Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Be Your Own Picasso

Feeling creative? Mr. Picasso Head lets you play artist with a blank canvas, vivid colors, and Picasso forms.

Check out mine and make your own.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Emma News

Today is the final day of Emma's fundraiser for school. So far, she's done pretty good even though my mom, one of her aunts, and Dennis and I are the only ones who've bought anything (we bought a lot!). This fundraiser is specifically to help the school purchase new computers and software.

Today is also Emma's first day of Girl Scouts and she couldn't be more excited. Even though I was never a Girl Scout (way too shy), I'm delighted that Emma is interested in it. I think it's going to be great for her!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

School Update and Fundraiser

Emma is really having a great time in Second Grade. We saw the principal at the back to school picnic and she remarked on how great Emma is doing so far. We just found out last week that Emma's class is having a student teacher this year. She'll be in the classroom, helping the regular teacher, for three days a week this fall, and then next spring she'll take over teaching full time under supervision of the regular teacher. I'm delighted, since this basically means that Emma's class has two teachers.

Last Friday Emma also came home with a fundraising packet. School has barely started and already they're putting the kids to work raising money! Of course, these days the onus falls on the parents because the kids aren't supposed to go door-to-door to sell stuff to strangers. Feel free to click the link above and take a look at what they're offering. The money goes directly to Emma's school and this year they're using it to buy computers and other technology. Thanks!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Fruit Loop

Yesterday we drove up to Hood River and took the Fruit Loop, which is a scenic 35-mile drive through orchards, forests, and farmlands. There were stunning views of Mt. Hood, lush rolling hills covered with apple and pear orchards, fields of lavender, and curious alpacas. There are 31 farms with fruits stands, country stores or wineries on the route - too many to stop at all, but we found a few favorites.

Rasmussen Farms was huge, with a big field of giant sunflowers, a large pumpkin patch, and a barn full of produce to buy. They had tons of pears and apples, as well as tomatoes, onions, green beans, and other good things. We bought Anjou pears for pie making.

Hood River Lavender Farms was a delight, even though this is not the main season for lavender. They have a still for distilling essential lavender oil as well as a tiny little gift shop where I bought some lavender lotion. You can also cut your own lavender to take home!

My favorite stop of the day was Foothills Yarn & Fiber. It's located at Cascade Alpacas farm and the girls had a blast looking at the alpacas and feeding them (though neither one was brave enough to feed them on her own - both girls put their hands under mine as I held the food). The yarn shop is very big and has a substantial selection of yarn, including the greatest variety of alpaca yarns I've ever seen. I bought some lovely Misti Alpaca Lace as well as two skeins of Foothills' own alpaca yarn, which comes with the name of the alpaca it's from on the label. I can't wait to knit something with it!

We also stopped at Pearl's Place, Smiley's Red Barn, Draper's Farm, and Country Girl Fruit Farm, loading up on apples for applesauce and pies, dried apples with honey and cinnamon (yum!), dried pears, berry honey, and a few other delicious odds and ends. From time to time the clouds opened up and offered a glorious view of Mt. Hood, radiant with new snow from the past few days. Emma and Kate had a great time despite spending so many hours riding, and we're all wondering when we'll go again.

Friday, September 15, 2006

a poem and an acceptance

Strong Verse is featuring another one of my poems this week: He Speaks Stars.

And I'm thrilled to report that I heard from Kalliope last week with an acceptance of my flash "Sugar Blues" for the Spring 2007 issue. Coming almost 18 months after I submitted the piece, this was quite a surprise. I guess it pays to be patient!

Although I've been sick and haven't had the energy to work on submissions, I have a ton of stuff ready to go out, including both fiction and poetry. With any luck, I'll have more acceptances to report in the future.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Not socks

Ugh, I've got an end of summer cold and it's the pits! It's slowed me down, but hasn't stopped me. I'm up to day 12 of my sixth round of 30 poems in 30 days. Some days I feel like I'm just phoning it in, other days I catch a little inspiration and find myself someplace unexpected. Those are the days that make it all worthwhile.

And despite the fact that I have socks on needles for Dennis and Emma both, as well as a multitude of yarns lined up for my own socky enjoyment, I am not knitting socks. Instead I'm doing this:

The pattern came from a knitting booklet I discovered at my mom's house over the summer, from the early 70s. You can tell it's from then because even though the pattern is printed in black and white, it unequivocally calls this an orange fashion doll dress. Orange! Anyone want a little green shag carpeting to go with that?

I think it came out quite nicely. The ruffles are created by dropping stitches and letting them ravel down to the hem. The capelet is unattached, so the dress can be worn with or without it:

I also made two of these outfits, one in blue for Emma's doll and one in purple for Kate's:

All of this Barbie knitting was prompted when I was cleaning out Emma's closet and found a top my grandmother had knit for my doll back in the late 60s. I took a look at it and decided I would try to replicate it. Here's the original and my version side by side:

I love these projects because they provide nearly instant gratification, not to mention the girls get so excited and enjoy them so much. Now if I could just get rid of this cold, imagine what I could do...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


My friend Harriet and I went down to the Powell's Home & Garden store in Portland this evening to hear Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (aka the Yarn Harlot) speak. She was every bit as hilarious in person as she is on her blog.

Harriet and I got there just in time to snag a couple of seats before the place rapidly filled to standing room only and beyond. I can't imagine why they didn't have this event at the main Powell's or some other larger venue because it was crazy packing so many people into such a small space. As the Yarn Harlot would say, the muggles just don't get it.

The knitting vibe was tremendous. What a kick to see so many people in one place happily knitting along! Everyone was turning to look at what their neighbors were knitting or check out their yarn. Harriet wore a lovely top she knit for herself this past summer and I wore a pair of knitted socks.

We had a great time, despite the fact that the Powell's people wouldn't let Stephanie take any questions from the audience because the store was CLOSING AT NINE and they were trying to get everyone lined up for the book signing. Once again, I ask, what were they thinking?

No matter. The Harlot triumphed over all with a fantastically funny talk. If you get the chance to see her in person, don't miss it!

P.S. I'm the one on the left in the photo

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

First day of school and six things

It's the first day of school! Emma is officially a Second Grader and she is soooo excited. I don't know how she's going to manage her backpack, it's so loaded with school supplies, but she insists on riding the bus rather than having me take her. Kate starts preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays next week. It's going to be awfully quiet around here.

Michi has tagged me to reveal six things you may not have known about me

1. When I was 11 my family hiked into the Grand Canyon on the North Kaibab Trail. It was 14 miles from the rim to the Bright Angel Campground on the river where we spent the night. We made the trip down in one long grueling day and were too tired to eat after we set up camp. The trip back up took two days, which was still hard but not quite as crazy. I distinctly remember the taste of cool spring water from the metal canteens we carried as the best drink I've ever had.

2. I have never had a broken bone.

3. In college I sometimes skipped class to take a drive in the country, visit the mountains or desert, or go hiking in a local park. I've even lured my husband away from work a few times to play hooky with me. I don't regret it.

4. I was born on Mother's Day.

5. I hate snakes. One summer I worked on an archaeological survey of the Gila River Indian Community, walking from pre-dawn to early afternoon through desert scrub and farmland. There had been unusually heavy rains that spring which caused major flooding of the Gila River and washed tons of rattlesnakes downstream from the mountains. We encountered anywhere from 6 to more than 20 rattlers per day, often coiled up in the sun right where we were walking. I once looked down just in time to step over a snake in my path. It never moved, but I sure beat it out of there.

6. When I meet Dennis at field school it was love at first sight, but I thought he was quite older than me and he thought I was much younger than him. We're the same age.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

sock yarn stash

Among many other fun things this summer, I've been shopping for sock yarn everywhere we go.

Socks that Rock! I've been dying to try this yarn for a while, and now I've finally got some. From front to back, these are Siren Song, Blue Brick Wall, and Prism. I've just started a pair of socks for my husband with the Blue Brick Wall and it is wonderful! Easy to knit with and fabulous stitch definition.

Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in the Vera colorway. This makes me think of Fall, which is my favorite season. Hopefully, I'll make myself a pair of socks with it before Fall has come and gone. Lorna's Laces is a dream to knit with because it's so smooth and soft.

These are some yarns I got during our vacation in Boise back in July. The yellow and blue are Louet Gems Baby Pearl, which I hadn't seen before. The yellow is for me, the blue for Emma and Kate. I'm hoping there's enough for ankle socks for the three of us. The orange is On Line Supersocke and I'm thinking it will make a nice pair of sunny socks to get me through the long grey Oregon winter.