Monday, August 11, 2014

this week in knitting: #sskal14

sskal2014d-(1-of-1)

When I was first learning to knit last winter, I reached out to Shannon for help. I knew her through a few channels and she is a wonderful person.  She had great advice and patterns and resources for a newby and as I quickly worked my way through hats, scarves and sweaters, I get to participate  through ravelry and blogs for knit alongs!
sskal2014a (1 of 1)

I'm excited to be able to participate in the summer sweater knit along and for this I pulled out a project I hadn't started but had intentions to start.  I was all prepped with the pattern, yarn and skills! Then swimming lessons hit, and I knew it was time to drag out a knitting project for those half hour sections of sitting still at the pool.
sskal2014b (1 of 1)


Almost by accident, my intentions coincided with the #sskal2014 announcement! SO here are the details.  I am knitting up a Larch in this beautiful Manos del Uruguay maxima in tigerlilly.

sskal2014c (1 of 1)
the Larch from  Amy Christoffers
I have finished the body and one sleeve so far.  just one sleeve and the collar.  But, as I am knitting I am realizing I am going to run out of yarn before I get the collar done. So, do you think that a collar of a coordinating solid would look odd?  I can get another skein of the tigerlilly I am just a little overwhelmed by the final cost of this sweater already. I think I need wholesale yarn accounts...
sskal2014e (1 of 1)

Friday, August 8, 2014

house: home: kitchen

this kitchen disaster is really causing me a headache.  mostly due to budget. after establishing a plan in my mind, for the mini remodel I am now changing it altogether.

I wanted to get all new cabinets for the base of the kitchen. I was going to order these and new butcher block tops from ikea.  but now, the wait time for delivery is 2 weeks, and then there is another week for treating the butcher block before install.

I don't want to wait that long. plus, we will be trying to sell the house in the next year. I decided to make a plan for frugality and an update that would improve the appeal of the house.

so, after all that, and trying to get it set in my head, this is the kitchen path we are headed down:
-painting the cabinets white.  putting the old cabinets back in. new black hinges, possibly black handles and drawer pulls. adding metal pullout baskets and other helpful interior goodies.
-pulling out the island, replacing with a new smaller one with the butcher block top (ikea : island, top)
-cork like laminate floor
-black counter top
-stainless farmhouse sink
- making the appliances coordinate (we had an old white micro, changing it out to a stainless and black)

I've been consumed by all this, and with trying to do it all in the $2000 range.  There is a lot we are doing ourselves, but I have asked a few contractors for bids because I want it done soon.

here are some of my inspiration pics:








you can find more of my inspiration on my DIY home pinterest board

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

not a quilter: part 40 bazillion

I am desperate to finish my tula 100 quilt because I really want to make one of these for Murphy, and one of these for Hawley for Christmas. Oh hell, I wanna make all of these... for me.






darn you Elizabeth Hartman and your excellent quilts! you might turn me into a quilter yet... maybe...

I am working on my tula blocks and here are the most recent finishes:


aug-2014-blocks1
my fav block, only because of the girl and her dog:

august2014h (1 of 1)

Monday, August 4, 2014

county fair, 2014

Note: this is a photo heavy post! 

One of the greatest parts of summer is the county fair.  It doesn't matter where you are, this is an event handed down through the generations. once it was the only time farmers and their families could all get together to socialize, and the events of fair were a yearly highlight. Our local fair coincides with Hawley's bday, so it is always remembered, always attended.  I only missed out the year he was born. That being said, I only have 2 posts in the blog archives for the fair, 2011 and 2012. I don't know what happened to 2013...
deschutes county fair 2014


Normally I only post the pics, because it is one of my favorite times to take pictures.  Happy faces, people watching, animal noses up close.  This year, I had time to just watch everyone and everything and I have a few thoughts I wanted to share.

deschutes county fair 2014

As usual, my favorite part of the fair is the animals. This year we waited until the last day to attend, so there were more empty stalls than usual.  This did not create any shortage of petting snouts, noses and wet kisses.

deschutes county fair 2014


deschutes county fair 2014


I took the boys through the swine, dairy goat and sheep barns.  But they weren't too interested in anything beyond that, being really excited about the rides. Hawley surprisingly loved the goats. He doesn't want much to do with our goats, but he loved the babies and the dwarf Nigerians.  Who doesn't love a tiny goat though???  Murphy on the other hand, was in love with the Boers.  They are by far the friendliest of the fair goats. Usually because they are young, as they are commonly the meat goats in the fair world.

deschutes county fair 2014


deschutes county fair 2014


deschutes county fair 2014

deschutes county fair 2014

deschutes county fair 2014

deschutes county fair 2014


deschutes county fair 2014

While the boys were waiting in long lines for rides with their Nana, I went to the cattle and horse barns and the rabbit and chicken exhibitors. I am always taken with the various kinds of poultry.  I love the polish crested with their hats/hairdo's.  This year, there were some amazing pigeons! this guy should be in New York, he's so pretty.

deschutes county fair 2014


deschutes county fair 2014


The rabbits are always so beautiful.  freshly bathed, kept amazing for showing.  and the line up of the cavi's is fun to see as well.



deschutes county fair 2014

deschutes county fair 2014


deschutes county fair 2014

It wasn't until I got to the cattle barn that I discovered some real hallmark moments though. The first thing I saw when I walked in was a mama and calf nose to nose napping. It was so sweet, and calm in there compared with the bustle around the rides and the small kids surrounding the rabbit pens.

deschutes county fair 2014


deschutes county fair 2014

As I walked through the barn, I noticed something. There were a surprising number of teens taking care of their cows, and resting with them like the family pet.  which in some cases they are. After watching a number of teenagers acting... well like horny teenagers out by the rides, I was taken with these boys just hanging out with their cows, quietly chatting and napping. total trust between cow and handler.

deschutes county fair 2014

deschutes county fair 2014


I rounded the next corner to find this kid.  I think he was about 12, big for his age, I was smiling so much at him just hanging out, taking a little rest, and the cow doing the same in his ton of glory.  I was trying to get a good angle when the kid saw me and the moment was broken although he wasn't upset.  I just felt like I had woken the baby napping because I was staring at sleeping.

deschutes county fair 2014

As usual, the horse eyes were right at my level.  All the stalls were empty until you got to the Clydesdale's and the Belgians. These giant working horses are some of my favs although they are huge.

deschutes county fair 2014

deschutes county fair 2014

sometimes a similarity just hits you.  this woman had the same color hair as the mane on this big guy and it was kinda funny that it was his behind.

deschutes county fair 2014

I hung out while the kids did rides.  It was mostly waiting in line for 20 minutes for a 3 minute exhilaration, but we all have memories of such things and so should they. While waiting for them, I noticed a lot of young women (read teenage girls) in disturbingly short shorts, exuding an coquettish aspect that they have no clue how to control. They were stared at by spotty teenage boys, and old men (eww) and sneered at by older women. While I don't agree with the length of these briefs underwear shorts, I remember what it was like to want the attention, show off parts of yourself that were taboo and attempt to be "sexy" like the tv and magazine showed. Its sad that as a culture we don't have more empowering examples for young women, but I think its getting better.

deschutes county fair 2014

deschutes county fair 2014


I know the coloring is off on the sky, but it is wildfire season here, the sky is permanently hazy and smoky and it always looks like the lighting is off... and orangish. You can almost see the mountains through the smokescreen in one of these. Also, they had camel rides this time. hee hee, no spitting!

deschutes county fair 2014


PS I saved a baby from breaking her neck.  But that's a story for a social commentary on stupid parenting

Friday, August 1, 2014

Happy Birthday Harry P!



This is the story of a forty something woman, a lifelong creator and her brilliant, if not timely executed plan to make the most incredible gifts ever. That woman was my mother, the gifts were for my youngest sister and her best friend.  Those gifts were: the ultimate Harry Potter spell book and a potions kit to match.  Luckily, I get to share these with you today as part of the Harry Potter Magic tour from Rae Gun Ramblings

spells2-(1-of-1)



I don't think I can tell this story without telling you about my mother a little. She's eccentric, cluttered, highly creative, and she thinks beyond the outside of the box. She sees possibilities in milk jug rings, where I see recycling. In this case, my little sis was about 12.  HP had just gotten really started in the US, and she was mad into all the greatness of the Harry Potter world.   So my mom launched into the most intense handmades.   She worked on these gifts on and off for a few years, falling in and out of interest in them, until eventually the girls were too old, and she wasn't interested in finishing them anymore.

potions7 (1 of 1)

She started with 2 big encyclopedias.   From there, she glued the pages of the back 1/4 of the book down near the spine.  She then painstakingly cut out a big rectangle in the last 1/4 of the books pages with an exacto knife at a rate of about 5-10 pages at a time, making sure they lined up as she went.  After they were cut, she glued the rest of the pages together creating the secret compartment.   She removed a few extra pages and applied a thick cardstock page for the compartments closure.  Now, that is cool enough as it is. But in 2000, in a small Oregon town, she was having trouble finding the good glue. She went through several different kinds all the time trying to find a good combination to make the pages stay put as she treated them and added spells.

spell book7 (1 of 1)

She moved on to changing a simple encyclopedia into an intense book of arcane knowledge. She used tea to stain regular paper to make it appear aged and parchment like. Some of these pages were photocopies of actual spells from library books, and some of them were blank for assignments, notes and personal writings of the girls. I remember going into our "craft" space seeing all these pieces of paper drying. She had a hard time keeping it from my sister. (little note for reference: there are 9 years between me and my sis, so I was a bit jealous, I never got things quite this cool)

potions5 (1 of 1)


She added tabs with ric rac accents, painted and stained other pages, inserted magazine cutting collage style for anthropology studies, and left pressed flowers and pictures of pressed fairies inside.



Here is where the project comes to me 14 years later.  My sister arrived at my house with 2 large boxes of supplies. There were 2 spell books and enough supplies for 2 large potions kit. My mother decked out there kit with real essential oils from the spells she copied.  She made basilisk skin from snake print tissue paper glued to metallic tissue paper.  This gave it a crinkly dried reptile skin feel and a sheen of magic.  brilliant.
There were little candles, little bottles and she told me, she even has little cauldrons somewhere. oy vey.

Basilisk1 (1 of 1)

The books were not quite done.  They needed a little TLC as well since they had been in storage for a good decade. So I used Mod Podge and craft glues to fix edges, repair tears, and apply pages.  Each extra page is delicately placed to appear as though it belongs.

spell book3 (1 of 1)

An encyclopedia cover is kinda lame as a spell book, and you could use paper to cover it I suppose, but a true Harry Potter manual would have been leather bound. Just so, Mom covered the books in leather and suede creating a leather and paper coat of arms from the Hogwarts standard.  Thus creating a true spell book!

potions8 (1 of 1)


For each of the potions kits, she got those simple wooden boxes you can find at Micheal's in the wood burning section. Within each box there are 10+ essential oils, candles and a small pewter holder, spiders, a critter box, basilisk skin, apothecary mixing bottles, myrrh gum, various dried herbs, and a jar of eyeballs. And she acquired all this x2. Then, as is now, she traded with other crafters.  She is a massage therapist, so she traded with an herbalist for all the oils, bottles, and herbs.  They were all stored so well that they are still very good quality essential oils. I am looking forward to adding them to candles and lotions and such.

potions10 (1 of 1)

potions6 (1 of 1)



While this is a loose guide to making your own, I thought you should have a spell or two to coordinate with your own HP endeavors.

Love oil:
1 dram jasmine oil
1/2 dram orange oil
1/2 dram apple oil
5 coriander seeds
5 dried rose petals
blend in an enamel pan on very low heat. let cool and place in a small bottle with lid.



Faery Fire oil
1 garnet
1 dram dragons blood
1 dram almond oil
coriander seeds
warm all ingredients in an enamel pan on low heat. Allow to cool and place in a clear, white, or aqua-colored bottle


Happy Birthday a day late to Harry.  He and Hawley share the day and so we always say a Happy day towards one of our favorite stories forever. While I am the last stop on this awesome tour, go check out all of the previous awesome crafts! Details at Rae Gun Ramblings.  There is a great giveaway too! keep scrolling for the rafflecopter giveaway! Get on it!



a Rafflecopter giveaway



One lucky winner will get a fantastic Harry Potter prize pack including a 
Make Love Not Horcruxes shirt and Hogwarts House Tie Necklace from Rae Gun, A Geeky Pillow from Heart Felt DesignsDeath Eater Stamp from Viky, A pair of Harry Potter Shoes from Hogswarts Unlimited, An Accio Book Bag and Potter Necklace from Pieces by Polly, a Mischief Managed Thought Bubble from Green Girl Art, and a 50$ Amazon.com gift card! Also 4 others will get a Death Eater stamp.