Especially For Zabet

Zabet loves my father's quirky linguistics, so I have decided to share a snippet from his last note to me. (Note: He is talking about how busy my brother will be in the next two months.)

"P.S.S. - The legislature will start up 1-3-06 and Mr. Sir will be like a one armed paperhanger in a high wind."

Hee hee, I love my Dad and his beautiful sense of how to create verbal imagery.



I just got my first package from my Secret Pal, and I must say, I think she outdid herself!
From the purple theme throughout, to the obvious care that went into selecting these items just for me, I truly have a caring and generous Secret Pal.

This package was filled up with great goodies and even had decorations in the box! That so rocks!

I love the huge decal that says "Rock is Dead! Long live paper and scissors!". This has so many meanings for me... It found a home immediately on my bookbinding kit.

The cute knitting notecards found a place of honor on top of my stationery box and the decadent White Chocolate Hazelnut bath salts went to live right next to the tub. I can't wait to try these out!

The Sweet Almond cuticle cream smells so good, I think it is going to travel with me everywhere. It is like crack! I keep opening it just to smell it...it's that good! I may have to carve out some personal time for pampering this afternoon while Bug is gone to a meeting.

And then, there was the yarn... Not just any yarn, but Koigu. This is truly a yarn fit for a queen in an amazing colorway that includes spikes of bright royal purples and golds, highlighted amid warm chocolate and walnut browns, burgundies and maroons lightened by pale lavenders and pinks. The photo cannot describe this yarn accurately at all. Ahhh, let me breathe it in and caress it against my cheek. This has got to be nirvana... *large sigh of bliss* Just the soft sproingy texture of this yarn is so lush and luxurious... now I just have to find a sock pattern worthy of such magnificence.

Thank you, Secret Pal... thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!!!! You made me feel like a knitting queen!



Since Zabet asked for a picture of the shoes, here they are:

Pr!vo Crush by Clarks in Pear, size 10M
They are quite comfy with a squishy nubbled insole and a roomy toebox. They even have an elastic strap which eliminates the problem that I have with most other mary janes: the straps cut into my snausage feet.

They are the most juicy shade of pear green! I almost opted for the plain black ones, but I knew I would regret it if I didn't pick these. Besides, who says your shoes really have to match what your outfit? I can live with being the chick with green shoes. ;)


Escape to Portland

Bug and I decided it was time to do a little getaway. We were tired of the rain and gray here in Eugene, so we packed a overnight bag (in case we decided to make two days of it) and headed to Portland, where clearer weather was promised.

I knew I wanted to hit some fabric and yarn stores, and Bug was planning on doing the Widmer Brewery tour. We also wanted to try to find a place to have a nice crab dinner, because Dad had sent us some cash at Christmas so he could eat vicariously through us. Does anyone else have someone who does this? Because I had never heard of it before he brought it up...

By the time we got to Tigard, it was lunch, so we stopped at our favorite German restaurant, Gustav's.
The place was packed for lunch, but we managed to squeeze in with only a short wait. We shared the small Shepherd's Pie, which was fabulous, and the appetizer sampler and a bowl of Mulligatawny soup. All of it was delish, and we were quite full without breaking the bank.

After lunch, we drove around looking for several yarn stores that simply eluded us, but we ended up on Boone's Ferry Road, which I knew would take us somewhere delightful.

We ended up here: The Stash Tea Catalog store.

We picked up a few things that we had been wanting to try, but didn't have in any of our local stores, plus something for my Secret Pal. Psst, don't tell...
The ladies at the store were also kind enough to give me a sample of the wonderful Chocolate Mint tea that i had been wanting to try. It is catalog only, so I am definitely going to order some later.

We drove over to Bridgeport Village, where we perused the Discovery Channel store (one of Bug's favorites), the newest Apple Store, where Bug and I drooled over the new Power Mac G5. It is soooo much bigger than our pitiful G3...and that screen! You're only seeing half of it!
I also communed with Zabet's blog via the new iMac G5. It was amusing to see that she was ranting about Adobe when we were surrounded by their products.
(you can't escape them!)

After much technology goodness, we decided to splurge and check out the gelateria next door. All I can say is...Mango gelato is goooooood!

A quick trip to the Oblation paper store provided us with more fun window shopping and touching of expensive papers and checking out photo album design for projects I may tackle a bit later.

Then we ran to a couple of fabric stores before we went to Uwajimaya in Beaverton. We first encountered Uwajimaya when we went to Seattle, and when I discovered one in Beaverton I flipped! We love looking at all the exotic foods and try to guess what things are. For two lightly traveled southern girls, it's like going to another planet sometimes. :) Here's my favorite image from our trip to the grocery:

After all that running around, we decided to hit the East side of Portland the next day and found a comfy hotel in Beaverton. The next day, we were up early consulting our map trying to decide what we could fit in before the brewery tour at 3pm.

We headed out to find a place called pedX, a shoe store on NE 22nd. We got there and no such shoe store existed. Disappointed, we headed back down to the corner because we saw a yarn store that might prove interesting. We drove around the block to find some parking, and ended up about half a block away in front of: pedX!

They weren't open yet, so we headed down to close knit, the yarn store we had spied. it turns out that they are a new shop and have only been open for a couple of months now. We talked to the owner, Sally Palin, and she was simply wonderful and had great customer service. I only wish that she were in Eugene, because the yarn stores here have grumpy owners.

We bought some Cascade 220 Superwash in blue and orange to make some slippers for Bug and I got a skein of the heathered yarn in a dried grass color. It is beautiful! Now I just need to figure out what to make from it...

We dropped into Bolt, a beautiful little fabric store next door to close knit. They had all kinds of heavenly fabrics, so I selected a few for my next charm quilt and inquired about a pattern for the cute needle case they had on display. Sadly, it was not in yet, so I am still looking for one.

Back to pedX we went, and I was so excited to see all kinds of very cool and lovely mary janes. I found a pair that I liked, but thought they were too expensive, so I was going to pass. Bug saw how smitten I was with the cute shoes and swooped them up, swearing that they were an early birthday present. I think I kept thanking her for them all day long. :)

Our last yarn shop for the day was the Yarn Garden.
An amazing place with three rooms filled floor to ceiling with yarn and other knitting goodies. Here I found some [good things] for my Secret Pal. I hope she enjoys [good things].

Even Bug was at a loss for all the yarn in the shop. She just wandered from room to room fondling the yarn, she even helped me choose the yarn for her next pair of socks. I was so happy that she's taking an interest in my knitting and trying to learn more about it. I shouldn't be too surprised though, because she really enjoyed the fiber classes in weaving that she has taken.

Our last stop for the day was a late lunch at the Gasthaus, and a tour of the Widmer Brewery. On the way into the restaurant, we were greeted by the executive chef and seated very quickly. We ordered and had very good pub fare and free samples of their Northwest Red Ale.

Then we took the brewery tour. While I was not too excited about the whole beer brewing thing, tours are usually interesting and I'm up for interesting any day of the week. I was amazed to find that brewing is a really complicated and scientific process, especially when done on the scale that Widmer produces. The gentleman giving the tour was knowledgable, and kept the information on an easily digestible level for those of us who don't know anything about beer at all.

At the end, there was tasting, tasting, and more tasting, but I left that all to Bug because I was driving us back home. I think they brought out every beer they have in production and some they didn't. There must have been about eight pitchers on the tasting table by the time everyone was done. Even more surprising were the gifts they gave out at the end of the tour. We all received a pint glass and a bottle opener keychain just for taking the tour. How cool!

The best part of the day? Seeing a very happy Bug at the end...


hello out there!

I just wanted to say hello to my Secret Pal from SP7! I was contacted last Wednesday by my spoiler. I was so excited to be matched up, I almost couldn't open the email where she introduced herself. I am so glad I decided to participate in this event!

My Secret Pal (spoiler) seems pretty cool, as we have a few things in common, like a love of bookarts. She is just getting into bookbinding, so of course I would love to spill all my knowledge of artists books and bookbinding to her. I don't know much more about her yet, but I'm sure that will change soon.

My spoilee is a great match, and I can't wait to get her first package together. However, that will have to wait until I make a special trip. I know just the perfect thing for her!

low key

Well, I didn't get the book done on Friday, but I am still plugging away at it. Who knew you should include so many pages in a baby book? It's hard to remember all the little things to add in, especially since I have not recently (or ever) had any children. I took a few clues from Bug's baby book, (my own is at home in KY) and a few stealth trips (ok, two) to the baby section at Walmart to see just what publishers included in the must have information for today's baby books.

I got some beautiful blue/peach silk noile fabric for the covers, and a soft butter silk for the photo frame on the front cover. Bug helped me make a twisted cord from embroidery floss, and we got some cute pink chiffon ribbon for the faux binding.
At least if there's not enough content on the inside to keep them busy, the parents will be distracted by the pretty cover enough to think it's extra special. :)

Today is a special day. Bug and I have been together 7 years today. It doesn't seem that long, but then again, time never seems to stand still anymore like it did when I was a kid. We are going to Portland to celebrate on Thursday, and she even promised that I could go to all the yarn and fabric shops I wanted. How sweet, you say.... but remember, she didn't say I could BUY all the yarn and fabric I wanted... Big difference there. :)

To honor this special day I am cooking a big dinner. Sirloin tip roast (the roast beast), herbed potatoes, ginger carrots, and steamed broccoli is on the menu for tonight and the roast (7.5 lbs!) is cooking as I blog. She is in charge of buying rolls and something yummy to drink on the way home. Hopefully it will be done by the time she gets here. I hate having to wait all night for dinner, especially tonight.



I am getting fed up with Photoshop. I am using it to design and print the pages for my friend Alyssa's baby book. Baby will arrive via cesarean tomorrow, but is the book done? No way!

I created this great family tree image to use on one of the pages, and now when I try to print it, I get a crazy message in my print center dialogue box about how parts don't have permissions for printing. I am fed up and just about ready to redo the thing so I can move on and print everything else.

Frustration is not my friend. However you all are, so I will post photos of said book when it is finished. Possibly by Sunday. If I am lucky...


all my secrets bared

The long awaited questionnaire for Secret Pal 7 is finally out! Here are all my knitting secrets (feats of daring and faux pas) bared for the world to see. Frankly, I can't wait to get my secret pal and start spoiling them.

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand?
I prefer natural fibers like cotton, wool, and linen, but as long as there's less than 50% synthetic fibers in the yarn, I'll knit with it!

2. Do you spin? Crochet?
Neither, although I would like to learn how to spin someday.

3. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
Right now, my yarn basket... but I just got some really pretty fabric to sew a needle case. Anybody got a great pattern for one?

4. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
Hmm, I have been knitting scarves, bags, and socks for about a year now, and I just finished my first hat last month. I can read patterns fairly well, and can use DPN's and circs. I'm itching to try a sweater for Bug or starting some fair isle next, but I haven't had time to sit down and plan out my next project yet....so I would say an intermediate?

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Yes! Amazon

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
Mmm... hard to say. I like earthy, natural smells like citrus, herbal, and floral scents, but nothing too fluffy like roses. My latest find was a tube of Cherry Blossom body cream from Bath and Body Works. It reminded me of a soap in D.C. at one of the Smithsonian gift shops. Yummy!

7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Yes! It is my ultimate downfall. Faves in order: Chocolate, Caramel (especially mixed with chocolate), and Strawberry Pocky. However, I like to try new candy, especially local things, as long as they do not contain cinnamon. Those little red hots candies are despised. (I think it is because my Mamaw fed them to me regularly as a child.)

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
I like to sew, quilt, bead, paint, and create small woodblock prints and stationery.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
Ooooh...yes I can play mp3s, and just about any kind of music is good. Instrumental music is always good. I like to experience new things and music really enhances my creativity, so I play it a lot while I am working in my small studio/office.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
Trick question!!! All colors are my friends, possibly with the exception of pastels and day-glo neon retina scorchers. Those I just can't take in large amounts. Any other colors are fair game. Recently, I have been choosing fabrics for a quilt top in oranges, greens, pinks, and reds, so I figure blues are up next. Colors take me by surprise, and I never know which will attract me next.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I have happily spent the last seven years of my life with Bug, and our two cats Sidney and Molly. We want to get a dog someday, but we know that it will be after Sidney is out of the picture, because Sidney is just a big freaked out scaredy cat when it comes to ANY dogs, big or small.

12. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Scarves, yes. Hats, sometimes. Mittens, yes. Ponchos in my size = tent, so definitely not.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
Another trick question! So many trick questions! There are so many yarns I haven't tried yet, how am I supposed to know. Currently, I like knitting with Cascade 220. It's a good standard yarn for standard knitting (hats scarves socks). Not too rough, but not totally flimsy either. I really want to expand my stash and try some new things. Softer, but not too fluffy.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
That eyelash fun fur yarn. It's too hairy for me. I prefer to see the stitches in what I'm knitting. I also do not like 100% synthetic yarns. They just don't feel right to me.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?
I can't wait to start on my Sweet Mary Janes! I just have to pick a yarn to use...

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Probably socks, simply because they are portable and don't take too much attention to knit. Simple scarves are second on my list also becuse they are easy to make and usually end up looking terrific.

17. What are you knitting right now?
Right now I am making the Irish Hiking Scarf for my Mom.

18. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Now who is going to say no to a handmade gift? Of course I do! I love to give them too... nothing says love and care more than something that someone has taken the time to create just for you.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
I don't have many circs yet, so I'll have to say straight needles (dpn's). I can knit with either one, so no preference.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Depends on the yarn. Some wools are too grabby on the bamboo, so that's when I love my aluminum needles. I use just about anything as long as they're light.

21. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
I am the proud owner of a thrifted ball winder from the ancient past. It works pretty well for the $6 I paid for it at St. Vincent de Paul. Sadly, I am swiftless, but Bug is usually pretty understanding when I need her to help in that capacity. She realizes that there is a knitted object in her future if she doesn't complain, so it all works out in the end.

22. How did you learn to knit?
My Mamaw taught me to knit and crochet when I was a lot younger, but I decided to pick it back up after my friend, Zabet (of the AntiCraft infamy) began to knit. I read a lot and basically taught myself with a few pointers from her.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?
A two year old scarf that is about half finished, and destined to be frogged and the yarn donated to my Girl Scout troop. Yep, you guessed it: 100% acrylic.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?
I don't really have a favorite, but I seem to be awfully entranced with the Backyardigans these days. They are so cute, and they use their imaginations to have fun and go on exciting adventures. From the group, I would say that Austin is my favorite. A little bit shy, but helpful to anyone, he's a lot like me.
As far as non animated creatures, I love little red birds like cardinals and tanagers. They are so cute and cheerful.

25. What is your favorite holiday?
Definitely Halloween! Fall is my favorite time of the year, but costumes, pumpkins, and candy just make it perfect.

26. Is there anything that you collect?
Cool fabrics to use for crafts and quilts, and patterned papers for bookbinding. I love increasing my stash!

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
None. I glean most of my knitting knowledge from the internet by reading gobs of blogs. :)

28. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on?
Probably more fun sock yarns like Koigu PPPM or the Trekking XXL I've been hearing so much about. Just about anything other than Cascade 220 would be exotic to me right now. :)

29. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
Fair isle and lace knitting.

30. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
I am a sock knitter! I wear a size 10 shoe, so a large women's sock fits my big girl ankles really well... and thin socks always fit better than thick.

31. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
Soon! 02/09 is just around the corner...



This past week has been all about introspection for me. I've been working on a couple of commissions, but when I have down time, I keep thinking about Mamaw. (That's grandma for those of you who don't speak Southern Appalachian.)
This is my Mamaw.

She's getting ready to celebrate her 91st birthday on the 19th of January. It's hard for me to imagine her to be that old, but then again, she's been old as long as I've been on this earth. Up until a couple of years ago, you probably wouldn't have guessed that she was that old either, at least not by the way she acted. She was always the first one in the car if you were going anywhere, and kept a garden full of tomatoes and green beans until 2003 when Mom finally had to just stop her because she was afraid for Mamaw to be in the garden by herself. But now, her health is declining, and she's finally starting to look old to me. It just sort of crept up on me, and I wasn't really prepared for it.

She took a turn for the worse the first of November, and ended up in the hospital fighting a blood infection that caused her to lose the use of her legs. Now she's in the nursing home in our hometown for physical therapy, but the family and I all know that she will most likely never leave there. She's very stubborn, and doesn't like to do the physical therapy. My Mom goes to see her everyday. Bug and I have been sending her cards and small things almost every week, and I have been calling on the weekends so I can talk to her, but it seems like she is getting too tired to talk, even for a little while.

Bug and I found the perfect gift for her birthday, though. We got her a down filled lap blanket (because she's always cold and wearing a sweater) in her favorite color (green!) and I embroidered a patch to show her how much we love her. I know I can't be physically close to her right now, but I can be close to her in spirit this way.