I heart Messy

It drives Dick crazy but I really do like clutter. I know some of it is laziness; it's easier to pile than to file. But if I have too much open space, it makes me feel like I need to buy things to fill it up. So, mess = economy.

Every now and then I get the bug to clean and straighten. This time it was brought on by the need for room to store the 30 or so boxes of Guild books I'm picking up on Sunday. Some fool generous soul volunteered to be librarian until elections in October. I'm planning to put all the books on LibraryThing so our members can see what we have, then farm boxes of books out to members until we get a permanent
Guild home. I'm really looking forward to the challenge. (Question - does anyone know of an online tracking system for magazines, similar to LibraryThing? Still trying to work out a plan for our years and years worth of spinning, weaving, crafting mags.)

So this -
is now this. Pretty impressive, in a short-lived sort of way. (And all the yarn is listed in my Ravelry stash. Just need photos of 4 things and it's up-to-date.)


Descanso Gardens

This post is brought to you by the numbers:
2 - cameras that went with us
6 - gigs of memory between them
28 - photos that Dick took
331 - pictures that I took.

Oh, and '2 weeks' - the amount of time it's taken
me to edit the photos down to a reasonable manageable amount.

Dick and I love going to Descanso in the spring. We usually go in April when the iris and lilacs (my favorites) are in bloom, but we missed it this year with so much going on. We caught the last of my favs but managed to hit high season for the roses, camellias, and azaleas.

Dick calls this shot "photographer at work";
I call it "you better not be taking a picture of my butt."

I love getting macro shots of flowers, the closer the better. This time I also tried to get shots of bugs and insects - the smaller the better. Maybe I've been reading too much 'Ugly Overload' (go visit; it's great!) but I wanted some 'ugly' to go with my flowers - and I got it. Love the blue dragonflies and bees we came across.
Hope you enjoy the show as much as we enjoyed our day. If you want to see the show 'full screen', click the 4-arrows icon on the right side of the box below. (Please leave me a comment if the slideshow doesn't play for you. Marie says she's having trouble seeing all of it; I don't know if it's her browser or something else. Thx.)

You can also see the non-slideshow version of the photos here.


9 Months

Leia and I kept each other company yesterday while Dick, Matt and Naia went to see the movie 'Earth'. At 9 months, Missy Leia is wearing 24-month clothes - the 18-month pants she had on in these photos are already too small; the boys brought home the larger size and it fits her perfectly.

Leia's crawling, talking - dada is her favorite word - singing and exploring her world. She's fascinated by my kitties and they have been amazingly patient with her.
Snickers - the original chicken cat who used to run from her own shadow and hiss at anyone she didn't know really well - watched her crawl over and then let Leia pet her without a fuss or running away. She's definitely getting mellow in her later years.


Weekend Plans

I've been fighting off grandkid germs for about a week. Saturday they finally got the best of me and I spent most of the day in bed - fortunately, after we went up to Ojai for Art in the Park and the annual Massarella pottery sale. Two pots followed me home - one by Frank Massarella himself. Anybody want to guess what this is? Or what it's used for?I'm planning to use it to hold spindles but it's actually a container for holding sourdough starter. Pretty and unique - how could I say 'no'?I also fell in love with this smaller blue and red pot. I had no idea what I'd use it for, but now I'm thinking it would look good sitting by my computer, holding crochet hooks. I'm currently using a coffee cup for that job and it is packed full. Something a bit bigger - and prettier - would be nice.

I've started a new knitting project - February Lady Sweater (Ravelry link; non-Rav link) - using Fearless Fiber mohair/wool yarn in Verdure. The second buttonhole had me stumped for a few days, but tonight I found a YouTube video that showed a slightly different method and I'm back in action. The next class is a week from today and I need to have another 3" and the third buttonhole completed by then.
I also picked up a new-to-me knitting bag to hold my latest project. This Laurel Burch bag showed up at the Guild's recycle day event and I had to have it. Just looking at it - complete with its hand-painted bead on the handle - makes me smile.



Just added my first 'for sale' pattern to the Ravelry Store. I came up with this shawl pattern - Beads 'n Bows - while teaching a class. Got to thinking hmm, wouldn't this look good as a shawl . . . . in mohair . . . . if I change this . . . . and add beads . . . .
Two days later, it was done. Using a 9.00 mm ("N") hook and DK weight mohair, it worked up fast. It's warm, lacy, and lightweight. The beads in the final row give it a little weight, so it keeps its shape and stays in place in a breeze. I love it. Now we'll see if anyone else does.

Bead 'n Bows Shawl - a crochet pattern with beads.



My cats give new meaning to the word "spoiled." The pillow that Snickers is cuddling into is my hand-dyed, cashmere shawl. At least she has her priorities in order. Her rump is on the acrylic afghan I made more than 30 years ago.


Book Junkie

I'm a bookaholic and lately I've been on a buying binge. I love finding treasures, especially craft books, - click the library list on the right side and you can see some of my books - and I've lucked into some great stuff on Ravelry, Amazon, Amazon Marketplace and AbeBooks.

My favorite find (this week, anyway): Weaving Designs by Bertha Gray Hayes. Bertha developed these miniature overshot patterns - over 100 original designs - about a century ago and the Rhode Island Handweavers Guild published this oversized compilation
last month, with color photos of each design. I've been wanting to try my hand at overshot. Most of the patterns are for a 4-harness loom, which means that, in theory, I could weave these. Maybe this could be my summer project?

I bought these next two from a fellow Raveler - a self-published copy of 'Handbook of Timesaving Tables For Weavers, Spinners and Dyers'
and 'How To Make Braided Rugs', published in 1977. I've never made a braided rug, and I probably never will, but if I ever get the urge some night at 3 a.m., by golly, I'm prepared!

This next one is Gigi's fault. I loved her baby blanket (go look; it's worth it) and thought it would make a beautiful shawl. I'd seen this book before and passed on buying it; the photos inside just don't do justice to the pretty patterns. I had to chase it down on the Internet - now that I want it, it's hard to find. Of course.
Now I need to find that alpaca I was saving for something special.


Spinning Wheel FO

Way back in December 2006, I bought poor broken Helga - a Clemes and Clemes spinning wheel - with the idea of having Dick fix her up and then finding her a new home. That time has finally come. Clemes and Clemes is back in business, after a hiatus making skateboards (it's true; I got it straight from Roy Clemes at the Riverside conference), so I bought Helga's missing parts and today Dick put her back together. With a couple coats of orange oil, she just glows. I gave her a quick spin (sorry) and she runs like a champ, although she's not the quietest wheel I've ever used. Tomorrow is the guild's Recyle Your Stash day - swap it, sell it or trade it - so I'm taking Helga in hopes of finding her a new home. Wish us luck.

Edited to add: Helga has a new home with our guild president, a weaver and brand new spinner. And I have a set of 12 handwoven dish towels in exchange. We both think we got the better end of the deal - a definite win-win.


FO'd Purse

I love Carol Ventura's work (check out her gallery on Ravelry) and have wanted to try tapestry crochet for awhile, but I never quite got around to it. Last night I was looking for a new project for my June block-a-month class (we're branching out from just squares) and came across Carol's felted amulet bag.

A little searching, a little planning and I came up with this -
a cat and blocks purse using the kitty graph* on Carol's site. It took me a little less than 5 hours to complete - including weaving in the tails (pun intended) - using worsted weight wool left over from other projects and an "I" crochet hook. I think it's cute and a good intro to tapestry crochet. Now I need to find the pattern for Carol's flying pigs purse, my absolute favorite, which seems to have disappeared from the innerwebs.
*Carol kindly gives permission to use the kitty purse pattern for teaching purposes, with certain restrictions.


Can You Say 'Ginormous'?

It's done. Finally. I frogged this thing at least three times before I found a size and a design that worked for me. Isn't it gorgeous? Ok, maybe not. But it will be after it dries and I take the plastic bag stuffing out (I used every plastic grocery bag we had in the house - and we had a lot - to get this thing to hold its shape), add a decorative button and shave some of the fuzz from the outside. Finished measurements are about 11" high by 13" or so across the base. Just a slight change from the pre-felting dimensions - 32" across the top and about 19" top to bottom. And the best thing of all? Since I couldn't find a bag pattern I liked, I put this one together myself. Stay tuned for another pattern, coming soon!


The Beachin' Life

While Dick and John saw Star Trek in Imax on opening day - Trekkie nirvana - Rachel and I took Addy to the beach. Addy's used to going to the lake with Grandpa Jim, so the waves at Kiddie Beach in Ventura didn't scare her. She wanted a little reassurance the first time she dipped her toes in the surf, but after that she waded right in. The trick was to keep her from going too far out, while attempting - in vain - to keep my shoes dry.

Rachel helped Addy build her first sand castle,
with Rachel doing most of the work and Addy doing most of the supervising. Toward the end of our stay, Rachel walked to the surf line to get a little water for the moat. Addy thought that was too much fun and insisted Rachel let her get water too. Addy dipped the dish just as a wave came in, washed her feet out from under her and plopped her on her backside.

click to enlarge

Like all good mommies, Rachel laughed before helping Addy back to her feet. Once she got over the surprise, Addy thought it was funny too - and a good excuse to shed her dress in favor of her princess bathing suit.

Then it was time to stomp the castle, pick up our belongings and head to the airport. And start the countdown for when Addy comes to visit again.
This is why I love Ventura; so beautiful.


Meeting the Cousins

The California grandkids came over this afternoon to visit the Colorado branch. First Leia got reacquainted with Auntie Rachel and Uncle John - and then with Cousin Addy. Addy was fascinated with little Leia; she's used to being the youngest and smallest at family gatherings on both sides of her family. Addy kept wanting to hold Leia, but since our chubby princess is only about 5 pounds lighter than Addy, that didn't work very well.

Naia and Addy hung out all afternoon, playing drumsticks with my plastic crochet hooks and putting together floor puzzles (or in Addy's case, taking them apart as soon as Naia put them together.)
Auntie Breanne came over after work, bringing with her a princess outfit for Addy, complete with a set of colorful skirts and wings (actually a fairy costume Bre had worn for Halloween). As you can see, Addy was beyond thrilled. For someone who says she's uncomfortable around little kids, Breanne sure knows how to make them happy. We tried getting photos of the cousins together - minus Miles, who is with his dad this week - but wrangling Addy, 2 and a half, and Leia, 8 months, was like herding cats. Getting their attention focused during the same camera flash was next to impossible. We tried adding Naia to the mix after these shots were taken, but Leia decided she'd had enough and made her opinion known, loud and clear. Rachel finally got this shot of the younger two with her cell phone. I especially love that Leia's hand is holding on to Addy's shoulder. So adorable.


Disney, Day 2

We started the day earlier today, determined to get onto the new Nemo ride before the looooong lines we saw yesterday could form again. Didn't make it - at 45 minutes, it was definitely the longest wait we had for any ride over the 2 days. Later in the day we walked right on to the haunted house, Indiana Jones and Jungle Cruise. And Addy did NOT like Nemo; as soon as she saw the sharp-toothed eels she decided she'd had enough of that adventure. Unfortunately, we were only about a third of the way through by then.

The next ride was much more her style.
Open air, no dark spaces and no sharp-toothed creatures hiding in waiting. We hit a couple more rides and had lunch together before Addy and John headed back to the hotel for Addy's afternoon nap and mom, grandma and poppop hit the stores along Main Street. Dick found a comfy place to wait when Rachel's gift card caused a computer melt-down in the last store, complete with a 30-minute wait for a reboot and transaction completion.
Before Addy left, she took issue with me when I misunderstood her request for a photo. I thought she wanted me to take her picture. Wrong. She wanted to do it herself. Not a bad self-portrait either. We met up again at 4:30, just in time for the surprise Rachel had arranged for Addy - dinner in Ariel's Grotto with five of the Disney princesses. Addy is a HUGE princess fan; her bedroom is princess, her clothes are princess, her backpack and purse are princess. The look on her face when she first saw Ariel was priceless. During dinner we had visits from Snow White, Belle, Sleeping Beauty Cinderella and Princess Mommy. At first Addy was shy and wouldn't say anything, but by the end she was talking Cinderella's ear off. She was so excited by the whole thing she couldn't stand it. This little video was fueled in equal parts by excitement and white chocolate (which Addy absolutely loves.)

We closed the park again tonight. Tomorrow - home to Camarillo!