Butter, Whining and…a Giveaway!

When the world gives you rain…and LOTS of it…make butter.

Miss M used pasteurized cream and it came together very quickly and while the butter was very nice, it left her with thin, watery buttermilk. My mother-in-law put lemon salt in half of the butter, which was AWESOME.

I cannot digest pasteurized milk so I used fresh raw cream for my butter and while it took forever to separate, I have rich buttermilk (we will use it for baking) and amazing butter. I thought about adding herbs while it was so soft and creamy, but it seemed a shame not to allow the full butter flavor to  be the star of the show…just some salt and it’s perfect. I think I need a churn. And a dexter cow.

Which would require getting away from this horrid urbanity. It’s killing me slowly and I need to get back to the woods. After four years away, the Bay Area feels stifling and oppressive. I am adrift, cut off from my dearest friends and community whom I left 3000 miles behind, longing to return to my rural existence. I thought I would feel somehow at home, coming back here, but I just feel like I’m going to crawl out of my own skin.

Our search takes us up into Oregon…the job hunt is difficult without word-of-mouth connections as we had in Vermont, but perhaps enough of our at-home biz pursuits will come to fruition so as not to need the day job. We shall see.

In the meantime, I’m working on wholesale orders this month, scheduling workshops and stocking up for a new event:

CRAFT HAPPY! This event is happening March 20th, 10AM at the Niles Banquet Hall in Fremont, CA. I’ll post more about it later as the event gets closer, but if you’re local, please do save the date!

And, because every stormy day needs a GIVEAWAY

Please leave a comment on this post between now and Friday midnight and I will draw a winner on Saturday for the above-pictured ‘Tangled’ nuno felt scarf/necklace.

One stipulation: in your comment, tell me something about yourself and/or ask me a question you’d like me to answer. No pressure. If you want to just tell me your favorite ice cream flavor, that will do as well. 🙂

Off to read to the Boy, and when C gets home from working on a leaking roof (which I’m thrilled about him doing in this thunderstorm, let me tell you) they are going to build a doghouse for a certain favorite stuffed animal. Wednesday has been “woodworking day” these past few weeks, and it’s been a joy and a challenge to find projects that hold the Boy’s interest…so far, we know he does not enjoying prolonged periods of sanding. Today, he’ll be hammering in pegs…I’m pretty sure that will bring him a great deal more satisfaction. 🙂


18 thoughts on “Butter, Whining and…a Giveaway!

  1. Oh wow, that is almost too easy . . . okay, here you go (but first, painting wood is usually a hit with kids . . . just an idea for a future woodworking day and also, I feel your pain about urban/country living, hang in there!!!) let’s see, a question first. How long have you been a fiber artist and what drew you to the medium? And something about me . . . let’s see, you already know you’re the fiber art goddess I aspire to, hmmmm, oh, I know, I love painting like Beatrix Potter (I paint her actual paintings, I mean, not like “in the style of” but I try to replicate her work. For fun. Tasha Tudor too, but I’m not as good at her.) Wanna, wanna, wanna win that scarf, blowin’ a little faerie dust your way for good luck.

    • I was a long-time knitter before I started spinning. There was a weaving and spinning shop in the town where my son was born (he will be five in April) and one day, when he was just an infant, I was incredibly drawn to the spindles. So I bought one, and some corriedale roving (I think) and played with it on my own until I made something that looked like yarn. I had used handspun before, and the idea of using yarn to knit with that I had made myself was so romantic. It was terribly addictive…and when we moved to Vermont later that year, I borrowed a wheel from a friend and there was no going back.

      Thank you for the faerie dust, my dear. 🙂

  2. I should bookmark your WordPress blog! I can’t seem to remember to do it…I’m a scatterbrain. 🙂

    You have three hours completely alone tomorrow, you can be anyplace you want to be, and you have $100 to spend that won’t come out of bills or savings or anything…where are you and what’re you doing? 🙂

    • Ooooh, Moggy! That’s a good one!

      Three hours isn’t long enough for me to get on BART and go to a museum in the city, and there are, sadly, NO MORE independent bookstores here (the last one bit the dust several months ago), soooooo…I think I would hop on my bike and take a nice, 45-minute-ish ride to Bittersweetfor their disturbingly rich, non-dairy hot chocolate, curl up there with a good book for a while and then, on my way out, make sure I buy some ridiculously expensive chocolate bars to hide in a box in a box in a drawer. Hee. 🙂

  3. I’ve been interviewing candidates for an open position in my department for … what feels like years. (Aren’t there like a bazillion people unemployed right now? Why can’t I find someone???) So I apologize in advance… but almost every question out of my mouth lately revolves around interview questions. So here’s my favorite job interview question. (Actually.. two… I can’t decide which one is the favorite favorite.)

    1.) What is it about your work that you’re passionate about?
    2.) At what point in your career have you felt most successful?

    • Okay, Amanda, I forgive you. I love interview questions!

      1) The thing that keeps me going with my fiber adventures is that I can never make the same thing twice. It’s just not possible. The ways of combining colors and textures are just endless, endless, endless. And I am surely passionate about color. A spinning session will generally reflect my mood for the day. I can meditate or I can work through some emotional hang-up. Or maybe I don’t spin at all…I make felt with soapy water or I poke it with needles…it’s therapy that I love every minute of.

      2) I think this question is very timely. I have often thought, over the past year, about giving up on running a business. But, I have decided that 2010 is the year I make it work for myself and my family. It’s not make or break it. It is simply, MAKE IT. Because I know I can do it. And really feeling like I know I can do it is a feeling rather like success. I am advertising next month and taking on wholesale orders. It’s a huge workload, but so long as I still love every minute of it, it’s worth it.

  4. I love how creative you are! What is your favorite color and why?
    Something about me….I have 2 siamese cats that help me kni 🙂

    • Ooooh, my favorite color? I’m very changeable in that regard, but I suppose Cornflower Blue is a constant for me. Any blue with a hint of purple/violet and I am in love. Always, always the cool color family, but I am told that I wear warm colors better. Go figure.

  5. Gorgeous Felt scarf/necklace; I love it!!

    I have spun on a drop spindle, but will be spinning on a Kromski Prelude soon. I stained it myself in Special Walnut. Just waiting for a replacement piece to come in the mail because a bar near treadle was cracked.
    I am also a Weaver, Knitter, and now and then crocheter.
    This is the first time I have been to your blog.

    What do you usually use to spin your yarn and how long have you been spinning?

    • Hello, and welcome!

      I spin all my yarns on a Lendrum DT folding wheel. I started spinning when my son was born (he will be five in April), with a spindle and some fiber from a local weaving shop. When we moved to Vermont later that year, I learned wheel-spinning on a borrowed Ashford Traveler, then had a brief stint with a Louet before I got my Lendrum. I long for a Lendrum Saxony and a large hearth to set it by. 🙂

      Kromski makes beautiful wheels…I’m sure it will be pleasure to spin with!

  6. Hello my monkey friend! I’m sorry you aren’t having a good time there in the Bay Area. You’re always welcome to come visit the south, but I think it’s actally raining more here than your house right now. I’m going to be sewing a quilt this weekend. 🙂 I wanted to draw flowers in my garden, but it’s so flooded, they’re all under water.
    If you could pick anywhere in the world to live, where would it be? I’d pick Tuscany, Italy anywhere in the countryside.
    Love ya!

    • Lizzy love! I have a pile of scraps just waiting to become a quilt! I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m going to hand-stitch the whole thing and it will probably take me five years. 🙂 Anywhere in the world? Probably some nordic country with lots of sheep, where people wear hand-knit sweaters ten months out of the year and have access to health care when they need it. Domestically, I’d love to live in New England again or Oregon (we’re shooting for the latter at the moment). Hope to see you soon, my dear. xoxoxo

  7. How great you are teaching at workshop at Urban Fauna, you will love the space and hosts!
    My question is, what is it about felting that sparks your urge to create?

    • Hi Nancy!

      I love Jamie and Blas. This will be my second workshop at Urban Fauna Studio, and it is, indeed, a very sweet space!

      Felting is pure magic. Millions of single strands of hair becoming one beautiful piece of fabric, right in my hands! The possibilities are endless. It would be impossible to create the same thing twice and so every piece is a new adventure. I think that really keeps me going.

  8. Hey Shannon
    Hello from Toronto. The scarf is beautiful and I love the idea of lemony butter. Some of the Old Timers up here tell stories about making butter in an old wooden washing machine- the kind that has the exterior arm. How resourceful is that? I hope things work out for you soon and all the best!

    • Hi Laurie!

      Thank you, and oh my goodness, you just described my dream. My mother makes fun of me all the time, how I want to be the farm wife sitting on the porch, churning butter.

  9. That is an incredible scarf and I wont love to win it!

    Something about me, hmm…my fave kind of yarn is homespun and my fave ice cream flavor is chocolate marshmallow.

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