Friday, March 10, 2017

Taos Wool Festival

I miss blogging but I don't miss the large amount it takes to post and the very low amount of response compared to Instagram.  But, I do miss it enough that I've been wanting to do it again.  In fact, I've been feeling that way for a while.  For example....this set of pics has been sitting in draft mode since October!  I think it's about time I add some words to it and get it out there.  Here it goes...

I was lucky to finally go to the Taos Wool Festival in Taos, New Mexico this last October.  I was so excited that I made a special project just to wear to the event.  It's a huge, colorful vest that was perfect for the event.  So perfect, in fact, that I was stopped by people all day long at the festival and in town to take photos, ask questions, and give me compliments.  Wow!  I certainly didn't expect that response.  In fact, I almost chickened out on wearing it that day for fear that it was a little too far out there and definitely more out there than I would normally wear.  It ended up adding more fun to my day because of all the wonderful people I met.

The festival was so much fun!

I finally got to see Navajo Churro sheep.  They were beautiful!  Especially the jet black ones.  I've never seen a sheep that black.  Gorgeous!

There were cute little pygora goats...

There were also bunnies, alpacca, and more!

Of course, there were gorgeous yarns!  Here's a set I reminds me of the southwest that I love.  I haven't found the perfect project for it yet.

Besides the festival in the park that's right in town, the town itself has several yarn shops!  How cool is that?!!  I bought stuff there too!  Mooncat Fiber is my favorite!  They have so many gorgeous indie dyed yarns that I felt my heart racing just standing in the store amongst all the the beauty.  I bought these two skeins or gorgeousness...

I also bought this beautiful roving (much, much prettier in person).  And, I met the dyer...she is super cool!  Can't wait to see how this spins up.  I just got my broken wheel fixed.  Time to get started!

And, Taos!  I LOVE Taos!  Such a charming, pretty, fun, and interesting town!  There's so much to see in every direction and everywhere you look.  Here are a few examples...

Decorated posts outside cute!

I love these strung marigolds outside of another shop.  I think they're used to keep bugs away.  They sure are pretty!

Taos was one of the first stops on a two week trip hubby and I took with our RV.  We went to Kingman, Flagstaff, Taos, a couple stops in Kansas (including the famous Yarn Barn!) on our way to Missouri to see family, Colorado Springs, back to Flagstaff because it was so gorgeous in it's fall color, and ending in Sedona, Arizona.  I cozied up our trailer with a little lamp on the table and some fall decorations.  It's our little home away from home!

There was a lot of time on the road...aka knitting time.  I got really good at knitting without looking as I worked on a hat project.  I started it on the trip and had it almost finished by the time I got home.

My sweet Penelope was a great little traveler and I loved having her with us, as always.  She even helped us catch a mouse that got in our trailer in Missouri!  Good Penelope!

Salsa was a good girl too.  Although, she had some intestinal issue going on that wasn't fun for her or us but she's better now.

It's been so long since I put these photos in this draft that I'm not sure where this was taken but I'm thinking it was probably a sunset shot on our way home.

I have so many things I could post that have happened, places I've been, and things I've made.  I'm planning to try again to get back to blogging.  We'll see how it goes.  I've just been enjoying Instagram so much more for it's ease, speed,  so much more feedback.  But, blogging is great as a journal to look back on experiences and stuff.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Hooked Rug

I did it!  I finally finished my wool hooked rug kit!  That's a big accomplishment!  I've had this kit longer than I'd like to admit...probably about 12-13 years!  Yikes!  That's way too long!  I got it on a trip to Texas.  I visited a wonderful yarn shop in Fredericksburg, Texas that had lots of different things to see, try, and buy.  Rug hooking was one of the many things they specialized in and one of the things I had fun trying that day.  I just HAD to buy a kit and make one!  However, soon after I got home and got started on it, I realized that this is not a craft for me.  I don't enjoy making all those loops of wool fabric line up.  It's tedious and boring.  I think that hooking it with yarn would be more fun because there's no specific direction for the yarn loops.  But, this is the kit I bought and I needed to finish it.  I kept trying but kept getting bored with it and setting it aside.

I've been on a mission lately to complete all the unfinished projects I've set aside and this was one of them.  I've been slowly working away at it for weeks.  I finally finished it today!  WOOT!

I didn't think the backing would be difficult but after trying several ways of attaching it, I realized there must be some kind of trick to making it work so the white monk's cloth wouldn't show along the edges.  Thank goodness for YouTube!  I found a video that showed me how to do it and it worked great!  It was a slow process but I finished the backing/edging in a couple of days.  I think it turned out pretty well.

I'm so happy to have this project finished!  And, it looks pretty cute too!

Monday, July 25, 2016

More Finished Projects

I discovered several unfinished projects a few months ago while doing a little organizing in my craft room.  In fact, I was a little surprised how many I found that weren't finished.  Although, it shouldn't be too much of a surprise since I tend to come down with "startitis" from time to time.  lol  Anyway, I've been on a mission ever since to try to finish them up as quickly as I can.  Up to my last post, I'd finished three of them.  Since then, I've finished up three more and made progress on some others.

Here's what I've finished since my last post...

This project was actually a recent start from when some of the ladies in my stitch group requested freeform crochet lessons.  I taught them how to make a freeform crochet bag and I made one right along with them.  I was able to do a little de-stashing and use up some leftover yarn in the process.  Here's the finished bag...

This next project is one I started last year to use up yarn leftover from another bag I made a couple of years ago.  You can see it HERE.  I had just under half of the large skein left from that project and it was plenty to make this one.  The pattern is the "Jamaica Pouch".  I found it on Ravelry years ago and made THIS.  It's a fun little project and a cute little bag that could be used as a project bag and lots of other things. 

I'm always on the lookout at yard sales and rummage sales for ribbons, lace, and trims.  I have quite a collection of it!  So, when it came time for the drawstring, I went through that collection and found a ribbon that was exactly the right color to go with this yarn.  I also had some wood beads to put on the ends.  I like mixing materials.  I think it makes it prettier and more interesting to add different materials (like ribbon and wood) instead of more of the same yarn.

I ended up weaving the ribbon in through every other hole to make it gather up nicer.  I love the ruffly look it makes on the top when it's gathered.

I'm almost finished with another bag project.  I'd run out of the multi colored yarn on this granny square purse and had searched and found this lavender yarn to finish it off.  It seems to be a great match!  I wound it into a pull skein last week and got back to work on it.  However, I need to shop for lining fabric and hoops/handles before I can finish it.  That's on my to-do list for this week.

I'm excited about this bag and can't wait to see how it turns out!  I hope it ends up looking as great at the end as it does so far!

This little project had actually been finished for a while but it still needed the ends to be tucked in.  This cute little washcloth/dishcloth is done now!  Yay!

I know I shouldn't start anything new but I saw a tutorial a couple of weeks ago online that I just had to try.  It isn't really a project but more of an exercise.  ;)  I was curious how this worked up and the tutorial was so clear that I couldn't resist.  It was a lot of fun!  Here's the LINK to the tutorial in case anyone is interesting in giving it a whirl!

Some of the ladies in my stitch group have also been going to another group/gathering at a local library.  It meets a couple times a month.  I decided to give it a try a couple weeks ago.  It turned out that it was an extra great day to go!  Someone had donated a box full of knitting needles, crochet hooks, etc.  I went through and selected a few sets of needles and some hooks.  My daughter is knitting and crocheting more often now and these are great for her so she won't need to borrow mine so often.  Now, she'll have more of her own.  :-)

There had also been a donation of several large bags of finished projects.  I have a feeling someone had passed away and these had been made by that person...a very talented and productive knitter!  There were so many items that there were some left over after everyone had gone through and taken some.  I chose some washcloths/dishcloths and a couple of back scrubbers.  Nice!

I'm trying hard to stay focused on finishing projects and not starting new ones.  It's been going pretty well but I keep finding projects that I want so badly to start!  And, I need to get going on Christmas gift projects soon because time goes so fast that it'll be here quickly!  So, I think I need to stay focused but find a balance of finishing at least one old project each week and work on Christmas stuff too.  Do you also have a lot of WIPs that have been set aside and need to be finished?  What are you working on lately?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Penelope Shawl

My Penelope Shawl is finished and blocked!

I love it!  It's big, soft, lacy, and the colors of my sweet kitty, Penelope.

I love the little bits of pink....the same color of Penelope's cute little nose and toes.  The gray and white are the colors of her soft and pretty fur.

I love how long and large it is!

Penelope hung out with me while I blocked it.  She was "helping".  ;-)

I used the Mock Faroese Shawl pattern by Lily chin and a size J crochet hook.  The yarn is from Inner Yarn Zen but I'm not sure how many yards I had or used.  The yarn is super soft and oh so pretty!

Yay!  One more project finished and off my to-do list!  :-)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

I was starting to blog more regularly but it's slowed down a bit.  Ooops!
So, here's an update from the last week....

I turned my cucumber harvest from last week into a big jar of refrigerator pickles.  I made sweet pickles and they're delicious!  I'd like to figure out how to make the next batch a little less strong though.  I'm wondering if it's ok to add a little water to the vinegar?

Here's my harvest from this morning...more cucumbers, and a couple of Meyer lemons to flavor my water today.  The cucumbers are growing like crazy!  The vines are loaded with tiny ones that'll be big in no time!  I may need to learn how to do canning!

The pumpkin plants are exploding in size!  Here's what they look like this morning...

A couple of tomatoes are just about ready to pick!

We now have three baby eggplants.

It's been pretty hot lately.  But, one of my friends and I decided to go to a winery one day last week.  We found a nice spot to sit in the shade and the misters kept us comfortable....along with a cold glass of one of their delicious white wines!  We enjoyed relaxing and knitting so much that we have another outing planned this week and more of our knit friends are going to join us.  That should be a lot of fun!

On Sunday, hubby and I took our tandem bicycle down to the Carlsbad and went for a long ride along the ocean.  It was wonderful!  The temps were in the mid 70's, the sky was clear, and the ocean was calm and gorgeous!  We stopped for breakfast at one of our favorite places in Encinitas, The Potato Shack.  It's been there for a really long time and has great food and friendly service.  They even have gluten free pancakes and French toast!  Yum!

After breakfast, we headed south a few more miles.  We stopped to take in the views and snapped a photo of our Tandem.  We've had this awesome beast since our daughter was little.  Hubby and our daughter and hubby and I have even used this in mountain bike races!  He pulled it out last week, tuned it up, we took it out for a spin, and we're in love with it yet again.

On our way back north to Carlsbad and where we parked, we stopped at a place I've been following on Instagram for a while and was anxious to try, Lofty Coffee in Encinitas.  They roast their own coffee beans and make their own almond milk and hazelnut milk!  Not only were our drinks delicious but they were also pretty.  Here's my hubby's cappuccino with hazelnut milk...

And, here's my latte with almond milk.  They treated us to a homemade goody (not sure if it was a cookie, a muffin, or ??) that was gluten free, vegan, and yummy!  Their coffee grinder was acting up and delaying our coffee.  So, they brought the treat out with an apology.  How nice is that?!

We sat outside right along Pacific Coast Highway / Highway 1 and enjoyed the cool weather and our treats.  So nice!

These beauties were in the parking lot.  Plants love it down there and grow so well in that awesome weather!

What have you been up to this last week?

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Harvesting and a Happy Kitty

We're starting to get veggies from our Summer garden!  Woohoo!

Here's my harvest from this morning...a couple of Patty Pan squash and some pickling cucumbers...

I picked our first three cucumbers a couple of days ago.  I plan to make some pickles today.

Penelope got her staples out on Tuesday.  I think it felt a little funny and starting driving her a little crazy as she kept whipping her head around and trying to get to the area they'd been.  I distracted her with her new mouse toy.  It worked!  She had so much fun playing with it.  And, she even wrapped her paws around it at one point and laid her head on it.  So cute!

She's a much happier kitty now that those staples are gone!  She's able to relax a lot more.  Here she is hanging out with me this week as I worked on trying to finish up some old WIPs.

I caught her looking in the mirror.  So cute!

I can't believe this week is almost over already!  Seems like it was just Monday!  How's your week going?  What have you been up to?

Monday, June 20, 2016

Finishing and Flowers

I was going through things in my craft room recently to simplify and organize.  I got rid of some stuff I didn't think I'd ever use.  That felt good.  However, I found that I had more projects that I'd started and not finished than I had expected.  So, I'm on a mission to finish them up.  I've slowly been chipping away at finishing them.  Here are the latest two projects that I've finished...

I started knitting a necklace at least a year ago.  I have no idea why I set it aside.  But, I finished it yesterday and it's ready to wear!  Yay!  I made a long I-cord and added some beads with big holes in them (I searched and searched to find them....large hole beads are tough to find!).  I made it into three strands that weave alternately through the beads.  It's adjustable to make the strands even or some longer and some shorter.  I don't remember what this yarn is called and the tag seems to have gotten lost.  But, it's a yummy, soft, cotton yarn that I fell in love with a few years ago on a trip to the Central Valley of California.  I always search out yarn shops when I travel and this one had lots of great yarns.  I think it was "Creekside Yarns" in Visalia, CA.

I found and bought a cute set of charms last year to make set of wine glass markers.  I wanted to buy some beads for these in colors to match my decor but I hadn't made it to the bead store (about an hour away) and decided it made more sense to use beads I have.  That helped with de-stashing and cost.  I love the woodland theme of them.  These work great to help everyone keep track of which wine glass they're using.  Plus, it's fun to dress up the wine glasses.  ;-)

Over the weekend, we got started on installing the new knobs (that I bought recently) onto our kitchen cabinets   We  realized that the knobs mounted very close to the cabinet and made them hard to use.  We searched for something to space them away a bit.  We found a small jewelry box knob that my husband drilled out so it would fit over the bolt.  It spaced it out perfectly and it looks like they were made to go together.  We love how it looks.  We got just one to try it.  Since it's such a success, I went back this morning to get more.  Here's a pic of the before (right) and after (left).  

We were at my husband's parent's house this weekend and a cactus they have was still blooming.  I had to snap some pics of these beauties.  Aren't they gorgeous?!

They reminded me of those sugar Easter eggs that have a scene inside.  The hole at the top beckons a closer look at the magical little world inside.  So cool!

The weather has been so nice here with temps in the 70's and 80's during the day and 50's and 60's at night.  But, it took a turn this weekend with the daytime temps around 110 and the nights not cooling off much.  Hello, Summer!  Hello, air conditioning!  Looks like much of the country is in a heat wave.  Stay cool, everyone!  And, have a fantastic week!