Time of Joy, Time of Sorrow

I cannot even remember if it has been two or three weeks since I last posted.  So much has happened in that short time frame.  Much of it joyful and also some deep sorrow.

First headed over to Walla Walla to pack up Doodle Bug and get her settled in her college dorm.  I cannot believe she is already a college freshman.  Although it was a great deal of work and a very rushed trip we had a great time.  Erica arrived too and we hustled around to get her packed up and resettled.  It was so wonderful to be a part of this transition for her and she was full of excitement and ready to take the next step on her way to adulthood when we left.


It was hard to leave her as she is so far away, but my Doodle is a smart girl and she will be OK.

We headed straight to Condon to spend a night with my mom.  When we got there I was surprised at her decline.  Since she lives over 3 hours from her MD and with her back fractures and declining health it is just not feasible to keep making those trips.  We all agreed it was time to bring in hospice.  It is easy to recommend hospice to families when it is not your own; yet it was obvious she needed the additional support.  Although it was a hard decision, we all agree it was the right decision for her.  Mother wants to stay in her home above all else and we all want to accommodate that.  I decided to stay on for a week just to spend time with her and meet with the hospice team.  Becca and crew came up from Nevada and Erica and crew stayed on for a bit longer as well.  While it was a difficult time it was wonderful having my three girls and all the grand together!


Mother always loves the babies and never misses a chance to hold them!



I spent a part of the time clearing out her sewing room to add a bed.  In doing so I brought out all her buttons and she had so much fun going through them, it wasn’t long before the grands joined in.  Mother let them all go home with some and they were delighted.


While there I helped provide her care; it was such a blessing, but exhausting.  After a week I knew it was time to head home and regroup.  It was a difficult week and there are so many emotions that are continually flowing through me.  Being from a large family with numerous siblings adds to the mix.  We have a difficult time seeing eye to eye and everyone wants to be a part of all decision making, yet cannot agree adding additional layers of stress.  There were a lot of tears, a fair amount of arguing, but in the end I left feeling it was all going to be OK.  I will be there as often as I can; savoring what it means to be a daughter.  It is really still quite raw and I am not able to share my emotions.  I know that those of you who have walked this path understand.  Sometimes there are really just no words…

I hitched a ride back to Salem with Christina and the grands who stayed on a few days.  We had a great time doing their school shopping.  Christina is very environmentally minded and does all her shopping second hand if possible.  It is amazing the new and like new clothing we found; and the kids loved the joy of the hunt….wonder where they got that from…..  We also went to yard sales and found treasures for each of them as well as for Christina and myself.


Mother sent me home with the cutting board she had in her sewing room since my quilting shop had closed.  This table was bought way back when I had Sunshine & Stitches in Concord CA.  It is a wonderful piece and although I love now placing it in my sewing room, I did so with a great deal of tears.  Sewing and knitting have always been such a part of my mother’s life and the passing on of these useful items marking an end to her handiwork days is heartbreaking!  It will be well used and holds memories dear of the quilt shop and her sewing room.  When Christina and the Sweet Peas left I got it set up and my sewing room all sorted to fit the larger table.  I do love it so much more than the rickety thing I had used for years!


I find that, unfortunately, I deal with stress by hitting the destash pages and acquiring yet more fabric and yarn.  I returned home to the mailbox full of lovely items all from IG destash.  I seriously need to stop as my sewing room is at its maximum.


After the sewing room was completed, I got out the beads and made some lava bead bracelets for essential oils.  I love the one my sister Anna gave me and wanted to make more for myself and for the girls and older grands.  I still have to put a touch of glue on the ties and cut them off.  But overall I am happy with the end results.


Oh and I must share my latest acquisition that I got before all the travels.  I knew I wanted another small hutch to house my Hummel collection.  I found the cutest one on the classifieds.  Two sisters were cleaning out their mother’s home and neither wanted this piece.  Her home was so sweet and my heart broke for the sisters.  But I assured them this piece would be loved and treasured.  Isn’t it just the sweetest?


I will need to put something on the bottom shelf; but all in due time.

This morning I was up early and got busy climbing around in my attic storage to get out all the Autumn decor.  It is always such a job but well worth it.  I got the boxes down and will sort through them today and begin the process of decorating.  Last year I didn’t do much decorating and I plan on making up for it this year!

And now off to sort through Autumn decor.

Let the decorating commence!



Lazy Summer Days…Never

On the last post, I stated that I would have some exciting news to share.  Well now I can….I am switching jobs again…yes again.  You see out of the clear blue I got a call from a recruiter and even though I said I was happy where I am, they just kept making offers until I could not refuse.  It was a difficult decision as currently I am only 4 minutes from work and it is a pretty easy community.  But this offer is just too amazing to pass up!  So I will remain where I am until my 30 days is up and then a few weeks off and then over to my new position.  I am going back to a large community and one that includes memory care as well as assisted.  It is a gorgeous community and I love the idea of an office to myself once again and numerous support staff under me to make my own life easier.  It will be a bit of a commute but not bad at around 25 minutes.  I am pretty excited for this new opportunity but its over a month out til I start so lots of time to prepare myself for going back into a large community and much more responsibility again.

My knitting mojo had taken a serious dive and is only slowly coming back.  I did finish one of my August socks and am turning the heel on the second one.  I am still unsure of this yarn.  But I am sure if I decide I don’t want them, someone will be happy to take them off my hands.  This pair make 8 (eight!!!) pair completed in a year…well actually 9 because I made a pair for my Milsie in January.


I also recast on the Amulet Shawl by Helen Stewart.  I had frogged it as got off on my count as was paying no attention when knitting it.  Only a few rows in but it knits up pretty quickly.  I do need to get back to my Antler Cardi.  I only have to finish the top where the designs begins, but have just put it off.

I also did a bit of dyeing.  Had cooked up some beets and just kept the liquid, added a skein and dumped in some rusty nail water.  The results are a very Fall tonal of golden/greenish mix.  I also eco dyed two sock blanks I had dyed with indigo and just needed to add the plants.  This time I added some raspberries for a nice little pop of a soft pink.  I am very happy with the results.


My daughter knit up a pair of sock out of one of my eco dyed.  I think they turned out quite nice!


This has been a perfect summer so far.  Just what I dreamed of when we moved to the Valley.  Only a few really hot days and still cool evenings where we can get out and walk the dogs.  There is generally a slight breeze in the evening which is so lovely and refreshing.  Remember the little park I mentioned a few weeks back.  Isn’t it just so sweet.  It is nestled deep in the neighborhood next door.

In the early mornings, it almost feels like Autumn and I love that!  I can sit out on my patio with my cuppa and knitting and dream of cool Autumn days as it has that slight nip in the air that is reminiscent of Autumn weather.  The yard is a mess, but it is a nice mess and I don’t mind the untidiness of it all.

Thinking of Autumn, we have a family of Turkeys that live in the church lot next door.  Every evening the mother is out walking her babies.  It is so cute to watch them.  They are quite the neighborhood attraction and the neighbors come out daily to see them feeding and strutting around.  I just love having at least a bit of wildlife in my neighborhood.  On my weekend yard sale forays I have seen a lot of deer in town grazing on yards as well.  It is just lovely.


I have made a few sales, but not the volume that I do early in the season.  As the summer winds down there are generally less sales and it seems to me the quality of items seems to dwindle.  I did pick up these lovelies though.

Quite a few weeks back, I talked about finding old cashmere sweaters to frog for the yarn.  I recently found two more in gorgeous red and a deep coral pink.  I am just not sure I can bring myself to frog them as they are both so gorgeous.  The black on I did was not hard as it had a hole right in the front; but these beauties are perfect.  So we shall see.  They were so dang cheap that I suppose I may as well go for it.


Oh must share how the Bright Line eating plan is going.  Well into my 3rd week and it is amazing how much better I feel and how easy this plan is to follow!  No craving at all.  I am finding that eating the 3 meals is satisfying and no sugar or flour easy to follow.  I just ensure that I plan ahead so I can have food that I can eat ready to prepare.  I have even easily transitioned to little to no coffee and what I do drink is black.  Easy peasy and no feelings of being deprived works perfectly in my book!

Well that is about it as to all the doings since my last post.  Blissfully just carrying on and moving along.

Happy August!



A Hectic Week

Well it certainly was a busy week indeed.  My mom and sister were headed over as my mom was undergoing a medical procedure so I took a day off and headed into PDX to spend the night.  We had a nice time but my mom did end back up in the hospital due to some issues.  This aging is just not a good thing; but as my dad always said the alternative is worse.  But it is heartbreaking to watch my mom who has always been so busy, energetic, and full of life have her life quality diminish so greatly due to the natural aging process.  And dealing with chronic pain in old age is just the limit!  But we enjoyed the moments we had.

While there we did enjoy eating out several times.  I had never been to a Cracker Barrel and since one was nearby we decided it was just the place to eat.  I loved the alacart menu and the fact that fresh steamed veggies were on the menu!  It is a very charming place, indeed, with the cutest every gift shop.

I did take my knitting and completed my July socks.  These were an easy and fast knit as this yarn is closer to a sport weight than a sock weight.


I have been in a knitting slump and going back and forth on what to cast on.  When I came across this picture of Helen Stewart’s Amulet Shawl I knew I had to cast on.  This will be the second Amulet I have knitted.  It is a quick and intuitive shawl pattern and like all Helen’s patterns the directions are so easy to understand and follow.


The blue is from a sock blank I was going to just dump as it was a fail.  The multi is one that was dyed by my daughter Erica.  It is a bit bright but I love the pops of green through out.  I did start it but was off a count as was not paying attention so will frog back and restart.

I am still working away every month on my box o sock kal and just turned the heel on my first sock of my August pair.  I am not sure if I love this yarn or hate it.  It was a skein that I had lying around and decided that it was time to use it or purge it.


Knitting a pair of socks a month has been fun but with my slump it is now a challenge.  I hope I can preserver and complete the next 4 and half pair.  But even if I don’t even 8 is quite the accomplishment from a person who was lucky to complete a pair a year!

Becca also shared with me her first completed sock from the eco-dyed sock blank I sent her.  I really love how it looks!


A rather irritating issue for me has been a continual weight gain.  Since beginning my PhD, I have become much more cognizant of the impact of unhealthy habits and carrying excess weight.  Slowly but steadily since the lovely menopause event, the weight has crept up and in the past 5 years since moving here it has exploded.  I am no longer as active as I have always been, add a desk job, and eating sugar and refined flours and well its not a pretty picture.  I had been seeing more and more people sharing results of Bright Line Eating and decided what the heck, I have nothing to lose and order the book.  I gotta say it is amazing.  The author goes into the science of how our brains operate on food and on the wrong foods in particular.  The plan is easy and accommodates my vegan lifestyle.  I have been on it a week and already I have had a loss of cravings and feel much better.  I never focus on weight but instead on how I feel and then just let my clothes become loose until I am down a size.  My biggest challenge has been getting in any sort of exercise.  But since my hubby has managed to get on day shift we are once again taking our nightly walks.  It is so fun to explore all the neighborhoods and the doggies just love it!  In fact we discovered yet another little sweet green space tucked into the neighborhood just around the corner.

In my own little green space my raspberries have been doing well and providing me berries for my daily morning oatmeal.  I finally got around to getting the four lavender plants, that I purchased numerous weeks ago, into the ground.  Lavender is so easy to grow and provides both beauty and fragrance so it is a good choice for flower beds.

I did venture out to some yard sales this week as well but only found a few items.  It seemed to be the week for mucking boots and I grabbed two pair for the grands along with some leather working gloves.  One pair of boots was the Muck brand and at $3 they were an absolute steal.  I also found a pot, some candles and assorted other brick a brack.  I only went out one day this week.  I find that as the summer begins to heat up, yard sales begin to lose some of their appeal as I would rather stay inside and potter about.

I did get some fun mail this week however.  I have really been ramping up my usage of essential oils and just happened to have a peer in my course this term that is doing serious study on the medicinal use of oils.  She recommended this book:


It is like a text book and so full of amazing information!  I love that the science behind the use of each oils is included and explored.

The bracelet that my sis Anna sent me has been getting non stop usage.  I wear it daily and my favorite scent right now is the YL stress away.  I also diffuse it at work as well.  I think there is great value in utilizing alternative and complementary medicines (Obviously as my PhD is in Mind Body Medicine).  In addition to the bracelet, I found this lava stone necklace.


I am sensitive to scents and odors and rarely would ever find a perfume that I could tolerate.  I have found with oils they are less over powering and, well, less abrasive to my olfactory system.  But again I am very particular about the scents I will surround myself with.

I have once again been stalking the IG destash and finding a few goodies here and there. These are my latest treasures.


I am forever a sucker for anything Halloween.  And the others are bits and bobs of groups I have been slowly collecting.  One of these days I will get back to all my quilt and doll making.  And won’t I be ready?!

I do have some big news that I will know more about tomorrow and will share in the next blog.  Until then,





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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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!


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.


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.


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?


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.


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!


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.


Who can pass up a new canvas Union Jack bag?


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


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.


It was a good week end for kitchen gadgets.


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.


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!




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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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!


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.


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.


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!!


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!!


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?!


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.


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!


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


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.


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


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.


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!!




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!!


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.



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!!


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!


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?!


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!


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.


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!


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.


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….



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!



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!


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……



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.


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.


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.


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…


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.


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!


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.


Better quality cloths rack for my dyeing!


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.


More toys, buckets, and a basket.


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.


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.


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.




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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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….


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!


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.


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.


And now back to knitting away on the shawl….



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!


The lilacs were in full bloom and smelled heavenly!


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


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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!


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


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


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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!


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!


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,