Friday, December 30, 2016

Presents and Pet Peeves

Hoping everyone had a wonderful holiday!

 It was a bit subdued here, but I think we managed to focus on the important things we still have in our lives rather than those that are lost to us. The news of my Mother getting the apartment she wanted buoyed us all through the holiday.  She loved the table and it will fit perfectly in the  designated space. She even picked out a very girlie crystal chandelier to hang over. Her first foray into decorating on her own!  I had downloaded a few different possibilities and she picked from those. I'll order it for her today. Woohoo!

Gene and I stayed home Christmas Day, padding around in sweats and PJ's. I got a Glimakra band loom which we put together, together!

 Here is the start of the first effort and the color inspiration.

 It's a fun loom but it also brings me to my pet peeve. I'm a fit and finish girl. I would rather pay a bit more for an item that is made well than one that's so-so, especially with a tool like a loom. It works, there is no issue with that, but it is cheaply made of a light pine.

 I could hear wood splitting when I was assembling a piece. Gene glued it. The pre-drilled holes where poorly done and the stick shuttle supplied is simply crap.

 Having said all that the band is weaving up beautifully and it is a lot easier than an inkle loom IMHO. I love the treadles. Wouldn't it be pretty painted though?

This bag from Cheerio Textiles is a work of art!

A beautiful gift from a friend made locally out of cloth handwoven in Mexico.

 It's called a Maker's Bag and right now it has the start of a shawl in it from Swan's Island Ikat Firefly yarn.  The little fox bag on the band loom was also a gift from the same dear friend.

Gift certificates and the 4 Later kit for the Schacht Baby Wolf rounded out the day. I know Gene missed the fun gadgets that my Dad would get for him. He got some wonderful stuff regardless and got some gadget fixes installing stroller wheels on BW and a new fancy Delta hand held shower. We had Chicken Parmesan for dinner and a roaring fire in the fireplace. Dogs played with new balls and Nylabones.

Before the holidays I found the most perfect Etsy seller and visited her shop often both for things for myself (shameful I know), and gifts for friends and family. LadyBaaBaa1 (Lorrie actually), does all her work using recycled sweaters and the quality I've seen far surpasses others who do the same. Here are my three purchases,

 two recycled cashmere cowls (one reversible), and a pair of warm lined felted wool sweater mittens.

There are fingerless gloves, infinity scarves and hats all from recycled cashmere and wool and the prices are excellent!  The pretty little bird (partridge maybe?), phone case that provided color ideas for a band was a surprise gift from the shop. I really did frequent it quite a lot this season. Check it all out here.

A little sewing happened too while I lounged around post holiday.

 More spring than winter but I enjoyed working with the cute fox fabric Cindie surprised me with in the fall.

 The green linen pants really needed a press but that color will get a lot of use in my wardrobe.

Nick's warp is on and being woven.

 I am loving this fun one shuttle block weave. First towel up is neon green linen!

New Year's Eve is also my Mom's birthday. She'll be 79. We're taking her out for dinner at a fancy restaurant to celebrate. Some things never change! ;-)

Wishing you all a good and safe New Year's Eve. Let's hope that 2017 is better than our expectations....

Parting shot: An exhausted Santa Paws tucked in for a long winter's nap!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Organic Flocking

You know...SNOW! It's going to be a white Christmas here in the Greensprings.

Mother Nature and Old Man Winter are working together to bring beauty and serenity to my special place in the world. The woods are beckoning to me today to take a quiet walk among whispering giants, to sit until my own shoulders gather a snowy shawl, my nose and cheeks become rosy and my hair is ruffled in all directions by gusts both gentle and strong.

I might even have to stomp out a reindeer landing pad. I'm sure Jack and Robin and Spike and Smoochie and Pogo would all be willing to mark out the perimeter! ;-)

It is almost time to track Santa. You know it is with childhood joy I give you this link each year.
It's always fun checking in, spiked eggnog in hand, to watch his progress.

To all my friends, far and near, hold loved ones close,

and for gosh sakes, have a very Merry Christmas, A Happy Hanukkah, a Joyful Kwanzaa, or a Festive Festivus. Let love and kindness shine no matter what flavor your holiday is.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Ho Ho Humbug

It really isn't the best of holiday seasons. My Dad was the master orchestrator of Christmas and we have all missed him in our own special way. This is one holiday season we just want to get to the other side of. Simple as that.

That's not to say we have been completely cheerless, we haven't. There are good friends to visit with while shopping or dining out. There are gifts to wrap and give, holiday music, snowflakes, cookies and crackling fires. Memories to make and others to revisit. Most of my gifts this year were handmade by me, others by someone else. Etsy was my stomping ground this year for almost everything that didn't come from my two hands. Friends got a lot of jam!

I also treated myself this season. maybe more than I normally would have but, but no one is counting.
I have long been trying to wean my household away from plastic. We went to old fashioned Pyrex glass containers, good for storing and baking in.  Cindie and I met last Saturday in Grants Pass for a little shopping, gift exchanging and some lunch. We started at the Kitchen Store and I snagged some fun items for storage. First up is Bee's Wrap.

I bought two large pieces and cut them down to sizes I would use. Frankly, as time goes on I'll buy more and slowly change most things stored in the fridge to this. We always keep many
different cheeses on hand and it represents a lot of wasted plastic. This is made in Vermont, my favorite state, hands down.

These little silicon cloches expand.

The base is a cutting surface, the top forms an airtight seal for cut onions, tomato, or what have you that will fit. The little tab on top is for grabbing because squeezing the silicone cloche will allow it to be opened. These are made by Prepara. Certainly better than wrapping the half of a ? in plastic wrap or a sandwich bag.

I love honey and this is so much prettier to keep it in than the jar our local honey producers used.

I was really just looking for a wood honey dipper, but who could resist the set? Not me!

Oh and the sparkle sugar on the cookies rounded out my finds

along with some replacement stirrers and such in bright colored melamine.

 I was GOBSMACKED at the beautiful shawl Cindie made

 and competed with a fox shawl pin.

 How beautiful and special. Cindie, I have worn it everyday since. It's like a continuous hug from a good friend. Thank you.

As you can see, little sewing has gone on. That's it for the week.

Nick has been threaded with his linen warp and is being sleyed, slowly.  Cookies baked, a lovely cauliflower and potato curry

made for grabbing on busy nights, with rice, or a bit of baked fish or a sandwich. I might turn the rest into samosas.

My Mom got the apartment she wanted. The manor works on a first come first serve basis and we were particular as to what she desired. Today I will go work with renovations as I did for my folks when they moved from MA to OR. Flooring, cabinets, countertops, lighting and paint will all be selected. The 10th floor apartment with a view will be ready for her in 45-60 days. She will only have to go down an elevator to be with friends and have access to all the activities provided, along with 4 restaurants on campus. Woohoo!

Parting shot: Peek a boo! I see you.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

It's Getting Mighty Swampy Out There

Or maybe a better title might have been Bread and Circuses?

 I can't imagine that anyone thinks it's a good idea to appoint people who have no experience or great dislike for the agencies they will head up. I can't imagine a President elect asking for all the names of folks who worked on climate change in their agency. Employees, like you and me, doing their jobs. Are we talking witch hunt here? I can't imagine that the people of the United States can't see that the threads that connect through this new cabinet is bankers, billionaires and big oil. These are groups of folks that really and truly don't have the middle classes best interests at heart. Nor do they particularly care about clean air and water, preserving public lands because face it, they can go and live where those qualities still exist, at least for a time....

This a money and land grab pure and simple. Pillage and weaken our democracy. There are parallels to made to the rise of Fascism in Germany. Didn't the people of Germany say over and over again, "We didn't believe he would really do those things." when Hitler started talking about strengthening Germany by persecuting one minority or another. All in the interest of making Germany "great" again. Have we all forgotten that? I find it particularly unsettling that all three branches of government are under one majority, one that has gerrymandered and cheated to win elections, a party that looked away when they were told that an enemy state was hacking to help a candidate of their party. A party that is more partisan than patriotic. Insanity.. Some people may benefit from it, but the vast majority of us will not.

 It really is time to call in the dogs and piss on the fire. Contact your congress folks, sign petitions, let your voice be heard. If you don't know who they all are, here is a link to help you out. For petitions, list is here. If you have the time and inclination, calling your chosen rep and speaking at least to an aid is the most effective. And if you are fine with this, then do nothing but don't whine about how things aren't better down the road a bit.

Okay, off the soap box and moving on. No pun intended and heading into the sewing salon.  Some fun new fabrics to add to the curated stash.

 A few have already been utilized in a Sunday morning cutting frenzy.

Nothing swampy about this green!

 Through my years of sewing I have botched more vest patterns than I care to mention. I've had a few that I thought would work well, but they didn't. I decided to grab an old Butterick Connie Crawford pattern B5473. I like the cut of this long vest but it's a bit close and it has no collar. I graded out for a looser fit on this wearable test run and installed a high collar.

 Robin & Hazel playing in the mirror
 Now this bull denim with stretch is heavy and cheap. It was hard to work with, but I have some beautiful nubby salt and pepper wool that will be just perfect for this. I'll shorten it and line it.

This cotton sateen print was made into another fun Indygo Junction Retro Raglan, lengthened a bit.

Notice the collar? This is what I used for the vest, modified a bit of course.

Last make was a quick Kiota top using limited yardage of a lovely light cloth from India, hand printed most likely.

 It was in the latest stash upgrade above. At only 1.5 yards this was an easy pattern choice.

Saturday I also added to the yarn stash. I really just went in to the Web-sters for two knitting patterns.
This is what I came out with.

 I just finished my bit of gift knitting, so I can put on the needles whatever my heart desires.

Some spinning has been going on too. The Matchless got dusted off and Jack wanted to jump in and learn the ins and outs and of course, have me move the wheel closer for him! ;-)

And there has been snow and broken plow vehicles.

 No doubt more of both to come. In fact it looks like we got a good 6 inches overnight. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Here is this years holiday book choice.

Parting shot: Read to me of biscuits and bones and Santa Paws.


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

There's Snow in Them Thar Hills

In the valley looking up

And lots of clouds and ice too.

Highway 66

Winter came in with a slush storm, then it turned to snow.
My drive down to town yesterday was a bit slick but very pretty!

Highway 66 
 We do love our Subaru's in this part of the world. I swear just about every family up here has one and if they don't it's 4WD truck of some sort.

I had a little bit of down time, or should I say home time? I cobbled 3 days together without having to  get into the car and drive down to town.  One day I stayed in my PJ's ALL DAY just cause I could.
The sewing salon saw a pretty good draw down on the cut and waiting pile with these two pieces.

The adorable raccoon fabric became a wonderful warm cold weather tunic.

The Esme neckline and body with the Scout Tee arm hole and sleeves is perfect. Nice big patch pockets lined in some pale pink linen scraps complete the garment. I'm not a big fan of flannel but the Japanese flannel is lighter with a lower nap and I like that. I might look for more in another pattern.

The second piece is a happy grass green linen. Modified Grainline Scout tee with inset side pockets.

 The bit of patterned fabric is another saved shirt piece.

If you look closely you can see the button at the top of the neckline. I cut it from the very bottom of the shirt button placket so there is still a lot of this pretty fabric left. Neck binding came from a sleeve.

Fiona the Wolf Pup has got another warp on her. This one a scarf all in Shepherd's Wool.

Lovely stuff. The weft is some Shibui yarn, a silk merino blend. I'm doing a bit of inlay. This is a gift. It's been a long time since I wove a scarf. Certainly is faster than towels or runners!

The Macomber has been loaded with his linen and cotton warp.

 I need to make time to thread but the winding on went very quickly with the warping valet. Amazing what I can get done in 3 days in my Pj's huh? ;-)

And of course, the holiday season has started in earnest. I am doing very little shopping this year. Most gifts to friends and family this year are home crafted, but there was one big gift I needed to get and that was for my Mom. Now we took the dining table and chairs because when she moves it will be a much smaller place, but she still needs to have some place to eat. Last Saturday, small business Saturday,  I found this awesome set and knew it was just perfect.

 Sturdy, no sharp edges and scaled perfectly for apartment living. The chairs BTW are extremely comfortable! We'll bring it down Christmas eve with a big red bow on it.

Parting shot: Hanging out.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Our Day to Shine Tuesday

Forget Black Friday, Buy Local Saturday and Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday is all about facing outward and lending a helping hand. Donate time with a food kitchen, give canned goods, there are toy drives and coat drives. Most cities and towns have safe houses for battered women and many are in need of just the basic items since they likely left quickly to save their lives and those of their children.

Grocery stores, at least the ones around here, have coupons for dollar amounts to allow food banks to shop the items they need to round out their donations.

Your local animal shelter always needs littler and food, safe toys, blankets, beds and towels. Most of them have a wish list if you want to help fund those goals. If you adopt an animal, why not pay for another animals adoption, maybe one who has been at the shelter way too long?

This is a day when all acts of kindness and charity, are noted and appreciated, and heaven knows, there is a lot of need in the world right now.  It isn't what you give,  it's that you give, with intent and kindness. Go spread some good Karma today of one sort or another, it will make you feel wonderful, really. :-)