in which 35 is the new 29…and so I have a sale

Two posts in one day? Yeah, well, it’s my birthday so I can do whatever I want.


I’ve decided that 35 is the new 29, so I give you 29% off anything and everything in the shop for TODAY ONLY using the coupon code: BIRTHDAYBABY



I hope to get back to updating regularly as C regains mobility. In the meanwhile, please feel free to help clear it out for newness!


Fourteen: 52





the 52 project.
Portraits of my main squeezes, every Sunday.

O, this week you…

…hit the big time. Eight years old. You told me you didn’t feel any different, but it seems like a pretty huge marker to me. Like, you are my child, but you are not a child, you are a kid. Fully. Officially. With your big kid bicycle and your big kid attitude, your shrugging off my kisses at the bus stop. You get out the instructions and put your own new toys together. Just, please, let me be the one to clip your fingernails for a little while longer.

…bonded with new friends. Such a sweet thing to witness.

…read a whole chapter out loud to me when I only asked for a couple pages, but you still shake your head when people ask you if you can read. You can! Own that, baby!

…received a gift you will never forget.


C, this week you…

…rallied from the stomach flu enough to squeeze in a couple days work at the end of the week, a greenhouse tidying and a bonfire for the birthday boy. As always, you are superman.

…snuggled the cat, obviously.



ugly cake and sweet surprises

It finally happened.

I had a cake disaster.

I wanted to bake my own cake. I enjoy baking. At least, I used to…some gluten-free recipes turn out wonderfully and others…well, others just turn out like my birthday cake. It’s unlike me not to take a picture of something like the hilarious nightmare mess that I presented to my family the other night, but I just find it so humiliating. If you saw it, you’d never believe me when I tell you that no, really, I can bake!

I will say that some of it cooked and some it didn’t, and that some of it stayed together and some of it didn’t, and that, yes, frosting makes a decent glue for crumbly cakes, but please, please don’t ever substitute red palm oil for regular palm oil because your frosting becomes the color of curry powder (which is very unappealing when it’s supposed to taste like chai tea). I will also say that The Boy and I both went to bed with tummy aches and I didn’t even eat the frosting. And the cake was humongous, did I mention that? Huge and gross. Only now, it is slightly less huge and lives in the freezer. We all had a good laugh about it…even me, so it wasn’t a total loss.

As much as my cake was an epic flop, the gift from my boys was a sweet success:

They rolled paper beads together from old maps and strung them with turquoise. I haven’t taken it off.

Working backwards, we spent some time on the South Yuba River earlier this week. It was an unplanned adventure (the best kind) in between looking at a few potential living situations. The Boy stripped down and threw rocks into a waterfall. I eyed the swimming-hole potential for later in the summer when the rushing waters calm a bit.

We hiked out, covered in ladybugs…I thought they only swarmed in the fall, but I’ve never seen so many in one place. There were entire boulders blanketed by an undulating mass of red.

There will be more fiber coming to the shop over the next few days. I worked on a little Spinspiration after our weekend hike in Sunol…a project idea that had fizzled for a while, but rekindled when I rested my eyes on the grasses there. The combination of golden stalks, sunkissed greens and purpley seed heads is so soothing, warming…I couldn’t help but try to capture that snippet of summer in the dyepot.


I’m spinnin’ this one.

Enjoy the holiday weekend, all


happy (almost) birthday to me

three days early…

chocolate + lavender = totally amazing.

Mom and I had each, independently of the other, made mental note of the recipe when we saw it in the local paper’s Food and Wine section. And then we both forgot to cut it out. The internet saved my birthday brownies. Whoot!

I did the only responsible thing, which was to finish them off, as The Boy (with some help) plans to bake me a carrot cake on my real birthday and I probably shouldn’t have both brownies and cake hanging around…right? I know he’s going to dig through Grandma’s candle drawer for the big number candles…those thick, colorful block numbers that have been around for countless birthdays, generally appearing as a single digit. The Boy hasn’t quite grasped the idea that some adults actually mind being reminded about their age, and he proudly displayed the numbers “56” on my dad’s birthday popcorn balls last month. As an aside, it’s not easy to stick the wide bases of those candles into a popcorn ball.

Anyway, I dig the lavender brownies and all, but approaching 32 has not been a celebration for me. The last year has been rife with struggle and I’m putting a great deal of pressure on myself to mark the transition into this new year of my life as a springboard for the rest of it. I should really get jazzed up on that idea, but instead it’s feeling a bit weighty…perhaps I’m just coming down from my sugar high.

Or perhaps I’m just making too damn much of it (I’m good at that). Birthdays are awesome, and mine will be, too, and the whole rest of this brand new year I have to play in.

buzz buzz buzz~i wonder why he does….

…’cause he needs some new digs, that’s why…

Yesterday afternoon, we saw/heard this football-sized swarm on the rose arbor:

As we were bereft of beekeeping equipment, I tried to get hold of some beekeeping friends who I knew would be interested. When I didn’t hear back, we decided to go for it ourselves. C was on his way home from work by then and so he stopped at Biofuel Oasis to pick up the necessaries. He already had a Tyvek suit from work…

…and was soon ready to go.

He was very calm in this new situation…you never would have known how adrenalized he was…

…even when the bees got reeaaally mad. It wasn’t an easy catch. They were wrapped around part of the arbor and the rose vine…nothing we could cut off for removal all in one go.

Tap, tap…into the hive box.

We’re not 100% sure yet they’ll stay…there’s a lot of activity around the hive box, but still clumping on the arbor…and, well…I don’t really have any idea what I’m talking about. Right now, we’re just hoping there are some scouts doing the happy dance.

Exciting. And I’m hoping we have enough borage and blossoms and berry bushes in our own yard to keep them busy…anyone know how far they travel? Pretty much every neighbor around here owns one of those poison sprayer-backpacks or pays someone else to wear one for sickening their flowers and trees…I’d like to think it won’t be of interest to these bees or present in the honey they produce, but…

Shifting gears, we had a birthday:

There were smiles and wishes and a crepe paper crown…

Click the picture for a link to my Ravelry project page. It was a fun knit…quick and satisfying, although embellishing was the best part. I saw some comments about tearing issues, but I made sure to crinkle the paper every few yards before I knit with it, and the crown whipped right up, nice and smooth.

Pete also got a birthday knit…

The photo links to Ravelry, but you can find the free pattern here on the Bamboletta blog. I used some of my long-draw handspun and I’m really pleased with the results.

Sadly, I did not photograph the Handmade Ho Down on Saturday…it was a little crazy and I was totally exhausted. I had an awesome helper (thanks, Alli!) and so for most of the show I spun, spun away and felt buzzy with fresh ideas. Expect new goodies in the coming weeks. Many thanks to everyone who came to play!