Directional flow...


Sometimes, you just have to roll with it...
drop everything and try something you've never done before.
It's one of best things about the Web (for me),
this inspiration that comes from people so openly sharing their handiwork...

I've been following the beauteous progress of Karen's circle work over on Stitching Life
When she stitched this one,
I was upstairs within five minutes pulling out materials to give it a go.

It just happens that way sometimes.

My couched spiral didn't end up quite as solid...in fact, it went quite cattywampus.
It's not symmetrical, nor tidy, and all the couching is very uneven.
But this is who I am with cloth.

One of the most appealing aspects of the couching technique is the wide range
of materials one can use/re-use to "couch."   This spiral is recycled sari ribbon but think of the possibilities
for upcycling old clothes, worn linens...

Go over here to see Judy Martin's eleven months of couching obsession.


Summer rain...


...not a particularly extraordinary thing, but unusual for around here.
It hasn't rained in summer since I moved to these islands, far as I can remember.
And it  never  rained in summer where I came from (hot, inland area of northern California)...


although everyone has been complaining,

I am secretly delighted.

I have a story cloth project on the horizon,
one that needs parameters,
a set direction for stitching and beading,

so I had the idea today to use my phone camera as a sketching tool,
as a thought gatherer, of sorts.

I'd recently loaded a new app to play with called 'Grungetastic' and thought
why not use it to work through a few ideas...

...I'm probably more comfortable with a camera in my hand than a drawing
tool these days anyway...

so I caught some rain laden purple foliage

and some purple blooms so dark they are almost black...

...and dawg, overseer of all goings-on,
who isn't much concerned with petals and such, only concerned about where I happen to be.
A beautiful thing is that.

I see these "grunge" veils as veils of silk ~ can you see it?

There was this beauty too...who will bloom shortly and then be gone.
An ephemeral.



Some thoughts on variegation...


It's the height of summer around here and we take many walks.  You can't see it from this angle
but my fur gal is watching a river otter swim through the bull kelp.
She'd be down there in a flash if she liked to swim.  Instead, she gets her picture taken
while I sit there saying to myself for the umpteenth time how much I love that soft patch of white...

Here's a plant with some varied patches of its own.
Oh, how I adore this...a sweet little honeysuckle called 'Harlequin.'
I suppose those leaves could be called tricolored?
while watering the garden the other evening I had a gander around and realized just how many variegated plants I've added to the mix.  My garden is young - barely two years old - and I've already gone a little
nutso for mottled and streaked foliage.

This is a favorite way to use it...stick it in front of a plain green background.
Here in the Pacific Northwest we have so. much. green.    greengreengreengreenGREEN.
Don't get me wrong...our native rose hedges are beauteous (in bloom there in the back)
and the scent is nothing short of intoxicating,
but after a brief bloom time in June they are, dare I say, nothing short of boring.
And that's why that variegated red twig dogwood came to be in that spot.

This combo is on the shady porch, a velvety coleus co-mingling with a delightful plant
that happens to go by the un-delightful name of spotted dead nettle.

Okay...I'll admit here and now that I'm a total snob about my variegation.
It must meet, shall I say, certain ***criteria*** for me to like it.
I do NOT like all variegation.
In fact, some of it is so downright hideous that I'd like to have a word with the plant breeder
and ask them,
 "WHUT were you thinking?!?"
Here's one I can't stand...belongs in the compost pile, if you ask me...

unlike this sweetie which I can't live without,

a tough and extremely useful creeping thyme called 'Highland Cream.'
I have this one stuffed all around the flagstones...fluffs up the edges, if you know what I mean,
and doesn't bat a blossom from all the dawg paw traffic.
Bred in England, it has a lot more variegated restraint than that aforementioned monstrosity.

Here's my latest acquisition, Caryopteris 'White Surprise,'   Since this photo it's been planted in front of a dark, purple-leaved smokebush called 'Grace.'

Of all my variegated plants, this one 
is my most special treasure.
It gets babied more than the dawgs - and that's sayin' somethin.
Can you blame me?  Look at it!
A maple tree whose newest leaves are APRICOT colored and then become (in my opinion) divinely speckled.
But those aren't the real reasons it's so special.  The real reason is not the least bit frivolous.
It was a gift...
from a friend who understands the meaning of giving me such a heartfelt present.

This is not a plant, but it's another form of variegation happening in the garden...

To my dawg pals, Let's Walk!
To my plant friends, Happy Growing!
And to my sewing sistahs, Happy Stitching!