Tuesday, December 31, 2013

yarn and spinning fiber - abundance!

 i spent 2 days engulfed in and overwhelmed by my yarn stash.  had every intention of purging a bunch of it... but my will was just too weak.  my rule when sorting thru and purging is to ask myself: "do i LOVE this yarn?"  if i don't really love it, then it has to go away to someone who will use it.  big problem was that i must not have been in the right frame of mind, because there were only 5 or 6 skeins that i didn't love.  so at least i sorted thru it all, checked for any sign of moths (bravo... no evidence of the pests) and got it somewhat sorted into sport weight, fine yarns, a big basket of really fat yarns, a basket full of yarn that looked interesting enough to use in the near future, and a pile of "almost don't really love it".

looks strange to see a ball of white in with all that color.

most of this yarn is handspun and has been aged for several/many years.  there is a good representation of commercial yarns that i couldn't resist adding to the stash when i was face-to-face with it at some fiber show.

and then there was the spinning fiber.  that bin on the left and the basket on top are packed full.  in the basket is an assortment of exotic and "special" fibers.... silk, yak, cashmere, mohair locks, silk blends.  i don't think i can live long enough to spin it all.... and then comes the question of what the bloody hell will i do with all that yarn.  and here's part of the problem... this represents only a small part of the fibers stashed around this house.

i'm thinking i have a really serious personality flaw.  i have all this lovely fiber and what do i covet in Kate's discard pile?  yep... more fiber.  one braid was alpaca/silk which i have spun up and it is gorgeous and silky and soft, oh my! and yeah, there were 3 others... but they are small bundles. really they are....

this is one of Kate's dyed fibers that came home with me.  i'm such a sucker for bright and shiny.

so even if there were a "recovery program" for this fiber acquisition thing i have going on, i know i wouldn't have anything to do with it.  i love the joy of the colors, the tactile pleasure, the spinning and the resulting yarn.  and i'm not hoarding it... i happily give it to anyone who sees it, loves it and wants to use it.

Saturday, December 28, 2013


we got to meet the new puppy when we visited the kids and grkids for xmas.  he is a Chinook and is 5 months old and size-wise is moving in on Tiki, the older Chinook, and is totally and thoroughly a puppy.  gotta say, being with him for 3 days solidified my decision to never ever get a puppy again.  it is not that he isn't cute and adorable, but he can't be left alone for one minute because he is just too curious and ready to check out everything he can reach, giving special attention to anything on a table or counter.  his name is Ky, short for Kyrick.

the owl is Ky's totem animal and on his monthly birthday he gets the owl for a few minutes while photos are taken to record how much he has grown in the past month.

Tiki took over the "mothering" of this pup from the moment they met.  first thing she taught him was how to ask to be let out in the doggie yard by ringing the jingle bell hanging on the door knob.  seems it was really a smart move to get Ky while Tiki is still agile, before she gets too old to wrestle and play.  they also clean each other's ears.  perfect puppy situation!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Santa in Duvall

we amtrak-ed to seattle on monday before xmas to spend a few days with the northern branch of the family.  this is the first year we've gone there for xmas, as they usually come to dome central either 25th or 26th, but the gkids really like to be at their home which is totally understandable.
i'd love to do it this way again... next year.  it was the most relaxed xmas i've had in many years and i enjoyed not having to prepare for the family feast here!  ahhh..

the fence around the tree and gifts was necessary because of the new puppy, Ky (Kyrick) who is 5 months old and all puppy.

Santa left an obscene amount of candy and sweets.  there was another bowl-full this size.  i'm not complaining and heard no complaints!

Alex's wish list had a bundle of stuff from thinkgeek.com
and this shirt was one of the items.

Jim seems to be advising Alex on opening this gift or trying to get a closer look.

Chris received this piece of art from Kate.  no one knew what to call it exactly......
Kate opening gift.

   the morning sky from the deck.  it was a lovely morning.

Zylie with gifts.... wearing and holding.

Alex gave me a Yoda backpack, which i adore and can't wait to use!

Chris cooked the turkey in his Traeger smoker, after he had brined it overnight.  it was by far the tastiest and moistest turkey i've ever had the pleasure of feasting upon.  equally as good the next day in a sandwich!  i'm planning to brine the next one i cook, but doubt i'll have a trager to smoke it in.  he made a brine in a big cooking pot.... water, 2 cups kosher salt, 2 cups of sugar, couple of apples, an orange, spices.  simmered it for awhile, cooled it, then put the turkey in a 5-gallon bucket, poured in the brine and added water to cover.  weighted it down with a bag of ice and chilled in the refrig over night.  when it went into the smoker,  he laid strips of bacon over it.  this technique makes basting unnecessary and adds to the flavor of the turkey and the gravy.  the bacon gets crumbled into the gravy.  so tasty!!

the chef and his assistant at work in the kitchen.  this was actually prep for xmas eve dinner of corned beef and cabbage... another delicious meal.

we returned home on thursday, happy, smiling and still full of good food... and candy.  it was a really special and fabulous holiday with the kids and grands... and the dogs.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter Solstice

blessings of light and magic with the return of the sun!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


from FB another meaningful quote:

Music gives a soul to the universe,
wings to the mind,
flight to the imagination
and life to everything.

~ Plato

Monday, December 16, 2013

sad lookin' garden in the winter

but... oh, wait... "winter" isn't til the 21st.  this rose bed looks quite dismal, tho... weeds, dead leaves.  no rain today and not freezing out there, so i thot i'd prune some of my roses.  that resolve did not last long.  even tho i was all wrapped up in 3 layers plus mitts, it felt cold enough to freeze a well diggers brass monkey, so i didn't last long.

here is one lone rose bud looking like it was trying to defy the reality of cold weather.  if it were just a bit further along in maturity, i'd have brought it in.  would have been too depressing to watch it bow its head and die.

a good thing.... i was pretty sure the 10 days of freezing weather (many days in 20s and below) had done in all my bulbs... but however, i started digging around a dahlia and was delighted to find living and hopefully viable bulbs in that cold wet earth.  they are now in my studio and i'll be back out there digging around other plants.  got too cold to stay out there for long today.

and the plans for xmas are shaping up beautifully!  we have been planning to go to Duvall to spend the holiday with the kids and kidlets.  the big obstacle was what about Tasha... we checked out the usual ... Carla and her league of pet-care people at RuffLifePDX. that was a dead end and  no surprise... last minute "planning" during a big holiday time yielding not many options.  finally had a plan in place, tho not ideal.... the neighbors down the hill at Roads End Pottery agreed to come up to feed and walk the dawg, even tho they are consumed with getting inventory ready and then spending lots of time selling at Saturday Market.  but that would leave her alone much of the time and that's just not fair to her!  but, on Sat. during the cookie-making day, i mentioned it to my niece Maggie, and she and her girlfriend Jake want to stay here while we are gone (only 3 nights) and i can't even say how happy i am that this is working out!!  now if i'd just get hit with the incentive and energy to get gifts wrapped, i could quit thinking about that!

happy with how life happens!

ETA:  another good thing... after that long period of way below freezing temps, i was sure that all of my bulbs and pots of flowers were dead beyond reclamation but while i was in my dead winter garden, i dug around where my dahlias had been and lo and behold.... there were bulbs in that cold wet soil that were still alive!!  now those are in my studio and i'll be out there soon digging for more of them so i wont have to do as much replacing as i'd thought.  the ones in the pots?  i'm pretty sure they are goners. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

annual cookie making day at dome central

a happy cookie day w/Maggie, Jake, Jordan, Maisy, Judy and Max (Jim disappeared in the bedroom for much of the day... too much chaos maybe?)

this is probably the best cookie EVER!  thanks to Kate for storing the recipe on her facebook.

White chocolate chip and dried cranberry cookies

Makes 3 dozen.
1 cup butter (or margarine, or butter-flavored Crisco)
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup white chocolate chips (or 1.5 cups)
Heat oven to 325 F.
Cream butter and cream cheese well. Add sugar and beat until fluffy.
Slowly stir in the flour and add cranberries and chocolate by hand.
It is about the consistency of cake frosting (tastes like it too--
Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 15-20 minutes or
until light golden brown. Let cool for about 5 minutes before 
removing from cookie sheet. Finish cooling on wire rack. 

also made chocolate chip w/walnuts and anise biscotti.

when one needs a break, there is always the "devices".

and the photos to  entertain and give giggles.

and then there is alternative uses for the cookie decorations... especially the sparkly pink ones.
(those dark smudges on their faces are the damn dust particles under the lens of my camera which i hate... both the dust and the camera!)  i do very much love Maggie and Jordan!!

i really really enjoyed the day and the hugs and the love and the cookies!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


it is time again to make a batch of limoncello.  you can google "limoncello" and find endless recipes and reviews.  here's how i make it.  start with organic lemons (i used 4 for this batch).  even tho there should be no wax or chemical residue on organic lemons, i washed them in warm water with Dawn and a vegetable scrub brush.

next step... remove the skin without the white pithy membrane.  i tried using a sharp knife, but ended up using the vegetable peeler.  then juiced the lemons and put the juice in the freezer to use later.

put the peels into a large jar.  i used a clean kalamata olive jar... Costco size.  i had brought home some raki from Crete in my handy travel flask, so emptied that into the jar.

and topped it off with 100 proof vodka.  it will sit in the pantry for 2 weeks or so.  (recipes recommend anywhere from 1 week to 6 weeks)

when i decide it has sat long enough, i'll strain the lemon peels off and make candied peels with them.

bring to a boil 3 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar, let it simmer and reduce to about 2 cups, cool thoroughly, then add to the lemony mixture and let it sit again for a week or 2.  i plan on using the lemon juice that's in the freezer with this batch, to up the lemony taste a bit.  will add it when i add the sugar syrup.   limoncello is best served after enough time in the freezer for it to be a bit slushy.   mmmm... so very good!

Thursday, December 05, 2013


              And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who

                                could not hear the music.
                                                                                          -Friedrich Nietzsche