Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Summer Garden

The last day of June...June has been a swing month, with the weather swingly wildly between winter and summer. June has had gray skies, temperatures in the low 60's (brrr...) and even new snow in the mountains, as well as a couple of triple digit days.

But June has ended in perfection! Clear, skies so blue it hurts, the high temperature a lovely warm dry comfortable 82. To experience this to the fullest, I plopped my chair in the middle of the garden and just observed.

The lemon tree is heavy with fruit, thr bright sun filtering through the branches...

The maple tree is full yet airy...

The agapanthus are coming into bloom, a true sign of summer...

The plumeria is pushing out leaves like crazy...

The oleander is so full of fragrant pink blossoms...

The whole yard smells lusciously of playdough...

The gazing ball reflects it all in the center of things...

Including the one enjoying it all...

Monday, June 29, 2009


A couple of weeks ago, while Tod was out of town, Megan and I were watching In Bruges when we saw something out on the patio.

"It's a kitten! And there is another, and another, and a cat"!

That was the start - a mom and 3 kittens, now known as Arnold, Moe, Larry and Curly.

The camped out for a couple of days, evidently cleaning the yard of mice, then apparently moved on.

I had to put a little food and water out...they were so little, even Arnold the mom was just a young cat, and I did not want them to starve (how many mice do we have in the yard!!??).

Since then we've seen one or another of them, nearly every day, but they had evidently moved on. Until tonight.

Could be the tray of Friskies I put out last night, and refilled this morning, with a few more on the fence (when we have seen them, it has usually been one or another of them walking along the back or side fences, sometimes rousing the crazy dog Sasha next door into a frenzy of barking).

Tonight we decided to eat out on the patio, and no sooner sat down then we spied Arnold, sitting right on the patio not 20 feet from us. Then along came Moe with a pathetic little mew, but I was delighted to see his infected eye had cleared up nicely. Larry was not far behind. They wanted our dinner!

I crept into the kitchen for the Friskies box, put out a couple of piles, and then was entertained by the antics of eating, fighting, washing and finally napping in the yard.

Arnold chose as her comfy spot the stump in the back.

I have not been able to get a shot of them all...the camera freaks them out, but here at least are Arnold, Moe (white) and Larry (who looks just like his mom).

Sunday, June 28, 2009

O is for the Birds - Next French Alphabet Artist Card

I mean that literally..."O" is for the birds, since the next card in my French alphabet artist card ACEO series is "O for Oiseau".

I am beginning to fall back into collage paralysis...unable to make a decision on how to put a collage together. The paper elements have been sitting on the desk for nearly a week, and the feathers were discovered in a pile of decorator trims at least that long ago.
But taking the next step has taken all too long.

I solved the problem by reaching for a lovely rust colored fabric with gold highlights...one of the few Asian fabrics I've decided not to sell. I free-motion stitched onto the background with gold metallic thread, then placed my paper elements - a nest, a bird, and a clockface "O" embellished with a blue crystal, and sewed these all into place with gold thread.

Then for the fun part - the feathers! These green feathers are from the trim samples rescued from Juan Carlos when he quitted 218 Connecticut.

On the back is another ACEO collage - stamped and thread-embellished paper with a metal cat brad and faux typewriter letters spelling out "oiseau".

Since I found a lovely scripted word "Birds" in my paper stash, I added it as well, but it somewhat bothers me that the plural for birds in French would be oiseaux, so I have the singular in french but the plural in English...oh well.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Summer Scrapbook

After yesterday's musings on summer, it is so poignant and appropriate that today I spent the day making an album of summer.

I can claim no credit for the design of this pretty book. It was a class project at Memories Live On.
But I am looking forward to filling it with pictures and journaling and ephemera, to capture the summer of 2009.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Smelling the Roses of Summer

We've had a strange month of June, with gray skies and even a few rain showers. I think this is why I am suddenly more aware of "summer".

As we get older, we can lose that special something that comes with "summer" - the long lazy days, the warm weather, lemonade stands, cool-ade, barbecues, the summer reading list - many of the things which make summer so special to us as kids...a period of almost 3 months in which we don't have to go to school, and can let the routine go to hell for a while.

It just suddenly struck me today, as the gray skies have finally disappeared, to be replaced by a heat wave (I love heat waves :-)), that it's summer, and I should maybe break my routine, grab some light reading, eat corn on the cob outside, sit in the sun...smell the roses...

Mr. Lincoln rescued from the heat wave

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Even More Ready for the Party

We decided my 50s-60s vintage-style red party dress, to be worn next week to the 50th anniversary party, would be even more awesome with a poufy lace-trimmed crinoline :-)
A quick trip to JoAnn's & Megan whipped it up!

I'm ready for the party!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dangerously Good Macarons

A couple of dangerously good macarons made their way home from Hayes Valley yesterday...what an end-of-the day treat!

They're like artwork, these macarons!

I had the passion fruit (if I closed my eyes, I could easily imagine myself in Hawaii)...

... but shared the chocolaty looking one with Tod...


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sere N dipity

The next installment in my French alphabet ACEO artist card series, the letter "N", came about very serendipitously.

The "N" for "Noel" front side of the ACEO starts with an embellished print of one of my original textile ACEOs. I embellished the print with a stamped fleur-de-lis, a clockface N embellished with a red crystal, and faux typewriter letters spelling out "Noel". The wreath on the door is also embellished with tiny Swarovski crystals.

Gold sparkle acrylic paint highlights the edges and fleur-de-lis (this looks quite dull in the scan, but is very sparkly in person, just like I like things).

On the back of the card I have another representation for the letter "N" - "Neuf" for "9". I created a handmade "9 of diamonds" with a fabric base, hand cut fabric diamonds embellished with crystals, stamping, ribbon, and gold sparkle acrylic paint.

The serendipitous part? The card was already made and sitting in a pile waiting to be embellished, and both sides had "N" words represented on them!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Discovering Paris in San Francisco - Part 3

Our final stop of the day on Saturday was at The Ribbonerie in Laurel Heights. While Megan shopped for ribbons for her design projects, I trolled for French ribbon, and found a unique treasure!

An embroidered red on white ribbon that spells out "maman"! (I already regret not having picked up the "papa" ribbon as well.)

How perfectly coincidental that I was working on my "M" artist trading card / ACEO !!

The ribbon was a bit large, but I was able to fit it across the card like a sash. The layers are red dupioni silk on timtex, a black polka dotted ribbon that looks like spools on the reverse side (also from The Ribbonerie), a smaller black dotted ribbon from Montemarte, some of my Eiffel Tower ribbon and French lace highlighted with gold metallic paint.

The image is from my favorite Singer sewing ad...the First Lesson. A couple of charms, crystals and more paint add, well...charm :-)

On the back is the full ad, also on red silk, with the clockface M embellished with another crystal, and faux typewriter letters spelling out "mere".

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Discovering Paris In San Francisco, Part II


If you love pretty French things, make an effort to find this lovely little store in the rather out-of-the-way location.

If you don't want to spend any money, leave it and all credit cards at home, because even I, who 1) did not want to spend any money 2) needed nothing, and 3) doesn't usually fall for high-priced goods, felt compelled to buy a few lovely high-priced goods at this beautiful boutique. And if ever anyone wants to buy me a gift and doesn't know what to get me, go here...I love everything!

Here is some of my booty, which fit in a tiny little shopping bag...

One of the things I loved about the shop was ll the details...the hand lettered bags, the stamps, the stickers, the wrapping, even the sales receipt was pretty!

Yes, that is an Eiffel Tower thread card! And a French tape measure inside a little wooden barrel. And french ribbon...ooh la la!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Discovering Paris in San Francisco - Part 1

How is it I have been to Paris so many times without ever even trying a macaron??

I think it's because I don't like American macaroons, a rather sweet cookie concoction involving coconut.

The French macaron est très different!

One of my favorite blogs, Paris Breakfasts, writes about macarons all the time.

But it took a Saturday excursion in San Francisco for me to discover the French macaron, at a bright and colorful little shop in Hayes Valley, Paulette.

I love the simple imagery in the business and post card, which is also found on their website.

Perhaps the lovely pink was what influenced me to try le franboise, which was divine!
I look forward to returning to try another flavor.

Friday, June 19, 2009

More Pink Roses...Quilted!

Here is one of the ways I extend my gardening into the winter, with garden-themed quilts!

It's funny that just the other day I received a lovely letter about my Double Delight quilt and quilt pattern. And yesterday I was noting the beautiful clusters of pink roses in the garden.

Put the two together and what do you have?

Pink Roses Double Delight Quilt!

This quilt is made with thick flannel fabric, so weighs a ton, but is incredibly soft and warm! The contrast of black and pink is striking!
The fabric is from a collection of Maywood Fabrics called Black Velvet...during the making of this quilt we nicknamed the fabrics Velvet Elvis :-)

Black Velvet Double Delight, Diane Weber, 70"x82"

When it came time to quilt it, I added more roses in the simple free-motion quilt design.