Sunday, October 19, 2014

Beach art

We've been looking for a piece of art glass to hang in the opening we cut between the living room and kitchen at the beach cottage.  We've admired these recycled windows by a gal on the coast many times but they were all too big for the space we had. We went in our favorite antique/salvage/upcycled shop up in Coos Bay and found that she had made some small ones. This was our anniversary gift from last May, we knew we'd eventually find something.

This is looking from the kitchen into the living room - it's the perfect size - we didn't want something that would be in our line of sight.

Here's looking from the living room into the kitchen. You can see the first painted cabinet to the right of the window......this one will get a shelf underneath it to display from pretties. I'll eventually get to the rest of the painting.

And here's a close-up - see all the pretty shells, seaglass and even little crab bodies in it? It's perfect for our space. Other than finding this treasure we pretty much did nothing the past 5 days on the coast - we did go look at tiles for the kitchen counter but no decision made on color yet, getting close.......we gave up on having someone install a countertop as the contractors on the coast are notorious for not getting back to folks - we've given up on them. We've installed floor tile so we know we can do a countertop.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Silk Scarves

The silk scarves and shawls all had their photos taken yesterday and are now listed in my etsy shop in the silk scarf/shawl section. Phew, what a job to get a handful of somewhat decent photos of each scarf/shawl.....not my strong suit. Kept a couple out for myself so numerous less photos to deal with.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Ice Dyeing

Here are the 4 scarves ice-dyed yesterday. Carol's are on top - they're stunning.  Mine are on the bottom. My red/orange one dried much lighter and is a coral color now. Lesson learned on that one - if you use a primary color dye, like red, it's going to dominate the scarf where as with other color dyes they are really mixtures of colors so when they ice dye they separate - much more interesting. What doesn't show up in this photo is what the scarves look like close-up - reminds me of marbled paper. We're hoping for snow this winter to try snow dyeing.

One of the chores on the to-do list now is photography of all the scarves dyed this past week - what a time sucker that will be....but first back to working on gifts.......

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Ice dyeing

This afternoon neighbor Carol and I did some ice dyeing. Can't wait to see how the scarves turn out after we rinse them tomorrow. Technique is to soak the scarves in soda ash, pile up on some sort of screen (over a bucket to catch the dye drips), pile ice on top, sprinkle with fiber reactive dye and let sit until tomorrow afternoon. The ice was already melting giving us a peek at what's to come.

My first scarf I used bronze and pagoda red - it's hard to see in this picture but the scarf has a very nice autumnal look.

My second scarf I used chartreuse, one of my favorite colors, and indigo - looks like there will be quite a bit of green in this scarf from them mixing.

Unfortunately I can't remember the exact names of the dyes Carol used but this one is one of the grays and I think lilac. It's going to be a stunner.

Carol used the same gray on this plus I think marine but not positive of the color name of the blue.
 
Stay tuned to tomorrow to see the results. I've also got a long sleeve asymmetrical tee from Dharma to dye but just couldn't decide what colors so that will be another day.
 
 
 
 

Fringe twister

My cousin Denise in Michigan saw this hair braider in the Paragon catalog and it reminded her of a post on my blog where I use a similar one (Conair) to twist fringes on my scarves and shawls.  I've had mine for years, Conair brand, but then the fad of using it to twist/braid hair passed and weavers could no longer find them. Well, here one is again - fads always return. The price is $14.99 - not too bad for all the time it saves on hand twisting - would only take a scarf or two in time savings to pay for it. What I don't know about this one and someone would have to check on before purchasing is how it works. Mine will twist the individual groups of threads in one direction (they attach to those 'arms') and then I can reverse the direction and the entire head that holds those 'arms' will twist in the other direction. I'm not in the market for one at the moment since I have mine plus a backup but thought others might be interested.  Thanks Denise for passing this along.

I have nothing new to share weaving/knitting/felting/crafting wise - working on gifts at the moment which I can't show on my blog........



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Eggplant soup

This afternoon I made eggplant soup, which is incredibly yummy. Friend Pat had given me two nice eggplants from her garden and since October should be the start of soup/stew season I decided to make soup........of course it's not really soup/stew season because it's still in the upper 80's and dry......
Anyhow, if you like eggplant this soup is definitely worth making - easy peasy and very yummy......waiting on Sam to get home so we can ladle some up in bowls....with some good crusty bread on the side.......and if I get up off my butt I'll make a salad........

Eggplant Soup

1 lb of ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 tbs butter (sometimes, like today I just used olive oil)
1 tbs olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 medium eggplant (1 1/2 lbs) peeled and cut into 1/2" or so cubes
2 medium carrots, chopped or shredded
1 green pepper cut into thin long strips
1 can (28 oz) tomatoes (I use small diced tomatoes)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp pepper or to taste (I use more)
2 cans beef broth (14oz cans)
1/2 cup chopped parsley (I never add this but since I've got some growing on the deck I will right before serving tonight)

Brown beef and onion in butter and oil. Add garlic, eggplant, carrots and green pepper - cook stirring occasionally until eggplant browns.

Stir in tomatoes, coarsely chop if whole tomatoes and their liquid, sugar, basil, nutmeg, pepper and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 50 minutes.

Stir in parsley before serving.  Sometimes we sprinkle a little parmesan on top.

Monday, October 6, 2014

A day of dyeing..........

Friend Pat and I had a day of dyeing silk scarves and shawls. First they're washed, then soaked in soda ash, then fiber reactive dyes are applied, wrapped in plastic and they sit overnight to batch. The next day is rinse, rinse, rinse as fiber reactive dyes don't exhaust. I haven't see Pat's scarves yet as she took them home to batch and then rinse.

How's this for dramatic???
 
The shawls I had to dye have a burnout design on them - they're silk and rayon. I fell in love with the amethyst and blue wisteria dyes.

They take only 5 minutes to dry in this heat. Yes, we are back to summer, hot and dry, news tonight said the drought will be intensified through the end of the year - we were teased by that couple days of rain and cool weather......at least it got the fires contained.......but if we don't start getting fall rains fire season will never end.

How did I get so many scarves in these colors???  Some scarves will have a little surface design added to them using Shiva Paintstiks with stencils or rubbing plates.  It's hard to see in this picture but a couple of these scarves have very subtle color changes in them.

Here are a couple shawls - I was going for the ombre effect.

Love these rich colors

Very pretty

This looks weird in the photo but it's really pretty in person - nice autumn tones

I love the dramatic color change here
 
And here's that Blue Wisteria and Amethyst shawl again - love it
 
Next up was ice dyeing - we've never done it before so it was a learning experience
 
After the scarf is washed and soaked in soda ash it's put on a grid over a pan.,,,emphasis the pan or bucket as all that dye will be dripping off as the ice melts.  A screen would work better but I have tons of these grid pieces from my roving booth display so that's what I was using.....didn't want to go out and buy screening.

Pile the ice on high
 

Sprinkle the dye powder on top.  This is one of mine and I put too much  dye powder

This blue lavender one is Pat's - she put less dye powder which was better, as I said a learning experience.....I think perfect would be a tinge more dye than Pat used.

This is what they looked like the next morning after the ice all melted

And here are the finished ice dyed items. I should have taken close-ups because the patterning is incredible.  My favorites are Pat's blue lavender scarf and her silk top - she hasn't seen them yet as they had to stay here for the ice to melt. It's hard to tell in this photo but the designs the dye makes while the ice melts are stunning.

I've always been under the impression that the fiber reactive dyes are best used in 70 degree temps or warmer, while dyeing and while batching. So, how does ice dyeing work then??? Does anyone know?  And apparently it can be done in the snow too.

On a different subject - the van - we heard back from Dodge today and they're sending us a check for $500 of the $750 alternator repair - whoo hoo. Our position that it should have never happened to a vehicle less than 3 years old, 3000 miles out of warranty was justified.




Thursday, October 2, 2014

Whoo Hoo - look at these batts

I didn't do much shopping at OFFF due to my van issues plus I don't need a thing and I have no business buying any spinning fiber since I have hundreds of pounds in stock for my etsy shop.  So, fiber has to be really special for me to buy it and this one is........to top it off I've been thinking about carding up some batts that are mostly black with pops of bright color - now I don't have to do it. These two batts are 80% black baby alpaca and 20% hand-dyed silk from Upstream Alpacas in Gaston, OR.  I've got 8 ounces that would make a nice scarf or shawlette.......or I could ply it with some black silk thread to make it go further and knit a shawl out of it. I can't wait to start spinning it but first on the to-do list is to keep working on holiday gifts......so no pictures of  works in progress at the moment.

Monday, September 29, 2014

My weekend at OFFF

Yes, this is the only picture I took of my weekend at OFFF - Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival. Long story short on Friday the alternator went out in my van in the parking lot of Fabric Depot 45 miles north of where we were staying and where OFFF is held......my less than 3 year old van 3000 miles out of warranty.  Three AAA visits and two tows later my van came to sit in a Dodge dealership lot that thankfully had Saturday hours in the service department.  So $750 later I have my van back but the air conditioner no longer works - it worked when it went in.....it was too late to go back to the dealership so I left a message and Sam will deal with it today - he thinks they forgot to hook it back up after replacing the alternator. Obviously we won't drive 4 1/2 hours north for a fix so they'll have to contact our local Dodge to arrange for it.......Sam tried to fix it last night but it's too buried to do it easily. Luckily there were several cars of us at OFFF so I had loads of help and support from my friends but it did affect everyone's OFFF experience and I feel horribly about that. We will be filing a claim with Dodge to try and get reimbursement - an alternator shouldn't go out at 39,000 miles.....wish us luck with that.

We've had two Dodge Grand Caravans in the past - a 1990 we kept for 10 years and loved, then a 2000 we kept for 13 years which my cousin now has - it's still going strong at over 220,000 miles. This 2012 model we hated within months of buying it - they changed so much, including the transmission. We've been talking about getting rid of it all year and had decided we'd do it before winter.....guess we didn't dump it in time.......



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Rain !!!

I'm doing the happy dance - we have rain!  It started sometime after midnight and it's still raining, a nice steady rain. Good for our fire which was 70% contained yesterday morning......hoping the other much bigger fires in the region, OR and CA are getting some of this rain.

Yesterday I dyed some warps with fiber reactive dyes - today I had to rinse them out, and rinse, and rinse and rinse......that's the one downside to fiber reactive dyes but the pay off is worth it. One of these is silk, the others tencel. And no, I didn't leave them out in the rain to dry.......they're under the deck and will be put in the garage tonight.

Since I can work under the deck out of the rain I dyed four more 8 yard warps - one tencel, the other three silk. Tomorrow I'll need to rinse the bejeebers out of those.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Pesto, turkey and fires oh my...........

I'm thinking positive that our weather will eventually cool and I'll lose my basil on the deck so I made another two batches of pesto - all in all enough for 8 meals of either pasta, pizza or to put in a big pot of soup. This will be thrown in the freezer in small containers next to the other four batches. Who knows, might get another batch or two before frost. This was so good that I had to smear some on a piece of Italian bread as a snack.
 
In case anyone is interested here's my recipe for one batch - into a food processor I put 2 cups of basil, 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 cloves of minced garlic and then however much pine nuts I feel like throwing in, probably 1/2-3/4 cup. Process to desired consistency. Those pine nuts sure are expensive.
 
 No, these turkeys are not mating - it's two tom's - they are fighting for dominance. They were so engrossed in fighting that they didn't even care that I was less than 10 feet away.  Unfortunately the best photos would have been before I ran in to get the camera but I got a couple pix.

Turkeys are so stupid - they even fight stupid. The one being pecked on started running down the driveway a minute after I snapped this, then they fought some more, then he ran off for good - guess we know who one today.

On the fire front - I got an email from FlashAlert earlier today saying that as of 6pm tonight all evacuation levels are lifted on our fire - whoo hoo.  The northeast flank of the fire (our danger point) is still not contained but they must feel confident enough in what they've been able to accomplish today to drop all evacuation alerts. Temps close to 100 again today but by Wednesday we're supposed to be in the mid 70's with possible rain for a few days - I may just have to go out and stand in it.....or maybe dance........



Saturday, September 20, 2014

New scarves in etsy shop

Finally I got photos edited, such as they are, and more scarves listed in my etsy shop.  These aren't necessarily fresh off the loom scarves, they're ones that have been waiting for cooler weather to come around either due to colorways or fibers.  Phew, cross one chore off the list........for now........

Fire update

On the fire front - the firefighters held the fire yesterday, it's at 4,102 acres, now has 1001 firefighters working it and has cost $5 million to fight thru yesterday - oh and it's now 30% contained - whoo hoo. This weekend will be a test on the lines they're working on containing as the temps will be in the upper 90's and the fire will be very active. We woke up this morning to crisp cool air (which won't last long) but all of a sudden the putrid smoke smell came in - so bad I was worrying that a new fire started right by us.......but no sirens or copters so it's just the smoke settling in from the current fire.....windows are now closed for the day.......

I spent a good part of yesterday working on photography.  I keep selling scarves but can't get more listed in the etsy shop until I take pictures of others.  I got that done, narrowed down out of all the photos which ones I'll use but cropping and resizing still needs to be done.........maybe this afternoon.......this morning I want to weave a bit. Photography is always a challenge for me......

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Feeling better.........

I did not take this picture, I'm not sure of the photographer but it's from our local newspaper - for a fire it's a beautiful picture. It is from last Sunday when they were dropping tons of retardant around the Onion Mountain fire lookout - this area also has all the towers for emergency services including 911, it was high on the list to protect.

This evening, even though being dead tired, we went to the town hall meeting on the fire - so glad we did.  All presenters from different agencies did a great job. We learned exactly where containment lines are (now 20% contained), learned where fire lines are in, where contingency fire lines are, where hose and water containment devices (is that the right word? they look like portable swimming pools and are dropped in by copter) are being dropped (areas that can only be reached on foot due to terrain and no roads) and what the plans are for days ahead. This is all stuff we usually can read about online on a daily basis........when ODF, Oregon Dept of Forestry, is the lead agency on the fire.........but the feds are lead on this one as they've held the fire on federal land so far........they are not good with getting information packed daily updates out to the public.  But they did great tonight.

So, I'm feeling much better about the fire. There are no guarantees because if it crosses the lines to the north and goes into the canyon it will have a direct shot at hundreds of homes including ours.....but I'm feeling much better, information is power. And those fighting the fire are feeling very positive at this point. The temperatures are going back up to the mid to upper 90's and dry so this weekend will be a real test of the lines they're putting in.

Hopefully things will stay under control here and my fire updates will come to an end and I'll get back to normal (hah, whatever that is) life soon........

Lesson learned this evening - don't be out on the road trying to get home when the day shift is heading back to the fire camp.....truck after truck after truck of hotshot firefighters, making a left turn is almost impossible.......

Weary

I'm growing weary of fire season.....I've had enough. I want measurable rain and lots of snow in the mountains.  We did have some rain overnight - light rain, not enough to put out any fires but enough to keep the fire at bay and let the firefighters make some progress. It's cooler today which is good for the fire fight but starting tomorrow it's heading back to dry and temps in the 90's. Yesterday due to heavy smoke the copters didn't get in the air until 2:30 and then it wasn't much, no planes. Today may be more of the same - all ground work on the fire lines.

Here is the latest fire map - the fire has grown but not tremendously, most of that growth is to the north, not to the east. It's now at 4,077 acres, 8% contained, 780 personnel and as of this morning has cost 2.7 million dollars to fight.  I think we're in it for the long haul as there's a town hall meeting later today at the middle school with fire personnel giving updates and answering questions.

This morning neighbors Merle & Carol came over and picked me up to take a ride up Pickett Creek  to view the fire close up but with so much cloud cover we weren't able to see anything - I think we were on that ridge in the upper right portion of the fire map, in the area where it says NF640. I was hoping for some photos but not this morning. Merle was trying to alleviate my worry some by showing me that even though the level one evacuation orders are in place very close to us that we are still pretty far from the fire. He said to get to us it needs to come over that ridge, a road and the river.......hmm, out of control fire I could see it happening in a day......but he did make me feel a bit better - thank you Merle.

I 'played' with roving all day yesterday -  weighing, bagging, labeling, relisting in the etsy shop and putting into my inventory spreadsheet - what a long day, tired of 'playing' with roving.  Didn't sleep much last night so am pretty worthless today, not sure I can sit at the loom but I can work on machine felting some 'things' I knit that will be gifts. The holidays will be here before I know it - ack.

My heart goes out to all those who lost homes in the Boles Fire in Weed just down Interstate 5 from our region - how scary and sad for them all. And it wasn't just homes - it's a mill town and the mill will be closed for what may be months getting over the fire. And now another big one threatening thousands of homes east of Sacramento. There are so many fires up and down the west coast right now it's scary.  And then the torrential rains and flooding in other areas of the country - sure wish some of that moisture could be shared with the west coast.



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Going, going, gone.......

It's hard to get pix of the copters flying overhead - they're faster than I can run out on the deck and snap them.   Going......

....going........
 
....gone.  This copter has a snorkel on it for sucking up water to drop on fires in comparison to the bucket type like I posted this morning. Right after this copter I could hear another but I couldn't see it because of the smoke.....hearing another right now......busy air space.........

Report is that the fire spread to the north today but that it was anticipated - hmm, would like more details.......don't want it ever coming across the river........

I ran to town today for a couple hours to my spinning group - much needed therapy. I wouldn't have left except that Sam was going to be home and I was only 15 minutes away.  World of difference in town - sunny and much hotter - we're so socked in with smoke here there's no sun.

Sorry there are no fiber related pix.......maybe tomorrow I'll be able to get some weaving in while listening to fire updates on the radio.......tough to concentrate......or maybe I'll just weigh wool roving - have tons that arrived last week to deal with, that takes no concentration - totally mindless.....


New fire map

Finally the new fire map from the infrared imaging via plane from overnight has been posted.  That big bump out on the right side of it is new since yesterday morning.  We are to the east of that, off this map to the right.  What I don't know is was this spread of uncontrolled burning or was it back-burning to create fire lines which I understand they were doing quite a bit of yesterday. I'm hoping it's controlled burnouts. More info would be nice. I should have grabbed the previous fire map before it disappeared to show the progression....oh well......

The cavalry......

The cavalry is arriving in droves via the air for another day of work on the fire. I have a tough time getting out the door fast enough to get pictures before they're out of sight. These are the only two I caught this morning. Our road is very busy these days - the fire camp is set up around a mile from us and we are the direct route to the fire......might as well not even try to cross the road to the mailbox during shift changes.  A big thank you to all those firefighters hard at work here and elsewhere.



Monday, September 15, 2014

Fire sky

Fire does make for some beautiful evening skies.......would rather have our normal evening sky but no one asked me.  Sure hope they catch whoever started this fire........

A bit of sunshine in my day........

Today has been a stinky day trying to find updates on the fire, trying to make a plan, just trying to stay calm. The highlight of my day was finding out that I won a giveway at Starfish Cottage Blog. I found Kristy's blog through another blog I follow and have been loving seeing her beach inspired décor.....and have even bought some burlap ribbon in preparation for decorating some mason jars.

Anyhow, check out her blog - even if you're not into decorating in seashore colors you'll love seeing her style and possibly using some of her ideas in your house.  She's also got a wonderful etsy shop.
 
So, what I won was one of these sets - I'm not sure which one, I don't care, I love them both. The tote bag will be a great addition to the beach cottage - I'll use it often and who can't use tea towels.

Not much to say about the fire - getting very little info other than hearing that tonight or tomorrow there may be some level 2 evacuations added to the level 1 in effect now. Copters shake the house flying back and forth. I haven't seen the retardant tankers but know they're available - heard from friend Margie who is south of me that they're going over her house so they're taking a different route to the fire from Medford.  Just saw something scroll across the bottom of the tv about a fire in Weed (CA) that is forcing evacuations from 3 communities - hasn't CA been hit enough with the continuing devastation from the Happy Camp fire just over the border from us. Fire season has been way too long this year.........



Rude awakening......

Thank you to everyone for your good thoughts.  Woke up this morning to an emergency email list I'm on from the sheriff's office with level one evacuation orders (get ready) - there are many roads on the other side of the river from us, as in 1 mile away. In panic mode at the moment, didn't expect this so soon. Trying to compose myself and figure out a plan - we have a dash and go plan but need to figure one out that includes having some time to get things out of here so we're ready if our road gets added to the list. Wondering this morning what Wildlife Images plan is for the animals - it's an animal rehabilitation and education center at the end of our road close to the river. Small animals are one things but bears and the big cats are another.  Getting Sam moving on blowing those dead pine needles off the roof and putting the sprinklers up there that will run as long as power isn't knocked out. Me, I'm not sure what to do first so will pack up etsy orders to run to the Merlin post office 2 miles away, maybe put my etsy shops on vacation hold today so I don't have to worry about more orders.........  Thinking maybe getting our 5th wheel out of here to a safe location in case we need to live in it would be a good thing to do today. Will start packing some important things for just in case.....not what I was expecting to do today........

Update:  it's 9:45am and the first copter just flew over, no bucket or snorkel on it, hearing something else in off in the distance so must be the change of command has taken place, pilots rested and ready to fly.   Still nothing posted on the fire websites - getting news from the local sheriff's office and radio station......did the forest service take a long weekend or what???

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Re-entry sucks......

I'm always talking about how much re-entry sucks coming back from the coast. Even being gone for just a weekend it takes me a couple days to play catch-up. Well, today re-entry really sucks. Two hours from home we could see a new huge smoke plume. I couldn't get online with my Mifi because we went into the canyon, so an hour later I got on and only found one new fire mentioned on Onion Mountain - near our house - ack.

Here's the view heading from town where we dropped my mother off at home - that's looking out toward where we live - ack again.

This is what it looked like when I stepped out of the van up at our house - the sun is partially hidden in all that smoke.

We decided to walk up our hill for a better view to scare me to death. We were just starting up the hill and I heard a copter - there it is right over our house. It didn't have a bucket but a snorkel for sucking up the water to dump. A tanker had flown over a few minutes earlier heading back to the airport to load up... at least I hope he was coming back with another load of retardant.

Here we are at the top of our hill where it meets up to Carol & Merle's property - this is way too close for comfort. Merle has been working other fires in the area this summer - he and his friend have not been called to work this one yet - they've got a fire truck, water tender and bulldozer. The word he got was that they didn't want the big equipment up there, as in the Dept of Agriculture.....are they protecting endangered species of plants???  Who knows, but if so they'll be burnt to a crisp rather than run over by equipment.....and there are roads up there, we've been up there often.

A view of the smoke off our deck - while I took this ash was falling on me. Tomorrow morning Sam is going up on the roof to blow off the dead pine needles. I'm thinking maybe he should put the sprinklers he put onto boards to sit on the peak at either end up there too so we're ready.

Yvonne sent this picture taken from her place - she's around 6 miles north of me so that much further from the fire to get a good picture - it gives some perspective as to it's size already.

I have a bad feeling about this fire, it started yesterday morning at 10 acres and is growing leaps and bounds.....and there aren't enough resources being dumped on it yet. And it was around 100 degrees out today, definitely doesn't help.......and it's windy now. Oh good, just heard on the news that dry thunderstorms are expected tomorrow......more chances for fires to start........although this one is being reported as being human caused.

Sounds like a war zone here.  Another copter with a bucket just went over only it was heading away from the fire......hmm, what's with that? I was yelling wrong way, wrong way but he didn't pay attention.  I hope that doesn't mean that the smoke is so bad they can't fly anymore this evening.

So, this is the start to my week, how about yours?

Newly added photo from friend Yvonne - she has a good camera to catch those flames from her place.