Thursday, July 31, 2008

Zen Garden

If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?
~ Dogen Zenji ~

A Japanese rock garden is an enclosed shallow sandpit containing sand, gravel, rocks, and occasionally grass and/or other natural elements. Designs made in the sand represent rippling waters in the sea. It’s also called a Zen garden.

My father made a miniature version of a Zen garden for me in 1999, and then made one for each of my siblings. He even made the tiny rake and gathered the sand from the beach at Topsail Island.

It’s very soothing to quietly sit and make designs in the sand. And since he’s gone now, it’s a special reminder of my father’s love.


~ How to Create a Zen Garden Tutorial

~ Japanese Zen Gardens Photo Gallery

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hanging on the Wall

This photograph…

© 2008 June Scroggin, St. Augustine’s Cathedral, Tucson

and this photograph…

© 2008 June Scroggin, Butterfly on Leaf, Tucson Botanical Gardens

…were two of 14 winning photographs selected by Raytheon yesterday for gracing the walls of the company’s cafeteria here in Tucson. My two submissions are part of my small collection of photos I’ve been practicing taking this year.

Raytheon is having the winning photographs professionally enlarged (24”x36”) and framed. After three months, the pictures will be returned to us and a new contest will open.

My husband’s two photographs were also chosen—I love it that we did this together. Now the two of us are going to hang around on walls for 12,000 employees and company visitors to see. That’s pretty nice.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Shepherd’s Pie

Mashed potatoes are one of my comfort foods and recipes that call for its use are appealing. Shepherd’s Pie is a perfect recipe for me—and easy to make.

Here’s the recipe I use. Click on the picture to enlarge and print.

I was curious as to the history behind this dish and found the following entry by researcher Lynne Oliver at Food

“The English tradition of meat pies dates back to the Middle ages. Game pie, pot pie and mutton pie were popular and served in pastry "coffyns." These pies were cooked for hours in a slow oven, and topped with rich aspic jelly and other sweet spices. The eating of "hote [meat] pies" is mentioned in Piers Plowman, and English poem written in the 14th Century. (Cooking of the British Isles, Adrian Bailey, pages 156-7).

The key to dating Shepherd's pie is the introduction (and acceptance) of potatoes in England. Potatoes are a new world food. They were first introduced to Europe in 1520 by the Spanish. Potatoes did not appeal to the British palate until the 18th Century. (Foods America Gave the World, A. Hyatt Verrill, page 28). Shepherd's Pie, a dish of minced meat (usually lamb, when made with beef it is called "Cottage Pie") topped with mashed potatoes was probably invented sometime in the 18th Century by frugal peasant housewives looking for creative ways to serve leftover meat to their families. It is generally agreed that it originated in the north of England and Scotland where there are large numbers of sheep--hence the name. The actual phrase "Shepherd's Pie" dates back to the 1870s, when mincing machines made the shredding of meat easy and popular." (The Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson, page 717).”

Monday, July 28, 2008

Daily Housecleaning Schedule

Since my creative endeavors aren’t ready for show-and-tell today, I thought sharing my daily housecleaning schedule might be helpful. I’m always curious as to how other people organize their daily cleaning chores and thought you might wonder as well.

The list looks daunting, but it’s really not that bad and takes me only a couple of hours to accomplish.

Just click on the picture to enlarge and print.

There are days I don’t feel like doing anything at all—so I don’t. Those times may stem from not feeling well, a craft project was too much fun to stop, or we’ve planned some outing for the day. Instead of worrying about it, I just pick up my cleaning routine the next day. My house won’t fall apart and the world will absolutely not come to an end.

Do you have a daily cleaning list? As always, I’m curious as to whether I need to adjust my own schedule.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Saturday Sleepover/Quilt-In Fun

Fiona hosted a sleepover last Saturday night at Dragonfly Crafts. This week it’s held in Australia by Quilty-Gal. It’s much easier to travel to Australia from Arizona via “blog travel” (and cheaper, too).

My work-in-progress is the Starfish on the Beach scarf from
Ocean Breezes: Knitted Scarves Inspired by the Sea.

The starfish design is really lovely. I’m using Alchemy’s Synchronicity yarn (50% silk, 50% wool) in the color Topaz and size 8 needles. The feel of the yarn is glorious.

I chose this pattern because I love the whole idea of a starfish scarf, and I really want to move forward in my knitting by learning new stitches. New-to-me lessons learned: (1) making a nice neat little slit in one end to use for tucking in the other end of the scarf, (2) backward loop cast-on, (3) YO K1 tbl, (4) YO, K2tog, (5) and YO, sl 1, K2tog, psso.

What makes me crazy? The pattern used commas between every knitting notation. I offer the following as Exhibit A:

(K1, P1) twice, K4, sl 1, K2tog, passo, (YO) K1 tbl, twice, YO, K2tog, YO, sl 1, K2tog, psso, YO, K2tog, (YO, K1 tbl) twice, YO, sl 1, K2tog, psso, K3, (K1 P1) twice.

Holey moley! It’s hard for a tentative knitter like me to figure out where one stitch ends and another one begins. I did sort it all out, but a semi-colon as a divider between stitches would make things much clearer.

I’m off now to see what everyone else is doing at the sleepover.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Blessings Friday: Gifts of the Heart

Pat of Mille Fiori Favoriti honored me with this adorable award. She graciously gave it without any strings attached. As such, I accept the award in the spirit in which it was given, an honest gift of the heart—that is what gives the award value and merit. Thank you, dear Pat, I am humbled.

Yesterday’s mail brought this package from Nicolette of Devliegendekoe. There are balls of pretty yarns, lovely fabric, a box of pins, candy (oh, yum!), and a new book, New Noel: 22 Fun Designs to Deck the Halls—lots of fun ahead for me Thank you for this wonderful treat, Nicolette.

© 2008 Dub Scroggin

This is Nungeena with a Lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae). It’s a gorgeous magnet created by my dear friend Kristie of Goddessink, skillfully crafted from clay and embellished with little jewels. Thank you, Kristie; Nungeena is beautiful.

Nungeena’s story is explained in this note illustrated with the lyrebird from the legend. You can find Kristie’s art pieces at her Etsy store.

This cute Jane Austen pin accompanied Nungeena. I love Jane Austen—Kristie knows me very well.

Kristie emailed the following video to me and wrote, “True love knows no limits.” She is so right. I want to share this gift of the heart with you.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Letterbox Sleuth

Many happy hours of my childhood were spent as apprentice detective to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. Now I pursue clues of a different sort in sleuthing out letterboxes.

© 2008 Dub Scroggin (I’m in disguise)

Letterboxing involves following clues to a hidden box. In the box you’ll find a rubber stamp and a small journal. You use the stamp from the box to mark your personal journal, and then use your own stamp to leave an impression in their journal. A little experience at this and you’ll be planting clues and concealing boxes for others to track.

© 2008 Dub Scroggin

Solving a mystery appeals to most everyone. Letterboxing is a much safer way to satisfy your clue-seeking wanderlust than real crime. Following the clues enhances reasoning, navigation, and map reading (Ms. Drew would applaud) skills—and you’ll explore new places that heretofore might have escaped your notice.

You’re probably wondering how all this got started—an easy mystery to solve. The first letterbox was placed at Cranmere Pool in 1854 by a guide at England’s Dartmoor National Park. An April 1998 Smithsonian Magazine article ("They Live and Breathe Letterboxing") is substantially responsible for this addictive activity here in the U.S.

The Letterboxer's Companion leads you through the letterboxing process and what you need to get started. Other books on the subject (I’ve not read them) include:

My letterbox kit

So where do you find the clues? Letterboxing North America (see Clues below) is the best source for letterbox locations in North America. They also provide links leading you to the rest of the world (I’ve letterboxed in the Virgin Islands, Turks & Caicos Islands, along the Mexican Riviera, etc.).


© 2008 Dub Scroggin

Happy sleuthing!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


This week’s chapter in the Summer Book Club reading of Gift from the Sea is “Double-Sunrise”.

Graphic purchased from The Vintage Workshop; modified by me

Dawn is my waking moment, that fleeting border of time suspending the world in past, present, and future. Night’s darkness is fading and day is quietly emerging. This is the in-between time—it is beautiful and perfect. This moment…

“ free of ties or claims, unburdened by responsibilities, by worry about the future or debts to the past. And then how swiftly, how inevitably the perfect unity is invaded; the relationship changes; it becomes complicated, encumbered by its contact with the world.”

Although Anne Morrow Lindbergh is actually speaking about relationships with people, it is also an appropriate description of my waking time. Starting a new day is a type of relationship and I relish its perfection.

But the inevitable happens, time moves on and the outside world begins to color our day with its own needs and wants. My perfect dawn cannot endure in the overly-bright light of the day’s sun as the temporary connection with the night has gone. And I change and my world is transformed.

And so it is with people. The gift Anne Lindbergh received on the beach of a whole shell, both parts tenaciously clinging to each other, reminds us of the fragility inherent in relationships. It’s a delicate connection.

Sunrise by Claude Monet, c.1893

As the author explains it, a newly-formed love rapport is a perfect little world all on its own and we find a sense of identity in that connection. Anne Lindbergh asks: “But can one actually find oneself in someone else? In someone else’s love?” Inevitably, like the two-halves of the shell, that fragile connection is threatened.

We mourn the loss of new love’s magic and wonder how to regain it. Much as in the previous chapters, Anne Lindbergh tasks us to find our true identity as individuals, as women. To do so means we have to let go part of ourselves in order to find ourselves again. “Only a refound person can refind a personal relationship,” says Lindbergh.

But we’re cautioned to “…accept the fact that no permanent return is possible to an old form of relationship.” However, Lindbergh comforts us that this change in the relationship “…is not tragedy but part of the ever-recurrent miracle of life and growth”.

Joseph Mallord William Turner's The Blue Rigi: Lake of Lucerne, Sunrise

The light outside my window has now evolved into a more vivid brightness. I am no longer in the between-world I initially felt upon waking. It’s time to take action and embrace the transformation of the day and myself. As our intrepid author puts it, “Life must go on”.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Take Home Memories

My preferred vacation souvenirs are largely those I find in nature, such as flowers (seeing, not picking them) or an occasional bit of rock or shell and, certainly, photographs we take. This is supplemented by my journal and birding checklists/guides for particular locales purchased at local Audubon Societies as well as certain books I take to gather memories of a whole different kind.

“Souvenir” Collection Books

The following programs offer stamps at the sites you visit which make for fun memory collecting.

Passport to Your National

Blue Goose Passport: National Wildlife Refuge

United States Lighthouse Society Passport
Program (applicable for coastal journeys)

There’s one more activity I pursue which I’ll share on Thursday.


I made a few purchases in addition to the occasional Christmas ornament, or the knitting project and books shared in previous posts.

The Moon
Pie was birthed in 1917 at the Chattanooga Bakery. In the 1950s, drinking RC Cola and eating a Moon Pie was a Dixie tradition—there’s a t-shirt at the company’s web site that says, “It’s a Southern Thing”. My sister Connie has a big thing about these treats and loves t-shirts. So this little item was perfect to bring home to her from our adventures in Chattanooga (the last leg of our vacation which I’ve decided not to post as another travelogue might send you over the top).

One of the many books I read on vacation was brought to me by Donna.
Dancing Naked at the Edge of Dawn gave me some ah-hah moments, so I snagged this embellished linen towel with a lovely embroidered quote to remind me (I need frequent reminders as I move through life so fast that someone/something often needs to tell me to slow down).

A sweet fabric shower cap lined in vinyl. I suspect it’s a bit of cheating on my part, but I’ve been working on a shower cap project and actually bought this to check my own handiwork.

A hand-painted hairbrush reminds me I’m responsible for my own happiness.

Just looking at this pretty hairbrush makes me happy.

This embroidered linen towel commemorates my home state of North Carolina.

What take-home memories do you collect?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Lacey Stole

I am so thrilled. I’ve actually knitted something other than simple scarves, washcloths, or bandages—a feather-and-fan patterned stole in a color that reminds me of the ocean.

© 2008 Dub Scroggin

Pattern: Lacey Stole, designed by Trudy Van Stralen for Louet
Yarn: Louet Euroflax 100% Wet Spun Linen in Aqua
Skeins: 3
Needles: 4.5 mm straight needles and 3.5 mm crochet hook
New Skills Learned: (1) yarn over (YO) stitch; (2) edging in reverse crochet stitch

Louet North America

I was curious as to the pattern’s name (Lacey Stole) and the usage of the word stole as opposed to shawl. I found the following citations at Wikipedia.


Eastern Christian epitrachelion

The word stole derives via the Latin stola, from the Greek στολη (stolē), "garment", originally "array" or "equipment".

There are many theories as to the "ancestry" of the stole…More popular is the theory that the stole originated from a kind of liturgical napkin called an orarium (cf. orarion) very similar to the sudarium. In fact, in many places the stole is called the orarium. Therefore it is linked to the napkin used by Christ in washing the feet of his disciples, and is a fitting symbol of the yoke of Christ, the yoke of service.

The most likely origin for the stole, however, is to be connected with the scarf of office among Imperial officials in the Roman Empire. As members of the clergy became members of the Roman administration, they were granted certain honors, one specifically being a designator of rank within the imperial (and ecclesiastical) hierarchy. The various configurations of the stole (including the pallium or the omophorion) grew out of this usage. The original intent then was to designate a person as belonging to a particular organization and to denote their rank within their group, a function which the stole continues to perform today. Thus, unlike other liturgical garments which were originally worn by every cleric or layman, the stole was a garment which was specifically restricted to particular classes of people based on occupation.


Lithograph plate showing a variety of ways of wearing shawls in early 19th-century France (ca. 1802-1814); redrawn from various early 19th-century sources by Durin for Albert Charles Auguste Racinet's Le Costume Historique (1888)

A shawl (Persian شال, Shāl, from Sanskrit: śāṭī[1]) is a simple item of clothing, loosely worn over the shoulders, upper body and arms, sometimes also over the head. It is usually a rectangular or square piece of cloth, often folded to make a triangle, but can also be triangular in shape to begin with. Other shapes include oblong shawls.

The first shawls, or "shals", were part of traditional Persian costume in Achaemenid Persia, worn by both males and females. Shawls were also part of the traditional male costume in Kashmir, which was probably introduced via assimilation to Persian culture. They were woven in extremely fine woollen twill, some were even said to be so fine as to fit through a ring. They could be in one colour only, woven in different colours (called tilikar), ornately woven or embroidered (called ameli).

Shawls are used in order to keep warm, to complement a costume, and for symbolic reasons. One famous type of shawl is the tallit, worn by Jewish men during prayers and ceremonies.

I think I’ll just call it a shawl.