Sunday, August 17, 2014

Good Fibrations

This festival is exactly my idea of the perfect summer afternoon. Fibrations is a feast for the sense. The colors always blow me away. I somewhat expect to see the same things as the previous year but when I arrive I'm dazzled. New colors, new designs, new art. Really, that is what I see here. Art, in endless forms. From the way a yarn is dyed to the woven cloth to the felted figures, it inspires me.

As a knitter, I'm hopelessly drawn to the yarn. There were so many yarn vendors this year. As I said, the colors were amazing. It was all I could do not to run from stall to stall, snatching up armfuls of luscious yarn. Some shimmered, some self-striped, some was totally raw. There was mohair, merino, alpaca, silk, linen and probably more that I missed. It made me want to run home and knit like a madwoman. I had the urge run my hands over all the yarn. It was pleasing not just to the eyes but to the touch and that beautiful wool smell.

There were spinning wheels galore. I loved watching the community helping each other, welcoming on-lookers and nurturing new talent. I was a bit surprised though that I didn't see a single drop spindle in use while I was there. Last year I bought my first drop spindle at this festival and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the young women at the stall walk and chat while spinning with their drop spindles. It gave the festival a bit of a medieval air in my opinion.

This year drew far more felters than in previous years and the talent was amazing. The birds in the picture above are actually music boxes. What a lovely gift to listen to the sweet song while holding a soft and beautiful wool bird in your hands. Many of the stalls had such lovely felted items for children. Beautiful felted mobiles, dolls, bunnies, fairy houses; I could have decorated my children's rooms entirely from what I saw there. Of course, there is no one that can compare to the artistry of Saltspring Wool Art. The owl above was just one of the owls he brought. His talent with wool is mind blowing. The feathers even ruffled in the breeze. He had tiny gnomes and owls with amazing detail. I completely admire his gift with wool.

Another highlight was the children's felting station. Some people might feel nervous about letting their child felt with a needle but it was a great set up. The entire table was covered with a large piece of foam so the children didn't have to worry about the foam moving under their felt. I put the piece of roving on the felt sheet and April used one hand to punch up and down with the needle. Together we made her a little sheep and a purple A. It was so fun for me to share my joy of fibre art with my daughter. I will treasure that little piece of art.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Blueberry Fields

 This post is a bit delayed, blueberry season is already coming to an end, but in honor of my favorite harvest it had to be shared.

We returned to our favorite blueberry farm to harvest fresh berries. Stewart's Blueberry Farm is a family farm and their berries are the best. Unsprayed and organic practices as well as family friendly. April is always thrilled to pick berries. This year she was much better about putting the berries in her basket rather than her mouth. Though she was asking the whole time when she could eat her berries (truth be told, I was having a hard time waiting as well). Their little farm also includes goats and ducks. Our visit is never complete without paying them a visit. On this day the ducks were out cleaning up the rows by removing the dropped berries. What helpful creatures.

We simply couldn't wait until we got home to delve into our baskets of blueberries. I wish I had the words to describe the perfect blend of sweet and tart and juicy and firm that are those fresh blueberries. They were even still warm from the sun. I ate until my stomach hurt. I think this might have been the one case of overeating that I didn't regret. Blueberries never taste as wonderful as they do straight from the bush and they are so nutrient packed that I can't resist eating them by the handful. I had such plans for using those berries. Muffins, jams, pancakes, smoothies, popsicles; all were on my list of things to try with our 6lbs of fresh berries. Aside from one small batch of blueberry pancakes (at April's request), the berries were eaten in their purest form. We didn't even bother serving them with yogurt or ice cream. We just munched away for the next few days.

Blueberry season is almost at a close but after writing this post I'm convinced we need to make one last effort to collect more berries. The season is so brief and out-of-season berries can't even come close. I think I will end this post and start gathering my baskets. The blueberries are calling.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Fairy Boats and Blackberries

What a magical afternoon it was. We had spent a few weeks choosing materials and assembling boats and finally we were ready to launch. Once again our inspiration came from Sparkle Stories (Martin and Sylvia Spring Fairy Boat Race). We built a boat made of wine corks with a felt sail, another made of molding wax with a leaf sail and the last one made of bark with a small fabric sail. We talked about which would be the best boat.

It was a hot, sunny afternoon when we decided to pack the little boats into a basket and head down to the creek. It was a relief to be in the shade for a while. April chose the cork boat to be the first to launch. It was off to a good start. We followed it with the wax boat. It floated well enough but quickly lost it's large sail. Last was the bark boat. It did float and made it's way down the creek until it got stuck on a branch in the water. Daddy came to the rescue and set it free but it was too late. The bark became too saturated to stay afloat and down it went. The cork boat was the all-round winner for sure. We left them to float down the creek for the fairies to find.

Now that the basket was empty of boats, we set about filling it up with blackberries. I was quite surprised that the bushes along our route were not picked over. The blackberries were not in the shade however so Finn and I set up camp under an apple tree and watched April and Daddy fill the basket. Once full we all rested in the shade of that lovely apple tree and sampled a few berries. It was such a lovely way to spend time together. It was magical and delicious. Though hot, we walked home feeling very content.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Lazy Lake Days

It's been hot around here lately. Really hot. So what better why to cope with the heat than to retreat to one of our favorite places; the lake. I cannot think of a more perfect way to spend a summer day with my family. Finn is a totally water baby. He kicks and splashes with a big smile on his face. April is a fish too. She's been taking swimming lessons this summer and any excuse to get back in the water is fine by her. Her swim lessons have given her so much confidence. She doesn't want me holding her hand in the water or helping her float anymore.

We always bring a picnic. I think we all could happily stay at the lake for hours. The sandy shore is perfect for castle building. According to April, lake sand is also perfect fairy dust. You might catch her throwing handfuls into the water. Now that Finn is starting to sit up he is keen to explore the sand as well. Though he usually just thrusts handfuls of sand into his mouth. Not really what mama likes to see.

The lake for me is healing. Jon is wonderful about sitting with both kids so I can swim out as far as I can and float. It's peace. The only real waves are from the odd passing boat and they just gently rock me as I float.  I watch the top of the trees slightly sway and gaze off at the Cascade mountains in the distance. What a blessing this little island is and how lucky that I call it home. The water feels soothing on my hot skin and eases those mama aches. I never leave the lake feeling anything but relief. And although my children sometimes leave the lake in tears, I know that they are healed by the water too.