Friday, July 13, 2018

Firsts on the Second Friday in July

I had several FIRSTS this week and want to celebrate them here and share them with others at Friday Fave Fives.  Although it was a quiet ,slow and (for us) very hot week, I found ways to stay cool and engaged.

1.  I finished my FIRST set of hand woven tea towels.  With help, I cut them off a large floor loom and learned the correct way to hem them.

2.  I even pulled out my sewing machine for the FIRST time in a long time to finish up the hemming.

3..  I warped my FIRST loom!  This ten inch Cricket Loom is designed for weaving scarves, mostly.  My friend walked me through the process while she was warping a second one.

4.  For the FIRST time I visited my friend's studio for the group knitting/spinning/weaving afternoon.  I had been to a pre-opening event but hadn't been in since it has opened.  Threadbender Textiles is a store/studio which teaches weaving to special needs young adults. They are learning a skill and then have a venue for selling their creations.  I'm sure I'll be back.  Eleanor tried a bit of spinning, too.

5.  No photo for this, but I made a vegetable lentil soup with this year's FIRST potatoes from the garden.  It contained carrots, kale, basil, parsley and rosemary from my garden, too.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


June and July have been/are months to finish projects.

I have had this afghan on my needles for several months a while.  Made with some leftover grey, cream and very bright yellow acrylic yarn (Simply Soft), the blanket sat around in a drawer waiting for me to find another skein of the yellow to finish it up.  I couldn't find the right color in any local store in my area.  So when I went east in the winter, I first raided my daughter's stash but that didn't produce quite enough yarn in that brilliant yellow.  Finally, I found a skein in one of her craft stores.  It still took a few months for me to remember to pull it out and finish it.  The color combination looks okay although the yellow isn't really my color.  Most likely, it will end up on my daughter's sofa because she loves these colors.

I spent several evenings practicing my weaving on my new to me loom.  The result is three tea towels.  Don't ask me the EPI because I don't know.  A friend warped the loom for me and I just followed instructions.  Over the weekend I cut the towels off the loom and then pulled out my sewing machine to hem them.  For a first project they are okay.  Don't look too closely.

On the needles right now are hats (of course) and a new bunny which I'm knitting for a friend.

Friday, July 06, 2018

The Best From the Beginning of July

Good Morning!  It's Friday!  Here is Willow's Week in Fave Fives.  I always link to Susanne where we all share our best memories from the past week.

1.  As I was searching for a file on my computer, I noticed a folder that was labeled My Children.  Hmmm... what was in it, I wondered.  When I opened it, I was taken back to my children's early childhoods when I saved memories of their little comments and antics.  It was a delight to read.  For example, my two year old daughter stated, "Daughter, Mother, Father.  Dan is not a sun. Sun is in the sky."  My number two son loved 'Pink-n-Robbins' ice cream.  My youngest girl thought that popsicles were “popagatah-gatah”.   That may have been a mixture of Indonesian and English like my older sons' statement, "Tidak go!"

2.  The Fourth.  We stayed home, shared dinner with World's Best Neighbor, then walked up to her place above us and watched the fire works.  I love 'quiet' holidays.

3.  Speaking of World's Best Neighbor, on the weekend we celebrated her late husband's life at his memorial service.  He was originally from

Britain and that showed in all the memories and photos and comments at his service, including reminders of his humor.  We were privileged to be his neighbor for more than a decade.

4.  Mutual friends had moved away but returned for his service so we were able to host them and spend an evening out at an Irish pub with them.

5.  I *heart* my garden!  Evidently, I'm really good at growing lavender and rosemary.  One small lavender plant yielded three bunches of lavender to dry.  And my rosemary TREE has overwhelmed the rest of the garden.  Out it has to go.  So I started a new rosemary plant in a pot and it's thriving, too.

What best things are you remembering today?

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Friday, June 22, 2018

Two Week Catch Up

June has been a busy month.  We've traveled a lot of miles.  I want to share for my Friday Faves Fives some highlights from our travels.  So here are Willow's Weeks (two!) for sharing my favorite things from the the past fourteen days.

1.  On our return trip from the Pacific Northwest, we skirted around San Francisco (yeah, been there, done that) to spend just a couple of hours with our Army Reserve Chaplain son who was at Moffet Field doing some training.  How amazing is it that we would intersect there for just one afternoon?

2.  That evening we stayed in Marina, California, which is a little town near Monterey.  Monterey is famous; Marina is not.  But I found that little town to be delightful.  One reason we were there was to visit the former site of Ft. Ord where The Professor 'enjoyed' many hours of Army training back in the day. The Army fort is closed now and is the site of California State University, Monterey Bay.  Visiting the campus was a walk down memory lane for him.

3.  Then the next week. Chaplain Dan and his family drove out from their desert home to visit friends in Orange County.  So of course we hopped in our car and joined them one day at the beach.

I should warn you--following are some extremely cute and sweet pictures, so if you need to be careful of cuteness overload, please proceed slowly.)

Our water baby headed straight for the beach!

She loves playing in the surf with her daddy.

Hey guys! I found a cave!

4.  After a day of rest back at home (you need that if you navigate the LA freeways), we drove to LA and met them at the Los Angeles Farmers Market.  The best part (besides being with them!)?  The whole reason we chose to have lunch there:  the Singapore Malaysia Indonesian restaurant Banana Leaf!  The BEST 'es cendol' in LA! (Es cendol is a drink sort of like boba tea)

Perusing the menu

5.  We had intended to visit the La Brea Tar Pits in West LA, but on a whim, we changed our minds and drove farther west through Beverly Hills and Bel Air to the Skirball Museum because during the summer it has free admittance for all military and their families.  Skirball Museum is another one of those small gems that may not be well known but has marvelous exhibits.  PAL's favorite was the Noah's Ark interactive exhibit.  It deserves its own post--so much creativity!

See why I was not in communication much?  I was having too much fun!  Happy weekend to you all! And remember to stop and think and be thankful.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Pacific Northwest

I grew up in the Pacific North West part of the United States.  Normal for me was rain all winter with a bit of snow thrown in.  Forests of fir trees. Mountains topped with snow year round.  Flowing rivers.  I thought everybody was familiar with tall green trees and white towering mountains until I moved away.  Every year I try to revisit my roots mostly because my brother still lives there, but partly because the forests and mountains call to me.

The sound of water tumbling over rocks and logs in a rushing river is seldom heard where I live now among the arroyos and dry creek beds.  Sitting by a stream in the summer sun is music for my soul.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

En Route

I must say that I feel bad and sad about not reading and commenting on the Friday Fave Five posts that others contributed last week.  After I posted mine, life became hectic.  In fact, although I have taken A LOT of photos, I haven't even gotten them moved over to my computer yet.  So this is going to be a very short and abridged version of the past week. (I will post more in the next few days as I return home and download all those photos.)  But here is a short version of Willow's Week.  Friday Fave Fives are posted HERE.  You can join in!

1.  A wonderful, fun-filled time at my high school reunion.  My graduating class was SMALL- like 30 or fewer kids.  Of those, nine actual graduates were there (along with several who attended the school but didn't graduate--moved, transferred schools, etc).

2.  Attending our home church in Portland and visiting with so many people.  We had lunch with two very special people and caught up on their lives.  Then we visited with my uncle who I haven't seen for several years and is now in a home recovering from a stroke.

3.  Lunch with our former prof who is STILL teaching.  We managed to sit in the restaurant for HOURS and chat.  Prof Hills asked us to attend a class at the college where he is now teaching and answer questions for students, which we did a couple of days later. (These are international students who are from the province where we lived in Indonesia, and we discussed our cultural challenges in Indonesia and theirs as they adjust to American culture.)

4.  A day spent with my brother and sister-in-law just driving around Mt. Hood and having lunch at a favorite restaurant on the Columbia River.

5.  Fond farewells and more hours, days and miles in our faithful car.  We aren't home yet, but we are enjoying a new route home.

Friday, June 01, 2018


Even though I am traveling this week, I wanted to try to put up my Friday Fave Fives here at Willows Cottage.  I'll do my best to keep up the conversations, but I may be late.  This weekend is my high school reunion celebration and is of course why I have been traveling back to my hometown.

1.-2.  When Californians travel, we always note two things.  Is there snow on the mountains?  The Sierra Nevadas and the Cascades.  We were thrilled to see lots of snow on Mt. Shasta in Northern California.

There was also much more water in Shasta Lake, which means more stored water in California!

3. I love my home state of Oregon and it always thrills me when we finally arrive at the Oregon-California border.  I watch for the State of Jefferson sign on the barn and the cow and calf sculptures in the pasture, and I know we're almost there.

4.  The flora in the Pacific Northwest is so different from Southern California where we have tumbleweeds, palm trees, cactus and sage.  The PNW has rhododendrons! (I might miss these beautiful bushes like this one blooming in my brother's garden!)

5. But the best part of this trip will be seeing all our long time friends from school and church!

Monday, May 28, 2018


Remember with honor.
Three flags fly above the Ronald Reagan Library.

My father, uncles, husband, son, and son-in-law.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Looking Back At The Week

It seems like Friday arrives so soon every week.  As The Professor often states, "Time flies."  Here I am and it's the end of the week and I am running a little late for Friday Fave Fives.  What has happened to make me grateful?  Here are some random thoughts.

1.  I love my local library.  This week I returned two books, and check out, let's see, (counting in my head), three books.  Oh and I renewed a fourth book.  All for free.

2.  Speaking of books, my daughter bought me a book for Mother's Day. It arrived this week.  Oh, I'm a happy mama!

3.  Where I live there are many places that have been used (and are being used) as movie sets.  Often when we are driving along the coastal route, we will see movie set trucks parked at the beach.  Sometimes, roads are closed as commercials are being shot.  Old Westerns were often filmed in areas within 20 miles of Willow's Cottage.  One such place is Paramount Ranch.  Appropriately named for Paramount Studios.  At this time, it's part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.  Every May, on one Sunday, the Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Contest and Festival is held there.  And every year for the past eight or so years, I've taken my spinning wheel and sat in the Western town on the iconic porch and spent my day spinning and talking with people.

 It's a busy time.  But oh so fun!

4.  After that crazy busy day, I was glad to stop off at my favorite restaurant and pick up a burrito and come home and crash.  After I ate my burrito.

5.  Another perk to living where I do is easy access to various renowned museums and centers.  Like the Getty Center and Getty Museum.  And Reyes Adobe.  And all the Los Angeles museums.  The Ronald Reagan Library may be the closest center to us.  We've been there several times to visit with friends and to see special exhibits.  Right now, an exhibit about Genghis Khan is there.  So we decided to visit RRL this week.

Gotta love the Imperial passport!
"I am the emissary of the Khan. If you defy me, you die."

model of a yurt

Where there were sheep there were spinning wheels (drop spindle).

I hope you will take some time this weekend to contemplate your blessings.  What are you thankful for?

Thursday, May 24, 2018

As Promised

Here are photos of the vest I finished last week.  Finally, I took it off long enough to get some pictures.  I wore it all day when I was spinning at a festival on Sunday.

The pattern is Artisan's Vest by Green Mountain Spinnery, copyright 1995. (It was older than I remembered. According to their website, the pattern is still available for sale.)  I made the smallest size and changed the edging on the neck and sleeves to match the hem which was different in the pattern.

The yarn is Telluride by Classic Elite Yarns.  I love the color!  Spruce.  Fiber content is 82% alpaca, 12% linen, 6% Donegal (synthetic fiber slub used to make yarn look like tweed).  I love the yarn, too!

This vest is simply perfect for me!

Friday, May 18, 2018

May Is Moving On

Hello from Willow's Cottage!  May time is in full swing here and obviously The Professor and I are keeping busy.  What am I thankful for this week?   Here are my Friday Fave Fives. Link to Living to Tell the Story if you wish to join in.

1.  World's  Best Neighbor knows I love my garden.  She had been invited to the Conejo Garden Club's May Tea, so she asked if I would join her.  I knew the hostess for our table, so I accepted  the invitation.  It was a lovely afternoon spent outside in a lovely garden. (And I met a new friend, too)

2.  Then WBN invited us to a luncheon where the speaker was an Army Chaplain (recruiter) who attends her church.  Knowing we have a son who is an Army Reserve Chaplain, she thought we would enjoy meeting him.  We did, and we found out we know some of the same people.

3.  This time of year, I am in my garden every day.  I pay lots of attention to my veggies, but I'm also drawn to the flowers.  Veggies don't make great photos, but California poppies do!

 4.  A  few months ago, someone who was moving passed on to me a pot filled with gerbera daisies.  I transplanted them into other pots, but plants being what they are, the daisies popped up in that first  pot again.  Not that I minded.  This pink bloom has been gracing my kitchen window for at least two weeks.

5.   I finished knitting a vest I began on my trip to Ohio.  Immediately, I put it on and wore it to one of those events I mentioned above; I didn't even block it first or sew on the five buttons. I love it so much!  No photos yet because--I'm wearing it all the time.  I plan to sew the buttons on today and then I'll photograph it.  I promise.

So there is Willow's Week in five easy steps.  I have so many other things I'm thankful for, but I had to choose.  There was the installation of a new floor loom, the gift of a favorite book I wanted, a lunch date and coffee date with friends.  I'm so blessed!