Friday, July 29, 2011
I recently walked along the San Lorenzo River with my granddaughter. We kicked off our flip flops and dipped our feet into the cool clear water. After the first cold shock, we sampled the deeper water--all the way up to our knees. Children splashed and played all around us while parents sat on clean sandy beaches, working on their tans. Suddenly my mind flipped back thirty-five years. In those days my children played in the same river, enjoyed the same sandy beaches. But in those days we wore tennis shoes into the water because of the broken glass bottles. Beer cans floated down stream in an accumulation of foam and filth. We could not explore the river very far because around the bend we sometimes happened onto naked hippies and rough parties. Thank goodness for change, awareness and people who care about their environment. We are so lucky to be here, now, in this lovely place.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Today I want to share the story of a friend I admire very much. She is an active, respected and talented member of the Aromas Hills Artisans. Her name is Annie MacHale. Weaving is a mystery to me, so I'll let Annie tell you all about it in her own words.
At the young age of 17, I discovered Inkle weaving, made it a part of my life, and 35 years later I realize that it was one of the best life choices I’ve made.
Inkle looms are designed to weave narrow pieces, usually limited to 4” in width. When I saw someone at a craft fair making belts and guitar straps and such practical things, I decided right then and there that I wanted to try it. The local library shelves produced a book on inkle weaving which included plans for building a loom. With the help of my father, I made a loom and began to weave.
Over the years, I’ve woven miles of narrow bands and am still discovering new things constantly that keep the craft exciting and intriguing. There are always new yarns and materials, new patterning techniques and new things to inspire my imagination.
I’ve always loved patterns and look for them in everyday things. Playing with color is a constant amusement. While I have tried to study color theory, I find that I do best when I let my instinct tell me what to do. Sometimes a single thread of a different color can make the whole pattern pop!
The setup (or warping) of an inkle loom is so simple that I can often accomplish this first step in 10 to 30 minutes. The weaving itself can go quickly with heavy yarns and a simple pattern. Some pieces are complete in an hour or two. Others take up to 15 or more hours if I choose to do a complex pattern technique. These techniques require that I stop every row or every two rows to pick up or drop individual threads out of their regular pattern sequence. One of my favorite patterns to weave is a Celtic knot.
A very good market for my work exists in the world of historic re-enactors, those who love to re-create history and usually make their own costumes. For many years I have attended Mountain Man Rendezvous events, re-enactments of the American Fur Trade Era. More recently I have included Renaissance Faires, re-creation of Medieval Times.
I also enjoy showing at local craft fairs. At all of these events, I am able to have my loom on hand and to demonstrate the craft. Many people in modern times have not been exposed to weaving and find it a mysterious process. I love showing them the simple process and the many practical and beautiful things that this small loom can produce.
Guitar straps have always been a good seller for me.
Custom orders are always welcomed and I enjoy working with a customer to take their vision of what they want and create it with them. Guitar straps can be customized with a band name or song lyric woven in.
Several customers have been Native American dancers, having me create a sash for their “Regalia”.
My weaving has been a life-long passion and creative way to share myself with people I meet. Many of my friends have come from the craft fairs and organizations I belong to. My husband was one of my best customers; we met at a Rendezvous. Now, through my blog, Facebook page and two Etsy shops, I have connected to other weavers throughout the world. We exchange ideas, information and inspiration. If I post photos of my latest piece, I can get comments from 8 countries, sometimes in languages I don’t understand.
My business name, ASpinnerWeaver, is a holdover from my maiden name of Spinner.
You can follow along on my blog at : www.ASpinnerWeaver.com to read about the things that inspire me and see the latest works. Or keep up on my Facebook page at:
www.Facebook.com/ASpinnerWeaver For online sales, check out my Etsy shops at
www.etsy.com/shop/iWeaveSashes or www.etsy.com/shop/aspinnerweaver
Upcoming events include:
San Jose Renaissance Faire, August 6 & 7, Guadalupe River Park, San Jose
Mountain Man Rendezvous, August 13 & 14, Roaring Camp, Felton
Ardenwood Renaissance Faire, September 10 & 11, Ardenwood Historic Park, Fremont
Thank you, Annie Spinner MacHale. Sounds like you are fulfilling your destiny beautifully.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
The debate rages on between homeschooling and traditional-institutional-type schooling.
I have enjoyed a front row seat on the issue for the last fourteen years. In the beginning, I felt uncomfortable discussing it, ill at ease just thinking about such a daring diversion from normalcy. I worried about my grandchildren. Today I am a believer. Isn't hindsight wonderful? They are not only bright stars, they are respectful, curious and kind. I hope you will read the resent article by John Malkin, "School's Out...(Forever)" from the Good Times magazine, July 20, 2http://goodtimessantacruz.com/good-times-cover-stories/2765-schools-out.html
Thursday, July 21, 2011
For all you fans of Joe Truskot, the genious I owe my gorgeous garden to, he has more to say. In his own words......
"I will make a presentation at the Watsonville Public Library on Wednesday, August 24 entitled "Something About Roses" which discusses the relationship between humans and roses over the millenia. It's a closeness similar to our compatibility with dogs but even longer. I use PowerPoint so there are lots of pretty pictures and I will tell people things about roses I'm sure they've never heard before . . ."
"My enthusiasm for roses brought me back to my childhood hobby of collecting vintage postcards. It started with cards with roses on them in 2001 when I got a home computer. There was one artist I kept finding who painted beautiful roses and the investigation began. Her name is Catharina Klein and she is probably one of the most reproduced artists of the 20th century.
I've just finished the following videos on Catharina Klein which you may find interesting. She was a fantastic painter and the world needs to know more about her. Please forward these links to your fellow postcard buyers and friends, or paste them on your website."
Thank you, Joe. We look forward to future announcements.
Catharina Klein Video I: The Birds http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auj1-_VwAoQ
Catharina Klein Video II: Fruits and Vegetables http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiSpARYlSRo
Catharina Klein Video III: Flowers (Part One: A-L) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Gsu6MGwMOM
Catharina Klein Video III: Flowers (Part Two: M-Z) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuQIMQ1teW8
Monday, July 18, 2011
Never heard of the zucchini zombies? When the lights go out and the world is at rest, grab your flashlight and tippy-toe out to the vegetable garden. Ignore the tomato branches that reach out with sticky leaves, bypass the lettuce full of gluttonous snails, don’t even worry about grape vines that try to trip you as you make your way to the real scoundrel—the zucchini zombie, better known as “the big Z”. The zombie grows leaves the size of Chicago so that you will not see the monster below. If you are very quiet, you might be able to hear the “the big Z” sucking up all our oxygen. Your flashlight might glom onto a cheerful looking blossom here and there or a sweet little baby zucchini squash, all shiny and new. That’s nice, just don’t get blind-sided by the real thing—“the big Z” under Chicago. My advice, pick your ripe zucchinis everyday. Don’t let them grow when you’re not paying attention because it’s really hard to lift that eighty-pound vegetable. Why do we grow zucchini? Because we can—except for Josephine who can’t even grow a decent marigold.
Zucchini Soup--for people who don’t like the taste of zucchini
Cut up and boil one large or two medium size zucchini until slightly tender
Drain all liquid except one cup—let zucchini cool 10 minutes
Pour zucchini and liquid into blender along with 4T butter or olive oil, 1 T Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.
Blend until smooth—it’s that easy
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Here is a suggestion for summer-get-away reading material.
Read My Lipstick is now available from Kindle and all e-books through Smashwords. Read My Lipstick is the second novel in the Josephine Stuart Mystery Series. You don’t need to read Secure the Ranch to understand this new story involving murder and a plot to turn farmland into a strip mall. Josephine discovers an old man at the bottom of the stairs. He lets her know that he was struck on the back of the head before he fell. When the man dies, Josephine automatically begins her search for the killer. Her innate curiosity has her stepping on toes to put the clues together. At the same time, Josephine is trying to save her friend’s farmland from an eminent domain maneuver by the county. She realizes someone is tampering with a critical vote by the county supervisors. One supervisor is missing and the eminent domain vote is tied. The person behind the land-grab and murder lures Josephine to a cabin in Tahoe and is prepared to shut her up for good.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Is it fair to sue the fair
For over a year, Santa Cruz local Max Kelly attempted to communicate with the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds on issues of noise, pollution and environmental impacts.
Feeling they were unresponsive, Kelly and the organization he helped found in January, Community Alliance for Fairgrounds Accountability (CAFA), filed a lawsuit against the Fairground’s board of directors on Wednesday in Sacramento County Superior Court.
The last straw for CAFA members--who comprise over 100 Santa Cruz County locals-- came when the board of directors decided to claim a categorical exemption from a California Environmental Quality Act review for upcoming events. They did so in light of a rodeo planned at the Fairgrounds, which are located in Watsonville, in October.
“We have an issue with the process being exempted,” said Kelly. “For one, it’s illegal. Secondly, the public would like some transparency in the decision-making process.”
The public legally had 35 days to speak up, so CAFA filed a lawsuit with Santa Cruz-based
From The Patch
Wittwer & Parkin, LLP, which specializes in environmental and land-use law.
CAFA members are pro-fair, said Kelly, but had become fed up with an expanding number of issues at the fairgrounds that they found to be beyond their control. They saw increased noise from the rodeo track, manure runoff into Salsipuedes Creek, and farmers markets, “that had escalated into a party,” said Kelly.
He said the board of directors held public meetings last year, but since November has not offered an opportunity for public comment.
“The Fairgrounds current piecemeal approach to approving amplified uses and new events is illegal under CEQA (the California Environmental Quality Act),” wrote CAFA in a press release on Wednesday. “It’s quite simply time for the Fairgrounds to address, once and for all, policies and laws governing noise, environment, as well as legal requirements for transparency.”
The board of directors are withholding comment while they review the lawsuit. Still, fair leaders have previously maintained that events such as the rodeo are similar to ongoing equestrian shows, which predate the CEQA and are therefore not bound by it.
12:01pm on Thursday, July 7, 2011
Let's see--who came first, the crabby neighbors or the fair? The fair has existed in the same spot for over fifty years that I know of. I loved it as a child and I love it now when I go with my grandchildren every year. I have never been to another fair as pristine and interesting as our wonderful Santa Cruz County Fair. Where else can children learn about animals, where our food comes from, hands-on science, the arts, horticulture and on and on. It's wholesome family entertainment--as American as apple pie. Apple pie can be eatten up quickly by cranky neighbors and their lawyers. I say "presere the pie for future generations."
2:20pm on Thursday, July 7, 2011
I'm with you Joyce. I have entered baked goods and crafts in the Fair for at least 10 years and going to the Fair in Sept kicks off Fall for me. The Fairgrounds were there long before any neighbors. I'm in town and can hear the race track on Friday nights (and it can be loud) but I figure it's one day a week in the summer. I'd really hate to lose our county fair. Something has to be worked out.
3:57pm on Thursday, July 7, 2011
I agree with both of you. The fairgrounds have been here forever. I hear the car racing on Friday nights and figure "Oh well" it will be over soon. People have more trouble with neighbors having loud parties late at night than the little noise from the fairgrounds.
If you love the fair, please "like" Thank you!
Saturday, July 9, 2011
I entered a dark room and managed to knock my sore foot into a bed post. Clumsily, I felt my way along the walls, located a closet and ducked inside. I pushed some hanging jackets and slacks in front of me, and tried not to breathe. I cowered in the corner of the closet, sitting on the briefcase, wondering if I could plead insanity if I were discovered. A female laughed sarcastically.
“Look at this. He left his microwave open. Men!” I recognized Deputy Lund’s voice.
Someone turned on lights in the living room, sending a weak light under the closet door. I panicked, pulled some shirts off their hangers and draped the clothing over my head and body. I curled myself onto a tight ball, hoping to look like a pile of laundry. I heard heavy steps in the living room.
“It’s a big old briefcase. You can’t miss it,” a man said, clearing his throat.
I heard the search, the moving of furniture, books hitting the floor and lots of mumbling and swearing from two males. But the worst was when I heard footsteps near the closet door. Someone was in the room. There was more shuffling of stuff, a big sigh, silence and then, “ah-hah”.
Oh no! Not the clos … I thought to myself.
The closet door opened and light streamed in. I held my breath as I sat paralyzed, unable to think or even blink. The toe of one shoe stuck out. I pulled it back under a shirt sleeve as my heart thundered in my ears. It seemed loud enough to wake the whole neighborhood, but the searcher didn’t hear it and left the room. Streams of perspiration ran down my forehead. My mouth felt dry and time stood still as I waited an eternity for the lights to go out.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
I'm here to tell you again about Joe Truskot's Central Coast Rose Manual. I have only had time to try a few of his gardening tips, but already I have tomato plants as big as Godzilla and roses like never before. Joe said roses need room (show-offs) so I clipped away at neighboring plants until the rose bushes were happy with their space. Joe said to mix 1/2 cup Epsom Salts with one gallon water and give the bushes a good drink. I went through three boxes of salts and gave everyone, even ordinary flowers and vegetables, a magical dose. He suggested sprinkling alphalfa meal at the base of the plants so that it will be absorbed into the soil as you water. The enzymes in alphalfa help the plant with digestion? Works for me!
Five weeks later my garden is more than I ever expected it to be. Check out Joe's article on my blog for June May 31st. It's worth your time.
The Central Coast Rose Manual can be found on Amazon.
Monday, July 4, 2011
excerpt from new book
David picked me up at nine-thirty in the morning. We settled into the Miata and headed down the road to Sunday brunch at the Green Valley Grill in Watsonville. I had given Inez strict instructions to stay home and when she wasn’t looking, I hid the dish soap in the freezer for safe keeping.
The night before, David had mentioned that I looked pretty frazzled and offered to take me to brunch in the morning. I would have walked on hot coals in my bare feet to go. So I toyed with the idea and finally said, “OK.”
David had put the top down on the car, but I was ready. I wore my ‘Grace Kelly’ long, white scarf and my newest, only worn once, summer dress. It was green to match my eyes with stubborn spaghetti straps that kept falling off my shoulders. Too late, I remembered why I hadn’t worn the dress more than the one time. I had worn it to my cousin Candy’s third wedding and found the straps even more irritating than Candy’s newest husband.
Friday, July 1, 2011
Independence Day is the birthday of the United States of America. It is celebrated on July 4th each year in states and possessions of the United States. Independence Day is the anniversary of the day on which the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress--July 4, 1776.
The founders of the new nation considered Independence Day an important occasion for rejoicing. John Adams said, "I am apt to belive that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows,games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward for everyone."
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.
Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
-- Benjamin Franklin