammy.
Through the messages I have received I felt that love has traveled around the world to me even though I have not traveled far from home. Then this past Wednesday Teresa and I were thrilled to spot the transport of others who we hope are lovingly traveling around our part of the world on the Columbia River in the American Queen Steamboat.
 We also saw the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler we have enjoyed riding on and would love for you to be able to float in as well if you have not done so.
 When Teresa and I looked down at our feet where we were standing to take photos of the boats we had fun admiring the acorns that had fallen.
The mighty oak above us is releasing acorns at the height of Summer...seeds for growth in the seasons to come...

What is a highlight of the season of year you are in?

Gracie xx

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Foggy Cape Lookout Camping

Youngest SIL Gary sitting by the fire ring after setting up camp

Oldest SIL Jason and eight-year-old Hayley
Elisabeth, Sarah, Mary, Molly and Joy

Two-year-old Rosie and six-year-old Molly

Grandma [me] and Sarah

My youngest SIL put these magnetic letters on the hood of the stove in the camper
Trying to form a sachet for lavender with one of the cloths I knit with size 3 needles and size 3 crochet thread
Our one colorful sunset all week...

Although pockets of fog gave us some fuzzy views of Cape Lookout and the surrounding area, our outlook on our trip last week was mainly positive.  This was my second year camping at Cape Lookout, but instead of being in a tent on an air mattress, I slept in a camp trailer on a couch/bed that was very comfortable without an air mattress. Trailer camping comes with its own set of challenges, but seemed less labor intensive than setting up our tent village the last time we went tent camping.  We were not hooked up to power or water though, so we had to learn by trial and error how much water and power we were using before we needed to replenish both, and then it was just a matter of running the generator or filling the water tank from a faucet with a hose to the tank... so nice not to have to haul buckets of water from a creek!

While we heard from our family in Portland that they were suffering through some very hot sunny days just two hours away from us, we had cool, fog tainted days for the whole week, with just glimpses of the sun, moon and stars, but beautiful in its own way, and we had fun.

While at camp we played some board games, my daughter and I colored and knitted, and I finished the book "Springtime in Magnolia", a heartwarming family drama set in the South USA during the Great Depression and WWII. I also finished reading a Cozy Mystery set in England and could not guess "who dun it."

One day we went to Tillamook and had good fresh made rootbeer and lunch at a pub.  We kept my youngest daughter company at a Starbucks while she used their WIFI to work on her Master's in Nursing homework.

On another day my oldest daughter and SIL, and their five little girls came over to play on the beach with us.  We had a grand time on the beach and also visited the interesting Tillamook Pioneer Museum

During our journey we had some tension in following driving directions, and dealing with road hazards, and not being patient, and then on the way home the wires between the truck and the camper glitched in communicating so the trailer had to be towed home by a tow truck, but we were safe and home by 10pm Sunday night...grateful for our safety and the good times we shared.

What has your outlook been lately?