And suddenly it is summer..

With the advent of temps in the 90s, summer was suddenly upon us.  Not being a hot weather gal, I always just savor those lovely temperate days before the heat hits.  I love rainy cloudy weather.  Cool spring and fall days invigorate me, whereas all this constant sunshine and heat make me just want to hide away inside and only venture out in the early morning and late evening.  Yet is a normal part of our seasons and so it is.  My raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries love the heat and I am enjoying a small crop from each.  Although my little Misha girl has learned how to pick fruit off the vines as well.  Bruno is not interested.  The hydrangea bushes are popping out in bloom also.  I do believe they are one of my favorite bushes.  The flowers are so majestic!  My herbs are growing huge and I must get out and harvest them to dry for winter use.

I was delighted to see my orchid produce blooms again this year.  This is the third year it has bloomed.  I do need to put it into a bigger pot.  I did spend a day repotting a myriad of my houseplants that had outgrown their pots.  I am always picking up pots at yard sales just for that purpose and to use outdoors.

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I had some free time in the afternoon and decided to make a stop off at one of the local thrift shops.  Imagine my delight to find this Brown Betty tea pot.  It has the made in England stamp on the bottom and is made of brown clay.  I cannot wait to make up a pot of tea in this pot.  I have warned my husband off as he has broken every previous tea pot that we have had.

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A bit back I sent out some of my madder root natural dyed yarn to my dear friend Sheila.  I was so delighted to receive this picture of the lovely cowl she had knit up with it!

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And Becca sent this picture of the sock she is knitting out of one of the botanical sock blanks I dyed.  I am soooo in love with these blanks!  I do need to dye a few more before my coreopsis bloom has ended.  I did get out and do a serious dead heading of the plant and stuck the blooms away in the freezer for dyeing.

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As for my own knitting projects, I am still working on my second July sock and the first August sock.  I am still just firmly stuck in a slump.  But no worries, some times we just need a break and to engage in something new for a bit of a change up.

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I did get a lovely package from my sister, Anna.  I have long admired her lava essential oil bracelets and she sent me one along with my very favorite diffuser oil Wintergreen!  What a wonderful package!  I have started delving more deeply into the oils again and am increasing my own stock as I begin to examine the different uses for oils.  Interestingly enough I am in a class with a therapist who is using essential oils in her treatment of those with PTSD.  She has done serious research into their medicinal use and continues to do so.  Being of the mind that we need to explore complementary and alternative medicines I am very open minded to such research and practical applications.  But science aside, they just smell amazing and lift my spirits whether at work or at home.

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I took the time this week to get this beautiful canvas hung.  This is the one that I had purchased a few weeks back at a yard sale.  I just love this picture; it is so serene and dreamy.  Nothing like a tree-lined road or path to set the imagination flowing.  What is around that bend?  I always imagine it is something wonderful and magical.  I also hung up the rose cross stitch that I picked up the next week end.   It is just so exquisitely made I enjoy its beauty immensely.

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I did get out for a bit this week end to the sales, but found nothing too exciting.  I did pick up 3 new still in the wrap pieces of the glass pyrex storage containers with plastic snapping lids.  I am trying to eliminate all plastic from the house, but do like the rubber sealing lids on these glass storage pieces.  I also found a nice pot for plants and will put it to the side for herbs or repotting.

This has been a most busy week at both work and with studies.  I had a research project due today so much of my time was devoted to that.  Oh how I am loving this PhD!  I learn so very much each week.  It is interesting that I can feel the laziness that my brain has developed as I am working on my papers.  I have to force it to remain focused and complete just one more page of the paper.  Yet, I am absorbing the learning and find that it has such everyday practical use.  This term has been more challenging than the past due to the work load and my peers.  This is one group of amazingly intelligent peers and I must work diligently to keep up!  Granted they are all currently working as therapist so have an edge but I am just so appreciative of their knowledge and the interaction of this particular group of peers.  And most excitingly I have determined what I will do my dissertation on…but will not share until a later date.  But it appears to be an area that has not been researched which is even more exciting!

I also was helping, via phone and text, my sweet Doodle Bug survive her college orientation.  I remember how terrifying that can be; everything is new and strange and the campus appears so large and overwhelming.  But she did great and is ready to begin in the fall.  I am just so very proud of her!

So it has been a busy week all in all.  Now off to play a bit in the sewing room.

Blissfully,

Patricia

Living Blissfully

This has been a pretty busy few weeks.  A lot happening at work that has kept me working late.  I did have a wonderful drop in visit by my mom, sister, and niece on their way to my nephew’s house.  It was a short stay but it was so nice to see them all!  With working once again I don’t get away.  Summer is usually my time to keep the grands and catch up on visiting.  Due to starting work again in April, I will have to make some adjustments to my plans.  I can squeeze in some long week ends and still manage a lot of memory making.

I did get in a bit of knitting.  I finished one of my July socks and cast on the second.  I love this yarn by Austermann.  When I ordered this I thought it was red with black and grey but it is in fact red with deep green and mossy green and it is lovely!

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I started working on my Birds of a Feather Shawl by Andrea Mowry but I can’t really get into it.  I am finding it is just not a fun knit.  Every other row you have a marker placed between two stitches that are to be knit together, so you must slip off a stitch, remove the marker, slip the stitch back on and knit the two together then replace the marker.  It is awkward.  I am going to see if I can figure it out to place the marker one stitch over on the previous row or if that will throw the center off.  The yarn is lovely though, it is by Junkyarns one of my favorite indie dyers.

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Since I couldn’t get into any of my current projects I decided to organize my project notebooks which resulted in recycling a great deal of patterns I had printed off.  I like to have my patterns printed, I just cannot get into doing everything electronically.  I like to make notes on the patterns for future reference.  After completing the clean up I still didn’t find anything that really excited me, so on to ravelry where I decided that I have the skill set to dive into Kirstin of Voolenvine Yarns shawl pattern Wildes Meer.  I have adored this pattern since it was released but it looked so scary.  My knitting skills have increased exponentially since I took time off work and had the time to do some serious knitting.  Now to just find the perfect yarn…which may be that I have to dye something… Keeping in the clean up mode, I also decided that I needed to better organize my yarn stash which resulted in a thorough going through and which lead to me thinking I best hank the skeins that I previously skeined up with no project in mind.  Hanks take up much less room and do not stretch out the yarn.  I still have a few more skeins to hank, but the project is nearly completed and I actually was able to clear off an additional shelf.

After all that organizing I did cast on another pair of socks with a lovely yarn in purples and lavenders.

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I did get some really fun mail this week also.  First off was the spoon flower fabrics I ordered to make bags.  Isn’t it just the most amazing?

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I also got an oil order.  I had been wanting to try Young Living’s rose ointment.  I have rosacea and it gets so out of control which requires me to live off and on antibiotics.  I would love to ditch the antibiotics and had heard this ointment was just the thing for rosacea, so we will see.  I will let you all know if it works.

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A huge plus of my current position is that I am not only the administrator but the marketer as well.  This means that I have great bonus potential which I have been taking full advantage of.  This month I am set to get quite a tidy sum so felt it only fitting to reward myself.  Since knitting on the ChiaoGoo sock needles I have been totally in love with them. The cable cords are amazing, they don’t fight you like most cable cords.  I love my HiyaHiya sharps, and while the cable cords aren’t too bad, they still cannot compare to the ChiaoGoos.  So I ordered the interchangeable set.  I love that it comes with US sizes 2-15 and ample cable cords.

I had an uneventful July 4th.  I had the day off work so just puttered around the house and garden.  Although my veggies aren’t doing the greatest, I do have some strawberries and raspberries.  I also harvested a bit of lettuce for a taco salad.  Someday I will have my large veggie gardens, but for now I can just enjoy my shady backyard and continue to try out new plants.  I do seem to spend a great deal of my free time outside on the porch or in the yard.  I love to take my knitting outside and just enjoy the outdoors.  The weather has remained temperate which has been wonderful and allows for a lot of outside time!

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Although I did not yard sale last week end, I made up for it this week end.  I just needed a bit of a break to refuel.  This week end was no disappointment.

I have found so many beautiful handmade items for my home and I just treasure them all so much.  I like to think that the maker is happy knowing that the item they so lovingly made is being appreciated and enjoyed.  This cross stitch rose bouquet is gorgeous and a true work of art.  It will hang on my living room wall.

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Who can pass up a new canvas Union Jack bag?

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I have a granddaughter who loves nesting dolls so these will be going to my sweet Woopie girl.

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Every time I see a Rowenta iron I grab it.  So far I have found them for two of the girls and myself.  At $5 it is a steal.

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It was a good week end for kitchen gadgets.

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One of the things I love about living in the PNW is the lush greenness!  Imagine my delight when I discovered a park right across from my work that is filled with narrow tree covered paths, a small stream, and lovely lush green growth!  What a delight and it will be the perfect antidote for a stressful day.  Even on the hottest days it will be a nice respite due to all the shade coverage.  Tucked away green spaces are certainly my preferred answer to a busy and hectic life.

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And now I must off to complete some studies.  I am learning so very much in my chosen  Mind Body Medicine PhD studies and it is all so relevant to my own life.  It is certainly fascinating.  Just the perfect thing for a bucket list in my opinion!

Blissfully,

Patricia

 

More Botanical Dye Experiments and a Lovely Visit from my Sister.

Since my coreopsis was in full bloom, I decided it was time to attempt to dye some sock blanks.  I picked all the bits from my garden and trees that I wanted to try.

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First I dyed my blanks using some indigo and rhubarb so that I had nice background colors.  Then I put the plant matter directly onto the blanks.

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Next step is to put fabric over the blank and bits and roll the up tightly and tie them with twine.  Then I put them into a simmer pot and let them sit for 15-20 minutes.  Removed them from the pot and set them outside to cool.

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Once cooled I unwrapped them and picked out the flowers and bits.  I was disappointed that I could not get any leaves to transfer color.  I will try again with some eucalyptus.  The lavender did not really transfer color either.  But it is all an experiment and learning experience.

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Finished products.  I am so in love with these!!  It was such a fun project and relatively easy.

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I will go back and over dye the linen fabric and add more flower for more color and then use this linen to make project bags.

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I also did some playing around in the dye pots.  I used beets for this skeins and was surprised to get a golden color.  I generally get pink.  But I stored my juice for a few days in some wine jugs I got curbside.  I thought that I had rinsed them out thoroughly but I am thinking there was some residue that changed the ph balance.  But no matter I love this golden color!

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These skeins are dyed with Himalayan rhubarb and I put in whole fresh picked coreopsis flowers throughout the yarn.  I love the golden color with deeper variations throughout.

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I didn’t get a lot of knitting done since I cast off my Jujuy shawl last week.  But I did finish June’s socks for the boxosocks kal hosted by Kristin of Voolenvine yarns.  I now have 6!!!!! pairs of socks completed.  I did cast on July’s socks and have the heel turned on the first sock.  I will add photos in the next blog.

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Isn’t that color yummy!  This is my own natural dyed yarn using cochineal.  I like ankle socks so made up another pair of the roller socks.  And isn’t that crochet blanket in the background just the absolute loveliest?!  Becca gave that to me a few years ago and it is one of my favorite things!!

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I got a few pieces of happy mail this week.  First up some beautiful hedge hog fibers that was on an IG destash.  I love hedgehog, the way they speckle and combine colors is just amazing.  These are normally around $30-$32 per skeins and I got all 5 for $50 plus shipping…not bad at all!!

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I rarely look at IG fabric destash anymore, but I happened to see these sweet pieces and just had to add them.  My sewing mojo has been dormant for some time…well other than bag making which I spend too much time on…but I am all prepared for the day in which I start back up doll and quilting making.  One can never be too prepared or have too much fabric…right?!

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My youngest sister came for the week end!  That was wonderful!  She had her two youngest and a friend and her son.  I loved having the house full of family and friends.  We had the best time.  Anna’s children are all growing up to be such wonderful adults and I just marvel at the fact that her youngest is now 13!  I still see my sister as a 30 something young mom and cannot believe she will be turning 50!  Where does time go?!  We stayed up half the night visiting.  Anna is an expert on essential oils and has built quite the Young Living business!  I am never quite sure what to do with my oils and she is just a walking encyclopedia of all the wonderful ways I can use them and eliminate chemicals in my life.  And she always smells so darn heavenly as do all her bags and clothes!  I walk by the guest room and stop to breathe deeply!  I pause as I walk by her and breath deeply!  I just love how she always inspires me to strive to be healthier and take better care of myself.  And if that is not enough, Anna can also rebuild and build new furniture and I am always just amazed at the things she builds!  I cannot put a nail in straight, let alone attempt to put in a screw or use any power tools!!  My baby sister is amazing and I am so proud of her!!

While she was here she was excited to go out to yard sales.  Oh did we have fun.  And she took home a carload….including two pieces of furniture.   As for my haul…it was wonderful as always.

Yard pieces….one can never have too many wonderful yard art pieces if they are of quality and add character.

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Not sure what it is, but I am so attracted to wooden bowls.  I used to drool over them at the farmers market, but in the $100 range I would walk on by.  I grabbed this beauty for $5 and I love it.  Look at all that beauty and character!

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Oregon Starbuck mug….yes I am a sucker for these mugs.  This was .25 and still has the stickers on it so never used.

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My fumble fingered husband has broken every single tea pot I have had…and it has been quite a few…so grabbed yet another one.  We’ll see how long it lasts.  I do love how it has the tea infuser that fits so nicely in the pot.

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Another D. Morgan.  This one for my bathroom.  I just love her artwork!

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My sweet Emmy is in gymnastics and I found her some leotards new in the packages.  She will love these!  And I have been wanting to try Wen products and found this set still in the original packaging.  I can’t wait to try it out!  I love it when I find practical items that I need and this shower curtain was just that.  What is currently hanging in my guest bathroom is a horrid plastic thing.

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Arent these glasses just too sweet.  I love the bits of colorful glass that is infused into them.  I love using nice pieces for everyday.  However, sadly, I have a husband who is all thumbs so my dishes are destroyed on a daily basis which is why I watch for sets at yard sales super cheap.

IMG_7190IMG_7192And I will end with my sweet little heart dog.  My Misha has the sweetest little heart shape on her nose.  It fits her perfect as she is all heart and she owns my heart.  She is just the sweetest little girl ever.  I can never imagine my life without a boxer or two!!

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Blissfully,

Patricia

Pomp and Circumstance

And just like that, my eldest granddaughter has graduated from high school and will be headed off to university in the fall.  My sweet Doodle Bug is brilliant (she wrote and published a novel at 12 and it is quite amazing) and talented (she has the voice of an angel) and beautiful.  I could not be more proud of her!!

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Becca and family came for the graduation and of course Erica and entourage.  We booked in at the Comfort Inn and Suites that I was the GM at years ago.  It is such a lovely hotel with a nice wine bar and outdoor fire pit.  While there we visited the local quilt and yarn shop…both just A++++ and drove by all our old haunts.  The kids had a great time swimming in the pool and we enjoyed the wine bar and fire pit.  The week end was everything I had wanted it to be and more.  The only missing thing was Christina and sweet peas.  But oh so many memories were made, it was indeed perfect!

Returning to Walla Walla was so bittersweet.  Oh how I miss that community.  I love the greenery of the PNW, but I miss the small town friendliness that is such a trademark of Walla Walla.  I am planning on perhaps a few more years here and then I will return as it is where I want to retire.

Back home and back to business as usual.  This trip we took the dogs so we did not have the worry and hassle of finding a dog sitter, plus they are always much happier to be with us.

I did not get a great deal of knitting accomplished, but I did get the Jujuy shawl cast off and blocked.  I love the shawl design, but I am unsure of the color choice.  I wanted to use some of my natural dyed as this was for the natural dye knit along hosted by Lindsey of A Wooden Nest.  I used Juniper berries for the ivory, Madder for the coral, and Logwood for the grey.  This shawl blocked out huge like the impressionist shawl I recently completed.  It was a fun knit and went quickly.  I love how the lace sections really opened up with the blocking.  This will be a nice light shawl for cool spring and fall nights.

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While away a I received a few packages from Amazon.  I had been wanting the Principles of Knitting by June Hiatt since seeing it on a podcast.  And I love love love Denise Schmidt’s embroidery books.  They are so beautifully illustrated with her paintings and drawings and just delightful. And notice that adorable apron they are laid out on!

I also found a few pieces of cute fabric on an IG destash.  I haven’t  purchased much fabric lately as we have slowed way down on the Stitches Plus Purls project bags and it seems knitting has replaced sewing this past year.  But the beauty of hobbies is that you can pick and choose what you feel like doing and are never at loss or bored having nothing to do.  Isn’t this all just cuteness overload!  Look at those mice….adorable!!

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Of course there were the usual estate and yard sales that I had to visit once I returned home.  Without my bestie it is now solo going.  But I did find some lovely items.  A few Hummels, which I do adore.  This was one of those collections started for my daughter, Erica.  But as with collections it just rather has exploded and I am seriously in love with them.  Good thing she doesn’t want them until her children are grown!

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I did happen upon a sale with lots of lovely home dec pieces and could not resist this large painting.  Not sure yet where it will go but it is absolutely lovely.  I may hang it in my office at work as it is such a serene scene and we can all use all the serenity at work that we can get…right?!

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This gorgeous and rather large sampler  was stitched by the sellers mother in law.  Such a shame to sell such an heirloom.  But then I guess many aren’t as sentimental as I am.  Look at the close up and how lovingly this was stitched.  I love it!  It is all scenes from the Bible.  Such a treasure!

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Also found some nice home dec pieces that may well end up at work.  While I have scaled back on adding more tea cups to my collection, who can pass up a Royal Daulton thatched cottage?!  The chickens will join those I am collecting for Becca.

When I stumbled upon this darling little doll bed I had to grab it.  It is quite dirty and needs a thorough cleaning, but it will be just the place to store my extra quilts in the guest room.

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With my bestie, Mia’s departure she entrusted me with there care of her plants.  Needless to say I now have quite the jungle.  And I took a few too work as well!

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With the arrival of June was the beginning of summer term.  I had taken only one class spring term so decided I better play some catch up in summer.  Psychophysiology sounded interesting and it is…but it is also a difficult class!  I have thoroughly loved working on my PhD and could not have picked a more interesting or timely program than Mind Body Medicine.  Although it is difficult and writing major research papers once again is a challenge, I have loved the learning process!  I have learned so very much that applies not only to my personal life but to my professional life as well.  BTW I love this picture of my maternal and paternal grandmothers.  They took a trip to Canada and this photo was snapped.  Both such wonderful role models and the perfect back drop to keep me motivated and ever desiring to learn and grow.

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The weather here has remained cool which I am LOVING!  We are set to have the heat arrive this week.  I prefer a temperate climate with temps ranging between 50s to 70s.  Luckily we do not get much heat in the PNW and if it does hit it does not remain for more than a week or so.  The gardens are going wild, but still not enough sun to really produce well.  I do have lots of raspberries and blueberries ripening this year and the transplanted strawberries are beginning to bear fruit as well.  The herbs are doing well.  It’s just my veggies that are quite the disappointment once again.  Even with all the cutting back of the trees, their leaf canopy has spread over the entire yard with just few openings here and there.  But it is what it is….

Blissfully,

Patricia

Treasures abound..

It was a pretty uneventful week for crafting/dyeing/knitting.  I only knit a few rows here and there on my shawl and nothing much on the socks at all.  Yet, I am anxious to get that shawl off my needles.  I have become quite the monogamous knitter of late….not sure what is up with that.  I generally have at least two pair of socks cast on and bounce from project to project.  I suppose being in knit a longs makes me feel the need to finish each project.  I do have several projects languishing on needles cast aside when I decided I had to join 4 KALs.  But KALs are so much fun, who can resist?!

The husband left town for a few days so I had the house to myself.  I absolutely adore those days when there are absolutely no obligations and I can eat what I want and do whatever I want.  I stay up half the night when he is away.  I decided I must have a nice little fire pit to sit beside and enjoy wine in all that me time.  My second package from my wine club, First Leaf, arrived so I had a nice selection to choose from.  There is just something so mesmerizing about a fire.  I love the embers how they glow and pulse with life.  I believe a fire pit is essential for mental well being and every yard must have one!

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A trip to my local natural grocer and of course that always means the newest magazines! I had been eyeing Huckleberry for some time and when I was informed by an IG buddy that it was created and published locally….well that cinched it!  It is full of beautiful photography and so many lovely articles.  It is geared a bit more toward a younger reader who is still raising a family but I will pass it on to my daughters so that is a win.  Also the newest issue of Breathe.  Nothing to say there except I love every issue!

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It was certainly a good week end for treasure hunting.   Not a lot of major wonderful so excited finds, but lots of practical and fun finds.

My favorite find were these Hummels.  I had never seen full size Hummel dolls so this was a lovely surprise.  These are tagged and in the original boxes.  They are Hansel and Gretel.  Both are so adorable.  Notice Hansel’s hand is in his pocket and Gretel has a little bouquet of flowers.  So much detail and just precious.   The two other little dolls were thrown with the Hummels.  They are unmarked but absolutely precious.  But I think with all these new acquisitions I either need another china cabinet or I must repurpose ones I already have.   Can one ever have too many china cabinets……

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The seller had an entire table of these artist figures all posed in dancing poses.  I loved it and had to grab these three to bring home and bring some of that dancing vibe into my little abode.

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I adore DE Stevenson and have a few of her books.  I was delighted to find this two part series.  Her books are rare so always a treat to find them!  I adore the authors of the time period 1930s through 1950s.  The books reflect my own taste and desire for a simpler kinder life.

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Interestingly the person having this yard sale was an author herself and was giving away copies of her books.  When I was making my purchases we discussed authors and since we both loved the same books I was pretty sure I’d love her novels. I came home intending to just peruse the first in the series but got so drawn in that I read the entire book that day.  What a fun, lively, and engaging story.  I now must order the rest of her books off amazon.  Isn’t it exciting to find a new author that you enjoy?  Upon finishing the book I went to her blog listed in the back of the book.  Oh My! Definitely a kindred spirit.  Check her out at http://queenoffiftycents.blogspot.com.

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There were any number of sales this week and I hit quite a few.  I picked up rather an assortment of this and that.  I adore Beatrix Potter so this HAD to come home with me, although I’m not sure I’ll soil it with kitchen use…

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I love finding holiday items and this Easter tablecloth was no disappointment.  There is a myriad of things going on here and those bunnies are busy.  It is large enough for my formal dining room.  A few weeks back I got another Fall/Harvest one as well.

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Always the sucker for needlepoint of course I would not pass up these pieces.  I still have two others to either frame or get made into cushions.  The two floral ones would make beautiful seat covers and that little pink bell pull…swoon!

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Rather an odd piece to buy, but I know just the grandchild who will love this crystal piece.  I am always on the look out for the girls and the grands.

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Better quality cloths rack for my dyeing!

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And this will paint up beautifully for a bulletin board. I will cover the cork with linen and it will be transformed.  Amazing what you can do with a bit of paint and fabric.

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More toys, buckets, and a basket.

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I did quite well with the outside decor, scoring this fountain for $15.  I also got numerous large clay pots of differing shape.  I like the simple clay pots for flowers and herbs.

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And for my sweet Booger I found a raised bed.  I put his bed on it and he immediately climbed up and went to sleep.

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There were other assorted bits that I found, so yes, it was a very good week end.

My biggest news is my first grandchild is graduating from high school!  Friday I will head over to watch her graduate and celebrate the next step in life.  I cannot believe that my Doodle is already graduating.  She has grown into the most beautiful and intelligent young lady and I am so very proud of her!  But dang I wish she would stop growing up!

And now the husband is due back home any minute so time to get the house sorted out and my laundry done for the upcoming week.

Blissfully,

Patricia

 

Saying Goodbye….

After a little break from dyeing, due to waiting on another shipment of undyed yarn, I was back at it this week end.  This seemed to be one of those times that everything I had planned in my head came out entirely different.  Frustrating for sure.  But in the end I was happy enough with the results.  I wanted to get cherry red from madder by adding soda and it came close but not quite a hit.  I did get my teal once again and a nice mossy green.  The mint dyed up the nicest in a light chartreuse with just a hint of color.  My scotch broom was a bust.  I needed much more of the raw material, but with a bit of coffee dumped in I ended up with the loveliest tan.  For the grey I used some of my left over dye from the last go round.  I played with two new bases; mohair and a non super wash merino worsted weight.  Non super wash is always a guess when dyeing as it does not absorb color as readily.  The mohair dyed quite easily, however, I believe I will save it for chemical dyeing with lots of speckling.

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I signed up for a natural yarn trade through IG.  It is so fun to see what others dye up.  This is a lovely rusty color in a worsted weight.  Not sure what it will become but I will tuck it away until I find the perfect project.

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Since I got the blocking kit a month back, I have been wanting to block out this gorgeous doily knit by my maternal grandmother.  My Grandma Starks was the most accomplished knitter and designed numerous patterns.  Many of her hand knits are still being used by great great grandchildren.  Her skill has been realized once again through my youngest, Becca.

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This piece is just so exquisite.  I will probably frame it as I treasure it dearly.

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Knitting and knitting and knitting on the Jujuy shawl by Joli.  I finally finished the second lace section and am on the last color and the edging.  It is going to be enormous!  I am knitting this for a natural dyed KAL hosted by Lindsey of A Wooden Nest.  This is being knit with my own natural dyed yarns using madder, logwood, and juniper dyes.

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I finished one of my June socks for the boxosocks kal hosted by Kristin of Voolenvine yarns.  I wanted another pair of the roller socks.  I love how this yarn is knitting up.  It is 2 ply sw merino and dyed with cochineal.  But what amazes me most is that this is my 7th pair of socks this year!  I never thought I could knit socks that quickly, but it amazing what one can do when ones mind is set to it.

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That is all the knitting I have gotten in this week.  It may not seem like much, but the shawl is around 500 stitches at this point so each row takes what seems like forever.  I get in a lot of mindless movie watching.

It was a pretty sad week end for sales.  I did hit a good half dozen and found a few bits and bobs.  My biggest score was this frame for $2.  It held a rose painting that just wasn’t my cuppa.  I plan on painting and antiquing it and making another chalkboard.  I just cannot decide upon the color…ivory or do I want a bit of a punch…perhaps a robins egg blue?  Decisions….

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The weather has been perfect!  Not too hot, holding in the mid 60s to 70s.  To me that is absolutely perfect in every way!  It means I spend a lot of my evenings out on the porch with my knitting.  I find that I struggle with drinking enough water so when my middle Erica told me about this new IDLife product…well I had to have some.  It is just right…not too sweet and just a hint of flavor.  My favorite IDLife drink remains Energy….I only wish I could drink it all day…but one drink a day is the recommended amount.  It is beyond delish!!  Notice all my thriving plants in the background.  Soon I’ll be harvesting that lettuce and radishes in that first bed!

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My dearest friend, Mia, has long been wanting to relocate further south and just accepted a job offer with a start date in just a short 3 weeks!  I am so happy for her, but so very sad to see her leaving.  In packing up her home she gifted me this beautiful gentleman’s chair.  I love it and will treasure it as it holds so many precious memories of our time together.  She was my work partner, yard/estate sale buddy, and bargain queen who introduced me to QVC and Dooney, my partner in crime and confidant and the most beautiful and stylish woman I have ever had the honor to call my friend.   She will take a part of my heart with her.  It is so rare to find true friends and Mia is one so precious and dear.

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I have been trying to get in a bit of reading and am slowly making my way through these three books.  I am participating in a book club on ravelry for the book A Perfect Red by Amy Butler Greenfield.  It is a very interesting read about the quest for the perfect red.

Since turning 60 I have been trying to focus on living mindfully and savoring every moment.  When I saw a copy of May Sarton’s book At Seventy; A Journal I could not resist.  I have read other books by May and found them thought provoking.  She embraces life at every age and 70 was certainly no different for her.  I love this quote,

“What is it like to be seventy? If someone had lived so long and could remember things sixty years ago with great clarity, she would seem very old to me.  But I do not feel old at all, not as much a survivor as a person still on her way.  I  suppose real old age begins when one looks backward rather than forward, but I look forward with joy to the years ahead and especially to the surprises each day may bring.”

What could be more inspiring and better advice than that?!

And finally a Barbara Kingsolver that I have had tucked in my to read pile for well over several years.  Animal, Vegetable, and Miracle; A Year of Food Life is just a perfect fit for my own dietary changes I have made in the past year.  I love how her daughter contributes excerpts throughout.  It is a lovely book.

These are all wonderful reads and the type of books you read slowly; savoring and pondering each passage.

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And now back to knitting away on the shawl….

Blissfully,

Patricia

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