Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sock Summit, Here I Come!

 I've been frantically preparing for my first ever away show. Sock Summit is a big yarn convention taking place at the Portland Convention Center in Oregon. Yikes-e-wa-wa, this has been a heap of work! I've never shipped my goods across country, to show up at my booth (hopefully!) and set up my space with minimal stuff (nothing but an 8' table and a chair).

 I sent out an S.O.S. for knitting help on making socks. I got a few takers and they've done a superb job of creating some nice socks and patterns for me to showcase. 

They are way more complicated than what I would knit, so I'm very grateful. I've named them after famous dancers to go with 'Dancing' Leaf Farm. The first one pictured is 'Ginger Rogers', number 2 is 'Mikhail' and number 3 is 'Martha Dances in the Leaves'. I have a yarn named 'Sock Hop' that makes great socks.
 I knit simple socks, like this 'Shirley Temple' toddler's sock. It has a crocheted flower to add a little girl whimsey.

 Baby socks are so easy to whip up. In an hour of 'Friday Night Lights', you can have one completed.

 But hopefully not all the customers and class takers will be solely interested in sock yarn. I'm bringing heaps of other types of yarn. One of the women who knit the women who knit the 'Martha' socks, also expanded on the dancing leaves theme and knit an entire sweater using my Salsa yarn in Sorta Solid Teal and the trim in Sedona.
 Garrett came out last Sunday with two beautiful women (the third beautiful woman, Deidre, would not model, making the excuse that she had no makeup!) so Hannah and Kelly were coerced into wearing hot mohair and wool on this 95 degree day so I could do a photo shoot.

 They were naturals and I think they had a good time. Kelly was such a good sport, she even changed into my skirt for the shoot.

 They certainly did the pieces justice.

 Here's the collar knit out of Sedona. I just love how the leaves 'dance' across the sweater.

 Hannah was so demure and reserved....

 Not! She has a natural flair and was quite at ease in front of the camera.

She acted like there was a chill in the air, although it was sweltering.

 In this shot, she said she was portraying a very sad model. I told her to act like she had eaten an extra cracker and had gained 4 oz. 

 I'm hoping to sell, sell, sell lots of my 'Biggie' yarn. I'm taking plenty of skeins (at least 50) so hopefully I won't be sending it back home.

 'Biggie' makes this 'Wrap Me Up, Buttercup' shawl.

Another of my unique yarns is 'Happiness', four novelty yarns stranded together, included with a fused glass brooch in a complementary color.

 But it's not all just pretty yarn and girls. This is what my dining room looked like all last week. It's been way too hot to work up in my studio with temps getting to over 100 degrees. 
It's a literal sweat shop!
 So I moved all my equipment and heaps of yarn near the air conditioner and fan. Trapper was more than happy to keep me company.
 My 'piece de resistance' is going to be my blow up legs. I have mannequin legs, but they are way too heavy to ship so thought about getting a blow up doll. Well, they have holes in delicate places and they are really quite ugly. You be the judge. 

But then I found a website that is chock full of inflatable mannequins. Score! I mistakenly ordered a male one, sent him back and got the legs of my dreams.

 I knit Thigh High Leg Warmers for her and I have to say, they fit like a glove!

I just need to get rid of her cellulite with a little more air.
 She has a bit of a wrinkly butt.

But with her legs in the air and showing off her new thigh high leg warmers, I'm hoping she'll bring in the customers.

 I could send 150 pounds at a small package weight by UPS freight so packed up 4 boxes with 'oh-I-hope-it's-the-right-stuff'.  We had to weigh it on a regular scale which meant that we had to weigh ourselves, the pick up the box and total the weight. Garrett whined the whole time so we girls had to take over. Yep, they're heavy!

 But I still have WAY more to take. Luckily we can take 200 pounds of baggage with us on the plane and I'm coming dangerously close to that.  Unfortunately, we're taking it all on a long ride. We couldn't get frequent flyer tickets to Portland, so we're flying in to Missoula (where Forrest lives), taking his car and driving to Portland over a couple days, camping on the way. I won't have to worry about having no yarn for projects! So after Sock Summit, we're visiting lots of Portland friends, going camping with a couple of them, driving to Ketchum, Idaho and staying with friends, then back to Missoula where we'll help Forrest pack up for his big move back east. Phew! Who ever said vacations were easy! Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Did I party too hard?

 My friend, Jeri, threw a party on her and her hubbies' awesome farm. It's a former Amish farm near Pocahantas, Pa., north of Frostburg in western Maryland. I love this place and could move there in a minute. Jeri and Terry used to live in downtown Cumberland, in a 100-year old building that they renovated in the Arts and Crafts style. They bought this farm as a weekend retreat but found they were retreating there 24/7 so fixed up the old place and moved on in.

It is so nice to see good taste put to use. They basically built the house from the ground up, preserving a log structure. They hired a stone mason who did impeccable work on the columns and the stone retaining wall.

The porch is deep and wide and wraps around two sides of the house. Don't you hate it when builders put on a faux porch on that's only 3 feet deep so when you sit on a chair, your knees hit the railing? That's not what a porch is about.

The porch is a place to greet friends, to relax, to shell peas, play guitar, and to thoroughly enjoy life.

It's even a place to put your hat till you need it again.

The lane leads down to the pasture where the horses graze to their contentment.
They own around 165 acres of heaven. The climate here is cooler than even in Cumberland, and the pastures sure seemed greener and taller than mine here in Barnesville.

 When they bought the farm from the Amish, the neighboring Amish were afraid that Jeri and Terry were not going to let them get the hay off the acreage. Far from it. The Amish come to hay in June or July (I still want to watch that with the work horses and wooden hay wagons) and in exchange for all the hay and being able to store it in the barn, the men fix up the old buildings on the property. This year it's this barn.

 Jeri and Terry supply all the materials, the Amish supply the labor. And they do work hard. I always told my boys when they complained about doing a chore..."OK, off to an Amish farm you go for the summer!"

 Not only are the perennial gardens amazing, but their veggie garden is abundant with food. ("Eat organic food. Or as your grandparents called it, 'Food'!) I was surprised at how the peas were still coming in and mine have been done for 2 weeks now. Yep, it's cooler here.

 This was actually Jeri's birthday party so she gave a little speech.

 Welcoming everyone, some who came from far away. 

She thanked her hubbie, Terry, for being so wonderful and gave him a big hug. They re-met at a class reunion 5 years ago and it's been stars in their eyes ever since.

Music, great food, beautiful scenery... a perfect evening.

 ...'cept for one little thing. See that silver car in the background? That's my car. The car that needs keys to start it and make it go. Well, when we were done partying at 11:00, we got in the car and I could no way, no how, no way Jose, find my keys. I looked everywhere, in my bags, in the front seats, in the back seats, we even borrowed a flashlight and looked all around the car. No keys, bummer. And we were 30 miles from home. Luckily for Seal and me, some friends from Cumberland were still there and offered to give us a ride home in their convertible Mini Cooper, (sweet!) They were so nice and let us borrow their car the next morning to go back and look for our keys in daylight. Well, in the middle of the night, I awoke with a thought that maybe, just maybe, I left the keys on my back tire. I had done a bike ride that day and didn't want to take my keys with me so left them on the tire. I had no recollection of doing that at the party though, none whatsoever. The reason, I figured was because when Seal, Annie and I were getting out of the car, Seal said to Annie,' I love those earrings'. I heard 'earrings' and had to run around the car to see how wonderful they were. I'm like the dog in 'Up', when he hears the word, "squirrel", becomes hyper-focused on the squirrel. So I called Jeri at a decent hour (not 3:30 in the morning, she was grateful) and she went out and checked my tire and Ta Da! they were there. Yay! I didn't have to spend $100 - $200 getting a new key made and probably impossible on a Sunday anyway.
 So out we went in the little Coop, retrieved my keys ( I kissed them!) and they invited us up to their wonderful  porch. I felt like I was in the French countryside. The table was laid with fresh cheese, bread, fruit, juice and coffee. We sat down to partake and music drifted to our ears from around the corner. Folks had grabbed their guitars and Jeri's niece, who has a voice like an angel, sang while we munched on hard cheese and drank coffee. When someone mentioned, "Too bad we don't have percussion," a friend went to his car and brought out a beautiful bongo and a backpack of percussion instruments.  My smile grew bigger. There was a cool breeze, the scenery was beautiful, the people relaxed, and everyone was singing along to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.  I'm going to forget my keys at parties more often!

Happy Birthday, Jeri. And thank you for such a superb evening and morning. Next time, I'll have Seal drive!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Room Redeaux

 Oops. Forgot to do a before pic. This is the during, when everything is in shambles. I did a makeover on Garrett's old room earlier this year and was itching to get to Forrest's old bedroom. That room hadn't been painted in maybe 8 years. Yikes! 

 Forrest has been gone for 5 years now, 4 years of college at the University of Montana and a year working in Missoula. But in 6 weeks he's moving back to the area to go to grad school at George Washington U (where Houston happens to be a professor so we can finally use those tuition exchange credits, yay!). He'll move into his old room until he figures out if he'll move closer in to the shitty. So now all three of my boys will be close. That doesn't happen much any more so you can imagine the smile on my face.

 When I told Forrest I was painting his old room, he said,"I hope you're not girling it up." Oops! Can't help myself. This is my new fave color, pale aqua, seafoam, 'makes me happy bluey-greeney'. It is not a manly color, fer sure. But this really is not his room any longer so he'll just have live with it.

All the furniture got a redo too. I find these night stands really cheap at Goodwill or yard sales. I always have a gallon of black paint, a thin foam roller and paint pan at the ready for slathering everything in black. With a cute little glass knob, it's good to go.

 Same with this retro 60's type side table. Cheapo at the thrift store. 
The twin lights were sent by my dear madre from Arizona who got them at a thrift store. Unfortunately she paid twice as much to have them shipped, but I really like them and may bling up the shades someday.

This was Houston's childhood dresser. Still in pretty good shape. It's nice to have furniture for so long.
 It'll probably get passed on to the grandkids that may someday come along.

 This old dresser was bought at an antique store 31 years ago for Aramin's bedroom. It had huge brass handles and the wood was stained. Black paint to the rescue and some mod brushed nickle handles. 
Ta da! (30 years from now I'll be stripping it back to wood. Yikes! I'll be 87. Maybe not.)

 Since Houston is back in merry old England, I've been sleeping up here.
It's like staying at a B&B. I wake up, look around and smile. The windows face east so it gets the morning light streaming in.

Even Trapper likes it! He's partial to turquoise shag rugs.