Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Well, last week was kind of magical, like I imagine Platform 9 3/4 must be at Kings Crossing. Runamuck welcomed a new member, Miss Mandy.

 Children aren't the only things abandoned in the growing drug crisis. Mandy was living in a car before being abandoned at the home of one of my veterinarian's technicians. There is always help at Runamuck for those who need it and I brought her home last Tuesday.

She is wonderful sweet little mini dachshund, about 8 years old and sadly with a mouthful of neglected teeth. Yesterday I brought her back to the vet for a full dental. Took 2 plus hours and she lost 23 teeth. Money well spent and in a couple of days she will feel like a new dog. Imagine having a mouthful of infected gums and teeth for heavens know how long?

But that wasn't the only arrival last week. A new mattress made it to our door. Not too long ago we got a Tempur-pedic one. While comfortable and easy on pressure points and joints, memory foam sleeps hot. I just couldn't stand it any longer as I sleep hot too. We opted for a natural latex mattress and it came Thursday morning via Fedex. So far so good, it sleeps MUCH cooler and is just as forgiving of pressure points as MF

There was one more arrival on Thursday, a Louet David made it to my door via The Web-ster's. Gene went down and picked all the boxes up and we got them in the house just as a thunderstorm with torrential rain broke out. Whew! We needed the rain badly and even so a couple of small fires broke out the next day and the fire crews jumped on them.

Friday morning looked like Christmas around here, with boxes and wrappers and instructions.

 I have to say, the packaging by Louet is impressive and look, that big awkward box has its own handles.

Freakin brilliant! I spent Friday and Saturday putting him together.

Instructions were very good although I had a bit of a challenge as I installed both a friction brake and a second back beam since the instructions treated these as add ons.

 Louet includes the tools you will need to handle the various screws and bolts and unlike the gawd awful cheap things you might find in something from China, these tools were useful and well made. I never opted for anything additional even though I have a number of ratchet tools around here had I gone searching. Sunday the first warp was wound on,

Monday threading, yesterday I started sleying the reed.

 I hope to be weaving today while little Mandy recovers from that major bit of dental surgery. She is getting some pretty heavy duty pain killers for the next couple of days. Surprisingly she was hungry this morning and ate all her breakfast. A good thing since antibiotics really should be given with some food.

The seasons are changing and no longer is my morning feed accompanied by early dawn. It's dark now but there are still treasures to be seen for those who look. This amazing spider is on her web by one of the outside corners of the barn.

She greets me every morning in my headlamp. Come daylight, she is no where to be found but the web is well placed for catching things.

Only one make made it out of the sewing salon, a Cashmerette Webster in this fab Moda cotton.

 So fun and bright. The last piece of ordered fabric arrived, a flannel for fall with jars of lightening bugs.

 As a child summering at my grandparents home in PA I can remember catching fireflies in mason jars in the field at the side of the house. I also remember hours spent by the creek and the pond, catching frogs and dragonflies. They would spend some time with me, but always released before bedtime. Jars are no place for nature to live but they certainly aid in sparking wonder at the world around us. At least I hope they still do.

Parting shots: The new girl.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Some Like it Hot

I am not one of them. In fact I don't really like temps over 70 and I'm just fine with crisp high 50's days. But even summer lovers have been a bit baked this past week of triple digits. We've lived here about 17 years and I can only remember once when it hit 100 and that might have been last year.
We were 102 on Wednesday. Good grief if I wanted to live in the western deserts I would have moved there! We survived though. A well insulated house is a thing of beauty. On the hottest day the downstairs hit 72 after an all day bake. The whole house fan was able to cool it down to outside temps PDQ at night and the new 8000BTU window A/C kept the master at a bearable 63 degrees on average. I was disappointed though, that the unit did not come with an"Arctic Blast" setting. Dang!

It was certainly a workable haven in the sewing salon and I got a few fun makes out. Bight orange Moda fabric morphed into an Indygo Junction Asymmetrical Tunic

complete with hot pink trim and bits of graphic fabrics.

I finally went ahead and drafted an armhole and sleeve for the Sew House Seven Mississippi Ave top/dress.

I love this pattern and have made a good number of them up for summer and "under" wear.
Why not a sleeve? Why not a fun back panel?

It would seem all of my favorite patterns have V necks this year.

I had thought about working on a wool jacket but considering the temps, I nixed it. I do have a need for a lightweight barn jacket. I can't go out in those high temps and intense sun without some covering on my arms, shoulders and neck. Maybe something will pop when I hit the cutting table tomorrow. I certainly have some fun new fabrics to pick from.

That light teal Japanese print canvas is calling to me to be an outer layer. We'll see what becomes of it. Some fun prints and great mid weight linen solids.

I took some pics of the garden but honestly, they were crappy. Too late in the day and now after all that heat it is looking a bit tattered. Even the lemon balms have bolted. I need to see what is available for fall blooming perennials and slip some in this year. I will say the new succulents are doing fabulous. Look at the comparison from when they were put in at the beginning of June.


Last week was Beautification Day for my Mom and I. Basically, we get our hair cut. I bring her over to Ashland for a truly nice haircut with my wonderful stylist Melinda. I let her go first and popped across the alley to Paddintgon Station for a time wasting browse. Of course I found two beautiful mugs I just had to have

 and the boxes will certainly not go to waste either. I have the fox by this artist. You can see more of Vicki Sawyer's stuff here.

Congress is on recess and so am I as far as "Did that just happen" stuff. Come September though we'll reconvene. I will say it is a disturbing to hear all the talk about hindering the freedom of the press and thank god we still have a free press. Support newspapers and good honest reporting where ever you find it!

On a personal note, my Dad would have been 80 today. We will mark his birthday this year by hanging out the prayer flag I finally finished and spreading his ashes.

And yes, I added that little missing bell!

It's time. I still choke up and puddle when I think of something we did or for a moment wish we could have done, but there will always be that lifetime of memories to unpack and examine as needed.  I miss you Dad, so, so much.

Parting shot: Nothing like a good gnaw.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Eye of Newt and Toe of Frog

Wool of bat and tongue of dog. In other words a little bit of everything in this blog post is being thrown into the cauldron. And it's been hot enough too. We've had 3 days of thunderstorm warnings and as many days on fire watch. I don't handle heat well. It makes me grumpy. It also means I spend a good portion of my early mornings doing things I would rather do at other times. It saps both my ambition and creativity. As I write this I hear the latest thunderstorm booming in the distance. The Klamath Falls area and upwards towards Crater Lake seems to be the most recent strong path.
Fingers crossed there is rain with it. These storm clouds do make for some beautiful sunsets though.

But hot mornings have had some charms too. I caught the boys having their after breakfast nap. This one a twofer.

Usually one of them stands guard but really what for. I guess after 16 years together they figure a few dual naps are safe enough, except for that camera lady. Maybe she's got carrots?

The two barn cats have been unceremoniously tossed from the basement until winter. It's time they earned their keep and do some much needed mousing around the barn. They do get called in for a light morning meal. Union rules.

 They can be either sweet or evil with each other. This was  sweet morning, bowls okay to be close.

A raccoon was waiting in the woods for leftovers, there were none. I do stand guard for them.

It can all turn quickly though but these two girls have developed an affection for each other. Juno has the white paws, Prissy no white at all.

The garden has already passed it showiest time, now it's all about the hummers. Zauschneria (California fuchsia), is starting to bloom, bee balm, Lucifer crocosmia and hummingbird mint are all
on the menu. The shasta daisies had a vibrant but short run. I should have gotten pics. I need to get something better than this!

Inside, the Tour de Fleece wrapped up. I didn't make my goal of having all of the Songs of the River spun up, but I did spin every single day.  And I did sell the Schacht Matchless.

 He was adopted by a gal in Iowa and is much loved I'm told.

Gene turned 61 last Sunday. There was cake and presents. Most years he goes paragliding on his birthday but because of the Red Flag warnings and the fact that flying would likely be awful anyway, he stayed home. A mixed blessing. ;-) He also shared this gem with me of their Monday night training.

The volunteer fire and rescue department have burned donated cars, practiced on them with the Jaws of life and work every single week on some aspect of fire or medical emergencies. I knew something was up when Gene took the ketchup from the fridge to go....

Two lovely Cashmerette Websters came out of the salon. Oh my are they cool and comfortable to wear. You can tell a favorite pattern by the fabric I use. Both of these are from fabrics I have held back for a number of years I love them so much. The grey scale mushroom print I have hoarded until the perfect pattern came along.

The butter linen supplied me with a much loved Sewing Workshop Liberty top (still going strong) and I used the last 2 yards +- on this Webster tunic.

 I have to say this linen is probably some of the nicest I have ever had and the color is so beautiful. I made a couple of changes to the sleeveless pattern. I squared the armhole a bit, allowing for more freedom of movement reaching out to the front (think weaving). I used a neck facing only and did a bias binding on the armholes. Oh and side seam pockets. Faster, a little cooler and much less fussy. Win win!

Some fun fabric made it into stash. This is actually a navy blue background.

Fabrics are going on sale and I have done some stash building. More next post.

For those that want to read all of the Song of the Witches, here you go!

Did That Just Happen?

Good-bye ACA. I was thrilled to have affordable health care after years of being unable to
get any because of Lupus. I am expecting that our premiums will be so high and coverage so poor, it won't be worth buying. I am also fully prepared to bypass treatment if it should mean family bankruptcy. What a choice huh?

The speech to the BSA jamboree was bad and not normal nor okay. It sure looked like a tip to the Hitler youth groups to me. And then of course, another venting in Ohio last night. This man is just not right.

Let's close with something fun like who will play the next 007? :-)

Parting shots: Roughing it...

Or Not!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Dumpy, Dowdy and Drab!

So let me tell you how I really feel about patterns with cut on sleeves. ;-)
The Closet Case Files Charlie Caftan pattern was a fail. I made a number of adjustments but in the end, the style and overall technical design is just not for me. What looked great on Coco with her willowy figure just did not translate well to my shorter, more gnome like figure. I knew going into this it might not work out so I'm not terribly disappointed. I still have stuff to wear to the ball but I was hopeful. The pattern has found its way to the wrapping paper box.

That's not to say nothing pretty came out of the sewing salon, there were two wonderful other makes.
An Asymmetrical Tunic from Indigo Junction (complete with 3/4 length sleeves) made the journey from salon to wardrobe.

This fabric is a smooth tightly woven shirt weight cotton. It feels like silk on and was a pleasure to work with. I used the whole 3 yards pretty much on this tunic. Light enough for summer but with a sweater and the sleeves it will be a nice year round piece.

The second thing out of the sewing closet is another Webster tunic. I actually cut three of these, all sleeveless. I like this pattern a lot. It has a nice fit and the V back is cool and comfortable. It also works quite well with a sweater or a jacket on cooler days.

The pattern is thrifty. I got this out of less than 2 yards. I had used some of this fabric on other things and it was time to move it out of stash and make room for some other more garment worthy fabrics. Being darkish and busy it is the perfect type of top for working around here and this Moda cotton always washes up great. I liked the selvage edge design and saved it. May not have been the best choice, but the little color butterflies always make me kind of happy.

The Baby Wolf was brought down for some portable weaving.

fits just perfectly at the end of the table when not in use

I've had Shrek out on both decks and in the family room. I can watch TV or listen to the radio, weave and keep an eye on stuff cooking on the stove, especially when canning. Multitasking at it's most fun!

This is another batch of the Nectarine & Lime Jam.

It is so yummy and such a beautiful rose pink color when done.. Both Gene and I have picked it as our favorite so far, although the Strawberry and Lemon Preserves is high on my list too.

The sailboat is out for the summer.

The recipe comes from Food in Jars by Marissa McClellan

makes about 3 pints

5 cups pitted and chopped nectarines (about 3 lbs)
3 cups granulated sugar
Zest and juice of two limes
1 (3 oz) packet liquid pectin

combine nectarines and sugar, boil for 15-20 minutes until fruit is soft and washable with the back of a wooden spoon. I like mine chunkier, but you can use an immersion blender for a smoother texture...carefully.

add the lime juice, zest and pectin and bring to a rolling boil for  a full 5 minutes.
Remove from heat, ladle into prepared jars, 1/4 inch head space, wipe rims, apply lids and rings
and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. I have to do 20 BTW due to elevation . A perfect weaving time block!

Spinning continues on Tour de Fleece. Here is the Polworth wool all done and ready for a project.

I ended up with 415 yards. It is very soft and squishy.

And here is Songs of the River.

I'm at the end of this half, on the darker end of the scale. I will spin the second bobbin exactly the same and the plied yarn should preserve the beautiful color gradation.

Did That Just Happen?

I don't know about you but I'm wondering if Boris and Natasha and Moose and Squirrel were in that meeting with Trumpy Jr. too last June.

I shamelessly hope the Orange Cheeto will have a health crisis. I know it's not good karma, but I'm betting I am not alone. I consumed this report kind of like...popcorn, the healthy kind.

So now it is "Made in America" week. How many things does the Trump royal family have made here? Not too much.

And lastly, it's not just pipelines that threaten our national parks and native cultures. Let's talk about mining shall we?

Parting shot: Waiting in the belly rub line.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Six Hummers Humming

One of the few delights of summer for me is the hummingbirds.

 I'm on the lookout for the first one or two come April and feeders are out and ready, brought in overnight so the nectar stays warm and put out at first light in case some cold hummer coming out of a torpid state needs this life giving fluid.

Come July though, it's all about territory and acrobatics. The feeders are busy. This year has seen the numbers down. Just about six total.

 Everything is down wildlife wise actually. The property next door to us, 170 acres of lovely old and new growth was bought and clear cut. The operation ran day and night from May (how many nests were destroyed I wonder), to the beginning of July. It sickened us to see and hear it. This is not stewardship, this is snatch and grab and slash and Oregon lets them get away with it. The property is for sale again, there was an existing well and a home site approval, but it is a moonscape out there now and will be for many years to come.  Such a pity.

While summer wanes on, it is cool and shady enough for spinning on the deck in the mornings.

 I love the umbrella that is out there. Here is the last of the Polworth (it is all now plied, skeined and ready for soaking) and the start of the merino/silk Songs of the River.

 Beautiful stuff, a bit slippery after the robust Polworth. The saturated color is amazing.

In the sewing salon, a new pair of PJ's.

 Horrid pic, but the cool and soft lightweight cotton is pleasure to wear. And a Charley Harper fabric (the sleeveless Webster in the ladybug print is a C.Harper fabric), makes another appearance in a Webster Tunic, this time with sleeves.

Maritime collection fabric.

 I have another black and white tunic finished up and waiting pics. It is unusual for me to buy black fabrics, but I just fell in love with these two.

A new pattern finally arrived on Saturday.

 I already have the muslin cut out, complete with modifications recommended by Coco at Coco's Loft. I'm not a fan of cut on sleeves but it seems every year or so a pattern comes along to make me want to give it another go. We'll see!

Most weekends there has been canning of some fruit or another.

We have strawberry and lemon preserves, blueberry and maple jam and a raspberry and jalapeƱo jam. This week I'm putting up a nectarine and lime concoction. Much easier than processing peaches as nectarines don't need to be peeled, only pitted and chopped.

Did That Just Happen?
Cyber security task force with Russia? Really?! Even some of the GOP is going out and throwing shade at that idea.

And if the constant wildfire season hasn't clued you in to the real dangers of global warming, maybe this little piece will drive some points home.

Of course, changing our eating habits may help to save the planet. It certainly could help our waistlines!

On another sad and more personal note, my much loved and cherished horse trainer Bridget passed away in June at such a young age.  She taught me so much about horses in general and Cooper in particular. She instilled confidence in both of us, individually and as a team. Bridget was kind and patient with all animals and could be frank and cutting with their human counterparts. She was always their voice. Bridget will missed by many, of all species.

Parting shots: Sharing.