August 14, 2014


I spent this morning in my plot at the Abbot Phillips Community Garden. With the end of summer near, I a decided to plant a few rows each of beets, turnips, and kale.  I felt sore about evicting a few bees from what was left of my zucchini crop.  Luckily, they have plenty of other plants in which to play and pollinate.
 Waiting for a taste
New crop: beets, turnips, and dwarf blue kale.

One of my goals this summer was to learn how to make jam— check. 
A bee visiting my berries!

I gathered enough blueberries for a batch and picked up a box of Pomona's Universal Pectin at Whole Foods; I was ready to rock and roll.

 Yum! cannot wait to try some!!
 A straight forward and clear video on making Low-Sugar Blueberry Jam by The Crafty Gemini can be found at ( and below. 

Note: I was short on jam mixture for a full four (half-pint) jars, as the recipe estimates; I had enough for 3.5, 8 oz/half-pint jars. Having a sterilized 4 oz jar ready is a good idea. Also, I sterilized my jars and lids for longer than the video recommended (30 minutes at a simmer).

August 05, 2014

New Kayak Seat Cover from Scratch

I recently bought a used 14' Corona Perception kayak from a friend (Thanks Bob!)  It's a nice rig but needed a seat-cover upgrade, especially as I plan on enjoying some longer paddling excursions this month!

Today I mined my bins of Malden Mills Polartec fabrics for some Neoprene. Unfortunately, all I found was small swatch of hot pink. Ordinarily I would be thrilled with this color but the reds, oranges and yellows in the kayak would clash with it too dramatically —even for me. 

Instead, I settled on some black technical, Neoprene-like, fleece and added an internal layer of  300-weight fleece for cushioning on the side against my back. Working off the original seat cover as a pattern —*before it disintigrates further— I fashioned a new cover, and used my cover-stitch machine and serger to reinforce seams.
(*photo is of the original seat cover, turned inside out)

The fit is nice and snug.  After creating tiny holes for the internal seat gadgets and hooks to pop through, I installed it back into the kayak and adjusted the cords.
The cover fits well in the front but pulls a back a bit (see photo) where the clips latch down. Still, it doesn't effect the performance. In fact the back attaches so securely to the seat, I had trouble unhooking it!

I vacuumed all the internal spaces of sand, cobwebs and possible spiders !
Now the cockpit cover is in place along with the hatches to make sure no creepy crawlies get in!

Online I found some 3mm leopard print Neoprene, which could work if I get frisky for an alternative cover choice....that isn't hot pink.

July 23, 2014

Jazz Painting

 Emily Trespas
Unsquare Dance: Ode to Brubeck, 
oil on canvas, 15 x 30 inches, 2013

Titling art is a favorite part of my creative process. Frequently I just know the title, other times I welcome research. Usually something in the work tips me off; it might be a shape, a color, a distant cousin to the original inspiration or a direct descendant.
Emily Trespas
Sweet Rain: Ode to Getz
acrylic on canvas, 11 x 14 inches, 2013
The titles for these paintings emerged from jazz. The loops repeat and intertwine like steps in a dance—notes in a song, clapping hands, the samba, bossa nova. Or blue dusk and the floating just before sleep. Song as painting. Nothing new but the dial tunes to Brubeck and Gezt without pause. 

Listening to "Sweet Rain," I found an informative post, Unsquare Dance, on Monk Rowe's blog. He is the Jazz Archives Director at Hamilton College.

Including the above paintings, I have eight paintings on display in a local exhibit at Phillips Academy through July 30th.

Summer Session Faculty Art Exhibit  
Reception: Friday, July 25th,  6 to 7:30 pm

Gelb Exhibition Gallery

George Washington Hall
5 Chapel Avenue

Phillips Academy, Andover, MA