Wednesday, April 30, 2014

project 52:31

ink on paper

Isn't this fun? I haven't just sat and drawn in ages. I always did love drawing plants, too; when I was a kid I remember we once received an assignment in art class to design seed packets. I loved it so much that - typical! - I think I must have made a dozen of the things over the weekend. The small scale, the beauty of the plants, the functional THING that resulted ... it was a perfect assignment for me.

So this week, I set out to make something super colorful, a celebration of all the fun colors of things I'm growing in my garden this year. Each year, I find more plants I want to try, new-to-me heirlooms in special color variations, scents, flavorful yields, this sort of thing. Each year, the garden is a place to try to incorporate more new things, more texture, more color! As much as I admire a restrained palette, I think it's probably time to admit that I'll never be able to commit to just one color palette, and my gardens will probably always be a wild riot of every bold color I can find. To wit, this year I am growing two kinds of green beans, and two kinds of yellow beans, one bean with a hot-pink-and-white streaked pod. FUN! I have purple radishes and white radishes and French breakfast radishes (red with white tips). I started painted lady sweet peas from seed (with a striated red-and-white flower, and a strong perfume), I am growing tomatoes in white, red, orange, yellow, green, indigo and blackish purple. There are orange snapdragons and blue salvia and purple poppies and multi-colored stocks, pink nasturtiums and orange and red trailing nasturtiums, and new red crocosmia bulbs from my neighbour (who decided to thin her patch). And that's just the beginning. I have tons of hollyhocks, english daisies, and other annuals and perennials starting from seed on the deck. Flowers!! Everywhere!!

So ... what happened to this card? Well, I started with pencil sketches that I turned into simple ink sketches ... and then I realized I liked it so much that I thought I'd just leave it this way. There. It's just a whisper, a promise of summer - the bare outlines (like those seedlings on my deck), waiting to be filled in (though on this glorious 80-degrees-and-sunny spring day in Seattle, it's hard to believe it isn't August already!).

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Okay, okay. So, it seems like the past year or two, I've been seeing photos of sandwiches involving toast, avocado (mashed or sliced), a bit of goat cheese, and/or a fried egg. Now, the egg part is out for me (allergic - waaaah!), BUT toast + avocado actually sounded like an interesting proposition for a brunchy-type of meal. Especially for someone allergic to eggs. I mean, an avocado is kind of like an egg - it's savory, it's kind of fatty, it can have a kind of smooth velvety yet toothy texture ... okay, okay, I know - it's really NOTHING like eggs, but when you absolutely cannot have an egg, you start casting about for alternatives eventually.


So. Avocado!

So last week, I finally jumped on the bandwagon. I didn't really have any leftovers I could eat for lunch. I did, however, have some sourdough rye bread, some really nice blue cheese (this is kind of a mild one, with a nice grassy/saltiness to it), and an avocado.

I mashed that avocado up with the juice of one lime, about 1 Tbl. of fresh thyme, and a good bit of salt and freshly ground black pepper. The pepper and thyme were my attempts to make this not taste like guacamole. Not that I have anything against guacamole - I LOVE guacamole - but I thought it might be weird with blue cheese, you know? I mashed it all together with a fork and slathered it thickly on freshly-toasted slices of rye and topped with the thinnest slices of the blue cheese.


Pure magic.

Believe the hype; this is as good as every blogger, pinner, tumblr-er and other denizens of social media would have you believe. SO GOOD.

Next time we have some kind of brunchy-type party, I am totally serving this as one option. Maybe with a pea shoot salad on the side? I think that would be kind of perfect.


Monday, April 21, 2014

project 52:30

mixed media: paper, ink, acrylic

My brother and I are reading Virginia Woolf's The Waves together right now. I sent him a copy at Christmas, with a question: would you feel like reading this with me? This was Herb's favorite Woolf. For years, I'd been "saving it," knowing I would only have one opportunity to read it for the first time - and as I've read almost all of Woolf's novels at this point, I wanted to savor this masterpiece. Then Herb died.

I went to a bookstore in June, to pick up one of Woolf's early novels (Night and Day), as reading Woolf at the start of summer is a personal ritual. There it was  - The Waves, I mean - on the shelf. I picked it up. The back cover described it as a gathering of six friends (three men, three women) to mourn the death of a beloved friend, Percival. This was not a book I could read last summer. But I bought it, anyway, one of those weird grief-borne decisions. It sat on a bookshelf for half the year, quietly burning at the edges of my consciousness.

By winter, I knew I wouldn't be able to resist much longer. And so I appealed to my sibling for companionship. I thought it might be something nice to do together, on our opposite sides of this continent. Woolf is my all-time favorite writer; she makes me ache for humanity's foibles - and love them, too. She teaches me my own heart - and expands it. And there's a certain deep kinship I feel with my brother; he understands the hurt parts of my self better than just about anyone I know. We don't talk about it often, but I know he understands.

So. We are reading this book together. At first, he wasn't sure he liked it. But then he spent a nice long 90-minute workout session reading and gave Woolf the due her writing demands: focused attention - and I think she hooked him. =)

I combined a couple of phrases from the book concerning butterflies into this week's card. A sentence, describing Rhoda (coined by Louis): "Her shoulder-blades meet across her back like the wings of a small butterfly," and Louis' image of "butterfly powder" ("If, in my novel, I describe the sun on the window-sill, I shall look under B and find butterfly powder").

No prints this week; this card was made from layers and layers of glazing and spattered paint ... this kind of thing doesn't photograph well and it scans even worse. It's a one-off, ephemeral  - like those butterflies.

And here's a bonus: a shot from my brother of the missing postcard 27! That heron I found asleep in the park (left), and then a close-up of him giving me the stink-eye (right)!

More exciting things are brewing this week: I have some garden updates, and I'm experimenting with a traditional Japanese pickle that won't be ready for several days (but I'm documenting the stages, don't worry!).

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

project 52:29

acrylic on paper

prints available here

Well, once again I seem to be falling into the bad habit of posting only project 52 cards on my blog. Rest assured, I have a handful of lovely things going on right now - another dress for Months and Years, one painting nearly finished, and another about halfway done, but they're all rather time consuming (especially that dress), so I'm getting there rather slowly. And of course, as the weather warms up, my head is turned by all things gardening. Not only are the dicentra (bleeding hearts) blooming back in the shade garden under the doug fir grove, the currants (both red and yellow) and blooming, tulips and iris and fritillarias are going strong, roses are leafing out, poppies sown in January are getting their first true leaves, and the lillies are coming up like gangbusters. It's an exciting time. I bought three little packs of annuals at the garden store last weekend - salvia, snapdragons, and stocks - and tucked them in around the garden beds, for just a little extra fun (and hummingbird/butterfly appeal!), and I've sown a prodigious number of flower seeds in little pots and set the out on the deck to try and coax them up (everything from dahlias and sky and ice flower - grown from old seed ... fingers crossed, but hopes aren't high! - to hollyhocks, english daisies, nicotiana, and sweet peas). I was going to go out and sow carrots this morning, but the clouds are moving in quickly and I'm starting to think that maybe I'll just sew and paint and read today and have something *else* to share with you all the sooner.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

project 52:28 and an apology!

woodburned birch with acrylic wash

I missed last week, I know. I'm sorry! Two weeks ago, the card was late AND I forgot to photograph it. Ah, well; it's a full year. I suppose these things are bound to happen once in a while.

So, here's last week's card. And at least this one scanned well and that means there are prints available in the shop again. Additionally, from now until April 13, Society 6 is having a sale. If you click this link, you can receive $5 off the cost of a print AND get free shipping on that print (note: framed prints aren't eligible for this discount). The discount won't show up automatically in my shop, so you must click the promo link above if you would like to take advantage of the deal.

The text of last week's card comes from my friend Abigail's musings on the nature of dead languages. It was, as you see, a sunny spring day in Seattle (often the exception rather than the rule around here!), and what better time to ruminate on the impermanence of death than spring, when everything seems to be proclaiming rebirth and new life (and we are impatiently waiting for those seedlings to sprout true leaves, the tiny pea vines to grab the trellis and shoot up, the flower buds to swell and burst open)? I have a little tub of fiddlehead ferns in the fridge that need to be eaten up; last week I tumbled them across the kitchen table and photographed them to accompany Abigail's thoughts; these harbingers are one of the first foraged foods of the year, and though I actually don't like the taste of them all that much, still, I buy them every year. I can't resist the siren song of the woods, and woodland foods, whispering promises of bare feet, bare legs, dusky sunbeams and soft air.