Monday, June 30, 2008

Cumberland Felting Retreat

Five women from my felting group headed up to Cumberland to have three blissful days of making felt fancies. Pictured above are most of our finished projects. Some made flowers, Bev nuno felted a purple scarf, I felted 5 rainbow colored rocks, Zita made a purse and...

... we had our own version of 'Project Runway' with these three naked Barbies.

We divided into 3 teams of 2 and secretly felted outfits for our anorexic , size negative 000000, pointy boobed and toed dolls. Bev and I nuno felted onto silk a flirty little Gypsy outfit, along with a bustier and headdress. Sharon and Grace created a splashy 'Dancing With the Stars' number with a coiled bra and felt wrapped 'shoes' and Zita and Francine felted an elegant, drapey gown ready to sashay down the runway.

The Barbie Triplets had a swinging good time.

This is my whacky 'hat' (this is before it was felted) that turned into a really useful garbage bin cuz it was way to big for a hat.

Bev is laying out her wool and yarn for nuno felting on silk.

Bev modeling her gorgeous scarf.

Zita's beautiful flowers.

Sharon spent one entire day indoors using her embellisher. It's similar to a sewing machine but instead of a regular needle, it has 6 felting needles.

She's making a very large rug with this design.

Needless to say we ate very well. Chocolate, wine, good coffee and one morning Francine made these wonderful crepe like 'bowls' filled with fresh fruit and sweet yogurt. She ever brought 6 small cast iron pots with her so we could each have our individual delights.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Woodsey Getaway

During our heat wave last week Bev and I drove 4 1/2 hours south to Seneca Rocks/Spruce Knob area of West Virginia to backpack. As we drove through the last town I noticed the temperature on the local bank showed 97 degrees. I thought it'd be cooler in the mountains. I was not looking forward to carrying 22 lbs. of stuff on my back in that heat. But as we arranged our food, sleeping bag, tent, clothes, etc. in our backpack and made our way into the woods, it did seem to cool down. The dark green canopy of trees helped. We had to cross Big Run Stream many times which our feet really appreciated. Above is one of our campsites along Seneca Creek. This has to be one of my favorite trails in the east. This particular trail is only 5 1/2 miles long but is packed with waterfalls, perfect camp sites and stunning beauty. I like hiking along creeks better than along ridge lines. There's something soothing about water rushing over rocks.

This waterfall is only about 10' from one of the campsites.

And this is the primo, super special campsite. It has a mill stone to rest your feet upon as you sit on the amazing stone seats that some campers made.

We camped right near Seneca Falls. We had every intention of soaking in the cool waters below with the falls cascading over our heads, but the water was REALLY cold and we just couldn't talk ourselves into it. Wimps.

And of course we had our knitting and crocheting. I'm working on the other sock in Woodsey that I was working on in NH.

I got this much done sitting around the campsite.

Bev is making a baby blanket for her first grandchild due in July.

This was another campsite, set snuggly into the woods with a nice clearing so as not to feel closed in. It appears Bev is trying to fly.

These very tall ferns were covering the forest floor. It's a good year for ferns with all the rain we've had.

We saw this beautiful moth on the trail. We startled a mama turkey with at least 5 or 6 babies, and a quail was trying to distract us from her nest, walking near us and flapping her wings. Hunkered down in the tall grass near our tent was the cutest, tiniest fawn covered in spots. No other wildlife was spotted, which is fine with me as we were in bear country.

Seneca Rocks is an incredible rock formation shooting up 900 feet straight up. Climbers love these rocks and there are 375 mapped route up the rock face.

After hiking over 20 miles we felt we deserved a 'real' meal and picked the Front Porch, overlooking Seneca Rocks. Ahhh, eating a burrito, sipping a beer and kicking off our boots after coming out of the woods. Does it get any better?

Friday, June 13, 2008

New Hampshire Trip

A month ago 3 of my girlfriends and I traveled to North Conway, New Hampshire for a getaway. It was still early spring there with the leaves that bright lime green. In the higher elevations the leaves were not even out yet and there was still quite a bit of snow. I LOVE New England and always feel at home up there. I must have lived there in a past life because things seem familiar to me.

We hiked two different trails, one up a mountain right in town, owned by the Nature Conservancy. This was the view looking back down to town.

and this was the view looking north. Courtesy of Susan.

and looking west.

Any time we stopped, Susan got out her pad and sketched or painted.

A perfect place for a lunch stop. Further up the trail, there was too much snow to go further.

I think these are copper beeches. The girls thought this would make a nice colorway for yarn. Look for it this fall.

And speaking of yarn, I'm never without my knitting and any chance I got, I pulled out my socks and knit away. This color is appropriately named 'woodsey'. Marsha was also knitting socks, but on 2 circular needles. We compared the differences and I think that the 2 circulars are better for hiking because my 4th needle would sometimes disappear in the leaves.

One of my favorite things to do is sit and knit by a stream. This gorgeous stream is right in the town of Jackson. Susan was painting...

Marsha was knitting....

and Maureen was reading.

This pink house is right along the stream. Notice their compost pile in the back garden with a picket fence around it.

We also took a short hike along an old rail road bed. This was at a higher elevation and the trees were just starting to leaf out. The weather was fantastic though.

And all that hiking made us very hungry. Just up the street from where were staying was a great little cafe, 'Peaches'. Pictured is our amazing breakfast.

We stayed in a condo in this historic resort hotel. When I heard we would be in a condo, I pictured some 1980's style condo building near a ski slope. But when we pulled up to this, I was delighted. There was even an EMS outdoor store right off the lobby! and a Flatbread Pizza place and a small coffee place right in the same building. We really didn't even have to leave the place!

Maureen, Susan, Marsha, me...all smiles.

I took a long bike ride one afternoon, winding around country roads.

New England barns are just the best.

We stopped at every covered bridge we came upon. There are still 54 bridges standing in the state, all with names. Some have descriptive names like Blow Me Down, Turkey Jim's, Honeymoon, Happy Corner but most are simply the names of the rivers they span.

I looked down and saw the river was golden with the sun shining on it.

On one of our drives through the countryside, we came upon a farm with a sign that advertised goat cheese. Being in a car full of women, we were allowed to turn around. The owner was sitting on the floor of the barn, totally surrounded by the cutest Nubian goats. I could tell she was their mom because they all had the same color hair as hers.

We sampled all the goat cheese and purchased a couple different kinds for a picnic later.

We drove to this funky little artsy town (I'll have to look the name up later) and we all thought this was the highlight of the trip.

Really liked this whirligig. The Aussie dog circles the sheep as the wind turns the cups. So clever. But the price tag on this piece was $2500, out of my range.

One shop in particular was intriguing. No proprietor was in so we just walked around and took pics.

So many vignettes, Susan and I could've stayed there for hours.

The amount of 'stuff' was mind boggling. Most had price tags on it, but a lot did not so not sure if it was for sale or not.

Hanging under the steps were dolls forming some sort of installation. Kinda creepy, but cool.

Even the outside of the building was covered with objects.

machine parts

I have a thing for old rusty things, especially roof top items. They look like sculpture to me.

And this has to be my favorite of the entire place.

Another cool stop was this place in Jackson. A couple have been working on this shop for 3 years, doing all the work themselves.

The owner told us he cut all these shingles with a jigsaw. He learned construction as he went, on the job training.

They sold whacky garden stuff.

We stopped by a lake for a picnic and Susan painted the view from our picnic table.

A shop right along the road had just opened up that day. The brightly colored tablecloths blowing in the breeze caught our attention. I had to buy the colorful one on the left and it's now on my dining room table.

Marsha looking cute by the flowers.

We went to 'Hoot Night' one eventing. It's an open mike night. We had nothing to add, just an audience. The main singer from Blood, Sweat and Tears lives up there and plays at this bar 3 nights a week. A few other folks got up and played and one guy was especially talented on guitar.

I've sold Peace Fleece yarn for maybe 15 years now. Peace Fleece is a cooperative between Russia and America, selling yarn from both countries' sheep, needles painted in Russia, and other items done both by Russian and American artists. PF is owned by Peter and Marty Hagerty and is based near Porter, Maine. It was only a 45 minute drive for us so off we went on the backroads to Maine farm country.
I've been to their place a couple of times and am always amazed at their honorable ways of living simply. They use everything they can, recycling materials and not wasting anything. The paint for their house came from the county recycling center (alongside one of the country roads). They collected leftover paint that folks had dropped off until they had enough to paint the entire house. They mixed it all together and came up with this lovely shade of periwinkle.
Peter and Marty have two adult kids. When Silas and Josephine were still at home, Peter thought it would be a good lesson to not have indoor bathrooms. Not until the kids left home was a bathroom put in. An outhouse in the Maine winter. Whoo boy!
On the way over, Maureen's water bottle leaked all over her extra clothes so she hung them out to dry. I noticed they were red, white and blue (appropo cuz Mo works for the postal service).

Most of the Maine farmhouses are connected to the barns which I think is a splendid idea, especially in cold climates.

The barn door leading into the sheep, horse, wool barn which is also the headquarters for the Peace Fleece operation.

Some of the 1000's of knitting needles PF sells in a year.

A walk around the farm....

Peter does not own a tractor. They have 65 acres and do all the farming/hauling/ haying with work horses and this 'attachment'. It has two seats, one for Peter, one for Marty. Four horses are hitched up to it and off they go.

The horses are kept at a field up the road. In the evening Marti and I rode up to check on them.

I'm sure this is not Mom's meditation place any longer but I got a chuckle out of imagining Marti sitting in the dirt behind a shrub meditating.

Mainers take their wood piles seriously, as they need to. This is just one of Peter's wood piles.

We saw this one on the way to his place.

It happened to be Peter and Marty's anniversary. They still invited the four us to dinner (how romantic!). This was one of the tables set for dinner.

These are the horses Peter hooks up to haul wood, make hay and whatever else workhorses do.

We were enthralled with their backsides, so muscular and smooth.

I think these bits flying about is hay.

They let the sheep in the barn and they were so loud (happy) that we had to leave them be.

This unique structure is across the road from them. It's the 7-door shack. I think it's just used for storage. You never know when those old doors will come in handy!

Didn't get a chance to eat the curried egg salad.

This signpost was in the darling village of Sandwich. I wish we would've had more time to check out all the artist places.