Sunday, July 19, 2009

the time inbetween

In between jobs I have had a little break from it all.  The last eight days I've spent trying to relax (it's hard for me) and not do much of anything, other than things that are enjoyable (and also of course, get caught up on laundry, grocery shopping and so on).  I've gotten spoiled this way, not working and having a vacation where we pretty much stick to an area within a hundred mile radius of Richmond to look, tour, drive, hike, photograph, explore and a little shopping and jewelry work thrown into it.

Here is Michael (above) with Maggie at one of the nearest hiking spots on Skyline Drive in the Blue Ridge Mountains, near Waynesboro, VA.  This stop had an adjacent trail, where the two dogs went wild with excitement to finally get out of the car.  Lucy found a chipmunk to chase but she's an older dog and was on the leash to keep her from hurting herself slipping on the rocks.  As it was, Mom ended up carrying her forty five pounds up a near vertical set of stone steps at the end of the trail since her hind legs don't allow such things anymore.  No worries, she loved it anyway, and so did I.

Lucy and Maggie, Greenstone Trail.  Blue Ridge Mountains, July 16.

On the way to Skyline Drive, we found a needlework shop that was fantastic in their inventory (I wanted dozens of patterns but had to be semi-realistic) and their dog friendly policy.  It was a very hot day in the town of Waynesboro and we appreciated the kind attentiveness of the Cross Stitch Station, allowing Lucy and Mag in and giving them water and also little bandanas for their collars.  Pictured above, patiently waiting for me in the air conditioning.

No trip anywhere on a hot day is complete without a stop at McDonald's for ice cream.....  Got milk?

I started a needlework sampler...  Mary Wigham from Ackworth School series, an internet-based group project.  It is a large one and I haven't had much time other than after crawling into bed in the evening to stitch much on it.  But the silk threads are to die for & every time I pick it up, it's hard to put it back down again and go to sleep.

I spent two days filling this order for a "love your dog" necklace.  Hand drawn etching on copper, with stamped silver banner and glass, turquoise, and coral beads. 

Ah.... home again, home again.  

Seriously, though, this is Westover Plantation, a Georgian mansion and grounds maintained by the National Park Service, off of historic route 5 in Charles City County, Virginia.  It was once the home of Admiral Byrd and family and although the house is privately owned and not open to public, the lawn, gardens and outbuildings are fair game for wandering at leisure.  I am sitting overlooking the James River.  This is a plantation not known to many people.  Perhaps because there is no home tour, it is often overlooked on the plantation tour circuit but for anyone with an interest in early American history, you must make a stop here and visit the grounds and especially the cemetery located 1/4 mile walk from the house where some of the earliest tombstones and graves (some from the 1600's) in the United States are located, on the site of the original Westover Episcopal Church, which is no longer but moved up the road to its present location in 1800.  

After touring everything, we walked the trail to the beach and I filled my pockets with interesting beach glass.  It's fun to imagine some of the heavily weathered blue and green glass coming from the old church or the house...

Now I have but today and tomorrow and Tuesday and then I begin my new job.  In spite of being glad for the job, I have a heavy heart about it, having had a touch of the ease of accomplishing tasks, shopping, cooking and working on jewelry and other interests such as I was privileged to experience for a year and half prior to my last job.  Life runs easier when I am a household manager and business partner without a job to go to and come home from.  Very soon I shall be those things and work full time again.

But there is still today and I must get back to it to enjoy all it has to offer before time gets away from me too quickly.  

Saturday, July 11, 2009

sometimes i mess around with other things

I can't help myself.  I love making books.  The book above is one I just finished last night.  It has beautiful papers in variation patterns of black and silver throughout.  The interior has seven coptic bound signatures with fine Irish waxed linen in lavender.  This book I have submitted for jury to a Richmond art gallery that is having a book arts exhibit later in the year.  I call this one The Glitter book.  If you could hold it, you would know why.  The back end paper has glitter on it that is flaking off like confetti.  It literally leaves a trail its wake...

End view of lovely silver insert papers and coptic binding.  Isn't the lavender thread pretty?

This book for some reason it just sticks in my mind to call it Sturbridge.  The covers remind me of something organic.  In fact the boards are covered with some of the piles of papers purchased in Italy last January.  So wonderful to work with.  Not too heavy, not too light.  Black, vintage ivory and rich brown papers with lokta end papers, again seven signatures with fine russet Irish waxed linen threads in a coptic binding.

This one was such fun to stitch up...

art paper postmarks in black and browns cover the interior boards...  I accidentally turned the postmark paper on this side the wrong end up.  The ripped paper is intentional to add interest. 

A few more finished boards are being flattened right now under heavy books.  I'm on a roll...

Thank you everyone for your kind comments, encouragement and congratulation wishes for my new job and journey in life.  I appreciate it so much.  I'm sure it will be an interesting adventure!  

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Whole New Life

In a move that has shocked even myself, in a good way, I am leaving my job with the Commonwealth of Virginia and am pursuing private industry in an entirely new career direction. I was hired two days ago to work full time at Hoover and Strong, a jewelry manufacturing company in Richmond. Check it out at I'll be working in the findings division at first and then lost wax thereafter. To say I am excited to be paid to do this full time, with benefits, and learn how to do so many things I probably would never have had the money to pay someone else to teach me, is an understatement!