Monday, December 28, 2015

Melt in your mouth cookies......

These cookies are not what most people think of as biscotti but they're what I grew up with in my Italian family. My Nani (grandmother) told me that Biscotti meant little cookie - not the twice baked Biscotti we all know of in the stores and bakeries........actually I never knew about the twice baked ones until around 20 years ago. These Biscotti are melt in your mouth cookies - one of my favorites. In our family they were only made for Christmas but I've been known to make them all throughout the year using different colored sprinkles, such as reds & pinks for Valentine's Day.

5 cups flour
3 eggs
1 cup butter
1 ½ cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1 tbs baking powder
1 tbs almond extract
1/8 tb salt
Sift flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into bowl. Cut butter using fingers into dry ingredients until mixture resembles a coarse cornmeal. Make a well in flour and break eggs into it. Add flavoring. Knead dough about 2 minutes or until smooth.
Add a little more flour, if necessary, should the dough seems too soft and sticky. If too stiff, add about 1 tbs milk or as needed. Dough should be medium soft.
Take a handful of dough. Roll out into an 18 inch rope, ½ inch thick. Cut into 1 ½” pieces. Place on a greased cookie sheet about 1 ½ inches apart. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes – do not let brown, bake until right before they brown. (Caution: it’s best to watch cookies after 8 minutes) Remove from oven. Cool 5 minutes and frost. Sprinkle with multi-color sprinkles. Sit to dry. Store in an air tight container.
Basic frosting for Biscotti
1 lb confectioners sugar
4 tbs boiling water
¼ tsp almond extract
1 tbs butter
Mix until smooth and spread on cookies. If frosting is too thick, add more boiling water, a little at a time. Decorate with multi-color sprinkles.
Note: you can substitute anise extract for almond extract. My Nani put drops of yellow food coloring in the dough – I don’t. My Nani also split the icing into two bowls and put red food coloring in one, green in the other – I don’t do this either – I like my icing white. I have fond memories of helping my Nani make the Christmas cookies each year – we usually had around 15 different kinds that came out Christmas Eve on huge silver trays. There were tins and tins of cookies that kept filling these trays throughout the holidays. These are one of my favorites – they just melt in my mouth.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Mele Kalikimaka

This years inkling ornament is my little hula dancer, Lahela, which translates to sheep's friend. Some family and friends have been getting my inkling creations for years, there are 24 different ones in the collection.  And I'm sorry if some of you that read my blog haven't gotten them but they are a limited edition and in order to get on the list someone has to die and no one wants to wish that on anyone. I've decided that this year is the last year I'll be making them - I'm out of ideas after 24 of them.........if I ever come up with new ideas I'll pick it up again but right now I'm spent..........

Saturday, December 26, 2015

It was a good holiday..........

Santa was good to Bailey this year......hmm, what's this?

 .....oh, it was a rawhide granola bar........but wait, what's up there????'s a new Buster!!!!
 Bailey said he's not sure why he got a new Buster because his old one was broken in just right......he just couldn't see that old Buster was threadbare and had a stink about him that no one in the house could stand any longer.......and he wouldn't have made it through another trip in the washer........

......ah, life is good.........Bailey hopes you all had just as wonderful a holiday as he did...........

Thursday, December 24, 2015

On the loom.........

In-between massive loads of laundry I got another painted warp on the loom. I threaded it to an 8 harness two block twill, both warp and weft are 8/2 tencel.

Here's the first scarf - I'm using a black tencel weft

Second scarf which I almost got finished I'm using a sage green weft

A White Christmas

This is what we woke up to this morning, still snowing hard......looking like we'll have a white christmas this year. Looking at the forecast for today we had decided to postponed our traditional Italian Christmas eve dinner as getting to our house will be difficult as it is, and cousin Jim would be coming from 45 miles south having to come over a pass to get here. We'll try for Saturday as the weather should be better by then.......should be.......

Now to think about what to do with my new found time since I'm not cooking today.........maybe getting a painted warp on the loom and hope the power stays on so it's not too dark to weave...........

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Another great day......

I've been having some good studio 'nesting' days lately. Today was another great day as I finally wove off a painted warp that's been sitting on the AVL for months. Obviously selling roving is getting in the way of my first love......weaving.

I found this draft on I don't remember the name of it off hand and would have to walk down the stairs to the studio to get it.......and I've already gone up and down the stairs 3000 times today.......if someone is interested in knowing the name of it please leave a comment and I'll get it posted later - it is a 16 harness draft. Fuchsia weft here.

Here's the same fuchsia weft at the next color change on the warp. I forgot to take a picture at the final color change.......oh well........

Here's the start of the second scarf on the warp, rust weft here. Warp and wefts are 8/2 tencel.

This is the next painted warp to go on the loom. This will be woven in an 8 harness two block twill. I'm loving these colors I dyed........if one of the finished scarves speaks to me once woven I may have to keep it for myself. This is the next painted warp in the queue but might not be the next warp to go on the loom. I also want to get a shawl warp on the loom. But then there are the holiday cooking and get togethers so nothing will be happening right away.......

Sunday, December 20, 2015

New towels in the shop

I spent a little time at the embroidery machine this weekend getting some towels done and up in the etsy shop. I'm actually a bit ahead of time for Valentine's Day - what a novelty!

I had a crisis Saturday when the machine decided to go wack-a-do. The needle would get stuck down, the machine would shutter and shut down. I got it running again to finish up the towel I was working on but when I started the next towel it happened. I love this cheap little Brother machine, it's been great, no trouble at all.....until yesterday. I called Sam to the rescue. He did what we should never do - he opened up the top of the machine, studied it to figure out how it works, cleaned and oiled it but it was still hanging up. Then he brought out the canned air and started shooting it in there. He spotted half of a very thin washer sitting on top of a gear.......but where was the other half??? More canned air and the other half fell down into the bobbin case. No way could he figure out where the washer was supposed to go but being so very thin it doesn't do much other than to act as a spacer.........and the machine is working perfectly again! Obviously that little piece of washer was sitting somewhere it shouldn't have been causing the problem.  I've put the washer in a zip lock bag so whenever the machine needs to go in for service I can bring it along. So Sam was the hero yesterday........what does one do if they don't have a handy husband/partner???

Friday, December 18, 2015


I've been doing some long overdue nesting and have been having a grand time. I did a bit of this and that today and then late in the afternoon I decided I should start embroidering some towels. I'm actually thinking ahead, very rare, and working on some for Valentine's Day. Tomorrow I'll get back to them - in addition to Valentine's I'll be stitching more sheep, spinning wheels and trees. All will be listed in the Etsy shop as soon as they're finished.

Starting to think about getting back to weaving and have another sewing project planned, an afghan/throw for me.........need to shop for fabric for it so it may be a while.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

It's been a grand day

It's been a grand day even though it's been raining pitchforks and shovels as my friend JoAnn would say. After getting orders boxed up and to the post office, yes people are still shopping for gifts, I edited many photos of a total of 8 scarves so they could be listed in my etsy shop.

An ice-dyed, stenciled dragonfly scarf is one of the new scarves listed.......

.....and an ice dyed, starfish and sand dollar scarf........other scarves listed but not pictured here are hand-dyed, stenciled and handwoven/discharge dyed.

Oh yes, I did go out wearing these leggings and no, I'm not 20 years old. Of course the only place I went was to the post office wearing a knee length coat over them. They're kind of fun for wearing around the house but a little out there for me.

And this was what I've been looking at all afternoon while knitting and listening to an audio book - perfect activity for a chilly rainy day. I'm really thinking I need to do this more often, usually I'm so's time to relax a bit.......

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Felting Landscapes Kits

In-between working on holiday sewing today I put together more Felting Landscapes kits for my Etsy shop. I had run out of two of them and then decided to put together a new one. And of course, since first putting together kits many colors had been discontinued by Ashland Bay so I came up with new versions. 

The new kit is the top one - Sunflower Power. Then revamped kits - middle is Sand in your shoes, bottom is Rain Forest.

Coming down the homestretch on holiday sewing - then I can get back to weaving - whoo hoo.

Snow - what a novelty!

Woke up to snow this morning - not a lot but it's snow. We didn't see one flake here last winter, not one flake.........and very little in the mountains. The year before we had one snowfall and that was it. The past few days we've had torrential rain which, other than driving in it, has been wonderful. Keeping my fingers crossed that our wet winter continues to help end this going on 4 year drought. When out on the deck taking this photo I had a hummingbird buzz me, thank goodness the feeder didn't freeze......will have to watch that and bring it in at night if the temps go down...........

Now off to work in Santa's workshop..........the perfect day for it........

Thursday, December 10, 2015


 This past weekend we were over on the coast and decided to go to the new location of the Coos History in Coos County, OR. We were there fairly early on Sunday which meant we had the museum to ourselves, others were coming in as we were leaving - it was great.

 Ok, not sure what's up with Blogger and pictures with turning this one sideways. I didn't have any better luck using the drag and drop option for adding pictures either - that wanted to put them side by side. Oh well.....hopefully this won't be a continuing issue. Anyhow - back to the photo - this is a huge cedar dug out canoe - very impressive.....just turn your head sideways to view.

Turn your head to see Bailey too - he was trying to sleep on the couch but I kept insisting on taking pictures........

Spent yesterday morning getting wool roving orders dealt with - weighing, bagging, tagging, putting into inventory and back in the etsy shop. What a job it is but this time Sam helped with the weighing part of it - with the process we've come up with it takes 1/3 of the time to do the job with two of us over me doing it alone. Selling roving is a big chunk of my income but I'm thinking about taking a break from it (at least online) to see how I feel about the time it takes away from weaving and other fiber arts/crafts..........sometime after the beginning of the year I'll put that etsy shop on vacation hold and see how I feel about it......right now I'm getting pretty sad about how little time I have to weave and do other things I've wanted to do.

It's been raining here but not too bad like a few hours to the north of us where there's flooding happening. We're supposed to get more rain later and again for the next several days but we're definitely not getting the worst of the weather here in the northwest.

I hope everyone is ready for the holidays - I've got my mailing done and am almost done sewing.....guess I need to figure out Christmas Eve dinner soon but I've still got time for that........

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Elves hard at work......

I've been absent from making blog posts as I'm been busy in Santa's workshop. Unfortunately I can't show what I've been creating but it's all been at the sewing machine this year, several different projects. I still have a few more gifts to sew but since they're for my mother I've got plenty of time - no mailing involved.

Some fun little gifts.......sorry, can't show what they are but I definitely will after the holidays along with a link to a YouTube video to show how they're made........ cards from hand-woven fabric in progress......

......and gift bag making. Those Trader Joe's bags I get when I've forgotten to put my reusable shopping bags back in the car don't go to waste - they become my gift bags for the tissue is old sewing patterns, no need to waste that tissue either........

This afternoon I had to run up to the post office and to the store. I pulled the mustang out of the garage and thought, wow, my feet feel so comfy.........well, I looked down and I was wearing my sheep slippers. I felt compelled to go back in the house and put on real shoes. If it were just the small post office 2 miles away I wouldn't have bothered changing but I was going to town to a big store with lots of walking around and it's pouring rain......thought real shoes would be in order.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Entering a new decade.......

I have just entered a new decade - 60 - how can I possibly be 60??? How can I be the age where the cute young guys at the coffee drive-ups could be my grandsons rather than my sons??? I think there's been a mistake - I'm not really 60!  I got a couple discounts at stores when I turned 55, maybe there are more to come now that I'm 60, JoAnn Fabrics has a discount day each month for those 60 and older........need to find out which day that is.

My mother was going through photos a couple weeks ago and found this one from my 8th birthday. We all look so innocent - 8 year olds these days look much more sophisticated than we did. I know everyone in this picture except a couple backs of heads, I'm sure I'd remember them if I could see their faces. Take a look at that special cake my grandmother made me - for several years she made me doll cakes, after the party she'd take the doll and make an outfit for the doll with a huge skirt as in a Gone with the Wind Scarlet O'Hara outfit. I wish I had a photo of the outfits she made, they were made with round circles, folded and tied with yarn.......those circles almost felt like a strong coffee filter and came in white, pink, lavender and blue.  Does anyone remember these?  I ended up having a bride and 3 bridesmaids from those birthdays where I got a doll cake. And check out that fancy hair-do I've got - bangs must have just been cut and spoolies were worn overnight to get that funky bob.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Circles in the Sand

We spent 4 days on the coast for a long weekend. The highlight for me was watching Denny of Circles in the Sand draw a labyrinth Sunday afternoon. I'm currently working on gifts so no photos to show from the studio so I hope you enjoy the labyrinth journey.

Here is the start of the labyrinth. We were up on the cliff watching the entire time, chilly, windy time. Seeing Denny drawing I think you can see just how massive it's going to be.

Now to link all the parts together. The sun is getting low in the sky.

Almost done with the basic labyrinth

Now the volunteer groomers/rakers come in to help

Groomers hard at work - we're going to check into volunteering at some point

It's really taking shape
Now everyone can walk the finished labyrinth
Walkers moving along the labyrinth
It took just over an hour for this huge labyrinth to be drawn in the sand - it probably took around an hour for it to be washed away as dusk fell.  I heard one of the groomers say how many steps it was although I don't remember the exact number but it was over 2000 steps - just a bit over a half mile. I'm not sure if you can spot it or not but there's a drone up in the sky - it went up all around and from different heights capturing this temporary piece of art.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Too much to do, too little time....

.....that is the story of my life this fall with all the medical appointments that have been on the calendar. Family from out of town also visited this past week which kept me busy - always a fun time. I'm not quite sure how I'll pull off holiday gifts other than to say they won't all get done. Holiday cards are in the works, will get back to those next week or the week after. Yearly inkling ornaments also in the works - this will be the last year for them, I've finally hit a wall on ideas, this year is #24 in the series.

This morning I worked on embroidering some after shower towel wraps - the hot pink one above......

....the purple one here........they are both hanging to dry after washing out the solvable stabilizer that's a must when embroidering on waffle weave cloth.

Worked on cutting out these fabrics for some gift items, got one finished today, hope to find time to get back to them tomorrow but there are other things to catch up on too.........where is that giant clock with the big hands that go around slowly, I could really use it during the next month........

Monday, November 9, 2015

It's that time of year........

It's the time of year for fresh cranberries. We spent the weekend on the coast where there are tons of cranberry bogs. At the Bandon grower's market there were no 'dry picked' cranberries, only 'wet picked' ones so that's what I came home with. They won't stay as long in the fridge as dry picked so I made cranberry sauce this morning.

Look at these beautiful berries - they're the size of grapes.

Here they are all cooked down with water and sugar. I got 3 containers of cranberry sauce for the freezer.

I made sure to keep out a couple cups to make some cranberry muffins since Sam requested muffins or bread. Gotta love this time of year - cranberries and pumpkin everywhere.

Been working on gifts here and there so nothing I can post to the blog. Also finished up everything for the surface design program I'm presenting this week. East coast brother arrives this week as well as a Seattle cousin and Oregon uncle - will be a busy fun week of catching up and visiting.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Getting organized

Yesterday I spent the day getting organized for my presentation on surface design. I have 14 topics to cover showing tools, ways to use those tools, what to use with them as in paints, paintstiks, silkscreens, stencils, foils, etc. etc. etc.  I have to be highly organized so I found as many boxes as I could and put different topics in each box along with my notes and numbered the boxes. In addition to all these boxes there's a rolling cart filled with books, magazines, bigger tools like iron, etc. and all the examples. What you don't see is the piles of boxes at my feet with all the extra surface design stuff scattered all over the floor after pulling out the examples I wanted to show. Will be glad after this presentation is over........then I get to put everything away again.

I went to spinning today and the spinning goddess must have been sitting on my shoulder on the drive home. A bad accident happened just one driveway down from us (we're 1/3 mile up off the road). It had just happened - fire truck arrived right in front of me, ambulance came as I was sitting at the end of the drive to get the mail. Head on collision, one of the trucks was going too fast around the curve and went over the line. It didn't even look like a truck anymore. If I had been 3 minutes earlier it could have been me that got hit head on and my little mustang wouldn't have been much protection. People drive way too fast on this rural curvy road - I take my life in my hands crossing it to the mailbox - I stand listening for cars before I cross and then run.

Yesterday I went to renew my driver's license, passed the eye test easily, I should have never fretted over getting the cataract surgery before renewing it. Last time they tested both eyes separately, then together - this time they didn't test my eyes separately, just together, so I could have easily passed even with limited vision in my left eye. So does anyone like their photo on their license? I swear those cameras take the most unflattering photos, they're made different than other cameras - this one is the worst picture taken of me in my life and it's on that license for 8 years! 8 years!  Good thing I rarely have to show it for anything. I am not posting that photo here on my blog..........

Friday, October 30, 2015

Back in the saddle again.......

I'm back to doing what I love - anything related to the fiber arts. My eye is doing great, I can do all the close up work I want now.........and can I ever see better - whoo hoo. I actually had the go ahead on Wednesday but had other things to do out of the house the past two days.

In the last push to get things ready for my guild presentation on surface design I did some sewing today. This is a piece of handwoven fabric, a plaited twill using perle cotton for the warp, a paper yarn for the weft. I wove it a while ago as a sample in a program I gave on newer fibers for weaving. A few weeks ago I stenciled on it using Shiva Paintstiks.

Today I sewed it into a snap bag. Then I found a little piece of leftover handwoven fabric that I had stenciled on who knows when so I sewed that into another little snap bag. It's looks skewed in the photo but it's really not - they also look better in person.  Since I was on a sewing kick so I moved on to working on gifts.

My goal is to have everything ready for the guild presentation by the end of this weekend although I may be in the mood to work on more gift sewing too. Tonight I'm hoping to finish up a warp on the inkle loom. So nice to be working in the studio again...........

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Getting close.......

I'm getting close to being able to get back to close up work after eye surgery. I wasn't sure what counted as my first day of back to normal activities, it was either today or tomorrow - since I was out part of today I decided I could wait one more day.  Vision is clearer although not perfect, just a little wonky, especially today, apparently it takes time for vision to dial in. Hopefully I'll pass the eye test at DMV when I renew my license within the next 3 weeks. It's been a boring 7 days of not being able to do the things I need and want to do. I'm far behind on things I have deadlines for - getting a little panicky but trying not to think about it today..........tomorrow will be here soon enough......

On Sunday I decided to bake pumpkin streusel muffins to put in the freezer for when family comes to visit in a couple weeks. See the beautiful muffins in the foreground? Those are the ones that had both the brown and white sugar the recipe calls for.  See the muffins off to the left? Those are the first batch where I forgot to add the white sugar. Stunted little raggedy looking muffins but they taste just fine.

Yesterday I made a pepper relish with apples, pears, red bell peppers, jalapenos and onion.....and of course a fair amount of sugar. It was a big time commitment since after chopping everything up it had to sit with canning salt on it for 6 hours before cooking and canning. I haven't decided if it was worth it or not yet -  although it is pretty tasty over cream cheese on a cracker.........