Monday, October 31, 2011


That's what I'm striving for right now...happy. Life's been crazy busy this year and it's mostly been good. But, after the passing of one of my uncles a couple weeks ago...which makes three uncles in one year...I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. I'm generally an upbeat, happy person. But, I'm feeling a bit blue and trying hard to beat it. We have a couple of get-aways planned. I'm looking forward to that. I've also been working out and doing yoga at a gym we joined a few weeks ago. That's helpful. And, I'm playing with some bright, happy colors that I purchased a couple of weeks ago...

Just watching the gorgeous, rich colors pass through my fingers and past my eyes as I work on this project is therapy in itself.

I saw this Deborah Norville, "Serenity Garden" yarn about a year ago and instantly fell in love with it. The colors are gorgeous and it feels really nice. I kept putting off buying some because I was trying to work through my stash. I realized that might have been a mistake when I didn't see it in the stores anymore. Uh oh! Luckily, it came back...and it was on sale! Two skeins for only $5! It's synthetic but it's lovely, easy care, and there's 185 yards in a skein. I bought five skeins for this shawl project, a couple of skeins (all that was left) of a beautiful, variegated blue for weaving, and some other gorgeous yarns. I hit the yarn jackpot that day! It didn't help with de-stashing but the color, relaxation, and the finished projects might just help with the happy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fiber Fiesta

I love living in Southern California and I love fiber arts. However, fiber events seem to be scarce here. In the rare event that we do have a fiber event and I find out about it, I try to go. One of those rare fiber events occurred about a week ago at the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum in Vista, California. It was called the Vista Fiber Arts Fiesta and admission and parking were free.

The event was small but there was a variety of things available for sale...fiber and roving, yarn, tools, jewelry, clothing, bags, etc.

The weather was sunny and quite warm. It was a good thing most of the vendors had shade covers.

Unfortunately, this vendor didn't have a shade cover and they got pretty hot and sun burned. But, the yarns did look pretty in the sun.

These caught my eye. They hold scraps of yarn that birds can use to build their nests.

This was my favorite booth. They had wood tools and triangle looms. I've been fascinated with triangle looms for a while and it was a lot of fun to finally see how they work. I just couldn't justify spending a couple hundred dollars on one though because I reallllly don't need more shawls and I'm not sure I'd like to wear or even give away the style you make with these. But, they sure look fun to weave!

This booth would have been hard to miss. The vibrant color of these silk cocoons really stood out.

Aren't they gorgeous?! I think the vendor said she dyes them herself.

She even showed me some silk worms. I thought this was fascinating. She was so nice to answer my do they eat? She said they like mulberry leaves but since she doesn't have any, she gets them "mulberry chow". Who knew there was such a thing?!

Here they are a little closer.

There were a few alpacas. So cute!

There is a "Weavers Barn" on the property with over 50 looms that weavers use on a regular basis.

It was interesting to see the many kinds of looms they have.

This sure is a long loop of pattern bars on this dobby loom!

Here's a peek, looking up and inside the same dobby loom.

I was amazed at how many looms they have. This is looking from the back of the barn looking toward the front.

They even have a collection of spinning wheels perched above some colorful handwoven items on display.

Many of the looms were warped and had projects on them. I really like this one...

They even had looms outside!

There was an area to gather for spinning. I even brought my wheel. Unfortunately, the spinning area was mostly in the sun and it was quite hot. So, I passed on that.

I'm not sure if they had any food or drinks available but it sure would have been nice. They had live music...

It was pretty hot that day and I didn't stay very long. But, I did wander around a bit to see some of the other things at the museum before I left. They have a lot of old and interesting steam engines...


Buildings and little gardens...

Old signs...

A big pretty against the blue sky.

There was even a gem and rock event going on in another building. It was also free.

Of course, since this was a fiber event, I had to wear my sheep shoes!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lil' Honey Bee

My daughter has a blog and has posted some of the cool stuff she's made. Check it out. It's called "Lil Honey Bee". Be sure to scroll down to see the red dress she sewed and the leather wallet she made. Don't forget to leave a comment. They always mean so much to us bloggers. :-)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pebble Pouch

Last Sunday afternoon was spent by the sea. of my favorite places to be. We dropped my in-laws off at the port in San Diego for their two week Hawaiian cruise. Then, we headed north along the coast to Cardiff for a wonderful lunch right across the highway from the ocean at Los Olas restaurant. It was one of those meals that everything was perfect...the company of my husband and daughter, the weather was sunny and warm but not hot, the breeze was just right, we had a table on the patio that we could look at the ocean while we ate, and the food was out-of-this-world delicious! After we ate, we drove a little farther north to Moonlight Beach (our favorite) and enjoyed a leisurely, late afternoon walk along the sea.

Whenever I walk along the beach, I'm always on the lookout for pretty shells or stones and I almost always bring something home. This time was no exception. I found a smooth, very black, beautiful little stone. I knew immediately that I wanted to bring it home and make a little pouch to hang around my neck so I could carry a piece of the ocean and my favorite beach around with me whenever I want.

Here's what I came up with...

I used some left over Berroco Comfort Sock yarn and a size "C" crochet hook. It turned out really cute. I like how the colors worked out with the single crochet stitches. Especially, on the strings where they are green on one side and blue on the other. The blue, green, and water and sand, are so pretty and fitting for my little beach pebble pouch.

I tied a knot in the end and it makes a fun little necklace/pendant to wear. It goes with a lot of things in my wardrobe because I have a lot things that are blue and/or green.

I love little projects like this. It was fast and fun and pattern, just creativity. Oh yeah...and free, like no cost. :-)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Refrigerator Pickle Update

Today was the day...we tried the refrigerator pickles I made a couple days ago and they really good! Yay! They're super crispy and tasty! I can't believe how easy they were to make and how well they turned out. It kind of makes me wonder why we ever buy factory made pickles.

I'll definitely do this again. I'll make some changes with the spices though. The spice mix I bought had cloves and that flavor is very noticible. I think the pickles would taste better without it.

An interesting note about the has a bluish tinge to it. I looked it up and that's totally normal. It has something to do with the sulfer in the garlic mixing with the acid in the vinegar. I bet the factory ones add some kind of chemical to keep it from doing that. I'd rather not eat that chemical! Homemade is better!

Creativity vs. Distraction

I love being creative. I always have. It's something I want spend more of my time doing. I even created a beautiful space to create in. And, I have time. But...I keep getting distracted. There's always laundry, groceries, cooking, errands, people to help, and places to go. I keep thinking that I could treat it like a job and go into my studio every morning at 10. I know that once I get started on something, I'll be in there for a while and it'll be fun and rewarding. But, I keep getting distracted.

I spent time in there a couple mornings last week. I wasn't completely sure what I was going to work on. The list of things I want to do is so long that it's hard to decide where to start. I pulled out some paper, watercolors, brushes and pens, and played around. I ended up spending a couple of hours doodling on these...

I was inspired by a tutorial on the "Peony and Parakeet" Blog. It would have been nice to add some white paint and some metallic highlights but I was using what I had. They're not really what I was aiming for. But, I feel good that I actually sat down to be creative.

I played around with some acrylic paints and brushes another day. This is all I did though. I felt stuck! Ugh!

I love fiber arts and I want to spend much more time on that. But, I really want to work with some other materials for a I used to years ago.

I would love to know how really creative people do it. How to create and create without letting distractions of everyday life get in the way. Any tips, advice or encouragement would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! :-)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tea Time for Tammi

One of my long time friends, Tammi, had a birthday recently and I wanted to send a little something to her. I'd been thinking about it for a while and decided to send her some tea and maybe a teapot. Deciding on some yummy tea was easy but I never found just the right teapot. So, I decided to make a little something. I went through some patterns and pulled one of my favorite kinds of yarn from my stash, Sugar N Cream, and got started.

I made two doilies. One is big enough for a teapot and the other is coaster size for her teacup.

I started with the larger one and used the "8. Vanity Fair" pattern I used about a year ago as inspiration for another doily. I altered it a bit more on this one because I had less yarn and wanted to be sure I had enough.

I ended up with enough yarn left over to make a coaster. I used the "Kimberly's Flower Coaster" pattern that I've used in the past but I modified it so it would go with the larger one. I love the little points on both of them. And, I love their chunkiness.

I also sent her a little scrubber that I had made. It even matched the tea boxes! Maybe she'll use it to wash her teacups.

It wasn't a lot but it was made and sent with love. She called after she recieved it and said she really liked it. She lives a few states away and we've been talking about having tea together over some of our phone conversations. Oh...and, since her doilies are green, they'll also work for Christmas (they're a prettier, sage kind of green in person)! :-)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pickle Time

I've been watching more cooking programs lately in an attempt to get inspired and find new things to spice up the menu around here. In doing so, I've seen various versions of refrigerator pickles and thought they'd be fun to try.

I searched through online recipes to find one that I liked both the method and ingredients. Unable to find exactly what I wanted, I winged I often do. I sliced and layered cucumbers, sliced onions, and roughly chopped garlic into a jar. While I was doing that, I had a pan heating on the stove with the vinegar, garlic, salt, sugar and spices.

The cucumbers, onions, and garlic filled the jar to the top. But, when I added the liquid, they floated up and left some space at the bottom. If this works out, I'll pack it all in tighter next time. After I poured the liquid in, I put the cap on and left the jar to sit on the counter for a few hours before placing it in the fridge.

In a couple of days we get to try them. I can't wait! I hope they're as yummy as they look!

Have you ever tried making refrigerator pickles? How did it go? I'd love to hear about it. :-)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cruisin' Kitty

Sunday morning, as my husband, daughter and I got ready to go out for a little cruise on our bikes, my daughter set our kitty, Duchess, in my bike basket. Whenever we've tried this in the past, she stiffened her legs and stuck them out to prevent it from happening. She was NOT going in! But, this time, she didn't seem to mind. In fact, I think she kind of liked the idea. She curled up and made herself comfortable. So cute! Of course, I had to get some pictures...

I know she never would want to be in the basket when the bike is actually moving. So, we took her out before we left. I wonder if she'll ever crawl in there on her own?