Thursday, October 20, 2011

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

I saw a beautiful rainbow this morning on my way home from an early meeting.  We had a rainy day yesterday with brisk winds that changed our weather from Indian summer to frosty fall, so the rainbow was symbolic of the end of the storm.  I tried, rather unsuccessfully to brighten just the rainbow, but didn't have much luck.  Just take my word for it that it goes to the left side of the photo.  Oh, and since I have to cross the mountains to get home and rainbow's end was in front of them, I guess I live somewhere over the rainbow.

And (yes, Mom) I probably shouldn't be taking photos while I'm driving, but I don't actually have to look at the camera or anything, just hold it up and snap.  I took some more of the leaves that have turned an autumn gold in our area. Snapshots through the windshield might become a theme on the blog...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Tale of the Bonsai

My grandmother and great uncle gave me a bonsai tree last fall for a "new office warming" present. They did this to me once before so I knew it was a bad idea. Bonsai trees are a lot of responsibility. Someone has nurtured them for years to get them to the point where they can be sold to irresponsible plant owners like me. I felt guilt just opening the carefully packed box, knowing that plants that enter my house can't be needy. They've got to get used to arid conditions, a lack of fertilizer, and less than spacious quarters for their roots. If they can survive that, then they're just the plant for me.

Don't get me wrong, I love houseplants and have a number of them, including one that I've had for over 20 years now, but plants have got to adapt to me and not vice versa. Bonsai trees aren't like that. I've tried to remember to water it every 3 or 4 days like the accompanying book said, but I don't always remember until I see the tree wilting. We don't have air conditioning so the poor thing got a little too warm earlier this summer. It still has leaves, and fewer turned brown this week than last so maybe it's starting to adapt to me? I'd hate to be a two-time bonsai murderer. Oh, the guilt!

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Basket for a Friend

I went to a baby shower for a friend last week. You'd think with 7 months to decide what to make for her, I'd have come up with something creative, useful, and treasured. Nope. Not being the maternal type, a week before the shower I was still trying to decide what to get her and beating myself up for not making her something.

I decided on 2 things: buy something from her registry and make a basket to put that something in. I had a fancy handle that I'd woven several years ago and just never made a basket to go around it so a basket seemed like a good idea at the time. Then I got into the basket weaving and remembered that there are parts of that process that are just not that enjoyable for me. Like that first row after you upset the stakes. Or the joy of having 2 pieces of round reed that are just a little too long so you spend half of your time untangling them rather than twining them. Or any part of putting the rim on.

The basket turned out okay, but maybe I should just stick to making linoleum block prints of baskets and plan ahead next time to make a present that's more enjoyable for me!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Leaves They Are A Changin'

It's officially autumn here. We've had cool nights. I hear flocks of geese flying over most evening as they follow the New River south. The crickets' chirps are slowing. The leaves are changing.  It's been rainy the last couple of days and some of the mountain tops are in the clouds, but the leaves are still beautiful. They're not quite at peak yet, but should be by this weekend.

 I've mentioned previously what a pretty drive to work I have through the mountains.  I tried today to take some photos while I was driving so you could see the changing leaves. The photos, of course, don't really do the colors justice, but you get the idea of the beauty that surrounds us in Southwest Virginia.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Harvesting the Crops

If you've been following my blog, you know that I planted some vegetables this summer: cherry tomatoes, beef steak tomatoes, yellow peppers, and pickling cucumbers. Actually, just one plant of each - I wouldn't know what to do with too many vegetables!  I've harvested 2 oddly-shaped cucumbers, 2 little green peppers that fell off when my planter tipped over, a few cherry tomatoes here and there, and 4 beef steak tomatoes that I've turned into spaghetti sauce (with the 2 green peppers). 

Yesterday, I was watering the plants so that the tomatoes will continue to grow and ripen, when I found 14 ripe red cherry tomatoes!  They were hiding amongst the leaves so I didn't know they were there. Nice surprise. I had them for lunch today. Yummm.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Missing a Beat

When I'm working at home, I love to listen to classical music.  Listening to the depth and variety of the music makes me more creative.  I don't have words distracting me, just the beauty of the woodwinds, the brass, the strings, the percussion.  Those combined sounds are thought-provoking and energizing to me.

I'm also a musician.  I've played the clarinet since I was introduced to it in my 4th grade music class.  I've played classical music, marches, Christmas carols, swing, and all types of music in between in school, college, and now in the local community band.  That may be one of the reasons I so appreciate classical music. 

I listen to our local NPR station, WVTF, during the day and know the daytime classical DJs personally - both are also in the local community band.  Today though, listening to the station is painful rather than energizing.  Seth Williamson, the host of Morning Classics, passed away this morning after surgery.  His voice, love of classical music, and way of poetically describing his surroundings and environment were something I had grown to enjoy in the mornings.  In the community band, he usually played the euphonium or one of its cousins, and was extremely accomplished.  I could always tell if he was there by the strength of the section.  He enjoyed exploring Southwest Virginia, looking for out of the way places and migrating birds, and then providing a short poetic synopsis on the radio.  He was a huge presence in the music world in Southwest Virginia and will be greatly missed.

Maybe its my imagination, but the classical music seems melancholy today, like we're missing a beat.  My heart goes out to his family, friends, fellow musicians, and co-workers at WVTF.     

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Jury is In

A month or so ago (was it really that long?) I posted about preparing some of my linocuts for the jury at Heartwood, a new artisan center in my area.  Well, the jury is in and they accepted 2 of my framed prints!  It is particularly exciting because they purchase the items they accept rather than just putting them on consignment.  That means they try to be sure something will sell before they purchase it - hence the jurying process.

They also provided comments so that I can improve my work and my chances of having all 5 pieces accepted the next time I submit items for their jury: "Lovely/Work on having more in your design, rather than a single object/Sweet/wonderful minimal feeling, and beautifully matted and framed."  I'm thrilled to have professional affirmation of my work! 

(These signed and numbered linoleum block prints are also available unframed at my Etsy shop - just click on the images above!)