Thursday, February 28, 2008

Warming Up To Felt

Once a month I attend a felt study group. Last week we had 10 women pulling out wool fiber and laying it down to make wrist warmers. Mine turned out to be more like glamorous gauntlets. I really do like them and the really do keep my wrists warm. They're dreamy.

These are Roz's before warmers. . .

. . .and after. Like a pinto pony.

Paige's before. . .

. . .and after. They are like elegant gossamer fingerless gloves.

Grace's warmers

Chris's fingers sticking out

Cindy's new wedding ring

and Bev proudly showing off her adorable warmers.

Zita and Sharon taught this class and were so well prepared. They had even made at least 10 pairs of warmers to show us how fabulous ours could turn out. They cut templates in 4 sizes to make it so easy for us to see how big we should make ours. Our work stations were good to go and we got to work felting. We all had various colors of wool roving, silk, yarn, scraps of silk and embellishments. They all turned out so differently, but all were wonderful.

More samples that Zita and Sharon had felted previously.

And at lunch Paige and Grace showed us their bouquet of flowers and their hair sticks with felted tops.

And that Sharon finished off the 'Show and Tell' with her amazing, astounding and awesome felt rugs that grace her award winning bathroom. I'm proud to say that she used my hand dyed roving. It never looked so good! Felt on!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cumberland Winter

I spent 5 wonderful winter days at our other home in Cumberland last week. It's a few degrees colder there so we got snow as the eastern part of the state was getting rain or worse, wintry mix. This is the view from the second floor. The sun was trying hard to break through the snow-filled clouds so there was a golden glow over the mountain.

I tried to drive to the college which is outside of town a bit. I put my truck in first gear and inched down the hill. I wanted to take a left at the bottom of the hill, but my truck insisted on going right as I slid and slipped. I creeped around the block, back up the hill and parked the truck. Cumberland is built on mountainsides and we live on a steep hill, so parking and walking was the way to go. This cemetery is just a block from the house and I always love walking around in it. It's so peaceful, especially in the snow.

Cumberland is one of the few places in the country where home prices have not gone down and continue to rise. Probably because they are so low to begin with. I looked at one house for $32,000, (the price of an SUV!) built in 1890, 3 bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths. It had sold in 1990 for $4500!!!! It wasn't even too bad, had lots of potential. But while walking I saw this house, just around the corner from us. The sign had just been put up and had been on the market for 2 days. I looked at it that afternoon. It was built in 1902, 3 bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths, great architectural detail, nice layout. Of course it needed to be painted (yeah!) and updated a bit, but was in great shape. The price: $79,000!!!! I asked the realtor to let me know if anyone puts an offer on it. She got back to the office and said there was an offer on it. No surprise there. Damn! My dream is to flip a house. I know I watch too many of these home shows on cable tv, but I really do have the bug. And Cumberland seems the place to do it. I guess I'll keep looking.

Kate's for Birthday Fun

We celebrated my friend, Ann's birthday with three lunches over the span of one week. This one is at Kate's, who is a marvelous cook. I always enjoy visiting her house as it's filled with vibrant colors on the walls and plenty of artsy elements all around.

Kate made a delicious squash soup.

We even had champagne in the middle of the afternoon! Happy Birthday Ann!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

New Arrivals at Dancing Leaf Farm

This is the face that greets me every morning when I go to the barn to feed the animals. I really don't think there is anything cuter than a new lamb. They look like they're always smiling. These twins were born last week to my Cotswold, Picadilly. One boy and one girl. Their names are Josephine and Leopold, named after the two darling kids of our friends in England. The lambs sleep curled up together in the feed bin. I wish I could get a picture of them in it, but they always hop up when they hear me coming. I come in and say, "The babies!!!" and they run over to say hi. I sweep them up and we all nuzzle. I love the smell of new lambs, a little bit sweet hay and mama's milk, lanolin and lamb breath. Mmmmmmmm.

Proud mama.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Cheery Valentine's Day

Last week while making some scrambled eggs (Farm Fresh Eggs From Chickens With Names!'), I noticed that I had missed the pan and had gotten some yolk on the counter. I had to take a pic of this as it was just too perfect. I heart eggs!

I'm borrowing this photo from my friend, Penny, who sent this last Valentine's Day. This was not staged, totally serendipitous. Awwwhhhhhhh! These two goldens are related to my two, cousins I think or they have the same great grandmother, something like that.

Red flowers can really cheer up your day.

And on the 'love' theme, this is Lover's Leap in Cumberland. Some friends, Smo and Karen, Houston and I hiked up there (we can leave right from our house) and went out on the bluff overlooking 'The Narrows'. We had no desire to become a statistic so didn't venture too close to the edge.

Karen, hunkering down trying not to get blown off the ledge.

It was so unbelievably windy up there, we only lasted a couple minutes. I'm totally bundled up and it was still way too cold to linger. We'll return for a nice picnic in the spring. It's great that it's just about a mile (up the hill) from our Cumberland house.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Let the Sun Shine In!

It's very cold today, steely grey and now it's snowing (yeah!). But on sunny days, my 'sunroom' is awash in sunshine. The walls are a sunny yellow which seem to just soak up the rays and make me feel warm. This room is not the warmest room in the house though because it has 3 walls of windows. These are the old style windows that crank out, with no screens and no storm windows. But this is my favorite room in the house, especially on winter days. I've laid claim to it as my office and jewelry making studio. The light slants in perfectly and I can look up in any direction and see beautiful views. Straight out is my veggie garden, put to rest for the winter but soon to be planted with early crops like potatoes, peas and greens. We've planted quite a few specialty trees in the last few years, sweetgum, flowering crab apple, sourwood, golden rain tree and they have thrived despite the droughts. For 20 years we kept this side field free of trees and bushes so our three boys could play lacrosse, soccer, baseball, and the adults could play volleyball and Ultimate frisbee. But now the boys are grown and the adults have grown beyond volleyball and ultimate, so it's now time for more trees. Out the left window (east) are rolling fields with a backdrop of woods, a pond just visible in the valley. I see crows out trying to eke some nibble out of the grass. To the right (west) is the large perennial garden (Forrest's Garden, planted when he was 1 week old, he's now nearly 20). I can sometimes see the sheep grazing or just laying about chewing their cud. (Which means chew the fat, meditate, mull something over. What the heck are they mulling over? What they're going to do today? "Hmm, I think I'll eat, then I'll take a nap, then I'll eat some more.")

I bought a 'dwarf' banana tree a few years back. It nearly reaches the ceiling. Banana trees grow to about 12' so maybe this is a dwarf, but it seems really tall to me. We move it out in warm weather, but it likes it here in the corner of my sunroom. We call it 'Banana, banana, Fo Fanna'.

I was given some paper whites at Christmas and they've blossomed into their lovely, sweet-smelling selves. I love the way they smell and they really cheer up the space.

I used to hate orange but now I really like it. It's cheery and great to look at on a cold wintry day.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Have You Seen the Remote?

How many remote controls does one small family need? I rounded up all that I could find (I know there's more lurking in drawers and under cushions) and laid them out. I don't even think we own all the electronic devices that these little hand held miracles control, that will allow one to click through channels, stations, volume control, pause, fast forward, DBS, USB, Menu (what? I can order take-out?), Info, Fav, PIP CH, CATV, CC Converter, recall, R-Tune, return exit (what do all those mean?!!!!) all without getting our butts off the couch. Remember the old days when we actually had to MOVE to change from one channel to one of the other two channels that we got? That's why I had 3 younger brothers.

I just need a remote control made by Fisher Price. It has an on/off button, a channel button and a volume button, all about 1/2" big in bright yellow. And a little beeper for when I can't find it.