Category Archives: travel

Crafty Moms 12.0, a guitar, and a Tauriel winner

Yes, the 12th annual Crafty Moms weekend! I looked back in my Shutterfly albums, and the very first crafty spring beach trip was in 2003. There were four of us moms then, and we took our 4th graders and our spouses with us. The next year we ditched the kids and spouses. The group has waxed and waned in the following years; this year we had 15 moms.

I love this time away so I can reconnect with friends, and also work intensively on projects. This year, I knit most of the second version of a shawl that will be published at the end of the month.

mimosa

I can’t really show you what it looks like, but here are several other things I’ve designed during past Crafty Moms weekends.

pacific
Pacific Shawl

breezy
Breezy Market Tote

2 way rockaway
Rockaway 2-way Beach Beanie/Cowl

I loved this group of young adults hanging out on the beach.

sunset love

It was a pretty rainy weekend, with a few sunbreaks.

seagulls

rainbow

lone seagull

I’ve done some songwriting on previous Crafty Moms weekends, too. Not this time, although I was hoping my new travel guitar would arrive before I left. Missed me by 4 hours! And I had too much knitting on deadline, anyway. But this is what I found when I got home.

Taki and Minnie

It’s the Limited Edition Holden Village Taylor GS Mini Guitar on the right. I’ve named her Minerva (Minnie for short), and she has a huge sound for such a little thing! The top is old-growth Engelmann Spruce from near Holden Village in the North Cascade Mountains in Washington. The trees were harvested as part of a mine remediation project that will clean up the creek there. Part of the proceeds from the sale of each of these guitars will go to El Porvenir and Living Waters for the World. El Porvenir has a special place in my heart since I worked on a service trip with them in Nicaragua in 2012. You can read more about the guitars here and here. The combination of a fundraiser for El Porvenir plus tonewood from Holden Village (a place I’ve never been, but a place that inspired Marty Haugen to write Holden Evening Prayer, a gorgeous piece of liturgical music that we’ve sung on Women’s Retreat and at church) pushed me to order this guitar.

inlay

Larry Breedlove designed a beautiful 12th fret inlay that portrays water flowing from between two mountains. There’s a lot of inspiration in this little package, and a lot of win for everyone.

Speaking of win: We have a Tauriel winner. There were 195 comments, wow! The winner is Lynne Phelps; I have sent her an email to get her info to Bonne Marie. Thanks all, for reading and commenting. And I hope all the rest of you download and knit this wonderful pattern!

How was your weekend?

Happy new year hike

A perfect time to blow out the cobwebs! We went hiking in the Columbia River Gorge on Saturday. Drove out from under the fog bank to see Mt. Hood in the distance:

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We took the same hike we did last July. There’s more water now, but the snowpack is way below normal, so still not overwhelming.

Upper McCord Creek Falls:

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On the way up, we looked down on Elowah Falls:

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Same falls, from ground level. I love the snow ledge. Lots of people out this weekend!

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I’ve decided that 2014 will be the year of the purge. There’s too much stuff in the house. DH found these items in the back of a closet.

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A Gryffindor sweater I knit for Kid2, maybe a dozen years ago. I’m sending it to a friend who will love it. And here’s a lone mitten from 1991.

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I knit 8 pairs of these, as birthday party favors. Knit flat (I didn’t know how to use dpns back then), seamed up the side. Bugs Bunny buttons, of course.

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Oddly enough, I knew exactly where the mate was. These won’t be purged, though. I may have to frame them. Or at least keep them in my sample box.

I have big plans for painting my knitting studio, and then organizing all my crafty stuff in it. Right now my organizer bins are in the room off our bedroom, but it’s coming in to my studio, along with my sewing machine. I love these IKEA bins. They’re not this tidy right now…

ikea

What are your crafty plans for 2014? And don’t forget, I’m picking the winner of the Under 100 Knit Collection ebook tonight. More lovely things to knit!

A little more aloha

Besides the moonsets, what else captivated us in Hawaii? More nature! More science!

We visited Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The island of Hawaii is made up of five volcanoes, and you never forget that you’re on them. Halema’uma’u Crater in the center of Kilauea Caldera continues to smoke.

Halema'uma'u Crater

And the edge of caldera continues to steam. The heat under the ground makes the rainwater in the cracks steam.

Caldera steam

We had a pretty ambitious day planned, and got to do most of it. We took a short (2.5 mile) hike that took us around the edge of the caldera, and down to the caldera floor.

Kilauea Caldera

cairn

Cairns mark the trail. I love how little plants have sprouted in the cracks on the floor, tiny attempts at new life. There’s actually a trail that crosses the caldera, but it’s been closed for years because it’s not safe.

We took a stroll through the Thurston Lava Tube. It was actually underwhelming, but out of the oncoming rain! No pic; it was over almost before it began.

We drove to the end of the Chain of Craters Road. Why is it the end? Lava overran the road in 2003. So cool that nature has her way.

lava road
Looking west back towards the usable road…

road closed
Looking east. Road closed, indeed.

Hōlei Sea Arch is here, too. You’re 90 feet above the water; don’t lean too far out over the edge to see it!

Holei sea arch

I’m not sure why there’s a lone stand of palm trees near here; I tried googling but didn’t come up with a definitive answer.

end of road palms

I wanted to visit the petroglyphs at Pu’u Loa, but it was near dark when we left the end of the road. And it gets really dark. No lights on the road, and it was raining, too. My biggest regret? I forgot that I wanted to see Halema’uma’u Crater glowing in the dark! I guess I’ll have to go back, soon.

We went snorkeling at Kahalu’u Beach the next day. This is the easiest snorkel spot, ever. You can walk into the water and see fish, but they really look better if you put your mask on. Lots of honu (sea turtles) visit here, too.

honu kiss

They’ve named this fellow Rocky. Maybe he’s the same one I saw in January.

rocky

We toured a chocolate farm, Original Hawaiian Chocolate. This is the first chocolate venture to go from farm to chocolate bar in Hawaii. Single origin Hawaiian chocolate, mmmmm. Cacao pods form from tiny flowers on the wood of the trees.

green cacao

cacao

They come in different colors, but they all make chocolate. Inside the pod, the beans are covered with a white sticky substance. Geckos find it delicious.

geckos

We like the part from the inside!

chocolate vat

We also visited Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, or Place of Refuge. In olden times, if you had broken the strict kapu laws, you could be put to death…unless you made it to the pu’uhonua first. My family thought of it as “base,” and they felt a need to visit. Feeling guilty?

Base!

Safe!

Last sunset…

sunset

And remember how I said that you never forget that you’re sitting on a volcano? Our last evening there we felt a disturbance, unnerving enough that I checked with the US Geological Survey’s site. A 3.2 earthquake, off the coast. Just a little rumble.

earthquake

Back home, and back to knitting!

Chasing the moonset, and Korknisse aloha!

Our vacation in Hawaii last week coincided with the full moon. I love watching the moon set over the water, and this time I was prepared! The moon set later each successive morning, so my pictures were different every day.

Monday, the 16th, 5:24 a.m. HST.
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By 5:51, things were looking distinctly reddish!
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Tuesday, 6:23 a.m. The moon was full last night at 11 p.m., so this is the full moon setting. The sky is a lot lighter, closer to dawn.
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Wednesday, 6:25 a.m. The moon is a lot higher than yesterday’s pic at this time.
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By 6:51, the sky was pretty light. No more lovely moonlight on the water, but I do like the puppy-shaped cloud.
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At that point, I wasn’t planning to wake early for any more moon pics, but on Thursday, I woke up early by accident, and saw Jupiter, below and to the right of the moon. 6:25 a.m.

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I learned a lot about my new camera, and have a lot more to learn. Looking forward to it!

On Friday and Saturday, the surf was unusually high, and the beaches on the west side of the Big Island were closed. This meant less beach time for us, but we enjoyed watching the waves from our lanai. All the comforts of home, and surfers to entertain us, too.

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I’ll tell you about our close encounter with a volcano in another post…

Have you finished your gift knitting? I don’t like scheduled gift knitting; it’s too much pressure for me. But I do like a little knitting for a personal touch. Do you remember the Korknisse I knit a couple years ago? (Pattern: Korknisse by Manne)

korkies

I decided to knit a few on vacation. But my gauge was a lot looser this time around (a little too much aloha?), so I had to dress up champagne corks instead of regular corks.

chunky korknisse

L’il chunkies wishing you a merry Christmas Eve!

One holiday at a time…

That’s my motto. No Christmas before Thanksgiving. Heck, no Christmas before Halloween!

A couple weekends ago, it couldn’t be helped. Hanukkah and Thanksgiving coincided, so we had to do both at the same time. My sister-in-law made a menurkey. I can’t find the picture of her with it, so here’s DH.

menurkey

We came home and celebrated the rest of Hanukkah.

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(Playing with depth of field and my menorah collection)

Now I’m ready to prepare for Christmas.

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We had a little snow here to put me in the right frame of mind.
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I found Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans for a reasonable price at Costco, so I’m making some vanilla extracts. Two are made with vodka, and two are made with bourbon. I gues that would make the latter…Bourbon Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract! A week later, the vodka version is nearly as dark as the bourbon version. But don’t let that fool you; it won’t be ready to use for about a month or so. Here’s a recipe; it’s crazy simple. I love these flip top bottles, but I wish they came in a smaller version! These are 8 ounces, which is a lot of vanilla extract.

More merry-making: Here’s a group from Westlake High School singing at the Rotunda in the Texas Capitol in Austin Texas.

Yes, Austin! We had a quick getaway this week. Here’s a better view up into the dome. The star up there measures 8 feet across.

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This is a beautiful building. So much detail!

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Even the door hinges are beautiful.

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Texas State Representatives meet here.

We also toured the LBJ Library and Museum, and saw lots of bands play. Favorite meal: breakfast tacos at Torchy’s Tacos. Cheap hipster slacker breakfast.

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We got around via Car2Go. Very cool!

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Cheaper than a cab, and pretty convenient. You only pay for the time you drive, 41 cents/minute, and you can park in any legal parking lot in their service area. We have these in Portland, too, and use them occasionally when we need a second car. Do you have Car2Go where you live?

Are you ready for Christmas? Not me, not yet!

Fall back…

You’d think that gaining an extra hour would give me some bounce, but I feel like I can’t quite catch up on sleep! I’m tired earlier and wake up earlier than I want to because it’s light outside. Give me another week and I’ll have my act together.

I spent the weekend over on the sunny side of the Cascade Mountains, visiting good friends who have fled the gray rainy side. They’re happily ensconced in their new town. We hiked up Umtanum Creek Canyon on Sunday. The sage looked and smelled wonderful, and the mountains look very different over there.

Umtanum Creek hike

We passed an abandoned homestead, complete with the remains of an apple orchard.

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I wonder what this stone was for?

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The still parts of the creek reflect the mountains, gloriously.

Umtanum Creek hike

There are beaver dams along the creek. Most impressive.

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I had a great time, and it was kind of depressing driving back under the cloud cover into the rain. Sigh.

October is over, and that means it’s time to give away books! Thanks for all your comments. The winners of the 2013 Swish Pattern Collection for KnitPicks are:

purple penguin and Lillian Henegar.

Congratulations! I’ve emailed you your ebooks. I hope you enjoy knitting from them!

In other news, I saw my first Christmas ad on TV last week, the Monday before Halloween. Blergh. But it’s definitely holiday season in the stores already. I was in my local Fred Meyer and saw this:

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I think that’s cheating. Gluing felt reindeer on an acrylic sweater isn’t the same as digging through closets (or thrift stores!) and coming up with the perfect egregious Christmas sweater. And paying $24.99 for the privilege of faking it? Meh.

I just finished a design project and am mailing it off today. Another is gone to the tech editor. And the yarn for a new one just arrived. I’ll start…after I finish a baby sweater for Lorajean’s impending bundle of joy. Two weeks to go! I started to knit a Baby Surprise Jacket, but it just wasn’t speaking to me. Now I’m knitting In Threes by Kelly Herdrich. I’ve knit one of these before, it’s quick and cute.

What’s hot on your needles now? Do you have an “ugly” Christmas sweater? I have a cute one! Picture in December, when it’s seasonally appropriate.

Tempus fugit

Time flies! I’m a little buried under right now, in a good way. I have two design projects in the works, but I can’t show them to you yet. And I’m prepping for classes at Stash in Corvallis this weekend and Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival next weekend. There is nothing so inspiring as a deadline. Git ‘er done!

I did take a little time out last week to celebrate a friend’s significant birthday. We were in Pacific City, home of the other Haystack Rock on the Oregon Coast. (There may be one more, but this one and the one in Cannon Beach are the most well known.)

haystack rock  pacific city

Yes, there are surfers here! Full wetsuit required; it’s cold out there.

haystack sunset

Our house was high on the hill (out of the tsunami zone!) overlooking the town and the beach, perfect for sunset viewing.

sunset in a glass

Click on the photo for a closer view; the sunset is echoed in the stem. Bonus!

We went down to Lincoln City to Jennifer Sears Art Glass Studio, and played with glass. I made a paperweight, and my friends blew glass floats. Very cool to learn about the process, and do our own…with lots of help.

stretching glass

Stretching molten glass so I can twist it in a knot. Even in glass, I wanted something yarny…

swirled float before blowing

Swirled float before blowing…

swirled float after

And after.

paperweight back

My paperweight.

paperweight front

The bubbles are caused by a sprinkling of baking soda. There’s no place for the air to go when it’s dipped in the last layer of molten glass, so it makes bubbles. I love this. And I’m dreaming up ways to do it again. So many possibilities!

I did take a little time with graph paper and pencil to chart out my new project, and math out the underpinnings. Now I’m home, knitting it, and I think I love it. Looking forward to showing it to you, later.

What are you working on? It’s definitely fall here, so I need to get back to my cardigan…eventually. Deadlines first!

Happy September!

It’s Labor Day weekend here in the states, summer’s last hurrah. I hope you have a little time to regroup before fall’s busy-ness kicks in.

overlooking

Take a little time to just be…

just being

And enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

rocks

Oregon Coast August

You never know what you’re going to get, weather-wise! I had a quick getaway to Cannon Beach with friends last week. Wednesday was a glorious day. Breezy sunshine made it perfect for a visit to Haystack Rock.

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The tidepools were full of starfish, anemones, and barnacles.

starfish

And that evening’s sunset added a rosy glow to everything, including the sand.

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I even had some knitting time on the beach.

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On Thursday morning I woke at dawn to chase the moonset, but the sunrise was too early for me to capture what I wanted from the moon. You can barely see the moon directly above the seagull; the sky was already too bright. It was a nice walk, though!

cannon beach moonset

The day turned out to be cloudy and cool, but it was great walking weather. We headed north in the late afternoon. The mist around the rocks at Chapman Point made everything seem a wee bit magical. And these horses and their riders made me feel as if we had stumbled into another time.

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Horses

Horses 2

Despite the mist, up close everything was crystal clear.

anemones

stars and anemones

We explored a small cave, and this arch through the rock.

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I love getting out and looking at things with my camera in mind. It makes me see everything a little differently. And my camera lately is just my iPhone5. Lightweight, always with me, great photo quality.

What are you seeing these days? Are you ready for fall?

The weekend that was…full!

First of all, I was guest blogging as one of the Voices of August on a friend’s blog. This is the second time I’ve done this, and I was honored to be invited again. As a maker/crafty person, I feel like I’m pretty capable of making things happen, so it’s bothersome when I come up against something that’s not so easy. How do I deal with it? Go read my guest post, Because I Can, to find out. And if you’d like to know what I wrote last year, you can find my musings on The Empty Nest here.

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Saturday was also the Portland Bridge Festival Block Party to celebrate the 100th birthday of the Broadway Bridge. DH and I rode our bikes down to check it out.

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Tyler Mackie, Bridge for Blankets creator, hosted the Bridge for Blankets info/raffle table. I bought tickets, but I didn’t win the Raffghan. I’m glad it’s going to a good home, though.

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Members of the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus modeled some fancy bridges. I can’t walk in heels like those on level ground; how do they do it on gravel?

DH and I rode under the bridge to look at some condos along the river that I admired on my last ride. He says they’re not urban enough; he’d rather be in the Pearl. proper. Guess we’re not moving to a condo yet since our condo visions don’t match up!

And Sunday afternoon I went sailing on the Columbia with friends. The sky cleared and there was a very light breeze. The sunset was lovely.

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How was your weekend?