What have I done?!?!

30 Aug

Just a few short weeks ago I was sitting at home, running son to the pool, playing with my family. No pressing schedules or duties (except the endless and thankless tasks call “housework”). All that’s changed with quickly shifting gears in a short span of time. Now I run a small shop, have to make sure Son gets to school on time and I’m back to a Life in Retail! An upside…it gets me out of the housework!
maisieblue's shopfront

Flickr Maisie Blue set has loads more pics of where I now spend most of my days. It’s a sweet space that we’re each day making more homey and filled with goodies. Right now my focus is getting more greeting cards and building the website. In this heat…it’s hard to do anything with a clear head. Must be time to turn on the a/c. Then I’ll take a break to do some knitting and drinking tea. Life is good. A bright light on the horizon of a tough year. But more on that later…. Right now I’ve got a date with an air conditioner!

wet winter’s day and a warm shawl of purple love

25 Jan

After the big holiday knitting push of 2008, followed by the Jan 2009 WIPs Wrestling Challenge in my Ravelry group, Village Hopelessly Overcommitted, I’m now indulging myself.  A Warm Shawl by Veronik Avery is just the ticket to banish the winter blues away under a springy, soft purpley mound of garter stitch bliss.

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This mass of lavender loveliness is soon to be flanked by a two-toned lacey border. Soon because it’s knitting up so rapidly.  Good thing because it calls for over 425+ rows of garter stitch (!) before I can get to the fun  lace bit.  Oddly enough I’m zipping along, happily gartering away. After about two hours of knitting I’ve got about eight inches (and only forty more to go).  Usually endless garter stitch puts me to sleep after a few rows… but I think it’s this yarn.  I just adore it.

And what pray-tell is this gorgeous yarn? One of my absolute favorites: Berroco Ultra Alpaca in Lavender Mix , Cobalt Violet and Pastel Lilac.

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A perfect go-to yarn in a blend of peruvian wool and super fine alpaca. And the smell (yes… I confess to the occasional moment of yarn sniffing) is wonderful. Reminds me of my childhood stuffie, good ole Tote Dog.  Well… don’t think Tote smells so nice today but he did, oh those many years ago before I plucked all his fur off…poor naked Tote Dog.

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This project is with the Ultra Alpaca Worsted…but it’s such a popular yarn for Berroco it’s also in a Light (DK) and Fine (Lace) weight. I admit to hoarding a fair bit of this yarn in a variety of color (but it was a stupendous sale and I just couldn’t let this yarn languish on the sale shelf, unloved and homeless). It’s a staple yarn…like rice and beans, or milk and bread. You just have to have Ultra Alpaca in your stash in a multitude of colors and weights so you’re always prepared to answer the siren call of a new cast on. And after diligently putting my nose to the grindstone to tackle my burgeoning WIPs pile for the first weeks of 2009 . . . I deserved a little unadulterated knitting pleasure. And this fits the bill nicely.

Up next: My first attempt at proper laceweight yarn knitting. This time it’s with the other love of my stash: Malabrigo Lace.  Cast on scheduled for Feb 1. Pattern currently under negotiation. Details soon!

My 2008 Project365 Wrap Up Mosaics

6 Jan

A look back at 2008 in pictures. Last year, thanks to the Ravelry Project365 group and StudioD, I got my photo-mojo back. For first time in years I snapped photos creatively and often experimentally. Now I’ve fun mosaics to relive our year at at glance with just some of the best of 4000s+ pics snapped during the year. That’s a lot of snapping!

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Another Day, Another Historical Cemetery

5 Jan

One of our family resolutions for 2009 is to seriously track down local history and Aaron’s family history. Little did we know when moving back here to my hometown that he had very deep ancestral roots in the region. Not only did his great-great-great-granddad migrate west in 1850 (along with massive amounts of others seeking their fortunes in the gold mines) but we’ve discovered that his first stop was the very same small town where we now live!

As we sit downtown at our favorite cafe, surrounded by historical buildings, we think about young John Dabney Perkins pulling up on Main Street in his covered wagon (along with his Uncle David and about 1500lbs of tobacco) sometime in 1850, ready to set up shop and hopefully strike it rich in the gold mines of Calaveras County. Alas Murphys didn’t yield the anticipated wealth and eventually (twenty odd years later) J.D. settled in Ione, over in neighboring Amador County. And now some 159 odd years later, his descendants have returned to their ancestral roots in the Gold Country once again.

What does all this have to do with that pretty picture above? Well…in a round about way it does relate…in my typically round-about-fashion. The picture is of a tombstone in an old cemetery in Stent (no longer exists as a town…just a cemetery), the birthplace of Aaron’s maternal grandmother, who married J.D. Perkins great-grandson in the 1920s. They never lived anywhere near Murphys but did end up in Sonoma County, where Aaron was born and raised. Where he and I met, had a son and then moved back to my hometown…that really is more like his hometown. Hence the circle closes…eventually…

To see why I’m posting a picture of pretty little tombstone read about it over on my other blog. I’m toying with the idea of merging these two blogs…but for now… head over there if you’re not yet thoroughly bored with all my ramblings! Right now I’ve got a date with a 5 year old and some bedtime stories.

Day with the Dead at Stent

5 Jan


So…what does your family like to do on the weekends?

Well . . . we like to visit very old dead people we don’t even know.

Seeing that we’re now living in an area just chock-a-block full of history – most of it now long forgotten – we’ve decided to spend more time this year exploring our own historical backyard.

Today’s outing: The small Stent Cemetery near Jamestown, California. Aaron’s maternal grandmother, Nettie Jones Perkins supposedly was born in this very town when it was actually a thriving mining town. By the advent of her birth in 1900 it was in decline, as were many small towns in the region once mines became depleted. By 1925 the post office was decommissioned and shut up for good. Today, all that’s left is this very small, hardly noticeable cemetery. Blink and you’ll miss it.


Only a handful of tombstones remain with many forgotten graves, now unmarked.


Some are beautiful while other are mere rustic slabs of granite; no name, no details, just left blank. A few are heartbreaking:


This is little Roy Lee Booth, dead at 18 months (Please ignore the adorable, almost-5 year old peeking out…he’s forever mugging for the camera). Heartbreaking for his parents, who obviously cherished their son, as demonstrated by substantial tombstone (the lamb gracing the top now missing his head) and the sentiment, “Baby Sleeps.”


How or why did he die? The date of July 4th suggests maybe a tragic holiday accident. Possibly the wee toddler wandered off during a family outing to celebrate Independence Day, fell down a well or even an abandoned mine shaft. Maybe he contracted a fever or botilism from spoilt food (not surprising with the high summer heat in these parts). Or could it be the result of a tumble from the carriage as his father (who imbibed just a tad too much) drove too fast home from the Stent Fireworks? We’ll never know (so just ignore my fanciful speculations). Maybe digging around the Tuolumne County Archives would yield vital stats on the Booth family of Stent, California. But the sad details surrounding Baby Booth’s death are probably long forgotten by his ancestors, who have no idea he rests in this little neglected graveyard of a ghost town.

Here’s another intriguingly mysterious fella:

Tomo L. Tomasevich, “iz Krusevice Hercegovina” (which I think means a native of Herzegovina), died December 23, 1908 at only 32 years old. What was a native born of Easter Europe doing living in Stent, a small mining town (by then on the fast-track to becoming a ghost town)?


He too was well-loved obviously, with such a beautifully designed tombstone a testament to his family’s esteem and grief. Does anyone today remember this man? No other family members lie nearby so he lies alone.


We loved this headstone, lying on the ground all catawampus, but in surprising excellent condition.


The carving is so lovely…and see…the 5 year old can’t help himself. He just has to creep his little self in whenever possible!


This headstone belongs to the Whitford family ancestoral plot. Buried here are Richard the Elder, Jane and another Richard (maybe a son?) in a far corner of the cemetery next to a now dead tree (and a surprisingly busily traversed country lane).


Mama Jane’s inscription reads:


A light from our house… A voice we loved is silent… A place is vacant in our hearts… That never can be filled

So many people lie here in this forgotten cemetery, representing a brief moment in time when this area was a vibrant, bustling community, familiar throughout this gold mining region distant past. All that remains are a few marble slabs and many questions of “who are you all?”


Bad Bad Blogger

12 Oct

Bad because I’m remiss in posting. I do on my general blog but this sad little knitting blog is neglected somethin’ fierce! So here’s a quickie post to show that yes, I do actual knit sometimes!

Knitting lately consists of holiday quick knits. When you’ve got 17+ WIPs on the needles (and that’s a true count…not a guesstimate with a few stragglers hiding in corners, uncounted) it’s hard not to feel anxious and unfocused. My usual response: cast on something new! For some reason I just feel unfocused and find it hard to commit to a knit. Hence my urge to do something fast and quick to get my knittin’ mojo flowing smoothly. Enter the Zakka Tissue Cozy
Oh the joys of practically instant gratification! Literally this went from cast on to FO in less (yes less) than 24 hours! Joy of joys, I did it!

Now a roll call of WIPs with recent favorites first! A Morning Surf Scarf in Malabrigo Silky Merino.
This color is a bit green for my liking (and when ordered thought it was more pale aqua than bright green) but it’s looking good in this pattern. Finally. After trying oh let’s see, about 4 different patterns! Sometimes it happens like that. Just can’t mesh the yarn and pattern at the same time. But finally this Spring Green Malabrigo may just possible have form.

What else…oh yes here’s another lovely Malabrigo knit. My second Clapotis in Silky Merino, Caribeno colorway. Yep. That’s a whole lot of intense blue, green and purple! So intense my beloved Addi Natura needles have a distinct greenish cast now. But man is this a soft yarn to knit and will be a stunning Clappie, that’s for sure. A real pleasure to knit.

Just one more project that I’m loving. Amy Singer’s Tuscany shawl in Elann Peruvian Highland Wool in just the prettiest Sky Blue! Oh I adore, truly adore this pattern! The most complicated semi-lace type pattern I’ve attempted to date and after a couple mis-starts it’s now flying on the needles. Once you get the pattern straight in your head it’s a great knit. Highly meditative and so lovely to look at as the stitches form this pretty pattern before your eyes. It’s my current cotton candy knit, for when I need some indulgent knitting that just makes me plain happy!

Seeing today is Sunday, Husband’s in the field and it’s a nice sunny (yet chilly) autumn day…I want to knit…and knit lots. Now I’m all revved up to do more once I back away from the laptop. Here’s my shortlist today:
Morningside Neckwarmer from the current Classic Elite Newsletter. Designed by the highly cool brooklyntweed.
I know! Yet another new cast on but I’ve been waiting oh so long to find the perfect pattern for my Debbie Bliss Pure Cashmere and by golly…I think I’ve found it! I’ll let you know how it goes. Off to go cast on!

Time for a Haircut!

11 Oct

Yep, Mom finally gave in to Dad’s (and Mey-Mey’s, Grandma’s, Papa’s…) nagging and gave me a haircut today. I was looking pretty shaggy before…but not now!

Now I’m fiesty with my new shorter do and I’ve discovered something else: I have ears!

Look here’s the second ear. Mom did try to cut my earlobe off, but only once. I yelped pretty good but no blood was drawn.

Now discovering I have ears doesn’t mean I’ll take the bananas out that seem to grown in there. Or at least that’s what Mom’s always saying… “Hey Boy, take the bananas out of your ears!” Not sure why she says that so often…but she’s always saying it.

Me and Mom
One thing I do know: My ears are now cold! Mom needs to knit me a new hat just to keep them warm. Or better yet some ear muffs…yeah, that’d be cool!

But I do love Mom. Just wish she’d learn to cut my hair faster because it sure takes her forever. My bum goes numb sitting there for a whole hour while she snips, snips, snips. Good thing she only gets around to cutting my hair every three months or so. Now I’m good until at least next year!