Friday, October 22, 2010


one more trip around the sun

O hai friends! It's late October, which means birthday month is in full swing. Michelle turned 20 last Wednesday, so I no longer have a teenager for a daughter. We've had our struggles with adolescence and some of them are still ongoing, but I couldn't be prouder of the young woman she's become.

Although she has always had her own style, her current one is a bit less freakazoid. Two tone hair, which is OK by me as long as they're natural shades; one of her dad's old shirts and a more or less perpetual wry expression. It may be too much to hope for, that she'll trim the fringe so it doesn't overhang her eyes...

Since my sparkly sock yarn, Glam Sock, is hopelessly backordered, I found myself with nothing to dye on her birthday, so I decided to bake chocolate cupcakes with pink icing - all from scratch. I used to cook and bake all the time, before I discovered that my kitchen could yield a product that generates cash flow (does that ever sound like I'm in my kitchen cooking meth! Well, given the addictive nature of yarn, maybe I am) so I figured it'd be sweatless. Boy howdy, was I wrong.

On the first batch, I overfilled the cupcake tins, resulting in overflowing tops that stuck to the pan. Meh. So as fast as I could, I switched tactics, having made a bodacious amount of cake batter - a Ghirardelli fudge cake recipe that tastes just as awesome if you use Hershey's cocoa, which is what we had. I decided to make a layer cake.

The powdered sugar supply level in the cupboard being critical, there was enough to fill and frost the 2 thin cake layers with pink (I used rather a lot of Wilton's rose icing tint) and literally "fudged" enough chocolate icing for the cupcake carnage. Yeah, the whole thing looks like a big bag of sad. The top layer broke apart, so I made Frankencake, sticking it back together with icing. If only this dreary story would stop there, but Michelle has classes until early evening on Wednesdays and is usually in a less than genial mood when she gets home. Such was the case on her birthday, and so she declined to eat any of the cake at all.

Next year: Hello, Haggen supermarket? Bakery department, please.

Saturday, October 02, 2010


OFFF my rocker!

Oregon Flock & Fiber has come and gone, without being so much as a blip on the radar of my poor neglected bloggie. And here it's October already and my knitting (and dyeing) is in full swing.

But first, let me tell you about last weekend's fiberganza down in Canby, Oregon.

I have no pictures, but if you visit Michele's blog she was kind enough to take a picture of me at my booth. She's also a talented photographer, knitter and designer, so I recommend perusing her posts and patterns while you're there! All I can say about the festival, is that I'm so glad I a) was invited to be a vendor, and b) waited until I could be given indoor space, as I'm not a fan of putting up a canopy and selling from a lawn since I got rained on my first year at Black Sheep Gathering (June 2009). Normally, the weather is dry and beautiful here at the end of September. And it was - on Friday when I went down to set up my booth, and on Saturday. Sunday, though, the skies opened up! I think at least some folks who were planning to go Sunday, decided not to because of the weather. Still, this festival was very well attended, and I'm chuffed to be a returning vendor next year.

It was wonderful to see and visit with my friends and customers, and to have my sweet husband sitting with me for most of the time. He was content to read a book or work on his laptop. His birthday was last week, and I had this whole synergistic, serendipitous lineup of the planets where I a) finished the Cobblestone sweater I began last year, and b) managed to get it to fit him to a T.

I'm not sure how many balls of yarn I used, but it was around 10 or 11. The yarn is scrumptious - it's Classic Elite Portland Tweed. This sweater was a delight to knit from start to finish, and I now wonder why I left it in time out for almost a year. I have since become Jared Flood's most devoted fan! Believe me, knitting a garment that comes out fitting so well has not been the usual thing with me - although I am improving.

And the good news doesn't stop there! We here in Yarn Shop Heaven, I mean Portland, Oregon, have a brand new store that just opened in the Pearl District: Urban Fiber Arts. My friend and knit night buddy Cindy realized her dream, and she's created a shop that's not only beautiful but also offers yarn, fiber and accessories made by local artisans - one of which is me! I'll be spending many happy hours there in one of the cozy chairs, knitting away.

I know this post is short on pictures, but trust me, I've become a Spinner. I resisted the powerful siren song of the Turkish spindles I saw at OFFF, and have eschewed my drop spindle for one of these. It isn't here yet - Mr. Stitchjones ordered it for me last weekend, and I apparently must wait until my birthday at the end of the month before I can have it. Drat!

One of the reasons I've slacked off on blogging has to do with my mom. She's fine, no worries. It's just that last month, her mammogram showed granular cell tumors, and she is so small and frail that the doctor didn't think a needle biopsy could be performed safely. On the 14th, she had a surgical biopsy under general anesthesia. The surgeon told us we would have lab results in two days. However, after two days we never heard anything, and my mom WOULDN'T call, which drives me absolutely batshit freaking insane. That's been one of the hardest things for me to come to terms with about my aging parents - they meekly accept whatever they are told by healthcare providers, whether they understand it or not, and won't be pro-active in the least. But when it seemed like my mother didn't want to know whether or not she had cancer, I really had to practice self-restraint! Finally, nine days later she went in for a follow-up and got the All Clear. She's fine. As for me, my state of mind is like a T-shirt I once had that said, "Elvis is dead, Sinatra is dead, and I'm not doing so hot either".

Amen, Shalom, and Blessed Be.

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