Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Different Path

Beach walks may still be my favourite, but the other day Gracie and I went for a walk around Redwing Farm, on Salt Spring Island. The gentle rolling contours of the land were a delight to my eye.

Gracie found racing through the daisies rather delightful herself.

Next to fences, gates are a most important feature of the farm landscape...

...although frustrating for small doggies who just want to be on the other side.

The path leads down to a lake.

The cool, gray day meant no swimmers or lounging on the dock.

The waterlilies were beautiful though.

On the way back up the hill we spied an old house through the overgrown vines.

Back to the field with the daisies.

And the wild gives way to the cultivated, and we're almost back home.

Take off our boots...

...hang up our hat...

...and yes, life is good.

P.S. I just found out that the neighbouring farm has Angora goats! See some gorgeous photos at Bullock Lake Farm

Monday, June 27, 2011

Midsummer Night's Dinner

Please, join me for dinner. There's room for another plate!

An incredible meal will be served in the spectacular setting of a Salt Spring island heritage farm. An outdoor wood-burning oven has just been built, and Chef Bruce, of Bruce's Kitchen, and his staff are on hand to inaugurate it.

Kyle sets the table.

Marinated olives, hummous, and pickled peppers grace the table.

The oven is lit.

The test pizza is done.

Chef Bruce in his element!

Food heaven is becoming manifest.

A perfect pizza, with spice roasted potatoes, Hertel bacon, Moonstruck Baby Bleu cheese, caramalized onions and pesto.

On to the main course: Molly serves Zack a choice of salads to accompany a roast leg of porchetta style pork. The piggie was raised on whey from an organic dairy, and the meat rubbed with fresh herbs before being rolled and tied by Bruce earlier in the day.

More wine, anyone? All the wines served are from excellent BC vineyards.

A happy, convivial table.

Dessert pizza with Salt Spring chevre chantilly, Frangelico macerated strawberries, and rose petals.

The love and attention that went into this meal can't be shown in pictures. It was a team effort, of local farmers, charming hosts, caring, talented staff, good company, and a brilliant chef.

I was the lucky solo beneficiary of breakfast in bed earlier that day. To find out more, see Bruce's Pantry. I am clearing my inbox in readiness for the deluge of envious comments!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tripping the Light Domestic

Look at what Miss Ivy Lou Runnings made for herself! I have been helping her learn to sew, and she chose this fabulous ball gown for her first project. The bodice is an old Anna Sui Vogue pattern, and the skirt is simply gathered into a waistband and made fancy with random "poufs".

The outfit was for a fancy dress ball, that followed a performance by our local dance school. Miss Ivy was featured in four numbers, including a sensational Bollywood-style show stopper.

It was such a pleasure working with this lovely, bright, talented young woman. She has inherited a sewing machine from her grandmother, and I hope she will find time to keep sewing in her busy life.

The only dancing I did was around the garden and kitchen, as I harvested a huge bagful of garlic scapes and then pickled them. The curly stems fit beautifully into the pint jars - showstoppers in their own way.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rules Rules Rules

Sherri Lynn Wood, over at Daintytime, has a very interesting series going on Mondays exploring improv quilting. In her latest, she talked about rules and breaking rules and asked us to post our "rule memoirs". Here I go:
1. Work with what you've got.
This simple rule, posed to me by Fred Granzow, my high school art teacher, has become my mantra. It is incredibly valuable in all aspects of life, not just quilting.
2. Everything must line up perfectly.
This is one to break.
The quilters of Gee's Bend changed my life forever. Hallelujah!

Ummm, I think that's it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Picking Up the Needle Again

Remember the fabulous hippy-dippy quilt I was working on a few months back? The reason you never saw any pictures of the completed work was that it took a conceptual U-turn when my friendship with the intended recipient ended quite abruptly.

I was faced with what I saw as an ethical dilemma. I had basically finished the centre panel of the quilt, and intended to border it with blocks depicting scenes from the life of the person it was for. Even though I had put a great deal of effort and planning into the images, and I was encouraged by some friends to go ahead and finish it anyway, it didn't seem right to do such personal work when my heart was in a completely different place.

So I scrapped the story images, but kept the corner pieces depicting the directional winds. The quilt now seemed more about place rather than a person. I was reminded of a favourite quote from Canadian poet Alden Nowlan by Bascom Hogue's blog. "For those who belong nowhere, and for those who belong to one place too much to belong anywhere else." I have always felt that these words applied perfectly to the little island where I live.

So, typically, I have made things exponentially more time-consuming for myself. After laying out the text in a single line that will travel up the left side, across the top, down the right side, and across the bottom, I considered some form of applique. I decided I wanted to bring more colour to the green border, and to echo the rainbow in the centre, so I bought a pack of rainbow coloured batik cottons. I then set about drawing out the letters, tracing them in reverse on Steam-A-Seam Lite fusible web, applying each letter in sequence on a different colour, cutting the letters, arranging them and fusing them in place.

But I have little faith in the longevity of fusible web, so have now begun working a little blanket stitch around each one inch wide letter. Yeah. I hope to be finished by June 30. Uh huh.

I just know it will be incredible when it's done. In oh so many ways.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Another Day, Another Beach

We were enticed down to the shore by this groovy old fishing boat.

Gracie was happy to stretch her legs.

We spotted a number of bald eagles fishing in the ebbing tide. Here are three scouting out the prospects - the brown mottled one is a juvenile.

We were told that they were feeding on midshipmen, a small bullhead-like fish. It was amazing to see them dive and scoop their dinner out of the water, although this guy preferred to just reach in and grab.

Gracie met a playmate and they chased each other back and forth.

It wouldn't be a beach walk with Heather if I didn't include a shot of rock formations. The fractured black shale shore is so different from the smooth sandstone of home.

On the way back Gracie had a drink from a shady forest pool.

And then conked out on our host's couch. She seems right at home!

I did get some stitching done on this trip, and will have photos soon.