Sunday, February 26, 2006

happy birthday Randy

Here we have the buttermilk birthday cake from my new favorite cookbook. The small Princess and I had a terrific time creating it together. Lucky thing mil sent the jelly bellies for embellishing - so much better than that hideous gel-in-a-tube stuff. Homemade cake IS extaordinary and so worth the time and trouble. This baby took six of my lovely homegrown eggs. Delicious! I also made spinach enchiladas, beans and Spanish rice. It was quite a celebration.
Dh spent his special day doing his favorite thing, playing in the dirt. A boy loves his toys! We rented this baby for getting the corral done. It's twice as big as my car (behind)!
There was a steady stream of friends old and new, stopping in and overlapping, kind of open house style. It was a bright and sunny day followed by a quick drop to the 30's, just enough to start the fire going again and make us all feel cozy.

OK, I've noticed all of you wondering...when is she going to post some knitting news?! After all, this is supposed to be a knitting blog. Well, there's good news and bad news. First, dh didn't mind that I couldn't get his socks done on time for his birthday. I'm down to the heel turn on the first sock, and with concentrated effort I can probably finish them soon. I'm glad I chose a very very basic pattern, because I am (finally) enjoying the project. HOWEVER I will NOT get them done in time to earn my Olympic medal. *sigh* Yes, like many other athletes, I am feeling the agony of defeat, and will have to wait four more years to try to prove myself again. (Or maybe two, if we try a summer games challenge, eh?) I can only gather comfort in the sheer number of knitters I know (ahem!) that are feeling the same pain. And for those of you who will no doubt be flaunting those gold medal buttons in your sidebars soon...I applaud you.

Anywho, I was feeling a little guilty because suddenly, the blog was taking life in its own wanted family posts, crafting posts, and nice pictures for their own sake (love the food shots!) Does this happen to other people too? And does anyone really care?! If anyone lurking out there would be willing to put in their 2 cents, I'd relish a little feedback. Hello? (Oh and I recently fixed the comments thingy so anyone in the world can comment, even anonymously.)

And for all the people wishing I'd get back on track, stay tuned for some VERY EXCITING SPINNING NEWS.....hint: it's about a girl, a wheel, and a plan. More coming!

Friday, February 24, 2006


We spent a day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Here Princess #2 watches the incredible kelp forest exhibit. The color and light is like a dreamy otherworld.
The wave exhibit is really fun. You stand under a curved window and the waves come in like thunder...I love how the guy on the left finds Chloe more amusing than the water. It was hard to get her out of this one, but we had to move on to my favorite part of all:
The magical jellyfish. They play this really dreamy music and you can just sit for hours watching these incredible creatures. And they're so inspiring....just look here.
We had such a great day. Here's a happy shot of me and the two princesses. What is remembered lives.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


We have been crafting up a storm this weekend. P. #1 had a friend over Saturday night. They spent time making little tokens of affection for each other. The little heart talismans are each adorned with a stitched "M" for the tow Madelines...the beads are traditional friendship bracelets. I was so pleased that they chose to spend their time this way, gossiping and playing their mp3's and being creative in their 14 year oldness.
After returning the friend to her house, we ventured out to Stitches West. Here were hundreds of amazing booths, all jam packed with everything for knitting and well as buttons, books, patterns, and fantastic people sharing a love of the craft. It was very very inspiring, and after much restraint I narrowed down my purchases:
Here we have some hand dyed merino pin roving from Oregon, and two skeins of gorgeous handspun and hand dyed sock yarn from Northern California. There is enough on each skein for two pairs of socks! I am in love with these intensely saturated colors. Also from the Oregon booth, a different kind of needle craft.
This picture WILL go sideways, even though it shows up straight in the browser. *sigh* I think you can get the idea here. Needlefelting! I desperately want to make gnomes. The little sample balls of roving were also from the Oregon booth, Koolaid dyed leftovers from bigger projects. Isn't that book adorable! And it came with a felting needle taped in the cover.
After perusing the entire market (like going to 60 of your favorite lys's in two hours) we fortified ourselved with burritos and then charged on to Kinokuniya. I have been drooling over the Japanese craft books on various blogs across the board and had to snag a couple for myself.

The book on the left is full of wonderful bags, zippered pouches, cloth baskets, slippers, tissue holders and a cute tunic to wear over jeans. The one on the right is SO cute...patterns for tiny stuffies of all sorts, hand stitched from felt. Easy little projects for gifts, embellishments, and wiling away the crafty hours of wintertime.

Dd was skeptical at first, rolling her eyes and admonishing "Mom! You can't even read that." I didn't reply, but simply drove to Beverly's, grabbed a handful of felt and whipped out this adorableness in the time it took to make tea and drink it:

The little kitty is a replica of our own Princess Licorice. She was incomplete without her tiny crown. Her eyes are iridescent green beads, and I attached a stretchy black cord so she can dangle from my purse handle. Since she is a diva, well, of course everyone adores her.

The puppy dances from my knitting bag on the same type of cord. His cheeks are shmeary felt pen and his eyes are black beads from the endless stash (supplemented by garage sales) I love his sweet gesture and he is just a little charm, therefore I named him Lucky.
It occurred to me how fun it would be to make a bunch of these, for sale or swap. Whattya think?
The book actually is quite easy to follow, and has ideas for converting these into hairties, pins, pushpins for a bulletin board, or magnets (actually dd's idea.) Neat!

Sunday, February 19, 2006


Friday morning, we woke up to this! It's been a few years since we've had snow in the mountains. Since we had cancelled our annual ski trip (due to the expense of bringing home the horse) naturally we were tickled pink to have our own little Tahoe right in the front yard.
I was so happy to have all my girls home with me to enjoy it: from l to r, Horsey Girl, P. #'s 1 and 2. They had the requisite snowball fights, attempted sledding down the newly cleared pasture hill, and of course there was this...
And since this is, after all, California, it didn't last too long. These are the wonders of memory, we will cherish these times forever. To add to the cozy sweetness I used the wonderful organic blueberries I found at Whole Foods to create this yumminess.

In knitting news, I have abandoned Green Wonkey for fear of emulating Michelle Kwan: giving up because I know I just can't do it. Or perhaps I'm afraid of doing the Lyndsey Jacobellis thing: trying to show off, and ultimately failing. The truth is, I'm woefully behind on the Knitting Olympics (evidenced by the lack of pictures here) and feeling the agony of impending defeat! Therefore I cast on for a pair of regular old socks that I MAYBE have a chance of finishing by the deadline...modifying the program, as they might say in figure skating...going for the double toe loop rather than the triple, I guess.
Maybe it's just the desire to be gentle with myself, in this tender space I call home.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Imbolc altar

I like to go a little more minimal for this season, as reflected in our outside world...bare ground and branches, a certain stillness and quiet before the birth of Spring. I use my heart rock collection (the big one and the quartz ones were gifts, the rest were found), my silver thrift store chalice, rose quartz and amethyst spheres, a precious glass heart box from a dear teacher, and Quan Yin for serenity. There's also a picture of me with my big girls, and a little doll I made many years ago...her name is Rosa.
Rosa is a curador, a healer. She is a midwife and keeper of herbs. She's made of green gauze and dressed in scraps of fancy velvet and various dress fabrics in red and purple, her favorite colors, all trimmed with roses. Her hands are bells and she holds tiny broom...her necklace is garnet hearts and a tiny hematite moon.
Come to think of it, I recently purchased some more of those little brooms at the thrift store...perhaps I should make more of these little witchy dolls.
I'm still working on taking better pictures. I've learned to turn off the flash and get the right I just need to drink less coffee so things don't look so, well, shaky.
I like this picture a lot. Here we have the last of the merino I bought last October, in a beautiful robin's egg / cloud and sky combo. I am so proud of this skein, the first one I wrapped on a (borrowed) niddy noddy and it looks so professional! Next to the wool is a watercolor by P. #2. I believe this yarn will become a hat for her, I found a Disney Princess iron on patch that will be perfect on the front.
And in knitting news...
I'm making a little progress on the Oympic sock(s), which for obvious reasons I have nicknamed the Green Wonky. Do I have even the slightest idea what I'm doing here? You be the judge. The pattern is something called "tweed lace" and I suppose there are a hundred other names for it. My only consolation is that I'm not the one going 85 miles an hour down an ice tube on my back.

Monday, February 13, 2006

fun is where you find it

Like when you make cupcakes for the family. These are inspired of course by yarnstorm.
I have learned not to use a flash for the pics. We'll try that next time.
Here's more fun: an indoor house for reading, playing, napping...use your best sheets (or just an old bedspread you found at the flea market)...
And don't forget to serve lunch, bento box style. Just use your Tupperware or other containers (read: plastic!)
Cube food for maximum preschool appeal. Then fill the place up with books, pillows, stuffies and a kitty if one is available and willing. (You can't see her - but she's in there somewhere.)

Then when you're tired of that game, pull out every block you own and build a zoo.
You see there is no end to the fun around here.
And in case you were wondering...yes I AM knitting. I cast on the dh's birthday socks during the games on Saturday while visiting my mom. I am trying to kill THREE birds, so to speak: the birthday gift, the olympics (4,000 athletes! Hysterical!) AND the sixsocks for this go 'round. I figure if I finish them in time to get the gold medal, I'll still have time to make Jaywalkers before the next pattern comes out!
All together now....
Well, I have the cuff done on one anyway. I'm enjoying posting more often. Oops! The games are starting! Time to knit...

Sunday, February 12, 2006


I adore my weaver's guild. We are called Anne's Web Weavers, though when we meet we mostly spin. What a wealth of creativity! We are a group of women bound together through our love of all things fibery. There are knitters, weaver, rug makers, and artists. We meet the second Saturday of every month to spin, laugh, and exchange ideas and stories. After a couple of hours we have a delicious potluck - there's always a wonderful theme, with decorations and place settings to match - then spin some more. I always look forward to this day, though yesterday I was sad to leave my borrowed wheel in the middle with the others for sale. This picture was taken after lunch...there are about 30 members all told. We meet in an old church, now the Grange Hall for the county.
And in other creative news:
I sewed up some of the Hawaii fabric into a skirt for Horsey Girl. She requested a special skirt for her dance, and I stayed up until 1:30 am finishing it...though started at 10:30, so not a bad I posted earlier, I have been inspired to use other needles in my pursuit of creating beautiful things. Sewing is second nature to me (I learned at age nine) but I have been on somewhat of a hiatus due to using my skills for a little extra income for several lean years when my first two daughters were little. Nothing like doing something you love for a living to completely take the joy out.
This skirt was originally eight tiers, but we cut it down to seven and I slap dashed the pattern so the flowers came out randomly. The original fabric has them flowing down in three neat vertical rows. H.G. was thrilled and has worn it for three days in a row! (Note P. #1 peeking around, also sporting a tiered skirt that was a gift from Grandma. She loves to emulate her sissies.)
Inspired by Bird Buzz's post on Whipup (hit the button if you haven't been there - oof! Whatta score for creative types) I headed immediately to a thrift store to hunt for fabric. There is a store directly connected to the place I recycle, so I could do two things at once....I had never been there (the store part). I couldn't believe my eyes...piles of fabulous craft supplies for pennies. Above you will see my fabric cache - all these coordinating pieces in one place!
Stay tuned to see what I'm gonna do with them. (And if you have an idea, let me

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

sit or run

Here are a couple of options for you! Sit here and knit...or run a marathon.
Here I am, running 26.2 miles in the Rock and Roll Marathon, San Diego. Do not ever, ever ask me my time.
That's not important! What's important is, I did it with Team In Training.
Two years ago, I lost my beloved father to leukemia. Dad was an elementary school principal for 35 years. Noone I know loved children as much as he did. He loved every single student, and I grew up listening to his little antecdotes and tales at dinnertime. He was a pillar of unconditional love and support for me, and inspired me to become a teacher myself.
Now each year, I run for him...I train, sweat, swear and move forward for him. In so doing I raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Did you know that leukemia is the number one killer of children? Click on the TNT button in my sidebar to help!
And now, on with the training....or maybe I'll just sit down for a minute...
Atticus applauds my choice. As he licks himself silly.

Friday, February 03, 2006

my stuff

It's been a long week. Princess #2 had the flu and I missed two days of work. This in turn gave me a little time to inventory. It's Imbolc, time of new beginnings; the earth is composting winter's dredge into a fertile bed just in time for Spring. It's a time to take stock, and to let go of things we no longer need.
Here is the extent of my stash. All the stuff I didn't like - there wasn't much - I threw directly into the garbage: a little dark autumn colored fun fur, a wierd lacy ball of orange and brown I got from my ex's girlfriend (blech!), and bits and scraps too covered with dog hair to salvage. The result (all tidied up for the picture):
You can see it's not much, but there are some nice colors there. In general I'm more drawn to clear, rich colors that sing; I'm not into subtle or dusty tones, though sweet, clear pastels are sweet in their candy colored goodness. My tastes really swing with the seasons.
The bundle of white in the basket on the right came from a thrift store, except the largish ball which is my own handspun.
Once the wool was organized, I moved on to my tools.
I bought this raku cup in Japantown, San Francisco. The rim is deep bronze and it is very rustic to hold...this is my collection of dpn's, the one the dog chewed on was inverted for artistic purposes. I much prefer bamboo to metal, though I have a little of both, and gradually am acquiring a nice selection of sized. As for the straights, I sewed this up about a year ago:
And here's what it looks like inside. You can see the diversity of my collection favorite needles are picked up at thrift stores and garage sales. Those giant wooden ones were purchased at an estate sale; the adult children were selling Grandma's whole collection for 50 cents apiece. Poor really inspired me to pass the legacy of craft onto my children. But who knows? Perhaps she tried.
I like this roll very much. I sewed it up from fabric I bought at my favorite thrift store, The Happy Dragon, using the pattern from Stitch and Bitch (I am so over that book! I really dug it at first, and even bought the second one, but I rarely look at it now.)
Now that I have "cleaned house", I am free to spin. Only one more week and I must return the wheel to my friend at the Weaver's Guild. I am struggling with the alpaca Christine sent me, it has a completely different drawing out method than the merino I've been working with; but I'm not giving up until I've masted it! OK Christine if you're reading this...any tips?
Have a peace filled weekend.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

then there were two

The sixsocks are finished! And just in time, because there's not doubt that I'll be winning the drawing this time since there are only 79 entrants, lol.
I like the colors, even though the hearts are not as noticeable as I would desire. I downloaded the next pattern and it looks interesting, so we'll see. I'm still itching to try Jaywalkers. And with all the fun crafty type blogs I've been visiting, I am inspired to branch out, maybe try some different kinds of needles for a change.
If you haven't checked out Whipup, do click on the button! Today's the big debut. There are many wonderful articles and you might recognize some names. After perusing sites (following link after link hour after hour, all the while cleverly avoiding housework), it struck me how nice it is to realize there are actually women out there just like me: creative, articulate, smart and funny women who have a lot to share. There are the vintage fabric collectors, the thrift store hounds, the knitters-spinners-weavers; there are toy makers, bakers, moms and lovers of beautiful things. I want to thank ALL of you and the way you have opened my eyes to the world in a new and different way. I want to carry my camera EVERYWHERE. Suddenly my world doesn't look so mundane - wow! I have beauty to offer too, and my cup runneth over.
I plan on adding lots and lots of new blogs to my list.
Have a nice week!
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