Sunday, July 31, 2011

Guess what we did yesterday...

Aromatic Cedar, Cherry, Aromatic Cedar. The kids did the selecting and sanding, I assembled. Ms. S is taking them all home with her. A spinner needs 3 spindles, but a spinner always wants more.

Guess what we're doing today...

I'll post the results tomorrow.

Friday, July 29, 2011

New Spinner

My 10 year old SoCal Grandgirl is visiting for a bit, with her brother. Inspired by the main character in the MG Fantasy, she asked to learn to spin with a drop spindle. So we had a lesson as soon as she got out of the pool. The girl is a natural- she caught on to the motion and rhythm almost immediately, which thrilled us both.

A few years ago, I went through a spindle-making phase and I still have a lot of cut and shaped, unassembled spindle parts on hand, so she went through the whorls for a spindle of her own. Of the whorls that were heavy enough for a new spinner, she chose a lovely Bocote whorl.
She sanded it herself, and then we assembled it together. After waiting all night for the varnish to dry, she began to spin the next morning with her very own spindle.
She did a remarkably good job. The first spindle of yarn was thick and uneven (like all first yarns), but by the second shaft-full, she was making a fairly even sportweight yarn! I told her that it took me a lot longer to get the hang of spindle spinning.

Tonight, we plied the two spindles to a third. Even Ms. New Spinner could tell that plying on a spindle is a pain. But she persevered, and here is her very first handspun yarn!

I let her choose from my stash, and she selected a braid of lovely dyed merino/mohair for her next yarn. She has pre-drafted a bunch of it, and her first merino singles look very good. She's already asking about trying the wheel, but I want her to be more comfortable with what her hands and the spindle are doing before we throw feet into the mix. However, I have a feeling that when we get the wheel out, she'll be up to the challenge.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thursday Tab- Tamara the Ballerina

This absolutely beautiful ballerina doll was drawn by Davi  Botty (as far as I can tell from the signature), and she appeared in December 1954. Unfortunately, I don't know which magazine she was in.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Enter to win a signed Funeral Food magnet and note card

Curt (amazing son and artist) is hosting a Funeral Food magnet and note card giveaway on his blog. Three winners will be chosen from the entries, and each will get a signed magnet and note card. Click here to enter!
And after you enter, take a peek at his other work. He's pretty good, if I say so myself!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Funeral Food Swag

The SoCal contingent traveled back from Oregon with us, so Gramma is my main occupation these days. But I'll still have some time to post, and to complain about the weather (we got home to find the AC nonfunctional, though The Hub fixed it in the time honored way: he hit it with a big stick until it started working again). The heat index is supposed to top 100 today, and the weatherpeople are throwing around words like *enhanced tornado risk*, and *severe storms*, so we may spend the afternoon hunkering down.

In the meantime, the Funeral Food swag arrived from CafePress while we were gone. In fact, it arrived double because the first shipment got lost somewhere along the line, so CafePress kindly resent the items. They said if the first package did show up, I could keep it with their compliments. Sometime in the last two weeks, both shipments did, in fact, show up. So I have lots of fridge magnets, note cards, and two identical tees.

You can guess what shirt I'll be wearing today. When the cover for The Hotel South Dakota is finished, I'll have a fridge magnet giveaway.

In the meantime, if you're interested in any of the goodies, the CafePress link is on the upper right of the main blog page (the beer glasses are back in stock). And of course, if the mysteries themselves intrigue you, Funeral Food and Sex and Salmonella are both available in most ebook formats (links to the right). Hotel will be available fairly soon.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Oh Beautiful...

spacious skies...

amber waves of grain...

purple mountains majesty...

fruited plain...

shining sea...

We're home!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Almost Home

We're in Sheridan, vegging in the motel room. I'm too tired to write much of a post (sorry), though I will mention that I got excellent news on the MG Fantasy yesterday- outside of expanding on the Book #5 synopsis, it's ready to submit!!!

Anyway, we'll be home tomorrow evening. I'll leave you with a wedding pic. Every day, I choose another favorite, but no matter which shot takes the top spot, this one will always be in the Top 5.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Last day at the beach

I haven't had time to knit. I haven't had time to read. Today is our last day at the beach, so I won't have much time to post.

Here's what we have been doing:

Lemme tellya- it doesn't suck.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Now that the wedding is over, it's vacation time.  Or it was vacation time starting yesterday. The sun finally came out, at least periodically (rain did not diminish the wedding, and it hasn't interfered much with the vacation. And given that the heat index at home is 121, I won't complain about a little wet).

I'll post more wedding pics later, but I do like this one of my son and I...
and this one of my long-time best friends...

I especially like us Old Broads Jumping, though on the outside edges are the Young Broads. We'll pretend that the shot caught us on the descent, rather than the apex.

and then Kris and I decided to get our ears pierced this morning. I haven't had holes in my ears in 25 years (I pierced my ears several times in the 70's,  including the old *needle into the potato* method, which... no wonder I always had infections). 

I'll be wearing these for three months before I can change to the special earrings that my sister had made for us (with all of our birthstones). In the meantime, I'll be sporting Claire's best bling...
We have one more full day at the beach before we head home. I'm hoping for nice evening for a bonfire. If so, we'll take pics.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mostly Wordless Cannon Beach

Haystack Rock

cupcakes and coffee downstairs!

Sisters all together for the first time in 15 years!

Wedding tomorrow!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday- Coeur d'Alene to Portland

A change in climate often plays hell with my sinuses, so I woke up yesterday morning with a nasty headache. I let the Grandgirl of the moment sit in the front seat and keep Gpa company, while I splayed myself out in the back seat and slept until Ritzville. So there are no travel pics of that part of the journey. But by lunchtime, I felt okay (woohoo for Advil Cold & Sinus). However, the alternating girls were delighted with the front seat assignment, so I stayed in back and watched the amazing Columbia Gorge from that viewpoint.

We stopped at Multnomah Falls and were amazed, as always (though most of the pics are on my phone and not on this computer).


3/5 of the most wonderful Grandgirls in the world.
We're in Portland now, and I ran among the trees and slugs this morning. It was wonderful- dry and cool and perfect. We're heading to the beach today- one of our favorite places in the world. All of my sisters will be together for the first time in 15 years, also my father, and both of my sons and all of my grandkids, and my very best and old friends (old as in long-time, none of us are old...)

L-R:Kris, Me, Janie (AKA Mouse), Jane
Kris and Jane were best friends from Kindergarten, I met them in the 7th grade. Jane and Janie are cousins. Janie lived in South Dakota, but she moved in with Jane in our Sophomore year of high school. We were inseparable then, and are still the absolute best of friends. We vacation together, our kids are friends, and our grandkids play together. Whoda thunk, way back then.

Oh yeah, the fact that Janie was from South Dakota is very very Significant...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Coeur d'Alene

Today's ride was lovely- mountain range after mountain range (Beartooth, Crazy, Absaroka, Rockies- and probably a few I  missed), plus two spectacular passes, Lookout and 4th of July. Back in the olden days (the mid 70's), the highway was two-lane, and there were no guard rails, and the roads had a nasty habit of falling away- those passes were white-knuckle experiences for me. No kidding- you could look out the window, and see 5,000 feet straight down. But these days, the highway is divided (though there is ALWAYS construction), and the roadways tend to stay where they're supposed to. You just have to watch out for the other drivers... some things never change.
I didn't take many pictures today, but I snapped this one with my phone from the car as we were moving. Montana is gloriously beautiful.
I finished Road Socks #1 fairly early this morning.

and then I cast on Road Socks #2. This is yarn that I bought at the '09 Sock Summit. It's lovely stuff- a bit heavier than usual fingering weight, so they'll be extremely cushy. I made up the pattern on the fly, but I'll write out the basics for you all when my brain is a bit more rested. I only have ab out 2" left to knit on the foot of this sock, and then the toe.

We're in Coeur d'Alene tonight- an incredibly lovely lake, a big town, and many crazy-ass drivers... We're hunkered down at a nice motel, the Grands are swimming, and I'm going to read this evening (A Dance with Dragons on the Kindle). Tomorrow's drive will be shorter, with a small side trip at Multnomah Falls and then on to Portland! Woohoo!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


It's been a good day, even with the Grandgirl With the Iffy Tummy. And the 3rd party online motel booking service that took my payment in advance (for 5 rooms), but did not pass that money along to the actual motel. AmEx will take care of the double charge, though not until a full billing cycle passes. But otherwise, it was a lovely day- cool temps, excellent Grandgirl company (even the one with the IT), low traffic, and a grand destination that makes the small bumps in the road seem irrelevant.

I can't read in the car, so I worked on leftover socks all day. I'll finish this pair tomorrow morning (tonight: George R.R. Martin's Dance With Dragons!! I can read in a motel room...).

And though I rarely get a hankering for jewelry, this Black Hills Gold and Silver bracelet called to me at Wall Drug. It'll look lovely at the beach, don't you think?

Tomorrow, we stay in Coeur d'Alene, and those rooms weren't paid in advance, so chances are I'll only have to pay for them once. We're driving a bit further tomorrow than we did today, but we're breaking up the trip into increments and should, therefore, arrive in Portland on Thursday relatively bright and bushy tailed. I'll let you know how that goes.

Monday, July 11, 2011

As we get ready to leave

It's going to be a crazy-busy day: packing, cleaning, organizing, and writing up a quick synopsis of what I expect the next 4 books in the MG Fantasy series to cover (no small task in itself). We're leaving tomorrow morning, and I'll post from the road- there are sure to be some pretty mountain pictures on the way. We're spending Thursday night in Portland with a dear friend (with stops in Sheridan WY and Coeur d'Alene, ID on the way), and then heading to Cannon Beach on Friday (where there will definitely be some pretty pictures) and The Wedding.

We had some interesting weather last night. Lots of updrafty/downdrafty clouds, though luckily, only a little rain, a little boom and flash, and no hail. The temp dropped from a stifling 98 degrees (with a 76 degree dewpoint, so you know how terrible it was), down to 71 degrees in about 15 minutes.

These little low-hanging clouds were all traveling to the beat of their own drummers- each one was going in a different direction. Lots of unfocused rotation, with unfocused being the operative word.

And now that the shawl is done, I've been doing a little easy knitting- socks and fingerless mittens with mitered square cuffs (which class I am teaching at various venues this summer and fall). I won't have time for a lot of knitting once we get to the beach, but since I cannot (and never have been able to) read in the car, I will be doing about 3,000 miles worth of road knitting in the next couple of weeks.

Well, those suitcases aren't going to pack next post will probably come from Sheridan. Yeehaw!