Monday, February 28, 2011

Out of the Box

(Disclaimer:  this is a totally fiber geek post.  Just a warning.)
Yes, Pluckyfluff workshop this weekend put my brain on "explode" with new ideas, techniques, and color possibilities.  Lexi Boerger came to town to inspire eighteen or so of us for two full days at The Shabby Sheep shop in Uptown.
This tumble of crazy skeins is my source of new inspiration.  First we carded crazy batts by NOT planning a thing, grabbing colors and sparkle unfamilar to sandwich in between layers of lightly drafted roving.

Then we spun it into skeins that express the wild abandon of the whole thing.  If that wasn't enough, we then Navajo-plied the lumpy bumpy skein for this result below.  Note:  The batt above was not the start of this skein.  I'm not that organized.
 The next favorite thing I learned was core spinning.  I so want to master this but I am not a natural.  It will take time in the chair.  This was core spun and then that core spun again around a thin strand of commercial mohair.  This little skein has lots of "energy".  That's Lexi's deplomatic way of saying "over twist".

 The batt below sits on my studio work table asking me to spin it into a core spun piece.  I just have to get up my nerve for that humbling experience again.
My carder is all clamped back down on the table just waiting for me to toss crazy materials into it's coarse teeth.  This week should be fun.

Monday, February 14, 2011

On the porch : Puzzles and presents

Packages!  Who doesn't love finding packages on the porch?  I shop compulsively on-line and cannot always keep track of what's coming when.    Well, Saturday a.m. I headed out to grab the paper off the driveway and there they were!  Two boxes from UPS.  One was a total surprise.   My Michigan buddy, Judy, sent me goodies from our favorite bakery in Petoskey:  their decadent granola and a little bonus bag of biscotti.  Yum!  That granola is good just as a grab-a-handful snack before it ever gets in a bowl with milk.  Judy arrives today for a week of crazy fun.   She gets to help me whittle this tub of sin down a bit.

Do you like puzzles?  Our family loves them.  I've had one out on my big square coffee table most of the winter.   The whole crew comes over most Sundays for supper.  The puzzle is magnetic.  We all end up there visiting and solving.  The other porch box had these two 500 piece puzzles that I ordered from Amazon with a Groupon coupon.  Groupon, Zulily, Living Social, all those on-line discount deals are a new deadly obsession, but that's another blog.  I'll let the crew decide which one we do first.

This could be the sentimental favorite.  "Say Cheese"!

Edgy!  Yeppers, got this one as a funky homage to Valentine's Day.  I might want to insist on it as being first.
Tell me what you think about puzzles?  We really prefer 500 pieces to the huge 1000 piece ones unless we have two weeks of blissful vacation in my Weque place.  The kids can do 150 piece ones, especially if they are Disney related.

P. S.:  This just in---Judy called and has the flu.  She has had to cancel the trip. We are so disappointed.  Get well, girlfriend. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Storm Retrospective

Dallas has endured a week of the coldest temperatures in years accompanied by treacherous ice that immobilized the city and the a combo of snow and ice that applied the coup d' grace ( or Ice??). 
My little lake actually froze.
Can you see it through the trees?
Schools were closed for a record 4 days sending mothers into bouts of insanity and desperate searches for yet more videos and movies for the kiddos.  My kids and grandkids migrated here on Thursday.  We slid up to Starbucks and the donut shop, then brought the yumminess home as both establishments were packed with desperate cabin fever victims.  There is some complaint from my kin that I keep my house too cold.  Witness the bundle-upness of these sissies.  I think Zoe is under the lavender blanket. Charley ate is Yogurt-and-honey in his parka.
The Super Bowl is today, finally.  Poor Jerry Jones couldn't have had a worse nightmare that this horrid weather and the accompanying bad press.  Businesses who anticipated record revenues have big losses as the city was immobilized.  Here by the lake, though,  it's been a week of super contentment time. Homebodies love this stuff.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Shallow Gal

If my TV viewing is good, I am good.  Shallow, huh?  I have subscribed to DirecTV for thirteen years but have been hearing the siren call of AT&T Uverse for about a year from my kids and neighbors.  Two weeks ago I got on line, worked with on-line chat guy and signed up.  He/she patiently took over an hour with all my senior lady questions such as "will my internet speed be really that much faster?  The ad says so".  "Will I be able to truly have five TV's that are all watching something different?" These are all "duh" questions but he/she patiently answer them and then stayed with me until I completed the order.  Again, "duh".  They want the $$.
Anyway, install was done yesterday with a timely technician even with Dallas's dicey, icy streets.  Big ole bubba of a guy just methodically lumbered around my house for 5-6 hours setting everything up.  And I LOVE IT!
Here is the detris of DirectV:
 My goodness, that is a ridiculous amount of remotes.  I think I will harvest the batteries.  That sounds like organ transplanting:
. .. Sorry.
Bye, bye clunky DVRs.  I have turned my back on you.  I am swooning over the user-friendly, smaller remotes and tidy little receivers for U-Verse.  I am amazed that I am actually liking an AT&T product.  Again, with the shallow thing.

Now if you get stuck in the house long enough, and you are me who hates, hates paperwork, bills and taxes you finally are faced with this:
I spent three hours on this mess yesterday waiting for my Shrek-sized AT&T tech.  Silly me has no "after" photo.  Shallow me hates the mature approach to business and paper work.  Give me a dye pot or drum carder or spinning wheel any day.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cabin Fever or Cabin Ferver

Ok, I know I am stretching with the attempt at a catchy title, but crazy winter weather has completely socked the DFW metroplex. Temperatures in the single digits ( for a minute) and then in the teens, turned rain into sleet and ice.  But then you know that, as the weather folk are saturating the whole nation with reports of the uber crazy winter weather.  It's almost like "weather porn" as my witty neighbor, Marta, quipped.  Then last night, these brilliant professionals "oop-ed" again and forecast a dusting of snow.  Uh huh, woke up to 5" here.  Trinket had a blast plowing her way through the back yard before dawn.  Yes, dawn, I sleep maybe six hours and then hit it. 
The "fervor" part of the title refers more to me than the silly weather folk.  I have loved being here with no interruptions.  Have not left the house since Monday afternoon.  Well, one quick run out with daughter, Jen, to grab some prescriptions.  We just hit the drive-up window and then Starbucks.  I never got out of the car.  My children are worried I will break.  But I digress.
I have been in a creative blast:  dyeing rovings, mohair locks, silk, silk throwster, rovings again,

carding art batts,

planning funky art batts for upcoming Pluckyfluff workshop here in Dallas at the Shabby Sheep, and then allowing myself to sit down at the spinning wheel to whiz through some art yarns spun with kid mohair locks and sparkle.  My fave is black mohair merino top.  I have spun two strands and then am plying silver mohair locks into it.  Dreamy.   Got the shiny silver locks in my share from Fancy Fibers 2010 CSA.  
Oh, and I listen to books from while I work.
Right now it is Wench, by Dolen Perkins-Valdez.  
Rivitting story of black slave mistresses and their secret lives.  The reader is superb.

Then at night I am reading a real paper book,
The Art of Racing the Rain, by Garth Stein.  Sweetest story told through a faithful dog's view.  I've had it in the queue for a couple of years.  Next up in real paper,  Penny Vencenzi's
No Angel.  Still deciding on the next audible book.  Maybe the new biography of Cleopatra.  Or for complete hilarity, maybe The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels - A Love Story, by Ree Drummond.  And, SHE reads it.  I could be stuck here for weeks and be completely entertained.
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