Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A Grand and Noble Experiment

I have been casting about for what to do with some yarn I've had languishing in a box for a very long time. I didn't have enough of any one color for a project, so I kept trying to find something that would use up the yarn, but wouldn't require more, since I can't get any more of these colors.

I couldn't find anything. A sweater required too much, hats and scarves too little and so I decided to try a vest. Of course, after a lot of hunting, I couldn't find any patterns that met my requirements. So I grasped my courage in both hands and knit a swatch, got out some graph paper and made something up. 

So far, I really like it - way more than I thought I would. So, what could possibly be the problem? How could it all go wrong? Well, I've never done anything even remotely like this before, so my yarn calculations could be off - the amount of the gray yarn I'm using is beginning to alarm me and I fear I will run out before I get to the end of the stranded pattern section - and I still only have a sort of vague and evolving plan for how this garment will look as it reaches arms and neck. Then, I still need to figure out how to make the evolving arms and neck part actually fit my concept when I get there - that is, if I don't run out of the gray yarn first and have to rip the whole thing out and start over again. 

I keep laughing and telling myself it's a great learning experience. I just hope it's a success experience in the bargain! I expect you'll be subjected to another post about this little foray into fashion design, one way or another. The next picture could be three piles of yarn on the floor - or it could be a vest. Or, if I can't figure out how to do the arms and neck, it could turn into a wind sock! 

As a friend of mine frequently says, "Updates at 11".  

Monday, August 28, 2017

Feeling Chipper

The singing overhead wasn't coming from a tree on this bright summer morning, but rather from atop a large wire strung across the road. 

This little chipping sparrow hardly had anything to hold onto, since the wire was so big and his feet were so small.

That didn't stop the small songster from the morning serenade, though.

The first picture gave a good view from the front, the second one from the back, and here he is in profile, balanced atop the wire and giving a grand solo performance.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Planning Ahead

And now for something completely different....

At Christmastime every year, the little church at the end of the peninsula puts up a hat and mitten tree to benefit local children who may not have warm winter gear to keep the chill at bay. This year, I've gotten a little head start on the project and just finished knitting my first set of wearable ornaments to add to the tree. 

The pattern is a hybrid, using the basic form my mother used as we were growing up along with a little bit of sizing help from The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns. This set should work for a late elementary school child - I think the next set will be for a more early elementary size.

Whenever I work on mittens, I always think of my mother's lessons when I knit my first pair and how she told me, when I was all finished, that I now knew everything I needed to know in order to knit a sweater. I was floored, but she explained that I had learned how to do an edge treatment on the cuff, how to increase and decrease while shaping the hand, and how to make gussets while doing the thumbs. Pretty tricky way to fit all those lessons into a small project, right? She was smart that way.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Rabbit, Run!

Baloo loves bunnies.

This bunny was happily munching grass (notice the blade sticking straight out of its mouth).

Baloo went on point and the bunny went on full alert.

While Baloo loves bunnies, the bunnies don't seem to love Baloo that much. This one made a hasty exit in a blur of fur - more blur than usual, since it was getting on toward dusk and the camera didn't have a lot of light to work with. I loved the shape of the hop, though, so I'm including the picture, fuzziness and all. It looks a little like a small exercise in pointillism, doesn't it? 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Pepperoni made only with our own family harvested venison, spices and nothing else is a new flavor extravaganza for me to experiment with while making pizza for family gatherings.

For this version, I used three cheeses (fresh mozzarella, fontina and parmesan), artichoke hearts, red bell pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, onions and black olives, along with my own tomato sauce made from tomatoes my brother shared with me from his bumper crop last summer and herbs from my garden. I topped it with a sprinkle of extra pepper flakes for a little extra punch. 

Add a crisp, green salad and a glass of pino noir...

...and you have the makings for a family feast.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Snappy Breakfast Food

I rarely get to see snapping turtles in the bay, since they're so good at hiding, but every now and then I get a glimpse of one. 

On this occasion, I got more than a glimpse, since this happy turtle was feasting on a fish near the shore. 

It was difficult to get a good picture, since the early morning sun shining on the ripples lapping against the shore created some glare. I just had to wait until the waves framed the little beastie and try to catch the right moment.

Finally, the fish was pretty much consumed and the snapper came up for a breath of fresh air.

Here's the close-up, Mr. DeMille.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Roadside Revelry

As Baloo and I wander through our days, I always try to keep an eye open for anything interesting along our various paths (so does he, but we don't always agree on what's interesting).

We encountered an absolute riot of pink (both light pastel and dark fuchsia) sweet peas blooming along the road that runs parallel to the bay. 

I thought the colors were just outstandingly vivid and rich. Eye candy!

Then, we meandered past this little profusion of lavender flowers. I had not met this plant yet (or if I had my retention was seriously lacking). I looked it up in my trusty wildflower guide and identified it as Eastern gray beardtongue. Quite a mouthful for such tiny blossoms!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Seagull Snacking at Sunset

 No, not snacking *on* seagulls but snacking *of* seagulls. 

One lovely evening, while taking Baloo for his customary sunset walk, I noticed a large colony of seagulls (yes, as you have probably guessed if you have read much of my ramblings, I am a bit of a word nerd and that's actually the proper name for a group of these birds, not flock) wheeling and swooping around and around just over the tops of the trees. You can see them as specks against the glowing yellow clouds in the picture above.

I tried to figure out what was going on and finally decided that there had been a hatch of some delicious seagull snack with wings - I couldn't see what variety of flying insect they were feasting upon, but they were very happy with the evening's gastronomic delights.  I got the best zoom I could, given the lighting conditions - it doesn't begin to capture the magnitude of the enthusiasm nor the extent of the colony. 

I enjoyed watching their acrobatics while Baloo kept his nose pointing toward earth as he looked for bunnies and ground squirrels.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Indigo Blues

One of the walks Baloo and I frequent in the summer months (to stay in the shade and keep the black dog solar collector out of direct sun as much as possible) has an indigo bunting that scolds us severely every time we pass through his territory. 

I've been trying to get a good picture of him as he flits through the foliage and gives us his vehement lecture, but every time I start to focus the camera on him, he moves and I have to locate him and start all over again.

So, whenever we walk there, I try again (and again) to see if I can have a little better success.

I finally caught him at a distance, perched at the very top of a maple tree as he proudly surveyed his domain. It's still not a great picture, but it's the best I have done so far. I'll keep trying...

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Bee Bop A Ree Bop

Rhubarb Pie!

Rhubarb Custard pie, to be precise.

This is a flavor from childhood - complete with nutmeg. Yum!
And yes, I shared the feast!

Thursday, August 10, 2017


If you wondered why I dropped off the face of the blog world for a couple of weeks, here's what happened. I was challenged to share a booth at a local art show with a couple other artisans who wanted to dip their toes into marketing their work. It's something I had been thinking about doing for a while and it was a great opportunity to get some feedback.

So, I went down into the studio and spent a couple weeks gathering all the images I had already finished, printing up things I thought people might like, matting, framing, packaging and getting ready for showing my carved art. Here you see everything loaded into the back of my car ready to go to the show venue.

Here's my little section of our table setup. I had individual cards, boxed cards, matted prints and framed prints. 

Here's another shot from a different angle. It's crowded, yes, but I guess that just means I got really excited about getting ready and wanted to make sure I had enough of a selection for people to see.

And here are a couple framed pieces at the back of another part of the display. 

The show was a great experience. There were 45 local artists showing their work and there was some awesome stuff there! I learned a lot about what people responded to and also made a connection with a local gallery shop that has started to carry my work. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Monday Moon

The full moon on Monday was absolutely beautiful. 

Here it is rising over the trees. I just love the whispers of clouds drifting across the face of the moon.