It’s beginning to feel a lot like … autumn

August 21, 2014 at 3:19 pm | Posted in country life, family, flowers, inspiration, knitting, Lace Shawl Knitting, Life, love, summer, Vintage, women | 2 Comments
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20140821-114620-42380639.jpgAugust, so far, has felt much more like early autumn than end of summer. We have hardly used any air conditioning this summer because it has been so very cool even during the day.

We have been going out to Point Breeze by Lake Ontario weekly to enjoy free outdoor concerts in a beautiful park out that way. I most always take some knitting with me, we run into many friends and neighbors, and everyone has a delightful and relaxing time of it.

This week it was so chilly at the concert I was able to wear a light weight wool sweater and one of my new shawls (one I knit mostly while relaxing at the other concerts, pictured here in the second photo down) and I still had to pull a blanket up over my lap to stay warm.

20140821-113953-41993589.jpgThe early chill inspires even more knitting, and these days I am very hooked on knitting shawls and coming up with ideas for more and more of them.

If you didn’t already see it, I published a pattern for one of the shawls a couple of weeks ago. This week I have published a second shawl pattern, one I had promised earlier in the summer (the one pictured in the next paragraph and also in an earlier post.

20140821-113601-41761638.jpgThis new pattern is presented in charted format, not written directions. I do plan to create written directions as well, but that takes a bit longer. I also have in the works a tutorial on how to knit a top-down triangular shawl from a chart because what I have found is that, once you understand how to doit, it is actually much easier than following text directions. So, I would like to teach any of my readers who are not yet familiar with following charts in general and how to knit a top-down triangular shawl specifically, how to do both.

Well, summer beckons … and today it does feel a bit more like summer. We have an adventure to get on with, so I will “talk” to you soon.

Have a beautiful day.

~ firefly

Oh, P.S. The newest pattern is available in my Etsy store and in my Ravelry pattern shop. Get 30% off at either store with this coupon code: GRATITUDE now through Saturday Aug 23rd.

Summer time and the living is easy

August 5, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Posted in country life, faith, family, flowers, gardening, inspiration, knitting, Lace Shawl Knitting, Life, love, photography | 2 Comments
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20140805-143208-52328702.jpgThat line from the old song is very appropriate for the summer we have been having on our old farm in Upstate New York.

The weather has been amazing, the flower gardens have been resplendent, and the farms seem to be thriving.

Of course there is always much work to be done, both inside and out, but even with the normal day-to-day chores of living that must be attended to and the inevitable difficulties and problems life poses on a daily basis, we have managed to enjoy the past couple of months as if we were partially on vacation and that has been magical.

This spring and summer I have been enjoying two new love affairs … hold on now, it isn’t what it sounds like.

20140805-143514-52514273.jpgThe first love affair is with designing and knitting lace shawls. I have created four designs over the summer, and am releasing the first pattern this week, “Rise Up Singing” (featured in today’s photos) is already available in both my Etsy and Ravelry stores for instant download.

I wrote text directions as well as charted diagrams; both styles are included in the one download so you can knit it either way. I specifically designed this piece to be easy and quick to knit, even if you use the text rather than charted directions.

I will start working right away on patterns for,the other three shawls and will share photos of them as I make the patterns available.

There is something about knitting and blocking a lace shawl that is a special kind of magic, and I hope with my patterns I will be able to help many others learn and experience that magic.

Speaking of magic, last summer we visited a nearby farm where a lady raises Daylilies. Until I moved to Upstate New York I had never heard of Daylilies. Perhaps they are grown in California, but if so I never heard them mentioned. Here they are grown and treasured by everyone it seems.

There is another daylily farm somewhat near our place that everyone refers to reverently as “the daylily place”. Oh my … it is the most magical, enchanting garden I have ever seen in my life. From the road you would never suspect that such a veritable Garden of Eden thrives just beyond the drive. Then, you walk in and … well, you just feel like fainting or something because of the sheer aesthetic magnificence you are suddenly surrounded by.

As it turns out there are something like 1,000 or 5,000 varieties of Daylilies (I can’t remember exactly because I was too delirious from beauty overload when they told us) and the couple who created the garden seem to have each variety in their collection along with myriad other luscious plants mixed amongst them. There are pathways to stroll along and benches placed here and there creating a welcoming atmosphere for visitors.

They even have a spectacular oversized cactus and succulent garden that surpasses any such garden I ever saw in Southern California. How, I ask you, did they manage that?

I was actually so overwhelmed by all of the floral eye candy that I didn’t shoot much photography while we were visiting, and the shots I did manage to click off didn’t even approach doing justice to what I had witnessed.

That was two or three years ago. Last summer we visited the other lady I mentioned above during a Garden Path Tour and she was selling some of her varieties at economical prices, so we bought nine varieties and planted our own little daylily garden right next to our pergola.

After nearly one year of waiting, they started blooming in early July and are still producing a few more flowers. Starting on the morning of the first blossom, I began each day visiting with “the ladies” as I came to think of my dear Daylilies and checking out their latest blossoms.

If you are unfamiliar with this species of flower, as the name infers, the blossoms last only one day. But of course each plant may have many blossoms, so as some fade away one morning, others are just opening up. Some of my plants have just bloomed profusely for about three weeks. They bloom in July and then you wait another eleven months before you get to see them again.

A20140805-145848-53928045.jpgs I photographed them, I did what I love to do … zoomed right inside the flower as close as I could. And, I made a wonderful discovery about this special flower. The way they are constructed at the base allows light to come right in and light everything up inside. I shot some of the most beautiful floral photographs ever, and this one actually brought tears to my eyes because it was so extraordinary.

Another thing I about them is that some varieties have petals lined with incredible ruffles.

Well, the long and the short of it is that I fell in love with these flowers this summer, in my own little garden with only about nine varieties.

By the way, if you have not visited my son’s Etsy store lately, he has some very awesome neighborhood typography maps now as well as two,or three styles of vintage eye charts. That’s Flying Junction at Etsy or visit his company website.

There are so many more things I could write about from this sweet summer we are having, but now life is calling me again and I have to end off. It was quite nice visiting with you a bit, and I hope to see you here again very soon.

~firefly

We are makers of things

September 24, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Posted in art, blogging, country life, faith, family, flowers, gardening, gifts, inspiration, knitting, Life, love, photography, shopping, women | 4 Comments
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thewriterschairHello.

I have been away … at home.  Enjoying life, working out of doors on flowers and vegetables; working in doors on many new things including books (writing, as well as making actual physical books), making pendant necklaces using prints from my photography and paintings, clearing out and rearranging various rooms in our home in search of a new studio space to create for my creative endeavors, cooking, baking,  organizing and participating in our annual Art Trail Festival, resting, reading, studying, … living.

I received an email a while back from Martha Stewart with this as the subject line, “Are you a Maker?”

You know, there is a huge explosion of creativity going on across the globe and Makers of Things are finding themselves, finding each other, and finding a vast assortment of materials, techniques, and inspiration in their quests to make, create, design, build, and grow.

Sunflower PendantSometimes I struggle with my intense desire to create because I can tend to over collect materials for so many different types of creativity that I become too over burdened with materials things that are difficult to keep organized.  Over the past year I have been going through a process of choosing which avenues of creativity I will hold onto and build on and which I will let go of.

I am at heart, at the root of all things, a writer … a teller of tales and a creator of universes.

I am a painter of fine things, using oils, watercolors, colored pencils and oil pastels.

I am a photographer of life and experiences.

I am a fiber artist, with knitting being at the top of my list of fiber arts I am passionate about but needle felting is also included in there along with a bit of sewing and some crochet.

My fiber love extends also to the fibers used in making paper and books, and making paper and books ties back in with that which is at my core … writing.

This is my circle of creativity.

Simplifying down to this point has been an adventure all in itself but it has made it possible for me to simplify my materials and my studio space needs so that I can define and establish a new creative space to work in without our home that doesn't fill up too many spaces that I really need to share with others.

Well Martha … yes, I am a Maker.

ILiveonaFarm_pendantI come from a long line of Makers, and a big family of Makers and I am happy to be living in a world where making things is growing and expanding and exploding in new and even more beautiful ways.

And, speaking of making things … for the Art Festival I made some fine art photography print resin pendants/charms featuring tiny photographic prints of some of my fine art paintings as well as my fine art photography.  They were quite popular, so I decided to add them to my Etsy shop.  This one uses a portion of the photograph I shot back in 2006 when I was knitting on the Lavender Hat & Scarf, back when I was fairly new to blogging.  It is the photograph I use as the header here (see top of page), and I think it makes a lovely pendant for a knitter.

I hope you had a beautiful summer, and that you have been having fun making many things of your own.  With fall beginning and the holidays not so very far away we all move into that happiest, busiest time of creativity in the making of holiday gifts, decorations, and foods.

What fun.

~firefly

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