Sunday, November 18, 2018

Worth the Wait!

Our little herd of deer continue to hang out in our front yard.  Ian thinks that since the twins were born here and it’s been safe for them so far, that they’ve adopted our strip of natural vegetation.  We haven’t had rain in four months so we’re putting out buckets of water for them and they obliging us by drinking it up.

I haven’t made soap in quite a while and when we got down to our last two bars, I decided that as much as I don’t want to make my soap, I really do want to use it.

Our kitchen is half the size of our previous one and it was a challenge to weight out the oils and get everything assembled.  This will produce 24 bars.

This plastic plant carrier from the nursery is perfect for holding the 24 bars without tipping onto each other.  When I brought it downstairs I saw the note from my last batch.  I always put the date in it so I would know when the soap was cured, especially important when I was selling it.  It turns out that I made it November 29th last year and November 16th this year.

These are my essential oils which I thought hadn’t been packed in the move three years ago since I had never come across them.  I ordered a couple scents for the last two batches I made but they’re so expensive, it took the wind out of my soap-making sails.  We gave grandson Logan our camping supplies this summer and in going through the bins, Ian found all of these, carefully wrapped and snugged safely in with all the supplies.  Since we no longer camp, we didn’t look in these bins and they would have remained lost to me if we hadn’t passed everything along to Logan, who was thrilled by the way.

Matt and Julia were here today to connect the water to the sink and hang the towel bars which we just bought yesterday, bringing the bath to fully functional.  We have continued to use the upstairs bath in the meantime so it’s nice to be able to move back into the master.  It’s a small narrow space and Matt did a terrific job of making it beautiful.  We bought the white set of shelves at Redux, a consignment furniture place on Friday.  I wanted storage space for linens, something the house doesn’t have so I divided up our linens into the bedroom closets which are already small.  Downsizing has it’s foibles.  I have placed a basket below the towels because the door could hit the towel bar otherwise.  There are so many hard surfaces that the room has a bit of an echo.  Hanging the towels helped but I’m thinking about getting a silk flower arrangement for the top of the shelves to see if that would make any difference.

Here’s further demonstration of how narrow and long the room is.  The shower is where previously there was a bathtub which we never used, not even once.  Now we have to finish moving everything back in.  I’m going to shop for towels to replace these which are at least ten years old but I couldn’t see replacing them before now.

This is what we started with.

And this was the original shower, plus the toilet was low and the counter only 30” high.

Demolition started June 16th so it’s been a journey.  Matt built a 6” box and put it under the sink cabinet, elevating it to a wonderful 36”, the same as the kitchen counters.  I am no longer bowing to the sink god when I brush my teeth!  He could only work on weekends and only some of them, but the results are oh so worth the wait.  We are thrilled!  And Julia’s pregnancy is beginning to show!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Catching Up

These are from the last set of dishtowels I wove using some of the newer colors of Fiesta Ware.  I sold 16 towels at the Guild Holiday Show and Sale and more that I had to ship.  I’ve come to the conclusion that USPS costs slightly less than UPS, plus I have the convenience of printing my label and walking the package down to the mailbox.  I thought my life would get less busy this fall but so far it hasn’t happened. I’m not planning to weave more towels anytime soon.
My weave/study group is doing some interesting stuff with block weaves and software so I’m going to take off my vendor hat and put on a sampler one instead.  A friend asked me several months ago if I would teach her 23-year-old son to weave.  I haven’t been clear on how to fit that in but decided after our study group yesterday that once I have designed the warp and put it on the loom, there is no reason River can’t weave on it.  I’ll put enough yardage on so that we both will have a sample. I’m getting ready to warp the other loom for Christmas presents and I feel relieved now that I’ve thought of a solution.

This past Sunday morning we met up downtown for the Veterans Day Parade, which is a tradition now.  For the past three years, since we moved here, we have watched Logan in the combined high school marching band.  Now that Evan is a freshman, it’s his turn to have family watch him in this parade.  Evan’s 15th birthday is the 12th of this month so Logan came home from college in Boise for a surprise visit for Evan.  We all went out for a spontaneous dinner Saturday night, and then Logan stood with us for the parade.  The surprise visit was for Evan but it was a treat for me too.  It was super cold but as much as I’ve complained about the lack of precipitation, it sure was nice to be a spectator without it.

The birthday boy :-)

I’ve been trying very hard to find time to spend in the printmaking studio.  These are some of the work I’ve completed in the past two weeks.

These are another series that I’ve recently completed.  One of the perks of our studio membership is a critique with Pat Clark, the founder of our studio and our mentor.  She was the head of the art department at Long Beach State and also the director of the Idylewild Arts Institute so she knows her art, but her approach is always to tell you what she likes and to assist you in finding answers.  I told her I have reached a point where I’m not sure if I’m in a corner or if I’m in a direction.

The shower is complete as of today.  The glass doors are installed and tomorrow we can begin using it.  It’s 1/2” glass and nicer than anything I could have imagined.

It has a feature I hadn’t expected.  The door opens both in and outward.  I was waiting to install towels racks until I saw how the doors worked.  I figured if I put them on the wall by the shower that we wouldn’t be able to reach our towels once the door was opened.  So now that I know they’ll be fine there, I need to go buy some.

The mirror is new and replaces the old cheap one that was losing it’s silver.  The faucet still isn’t working.  Matt isn’t a plumber, he’s a tile setter.   A couple of weeks ago when he went to hook it up, realized that he didn’t have the right components.  The plumbing has been a pretty steep learning curve for him.  He says he learned a lot and he’ll be able to put it to good use when they start some remodeling on their house.  The area in that back corner is empty.  It’s where the former corner shower unit was installed.  Now that the pieces are all together I’m going to take myself shopping for a free-standing cabinet.  I’m hoping to find something that will hold linens since we don’t have a linen closet in this house.

Tomorrow is my guild holiday meeting because we don’t meet in December.  If you’re looking for a reliable and easy potluck dish, Google “the original pantry cole slaw” and you too can bring home and empty bowl.  The Original Pantry is a restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, and it’s still there.  I got the recipe from a Los Angeles Time recipe book that I bought in the early 1980s and still use.

Monday, October 29, 2018


Matt and I are both working on deadlines, his to finish the bathroom in October and me to be ready for the Guild Holiday Sale this coming Saturday.  While we were in SoCal he cut floor tiles into 2” squares and set them into the shower pan and painted the walls with a waterproof membrane to seal out moisture.  That large tile on the floor into 2” squares!  It boggles my mind and I’m sure it took all day to cut them on his ceramic saw and seat them.  If you look closely you’ll see he’s carved SFG into the mud in the middle of the shower lip, honoring his favorite team, the San Francisco Giants.  He says there are houses all over Bend with his special tribute.

I got the sunrise towels off the loom and got a little help from my studio assistant as I prepared to hem them.

Meanwhile, I got my order of Brassard 8/2 cotton, my part of a group buy that reduced the price to about $15 per pound.  You can’t beat that price but we only do it once a year and it’s hard to plan ahead.  I am no longer using the 8/2 cotton from UKI and unfortunately I have a lot of it.  I’m going to talk to a couple of the other weavers who are making this same move and see if they have any ideas how we can put it to use or who we can give it to.

I liked the Brassard medium blue so much I decided to wind another Fiesta(ware) warp.  I’ve converted to warping from the back but have gone back to winding it in six 3” bouts.  I’ve found that it preserves the color order and thread count.  And it also lets me move the bouts around if I discover that I don’t like the color order as planned, and in this case I did just that.  I had put the red and orange in the center and realized that I had a whole lot of green and blue together, so I moved it to the side and put the teal and yellow in the middle.

Matt came back on Saturday and got more tile installed.  He worked the entire day, from 9:00-6:30 to reach his stopping point, then called us back to ask us a question.

There was no question.  He had something to give us - these packets of candy.  I have hoped for years that they would have a baby and my wish will come true this April.  I cried.  They are still in process of telling everyone so mum is the word until after they make the announcement on Facebook, but I’m telling you because I know my family doesn’t read my weaving blog.  I have to tell someone!!  Another granddaughter - so excited!!!!!

I got the sunrise towels washed and pressed Saturday morning and my loom warped again that afternoon.

Here’s Matt, still working, and if he looks tired, that’s because he is.  He worked all day Saturday and then all day Sunday.

We had matinee theater tickets yesterday and went out to eat afterwards with another couple.  When we got home the shower was finished!  The grout has to set for three days and if we want to, we can buy a tension rod and shower curtain until the glass door is fabricated and installed. Since we still don’t have a sink in here, we’ve decided to continue using the upstairs bathroom.  It’s going to be another couple of weeks before Matt can get back to finish the sink.  It’s beautiful already!  This is his first total remodel using his own design and he’s really happy with the results as are we.

This morning I finished dressing my loom and have woven four towels and started the fifth.  I have several obligations this week but if I am careful, I can have all ten woven and hemmed for the show this Saturday.  This is my last sales opportunity this year and if I don’t have them at the show I can’t sell them.  That’s motivation!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Time Flies!

We had a shuttle pick us up and we got to the airport about 7:30 Thursday morning.  Our house sitter arrived about an hour after we left and was so attentive to Sammie that for once she wasn’t a wreck by the time we got home. I thought it was cool that we got the U of O plane.  Go Ducks!  Our connecting flight was in Seattle which added a couple of hours to our time in the air.

Alaska only has a couple of flights from Redmond to Ontario so we ended up on the same flight as Rochelle in Seattle and rode to the hotel in her rental car.  It worked out so well you would think we had planned it.  We arrive at the Mission Inn about 6:30 after a long day in transit, and no, driving would not have been better.

The hotel takes up a whole city block and is magnificent.  It’s been through different stages of construction since 1903.  Ian says it’s sorta like the Winchester House of Mystery.  We ate a couple of meals in the courtyard.  The food was great as was the ambiance.

We had the attentive eye of a half dozen house sparrows at breakfast.

Friday we all drove to the the University of California at Riverside for a naming ceremony, the reason for the trip. The last time we were at UCR was for the naming ceremony of the Neil A Campbell undergraduate biology lab. This time the naming ceremony was for Campbell Hall, short for Allison and Rochelle Campbell Hall, acknowledging the generosity of their trust from Neil’s textbook and also their role as regents. It was great to be part of this and also to see family and old friends.  Our granddaughter Elise took this picture for us.

If you can read this plaque, it explains it better than I ever could.

Allison kept telling us we should take the guided tour and when we didn’t react, she marched us over to the museum store where Dougie signed the three of us up. We had a few minutes so I went back to the room to brush my teeth and grab Ian. The tour lasted 75 minutes and was far better than I could have imagined. This room is called the Spanish Gallery.

Rochelle, Allison and Jason has to attend a formal function Saturday night at the Chancellor’s house so we took a seat in a lounge area and rubbernecked. I saw three wedding dresses, there may have been more weddings than that, but I can only attest to three, and this dress was by far the prettiest.

We ate dinner in the courtyard again since the trust was footing the bill. Once the sun set it got pretty dark.

These ladies were at their table when we were seated and there when we left. I so badly wanted to see what the rest of this dress looked like. Did the dress redeem the sleeves?  I will never know.

The flight home took all day Sunday and while we were gone Matt came to finish the shower base. He had made a custom shower pan, then with his ceramic saw cut up floor tiles into 2” squares and set them in the pan. It still has to be grouted but you can see how pretty it’s going to be. The cutting must have taken hours!

I participated in a group buy of Brassard’s cotton and picked up my order today. Linda organizes and manages the whole shebang, and we end up paying about $15 a pound. It’s too good of a deal to pass up. I’m phasing out the UKI yarn, and sadly I have a lot of it. I’m thinking about putting it on a table at a guild meeting with a “free” sign on it. UKI colors are great but the hand is rough. It affects the caliber of my work.

I have some UKI in the warp, but it’s the last time. I hope that by avoiding it in the weft my towels will still be soft.

Here is a picture of the hotel and the rotunda from the self-guided tour brochure.
The first game of the World Series is about to begin!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

My Favorite Month

I love October and lucky me, it also happens to be my birth month.  Ian and I went to the matinee to see A Star is Born (wonderful movie) and out to lunch afterwards at BoneYard’s new brewpub.  We’ve been hearing about the atypical menu which is Asian fusion, nice to have another option than burgers and fries.  That’s how we celebrate these days, no more evenings out and driving home in the dark for us.  The irrigation canal is still flowing but not for much longer so I’m trying to incorporate it into my walks.

To my surprise and delight, my Christmas cactus burst into bloom on my birthday!

I’ve been telling myself to stop using UKI cotton when weaving dish towels but their great color choices makes it hard to follow through.  My cloth gets deep creases when I used it, and for some reason, I decided to measure each towel of this warp.  This pattern is a definite repeat so I can’t just stop when I get to 30”, I need to be at the end of the block.  UKI is a little thinner and all the towels with it was weft are shorter.  I’m really bummed.  I just ordered more Brassard and am going to box up the UKI cones and put them in the member sale next year.  And oh boy, do I have a lot of it.  Ouch.

I finished weaving another sampler from Robyn’s twill class, but this time with parallel threading, which is on the left.  My workshop sampler with a solid color warp is on the right and I like it much better.  I haven’t decided how to put this information to use in a practical way, though I think the only application would be scarves which are hard to sell anyway so I’m not sure I want to put the effort into it.  The last issue of Heddlecraft was on this every subject, but I just got the latest issue yesterday which is on Huck.  I love Huck lace and think if I’m going to weave any more scarves, they’ll either be Huck or Scottish tartan.

I got this warp on yesterday, got it beamed, threaded and sleyed, and I did it warping from the back.  I did a couple things differently which enhanced the experience.  I took the counting thread out of the cross and moved it inches ahead of the crosss, and I wound the warp in 2 1/2” bouts so I could keep track of the stripes and the thread count.  I wasn’t short any threads nor did I have any extras.  I was done in five hours.  Matt was here working on the bathroom all day and I was uncomfortable sitting around reading.  I was spurred to action.

The weeks prior to now have been all prep work and yesterday Matt was able to finish the floor, put up baseboards and the sink which still isn’t operational.  He said he wanted to give me a toilet for my birthday which was the day before.  I was thrilled!  He said he’s pretty beat so won’t plan to do any work next weekend.  I’m just thankful for what he does on it, whenever he does it.

He is a perfectionist and I took this picture to show off the way he cut this tile to accommodate the water source.  I can’t imagine what this would cost were his labor not free.  He is giving us a very generous gift.

School is back in session which means school visits to the Bend Art Center.  The kick-off visit just happened to be during my shift.  The students listened Dawn, our Educational Direction, give a 20 minute talk on water tables, which is the subject of the current exhibit in the gallery, and then they came back to the studio to learn some printmaking techniques and make some water table prints of their own.

They utterly loved the experience and weren’t afraid to apply the color and techniques.  Now that I’m back to the morning shift on Tuesdays I’ll be assisting in school visits again.  It’s exhausting and rewarding.  The $80 studio fee is traded for my four-hour volunteer shifts, a terrific opportunity for me.

The previous week I was able to use my volunteer shift to do some work of my own.  I had collected leaves from our yard and made these prints with them.  The two largest prints are on Rives BFK, a cotton paper, and the two on the left are the ghosts, done on thin Asian paper.  A ghost print is the second run of a plate with the remaining ink.

I glued them together and was really pleased with the results so also entered these in the December member show.  The show is titled Deja Vu and requires the submission of two prints that reference each other.  The viewer should be able to wonder when seeing my second print - Haven’t I seen something like that before?  I think the prints are good but I had some problem with the glue.  The entries are being juried this week so we’ll know by the end of the week who goes on to the show and who needs to pick up their work.