Friday, December 28, 2007


Yesterday we did what The Enabler calls "The Costco Crunch". We drove down to Roseville which takes about an hour and ran errands and bought lots of stuff. Our bit for the economy and all that. I packed myself a traveling knitting bag. Two ongoing projects, my Zune for all my music needs, a banana for strength, a book, and a blanket.

First stop was Fry's, which in California is for electronics not either electronics or for groceries such as in Arizona. It seems that they all have themes. This one has an old time train crashing through the wall. Being totally unwilling to put my knitting down and get out of the car I just took the photo through the window and across the parking lot. I sat and knit while hubby checked things out inside.

We then went to Home Depot then on to Costco for massive amounts of food and things like laundry soap. We make the trek about three times a year which is plenty for us. I have finished one pre-felted slipper and am making good headway on the second. I don't have much experience deliberately felting things so knitting something so large seems very odd to me. Cruising around last night looking for alternative big wool (I don't really like the Rowan colorways) to make "Storm" out of I discovered Sheep Shop Yarn but alas cannot seem to find anyone selling the color I'd really like to use. Since there are plenty of colors that I really like (heck I wouldn't turn any of them down) I have lots of options. I had the thought that I might actually coordinate so the sweater would fit in with what I laughingly call "my wardrobe". Sweatpants qualify don't they? Anyone have a great place to buy the stuff on-line?

My super-duper cozy as can be and "boy am I ever warm and packing an electrical charge that I would love to pass on to you" house-robe is done. Since it snowed last night I felt my timing was spot on.


The cherry trees hung onto their leaves for a long time. I don't recall them being so beautiful in the past. They are now mostly gone and what is left is a very dull brown.

When I sat down to work on my slippers last night I remembered I had left a needle on the floor of hubby's car. Outside it was snowing! We don't get a lot of snow at Chez Earin's so it's a real treat. Words like these gets my cousin from Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada in a tizzy. You're happy to have snow? Yes, yes we are.

By mid morning most of it was gone though we might get a bit more tonight. Toss another log into the wood burning stove, would ya?

Tomorrow I meet up with Sharon for lunch and a spot of girlfriend knitting. She's thinking of starting a knitting group in Auburn which would be just within my migratory range. We homebodies don't like to travel far. I'm still recovering from The Costco Crunch. Hand me that teapot. I feel weak.

Friday, December 21, 2007


Now that things with my mother are down to a dull roar I'm starting to get some of my projects finished. I'm visiting her at least once a week where I receive lots of lists of things she just has to have. I also seem to get several letters a week too and a phone call or two. It's hard being so popular.
The latest mother hat, which is my version of's "Coronet", is finished. I liked it so much I cast on for one for myself. After giving my sock a critical appraisal I decided the heel was far too loose and I was likely to run out of yarn while knitting the second sock. So, I have frogged the heel and back about an inch or so *and* put in a lifeline "just in case".
At the same time I've continued to moon over Kim Hargreaves: "Heartfelt: The Dark House Collection". Actually, I've been mooning over "Storm". I wants it bad. How long can something knit in one piece on size 17 needles take a woman? That isn't ribbing on the edges, that's garter stitch. I finally justified buying the entire book, which is the only way you can get the pattern, by saying I could sell it on Ebay in a flash. Yeah, right, like I'd ever willingly let go of a knitting book. I'll just have to round up some of my more ethereal friends and see if any of the designs call to them.

THEN when I was showing my mother's car (which is for sale) I had the bright idea of hanging out in the yarn store while it was being test driven. I kept making piles of yarn then putting them back much to the amusement of the staff. I fell in love with these felted boot slippers. I wear slippers a lot in the winter and I've looked at various patterns and they have all seemed nice. These, these on the other hand are things that elves would wear. I didn't sell the car but I did buy the pattern and three skeins of Cascade and a 24" 10.5 Turbo circular needle.

On the sewing front my house-robe is close to being finished. Omar appreciates the leftover fabric. Little dogs get cold so easily.

While at the Christmas potluck for my sewing guild I fell in love with this extension table and off to web-land I flew with credit card in hand. Heck, I have the number memorized.


I didn't quite capture how lovely the dead branches of the Russian sage looked back lit by the sun with a few leaves artistically caught. Still rather nice though.

Despite having heavy frost most nights there are still a few things blooming. Zinnias and Mexican sage.

The evening sky developing. Looking northeast from my front yard.
Have a Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Last night we gathered up a huge pile of pillows and blankets and headed outdoors around 11:30 pm to watch the Geminid meteor shower. It was a perfect night for it - glorious, clear and cold. My pickup truck was already covered in frost by the time we set up. We watched for awhile and then realized we need to reposition ourselves since a couple of trees were right in the main spot of action. We took that time to rethink our covers since we were both getting a serious case of frozen bottom. Omar thought this was all quite interesting and had fun growling madly at us when we tried to get him to move off the blankets so we could spread them out in a better arrangement. He kept well snuggled down. He wasn't going to get his beautiful nose all cold and runny. It was a wonderful display and we saw an almost constant stream of meteors. We like our night sky A.Lot.

Things are now nice and cold these days. Not anything like the people back East go through but enough to make a small dog know the best places to snuggle down.

I had set aside the hat I was making for my mother but have brought it out again. After fussing with Pebbles I decided I needed a break and what I really need are socks. Nice plain, no cable, nothing fancy socks.

I'm using the colorway, Dahlia, which is some lovely yarn from Sundara's sock club. I'm using metal size 0's and I think I'm getting 7 stitches to the inch. I've fogotten already. We loves Dahlia with a passion. I've used a variety of books and no one pattern for my simple and plain sock. Unsurprisingly, The Yarn Harlot's book has been the most helpful. I should have broken the skein into two but am trying to compensate by weighing as I go along.
There was a very good article in the NYTimes on-line the other day about how to keep your aging brain agile. Needing all the help I can get I read it. I particularly liked this passage.
"The brain, like every other part of the body, changes with age, and those changes can impede clear thinking and memory. Yet many older people seem to remain sharp as a tack well into their 80s and beyond. Although their pace may have slowed, they continue to work, travel, attend plays and concerts, play cards and board games, study foreign languages, design buildings, work with computers, write books, do puzzles, knit or perform other mentally challenging tasks that can befuddle people much younger."
Ms. Brody, the author, also goes on to say that you should move beyond scarves to really stretch those neurons. Good to know. Perhaps I will get back to Pebbles faster than I had planned.

The houserobe for my mother is now completed. Oh, okay, two little bits on the sleeves. Jeez.

I've figured out all the problem areas and will now make mine up. You have no idea how hard it was to get this thing cut out. Cats love the stuff and know that they are meant to sit on it. I can't blame them. Polar fleece is lovely stuff. Hard to believe it's recycled plastic bottles.
I've learned a few things about working with it:
It does not ravel.
It will melt.
It seems to look the same on both sides so there is no right or wrong side to sew.
It is stretchy in all directions and has no grainline.
Most interesting of all is that it builds up and discharges an amazing static charge and if you are wearing your i-pod or i-pod equivalent the charge will go straight up the wires into the earbuds and you will get a heck of a zap on both sides of your head and your device will turn off. Just thought you would like to know.


I didn't take any special photos this week so I thought I would post some older photos of the views around our property.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

CALISTOGA (with Eye Candy)

Every year hubby and I go to Calistoga to meet up with friends and put our bodies into lovely warm water. We don't stay anywhere really fancy but we like it. I find that I like having things I do every year. Ritual, just one of the reasons I loved being a Morris Dancer.

We always hike at least once. Sometimes at Bothe State Park or if we're feeling really buff we do the Palisades Trail. It's gorgeous, little hiked, and an absolute killer. The above photo, taken at a distance, doesn't show the beautiful outcropping of rock that you hike underneath about two thirds of the way across a nearly 11 mile hike over rough terrain. We were in between buff this year so we did a lovely but very mild hike down to a place called Linda Falls that hubby unearthed instead.

There was a request to see the colored hair. I did a self portrait with just a touch of "Flame" peeking out while we were out hiking. Katrina and Dave were well prepared for anything.

After swimming and soaking in the hot baths we went exploring. We passed "Hubcap Gulch" while out and about which seemed to be a private home with a thing for hubcaps. Dave, who has been coming to the area for much longer that the rest of us, said that at one time the hubcaps took up just part of a fence. We saw three long fences along the road and more hubcaps along the back.

We went by the historic Aetna Hot springs. The hot springs have seen better days but someone is obviously pouring money into them.

Dave found a historic bridge with his name on it.

It rained the first night we were in Calistoga and the next day was misty and gorgeous. The area is so beautiful it almost hurts your eyes. I like going in the off season when the town reverts back to a much more homey place where you know most people you meet on your daily walk rather than a tourist spot.

We toured one winery, the Chateau Montelena, on our way out of town. There was a large-ish lake with a majestic swan along with egrets, a heron, and several types of ducks.

One of the day spas has been encouraging the vine growing over their front door. It was quite impressive.
As usual, it was wonderful to get away and wonderful to come home. Omar is only boarded once a year so it's a bit hard to leave him. Now it's back to business. There are Christmas decorations to put up and presents to make.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


The Hot Pink Tart finally had its day over Thanksgiving. I still don't have just the right shirt to wear underneath but the fit is good. It's a very nice feeling to wear something that you made that fits. Much knitting or should I say re-knitting of Pebbles is going on too.

I hesitate to show this photo; yes that is me on the bottom, but hubby is so pleased with it. My girlfriend Sabrina, (she's the tiny one on top), has been doing wild colors around the edges of her hair and I decided to give it a try.

It was rather involved with bleaching of bits of my hair then the colored goop. I am now "Flame" and "Turquoise" around the edges and it's well....well it's different. There was more hair colored than I had envisioned but it's pretty cool. I will do it again but with a little more subtlety. Can one be subtle with a color called "Flame"?

I liked the lap throw fabric so much I bought more to make myself a house robe. It's light and warm. We loves it.


I couldn't get my act together for ECF - two days of back to back appointments for my mother. Hubby worked very hard over the summer rebuilding a rotting retaining wall. It was very involved with digging out hard rocky soil in the heat of summer then cutting and fitting railroad ties and driving large metal rods through them. His son worked hard on it when he visited last summer. The final result is most excellent.

We've had very little rain but one hard frost causing the tender things in the garden to shrivel up. We are having a fire in the wood burning stove most of the time now and thinking "layers". Omar and the cats enjoy snoozing near it. You can hardly get a spot on the couch most nights without some pulling of rank. The hardy geraniums are dying back but looking very elegant while doing so.

I put the banana tree to bed today. I always feel so sad and a little guilty cutting it down but it does come back in the spring all ready to rock and roll.

The fish are getting a bit sleepy too and very slow. They seem to do just fine when the water freezes on top. We are off to our annual trip to Calistoga tomorrow. Poor Omar goes to the boarding house for adorable pups and mopes until we return. We'll hike and swim in the heated pools. I am So.Ready.

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