Funday day tripping

Last Sunday the weather was perfect and since I was unable to go spend it with my Mother, I decided to take a nice little day trip through back country roads with the Hubby.  We started out with a destination of the Olive Mill and Winery, but ended up getting sidetracked.  When I saw the sign for the Brigittine Monastery I had to change plans.  I love monasteries, a love that started when I lived next to Mount Angel Abbey and attended the loveliest retreat making fast friends with Father Bernard.  Father Bernard visited often and I made regular trips to soak up the beauty and serenity of Mount Angel Abby.  But I digress….the Brigittine Monks are known for their chocolate.  What could be a greater draw than that?!  The ground were beautiful, but the shop was closed for prayer which was taking place in the chapel and as always beautiful!

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The lilacs were in full bloom and smelled heavenly!

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Every monastery must have a resident cat and this little guy was cute and friendly as could be.

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When we stepped into the little chapel the scent of incense permeated the air and took me back to my childhood.  I loved every single thing about growing up Catholic!  The rituals all have such deep and profound meaning.  The Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament was a favorite of all the beautiful rituals.  The singing of the Tantum ergo and the incense filled me with awe of a God so great and wondrous.  All my senses were engaged and I felt a deep satisfaction in my soul.   Sacred and beautiful indeed!

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Back on the road we were wooed by the Lawrence Gallery.  Another place I have always intended to stop at but just never took the time.  It is quite lovely with many beautiful art pieces.

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I loved these fields of clover, they smelled wonderful and such a beautiful contrast to the emerald hills and bluest of skies.  The Pacific Northwest is a place of such amazing beauty.

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One of my goals for the trip was to find and harvest some Scotch Broom for my dye pots. It is a very invasive plant here and can be found growing wild everywhere.  I found a nice little spot off the road and took some cuttings.

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I didn’t get quite as much liquid as I would like so will go harvest another batch.  It dyes up the most wonder shades of an olive foresty green.  I also made a batch from just the flowers so will see what I get from that.  Sadly I am out of undyed yarn and awaiting an order.

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Thifting, thrifting, thrifting….oh how I adore this time of year.  My brestie and I headed out and found so many wonderful items.

First up a set of ceramic pans by J. A. Henckels.  These are wonderful to cook with as they are nonstick without the toxins of teflon.  This set would be well over $100 and I got the three for $3!  I also nabbed the nice heavy fry pan in the background.  Being Vegan I am always sautéing veggies.  In place of oil I use vegetable broth and I find I can never really have too many pans.

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I also found these darling tea cups.  They both have the tea infusers inside.  I did drop the lid on one as you can see the chip.  Dang it..but it works just fine.

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Look at that darling bee inside the cup with the purple flowers.  Isn’t that the cutest?

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I have slowed down on picking up pieces of milk glass, but when I saw this large cooking jar in the grapevine pattern for $2 how could I resist?!   It is so heavy and quite large.  Tucked in my storage I have an entire milk glass place setting for 8.  Someday this will be passed on and hopefully used for everyday dishes.

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I also found this tiny little crystal basket.  It is just the cutest and looks nice along side two other crystal yard sale finds from last year.

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And dish towels.  I hate the new dish towels, they just don’t seem to dry worth a hoot.  So when I see vintage linen towels I nab them.

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It was a good week end for vintage and this vintage fabric is just fun.  It will be passed to my eldest the dressmaker.  I love how it has a scalloped boarder and think it would make an amazing top or skirt!

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And this unfinished sampler piece $1..how could I resist?

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I also found this darling plant stand.  Look at those cute little birds.  It is just perfect in my front dormer windows.

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One never expects to find wine at an estate sale…yet there is a first time for everything.  This was an estate of a very fashionable French lady and she had very discriminating taste indeed.  These are a variety of wines both local to the region and French as well as a French Port.  The stand comes apart so is adjustable to be put inside a cupboard or hutch.  The whole shebang was $20; wine and all.

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Another darling little piece of milk glass.  I just love the little shoes and this bootie was the limit!

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And this….this Fenton basket.  It is rare to find the hand painted and signed Fenton pieces so I was delighted to see this piece.

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Ever on the look out for outside pieces, I had to bring this little cart home!

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Not a bad haul for a week end and the fun of the hunt is priceless!

I didn’t get too much knitting in this past week.  I did finish up the striping in my Jujuy shawl and started on the second lace pattern.  This shawl is a fun knit and the lace pattern is very intuitive.  I am so excited to finish this lace and add the next color.  This is yarn which I dyed naturally.

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I finished up my May socks for the boxOsocks hosted by Kristin of Voolenvine yarns and cast on the June pair.  I really like an ankle cuff so decided to do another pair of the roller socks.  This is yarn dyed with cochineal and I absolutely love the tonal variation.  However I am not crazy about this base.  It was some I had left over and no longer dye on.  It is a two ply and I find it splits and just does not knit up as nice as the 4 ply.

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I’m spending more and more time outside with the beautiful weather we have been having.  I keep adding more bits and bobs here and there in the yard and adding, moving, rearranging plants.  My raspberries have a lot of blooms this year as do the blueberries.  And my little bird house now bee house is just busy with bees coming and going.  Their fat fuzzy bodies so cute as they dart from plant to plant.

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I scattered a variety of seeds in the areas by the bench.  All flowers which can be used for dyeing of course.  The other day I saw some little shoots poking up.  I cannot wait to harvest these gems for my natural dyeing!

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My sweet little Misha who never lets me get a picture….I just cannot ever imagine my life with a sweet doggie or two…of course both being Boxers or Boxer/mix.  Misha retains the puppy energy and attitude and is just the sweetest of little girls.  Being a mix of Boxer and Pit she exhibits the best attributes of both breeds; warm affectionate, loyal, playful, smart, very vocal, and just so full of love!

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Perhaps it is turning 60, but I think a lot about life, where I am and where I am going.  Things which were not important to me even 10 years ago are now center stage; peace, serenity, joy filled moments, simple pleasures, and although it has always been foremost to spend time with family, now it is of the essence.  It was one of the reasons I hesitated to return to work.  I no longer will allow worldly needs to supersede family time.   I find that this is the first time I have found a balance in my own work/life.  There are definitely some benefits to growing older which is growing wiser!

And now I am off to harvest more Scotch Broom and get those dye pots boiling away!

Finding Joy,

Patricia

 

All the beautiful sunshine

The natural dyeing has been so enjoyable and has quite kept me engaged and busy.  What a lovely rabbit hole to fall down.  I love seeing what I can produce by mixing a bit here and there.  I did order some liquid botanical dyes from http://www.botanicalcolors as I wanted more freedom to mix colors and I feel liquids give me better control.  I am still playing with plants and have planted several beds full of cosmos, dahlias, zinnias, marigolds, and coreoposis.  My plan for those is to eco dye sock blanks mixing and mingling the flowers with leaves and berries.  I find myself looking at every plant with renewed interest in its possible uses for dye.

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I did put tags on the yarn, originally it was to sell some on Etsy, but then I could not decide what to part with….but the tags do help me remember what dyes and process I used.  I do need to list some however….

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Unfortunately I have ran out of yarn to dye until another order arrives.  But my yard has kept me busy enough.  I wanted leeks and onions but they need a lot of sun.  I’m hoping these containers will work.  I placed them in a nice sunny spot on the porch.  They may be a terrible eyesore, but I can live with that.

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I was a bit surprised to see my bird house had been taken over by bumble bees.  But a quick search on the internet and it is not uncommon.  Just leave them be and they will be gone in July or August.  Bees are so precious that I certainly do not want to upset this little hive and they don’t mind me a bit either.

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I am most pleased with how everything is growing.  After the big disappointment last year it is so excited to see little shoots sprouting!

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I cleaned out a big invasive mint patch and threw it in a pot to make a dye.  I boiled it off and on for a few days and then strained out the leaves and put the liquid in a pot to await more yarn.  The house smelled amazing while this pot was boiling!

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I had a bit of chard that overwintered so I had a bit of a nice little meal of it.  It was wonderful sautéed in a bit of veggie broth with salt and pepper for taste.  Simple yet delicious!

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I was thrilled to have a visit by Christina and two sweet peas!  We made the best use of the time and went to yard sales where they all found treasures, thrifts shops for more treasures, and then a stop in for cake.  We had a grand time indeed!  Oh how I miss them all!!

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With the completion of the impressionist mystery kal, I was finally able to get back to working on my Jujuy shawl. I just love how this is knitting up.  It is really an easy and enjoyable knit and progresses rapidly.  The yarn I am using is my own dyed; avocado for the ivory and madder for the peach.

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I also finally got around to casing on another pair of socks.  I completed my May socks (see below) and now onto June.  These are for the boxosockskal by Kristin of Voolenvine. These are in my hand dyed cochineal color way.  The yarn is quite tonal and I love it!  This will be a pair of the roller socks.

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I shared this shawl last week but also added a picture of it being worn.  My investment in the proper blocking tools has made a world of difference in my finishing!

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And here are my finished May socks.  I loved this yarn and this is the second pair of socks I have knitted with it.  I have one more skein in a red and black stripe which I will knit up soon.  It is a German yarn and I cannot remember the brand but it is in one of my past blogs.  I used a bit of left over yarn for a contrasting heel and toe.  I wish I had put in a contrasting cuff but it was too late when I thought to do it as I was at the first heel.

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With my thrifting bug and love of all things yarny, I got a wild hair to grab a few cashmere sweaters to unravel and knit into socks.  I found these two pieces at goodwill for $4.

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It is a slow process but you do get one long continuous piece from the body in a well made higher end sweater.  I will put the yarn onto a knitty noddy, hank it, and then soak it to relax the crimping and clean the yarn.  I cannot wait to cast on some cashmere socks.  I’m still undecided if I will unravel the ivory sweater as it is so big soft and cozy.  I may just use it as an oversized about the house winter sweater.

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While at my natural groceries I found another issue of Taproot.  It is such a lovely little magazine!  I can never resist picking up the latest issue.

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Well it was a pretty darn good weekend for the estate sales.  Two within a few blocks.  For the first I arrived a good hour before they opened to get my seat in line next to my bestie and partner in crime.  Of course she was there even earlier than I was….I guess we are crazy estate sale ladies….

My take aways for the week?  This lovely wooden bowl.  I almost didn’t buy it.  I kept debating, but when I got it home and looked closely at how lovely it is…oh I am so delighted I did.  It is really a piece of art!

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And Hummels!  There were this many more but since my bestie also collects them we must divide them between us….a very difficult tasks indeed!  But look at these little sweeties!  Oh my that basket girl is just too much and the little girl with the lantern…so adorable!

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I saw this beauty and the price was so low so I thought well wouldn’t that be just perfect on my desk or in my lovely pink sewing room.  It’s not the age or quality of my precious one from my grandmother, but it is gorgeous and was being sold for pennies.

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I do love beautiful things.  I get much joy in surrounding myself with items that remind me of my parents, aunts, and grandmothers.  It has only been in the past years that these items have become affordable as their values have plummeted due to no demand.  I can now find a Hummel for as low as $5, Fenton pieces I have found for as low as $1, and beautiful old dark wood furniture pieces have dropped from the thousands to the low hundreds and below.  It is quite nice as they can now be more readily enjoyed by all and not just stuck away for fear of being broken due to an inflated value.

I find that I spend far too much time on my phone doing puzzles so decided it was time to ditch the virtual puzzles and get physical.  When the girls were growing up we always had a puzzle in progress and my mother tells me I was doing puzzles from the time I was tiny.  I do so enjoy a good jigsaw puzzle!

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Work is going well, I am starting my second month.  It is a small little community nestled in a wooded area and very cute and cottagey.  It is a good company and I have inherited some darn amazing staff so that is half the battle right there.  But as in all cases when a new administrator is hired there is a reason…. However I am quite content and find myself enjoying the job.

And now off to play around in the yard.  I have some yard art pieces that I never got around to putting up and there is no time like the present.

Happy day, happy life,

Patricia

 

Shawl Heaven

We have had some wonderful sunny days and I have taken full advantage to get seeds in the ground and plants moved around.  I am really excited to see if I can have some success now with the removal of so many branches off the trees in the backyard.  I have a bit more sun poking through and it is lovely.  I did give up and just put all the sun loving plants in the front beds.  Who needs flowers when they can have tomatoes and peppers..right?!  Although I have planted flowers for dyeing…a necessity!

I love to see the little seedlings poking through the ground.  I did a lot of lettuce, spinach, kale, and root veggies.

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I transplanted my strawberries from the hanging basket into a bed and they just perked right up and look so nice!

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I love herbs and added a few more favorites this year.  I like to do my herbs in pots so I can move them around if wanted.  I also have rosemary…a necessary kitchen staple!

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I am not sure how well my raspberries will do as this is such a shady area, but I had so many shoots so translated them to extend the bed.  If they do not perform well this year I will move them all to another area.

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Even though rain was forecast for the week end…and it did indeed rain…I managed to hit a few estate sales.  These roosters are a good 18 inches high and since Becca has been saying she wants a few roosters for decor…well I couldn’t pass them up.  My children know not to say the are collecting anything unless they are serious as this momma will start finding them the best goodies out there.

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I had to add this little guy as well.  I love the colors!

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It was a marvelous week end for my collections as well!  It is so difficult to find baskets and this week end I scored two.  One was only $3 and one was $5…can you imagine that! I never started out to collect baskets, but my mom has the loveliest collection and when I had the opportunity to collect my first three…well the memories they evoked…I couldn’t resist…then it just rather went from there as collections do.  But each basket reminds me of my mom and for that they are priceless!

Isn’t this just the most darling little painted milk glass basket ever?

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I don’t pick up a lot of milk glass anymore as that collection is out of control.  But when I find pieces that I don’t have or that I find so beautiful, well I can’t resist.  I found this vase to be so lovely and it was only $4 so how could I resist?

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I spent a large part of my weekend, when not in the garden, playing in the dye pots.  I had purchased some black walnut and some liquid botanical dyes from Botanical Colors and couldn’t wait to play.  What I love about the liquid dyes is that I can mix and blend them much easier than the powders.  I do still use botanicals that I pick but for those not readily available to this area I purchase them and found the concentrated liquids to be the best.

Walnut shells need to boil for an extended time and then sit overnight.  I then added the yarn and am just allowing it to sit in the dye for a few days to try to deepen the color.

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I LOVE this color.  I have been trying for green and although this is not green it is a wonderful accident.  It is a mixture of indigo and Himalayan rhubarb.

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On my drying racks I have some cochineal raspberries and lavenders that are the result of adding iron to the pot.  The green is one of two that I dyed and is pomegranate with iron.  For the iron I just grabbed handfuls of rusty old nails and screws from the shed and threw them into the pot.  I also used my rusty aluminum pot for both of the iron baths as well.

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I had wanted some additional ivory colors and took the avocado peels and pits and boiled them down for a few hours, strained the liquid and threw in the yarn with a rusty utensil that I had.  I wanted to avoid the pinks that are so typical of avocado dyes.

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Sadly I am now all out of dyeing yarn so must await yet another order.  I am going to try some mohair and one ply this next go around.  Although the Merino super wash sock is my all time favorite.

I finally got around to blocking my Amulet Shawl by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade.  She is by far my favorite shawl designer as her instructions make lace knitting doable for anyone.  I have always been so afraid of lace, but with her tips and instructions I am now jumping in with both feet.  This is yarn that was dyed by Becca for our Etsy shop Stitches Plus Purls.  I snagged a skein and she dyed the tonal green to match.  I added a bit of mohair in the first green pattern area just for some texture and added interest.

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And this is the reason I have not completed any other projects recently!  This is the Impressionist Shawl MKAL by Helen Stewart.  Every week for 4 weeks we got a new clue.  I have never knit so intently and so obsessively to keep up with and complete a project so timely!  It is beyond gorgeous and was an enjoyable knit.  I love the picot bind off as it just adds another detail.  I did invest in a blocking kit and T-pins so I could block these two shawls correctly.

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For this shawl I used one ply merino wool; two Hedgehog Fibers (the pink and the ivory) and a yarn dyed by my granddaughter Milsie (blue).  This color combo is a bit bright but it is so light and airy and will be a gorgeous accent piece even in the warm months!

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Going back to work has most certainly put time constraints on my time for dyeing, sewing, gardening, reading, and knitting, but I am always more productive when I have limited time…go figure.  It hasn’t been too bad and this go around I am keeping a healthy work/life balance.  It is all good and the extra money does allow me to feed my hobbies!

And now it is back to the needles and my latest socks…or perhaps I’ll go get my onion sets in the ground.

Making Hay while the Sun Shines!

Patricia

Never say Never…..

Well I’m not sure if my head needs examining……but…..I headed back to work … full-time…same field……yeah….I know.  But nonetheless….crazy or not…I’m back at it as of last week.  It has put a total cramp in my time to do what I want to do.  But it’s all good.  I was feeling like I just had too much time and so when this opportunity knocked, I figured I’d grab it; at least for the time being.  So far so good.

Aside from that I’m still busy playing in the dye pots with the natural dyes.  I have decided I will place a few skeins in the Stitches Plus Purls Etsy shop since I will never ever knit all that I dye.  Natural dying is just so addictive!  I find it much more enjoyable than dyeing with chemical dyes.  This past week I didn’t have a lot of time with starting work but managed a few batches.

I love blues so soaked some black beans once again.  This time I put some yarn under the beans and left it over night.

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The result was a darker blue tonal.  I also dyed up two lighter blue skeins with the same dye bath once I had removed the beans.

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Here are my finished skeins.  I actually dyed two skeins of DK weight and am debating knitting a child sized boys color work sweater from those.

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Next evening I used Logwood.  I have been trying to get a lavender from logwood.  Last dye bath I ended up with grey.  Lovely grey but I want a lavender.  I added copious amounts of baking soda to drop the ph levels.

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However, still no nice purple or lavender but instead a periwinkle.  But its still beautiful so I’ll go with it.

 

I have to say my favorite dye so far is madder.  I love the peach hues that I can get from one dye bath just by adjusting time in the bath.  These skeins absolutely glow!

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I had some beet juice left over from cooking and gave those a try.  I love the soft pinky hues.  I am not sure how color fast beet juice is however.

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Here is a picture of my natural dyed stash.  I have mailed a few skeins off and have some wound and cast on for my own project as well.  But what jewels these are!!

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I also worked a bit on a few bags for the Etsy shop.  I have been struggling to make these bags as the burn out has certainly been surpassed.  But where there is demand, must needs overcome the burn out.

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The weather finally cleared up a bit after weeks of non stop rain.  But hey its the rain that keeps the PNW so gorgeously green…right?!  But with the break I began to get the gardens in shape.  Look at all that miserable shade.  I’m hoping that with the trees cut back I’ll be able to have a little garden area.  We will see what happens this year…

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My natural grocery was a score for seeds.  I will also get some starts for a variety of items as well.

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I’ve been knitting away in the evenings to keep up with Helen Stewart’s Impressionist MKAL.  Unfortunately I cannot get a decent picture of the shawl as it is all crammed onto my needles.  But the last clue arrived this week so hopefully I will have it completed by the end of the week!  I am absolutely loving this; both knitting it and the way it is turning out.  Helen’s patterns are so user friendly.  I love how they are written and in this pattern she suggested stitch markers for each lace pattern design.  OMG it has revolutionized my ability to knit a lace design!

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I am also trying to get some knitting time in on my natural dyed KAL hosted by Lindsay of A Wooden Nest podcast.  I did get a few rows completed on my Jujuy shawl.  I adore how this natural dyed yarn is knitting up!  It just seems to glow!

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I finished April’s sock for my Voolenvine Box O Socks KAL and am working away on May’s pair.  I want to make this pair a bit longer as I love the pattern this self striping yarn is creating!  I need to get another pair cast on.  I’m going to make another pair of the roller socks as they are pretty much the only type of socks I wear.

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With the good weather also comes my favorite time of year….Yard Sale Heaven!  While out on errands today I chanced upon a sale and found these goodies.

This milk glass basket has a slight blue tint so how could I resist?  I have tried to slow down on my milk glass obsession as it is over flowing with several boxes in the attic!

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These will be lovely in the fall filled with nuts and apples or perhaps a bit of candy even…

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One grand is going to be having some magic fun with this set!

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I thought I had read every Daphne Du Maurier book printed but this is one I had not seen.  I can’t wait to start reading it!  Also who can resist a second copy of Edith Holden’s beautiful journals?  I saw on IG where an extra copy was used to make a bunting and I have been wanting to do the same since!

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And as if I did not have enough going on, Alejandra of A Woolen Forest is hosting a book club on Ravelry for the book A Perfect Red by Amy Butler Greenfield.  It is one of the books I received for my birthday from my eldest.  It will be fun to explore this book on the history of color with other natural dyers.

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And what better way to spend an afternoon after getting the first of the garden in than with a good book and a glass of wine.  Of course I will be knitting later on as well!

Happy warmer days!

Patricia

Dyeing madness

My but have I been in a dyeing frenzy.  Natural dyeing is definitely easier than dyeing with chemical dyes and I find it much more enjoyable as well.  The possibilities are endless and you can get a range of differing shades from one dye source just by changing the mordant, the ph balance, the mineral content in the water and other simple factors.  Once I received my order from Botanical Colors (botanical colors.com) I dug right in and kept at it until I ran out of yarn…drat.

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All these beauties hanging on the racks drying add such a bright note to each day.

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The colors below were achieved as such: yellows are turmeric, peaches are madder, pinks and rose/burgandy are cochineal, blues are black beans, grays are logwood, and the ivory one is juniper berries and one is avocado.  I cannot wait to get more yarn as there are a range of shades possible from each of these by just tweaking the water, mordant, and ph.  I’m planning on some purples, greens, browns, and reds.

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The blues above were black beans and what an amazing and easy way to get a gorgeous blue color.  I simply soaked the beans for two days then drained off the liquid, heated it, added my mordanted yarn, heated and soaked in the dye, and hurray gorgeous blues!  For the skeins below, I got these gorgeous colors from cochineal by dipping each skein as the dye was exhausting.  Aren’t they just so lovely?

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I was aiming for purple with the logwood but ended up with an amazing gray.  But it looks great next to these rose and pinks.

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I cooked up a batch of beets and greens and of course had to keep all the liquid.  I threw in a piece of organic sheeting and a mini skein of undyed yarn.  I’m going to just let it stew a few days and see what I end up with.  It’s quite comical that all food is now viewed not only for nutritional value but for its dyeing properties and potential.

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Aside from dyeing natural yarn I just had to jump on a few bandwagons that are popping up all over instagram.  First was the Birds of a Feather by Andrea Mowry.  I fell in love with the pattern after seeing all the projects in progress…and well anything with a pop of mohair I can’t resist.  There were numerous kits out there for the pattern,  but I fell for these gorgeous skeins by Junk Yarns.  OMG when they arrived in the mail I was amazed at the beauty.  I had been hearing so much about this dyer Kemper and seeing her yarn on IG, but to see it up close and in real time….OMG!  But it is hard to get your hands on…when she uploads you gotta be quick!  Now to find time to cast this shawl on…currently it is in my queue.

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But what I did cast on was the Impressionist Mystery shawl by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade.  Her patterns are the absolute most well written out there and her designs are gorgeous.

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Here are some pics of clue one in progress and clue one completed.  Clue two is out today and I will be busy knitting it up before clue three arrives next Saturday.  I am delighted with my color choices and the design.  This is going to be one of my favorite shawls I am sure!  I used two Hedgehog Fibers yarns (the pink and the ivory) and one that was hand dyed by my talented granddaughter Milsie.  She has the most amazing eye for color!

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I have made amazing progress on my Antler Cardigan (by Tin Can Knits).  I have joined the sleeves and body and am ready to begin the patterned yoke section….but with all my other projects and KALs it has had to be set aside for the time being.

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I am nearly finished with my April socks for the box o socks KAL by Kristen of Voolenvine Yarns.  Actually since I took this pic yesterday I have completed the foot down to the decrease for the toe which I will complete today.  This yarn is a hand dyed by my daughter Becca and one that was carried in our Stitches Plus Purls shop.

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I always always have to have 2 pair of socks on the needles so here is my start of the May socks.

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And as if I needed another project.  Lindsay of A Wooden Nest podcast was hosting a natural dyed yarn KAL.  So I dug into my stack of recently dyed beauties and patterns that I have been wanting to knit up and came up with this shawl and this yarn.  I have since cast on and started the beginnings.  One thing that I have noticed about the natural dyes is that not only do they have beautiful variations of colors throughout the skein but that they have a glow to them.  Knitting on this has been pure pleasure.  I am using a sock weight 85% merino and 15% nylon super wash 4 ply.  It is one of my standby dyeing wools.

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Imagine my delight when my youngest sister called and said she would be in for the night and was bringing my mom!!  OMG I was over the moon!  My mom hasn’t been to my house since we bought this place as her health isn’t the greatest, she lives quite a distance, and she doesn’t travel much any more.  OMG I made up her favorites for lunch and we had favorite goodies for snacks and then we just knitted up a storm.  Plus having my sister to visit along with my mom…it was just so so precious and special!  I hated to see them leave.  One of the resolutions I made this year was to spend more time with family and less time working and giving my life energy to fuel some corporate entities dreams and finances.  I have spent the better part of this year traveling and visiting and it has been marvelous.

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I must share one of the faces that greets me every morning and always reminds me when it is time to take a break from what I am doing to give appropriate attention where attention is needed…namely lots of petting and loving on both my boxer babies.  I cannot imagine my life without a boxer or two!

IMG_6836And I will end with my view from where I am sitting in front of the cozy fire knitting away on this blustery, cold, and very wet day.

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Happy knitting,

Patricia

On Monthly Subscriptions and Playing in the Dye Pots

Since I was a wee one I have always loved receiving mail….who doesn’t right?!  My mom used to get numerous subscriptions in the mail; we had a slew of book clubs geared toward all ages, a record club (remember the vinyls), and a craft club.  Each month those packages were eagerly looked forward to.  Then it seems monthly subscriptions rather went away.  But recently they are all coming back and such new and exciting ones at that!

I have been using Amazon Subscribe and Save for months since I discovered I could get my dog food for around $8-$10 less than at the local store.  When feeding 3 dogs you need all the discounts you can find!  If you order 5 items a month you get extra discounts.  I get all my paper products, some laundry supplies, and of course pet supplies this way.  I haven’t tried Amazon grocery yet but may at some point.  My daughter who lives in a rural remote area does and loves it.  On all Amazon monthly shipments shipping is free.

My first foray into an actual club was Grove Collaborative.  Each month I can choose the all natural products that I want and they arrive in the loveliest packaging.  The prices run 20% below store costs and below amazon subscription as well. On my first order I was inundated with free products!  And each month since I have received at least one free product.  What I love about it is that I can order only what I like and not order at all if I prefer.  Through Grove I have tried out so many wonder natural products and have nearly completed in replacing all my personal care and cleaning products with environmentally safe natural products.  I can’t say enough great things about this monthly subscription except that I love it and eagerly await each months beautifully packaged shipment!  This picture is just a small sample of what I have received.  Oh yes and free shipping.

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Being a lover of wine, I was intrigued when I saw First Leaf wine club.  I figure since it was no obligation and the first 3 bottles were only 19.99 shipped I had nothing to lose.    The idea behind the club is you chose the type of wine you want, the region you want it from, and you rate all bottles sent to you and they continue to refine your shipments to match your wine preference.  I have chosen international and domestic wines and reds with an occasional white.  Every month or every other month you are shipped 6 bottles at a cost of $90 including shipping.  At $15 per bottle I thought it was worth a go.  You can cancel at any time.  I am having shipments every two months.  So far I have tried 2 of the 3 bottles in the first shipment.  They were OK.  I think I’ll give it a try for 6 months at least and see if I get some treasures.  They do offer special shipments occasionally as well.

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I have been toying with the idea of joining one of the numerous meal/food subscriptions out there.  But with so many I don’t know what to chose.  I would need it to be vegan and I think the closest I have found to meet my needs is either Purple Carrot or GreenChef. But at $10 plus per meal I think they are a bit high.  Anyone tried any of the varies meal subscriptions and can offer any feedback?

I spent some time playing around in the dye pots.  I was very disappointed in my first dip into natural dyeing with the avocado experiment.  After receiving the lovely book on dyeing from my eldest Christina (that I post in the last blog), I ordered up some madder, cochineal, logwood, and indigo.  But until those arrive I wanted to see what else I could produce.  Since I had numerous tins of turmeric I thought I’d give it a go.  First I mixed it with water and allowed it to sit for a good hour while the yarn soaked in an alum mordant water bath.

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I added the yarn and brought it to a simmer, being careful not to over heat and felt my wool.  For my experiments I have been using a 80% Merino and 20% nylon undyed sock weight yarn.  I did throw one of the avocado skeins into this bath as well and a large piece of organic cotton sheeting.

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I left it simmering for a good 30 minutes or more while stirring it around and mixing it.  I was happy with this color experiment.  The skein on the left was the avocado dyed piece. Look at how vibrant that fabric turned out!

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Here are my finished skeins plus the avocado skein.  The ivory fabric was an experiment with juniper berries.

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I found dried juniper berries at my natural grocer.  I boiled them for hours and attempted to dye a piece of cloth but they gave little to no color.  I have been letting them soak for nearly a week now and I see some brown liquid beginning to form.  I may give this another try with fabric first to see if I can get a nice brown color.  I did notice that the berries were sappy.  I put my hands into the mix to squeeze the berries and break them up and my hands were quite covered in a sticky sap.  So we will see what I do…may just throw the entire thing out..

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On my needles I have been obsessed with finishing this sweater.  It is the Antler Sweater by Tin Can Knits (I love all their designs).  It has been such a fast knit and I am now ready to begin the yoked pattern section.  I always get nervous when I start a pattern as I have a way of somehow missing simple directions in the pattern…..yeah who knows….

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I forgot to share this adorable knit last week that I have been working on off and on.  It is the most adorable kit from Twistedpdx.com aptly named Rose & Lily and designed several years back to commemorate the birth of Lily at the Portland Zoo.  I replaced the yarn in the kit with my own hand dyed.  I adore my little gray sparkled pachyderms.

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As my knitting skills and speed have increased I have been wanting to cast on everything.  I always keep 2 pairs of socks on needles and generally a shawl.  Imagine my delight when I saw that my favorite shawl designer Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade was hosting a MKAL with Kristin (Voolenvine Yarns and Yarngasm Podcast; my all time favorite podcaster and my eldest granddaughter Doodle Bugs doppelgänger).  I have been eyeing this blue that my granddaughter Milsie dyed (she was the dyer behind that beautifully saturated orange that I knit up in socks for her).  I went stash diving and found these two Hedgehog fibers and well it is perfect!  I love the combo.  The first mystery is released on the 31st!

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I am also bravely doing Kristin’s box o socks this year in which you knit a pair of socks a month.  I have completed 4 and over 1/2 pair but I did give away one pair so it cannot count.  But I am also doing a natural dye KAL sponsored by Lindsey of A Wooden Nest, sooooo I’ll double dip and make a pair of socks out of my natural dyed yarn.  We are allowed to double dip thankfully!!  And……I ordered yarn for Andrea Mowry’s Birds of a Feather Shawl (DreaReneeKnits.com).  I blame IG for all this cast-onitis.  But I kept seeing Birds of a Feather popping up on IG and I loved it.  It uses two single ply yarns and a mohair!  I ordered my yarn from Kemper of Junk Yarn.  I have never knit on her yarn before and am excited to cast on.  I’ll post the yarn next week as it is set to deliver today or tomorrow!  And I think that is all my knitting…whew!

In my mail box yesterday I had this lovely package from my eldest Christina!  Yet more books on color!  I have started reading the book and it is fascinating!  And the dye book is full of recipes for about every natural and botanical you could imagine!  I think I am now set I just need my dye powers to arrive and then get out foraging over the summer.

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The weather is finally warming up here so that means all this indoor fun will have to compete with my outdoor work and getting my garden set up and the beds move into the sunlight.

And now off to check the mail and see what surprises await!

Patricia

And Now I am 60

I had a lovely birthday with my mom, daughter Christina and 4 sweet peas.  I received lovely flowers bouquets and many well wishes from all my loved ones.  What more could anyone wish for?

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Such lovely flowers!  And Christina made an amazing vegan dinner followed by the most delicious from scratch carrot cake!  Omg is was amazing and I had left overs to last a few extra servings!

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I always love any time I get to spend with my grandchildren.  I love these pictures that the two eldest captured with their cameras.  I think we may have some budding photographers!

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Having grown up on a farm I know first hand just how wonderful it is to have a horse of ones own.  I believe it solves a great deal of teenage angst!  A horse and a dog completes and grounds a child equipping them for adulthood!

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I took my camera and after seeing the pictures on the phones thought I’d give the kids a go at using my Canon.  They took some great shots and were oh so very serious!

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Until I retired I had very little time to visit family.  It was nice to catch up.  This is my older brother, Jim, who I donated a kidney too years and years ago.  The kidney is still going strong as he hits 63 this year and he is in darn good health for a type 1 diabetic!  Such an amazing miracle that still takes my breath away.

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While visiting my niece came over with the most exquisite pieces of art that she creates.  I had to have this tree.  Look at the detail…the grasses are amazing!  She also makes jewelry and trees from copper wire and beautiful glass beads.  Her gorgeous jewelry designs can be found on Etsy by FlappyHandsArt.  She is not listing the trees as they are too delicate to ship.  I am having her make me a copper one and mount it on a piece of shale from my family farm.

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After a week of visiting I returned home with my middle and a whole troop of sweet peas.  While Erica and I made a quick trip to California, Gramps took them out for hair cuts and to play at the arcade.  I think they look right handsome with those new cuts!

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I so enjoy podcasts and one of my favorite is A Wooden Nest.  Lindsey dyes the most amazing yarn using natural products and botanicals.  I just had to jump down that rabbit hole!  My first try was using avocado peels.  I simply washed them up put them in the pot and boiled them.  I added the yarn and some alum for mordant and let it cook and then set for the day.  I did not get much color.  I had hoped for a pink shade but ended up with a creamy linen color.  I will keep on learning and experimenting using different mordants.  Christina gave me the wonderful natural dyeing book for my birthday.  It is amazing and I have already ordered numerous natural dyeing materials.

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I seem to be in a sock mood lately.  Well I have also knit several dozen dishcloths which I always find homes for.

I loved knitting on the yarn for these socks so much that I had to have more.  I found it at loveknitting.com a company out of the UK.  I order 2 skeins in different color ways.  The yarn is quite soft and lovely and knits up so quick!

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Aren’t these color ways lovely?  The yarn is austermann-wolle step.  It is infused with Aloe and Jojoba.

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I also completed one of the socks in this gorgeous yarn dyed by my daughter, Becca.  I love how it knits up!  I have gotten where I think my favorite heel is the fish lips kiss by Patti White.  This method is so fast and easy and I never have the feared hole at the turning point.  For these socks I am using my Hiya Hiya Sharps, but I am finding that I actually prefer a pair of karbonz as I find the cord much more flexible and lighter.  I only use circular needles and the magic loop technique.   The bag is a Stitches Plus Purls.  It is  one that I made for myself and did not put in the shop.

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I have not made much progress on my sweater.  It is coming along nicely though. The more I work with this yarn the more I love it and that color is awesome!  This is some yarn that I actually nabbed at an estate sale.  It is Galway Highland Heather 100% wool from Plymouth Yarn Company.  I have used it before to knit a child’s cardigan.  It wears nicely without pilling.

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I love having two natural grocers just down the street.  They make my shopping experience a pleasure….and we all know grocery shopping is any thing but!  I have a weakness for magazines and find the best ever magazines there!  I love taproot so grabbed the newest and then spotted PlantBased.  It is new to me and looks to interesting.  And I found juniper berries which I will use to dye.

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I also received these goodies from Amazon.

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That is the best cookbook by far of all the plant based ones that I have reviewed.  Of course Micheal Greger is a favorite of mine.  I am slowly cooking my way through every recipe and have yet to have a dud.  I have been vegan now for almost 3 months.  I have cheated a bit here and there with tiny bits of dairy for my coffee.  And of course that amazing birthday cake was not vegan…..but well worth the cheat.  Becoming Vegan in a family of cattle ranchers is quite interesting.  While visiting everyone wanted to know why I didn’t eat meat.  They had many preconceived ideas.  But for me it was a personal decision for my health.  When I chose the Mind Body Medicine program for my PhD I was already leaning toward a plant based diet.   The nutritional knowledge I have gained through the program has set me firmly on the path to a whole food plant based diet.  In fact most all my research has centered around whole plant based foods and vascular health.  I am pretty sure my dissertation will be exploring if we can avoid or reverse vascular dementia with a raw whole food plant based diet.  Personally I have never felt better nor had more energy.  But I do battle with finding ways to eliminate all dairy.  But I am at minimun 99% plant based.  I also believe in the ethics and environmental benefits, but mainly it is about my health and being the best I can be.

 

I have managed to find a few estate sales here and there, but I am getting more selective about what I bring home.  I found this darling needlepoint on instagram.  It will make a lovely addition to my living room.  My plan is to frame it.  I seem to be acquiring many beautiful needlepoint pieces, chairs, hangings, cushions.  I love being surrounded by beautiful hand made pieces of art.

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And now off to the dye pots to see what I can create with those juniper berries!

Happy Spring!!

Patricia

 

On Aging

 

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As yet another birthday is  approaching and I find myself going into another decade I have begun to pondering a great deal about aging and all the ramifications of growing older; job, health, retirement funds, dreams fulfilled, dreams lost, and that which I still hope to attain.  Welcoming in a new decade is daunting and leaves me with a mixture of emotions.  Thankfully I have had amazing mentors in my grandmothers, mother, and father!  I did not get a chance to meet my grandfathers as they both passed before I was born.

I remember as a late 20 something spending a lot of time with my paternal grandma who was at that time in her late 80s.  We discussed aging and she shared with me that she did not struggle with aging but accepted it as it came; without fear or reservation.  As a young mother I grappled with that acceptance of approaching death.  It was, and still is, beyond my comprehension.  But as I enter my 60s, I take comfort in her wisdom and pray that I find the same peace and acceptance as the twilight years close in.

Working in long term care I often witnessed the negative side of aging.  The failure of the body, inability to do that which once brought pleasure, and the loneliness.  I don’t ever remember my grandmothers complaining about age or loneliness.  They kept active and were able to enjoy their own company.  My paternal grandma was rather outstanding.  She determined in her 80s that it was time to close up her home and move into a retirement community.  Once there she kept active and involved.  She was never a social butterfly, but developed close friends and loved playing cards with the other residents.  She was a strong woman; satisfied with life and blessed with a positive outlook.  Always willing to take on new adventures; she would pack a bag and jump in with me on the spur of the moment for overnight stays and trips.  I look to her as my teacher and mentor in this process of aging.

My father, although he lived into his late 80s, had his life taken by cancer.  We also had those conversations about death.  He did not want to leave his family but accepted his fate and stated that he was blessed with a wonderful life and was leaving with no regrets. He was in all ways his mother’s son!  It is this legacy I so desire to pass on to my children and grandchildren.  The acceptance of aging, the ability to do so with great grace.  So many of the elderly I worked with  were not selfless, did not accept aging with grace, and as a result lost the fruit of kindness; becoming bitter and full of complaint and anger.  I want to make the choice to not become bitter and chase my family away by that bitterness.  I will have regrets, I do now, but it is up to me how I process those and react/act.

As I reflect on the lessons I have learned from my grandmothers, father, and mother I find that the answers for a fulfilled life of contentment are really quite simple; family, faith, acceptance, humility, generosity, remaining open to new things and lifelong learning, hobbies, friendships, and gratitude for life’s blessings.

Both my grandmas and my father had strong faith.  None were ever known to preach about religion or dogma, but all went quietly about their lives, being examples of Christ.  They did not all share the same religion, yet they all lived the same values.  At both my paternal grandmother’s funeral and my fathers, I was overwhelmed by those they had helped; quietly and without fanfare.  I believe one essential piece of a happy life is to be humble and to live simply; to give and share what we have with others less fortunate.  I lived those lessons through my father.  Not that I believed in being humble until I gained wisdom myself and learned the true value and strength of humility.  Humility was manifest in their happiness and contentment with their lives; not wishing to be elsewhere, have more, be someone else.  I can never remember a time when I had ever heard my parents or my grandmothers say they wanted what others had or were dissatisfied with their lives.  They did not yearn for the bigger house, car, more money, etc.  They did not live in the land of wishing or regrets.

Both my grandmothers had hobbies, friends, and social involvements.  These are gifts they passed down to their children my parents and to me.  I’ve been extremely blessed to never feel lonely when alone as I have so many many things to keep me busy and engaged.  Having friends and close family ties helps to sooth the bitter disappointments in life that are inevitable.  Having hobbies allows a means to keep the mind active and time alone not spent in boredom or yearning for outside stimuli.  I cannot imagine a life without my hobbies!

I think we tend to generalize and believe that the generations before us had it easier.  They did not face the challenges and negativity we face in this crazy world and uncertain times.  Yet both of my grandmas lost an infant to one of the many diseases that took young lives before the advent of modern medicines.  My paternal grandma lived through the Great Depression, saw her only son off to war, and lost her husband while only in her late 50s.  My maternal grandma saw all three of her boys off to war and lost her husband when he was in his 60s.  My father fought in WWII and lost his father when he was still a young man.  All had great challenges to over come and faced hard desperate times.  But they accepted challenges as a part of life.  Part of the answer to aging gracefully and accepting death as a natural part of life is in how we accept and process the challenges and disappointments in life.  We are going to have them, it is inevitable.

I have a great distance to travel to obtain the peace, acceptance, and wisdom of my mentors; but I believe it is possible to attain that which is their legacy left for me.  Each decade it seems I shed more of my outer shell of social conforms, worldly expectations, and pseudo masks as I follow my inner compass and live authentically.  And with each step toward authentic living a deeper contentment bubbles forth.   I have also discovered as I age that the things I thought were most important and the material things that I wanted have diminished to be replaced with things of true value; time with family, time for hobbies, time spend with friends.  Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle with regrets and wanting more than I have.  But those voices are getting less and less predominant as I focus on what I do have and live a life of gratitude.

I will be spending my 60th birthday with my mother.  I cannot think of a place I’d rather be on the day of this milestone; and blessedly for an entire week!  Life is short and yes as my kids always tell me YOLO (you only live once).  For what I have left of my slice I intend to begin to build my legacy for my grandchildren; the legacy that was left to me…..the secret to a life of contentment and happiness.

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In loving memory of my grandmothers and my father and in gratitude to my mother.

 

 

 

Making

Now that I have had the time to relax at home for a bit I am slowly getting back into my routine and learning to just relax and enjoy the peace and solitude.  Although I miss the crazy busyness of the grandkids more that ever.  But not to worry this week end I head back to more visits as I head to my home town for a week!  I cannot wait!!

I have slowly began to collect kitchen gadgets once again.  This last year I acquired a kitchen aid mixer, a vitamix, and most recently a bread machine.  I had a bread machine years ago and just loved the versatility of it.  Although I rarely used the bake cycle but instead just used it to mix the dough….I know, I know…why do I need that with a kitchen aid?!.  But nonetheless I wanted one and when I saw a new in box on the yard sale site for only $10  I jumped at it.  So far I’ve only made cinnamon raisin bread and whole wheat bread.  You see, I am the only one eating it.  So after throwing out half loaves of each that I made, well it ended up on the shelf.  But I have a granddaughter who would love it….soooo it was not a waste at all!

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I shared on the last blog how much I have enjoyed Breath magazine.  It is so lovely and I look forward to each issue.  I love to curl up by the fire, cuppa in hand, and read the latest issue.  So many article about slowing down, finding a sense of place and self in this crazy world.  I have found 4 issues to date and not one has been disappointing!

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Speaking of magazines….there are so many many lovely crafting/knitting magazines on the market at this time; Taproot, Laine, Making these are the few I can think of off the top of my head.  But I know there are so many more.  The quality of these magazines is topnotch and most are ad free.  I have always had a weakness for magazines.  But the mainstream magazines have lost all appeal as they have become cheap and ad filled.  I am so delighted to see so many independent presses releasing beautiful lovely magazine filled with things that matter and things that one would desire to make.

Slowly I have been purchasing the ones that I are keepers and full of practical and meaningful articles or crafts.  That said I recently ordered all past issues of Making.  Oh my…..so many many lovely projects inside each issue with stunning photography (isn’t that one of the greatest appeals of a magazine…beautiful breathtaking photos?).

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January was such a mild and beautiful month…and thank God for that as there was much mountain travel and moving of children here and there.  So imagine the surprise when at the closing of February we were all hit with some lasting snow storms!  Now that I am no longer working, I want snow and lots of it.  We did get a bit but sadly it did not stick.  But how lovely those huge heavy flakes!

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One of the things I have sorely missed since moving to the city is a garden.  I did plant last year, but had not noticed the lack of sun due to all the trees surrounding and in my yard.  Sadly my garden was a huge flop….a massive waste.  So this year in the hopes of having at least some square footage of sun, I hired a crew to come cut down as many branches as possible.  I have high hopes for at least a half dozen raised beds…but we shall see.  Had I been aware that my entire back yard was encompassed in shade I’m not so sure I would have bought this house.

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Don’t get me wrong, I love trees….but a bit of a garden would be nice and a bit less over growth of trees blocking every bit of sunshine!

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I have had a few yarn acquisitions this past few months.  I am a fan of IG and through that forum find so many designers and indie dyers that are just outstanding.  Barnyard Knits was one such indie dyer that has had me drooling over every single stinking skein she dyes!  Come Christmas and she released a color way called Poinsettia.  I drooled, I dreamed, I obsessed…but I never got around to ordering it.  Then I sulked and pouted and finally asked her if she was dyeing more.  Sadly she replied no…but she happened to have a skein on her lovely cashmere blend sock weight!  How could I resist?!  And look at that adorable little campfire stitch marker!

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I an always count on my daughter Becca to tag me and alert me to things that I “need.”  Well this Hedgehog Fibre in the color way Piggy Bank was one such item.  Another that I had long admired but just never ordered and then it was gone.  But not this time…I pounced on this beauty!  No one can speckle quite like Hedgehog Fibre and I do adore a good speckling!!

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Projects completed…I do have a few.  My knitting mojo has been strong.  I did go on a dishcloth kick…and luckily we all need dishcloths as I have knitted well over 2 dozen.  They are simple and I can complete one in the time of a good movie.

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I also completed two pair of socks.  These ones were knit out of some yarn that my granddaughter Milsie dyed.  I love the color and I just felt she needed a pair of socks out of her own hand dyed yarn.  Luckily she loves them!

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There are a few designers that I just love and know that knitting one of their projects will always produce amazing results.  Helen of Curious Hand Made designs the most gorgeous shawls and her instructions are amazing!  I have made a few of her designs and fell in love with her Amulet Shawl.  I have long been afraid of lace as I prefer a mindless knit….thus why my socks are always simple vanilla socks.  But Helen’s directions are so easy to follow that I never felt intimidated or overwhelmed.  The yarn I chose of this was dyed by my daughter Becca just for this shawl.  I added a bit of mohair in one area just to give more texture.  I cannot wait to get this blocked!

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My knitting skills and speed have increased quite some since retiring.  Not sure if its due to knitting more or just being more relaxed.  But at any rate I decided that I was ready to tackle a cardigan.  See the idea of knitting an adult sweater always puts me off….I mean it is sooooo much knitting for miles and miles.  But I had this beautiful mauve wool in a sweater cardigan….so away I went.  I am knitting the Antler Cardigan by Tin Can Knits…another of my all time favorite designers.  It is coming along quite nicely!

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I always keep some socks on my needles.  The top are another hand dyed by Becca.  I love working on hand dyed yarn as it is always such a surprise to knit it up and watch the pattern emerge.  You just never quite know what will be.  I think this is absolutely beautiful!

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For my second pair, I went stash diving.  I have no idea when and where this yarn came from…but I love it.  It had Aloe Vera and Jojoba Oil infused and knits up so quickly.  I am a slow knitter, yet I completed one sock from this yarn in 3 days of evening knitting!  I loved it so much I did an online search and ordered 2 more skeins in various color ways. I had to order from the UK as I could not find a US shop.  I believe these may be my favorite sock needles currently.  They are Carbonz.  I just like the feel of them in my hands.  I do love my Hiya Hiya sharps but for socks I just really enjoy knitting on these needles.

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After a bit of a spell, once again the bag making has begun.  Stitches Plus Purls knitting bags will be available once again in the Etsy shop in a week.  Hopefully I can be more consistent in the bag making department…but no guarantees!

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With the coming of spring a few estate and yard sales are popping up.  Last week end I happened upon quite a gigantic one at a local church.  There was so much stuff and so many many people shopping.  I did find some very practical items that had been needed; rake, weeder, kitchen utensils, a medium sized suitcase…and also some lovely items that I just had to bring home.  These two mugs for .25 each still with tags on them.  Aren’t they just adorable!

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And this lovely picture.  I know it is very dated…but I adore the artwork of D. Morgan and have for years.  I have two cross stitch samplers I did for each of my parents years ago and which my mom passed back to me after my father’s passing.  I have them framed and hanging on my hallway walls.  I so enjoy looking at them.  When I saw this picture, I just could not resist.  It was a whole $3 and is a good 20×36 inches.  It is now hanging in my sewing room.

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Below are the D. Morgan cross stitch pieces I did for my parents.  They were originally pillows but I framed them.

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In all my travels, I sure did miss my two sweet babies.  Since returning they keep close by my side.  I just cannot imagine my life without a boxer or two to sweeten it up!

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Happy Making!

Patricia

Grand Adventures

Oh my but what a busy few months it has been!  Since January I have hardly been home but long enough to hug the hubby and doggies then it has been off again on continual adventures.  This retirement stuff is just the best ever!!

First I spent a month with my middle and 6 grands in California.  As usual on my travels if I can I prefer to take Amtrak.  The views are always amazing and it is the perfect opportunity to sit back relax and leave the driving to someone else.  Going over the mountain the views were spectacular!

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I had cast on a pair of socks for this trip.  I wanted to use some of the yarn that my granddaughter, Milsie, had dyed and present her with the finished pair.  I did manage to complete one sock and she loved it!  I just love her use of colors!  She is a master at bold saturated coloring.  Just look at that orange!!

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The girls wanted to get all beautified so I pulled out the electric rollers and we did some dolling up.  They are all such beauties!

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A boy and his dog…a wonderful thing indeed!!

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I had given my daughter this desk that I transformed.  I love to paint and transform furniture and she was more than willing for me to have a go at this office corner.

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I love the results!  It amazing what you can do with a little paint and imagination.  That corner piece was absolutely the ugliest thing ever before the redo.  Now it houses her printer and assorted office supplies.

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My own house has reached maximum capacity for furniture so it was fun to have some new projects as I absolutely love redoing furniture pieces!  I am just in love with the finished look of this redo!!

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This little love bug is doing quite well.  The grafts are healing, slowly, but healing and it looks like the worst is over.  He is such a happy baby and sharp as a whip!

It was a wonderful month of spending time with the grands.  I did work to convert them to veganism as I cooked vegan meals and turned on numerous food documentaries.  The younger ones were not quite convinced…..

Too soon I was back on the train.  While there I got a bit tired of the socks and went on a dishcloth knitting kick.  Not a bad thing since I desperately need new ones, however, as of now I have knit 10 or so…..

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I just absolutely love anything with grandma on it so imagine my delight when I got an early Valentine’s Day gift from my sweet Woopie!  I just adore this and wear it proudly!

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Soon after returning I was back in the car and off to Seaside with my eldest.  She had a business conference and invited me along for the ride.  How could I say “no” to that?!  I took lots of things to keep me busy while she was attending her conference.  I am always grabbing used books when I find ones that look interesting.  All the travel of late has given me a chance to read a few.  Recently, they have all been knitting related.  I also used this time to work on completing the second sock.

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Nothing beats the Oregon Coast for beauty.  This was the path to the beach from my hotel.  Being February it is misty, cloudy, and wet.

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I just adore beach houses.  This one really caught my eye.  I love how the brick is weathered through in places.  The hotel was at the end of the promenade and was littered with darling beach houses along the way.

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Tomorrow will be home again, however this time to stay a bit.  I do have another trip planned to spend time with my sweet mom in March.  I love this nomadic life that being retired allows me to pursue.

Happy Travels,

Patricia