Friday, August 29, 2008

Where is Waldo Lake??

We are at Waldo Lake in Oregon!! From shortest to tallest: Toli our chocolate lab who's 1.5 years old, Quillan (aka Mudslide Sydney aged 6), Finn (aka Long Legs MacCormack aged 8), Max (my sweetie GF) and me (aka AlyTheRed, Alysse, Mama)

Ok let's march this trail! Hike that waterfall! Chase that chipmunk! Make a new friend! Hup! Hup! Hup, two three four!

Top of the beautiful Salt Creek falls.....

Max, Toli pup, and Quillan showin off the view....

Down near the base of the falls now... see all that shale in the background? We decided to scramble down that "trail" to get closer to the bottom of the falls. It involved some getting stuck, lots of sliding, some "are you SURE this is a good idea??", several bouts of crying, and when we got back up to the top shaking and sweating? Everyone agreed that was a thrilling adventure, but I was the only one who declared I'd never EVER want to do that part of the climb again! It was officially off the trail, people, and rather dangerous. I noticed the only other people bringing their kids down that far were DADS......

The Wee Rangers

Back at the lake side that afternoon....... beautiful handmade canoe that someone else brought. Waldo lake is special and popular because it's the second most pristine (Crater Lake being in first place) lake in Oregon. You can see right to the 120' bottom when paddling across. No algae, no fish, nothing but blue blue water and patterned rocks!

In these afternoon photos the sun is at the other angle making the water look dark grey.

Toli loving some off-leash luxury time. He is a lab and LOVES to swim and play with other friendly doggies.

Yes, this is Finn and Quillan using the two person kayak we brought! Their first time in it by themselves and they did great! Finn in the front paddling and Quillan in the back steering is pretty much their team philosophy in life. Very symbolic. What makes this Waldo lake and Islet campground a great place for kids is the shallow water in the bay. They can play, swim and boat all around safely. In this photo, they are in knee deep water.

Back at our campsite: view from the tent. Kids spent their five days collecting sticks and tending the fire. When the mozzies (tht's our Aussie word for mosquito) showed up, the kids dropped moss in the fire to smoke the mozzies away. Despite my herbal efforts, they still got an impressive amount of bites on their wee faces.

They slept in their own tent for the first time! We were so impressed!!!

Finn the Elf feeding our camp guests bread from his hand. What fun to feel the wild birds hop down and snatch bread from our hands!

Quillan the Gnome awaits breakfast in bed. We woke to a cold and damp morning! Hot cocoa and oatmeal got us going.

Shut your eyes for a few moments. What do you see in your mind's eye? I always see what I've been busy with that day. Or see a bunchof images of things I did or need to attend to. Camping is such a break from all the thinking and over stimulation of modern life. It's not "relaxing" by any means. We had an incredibly active trip. I'll share photos of our journey across the lake on another day. And there's tons of work in setting up camp, making and cleaning up food with rustic equipment, keeping the fire, hiking, playing, getting warm, getting cooled off, caring for the kids, reading Harry Potter book one by the campfire! It's not relaxing, but we came home so happy, smelling of campfire smoke, and when I shut my eyes, I could only see sticks, pine needles, and the continuous lapping of lake water. THAT is a vacation!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dye Your Wool- Easy Peasy Tutorial

Dying your wool at home is easy! You'll be shocked at how easy AND how fragrant it is. I promise. The colored wool in the photo are pieces of an old white sweater that I dyed using this process. Using an off white wool bit, as shown in the pan will result in less bright, and more neutral colors.

All you need is
  • a pan big enough to cover the wool with water
  • wool (this can be any sort of wool, like yarn, or loose wool to needlefelt, or a piece of an old sweater that you'd like to make into something else)
  • powered drink mix (I do not endorse or suggest drinking this stuff, but it makes wonderful dyes! It's not going to be sticky because we do not add sugar.)
Let's dye!
  • Estimate how much water you will need to cover your wool piece. Pour water and dye powder into the pan and mix with a metal spoon (does not absorb dyes or stain). Red dye is the strongest so you need only one packet. Orange might take two. Yellow is very pale so use 3-4 packets. You can always add more or re-dye later if it's not bright enough.
  • Plunge the wool in and press with the spoon until it's good and wet.
  • Gently warm the wool and water over low ish heat. Do NOT boil the water during this process.
  • Stir from time to time. It smells nice. Soon the wool will absorb the dye and the water will get either clear or less colored.
  • Plop your dyed wool into the kitchen sink and discard the left over water. Rinse the wool to get rid of any extra dye, squeeze and lay it out to dry. Easy!
Color mixing ideas: You can mix colors like usual. If you want to neutral out a color, add a sprinkle of the opposite color. You can get mixed colors and special effects by adding the wool to the water first, and sprinkling the dye right onto the wool. Press the wool into the water but don't mix too much. Don't use weird powered mixes that "change colors" unless you like surprises.

Write and tell me how your woolie projects turned out!
xo xo xo

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hot Woolie Woolie

Oregon finally had it's summer heat wave last week. 100 degree days. That's a big bit of hot for us here, because most Oregonians don't have air conditioning. The heat is miserable but doesn't last long. I've got to add that having a cold at the same time as a heat wave is not something I recommend for anyone.

I did finish my tea serving project design for Lark books. I recycling a plain white sweater into this India inspired colorful set of elephant tea cozy and coasters- all hand sewn. Tomorrow I'll give you my secrets for dying wool with powered drink mix (kool aid).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I have a Dr Seuess summer cold:

My head, it hurts
My spirts are lo
My voice, it sounds like Cigar Aunt Flo
My vision swims like a swarm of Nexis
My hankie is the size of Texas

My eyes are red
My feet are cold
I am not someone youd like to hold
A-choo! and Honk! And now my story is all told

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I am 100

Am I already one hundred?!! I just noticed. That I happened to write about slides and being playful at 99 was probably a good sign, huh?

100 posts and I still love you.

Wanna see some quilt art?

This is the "number" Hot Pink of the Bird on the Line series. I'm making art quilts and mounting them on wooden frames in two sizes. It gives a very satisfying and new sort of finished look. This one is for my dear friend Tonia's birthday. Happy Birthday to you, you excellent leo!

The moon is from a scrap of hand printed Tiwi (aboriginal australian tribe from the north) fabric depicting a spider's web. I adore hand printed fabrics.

Close up showing texture..... see the wee birdies?

Reverse side. I am getting the hang of how I want the backs to look and where I want to staple the fabric. It's like stretching a canvas only tiny. I adore putting something unexpected on the backsides of my quilts. I like surprises myself, so you can imagine I like to create surprises.

Clematis........ I'm new to clematis growing. We bought two different sorts then an ever-green. After planting them in a new flower bed, I learned that while they ARE a sun plant, they don't like their "feet" to get hot. I wonder if a covering of wood chips will keep them cool enough? They haven't grown much over this summer.

Planting bed.....
This is the view of a new shed area being prepared. We were going to build a shed, but in a yard where we want to maximize room for plants and garden and hens and add a mini orchard, we came up with a groovy alternative. We are using the North side of my studio as a shed. We pulled up all the grass and plant matter, put down that "no weed" screen, covered with chips for a nice floor, and we'll be adding a clear roof before fall. I'm wondering if I might like to add gutters to the roof and a collection barrel. This gives us a huge area to organize tools and store things, with lots of light, that's tucked out of view though close to the house. Downside is that it IS more exposed to spiders and such nesting, but they get into any shed or garage anyway. (No offense to spiders by the way.)

Thursday, August 7, 2008


When was the last time you went down a slide? Take your time to think about it.....
Can you recall how fast it was, or slow? Can you remember the smell of the metal? How did it feel under your hands? Was it fun or scary or silly or something else entirely?

If you haven't rode a slide recently, will you stop by the park this week and go down at least once? Just hop off your bike, or get out of your car and walk to the slide and just go. Just for me?

Would you like to share any unusual slide stories here?


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Catholicism for Five Year Olds

When I was five, I enjoyed a lot of time with my Catholic grandmother. I had conflicting feelings about the religion. I wanted to believe, but it didn't make sense to pray in Latin to this God who was up in Heaven waiting for us to commit sins. He'd be counting up our bad points and send us to this hell. Isn't life about learning? Isn't it ok to make mistakes and learn from them and grow as a person? I was mean to my friend Ann, but I felt badly about it, and told her sorry the next day, but was God still gonna count that against me? If he was all mighty, and wanted us to be good, couldn't he just take away the bad actions in the first place? And what about the bad things that happened to good people? And why did we have to sit, stand, kneel? Why would we really learn if they gave sermons in Latin? All the adults were just pretending to get something out of that! I sat in my pew, nicely dressed next to my grandma, counting the blue heads of hair, the purple heads of hair, vs natural grey heads, and pondered this religion.

I wanted to be good, and at least follow my beloved grandmother's wishes that I say prayers before bed. I struggled to find one of the holy people to say my nightly messages and questions to, but I just couldn't relate to that terrible suffering Jesus image. So scary for a child.

Mary was so white, so unreal, and I started thinking of her as Mary on Little House on the Prairie, who always did everything perfectly while Laura did NOT. I couldn't tell her my prayers and five year old struggles!

What about this "Holy Ghost" character? Maybe he was like Casper the Friendly Ghost only wearing a priest's collar? I decided not only to start addressing my prayers to him at night, but to invite him to play during the day. I kept it a secret though, fearing disapproval. I told everyone I was playing with Casper the Friendly Ghost. I pushed him on the swing, which he liked very much, and he sat by me for meals. He wasn't a loud moralizer like Jimminy Cricket. He didn't roll like that, he quietly effected me with his goodness. We were pretty close friends for about two years!

Am I good enough now?