Sunday, December 30, 2007

more entrelac

OK, Lynnie... here's the progress on the entrelac whatever-it-will-be-maybe-a-sweater piece i've been working on.  Damn, i love doing this.. and it's a real sweet treat using my new KnitPicks needles!


so... if change is good, is big change better?  and how about enormous change... enormously good?  and if this change comes about, i'll have to eat a lot of words and attitude covering many many years.  The words have to do with swearing i would never ever build another house, and the only way i'd leave this house and my queendom would be feet first and cold.  And what might change all this is that Chris and Kate have been talking about a 10 acre lot next to them up there in Duvall, WA, with the suggestion that we buy it, build a house and move up there!  I'm still kind of blown away by the whole idea!   Many thoughts are swirling around in my brain and oh my dear goddess, the frightening thought of dealing with 28 years of accumulated STUFF around here gives my brain oh so much pain!!  Put 2 people together who are confirmed packrats, both seemingly trying to make up for those lean childhood and early adult days when we didn't have much... and you've an unimaginable amount of STUFF.  We both have a hard time throwing stuff away... you know, "we might need this some day!".  On the other hand, as we get older the amount of time and work required to keep up this house, garden, flower beds, 400 wine grape plants, etc. gets to be more of a stress and less desirable.  And besides, we like to travel and we've discovered that sweet village in Crete!!  Chris suggested we hire someone to build us a house, then leave for Crete and come back when it's ready to live in.  not a bad idea really... esp. when i think of the daily challenges of building dome central.  I think life would be sweet living close to C & K and the grandkids and being able to be with them more.  Duvall is a small town, but bigger than Banks, and has restaurants and shops... And a quilt store... uh oh.... And it's kind of the outskirts of Seattle.  So, at this point we've decided to "look into it" and think about it and see what we come up with.  But it will take me awhile to eat and digest those words.  

Thursday, December 27, 2007

busy times!!

the xmas dinner with the tribe here (tho a few were missing...) was the usual delightful high energy event with lots of food, an over-abundance of gifts, the 4 kids enjoying every bit of it.
Maisy (age 5) was especially happy because there was enough snow on the ground to play in, and every time i saw her she was either putting her boots on again to go out, or coming back in to see if someone would please go out and play with her in the snow!!  there was actually only about 2" of it, but she made the most of it, and there wasn't enough on the roads that it caused anyone a problem getting here, tho Chris drove thru areas of blizzards coming south on I-5.  In the gift dept. my stashes were beautifully enhanced with lovely silk fabric (lots of it) for quilting (or??) that Chris brought back from India... and the wonderful Knitpicks Harmony knitting needles set, which i already love using...the wood is so pretty and feels so smooth and i love the pointy tips on them a lot!!  I won't get into listing the bounty that came my way... but there was abundance and music i wanted, too (including The Sweet Potato Queens' Big-Ass Box of Music.... love it!)

Since there were NO suggestions for what should become of the entrelac i'm knitting, i've about decided that it will become part of a sweater.  stay tuned...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

knittin' entrelac

this is what i've been knitting on recently -

I'm using 3 different handdyed yarns of Lynne's
and one of mine ( current row and the ball of yarn here).  Wanting to knit some entrelac and unable to decide on a pattern, i just cast on some stitches on US 3 dpns, and started in.  it is about 10 - 10 1/2 inches wide, unblocked, and i have no idea what it will become.
any ideas out there?  anyone?  someone? bueller??

Saturday, December 22, 2007


and last night this domestic goddess took on cookie baking (after making 2 big batches of that chex mix that my whole family adores).  it's been years since i retired cookie baking from my list of domestic activities.. so i approached it with high hopes for a good outcome.  and i know that most people don't think of this as difficult and many actually enjoy it.  i don't so much, but on a whim a few years ago when at a Pampered Chef party, i bought one of those cookie presses just because i think they are kind of cool and i'd always wanted one.  so i dug it out of the pantry last night and looked for directions for its use.  there weren't any.  it didn't look complicated, so after the standard pressed cookie dough was made up, i stuffed some into the barrel of the gizmo, put on what looked like a cute design disc, and tried to get the plunger to go down and press the dough.  gotta say, i was feeling quite inept and started thinking thru a list of who i might call at 10pm for advice on cookie making with a press gizmo..... and couldn't think of anyone who wouldn't roll their eyes, sigh and think i'm pretty lame for not figuring that one out.  humility lessons are good for me, i know.. but i wasn't ready to take the lesson that far.  and finally i pushed something on the barrel, the plunger went down, i pressed on it and out came.... nothing.  ok, set it against the cookie sheet and pressed and out came some dough, and it just hung there on the disc, so after another pressing there was a large amount of dough hanging there.  after a few tries (and returning of blobs of dough back into the barrel) success came with pushing the thing hard against the cookie sheet.  finally!  cute little dough shapes.... and they came out of the oven looking like cookies.  most of them did anyway, and the failures got eaten!  they looked awfully plain, and there was no decorative stuff to be found. if any had been found i'm sure it would have been years past the throw away date.  all that came to mind was granulated sugar with a bit of red food dye, dye that was left over from one very depressing winter when i cheered myself up by dyeing wet lambs with koolaid and food dye.  that did totally cheer me up, by the way.  to the point where the sheep all thought i'd gone around the bend as i stood in the barn laughing hysterically at them!  back to the red sugar, which got spooned onto some of the cookies (it wouldn't "sprinkle").  so the cookies look ok, but plain, and taste great.  today i bought frosting and colored sprinkles, applied them and admired the outcome... lookin' good!!  can't decide whether to make another batch or just retire again from cookie making.....

Friday, December 21, 2007


the charlie

partially decorated.

kinda sweet actually

and here's charlie with more decorations.   no lights tho
as i was afraid the weight of them would cause tippage

Saturday, December 15, 2007

life ramblings

just a week til winter solstice!  ah, the light will return.... tho ever too slowly.  remember the year that there was a full moon on solstice?  we went to a wedding in portland that night and got home late to find the night incredibly bright and breathtakingly beautiful here in my queendom.  there was such a temptation to dance naked in the glory of that moonlight.... but it was so damn cold that the frost was all sparkly on the grass.  much too cold for nekkidness, but i danced anyway, knowing it's good for the soul to dance in the moonlight.. esp. on a solstice night.

and i am loving using my new MacBook.  2 1/2 years with the dell laptop was enough to convince me i'd had enough of that.  i'm trying to resist calling it my adventure on the dark side, tho i'm pretty sure Chris doesn't read my blog... i know he would not find that the least bit amusing, beings as he works for MS.  but when the dell crashed, it just seemed like a good time to get another mac.  my first computer was a mac... and every one since then, except for the dell... and i still do have a mac desktop.  and i even found a group on ravelry for mac users.  there's a bundle of information there on software for knitters that runs well on mac.

last year we didn't have a tree for the holidays.. just minimal decorations, and that was ok.  but i decided i wanted a living tree this year.. a little one.  so Jim took a shovel and went down to the lot in front of the next-door vineyard, dug a tree for me and we planted it in a pot.  it's a really cute little tree, kind of.. um.. lean, taller than i was thinking of, but it needs the height to make up for the rather sparsity of branches.  i'm thinking i'll call it charlie because it does make me think of a charlie brown tree.  and it is very cute.

finished up my gift shopping last night online.  what a treat it is to shop that way!!  saves gas, wear and tear on the car, and helps me maintain a grip on sanity and good humor!  it's enough that i'll have to go grocery shopping next week to get ready for the tribe coming for dinner... probably around 20 to 25 of 'em.   wheeee.

just a little over 3 months til we go back to Crete.... bravo!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

another finished project!

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well, it's finished ... except for sewing that last seam!  for me the good and bad of crazy quilting is that i could actually never be finished.. there is always something more that could be done!  So i reached a point where i said "ok, now, it's finished".

Thursday, December 06, 2007

finished projects .. and ravelry

i'm having trouble navigating in ravelry to put finished projects up.... so, here's a couple for my blog instead!
I finished these mitts (sis-ternal, since they are "girly", rather than fraternal), my usual non-identical mode for pairs of socks and mitts.  not sure if they are for me... or who.
and the denim vest/jacket is finally finished for Robin, i'm happy to say.  she wanted one like mine... a vest with handknitted sleeves sewn in, making it a warm and fun jacket to wear!  hope she likes it.
so, whew, 2 projects finished!!

Northwest weather

There has been a lot of info in the media about the awful wind/rain storms in the pacific northwest this week, and indeed some areas have suffered huge damage.  i'm grateful to say that we are fortunate to live on a hill at about 500 feet elevation, so the only results of the flooding for us was that the major road out of here to Banks was closed for a day due to flooding of low-lying fields.  we didn't even have wind damage!  50 miles west of here at the Oregon coast is an entirely different story... lots of severe flooding and devastating wind damage!!  so... for anyone wondering how life is in my queendom... it's good!

now, i just need to get my stuff worked out so i can send mail from my email program... i know there is something really simple i'm missing...  WTF is it?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

hoping for blogging again

Yesterday I brought home a new macbook, with high hopes i'll be able to interact with ravelry and to post to my blog!  i've been wanting this sweet laptop for a long time, so after the dell died and i recovered (emotionally.... but NOT all that stuff on my harddrive), i decided to do it!  so, i happily danced myself and new computer out of the macstore yesterday and hurried home with visions of opening it and connecting to the internet.  that was not to be...  My bubble completely burst when the message showed up that there IS NO internal modem, though it is capable of wireless, DSL and what-have-you.  no internal modem????  sweet goddess! the last several computers i've bought had internal modems.  what's up  with that?  seems the newest cater to the newest of connections... and living in the country outside of that zone dooms me to dial-up.  so, i did a little research and went back to the macstore today to purchase an external modem, which is a tiny device... not the big clunky box of years ago.  I did hope that they'd give me a price break due to my extreme sadness over this setback, whiny bitching and moaning about disappointment and inconvenience of having to drive BACK into Beaverton today, but no, only condolences and a pat on the head.  and the good news is, YAY and bravo... i am connected to the internet

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

from Vamos, Crete

life is good! we are renting "our" same little house in Vamos and it really did feel like coming home! have stayed busy seeing friends, meeting people, going to a couple of parties, eating good food, drinking raki and homemade wine, marveling that the weather is so excellent. changes here continue as the Brits continue to buy land and houses here. there's a whole conclave of 'em. much construction and renovation going on. i marvel, too, that there is no evidence of crashes on the roads as these HUGE trucks carrying cement, tiles, building materials share the narrow, winding roads with cars and buses. this is a highway system of true hairpin turns... and they all seem to navigate it ok. me? i prefer the bus or taxi for my transportation. riding with friends, i just hum to myself and watch the landscape racing by. oh yeah.... speed is a big part of this equation. went to Hania yesterday with our friend Marina, shopped for a couple of hours, wandered down to the harbor and sat there just enjoying being there. our friend, Alex (Marina's husband) died Sept. 23 of a heart attack and we miss him dearly. he was a huge presence in our times here, and it's just not the same without him. Alex was a larger than life 74 year old man with 2 teenaged kids, a farm where he grew all kinds of lovely veggies, chickens, rabbits, kiwis. He also had several groves of olive trees, grapes growing in several locations.. and we've been the happy recipients of wine, raki and olive oil... all from the big barrels in his basement, and dined well on what he produced. i'll post some photos when i'm back home again. We miss Alex so much!!

today we are in Kalives, a nearby village, to visit the internet cafe, buy some Moscato (a lovely sweet wine) and walk on the beach.

just 4 more days here.... sigh..

Friday, November 02, 2007

on the road

We're at the Outer Banks of NC in the midst of pretty brisk winds... it's warmish and no rain, so not bad at all. Since we've been here, we've been to the Wright Bros museum in Kitty Hawk and drove down to the Cape Hattaras lighthouse... and eaten lots of fresh seafood. When ya get south of the strip malls and t-shirt shops, the landscape is lovely, wild and natural with lots of sand dunes. will be here til sunday, then drive back to Richmond and fly away on monday to Athens then Vamos, Crete for 2 weeks. my stepbrother, Jim, and his wife, Carla, live in Richmond and are down here with us and we are enjoying relaxin', eatin' and Carla and i will enjoy some retail therapy today. saw a quilt shop and a bead shop, both of which deserve some of our time and prob. some $$$.

before Outer Banks, i was in Asheville for SAFF and had a great time fondling fibers and seeing some dear twisted friends! my sister, Robin, drove down from Knoxville and she and Lynne and i shared a room and we had a chance to get caught up with each other. SAFF has grown a lot since i was there several years ago. will try to remember to get photos of the fantastic buttons and yarn i bought.... but "memory" is not my stong suit these days!

there have not been any entries here lately on account of my dell crashed and died and the mac needs updating of safari and OS and won't let me post to my blog.... or blogspot won't communicate with mac. whatever it is won't get fixed til i'm back home again 11/20. we didn't bring a computer with us (borrowing bro.Jims), so tata til then.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

a Party! for Alina!!

wheeee - there was a party tonight to celebrate a dear twisted sister on the occasion of her natal day (tomorrow) and her up-coming marriage (soon... but date not decided upon as yet). the party was at Sue's and was wonderful and the food fit for the goddesses..... and gods, too. Sue grilled salmon to perfection, and fixed turkey breast, too... and the table was loaded with a grand assortment of salads, breads, etc. And the cake was elegant AND chocolate... and i sure wish i'd gotten a photo of it, but maybe Gail did and i can "borrow" it. My cut-down-on-the-fats resolution went all to hell tonight, but oh well. any chance my cholesterol will be at a decent level when i have it checked on monday? maybe if i eat nothing but oatmeal and grains and beans tomorrow? i didn't think so........

And here's Alina and Michael
Alina and Michael P9290006
he seems very sweet and charming, and they seem perfect together!!

i will miss Alina dearly!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

fingerless mitts

the pair i was knitting on evolved with just a small alteration to... ta da.... leg warmers for an almost 5 year old girl. i hadn't quite reached the thumb bind-off place on the 2nd mitt, so just kept on knitting til it was a little bit longer than the first one... maybe 7 inches long, doing an inch or so of 2-2 rib before bind off. then ripped the first mitt back to the thumb place, picked up and re-knitted it to look like the other... well, as much "alike" as i ever do things. to my way of doing things, pairs of things need not look alike, be symetrical, match each other, etc. So, Zylie tried 'em on and loved them! these will make great take-along knitting projects... and the next ones will have more ribbing top and bottom (maybe all ribbed), be a little bigger around and longer. I had cast on 40 sts. for the mitts, and will try 44 or 48 next time for the leg warmers, depending on the yarn.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

OFFF (Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival)

it was a glorious day for a fiber show!! sunny and warm (about 70F). I met Rachael there and we spent several hours fondling fiber and chatting with friends... and looking at the animals:
Rachael and a llama with a fringe. he had been sheared except for a long and fluffy fringe of wool around the top 12" or so of his neck.
Rachael and fringed llama P9230042

and there in the animal barn with the sheep, goats, alpacas, llamas, bunnies and 3 bison... there was a 2-humped camel!
2 hump camel P9230038

and a baby alpaca who knew that the feed in the next stall must be way better than what he had in his stall
alpaca eating P9230040

photos of purchases will come later.

I was most pleased to notice that i was not tempted in the least to bring a bunny home, or at all sad that the sheep/llama/alpaca/bunny raising days are in the past, or that this is the 3rd year that i haven't been a vendor at OFFF. It was all good (well... most of the time!)... but life is so damn good now that i don't miss that other stuff at all.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

life...or something like that...

just back last night from a few days in Duvall with C&K and the grandkids. Kate was driving to portland for the weekend, so i rode south with her.... thru unbelievable traffic jam around seattle/tacoma. what should have taken 3 1/2 hours took 6 hours. it was enjoyable riding and talking with Kate tho. but gotta say, by the time i got home that last nerve i had was kind of tattered. and i was tired!!

about those quilts.... the early 5th birthday gift was given to Zylie, and the early xmas one given to Alex. a bit of background information is that Kate had told the kids that gramma was bringing gifts to them, so the minute they layed eyes on me at the train station they wanted to know what the gifts were and when they could have them. i think they'd probably conjured up all kinds of thots of remote control toys and my little pony stuff. anyway, when we got to their house i handed over the wrapped up quilts. Alex seemed very happy with his even tho it wasn't legos or robots, etc. Zylie unwrapped hers and was very quiet... then said in a quiet and sweet voice... "gramma, i wanted unicorns and Pegasus". i just laughed... but she wasn't really interested in her quilt. it is ok and i can laugh about it... after all, i did score BIG with the sweater that's in the TS Knit Sweaters book. and truthfully, i'm delighted to be finished with those quilts (Zylie's has been in progress for close to 3 years) and now i'm looking thru my stash of fabric and planning the next quilt or 3.

Kate and i went to Molbak's Nursery while the kids were at outdoor school so i could spend the gift certificate they'd given me for mother's day... wheeeee. i'm really glad i waited cause they were having a huge sale and i got some great bargains! 2 very large ceramic pots (one orange and the other burgundy) to use outside on the patio. also, a lilac tree, a hibiscus syriacus which will grow in the NW, some kind of small cedar that i can't remember its name, and heavenly bamboo.... all of these were 50% off! and 3 coleus in 4" pots that i'll grow indoors thru the winter and have a head start next spring! a huge bonus in this shopping spree was the ride back with Kate, so i could buy anything that would fit in her car and not need to hold back to what i'd be able to carry with me on the train! oh, yeah, i did go over the amount of the gift card, but it wasn't terribly damaging to the debit card! maybe i'll remember to get a photo of the bounty tomorrow.

tomorrow i'll go to OFFF in Canby with Rachael and see what mischief i can get into. and deliver my motorized Duncan carder to its new owner. i'm so happy i sold it!! it's a wonderful piece of equipment, but i so rarely used it that it was dumb to keep it

p.s. - photos of the purchases at Molbak's Nursery
Molbak's shopping spree P9230049

closer shot of the heavenly bamboo and hibiscus. isn't that orange pot gorgeous?? i love it!!
heavenly bamboo and hibiscus P9230047

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

what i've been doing

alex quilt 1
finished the quilt for Alex. it's a gift for xmas, but i'll give it to him next week when i'm in Duvall.

zylie quilt 1
and Zylie's quilt is finished. it's her birthday present... but we'll be gone when her bd comes in Nov. (in Crete again!!), so will give it to her next week!

other than that, i've been harvesting good stuff from the garden, making pesto ... and will probably be able to harvest at least one more batch... trying to keep my flowers alive and happy with our fickle weather extremes. In the past week i've about gone over the top of my tolerance for human contact. Last thursday we had a dinner party of mostly grape/wine related youngster (ages late 20s to late 30s) friends.... 10 adults with 5 little kids. Ryan and Sonia have been helping with tending our grape vines, harvesting, crushing etcetcetc.. to bottling and drinking the wine. Sadly, for us, they will leave in about 2 weeks for 2 1/2 years in Africa in the Peace Corp. and they are SO excited about this life-changing adventure!! Jason manages the vineyards at AnneAmie, and he brought Amy, to whom he recently became engaged... and she is lovely!! Jason and Chris were friends in high school, so that's the connection there. Travis manages vineyards for Elk Cove Wineries, who bought my folks' vineyard, and he and his wife, Nicole, and kids live in the house in the vineyard that my parents built. Also here was Jessica (Jason's sister) with her husband and 3 kids. We've known her since she was a kid, and i was her mentor for her senior class project in HS. She learned all about care of sheep, lambing, shearing, wool processing, dyeing and spinning.... my kind of project! it was a greatly enjoyable evening... with lots of wine consumed, of course!

and then there was Monday..... Dinah and her partner, Jonica, let me know a while back that they'd be coming down to see Pop on their camping trip down the OR and CA coast, so we planned a family dinner for last night (here at dome central). it was the usual chaotic event, minus my grandchildren and their parents who were on a camping trip. lots of contributions to the dinner table.. esp. from Judy who brought a turkey!! bravo! Pop made the dessert (2 pies), but this time he forgot to cook the crust... the peach filling was yummy, tho.

my new mantra: "is it nap time yet?" and yes, i believe it is.....

Sunday, September 02, 2007

fabric dyeing

whooohooo! today was the beginning of my venturing into dyeing fabric for quilting! in with all the acid dyes in the cupboard, there lurked 10 or so little jars of MX dyes in a variety of colors, and in the fabric stash there lurked a couple of yards of plain white fabric. so, i jumped into the project with great hopes and will know the outcomes of 4 little experiments tomorrow a.m. and will get photos... if the results are worth it. i was talking with Anne, a good friend who was visiting from Vietnam... she is a fabric dyer and quilter of great talent and creativity. she advised that it is ultra important to be meticulous in measuring dyes and chemicals and keep very exacting notes. this is so contrary to my haphazard methods, that in no time my eyes glazed over, my brain went into hibernation and i started muttering that i have no desire to keep records and repeat any dye batches. i may have to eat those words, but if i do, then my fabric dyeing will be done, finished, over with!! i'm sure that the meticulous approach works well for many people, but hell will freeze before that entices me in the least. the closest i can get to that is the precision and measuring that i've (so far) had to use in quilting. i'll open up the baggies of dyed fabric in the a.m.... and might take photos.....

9/2/07 - difficult to get a good representation of colors and placement of colors on the whole piece.... first is clear red and sunshine yellow dye powders sprinkled on fabric wetted with sodium carbonate water, put in baggie and mooshed around a bit and left overnight, then washed out and dried on hot in dryer --tho it looks like white areas, those are actually a light color fab dye 2 P9020013
and clear blue, bright violet and forest green sprinkled on (same as above)
fab dye 1 P9020015

Saturday, September 01, 2007


see previous post... actually i do have something to say about it....

many of us in the Portland area have been impatiently waiting for the IKEA to open here, and finally they did!! for anyone who hasn't heard of (or experienced) this store... it is way more than enormous or gigantic.. and they seem to have just about anything you'd want for a home. and the prices are pretty good, too. i have been to the one in Seattle with Chris and Kate, so wasn't as overwhelmed as i might have been. went with my nieces, Jen and Maggie, and browsed, had lunch there in their cafeteria. their Swedish meatballs are very good. there was a
mob of people there, which makes me think i don't want to go on a weekend as the crush of people must be awful then. we went thursday mid-day.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007

vest project

check out Lynne's Rectangular Vest Challenge and get your knitting needles going!

Now i just need to finish unraveling a sweater disaster so i can use that yarn (which i love!) and get my vest started. wheeee......

in the meantime, i've been working on a quilt for my sweet grandson, Alex. tried the "quilt-as-you-go" method, which seems to be working out well. will have to reserve final judgement on this until the quilt is finished!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

back from Boise

I know the dogs have gotten a lot of space lately, but they are so damn cute i just can't help myself... or as my granddad would say.. "Ah cain't hep it". I bought each of them a bright little scarf at the Boise Saturday/Farmers' Market esp. for them to wear when they go on their morning walk with Jim.
meika and tasha's new scarves P8140035
tasha P8140037meika P8140039

i had a really lovely time in Boise with Anna.. and the time just flew by and in no time at all we had used up a whole week. now i'm home and exhausted... marathon shopping and good times will do that to ya! will elaborate tomorrow, but for now will crash and sleep.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

from Boise

I will do a "catch up" when i'm back home at dome central, but for now....
-it's getting hotter here (was comfortable the first day)
-Boise Saturday Market yesterday was fun and provided good shoppin', not so good for my wallet
-we watched an unforgettable movie last night. if you haven't seen it yet, please watch "Freedom Writers". it was truly a powerful message of the impact that one person who cares can have on young people who really need someone to care about them. Anna and i both had tears.
-being able to spend time with my best friend is incredibly sweet and priceless!

Sunday, August 05, 2007


today i got to have my "reward" for all the backbreaking labor with the bricks and the patio! the re-setting of the bricks is far enough along that the patio is usable, so there i sat to start spinning the BD fiber that Lynne gave me:
fiber merino and bambooP8050007
merino bamboo on bobbin P8050024
there are 2 bundles and this is the one that grabbed my attention the strongest. it's merino and bamboo (60%/40%) and is a delight to spin... so soft and shiny!!

and here's a couple of shots of the patio. you wouldn't believe how happy my back and hands are to not be lifting and re-lifting and fitting and re-fitting bricks today!! those damn things are heavy to repeatedly lift with one hand... and my joints and knuckles suffered. ice packs and Tiger Balm helped a lot tho. The logical and practical way to approach this would have been to remove all the bricks, put in sand, level it and tamp it down, then re-lay the bricks. the problem with that being that the bricks are an odd assortment gathered from friends and here and there till there was enough. and then Pam and i spent hours arranging them... into the dark of night several summers ago... while Jim and Merle sat around and drank wine and made suggestions. however, it was our project and we finally told them to fuck off and let us do it the way we wanted it!! and we were quite pleased with the outcome. so... i had no desire whatsoever to arrange all those bricks again... and that is why i did not do it the logical and practical way!
there will be no close-ups as it is still a bit wonky looking.... but _so_much_better!!!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

translation problems

kalives taverna sign
this is a sign we saw outside a small taverna in Kalives, Crete. the first time i saw it, i didn't have my camera with me, but you can bet i brought it the next time we went to Kalives. since the small village where we stayed is... well, very small and not well endowed with shopping opportunities, Kalives is where we went for ATM, internet cafe, wine shop, newspaper printed in english, etc. Crete has been on my mind a lot lately, and even though it's likely hotter than high noon in hell there right now, i do wish i were there. we have reservations all set for 2 weeks there the beginning of Nov. (right after i go to SAFF in Asheville, NC)

life (and sewing machines)

well, i went and bought myself a new sewing machine which will, hopefully, make quilting a bit easier. the one i have is ok, just totally plain vanilla... no bells and whistles. i didn't know i really wanted a new one til i was at Joann's and wandered thru their sewing machine area, where i was greeted warmly and showed to the top of their line... a Viking which does everything including a cute little dance on the coffee table. i loved it! the salesperson knew that and hid the price from me. when i finally saw that it cost $1300 and it's fancier sister was $1400, i laughed hysterically. i did bring home a brochure and showed Jim, who gasped. there is just no way in hell i could ever possibly use all the features which that one offers. for one thing... i've figured out my attitude about quilting. i do like making quilts, and my favorite parts are looking at/buying the fabric, putting on the binding then admiring it as i ignore the mistakes. i went shopping online and found a Brother CE4000 for under $200, and it does all kinds of cool things. it should arrive tomorrow and i'm ready for it! have most of the pieces cut for a quilt for Alex. he still has and uses the first quilt i ever made, but it's 7 years old now and does look kind of worn (and .. uh,..loved).

while i'm waiting for UPS to get here in the morning, i'll be working on getting the bricks on the patio re-set. time, use and burrowing rodents have done a number on the level-ness of the bricks and there's all kinds of pot holes, bulging and general sloping. my plan was to start at one end, take up a few bricks, put sand under, get rid of the glaring lack of level-ness (i doubt that's a word.. but it says what i mean), kind of doing a small section at a time so that the patio was still usable for the most part. however, when i asked Jim to get me a few bags of sand, he got a pickup load and new boards for the border, took up the first row of bricks all the way around, put the chairs and plants and decorative stuff in the driveway and right in the middle of the patio, so it's now a "project" that needs to be done in a timelier manner. is there just a little teeny bit of snarkieness there? yes, there is! i think i got about 1/3 done today, so there's hope it'll be done for the weekend. on sunday Judy, Jen and Maggie and their girls, and my dad are coming out for dinner. the predicted "in the 90's" weather of the next few days should be gone by then and i'm hoping it'll be nice enough to sit outside.

and now i must put ice on my spasming lower back muscles!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

more twistin'

this wonderful spindle was a gift from Kate and Chris
Ledbetter spindle 2 P7230153
isn't it gorgeous? and it has lots more than beauty going for it!! it spins like a dream and keeps on going.... Made by Ken Ledbetter of wenge (finial), mesquite (whorl) and maple (shaft) with embedded Russian lacquered brooch... and very well-made indeed!! Ken was in the booth next to ours at BSG, and Kate watched me drooling all over his spindles, then went back and got this for me!! lucky, lucky me!

Monday, July 23, 2007

what a week it was!!

and a very good week it was, too! took Amtrak to Seattle on tuesday, met by Kate and kids, then spent that evening and Wed. just hangin' out at their house. They've built a raised bed garden, with deer fence near completion, which looks to be filled with super-dirt of some kind! the veggies are huge and lush and look delectable. Alex planted a bed of sugar peas, which are just getting to pickin' size:
Alex's sugar peas P7210134
Zylie has a pumpkin patch which is trying to take over the pathway and all beds near it.
Zylie's punkin patch P7210131
and here's Kate's salad garden:Kate's salad bar P7210133

Thursday we awoke to steady rain, and being the tried and true Northwesterners that we are, we tossed raincoats in with the other gear and headed out to take the ferry from Anacortes to San Juan Island to visit Pam and Larry, and go whale watching! It was a shock to me to find that the fare was $68 for car, 2 adults and 2 kids, and that was with a really reduced rate for seniors ($6.65 for me). Alex really loved the ferry ride:Alex on ferry 2 P7190084

When we arrived at Friday Harbor an hour later, there was some sun showing and weather just got better all day. the kids had a rompin' good time with Buster-the-kitten, who loved chasing anything they'd drag around the floor for him. Buster finally wore himself out and snuggled up by my feet for a rest. Buster loves my socks P7200115
(cool socks, huh? didn't make 'em... bought 'em from and i love 'em)
we drove to the other side of the island, and stood on a bluff to watch the Orcas... and they really put on a show! they were quite close to the shoreline and it looked like there were several pods of them. the amount of time they are actually out of the water is so brief i knew i'd never be able to catch a photo of them... but what a magnificent sight it was! here's where we were:whale watching P7190100
you can see that it became a gorgeous clear and sunny day... and made us really glad we stayed with the plan. got up thursday a.m. to pouring rain, hung out with Pam for awhile, then rushed off to catch the ferry... missed it... waited 4 hours for the next one. wandered around in Friday Harbor, had lunch, yadda yadda....

took Amtrak back on saturday. and i gotta say, the party that Jim planned and executed for my
birthday on sunday was far beyond my expectations, and ranked up there with the best ever!! first.... he cleaned the house, including mopping floors... and right there he got highest marks!!! he had invited my twisted sisters so we could twist awhile and eat a lovely meal and admire the fabulous "twisted sister flower tower" he'd given me early as a bd gift (photo on an earlier post). in keeping with the twisted theme... he made a drink he'd heard about when visiting a winery... called (of course) a "twisted sister", made with a white port (tasted like gewurtztraminer) with orange zest, lemon zest and tonic water... and it was excellent!! and for lunch he served Caesar salad, Hungarian mushroom soup (made by special order by Maggie herself at Maggie's Buns, a local cafe), warm garlic bread, and the bd cake was (ta da my most favorite) tiramisu (also made by Maggie) Livin' large on my birthday! Laurie brought me a twinkling lights tiara and sceptor/magic wand which she had decorated with dyed mohair locks (tho guests were instructed to not bring gifts!)
me in my tiara and Rachael
Rachael and me P7220141
Rachael and Matt came down from Goldendale:
Rachael and Matt P7220142
Laurie, Jane and Jan were here
Laurie,Jane,Jan  P7220147
Stephanie showed off her new talent of balancing a vase of flowers on her head... ok, the shot wasn't set up really well, but it sounds better the other way.
Steph balancing flowers on head P7220145
Gail arrived after the picture taking and i neglected to get out the camera and document her lovely presence!

I had an outstanding 69th birthday and felt very loved and honored and who could ask for any more than that? so now i'm really and truly "almost 70" and feel like i kind of missed the 67
and 68 because what i kept hearing in my head was "almost 70".

so if you got this far in this very long missive... thanks... and that's all for now!

Sunday, July 15, 2007


meika flowered 1 P7140071it's been quite awhile since our pooches were featured here, so here's Meika wearing a lovely plastic flower that Jim stuck in her collar. i don't think she fully appreciated how utterly adorable she looked. and what we do for one, we also do for the other. here's Tasha...tasha 2 P7140068with her usual kind of woebegone expression.

and speaking of "pooch" reminds me of "Project Pooch" ... which i've discussed previously and where we have been boarding the dogs when we are away. We recently received the news that the Oregon Youth Authority has decided that dogs cannot be boarded there any more. we really hope they will change that decision as it seems to be so beneficial to their program... and to those who board their dogs there!

meika again wearing her flower. and we did take their flowers off before they could get them off and eat them!meika 2P7140073

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

more flowers

and today's flower is this gorgeous yellow daylily:
yellow daylily P7100003
it usually has 4 or 5 stems per year with 3 or 4 buds on each stem.. and is so outstanding and awesome looking that i really treasure each blossom. the petals are long, curved, graceful... and it's unlike any other daylily i have.

and then there's this lovely red flower... name of which i cannot remember today... maybe tomorrow. red flowers P7100026

before the heat of the day set in, (102F) i got the garden watered and picked a cucumber and some broccoli, then pretty much stayed inside the rest of the day. got about half way done on the quilting... photo when it's done.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Gerbera Daisy

this is my new favorite flower:
red gerbera P6300076
they are available in many lovely and vibrant colors and i'd sure love to have one of each! Costco was selling a 6-pack of 6-inch pots of them and i gave in with hardly a murmur, even tho i already had several in the ground and in pots. I was able to keep 3 alive over the winter by digging 'em up, potting them and keeping them on the kitchen windowsill. they didn't bloom in that time, but they did stay alive and that was all i was asking of them! and now they are all looking glorious. i do hope they can make it thru the current (very) hot spell, with temps for the next 2 day predicted at 103F. believe me, i will be staying inside for the duration and giving thanks to all deities for the person who invented air conditioning. we've only had the heat pump for about 5 years, and i have very clear memories of suffering thru temps like that for several day stretches at least once each summer. so now i will happily stay inside and cool and be a delicate flower. and now i need to put the sprinkler on the flowers and get them well-soaked.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

quilting... and stuff

At last, i pulled out the partially sewn quilt i started ... can't remember even exactly how long ago i started it, but it's for Zylie and she's 4.5 now so it can't be a longer time than that. took me awhile to figure out just what i was intending to do to finish it. it's one of those projects that has been altered from the original plan (typical of my projects!), but i got up to speed pretty quickly and now the top/front is finished (bravo!!) and i'm figuring out what to do for the back. there are many small pieces of fabric left over from the front. that happens when one greatly alters the original plan. in fact, i'll probably use lots of the left-overs to put together a pillow to go with the quilt. for the back, tho, i'll need to decide whether to piece together some fabric already in my stash, or make a trip to the fabric store. hmmm, in fact i'll be in portland sometime next week and could probably make time for shopping then, or there's tomorrow morning..... It is really a mystery to me why i like quilting, because i really don't like detail work, and symmetry has no appeal to me. actually, "crazy quilts" are fascinating and i really want to make one of those.... no symmetry there.

it's been sizzling hot here, which has been well-received by some of the plants in the veggie garden.. and especially the tomato plants (2 of them) which are living in the greenhouse. there was actually a ripe cherry tomato, which Jim put in my salad tonight and it was oh so sweet and yummy. to have a ripe home-grown tomato this early in july is truly a treat, especially since we have had so many summers of green tomatoes in August. already i've picked a cucumber, snipped the tops off basil plants to keep them from blossoming, harvested some of the dill and fennel and i think there'll be green beans in a week or so! we do so love that fresh organic produce from the garden! according to the weather predictor folks we'll have mid-80s and into the 90s for the next 10 days, and that will be good for the garden... if we get enough water to the plants when they need it.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Twisted Sister Flower Tower

Installation of this grand piece of lawn art pottery took place this morning, before the mister even had his breakfast. There was a pressing need to grab the neighbor (Dave-the-potter-down-the-hill) before he headed off to town, as it took 2 strong men to move the tower from the back of the pick-up. and here it is in it's place:
TS flower tower1P7020084
and Dave, who knows all about pottery, pronounced it a truly fine piece of pottery (and... how'd they do that???)

Friday, June 29, 2007


On my flickr account are a bunch of photos i took tuesday evening at Northwest Wools when we had the twisted sister book signing/get together/preview of the new book. there are just too many to transfer to the blog, so if you want to see them, click on the link to flickr on the right. The sweaters you see displayed are all from the new book... tho it's hard to really see them in these photos. guess you'll just have to get the book.......

sorry that i don't have the names of the 2 young women who are new spinners and showed us their truly outstanding yarn... so, if you are reading this... email me so i can put your names on the photo!!

*** and the mystery has been revealed! the new spinners are Helen (on the left) and Lorajean (on the right). thanks, Helen!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

sock yarn

here's the sock yarn i got from Lynne. I have 2 skeins of the darker one and plan to do some kind of color patterns with the lighter one. and, as always, they look much much better in person! The handpainted/dyed sock yarn we had in the booth (from Lori and Lynne) were very popular and sold like hotcakes. In fact, Northwest Wools now carries both these sock yarns. (and i am affiliated with all three of these entities, so does that make this a commercial??) (well, since i get nothing from it, i'm just passing along some information for friends... ok?)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

new fiber!

CF TigerLilyMarl and LV HollyhocksP6270062
here's some of my stash acquisition from BSG. the top one is Merino/silk/angora from Lori and the other is BFL and was dyed by Lynne. I got them to ply together... and here's what i got:
plyed yarn from LV and CF fiberP6270067
the yarn is soft and heavenly, and will probably become a scarf. I have a couple more of Lori's blends which will show up here another day.

And here's some sock yarn i got from Lynne... it's merino/bamboo and will be the first socks i've
knitted with this blend. and for some reason, the photo won't upload, so will come later!

Monday, June 25, 2007

back home in my queendom...

It's no surprise, it was an awesome 3-day extravaganza at Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, OR
We were so sad that Lynne was not able to be there and we missed her hugely!! So, Lori and I had the booth with handdyed fibers and yarn done by all 3 of us. we also had an advance copy of the new Twisted Sisters Knit Sweaters, and the actual Zylie sweater which Kate brought with her. Too bad Zylie couldn't be there to model it! We were able to russle up some excellent booth help from Linda (NW Wools) with whom i had a booth at BSG for many years, and from Rachael, who has helped us in the booth many times, and from Kate, my very dear DIL, who was there for the first time and caught on really quickly! don't know how i could have survived without them... they made it possible for me to be out of the booth a lot for shopping and catching up with lots of friends! the shopping was actually not terribly expensive this year as i was able to be quite restrained in stash enhancement. i think i spent a lot of that energy on enabling anyone who would stand still long enough. I think Pam took the prize in our group for stash enhancement (3 fleeces, a spinning wheel + a few other items) Kate was the focus of quite a bit of my enabling efforts and seemed to enjoy it. she has enough new stuff to last for awhile. Over the years, it seems the characters change some, but the twisted element goes on in grand style!! the past few years we have stayed in a motel which has way more room for gathering in the evening for spinning, show and tell, lots of laughter and the telling of wild and crazy stories.

and when i got home, Jim had my birthday gift waiting for me (he is quite early this year... it's still a month away). But he really outdid himself this time, with a tribute to twisted sisters! he was at an event at a local plant nursery and they were selling very special "garden art". he says he just could not resist the one named "Twisted Sister"... a tall and twisted ceramic planter with the focal plant being a cotoneaster with kind of twisty branches. it is SO tres cool and i totally love it...