Friday, May 22, 2009

Wet Cuffs on My Pajamas

It's cooler and rainy this morning, but before getting ready for school I just had to check out the lilacs blooming outside my bathroom window. These are bushes that I picked out a few years ago from the lilac thicket on the other end of our land, and painfully lugged over to plant next to the house. They are an unending source of pleasure when they are in bloom.

And so long as I was out there, I did a quick inspection of some other early blossoms.

Oh, and that second scarf blank is hung up for the last stages of drying. I mixed a fair amount of metallic gold in with the greens and browns and bronzes, but so far the scarf still reminds me a bit of something an Ewok would wear. We'll see.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Just A Little Experiment With Color

I was wandering around Michaels a few weeks ago in an inexcusable manner when I came across a couple of lightweight cotton shawl/scarf blanks on clearance for almost nothing. The suggested use was to add iron-on items and buttons and such, but I thought the scarves would probably lend themselves well to the farmer's market (after a little jazzing up with some of my silk dyes).
I was using the memory of a recent sunset for inspiration - golden ambers fading to deep blue. I noticed, however, that the cotton didn't seem especially absorbent. I twisted the scarf before painting it and figured I'd end up with diagonal light patches, but wasn't sure how the fabric would take up the dye that was being applied directly and enthusiastically on top. This is what I got, after everything dried:
I think I like it. It's almost an aurora borealis effect, with streaks of color on an otherwise fairly bland background. But I think I'll go for more "woodland-type" colors on the other blank.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Mother's Day Portrait

Why is it that my own kids are the hardest onest to photograph? I did my very best to insist that they sit for me in honor of Mother's Day, so I could send a portrait to each of their grandmothers. It was like herding cats to get the schedules of two working teenagers to coordinate with each other, my own availability, and the good graces of Mother Nature. A week late, I finally got them in front of my lens.
Unfortunately, Tasha needed a very long lag time to get ready, and refused to take my first several suggestions for poses. Then Lucas got the giggles, and made a bunch of faces at the camera while I was trying to get the dog to smile. Then he kept trying to go deadpan to compensate.
And wasn't looking at the camera . . . And then the dog blinked . . .
By the time we finally got something I liked, I was ready to throw the camera!
But I keep reminding myself that we won't have too many more times when both kids are home and we're all together. We need to savor them, even if I felt like screaming once or twice.

Monday, May 18, 2009

New Neighbors and Carl's Award

I picked up this birdhouse a while back at Goodwill because it was cute, and because I wanted to hang something on that porch hook that would not shrivel if it didn't receive daily watering and attention all summer long. It didn't occur to me that it would actually go into use - I figured it was strictly decorative. Apparently the little brown bird twittering happily from inside didn't get the memo. And from the look of it, he also forgot to measure the door frame before trying to move in the "furniture."
It must be the season for such things, because I've also got two hens (the white one I bought last spring and one of her daughters) industriously incubating eggs. It seems I'm going to have a pile of chicks on my hands in about 5 weeks, most of which will probably have to be given away. Actually, one of my older brown hens went missing about the same time, probably to incubate her own batch of eggs in some little corner of the field or woods. The chances are not great that she will survive 6 weeks without nightly predator protection, but I've had independent-thinking hens beat those odds before. We'll see if we get any Father's Day surprises.

Meanwhile, I took a trip over the weekend up to Green Bay to see Carl receive his award for driving 100,000 miles without incident. The event included a tasty buffet (even by vegetarian standards), and the chance to get to know a really nice group of people. I have always been convinced that truckers are some of the nicest, friendliest people around. This crowd certainly proved the point; our dining companions were a husband and wife pair who drove truck for the pleasure of being paid to explore the continent in what might have been their retirement years, after careers as an engineer (her) and businessman (him). I never did get my hands on the adorable baby two tables over, but had the pleasure of sitting down to chat with one of the trainers and the driver manager after the event itself was over. (In true Carl fashion, we were the last ones out the door, and there were still plenty of stories being saved for next time.)
I have to say that I was also impressed with the company itself. Gordon
Trucking seems to hold its drivers and its safety record in equally high regard, and the younger Mr. Gordon himself had flown in from the West Coast to personally congratulate Carl and the others on their performance.
Carl walked away with a gold tie tack and a clipboard inscribed with his accomplishment. Others in the crowd were being celebrated for higher accident-free mileage milestones - you got an embroidered jacket for 250,000 miles, and I saw a very snazzy watch which the owner had earned for his impressive safety record. The guy with the 4,000,000 accident free miles wasn't there, so I don't know what he got; but Carl was looking carefully at that list of milestones and calculating what it would take to get him to the top of the list someday.