Friday, July 30, 2010

Strike a pose . . .

My daughter has a gorgeous camera . . . expensive, sophisticated . . . but she says my Easy Share Kodak has many of the advanced features her camera has.  Only problem is I haven't learned how to use them.  Riann has been taking some classes and is willing to share her knowledge with me--my plan is to take her up on her offer.  And I just learned that my friend, Cindy, at Jacob's Reward Farm, is having a photography workshop on September 25th--given by Ellie Ivanova.  I know Ellie has a web site, but I can't find her card to list it for you.  But here's a link to a few of her photos--she does gorgeous, over the top beautiful work!  Ellie's photos.  I'll definitely be attending that workshop!

In the meantime, here are a couple of the photos I took this morning.

I can't remember when we planted this apple tree . . but it was at least ten years ago.  This is the first time we've gotten anything close to real, edible fruit.  In fact, there are two apples I spotted on the tree!  I'm embarrassed to say that I just noticed them this morning when I took Mac out.  But you can be sure I'll be watching more closely now to make sure they're "safe."

I think it was even longer ago that we planted these day lilies. In fact, I remember that Riann was a brownie at the time because I was her troop leader and one of the mothers gave me the bulbs.  So it was probably 25 years ago (or more) that these bulbs were planted . . . and they're still flowering.  Amazing!

Does anybody know what these are?  They're in our butterfly garden on the north side of our house.  I came home one Saturday and Big Daddy had planted this beautiful garden.  I've enjoyed it so much.  I thought it was cool that there was still dew on this flower when I took the picture this morning.  Very peaceful.
These beauties are in the back yard--around the pool.  Again, I don't know what they're called, but aren't they pretty?
And the day just wouldn't have been complete if I hadn't included a look-see at the pictures I took at my niece's house last weekend.  Stacy, and her husband Dell, have two of the cutest kiddos I've ever seen.  Elizabeth is five months old and the happiest, sweetest girl ever.  What a little lover.

And JD could.not.be.cuter!!!  What a sweet, precious boy--and he is all boy!  Look at that beautiful head of hair.  Did I say he couldn't be cuter?  Adorable!!














Cute kids, beautiful flowers, marvelous fruit . . . but don't you agree I need photo lessons?  This coming from a photographer's daughter? 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Speaking of fiber . . .

I vacuumed yesterday . . . at least I tried to vacuum.  For some reason, my Oreck just wasn't picking up the way it should and there was a strange sound.  So I unplugged it and turned it over.

Wowsers!!

We've had this Oreck for about a year now (it's our second), and I'm sure I haven't turned it over--ever.  And boy was I missing a lot.

You're looking at the roller brush, completely enclosed in fiber.  There was barely a bristle that was showing through all the fibery goodness.  Did I say it was enclosed in fiber???  Guess I'll be changing my habits and removing fiber pieces from the floor before vacuuming from now on!!  Yikes.

Fiber phenomonon . . .

My introduction to fiber began when I was maybe four or five years old.  My mother gave me a piece of cotton, a needle, embroidery thread, scissors, and a hoop.  The cotton was printed with a house, gobs of flowers, and the saying "a man's house is his castle."  I finished it.  It was quite cute, actually, although certainly not professionally done.  The wrong side looked like a whirling dervish had done a number on it (what a mess!). 

I began sewing clothes when I was about 11.  My mother had bought a new sewing machine and I was intrigued with it.  I made an a-line skirt as my first number--cotton, sky blue.  It turned out OK, and led to a lifetime of sewing--made baby clothes, blankets, coats, prom dresses, even made a wedding dress once (wow, what a job!).  I was lucky I had a high school that had the full range of sewing classes and a sewing teacher who was brutal--Mrs. Krosky--who never allowed a mis-stitch to leave her classroom.  In other words, if it wasn't right, you redid it.  Can't tell you the number of "redo's" I did in my four years of high school.  When I was in the throes of making prom dresses, however, I said a prayer for her and thanked God she had taught me so well--no patterns for this girl, fit to the girl, and nearly couture (I still have one of the dresses to prove it).

So when my kiddos were born, I began to do needlepoint, inspired by my sweet Aunt Barbara.  She made beautiful piano bench covers hand painted to match her draperies, backgammon boards, and needlepoint tennis shoes custom created for the wearer.  What an inspiration she was! 

And through it all, I knit.  I loved knitting.  Well, really, let's be honest here:  I really loved the fiber, and loved the fabric it created after it was knit.  I learned to love the knitting part.  And, of course, in the past six months or so, I've learned another step in the creation process:  spinning. 

Cindy, of the ever famous Jacob's Reward Farm in Parker, TX, has been my enabler (bless her!).  I bought a share of her CSA and then found out it came in the form of roving (unspun fiber), so I had to learn to spin.  I also found out about Spinderella's Fiber Mill from Cindy (they process Cindy's fiber for her before she metes it out to her shareholders).

I emailed Lynn awhile back and asked her if two pounds of her thrums would spin up to enough fiber for a sweater.  She assured me it would.

I got the package and it seemed a little on the small side, but I'd never seen a box of two pounds of fiber before, so I wasn't too worried . . .

When I opened the box, the fiber literally popped out of the box--like a big ol' jack-in-the-box, except the good kind.
So I  began to spin, spin, spin . . .

And ply, ply, ply . . .














Coming up with this fabulous fiber . . .
















All ready to knit!
I've still not completed quite enough for the sweater I'll make for Phil (Big Daddy), but it's well on its way.  Really do love this fiber.  Of course, I'm told that it's mostly alpaca, which is my favorite fiber on earth to date, so how could I not love it!! 

Spin on!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The will of God . . .

My friend, Gracia, sent this to me yesterday.  I reread it this morning and loved it so much.  It was really meant to be a chain letter, which I responded to, but it holds its own on its own, don't you think.

'The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.'

Monday, July 26, 2010

Red socks . . .

When I was at Apple Leef Farm awhile back, I bought some undyed sock yarn intending to throw it in the dye pot when I dyed my Red Scarf Project.  Keep in mind that I've had my undyed scarf yarn and the dye for quite a long time . . . well, since Susie Gibbs announced the project back in May. 

I tightly twisted the two hanks of undyed Panda Bamboo/Wool/Nylon.  I soaked them for an hour or so before putting them in the dye pot.  Wow . . . the red is there, but so are about a gazillion other shades from the lightest toe-shoe pink to the brightest watermelon.  In fact, my granddaughter was eating watermelon as I was photographing the yarn, so I put her bowl of fruit next to the yarn so you could see just how similar they are.  Beautiful . . .

I can absolutely say that this is exactly the color I wanted . . . I just wonder if I could ever replicate it.  Do you think?

I can hardly wait to start in on my variegated red/pink/coral socks.  Yum . . . they look good enough to eat!!

xoxo

Project red dye . . .

My friend, Susie Gibbs, at Juniper Moon Farm, recently blogged about a subject close to her heart, Orphan Foundation of America’s Red Scarf Project.  She also offered a great deal if you wanted to purchase red yarn from her . . . but I had other ideas. 

Since I'm a relatively new spinner (just several months old), I have recently been pretty obsessed with spinning.  It's as though I just can't quite get enough of it.  I L.O.V.E. spinning.  I had spun some beautiful merino wool/mohair blend I purchased from Apple Leef Farm; I also had a big spool of mohair and another big spool of merino wool.  So I four-plied two plies of the merino wool/mohair blend that I handspun, and one ply each from the spool of mohair and the spool of merino wool. 

You would expect red dye to "take" equally on all different plies . . . right?  I mean, come on . . . we're talking about mohair and merino wool, right?  Wrong.  The red absorbed differently on the strands.  When I removed it from the dye pot and was hanging to dry (which I failed to get a picture of since it was pitch dark by then) I was pretty sure it was a goner . . . a lost cause . . . a failed attempt . . . the end. 

Never wanting to admit failure, I put it on the spool winder and wound balls (three to be exact, 270 yards total).  I scrounged for my size 11 needles, rifled through patterns on Ravelry, and began knitting.  I tried to find a pattern that would maybe not hide the imperfections in the dye job, but minimize them.  I had noticed this pattern earlier, and finally decided on My So Called Scarf (disclaimer clause:  this is a copyrighted pattern which is available free on Ravelry; however, you can't use the pattern for profit).  

Wow!!!  I'm so glad I didn't scrap this yarn.  I took a picture of the wound yarn and the beginning of the scarf.  I hope it shows the variations in the coloring well enough for you to see how beautiful this thing is turning out. 














The picture looks a little dark, but in fact, the red is dark . . . very dark.  But I also think you can see what looks like faded spots in the spools and in the scarf on the needles.  And that's exactly what it looks like:  faded red.  It's absolutely beautiful. 

I'll be taking this for show and tell Wednesday at my Texas Twisters weekly spin-in, so I hope you'll be there to see it!  It's great.

And read my next post for another crazy outcome with this dye . . .

Great fun!!

BTW, Susie also is offering a very generous giveaway if you want to participate in this project!  And you have until December 15th.  I might have to make several scarves so I get into the drawing several times.  Her yarns are TO DIE FOR!!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

What are you reading?

My daughter belongs to a book club.  I often keep up with my reading by "tagging" along with her group and reading their monthly selection.  Their July book was good--thought provoking with an interesting plot and several excellent characters.  As with many modern authors, I noticed a couple of inconsistencies (where are the editors?), but very minor.  I recommend The Help as an easy, fun read.

Today . . .

It was a perfect day . . . hot, yes, but perfect otherwise.  The clouds covered the sun a little, fooling the mind  (well, my mind, anyway) and making me think it might be cooling off a little.  Alas, the imagination!!

Knit with my lovely Tuesday friends sans Debra, who had a death in the family . . . sad news.  Her mother is hurting over the loss, so keep Debra's family in your prayers.

I began knitting my cute Terrific Tote today.  I love felted bags because their texture is so solid.  I'm making mine from Riverstone bulky I purchased on sale.  I had plenty, and it's a yummy strawberry color.  Should be very pretty.

My friend, Cindy, at Jacob's Reward Farm was so gracious today and let me bring my sweet Rowan for a visit with some of the animals.  Judah is a little intimidating, although he's totally doing his job by guarding his flock, so we weren't able to get to the bigger sheep flock.  But the south side of the farm has beautiful alpaca, lovely Jacob sheep, and some of the cutest hens you ever saw.  Rowan got to pick her own fresh egg out of the several that were waiting for Cindy.  She talked about it non-stop all the way home.

Cindy also has had Farm Bags made up!  Awesome color and fantastic size.  As a self-proclaimed bag connoisseur, I can attest that this bag rocks.  Cindy also added a PayPal button to her blog so it's easy to maneuver around and purchase her bags.  Love (1,000,000)--so go get you some!! 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Home at last . . .

It's fantastic to be home. Maggie, our kitty, was happy to see us; Mac was beside himself happy to see us; the yard guy mowed today; looks like Steve cleaned the carpet (what a guy!!), and the pool looks perfect.  Awwww . . . all is well.

xoxo

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

LaQuinta here I come . . .

We left Savannah (well, Georgetown, really, since that's where our apartment is) at around 9 a.m.  We drove to the Savannah/Hilton Head airport and left Phil's truck there since he'll be flying back to Savannah and will need to have his car there to get home. 

We had breakfast at Pooler, GA, near the airport, and filled up the car.  We managed to get on the road by about 9:30.  We drove through Macon, on to Atlanta, Talladega, through Birmingham, on through Tuscaloosa, and arrived in Pearl, Miss. (just east of Jackson) around 8 p.m. 

We stopped for lunch/very early dinner at a little town in Alabama--Bessemer.  You must remember that our track record with Cracker Barrel is horrible . . . so stopping there was a real stretch.  You see, it seems that every time we enter the doors of a Cracker Barrel, the cook goes on strike, they run out of food, all the staff has gone on break , etc. . . . you get the picture, huh?  Well, today it turned out fine . . . thank goodness.  Food was good, service was good, bathrooms were clean . . . wow!  What a treat!!

So we drove about 625 miles today--enough.  We're at The LaQuinta at Pearl, Mississippi (just east of Jackson).  We've had very good luck with LaQuinta, so it seems to have become our inn of choice.  It helps being a frequent user, also. 

So . . . tomorrow we begin again bright and early.  We have about 400+ miles to go, so we should be there before dark.  I'm excited to get home . . . to my own bed, my sweet Mac, and my adorable kitty, Maggie.  Hope they remember us!

xoxo

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My favorite things . . .

I love Quince & Co.  One of the girls from the group I spin with, Texas Twisters, told us about this web site . . . their system is so beautiful and simple. 



















(c) 2010 Quince & Co.

Going home . . .

I'm glad to say that tomorrow I'll leave Savannah to begin my trek home.  We'll drive through Macon, Atlanta, then through Birmingham and Tuscaloosa (Alabama), then on to Meridian and Jackson (Mississippi), Monroe and Shreveport (Louisiana), then on through to Dallas.  Not sure where we'll spend the night, but it's for sure a two-day drive. 



















Savannah's been a lot of fun and I loved being here with Big Daddy.  Snuggling up on a queen-sized bed when we've only owned king-sized beds for years was interesting, but we managed to manage.  Not having a washer and dryer at my fingertips was a challenge for me, but I survived that too.  Lots of things have been different while I've been here, but I'm glad I came!!

Ta ta, Savannah!!

xoxo













Monday, July 12, 2010

My favorite things . . .

Today I miss Pinkberry.












                  (c) 2010 Pinkberry, Inc.

Can't wait to get back to Dallas to "indulge." 

xoxo

Hello ocean . . .

Phil and I went to the ocean yesterday.  Not just any ocean . . . the Atlantic Ocean.  The first day I was here in Savannah, Phil took me to see the beach, but I didn't spend any time there and didn't swim in it.

Yesterday, however, I swam in the Atlantic.  Very different than the Pacific.  It has a different feel to the sand, a different pull to the tide, and it's saltier than the Pacific.  Phil and I agreed, though, that that's where the differences ended.  Every person we saw looked like they could have been on a California beach, every child digging and building sand castles looked familiar, and every volleyball game looked the same.  It was great fun.  I found a sand dollar in the sand at the bottom of the ocean with my big toe . . . I put it back in since they are living creatures.  It was fun to see one right out of the water, though. 


We stopped at The Crab Shack for a late lunch/early dinner.  While I'm not a great sea food lover, they had barbecued ribs that were out of this world, and Phil said the crab and shrimp was fantastic.  And it was a lot of fun.  We sat on the deck overlooking the water (I say water because there are so many rivers, creeks, inter coastal waterways . . . they all sort of blend together for me). 


We also were able to slip in a trip to Fort Pulaski.  This was where rifled cannons were first used . . . and I found out that the first baseball game in the United States was played at Ft. Pulaski. 


It was a memorable day! 

xoxo

Ambrosia for breakfast . . .

We had breakfast at, of all places, Golden Corral.  Go figure, folks!!!  My husband has been telling me how great their food is.  Well, let's be honest here . . . I've been to Golden Corral before, and their food isn't "great."  Okay, yes.  Not great. 

Well, I stand corrected in this case.  The Golden Corral on Abercorn Street in Savannah is fantastic!!  I'm not sure what kind of ambrosia they're using, but everything I put into my mouth tasted like nectar . . . so tasty and well cooked.  I might have to go back and try out a lunch and/or a dinner.  I hope it wasn't a fluke and that all their meals are as good. 

Pleasantly surprised!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

The past . . .

I've been turning old slides into electronic photographs while I've been here in Savannah.  It's sort of a double-edged sword, really.  It's so much fun to see these old pictures, but it makes me sort of melancholy going back in my mind to such an innocent time.  I'm glad I'm doing it, though . . .
My older sister and me, sitting on the piano bench.  Wish you could see the floral drapes in the background.  Of course, these pix are completely unretouched--I'll be photoshopping next, so the quality should end up a little better.  Cute picture, though, huh?

This is my older sister, Sue, me, and my brother, John (the oldest).  This picture was taken in about 1955 at Priest Lake, Idaho, where we had a lake place and spent our summers.  Cute picture . . . again.

This one is of me . . . I have no idea where I was or what I was doing. Was I a tomboy, or what? 

After I'm done with all these slides, I'm going to start in on my own family's negatives.  I'm so glad I found this little scanner at Walmart--and find it when I did.  I haven't seen it again and can't find it online either. 

xoxo

What are you reading?

Can't believe I haven't read The Count of Monte Cristo.  I downloaded the audio book and have been listening to it . . . and it's fantastic:  Successful young man on the road to success . . . falsely accused of a crime . . . sent to the dungeons . . . escapes . . . rewards for the good, punishments for the bad.  It's just been a great book.  If you haven't read it, you really should tackle it--you absolutely, positively will.not.be.sorry!!!

The Savannah saga continues . . .

I just feel so super lucky to be able to go to places away from home . . . see other cultures, see where history happened, see different art works.  Savannah has turned out to be a good experience.  And we were able to go to Charleston, SC on Monday, the 5th.  It's just a two-hour drive from Savannah.  Wow . . . that city has really gone the distance to keep the historical integrity intact.  The churches, cemeteries, old houses--just really a lovely place. 










A house on Battery Street--Charleston Bay waterfront.






Lovely courtyard of house on Bay Street



Charleston Bay / Cooper River











Another sweet courtyard in Charleston















And of course, no trip to Charleston would be complete without a look at Ft. Sumter . . . this is where the first gunfire of the Civil War occurred.  Because the island was the subject of artillery for about four years there's little to nothing left of the original fort. 

So today I'm at my local McDonald's--I always get a friendly greeting from the people who work here.  Very sweet people!  And the Internet service is great--so far. 

I'm going to The Gypsy Quilter today to check out their new Gypsy Sit Upon.  These are supposed to be good for bad backs--hope it works!!  I'll check it out and let you all know.

I've been pretty busy--fiber busy, that is!  I continue to work on the Speckled Shrug--will it ever end???

I thought I was really making progress on the 44 inches long instruction . . . eek . . . alas, I had only done 28 inches.  So I have a ways to go.  Sure glad I bought three balls--I just tied on the third ball last night!  I'm using Marble Chunky in a colored called Majesty--purples and navy blues.  Very pretty I think. 

And I've been having a blast with my Spinderellas fiber.  It spins up like a dream--is so soft and yummy!!!  I'm so totally glad I got this.  It's going to make a beautiful jumper (vest) for GrandpaTutu!!  I was originally going to make something for myself, but he totally loves the color, and I know he'll love the fiber (gobs of alpaca in it!!).
















Divine or what?

I also was able to get some gorgeous Colonial from my friend Cindy at Jacob's Reward Farm--and although there were two separate colors (dark eggplant and dark teal), I plied them together, and came out with a totally gorgeous Sock/DK yarn. 















I decided the Baktus Scarf was perfect for this weight, and I wasn't wrong at all!!  I ended up with 438 yards, so I have plenty.  It's going to be gorgeous I think.  (if you aren't a Ravelry member and want this pattern, let me know--I'll post it for you.

I've also got all my Cherry Tree Hill roving spun up . . . the color was Tawny Fawn, and so, so beautiful.  Not sure yet what I'll make with this . . . I'm not inspired to make anything yet, but I'm sure I will be.  I'll let you know.



















So . . . blessings on you all today.  Keep cool, and see you soon!

xoxo

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The sheep need shade sale . . .

The sheep at Juniper Moon Farm are really suffering in the heat!  So . . . Susie has marked down all her sock yarn 25% and is having a The Sheep Need Shade Sale!  I happen to have several hanks of this gorgeous yarn and can totally recommend it!!  And with 25% off, I recommend you go for it big!!!  Have fun.  You'll be loving on Ernie (like me) by supporting the farm!!  xoxo

Savannah knits . . .

Friday, July 2, 2010 . . .

Today was an almost perfect day. I got online at McDonald's! I had a great latte! I drove across a bridge over “Moon River.” And I found the sweetest little yarn store ever:  Unwind Yarn & Gifts, 7710 Waters Avenue, Savannah (couldn't find their web site--loser is my middle name--LOL).  Although each and every event was pleasurable, I must admit that I felt right at home at the yarn store!!! Are you surprised???

I loved this little yarn store—well, it’s not really all that little. To compare (for my Dallas buds), it’s sort of a combination of The Shabby Sheep and The Woolie Ewe—not too big and not too small, not too packed, but not at all sparse either—and all the lovely, darling, beautiful things you expect to see at either place. They have a really great selection of yarns—I was very impressed.  Had to hold myself back—hard to do, but I had to keep from buying a bunch more yarn.

The owner, Leigh, was there when I arrived, and was so warm and welcoming. She told me a little about the history of the shop and about some of the groups that meet there. Monday is the night they stay open late for community knits—so I expect to be there Monday to meet some new friends. Don’t these couches look totally yummy comfy??? Can hardly wait!!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
And although the store is closed on Tuesday, there is a spinning group that uses the store on that day. I can only imagine how much fun they must have locked up in a "candy" store like that!!! Not sure how to get invited to that group, but you can be sure I’ll be keeping my ears open!!

Leigh shared with me a little doo-dad she’d just gotten in from her trip to market—cutesy scissors!! To die for, huh? Yet, those are scissors!!


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
So how could I leave without something? So I bought the pattern for a darling pair of fingerless gloves that were on the counter—so totally cute! I thought they’d be darling made up in the red I’m dying for the Red Scarf Project—so my package will have the gloves and the scarf—so sweet! I'm going to make my first pair in some brown/tawny handspun (Cherry Hill).  Should be pretty--and such a cute pattern!  You can buy this pattern from Leigh at Unwind Yarn & Gifts (email:  to.unwind@yahoo.com) for only $4!!  It's called Picolina, and has a picot edge on the wrist, along the tops of the fingers, and the thumb--there's a heart on the top of the hand.  Just super cute.  I'll post a picture when they're finished.  Can't wait to see them in red!!  Too cute!
 
So, if you're in Savannah, go see Leigh, and happy knitting!  I'll be knitting and spinning away while I'm here!!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
xoxo