Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wine Socks

I made a ruffly bottle sleeve a few years ago and I love it!  I use it all the time.
It works great to catch the little drips that run down the bottle and can leave a ring on the counter.

Since it works so well, I wanted to make more.  I have some yarn left over sock yarn from my 
Zion hat.  It's the perfect color for catching drips of dark wine without worrying about stains.
So, I knitted one up.  Then, my daughter liked it so much that she asked for one.
It was fun and quick and the colors are perfect for someone else I know.
So, I now have three...

I decided to leave the ruffle off of these.
I like how they look with their cute little stripes.

I used size one double point needles and cast on 32.  I divided them onto four needles with eight stitches on each.  Then, I simply did a knit three, purl one rib for about 26 rows or about two inches and bound off in the same rib stitching.  I tucked in the ends and...voila...cute little wine socks!  

I was a bit short on wine.  So, I just HAD to buy a few bottles for the photo shoot! ;-)


Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Letter "I"

The timing of the letter "I" in the alphabet photo challenge couldn't be more perfect.  The Mountain Fire that burned over 27,000 acres in the mountains surrounding Idyllwild is contained and life is getting back to normal.  A lot of us are heading up the mountain to see for ourselves that Idyllwild is fine and to support the community by shopping in the stores, eating in the restaurants, etc.

My letter "I" post is dedicated to Idyllwild!

The Hub Cyclery planned a bike ride for Saturday morning and a kids bike rodeo for Sunday.
We went up early Saturday morning for the ride.  

People gathered at the shop...

We all signed a banner to thank the fire fighters and all who worked hard to save the community...

 Then, we all headed out for a ride around town.  I wasn't able to get a picture of everyone because we were all so spread out.  But, estimates were that there were at least 60-70 people that showed up.
The shop owner and local residents that came were surprised and thrilled to see so much support.  

That's my hubby on the left side, holding my mountain bike up for me...

After riding around town for a while, we stopped at the ranger station.  
The bike shop owner went in and asked the rangers to come outside.  He thanked them for
their public service, for all the hard work they do and all they did to help during the fire.  
The banner was held up for them and we gave them cheers and a round of applause.  It was great!

Some members of the Hemet Jeep club came up to join in on the festivities and 
show their appreciation as well.  If I heard correctly, many of them helped 
during the fire by driving supplies up the mountain.  
There were at least eight Jeeps that came up on Saturday.

Our next stop was the fire station.  They were presented with the banner and given lots of cheers and applause as well.  I thought I'd gotten a great panoramic photo of the event but when I went to retrieve the photos from my cell phone, it wasn't there.  But, here's a photo of me at the station...

The last stop was at the local coffee shop, Higher Grounds, for a moment of gratitude and prayer.

There were signs of appreciation all around town...

Some of the bikers went on a trail ride afterwards.  Hubby and I decided to ride around 
through the neighborhoods a bit more.  I'm glad we did because I was able to get a picture of something I'd seen earlier that I thought was funny.  It was hanging on the side of a garage...

After our ride, we went to one of our favorite Idyllwild restaurants, Gastrognome.
It's right near the center of town with a wonderful outdoor, under the trees dining area.
They have awesome views of the mountains and the food is really good.  We enjoyed some 
refreshing beer and toasted to the firefighters and everyone who saved our wonderful mountain. 

After our yummy lunch, we walked around town and did a little shopping.
It seemed that a lot of people were coming up to enjoy the mountains and show their support.

Thunderheads were building over the deserts and the tops of the mountains.
It brought some humidity to the hot day but it was still a lot cooler and nicer than home.

My beloved Lily Rock/Tahquitz's so great to see it up close and that the surrounding forest
is still there!  The trails are currently closed but I have high hopes that they'll re-open for hiking once 
all the hot spots are out and all the work on the fire is complete.  I can hardly wait to go hiking 
up there again.  We can see this rock from our house!  Through our loft window, if we peek
between the homes across the street, we can see it!  I think that's so cool! 
It can be seen from miles and miles around.  It's enormous!  It's world famous for rock climbing.

It was wonderful to see this butterfly.  There's still life on the mountain!

Yup!...Idyllwild is still here and open for business.
Isn't this little bear adorable?!

It turns out that the fire was started by faulty electrical equipment on a private property.  It was difficult to impossible to get photos of the area near where it started as we drove into town.  But, it was interesting to see where it had traveled.  Near the start of it, it's black but many of the trees still have needles and leaves...they're just not green any more.  The fire path was narrow at first and skirted itself between homes, jumped over areas, and even went around both sides of a ranger station.  As it moved, the path got wider and wider and eventually burned huge sections of the mountain and traveled around to the east side, toward Palm Springs.  The large areas were hard to photograph because they were so far away from the road that you couldn't tell very easily which parts were green and which were black. But, I know one thing for came very close to homes and a lot of people are very, very lucky!

There is a line across the center of each of these pictures that is black
and show where the fire traveled from west to east...

We took a drive to see where the fire had burned and to check on our favorite campground.
It's ok!  Yay!  We saw the staging area for the fire fighters and their equipment.  
They still had a helicopter there, some fuel and water trucks and various other equipment.
The staging area was at the Garner Ranch Cattle Company.  The cattle are healthy and beautiful.
I couldn't resist taking some photos...

This one is my favorite.  He's so cute and he looks like a model with his tail blowing in the wind...

The tall mountains in the background are where a lot of the burn area is...

We drove up to the top of Thomas Mountain.  It's an area my husband has been mountain biking 
on for years but I've never seen.  It was wonderful to see that it didn't burn.
As we enjoyed the scenery and fresh piney air, I'm sure he was feeling very grateful 
as he sat there gazing at one of his favorite trails.  I know I was.

As we drove over and down the other side of the mountain, I was amazed at the 
views of surrounding desert communities of Anza, Aguanga and Sage. 
The air was hazy though and didn't make for good photos...
...but, you can get a glimpse behind the yucca in the next photo...just click it to enlarge it.

I couldn't pass up a photo of these beautiful yucca though...

The flower plumes were huge, dried and so pretty.

Well, there's my letter "I" post.  Not many photos of objects that start with "I" but all taken in the Idyllwild  area.  An Incredibly Inviting place that's Impossible to forget.  I've been finding an Increasing amount of things up there that I love and keep me going back again and again.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Letter "H"

I had an idea that I loved for the letter "H".
I wanted to take photos of various people doing things they love with their Hands.
Young and old, crafting, working, cooking, etc.  I think it would have been great!
But, with triple digit temps and gas prices hovering around $4.20 per gallon,
driving all around to do this started to seem less exciting.

I decided to go a different direction with the letter "H"...Historical.
My daughter needed to go to the University of Redlands yesterday to meet with the traveling 
Harp repairman to have her Harp regulated.  The campus is beautiful and they've preserved 
the old buildings and History.  This was the original "Arts" building.  It's beautiful!
(I took all these photos with my cell phone.)

Across campus is another original, old, Historical building. 
I believe it may have been the original school...

There are a lot of Huge old oak trees...

Historical Memorial Chapel...

I think it was built in 1907.  The acoustics are AMAZING!

When inside, stained glass is all around...

Here's a window with the sun shining in...

The ones in the back of the chapel are less ornate but still pretty...

Here's a close up of the colored glass...

After dropping her Harp off for service, we drove up into the mountains to visit
the cute little town of Oak Glen.  It's famous for it's apple orchards and it will become
quite busy in about a month when they're ripe.  But, right now, it's very quiet.
It was wonderful!  It was quiet and cooler than down the hill.
We saw some deer that somehow found their way into an orchard and were
enjoying some tasty apple leaves.  ;-)   We stopped at the old school house.
It's so well preserved and cute.  Unfortunately, it was closed.

We stopped in at Los Rios Ranch and wandered around their little shop.
Inside were some Historical Horse carriages and wagons...

This is my favorite...

I love the pretty curves on the wagon itself and the swirly details that decorate it...

We stopped for a healthy lunch...salads at Panera Bread.
Then, we stumbled across the old town area of Redlands.  
I love finding well preserved down town areas.  And, the shopping was fun.

Then, it was time to pick up my daughter's Harp and Head Home.
I snapped a picture of some of the other Harps that were in for service...

We had a wonderful day together!  
And, I was able to complete my "H" photos for Benita's alphabet photo challenge.  Yay! 

I might actually be on time for the challenge next week....
I already know what I'm going to photograph!   :-)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Tour de Fleece Finish Line

Here's my Tour de Fleece yarn...

I finished it up yesterday...on the final day of the tour.
It's 100% Merino and it's super soft and fairly even in thickness.
It's somewhere between a fingering and DK.  The color is Sandalwood.

I had hoped to spin up and ply at least 600 yards and get started on a project during the tour.
But, life got busy and I only spun and plied four ounces for a total of 213 yards.
But, for me and how little I usually spin...this is an accomplishment to be proud of.

I was even more proud when I took it off of my niddy noddy and held it up...
there was not even the slightest bit of twist in the skein!  Wow!
I've been told that is a good thing.  I guess it means my yarn is well balanced?

I'm so excited about it that I plan to spin up at least eight ounces more.
I can't wait to get started on a project with it!  
I've already started searching for the perfect pattern.

 Woo hooo...handspun yarn by me! 

Here's a question for other hand spinners...
When you're finished spinning and plying yarn do you wash it?
Do you let it sit for a while?  Do you just start right into a project with it?
Or....I just heard of this a few years ago and I don't quite get it...
do you wash it and beat it and how?  I'd love to hear what you do and why.

I was told years ago that it's best to wash it and hang it to dry to set the twist.
So, that's what I've always done.  I'm wondering if that's necessary or the best way.
Your stories, experiences and advice would be great to hear.  Please share.  :-)

Great News!

Thanks to the hard work of fire fighters and mother nature, containment on the Mountain Fire
has risen to 68%.  Humidity increased over the weekend, temperatures dropped, rained! Evacuation orders have been lifted and residents have returned home.  Yay!  
Hopefully, the fire will be completely out very soon.

Much of the mountain burned, a few houses were lost, trail areas burned and wildlife habitat
was destroyed.  However, word has it from Idyllwild residents that when you're in town
you can't even tell there was a fire.  That's awesome news!

Plans are being made by Idyllwild businesses and many of us flat-landers to go up next weekend to celebrate and show our support.  Area businesses had to close their doors and went without customers for almost a week.  I'm sure that our support will be greatly appreciated.  Idyllwild is a wonderful place to go....beautiful, cool, relaxing, tasty food, shopping, biking, hiking and so much more.  
See you on the mountain!  :-D

Friday, July 19, 2013

Mountain Fire

No matter where you are in the US, if you've seen the national news, you may have heard about the "Mountain Fire".  The news said last night that it has become the number one priority fire in the country.  Why am I blogging about it?  Because the mountain that this fire is burning is one of my favorite places on earth.

Our beloved Mount San Jacinto has been burning...raging out of control...since Monday.  It started near the small mountain community of Mountain Center and quickly spread to hundreds of acres. Then, over night, it doubled to over 800 acres.  The next day it was over 1,400.  Now, it's over 22,000 acres!  The terrain is steep and wooded and that makes it hard to fight.  The brush up there is dry and many of the trees have been killed by beetles, leaving a lot of dry, dead fuel.  On top of that, we've had triple digit temps.  I heard on the news that at times the fire fighters have had to deal with 130f degree heat because of the temps and the fire.  Horrible!

Up until yesterday they could only manage to get 10% control of this fire.  We got the tiny bit of good news yesterday that management has grown to 15%.  That's good but not nearly enough.  The wonderful community of Idyllwild has been under mandatory evacuation for a few days and will remain so today, maybe longer.  The fire is also heading down the backside of the mountain toward the Palm Springs area.  I heard this morning that it has burned at least three of the Mount San Jacinto peaks.

I've been glued to my cell phone and computer all week trying to keep up on the latest news about this fire. I recently signed up on Twitter and have found it very useful in this situation.  I've also found some websites that have been very helpful.  I refresh them throughout the day to get the latest info.  If you're interested, here are some of them...the maps on THIS one show the area that has burned...looks like almost half the mountain at this point.  THIS one offers helpful information regarding the Idyllwild community.  THIS one has maps, weather info, numbers of aircraft and personnel fighting the fire, etc.

I've been enjoying this beautiful mountain since I was a child when my parents took my brother and I up there to camp.  As an adult, I've been enjoying going up there to camp, hike, mountain bike, dine, escape the heat, relax, have coffee, stay at a bed and breakfast, shop and just escape the hustle and bustle of everyday.  It's takes less than an hour to drive up there and we can see it from our home town.  In fact, we were up there just a week before the fire.  We packed a picnic lunch and headed up there with our dog, Salsa, to escape the heat and relax at Hurkey Creek.  We had a wonderful day!

Over the years, I've blogged about many of our adventures on Mount San Jacinto and the Idyllwild area.  If you're interested in seeing some of the beauty and fun that can be had up there, you can click over to visit my post about our hike on the Devil's Slide trail about a year ago.  Or, our hike up to Tahquitz Peak and the fire lookout station.  What a hike that was!  I've been wanting to go back up there again.  I sure hope it's still there after the fire.  And, I hope the trails will still be open and not all burned up.  Oh, how I wish there wasn't a fire on our mountain!  I'd love to be standing here again right now...

HERE'S a post I did about a wonderfully relaxing day spent in a grassy meadow under some trees.  Ahhhh!  We've spent a lot of time camping up there.  Even Salsa likes going up there, as you can see in THIS post.  And, I can't leave out winter...  We love driving up there to see the snow, enjoy a hot cup of coffee or cocoa and marvel at the beauty.  I'll never forget the time we drove up and saw all of these beautiful red meadows on a chilly, snowy, rainy, winter day....HERE'S that post.

There's a chance of rain in the forecast for Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  We could sure use it! But, the forecast is for thunderstorms and lightening is something we definitely can do without!  I hope they'll be able to start making bigger progress in stopping this fire over the next few days.  And, most importantly, that they'll be able to save the community of Idyllwild.  It breaks my heart that this is happening and I've shed tears over it.  We always know that fire is possible anywhere but we sure never would have imagined one fire taking so much of this mountain that we love.  I can't wait for it to be out so we can go up and see what has been spared.  I hope that much less has burned than it seems!

If you're anywhere within driving distance of the San Jacinto Mountains and Idyllwild, please consider going up and supporting the community when this is all over.  Not only have the businesses lost out on a lot of business this week (especially since the evacuation) but I bet restaurants and the grocery store will have to throw away a lot of food.  That will hurt them too.  You won't regret taking a trip up there.  It's a beautiful and wonderful area.  There are miles and miles of hiking and biking trails, lots of wonderful bed and breakfasts, restaurants, shopping, and more.  Oh...and, they've had the best mayor anywhere....Mayor Max...he's a dog!  You can read the heart warming story HERE.

Please keep the residents, the fire fighters, the wildlife and our mountain in your thoughts and prayers.