Spring Is In The Air~ (trite~ but true!)

What a difference in a weeks time!  Not a speck of fog this morning when Pascal and I left the house!  According to my computer the temperature was 53`. I still needed my jacket ~ over a sweater & a sweatshirt,  but the air was noticeably warmer than it was earlier in the week.  We haven’t been to Heather Farms in a few months. In the winter when it rains it gets too muddy.  Besides being muddy, it’s not the best time to go, as most of the geese and the ducks have gone elsewhere,  and hardly any of the plants in the gardens are blooming-  buts that’s Winter.

Springtime at Heather Farms is always spectacular, and an ideal place to bring the camera.  I am so looking forward to getting new photos  for my notecards-  Hmmmmm-  it’s really NOT actually spring yet. But it FEELS like spring.  I look over at Pascal who’s looking out the window of the car.  Do I turn left & go to town for a walk, or do I turn right and head for Heather Farms~? I really, really, don’t want Pascal to get muddy. But it’s been two weeks since we’ve had rain. How muddy could it be now?

I turn right. We’re going to Heather Farms!!

We have about a 20 minute walk down a paved road before we actually get to Heather Farms and I’m happy to see along the way that there are several clusters of paperwhites ~ and even a few early daffodils, in full bloom;  Spring was in the air!  

Arriving at the path to Heather Farms we stood at the top of the hill for a few minutes, surveying the fields and the canal below us ~   The crisp early- morning air seemed so still~ and so quiet!  The ground definitely was still wet, but if didn’t look too muddy. Okay, Pascal! Let’s go!

We had just barely started down the hill when I heard the familiar sound of geese squabbling.  All right! Surly I’d get some pictures today!  Rounding the curve in the path, we arrived at a clearing beside the pond that the geese & ducks have made their beach. This morning,  with the exception of the ducks swimming in the canal, the pond appeared empty. But the beach was packed~ packed with geese! Mating season must have begun. The beach reverberated with squawking, reminding me of a political convention.  One goose would get right into another’s face,  squawking & nipping  with wings extended,  until the other goose backed away. We stopped to watch “the show” for a few minutes. I was anxious thinking that Pascal would bark at them and disrupt everything, but he didn’t make a sound; in fact, he looked bored~  so after taking a few quick pictures, we moved on.

On the opposite side of the path, just a bit beyond the noisy beach, it was quiet except for the light sound of water splashing. The canal at this point,  was overgrown with reeds  so at first I didn’t notice the pair of mallard ducks floating among them. Getting closer I saw a large white shape-  Excited, I reached for my camera. At first it was hard to tell what I was looking at, as all I could see were two stick-like, long legs extending from a large, white, headless body-  The head was buried under the water, but I had an idea of what it was. Last fall I was lucky enough to come across a beautiful, graceful bird, the Snowy Egret. Standing alone on the beach that today was populated with geese, it looked so elegant & magnificent set against the backdrop of trees in their fiery red orange & yellow, fall-leaf attire.  This, I discovered, was the origin of the splashing sounds I was hearing.  When the egret lifted his head from the water, he started a strange sort of stamping “dance” in the reeds. With one of his large feet he’d stamp the reeds continuously, now & then submersing his head below the water. The stamping must have been a way to make insects, or whatever he was eating that was in the reeds, come out so he could catch catch them in his mouth! I took several pictures of him but he seemed to be in constant motion so it was difficult to get a good one.  I  feel rewarded to have finally gotten this one good picture of him~   We walked just a bit further down the path , and there,  standing directly in front of us was a beautiful mallard duck. He stood very still as if he were posing. “Click” – gottcha!  It may not have quite been Spring yet, but it was definitely in the air!                                                                                                                                                                                     

I’m excited to add these new photos to my growing collection for new notecard sets to be added to my shops soon. Last week was a busy one, but I was able to complete and list my fifth lamb, Amelie~ and I listed two new sets of note cards,  Glistening Orange, and Bench of Poppies.  I’m currently still working on the baby blanket I’m knitting for my grandson who turns 1 this week.  I haven’t worked on a dress since before Christmas. I thought it would be a nice break to work on my knitting and notecards and while I love doing both of those,  I hadn’t realized until a few days ago, how much I miss working on my  dresses, so this afternoon,  guess what I did!  I cut out a new dress! All that I know right now is that it will be a size 2 and it’s a beautiful shade of light, light, pink.  Mainly I need to concentrate on finishing the blanket,  but if I have a dress all pleated; ready to smock & embroider, I may just be able to work on it a bit this week too.  I’ll let you know~ Have a great week!

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Spring~” Click, Click;” Catch it While I Can

Tree in full bloom

Spring! It’s everywhere I go, filling me with inspiration to create in it’s image;  things that are flowery & light as the breeze spreading its signature scent. Pulling weeds in my garden under the appletree, I was captivated by the subtle, sweetly-spiced scent of appleblossoms~ how to express that in a creation?

Pascal (my dog,)  and I, walk daily. Camera in hand, we alternate between downtown, with its beautiful fountains & planterboxes, and Heather Farms- ( several local acres of designated open space that’s been set aside as a wildlife preserve,  with walking trails, gardens,  ponds, meadows and a duck-filled canal.) Spring being such a short season, my camera clicks tirelessly as we walk, attempting to preserve the beauty Spring has scattered in its wake~

Currently, everything  I make reflects my experience of Spring.Bumblebee on Blue Looking at my photos I immediately Rose Garden, Heather Farms want to make notecards~ I’m excited!  Here in my hands, the  pictures enable me to hold onto Spring,  long after it has passed. On the trees, the wind & rain can destroy the beautiful blossoms, but  here on my notecards, they are saved;   preserved  in all their beauty – How wonderful to be able to have Spring always within reach!

As with the notecards, my handsmocked and embroidered dresses reflect my experience of Spring-  One  recently finished dress, A Dressful of Blooms, was totally spring inspired. Looking at it,  I recall the spicy-sweet scent of the apple blossoms on my tree. Perhaps looking at it , you too will have a sense of  the flower-scent~?        IMG_2747Dressful of Flowers

Today on our walk at Heather Farms, in addition to all of the new spring flowers, resplendent under water drops left by yesterday’s rain, we witnessed a very special spring addition~

**Duck & babies copy

Walking down the path beside the canal I saw what looked like something moving in the grasses on the far side of the canal. I stopped to see if I could tell what was there-  At first I saw the mother duck. Her dark coloring blended in so well with the hillside that she was difficult to discern at first.  She was standing very still looking back at us. Incredibly, Pascal didn’t bark! Watching her, I suddenly saw movement in the grass behind her and watched in awe as 5 tiny ducklings shuffled awkwardly to get close to her. After watching us for a while, I guess she decided we didn’t pose much danger, because she started walking down the bank towards the water, the 5 little ducks following close behind~ in one straight line! Down the hill they stumbled & into the canal,  gliding on the water, mom & her 5-  in one straight line,  swim masters already!

Mom & babies, crossing the path~ in one straight line We followed them a short way down the canal and then stopped and watched again as the babies followed their mom out of the water, up the bank and across the path towards the larger pond~ in one straight line!

These pictures, along with others taken that day will be available on sets of notecards in my shop. Spring passes so quickly that I’m so happy to have caught at least a bit of it before we move into summer~ which I know, is lurking just around the bend~

It’s Spring!

Pretty Tulips 2010

It’s Spring!!  Here, in Northern Ca. we ‘re experiencing the full tempestuous effects of Springtime.;  blue skies & billowy white clouds with temperatures approaching 70,   giving way to gray-sky windy days with temperatures in the 50′s, punctuated by rain storms-   and back and forth the weather shifts like the moods of a young child. Today with Daylight Savings Time,  I gain an hour of daylight to work in the garden, which is great because there is so much to be done to clean-up after winter & get ready for planting new flowers for summer.

*****Geese Today the sun is out and the temperature is perfect for working in the garden~ 63`. Pascal and I took a  long walk to Heather Farms this morning,  past fields filled with mustard flowers blowing in the light breeze. The air was filled with sounds of geese squawking and as we followed the path around the curve, we came to the spot of commotion. The pond was filled with geese & ducks, as was the small beach. They all seemed to be out this morning, like us, enjoying the beautiful weather.

My plan was to come home after our walk, write a blog post and  get to work embroidering my new dress so that hopefully Pascal & I could go out at the end of the day & work in the garden. A good plan, it sounds easy enough~  And it would be if my eyes weren’t constantly returning to the window, to the sunlight outside, to the flowers blowing in the breeze and the birds collecting twigs to build nests. Suddenly it becomes so difficult to be inside working!!

Reluctantly I avert my eyes from the window reminding myself that with Spring comes Easter, now just a few weeks away, soon to be followed by summer. Then I feel excitement about implementing my new smocking and embroidery ideas for the coming season. Right now my shop is filled with hand smocked dresses that are  hand embroidered  with bunnies, chicks, ducks, lambs and of course lots of flowers,  making them perfect for Spring and Easter . Here are my two most recent additions:Rosebud

I Am A  Lamb

In addition to the smocked & embroidered dresses, I thought it would be a great idea to embroider infant, onepiece bodysuits. I now have two of them in my Etsy shop, website, and 1,000Markets shop. Like the dresses, these are ooak. They are not only perfect for spring, but perfect for Easter as well, with 2 bunnies on one,  and a little yellow chick on the other~

IMG_2307 copy 1 **Flowers For Her Hair

I am excited for you to see all of the cute  handsmocked & embroidered clothes for little girls that I have in my 3 shops; Etsy, Rabbit Whiskers, & 1,000 Markets.

Spring dominates my notecard sets, as well. There are an abundance of cards with beautiful photos of spring flowers of all kinds as well as scenes of spring, such as the mustard flower field that I passed on my walk this morning. For anyone who loves spring & spring-related items, my shops are a must see! I hope you will enjoy browsing !

And now I’ve gotten excited to get to work on my latest dress. I’m going to put a spring scene on it~ perhaps the garden that I can’t yet plant outside! This dress is going to be a size 2 and it’s on purple & white gingham! Come peek in my shop in about a week- a week 1/2, and you should  see a brand new addition displayed!

Happy Spring to you!!!

Mustard Meadow

What…….Photos?……In a Dress Shop?

8928PinkSky So——What do you think, do you like it? Would you like to see more pictures like this, and what do you think these photos would look like on blank white notecards??? Hey—–these could even be framed and hung on the wall—–what do you think??? Thoughts like this have been going through my mind for months now. I had to find out-  to quench my curiousity!

In my last post I wrote that sometime in the near future I planned on adding a note card section to both my website and my etsy shop. And so I am!!!  I have been working on note cards until 1:00 A.M. for the past few weeks and I think I’m finally ready to list them in my shops!

In the past, every time I’ve posted flower photos in my blog people always comment on how much they like them. Now you’ll actually have the opportunity to buy them and own them yourself or give them as gifts to somebody special! Many of the photos are pictures of flowers,  but there will also be  photos of****Clearly Pink——– well, it’s a surprise! You’ll just have to come see!. I think they turned out great and I’m very excited for you to come see for yourself.

This has been such a fun project. I’ve  loved making the cards!!  (I always knew I would~)  They should be up in my shops in a day or two, so come by and take a look- I think you’ll like what you see-!8112HyacinthBlues

*****Dance in my Head copy

It’s Raining, It’s

***Purple Pansy copy POURING ~ Good for flowers and ducks!!

I just came in from “taking” Pascal for a walk- only we didn’t walk; we went nowhere. Pascal wouldn’t move! He looked at me as if I was crazy, and argued with a “look” that said, ” I’m not going out in that!!”

So here I am, home early and ready to cut-out a new dress. If you’ve looked at my blogs before, you’ve noticed that I usually include one or two photos- usually of flowers or scenery.

I’ve just realized how I’ve come full circle, all of my favorite interests linking and supporting each other . I usually bring my camera with me when I take Pascal for a walk.  I love taking and looking at, pictures of flowers and pretty, and/or interesting, scenes. The photos and scenery from my walks have a heavy influence on what I embroider on my dresses. In addition to making dresses, I have a passion for gardening. This too, influences the scenes on my dresses.

In winter, the weather being not great for gardening, I concentrate more on dress-making, appeasing my passion for gardening by designing gardens on my dresses.  I realize that my four passions; walking with Pascal, gardening, nature-photography, and hand-embroidering the scenes on my handsmocked dresses, are all avenues that inter-relate and contribute to my creative processing that culminates in the one-of-a-kind, dresses that you see in my shop .

As I write this sentence, I realize that , for the moment anyway, it’s stopped raining. If I hurry, I think I can catch a few rays of sunshine and take Pascal- and camera,  walking after all!! I’ll be back soon~ with fresh ideas for my new dress!                                                                    Wind Ripples copy

Duck Circle copy