Sunday, December 27, 2009

What I took for Show & Tell

These are the four skeins of yarn that I took to our last Spinner Guild meeting for Show and Tell. (none of these have been washed yet) From left to right:

(white) Luna's prize winning fleece that was "over" processed into sliver or pin drafted roving - it's full of little noils but they seem to help add to the texture of the yarn. I'm going to make this into a scarf for someone who purchased it at last year's church auction.

(turquoise) This is some Blue Faced Leicester that was part of the first yarn project that I spun when I took my second spinning class a couple of years ago. It was very poorly plied and when I took the class from Judith M-M last month, she mentioned that yarn could be replied - well, by golly, it worked pretty well. I'm going to make a pair of slippers for myself from it.

(dark brown) That is Moni's fleece from last year. I'm going to just start spinning up all our Shetland fleeces so it is available to use for projects - like another vest for The Shepherd (if he'll ever let me get the measurements for the first one...) I also have a Shetland color sampler project in mind that I'd like to make -

(lite blue/pink) This is from some corriedale cross combed top that I got last summer at BSG. Wow, it was really fun to spin - and I know that is directly because of the November class - letting loose of the killer grip that I had previously used - (you spinners will know what I mean) I have about 1 1/2 pounds of yarn - and had originally purchased it with making something for our god-daughter in mind - probably a hat (for outside) and a little shawl (for inside).

That's all for now. This next week I have my church newsletter, my spinner guild newsletter, end of month billing and payroll at work, so you probably won't hear much from me til after the new years. Gosh I can't believe that it is about to be 2010 - Do you remember the hysteria about Y2K??? Now the hysteria is about 2012 - Well, I guess we'll find out in a couple of years, huh? Anyhow, Happy New Year's to everyone.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Oh, Really?

So, do you suppose you serve this with lamb?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas, Baby...

Rockin' all night long -

funny pictures of dogs with captions

See more funny dog and puppy pictures HERE!

Hope you and yours have a happy one!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Color's of December

I was inspired by my friend Sharon, who was inspired by her friend Sue to show you some of the Color's of December in my part of the world.

My friends have lots of grand kids - and their house is beautifully (but kid friendly) decorated up for Christmas - or Christmouse, as the case may be.

The Color's of December are Sparkling and Light!

This is our church choir taken Sunday night after our Christmas service. We're small but we have big voices. Everyone said it was our best performance ever...of course, they always say that...

The Colors of December are filled with Love and Song.

And this is the other Color of December around here - just a little big gray around the edges.

I'm almost done with my Christmas "shopping" though - I discovered a wonderful gift card kiosk at my local grocery store - did a happy dance when I found that Barnes and Noble card for one of my sisters - now I won't have to brave traffic in the "mall" area to get one for her! Yahoo!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Front Row - Center Stage

Photograph by
Okay, so we were in the third row back - but in the intimate setting of The Amadeus Project in "beautiful downtown Bellingham - it was like listening to one of my all time favorite artists, David Lanz playing Christmas music in our living room (although I don't think a grand piano would really fit in our living room, but one can always dream...)

We went to his Christmas concert last year (he lives here in B'ham now - it's a new "tradition" - one I hope will continue) We thought it might be an "extravagance" to go to this year's concert (due to "current fiscal conditions") - but it was The Shepherd's idea to go this year and I'm glad we did.

I have been a fan of David's since the late 80's - his Nightfall album got me through a rough patch when a friend moved to California and I thought I was going to die of a broken heart (didn't we always think that???) - I think I practically played the tracts off that disc...

As one of the first recognized "new age" artists, he recorded on the Windham Hill label for many years and has his own label now. I have seen him in concert many times and have never been disappointed. He is engaging and his stories are very entertaining - and he's not afraid to laugh at himself.

Tonight he played a few songs from his newest album "LIVERPOOL . . . Re-imagining the Beatles". Like many of us, he grew up listening to and being inspired by the Beatles and the other great music that came out of Liverpool and it's surrounding area. I haven't listened to the whole album yet, (you can hear snippets of the tracts here or you can also listen to "David Lanz Streaming Radio here). I hope you enjoy his music - I do.

Friday, December 18, 2009

I am so NOT ready for Christmas.......

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures here

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Looking Back Sunday

Whatcha doin T.?

Oh, I'm looking at pictures to see what I want to use for my Looking Back Sunday post.

Did ya find one?

Yes, I'm going to use the picture from when we took Susie up to her new home with Ellen and Mike in Rockport. She needed to go to a home where there were no rams around, because she shouldn't have any more babies.

I saw Ellen on Saturday at my spinner guild meeting. Susie is very lucky that she got such a nice new mom.

Off she goes to check out her new digs and her new suite mates. Ellen said she is happy and healthy with very long wool (but she'll wait til spring to shear her this time...)

Thanks, Ellen, for giving Susie such a good new home.

Speaking of rams, weather and road conditions permitting, HB & Cooper are going to the auction tomorrow. It was a nice idea to have three breeding groups, but not so nice when the bored boys started tearing things apart last week. It cost The Shepherd many many green papers to buy repair parts for the fences and things that they have torn apart. I will miss the big lugs, but I sure hope the roads are passable and that the auction will be open tomorrow. This is not a good time for us to have to shell out many green papers to fix things around here, if you know what I mean.

I'm going to go have a cup of tea (hopefully it will get rid of my sore throat) and dive into the new Joanne Fluke mystery that my sister Nance sent me last week. It came in a box with a beautiful Americana egg blue sweater and salmon colored blouse (although I'm not too sure about the ruffles...) that she got at Value Village. I love it that she loves to shop - she's get's outrageous deals on stuff and most of the time things fit (which is amazing because we have pretty different body types - she's got a good eye, I guess) - & I don't have to go shopping.

She also sent me a pair of knit slacks in the most remarkable shade of purple. They are very comfortable to wear about the house, but I don't think they'd be socially acceptable to wear out in public. What is it that makes companies produce clothes in my size in colors that are beyond comprehension? One of the many mysteries in life, that include Rubik Cubes and Sudoku.....

Have a good week, and stay warm.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I'm So Excited!

And I just can't hide it...

About a year and a half ago I read about Six Word Memoirs - small snippets of writing that describe a situation, a life, whatever - and wrote about it here ...And I wrote about it in my church newsletter and had people come up with their own six word memoirs. Mine was "Farm Girl, City Girl, Farm Girl" - which I submitted to the publisher Smith Magazine because they were putting together a new book called:

It All Changed in an Instant: More Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure

About 4 or 5 months ago I got an email saying if I was OK with it, they were considering my 6-W-M for their newest book and of course, I said "YES! Go for it!"

Today I got another email from Smith Magazine that my six words had indeed been chosen and the book is set for release on January 5th. I have been published - all six words!!

Ha, ha, ha! IS THAT COOL OR WHAT!?!?!?!?!?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Holy cow, it's cold outside!

I'm glad I finally sent my sister the scarf that I crocheted for her last spring.

(Of course I tied in all those loose ends before I sent it!) And it make me realize that is one of the reasons I like crocheting with variegated yarn - you get all those color changes without having to tie in all those ends!

Things at work have been, oh, well, we'll just say, stressful... - They laid my assistant off yesterday. So, for the last 48 hours, I've been on somewhat of an emotional roller coaster - alternately feeling like "I can do this!" to feeling like "I am so overwhelmed!"

Now I have to spend two days packing up all my stuff because they want to clean the carpets on Thursday. I'm so far behind because of new software and "etc." and now I have to take two days of work to pack and unpack my stuff so they can move my desk? Does the little frowny face made with the : the - and the ( come to mind here?

Ok, so this was the closest picture I could find to fireworks - kind of looks like one of those big ones that go way out then sparkle down, doesn't it?

Well, the fireworks are for my 25,000th visitor! Wow! And it was someone who lives way up north in Canada who visited here about 7 p.m. Pacific coast time. If I don't hear from this person in a day or so, I'll go to the next one and the next one. For they and Michelle won my prize (ok, so it was a bribe) of gourmet chocolates from our local chocolatier, Chocolate Necessities.

One good thing did happen today. FedEx ground delivered my new bottle of Christian Dior "Dolce Vita" Eau de toilette. The description say it contains apricot, cinnamon, peach, clove, cardamom, bergamot. ("Tester" - comes without the fancy box. )

I have worn this fragrance for a long time - maybe 10 or 12 is getting increasingly hard to find. I used to be able to get it at Costco packed up in a plastic box in one of those designer fragrance towers that they have - but then it was only available at the Bon (now Macy's) or Nordys - and then only on line - now it is hard to even find it on line - mostly get an "out of stock" message - but every once in a while I'll surf the web and go looking for it. (it must be available someplace in the world because you can still get "Tester" bottles. Go figure...) All the reviews I have ever read about this fragrance give it about a 14 out of possible 15 - people who wear it, love it and will go to great lengths to find it.

The day after Thanksgiving I hit the jackpot and found a site ( that had it in stock. Even though I still have about 1/4 of a bottle, I whipped out my credit card as fast as I could and bought it right there on the spot! It is my Christmas present to myself - my one small luxury - I don't buy purses or shoes or fancy clothes - but once or twice a year, I get my 3.4 ounce bottle of perfume. I think I'm worth it.

I hope all my friends in the snowy weather belt are staying in where it is warm and dry. Guess I'd better get to bed - I have to go to work earlier now to do the tils for our retail store...I don't do real well at "0 dark 30" and that's what time I have to get up now.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

More Random Thoughts....

It's cold out - probably as cold as it was two years ago when I took this picture from our front door. It's 36 degrees out, but gusty winds out of the north east (we're talking Arctic winds here - brrrrrr)

It's 'sposed to stay cold (low 30's & 40's for a week - but sunny - yay for sunny)

Here is another good book to read - Louise Erdlich "The Painted Drum" - The simple plot: The story of an Ojibwe drum- it's tales and travels, and how it makes its way back into the right hands.

The complex plot: how Native Americans were/are treated - sometimes hard to read - hard to justify how people could act that way towards others.

I haven't read any of her other books, but I understand that this is her 11th novel. It was well worth my time.

A co-worker has loaned me the CD's of "Three Cups of Tea" written by by David Oliver Relin (my co-worker's nephew!) about Greg Mortenson's program to promote peace in the world by building schools - starting in Afghanistan. I will listen to it while I spin.

I think I need to spend more time out taking pictures of the critters - this is the only picture I could find of H.B. and it's almost a year old.

The girls must all be settled because "The Boys" are getting restless - banging on things and on The Shepherd (bad Cooper!) - Anyone want a handsome HST ram? He needs a home so The Shepherd can transition the yearling's into the ram pasture. Rams - can't live with 'em, can't leave them by the side of the road...

Meanwhile, Sinda is MAD at me - she needed a worming pill and today was the day to do it.

For such a small cat, she can put all 8-9 lbs. behind NOT taking a pill.

I had her wrapped in a towel to try to keep her front claws from tearing us apart - could NOT get her mouth open - She is so very stubborn about taking pills - and the last time I checked worm shots cost about $40 - We tried one of those Pill holders - but my vet tech assistant (The Shepherd) was only able to get it into the side of her mouth where she would tuck it in and then spit it out! Finally, bruised (Sinda) and bloodied (The Shepherd and myself) 10 minutes later, I finally scooped out some Gerber baby food, chicken flavor - her favorite - and enticed her to open her mouth. I don't know - maybe that $40 would be worth it...

Finally, I've had 24,917 visitors to my blog over the past couple of years - I'm thinking maybe I should have a contest for the 25,000th visitor. I get between 15 & 30 visitors a day - but you're going to have to leave a comment so I can figure out who it is - may be two prizes - one who guesses the day & time and the one who is actually the 25,000th visitor. I'm thinking some nice artisan chocolates from Chocolate Necessities - our local gourmet chocolate company might do the trick - if I can't get people to comment on content, I'll bribe you with chocolate.

I hope you are having a good weekend, where ever you are.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A few Random Thoughts

Even though we just passed a library bond, they are still cutting services - of course to the elderly first...

There is nothing like snuggling down with a good book - I've read a few Luanne Rice books lately - in particular "The Geometry of Sisters" and "The Deep Blue Sea for Beginners" - although she doesn't spend a whole lot of time connecting them, there are many same characters in the two books, so you feel like you are visiting with old friends.

The Geometry of Sisters deals with a sister / daughter who goes missing and the feelings and thoughts of the mother and her children at having this young woman gone from their lives and of the mother who has not spoken with her own sister for a while.

I have three sisters - no brothers - Every once in a while - hasn't happened for some time now, but one of us will get in a snit about something and not "communicate" with the others but never for any longer than a month or so - Ms. Rice explains what comes about in a family when that happens on a bigger scale:

"Something happens to sisters who've stopped talking to each other for any stretch of time. Once it has happened -- once ther pattern has been set, and months and years go by, they get used to it. The unthinkable becomes thinkable. They imagine they can live without each other --because that's what they're doing. Even if they make up- get back together, at the first sign of strife, they might revert to not speaking.

The initial break is so wrong, such a crime against nature and love. They might tell themselves it's justified, that she did such-and-such, that she deserves so-and-so. l Everyone knows that we're most hurt by the ones we love most. Drastic measures, turned backs, and buttoning of lips, the childish pronouncements - "I'll never speak to you again!" -- might feel momentaarily satisfying and righteous.

But it burns deep. And if it lasts long, watch out. For every day sisters don't talk to each other, a day is taken from the end of their lives. It's that destructive. Their lives are shorter, because their anguish and bitterness destroys them from the inside out. It eats away at their veins, weakens the walls of their hearts."

If you have sisters, you know what she means.... The Shepherd doesn't have any sibs. He doesn't understand The "Geometry" of Sisters at all - in fact, I think it actually frightens him a little - the emotions, the "discussions" that to him seem heated - to us are, well, just that, discussions - part of life - what's the fun of a sister if you can't yell once in a while??? You know that she won't take it personal. I know people who only talk with their sisters once or twice a year - and they live in the same county! I can't, however, imagine going for longer than a week or so without talking to one or more of my sisters.

Anyhow, both of these books are good reads - in fact I ordered one of my sisters her own copy off because I knew she wanted to read them, and I wasn't ready to give mine up yet. Gotta love (except for the Kindle, ha, ha)

On to other news - The Fusion (which still needs a name) is now officially an only child - I sold The Jelly Bean today. The fellow who bought it did the repairs on it a year or so ago when the hatchback got smashed. He has built an Electric Festiva which is really gorgeous - He had mentioned that he was impressed that The Jelly Bean was in such good shape for it's age - so I thought of him when I needed to find a new home for it. At least I know that he won't just take it out, run it into the ground and then take it to the car smashers...

Actually I'm really enjoying the Fusion - it is really fun to drive - of course, it is power everything and the Festiva was power nothing...will it last 18 years like the Festiva? We'll see.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Looking back Sunday

Nov. 28, 2006

Nov. 27, 2007
Nov 28, 2008

No snow yet this year - so far it's all come down in liquid form - must be global warming....

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving -

Pumpkin went in the freezer this past week - some to share with the church ladies who are making pumpkin pies for the Blaine Thanksgiving food baskets and some to share with co-workers and a bunch to keep. When the Libby pumpkin disappears from the stores because of their crop failure, I'll still be able to make pumpkin pie for my sweetie.

Actually The Shepherd did all the baking of the pumpkins this year because his work has been pretty slow. Actually, today was his last day of work until ??? - hopefully February. He has worked for the same company for twenty years this week, so it's pretty bitter/sweet. He will be able to collect unemployment benefits and because he is technically on "Stand-by" he won't have to go through the "Job Search" hassle.

We had almost hurricane force winds over the past weeks. It sounded like a freight train was going right through our yard! There are very few leaves left on the trees and The Shepherd will spend tomorrow morning putting his bonsai collection to bed in the greenhouse (if it's not pouring down rain)

Meanwhile, Sinda continues to rule as Queen. She spends her days snuggled on a little nest I have built for her up where she can see out the window and nights sleeping right in the middle of our bed, under the covers, if you please.

I'll get up tomorrow and bake pumpkin pies to take to our friend Nancy's for Thanksgiving dinner. Friday I have to work so there won't be any traipsing around in stores spending the money that I don't have - and Saturday I get to stay home - maybe I'll even do some cleaning. I'm sure The Shepherd would appreciate that!

Saturday I'm cooking our own turkey dinner (that way WE get som leftovers!) and we will watch "The Apple Cup" - the big game between UW & WSU - We'll root for both teams this year - a local kid is the quarterback for UW and my sister's husband and boys are all WSU alumni. So, may "the best team" win!

Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Just one more yarn thing (well, maybe 2?)

Here are the sample skeins that I made in my class.

The darkest on the left is Navajo/Churo

The brown (moorit, of course) is Shetland

The Light grey is CVM

I can't remember what the dark grey is...

The creamy white on the left is Rambouillet and kid mohair (oooh soft)

The center white is mill spun singles that I triple plied

The next one is the Leicester Longwool

The singles are the Corriedale that we were to spin as many different sizes that we could. These are my thinner ones.

This is the first yarn that I spun from the class that I took a couple of years ago - Yvonne gave us each a big bump (maybe 8 ounces) of roving and this is how it turned out.

Not so good - - just a little underplied -

Judith just happened to mention about "re-plying" yarn - hmm I thought - maybe I could do that with this

So when we had our spinner guild meeting last week, I questioned someone about how to accomplish the task and ta-da - here you have the new re-plied yarn -

It's now a little bit "over-plied" but I'm pretty sure it will come out when I wash it.

I shall make my self a pair of slippers!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fleece in Our Hands

All too often, an “anticipated event” fails to live up to any internal or external hype that may have been built around it. Not so with “Fleece in Your Hands”, the three day workshop that I took two weeks ago from Judith Mckenzie McCuin. (for this essay, I’ll refer as JM)

We were greeted with piles of different fleeces – the first day we worked with some primitive fleeces, such as Icelandic and Shetland.

Over the weekend there were lots of little “ah-ha” moments, like finally understanding the difference between “woolen” and worsted (at least I think I understand)

There was a group of about 20 taking the class - from all over the area - our farthest student came over from Spokane and there were a couple of people from Port Townsend. It was a lively bunch with lots of good questions -

Most fun was that my friend Nancy G. in the class - (well, after all, we were at her house) - We did Potluck lunches (I brought my favorite Farmgirl Spicy Pumpkin Muffins the first morning and Cream scones the second morning - It was fun to have them to snack on before spinning.)

My doubts about the Icelandic fleece that we recently took down to Gretchen’s Wool mill were somewhat “quieted” as JM showed us the five different layers of these amazing fleeces – and how they can be separated out from the long, somewhat “wirery” outer coats down to the almost down-like layer that is against the skin. Look how easily she has separated these layers to spin into different types of yarn. I can also see how having all the different layers/lengths blended into carded roving or batts would contribute to the "itchy" feeling that some people get about wool - the different lengths would tend to poke out and cause the scratchys... hmmm

Lots more things to think about now when I buy fiber - like, "What am I going to use it for?" or how was it prepared - combed top? carded roving, batts, etc. I have always kind of let the fiber tell me how it wanted to be spun up - now maybe I can "talk back" and put in my own ideas of how I want to have the yarn look.

Even Nancy's horse was curious about what was going on -

There were many different wheels represented. One of the things that JM does is work with you to realize the potential that your wheel has - using the different drive bands or making use of a lace flyer to make ultra fine yarns.

Now I have new things I want, like a jumbo flyer unit for plying and maybe a McMorran Yarn Balance, and possibly a little Niddy Noddy for making sample skeins. I can see now that I'm going to have to clean off the shelves in the guest room to put my stash and my toys on.

I think one of the more surprising samples that I worked with was the CVM - I was amazed at how "springy" it was almost elastic. I have 8 sample skeins that I spun up - I finally got pictures taken tonight and will put them on here in a couple of days.

There was lots of show and tell - and lots of "tell" JM is a very good story teller and after the many years of experience that she has, she was able to answer most all of our questions.

Here she was showing us some plying techniques. On the last day she passed out little bobbins of mill spun singles so those who had never tried it could try triple ply (mine looked like "REAL" yarn!!) or even 4 or 5 ply.

Did I mention that we had a catered supper on Saturday night - Chicken Piccata, with salad, roasted fall vegies and rice. Very tasty and a fun time to get to know one another.

This is one of the biggest Shetland fleeces that I've ever seen. We didn't work with this one, but a lot of the spinning that we did was with fiber that we prepared ourselves with our hand cards or drum carder or combs.

She showed us a nifty way to get the batts off of a drum carder by wrapping them onto a paper sack.

I didn't have enough courage to try this comb set-up. But it looked like it could do a serious amount of damage if used incorrectly. Sounds like a plot for a good spinner mystery...

Click on this picture to biggify it - check out the crimp in the creamier colored fleece on the far right. I think she said it is from a domestic Corriedale bred with imported Australian semen. JM demonstrated how to wash the locks individually by wrapping single layers in cotton material (like an old sheet) and pouring boiling hot water into the pan. (Ok, so you kind of had to be there - but I think she showed how to do this in a Spin Off article sometime in the past two years)

Lots of time spent "fingering" the different fleeces that she brought - some to share and prepare, some just to look at. I'll definitely shop differently the next time I go to a fiber fair.

It is good to know how to prepare my own fiber, but you know what? It's even better if someone (like Gretchen) has washed it and picked and carded it for me... maybe I'm just a lazy spinner.

One exercise we did with some corriedale roving was to spin as many different widths of yarn that we could. I should have put something along with these samples so you'd have a perspective. The skinniest is about pencil lead skinny.

I have 8 sample skeins that I finally go pictures of tonight, so they'll be on in a few days. I've been reminded that I'm "neglecting" some of the other aspects of my blog and some of my readers are getting a little bored with the spinning stuff... Well, there certainly isn't anything to take pictures of out in the garden right now unless I could figure out how to do wind and weather. Bud I have read some good books lately and as soon as it stops raining (it will stop sometime, won't it?) I'll get out to take some pictures of the sheepies.

There is much made about JM and her classes are, I'm sure, always filled, with a list waiting. It's not so much that she is a fabulous teacher - which she is, but it is that she makes one feel competent with their skills, which in turn, makes you feel really good about yourself - rather than being "The Goddess", I'd say that she brings out "The Goddess"(or God, as gender may be) in each one of us.

Will I take another class from her - You bet, at the drop of a hat! I would hazard a guess that I could even take this particular class over and still learn LOTS - Thanks to our LYS for sponsoring this event. It was fun.