Friday, November 27, 2015

What's been on my wheel -

 A couple of years ago, some friends of ours gave me 4 or 5 Alpaca fleeces.  Two of them were this lovely coffee color - in fact, the critter's name was Java - two were that pretty rose grey color, and unfortunately the black fleece came infested with moths - it went in the dumpster.  But when John was meeting up with Chuck from Evergreen Fleece Processing to take him the last of our Shetland fleeces, I decided it was time to get those fleeces out of the living room so I took them along with.  The results were about 8 lbs of lovely alpaca roving. 

This lovely Alpaca fiber has 20% Merino and it is a dream to spin.  I have about 5 pounds of it.  There are also about 3 lbs. of straight rose grey alpaca roving (not blended with wool)   If you are interested in buying some fiber, or having me custom spin you some yarn, leave me a comment.  :-) 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!!


Did you know that this is one of the luckiest turkeys around right now?  
He is headed to Washington DC, where Pres. Obama will officially
"Pardon" him from execution and then he and a buddy turkey will go off
to live their lives in luxury at a farm in Virginia.  Nice job if you can get it....

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Golly, I almost forgot - We hosted a Spin-In

 Back in October - Holy cow - almost a month ago! - my spinner guild "Spindrifters" hosted the NW Regional Spinners Assoc. Board Meeting and Spin-In.  I was on the planning committee - we had been working on this since early in the summer.

Although our attendance was not as high as we would have liked, we had about 60 people turn out, and I think everyone had a great time. 

I was in charge of getting our vendors - for what good is a Spin-In without great Vendors?

Niki K. from JNK Llama Farm in Bellingham
was there with her lovely llama fiber.  

Of course, The Shepherd was there with our award winning Shetland Fiber. 

My friend Janet was there with Dorset fiber and some lovely shawl pins that her daughter makes. 

Allen Berry, woodcarver, was one of the first vendors I contacted.  His hand carved wooden items are  beautiful! 

Our guild put together 5 or 6 gorgeous and highly anticipated raffle baskets.  

Doug & Yvonne Madsen from Spinner's Eden Farms were there with their prized CVM fiber.  They host the Wonderful Woollies spring fiber sale that we take part in.  

There was lotsa spinning going on -

Lotsa laughing, and lotsa hugging.  It was a great day.  

And there was lotsa buying going on too, and since I was the one who got all these vendors out, of course, I had to buy a few things.  Like this adorable fabric bag that is just the right size for my crochet hooks and accouterments.  

Just look at this adorable fabric with the little Japanese kitties. 

And I was very excited that Scarlet from Huckleberry Knits was willing to be a vendor. She lives here in Bellingham, but sells all over the US through retailers and her ETSY Store 
Of course I had to support her booth!  (Of Course!) 

All in all, it was a great day. 


Friday, November 06, 2015

Three Beautiful Things

 Hello effurrybody!  Gracie here - I was out
helping Mummy take pictures in the garden last
week. The Shepherd says that Somebody needs to snooopervise her to make sure that she doesn't trip on something and fall on her casaba.  I'm very good at snooopervising. 

We went out in a hunt for beautiful things, and thought we'd share some of them with you.

We found a little fairy cap mushroom growing in the mulch bin...

One of the last marigolds in the garden.  Such a pretty summery color. 

More 'shrooms - the caps are almost as big as dinner plates! 

Ok, so I lied - four beautiful things - more Sweet Gum leaves - oddly enough, Mummy found out that Sweet Gum seed pods contain shikimic acid, a major ingredient in Tamiflu. 

Herbalists have used Sweet Gum tea as an herbal treatment for the flu and the Cherokees made a tea out of the bark.

So many things from nature that we don't know about that heal or harm.

Have a great weekend!  XOX  Gracie!


Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Blog Blast for Peace

This is the 10th year for the Blog Blast for Peace

The picture is from Pinterest.   


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Howl-o-ween!

 Crazy things growing in the garden - 

Crimini, that's a big 'shroom

Nobody will mistake this cauliflower for mashed potatoes - no wait there are purple potatoes now too - maybe they might.  No, wait, how could ANYBODY mistake mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes???  Pinterest fail...

Sweet gum leaves in the fall are my favorite - I could take a picture of each one that comes off the tree.

 Kansas City could have used this bat sized zucchini tonight.  9-3 - how sad.  Hopefully they'll pick up the pace tomorrow. 

Look at this sweet little Meowlaweenie kitty I found out in the garden. 

My friend Misti has been helping me with some cleaning - so far we've attacked (I say "we" in the royal sense, ha ha) the dining room, the kitchen and today, the "music corner" in the living room. 

I'd like to have her help me with my wool room, but I don't think she understands the concept of "stash" - so that might have to wait. 

Have a great Howl-o-ween and don't eat too much candy! 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Life, Miracles and Chicken Soup

Some of my faithful readers may remember a couple of years ago when I had a "little heart issue" that landed me in the hospital.  Well, last month, I discovered, it was back.  This time, I knew what was happening and after it hadn't stopped after a couple of weeks, I ended up going into my cardiologist office on 9/28, (to eliminate the panic that had ensued from my GP's office in 2013) -  Pulse rate - 130 beats per minute. 

They kindly confirmed what I had suspected, and changed some of my meds, that didn't work after a couple of days, so they had me come in and meet with a Nurse Practitioner.  Very nice lady who happened to take a copy of my EKG out to talk to one of the docs in the office when the Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiologist  Dr. happened by, and just in a moment of grace, saw my EKG and said, "Well, I can fix that" - A cure - who knew? 

That started me on the path to a Cardiac Ablation that was performed on Monday Oct. 12.  The pretty flowers above - they are from my sisters - to wish me well after this very successful procedure.  I have to tell you that from the time I walked into the Surgery Center at 7:30 a.m. on that Monday until the time I walked out the door at about 4:30 p.m. (*pulse rate 63 beats per minute) I felt loved and cared for.  It was really an amazing day and, quite frankly, miraculous.  (And,  I was able to be back at work on Wednesday afternoon to be at a dinner meeting that I had been working on for 6 weeks).

I feel much better now, and hopefully this will be the end of that issue. Oh, and the kitties - they stuck to me like glue for about three days after I got home.  I think they took their nursing skills very seriously!  And many thanks to all of you out there who included me (and my doctor & his team) in your prayers last week.  I'm sure it made a difference! 

One Pot Chicken & Vegetable Stew
So, what you always need when you're feeling down, is Chicken Soup, right?  I put this recipe together about a month ago - I was in an "email club for Chicken recipes" from Pillsbury.  Most of the recipes looked pretty good, but used a lot of pre-made items and mixes - and I mostly cook from scratch.  So when I saw a recipe for a "one pot chicken & vegetable skillet" - I thought - maybe I can improve on that - we still had LOTS of zucchini and I had some other vegies in the fridge that I could chop up - and ta-da "Chicken Stew" was perfected.

 Last year for Christmas I got myself a Williams-Sonoma 7 qt. Non Stick Dutch Oven.  I had (ahem) "destroyed" my big soup kettle by draining all the water out of my green beans, but unfortunately putting the pan back on the burner with the burner still on.  Ahem - really toasted that pan.  So I'd been on the lookout for a new 7 or 8 qt. pan, and boy, let me tell you, this is a nice one.  You can see more about it HERE

This pan is perfect to cook soups or stews or a "fricassee" - It also is great to steam ears of corn, cook a nice pork loin roast (because you can brown it and then tuck it in the oven and let it finish cooking).  I use it a lot. And without further chatting, here is my recipe 

One-Pot Chicken and Vegetable Stew
This recipe is based on a Pillsbury 30 days of Chicken & Vegetable Skillet recipe.  I like using fresh vegies instead of frozen. 
2   tablespoons olive oil
2   boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1   medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp Tastefully Simple "Garlic Garlic" granules
2   cans (14 oz) Hunts Fire Roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1   Russet potato, diced
2   medium zucchinis - diced
1/2 head of cabbage roughly chopped
1 14 oz can of chicken stock
Salt, pepper, Seasoning Salt, Mrs. Dash original seasoning, any other herbs or spices you might like, to taste
  1. In a non-stick Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken; cook, turning occasionally, until chicken is browned on all sides. Remove from skillet to plate.
  2. To same pan, add remaining tablespoon olive oil and the onion; cook over low heat until onion is softened and golden.  Add the Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic granules and any other spices or herbs you might like.  (you could use fresh garlic here - I just prefer the taste of the Tastefully Simple product)
  3. Add potatoes, zucchini & cabbage.  (I have also added chopped carrots here)  Add canned tomatoes to pot; cook 5-10 minutes longer. Add the chicken stock.  Cover and cook until vegetables are tender crisp, stirring as  little as possible so you don't mush up your vegies.
  4. Return chicken to pan; if desired, season with salt and pepper. Cover; cook 10-15 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.
    Buy a nice loaf of crusty Italian bread to go with this and you'll have a tasty supper.  It probably makes enough for 6 or so people, or 2 people for two nights.  Enjoy.