Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Finished

 
 
 
 
 
I have a finished little neck warmer. My Pea Vines mini shawl is blocked and ready to wear. It seems that It took forever. Maybe because I haven't knit lace in over a year? Maybe because I had to take it off the needles and start over? ...and that would be because I didn't read the pattern and know that I didn't have enough yarn to make the larger size. I can't stand it when I do something totally incompetent. Stupid even. Because who pays the price in the long run? Me! Anyway, my diligence has paid off in the long run. It's done, and I love it.
 
I'm so thankful to be almost totally recovered from my spine surgery. I went to an appointment with my surgeon last week. My bones are about 90% fused. I don't have to go back for six more months! It's like a miracle! He even looked at the old x-rays and shook his head and commented that he couldn't believe how bad it was. I believed it. I had to live with it. When I look back, I can't believe that I made it through all those years, and especially that last year in so much misery. I will be forever grateful that I found someone who would repair it!
 
So, I may be a bit out of practice in the lace-knitting department, but I'm planning my next project already, and hope to have many more!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Pea Vines

 
 
 
 
 
 
...and the Pea Vines mini shawl is officially blocking! I could have finished it a month ago, but it sat waiting in my basket. I don't know why I let things just sit around. The only thing I had left to complete this little gem was to kitchner stitch the last row and weave in two ends. I think that gives a new level to procrastination. Don't you?  I adore Knitspot patterns by Anne Hanson. As I've said, charts and I seem to disagree, and she offers not only beautiful charts, but written instructions for dense knitters like me. Thank you Anne. I can't wait to wear this beauty to "Bee" on Wednesday!
 


Cabinish

We haven't looked at any cabins in a while. So much for my commitment. I'm trying to get back to a routine after a very busy two months. Trying. Right now I can't make any promises, except one. I'm trying...
 
I love this cabin. It's like a tree house. Something that the Ewoks might live in. It's in the process of being re-sided. Somehow there hasn't been any progress in a year, so maybe the homeowner likes two different surfaces. Time as always will tell.
 


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thankful




We had a fun and food filled day with our family. I had spent a few days baking and filling the freezer. I baked maple sweet potato muffins and pillowy soft dinner rolls. I also baked-and forgot chocolate walnut biscotti. It's time for a little biscotti dipping in hot chocolate or a cup of tea. I need to go get one... Okay, I'm back.

We also had three kinds of home baked pie. Pumpkin, because I don't think you can celebrate Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie with a hefty helping of whipped cream. We had an apple pie with a crumb topping, and a chocolate pie. I tried all three, and I'm still not sure which one I like best.

I ordered a big turkey from Diestel, which is a local farm that raises turkeys. I wasn't very happy with it. It was old. Stringy. I didn't know that you can order a hen, or a tom. I really think I ordered too large a bird, and got a tough old tom. It was too strong tasting as well. Just sort of blah all the way around. The stuffing and potatoes were good, and they are my favorites anyway.

The best part of the day was spending it with my sons and their families. I missed two of my grandsons, who were with their Mother. Hopefully we will see them soon. I really need to remember to plan a game playing session for next year. Something that we can all enjoy. A little Trivial Pursuit, perhaps? For Disney lovers? We all could play it. I'm waaay over Candy Land!

Until next year.


Monday, November 26, 2012

One More Thing

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
So, one more time I seem to have gone away. I've been away from my blog for a long time. Longer than I thought I would be. I knew that I was going to be very busy for about six or seven weeks, but apparently I didn't plan on not even having time to type. I really enjoy this little blog of mine, and I do not like it when I am unable to update.
 
I told you about Miss Rowan and her debut.
 
 I hosted my quilt group.
 
My hubby and I returned from a very special and fun cruise on the Disney Wonder to the Mexican Riviera. I had sea sickness when I got home. Totally strange. Not on the ship, but on dry land.
 
I spent a week and a half doing laundry, putting everything away and cleaning up from our trip, and then:
 
Time to start baking for and cleaning for Thanksgiving. All three of our sons were here, and I was beyond thankful to spend a holiday with all of them. Four of our precious Grandchildren were here as well. Unfortunately two of them couldn't make the trip to see us, and boy were they missed. Dinner was fun and tasty too! I think next year we will include board games after dinner. We will have a great time, and I just bought a new Disney Trivial Pursuit. The challenge will be on!
 
I finished decorating my house for christmas yesterday. This week I have my quilt group here again, so the cleaning and baking will be on starting tomorrow.
 
You are up to date, and I hope to be back shortly...


Monday, October 22, 2012

Home

 
 
 
 
I have been home since yesterday afternoon. Trying to regain my stamina. Dog shows are hard work. Fun, but lots of work. If anyone thinks it's a vacation, they would be dead wrong. I was awake at 4:30 on the day I left, and I think at 5 every morning at the show. My friends and I had a little bit of sitting at the show, but most of it was spent working. Soooo.... now my Sjogrens Syndrome is totally flared up. My face is on fire, my joints all hurt like mad, and I am so tired. I want to go to bed, but won't give in to it. I am resting, but knitting while I rest. Hopefully I'm back to my perky self tomorrow.
 
 
Anyway... my puppy was very nervous on her first day at the show. All of the dogs, and hair dryers, and people everywhere. It's a bit overwhelming. By day two she was more confident. I was so proud of her. She was a little wiggley in the ring, but for her first time and considering how new it all was, she did beautifully. Way to go Miss Rowan! You are off and running, and it will be so fun to see you grow and develop. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Field Trip

 
 
I'm going to be out of town for a few days. A certain puppy of mine will be in her first show this weekend... See you in a few !

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Still Knitting-Still Quilting

I have been diligently stitching away on my " Pea Vines" scarf. Remember, it started out as a shawl, but has been reduced by my yarn. It will now be a scarf. I have so many projects in line to be completed, that I'm seriously looking forward to winter. As long as my power stays on... When the power is out, I'm reduced to reading with my itty-bitty book light.

I have a sock on the needles, another "Fusilli" scarf about 2/3 done, and an eggplant colored silk cardigan, "Thornfield". Wait until you see it!  I also want to knit "Bee Fields" this winter. I've had the perfect yarn just lounging in a basket waiting for my knitting ability to improve enough to try it. I think I'm ready! I think I have to look up provisional cast-on, on Youtube. What did we do without Youtube? A few minutes on the computer saves me twenty dollars for having to go to the drop-in class at my local yarn shop to have my problem solved.

These are only the knitted projects. What about the quilting? I have one that I am in the process of  hand quilting, one that is being embroidered, and stacks and stacks of fabric for quilts in the design process.

That's my progress report. I'm thinking it better be pretty stormy this winter, because that's only a partial list. What are you planning?

Monday, October 15, 2012

PIQF Part Two

 
 
 
 
 


 

 
More PIQF fun... Around noon, my friends and I leave the convention hall for a picnic on the grass. We share crusty french bread, cheese, fruit, goodies from the deli, and of course dessert. We relax on a quilt that we have brought from home for a few minutes before we re-enter the hall filled with hanging art and of course the shopping! Oh, the shopping... I have to admit that we did break one tradition this year. We shopped on the first day. Usually we only allow ourselves to shop on day two, but we have found that we missed out on treasures by waiting. Certain items that we really wanted were sold out by waiting, so we broke that rule!
 
 
 
I have a bit of editorial comment on the above quilt, which was breath-takingly beautiful... The quilter should really have used rolled up tissue in the folds when she shipped it. Look at those folds? Sad...


 

 
After a full day of quilt immersion, we check into our hotel, read or knit for a while and then head to dinner at "The Fish Market". Dinner is a treat, as we do not have a fish restaurant in the little community that most of us live in. After dinner we head back to the hotel for dessert, and more knitting and talking, talking, talking... Oh, and the magazines that we bought earlier.
 
Day two is started with breakfast and a walk, and then back to the show! More quilt viewing and more shopping! I really don't know which is more inspirational, the quilts on display, or the vendors displays. For me, I find the vendors have a lot of quilts that are more my style, or more at my level of ability? As I said earlier, I'm really not into the "bling" or contemporary art quilts...
 
Well, until next year. It's been perfect!
 
 (Don't forget-if you click on the photos, you can enlarge them to see the detail)
 
 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cabin Sunday

 
 
 
Another vintage Twain Harte cabin. This one is never occupied, so there hasn't been an opportunity to take a peek inside. You know, when the lights are on and you can just see inside for a teeny tiny glimpse... I imagine it's all knotty pine though. Thankfully I have a good imagination. I can just hear the rain on that metal roof, can't you? I love the red trim too.
 
Have a great Sunday, and I'll show more photos tomorrow from PIQF.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Show


 
 
These are photos of two of the quilts that I loved at PIQF. For some reason Blogger will only let me make one photo extra large per post, so if you want to see close ups you only have to click on the photo, and you will be able to. Please be sure to look at the photos enlarged. The quilts are stunning in detail!



 

I had a wonderful time with two of my friends at the Pacific International Quilt Show. It's held in the convention center in Santa Clara. We have tried and true traditions that we follow, to the letter. Because they are fun! We left my house at seven in the morning, and our first stop was two hours later. We always go to Barnes and Noble and buy magazines. You know-the magazines that have thick, matte paper with wonderful photos? One of my favorites is Where Women Create. There is a second magazine called Where Women Cook. I already had both, but had been saving them for our trip. We buy pumpkin spice lattes, and eat apple spice donuts before we leave. I always bring donuts! Home baked, of course! Home baked sounds like they might be a healthy treat, but that would be incorrect. They are baked, but then dipped in warm melted butter (soaked), and then shaken in a ziplock bag filled with sugar and cinnamon. Perfect!
 
Next stop the show! There were a lot of  "Art" quilts this year. I noticed a lot of "bling" on the quilts, and a lot of silk fabric. The silk I loved, and the bling not so much... My favorite quilts are the traditional ones, and quite frankly they have sort of been moved to the back of the show with the wearable art. What's up with that? I love hand applique, and hand quilting. Am I out of the loop?
 
Next, more photos...
 



 


 
I really had too many favorites to mention, and I think I'll be back with the rest of the story tomorrow. Oh, and if you scroll to the last post I've added more photos...
 
Have a happy Saturday!

 


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

PIQF

 
 

My friends and I are heading three hours west tomorrow to go to the Pacific International Quilt Festival. http://www.quiltfest.com/activities.asp?id=7 It's in Santa Clara, CA. We will be stopping at Barnes and Noble to shop and pick up pumpkin spice lattes to go with our apple spice donuts.
 
After a morning looking at at all of the spectacular quilts we go out to the lawn for a picnic. More quilts follow. Dinner is at The Fish Market, and we spend the evening knitting or sewing while talking and laughing. We read awesome magazines. You know those expensive ones that are printed on good paper with great photos.
 
...and all that's only day one! See you when I get back. I'll let you know what fun we have. Maybe I'll see you there.

I still have to tell you about Bee this afternoon. I have a photo or two, but the camera is packed. Remind me later... Here they are...





 
The quilts are mine, not from the quilt show. Thanks for stopping by!
 
 


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Buttons

 
 
 
 
Do you have one of these? A button jar? I do, and it is filled with treasures. I have been collecting buttons for many years. Not the museum quality "collecting", but the bits of this and that collecting. I used to do a lot of clothing sewing. Unfortunately for that hobby, I discovered quilting and became obsessed with that. While I was sewing garments, I always had a leftover button here and there. I saved them. My Mom collected beautiful buttons for me, and antique buttons for me. She gave me cards of buttons, and jars of buttons. I treasure them.
 
Now I knit. I love to knit. The peace and quiet. The calmness. The color and texture. Everything. The lace shawls, and scarves. The sweaters. The socks. Now, I have a belief. I believe that if I use great yarn, and I spend hours, days, weeks and months of my precious time making something beautiful, then it deserves beautiful buttons. So, I have more buttons for my jar. My jar sits on a shelf in my sewing room. I do use things out of it from time to time, but mostly it's a collection of my life in fabric and yarn.
 
Have a colorful day...

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Choose Joy

 
 
 
I am trying to live my life by the motto "Choose Joy". It's not easy some days. I have read of two other, much younger than me women who have chosen this as well. One of them is Ashley Hacksaw, the owner and blogger at http://www.lilblueboo.com/. She was diagnosed with a rare cancer a year ago. Please go read her story. She is also a crafter and business owner. She's a wife and mother. She had a challenging-to put it mildly-year, and she lived it with joy and humor. She still does. Every day!
 
The other young woman has unfortunately passed away from an autoimmune disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis. I found her blog last year when I was researching back pain. Her story is so inspirational. She was forced by her disease to live totally indoors...and I mean totally in her own house. She couldn't even leave for medical appointments. Her name was Sara, and this is her blog http://gitzengirl.blogspot.com/.
 
If these women can live their lives this way, than I can try. I don't claim to have issues that in any way campare to either of them, and that isn't my point. My point is that our lives are short, and we all have issues to deal with. Wouldn't you rather be filled with joy, than bitterness? See the good in not only yourself, but others? ...and that's the little, itty bitty problem that I'm having with this... Those other people that I can't control. Maybe I'll go have something fattening to eat and ponder this some more. What's more joyful than pumpkin cheesecake?
 
So, as you see, I think that this will be a process. Have a joyful day!


Sunday

 
I took my puppy for her walk a bit early this morning so that I could take a few photos to share with you of some of our local cabins. I am going to post a photo every Sunday. I tried to take photos of cabins yesterday, but the sun was totally up and the light and shadow played havoc with them. Too much light, and too much shadow. Everything was speckled. I'm trying to take better photos, and I'm learning by trial and error. I hope you will stay with me while I'm learning...
 
Trial and error is the way I work. I taught myself to quilt, and to knit. To be a gardener, and now I'm trying to take better photos.
 
Have a lovely Sunday, and "Choose Joy". Even if everything tells you it won't work... No one said it would be easy, people!
 
 


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Finally

 
 
 
Aren't these bright and cheery on this perfect crispy Autumn morning? I woke up this morning to the smell of woodsmoke outside. I was wearing a sweatshirt, and a hand knit wool sweater. Believe me, I was not complaining! I love, love, love Autumn! I even capitalize it when I shouldn't!  Any day now I will be regaling you with photos of red and amber leaves. Gold ones as well.
 
I've been busy reading and knitting. Not feeling too perky, so I've been resting. I have a very busy month in this birthday month of mine. I am hosting "Bee" here this coming Wednesday, and a friend is joining us from out of state. I haven't seen her in two and a half years, so I'm very excited about that. Beyond excitement, being the hostess means baking and cleaning like mad. I have three Golden Retrievers, and they lose hair continually. I still haven't decided what to bake. I know that I have to have apple cinnamon donuts, or there may be a mutiny.
 
The day after "Bee" three of my friends and I are travelling to PIQF-Pacific International Quilt Show. We have quite a ritual... I'll tell you when I get home.
 
The week after the quilt show my puppy, Masters Once Upon A Time, (don't you just love that name?)-Rowan, is making her debut at her first dog show. I hope the judges have a sense of humor. Then two weeks after that I'm sailing away with Mickey. Oh, yeah and my hubby!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Simple

 
 
 
I've changed the look of this blog. I want a more simple look. Uncomplicated, and focused on one thing. One item. One thought. Calm. Uncluttered.
 
I can be scattered if I let myself. Rushing from one project to the next, and never finishing. My thoughts, at times can flit from one thing to another. I function much better when I focus. My writing style is not filled with adjectives, flowery and complicated. When I was in school, I always got "'A's" when I wrote research papers, and something less when I had a creative writing assignment. I can still remember how frustrated my tenth grade English teacher used to get with me. I just could NOT embellish! Somehow I don't have problems embellishing fabric, yarn and card stock...
 
I read a lot of blogs, and some are filled with delicious detail. Unfortunately some are filled with extraneous language. Another teacher defined "extraneous" as
- a fly in pea soup. Something that just doesn't belong. Isn't that a picture for a lovely Monday morning? I'm going to try and not be one of those flys.
 
I hope you have a lovely day. I'll be knitting.
 
 


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cabins

 
 
I've been pondering an ongoing feature that I want to start.
 As you know, I live in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. This community has been a vacation village for many years and has some charming cabins. Some are old, and some are brand shiny new. The older cabins are my favorite, and I wish that I could have tours of the insides of them. I like to take drives at night when the interior lights are on so that I can see some of the old fashioned charm. They are knotty pine, stone fireplace treasures. Some have pine tree stumps as foundations. No cement, no earthquake retrofits, no insulation, no heaters, no nothin'. No nothin', but charm. I'm thinking of posting one photo every Sunday. No addresses or names, just a single photo. What do you think?
 
Please comment. I have viewers, but no commenters... I'm starting to get a complex!
 
 
 


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pesto

 
I grew one basil plant this summer. It wasn't in the best spot in the garden. A couple of volunteer sunflowers popped up in front of the basil when I wasn't paying attention and it didn't get enough sun.  I was still recovering from my spine surgery, and I couldn't bend over or move the flowers. Anyway, I just love sunflowers so I couldn't remove their sunny faces. They're so happy!
 
My basil plant was sort of puny, and had little leaves. I pinched the buds off all summer, and eventually had enough leaves to make one batch of pesto. I don't know what happens to basil when you add garlic, cheese, olive oil and pine nuts, but I do know that it's magic. Magic that I freeze in ice cube trays and then place in ziplock bags. Magic that I can have on homemade pizza or pasta in the middle of winter when we have snow on the ground.
 
It's magic.
 
3 cups basil leaves
 
1/2 cup olive oil
 
1/2 cup parmesean cheese
 
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (toasted is WAY better)
 
Three or four garlic cloves
 
Salt and pepper
 
Place whole, peeled garlic cloves in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Turn processor off and add basil leaves, cheese, toasted pine nuts, salt and pepper. Pulse until almost smooth. Slowly drizzle in olive oil and when incorporated turn off the processor. You don't want it absolutely smooth. A little character please...
 
Back to business... Spoon the pesto into old fashioned, plastic ice cube trays. Place in freezer until frozen. Then pop the pesto cubes out of the trays and place into ziplock bags. Delicious!
 


Friday, September 28, 2012

Never Give Up

 
 
I told you that I had to start over with Pea Vines. In fact I had to start over twice. I discovered that I actually only have enough yarn to knit the mini size, and I had cast on for the medium. So, the second attempt was frogged as well... I don't know about the rest of you knitters, but I really do not like to rewind my yarn and start over. I think of the time lost. The time that I spent on that yarn. The stitches that were perfect, until I made an un-recoverable mistake. It just frustrates me. Makes me mad at myself. For not paying enough attention. For trying to do too many things at once. For being distracted.
 
Removing the errors in knitting is what has made me able to knit at all. I spent the first year or two of my knitting career starting over. Then, I couldn't "read" my knitting, and I couldn't see where the mistake was. I only knew that I was off a stitch or two. I couldn't get the stitches back on the needles if they had to be taken off. I would have to take the needles out, re-wind my yarn, and start over.  Let's just say that after a lot of practice, I'm usually able to see the problem.
 
I am my Fathers child. I never let anything stop me if I want it bad enough. I have a single minded focus if I need it that helps me learn, and improve, and move forward. I wish the focus was always engaged, and then I wouldn't make the mistake in the first place. As Dad used to say... "You just didn't think". He was right. A little more focus on the knitting the first time around would prevent that horrible frogging.
 
The only good thing, is I'm getting pretty good at "nupps". Practice is a good thing...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fade

 
 
 
The last blast of summer is here. It is going to be warm the next few days. The air conditioner will be on in the afternoons. The weather man says we should be having a "cool down" starting in the middle of next week. I can hardly wait. My garden doesn't have one thing blooming except the Japanese anemone. They are purple jewels in the midst of a parched and dry landscape. Everything else looks sort of crispy around the edges and tired. Ready for a long nap.
 
I am always ready for autumn and even winter. I like storms, but not the ones that knock trees down. We had one of those last winter. There were pines through roofs all over this little village. The dentists office was completely rebuilt, because a massive tree sliced it right through the middle. There were patients in chairs and all of the staff in that building. Truly a miracle, that no one was hurt. There were adorable old cabins and not so adorable cabins that thankfully weren't occupied when trees sliced them open.
 
I'm just ready for a fire in the stove, candles and hot chocolate. My garden looks ready for a rest as well.
 
I did plant a few winter vegetables. Broccoli, cabbage and garlic. I have never tried growing anything through our snowy winter. We'll call it an experiment, and see what happens. I'll be in the house with my knitting. I have two quilts that need to be quilted as well, and I can't wait to get to work. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

So

 
 
 
 
So, just when I was really proud of myself for not making a mistake in my knitting the fates gave it to me. I had completed about four or five inches without having to resort to the lifeline. I moved it about every four rows just in case. Last night when I knew I was too tired to be knitting at all, much less knitting lace, I made a mistake. I ripped out two rows to my life line. I decided to do one more row before calling it a night and guess what?. I was one stitch short. I ripped it out one more time...
 
That stitch was not only missing, but I had not run my life line through it and there was a BIG hole where that stitch should have been.
 
I was not a happy camper. I pulled the whole thing out and re-rolled my yarn.
 
Today, I have started over. No smugness any more... Oh, No. I've learned my lesson. It also kept me awake all night, so I had a double lesson.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bounty

 
 
 
 
 
This time of year I spend a lot of time working with pears. I love pears and it's a good thing I do.
 
 The property I am lucky enough to live on used to be a pear orchard. Used to be, almost one hundred years ago. We have found rusty horseshoes when digging holes to plant more apple trees, or my personal favorite, more ruby gems. Maple trees. I think that there are eight pear trees. They are knobby and crooked and ancient. They are starting to think about turning golden yellow.
 
Back to the pears...
 
I have baked three pear pies. Simmered three gallons of pear sauce. Canned four pints of pear jam. I have four more pints of jam to go, and I will have another pear season under my belt. If you haven't tried pear jam on a warm buttery biscuit, you have seriously missed out on a delicious pear experience.

I didn't even mention the green beans, and the dehydrated tomatoes. I've been working with them too...
 
 While I have been immersed in sugary pear heaven, I have also knit a row or two here and there. I've also completed the applique portion of my pumpkin quilt. I have to sew the borders, and then it's on to my first experiment in machine quilting. Nothing really to photograph, but I'm still working.
 
 
Oh. I have a puppy that I've been spending quality time with. One of my best friends...
 
 
 


Monday, September 10, 2012

Working

I've spent the early morning training my puppy, and walking one of my other dogs. The dog run is clean. I'm on my third load of laundry. I need to vacuum my sewing room, and then I'm going to knit and work on my Autumn quilt. I wish the weather would become autumn like. The light is changing. The sun is lower in the sky, and more golden. The finches are very busy at my feeder outside the sewing room window. They have bright yellow breasts, and they twitter as they position themselves for a feast. I think that they would be happier as well, if it wasn't so warm.
 
Do you see that green life line? ...and all those stitch markers. I am unable to knit lace without them. I need those stitch markers to know where I am. I also use one of those stitch counters. You know the red ones that you click the top of to count? I have to keep track of my repeats with it. Don't you think that I could count to seven? Nope. Not without my clicker.
 
Have a lovely day. I hope its crispy cool where you are. I wish it were crispy cool here too...