Let’s Talk Crochet

What are you passionate about? What do you daydream about, spend your money and time on? What are you good – even great – at?  Have you spent a lifetime perfecting your craft, or is this a new vocation/hobby/obsession?

one of my oldest doilies

I have spent a lot of time on my blog talking gardens, photography, travel, pets …  the one thing I have never really covered is my OTHER passion – Crochet! And it occured to me, as the calendar turned to another decade and I face another milestone birthday, that I have been crocheting for upwards of 50 years.  50 – YEARS.  Dang! That’s a long time to stay engaged in a hobby.


I have had a hook in my hand longer than a camera, or garden trowel.  And these days I crochet (nearly) every evening as the day winds down. I look forward to travel to explore our wonderful world – but also as an opportunity for non-stop crochet during the trip!

This is a photo of my crochet kat, Julian, with Illyria doily on the ferry to Dublin in 2018.

two doilies ready for entry in the county fair

Crochet is my  passion, the thing I look forward to, plan for, daydream about. I can crochet in all kinds of weather, I can take it with me for long drives, or long waits. I feel like I am accomplishing something when I have a hook in my hand.  I love all kinds of projects from scarves to toys to household decor.  But the one thing I love the most is making lace, making doilies and table runners and borders for things I like to sew.

Years ago, when I was much younger and raising two babies I had a lot of time on my hands and not a lot of money.  We lived in an isolated area, so I didn’t work at the time.  My mother suggested that I try a hand at making doilies.  Back then the choices were slim pickings.  Pineapple motifs, ecru and whites. Not the fun rainbow colors we have at our fingertips today.  But I was hooked anyway.  Over the years I am pretty sure I have hooked over 100 doilies.  I still have many of them.

With the advent of the internet and sites like Ravelry , Pinterest and Facebook we have seen a renewal in our craft.  There are younger designers making beautiful artistic patterns, all available with the click of a mouse (or tap on your cell phone). And the tried and true designers are there too, working hard to keep us engaged with new designs and re-mastering old favorites.

Pictured: Icarus and Illyria by Grace Fearon and Pineapple Song Oval by Patricia Kristoffersen

Whew, I guess you know now how I really feel about this.  I just wanted to share a few of the doilies I have made in the past couple of years, but the backstory just took over! In the coming months I would like to share more of my work – both doilies and fun yarn projects too. I hope to inspire you to go out there and find the thing that you love to do with your time, your hands, your money. Enjoy this journey, and the photos to follow.

If you wish to find out more about these projects, and the designers that created these wonderful works you can see them all in my Ravelry projects.

Stay tuned for more crochet, garden and travel fun this year!

Autumn Road Trip

Saturday we hit the road with a load of 720 fresh Douglas Fir Christmas Trees – final seedestination San Antonio, TX. Imagine all that Christmas joy packed into a 52 foot trailer!

Our route is taking us through Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Western Texas. On day 2 we drove on one of the most beautiful highways in the Southwestern U.S. – U.S. Highway 191 in Utah. We drove past the entrance to Arches National Park, and Moab. There was not time to stop, but we promised ourselves to return when we have more time.

Just down the road we decided to take our mandatory 30 minute rest break at the Kane Springs Rest Area (just the other side of The Hole in the Wall). What an amazing 30 minutes! I kid you not, this was one of the most scenic, beautiful rest areas I have been in. (And we have seen more than our share). I practically flew out of the truck to walk around and take these photos for you.

Thinking about these photos later, I realized how fortunate we were to be here in the fall. Love the play of the light thru the lacy tree branches and how the color of the trees matches the red rocks. We walked around with the pup and climbed on the rocks. 

These trips are all about seeing this beautiful country we live in, and making memories together. This short 30 minute stop is now a beautiful memory to be replayed over and over again.

A bit later we paused one more time for these snapshots. It was a Sunday afternoon, with many people out enjoying the day – climbing on the rocks in the sun.

We have traveled down the road now, and will be delivering those Christmas Trees tomorrow. We are looking forward to making new memories as we make our way down the road.

See you again soon.

*click the a photo to view individually.

US Capitol Christmas Tree – 2018

The National Christmas Tree – the one they decorate and put up on the west lawn of the US Capitol – is coming from the Willamette National Forest.  The tree was cut from the Sweet Home Ranger District and is 70 feet tall with a 24 inch diameter trunk, weighs 8,300 pounds and is 35-years-old.  For the first time, a noble fir (Abies procera) has been selected.  The last time the Capitol Tree was selected from Oregon was in 2002.  This was a Douglas Fir from the Umpqua National Forest.

The tree is following the Oregon Trail  in reverse on its way to D.C.  We caught up with the Tree and its considerable entourage when they visited the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Oregon City.

(click the photos in each mosaic to view them larger)

Capitol Christmas Tree postcard

Capitol Christmas Tree postcard

We arrived at just about 4:00, so it was still daylight.  Hubby and I had a great time talking to the forest rangers and truck drivers hauling the tree.  The full length of the set-up including the truck and trailer is about 105 feet!  The trailer was custom made, and the new Kenworth tractor was wrapped with a really cool design.  There is a team of drivers from Central Oregon Trucking here in Oregon driving the rig.

The sides of the trailer are covered in a canvas that everyone was invited to sign with well wishes for the tree and crew.  Of course I took my turn signing – twice!

As 5:00 approached the crowds began to grow, and some friends of mine came by.  We had a great time visiting, talking to the drivers and the park rangers.  I even visited with the official photographer!

The trailer has a window in the rear so we can see the decorated top of the tree.  The lights are on as they go down the road.  We were told they get quite a bit of attention running down the highway!

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By the time we left the moon was beginning to set over the roofline of the wagons at the museum.  What a unique and memorable way to begin the holiday season!

 From here the tree will travel along the trail to St. Louis where they will be part of the Thanksgiving Day parade. I sure wish we could be there.  We leave on Saturday heading east and then south to Texas with a load of Christmas Trees ourselves.  They won’t all be celebrities though.  Hubby thinks we may see the truck again before we head south. I know I will be keeping an eye out.

The lighting ceremony at the capitol is set to happen on Wednesday, December 5 at 5 pm.  To read more about the tree, some history about the program,  and the journey ahead visit  https://www.capitolchristmastree.org/tree.html or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/USCapitolChristmasTree/   and Instagram  https://www.instagram.com/uscapitolchristmastree/ 

Summertime Car Shows – an American Tradition

 

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Car enthusiasts in small towns all over the county come together under clear summer skies to marvel at autos from years gone by.  Our little town is no different.  Last weekend the center of town was filled to the brim with cars, trucks, motorcycles and even a boat!

We love walking around with the pup, looking at auto models we owned in days gone by, and those that pre-date our memories.  We can remember when the streets were filled with the style and color of decades worth of cars – from the 50’s to the 70’s as teens.  Large and small, convertibles, station wagons, campers ….  they were everywhere!

 

 

For me, much of the beauty is in the details.  How the light plays on the chrome, what I see reflected in the back of a mirror, or a polished hubcap.  And the colors!  From a  turquoise Mustang to a rose pink Chevrolet – and the matte blue pain on the low rider above – it was a beautiful rainbow of cars.

 

Of course most of the entries for car shows are already completed works of art.  But my eye landed on this old ford truck – with all the dents, rust and broken glass.  I love the texture and contrasting colors that the patina of age reveals.  And that hood ornament!  I won’t lie – I took several photos of her. ( Showing restraint, I have only published two here!)

 

The owners of these cars seem to have so much fun decorating them!  This VW van was outfitted with all the necessities, including a brownie camera.  From the diminutive Thunderbird with the porthole windows, to the classic pickup truck, they are all beautiful.  And we love taking that trip down memory lane whenever we get the chance.

*click on a photo in each mosaic to open a carousel gallery for viewing.

 

Exploring London via the Thames

Because there was so much we wanted to see in the UK we were only able to spend six days in London.

After riding around in the busses we took a river cruise,  giving a different perspective on the city.

 

 

We sailed beneath the Tower Bridge, saw the scaffolding shrouding Big Ben tower, the Tower of London, the London Eye, the HMS Belfast and a unique view of the city skyline.

We arrived in Greenwich (last photo, above) just as the light entered the golden hour.

 

Greenwich is home to the worlds fastest Tea clipper, the Cutty Sark. You can also find the Royal Observatory at the top of the hill. The 24 hour clock dates back to 1852. The red ball on the top of the Observatory is dropped at 1300 (1:00) every day. This signals all the ships in the area of the correct time – and this is where the phrase ‘on the ball’ comes from.  The most amazing thing to me was the International Date Line. I mean this is literally where time begins! Note the markings in the last photo – western hemisphere and eastern hemisphere.

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Exploring London on a double decker bus

I find myself playing the tourist again – this time we headed to the UK. The first leg of our trip is London, England. When I booked this trip we were looking forward to a vacay in cooler climates than Italy or Central America as in past years. Who knew we would visit in the middle of a record breaking heat wave! It’s been beautiful blue skies for our touring – much better than the expected showery weather.

We basically hit the ground running when we arrived. After a five hour power nap we took a little stroll to figure out the lay of the land.

Of course we found ourselves in front of the most famous address in the city …. Buckingham palace.

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With the city before us, we decided to take a bus tour the next day for a different viewpoint, and an overview of what London is all about. What we saw was a lot of traffic! But I did manage to get some interesting photos.

The Tower Bridge, the London Eye over the skyline, Big Ben shrouded in scaffolding, the Marble Arch relocated from Buckinham palace by Queen Victoria and intersting artwork just about everywhere.

In the next few days we visited many more landmarks – Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, several gardens and the place where time begins. (Greenwich). Our trip has just begun – stay tuned for more photos and commentary as time and Wi-Fi permit!

*S.

Ladybug, Ladybug

Ladybug!  Ladybug!
Fly away home.
Your house is on fire.
And your children all gone.

All except one,
And that’s little Anne,
For she crept under
The frying pan.

This nursery rhyme always reminds me of my Mom. ♥  And my sister too.

I photographed these ladybug photos at the End of the Oregon Trail Pioneer Garden.  They hang out in the Hop vine this time of year, munching on the aphids.

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Ladybug with eggs

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Ladybug larvae (babies)

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Ladybug

 

The first photo was taken with an LG G5 cell phone camera, and the last two with my new LG G7 cell phone camera.