Scrap Camp

Scrap camp was a blast. We scrapped and ate, and ate and scrapped. Then scrapped still more. All in all, we scrapbooked for more than 30 hours in three days. Vickie has a wonderful setup in her new craft room - counter space in a U-shape around the back of the great room, with plenty of room for tables and all our scrapping equipment. All the essentials were there for a great weekend - good company, diet coke, and M&M's.I completed 32 pages (16 double-page spreads) - a personal best. The Paris album is almost finished; only about 5 more pages to go.

And what did the gentlemen of the household do while we worked away? Snoozed, of course.
Like grandpa, like grandson. I can't wait to do it again next year!

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Saturday Sky

Sunset in California's high desert.


Scrappin' in the Desert

Today is the first day of Scrap Camp! For several years, a bunch of us have gotten together at least once a year to scrap for an entire weekend. We usually go to a wonderful scrap camp in Bluebird - with gourmet meals & fancy linens & fabulous views of Lake Arrowhead - but this year we just couldn't do it. So Vickie volunteered her house for a family version of camp.

Vickie, Ellen and I scrapped today from 1 until about 11 pm. I finished 8 pages (4 double page spreads) in my Paris album. My goal for the weekend is to complete this book. If I make as much headway tomorrow as I did today, I may (fingers crossed!) actually get it done. Except for the journaling. I'm leaving space on each page for that. Once I get home I'll sit down at the computer and do all the journaling at once. I find it much easier that way.

No pictures today, although I do have some - I just don't know how to get them into Vickie's computer.

Having a great time at camp - wish you were here!


Au Revoir Le Tour de Fleece

As the Tour de France came to a close, so did Le Tour de Fleece. As a successful participant, I can now proudly display the Prix Maillot Jaune (the Yellow Jersey) on my blog.

Both Tours began July 1 and ended when the first rider crossed the finish line on July 23. Each participant in Tour de Fleece set their own goal; the idea was to challenge yourself and improve your spinning. My goal was to get Bekki,
the Ashford Traveler I found at a flea market, up and running; then to turn 8 ounces of roving into usable yarn.

And I succeeded. Bekki is a great wheel; I love spinning on her. I spun two bobbins of Irish Eyes Are Smiling, plied them, and entered the finished skein in the Ventura County Fair. It's my first ever spinning entry.

Bekki really has turned into a Traveler. She's been to the homes of friends and family, Guild meetings, (that's Elise and her gorgeous original Reeves wheel next to me. Elise & Elisa - we were confusing everyone at the workshop.) and next week will accompany me when I demo for the first time at the Guild's fair booth. (Wednesday, August 2, noon to 4 - come visit!) I can't decide whether to take Bekki or Florence, the Lendrum, to the Sheep to Shawl competition on Friday, August 4 (10 - 4 near the livestock area; y'all come visit, ya hear?) Since almost everyone else in the Guild uses a Lendrum as their traveling wheel, I'll probably take Bekki. At least then I'll know which wheel is mine!


Hot, Hot, Hot

I'm a light weight when it comes to heat. The combination of 90 degree temps and higher-than-normal humidity is making me sick. No need for boring details; let's just say I'm glad I've lost 5 pounds, but this isn't my favorite dieting method. So tonight, when we got back from dinner at an air conditioned restaurant, Dick installed an air conditioner in my studio. It's a heavenly 76 in here now. And I'm not the only one who appreciates cool air. This shoe box was on the counter for less than 30 seconds before AJ made herself at home. She loves boxes - the smaller the better. When she got tired of this one, she found another box on the floor. At least this one had room to stretch out.
Despite the heat, Dick is working on getting the house ready for the next round of construction. Today, he put framing and drywall around the window on the family room side of my studio.
He's going to make a stained glass window to go in the open area that will hide the back of my craft cabinets. He also took a minute to hang a cuckoo clock in my studio. I love clocks - especially cuckoos - and there was not a single clock in here until now. This is the clock Kevin brought back from Germany for me. It looks a little lonely on that wall but that will change. Dick is planning to build a bookshelf on the wall between the TV and the clock to hold my books and knicky knackies. I love my (air conditioned) studio.

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Color Works

First, Interweave is having another "hurt" book sale. When I visited the site at 5 tonight, the selection was pretty picked over, but I still found two 'must have' books that were over half off retail price. I *love* their sales - and I love craft books!

I spent an hour and a half tonight spinning batts I made at Saturday's Guild workshop. Susie, my spinning mentor and fiber guru, taught us how to blend colors a la Deb Menz, using a color wheel for inspiration. We used Brown Sheep mill ends to produce very colorful batts - like this one -
which looks like this when spun. All the batts I made during the workshop are spun in sequence on this bobbin. I'm going to spin a solid color - maybe black or gray - and ply them together. I'll have a hodgepodge of colors but I think it will make great yarn for a crocheted hat.

This is a quilt I sent Rachel earlier this month.
I found it at the Fourth of July Street Fair in Ventura. It is (supposedly) handmade - just not handmade by me. I loved the dragonfly and other cute creatures. Rachel said it is going on the wall in Baby Addison's room.

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Hot, Hot Days of Summer

Dick and I spent most of the day searching for air conditioners for the upstairs bedrooms. Ten stores, four cities, and at least five hours later we scored two window units at our local K-Mart. Since it is so close to home, we should have thought to start there - or make it our second or third stop. But then we wouldn't have appreciated our victory quite as much. Right.

We are close to the coast, so the temperatures haven't been as high here as they are further inland. But 90+ degrees and high humidity is not something we are used to. Or want to get used to. This was the temperature in poor Marie's room at 7 p.m.
No wonder she and Gary haven't been able to sleep. Hopefully, the units will work quickly and they will be more comfortable tonight.

I'm getting more spinning done. Joining the Tour de Fleece and the Summer Spinning Challenge was a good idea. Sometimes I need a push to motivate me. I completed my Tour goals well before the end of the Tour de France. The five hours I spun at the Guild meeting on Saturday and another hour last night will go toward meeting my Challenge goals.

Poor Florence, the Lendrum, isn't getting much exercise lately. I'm enjoying
Bekki, the Ashford Traveler, so much that she's the only wheel I've been using. So I bought myself an early birthday present - a Woolee Winder. I have a Winder for Florence and it is amazing how much faster I can spin and how much more fiber I can pack on a bobbin. I'm hoping the same will hold true with Bekki. But Bekki has been spinning so well, I'm hesitant to put the new toy on. I'm afraid I'll jinx myself or something.

And look what the mail brought me today! It is the most gorgeous purple and violet silk hankie for spinning. Morgan sent it after the address snafu on the Spindler's Summer Breeze exchange. Thanks, Morgan! I love it.

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Slow Learner

It's finally finished. And yes, it is entered in the fair. (Warning: Rant. You might want to skip down to the **) It was the pattern from hell. I will never, ever buy another book by this crochet designer. I must be a very slow learner because this is the third book of hers that I've purchased and I've been unhappy with each of them. The photos are always beautiful and I love at least one item in each book. But the patterns always turn out different from the pictured article. At first I thought it was just me and how I was reading the pattern. It's not. I think whomever makes the samples *fixes* problems with the pattern as they are making the item so it ends up looking better. Great for the book; bad for the person trying to follow the directions.

The patterns are difficult to follow - she assumes you know what she means without her taking the time to accurately explain it. I never did figure out what the h*** she was talking about on the front neckline. So I designed my own. But
the thing that annoyed me most about this pattern is how the author cheated. The picture in the book shows the most beautiful aran baby sweater, with cables and diamonds and crosses. She embroidered them on. Not crochet. The cables that show on my red sweater are the only ones that are actually crocheted. I've done aran sweaters before so I know it's possible to crochet this design. But it would be a difficult pattern to write. Too difficult for this author apparently. (Hmmm, a challenge. Maybe I should write my own pattern.) I'm really disappointed in this book. Ok, end of rant.
**But I love the finished sweater.
I stayed up until 3 a.m. trying to get it done. Got up at 10 this morning to sew on the buttons and decided I didn't like the embroidery on the sleeves. So I ripped it all off and just left the crocheted cables. It's a little plain if you compare it with the book design, but I like it just fine. And in the end, that's all that really matters.


Saturday Sky

Saturday Sky in Southern California. Beautiful clouds, miserable humidity. Very strange weather we're having.


A Fair Day

For the first time in 20+ years, I've entered items in the county fair. The Guild is encouraging members to enter items, especially in the spinning and weaving categories. Entries have declined in recent years and Fair staff is thinking about eliminating these areas. The funny thing is that Guild membership is actually up - more people are interested in fiber arts today than have been in many years. Witness the boom in knitting and crochet books. Two years ago, you were lucky to find one or two books in a store. Now, my local bookstore has shelves of fiber books. The problem is getting people to actually enter their items in the Fair.

So, today was about texture. Crocheted, spun, woven texture. And scrapping. All in all, I entered 12 items. Five scrapbook pages, one skein of handspun, one crocheted scarf made from handspun, one woven item (my only weaving success to date. Gotta work on that), a Christmas stocking, afghan, silk poncho, and scarf, all crocheted.

And I'm still working on the baby sweater. Entries are accepted until Sunday, so if I can get it finished before then, I really want to put it in the Fair. I'm working on the last sleeve now; just have to stitch it together, finish the embroidery work and it will be done. Piece of cake. Right.

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Here's a picture of the completed Elvis Liberace bag. Wenona did a wonderful job making the bag. I love the fabric - purple on the outside and blue on the inside. Vickie's bag is the reverse since she's a true blue gal.


Happy Belated

I'm a bad sister. Vickie's birthday was 2 weeks ago and I just gave her present to her today. My excuse is that it was a joint venture from Wenona & I, so Wenona needed to be there when the present was opened. Right? That's the story I'm sticking with.

The gift is a project bag to carry crafty works-in-progress.
The handles are long enough to sling over your shoulder and the interior is roomy enough to carry knitting, crochet, stitchery, or just a good book. The piece is called "Sisters". I did the embroidery and Wenona created the bag.

I've really gotten hooked on this African Folklore Embroidery. Remember Elvis Liberace?
Wenona made him into a project bag for me. And today we picked up a turtle kit for Wenona. I'll do the embroidery and she'll make the bag. And I have a turtle kit for me . . . . and a bird kit because it was so cute. That ought to keep me busy for a little while.

I found this at Michael's yesterday.
Spinners are crazy enough to spin just about anything.

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Construction. Again.

Phase II of the never ending construction project is about to get underway. It will, fortunately, be a much smaller, faster project than the first phase - but I think it is going to be more inconvenient. Now that Marie and Gary have moved upstairs, we are going to combine the three downstairs bedrooms into a master suite. Dick will do most of the work but the same contractor that did the remodel will do some of this phase also. Like cut holes in the walls where the new doors will go.

My current closet will be torn out so an arched doorway can connect our bedroom with what was Marie's room. The closet in Marie's old room will be torn out to accommodate a doorway into what is now my craft room. Marie's room will become a sitting room between our bedroom and the old craft room - which will become a closet. All of it. 14 x 14 closet. Life is good.

Or it will be once this phase is complete. Did you notice that all the closets are being torn out? And you naturally wondered where all the, er, stuff that was in those closets will go during construction? In the pool table room, of course!
Dick built temporary racks for our clothes. It will be inconvenient during construction, but when it's done - heaven.

I have a few things I'm planning to enter in the Ventura County Fair this year. The fair doesn't start until August, but entries must be submitted this weekend. So what did I do tonight? Started a new project. I want to make this cabled baby sweater for Addison; in Christmas red rather than the white shown in the picture. I finished the back tonight. That leaves the front, two sleeves and piecing it together. By Friday. Good thing babies are small!


Happy Dance

I've been doing the happy dance all day. I have pictures of the newest addition to my studio. But first - I finished my Tour de Fleece challenge! WooHoo! And I **LOVE** the way the yarn turned out. It went from this as singles: to this when it was plied: to this - 214 yards of beautiful yarn! This was taken before I set the twist - it's well balanced, with no sign of my usual overtwisting. This was the first fiber I've spun on Bekki, the Ashford Traveller I found at a flea market. I don't think I'll be trading her in any time soon.

Studio Update

Dick has been very busy in my studio. It has gone from this:
to this: and this: (I asked him if the tinfoil was for communicating with aliens . . . ) to THIS: Isn't it gorgeous?? There's a gel burning fireplace (real flames but no chimney required. Pretty cool!) I love the colors and textures in the slate and tile base. And a shelf for my treasures. I'm going to put a few of my spindles on display here. Dick plans to build a shelf unit on each side of the fireplace so I can display books and other items. But that can wait for awhile. Next week, Phase II of the remodel starts!

Garage Photos

This is for Chuck, who wanted to know where all the usual garage clutter was in the photos I posted earlier this week. Well . . . . the single bay is wall-to-wall car, no room for the usual debris.

The double garage does have clutter, although Dick calls this his 'tools of the trade'.
And who am I to argue? My goal is to - eventually - have as many spinning wheels as he has saws.