Monday, February 24, 2014

Playing Around

I am a fiend for new iPhone and iPad apps. Such cheap entertainment. Such a great distraction. And now, I'm starting to think, a good way to keep my brain sharp.

I've been doing Lumosity off and on for a while, but on the recommendation of my cousin Kara, I've signed up for a year of "brain training". It's going okay, but it's pretty challenging.  It has however made me aware of the possible upsides of my favorite games.

My top faves that are a little on the more usual side (not in any particular order):
Eufloria
Circadia
Percepto
Orba
and my new OBSESSION. Blendoku. I was turned onto this game just a few days ago. It's a puzzle solving game that is only about color. No words. After I studied printed textile surface design at Parsons in the late 1980's I worked briefly as a colorist. What this basically means is that I took a fabric swatch and repainted it on paper in a different colorway. I spent a lot of time staring at colors and trying to figure out how to tweak it up a little warmer or down a little cooler. Mix, remix and mix again. Blendoku is a visually stunning game that delights in its simplicity. I think it's making me smarter.

The other kind of playing around I've been doing is photographic. I was turned onto the app Waterlogue last week as well. It transforms your photos into watercolor paintings. There are quite a few different styles and you can customize within each style or mode. Today I'm going to post some photos that I haven't shared yet here as Waterlogue images:
 With the Big Dog (Xander)
 With the Little Dog (China) at Tillamook Forest Center
 Snoozin'
In Provincetown this past September.

I love technology when it's pretty.


Sunday, February 02, 2014

Oregon Never Loses it's Green

When I talk to my friends back in Boston, I'm always going on about the "fairy world" that is Portland. This morning it's in the 30's and it's green as can be. Sure, there is fall and the leaves to actually "fall". But then there are the other green things that continue to cover the bare trees so that they are never actually bare. Mossy "sweaters" and lichen "lace" drape nearly everything. Ferns deposit themselves within the moss on the trunks of trees and the invasive ivy often strangles the trees as it grips and winds itself upwards.

Some of the winters coverings will dry and fall away come the heat of Summer, some will continue to cling.









And in knitting news.... I continue my progress on the very-fun-to-knit Faberge.

 Every so often, I think....will this knitting and spinning continue to consume my life? Forever? I cannot imagine it otherwise. And, so it goes...

Monday, January 20, 2014

New Things

I thought my blogging was over. Then, I realized that I've not been posting the fullness of my life on Facebook or anywhere else. I think I might have regrets about that.

The year 2013 has gone and I have to say, good riddance! Not a great one for many people out there.
The best thing that came of last year was the addition of a little white dog in my life: China.

I'm going to start my new year of updates with some pictures I took today whilst I was walking China around the neighborhood. I put her in a little harness and leash and tried to get her to "heel" instead of going on her own little expedition. It's not that she's bad on a leash, but I've had her since April and she's had no formal obedience training. Better late than never. It went pretty well, and I owe it to listening to Ambient Chill radio on Apple. I walked slowly, and focused on myself instead of her. When ever she pulled on the leash I just quietly said "no" and pulled her back in line. We did that for about 30 minutes and right before we got home, we stopped by this little entrance to the marsh behind our apartment. That's where these photos are from on such a lovely Winter's day.
 Very green branches.
 Can you see the beaver dam behind the tree?
 Very red branches
 Sunny smiley dog.
 Marshiness.
 More red branches.
 I just wanna stand here in the sun awhile...
Look at the interesting bended shape of these branches, like they're dancing.


Now we have the recent knitting content:
Really heavy lined mittens.
  Rikke Hat
Socks knit from very impractical handspun.
And lastly, we have a swatch for a shawl called Faberge that is VERY involved and as my friend Emily said, "Make sure you're going to wear it enough to show it off to knitterly friends who know how much work you put into it!" Right on. Going for it. Last night I cast on 445 stitches while watching Downtown Abbey.

Meanwhile, welcome back old readers and welcome new friendly readers! I blog on.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Summer Slows

This is my new corner of quiet.

I actually considered leaving this blog. After so many years. Yes.

Then I read someone else's blog. Some random person I met. She really put herself out there and it inspired me. I remembered how much more I enjoy reading my own blog posts in retrospect, so much more than any journal I've kept. My journals have been so depressing and self indulgent. Yeah, this is a better idea.

I do however think my writing skills have gone to hell recently. But I'll try here and see what happens.

So, I've moved AGAIN. This place is way more pleasant than other places I've lived in the past couple of years. It's huge. It's mine. It's spare in furnishings. In a couple of months I will be enjoying a wood burning fireplace which seems almost too good to be true. I have outdoor space.

I've taken to watching the birds at the feeder I hung outside. I am so totally entertained bythe finches. Of course each type of bird has their own personality, I just never noticed before I suppose. They gather in clusters as the end of Summer approaches. I am amused and enamored.

These are the last perfect days of Summer that I love so. I loved them in New England and I love them here as well. It's funny, when I look at pictures of Massachusetts and Connecticut it seems to incredibly FLAT to me. If I were to move back that is the one part that would just bore me. I've grown accustomed to the green hills and snow capped mountains of the Pacific Northwest. It was that way in my imagination when I dreamed of moving here and the reality is so. It is a green and dreamy land.



Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Simply Tea

When people find out about my not-so-secret tea obsession, I'm asked: What kind? I generally answer: Black, strong, with milk and sugar. Somehow that's not what they expect. Perhaps they imagine me with a flowery tea, fruity tisane, relaxing herbal blend or gentle white tea. But give it to me strong, honey. It's what I like.

I don't think I've actually gone into detail about my tea consumption so today is your lucky day! Or not.

If I'm home, I brew a pot (2.75 cups) of Peet's Scottish Breakfast or Russian Caravan. Both are very heavy on the smokey Lapsang Souchang. If I am out, and I can actually get over to a Peet's, I have a cup of their Chai Latte (which should just be called Chai, because it should all have milk, but whatever...) It's strong and spicy and...wow! What they prepare is a combination of brewed tea and some kind of concentrate. You can't make this at home.

If I'm at work I have 2 (jumbo) cups of not-too-strong generic black tea like PG Tips although these days I'm working my way through some Tetley British Blend.

My addiction has hit a new level though. I was at Marshall's and in the checkout lane they had this:
Two bucks a bag. I had no idea how it would be, but it is VIRTUALLY like sipping ice tea. When I am on the way to work and I haven't had my first cup, I have just one of these candies to "quiet the voices". Ha. You should see me when I'm traveling. Most folks think that only coffee drinkers can be this impossible about their first cup.

How did I get this way, you ask? Blame my mother. When I came home from school I had a cup of tea. It was the answer to all woes and the source of all comfort. When she had to go to decaf in later life it was a painful thing. If you don't know already, decaf tea is sad. It lakes any semblance of tea flavor and can often be like dishwater. Not doable by any stretch.

Do I ever drink herbal tea? Only to fall asleep, although I have been known to have large glass of iced Yerba Matte in the Summer. The rose petals in Tazo Calm is kind of nice. And of course, there's always Sleepytime tea.

The final word is this. If you want to impress me, calm me or make me feel at home, have the pot on to boil, some 2% or whole milk around and don't forget the sugar. Not honey, Honey. Sugar!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Spring Knitting and Photos

It nearly happened. Facebook almost won out to the blog without my even realizing. I went to look at my blog and saw that I hadn't posted any pictures of my little visit (April 8th) to the Chinese Gardens! Shame on me. Back on the ball today...And yes, I did edit them with some filters for fun. It's so easy to take photos with good composition in this kind of environment, but harder to get unusual shots.













I really "get around" quite a bit these days. I spend most of my time alone and walk a great deal. Yesterday after work, I went to see the Rothko exhibit at Portland Art Museum. It was free Friday, really busy and I wasn't that impressed. I don't know, the pieces seemed crowded in the space. I've seen his work in other museums like Boston and appreciated it way more. But, I'm glad I went because I saw the John Frame exhibit. Wow.

Then it was on to my favorite Indian restaurant and the movie Cabin in the Woods. Not so scary and really entertaining. Today I am looking for just a little less excitement though, so I pulled out my current knitting projects and took some quick pictures.
Here we have a bit of a classic "accident" a la Melissa. After knitting around three inches into my top, I realized I had twisted my work at the cast on. Instead of ripping it out, I made it a "design feature". I pulled it into a twist that then moves into a cable. Lame, perhaps but it is going to be a feature nonetheless!

And then we have the finished Turkish Bed socks (first pair, more in the works)

I need to create another folder for the photos of my recent socks because when I look into the big folder for socks on my computer, I see all these socks I don't have anymore. It's slightly upsetting to see years and years worth that I have worn to bits and no longer exist in my wardrobe. Three seasons a year, I wear them everyday, so no doubt, even with darning and patching, at some point they are quite...dead!

Then, we move along to the Spring sweater that I wish I were wearing right now, but instead I'm still knitting. Like THAT'S a new situation! It's in this yarn that I really like, Vintage from Berroco. It's acrylic, wool and nylon and kind of soft and dense. I am making some version of the Pima Silk Spring Cardigan  from Crystal Palace. I'm running short and hopefully I can score another skein in the same dye lot at Yarn Garden this weekend.

Next time I post, it's going to be about tea. I have a lot to say about tea these days yet never seem to get around it. This will be my reminder! Ah, pour one more cup and back to the knit...



Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring Spinning


Yesterday I had the opportunity to experience the Aurora Colony Spinning Wheel Showcase, in Aurora, Oregon. It was total immersion into the world of antique spinning wheels. There were over 30 wheels with women (in most cases the owners') demonstrating their wheels. The wheels themselves were from all over the world.
 
Sheila January spinning on her "accelerated" wheel

I bought several raffle tickets for a wheel similar to the one that Sheila in spinning on in the photo above. Here's hoping! Although, I'm not doing any spinning right now, I really got revved back up to it again yesterday.

The most educational thing for me yesterday was finally seeing someone spin flax (linen). In the photo below, Loyce is not only spinning flax, but doing so on a wheel that has the ability to spin two bobbins at the same time, Of course, the challenge for a spinner is to manage drafting both at the same time. Loyce explained that this wheel was invented to bring up production levels, but seriously. It's so easy to mess up with this that you have to stop constantly and then indeed it is not faster! (The blue ribbon is holding the flax to the distaff.

And then there be the wee bunnies....I don't think that bunnies would have been found at that time in history for fiber, but I could be wrong. Anyway, I've got bunnies on my mind. Last week I helped Paula sheer Zsa Zsa. When I was there, I fell in love with the little bunny Foo Foo. That's really his name: Little Bunny FooFoo. He's a dwarf and very very sweet.
So, for now it's back to knitting. Yes, I'm still doing a lot of that. Some projects that have just jumped off the needles (as if...) below:


The lesson I keep learning is about yarn. Soft, soft yarn. It's the only kind I want near my neck. I made that autumn colored shawl above in a sock yarn and now I don't want to wear it. The light blue piece is very soft and the tweed stole above is the recycled cashmere. Some lessons are hard to learn. Pretty yarn may not be the yarn you want to wear... Oh well. Back to it, now.