Friday, September 30, 2016

Yum....preparing for family

I'm trying to get ready for family arriving the middle of next week, cleaning house (argh), baking ahead of time, and thinking on menus. It's a little overwhelming for some reason, probably because I'm overcommitted as usual, but I'm plodding along. The other day I baked some muffins to put in the freezer. You see, I don't cook breakfast so everyone is on their own. Muffins, bagels with fixings, cereal, fruit........I will make oatmeal though as it's a staple in this house.

These are two of my favorite muffins to bake. Blueberry Streusel Muffins, these made with berries we picked this summer and froze. Here's the recipe.  Banana Nut Muffins with Oatmeal Streusel, mine are minus the nuts as I like to eat nuts on their own but don't want them mixed in with my baked goods or ice cream......yes, I suppose that's strange. Here's the recipe for these.  It killed me not to sample but straight to the freezer these went.

I'm trying to decide if my pumpkin streusel cake would freeze well. I know my lemon blueberry bread will so I'll bake some of that up in the next few days.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Close-out Sale

I'm having a close-out sale on felting/spinning kits in my etsy shop. I'm no longer going to be making these up and am ready to move them on out of the studio.

This kit is regularly $22.00 - it's now on sale for $17.00

These kits are usually $28.00 - they're on close-out sale for $22.00

Click HERE to purchase

Monday, September 26, 2016

Two Hole Andean Pebble Weave

I just spent 4 days up in the Portland area for OFFF - Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival or as I call it Flock & Flea. I took a one day workshop in Two Hole Andean Pebble Weave which is tablet weaving or commonly called card weaving. This is my sample. It's a very fun technique that I'll use in the future when I have a use for a band with letters or designs in it. I'm hoping to get some time this winter to explore it a bit more. I wasn't totally happy with the class, there was another class in the same room with only moving blankets hanging in-between us - we in the back of the room had a difficult time hearing our instructor due to the chit chat of the spinning class behind us. And sadly instruction in my class was vague at times and sparse, and many students in my class were talking so much and so loud it bugged the heck out of me. I can handle chit-chat, we all do it, but it was out of control. I paid a lot of money for a class and was there to learn and found it difficult to concentrate. No surprise, I was the only one who finished my band.

Driving to and from Portland is always fun as we shop our way north and south on I5. Fabric shops are the big draw as we don't have any down here with the selection of the big city, and certainly not all the fabric for clothing, our few local fabric shops focus more on quilt fabrics. We stopped at the Corvallis Fall Festival on the way home, a nice quality art/craft festival. I hadn't been in a few years so it was very fun. Another great thing about the long weekend is the food as there are restaurants up there that we don't have down south. All in all a very fun weekend spent with my fiber friends.

The high today is supposed to be 97 - still dry as a bone, whatever that means..........hoping the temps cool and we get rain in the not too distant future so there can be an end to fire season for the year. It can rain between now and the middle of next week when relatives come to visit, the chalk festival is that weekend, and the Hugo Ladies Quilt show which is mostly outside - after that it can rain again.......  I hope the rain goddess is listening........

Speaking of rain - my heart goes out to those in the Midwest dealing, once again, with torrential floods.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Notecards listed in shop

I just listed 7 different styles of handwoven blank notecards (with envelope) in my etsy shop for sale - they can be found in the Notecard/Greeting Card section of my shop. Many of these will work for holiday cards in addition to everyday all occasion cards. And what a deal - buy 3 cards and I'll throw in a free card of my choice. So much nicer than a plain old mass produced printed paper card for the same amount of money.

Fresh pesto

I almost let the summer go by without making pesto for the freezer......which would have been crazy since I grow lots of basil in pots on the deck just for this purpose. I started on this chore the other day but ran out of olive oil........tell, me how can an Italian run out of olive oil??? To be exact, I'm half Italian.  So, more olive oil in hand I set off to make many batches of pesto this morning......until I ran out of cheese......but that was to be expected with how much pesto I made.

The basic recipe I use is from an old Sunset Italian cookbook - it doesn't include pine nuts but we love them so I add them.

Basic Pesto

2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves, washed and thoroughly dried
1 cup (3oz) freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1 or 2 cloves minced garlic (optional)  I definitely use the optional garlic
I add 1/2 cup of pine nuts

Place everything in a food processer and process until finely chopped. Use at once, or place in small jars and add a thin layer of olive oil to each jar to keep pesto from darkening. Refrigerate for up to a week, or freeze for longer storage. Makes about 1 1/3 cups.  (I freeze mine in small Ziploc bags and it lasts until next summer when fresh basil is available again - I put around 2/3 cup of pesto in a bag which is enough for a pasta dish or to use on pizza)

Not much happening on the fiber front. I did get a black chenille shawl warp on the loom and am ready to start weaving but life has been getting in the way. I have a number of ice dyed shawls to get photographed but not sure when that will happen. I've got handwoven notecards to get listed in the shop, photographs done, just need to sit down and list them. Getting a little panicked as I've got a towel warp to get on for an order and gifts and our holiday card fabric........time just flies these days........

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Bits and bobs.........

 I just listed some more ice dyed silk scarves in my etsy shop. I've got some silk shawls 'marinating' now.....will rinse them out tomorrow and eventually get them photographed when I have time. Then I'm done with scarf/shawl dyeing for the year. Out of the recent dyeing I have set aside 3 scarves for myself - can't wait for cooler weather to start wearing them as it's still summer here.

 I went to a quilt show over on the coast last weekend. It was a small show but very nice. This was my favorite quilt in the show. It's hard to tell in the photo but all those circles are yo-yo's. I love yo-yo's. I can remember my grandmother showing me how to make them when I was very young. I've wanted to do a project using them one day.......perhaps that day/year won't be terribly far in the future.

This was another quilt I loved. It won best of show at the  Coos County Fair and had a second place ribbon from the State Fair. I can see why, it's a wonderful quilt.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

More ice-dyed scarves

 I have more ice dyed scarves up for sale in my etsy shop..........well, except for the one above as I decided I needed to keep this one for myself. I might even embellish it a bit with beads on each end.....will be giving it thought.
Here are the new ice dyed scarves that made it to my etsy shop. I love them all but isn't the lavender/coral one sweet. It's tempting to keep that one for myself also but I listed it and will give it more thought.   I've got some more that I washed out this morning, they need ironing and photographing before they're ready to sell.

Feeling like I'm spinning my wheels these days with administrivia, both in my business life and personal life....unfortunately I can't do much about the personal administrivia, it's just a part of life. I'm working on some changes to alleviate some of the time sucking business administrivia though, have one exit strategy worked out, still thinking on what to do about the other stuff. My goal is to free up more time to create but not necessarily create for sale. I have to-do lists that are miles long but I never free up time to work on those projects. I talk about change each year yet it doesn't seem to materialize but this time there will be changes come winter.....some will be immediate, some just scaling back with long term change in mind. I'm excited just thinking about it. More details to come later on what my plans are. I should start prioritizing that very long to-do list as I'll want to do everything at once.

Speaking of adminstrivia - I'm off to photograph silk scarves..........

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Fun with ice-dyeing

I'm still here in case anyone wondered....although no one probably gave it a second thought. I just haven't had much to write about....spent some time on the coast, wove a towel warp off the loom over there, towels now awaiting hemming, did some ice dyeing.......and then the rest of what I've been up to is all the mundane chores associated with life that have nothing to do with weaving, dyeing, spinning, sewing, etc. etc. etc.
Here are the latest ice-dyed scarves now available in my etsy shop.  I had fallen behind in making ice. I generally use a combination of crescent shaped ice from our ice maker and rectangular ice from many ice cube trays in the big freezer just for ice dyeing.  So, I had to resort to buying bagged ice - I had a choice of one big block or chips of ice so I chose the chips as I didn't want to have to figure out how to chop up a huge block of ice. In the end I don't think I got the same dye variations using the chips as opposed to the cubes. The scarves are still very pretty but....not the, I must make sure I take the time to deal with making ice on a daily basis as it's takes a lot of ice......and I've got more scarves and shawls to dye.

I've been overwhelmed with life lately - does it ever slow down? Will I ever feel like I've caught up, at least for a day? I'm beginning to think not. We looked at the calendar last night and September and October are swamped with things on the calendar including house guests........and I have some very crucial personal/house related things I need to fit in-between.  I'm thinking getting to the loom is going to be a challenge let alone working on gifts........glad I got a head start on some of those gifts this summer.