Wedding Week: Table Decor

Visual interest was created by the use of both farm and regular tables.

It’s amazing how tents, tables and chairs can transform a space, especially after tables are decorated. At my niece’s wedding in our backyard, a pretty and relaxed tone was set with gauze runners, long boughs of eucalyptus, small and medium bud vases, wood-framed photos, and wooden coasters. Hon, you know I love texture and color, so I found the play of filmy blue fabric, soft green leaves, sharp wooden edges, smooth clear glass, and bright yellow flowers a pleasing combination.





Tents, tables and chairs created places to gather and eat.

Set on top of light blue gauze runners, eucalyptus boughs encircled wooden frames, bud vases and wooden coasters.

My niece created DIY decorations/favors by modge-podging photos onto wooden coasters.

Aline and Cherie’s dog, Mochi, may have been with a dog sitter, but she was there in spirit.

Sorbet for the Soul, Henri Matisse

Taking in The Swimming Pool by Matisse, MOMA.

Henri Matisse is one of my favorite artists. His paintings and cut-outs, along with French Impressionism, were among the first pieces which stirred my emotions. I love how he played with two and three dimensions, placed his own artwork in scenes, and used lines and shapes to create movement. And the colors! His vivid colors create backgrounds that both emphasize the main subject and give my eyes and mind a place to rest while taking in the whole scene. You can view his work at the MOMA and the MET. Want to know more about his cut-outs? Click here.

Henri Matisse, Nasturtiums with the Painting “Dance”, Oil on canvas

Henri Matisse, Lilacs, Oil on canvas

Henri Matisse, The Cut-Outs, paper and gouache

Travel Bug Part 2, Crayon Box Burano, Fishing Village

Burano, Venice, Italy
Burano, Venice, Italy

This is a re-post of the 2nd part of Crayon Box Burano in honor of travel!

Hubby and I are off to England and then France for a whirlwind anniversary trip. We’re not the only ones in the family who will be abroad. Morgan’s  going to direct a music video in Tokyo and is there now! She packed up and left within 48 hours of finding out. (“Mom, I guess you can do that when you’re 25 years old.” My response, “True, true.”)

Shout out to our amazing children along with my dad and Hubby’s mom, who are treating us to this vacation.

Hon, happy and safe travels whenever and wherever you go.

Crayon Box Colored Homes

Burano, an old fishing village in the Northern Venetian Lagoon, is famous for its brightly colored homes as well as its lace-making. Legend has it that fisherman couldn’t recognize their houses through the fog, so they painted their homes bright colors.  It’s said that house colors have been with families for centuries. Today, if someone wants to repaint his house, he must send a request to the government, who will let the him know which colors are permitted for that lot.

When we toured the islands of Murano, Torcello and Burano, I’m glad our vaporetti, or water taxi, stopped at Burano last. It was definitely the jewel-in-the-crown.

Previous Post:  Crayon Box Burano, Venice, Italy (Part 1)

Striped curtains match house colors.
Striped curtains match house colors.

Many houses and buildings are adorned with religious wall plaques.
Many houses and buildings are adorned with religious wall plaques.

Laundry lines are a common sight.
Laundry lines are a common sight.

Pink up close.
Pink up close.

Colorful canal.
Colorful canal.

Travel Bug, Crayon Box Burano, Venice, Italy (Part 1)

Burano, Venice, Italy

In honor of Hubby’s and my upcoming trip to Europe, I’m re-posting these photos from Burano, Italy. We’re headed to England and France where I’m sure to be bitten by the travel bug. If I was independently wealthy, I’d travel the world! Hey, I can write anywhere, and what better way to get inspired than to meet new people and visit new places?

And, as for my love of children, ask my own kids–language barriers aren’t barriers at all when a child’s smiling eyes meet mine. If that sounds sappy, so be it, but consider…

  • in an airport security line, a mom handed me her baby to hold while she struggled to open up her stroller,
  • in a store, a toddler giggled at our silly game, then threw her arms around me for big hugs,
  • in Sienna, Italy, a 5 year old German boy and I  played hide and seek at breakfast,
  • in a shoe department, a 3 year old boy slid over to me and let me tie his shoes,
  • in a bookstore, a 4 year old girl and I read books together,
  • on a train from Manhattan, a 6 year old girl and I played I Spy,
  • in a restaurant, new twins parents and I bonded over being parents of multiples and then took me up on my offer to hold a baby so the mom could eat,
  • at the store where I work, two 5th grade girls asked me to be in their  Tic Toc video (umm, yes!), and then hung around for hours chatting about their siblings, parents and teachers,
  • And so many more wonderful encounters here and abroad.

So, while we travel, I’ll be on the lookout for smiling eyes because those connections, no matter how short, are joyful.

And hon, I need a whole lot of joy just about now.

Shops along the canal, Burano.
Shops along the canal.

School boys meeting by a first floor window.
School boys meeting by a first floor window.

Photographer's delight.
Photographer’s delight.

Hubby and daughters.
Hubby and daughters.

Serene Sky

Bar Harbor, Maine
Bar Harbor, Maine

Blue is my favorite color.

I was in a happy, red mood the entire time I was pregnant with my fourth child.  I sewed red, gingham curtains for her room, bought red, checked crib bedding, and have always dressed her in red, wool coats.

Something about a yellow house says “cheerful, warm and welcoming,” so it’s no surprise my historic Victorian house is painted yellow.

I only miss a weekly bike ride or run in the nature reserve nearby house if I’m out of town. The rich green foliage and mottled green river are truly meditative.  

White feels uncluttered, clean and calm.  Pure white feels like summer.  Winter white thumbs its nose at the frost.  What color I wear depends on my mood.

But, I’m always in the mood for blue.

In this first post in a Series of Blue, the contrast of hard, earth-tone rocks set against sun-saturated sky, a sail billowing with the breath of an other-wordly being, and a lone raptor looking for a meal captured my attention.  And then there’s the indigo sky.  Entrancing, tree-silhouetting, deep, mysterious indigo transitions the day as it slips into night, provides a background for bats flitting amongst the pines, and implores me to take a deep breath and soak in the sky’s dye.

Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, Maine
Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, Maine

Bar Harbor, Maine
Bar Harbor, Maine

Indigo sky in my backyard.
Indigo sky.

What’s your favorite color?  Why?

Crayon Box Burano, Fishing Village (Part 2)

Burano, Venice, Italy
Burano, Venice, Italy

Crayon Box Colored Homes

Burano, an old fishing village in the Northern Venetian Lagoon, is famous for its brightly colored homes as well as its lace-making. Legend has it that fisherman couldn’t recognize their houses through the fog, so they painted their homes bright colors.  It’s said that house colors have been with families for centuries. Today, if someone wants to repaint his house, he must send a request to the government, who will let the him know which colors are permitted for that lot.

When we toured the islands of Murano, Torcello and Burano, I’m glad our vaporetti, or water taxi, stopped at Burano last. It was definitely the jewel-in-the-crown.

Previous Post:  Crayon Box Burano, Venice, Italy (Part 1)

Striped curtains match house colors.
Striped curtains match house colors.

Many houses and buildings are adorned with religious wall plaques.
Many houses and buildings are adorned with religious wall plaques.

Laundry lines are a common sight.
Laundry lines are a common sight.

Pink up close.
Pink up close.

Colorful canal.
Colorful canal.

Crayon Box Burano, Venice, Italy (Part 1)

Burano, Venice, Italy
Burano, Venice, Italy

Burano is a photographer’s delight, a lagoon island filled with crayon box colored houses. Is it a tourist destination? Yes. Does every shop carry similar merchandise? Yes.

Yet, it was still an interesting place to visit.

We had booked tickets for a water taxi tour that made stops at Murano, Torcello and Burano. Of the three, Burano was the only island that felt inhabited. It’s known for its lace-making, so you can guess what most shops featured. Inside some shops were older women actually making lace, and I met a twenty-something salesgirl who showed me the lace earrings she was working on.

Between my interest in photography and my appreciation for needlework, I was in thrall at every turn.

Shops along the canal, Burano.
Shops along the canal.

School boys meeting by a first floor window.
School boys meeting by a first floor window.

Photographer's delight.
Photographer’s delight.

Hubby and daughters.
Hubby and daughters.

 

Cool Results from Hot Pots (Raku Workshop Part 3)

Sparks fly as sawdust is tossed on a hot pot. The heat of the fire reacts with the clay and glaze to create a crackling effect.
Sparks fly as sawdust is tossed on a hot pot. The heat of the fire reacts with the clay minerals and metal elements of the glaze to create a crackling effect.

Raku Crew:  Mary, Sharon, Judy, Peter, Maxine (and me).
Raku Crew: Mary, Sharon, Judy, Peter, Maxine (and me).

Raku firing is exciting!  

There’s an extremely hot kiln, orange-glowing earthenware, combustible sawdust and straw and surprise results.  The process is illustrated in my two previous posts, Red Hot Raku and Raku Reaction.

Peter Syak, our amazing instructor, mixes his own glazes.  He knows how much exposure to air–or not, how much sawdust to add–or not, and how long to keep pots covered–or not, is required to get the amount of crackling, luster and intense color desired.  Still, oxygen, heat, or a pause in placement of buckets all contribute to the outcome.

The earthenware’s temperature drops as it sits under the metal buckets.  The reaction process stops when each piece is quenched in a trashcan filled with water.  Soot is scrubbed off, pieces are cleaned, and we “ooh and ahh” at the results.

Have you heard of Horse-Hair Raku?  I hadn’t either.  Instead of placing a red-hot pot in a reduction chamber (ie. metal buckets with combustible material), its decorated by touching horse hairs to the the 1800 degree clay surface. The hair ignites, creating dark grey lines and smudges.  Similarly, sugar sprinkled on the burning surface reacts with the clay.  Take a look!

Maxine touching individual horse hairs to her burning hot pot.
Maxine touching individual horse hairs to her burning hot pot.

Sugar sprinkled on the pot creates texture and unexpected spots.
Sugar sprinkled on the pot creates texture and unexpected spots.

Three of my pieces.
Three of my pieces.

Maxine's wheel-thown vases.  Isn't the crackling cool?
Maxine’s wheel-thown vases. Isn’t the crackling cool?

My "button vase" with a happy goat and flower stamps as "buttons."
My “button vase” with a happy goat and flower stamps as “buttons.”

Judy's tea box with a piece of driftwood that she'll attach to the top.
Judy’s tea box with a piece of driftwood that she’ll attach to the top.

Lovely!
Lovely!

Hon, have you every tried raku?  What did you create?

 

 

 

Keep Calm and Carry Yarn/ Potato Chip Scarf Pattern

keep-calm-and-carry-yarn-141

Texture + Color = Possibilities

I love yarn shops!  Vivid colors and scrumptious textures call out from the bins and shelves. (“Pick me, pick me!”).  I might walk in with a project in mind, or I might let the yarn decide what it wants to be.  I give it creative license!

Gorgeous Ella Rae Lace Merino Chunky blue/aqua and purple/berry variegated yarn caught my eye this fall.  I had recently finished a Potato Chip Scarf (so called because it’s ruffled) for me and wanted to knit another with chunkier yarn.  One teen daughter got a Potato Chip scarf and one got an  Infinity scarf.

Potato Chip Scarf knit with chunky merino wool.
Potato Chip Scarf knit with chunky merino wool.

Potato Chip Scarf knit in a finer wool, strands doubled.
Potato Chip Scarf knit with finer wool, strands doubled.

Infinity Scarf knit with chunky merino wool.
Infinity Scarf knit with chunky merino wool.

Infinity Scarf knit with chunky merino wool.
Infinity Scarf knit with chunky merino wool.

Petit Point pillow that may have caused me to need reading glasses!
Petit Point pillow that may have caused me to need reading glasses!

I also, finally, finished a petit point canvas and had it made into a pillow.  Petit point is comprised of smaller stitches than needlepoint.  The stitches were so small, I needed a magnifying light to see what I was doing!

I found this easy Potato Chip scarf pattern on Ravelry.

Potato Chip Scarf Pattern:

Yarn weight:  Aran/ 10 ply (8 wpi)

Needle size:  US 8  (5.0 mm)

Yardage:  300-310 yards (274 – 283 m)

Cast on 20 stitches.

Row 1:  knit 8, turn, knit back to beginning.

Row 2:  knit 6, turn, knit back to beginning.

Row 3:  Knit 4, turn, knit back to beginning.

Knit across all 20 stitches.

Repeat these rows until desired length is reaches.  Bind off.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

Infinity Scarf Post–Infinity scarf pattern.

Ravelry-The pattern I used is by Connor Thompson.

The Stitching Bee–Shout out to the yarn shop in Chatham, New Jersey

Happy knitting, Hon!

Southwest Roadtrip: Rocky Mountain Rainbow

Mountain Poppy
Mountain Poppy

Hon, you know how I’ve been (slightly) obsessed with photographing flowers this spring?  Well, I was so taken with theses mountain flowers, I couldn’t resist trying to capture a bit of their beauty.  Is it the clear mountain air that makes their colors so vivid?  The delphinium with blue/purplish/pink petals is almost iridescent.  I can’t decide which is my favorite?  How about you?

Delphinium
Delphinium

Delphinium
Delphinium

Columbine
Columbine

 

 

 

 

 

Mountain Poppies
Mountain Poppies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Columbine
Columbine

Delphinium
Delphinium

Lupine
Lupine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delphinium
Delphinium