Thursday, April 30, 2009

May Day Fave Five

Friday, May First!

It's that time again. One of my favorite parts of the week! Friday Fave Five hosted by Susanne at Living To Tell The Story.

1. We have been blessed with lovely weather this week. "Early morning coastal fog and low cloudiness, giving way to sunshine later in the day." I've shivered a bit as I've gotten in to the car in the mornings with the temperature at around 52 to 55 F. But by lunchtime the weather has been sunny and the temperature hovering aroudn 65 or 70F. My kind of weather!

2. For some crazy reason there has been 'wildlife' around. On our afternoon walks in my neighborhood, Ellen and I have seen a mallard duck guarding the DRY culvert,

a quail perched in the top of a tree, calling to its flock (was he lost and afraid?),

a deer crossing the road.

(Don't go there, I know what you're thinking. I don't know why.)

3. Comp tickets. Whenever The Professor does the lighting design and runs the lights for a show at the university, I try to attend at least one performance. This year the Performing Arts dept. presented 'Once In A Lifetime'. There were more performances than I could keep track of and The Professor did the lighting for all but one of them. His sister, her boyfriend and I went last weekend and thoroughly enjoyed watching some talented college students perform.

4. and 5. I completed a really big project this week. I have been honored to be asked by Bethany at Red Yarn to send some of my handspun yarn and handknitted bunnies to Hatch Studio and Gallery which is opening THIS WEEKEND! I have seen the work of other people whose handcrafts will be shown there and I am thrilled to be included. On Saturday, I sent a package containing
four bunnies
and thirteen skeins of hanspun yarn

(this is natural brown llama fiber spun into two ply yarn)

Please pop over to Bethany's website and see what Hatch is all about and if you live in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area, drop in and see all the amazing artists' work displayed there.
To enjoy other people's weeks, go to Susanne's blog and see what they've posted for their Fave Fives this Friday.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

As Promised

Knitting disclosure.

Last year I worked in Kindergarten with a young, delightful, and truly exceptional teacher. This spring she announced that a little girl will be arriving at her house in June and she will be taking some time off from teaching. There is going to be a baby shower for her tomorrow after school.

I decided that it was the perfect occasion to pull out Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket pattern. The pattern was originally published in 1968 and has been a favorite for knitters of baby things ever since. It is knit in one piece and sewn together at the top of the sleeves.

I added a crochet edging and sweet little yellow and pink flower buttons.

I think the true color of the yarn, which I was unable to photograph correctly (probably due to my unfamiliarity with my new camera or to improper lighting or, most likely, both) is really more of a buttery yellow than almond. Or maybe like spring flowers flying in a lightly overcast sky.

Yarn details: Lion Brand's Cotton Ease (50% cotton, 50% acrylic) Almond, 2 skeins, size 8US needles. If you are a yarn snob, my apologies. I refuse to give a new mother anything made with yarn that can't be spit upon and then washed and dried with ease. I've found the Cotton Ease to be soft to slip through my fingers and wonderful to knit; it doesn't stretch too much and it doesn't split.

If you were a new mama, wouldn't you love to wrap your sweet little one in buttery, almondy, flowery yellow?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Update and Thanks

Thank you to all who commiserated with me on the occasion of my forgetting my camera. It was a truly sad situation. Everywhere I looked I saw photo ops jumping out at me. The light was perfect that day, everything sparkled, we were touring a beautiful part of the city.

Thank you too for your concern for The New Boy. His mama reported last night that the fever was gone.

I haven't found out today how he is. We often communicate via email or IM and I have not been online on my computer since early this morning. The sad truth is that I am sitting at The Professor's laptop and he is at mine, doing assessments and, possibly, damage control.

So, tonight at Willow's Cottage, there are no photos, no IM. I guess I'll just get out my knitting and sit and knit. A pleasant consolation.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Dear Readers, I have sinned. I have done a terrible thing.

I went with a friend to the Ventura ArtWalk this afternoon and I FORGOT MY CAMERA!

My only excuse is that, due to a very very late night that involved a cast party after the last performance of a production at the university for which The Professor was lighting designer, I woke late, misplaced a number of items and ran out the door without double checking my bag. No excuse, really. But that's what happened.

The only consolation I have is that The Professor has promised an outing to Ventura this week to make up for it. I PROMISE I'll take my camera!

My mind has been on The New Boy this evening. He's had a bug and a fever. I'm glad Edward Bunny is keeping him company.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Friday's Fave Five

I missed last week's Fave Five because I was traveling. It's good to be back.

1. The best part of traveling is coming home. -smile-

2. I have loved messing around with my new camera.

This was a fun shot~ the reflection says it all!

Oh, and this shot~ a fan turning on 'slow'.

3. I saw this quote decorating the door mantle of a former library in a midwest city.

4. I was reminded of the quote above when a student commented today upon learning that tomorrow's field trip was an all day affair: "We won't have to do any boring stuff!" First graders learn quickly these days...

5. I spent one afternoon this week with Blueberry Lady on the ranch, picking six quarts of fresh blueberries, chatting, picking, sampling, catching up. We were having so much fun we didn't realize we'd picked past the dinner hour until the cell phone's ring brought us back to real time. Oops!

To share in the fun, go to Susanne's blog.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

About Taking A Road Trip

When you're on a road trip, it's exciting to get in the car at home and back out of the driveway. You wave 'bye and say, 'I love you' and 'We'll call every day' and you settle in to your car seat and check the map and say, 'We'll have to make xxx miles every day and maybe we can drive a few extra miles today and get there early.'
I tried to document the trip by taking photos through the windows of the car as we whizzed along Route 66. I practiced different settings with the new camera.
Day 1: Crossing the California desert.
The Colorado River is the border between California and Arizona.
Day 2: New Mexico's red rocks and plateaus.

Details of a large decorative sidewalk art piece in Gallup.

Birds at a rest stop.

A typical Oklahoma farm.

Taking advantage of the wind sweepin' across the plain.

By the third day of driving driving driving, I was thinking, 'If it's Wednesday, it must be Missouri - or Illinois - or Indiana.'

I practiced using the night settings to try to capture the Gateway Arch in St. Louis (not very successfully).

Evidence of spring in eastern Indiana.

On the fourth day, for some reason (travel fatigue? Who ever heard of a blogger tired of documenting everything?) I quit taking photos. The picture above is the last one I took. I didn't realize it until I got home and uploaded all the photos from the camera. Weird.

Did you know that you can call someone (Mike, MamaMia, The Professor) and say, 'Where is the closest Starbuck's? We're at Exit XY just before Tulsa (or Columbus) and need a pickmeup cuppa'? Well, you can do that. And you can find motels that way, too. And Fast Food. And other amenities for your road trip that aren't marked on your AAA map. Just so you know, for your next road trip...

Back home now, I wonder to myself, 'Did I really take a trip last week? Did I really travel 2300 miles by car and more than that by plane?' It's such a blur I can scarcely remember it.

Our hot weather finally broke today and the marine layer has moved in and cooled Ventura County considerably. Maybe tomorrow afternoon it will be cool enough to plant my seeds.

As I commented at the end of my last post, I have been working on a couple of projects that are keeping me rather busy. One, for school, I finished today. Another one, I will share next week. Here's a hint: Knit, purl. Knit, purl.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

First Things First

My new camera.

I've had the camera a week and have taken about 200 photos. I'm reading through the manual and learning some things about how it works. My old camera was a Canon also and so a lot of the functions are similar. I looked at the Canon SLR something something, but I was not comfortable with the small viewer, so I think the SX110 is a good compromise.

Second Things Second. Road Trip!

I traveled by car through nine states--California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas (Panhandle), Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. My traveling companions were Kiti and The New Boy. When The New Boy wasn't eating Cheerios and crackers, gazing out the car windows or napping,

he read books and played games with his grandma.

I returned from the road trip late last night (Saturday) via airplane. I flew from Ohio to Atlanta and then all the way back across the continent to California. I nearly had the 'opportunity' to stay the night in Atlanta as the flight was overbooked, and for some reason my seat assignment got dropped between the time I printed out my itinerary last week and when I arrived at the gate. Such are the adventures of traveling...

A few quick impressions: I was amazed at the size and diversity of the continental United States! So many different geological formations and climate variations! Desert, high and low. Plains, flat. Mesas, high and also flat. Hills, rolling and bare and tree covered. I was pleased at the friendliness of the local people. In each state, the residents were proud of their homes and generally friendly and helpful. I was yes-pleased, and thanked, and ma'amed in gas stations and hotels and restaurants all along Route 66.

Albuquerque, New Mexico was a highlight. We stopped for lunch and a break to allow us all to stretch our legs out, breathe clean high desert air, and soak up some sunshine. The architectural details of the city reflected the shapes and colors of the surrounding terrain.

But now it's time to walk back in to the first grade classroom in the morning and focus on a couple of projects at Willow's Cottage.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Road Trip

I will be driving this week.
Going EAST on a road trip.
(Yeah, I know. I can't go very far WEST before I drive in to the ocean.)
Not taking my laptop.
But taking my new camera.
As Christopher Robin said, "Bak Soon."

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Friday Fave Five

Has it really been a week since I last posted?
Well, it has been a really busy week, the last before Spring Break. Lots and lots has happened here in Willow's Cottage, some of which I'll share with you.

1. My order from Victory Seed Company arrived!
'Little Fingers' Carrots.
'Red Cored Chantenay' Carrots.
'Cocozelle' Summer Squash.
'Bloomsdale Long Standing' Spinach.
'Tendergreen' Bush Beans.
'Oregon Sugar Pod' Peas.

2. I can't wait to start planting in the used buckets I purchased from a local donut shop. I bought three 5 gallon frosting buckets for $2.00 each and plan to spray paint the outsides to eliminate advertising the frosting company. I have some great organic potting soil from a nearby garden nursery.
3. I haven't had much time in the garden this week but I did take a few photos one afternoon when the sun was (a little too) bright.

The New Boy was visiting and wanted to help.

4. The photos above are the last ones I will be taking with my little camera. It died today. Why would I list this as a fave? I have loved this little piece of electronics and have carried it with me everywhere I've gone for more than two years. It opened up my eyes to the wonderful world of colors, shapes, light, dark, action, stillness. Did I say I loved that camera? I shall miss it. And Son # Two gave it to me.

5. Which brings me to my last fave this week. Knowing how much joy photography has brought to me, The Professor told me this evening after I showed him the reason for the demise of my carmera that we would be going to the camera store in the morning, bright and early, to try out a couple of camera options he has been researching for me. The new camera will be bought just in time. It's Spring Break, you know. I have places to go and things to see!

In case I do not have the opportunity to post before Sunday, I want to wish you all a very Happy Easter.

He Is Risen!

To read about other people's great weeks, go to Susanne's blog.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Friday Fave Five #31

3 April 2009
Welcome to Friday Fave Five!
It was another busy school week at Willow's Cottage. But the weekend was highlighted by a little getaway to Long Beach, California, and I am choosing to focus my Fave Five on our weekend.
Long Beach is a large city in Los Angeles County directly south of the city of Los Angeles that kind of hides in the shadow of its mega-metropolis neighbor to the north.
When The Professor and I lived in Los Angeles, we visited Long Beach a lot. We could jump on the metro train line with our bikes and ride down to Long Beach and then bike along the beach or follow the Los Angeles River bike trail. We also attended church every Sunday in Long Beach and during the summer, a friend and I would often drive down to the Friday Long Beach Farmers Market.

Sometimes on a Saturday, The Professor and I would just hop on the train and take a walk around downtown Long Beach.

1. This weekend we didn't bring our bikes with us so we chose to walk along Ocean Avenue to Long Beach Marina and then take the trail to the harbor past the lighthouse and out to the shoreline.

2. We walked the whole harbor trail. The weather was sunny but the wind was up.
Not that the sailors minded.
I sometimes wonder how many boats are moored in Long Beach Marina. Lots of them.
3. Shoreline Village is a group of shops located right in the marina. I can recommend the coffee and cinnamon shop and the yogurt and ice cream shop.

We enjoyed our afternoon immensely, making yet another memory there.

4. The main reason we were in Long Beach, though, was to attend a benefit concert by our favorite Gospel group, Firm Soundation. The group's leader Ray Sidney was, in our former lives, my school administrator. Firm Soundation are regular features at The House of Blues' Sunday Gospel Brunch in Anaheim (Disneyland), Hollywood and Las Vegas. On Saturay night, Firm Soundation was performing at a benefit dessert for Ugandan Lambs Project.

5. It was great to hear first hand how Ugandan Lambs is rewriting the stories of many children in Uganda orphaned by AIDs. These children, like the young man we sponsor, now have hope and a future. If you visit the Ugandan Lambs website (see link above), click on The Children, and scroll down to the second row of photos, you'll see Daniel S. That's our boy!

For more Fave Fives, visit Susanne's Blog Living To Tell The Story.