Sunday, November 14, 2010

Kid 'n' Ewe Fiber Festival in Boerne, Texas

I'm a native Texan, so I'm biased -- but I LOVE the Hill Country. These hills make my heart sing and my cowboy boots scoot! Boerne, deep in the heart of Texas, hosted the Kid 'n' Ewe Fiber Festival this weekend. I dragged my husband Neely along, with the promise that we wouldn't spend ALL our time looking at fleeces and yarns. But oh, it was a fiber lover's paradise. (And here's a disclaimer -- The following pictures are just a small sample of the wonderful stuff available from the vendors, simply what caught my eye. I'm not affiliated with the Festival at all. So to all vendors not shown here, I apologize, but I loved your wares too!)

There were yarns aplenty -- a rainbow wall of rug yarns from Vanessa Emmons -- She's BritKnits at;

scrumptious hand-dyed lovelies from Brooks Farm --

and heavenly soft mohair hanks from South Texas Angora Goats

The Festival emphasized the wonderful animals which give us their fiber, and the ranchers who make their living caring for them. Cindy Telisak at Jacob's Reward Farm --
-- offers non-ranchers an opportunity to purchase "shares" of a working farm/ranch, and in return receive a proportional share of the farm's products (including fleece!) Details here:

Wellspring Suri Alpacas ( showed two of their herd for us to pet and enjoy --

Who wouldn't love this face!

And of course, fleece was for sale: raw fleece, to be washed and carded before spinning, like this from South Texas Angora Goats --

and this from Trinity Ridge Alpacas -- Steve and Janet Hancock from Trinity Ridge were so friendly and generous with information about their ranch, which hosts "open farm" on the 4th Saturday of every month, when anyone can visit and learn about alpacas. Go to for more information.

Before you can spin the raw fleece into yarn, you must wash and card it into roving like these hand-dyed examples from Lynn's Texas Fibers ( --
or send it to a mill like Ozark Carding Mill ( for processing.

Myles Jakubowski of --
makes exquisite hand-crafted spinning wheels, and he generously brought some beauties for spinners to try.

A little less intimidating, at least for me, are drop spindles such as the beautiful shell and glass ones offered by Butterfly Girl Designs (

and the lovely handpainted wooden ones made by Sally Ball ( I bought these two -- the Celtic Knot design for my daughter and the moon design for me:

Sally makes spinning look so easy! The spindle she's using here is painted with her original dragon design (which I covet unashamedly! I'm waiting for you to post one on your Etsy page, Sally!)

So what did I bring away from our weekend in Boerne, other than happy memories? Fleece from Trinity Ridge's alpaca named Pharoah, yarn from Brooks Farm, spindles and batts from Sally Ball --

a tiny, 3-inch-tall alpaca herd because Neely refused to let me bring home the real thing (aren't they cute!) --

and, most important to Neely, a stash of wine from Sister Creek Vineyard, located just a few miles away from Boerne in Sisterdale. The Muscat Canelli is most delicious! --

The next fiber festival in Texas is the Yellow Rose Fiber Producers show in Seguin, April 15-16, 2011. Check out for more details. See you there!

edit: Check the 3rd comment below for a fiber farm that I missed at the festival: Fancy Fibers Farm offers a "diverse selection of fiber, including Suri, Mohair, Cashgora, Angora (rabbit), and both Shetland and Border Leicester wool." Find them at

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I Hope You Dance

I'm feeling a little weepy today, missing my Chicago loved ones. Hence this video. Hope you enjoy it. It's one of my favorites.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Too hot to eat anything but salads

Today in a fit of weather-denial (my mental state addled by the heat) I made a dish called "Skillet Chicken Ole" for lunch. The combination of Rotel tomatoes and cayenne pepper, in a hot dish served on a bed of steaming rice, had DH and I sweating from just looking at it -- waaay too much heat for lunch in Texas, in August, when the heat index is above 100 degrees. It was a good dish that I won't prepare again until we get some cool Autumn nights.

A more sensible lunch was one I made a few days ago:
Sliced Bartlett pears grilled and drizzled with honey, on a bed of romaine lettuce and glazed pecans, dressed with raspberry vinaigrette -- A very satisfying lunch on a very hot day! Next time I think I'll add crumbled goat cheese. Yum.

I watched an Ina Garten rerun yesterday. She tossed diced watermelon, diced feta cheese, arugula and mint leaves, with a citrus vinaigrette. Yum again. You can get a citrus vinaigrette recipe (like Ina's) here:
I'm a confirmed salad eater until this heat wave breaks. Anyone have a good recipe or salad idea?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Knitting Softly

"May every stitch you knit bring you a little closer to that calm, clear space in the center of your soul." -- Earth Heart Designs

I love to knit for my daughter. I'm knitting a sweater for her birthday -- or Christmas, depending on how quickly I proceed. She chose the yarn and the pattern, so I'm not giving away any surprise. My gift to her is my time.

But it's a gift to myself as well, because she is in my mind with every stitch that slips from left needle to right. Pure, uninterrupted time to think of her and, yes, miss her because she lives so far away.

But I have only to pick up my needles and yarn (silk and mohair, soft as Autumn mist) and my thoughts are with her across the miles. The pattern is "Aislin" by Kim Hargreaves, whose unique designs we both love. This one is almost tunic length, with an elongated soft ruffle around the bottom. This is the back. Though it's still on the needles here, it's finished now.
It will look glorious on my beautiful daughter.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fiesta Colors

Wow! Quite a thunderstorm blew over Slipper Moon this evening. Just at sunset, too.

Gorgeous fiesta colors in the sky -- lots of thunder and lightning, but not a drop of rain so far. A perfect evening to be upstairs in my studio/hideout!I'm reworking a bracelet that just doesn't make me happy. I made this bracelet some time ago from shards of broken Fiestaware because I just love the bright colors, and it reminds me of Galveston (wherein is a great Fiestaware shop) and my husband (who shares my love of Fiestaware). The African trade bead dangles are fun and accent the bracelet's Caribbean colors. But I don't love the twisted chain. The bracelet will look fuller and hang better on a chain with bigger links, I think. So, I'll tear it apart.Next step is to polish the charms' solder. I use only lead-free solder, and I polish it with a simple manicure block.On the right is an unpolished charm, with a polished one on the left. Soldered charms always look better when polished. I attach the charms to the chain with sterling split rings, a task made easier by toothed pliers.With all Fiestaware charms attached, I accent the bracelet with African trade beads. Many of these trade beads are antique, purchased from various dealers over the years.The toggle clasp is attached, but I need a few more African bead accents to complete the bracelet . . .a job for another day, I think. It's after midnight, our thunderstorm has passed, and I think I can sleep now. Have a lovely evening, everyone.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Blogging about nothing special

Finally, I'm feeling like myself again. I had surgery for a ruptured disc in my lower spine earlier this summer and, believe me, I felt that my life had changed. For weeks I could only sit on the sofa and contemplate pain. But all's well, and at last I can again do things which make me happy, such as making jewelry, visiting my new granddaughter, and sharing my blog with you!We just returned from Chicago earlier this week, where I spent lots of quality (spoiling) time with my granddaughter Bella. Life doesn't get any better!
We stopped by Efurd's Orchard in Pittsburg, Texas, on our way home. The fragrance of tree-ripened peaches sweetened the air and I couldn't resist! I now have lots of peaches in my freezer, and those in the photo made the most delicious peach turnovers. I'm lazy, though, and used puff pastry instead of making dough from scratch. I'll leave you with our gorgeous sunset this evening. A storm threatened late this afternoon but failed to deliver much-needed rain. But the deepening sky and clouds illuminated by the setting sun were lovely through the pine trees. Have a restful or exciting weekend, as the spirit moves you, and go with care, my friends!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A funny thing happened to me on my way home from Chicago . . .

Sooooo . . . Today, Neely and I were on the last leg of our drive home from Chicago. We stopped for gas and I visited the ladies' room. A young lady in a McDonald's uniform exited the ladies' as I was entering, and she hesitated and looked as though she wanted to say something to me, but then just went on. I stepped in and closed the door, and a young man was hiding behind the door! I gave him my best teacher voice: "EXCUSE ME!!??" and he mumbled, "sorry, Ma'am, I was just going to change the trash bag" and he quickly left. When I left the ladies' room, those two were walking out arm in arm. The young man walked the young lady back to work at the McDonald's next door, where she gave him a passionate kiss before going back inside. Young love, huh?? :D (You know you're getting old when you cannot imagine having a romantic encounter in the restroom of a gas station!)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Welcome Summer -- Happy Memorial Day!

I hope everyone has a safe and celebratory Memorial Day. Even with all this country's problems and challenges, take a moment to thank those who have given their lives for our country, those who returned from service with life-altering mental and physical health problems, and say a prayer for their families, too. Without their sacrifices, we would not have a country where we are free to complain about its problems and challenges. I've lived in the Middle East, and I'm grateful every single day to be home. "God Bless the USA."

We spent yesterday with Neely's parents at their lake house on Toledo Bend Reservoir. This is the view from their dock:

and this is a view from the dam:

Such a lovely place to be on a fine summer's day. My Dad loved this lake when he was alive, though he fished like he worked: full steam ahead and don't take time to enjoy the ride! He did take plenty of bass and perch from this lake over the years, though.

Now we're home for the holiday, and I think I'll spend this afternoon in my garden. I need to weed, but I think I'll take my own advice and just enjoy the ride -- and smell the flowers. Have a great day, friends.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

a late Mother's Day greeting

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day. Sorry to be late with my greetings, but I was a bit busy that week, doing this:

and this:

Life doesn't get any better. Now that I'm home, I'll post again soon. I've got some baby hats for our local hospital on my knitting needles, and a new bracelet partially assembled. And I really need to get my Etsy shop going, if I can collect my scattered thoughts. I have some new knitting bags to offer. Till then, have a beautiful day, and right now this very minute, kiss someone you love!