Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thoughts for the new year........

May love and laughter light your days, and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours, wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons bring the best to you and yours!
-Irish Blessing-
The kaleidoscope is one I made using Kaleidoscope Creator computer program - the snow photo is what I used in it's creation. I bought the program a couple years ago with great plans of printing on fabric and sewing incredible creations......clothing, quilts, etc. Well, that to-do list of mine is so long that I've only played with it a handful of times..........maybe this year.........

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays to All
may you always have
love to share,
health to spare,
and friends that care.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Slouch Sox finished

The slouch sox started a couple months ago are done, just did a bit of knitting here and there on them, decided this last week to finish them up. These were knit from one of my hand-dyed sock blocks - the picture of it after dyeing is in the Sept. 21st post - it's the sock block on the right. It's a rectangle knit using 2 strands of sock yarn at once, it's dyed flat, steamed and hung to dry. Then for knitting I knit both socks at the same time unraveling as I go.....although in this case I unraveled into 2 balls before knitting. The Slouch Socks pattern is from the book Socks Socks Socks by XRX Books. I've knit this pattern several times now - love it. I've also knit several other patterns out of this book, great sock book.

Friday, December 18, 2009

New Toy

Here's my new toy - picked it up at the post office today. It's a Golding Drop Spindle - isn't it beautiful?! Now those that know me are probably wondering why I needed yet another spindle of any kind, let alone my third Golding Spindle.......well, it's not about need, well, maybe it is, I needed it for my mental health. Put some of my birthday money from last month toward it. Can't wait to try it out but still working hard at the sewing machine, hoping to finish up this afternoon or sometime tomorrow.....in the meantime I'll just admire it............

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sewing.......what I did today.

So, this is what I'm working on now - secret stuff but I can show the machine in action without giving away what I'm up to. I bought this Bernina almost 3 years ago and love it - maybe one of these years I'll replace my inexpensive Brother serger with a new Bernina.......need to sew more often to justify it though. And below is the mess of a fabric cabinet - mess on the floor had been cleaned up some earlier in the day. I just kept pulling leftover fabrics from previous projects out to see what I had to play with. Cabinet desperately needs reorganizing again - each section used to house a color family - now colors are all over the place. In addition to sewing today, this evening I actually got the bulk of the gifts wrapped - hurray! Am dying to get back to weaving but still have some other things to finish up first.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Feast of the Seven Fishes

Theresa asked about Feast of the Seven Fishes........here's a link to a brief explanation of what it is. The tradition comes from the Italian side of my family (mother's side). The religious aspect is totally lost on my family these days - my immediate family, as in aunts/uncles, etc. have converted from the Catholic Church to whatever/nothing or are non-practicing Catholics. But the tradition carries on. These days it's a challenge to come up with 7 fish/seafood dishes for those of us in Oregon, only 5 these days, so 7 dishes is way too much food. Many times small appetizers help fill the bill.

Back east this was a huge evening for my big extended family with plates of fried shrimp in the frito misto batter (we forgo that now for a lighter panko crumb coating), fried oysters, scallops, incredible fish soup, calamari in a tomato sauce, teaila (fish casserole), cocktail shrimp and whatever else we could come up with. I will never forget my father going down to the wharves in DC for the oysters and then working down in the basement at the laundry tub shucking them - he and one of my aunts would also eat a few raw (gross). Dad always saved some for oyster stew a day or two later.

These days the menu consists of the fried shrimp, we don't like west coast oysters so none of those, calamari, shrimp cheese ball appetizer, crab dip, smoked salmon and sometimes fish soup, scallops, crab cakes. We always have roasted peppers - my grandmother and mother were roasting peppers when I was very small, decades before you ever heard of it being done mainstream. Me - I'd be happy with a big bowl of cioppino and a loaf of crusty bread. I am so out of it this year I haven't even given any thought to the menu - with Christmas two weeks away it's time for a family discussion on the menu and who will make what.

On Christmas Day dinner - we never used to have much of one - it was always leftovers from the night before with a pasta dish on the side. Oh, and Christmas cookies with coffee for breakfast while waiting for everyone to wake up for present opening. My grandparents lived next door so between the houses and family visiting there were a lot of people to wait on in the morning.

Oh, and the Christmas cookies - dozens of kinds - trays and trays of all different kinds of cookies, traditional family recipes. That's another thing we don't need tons of out here with only 5 of us and two of them diabetics- I'd be finding Christmas cookies still in the freezer 10 months later! If I make one cookie this year it will be an accomplishment.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Current knitting

Here's what I start knitting during the power outage - it's a feather and fan pattern in a Naturally "Dawn" which is a 50/50 wool silk blend. Had to start it several times, was having problems with needles not being pointy enough to be able to do the k2tog. I finally resorted to some old metal double points which are very pointy although slippery. Will be slow knitting but I love the pattern and the feel of this yarn.
The knitting is sitting in my new (old) yarn bowl that a dear friend gifted me with recently. I love it and will treasure it, need to do some research to find out the history behind yarn bowls. Sam remembers one in the family, possibly at his grandmother's farm in southern Virginia. My friend suggested I may want to someday refinish it or paint it - was giving it thought but now am thinking I may leave it as is so when I look at it I can imagine the knitters before me with their current work in progress sitting in the bowl.

Here we go again...........

So, here we go again - hours of no power - this is not condusive to me finishing up Christmas gifts that require the sewing machine. I'm beginning to think I need a lesson on how to use the portable generator so I can at least plug in the sewing machine and table lamp next to it - I've got heavy duty extension cords that will go from the studio, through the garage out to the generator.

Thank goodness today I had already showered before it went out at 7:24 this morning. But being 9 degrees out the house got cold very quickly. I knit for a while, did some other things that required no electricity, then finally my hands started to hurt, I was just too cold (not my feet though with 2 pair of handknit wool sox on them). So, down to the garage to figure out how to take the door off the track for the electric opener - hurray, mission accomplished and off in the race car to town to do errands in heated stores! Power back on around 2:30, thank goodness not as late as Tuesday. So, now how to get that garage door back on the track.........

Right before I lost power this morning I was reading Theresa's blog about Christmas traditions - I have to admit it made me cry - what wonderful memories. I've been having a hard time with Christmas the past few years, having dealt with my Dad's terminal cancer and alzheimer's with holiday hospital stays and hospice over the next holiday. I'm just having a hard time getting in the mood. But when I have electricity I am loving the process of making gifts so maybe by next year the entire house will be decorated again with my 4 trees. This year so far all there that's up is a fresh greenery swag on the gate that Sam somehow hung upsidedown - kind of funny. Guess I will have to get or make a table centerpiece since I am having the traditional Italian Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes at my house this year.

Oh yes, and back to the weather - good news/bad news. The forecast is for the temp to warm up a bit tomorrow, bad news is that they're calling for snow and/or ice.......sheesh.........

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Knit Christmas Hat

Here is the picture of the Christmas hat I knit yesterday while without power. It was a free pattern with purchase of yarn - unfortunately not very accurate but it turned out ok. Instructions said to add bells to the end, I thought better of that and made a pom-pom..........haven't made one of those is probably 40 years, kind of fun.

Everything else I'm working on right now is for gifts so no pictures.

All good on the home front - in spite of being 10 degrees when I got up there were no frozen pipes after Sam's fix and power stayed on today.......well, kind of, lots of power blips that were just enough to screw with the computer, satellite and my sewing machine which is computerized and would go back to the default straight stitch each time there was a blip - right in the middle of me sewing!

I enjoyed reading everyone's comments, water/power horror stories, we were definitely lucky.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The morning got worse..........

Just as I hit the 'publish post' button for my post early this morning the power went out - yikes! Sam left 10 minutes earlier for work after finally showering once he thawed out the pipe down at the pump house. So, I called asking what to do as far as pipes go - took his advice and called our wonderful neighbor, Merle, to come over and help with getting the pump house roof off and he wrapped up the pipes for me - more permanent fix to come when Sam gets home this evening. So, back to no power - was without power for 8 hours - just came back on. We don't have a wood stove for heat but a wood stove fireplace insert with blowers that, of course, don't work without power. A few years ago I did buy a screen to use it as a regular fireplace. I did manage to get the glass door off but then decided to wait on lighting a fire. Glass door is back on now and a fire is going to get the house warmed up (heat pump running too) I fared well in the freezing cold but everything I wanted to do required power! So, I sat near a window for light and knit - picture of the Christmas hat to come.

Now off to shower.........finally now that I've got water and it's hot again...........

Frozen pipe.....

It certainly is chilly out this morning, chilly enough that when Sam was in the shower he ran out of water - yikes, pipe frozen somewhere. Found it down at the pump house. We still haven't figured out when they built this house why they put in a submerisble pump but have pipe coming above ground for a few inches. In our last house (which we built) everything was totally underground below the freeze line - didn't even have a pump house, only evidence of where the well was located was the pump liner and cap sitting at ground level. So, Sam ran down the hill with a flashlight and my heat gun to thaw the pipe out, luckily it wasn't split, a clamp on light is now down there for heat, heat tape to come later today. What a rude way to start the morning.

So, on the fiber front - no pictures to share at the moment. I'm working on Christmas gifts which can't be shown on the blog right now. Switched from the loom to the sewing machine and was having great fun yesterday stitching away. Three years ago I bought a Bernina to replace my old faithful Sears model that I had since 1973. It's the most incredible machine, I would highly recommend Bernina to anyone looking for a new machine. As for my old Sears machine, which was the top of the line when I got it, it's in the storage room, I can't bear to get rid of it, it's still a great machine needing service only once in 36 years.

I spent Saturday at the arts fair, bad economy evident........not anywhere near the numbers of folks milling through as usual, and not as much spending. I didn't sell as many handwoven scarves but sold numerous hand-dyed silk scarves which are 1/3 to 1/2 the cost of handwoven. I sold many other items in the moderate price range, sure glad I have varied prices in the booth or I may not have sold anything. So, taking into account my hours spent at the fair it was still worthwhile.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Finished mug rugs

Here are the finished mug rugs, there are 4 in a pile. There's actually another pile of red ones but they didn't fit in the picture. These were awaiting tags when I took the picture. I can't believe that warp was on the small loom for so long, glad it's off. Hopefully these will sell quickly.

Spent the better part of the day getting things ready for the Pacifica Fine Arts & Crafts Winter Festival this coming up Saturday........checked my bag supply, change in the cashbox, etc. Tomorrow I'll get everything packed up in plastic bins for transporting and make monster-size almond macaroon cookies that I donate to be sold at the festival. Friday afternoon is decorating and booth set-up - miles of garland, lights & red bows and more evergreen swags with red bows than one can imagine.

Weather has been foggy and cold for almost 2 weeks now. It's a chill-to-the-bone cold that doesn't subside. There have been areas less than 15 miles away with sun but the fog hangs low near us. Just up the road on the Sexton Pass it's been 20 degrees warmer and sunny because it's above the fog. So, we just keep the fire going to stay warm & cozy indoors. The only bright spot is that there is no snow in the forecast for the festival this weekend - it's threatened many years and there have been horribly icy roads for my drive in the morning in the past.