Friends and Fresh Eggs

What a fabulous day we had today …

A breakfast of fresh eggs (some still warm from the chickens) and the company of friends.

Multicolored Eggs - Fresh from the Chicken

And then, as if that’s not enough wonderful for one day, we went to the RV Show at the Volusia County Fairgrounds. For five bucks, I walked in to heaven! I’ve posted before about my “RV envy” situation … well, today I got to walk in and around dozens of RVs and 5th Wheels and Travel Trailers. I was so excited I felt like a little kid … all wound up and ready to jump up and down and clap my hands.

It was a blast!

Gone knitting.

A Weekend with Annie Modesitt

Knit or Knot Group

OMG! She is fabulous!

Day 1 – Friday

Classes on Friday were Embellishments and Heel! Learn Toe UP Socks with Mutt-Luks!

Embellishments Swatch

You can see we did several different embellishments. I, personally, love love love the little dreadlocks! Anyway, you’ll see that there are several rows of garter stitch (just to warm up our fingers!) and then the first embellishment was the “dreadlocks”. Next, bobbles. These are nice perky bobbles with no droop or hole underneath. I love the idea of using these as buttons. Next we did a few rows of cables … without a cable needle. A great technique because, Annie says, using the cable needles stretches the yarn and sometimes makes for a gap or hole in the fabric. This technique will not! Last, but certainly not least, we did a couple of different bind offs … a picot bind off (on the right) and an i-cord bind off (on the left). The picot bind off could be used as closure for a cardigan sweater, for example, with some lovely bobbles as buttons. The i-cord band could include i-cord loops or frogs. I’ll be playing with a few of these ideas. I’ve played with adding i-cord to a flat garment but never edging a garment with i-cord!

(PS) My swatch is sitting on one of the books that I bought at the classes which Annie has written, Confessions of a Knitting Heretic. The second book I bought was this one:

Cheaper than Therapy is a collection of stories that were gathered by Annie. Since I’m a one book at a time kind of girl, I’ve not really dug into either one yet. But I am looking forward to them both!

The second half of our technique classes on Friday was a toe-up sock with a different (and better) toe and a different heel … an after thought heel of sorts, made with short rows. We didn’t really make a sock but we started (duh!) with making the toe and then knitted several rounds of the “sock” before adding some scrap yarn to mark where the heel will go. I still need to go back and finish the “sock” and I’ll show you pictures at a later date … or I’ll add them to this posting.

Day 2- Entrelac Lace

Saturday we did entrelac. Lots of entrelac. Mind-boggling entrelac!

Entrelac Swatch

We started out with our work flat, working back and forth in entrelac. I really like the look of  the entrelac (especially in two colors). It’s such a harlequin look. With the idea that entrelac can also be worked in the round, we then joined our work and then made the squares bigger and worked the top ones in lace. It was fascinating to think about taking a somewhat complicated technique and making it more complicated but the lace skirt pattern that Annie used as her example is really lovely and I would love to make something similar!

Day 3- The Universal Mitered Bag/ Modular Knitting

Sunday we made a small Mitered Bag. Using three colors, we learned how to form the interlocking triangles in different sizes and how to construct a bag (to be felted) using the technique. I found this technique really easy to follow and really enjoyed it. Annie even knitted on my bag to show how to do some of the steps … thus, I have a bright orange and a couple of tiny gray “diamonds” (on the left) which she gave me permission to pull out – but who in their right mind would pull out Annie Modesitt’s knitting? I think it makes my bag all the more special!

My Mitered Bag

This is the bag before felting. Notice the really cool “edge” at the top where the purple and cream yarn are twisted.

Two Rounds of Twisted Edging - Looks like Herringbone!

I originally had gone around again (because this round was done by Annie. Yay!) but it was too wide and I went back, after making sure I could actually DO the technique, and tore it out and bound off. I do think I’ll buy some good wool for felting and make the next size bag because it was really lovely and a good size.

Annie also gave us some tips for felting (and told us about her online classes that she offers … I would encourage anyone wanting to learn more about our craft to check out her classes  … click here to be magically transported to her site! She’s a wonderful and thorough teacher and I learned a lot!)

So, add in a potluck lunch that lasted into the next day, some great knitting women in the Orlando Knit or Knot group – which, by the way, is the local Knitting Guild Association group – and a lot of laughs, and you get the general gist of the weekend.

I had a blast – and I’m still recovering from the mind-bending concentration. I took some notes and will share some of them with you “down the road”. But for now …

Gone knitting (maybe my heel)!

Looking at the Open Door

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m ready to start a new life. Not really a new, new life. Just a new one. While I know that this is somewhat confusing to all of you, I know exactly what I’m talking about. I am ready to stop revisiting the old stuff. I’m ready to forgive and forget and move on. I want to be surrounded in positive, healthy and forward-looking.

What’s done is done. My old life is old. It will never be the same again. I can’t go back there. My life has been forever changed by this divorce and everything that I believed to be true was proved false by a cheating (now ex-) husband. But he didn’t just lie to me and our kids; he lied to himself and he has to live with that for the rest of his life. I can forgive him and move on knowing that I did everything I could to make our marriage work. I did everything I could to make the process of separating and divorcing be fair and kind. I hoped to be able to have a friendship (of sorts) because we will forever be connected by our children. He doesn’t know how to play fair and won’t take responsibility for his behavior then or now and, again, he will have to live with the consequences of his choices.

I am working to be forward thinking. Today. Tomorrow. And for each day thereafter. I am so fortunate to have a roof over my head and food in my belly. I have three healthy kids and two darling puppies, wonderful siblings, friends, and a man who loves me. I’m counting my blessings even as my ex is trying to undermine my positive attitude. He sucked me back into his whirling dervish tornado of abuse and sick thinking for a brief time today and I allowed it. But I’m back on track tonight and next time (if there is one) I will do even better at keeping my pledge.

I have a good feeling about 2012! I’ve turned around and I’m looking at the open door!

Gone knitting (after a bit of sleep!)

Philosophy of a Business

We had dinner at a restaurant called Avatar in Sausalito. The owner, Ashok, is at first glance, a happy man. Sit at the “bar” at his restaurant and you’ll find out why he’s so happy – he’s a food scientist and psychologist who will make you the best food you’ll ever have in your life. “You’ll want to lick the plate,” he told me. (And I did – want to, that is!) Ashok loves what he does every day. He loves his life and business.

Every year on the day before Thanksgiving, Ashok opens his door to the community and feeds all the people who walk through the door – last year it was over 1,000 – for free. Wine, beer, food, all free. FREE! Last year my brother worked in his kitchen for the event and this year both he and his beautiful wife will be there.

I’ve always heard that if you want to receive, you have to give and the bounty that this good-hearted man receives is (in part) due to his participation in giving back to his community. Or, I would contend, he really gives to his community – daily! He’s giving of himself – tell him what you FEEL like eating and he’ll prepare you a delightful dish. He’ll also look you in the eye, shake your hand, smile at you and remember your name. He’s thankful that you’ve chosen to eat at Avatar.

Blessings – gone knitting.

 

Left Coast Living

So, here I am on the “left coast” visiting with my brother Rick and his lovely (relatively new) wife and their four little dogs. It’s such fun to be with my family and to see where they live and to meet their friends. (I’ve even extended my stay already!)

I’ve had my first vegan food, spent a couple of days with my cousin and his family, feted my aunt (a bit prematurely) on her 70th birthday, had my second vegan meal and am feeling very happy to visit my brother and his lovely wife and their four shih tzus.

Cafe Gratitude in Healdsburg, CA is my new favorite place to eat. My son raved about it when he spent the summer out here with his uncle and now I know why – first hand. Yummy. Who knew that vegan food could be so yummy?

Visiting Dogville in San Anselmo

We have visited several great pet stores – and bought my littles a new harness and leash (Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday!) Had a spa day for the dogs and got a fun (and stylin’) new hair do and the fun’s not over yet.

We drove with six shih tzus from Healdsburg, CA to Lake Tahoe, NV without any growling. How do these little dogs know who belongs to the pack (and who doesn’t?)

 

Travel with Lola and Martin

Boq (front), Emma and Gus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We start every morning with tea (with some warm goat’s milk) and then head into town for a “muffin” and another cup of tea at the Flying Goat Cafe. They are currently renovating the space inside so the coffee shop has been moved to the alley outside under a tent. It’s really lovely sitting in the alley outside and might be a good permanent additions. Sitting on the sidewalk with six “matching” dogs is sure to attract a crowd – partly because the dogs are so cute and partly because it’s an unusual sight!

Tomorrow it’s off to the office for a couple of hours of work and then we’re headed into the city for the evening – manicures and pedicures are on the agenda for the ladies and business meetings for my brother. Guess we’ve got the better end of that deal!

Off to bed for some beauty sleep … another big day of fun is ahead!

Definitely not knitting!

A Two-lighthouse Day

Owl's Head Light

We headed out Sunday to see the ocean and a light house. Since Kelly hadn’t ever been to Maine and the Maine coast being my favorite thing, it was a cinch to decide to head eastward.

First stop, Owl’s Head Light near Thomaston, Maine. Thomaston, by the way, is one of my favorite childhood memories. We used to visit this adorable vintage Maine town with the white homes on either side of Route 1 and where the Maine State Penitentiary used to be. Connected to the state prison, there was the prison store. My brothers and I loved visiting there to purchase some little trinket carved by the inmates (and there were real inmates at the cashier’s desk with armed guards). A bit of wonder and a bit of fear made this a great place to visit. They’re open every day but Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day (a couple of days in January and Maine snow days.)

Owl's Head LightBut I digress… the land for Owl’s Head Light was purchased in 1824 by a Congressional appropriation of $4,000.  Owl’s Head marks the entrance to Rockland harbor and the light was first lit by it’s first keeper in September 1825 (the project was completed for a cost of $2,707.79 … way under the appropriation. Bet that wouldn’t happen today!)

Today, you can visit the lighthouse (the keeper’s house is still standing but not open to visitors. It’s a bit of a climb into the tower but the view is worth the effort. The lens of the light is simply amazing.

A 1,000 watt hallogen bulb lights the light today

It’s a Fresnel lens which replaced the original in 1856 and it’s simply amazing. It was originally designed to turn (and has wheels) but they decided to keep it a stationary light as all the others in the area were blinking. Did you know that each lighthouse had it’s own pattern of blinks? Ayuh, they did.

From the Foot of the Tower

From the tower, the Rockland Breakwater was pointed out to us by the volunteer at the top of the tower. (It was a beautiful sunny day and it was hot up there!) She said we could walk out the mile long “jetty” (made from rubble granite) and visit the keepers house and lighthouse. SO, who could resist? Off we went.

View from the Lighthouse over the Breakwater toward shore

The Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse is going through a major renovation and it’s going to be a beautiful place to visit. Well, it was a beautiful place to visit and I could imagine living there as the keeper (all lighthouses in Maine today are automated.) While I think the volunteers could have designed a more professional display of the history of the lighthouse, it’s a fun visit and it’s a treat to see the keeper’s house as well as visit the tower. My camera died so I can’t share with you the views other than the two I took. One above is toward the shore over the breakwater (wear sturdy shoes for this hike) and another looking toward the Owl’s Head light across the harbor.

A visit to Rockland after our lighthouse adventure for a bit of lunch at the Rockland Cafe … where we shared a cup of their seafood chowder (yummy, especially with a dash or three of hot sauce) and ordered a couple of lobster BLTs and a “small” plate of whole belly fried clams. The BLT was tasty (the bread/roll was unoriginal) and the clams were delish. Rockland is also home to some great shops, an excellent (new location is quite a step up) coffee shop and book store (Rock City Cafe) and the fabulous Farnsworth Art Museum, home of many of Andrew Wyeth’s paintings and always a good visit!

Fun day with friends, good food, a bit of exercise and we learned a bit, too. Not typical for us but a great day in Maine!

Getting it Done – a Lazy Sunday

I planned to do nothing today. It was a bit grey and dreary … a lazy kind of Sunday.

Porch View - Grey-ish Sunday

I woke up late, had my coffee (soon it will be tea in the morning and no coffee but that’s a whole other story) and a rather sad looking pumpkin scone with the texture of a muffin, really. Then went outside because N. was going to mow the lawn … and I decided to weed the little perennial garden that we added by the big rock outside the front door. During the month of August, it went to heck and really needed some TLC!

We’ve been collecting the bits and pieces of scrap metal left behind by the railroad workers who’ve been upgrading the train tracks behind the house. And I decided that my garden needed to be edged with railroad spikes. I love it – and it’s so appropriate for this house that is so close to the tracks! (And we’ve still got a bucket and then some of pieces of metal for N. to practice soldering with!) A little bit of mulch and it will be done. Yippee! What do you think?

"Rock" Garden

After doing nothing this morning, I made a pumpkin pie. I thought I bought a can of pumpkin but it was organic pumpkin pie filling … and the recipe on the back of the can didn’t ask for any sugar so the pie needs a bit more sugar but it’s OK with some homemade coconut ice cream on the side!

We took the dogs for a walk down the street and chatted with neighbors and then I got to sit and knit a bit with a lovely cup of tea on the side porch.

So, for having planned to do nothing done today, I feel like I accomplished a little bit!

PS – We have been working on repainting the front screen door and the fence that surrounds the garbage cans. Though we didn’t do any painting today, we nearly have it done and it looks so much better! Now, on to the back of the house (or the wood shed or the bedroom door and window or …) Here’s the “before” … “after” pictures when we’re completely done!

Before #2

Before

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gone knitting!