Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"Off He Goes....."

Don decided to head out on snowshoes the other day.  We'd gotten a lot of new snow and he wanted to make sure all of his paths were walked on so they wouldn't be lost until Spring.  :)

Here he is putting his snowshoes on while Copper and I were nice and warm in the house.....

All set and heading towards the back path......I did stick my head out of the side door to take this photo.  ;)

Back to window photos!  This one from the window above the kitchen sink.  :)  Notice my newest raised bed almost totally covered up from throwing snow off the deck?

Off he goes into the woods......I took this from the window at the end of the kitchen.  The circle seen in the snow is the glass table top that Don has been keeping clear so he can tell how much new snow accumulates after each snowfall.  It is now below ground snow level.......

Monday, January 27, 2014

"Update on Our Sao Paulo Amaryllis....."

I have been taking photos almost daily of our Christmas Amaryllis, given to us by Don's sister, Bonnie, and her husband, Eugene.  It started opening its first flower yesterday and today it is fully open.....and BEAUTIFUL!

Here are a few photos of its progression from beginning growth, to blossoming.....

Here comes bud #2.......

This was taken yesterday......

And this morning we have a fully open blossom!

Absolutely Beautiful!

Our thanks again to Bonnie and Eugene for this amazing beauty!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

"Crock Pot Chocolate Lava Cake......"

Don found this recipe while reading one of the local publications.  I got the ingredients and made it yesterday.  We both enjoyed it very much.....a little bit of it goes a long way!  It is rich and filling!

Here is the recipe:

Here are my ingredients with everything prepared and in the crock pot.

The recipe calls for it to cook on low for 2 1/2- 3 hours.  I used the 3 hours and then shut it off (but left the lid on to let it cool slowly), then made sure dinner was soon on the table so it would be served warm.

I think the next time I make this, I will cook it longer because there seemed to be a bit too much "lava" and not much cake.  I'm guessing that all crock pots are not created equal and mine perhaps doesn't run as hot as the one used for the recipe? It sure tasted good though!  :)

Friday, January 24, 2014

"What is a Little Snow and Wind?"

We have a bit of wind along with some snow today.  Quite "gusty" wind, in fact.

Here are a few photos that I took looking out our front window......

One of my Mother's expressions is in order for describing today's weather......."It's a bit blustery today".  ;)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

"What We Woke Up to......"

We woke up to close to a foot of new snow this morning.  Here are a few photos that I took from the front porch.  :)  The overhanging ice from the roof is still with us.  ;)

Here is Don, with shovel and gas can in hand, heading out to the tractors shelter to dig out "Bessie".....yes, our tractor now has been named.  ;)

Beautiful, isn't it?  And it is so quiet!!!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"Roof Ice....."

We've had one loud crash caused by the sliding of ice down and breaking off from the roof, but we seem to be headed towards another episode.  Luckily, the crash took place prior to our going to bed for the night as it was quite LOUD!  These photos from this morning, show the next section poised "over the edge" waiting for the next time we have warmer temperatures.  The break between the end of the house and ice closer to the porch is due, I believe, to the skylight in the main floor bedroom.

A slightly different and unclose view of the ice......

This is a view of the opposite end of the porch.  You'll also notice our "skating rink" driveway and parking space.  The warmer temperatures have melted the snow left behind from Don's snow blowing  and caused a VERY smooth and slippery surface.  Admittedly, it is a challenge to walk out to the garage........but I also admit, it is comical to watch, too.  ;)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

"Twisting the Fringe....."

I wove another scarf using some of my hand dyed sock yarn but didn't remember to take any photos of it until I had already removed it from the loom and completely twisted the fringe on one end.  I hope that a few photos of how I twist the end fringe might make a somewhat interesting post for those who have never done it or seen it done?  If I am doing something incorrectly, or if there is another way, perhaps my fiber friends will give me some suggestions?

I clamp the end of the scarf down to my desk, leaving the hem stitched end exposed.

This time I chose to use 4 warp ends, 2 sets of 2, to twist together.....other times I have used all 4 warp ends separately.

After twisting each pair approximately 40 times, they were ready to be carefully released and twisted the opposite direction, which twists/joins them into one stronger piece of fringe.

The end is knotted and this fringe piece is complete.

I chose to use the 2 sets of 2 because each strand of warp is on either side of a hem stitch and when twisted, locks in the hem stitch and last woven strand of my weft quite tightly.  Now on to another set!

The finished scarf.  I definitely have to come up with a better way to take "completed" photos.  I know natural light would help, but for that, I will have to make myself emerge from my basement fiber studio. ;)

Friday, January 10, 2014

"2013 Christmas Amaryllis....."

Don's sister, Bonnie, and brother in law, Eugene, sent us a amaryllis bulb for Christmas.  I thoroughly watered it and set in near the wood stove, the most consistently and pleasantly warm spot in the house.

Here is a view of it the day I set it out.

I took this perhaps a week later.  Notice the new leaf ?

I took this yesterday and as you can see, we have the new leaf growth AND now a flower bud!

I will continue posting more photos of its progress.  Have I mentioned I LOVE amaryllis?  :)

Friday, January 3, 2014

"My First Woven Piece in Interlochen......"

I have been working down in the fiber room, formerly the family room, organizing the equipment and supplies, and finally moved forward with a small woven piece.  I still have to tie up the treadles on my floor loom but I wanted to get weaving once again, so decided to measure out some warp for my Ashford Table Loom and weave a scarf.

I have to say that having been away from weaving since last Fall, due to preparing for our move to Michigan, it was really, really nice getting back to it.  My plan was to use 2 different skeins of sock yarn that I had dyed, one for the warp and another for the weft.  Here is the warp, which has a rather "bright" green in it.  My hope was that it would be seen but toned down when woven because I find it a bit too "neon" like.  ;)

The warp wound on the looms back warp beam......

Threaded through the heddles.......

Threaded through beater, tied on, and ready to begin weaving the scarf.

Here is one of the 2 spools of the other skein of sock yarn that I planned on using as the weft.

I began weaving the body of the scarf 6" from where the warp was spread out evenly.  Those warp ends would be twisted into a fringe.

As you can see, my gradual change in color pattern wasn't smooth, but in a couple of places, rather "jarringly noticeable".  I'd forgotten that when I had wound the weft sock yarn onto 2 cones back in Madison, one for each sock (who knows how long ago), I wound them so that they would match as a pair of socks by winding them so the darkest dyed yarn would be used for the toe end of the sock.  When winding the yarn from the 2 larger cones onto my shuttles bobbins (5 from each cone, used randomly), I didn't pay attention until it was too late, thus some "jarring" changes in color pattern.  It happened a couple of times, so it is somewhat consistent enough to be considered part of the "plan", but actually is a "happy accident", a term my weaving instructor, Helmi Moulton (Western Michigan University) once used.  :)


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

"Felting Class....."

A few weeks ago, I took a felting class from the Human Nature School (http://humannatureschool.org) in Traverse City.  One of the instructors, Chelsea, took and emailed a few photos taken during the class.

Here I am pulling apart wool roving and layering it onto a stocking cap form.  We were to have about 4 layers of roving before we added hot soapy water and agitated it with our hands, rubbing the wool fibers together to felt them.

This is my "cap" at the end of the class. It was a bit thin in places and I think I should have had thicker, or more layers of roving, to get a firmer resulting "felted" fabric.

After letting it dry at home, I tried it on and of course, Don was there to document this momentous occasion.  ;)  I have a couple of ideas as to what I may look like...........either a greying "Old St. Nick".........or a "Dwarf look-a-like", although much taller.  ;)  This was my first time felting wool in this way and I am very glad the class was offered so I could experience this technique.  Who knows where this will lead, eh?  ;)