Thursday, October 17, 2013

Bread and Friendship

Some of you might know (in the blogging universe sort of way) my friend Helen from the UK.  She's one of the Twelves, as well as the author of various blogs (From Down the Well, Plan Create Succeed) and we write the blog Tea and Talk for Two together (Well, we have, but we're behind, and we will again.  Another story.)

Anyway.  Here's Helen.  And I have this picture of her looking rather contemplative (or perhaps tired and hungry because this was during our lunch break on a big shopping day) because until a few days ago, she was right here visiting me.  And what a lovely time we had.

It's kind of amazing how you can meet someone online -- through a blog or group -- and really get to know them, so that by the time you meet in person you are already fast friends.  I don't think that people who do not interact with online friends understand this (in fact, they look at you rather oddly when you say you met someone online, have you noticed?)  This was not our first time getting together in person, so we knew that we have a real and not just virtual friendship.  But because we live so far apart, time together feels miraculous and precious.

Our time was packed with fun things, but I what I want to share today was a stop at a charming bakery.  Helen is an avid baker and I am an avid appreciator of baked goods, so when Helen suggested that we seek out the Wild Flour Bakery on our way out to the coast, I readily agreed. 

It's in the little town of Freestone, between Sebastopol and Bodega Bay. Look at these cool doors -- perfect for a rustic, brick oven bakery, yes?

There was a long line of people inside, but waiting gave us time to read the menu and drool over the options.

When you get up to the counter, you can see the gorgeous array of baked goods.

We bought bread for a picnic by the ocean, and some bread to put in the freezer for future eating, and some scones for later in the afternoon with tea or coffee, and some scones for the next morning, and some for the freezer...  Suffice it to say that the bread and scones were yummy and the car smelled deliciously of bread for the rest of the day.

There was a charming garden around the back of the bakery where we were invited to wander.

I especially liked this door to the orchard.

From there, we continued to Bodega Bay where I introduced Helen to the funky, Alfred Hitchcock-Birds themed general store, then on to a point overlooking the ocean where we ate our picnic lunch.  We shivered a bit then headed inland just a mile to find sunshine and warmth and hot coffee. We poked around shops, visited several artist studios (having the good fortune to be making the trip on an Art Trails open studio day), and came home bread-laden and contented.

Even though Helen left a few days ago, I'm still basking in the pleasure of that visit.  Yesterday, I pulled out these very photos and painted a page in my sketchbook to commemorate the day.

Aah, a good friend, a day trip, and a bakery.  Perfect!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Winner of Sarah Ann Smith's DVD!

I used the Random Number Generator and it picked number 11, who is "MVPat," otherwise known as Pat Dicker.  Thanks, all, for commenting -- Pat, I know you will enjoy Sarah's video!  Congratulations!

Thursday, October 03, 2013

New Art Quilt DVD by Sarah Ann Smith -- Giveaway!

I was delighted when I learned that my friend Sarah Ann Smith was making a video workshop for the folks at Quilting Arts Workshops, because Sarah is a talented art quilter and very creative in her approach to her art.  I've admired her work for a long time, and I was excited to see her process.  I offered to participate in her blog hop to announce this great video workshop, because I knew that I'd want to share it with you all.  The video workshop is available in both DVD and digital download formats -- either way, once you have it, you can watch it again and again. 

What a terrific workshop this is, jam-packed with good information. When I sat down to watch it, I was thinking of a friend of mine who is a novice quilter, just starting out to try original designed art quilts.  So as Sarah explained in clear detail what she uses, how she approaches design, and how the technique works, I was very impressed and thought it'd be an ideal workshop for someone relatively new to art quilting.  But as I watched, I was surprised at how many good tips I learned in this, too. Even experienced art quilters will enjoy and learn from this workshop.

In the workshop, Sarah covers:
   *  What supplies she uses (in specific detail), and most imporantly, WHY she uses what she does
   *  How to choose fabrics, including a great section on using colored pencils and fabric paints to stretch your fabric stash
   * Great tips on working with fusibles
   * Tips on color and composition choices, and the importance of contrast
   * How to choose a photo to translate into fabric
   *  Working with thread and choosing thread colors
   * Thread painting

Being a somewhat less-than-precise quilt artist myself, I especially appreciated Sarah's encouraging approach to just making it work, even showing how cutting "blob" shapes may work just as well as precise pattern pieces.  She's my kind of quilter!  

I'm excited to add that Sarah and Quilting Arts are making some free copies of the this video workshop available to blog-hoppers, and I'm giving one away here!  If your name is selected and you are in the US, you can choose the hard-copy DVD workshop or the digital download (hooray for instant gratification!).  Any winner from outside the US will receive the digital download.

To enter, leave a comment here and provide your email address.  You have until midnight (PST) on Wednesday, October 9 to leave a comment, and I will randomly draw a winner on Thursday, October 10.

If you don't win it here, you will have other opportunities by going to the following blogs on the designated days.  And if don't happen to win it, you can buy it via the Quilting Arts store or from Sarah's website.   Good luck! I know you will love owning this DVD.

October 5:          Sarah Ann Smith 

November 14:     Marie Johansen
November 16:     Brenda Gael Smith
November  19:    Jaye Lapachet
November 21:     Susan Brubaker Knapp
November 23:     Lisa Walton
November 26:     Daphne Greig
November 28:     Sarah Ann Smith