Five (or Six) Senses Friday

A sensual reflection of my week, adopted from Abby’s blog. Would love it if you played along in the comments or link to your own blog.

Smelling: Dulce de leche cooking down on the stove…hour three and the air in the house is gently permeated with the sweet scent of caramel. Raw milk, palm sugar, vanilla bean and a pinch of salt.

Seeing: Dry, golden grasses and rattlesnake skins.

Hearing: The frightened squeak of a baby bird…we tried to save him, but the cat did his job too well. This yarn is dedicated to our wee, unlucky feathered friend:

Fledgling…all manner of scraps, spun up into a soft downy corespun and then plied with a feather-like novelty thread.

Tasting: Tiny, tasty peaches…a bumper crop from the little tree in the pot.

Touching: Rough sand between my toes and cool lagoon water on my skin.

Feeling: Ready.

By the way, I am enjoying my new plying buddy:

My mom gave me this awesome yarn bowl by Skeletal Dropkick as a gift for my birthday. I didn’t even know I wanted one! This bunny has yet to be used for his intended purpose, but when you want to ply your corespun yarn and have only one bulky bobbin…this thing is boss.


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


Celebrating Autumn and hey, look…some more follow-through

***a note: I’ve discovered that WordPress does not email commenters when I have made a reply. I promise I haven’t been ignoring anyone!***

I present to you Spinspiration #1, Pan’s Garden:

I think he likes it.

All rescue wools, mostly merino cross, except for the needle-felted strawberries and leaves. This project gave me great joy, especially with the long-draw method of spinning. I don’t know why I didn’t start spinning woolen sooner…what a relief for my hands, and I love the light and fuzzy result. The berries and leaves are spun securely into the yarn and there are over 200 yards of thick and thin…enough for an awesome stole knit up on a loose gauge. The top picture links to an Etsy listing.

In other news, C is coming in just a couple of days, will stay for about a week and a half and then bring us home with him! I am all atwitter, as is the Little Guy…goats and ducks and the woods and the river…and quiet. I can’t wait.

While we’ve been waiting for this magical time, we’ve been celebrating the carpet of buttery yellow maple leaves in the backyard by building crowns and boats to sail down the river on…

Monday is always “Painting Day” and yesterday we played with Autumn shapes and colors…

Today is starting slowly, with tea-sipping and daydreaming…trying not to lose myself counting away the minutes until Papa swoops down in his primered Volvo to whisk us off to our wooded wonderland. Instead, there will be acorn gathering…I began an experiment a few days ago with some raw silk and it came out beautifully…pictures tomorrow! Now, I have grander plans for acorn-dyeing some handspun wool to be used in our Seaman’s caps (Ravelry link)…of course, we can’t all have the same color head this winter, so I will be using both the acorns and the galls separately, the latter hopefully yielding a deep charcoal for C.

Happy Tuesday!

The Eve Looms

Decisions are made and I am crawling back into my body after many sleepless weeks.

The Little Guy and I will go north presently (well, in three weeks). Once again, we will be crashing at a friend’s place (where C has been for the last five months), but at least we will all be together and it will be ever-so-much easier to make plans from there. Plenty of room to run about on the farm, ducks to chase, goats to noozle.

There are benefits to adding the extra baby-step…we can take our time designing and building the platform, the plumbing, the flooring…all that foundation work that would have been rushed had we just tried to throw the dome up immediately. So. It’s good. We will have a much more snug and beautiful space when it does materialize. And we’ll be together sooner. Did I mention that part?

In other news, everything has been shipped off for Stitches East. A good bit of my regulars, mostly 2-ply and Monkey Mitt Knit Kits, but I did play with a little traditional 3-ply and absolutely loved the results:

Toucan came from some falklands top that I handpainted with Greener Shades non-toxic acid dyes. Because I love a good before-and-after shot (or in this case an after-and-before):

This week we will seek out the perfect pumpkins…I have been very torn about the Halloween holiday and the Little Guy…back in Vermont we participated in a Jack O’ Lantern Journey the last couple of years…Halloween was a gentle sort of experience, rather like the lantern walk for Martinmas, but with pumpkins lighting our way and songs around a bonfire in our costumes. This year we are in a suburban setting, my in-laws decorations are of the darker variety (coffins and bloody daggers) and I am doing my best to breathe it in and out and trying to describe the imagery lightly to O and encouraging him in dress-up themes that are characters worthy of imitation at the age of four. Anyway, my search for a similar sort of celebration around here so far has been fruitless. The local waldorf school usually has an alternative Halloween celebration but for some reason it isn’t happening this year. I know we will make it up north in time to participate in the Lantern Walk with a school in Arcata, and I’m grateful for that, but if there’s anyone around the Bay Area who wants to make a Jack O’ Lantern journey happen, do let me know!

And, although the yarns have all been sent to Stitches, I have lots of lovely felt pieces in the shop right now:

Have at!

I have not, btw, forgotten about Spinspiration #1. I got a little carried away after I carded the fiber and started needle-felting some strawberries and leaves to add in…I hadn’t meant to go that far with it and then Stitches prep swallowed me whole. Now that I’m spat out, spinning will commence! I plan to be much more regular with the Spinspirations from here, although I should probably just keep my mouth shut.

Stocking the pond, a bit of follow-through

Remember these?

1 more to go!

And then there are the Bunny Parts:

Time to sew and stuff some life into this fella, who was meant for a Springtime long ago (*hangs head*), but will now accompany us through the next transition and snug in with us for the winter. Really, though, two years ago O would not have been interested in helping me finish this project, so perhaps it stalled out so we could share some quality stuffing time. Bunny is destined to become a sidekick to another sort of friend, but more on that later…

Spinspiration #1

I find this fellow charming. He sits in the garden at my in-laws house, luring strawberry faeries to the patch. I want to make him into yarn.

Oh, and btw, for any fellow gluten-free folks: Vegetarian Times has a really amazing gluten-free pizza crust in this month’s issue. Really, it’s the best one I’ve tried so far. Excellent flavor, zero reaction…yes, it’s a keeper. The dough is very, very sticky, but I’ve come to accept this as part of gluten-free baking. I really miss bread with a decent crumb.