shadow play

Making images using sunshine as a catalyst is just fascinating. True to form I am stumbling along learning as I go, after ordering some inks from Lumi. None of my first attempts were stellar, but I am slowly grasping the idea. I am already thinking about how this could be tweaked and improved to fit in with my esthetics and color preferences. I am not one to go the straight and narrow route.

One of my concerns about the inkodye is the chemical make up of the dye. Lumi is straight forward on its website, claiming that these inks are not free of toxins but still rather benign in the big scope of things. Anyhow, playing with these dyes will most likely be just play, and not something I would do seriously for extensive production.

While working on the correct ink coverage and exposure times I also discovered some true light and shadow play in my back yard. Almost as intriguing, I think.

falling into place

Fall is finally here. The leaves are twirling in the air and coating the ground. The mornings are crisp and sweaters are brought out from storage. Personally it feels like pieces of my life are falling into place. I recently started a new job, or more accurately I restarted an old one. I am thrilled to be back with my friend Laura at Roseberries, and delighted to discover that my old skills are still intact. A bit of light dusting should be all that is needed.

While I am now devoting part of my week to graphic design work, the rest of my time is spent making art. Art that no longer is constricted by financial worries or seasonal production schedules. Art that will grow from within, following its own time table. Things are still hectic as I prepare for the upcoming Artisans Studio Tour, and for holiday sales, but by restructuring my time and my goals, I feel less pressured – contradictory as it may sound.

This week I played some more with walnuts, made magic iron potions, and stitched book covers. I am slowly, but surely cleaning out our house, organizing, sorting, and giving things away. The garden is still a mess, but even that feels less stressful at the moment. Life is good.

A few things on the horizon. The show "nature prints on cloth and paper" is still up at Over the moon bookstore, in Crozet. It will be there until December 6. Next week signals the start of the World of Threads Festival in Toronto/Oakville in Ontario. Two of my pieces are included in the De rerum natura exhibit at the Joshua Creek Heritage Art Center in Oakville. I wish I could travel to see this wonderful textile extravaganza in person! The Artisans Studio Tour, takes place November 10 - 11, in and around Charlottesville, Virginia. I will once again be a guest in Mary Beth Bellah's studio (no. 8), along with master woodworker Brian Rayner. It would be lovely to have you visit one or several of these events!


We are preparing for departure once again. In a few days time we will be on our way first to Malmö, Sweden and then to Paris, France... I can't wait to see my family again - my nephews, my mom, my sisters, my brother-in-law, and then  uncles, aunts, cousins, and old friends. These visits to the home country keeps me sane, and anchored. This is where I really belong and this is where my history began. So I will savor every minute, every hug, every laughter. Not to mention every meal, and every glass raised.

Towards the end of the month my boys (all three of them) and I are heading to Paris. We will spend a full week in this magical city; walking, looking, eating, looking, and walking some more. Kind friends have already sent me lists of things not to miss, but more ideas are always welcome. Let me know what your favorite Paris spot might be. I did get my hands on Paris: Made by Hand by Pia Jane Bijkerk, so now I am envisioning one or two shopping trips to some of these old fashioned stores filled with linen, silks, notions, threads, and other treasures.

Part of preparing for departure is to make sure everything at home is left in order. I am finishing up work and shipping pending orders. I am tidying up the garden, hoping our house sitters will take advantage of its bounty (the tomatoes are especially delicious this year). The house is gradually being cleaned and the dogs are showered with love. Leaving the pooches behind is actually the most difficult part. I know they will have the best of care, but it is still so hard.

I have listed a few new pieces in the store, including similitude, a new favorite art quilt based on a mirrored walnut eco prints on wool. Both the online store and the etsy shop will be closed while I am gone, so take a quick look now to see if something catches your fancy...

Lastly, I want to brag about my friend Kelly McKaig, and her brand new etsy shop. Kelly is a renowned photo stylist who also makes sachets, pincushions, and other house ware, and she cultivates and sells her own honey. She lives, works, and raises her bees on the southside of Chicago. The image shows the beautiful pin cushion I bought, made from rust dyed and hand stitched linen - handmade, wholesome, and beautiful.

blandy farm

We spent some time in this beautiful place last weekend. Our friends live right next door to Blandy Farm, the State Arboretum of Virginia. In addition to great companionship, and delicious food, we were introduced to a array of farm animals, historic buildings, and unusual trees and plants. The grove of ginkgo trees across the field from their house is most alluring. I hope to return soon.

avocado dip

Chopped up a bunch of avocado skins, added the pits, and set it all to simmer. Once strained the concoction made a surprising dye bath - the cloths came out maroon/rust/dusty pink pending on kind. While I had the pots on the stove I could not resist making a few bundles filled with fresh spring leaves, such as japanese maple, redbud, and roses... A wonderful end to a wonderful day. Happy spring.

self promotion

Maketing, publicity, and pr are concepts that I struggle with. I am just not good at beating my own drum or tooting my own horn. But I do like to present myself and my work in a way that reflect who I am and what I create. Recently I decided to make some larger format cards instead of standard buisness cards. They were printed at my favorite local press in black ink on recycled card stock, and each of them will be adorned with a leaf print on the front. Even though more time consuming, it feels important to leave behind a small sample of my work for prospective customers to look at and consider.

Speaking of promotion... I recently listed a new piece in the etsy shop that I really like. It is a textile collage of eco printed linen and silk, hand stitched and mounted on a small stretched canvas. I call it whisper, because the imagery is barely there, it seems to be floating under the fabric surface.

Lastly, my garden blog is revived. The garden is such a huge inspiration in my life and my work, and I am glad I finally got back to documenting the exciting things that always happens there. Happy spring!

signs of fall and a worldwide band of stitchers

These choral red spider lilies are popping up all over my ruefully neglected garden. I love their determination and grace. Their annual appearance is the first sign that fall will actually happen again this year. The stifling heat is giving away to cooler days, which brings energy and ambition. My dreams and plans are always most plentiful this time of year.  There are so many things I want to take on. The front garden needs a total rework and a new stone walk, the home office needs repainting, and my head is spinning with work ideas...

I am starting off by joining India Flint's global sewing circle. Each participant will find a simple pre-used textile, that will be renewed and embellished with patching, mending, and stitching. Progress will be chronicled and shared on the blog, and sometime next year there will be an opportunity for the participants to meet up with India for a few days of dyeing, sharing, and celebrating. Several locations around the world will be selected for these events. This wonderful project will evolve over time, but the general idea is to enjoy the art of sewing, preserving, gathering, and dreaming, while sharing ideas and experiences with friends. Novices and experts alike are invited to join. For more detailed information check out India's project description. I encourage you to sign up!

Stitching and mending images courtesy of India Flint.

gift of gardening

I am spending this mother's day weekend in the garden. It is a gift of sorts from my family, who has promised to take care of more trivial things while I putz around in the dirt. The garden is the main inspiration for my work and life. Things seems so simple when studying earthworms or sniffing peonies. If you like, visit my garden blog for more musings. Happy mother's day to all wonderful creative and caring mothers, sisters, aunts, daughters, grandmothers, and mothers-to-be!

happily home

We have returned. Four weeks away seemed like no time at all despite being filled with family fun, explorations, food discoveries, walks, and other adventures. I am glad to be back in Charlottesville, reunited with my lovely husband, who could only join us for part of the trip, and Freja the dog, who seems confused and slightly depressed without her companion.

I am also eager to start work again, my mind and my sketchbook are filled with ideas. I look forward to settling in to my creative routines, exploring new prints, and delving into embroidery, my newfound passion. The etsy shop is up and running and the inleaf site will follow shortly.

I'll leave you with some more Scandinavian goodies.

Small boat harbor and traditional street houses in Roskilde.

Birthday lunch with my mom in Malmö.

Overnight trip with the boys to Copenhagen.

Viking ship museum in Roskilde.

Anemones and wild strawberries in my moms garden.

reclaiming the garden

Gardening has always been a big part of my life, but for the past few years my own garden has been woefully neglected. Family, work, art, and life has gradually encroached on my precious gardening time and lately I have been too embarrassed to face the weeds and the decline.

This is about to change. This weekend I met with Tracey, (blogger friend, horticulturist, garden consultant, artist, and almost neighbor). We had a wonderful time walking around my yard in the warm morning sun, discussing options, admiring the good, noting the bad. Tracey's positive attitude and practical advise, made me see the garden and the practice of gardening with new eyes. I am truly inspired! The daunting job of caring for our acre of our overgrown land, will be broken down in small manageable projects. I have promised myself to stay on task and to rediscover the joy of digging in the dirt and stopping to smell the roses...

signs of spring

Slowly but surely spring is emerging. The star magnolia buds are unfolding and the maple flowers makes the tree aglow. To celebrate the season I invite you to visit the poppytalk handmade green spring market. An amazing array of artists are showing off their goods at this virtual market place. This is my debut as a poppytalk handmade seller, and I am impressed with the quality and beauty the market represents. You can find the inleaf table here, along with talented friends such as periwinkle bloom, enhabiten, and jewelweeds.

winter bloom

It is a busy week, but I wanted to share these happy signs of spring – the witch hazel's fringy bloom and the cheerful winter aconites. I will be back soon...

robust roses

The summer season is certainly over. But throughout our neighborhood the roses carry on despite frosty mornings and blustery winds, blooming their hearts out in mid November... 

pale purple pining

This weekend was spent indoors, mostly in front of the computer, finishing up many small projects and tasks that had reach the end of the deadline rope. I should be grateful for busyness. Our lives are uncertain and knowing that so many people still want my work and my help is reassuring. But I long for a few more moments in the garden, zooming in on the smallest of details; the smell of the moist dirt, the lingering morning dew, and the vivid hues of summer's last flowers. There should be a time for everything.

garden sunday

I spent most of my sunday in the garden. Few things makes me happier. By this time of year our garden is like a jungle. Due to my neglect, a few hurricane related rainstorms, and our southern heat and humidity things grow rampantly. So today was spent cleaning up and unveiling hidden treasures under layers of bind weed, grape vines, grasses, and bitter sweet... The asian pears are ready for picking. They are best sliced up in an arugula salad with crumbled blue cheese, or poached in red wine and served with whipped cream.

The garlic chive is taking over my herb garden. It really is a weed, but I love it in bloom, and the leaves are mighty tasty as salad toppings.

Butterflies, moths, and bumble bees are all flocking to the sedums and the chives. Nature in full force.

The fall crocuses are in bloom. They pop up from nowhere and these have the most delicious shade of lavender pink.

I did clean out our garden shed and its surroundings. It doesn't look like much but I am not showing the before pictures on purpose. It is very satisfying to sort out a mess and get things nice and orderly. The shed is lovingly called "Mona's annex", since my lovely husband jokingly threatens to house my mother there whenever she comes to visit. It is made from salvaged materials left over from our house renovation projects. The doors are from our old pantry, the window was once the only natural light source in our kitchen, and the wobbly landing is made from bricks discovered and dug up throughout our yard. I love living in a place with a past... 

prelude to fall

The tip of a  branch on our tupelo tree (nyssa sylvatica) suddenly turned the brightest of red. It was almost unsettling amidst all the greenness with autumn still being far ahead. The shimmering colors and the speckled patterns on the leaves are seductive, especially knowing that their appearance is fleeting. This coming week I am eagerly returning to the studio. My mind is brimming with ideas and I am looking forward to attending to my idle projects as well as embarking on new ones. Longing to get back to work is a wonderful thing.

moths and lilies

As this happy weekend near and end want to share some treats from my garden. The gigantic brown moths (I actually think that's what they are called) were clinging to our climbing rose early one morning. Their pattern and delicate detailing are just magnificent. The common daylily is in full bloom right now. Each dawn a new bud unfolds just to end its glorious life span by dusk. And the next day there is another ready to steal the limelight.

way behind

Yet again I got caught up in the busyness of life. School is nearing an end which means graduation ceremonies, music auditions, soccer parties, end-of-semester projects, and exams. Most of which I did not personally partake in, but sometimes having the supporting role is just as engaging and time consuming. I have also worked on several retail orders which is always fun and rewarding. Shipment has gone out to shops like ink & peat in Portland, Oregon, field in Larchmont, New York, Eco-Artware, Washington, DC, and La Vie En Rose, Norwalk, Connecticut. This week I am finishing up a large pillow order for Juno & Jove in Sarasota, Florida. Needless to say my garden is badly neglected. Luckily it still looks green and and relatively happy. My evening stroll amongst the lushness left me most satisfied.
Hydrangeas and parsley in bloom.

Asian pears and roses.

Chard and allium.

on a brighter note

The fruits on our plum trees are abundant this year. By late July they should be ready for eating, seductively sweet and juicy. The tulip poplar is dropping its unusual but beautiful flowers all over the back yard. My lovely husband made a Jeffersonian gate for the vegetable garden. It is so elegant and fits well with the raised beds. I am happy. 

liljekonvalj and dogwoods

Few flowers are more symbolic for me than these two. Liljekonvalj, or Lily of the valley, represents my Swedish childhood. Wherever we lived, from the baltic island of Gotland, to the coastal area of southern Halland and the tenant house we rented on a southern estate, there vas always an abundance of liljekonvalj both wild and cultivated. It is my favorite flower and I am lucky to find them quite content in my current garden. The delicate bells have a divine scent, that now fills up my studio. The dogwoods are the essence of my life in Virginia. They are currently in full bloom all around town, along the highways, and scattered in the woods. We have two old trees in our front yard, magnificent despite their relative smallness. The blooms seem to hover on almost bare twigs and the branch structure is very sculptural. In the fall the shapely leaves will turn bronze and burgundy for yet another time in the limelight.