Sunday, April 27, 2008

My dogs are barkin'

I got almost all of the garden planted today. It was overcast and very warm and therefore perfect for transplants. I went to Joe's Garden twice today for stakes and there is plastic mesh deer fence 3' tall around all of our beds now. If it wasn't the cats reveling in the giant litterbox I had constructed for them, it was the neighborhood squirrels. I keep finding peanuts buried in every bed and every tiny shoot just tossed aside.

My order to Skagit River Ranch goes out tomorrow. I'll post more about how that goes. I'm finished for today and it's time for a late afternoon nap.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


I don't have any photos today, so I'll try to tack up some old photo to catch the attention of you short attention span/MTV generation types (myself included.) OR you can click on my links. I like hyperlinks because they allow me to digress without losing my train of thought. You, the Reader, can go back and follow my various digressions if you choose to do so, or ignore the red words entirely.

Tyree has gone back to school at BTC and is really excited about the classes he's taking. Quite frankly, so am I. (If you'll remember Aunt Katie) I guessed that it was going to be the welding part that REALLY excited him and hooboy, so far it is. Plus I have about 1 million things I want him to weld for me, starting with a coffee table that looks like this. Then proceeding to a metal and copper Shoji screen that I have in mind. Woohoo!

Penny the Van continues to run more or less perfectly. We wanted to take it camping this weekend, but it started SNOWING. Freakish weather.

I've been thinking more and more about the meat we eat. I was a vegetarian for many, many years. This was first about the humane treatment of animals for me and it eventually morphed into the concern about the sustainability of the meat agribusiness industry. We continue to allot more and more of our pesticide-laden genetically modified corn to feed our confined, feedlot, hormone and antibiotic-laced cattle. There weren't a whole lot of other options at that time. That's not the case anymore. The end of my vegetarian days came when Robin Du Pre, an environmental activist whom I truly respect said to me one day,
"What do You think is more sustainable, clean fish and organic meat from our local area or soybeans trucked in from Kansas." Yeah. That's all it took.

The local, natural foods industry has exploded in Bellingham in the last 10 years. There is an organization here in town called Sustainable Connections that does an amazing job of promoting th local economy. Heck, as far as I can tell they are CREATING the local economy. Anyway, now I can get fresh, local, organic produce, meat, dairy, etc practically any time I want. Which brings me back to the meat. Organic meat and chicken are REALLY expensive. As in not within our budget. Unless we buy bulk.

I'm considering ordering 1/4 (of a cows worth) of beef this year from Skagit River Ranch. It's really expensive but about 1/2 the price of buying it in the store. We would just freeze it. and it would be our year's worth. My friend has been doing this for years with her family. Her dad buys a couple of cattle every year and they raise it, have it butchered and divide it up. They're well cared for and pastured in the most beautiful land and are basically organic, free-range, grass-fed, etc.... without the label. She said there's a small chance I could get a share from her, which would be about 1/2 the price of Skagit River because her dad doesn't do it for profit, just cost and labor. I've got my fingers crossed.

We spent a lot of time in the studio this weekend. I'm preparing my side to house a loom soon. I've packed up and culled a lot of my bookbinding stuff. I'm not having much luck selling my antique equipment locally so we might keep it until we open our bookstore someday. It would look pretty neat.

There, are you happy?

Friday, April 11, 2008

May I introduce Penny....

Named for her copper color. Hooray! I already love this van!

We pulled the middle bench seat out for space for a bed and camping gear.

Totally decent interior.

S0me of you may know that I used to own another van very like this. Theta remembered EXACTLY where to sit. Scooby Doo came with the van. The previous owner was teased about it looking like the Mystery Machine.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


There's a little glare on this new photo. It's one of Tyree's latest paintings. A woman has already arranged to buy it.

Another reason I love this town...

This is the view out our studio window. Not 3 days ago we were discussing the various shapes this ivy could be trimmed into. The next morning on my way to work there was a guy on a ladder.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


The dyed silk was trickier to spin than I thought. First, I used the heat set dye method and no mordant and I'm not really sure I did it right. I used the yellow and apricot dyes straight and the red was dilluted, and the red washed out. I wasted about 1/2 of the silk learning to ply it. Silk doesn't have a memory like wool. It is also highly inelastic compared to wool.

Once I got it figured out it was working, but I only ended up with about 50 yards of it. It was an inexpensive lesson. I think it's pretty, though. Sunset colors.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


What with the build-up of having house guests and party, etc.... I sort of hit a wall where sleep was the most important thing for a few days. We still managed to get a lot done, but my health was a little worse. I'm feeling better now. Plus I've got the second half of next week off because Conor is on spring break. I think we're going to go to Vancouver.

It was great to see Jill and Ted (in from Thailand) Marty (from Portland) and Ryan and Kyle (new friends from Seattle) and eat and drink and laugh. I wish they all could have stayed longer. We had our first house party. At my best count, including us, there where 18 people in our little house. Tyree roasted 3 chickens (not ours) and potatoes, green beans, bread, cheese, wine, homebrew and just the absolutely perfect mix of people. I was in heaven.

So what have I been doing in the meantime? Work. It's been crazy and bound to get crazier until I leave for a few days.

Tyree refinished another desk, mahogany, now located at the studio. I tied up some supports for our garden, which I will show when there's something growing on them. Last Friday night was the Gallery walk and it looks like Tyree sold a painting.

I have finally made a decision regarding my bookbinding equipment. I just don't have the love for it anymore. I actually dread finishing custom jobs. I've listed all of the equipment online and I'm selling it. I'm keeping just enough to do occasional repair on our own library. The rest has been superfluous for years. I have always wanted a weaving loom and since I have the space (at the studio) and the money (assuming I can sell my bookbinding equipment) I think it's time for a change of medium. My books used to be a creative outlet for me, as well as a meager side income. Lately all I've wanted to do is play with animal hair anyway. So it goes.

I know I posted pictures of my Majacraft Rose on my old blog, but just to remind you of how beautiful she is:

Majacraft Rose: I ordered her from New Zealand. She took months to get to me. That's how good she is.

This is is some unspun tussah silk that I picked up at Northwest Handspun Yarns. I'm taking a beginners weaving workshop there on the weekend of May 2nd. 2 solid days of weaving and two projects. They have the looms in the workshop. I thought it might help me get an idea of what kind I want.

I took a million photos of the silk yarn after it was spun, but this is the only one that gives a sense of the luster of the yarn.

This is the same unspun tussah after I dyed a batch. The colors where inspired by the painting Tyree sold. Except there needs to be more of a wine in it. We'll see what this looks like when it's spun up.