Wednesday, May 1, 2019

May Day

Three months ago, I started reading Pillars of the Earth.

And what a voyage it has taken me on.

Now, at the start of May, and in a completely different lifestyle and land than the one I began reading this book in, I have finally finished it.

I have to have a book with me at all times. I am one of these people who truly love the process of reading and the mind it calls you into, and being without a book for me can promote the same kind of anxiety that being without a cellphone causes for many.

So, I had to get my next book going, but there was no way I could hop right into another tale. Nothing would compare.

Non-fiction it is then!

I subscribe to Paul Jarvis' Sunday newsletters, so I had had his new book, Company of One, on my radar for a while. Now, as I start to think about the future of my business and the direction I want it to go, I believe this book will help some of my ideas evolve from the embryonic stage.



Another fun note that I hadn't realized before somehow is that the author, Paul Jarvis, lives over on Vancouver Island, just over there, which I can see on a clear day from my humble home here on the American side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

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I finished a pillow for a friend and shipped it off to her last week with some sea glass from the beach. I had never made a pillow before, and I didn't start off with a pillow in mind on this project, I just started embroidering some words on a lovely green folky floral piece of fabric. Alas, it turned into a pillow and as I finished the project, I realized I really have no idea how to neatly close a pillow. Hmm, suppose I'll need to make another pillow soon to try again! Fortunately, she loved the wonkiness of it.



The quote is a Tasha Tudor quote: "The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. Take joy!" and my friend is the true and consistent embodiment of this.

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Here are a few images of the birds I get to watch from the window - eagles and blue herons and all manner of Corvidae provide entertainment throughout the day while I sit here peck peck pecking away at this laptop.






Wednesday, April 17, 2019

April 17, 2019

This past weekend we resolved to put aside all of our big adventuresome plans and just... stay home instead.

It was a real hit - we slept in, drank coffee together, tinkered around the house, drove into town on Saturday and enjoyed a walk, got ourselves a strawberry shortcake, savored said cake over a long game of chess that evening, then woke the next day and did much the same save replacing the town shenanigans for a nice misty gray beach walk.





Our little town is just about as village-y as it gets in America, an old Victorian seaport and arts community, steeped in its maritime heritage.




The outskirts of town feature winding roads through dense forest, speckled with signature Northwest cozy woodland cottages and lush untamed gardens. Just the right amount of eccentricity and quaintness.

Home for us is west of the town proper, about 7 miles, on the less inhabited part of the Quimper Peninsula, which is a peninsula within a peninsula [Olympic], overlooking Discovery Bay and Protection Island. I'll have to tell you about Protection Island sometime, and the one man who lives there...

At night, we sleep with the sea breeze sweeping into the bedroom and mingling with our slumber, seagulls and ravens and bald eagles are a common sight and sound out the windows, which we leave open most always.

All of it is a home we feel so fortunate to inhabit, and so, funny enough, we don't wish to leave it much, despite the whole Olympic Peninsula out there, with its hot springs, and high alpine mountain trails, and rugged wild coastline, and fairytale rainforests... I don't know how we could ever become bored.

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Anywho, I need to get back to work and chores, but first - I'm going to enjoy a hot bath and a little reading.

What a fortuitous coincidence it is that I'm absorbed in The Pillars of the Earth right now, a historical novel about the building of a medieval cathedral, as Notre-Dame caught fire just a couple of days ago...

Thursday, April 11, 2019

April 11, 2019

It's a stereotypical gray day here in the seaside Northwest, my favorite kind of weather. There is just something about the hiding sun and wet wind blowing in off the sea that feels good and right and cozy to me.

I thought I would take a quick break from work to show you a couple of works in progress. Both of the fiber arts variety.

The first is a blue woolen cowl I'm working on for my husband. It's a match to the one I knitted for his brother this past Christmas and I'm hoping to have it finished by the weekend for a coastal hike we're planning. The northwest coast is rugged and known for its rough weather, so this should be the perfect thing to have 'round the neck.



This next project is an embroidery that I've had set aside, waiting to find the right embroidery floss - a very particular olive green. Alas, the nearest shop selling a variety of embroidery floss is a 45-minute drive one way. But, tired of waiting and wanting to get on with it, I ordered a box of olive green embroidery floss online, not the brightest idea for color matching, but the tone I've been using for these mandrake leaves couldn't be better described than olive green, if you ask me, so I took the risk and placed the order. It arrived yesterday in a little package from France...



The color is beautiful, and seemed to be just right, but upon closer inspection and comparison, is just a shade too yellow.



Finding the green I need to finish these leaves is turning into a real dilemma.

What I should've done in the very beginning is keep the tags to each floss, or at least write the code on the clothespin I use to wrap each floss around, then when I run out, it's easy to replace with the correct color.

Now, I'm in a pickle, unable to find this green. Maybe I'll just go over the leaves using the new olive green, but that does sound like a headache, and I really love the color I've been using...

Until I figure it out, I think I'll just start working on the rest of the embroidery, leaving the leaves until the end, and hope that The Right Green and I cross paths before too long.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

April 10, 2019

An easy Greek egg pie for brunch today, paired with seedy sourdough from the farmer's market, butter, and mashed berries. And, as always, a hot mug of earl grey with cream.


I like making these egg pies, and this one was particularly delicious. There's plenty left over for Eric's lunch tomorrow, too.

My Greek Egg Pie:
In a pan over medium heat, I add a dollop of butter and let it melt. Then, add half of a diced red onion and saute until tender. Next, toss in a handful of chopped up kalamata olives, and stir. After a couple of minutes, add three handfuls of fresh spinach and put a lid over the pan. This steaming action will help wilt the spinach leaves. Meanwhile, in a bowl, add 4 eggs and half a cup of milk, beat well. Then, add seasonings. I use: sea salt, pepper, and dried basil. Stir well.
By now, the spinach is probably wilted and you'll want to stir the pan mixture well, making sure cooked onions, olives, and spinach are all evenly distributed. Once this is achieved, pour egg mixture evenly over everything. Sprinkle feta cheese over, in whatever amount you like, and put the lid back on so the egg pie can cook and fluff up. I cook very slowly on low/med heat so as not to burn the bottom, and it usually takes about 20 minutes.
After it has cooked, cut out little pie pieces and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

April 9, 2019

Talking about one's work is a prosaic topic, so I'll just quickly say: I've been underwater with my work, projects stacking one on top of another and not having space for much else really. A walk, some stretching, some food, and maybe an hour with my love in the evening, before it's back to work again, just in time to brush my teeth and crawl into bed before midnight (and the encroaching morning alarm!).

But this is not the kind of schedule that can sustain a human. Especially a creative one, which I think we all are at our truest core. So, I found myself feeling rather down at the end of the week last week.

Which is why Sunday we hopped in the car and headed for the coast!

On the way, I was able to indulge my emotions (and Sisyphus feelings) to Eric, and he listened deeply, and we talked about plans for the future so that we aren't just selling the hours of our lives away.

The cobwebs started to fall away in my brain, and by the time we reached the Hoh Rainforest, we were smiling and singing along with The Kinks. Got To Be Free was especially relevant.


If any cobwebs remained, the rainforest quickly dissolved them with its dewy bird-singing splendor.




On the drive home, we watched the sun go down behind the mountains surrounding Lake Crescent, and we held hands, and sang more songs.

How wonderful it is to have a love on this journey. Despite my fiercely independent nature and solitary daydreams, I am reminded how thankful I am to be so loved and so supported by this man, my husband, whose love for me is steadfast and complete.



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So Monday morning inevitably came, but I've handled the week with newfound ease (thus far, of course, it is only Tuesday).

I've been making time to organize little areas of our new home and to unpack totes, even if just one a day.

Yesterday I managed to tidy up the fireplace sitting area, so while the lovely mid-century shelves are still sparsely decorated, it is at the very least kempt.



I am a thrifty vintage shopper so the home decor will evolve as I find things that suit me, slowly and over time. Some things I will buy new, especially textiles like rugs and linens, but overall I find the hunt for used and vintage, both in home decor and in personal wardrobe, simply more fulfilling and exciting.

The poang chair and ottoman in the photo above was a local online find; I love the buttery color. The cowhide rug I bought in 2012 and have managed to maintain it well despite all of our traveling and storing of things. The loveseat was given to me by my mother, the pillow cover I found at Goodwill (brand new, Ralph Lauren, tags still on), and all of my books, a small percentage of which are shown in this photo, are thrilled to be back on display on shelves again. It has been nearly 4 years since they've been let out!


Above is the little kitchen table nook, where I sit typing this now. I've naturally gravitated to it as a workspace and a general hanging out space during the days. The little lemon tree is in full bloom now and her smell delights me all hours of the day. The windows stay open, despite the cool temperatures, because through them I can hear the sea and the wind through the Firs, mixed with the occasional lawn mower and drill off in the distance somewhere. And I love all of these sounds, especially in combination, as a reminder that the great big world is going on out there...

Anywho, we did buy this table and chairs new from Ikea because there was no better deal to be found in the area after keeping our eyes peeled for a few weeks.

And lastly for now, these lovely orange leather vintage stools...


...which were another splendid local online find. They add a nice pop of color as soon as you walk in the door, and complement the produce dish too I think. The fourth one is in Eric's bunker, which he has taken to calling his room for woodworking, music making, and other things, because of it's thick cement walls and central location.

So there you have it. A few little glimpses into the corners of order that I've managed to make time for.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

April 6, 2019

We forsook sleeping in on this beloved Saturday morning to attend the local farmer's market season opening, which was to be kicked off with a baby goat parade.

This parade ended up consisting of three young girls walking through the market, each holding a baby goat, amidst cold wind and rain.

It was enjoyable.... but sleeping in might have been even more enjoyable. Despite - we made the best of it, and as the sun came out, we chatted with a lovely French couple who prepared savory galettes for us, stuffed with greens, almonds, apples, cheese, ham, eggs, and mustard, and funneled hot coffee down our gullets, listened to lovely live music, and walked around town, smiling and happy, though both with a curious sleepy feeling we were never able to shake.

It was a good day.

In the afternoon, we took a window seat at Pippa's, each enjoying a hot mug of Russian Caravan and a proper scone.


Then, it was time for the dreaded tax appointment. Usually, things I dread never end up being so bad, so I took that thought with me and sat down across the desk from the accountant with a daft optimism.

No such luck.

IRS to be paid thousands.

So, hopefully amidst my stacked up work projects next week, I'll be able to find some time to raise my prices, which is simply necessary at this point.

Anyway. Enough of that!

It is Saturday night and while Eric unpacks and organizes his "bunker," I think I will mostly be reading and drinking tea. I'd love to embroider, but am out of olive green floss, which is the color I need at this stage, and the closest store to buy any is 45 minutes one way.

Meanwhile, here is an embroidery I stitched last month:






Friday, April 5, 2019

April 5, 2019

Woke this morning to a new and gleeful-faced little blossom on the lemon tree.


The smell is downright celestial - like combining jasmine and citrus. One of the more perfect smells I've ever smelled.

And here is what the lemon blossom sees out the window.


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Last night we had a gale roll in off the sea, and I sat on the couch, Eric already in bed, with just the fire going, attempting transcendental meditation. I felt... interesting things... inside my head, but can't quite be sure whether I transcended or not.

Will keep trying.