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A weekend at home with Neil Gaiman ~ White dogs, white cats, white clouds... and a very black sky. - Kambriel

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August 19th, 2010


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01:18 pm - A weekend at home with Neil Gaiman ~ White dogs, white cats, white clouds... and a very black sky.
(Cross-posted to my new Blogspot journal which can be found here: http://kambrieldesign.blogspot.com/ )

Whereupon Kambriel flies North in order to visit author Neil Gaiman at his magical home and eventually lasso him with a measuring tape...


When you wake up to this kind of luminous morning light, softly diffused and glowing through a plush frame of overgrown ivy, you can't help but believe it could be anything but a perfectly enchanting day:


Neil and I are far too captivated and amused at Lola and Cabal to notice that a photo's being taken!




Neil captured this moment on his phone after we first arrived from the airport. The temperature was well into the 90's, and he was in the process of surveying the grounds due to a rather magnificent bit of flooding which swept through the day before. Where I'm sitting is "new beachfront"...



Whooo arrrrrrrrrre You?
One of a plethora of fattened Monarch caterpillars preparing themselves for the great transformation awaiting them:



Another ~ just about ready to tuck himself in for a nice, long nap:



The promise of Autumnal things to come:



Behold the bounty we'd picked with Lorraine from the garden, soon thereafter transformed into a delicious feast! One thing I've noticed... sometimes it's the least expensive foods in the world which are actually the ~best~ foods in the world. My wish is that everyone can not just remember, but continue to enjoy the tastes, colours, scents, textures and diversity of food grown *naturally*.



Mademoiselle carrot ~ coquettishly conjoined. Neil heroically saved this from the wicked fate of the juicer, but I have reason to suspect he made off with her privately on his own shortly thereafter. I wish you well carrot! I wish you well....



The very picture of Summertime contentedness ~ purring away, pawing into the air:



I'm not sure who's being sillier here:



Precisely what's needed to make a Sicilian feel at home. Waking up to a giant decapitated horse head (pillow)!



Keeper of the bees (pay no attention to the mythical pyramid of glowing smoke):



Yes. I'm in a bee suit. Fear me. (Or, just hand over the honey if you please.)
I'm getting once upon a time flashbacks to when my Science teachers signed me up to be a Young Astronaut!



An impressively large piece of wild honey found after lifting the lid from one of the hives... We were indulged in being able to remove it and feast upon the fruits of the bees' labours afterwards, and I just might be forever spoiled for supermarket honey after this. Neil set up a mini-taste test for me comparing different qualities of honey and the difference was clear. The fresh, wild honey has a lightness and clarity ~ both in texture and taste, compared to the thicker, gummier texture which might otherwise come to mind when you think of typical mass-produced store honey. This particular batch, still warm from the sun (and the bees!) had an undercurrent of delicate spiciness which was particularly addictive.



This photo was taken in order to meet a certain "ransom demand" (codeword: purple). Wait, I probably shouldn't have said that out loud...



It's the great pumpkin!



A fine day for a walk:



Everyone taking a moment out to rest:



Master Cabal at the ready, while Lola catches up on her beauty sleep:



A fair Princess resides in the tower:



Whilst a storm brews on the horizon:



New "Coraline" buttons for the posh frock... Ironically, I sewed this kind on originally before the Oscars, only to change my mind at the last minute and switch them out for matching fabric covered ones thinking it would lend a more formal look for the occasion. Some things are simply meant to be, and so it is. (You can see one of the bent "soft metal" needles I alluded to in my previous post, which is why I was so happy to find those glorious vintage ones which are capable of going years upon years without ever giving way.)



"Happiness is a warm pie" (The Beatles had it all wrong).. A surprise bit of nighttime Elderberry pie warmed up by Neil while he took a break from working on his 10th anniversary introduction for "American Gods", with freshly brewed tea & a scoop of frozen custard... *pure bliss*



One of my favourite moments: Standing beneath a perfectly black sky, with the dimly muted, frozen gleam of the Milky Way floating directly overhead. Neil, Chris, and I walked out into the open a bit, turned our eyes upwards to where the Perseid meteors were to be at their height. Not long after, C spotted two quickly fleeting meteors which Neil and I missed, but then, mere minutes later, Neil and I both caught sight of a perfect, falling star ~ gracefully sliding its way down the blackened edge of night.

And then the mists rolled in...

~ Kambriel

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From:meddevi
Date:August 19th, 2010 05:25 pm (UTC)
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*sigh* so lovely...
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From:kambriel
Date:August 19th, 2010 05:58 pm (UTC)
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I found myself waking up early each day to gaze out the window, simply because I wanted to see how the morning light was coming through that day. It really was never the same way twice, sometimes filtered and misty, sometimes bright and casting shadows, but each time was a kind of ideal beauty.
[User Picture]
From:master_cobweb
Date:August 19th, 2010 05:27 pm (UTC)
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Your falling star memory gave me shivers - what a beautiful moment! As a fan of your work and Neil's it is absolutely delightful to think of you having fantastic bee- and gourd-related adventures together! I hope you continue to have a magical time.
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From:kambriel
Date:August 19th, 2010 06:11 pm (UTC)
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You're so kind ~ it really was a perfect moment. We'd been having storms all evening, and it's as if the sky opened up and the clouds parted just long enough for that dream of a celestial display before the fog started rolling in again and obscuring the view.

Lorraine made perfect fried green tomatoes after learning that I'd never tried them before (she even made them healthier with just a touch of olive oil), and we feasted upon the gourds (which C & I managed to undercook a bit ~ eek!) stuffed with another delicious Lorraine concoction of ratatouille the next night for dinner :)

I felt like a bear with the honey ~ and the best part is none of us got a single sting :)
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From:badriyaz
Date:August 19th, 2010 05:42 pm (UTC)
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You look especially happy in the garden bounty photo--it's good to see :-)

Also, what magnificent dogs!
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From:kambriel
Date:August 19th, 2010 05:53 pm (UTC)
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It's good to ~feel~ :) I suspect I was getting in touch with my inner Holly Hobby, which yes, makes me especially happy... Neil said I looked like I could be in the 1700's in that photo, and I agree, there's something timeless about cultivating food grown from the soil. It's something I hope more and more people will "get back to the root" of in years to come.

His dogs are magnificent! Lola is still very much a puppy (though quite wise ~ she'll be a force to reckon with in years to come), and Cabal radiates a very natural nobility.

[User Picture]
From:abigail_nicole
Date:August 19th, 2010 05:51 pm (UTC)
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Everyone looks so happy! :D

Thank you for this post.
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From:kambriel
Date:August 19th, 2010 06:19 pm (UTC)
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I daresay we were ~ and you're more than welcome :)
(Deleted comment)
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From:kambriel
Date:August 19th, 2010 06:28 pm (UTC)
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You're welcome! Expect an email from me :)
[User Picture]
From:solstice_lilac
Date:August 19th, 2010 06:06 pm (UTC)
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I LOVE to see photos of you happy and smiling!! Beautiful :)

Also, now I really want pie!
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From:kambriel
Date:August 19th, 2010 06:27 pm (UTC)
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It was one of those times/places where you really felt "in your element". I'm sure no small part of that is due to both Neil and Lorraine being incredibly warm-hearted people. The gorgeous natural surroundings don't hurt either ;)

Over the course of three breakfasts, C & I managed to devour an entire elderberry pie. There was a local Mennonite baker who made them, along with the most incredibly savoury breads. The best shock was when C & I went to the farmer's market with everyone, and purchased three loaves (cranberry almond pumpkin, poppyseed, and cheddar jalapeno) without seeing any prices and the total ended up being only $6!
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From:mercurialgirl
Date:August 19th, 2010 06:07 pm (UTC)
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Absolutely enchanting. The silly picture is especially delightful -- and hurray for bees!
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From:kambriel
Date:August 19th, 2010 06:36 pm (UTC)
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Lola's face in that picture really shows just what a pup she still is :)

The bees were incredibly kind and didn't sting a single one of us through all of our lifting and prodding ~ their wild honey was the best I've yet to taste!
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From:ladistrange
Date:August 19th, 2010 06:14 pm (UTC)
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What BEAUTIFUL images, both the pictures and the words you've chosen to put with them. I'm sitting here in my office, stealing a moment from "The Man" to just breathe, and this post just made me feel like I was there, standing in the late summer sun, hearing the bees drone and the water swishing away somewhere in the distance. Just the mini mental vactation I needed!!

Thanks so much for sharing these!
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From:kambriel
Date:August 19th, 2010 06:46 pm (UTC)
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I love that you were able to take a mental journey through this :)
[User Picture]
From:mokosh_perun
Date:August 19th, 2010 06:44 pm (UTC)
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Looks like a great deal of fun was had by all!

And yes modern needles are crap! I do generally have some better luck with John James brand needles, though...
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From:kambriel
Date:August 19th, 2010 07:11 pm (UTC)
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It was fantastic, because the one thing I had in mind when I found out we'd be rummaging through some antique stores was I wondered if I could find some vintage sewing needles, and sure enough, I found quite a few, including a full package of the old Boye made in England classic sharps. Now if I can just keep from having them mysteriously disappear one by one into the land that time forgot.
[User Picture]
From:sodapopprincess
Date:August 19th, 2010 06:47 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for sharing your adventure, dear!
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From:kambriel
Date:August 19th, 2010 07:18 pm (UTC)
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You're so welcome! It was interesting that the trip fell on the same weekend as Convergence, it felt like we were having a mini-one, just a bit farther North ;)
[User Picture]
From:humglum
Date:August 19th, 2010 07:26 pm (UTC)
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Ugh. The needle!! I can't tell you how many needles I go through when I get to hand sewing. And nevermind I'm allergic to nickle and my fingers get sore and itchy. meh.

What a lovely lovely place. It has the same sort of feel my grandmother's place in eastern WI has. I almost know the smells... The photo of the window could so easily be taken out the front window of what used to be "the boys" room when my uncles were kids.

It sounds like you had an amazingly peaceful visit. Your garden bounty reminds me I need to head out to the farmers market for peaches. And that I should visit my parents for tomatoes and cukes and eggs and apples.

Oh, the green...
[User Picture]
From:kambriel
Date:August 19th, 2010 08:09 pm (UTC)
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The allergy would be quite a hindrance ~ are you able to work with a thimble (maybe one of the "soft thimbles" which are more flexible)? There was a metal I was allergic to as a child, so I know precisely what feeling you're talking about.

It is a truly beautiful part of the country... C & I nearly moved there quite a few years ago, and parts of New England have a similar charm.

I think the trip couldn't have come at a better time. My mind was feeling a bit overwrought ~ you know that feeling of needing to move so fast it seems you're only standing still? It really calls to mind how in centuries past, doctors would prescribe some "time away in the country". The sights/sounds/smells, they help to restore something deeper inside of you.
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From:ashbet
Date:August 19th, 2010 09:04 pm (UTC)
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How lovely -- these stories and pictures are transcendently beautiful ^___^

And I was up pre-dawn at Convergence, looking for meteors with J . . . he saw one, I didn't, but I was very happy to share the moment!

-- A <3
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From:kambriel
Date:August 19th, 2010 10:12 pm (UTC)
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I was thinking of the C* clan, especially on our evening in Stillwater (Friday the 13th). There were limestone brewery caves in the side of a picturesque hill downtown where I noticed they were offering tours, and something about the feel of the place made me think it could make for an ideal gathering spot. Loads of cute shops and restaurants too!
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From:verlise
Date:August 19th, 2010 09:46 pm (UTC)
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Lovely! Thank you for sharing your adventure.

PS - Love the hat. :)
[User Picture]
From:kambriel
Date:August 20th, 2010 02:10 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! The hat started out rather plain at one point, but it's been added to throughout the years :)
[User Picture]
From:panzerkunst
Date:August 19th, 2010 11:12 pm (UTC)
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Love the horse head pillow!
[User Picture]
From:kambriel
Date:August 20th, 2010 02:07 pm (UTC)
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I had to laugh when I saw it ~ too brilliant, even down to the "sticky/slick" red fabric for the underside!
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From:droxy
Date:August 19th, 2010 11:13 pm (UTC)
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lovely pics!
[User Picture]
From:kambriel
Date:August 20th, 2010 02:12 pm (UTC)
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Thank you ~ it was hard narrowing them down!

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