Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year

It's New Year's somewhere so I'm wishing all my blog readers a Happy and Safe New Year early.........as we rarely stay up past 10pm........


Monday, December 30, 2013

No gold watch here.........

Sam retires tomorrow.........well, today is actually his last day as they're closed tomorrow for the holiday. He will still be putting in some hours for around 4 months, around 40 hours a month to help with problems during the transition and solving engineering issues which is something he loves to do.  But there is no gold watch waiting for him here at home to celebrate his retirement - he's getting shoe bags made from McDonald's fabric.........and yes, there is a story going back 25 years........
 
We bought our first land here in Oregon back in 1986 with plans of retiring except we just couldn't wait so we started planning to move shortly after purchasing it......we came from the DC area where we were both born and lived until moving to OR. The joke was that he wouldn't find a job (it is difficult here in SW OR) and that he would have to go work at McDonald's clearing tables. Not that there's anything wrong with working at McDonald's - my godparents owned and worked hard at 6 of them in the Houston area until they retired. I gave Sam a surprise 40th birthday party 25 years ago and we already had this plan in place to move so I asked my godparents for a McDonald's cap - they not only sent me the cap but an entire uniform. Oh, if I had thought ahead I would have kept that uniform just for this day.......but I wasn't forward thinking enough at that time. Fast forward to this past spring at The Mill End Store in Portland where I spotted these two flannel fabrics on the clearance table, only a half yard of each. I had to snap them up but had no clue what to sew.....my friends suggested boxer shorts - cute but they would never get worn - I decided on golf shoe bags so I don't have to look at big old honking golf shoes in each vehicle......hmm, is this fabric better than golf shoes???

Here they are rolled up and tied with a coordinating ribbon made out of the one fabric. I wonder what Sam will think of these when he sees them tonight..........

A dear friend gifted me this book last month for my birthday - it has so many patterns in it I want to knit and what is better than knitting shawls - no worry about size like sweaters. I had picked one out to start on but then I couldn't decide on which handspun to use or if I want to spin something new so last night I decided to start on another pattern.


It's this combination shawlette/scarf. I'm using the handspun I finished not long ago from Ashland Bay merino in the Baltic colorway..........will look perfect with jeans. I've only knit 6 rows so far but those scallops along the edge are starting to show. After knitting the lace edging there is a series of short rows in garter stitch to shape it. This will be a quick knit.........if I have time to sit down and work on it in the evenings........


Sunday, December 29, 2013

A bit of spinning........


The past few evenings I've done a bit of spinning. Last night I plied this 515 yards of Karaoke which is a 50/50 merino/soy silk blend. I bought the roving a number of years ago from Janis Thompson of Dyelots up in Eugene, Oregon.  It has a beautiful sheen and I love the colors but the soy silk is not so much fun to spin. Not sure what it will become yet........will have to think on it......like all my handspun it has to sit and age on the shelf for a while........

Friday, December 27, 2013

Copper Patina Treasury


I've put together a new Etsy Treasury called Copper Patina showcasing fellow Handweavers of Etsy team members along with some other great Etsy artisans. Visit it by clicking HERE, visit the shop, favorite them and the items.......got Christmas buckeroos to spend, do a little shopping on etsy, there are so many shops and variety of items to choose from.  Of course you can also visit my shops by clicking on the links in the right hand sidebar.......


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Busy as a bee........


A little while back I posted a mystery item, part of a holiday project I was working on.........it was a pile of bee wings........and here's that project - my inkling for 2013 'Bee Happy Honey'. It's a hive of little bees that have found themselves in new homes this holiday season. The bodies are inkle woven, the wings drawn, scanned, printed on vellum and then laminated, faces handstitched and bodies embellished with some fun finds from the scrapbook section of the craft store. Hmm.......have to start brainstorming for next year's inklings....have many ideas in the back of my mind but will have to see which one strikes me later in the new year. The little bees are #22 in the series I started many years ago that I've gifted to some family & friends........as much as I'd love to give away more inklings each year they are limited edition ornaments.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Holidays

While on the coast this past weekend we decided it was time to visit Shores Acres State Park on the Oregon Coast. We hadn't been there for the holiday lights in over 10 years. There are over 300,000 lights, countless volunteers putting them up, taking them down and hosting every evening. Cookies & hot cider are served in the cottage, young high school girls were serving Sunday evening. There's also musical entertainment, we listened to the tuba ensemble performing holiday tunes. Very worthwhile going to for the holiday lights or any other time of the year, the rugged ocean views are incredible and the flowers showy......but it's truly a magical place at the holidays.  Enjoy..........





















Happy Holidays to you all no matter what holiday you celebrate - be safe, treasure spending time with family and friends whether big and boisterous or keeping it small and quiet....the best to you all.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Weekend on the coast

We took off Saturday morning for a 3 day weekend on the coast. We were worried about finding broken pipes knowing the temps there got pretty low while we were in freezing temps here in the valley - all was ok - phew.

It was a weekend of relaxing and walking on the beach - many small treasures to be found.....it was a big weekend for seaglass, probably 2 handfuls full, many sea snail shells which I find actually house little hermit crabs......picked up a handful of cockle shells..........although have to stop picking those up, they were on the beach by the thousands this weekend and we've already got way too many antique blue ball jars full of them.....but sometimes I just can't help myself. My goal this year is to find some fun project to use them for so I can gift them and continue to pick them up by the thousands...........

The top shell is a olive shell, this one a baetic olive shell as it's brown, I've also found olive purple shells that have a blue/purple tinge to them. These were once very valuable among the Indians to use in necklaces and to decorate clothing with. The other shell is a clam shell, I think, I couldn't narrow it down in my shell book but it looks to be some sort of clam.........it's the first I've found in these colors.

Driftwood on the beaches is very fun, from minuscule to gigantic tree trunks like this. This one caught my eye because of the incredible patterns on it....some close ups below.

Look at those swirls......

.....and these.......

.....and this neat knothole........

I did a little spinning while over there - went to the spinning group at The Wool Co and worked on some drop spindling I leave over there.....problem is that this project has been going on for so long that my spinning isn't real consistent.........too much time..........need to finish it up soon. It's some superwash merino I had dyed a while back. Not sure how many yards I'll end up with, am hoping for enough for a cowl......it's not a large amount of roving. Sad news we knew was coming - The Wool Co is closing by the end of January - from what I understand it's time for the two partners to move on after many years.......aging parents need help out of the area for one and the other is ready to retire.

I need to do some editing of pix for my festive post for tomorrow of where we went last night over on the coast....but right now back to preparing yummies for our family Christmas Eve dinner tomorrow evening.......



Friday, December 20, 2013

Relaxing and a sigh of relief.......


Oh yes, I watched curling today - I know those that know me well are probably getting a good laugh over me being so enthralled with curling but it's my sport. Last night the finals for the Olympic Trials were on tv so I dvr'd it to watch when I had time. The US team beat out the Czech team to make it into the Olympics - they were so happy, it was fun to see them win but I felt so bad for the Czech guys. I'm already looking forward to watching it during the Olympics.....if they broadcast much of it, certainly not a sport that's at the top of the popular list.

I can't just sit and watch tv, I have to be doing something and that something was knitting the foot on the second sock. I was wondering if I'd get these done in time to put them in Sam's Christmas stocking as he'll be with me all the time starting this evening through Christmas. Finishing those was my sigh of relief. They are wrapped and in the stocking.......well, didn't actually hang the stockings so they're in a gift bag......a Trader Joe's brown shopping bag recycled into a gift bag.......

 This was the spinning I started yesterday while the power was out. It's from my stash, bought it several years ago from Janis Thompson of Dyelots up in Eugene. It's Karaoke - a blend of merino and soy silk. Soy silk is not one of my favorites to spin but the resulting yarn is lovely. I don't know what it will grow up to be after spun.
 
Here's some  roving I spun last week, just 4 oz from a Inglenook Fibers batt. I generally don't buy novelty batts because I don't tend to like spinning lumpy bumpy yarn but I thought I'd give it another try......not sure how many tries I have to give it before I stop spinning novelty yarn......so much happier spinning nice smooth yarn but I'll find the perfect project for this because it is lovely spun up. I spun it so it goes from one color to the next. It's plied with black quilting thread.
 
 

Etsy treasury


This morning I decided to put together another Etsy treasury on the timeless pairing of black and gold. This showcases fellow weavers in the handweavers of etsy team. Visit it on Etsy by clicking HERE - favorite the shops & items if you have the time.........

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Rude awakening to the morning.......

Interesting morning here today......Sam left for the gym at 5am, I was almost back to sleep when I heard him slip sliding back up the icy drive. I figured he forgot his clothes for the office but no, there was an overturned lumber truck in the ditch alongside our drive down on the road. There were two fire trucks there already, fire fighter came over to tell Sam to turn himself around and get back up the drive as the power pole at the edge of the drive was cracked, the line 10 ft from the ground, arcing and burning.....easier said than done to get turned around on ice and back uphill on the 1/3 mile driveway. He ran in the house and jumped in the shower figuring we'd lose power any minute which means we lose well water. I jumped out of bed, boxed up etsy orders, printed postage. It was 3 hours before we lost power but then it was off for several hours. No leaving the property as the power company was using our driveway to put in a new pole and had all the wire laying running up the drive. Our road has been closed all day, once the power was repaired the lumber company was out there picking up the load. Sam has just left here hoping to get out with my orders to the post office. Phone box down on the road was also hit with wires hanging out but not disconnected - we have phone and internet but we've put a call in to them to come repair it. Truck broke a good portion of our concrete culvert - supposedly it will be fixed according to the owner that Sam and neighbor Merle talked when they ventured down the drive. Heard the driver had a broken clavicle, bumps and bruises and was taken to the hospital but is doing ok.

All this on a day when we finally had sun - no frozen fog - but still the below freezing temps and snow and ice from the snowstorm 2 weeks ago plus a trace of freezing rain overnight - there was ice all over the roads here in the north valley.

Of course no power totally changed my day - everything I planned to do today required power. I spun for a bit, wrapped gifts once it was light enough to see in the room I had everything stashed in, then I spun again. I could have knit on Sam's socks but he was here and they're a gift....not quite sure if I'll get them done in time for Christmas as he's with me for almost everyday between now and then......oh well, into the Christmas stocking still on the needles.

When the power came back on I decided to bake my Nani's (Italian grandmother) biscotti cookies, one of my favorites. This is the kind of biscotti I grew up, I had never heard of the biscotti we see these days in the stores where it's twice baked, hard and crunchy, these are soft and melt in your mouth lovely. I have the best memories of helping her bake all kinds of Christmas cookies every year - this is the only one I'm baking this year.

I mixed up the dough and then rolled it out into logs and cut those into small bite-size morsels. My grandmother actually made her a two bite cookie.

Here they are ready to go in the oven - they have almond flavoring in them - yum

Here they are out of the oven - they're not meant to be browned or they'll taste dry
 
And here they are iced with a simple confectioners sugar icing with almond flavoring and then sprinkled with non-pariels - I restrained myself, I usually put many more on. Nani split up the icing and used food coloring to make half with green icing and half with red icing - I kind of like the look of white.

Road report - Sam is back from the post office.....our road is still closed but they were letting those who live on it get in and out. The entire thing is graveled because of the ice. He said it looks like there's at least another 2 hours work of loading all that wood onto another trailer. No mail today, guess they wouldn't let the mail person past the barricade to deliver.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

I got out yesterday to the weaving guild meeting....Sam driving.....nice time, yummy food for the potluck, gift exchange and bidding on auction items to benefit our scholarship fund. From the auction I ended up with a John Marshall sheer overtop (whoo hoo) and some of the yummiest lighter than air cookies. In the gift exchange I received some fun sheep socks and a woven Guatemalan band that is begging to be used as a tote handle.....which means I'll have to weave up some fabric for it in the future.

Today Sam kindly said yes to trying to scrape the ice off the bad spots on the driveway so I can get out tomorrow. The entire drive would still be packed snow had he not shoveled a layer off last weekend. Bailey supervised - he was out of the picture frame rolling in the snow.......I braved the cold out on the deck to get the picture and then went back inside to warm by the fire.

I decided to make some marshmallow pops today......lollipop sticks in marshmallows dipped in chocolate and then graham cracker crumbs.........

........smores on a stick - yum.......
 
.........then I found some fun holiday sprinkles that I mixed all together........

.....dipped marshmallows in almond bark and rolled them in the sprinkles........

......all packaged up ready to give away.....looks like they'd be great goodies for kids......they're all going to my spinning group......big kids......

.....and before I could pull out the White Christmas DVD what do I find on TV just starting but that very movie - my favorite holiday movie of all time....the holidays aren't the same if I don't watch it which is why Sam put a copy in my Christmas stocking a number of years ago, no panic time trying to find it on TV.