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my big reader's rap

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The Oregon Coast is chilly in winter (and much of the rest of the year), and I wanted to knit something I could snuggle up in rather than turning the heat up, up, up. A wrap seemed good. And I wanted pockets too, because they're useful, and because women have historically been deprived of pockets. True story. Look it up.

Most of the time I knit really simple things that can be made without continually reading a pattern. If I could read and knit, I'd read a book, not a pattern. So much more interesting, right? So far, I haven't figured out how to do that, except to listen to audio books, which are not the same kind of fun as hearing my own little voices in my head, you know? When I have to choose, read or knit, knitting usually wins.

So wandering around Google Images, Pinterest, and Ravelry for something like a "shawl with pockets," I came across a lot of patterns for Reader's Wraps. This was a great idea I'd never heard of. All I wanted were dimensions fo…

when an idea fails

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I have an image of my new self, my beach self, my (way) post-beads self and post vegan cheerleader self (although I'm still vegan). This best-old-lady-I-can-morph-into self, includes designing things with sticks and string (knitting and crochet), and sharing patterns with the world. In this image, I never make a mess of anything, and all my ideas translate beautifully into soft and splendid items to decorate ourselves and our homes. In this image... I am someone completely other than my real self, who has at least as many failures as successes, and little idea of how to write a kitting pattern.

Truth is, I actually do make a lot of very fine things, between the failures. Friends walk into my living room and look around saying, You made that? And that? And that??? Yes, yes, yes I did. And it's all cool and wonderful. That's how it made the cut to live in my home with me. I look at the knitted lampshade in the corner, the lace encased glass fishing floats, the crystal trimme…

there's finally time for knitting

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I'm back. After almost a year filled with painting, construction, decorating, starting our Airbnb business, guests and beach walks, and getting to know our new home town, winter is sneaking in the back door, making me wonder how in the world I'm going to survive our second soggy winter without the distraction of a house to remodel. I love it here, but winter anywhere always scares me a little bit.

I've been trying, unsuccessfully, to pressure myself into teaching some cooking classes. I think I should, but I don't really want to. I think people would like it, but I don't think I would. I have all this training, all this experience, all this love for my plant-based life, but for some reason, I just don't want to put it out there.

What I want to do is knit (or crochet or just generally play with sticks and string). It's time I started listening to those Wants, those desires, that come from deep inside, rather than the Shoulds that come from some dumb sense of…

How Can So Much Happen in One Little Month?

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In early April we finally got access to our rental unit. To quickly catch you up if you need it, we bought a sweet little duplex in Seaside, Oregon in December, and moved in during one of January's most inconvenient snow storms in Portland. We set up camp in the back unit, and fixed it up while we waited for the tenants up front to come to the end of their lease. Now that it's all ours, the plan is to fix up the other little 500 square foot apartment to be used as guest space for friends and family, and also as income property in the form of a vacation rental.

As we set out to get the proper permits for our VRD (Vacation Rental Dwelling), we learned that the codes and standards for Airbnb type rentals are much stricter than for regular full-time leased rentals. There have been way more expensive surprises than we'd imagined, and we actually did figure on some. We didn't know we would have to replace two electrical panels and move one to another room. We didn't know…

Heart-Balming

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It was Valentine's Day Eve, and not being very good at planning ahead for holidays, I had a sudden urge to crochet some hearts to share with the world. I made six of them while binge-watching MadMen (I can't explain), and a few more the next morning, with a vague plan to give them to random strangers throughout the day.


Two days earlier, I had a knock at the door, and there was a total stranger, a neighbor from a block or so up the street, holding two packages of mine that I'd assumed were missing forever. This made three rather important items our new mail delivery person had dropped off at the wrong address. One was our rent deposit check. I was getting grumpy.

I checked into filing an official complaint with the USPS, and then considered calling or visiting the local post office to grumble in person. And then, while working on a nice pink heart on Valentine's Day morning, it occurred to me to try being nice first.

I pulled out my good thank you notes, handmade by my…

Time to Bake Again

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I stopped baking when we moved to Portland. I hated my kitchen, and super hated the oven - to the extent that we brought in a toaster oven to do any bits oven-heating we needed. Our new kitchen in Seaside is small, but so much better in layout and function. Yesterday, to celebrate Valentine's Day, with good food for my sweetheart, Rick, I ended my baking hiatus.

First I made pumpkin biscuits, using my own recipe for Sweet Potato Biscuits. I added a little extra sugar and some pumpkin pie spice, so they'd be sort of a muffin-scone-biscuit, worthy of a holiday breakfast. The last time I made these was in Taos, at 7,000 ft elevation, but they came out perfectly here at sea level too.

I think it's easiest to roughly double the original recipe, using a whole can (15 ounce-ish) of either pumpkin or sweet potato. I used whole wheat flour, coconut oil instead of olive oil for the sweeter version, and a half cup of organic coconut sugar instead of increasing the maple syrup. These …

Checking Out Some Free Photo Apps

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Getting all caught up on my current inventory, the rest of my finished rocks are on the website today.
I'm trying out some new things with photographing and editing with different apps. I'm pretty pleased with how simply I can pull together a mini portfolio for each rock, showing them off from all angles.

I use my iPhone 6 as my only camera, and adjust color and cropping right on the phone. Then I use two apps, Layout and Font Candy (both free) to combine multiple pictures into one photo, and then to add text. It takes less than a minute for each step.

Next I text the finished collage to myself, and open it in Messages on my MacBook, where I drag it to the desktop so I can easily drop it into place on my website, Facebook, Tumblr, and anywhere else I might want to share a photo.

It doesn't get any easier, cheaper, or low-tech than this.

I'll share more rocks as I make them. I can't seem to stop, and why would I want to?
These are making me very happy.

Have a great …