Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gracie and the Cows

We've been visiting Moonstruck Farm, home to a herd of gorgeous Jersey cows. Gracie finds them quite fascinating. They seem interested in her too.

These girls came a little closer to check out the furry newcomer.

"I don't know, Buttercup. What do you think?"

Eventually the whole gang showed up. Gracie was calm and curious, although I'm sure if she was on the other side of the fence she couldn't resist rounding them up.

Such beauties. Not possessing the daintiest of table manners though - I was surprised at how loudly they munched the grass.

I want to show these pictures to my doctor. He was trying to convince me that taking Premarin, derived from pregnant horses tied in their stalls and hooked up to tubes to extract their estrogen-rich urine was no different than drinking milk from cows, kept pregnant and in concrete barns all day. I had ethical issues with the Premarin, and told him the milk I drank came from cows who grazed in pastures. He scoffed, and said nobody does that anymore. "See, doc, happy cows!"

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Small Pieces

The She Project came to our little island once again this year. Participants are sent a line of text beginning with the word "she", and requested to respond to the line in two hours, using any medium.

My line was "She cut the ties, and headed out to sea." Given that the spectre of moving is currently looming large for me, this seemed uncannily appropriate. My piece, above, is still unfinished, as I want to mount it inside a larger embroidery hoop, tethered like a drumskin within a circle.

I used an image of a coracle, the round, woven boat of the British Isles, and printed it onto an inkjet transfer. Then I simply embroidered the text in a shade of French blue that my eyes just can't get enough of.

I also made a little pouch from the bit of Saori weaving I did last week at Terri's Salt Spring weaving studio. I liked how different the two sides are. I lined it with a scrap of Japanese silk, and will probably attach a braided strap. My camera fits perfectly within.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Summer Garden Yarn

I just wound off the skein of the merino and seacell blend that I posted about awhile back. It's not even dry yet, but I had to share a picture with you.

I probably should have plied it a little more firmly, but I love the interactions of the colours.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Second Date: Dinner

Words fail me. I'll let the menu speak for itself:

Local foraged & cultivated lettuces & herbs
with shaved Salt Spring Montana cheese, house cured pancetta,
croutons & a chopped duck egg, green garlic & anchovy vinaigrette

Brioche & herb crusted wild halibut cheeks with housemade tartar sauce
Risotto of spot prawns, Pastorale braising greens, preserved lemon & fennel

Individual rhubarb pies with cinnamon ice cream & Saanich hazelnut caramel

Each Friday, eighteen very lucky people join the chef at the communal table in his restaurant. Last week, I was one of them. Normally, sharing your date with seventeen other people wouldn't be the best way to get to know a person. But not only did I get to see him in action in the kitchen, but I could witness his modesty, charm and graciousness with both his staff and his guests. And experience pure seduction on a plate.

I was resolute to savour the dinner through the senses, not a camera. But I broke down at the sheer beauty of the dessert.

This particular dinner was in honour of the birthday of the original foodie, James Beard:
"There is absolutely no substitute for the best. Good food cannot be made of inferior ingredients masked with high flavour. It is true thrift to use the best ingredients available and to waste nothing” ~ James Beard

I even made a dress for the occasion.

The night before he cooked for us at home. Here's the fresh mussels hitting the pan.

And done. Mussels with roasted tomatoes, apple, spring onions and fresh basil. Spectacular.

Salt Spring Saori

This was my first visit to Salt Spring, an island known for its fabulous textile artists. I was very fortunate to visit Terri Bibby's studio. Terri weaves in the Japanese Saori style, and is a distributor for the beautifully simple Saori looms.

Unlike conventional weaving, which is quite technical and involves much planning, measuring and counting, Saori is intuitive, meditative and spontaneous.

I found the height of the loom easy on the back, and treadling felt natural and gentle.

The clever design of the loom allows such neat things as travelling groups of warp threads and switching warps mid-project.

Terri keeps a rainbow of yarn on hand.

Just outside the studio door, these figures reflect the calmness of the space inside.

I first came across Terri's work when I discovered the Earth loom on her blog, Weaving a Life. Terri has also started Fibreshed, a potentially amazing resource linking fibre producers, mills, spinners, weavers, dyers, felters, seamstresses and designers in the Pacific Northwest.

Salt Spring Farmer's Market

I visited Salt Spring Island this past weekend. Gracie and I got to stay at house overlooking the bucolic Moonstruck Farm. The happy cows give the milk that goes into Moonstruck's beautiful artisan cheeses.

The Farmer's Market in Ganges, the island's town centre, is justifiably famous. Here is a glimpse of some of the locally made goodies available.

This young lad brought his 2-month-old Arucauna chick to hang out for the day.

A beautiful lunch was had at Bruce's Kitchen, right next to the market. The special, which changes daily according to the local produce available and the chef's genius imagination, was poached salmon on a bed of wheatberry salad, baby greens and housemade tartar sauce with fresh herbs. My camera does not do the artistry of this plate justice. And it tasted sublime.


Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Cherry Blossoms in the Rain

Believe it or not, the above photo was taken in the midst of a sunny rain shower yesterday afternoon. Given the results of our Canadian election, I'll have to take it as a symbol of hope that there are some things Stephen Harper won't ruin.

And, as some of you have expressed curiosity as to what's happening on the dating front, I'm heading down to Salt Spring for a weekend with the chef. I'll keep you posted!

Tons of mundane sewing happening, nothing particularly picture worthy.

Except perhaps a mend on my favourite shoes. Gracie chewed the strap of one last fall, and I couldn't bear to look at them, but yesterday I got them out and was able to replace the destroyed strap with a piece of red leather, stitching and some Tacky Glue. I matched the pale pink stitching perfectly, but the thread turned dark when I polished them. Oh well, lots of dancing left in them still!