Thursday, May 31, 2012


This is my least favorite part of making soap. I have to create an origami liner from butcher paper that exactly fits inside my mold. I'm so going to coerce my son into making me a mold that is friendly and opens at one end. I hate getting the liner in the mold and I hate getting the soap in the mold out. I've never had it happen before, but I ran out of everything all at once so have made four batches of soap this week. It won't happen again! It's a hobby and it suddently didn't feel like one.

I'm doing another horse show craft fair on Sunday. I love doing valley shows since I get to spend time with neighbors and meet new ones. Afterwards Carol, Kerry and I are going to put together our applications and photos and get this puppy submitted. I've been trying to get the sea glass towels woven and finished for a photo.

I thought about including a photo of my weaving assistant. He is most helpful and interested - mostly curious.
I'm hopeful to finish this towel in the morning and also the last one before going to town. The cone and note are to remind me to move the knot from a broken warp to be in between towels so it can get lost in a hem. I've suddenly become a little disenchanted with Valley cotton. It's where I've gotten the majority of my yarns, but I've had serious breakage and knots that have demanded I stop weaving and repair. I love their price but I'll order Homestead cotton next time so I can compare.
And I have Jeanie's adorable little loom here that she one again generously loaned to me. I have to get it warped next week for a workshop on Saturday. It's a good thing there aren't more than 24 hours in a day or I'd feel compelled to fill them. Honestly. I'm cutting back - soon.

I took a video this evening when Ian and I were relaxing and reading on the front porch - turn your volume up. It's truly a lovely time to be at Sagecreek Farm. I never tire of the quail.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Retired Relaxation

This probably doesn't look much like a garden to you, but this is our Fort Knox of Vegetables. Tomatoes are in the walls-of-water, the garlic has come up nicely and in the second box, the potatoes have begun to peep up. A third box to the left has onions, pepper plants in walls-of-water and carrots have been sown. We could still have a freeze. Do you remember that lap robe I wove from wool I dyed with rabbit brush? I'm wearing it right now!
I started the morning with a batch of soap. I had to make soap on Friday too. I've had a couple of orders suddenly and with Spindle Camp in two weeks, I know I'll sell soap there. Soap is tough because of it's three week curing time. Running out is more than running out. It's running behind.
I haven't had studio time since last week so was glad to finally get upstairs and work on this warp today. I'll be glad when I'm experienced enough to avoid the sleying and threading mistakes I always seem to make. I made two time costly errors but at least this time I have enough warp for eight towels. If I have to fix mistakes like that on every warp, I'm thinking about trying even longer warps, though that idea still gives me (more) gray hairs. This is my first towel in the sea glass series. I use eight colors in the warp so I'm thinking about using all eight colors as weft. It was almost dinner time when I'd gotten this far - tomorrow is Town Tuesday and round two of tai chi. More hurry up and wait, as they used to tell us military wives.

I'm doing a craft fair on Sunday with Carol and Kerry - it's another equestrian show, so it will be fun - profitable? Not sure. They've really gotten into the craft fair thing and have ferreted out some pretty good ones, also some dogs, but all mostly cheap. We've had a lot of fun sharing booth space - it makes a craft fair more entertaining. They're asked me to split a booth with them at the McQueen Craft Fair, which is juried, one of the premier craft fairs in Reno, and *not* cheap. McQueen is the high school my kids attended so it's a soft spot with me. Today I have NO inventory and the thought of generating enough to pay for the booth space in October scares me to death. The application process is seriously daunting. I may be worried for naught.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Vickie and I drove down to Yerington today to visit our friend Diane. We all used to work together and became friends in spite of being coworkers. Vickie and I have wanted to make this trip for a long time so set the date, and it ended up being the date of a freak spring storm. We had a mixture of snow and rain all the way down, at times just plain dicey. Scenery was not available, but we visited the heck out of it anyway.

We all went to lunch and then back to Diane's, where we chatted and laughed for a couple more hours. Girlfriends are so important. I'm reading Anna Quindlen's new book and she devotes a whole chapter to how important we are to each other. We are good medicine.

On the way back Vickie and I drove into Weed Heights, a former Anaconda mine site. It's just eerie. Vickie said she felt like we were driving through a movie set and the former company residential areas, now rentals, we decided was ala Stepford Wives. She had never seen Ft. Churchill either, so we did a drive through there too. The major thrust of the storm had passed through by then. She took a picture of my sweater at the Visitors Center. It's from the Knitting Pure and Simple pattern, Top Down Boatneck Pullover. This was a first outing for my sweater.
I was surprised leaving Reno north. The traffic was fairly heavy this evening so I had a wait to get waved through the agricultural inspection station. I drive through California to get home to Nevada - yeah weird. Thank goodness they know my car because coming home with plants from the nursery could be awkward. I see them look at my license plate - Bookist - and no, I'm not a bookie - I'm a readist. They wave me through.
I love the clouds over the Sierras and caught both shots while rolling forward - there were so many moments that I almost pulled over because sometimes it just takes my breath away, but it was already after 6:00.
I didn't pull over to take storm cloud pictures because I figured I do it when I turned onto our road, but the storm was all to the south of here.

This is our canyon, coming from the north end of Red Rock Road. We had absolutely no storm, no rain, but all the pictures I had expected to take in Mason Valley and couldn't because of the deluge, I guess were pent up and I took them here.
This is my current project. I have obsessed over the white being a three-ply and the gray being two-ply and I've finally decided to knit the project and wear the jacket when I'm done. This is from handspun and I just need to bite the bullet, knit my handspun yarns and stop being so critical. I'll get that attitude in shape tomorrow. Tomorrow - make bread or make soap. I'll think about that tomorrow.

BTW, we had to light a fire in the woodstove today. I don't know what the weather is like where you are on May 25th. Today we got to the mid 40s and will be close to freezing tonight. I live in a very strange corner of the world. Pioneers - how did they survive? I think about that a lot since I live on a pioneer route.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Did Someone Say Towels?

I finished the Fiesta ware towels yesterday. I posted them to Facebook this morning and could have sold two right then, but I had a preorder and shipped four towels in California this morning. I'm left with the purple and pink one. At least I have inventory for the craft fair next weekend! Facebook has been good for my sales. More than half have sold as a result of my photos. I'm going to repeat this color pathway next week, but will put on a eight yard warp, and skipping purple and pink, will do two of the other colors. I realize that my friends will eventually reach a point of saturation and I figure what they like will do well at a craft fair.
I've been thinking about doing a sea glass series, based on the colors of glass that I've collected on the beach at Oceanside. With the inventory I have, I think these colors will represent my collection nicely.

However, I got on Google images for sea glass and was taken by the blue and green that I don't have. I'm going to have to place an order with Halcyon soon for yarn color that Webs didn't have and I'll be ordering these two colors. I'd like to try another sea glass series incorporating them.
I got the warp ready and on the loom. It's pretty sedate, compared with the colors I've been using. This is my first eight yard warp. I was nervous about putting on six yards but after four of them, I'm a veteran and ready to advance - hah! The secret is winding on with the paper. Now if I can just locate a source of corrugated paper on a roll, I'll be in like Flynn - and no, I have no idea what that means.

No weaving for me tomorrow. I'm going to Yerington and you can see my journey here. Start me from Doyle, but then I have to cross over the Spanish Springs to Vickie's house - not on the map. She's driving so route us through Carson City where we will drop off her son at her mother's, then east on Hwy 50 (the loneliest highway) and to Hwy 95 and then south. It takes an hour to Spanish Springs, and then an hour to Carson and then an hour and a half to see Diane in Yerington. That's a heck of a trip to go to lunch!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sunday Was a Fantastic Day

Sunday was a fantastic day. Erik was having a loft sale. He's downsizing to a smaller loft at the Riverside Artists Lofts to reduce his overhead. I told him that's a good thing since he'll fill any space he has. He's a prolific painter and is able to make a living selling his work. I love his art and value him as a friend. I spent the money I've made on towels on these two paintings. I always do that - earn some money and buy some art. Ian instantly was drawn to the watercolor of the Ferry Building in San Francisco. It was much harder for me. I had it narrowed down to three when DS Matt and Julia came. Matt and Ian favored the Overland Hotel and so I went with their votes. There really was no wrong answer.

The four of us went to the Riverside Theater to see The Avengers. I'm not much of an action flick fan and I am a devoted Robert Downey Jr. fan and was not disappointed. The Riverwalk area was a buzz with anticipation of the eclipse - lots of fun energy in the air. Afterwards we walked next door to Silver Peak Brewery and got seated on the eastern patio. The weather was unusually balmy and the lighting was bizarre as the eclipse phases played out, not that we could see them or should. It was a delightful afternoon.
I knew I was going to have to work to get two new pieces hung on our limited walls so started after breakfast. It took me two hours and I had to move 14 pictures in all to get space for the two new ones.
The Overland Hotel (a historic building in Gardnerville) ended up hanging with a lithograph we bought in Alexandria, Virginia of a window in a brick building. I thought they could become good friends, two brick buildings - they have a lot in common.
The four-piece collage set that I always just walked by in the hall is now over my nightstand and I love seeing all the bright colors. Tracy Gundersen is the artist of the set and the watercolor - not a tribute wall.
Here's a little bit of detail - such a shame to have hung it all this time in the hallway and never enjoyed it. I find both Ian and I are looking anew at our pieces - not that I want to move everything every few years. No thanks.
I did it - I got everything up and I am thrilled. I keep wandering through the art in our little house as though I were in a new gallery. Years ago when I was first diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome I discovered that looking at lovely things produced an endorphin response and reduce my fatigue load. At that time I subscribed to three art magazines and I read them like a drug. Now I use Ritalin at half of the smallest dose - thank God for Ritalin. It allows me to make art of my own. We joke about DuPont's ad "better living through chemistry" but sometimes that's the truth.
Probably my favorite picture of the hall group is still this one from Larry Jacox that he painted of the Yuba River. If you've ever seen the Yuba, you know that it has a unique hue of blue. Go to Google images, put in Yuba River and you will be astounded.
This is my sixth and final towel on the Fiestaware series. I kept looking online to double check their colors and worried how to manage the coral. Finally I realized that if I "mixed" pink weft with the orange warp - it might just work. And it did! That is precisely the right shade. I'll finish the towels tomorrow.

I finished the weaving this morning but it was Town Tuesday - always an action packed adventure. I left my doc's with a prescription for high blood pressure medicine. I've resisted and got to thinking that I could end up like my uncle who dropped dead at 60. So now I'm officially hypertensive and I've even taken my first pill. I sandwiched in a quick friend visit, caught my lovely 20 zen freestyle laps in the saline pool and followed up with an awkward first session ever of Tai Chi. I cannot believe how sore I am from that - I see the value and will go back, but man oh man, do I hate being a beginner. If the secret to not aging is learning new things, I'm not going to age for four months - that's how long Mark the instructor told me it takes to memorize the steps.

Friday, May 18, 2012

At Home

This sad mess is my dummy warp. I was in a hurry to cut my lap robe from the loom and cut on the wrong side of the knots. In two seconds the warp flew backwards and onto the floor. Who's the dummy, eh? Since the lap robes are wool and it's getting warmer, I'm thinking about setting these aside and doing some rag rugs for a change.
These are the colors for my current towels, minus the butter yellow that I forgot I was winding bobbins with. This is my Fiesta Ware series.
I was a little intim-
idated by the bright colors I chose so started off with butter yellow.

I picked these colors. There was no point in backing down, so I went for the orange on the second towel. It didn't scare me too bad.

So I went for turquoise on the third towel and I was surprised how much I like it. I got online this afternoon to check out Fiesta Ware colors and decided the fourth towel is definitely going to be lime green. I'm not sure about the purple, though it's in their color line, but then so is black and red.
I had company in the studio today. Charlie found yet another place to curl up, though he left me the second he realized Ian was taking a nap because he exists to sleep on Ian's napping chest. We think we're turned a corner in Charlie's medical crisis. His recent lab results showed an e. coli infection and it's those toxins that have been poisoning his kidneys. He's on five weeks of antibiotics and also treatment for his kidneys. He's starting to return to his role of rotten cat and snoopervisor, which we welcome. We'll also welcome an end to pilling him, a thankless two-person task at which we've become quite good.
I took this photo after my walk with Buster this morning and just realized I caught the tips of his ears on the bottom right. They've "masticated" about 60% of the brush, leaving room for native grasses to grow and reducing the risk of a fire surge. Huge relief.
Our lilacs are finally doing their thing this year and they're gorgeous. We should still have snow so they're never had a chance to showcase themselves like this, and they're filled with honeybees.
And the same goes for the Scotch broom - it's bigger than ever and filled with honey-
bees. We've had a conspicuous absence of bees in the last several years so this is good news indeed. We have to prune this monster, this year for sure. We've let it get so big that it's going to take several years to get our windows back since you can't prune more than a third of the plant a year. I think I bought the wrong variety - oops.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fantastic Day

Allison asked me if I would be interested in partici-
pating in a spindle boot camp of sorts. She spindles during staff meetings and several of the staff have expressed an interest. I'm still a beginner myself but said yes.

Allison is an amazing teacher. I took lessons from her when I got my wheel, lo those many years ago, and before we left, she had taught the ten-year-old girl in this group to spindle. Malinda is doing great too!
Amy (in the fore-
ground) was my spindle teacher. I'm not sure what the attraction is to the spindle, but it's gaining appeal. I think it's quiet and more zen than the wheel.
I was trying to ply two spindles-
full of singles during this time. This is my first spindle-plied yarn, and I'm going to be looking for some instruction at Spindle Camp next month. It was close to a disaster. I decided to try the Turkish spindle since it creates a center-pull ball but I'm not loving how tedious it is to wind on.
When I left for town this morning, the work had just begun on our yard for the fire-fuel and cheat grass abatement program. We applied several months ago and are one of the last families to get treatment for this year.
This is what it looked like a couple of weeks ago.

And this is what it looked like when I got home this evening.



This program is through the Fire Safety Council. Most people who want to remove the fire fuel from their property do so by brush hogging, which eliminates all the brush and fuel and native habitats. The Council wants to eliminate the fire risk, knowing that it's more cost effective than fighting a fire, but they also want to leave wildlife habitats. In a fire, that 3' brush would crown at three times it's height, or nine feet. They leave the brush "islands" spaced far enough apart so that the fire isn't able to charge through dense brush - compare to the before picture.

Before the team begins, they broadcast seed from five strains of native grasses. The tractor is called a masticator and it chews up the brush with its jaws and lays that down over the seed like mulch. It's going to look raw for a whole season, but next year it will again appear like a natural landscape. It's unfortunate that bird nests were lost today and that makes me very sad. We have an nth of the quail this evening as we usually do.

We had a dry lightening strike several years ago at the foot of our property where the terrain is pretty rugged. The fire department had a heck of a time getting to it and that's left me uneasy ever since. They're going to try to get all the way down to where that fire was. I don't see how they can, but if they're optimistic, I'm going to be optimistic too.

What I haven't posted about is the worrisome past few days with my oldest son (in Oregon) who was hospitalized early Saturday morning for an excruciatingly painful small bowel obstruction with a possible surgical outcome. He had surgery for small bowel obstruction when he was twelve. His doctors tried their best to not "rush to surgery" and their choices paid off - he was released home today. Assuming it is scar tissue related, he's on a liquid diet for a few more days, with orders to adopt an high-fiber diet. My grandsons have been terrified, and 12-year-old Logan broke down and sobbed after his first hospital - his powerful daddy rendered mute by the NG tube down his nostril. The silver lining? My DIL's mother had driven up for Mothers Day and was able to care for the boys so Missy could stay in the hospital with Josh. Julie babysat for them when they lived here - no one could have been more well-suited to that task.

I got four beautiful new tires, had lunch with my daughter, got my swimming haircut updated, caught 20 lovely laps before picking up the CSA box, and now I'm listening to my black lab snore. This turned out to be an absolutely fantastic day!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Oh Wow

I finished the lap robe. You can see the color change if you're looking for it, so don't look for it! I was surprised to need it last night as we watched a BBC concert. We might have started a fire but we we're about one fire from being out of fuel.
Today was a craft fair with Carol and Kerry at the Center for Spiritual Living. When we got there, we discovered that space wasn't assigned for this first-time event. Everyone was scrambling to set up inside the church and since it was crammed full, we asked if it would be okay if we set up outside. We had a plum space on this beautiful day.

Thanks to Facebook, several friends saw that I was going to be at this event and stopped by and bought - thanks! . My favorite towel sale of all time though is Marion's choice. She came with matching pants and from Facebook, knew exactly which towel she wanted. This from my Desert Pond sequence with the Desert Peach weft.

I'm not going to bother you with the hour I spent between the craft fair and going home at my grandson's Little League game, though I do wonder how I ever had time to work. The evening fare was Joe's spring open kiln show, which gets bigger every year. The big guy in the red t-shirt on the right is our neighbor and middle school teacher.
Joe always hires a band from Carson City called Hickory Switch for this event. We started inside where we've always been due to weather, but after their break, the action moved outside and they acquired a jug player.
Last year it was snowing at this party. This evening it was 77 degrees, and it dawned on us that we really didn't need to be inside. It's probaby a one-time occurance.
All the food was inside and oh my, as always there was enough food to take a bath in. So. Eric and Jeri are chatting here on the right. Jeri knows ASL and is conversing with Chris who is deaf.
Eric and Jeri ham a passionate embrace with a complicit Chris. Her husband came by right after and loved it. They're all silly.

This is the nakid studio where we are usually packed in due to the cold temperatures. We left - went away. I hope Joe isn't disappointed. I got sucked into visiting and spent a half hour chatting with Joe's daughter, who is now a second year college student. I think life just can't get any better, and then it does.