Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It's that time.....

 It's that time of year again - new calendar time. Look at this fun one I found that I get to have fun cross stitching. I also bought one for a gift but a different stitching design. It's from Heather Lins Home - one of the winners of the Martha Stewart American Made contest. I've included the link to her website but just looking at it I see she's sold out of the calendars but one can check out the retail establishments she has links to in case they have any left.

 I thought I'd stitch one as each month neared but then thought again.......I'll get too busy and it won't happen, I'll get a month behind, then another, then I'll just put them up without stitching. So, this week I'm taking a week off from the etsy shops so I'll get to work stitching them. January is done, February is started.  I took a week off from my etsy shops but shoppers have not......and today everyone is shopping.......

I had leftover pumpkin puree so I looked for a pumpkin muffin recipe. Made 24 of these late this afternoon - definitely a keeper recipe - they're yummy.  Pumpkin Muffins with Streusel streusel topping doesn't look like the picture but they taste great so who cares.

A safe and happy new year to you all.  We'll be asleep long before midnight, as usual, just how we like to celebrate the evening..........

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Magic yarn ball

I got this fun gift from a dear friend. She made a magic yarn ball. Start using the ball of yarn from the outside in and find treasures.

Here's the first treasure to fall out - a cute bee button
There's a little flower button peeking out from the ball
Another flower peeking through but this one is pink
Here's everything found in the ball - lots of fun buttons and a bee hive in the center.  What I was crocheting wasn't going to use the entire ball so I took liberties leaving a few colors out - I'll use them in a future project. The crocheted project - The Artfully Simple Infinity Scarf which can be found fro free on Ravelry. Mine still needs blocking (maybe) it will be a great neck warmer, it can be worn around the neck as is or doubled up as a cowl. Now to find a fun project to use the buttons for.......

What a fun gift - I'm going to use this idea for a gift in the future.

Saturday, December 27, 2014


I finally got the hand-dyed silk and tencel scarves cut off the loom and look what I found - what looks like uneven beating only my beat was perfect. I've figured out what happened - as the scarf went around the front beam the weft threads got distorted as I tightened the warp back up. I'm sure this happened because I was just placing the weft and the silk was very slippery. So, what did I do - I sat down with a needle moving the wefts back where they should be.......on all 3 scarves, in many places.....but they look great now, ready to sell in my etsy shop.

 Here's the one with the fuchsia weft
 Red weft used here
Wine weft in the final scarf

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Eve - the success and wise.......

Success:  Cousin Jim's fish soup which he had tweaked since this new recipe was first sampled last year - it's outstanding.  Jim brought all the ingredients and made it here at our house. My grandmother's traditional fish soup recipe is how we start out our Feast of the Seven Fishes.....sorry Nani but Jim's soup is much better, if she were still with us I think she'd agree.  Recipe for this incredible soup is at the bottom of this post - I'm thinking we may have to try it sometime adding some shrimp, crab, mussels & clams - yum.  We'll be eating leftover soup tomorrow - yum.

Failure: Cousin Jim decided to try his hand at Sugar Plums because he'd never had them.  These were not good - list of ingredients sound like they should be super yummy......but they weren't, they really weren't, they really really weren't good........leftovers were going in the trash if he couldn't find any takers.  But we tried something new.

Bailey had a grand time opening a present from Cousin Jim last night - hard to get a picture of him he was so excited - we think he's as excited at carrying around a wrapped gift as actually getting the gift.

He sat still for a picture with it this morning.......that was until he saw what Santa brought overnight.


6 rashers of bacon, chopped (learned a rasher is a slice)
2 tbs butter
1 large onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic minced fine
3 tsp Old Bay seasoning
3 tbs fresh chopped cilantro
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1 pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
2/3 cup dry vermouth or white wine
2-3 cups fish stock
11 oz potatoes, diced
1 1/2-2 pounds skinless white fish fillets cut into chunks (he used cod)
Salt and pepper to taste

Fry the bacon to browned but not crisp. Remove from pan.

Add butter to pan and cook onion and celery until soft, add garlic and herbs and cool for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, stock and wine and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add potatoes, cover again and simmer for a further 10-12 minutes or until the potatoes are almost tender.

Add chunks of fish and bacon pieces. Simmer gently uncovered for 5 minutes or until the fish is cooked and the potatoes are tender.

Garnish with additional fresh cilantro and lime wedge if desired.   I throw on a few spoonfuls of oyster crackers because I love them and rarely eat them......

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

A bit of time at the loom.....

We decided to go over to the coast for a few days in spite of the forecast.  We did get a beach walk in Friday afternoon in-between the rain squalls but after that there was torrential sideways rain, lots of wind, soak to the bone rain. We came home earlier than planned on Sunday due to the forecast of the river reaching flood stage later in the day - 42S along the Coquille River was starting to flood as we drove through, the road closed this morning - we were really worried about rockslides on 42, so glad there weren't as that detour would have added 1 1/2-2 hours to our drive home.

Back to that painted silk scarf warp - above is scarf #2 - I used a deep red weft.
Here is scarf #3 which I only had time to get started today - a wine weft is being used.
I did get some time to work on the knitted felted intarsia tangled mess bag project but I've run out of the blue wool just short of the final strap - ack. I bought exactly what the pattern called for and I knit tight so there should have been plenty.  I found a skein online - it's on it's way to me now but has put this project on hold for a while......dyelot will not be the same but hopefully close enough. Next up is to knit the tulips to felt - I read through the directions and decided I need lots of fresh brain cells before starting to work on those - they look to be a challenge to say the in I don't understand the instructions at all.........
Pure torture today shopping for Christmas Eve dinner stuff, forgot the lettuce for the salad so back to the store for me tomorrow along with waiting in line at the post office for 2 packages - ack. Think I'll need some chocolate to compensate.......but that means I'll have to remember to buy some when I pick up the lettuce.......... 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I do love pumpkin........

Last night I called neighbors C & M to ask if they'd like to come over to share a big pot of pasta de fagioli. This morning I decided I needed dessert, looked in the pantry and all I had was strawberry cake mix and pink frosting with sprinkles for cupcakes or a yellow cake mix. Hmm, I had a big can of pumpkin too. Out came the Pumpkin Streusel Cake recipe. You can find the recipe in a post from back in 2010 HERE.  The best part is I had one of those huge cans of pumpkin so there's lots left - I'll have to make some muffins or bread, maybe a smoothie or two with the leftovers. It's super easy, quick to make and super yummy.  So the pasta de fagioli turned into more of a minestrone - put potatoes in it rather than using pasta - it's in the crockpot - the house is smelling incredible.......but dinnertime is many hours away.........

For the weavers out there - don't you just love my platter?  I found it at our local kitchen store a few years back. Not long after I went back to get a few for gifts and they no longer had them.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Back to weaving.......

It's good to be back at the loom. I hate to complain about selling so much roving as it's great income but my weaving time has been suffering the past few years, this year much more. I desperately need to weave scarves - I've sold so many the past 4-5 months and haven't replenished a single one. This is a start.........I got this warp on the loom this afternoon and the first scarf woven.

This was one of the painted silk warps I dyed a few months ago. Unfortunately I don't have many colors of silk to choose from for the weft so I'm using a tencel weft, many more color choices in my tencel stash. This is the first scarf using a fuchsia weft, 2nd and 3rd will have different weft colors so each scarf is a bit different.

I think this scarf makes a lovely Valentine's Day scarf.........yes, I'm trying to think ahead although I'm probably already late for that upcoming holiday...........

Monday, December 15, 2014

Back to the tangled mess

Now that I've got holiday stuff under control (I think) I can go back to the knitted felted tote bag I started a few months ago. It should be fast knitting with these big needles and two strands of worsted weight wool knitted together but it's not.  I have 9 balls for the intarsia stripes, working from the inside and outside of each ball for the 2 strands. I have to stop and untangle after knitting two rows. I tried putting them in containers in front of me but it didn't work any better. If it were intarsia using small balls it wouldn't be a problem.  It really doesn't take long to untangle this to start the next 2 rows of knitting but it is making this take twice as long to knit as it should. In hindsight if I had know this I would have knit the bag in one color. There will be felted flower embellishments to come so it wouldn't have been plain by any means. If anyone has any ideas I'd love to hear them.

Yesterday was spent weighing out Ashland Bay fibers for my etsy shop - colors I was out of, colors I was low on. Sam helped me, even after I fired him for non-performance earlier in the year. He thought up a new 'process' for when we do it together which shaved 1/3 off our time. So, it took around 4 hours for the two of us, it would have taken me a full 2 long days on my own plus getting the etsy shop updated as well as my inventory records so make that 2 1/2 days. Thank you Sam.....just might have to rehire him.....

Friday, December 12, 2014

Baby blankets

I finally had time to hem the baby blankets and have listed 2 of them in my etsy shop. I love the soft feel of the 3/2 perle cotton - would love to have one of these for myself.

Life has been busy this week - out of the house every day, today I'm home other than a quick run to the post office with orders to be dropped off.  I still have to finish up handspun handknit socks for hard to work on them when he's home more with semi-retirement.......this week he went in to the office all week and I just happened to have things going on out of the house most of the week - not a good combination for knitting socks.  I did get some knitting in here and there while watching The Tudors on Netflix. Think I'll get a few episodes in today while least that's the plan........although the morning is almost over.  Off to knit and dream of weaving........

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Recycled gift bags.....again......

Yesterday I worked on creating gift bags for the holidays.  I'm recycling Trader Joe's grocery bags, and one Bob's Red Mill bag. Yes, I know I shouldn't even have these in my possession - I have many, many reusable bags for my groceries but unfortunately they don't always end up back in my car or I'm at the check-out and realize I've left them in the car. So, what do I do with them but make gift bags for the holidays and other times of the year.  I made many yesterday and still have more to go that will end up being used throughout the year for other gift giving.  This year I took my Sharpie markers to them to put the recipient's name and a little holly design.

These bags have a little pleat on the bottom. I put up a post 2 years ago on how they're made, well, a so-so post. You can find it here if you have paper grocery bags to recycle. 

The only issue with these bags is that they're only so big - when I need a bigger bag I make a trip to the Dollar Store where they have an incredible selection of bags for $1 each.  I did make a few of these bags smaller this year to match the gift size.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Baby blankets woven

This afternoon I got some time at the loom and got the 3 baby blankets woven, now they need to be washed and hemmed. I like them, very cheery looking to me. It's always a stretch to weave almost the full width of the loom - back and shoulders are sore this evening..........

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Nobody reading this blog including me noticed this error for the baby blanket warp in my blog post of last week.  I accidently flipped over that warp bout when putting it on the lease sticks. The blue shouldn't be right next to the yellow - there should be white, then green, then white, then blue. This is a first in 28 years of weaving - I've never done that.

I found it when I was threading the heddles yesterday afternoon, I got to that point and thought "what the heck???" I kept threading in the correct color order but I knew I had to do a better fix because the tension would be wacky. So, I got a bit of time earlier this evening to pull the entire warp to the front, fix the problem on the back beam bar and wind it back on. Now I'm ready to sley the reed, tie on and start weaving.......just need some time back in the studio.........

Monday, December 1, 2014

This and that.......

The day after Thanksgiving we decided to head over to the coast for a long weekend. We love to walk on the beach looking for treasures which usually amount to seaglass and small sea snail shells but occasionally we find other treasures like this huge float. It may not look big in this photo but it is and it's heavy.......and I made Sam carry it all down the beach and back, and then back up the hill to our cottage. Not sure what boat this would have come off of - way bigger than used on the local fishing boats. Fun find to put in the front yard as coastal yard art.......and hope no one snatches it while we're gone.......

I put up a tiny little tree at the beach cottage. I found this little white lit tree at Michaels. Then I took some shells and glittered them. It needs more but that's all I've got for it at the moment. I used some leftover cones from yarn to make the cone trees covering them with scrapbook paper.

Bandon and the surrounding area has many cranberry bogs. Most of the cranberries are sold to Ocean Spray for juice and are water harvested which doesn't make them good for fresh eating but at the grower's market there's usually a booth in the fall that has some handpicked cranberries. Friend Nadine sent me the recipe for the Bandon Boatworks Cranberry bread so I made a couple loaves - yum. Bandon Boatworks was a nice restaurant across the inlet from the light house, it was there for years, then closed - they served this bread on their salad bar. The building was recently bought and worked on but up for lease now - hopefully another restaurant will eventually move in - one of the best locations in town for an ocean view........we even watched otters floating on their backs eating clams from our table when dining there. Here's the super simple recipe for Bandon Boatworks Cranberry Bread.

2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 TBs butter, softened
1 egg
3/4 cup orange juice
1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped (I didn't read the chopped part so mine were whole)

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and soda. With fingers, rub butter into dry ingredients. Mix together egg and orange juice. Add to dry mixture. Fold in cranberries. Turned into greased loaf pan. Bake at 325 for 70-75 minutes.

Bailey had to say hi - he had a grand time on the coast.