"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

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

☀️ Summer Celebrations❣️

Welcome to our Summer Blueberry Tea celebration!  My granddaughters, Molly, Rosie, and Joy helped me fill Cookie Bear with ginger cookies. Cookie Bear, who is about 46 years old was made for me by my last college roommate, Ginger. He has traveled back and forth across the USA thanks to all our moves. Each girl wanted him to look at her, so they kept turning his head around.  Molly was our hostess and decorated the sea chest for the event.  She chose blueberry flavored tea which was delicious, and Cookie Bear is looking at her in this photo.
 We are celebrating that my youngest son-in-law, Gary, has been honing his woodworking skills.  He did not make this swing, but he finished it and figured out a way to hang it on two trees which we think is pretty clever.  The swing faces the pond, which is now in its dry season.  The pond looks like a big bowl of green salad now and as summer progresses it will probably become more golden in color.
 We have three Hydrangea bushes.  We hoped we could coax all three to be this purple-blue hue, but so far just two of them are co-operating.  However, we are celebrating that two of the bushes have made it through their first year here and we hope the third will enjoy blooming here, too.
 We did not knowingly plant this Daisy plant but are celebrating its choice to bloom on the berm because we are fond of Daisies.
 On July 4th we celebrated the USA's birthday with an indoor/outdoor picnic. Our menu included hot dogs and hamburgers, salads, chips, white cake, and fruit. I had strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries with frozen vanilla almond milk on top...patriotically yummy 😃
 At nightfall, we had a few little fireworks.  Some of my young granddaughters could be heard celebrating by saying, "Happy Birthday, America!"
 This summer we are celebrating that nearby Mt. Hood received a good snow pack in the winter. It still has lots of snow on its slopes and we so enjoy being able to see it during our warm clear summer days.
My good blogging friend, Teresa and I met at a restaurant to celebrate that I finally finished my Ruby Shawl!  Teresa was first to use the pattern and encouraged me for years to finish my shawl...what a dear and faithful friend!  In spite of all the challenges I faced in crocheting it, I am so glad I did.  Teresa is wearing the new shawl she just finished.  Isn't it gorgeous! If you haven't already visited Teresa's blog, click HERE.  You will be linked to it, where you can learn more about how she made her shawl. You can also search her blog to enjoy seeing the many beautiful things she has knitted, crocheted, painted, beaded, photographed, and you can enjoy the good narratives about them and her life adventures.
Thanks to all of you who have encouraged me to finish the shawl and to interact with you through blogging!

Tonight my youngest son, Tim, and I plan to head to the airport to get my oldest sister, Carolyn.  Then in a few days, we plan to head to the airport to get my older sister, Margaret.  Next week we three sisters [ages 75, 73, and 66] plan to drive from Portland, Oregon, toward Omaha, Nebraska, to visit my niece, Trina's family who live on a farm near there.  Then we plan to fly from Omaha to Boston, Massachusetts, to visit more family members. From Boston we plan to fly to Detroit, then from Detroit Margaret plans to fly back to Burbank, California, while Carolyn and I plan to fly back to Omaha and drive back to Portland.

I am so excited!  My mind is full of lists I have not stopped to write down, but I hope I am remembering to do all I need to do!

Thanks for visiting with me here.  I love your kind comments.  My communication with you over the next six weeks is apt to be sparse, but I will be wondering..." what are you celebrating this summer?"

Cheering you on and praying for blessings for you,
Gracie 🤗

Friday, June 30, 2017

In the Eye of the Storm

Welcome, Family, Friends, and Visitors!  While threatening hurricanes of news swirl around me in the world, and challenging squalls of circumstances rock the boat of this Saylor from day to day, one thing I try to meditate on is how to be in the eye of the storm.  I found this song on YouTube and while it does not reflect my specific experiences, it does speak to my aim to know peace in the midst of our world that is peace challenged. 
In my mind's eye, I see our home with gardens that offer the lovely controlled chaos in scent and sight of the quintessential English cottage garden abuzz with bees and highlighted with fluttering butterflies and hummingbirds. I do not have photos of bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds to show you, but I have seen them here.
 The Joseph Coat rose bushes climb to great heights, but we do not know how to train them to form a lush arbor over us.  They do however amazingly produce over a dozen roses at the tip of a few branches, and if your nose gets close enough you can enjoy their sweet gentle scent.
 The HollyHocks have come back again and are forming promising buds at the tip of each gangling stalk,
 and the Clematis is in lush purple bloom.
 We have several types of Hydrangeas and the white bush presently has the most profuse number of blooms.
 We have done some weeding of the berm out front and some of my adult children have spread Cedar chips to help keep moisture in the soil and hopefully discourage weeds from thriving.
 The wildflowers my youngest son planted down by the pond last year have dared to come back this year and he has been weeding around them since this photo was taken.
 Being born in New England, our family enjoyed having traditional Boston baked beans and brown bread that my mom made.  She had a brown pottery bean pot that my older sister now has.  I have been fascinated in reading in some English novels that the characters often ate beans and an egg on toast and so recently I prepared a version of that for myself and thought it was yummy.
 I just have four more rows to crochet on my Ruby shawl!!!!

At our worship art group last Saturday, I started on a mixed media project focused on the theme that God chooses to build believers together into a dwelling in which He lives by His Spirit. The example our facilitator made is very clever and different in color from what I have started. I enjoyed forming the base she designed and I hope to work more on decorating the houses.

How are you creatively coping with the storms of life in and around you?

May you know joy and peace.

Gracie xx

Monday, June 12, 2017

Crafting in Late Spring

Welcome!  While I had hoped to publish posts once a week since my last post, it has been over four weeks since then. I have been easily distracted by happy and sad events around me.  Creative projects stoke my happiness and combat my sadness.

 One sunny afternoon I packed the basket pictured above with some creative pastimes and hiked out to our front pond and sat at a picnic table to try to capture photos of wildlife, and then use my watercolor pencils.
 Can you see the squirrel in the upper V of the tree?  He scampered in the branches above me.
 And Mr. Mallard came into the view of my Panasonic zoom lens.
 Another day I stopped at the corner of Waybill Road and used my 7Plus iPhone to capture this zoomed in view of Mt. Hood with a row of mystery to me trees in front of it.
 Our flowers on the front porch are fluffing out in a lovely way.
 I am using Alicia Paulson's book, Stitched in Time and Helen Philipps' book Quick and Clever Cross Stitch to prime myself as I plan to do a stitching piece similar to my mom's I showed you several posts back.  My mom used linen to stitch on, but I have decided to use cotton Aida cloth.
Mid May I was given flowers to celebrate Mother's Day.  Some are now planted in the garden, but this bouquet lasted a long time and seemed to be happy on the Pioneer Woman brand tablecloth I found for a bargain price.
 We went to Wildwood State Park to celebrate birthdays while our friends from California were on a week long stay with us.
 Our friends stayed through Memorial Day, and we saw this Sandy cemetery especially decorated to honor those who have died in service while trying to establish and protect the peace.
 The first week of June my youngest daughter, son in law and son and I went camping on the east side of Mt. Hood.  We played miniature golf and the guys went back and played several rounds of golf on the big course as well.
 We had a bit of rain, hail and chilly temps, but even though we were deep in the woods we glamped thanks to being in a camping trailer.
This big black crow was our alarm clock on several mornings...just as effective as roosters!
 I have started the second part of the Ruby Shawl pattern. Guess what!  I have only seven more rows to crochet to complete the shawl!
Look what just arrived in the mail from my blogging friend, Joy, who lives in Lincolnshire, England, an area from which some of my ancestors immigrated in the1600's.  She sent a wonderful letter, and shared some lovely yarn left from a winter cardigan she just knit, some beautiful buttons, and knowing I like sheep, too, she sent me a learned one to help me count stitches! Thanks so much, Joy, for your kindness.
A few years ago a Mothers of Preschoolers group sold banners at the church I belonged to.  I bought the banner pictured above and have it hanging above my front door to remind me that it is my aim in life to get better and better at crafting love for those around me in the world, including you!

What are you crafting in the world around you in this season?

Gracie xx

Friday, May 5, 2017

~~Lilac Time~~

Welcome!  Thanks for coming for a visit today.

 At a local grocery store yesterday morning I was thrilled to see a huge display of bouquets of Lilac branches with blossoms in many shades of purple. The scent of the blooms wafted about in a wonderful way.  I rushed home to check on our old fifteen foot tall and nearly as wide Lilac bush out back, and was rewarded to see a number of buds up high. I was able to cut this plume of blossom that was down low on the bush and bring it inside to enjoy. Please enjoy a cyber whiff through your computer screen.

Since I last posted I found an inexpensive picture frame online like the one I showed you several posts ago that holds an embroidery piece my mom stitched.  The frame I purchased came with an E. A. Abbey print of a woman knitting [Katrina Van Tassel from the Legend of Sleepy Hollow], and I am enjoying viewing it on my living room wall.  I am planning to make an embroidery piece like my mom's to put in the frame. My track record for completed projects stands to be improved and the planning of this project is encouraging me in that direction!

I believe the frame is from the early 1900's Arts and Crafts Movement Period, as is the one above it.  My Uncle George made the framed mirror piece in his high school shop class and gave it to my mom for her birthday.  It had pride of place in all the homes my folks had as long as I can remember.  I especially like the print of the sheep wandering down a country lane.  I think my mom told me that she thought her brother had cut the print from a calendar.

 Several weeks ago at my worship art group our facilitator gave us some sketched forms on white paper that we cut out and glued on a acrylic painted background that we stamped with a fence form and some birds...following her example each in our own way. She had us glue both sides of the sketched papers before painting them in order to discourage the paper from puckering which was a helpful tip for me since I have made other pieces with lots of wrinkles.

 Then a week ago I found a Traveler's Journal that has papers that are lined or blank or gridded.  It is handy to have one journal in which I can record in a variety of forms, my creative explorations.  So far I have written and sketched on some lined pages, I am plotting my embroidery project on gridded pages, and I painted this wonky view of sunflowers with watercolor pencils on a blank sheet..trying to learn more about perspective and shading and process.

 At my Wednesday morning stitching group I am crocheting a new baby blanket and using Deborah Norville Serenity acrylic Baby Yarn.  I am stitching in a single crochet, double crochet repeat across which makes a soft bumpy texture.

 After cutting the lilac branch some of my girls joined me outside and they perched for me on the back steps by the recycling crate.  They are among the next able generation being trained to be  recyclers!  Their attire reflects the fantastic sunny 83F weather we have enjoyed the last two days, although boots are helpful since the ground is still wet and mucky.

The sky is the limit!  I thought this view of the Red Maple tree across the driveway from the steps where the girls were sitting was so pretty and up lifting! 

The post I published last night around midnight  in a thunderstorm disappeared. I used my iPhone, iPad, and laptop in the process of composing and publishing and received comments from Joy and Tammy which I hope I can recover as I reconstruct and republish the post.  The sky may be limitless but technology and my use of technology not so much!

Have you enjoyed views of limitless skies or enjoyed some creative pursuits since I last heard from you? I would love to have you share with me!

Gracie xx

Friday, April 21, 2017

Spring Around Here

 While I have not been posting much of late, and still have not caught up visiting many blogging friends, you can see from this sketch that my nine year old granddaughter, Haley, has pictured me with pen in hand after she and I were working on reading together one day. [very kind of her to make me appear thinner than I am]
 Several weeks ago I was thrilled to see Mt.Hood from 307th Street near our home.  We are dashing about through many April showers so views of Mt. Hood are precious and few!
 One day between showers, my oldest daughter and her five daughters and I, hiked around our ponds to see what we could see.  Molly caught this beautiful little green frog who soon leaped down along his way.
 We admired the Holly trees still showing us their pretty red berries.
 Last year we could not find any Trillium in the woods, but this year we saw four!
 Johnson Creek is full and flowing along at a merry clip.
Thanks to Karen's post, I believe we saw a patch of Salmon Berries.
 These Pansies somehow survived our winter.

 Our neighbors across the drive had profuse blooms in their Camellia hedge.
 The Mallards are visiting us, and we hear geese cheering their way south in the skies over us.
 The Wild Cherry tree has gorgeous white blooms.
 Although, they were battered by an impressive hail storm recently.
However, after one such storm I looked up and saw this rainbow through the window to the right of the fireplace, then saw the other end of the rainbow through the window to the left of the fireplace.  By the time I aimed my camera through the left window the rainbow had faded and did not show up well in the photo, but seeing the rainbow that way is an exciting memory for me!
 Aren't these sweet heart coasters and hand painted card lovely?  My dear blogging friend, Pat, blessed me with them. Thank you again, Pat.
 Completing this crocheted pocket for my iPhone is my main crafting achievement since my last post...unless you count frogging many rows of a baby blanket as an achievement...sigh...
 While driving around our neighborhood I loved seeing this row of trees.
 The local nursery arboretum was coming alive with fresh colors.
 The Saturday before Easter my five granddaughters went hunting for eggs in the yard.
Sarah was pleased to find this one.
 Then on the way to church on Sunday while my youngest son in law was driving, this flock of sheep and our church sign came into view. Sheep not only remind me of my love of trying to tame fiber into yarn and fabric, but they also bring to mind numerous scripture verses that challenge and comfort me...chief among them, Isaiah 53:6 NKJV All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; Psalm 23 NKJV The Lord is my Shepherd...He restores my soul...I will fear no evil for You are with me...
Joy, my retired nurse, blogging friend from northeast England, sent me a wonderful hand-made card and note and a book mark for Easter, which I really appreciate and I thought some of you might like to see as well. Thank you again for your kindness and encouragement to me, Joy.

What season is around you there?  May you know comfort and joy in it!