Five Senses Friday

A journey through the sensory experiences of the week. Link if you join in!


Seeing: The snow slipping from branches and rooftops and the dusk lingering a little longer. Hello, January Thaw. I’ll do my best to embrace you.

Hearing: Bubbling. The tea kettle, soup, duck bills in now un-frozen water.

Touching: what emerges, and piecing it together. I shared instructions for creating Ice Ornaments on the Sparkle Stories blog this week.

Smelling: Whoa, the paperwhites starting to bloom on the kitchen table. I kinda feel like them the way I do about lilacs.


Tasting: The last of our parsnips from the garden. Conditions aren’t ideal in our basement, so we lost many of them, but the remaining decent ‘snips were delicious with carrot, coconut milk and pumpkin pie spices for a creamy, warming soup.

What did you sense in your world this week?


Sparkling, and the return of Five Senses Friday


Just a reminder: you can find me every Thursday on the Sparkle Stories Blog with a new craft project! This week, I shared our Animal Tracks Journal. Japanese stab binding is fun and easy, and a great way to use up your leftover sock yarn. Now, I just need a project for all the punched-out circles.

In other news, I’m feeling inspired to revive some old friends, like Five Senses Friday. I do hope some of you will join me! If you’re new here, or don’t remember, Five Senses Friday is a wee journey through the sensory experiences of the week. Here’s an archive of FSFs past.

And for this week, I’m…


Seeing: My little world blanketed in snow…but from a distance and mostly through panes of glass. The high today is 1 degree with -20something windchill. Not the day for a long run or hours of sledding, but we’ll keep busy.

Hearing: The silence of the winter landscape. I love the crunch, crunch, crunch of stepping out into the deep snow, but then I pause, and it’s as if all the sound in the world just got sucked away. A deep, momentary meditation.


Touching: Silky fur. Now that the cold has really set in, I am constantly covered in cats. As I type, Beezer sits in my lap and Pollyanna on my shoulder. I don’t mind.

Smelling: Woodsmoke, all around. I love to walk along the road and note the subtle and not-so-subtle differences in the way everyone’s wood fires smell. They all smell like comfort and fill me with gratitude for my own shelter and warmth.

Tasting: Experiments. I wasn’t able to get to the Co-op before the storm this week, and so there have been a few unexpected meals. What was meant to be spinach and feta hand pies for dinner last night turned into mushroom and pumpkin. They were surprisingly delicious and I’ll share the recipe with you tomorrow!

What’s happening in your world?

Five (or Six) Senses Friday

FSF is a weekly ritual of sensual reflection. Play along if you wish, in the comments or link to your own blog. What is striking your senses this week?



Tasting:  Fresh green garlic. I thinned a few plants out of the garlic bed and chopped them up, greens and all and added them to cubed sweet potatoes for roasting. Perfect.

Touching: Roots and thorns and tender leaves. Transplanting is the word of the day week month.


Smelling: Lilacs, lilacs everywhere. Dizzying, really.

Hearing: Night creatures. The sounds that disappear from November through May have returned to lull me to sleep.

Seeing: The miracle of wood bending and not breaking. So much wind this week.

Feeling: Frustrated. Disappointed with the results of my job search, so far. I know it takes time and perseverance, so yeah…carrying on and all that. Hot cocoa cure tonight.


Oh, and I’ve also been here this week.

And here.

Growing, growing is the topic on Luminous and Literary Traces this week. Enjoy.


Five (or Six) Senses Friday (the Sunday version)

Wow, remember this little ritual? FSF is a weekly ritual of sensual reflection, adopted from Abby’s blog. Play along if you wish, in the comments or link to your own blog.

I fell off the FSF wagon for a bit, and I’m late as usual, but this is a sure sign that life since the move is settling into a rhythm of sorts. Maybe next time, I’ll even post this on a Friday, although that might be putting the cart before the horse. One week at a time, steady as we go.


Seeing: Tracks in the snow and wild creatures peeking from caves. Well-plowed snow caves.

Hearing: Stillness. I love the way the winter landscape swallows sound.

Tasting: Absurdly delicious pizza…Friday night pizza is BACK, baby. I’ve done away with the typical gluten-free staples: bean and rice flours, potato and tapioca starches…they don’t make my body feel nourished…in seeking an alternative to the alternatives, I was introduced to some amazing sprouted flours. The crust above was made with sprouted millet flour, soaked in yogurt and butter for 24 hours. Amazing.

Smelling: Rose. The Boy and I share a pot of rose tea nearly every day. The aroma is perfectly sweet and summery…just the thing to ward off the chill, an olfactory reminder that there are warm days ahead.

Touching: Winter. In every way. Crunching snow underfoot, icy wind stinging my face, sculpting and digging, melting it on my tongue.

Feeling: Anticipation! For seeds and trees, for the greening of the landscape, to pot this here sprouting ginger.

On the shop front, I’ve been adding some items to the shop at SALE prices. Felted yarns and kits, mostly.

Seafoam – falklands, kettle-dyed.

And and and: the project! There’s a widget on the sidebar now…17 days left to support The Spun Monkey Dyeworks and Lounge! Fiber-y rewards abound. Wheeeeeee!!!

The wheel calls…

Five (or Six) Senses Friday

Welcome to Quincefest 2010.

Who knew a basket of fruit could go quite so far?

Round 1: 5 or 6 pounds of stewed, spiced quinces…eaten over oatmeal, ice cream, pancakes…still tons leftover. (note to self: buy more ice cream)

Round 2: Quince and apple crumble for C’s birthday. Demolished.

Round 3: Quince marmalade. I used a recipe from Stocking Up, and I regret now that I didn’t add a large quantity of lemon peel to the recipe as it’s a bit sweet for my taste. Oh, well. The kid loves it. Marmalade was originally made from quince, and during the Tudor period, considered an aphrodisiac. Six pints canned and we’ve been spooning the rest over just about everything.

I must say that I am dangerously close to becoming quinced out, and there are still at least 10 pounds left to figure out what to do with.

Anyway, onto FSF: A weekly ritual of sensual reflection, adopted from Abby’s blog. Play along if you wish, in the comments or link to your own blog.

Tasting: Homemade pizza…the new Friday night thing…gluten-free and laden with goat cheese.

Seeing: A movie. In an actual movie theater. It had been six years! Howl, btw, was excellent.

Hearing: Sanding, sanding, sanding. The paint job on the Volvo starts tomorrow…

Smelling: Do I really need to say it? The pineapple-y perfume of the quince fruit as it ripens, bakes, stews…ever-present all week long.

Touching: Sticky, sappy leaves as I pull them out of The Boy’s hair.

Feeling: Completely overwhelmed. I should show you the giant pile of braids left to spin before Stitches East. Yikes.

I should mention there have been some shop updates. I kept to my word and have added yarns and fiber both Sunday and Wednesday and will continue to do so throughout the next few months.


Five (or Six) Senses Friday

It was as if my spine was a spring all wound up tight tight tight. I wanted the run to go something like a Meditation, like a loosening of that spring, like peaceful abiding, but about my spine instead of my breath. Alas, running is a Thinking Place for me, and I spent those forty minutes trapping thoughts like so many fireflies in a jar. I did not let them go. Perhaps I should carry a tape recorder and set aside any aspirations to meditate anywhere besides the spinning wheel.

I did manage to keep my limbs loose around that tightly coiled spine and felt a little lighter, floppier, freer when I found myself once again at the front door.

Mixed a myriad of stock solutions, and that felt good. Made lists for myself, and that felt necessary.

Spun, and remembered how to Meditate. A thought comes and I slip it into the forming yarn. Goodbye, thought. Still wound up tight, though.


Tricky Tricky and Cauldron…couldn’t help it. Getting my Creepy on a little early this year. I’ll try to keep the former in the shop throughout September and October. It makes a lovely plied yarn.

Anyway, onward to FSF: A weekly ritual of sensual reflection, adopted from Abby’s blog. Play along if you wish, in the comments or link to your own blog.

Touching: Our backs to the redwood trees, and looking up.

Hearing: Too much. Miss the quiet of my own home…

Tasting: Mint and chocolate. It’s a happy marriage.

Smelling: Bergamot. Mornings are chilly these days, and I like to huff my mug of Earl Grey. It’s the smell of Cozy and Comfort and Everyone Else is Asleeeeeeep and I Like It That Way.

Seeing: Stars on late evening walks.

Feeling: Like The Boy has a lot more fun being girly than I do. The polish was his idea.

Fresh dye pots daily. I’m in a frenzy. October now has three events in store for The Spun Monkey. Newly added to the list is the East Bay Mini Maker Faire on Sunday, October 24th from 10am-5pm. Click the link for details…ticket information is here.

From the website:

What and why: A Maker Faire is about celebrating learning and doing – not the finished and perfect end product.  It’s a place to share what we’re learning with others, and celebrate the fun and freedom of being an amateur.

Featuring both established and emerging local “makers,” the East Bay Mini Maker Faire is a family-friendly celebration coming to Oakland on Sunday, October 24, 2010.  It will feature rockets and robots, DIY science and technology, urban farming and sustainability, alternative energy, bicycles, unique hand-made crafts, music and local food, and educational workshops and installations.

Yeah, pretty awesome. Hope to see some of you there!

I’ll leave you with this morning’s theme song…

Five (or Six) Senses Friday (the Long Weekend Version)

A weekly ritual of sensual reflection, adopted from Abby’s blog. Play along if you wish, in the comments or link to your own blog.

Tasting: Aronia berries…they happen to live in the backyard and I have this to say about them: most anything can be made palatable if you add cheesecake.


His technique is improving and it’s not getting any easier for me to leave the stuff alone. It’s worse when it’s baking and the aroma pervades every breath I take. Sigh.

Hearing: C’s soothing voice reading aloud to me as I spin…Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. Again.

Touching: Seemingly endless poundage of raw fleece. Soak, rinse, repeat. I’ve got some wicked soft hands thanks to the merino.


Been dyeing and listing some, btw…

Merino cross

Seeing: Progress on the Car Car…

Stripped. Since I took this, the floor has been sanded down to the metal and is ready for patching. Body work to continue this week and then paint paint paint. Hot.

Feeling: Anticipatory pins and needles. It’s going to be a long month.

Happy Monday…

Five (or Six) Senses Friday (the Saturday Version)

A weekly ritual of sensual reflection, adopted from Abby’s blog. Play along if you wish, in the comments or link to your own blog.

Tasting: Chocolate Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. Yes, they are gluten free, and yes, they are delicious and addictive. Let me see if I can pull this out of my head for you:

1 1/4 cups of whatever your favorite g-f mix is (I make my own)

1/4 cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup palm sugar

3/4 cup peanut butter

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1 of your favorite chocolate bars, chopped

Mix the dry, mix the wet, mix ’em up together blah blah blah 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, and then consider them lunch. Not that I ate a pile of cookies for lunch. Ahem.

Seeing: A small harvest…no canning this year, that’s for sure, but they are pretty.

Smelling: Smoldering wood chips in the bee smoker. Should have photographed the huge comb covered in bees C pulled out of the hive today. Gorgeous.

Touching: Wet wool, wet wool, all week long.

Hearing: The neighbors, as usual. But not the karaoke neighbors, so it’s somewhat tolerable.

Feeling: Anxious. Been putting off too many important discussions and now have a knot the size of a cantaloupe twisting up my insides. However, a very productive Saturday allowed me to forget about it for a while.

Here’s to a brilliant Sunday, filled with sighs of relief and lifting of spirits. xoxoxo

Five (or Six) Senses Friday and What Showering Does to My Brain

I don’t know what it is about getting in the shower…the ideas, they just flow like…well,…are you going to make me say it?

Fine. Water. They flow like water. It’s as if, in every drop, there are tiny particles of matter that get sucked into my pores, travel up to my brain, and form into the building blocks of some grand new plan. Usually, fresh blocks get stacked away for later reference…I might dry off and jot down some notes to come back to at a more appropriate time in my life or sometimes, on a lucky day, I think of something I can apply to my life right now. The latter is usually a small something. Nothing to write home (or blog) about. Lately, though, the idea blocks have all been compatible and building upon one another. I am not merely stacking them in a corner of my brain to collect my mental detritus like so many cobwebs. A structure is taking shape…something I think I can create in real life and soon. Sort of. A few more showers, and I think I’ll get there.

Running is like that for me, too. The world around me melts away and my consciousness shifts from focusing on my stride to plucking blocks from the stacks and dissecting them, slapping some mortar between a few and sticking them together, or just sorting out the rubbish. In this way, my route takes no time at all…I hardly know what I’ve been thinking about that whole time until I reach home and scramble for a pen and paper. I’ve tried other forms of meditation and been left feeling frustrated and spiritually incompetent. Spinning is very calming, but I wouldn’t describe it as meditative anymore (I used to). But running…yes, I do think I’m getting close with running. Perhaps if I spent most of my waking time either running or in the shower I would have a lot more of my shit together.

Anyway, onward ho to FSF. A weekly ritual of sensual reflection, adopted from Abby’s blog. Play along if you wish, in the comments or link to your own blog.

Seeing: The finish line. 1600+ yards of 3-ply just about done. Phew!

Tasting: Teff! It was very exciting. I love discovering gluten-free grains that don’t suck. The whole grains were soaked overnight, cooked up like polenta and then fried into little cakes. The taste reminded me very much of acorn. Pardon the gratuitous pile of bananas.

Hearing: Rock.

Touching: Dry, crunchy grass underfoot. Oh, summer.

Smelling: Fresh baked bread.

Feeling: Excited. There are some good things lurking just under the radar. Will reveal soon.

Happy weekend, all. Enjoy!

Five (or Six) Senses Friday (the Saturday Version)

A weekly ritual of sensual reflection, adopted from Abby’s blog. Play along if you wish, in the comments or link to your own blog.

Seeing: Golden afternoon light…from indoors, this week. Couldn’t handle working continuously at this triple-ply in triple-digits, so brought the ol’ workhorse inside.

Touching: Dry, dry heat. No escaping it.

Hearing: Robins. Gobs of them. Or how about, a gob. It will be my new Term of Venery: today I heard a gob of robins.

Tasting: The first corn of the farmer’s market season. For as long as it lasts, I will not get enough.

Smelling: Oleander, oleander everywhere.

Feeling: Inspired. In a million different ways today. I really need to have a studio again.

We’ll be up north tomorrow, meeting a family and poking about their 10 secluded acres, the beginnings of a farm. They would love some help cultivating their dreams, another set of heads, hearts and hands to do the good work. Perhaps I will have more to say about that when we return…