Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Fun and Funky

I've had a couple huge skeins (710 yards each) of natural color Handicrafter Cotton
in my stash for a few months.  I've been thinking of several project ideas for it
...weaving and/or a chunky doily/tablecloth.

I started a couple doily patterns but ruled them out because they didn't look good with
thicker yarn.  Then, I found the "Summer Splendor" pattern that seemed like a good match.
And, so far, so good.  I'm liking how it looks with worsted yarn and an "H" hook.
The pattern is well written and there are sections that make it easy to enlarge, if needed, to
make it fit my table.  I like how it's looking and a little blocking will make it even better.

I'm so excited to finish it and use it over fabric table cloths.  I think it'll be pretty.
The thickness will work nice as a hot pad for our plates to protect the table underneath.
I love the natural/off-white color cotton, the frill of the lace, and that the
thick yarn makes it a little different.  It's doily with a twist or attitude.
It's fun and kind of funky!  :-)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Wash 'n Dry

I knitted up some small projects over the past few weeks...

I made a couple of hand/dish cloths to send to my blog give-away prize winner, Roxie.
She wanted me to choose a multi color yarn.  So, I picked one of my favorites, Countryside Ombre.
I love the lavender/purple and green hues.  So pretty!  I hope she likes them too.

I also knitted another Basket Rib Hand Towel.  I've knitted a few of these and love them.
This one is knitted with a ball of Sugar N Cream yarn that I bought just because the colors were pretty.  Actually, that's my main reason for every ball of Sugar N Cream that I buy.
The color name on this one is "Emerald Isle".   I have to admit that I don't like it as well knitted up as I did when it was a ball of yarn.  I'll enjoy using it though.

I just love cotton and making things with it.
I'm currently in the middle of making a giant doily/table cloth with some natural color
Handicrafter Cotton.  I hope to have it finished soon.  I'll post pictures when I do. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Old Town Exploration and Yarny Finds

 I did some exploring on our little get-away last week.
I set out to look for antiques, take in the scenery, 
and visit the one and only yarn shop that I found in the area.

I started my morning with a hot cup of coffee and relaxed at a sidewalk table along Main Street
in the old town/downtown area of Visalia.  Shortly after 10, I headed over to 
Creekside Yarns for some yarny fun.  The store did not disappoint!  

They had rooms full of beautiful yarn, a room full of patterns, and lots of beautiful hand knitted, crocheted, and woven samples. It would have been very easy to buy bags full of beautiful yarn but I have a budget and a practical side that keeps me from doing crazy fun things like that.  But, their website was right about carrying unusual fibers and beautiful yarn from around the world.  The selection was incredible!  I wish I lived nearby to shop there again and again.

I did come home with some beautiful things.
I was inspired by knitted necklace/scarves they had on display.
So, I bought this beautiful, brown ball of Rowan Cotton Glace yarn.
I'm planning to pair it with turquoise, red coral, and silver beads for my knitted necklace
I just have to find the right beads so I can get started.

I also bought this skein of Aslan Trends Lecco cotton yarn.
I have something similar in mind for this but some I have some other ideas for it too.
I love the natural color, the texture and that it's cotton...my favorite!

Since I have so many shawls, I'm always on the lookout for nice and affordable shawl pins.
I found this beautiful Carnation wood shawl pin for only $10.
I love it and have already worn it twice.  The wood grain and color is so pretty.

After I left the yarn shop, I did some antique shopping and had lunch.
Then, I started heading toward Porterville, where I was going to pick up my husband at the end of the day.  I took back roads and enjoyed the beautiful scenery of acres and acres of nut groves, lemon groves and other farmland.  I stopped to explore small towns like Exeter and Lindsay.  I loved seeing the beautiful old homes, cute cottages, old downtown areas and history of the area.

In the old town area of Porterville, I stumbled across a yarn shop in the back corner of a gift shop.
It was small but a pleasant surprise because I hadn't seen any yarn shops in Porterville when I searched online.  The store was called Country Pleasures and it was on Main Street.
I couldn't resist the beautiful pink color of this Crystal Palace, Kid Merino yarn
or the price of 50% off!  I bought 480 yards of it for only $5.50!

It was a sun shiny, beautiful day and I thoroughly enjoyed the peaceful, 
slow pace of the rural areas and small towns.  It was such a treat!
Bringing home some pretty yarn was like icing on the cake.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Work and Play

We enjoyed a get-away last week thanks to my husband's job.
He needed to travel about five hours north of where we live to another work site.
Instead of going up by himself and staying in a hotel we decided to go together in the RV.
That way, he had "home" to come to after work, he didn't have to eat at restaurants for every meal, and we were together.  Gas was paid for by his job to get there and back.  And, he saved his company money by not staying in a hotel.  So, it was great all the way around.  
And, we got a little time to relax and explore in a beautiful and peaceful area.

We made reservations and plans the week before. We were lucky to find a place near where he needed to work that had great reviews and space on the nights we needed.  And, it was just a few miles from the southern entrance to Sequoia National Park.  It was in the area of Three Rivers and Kaweah. The place we stayed was called, "Sequoia RV Ranch" and I will be adding rave reviews about this place as well.  It was a few miles off the highway, down a winding road with very few cars.   Our camp site was perfect (#52).  We had full hook-ups and our trailer was parked parallel to the river and under the shade of trees.  There were very few people there the first couple of days and the quiet and peacefulness were wonderful beyond words!  It was even nice when the park filled up over the weekend.  We rarely even heard airplanes.  It was great!

This is the view just outside our door...

We traveled up there on Tuesday, hubby worked on Wednesday and Thursday, 
and we drove up to Sequoia National Park on Friday.  We'd just been to the park last summer
but we went in through the northern entrance that also goes to King's Canyon.  
This time, we visited from the southern entrance.  So, this was all new scenery.
The road was very windy with gorgeous views around every turn.

At one point, I noticed something I'd never seen before and luckily there was a turnout to stop and check it out.  It's a flume!  I'd heard of them but never seen one.  This one is used to divert water to a power station nearby.  I believe it was built in the 1920's.  Here's where the river water runs into it...

And, here's a glimpse of it as it starts to head toward the power station...

 This is Moro Rock.  We climbed on it last summer.  HERE's a post about that trip.
While we were on top of it last summer we saw the winding road below that we drove on this time.  
It turned out to be much more curvy than it looked from up there.  And, Moro Rock looks so much bigger from below than it did when we were on top of it.  It's HUGE!

High season has yet to begin in the park.  So, some of the parking lots
and campgrounds were still closed.  Even the visitor center wasn't very busy.

 We decided to hike to Tokopah Falls.
We had the trail almost all to ourselves.

The trail meandered through the forest and along the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River.
I love the colors in the water. Beautiful!  The water was very cold!

Huge granite walls towered above us...

We enjoyed soaking up the gorgeous views.
That's my hubby!

The weather was perfect for hiking...around 50f degrees.
The sun was warm but it was chilly and cool in the shade.
There were patches of snow left over from the winter and a snow storm earlier in the week.

There were frozen waterfalls on the northern side of that huge granite wall...

Up near the Tokopah Falls, there were lots of small frozen waterfalls and ice icicles.

 As we neared the end of the enclosed canyon, we spotted Tokopah Falls.
It runs down from thousands of feet above.  We could see it cascading down and criss-crossing
from the saddle of the mountain down to the river.  If you look closely, you can see one of the
larger falls near the center of the photo, to the right of that tiny tree..

Here's a closer view...

And, even closer...

We climbed up onto some huge boulders near the falls and took in the views.
Here's a look down the canyon to where we started our hike...
That's one of the few other hikers that we saw that day sitting on the rock at the bottom.

Here's a view from the end of the canyon of that massive
granite rock that had frozen waterfalls on it.

Ahhh...what a beautiful day and a gorgeous place!  

We'd heard there were marmots in the area and we saw some!
This marmot was a few yards away from where we were sitting.

Isn't it cute?!

I whistled and he stood up.

Speaking of critters...there were a lot of beautiful birds in the park and at camp.
Lots of Blue Jays, Robins, bright yellow birds and Wood Peckers.
Lots of Wood Peckers.  And, evidently, they don't just peck holes in trees.
They must think this ranger building is a good thing to peck on too...

There were a lot of beautiful flowers.
Unfortunately, I only had our tiny, easy-to-hike-with camera with us that day.
I can't seem to get it to take good flower photos...the close up kind that I love to take.
So, I learned my lesson...I'm going to start carrying my big camera on hikes again.
I hate missing out on good flower photos!

But, here's what I got with the tiny camera that was decent.
There were two kinds of trees with purplish/pink flowers and they were loaded with blooms.
I only got a good photo of one kind though.

There was a tree near the entrance of the campground that was loaded with white blooms.
It was so pretty and buzzing with big bumble bees (I used my big camera for the next photos)...

Many of the trees are leafing out for Spring.
I like the heart shape of these...

 Tree hug!...

We sat near the river every evening and most of the day on Saturday enjoying 
the peaceful beauty that surrounded us.  Hubby read and I crocheted or knitted.
And, every night, I loved going to sleep to the gentle sounds of the river.  Ahhhh!

I did a little exploring in the nearby farming towns on one of the days that hubby was working.
I even found a great yarn shop!  I'll take some photos of the yarn I bought to put in my next post.

Thanks for stopping by!  :-)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Blue Finch

The recent "Grow Your Own Blog" party hosted by Vicki at "2 Bags Full" was so much fun!
And, the fun continues...  One of the blogs I visited during the party was "Blue Finch".  I enjoyed her blog and began following it and left a comment.  I don't think I realized that she was giving away
a pair of earrings to each person that commented, followed her blog or emailed her.  But soon after I had left a comment, she emailed me to let me know she'd be sending me a pair.

After receiving her email, I popped over to her blog for another look and noticed that she had over 60 comments on that one post.  That's a LOT of earrings to give away.  Not to mention that it would be costly to send all of them.  I wanted to ease her burden and asked that she not send any to me.  But, she insisted.  I think she had a LOT of work ahead of her as she was just recently able to finish all the earrings, pack them up, and ship them.  I received mine this last week.

They're pretty!

They arrived in a fancy box and the earrings were attached to a cute little card stock finch...

I'm excited to wear them!  I really need more earrings as I always wear the same few favorites.
I think these will become part of my regular rotation!

It turns out that Rachel makes lots of beautiful jewelry.
She sells it from her online store... bluefinch.co

Thank you, Rachel, for your generous gift!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

First Draft

Whew!  Life's been so busy lately!  Time for a little blog catch up...

We went over to my husband's parent's house for Easter.  It's something we do every year.
This year had an added surprise and extra fun.  My sister-in-law rode over on horseback.  
Not just any horse.  She rode over on a draft horse!  

I already love horses but this guy was amazing!
He was beautiful and huge!

Here's my daughter on him...

Check out the size of his feet next to my father-in-law...

Hubby rode him bareback...his favorite way to ride.
That's his sister standing next to the horse...

He had a huge smile on his face.

I think he really enjoyed this.

I was nervous about riding him and tried to pass on it but they all insisted.

I'm so glad I was able to get past my fear and go for a little ride.
It was incredible!

I've never ridden a horse that was so well trained and responsive.
He did absolutely every little thing I signaled him to do and with NO hesitation!
My sister-in-law rides for the sheriff mounted posse and this is the horse she rides.
He's been through lots of training and testing and it shows!  He's amazing!

Here's an example of the size difference between the draft horse and a regular horse...

Since I had my knitting, as I almost always do, they kept 
urging me to knit while I was up there to get a photo.
Funny, huh?  But, it's not as crazy as knitting in a waterfall!

This was a first for all three of us to ride on a draft horse.  I sure hope it's not our last!

I wish I'd had my camera with me that day to get better photos of this gorgeous horse.
At least we had our cell phones!  What fun!!!  Thanks, Kim!  :-D

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hidden Canyon

On the last day of our Zion Get-Away we decided to hike up to Hidden Canyon.
The trail starts at the parking lot for Weeping Rock and Observation Point.
This is what you see from the parking lot.  Hidden Canyon is up and toward the left...

The trail started out with steep semi-paved switchbacks that climbed very quickly.
We were amazed at how far we'd just climbed with each turn onto a new switchback.
The views became spectacular very quickly.
The curved line in the bottom of the canyon is the road that winds through Zion National Park.

After a while, the wider and semi-paved part of the trail ends and becomes a bit tricky.
The edge of the trail has steep drop offs all along but the semi-paved parts were wide.
All of a sudden the trail became narrow, rocky and sandy.  Combine that with the steep 
drop off at the edge and gusts of wind and I was a little nervous about continuing on.
That's my hubby in the center left of the photo.  

Luckily, when it got a bit more risky, there were chains bolted into the side to hang onto.
Whew!  I liked that.  But, then, all of a sudden, hubby felt a bit nervous.

Looks a little crazy, huh?!

But, as soon as I got to the chain I felt safe and excited to continue.  Woo hoo!

I even stopped for a silly photo.  I'm calling it, "Knitting on the Edge".
I can add it to all my other crazy and fun knitting photos.
The drop off was pretty steep but I was sitting in a dip and my legs were up and resting 
on a rock that was a bit higher than I was.  And, I sat down and scooted to that spot.
I may look crazy but I do all I can to be safe.  This spot was actually pretty comfy and the 
warm sun felt so good.  It would have been fun to sit and knit for a while but I was in
the middle of the trail.  Plus, hubby was a bit nervous and probably wanted to get going.

We were so glad we didn't turn back when the trail got tricky.
There were great rewards farther up the trail.
This rock staircase was really cool.  It looked like it was really old and something 
we'd see in a movie.  It was part of the trail.  So, we continued onward and upward.

We eventually made it to Hidden Canyon.  We couldn't believe our eyes.
We would never have imagined there could be a canyon so far up on a mountain of rock.
But, there it was.  Check out the super tall, smooth rock wall on the right side.
That's me in this photo...

It was nice to get away from the drop offs for a while.
This was like walking on a flat, sandy trail....up the riverbed.
We found the arch we'd read about...

We hiked up the canyon for a while.  It was cool and quiet.  We only saw a couple of other people.
We turned around when we reached a section that was filled with huge boulders and might have required some climbing equipment.  But, we heard it keeps going and going after that.
It was late in the afternoon though and I sure wouldn't want to 
climb down those tricky trails in the dark.  So, back down we went...

This is a section we'd hiked on the way up.  It has steps carved into the rock.
For a sense of scale...notice the people on the other side of the river...

The water that comes down through Hidden Canyon comes through this section.
It has done some very interesting carving into the rocks...

Here's that section from another angle...the center of the river.
Notice the steps and chain on the right side.  
That's where we were heading at this point to go back down.

Here's that carved out section again...looking down onto it from the trail.
Notice how it drops off near the center of the photo. 
I'm wondering if it creates a waterfall there when the water is running.

This photo was taken a few steps farther.  The rock/mountain in the background is across the canyon
The trail to Observation Point winds along it.

The sky was so blue.  It was a beautiful day.

The scenery and views were spectacular!

Going down.  Here's another view of part of the trail where it's narrow and drops away.
A lot of it slants in toward the mountain.  That helps.  
But, I sure wouldn't want to hike it without that chain.

Back to the parking lot and restrooms.  Ahhhh!

What an awesome hike that was!  We'll definitely do that one again.
And, now, we're excited to do Observation Point.
We'll have to get a much earlier start on that one though.  Sounds like it takes most of the day.
Hidden Canyon just took a few hours.

We can't wait to go back to Zion!  We miss it already!