Saturday, August 29, 2009


I've had a small floor loom for almost 20 years and I have used it for many projects. But, I tend to take long breaks in between. It's been over a year since my last weaving project and I've been wanting to weave again for a while. I even visited a weaving guild in January in an attempt to get me going. I've been meaning to get started on something ever since and have mulled over my options using stash yarns. Last week I looked through my stash and a cone of lumpy, bumpy, pink yarn called to me. I quickly got started measuring out my warp, threading the loom, and weaving...

Since I tend to be a tight weaver...very tight warp and beating those weft threads very tightly into place...I thought it might be a good idea to try to weave something loose and open.

It looked nice on the loom and when I pulled it off I instantly fell in love with the drape of this pretty little pink scarf.

I'm calling it Bubblicious because the color reminds me of bubble gum and the lumpy, irregular texture feels relaxed and fun. I'm really happy with how well the selvedges turned out...very straight and even. I'm hoping that the loose weave will hold up and the threads will stay in place. I'm thinking that the lumps and bumps will help to lock them into place. Either way, I figure it was worth a try.

As I had this laying out on a table to finish off the ends, knotting along the edges and the end of each thread to keep them from reminded me of the pink scarves people make and wear for breast cancer awareness...and the pink ribbon symbol...

That got me thinking...I believe that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. So, how about a little challenge? weave, knit, or crochet a pink scarf yourself before October? September will be starting in just a couple of days. That gives you just over a month to complete it...or two months to finish it before the end of October. Email a picture of your finished pink scarf and I'll post it on here with a link to your blog. I'm thinking that, if there are several participants, I could find a fun prize and do a random drawing for a winner. If you get a mammogram or have had one in the past year or two (because early detection is the key to saving lives), I will put your name in the drawing twice, to double your chances of winning. What do you think?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Heads Up...It's a Basket Bonanza!

My daughter and I did a little thrift shop hopping yesterday and hit the basket jackpot!

The first great find was this wicker head...perfect to model hats and scarves for my blog. After I picked it up, I turned around to discover an overflowing baby playpen of baskets...for $1 each! The wicker head was only $1 too! We went through all of the baskets, making a pile of all the ones we liked, then narrowed it down to seven. There were so many nice baskets that it would have been easy to buy more but I try to limit myself to avoid excess "stuff" in our home. We have plans for every single one of these.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Salsa Calling

Yesterday afternoon the phone lonnnnng ring. My daughter and I looked at each other and commented on how odd that was. No one was there...or so we thought. Until...we went into the family room and noticed that Salsa had crawled up onto the sofa and was snoozing on the phone...

She was trying to be sneeky...but it didn't quite work. lol

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Grilled Eggplant and Basil Mayo

Earlier this year, I made some awesome sandwiches with grilled eggplant (you can see that post HERE). They were delicious! We've had this several times since. But...this time...we got to have fresh eggplant from our garden...

And...this time, I tried something a little different. I made basil mayo instead of pesto mayo. It was soooooo good! These were the best grilled eggplant sandwiches yet. I could even go so far as to say that it was sandwich heaven! That's saying a lot because I don't always love sandwiches.

For the basil mayo, I simply mixed olive oil mayonaise with finely chopped, fresh basil. I spread it on grilled sourdough and layered on grilled eggplant, mozzerella cheese, tomatoes, carmelized onions and garlic (with olive oil, salt and pepper), and some strips of fresh picked and grilled anaheim chilis...for a little extra kick. The basil mayo made the sandwiches so succulent and flavorful! We will definitely do this again, and again. Hmmmm...I wonder how it would taste on on other types of sandwiches?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dessert for Breakfast??

My Sunday morning breakfast creation turned out to be more like dessert than what we would normally have...but it was ooohhh sooooo good!

I would normally try and make a more healthy type of breakfast but this idea came to me and I couldn't resist trying it. I started out by making French toast with pound cake. Then, I layered the French toast with Nutella (hazelnut/chocolate spread), sliced bananas, strawberries (sliced last night, mixed with some sugar and left over from strawberry shortcake), another piece of French toast spread with more Nutella, and the whole thing was topped with more strawberries...the only thing missing was whipped cream! It was craaaazy good!

I think this will be an indulgence that we won't partake of very often...I can only imagine the amount of calories and fat in this...but, then again, I did do a lot of walking yesterday. ;-)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Print Blocks

When I was in design school, taking a textile class, a fellow student brought in a an old carved wood print block. It was a piece of wood with a hand carved design, used to stamp/print designs onto fabric. I was fascinated and quickly added that to my mental list of things to watch for in antique stores, thrift shops, etc.

Turns out they're not so easy to find. But, one day, I hit the jackpot! I was visiting one of my favorite stores, Arte International, and they had a huge table piled high and overflowing with print blocks. My husband, daughter, and I looked through all of them, trying to find our favorites. It wasn't easy! They had so many beautiful designs and they were so intricate and ornate...much more so than the one I'd originally seen years ago.

It's amazing to me that people can carve such intricate designs into wood. They're beautiful! Here are the ones we decided on. You can click on the pictures for a closer look.

I love the flowing dresses on these ladies/angels...

A bird...

A heart...when you enlarge this one, notice the bits of blue ink left in some of the crevices...

This is my biggest one and probably my favorite. It's about 6"x8". I guess it's a paisley design but it looks a lot like a chili pepper! So pretty!...

This one is my daughter's. She loves it!...

Being the budget shoppers that we are, and even though they were only around $5 each, we narrowed our favorites down to just a few. We probably should have bought a carload of them though as I may have been able to make quite a profit...turns out they usually sell for around $50-$150 or more...each! I bought these several years ago and I went back to the store recently, in hopes of finding more, but they're all gone. I did find one in an antique store a couple of months ago but the pattern was very open and unattractive and the price was about $70.

I feel lucky to have found such beautiful print blocks and enjoy looking at them everyday. I have most of them arranged along the top of my mantel. Of course, I'll keep my eyes open for more.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Stars and Stripes

I started this sock earlier this summer and finished it once...but I had so much yarn left over that I ripped it back to the leg to add more length, in an attempt to use up more of the yarn...I don't like to be wasteful or have leftovers. After I added more to the leg, I was a little concerned whether or not I'd have enough to complete the foot, even though I weighed the yarn to try and make a more scientific guestimate. Well, I had enough! Yay! Here's sock number one, for the second time...

I still have another sock to knit but I'm excited about these socks and can't wait to show how cute they are and my "star toe"!...

I saw some socks last week that were made with a different kind of toe that avoids having to use kitchener stitching... something I don't enjoy and the possibility of skipping this was too good to pass up. I came home, started googling various ideas of what it might be called, found some pictures of various knit toe methods and easy directions (scroll to the bottom of the link to "star toe"). I couldn't wait to try it out, so I used it on this sock. It was simple and makes a nicely shaped toe.

This Knitcol yarn makes such cute and colorful stripes and with the "star toes"...these are now aptly named, "Stars and Stripes". :-D

I'm off to knit the second one...only once!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Summer Sizzle

Fresh from our garden...

Anaheim chilis, jalapenos...I think it's time for some fresh home-made salsa! Yum!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sewing Saturday

A couple of weeks ago my knit group gathered for a sewing day and made project bags. It was so much fun and got me sewing again...something I love to do but just hadn't done in a while. Today was full of sewing fun! I started out by working on a top (I usually don't sew clothes, but I was inspired recently by the "Made by Rae" blog). I had to set that project aside though as I've ran into a little problem that I'll need some help with. But, I didn't want to stop sewing. So, I pulled out some fabric that was left over from a quilt I made a couple of years ago and made another project bag. Here's how it turned out...

I made this one a little taller to better accomodate my knitting needles. And, since I don't know how to make button holes (thanks, Cally, for making the button hole on my last bag), I used a grommet for the drawstring. You can see it in this picture, along with the velcro strap that works great for attaching the bag to my purse, belt loop, camping chair, etc...

I decided to try a square bottom on this one...

Now I have a project bag to go with the knitting needle case that I made about a year ago...

Here's a peek at the inside of the case...

Sew much fun!!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Beauty Beyond Words

I promised a few weeks ago that I'd post about an amazing experience I had on my recent trip to the Eastern Sierra...but...

1. The experience was too big and amazing and beautiful to capture with a camera...although, I have a LOT of amazing photos...I wouldn't be able post enough to truly show how incredible this place is.

2. It was amazing beyond words!!!

So...all I can say is that you must, Must, MUST visit Yosemite sometime in your life! I felt that Zion was near to Heaven but Yosemite....Wow! There's a reason so many people visit there and why there are so many photos, books, paintings, etc. Incredible!

We've camped just outside the east entrance mannnnny times and I can't figure out why we never went into the park! I'm just so glad we finally did! On this trip we went into Yosemite twice. The first visit was in the mid afternoon and it was raining and soooo beautiful! Right after we turned around to head back, the sun came out and...who would have thought it was possible? became even more beautiful!!! Stunning!!!!

There was a stop we made to see a small lake that was like a mirror, surrounded with trees, green, flowers, grasses, mountains with snow, a blue sky and perfect puffy clouds, moisture in the air and a scent, energy, ..... I don't know how to continue to describe it except that it was soooooo amazing that I burst into tears and wept! I can't even explain that! I had just never seen anything so beautiful in my life and it just happened! Like I said...there are no words!

On the way back to camp we stopped at several vista points. A couple of them had signs with quotes. Great quotes! If anything comes close to explaining my experience...this is it...

"Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language."
Aldo Leopold


"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace flows into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."
John Muir

We went back into the park again the next morning for a day long hike and found more awesome beauty. We can't wait to go back again and again. There is so much to see and experience in Yosemite. I know this will be a destination for many more of our vacations, for the rest of our lives!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ruffly Rose Scarf

A few weeks ago, on an evening out at the local yarn shop, several of my knit friends and I saw a sample of the "Ruffled Roses" scarf by Annie Modesitt and it was love at first sight! Several of us had to have one and quickly started shopping for the yarn we needed to get started. The pattern is free at yarn shops...that's always nice. After the yarn shop closed we gathered at our friend Debbie's house and got started. Here's how mine turned out...

The pattern recommends wearing it by folding it in half, wrapping it around the neck and sliding the ruffled end through the loop. It looks like a bouquet of roses. Pretty! But, it is a bit tight...I'll make the next one a bit longer.

Besides being a bit tight, the recommended way of wearing it hides the beautiful lace on the ends of the scarf. I figured out a way to show that off and make it more comfortable...fold it in half, wrap around the neck and overlap the lace end over the folded end and secure with a pin (I still need to find one). I think it looks really pretty this way too.

Here are what the ends look like...

The store didn't have the all of the recommended yarn but there were plenty of other options and I think this one saved some money too. I used the Online Linie 194 Solo (as recommended) for the ruffles and Berroco Vintage Wool for the scarf. It was fun to try the Solo. It wasn't the easiest to work with but I love the results. The Vintage Wool was splitty but turned out nice. The pattern recommended using size seven needles but I used size five.

I think this scarf is gorgeous but I'd like to figure out a way to make it without having a seam in the middle...which means I'll need to experiment with the Solo to see how well it works out to end a scarf with it instead of be sure it ruffles the same or if it will look ok in a bind off. Either way, I can see myself making another one...maybe with pink roses!

Christmas Kick-off

I've been browsing through patterns on Ravelry for a couple of weeks looking for projects that would make great Christmas gifts. Last week I went shopping for some yarn. This weekend I decided on a pattern and got started on this...

The pattern is "Cream of Spinach"...a funny name for a scarf, but I think it'll be really pretty in this Aslan Trends Yarn, "Class". It's easy and growing quickly. I think it's going to be really pretty when it's done and blocked.

I have a new trick I started using a few projects back. I use net bags I save from avocados, garlic, tomatoes, etc. (the kind with softer netting and smaller holes) to hold my yarn. It helps to keep the ball from falling apart, especially as it nears the end. I've seen something like this in stores but this is recycling and it's free!

Another trick you can see in this picture is something I've been doing for a while now...using a bread tie to keep the end/tail safely tucked out of the way until I'm done and ready to tuck it in. It prevents wear and splitting and keeps it out of the way so I don't accidently pick it up to work with instead of my working yarn. I love this trick.'s free!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Feeling Rosey

My daughter and I went to the market early this morning and enjoyed a relaxing shoping trip without the crowds we'd find later in the day. It was really nice. We also found this beautiful bouquet of roses that I just couldn't resist...

They're sitting on an antique buffet in our entry to greet everyone that comes in. Aren't they gorgeous?!

I normally don't like to buy cut flowers as I'd much prefer live ones that I can plant in the garden and enjoy for years to come. But these were much too beautiful to pass up. I think they'll look gorgeous when they're dried too.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Nice Ride

I got to go horseback riding today! My sister-in-law, Kim, has horses and we use to ride from time to time but life got busy. It's been years since I rode with her. But, today we made time to get together and she took me for a ride. The weather was perfect and we all had fun...there were five of us. I got to ride "Smores". She has one blue eye and one brown eye. Isn't she pretty?!...

We loaded the horses into her trailer and went to the Santa Rosa Ecological Reserve in Murrieta, California. I ride a mountain bike up there a lot but this was the first time I got to ride a horse on those trails. I got to see things from a whole new perspective...higher up!

Here are two of the horses after our ride, Smores and Megan. They're great horses. Kim's had Megan a long time and I think Megan is about 23 years old now but I sure wouldn't be able to tell. She looks great! She has such a super personality too.

When we took the horses back, I had to get a little goat time in. Kim has a couple of baby goats. They're about three months old and ohhhhh soooo cute! Especially this little girl...

Here's her mommy..

The little girl was shy and I never got to touch her. But, her brother was brave enough to come close and once he discovered how great a scratch on the neck feels, he didn't move for a while. In fact, he was even closing his eyes as I petted and scratched him. So sweet!

Goats love to climb on things and that's just what this little guy did. That put him at my level so he could give me a closer look. lol

It was a fun day. But, I have the feeling that I'm going to be sore. I'm already feeling it and I'm exhausted! Seems crazy but I guess I used muscles I forgot I had. I think I'm ready for a nap!

Thanks, Kim, for a fun morning! :-)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Today's Harvest

Our garden seems to be maturing a little late this summer but we're not complaining...this is the most successful garden we've had in years. The squash is maturing faster than we can eat it right now. I really need to find more recipes for it so we don't get tired of one of our favorite vegetables. The tomatoes are coming off slowly, which is nice. Here's the harvest of veggies I picked today...

This is an interesting's two that grew together from one stem...

We've actually had some humidity in the air lately and one morning last week I went out to walk around the garden and noticed the squash leaves were lined with water, just the edges...I can't figure out how this happened (click to enlarge and get a better view)...

The eggplant is growing nicely and we should be able to pick some in the coming weeks. Here's one of the flowers...kinda pretty but very sharp and prickly underneath...

The Anaheim chilis and Jalepenos have been growing like the tomatoes, a little at a time...perfect! And, the herbs are still going strong. I processed a big batch of basil last weekend for the freezer to have it available into the winter.

I'm always amazed at how different fresh, homegrown veggies taste from those we buy in the market. I love knowing how fresh these veggies are and that they are totally chemicals of any kind! Yum! :-D

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Doggy Bag

Last year a friend of mine gifted me a fabulous little project bag that she had made herself. I love it! It's the perfect size for a lot of my projects, cinches closed to keep everything safe inside, and it has a great little strap to attatch it onto my purse, a belt loop, a camping or beach chair, or the handle in front of the front passenger seat in our SUV for easy access of knitting when I'm on the road.

I'm not the only one who loves this bag...she's had many requests to make them and even sold some in a local yarn shop. She's a little tired of making them. However, our knit group can't get enough of them and got together today for bag making lessons and a day of sewing fun! One of our terrific knitsters set up an ironing station and tables in her living room and we all brought our sewing machines and supplies. We had five sewing machines whirring along, making our very own bags. This one is mine...with adorable little doggies on it. I love it! I'm so happy have another bag and to know how to make more!

Thanks, Cally, for all your inspiration, instruction, and for sharing your fabulous bag pattern with all of us. Thanks, Steph, for having us into your beautiful home...again and's always so much fun. And, thanks to my knit buddies for your friendships and constant fun and inspiration! You ladies rock!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Yarn Shop Find of the Summer

I'm always on the lookout for new yarn shops, near my home and everywhere I go. Many are so-so...nothing out of the ordinary. But, sometimes, I find one that meets or exceeds my hopes and expectations. Today, I found one that did just that. It's the "Needlecraft Cottage" in San Diego, just blocks from Pacific Beach. What a great store! They're friendly (something so important but often overlooked by shop owners) and full of yarns that I don't see at other shops...including LOTS of non-wool choices. Wow! So fun!

I've started thinking about Christmas (which will be here much sooner than I'm ever ready for) and decided to look for yarns to make gifts. I found so many possibilities and narrowed it down to three...for now...after all, I can only knit so much, so fast...

The one on the left is "Araucania Ruca" and it's made of sugar cane. I saw this once before and have thought about it ever since and couldn't wait to find it again and buy some. It's soft, has beautiful colors and a slight sheen. Beautiful! I'm thinking of making a lacy scarf or cowl with this one.

The one in the middle is "Ty-Dy" and it's 100% cotton, really soft, and is a striping yarn with gorgeous blues and greens. Can't wait to play with this one either...maybe a scarf.

The one on the right is AslanTrends "Class". It's made of 55% cotton and 45% viscose. It's soft and one of the plies is shiny. Pretty! I have someone in mind for this one...she'll LOVE it! I'll probably make a cowl or scarf with it.

I also bought more "Sugar N Cream"...I really don't need more of this but I love it so much and they had some balls of one of my favorite colors. I'm planning a knitted project bag with this. I found some of the HUGE balls of "Sugar N Cream" at JoAnn's today too in some new and gorgeous colors...but...I resisted. :-( Also, the lady at the "Needlecraft Cottage" said that the natural color of "Sugar N Cream" is fun to dye. Hmmmm?! :-)

What a fun store and shopping experience! I definitely plan on going back to this shop! Now...if I could just find the time to knit more and knit faster so I can finish more projects and buy more yarn!!!