Thursday, June 29, 2006


Here are our new friends, Billy Hamin and Holly Himin. Their last names originated from a couple of imaginary friends P #2 had last year. They are friendly, sweet and as you can see, adorable little Lamancha goats.

They seem to be settling in fine, and Fanny likes them too as long as they are not eating her alfalfa.
They skip, frolic, and butt each other around. I like that they are a somewhat American breed - a mix of Swiss and Spanish ancestory. And their little bleating is very endearing, whenever I venture outside. They adore company.

So the farm grows.

On the creative side, I'm enjoying my cross stitch project. It is lighter and cooler than knitting, though not as portable. It requires good light and keen concentration.
I especially love the little pink horse head I found at Joann's to organize my threads. That and the gold plated needle that came with this particular kit (50 cents, brand new) make my experience complete. I think this will become a bag to hold other stitching projects.

I work without a hoop, because I hate fussing around with it. The title of this piece is A Stitch In Time. Summer stretches on.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

candles in the sand

We set out for the beach well equipped. Hot dogs, deviled eggs, five layer Mexican dip and chips, and, of course, marshmallows. Plenty of wood for our beach fire and, best of all, a huge box of somebody's Grandma's candle collection that I picked up for free at a yard sale. I say it was somebody's Grandma's because, well, who else would save all their candle stubs and partially burned pillars, carefully wrapped in plastic so old it was turning yellow?

We tossed these into some old, old pots and got to work.
And the finished results? Well, let's just say they look....rustic. Some projects are all about the process, n'est-ce pas?

It was a lovely night, and these are the things wonderful summer memories are made of.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

finished object

The poncho has landed! Modeled by my dear Horsey Girl (disregard the dirty feet.)
The stats: Two skeins of Red Heart TLC Amore in Plum Print. The pattern is basically two long garter stitch rectangles (18" by 30") that are sewn together to create a kind of mobius design. Then lots and lots of 10" pieces hooked through the edge to make fringe.

I am pleased with the softness and drape of the fabric, and the overall stitch consistency is pretty good. I found the pattern here and then enlarged it a bit to be adult sized.

Let's hope Jenn likes it.

I leave you with some thrifted goodness:
From my favorite local spot, Happy Dragon. Left to right: fantastic cross stitch animals! I am getting into cross stitch again (it's been 20 years). A redwork ornament kit (I can't stop buying Christmasy stitchery ornament kits - they're everywhere!) Both kits are unopened. And a book for H.G., my resident baker. The pictures are so drooly.

Oh yeah, and three more aprons too (giggle)...let's just say they're PERFECT.

We're off to get the baby goats today!

Saturday, June 24, 2006


Under the bridge
And over the dam
Looking for berries
Berries for jam
Three berry four berry
Hayberry strawberry
Finger and pawberry
My berry, your berry

Quickberry! Quackberry!
Pick me a blackberry!
Clickety - clackberry
Rumble and ramble in blackberry bramble
Billions of berries for blackberry jamble
Mountains and fountains
Rain down on me
Buried in berries
What a jam jamboree!

excerpts from Jamberry by Bruce Degen

Friday, June 23, 2006

collections 101

It all started with seeing aprons everywhere. I began to embrace them as an idea somehow beyond its time. Decoration, but useful.

So I made that first (rather stiff) one with a towel. Then I snapped up the orange one at the local Grey Bears thrift store. I think it was $2.

Hanging above it is a lovely gift from a dear friend. And if you haven't been to her place, you're missing out on some treats! This smocky one is from the 40's, and the bright blue fabric is so cool!

Then, I went to the Santa Cruz Flea Market last Sunday.So, you wrap your mind around something, and whazam! You start seeing them everywhere. Well, granted I was there for four hours, and spent considerable time in the beer garten, but still.

I found the green one first for $1. The girl that sold it to me was really cool. It looks like a 100% cotton and gingham 50's cutie.

The other two are probably early 60's, both sheer cotton voile trimmed with faded 100% cotton print. Kind of cocktail sexy. I love the yellow one especially, for its Hawaiin motif. I love Hawaii!! Oh, and I talked her down from $2 each to two for $3 - it was the end of the day after all.

So there you have it. Two weeks to a collection.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

summer solstice altar

Left to right: dragon from Japan Town in SF; A "Learning Angel", gift from a student; my smoking Black Madonna, teeny tiny Tarot cards in the blue heart box; a yarn doll one of the girls made; Rosa, my stuffed curandera; a bottle of Chanel no.5; a velvet bag holding ribbon from my wedding; Green Tara; a stuffed winged heart inside a hand woven nest. My beanie baby dragon sits on an old old pillow I made from a thrifted patchwork square and some green velvet. It is stuffed with mugwort. In the foreground, P #2's wand lies across a ceramic kitty tile made by Horsey Girl. A white feather I found in Hawaii, and a box I made at Witch Camp.

Also present: St. Francis. To guard all these animals that seem to be flowing into my life. Two little goats are coming next week! Dh and I had a conversation. My main question was repeated over and over: "Are you sure? Are you sure?" Kind of like a parrot.

At Summer Solstice, we like to take advantage of the glorious light and make sand candles in the evening on the beach. These can be used at Winter Solstice celebrations or given as gifts.

Today we are off to pick berries. And Fuzzy is doing fine.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Someone asked me how I was able to make ANYTHING when trying to entertain small children. Luckily, my third daughter can be persuaded to enjoy coloring or play dough or stickers. Heck, she can spend half an hour just cutting paper into smaller and smaller pieces. And of course, I let her. Maybe that's the secret.

But there are other distractions too that are keeping me from working on the quilt (and the poncho - ahem.) My neighbor, Mountain Man, came by last weekend and brought this:
This is a solar cooker. Did I mention that we live off the grid? That means there are no power lines anywhere near our house (or phone, either.) This cooker would be a great alternative to the (hot) gas stove, because after all, you can't barbecue everything. M.M. cooked us up a tasty stew.
Cooking keeps me pretty busy, especially when the big girls are here. I have a small freezer, so I can't keep a lot of processed food around (better anyway). But the garden hasn't really kicked in yet so we spend sewing time at such pleasures as the Farmer's Market.

Then, because I really needed another mouth to feed, this showed up:
Mountain Man rescued this......bird from marauding blue jays. He had to go down the hill for awhile, so I am feeding it until he returns, watered down cat food with a glass tube. It has a remarkably long throat. M.M. called it a wood pigeon but dh thinks it's a buzzard. He certainly has the honk for it!
I wanted to call him Frightful (did you read My Side of the Mountain as a kid?) but his real name is Fuzzy. And I don't mind feeding him; how often do you get to save a life?

More stories of life and death here.

Monday, June 19, 2006


What's this? Trying to knock out the entire color week in one post?
Why, no. This is inspiration for the quilt I'm working on. It all started with a trip to the local quilting shop. Browsing through the books, I came upon a pattern that got me thinking.
The pattern was called Box of Crayons. It was a strip quilt with rows of color laid out like so many layers of a rainbow. It looked easy and colorful, and I thought: That's it! Directly afterwards, I began seeing this particular pattern everywhere (does that happen to you too?)
Amazing things happen when you start to wrap your mind around an idea. Can you believe I found this at the flea market yesterday? Luckily I had a camera and didn't have to drag the thing home....torn and color - run, but beautifully hand stitched with love, probably a gift. And she only wanted $3 for it!
But no, no, not quite what I have in mind. Remember the piles? They have been substantially reduced. And even thought I should be knitting on that darn poncho, I must say I've made pretty good progress on something that I hope will become a treasure.
Just a peek though! Must get back to work now...

Sunday, June 11, 2006


We are growing lots of things at our house. This popcorn is growing in our front yard. Today I made a fence for this area to keep the crazy dogs out. There is a pumpkin and some sunflowers too. I water everything every day, and of course I get a lot of help.
It's been foggy and cold the last few days, at least for most of the day. Last night we went to a party at an old friend's house. I have two days of school left. I have to think about moving my room (at school). I'm going back to teach Kindergarten next year... I can't wait!

I've been crafting a lot lately too. I did a makeover on the couch by covering some pillows with the fabric I got in Hawaii. Wowie! Before....
And after, investing about two hours and Using What I Have. I think this also qualifies for Finishing What You Have as well, and I have GOT to figure out the Flickr thing v. soon. Anyway, I think starting something happens when you get the idea. I've had this one for about two months now, and it's Stash Reduction 101.
Cue Hawaiin music...

P.S. Yes I did start on the Quilt. It's looking great BTW.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

brought to light

A little corner of the deck that I call the Plant Hospital has been transformed by this rambling rose. I've never seen her look this lovely... it must be something in the dirt (thank you, Fanny!)

Yesterday I had fun unearthing stuff I had around the house that I had forgotten about. First, under the piles of winter blankets (that need to be folded and put away more nicely, yes?) I found this old thing.
Every quilt tells a story. This one's goes like this: Flashback to around 1992. Princess #1 was just a little squirt. We rented a 500 square foot house on 35 acres. There were a lot of fruit trees ... peaches mostly, but also apples, plums, pears, and even kiwi. Our house, though small, boasted a VERY large deck. It was there I created this very bright quilt.
I worked outside on the deck in the sunshine while the baby ran umuck (sp?). I evidently had bags full of scraps from the 60's and 70's (maybe from the flea market?), along with bits and pieces of garments I made or had slashed up at one time. I think there's some men's ties in there too. I worked without a real plan, and certainly without measuring. I probably had a template for the squares. All summer I sewed on this thing because I had entered it in the Santa Cruz County Fair... before I had made it, of course.

Each little square is pieced with at least two pieces. The big squares are eight or more. There are some worn spots too. I forget what is in the middle - it's completely clumped up now, but the fabric is thick enough to still make it warm and soft. The black is polyester blend t - shirt knit I got for 99 cents a yard (I used it for the back too.) 100% NOT organic, but built to last. Instead of quilting it (or tying) I used old buttons in the corners. God I had a lot of buttons!

The interesting thing about how bright this quilt is. It was made at a time when life could be quite NOT bright. Too much partying, some yelling and a lot of bad feelings made times tough. However, on the deck with my baby in the bright sun, nothing but gardens, and all these scraps to play with?

Feeling better yet?!
I finished it in time for the Fair (early September). I got an Honorable Mention and a pretty yellow ribbon. It was so exciting to see it hanging up there in the big hall, with all the other gorgeous therapy. You could feel the love in every entry. I remember the judge's comment, written lightly in pencil on the manila score card: "Very creative use of buttons."

I think this was around the time I met dh also. Many good things were being created then.
Yesterday I pulled out a bunch of stuff I had around and started playing with it. Mind you, ALL of this was acquired in the last year. Whatever it becomes will be a monument to this time. This is the extent of my fabric stash... ukelele for scale. I have put them in piles and I'm planning a quilt. I'll tell you my idea later. Should be fun.
Can you see the quilt in this picture?

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Say what you will about Barry Bonds, there is no bigger thrill than seeing the Giants play on their own home turf. And seeing history made before your eyes is just icing on the cake.

First one must get properly colored. A kind stranger in the parking lot sprayed the girls down.

What a beautiful day in San Francisco! The kayakers were gathering in anticipation. We gripped our tickets with excitement. Would today be the day?

And yes, yes it was. Two beers and some garlic fries later, we stood up and held our breaths.

My GOD! There it goes........
And the celebration ensued. Much cheering, whistling, high - fiving....the crowd was on top of the world. And Barry? A mild blush, and a bigger smile than I've ever seen. He came out to wave to his adoring fans, taking off his hat and waving to everyone. We love you!
What a hit! What a day! What is remembered, lives.
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