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!!

fullsizeoutput_1258

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.

fullsizeoutput_12ab

 

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!!

IMG_7163

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!

IMG_7148

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?!

IMG_1174

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!

IMG_1169IMG_1170

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.

IMG_7161

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!

IMG_1177IMG_1176fullsizeoutput_12a1IMG_7152

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.

IMG_7156

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!

IMG_7025

IMG_7028

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!

fullsizeoutput_1086

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……

IMG_1029

 

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.

IMG_1027

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.

fullsizeoutput_1089

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.

IMG_7047

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…

fullsizeoutput_1081

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.

fullsizeoutput_107f

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!

IMG_7033

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.

IMG_7042

Better quality cloths rack for my dyeing!

IMG_7039

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.

IMG_7038

More toys, buckets, and a basket.

IMG_7035

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.

IMG_7041

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.

IMG_7031

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.

IMG_6998IMG_7003IMG_7004

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.

fullsizeoutput_105a

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.

IMG_7005

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

IMG_7006

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.

IMG_7017

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.

IMG_7018

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….

IMG_7009

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!

fullsizeoutput_105d

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.

IMG_7012

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.

IMG_7019

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!

IMG_6966IMG_6969

The lilacs were in full bloom and smelled heavenly!

IMG_6963

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

IMG_6961

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!

IMG_6960

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.

IMG_6977IMG_6976IMG_6975IMG_6974IMG_6973

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.

IMG_6984

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.

fullsizeoutput_1038

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.

IMG_1011

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.

IMG_0998IMG_0999

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.

IMG_1000

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

IMG_1004

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.

IMG_1005

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.

IMG_1006

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.

IMG_1007

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!

IMG_1008

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

IMG_1009

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

IMG_1016IMG_1018

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.

IMG_1020

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

IMG_1022

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.

IMG_1023

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

IMG_0992

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.

IMG_1015

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.

IMG_1012

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.

IMG_0997

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!

IMG_0996IMG_0995

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!

IMG_0994

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.

IMG_6920

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….

IMG_6934

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.

IMG_0972

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.

fullsizeoutput_ff6

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

IMG_0971IMG_0970IMG_0968IMG_0965IMG_0964

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!

IMG_0966

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!

IMG_0974

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!!

fullsizeoutput_fdf

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.

IMG_6943IMG_6944

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.

IMG_6951

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!

IMG_6900fullsizeoutput_fd2

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.

fullsizeoutput_1007

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.

IMG_6940

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.

IMG_6939

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.

IMG_0976

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!

fullsizeoutput_100efullsizeoutput_1012

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!

fullsizeoutput_1009

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.

IMG_0988

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!

IMG_0978

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.

IMG_0907

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

IMG_0911

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!

IMG_0913

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.

IMG_0921

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.

IMG_0897IMG_0898

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

IMG_0899

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?

IMG_0903IMG_0904

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?

IMG_0905

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.

IMG_0929

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.

IMG_0922

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.

IMG_0930

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.

IMG_6896

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.

fullsizeoutput_faf

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.

fullsizeoutput_fb1

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!

fullsizeoutput_fb0

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.

IMG_0868IMG_0867

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.

IMG_0870

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.

fullsizeoutput_f97

 

 

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.

IMG_6865

IMG_0888

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!

IMG_0891fullsizeoutput_f85

 

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.

fullsizeoutput_f95

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!!

IMG_0886

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.

IMG_0866

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…

IMG_6873

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

IMG_6872

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!

IMG_6858

fullsizeoutput_f84

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!

fullsizeoutput_f73

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.

fullsizeoutput_f88

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!

IMG_6880

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

fullsizeoutput_f8b

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

IMG_6879

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!

fullsizeoutput_f7b

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.

fullsizeoutput_f9e.jpeg

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.

IMG_6815

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

IMG_0834

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.

fullsizeoutput_f4c

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?

fullsizeoutput_f22

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.

fullsizeoutput_f30

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.

IMG_0851

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.

IMG_0835

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.

IMG_0832

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!

fullsizeoutput_f44fullsizeoutput_f52

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.

fullsizeoutput_f4a

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.

fullsizeoutput_f51

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

fullsizeoutput_f50

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.

IMG_6838

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.

IMG_0853

fullsizeoutput_f5c

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.

fullsizeoutput_f4e

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.

fullsizeoutput_f1a

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.

IMG_6714

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.

IMG_6782

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.

fullsizeoutput_f0f

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!

IMG_6794

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

IMG_0824

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..

IMG_0827

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….

IMG_0828

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.

fullsizeoutput_f16

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!

IMG_0832

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.

fullsizeoutput_f0c

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?

IMG_6726IMG_6727

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!

IMG_6731

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!

IMG_6733

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!

IMG_6735

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!

IMG_6728IMG_6738IMG_6737

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.

IMG_6746

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.

fullsizeoutput_eecfullsizeoutput_eee

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!

IMG_3485

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.

fullsizeoutput_ea9IMG_6757

IMG_6759

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!

fullsizeoutput_ec4

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

fullsizeoutput_ec0

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.

IMG_6769

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.

fullsizeoutput_ef0

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.

IMG_6767

I also received these goodies from Amazon.

fullsizeoutput_ef5.jpeg

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.

fullsizeoutput_ef2

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

Happy Spring!!

Patricia