Wednesday, February 23, 2011

2011 Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat

Cathie and I set out last Thursday for the 2011 Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat. After a little bit of transportation issues - our plane was late leaving Sacramento and then we spent a hour on the side of the freeway because the transmission on our shuttle to the hotel went out, we finally reached our destination.
Thursday evening we were treated to a program celebrating Women of the World with Anita Luvera Mayer. Her garments were beautifully embellished with beading, lacework and silk fabrics and were breathtaking. She created these garments to reflect her growth as a woman and also to celebrate the life rituals of women around the world. After Anita's presentation, Stephanie Pearl McPhee talked about how the fiber community has reached out to others around the world to help provide education, medical care and opportunities to women to support their families. Attendees were encouraged to bring knitted items to be donated for the Caring for Kids local charity. I had brought two hats to donate.

Friday we headed to the market.  The quality of the vendors was amazing.  A large focus of this retreat is on weaving and spinning.  In college I took two semesters of weaving and if we had the space I'd love to get a loom.  Spinning also looks interesting but would take time away from knitting, quilting and needlepoint.  A girl needs to limit her artistic endeavors - there is just not enough time in a day.  There were balls (not sure if that's what you call them) of roving that would I think that would look lovely displayed in a bowl but I don't think Jim will go for it.

Along with a pattern that is being mailed to me this is the extent of my booty.  Starting from the left - I  fell in love with the colorway, Hurdy Gurdy, and hand of the Cashmara from Fly Designs - It's 80% superwash merino, 10% cashmere and 10% nylon.  For Jim's annual pair of socks I purchased Temptation in color Deep Lake from Abstract Fibers-  This yarn is also 80% superwash merino, 10% cashmere and 10% nylon.  Jim and I are both going to have some very comfy and luxurious socks.  For my Fluency mitts I purchased Soprano in colorway Black Opal.  It's a very yummy 50% merino and 50% silk.  This also came from Abstract Fibers. 
Speaking of yummy these are cupcakes from Hello, Cupcake.  My favorite is the coconut with butter cream frosting.
Saturday I took a class from Ann Bourgeois of the Philosopher's Wool Company  Ann taught us stranded color knitting using the “Philosophers Wool” method of 2 handed knitting.  Aside from learning how to knit fair isle my favorite part was learning how to weave in ends as I go.

Ann and Eugene Bourgeois

Saturday evening was the banquet dinner. Franklin Habit was the speaker.

It was a very entertaining evening as he talked about the history of knitting patterns.  Thank goodness there is now some uniformity to knitting abbreviations!!

Sunday Cathie and I took a class with Sivia Harding to make her Harmonia's Ring Cowl.  The morning was spent learning the moebius cast on created by Cat Bordhi who stopped by our class to see how we were all doing. 

Sivia Harding and Cat Bordhi

Sivia has the most wonderful way of teaching.  Very Zen. 
This is my Harmonia's Ring cowl I am knitting out of Berroco Lustra.

My calendar is marked for next year's 2012 Winter Retreat dates, February 16-19. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Birthday Dinner

Jim had a birthday today.  I asked him what he would like for me to cook for dinner.
His reply - fried catfish and hush puppies. 
I may have been raised in the south but I can't fry food.  My children know if you want fried chicken we go to Popeye's Fried Chicken so fried catfish and hush puppies are not in my repertoire. 
The man wanted his catfish so he agreed to make it himself.  My contribution was the oven Parmesan fries and homemade tartar sauce.
 Although the fishmonger at the store said beer would be a great accompaniment with our catfish we of course had wine.
Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Fay 2001 which was purchased on our honeymoon.
Since he did most of the cooking I did the dishes and, no, I will not be cooking on my birthday.
Kelsey will be here so I have assigned her that job although she doesn't know it yet.

Happy Birthday Baby!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Cathie and I are off to Madrona tomorrow.  My homework is done and my yarn for my classes are packed and I have two projects for the plane - it's an hour and a half flight-  a girl needs to be prepared.  Looking forward to a great time with lots of like minded knitters.  Jim will be holding down the fort with Mei Ling, Murphy and Jake.  I will be reporting back next week on all the happenings. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Life Is Always Better With Chocolate

We had our first taste of Woodhouse Chocolate on our honeymoon.  We stayed at the Milliken Creek Inn  and every evening we were treated to a different handcrafted chocolate placed on our pillows. When we found out they were local chocolates we stopped in at the store on Main Street in St. Helena.

Every year since then we have "managed" to be in Napa in February and we have stopped in at Woodhouse Chocolate to purchase the "girlies"  a blue box of indulgence.
Happy Valentine's Day

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Sunday before heading home from Napa we stopped in at Domaine Caneros to pick up our membership shipment.
We tasted the newly released 2005 Late Disgorged Rose and the 2009 Avant-Garde Pinot Noir
"The classic aromas of our Rose include strawberry, peach and apricot notes which are magnified in this harvest."
It would be a wonderful end to a great evening.

The Pinot is "extremely aromatic, with the dominant fruit notes of black cherry, and black raspberry accented with exotic spices and hints of toasty oak and orange peel."
I thinked it would be paired well with a shellfish and pasta meal - maybe shrimp linguini.

Our membership shipment was 4 bottles of  2005 Le Reve.   It has a wonderful honey, pear flavor that I think will go well with the Valentine dinner I plan on making.  I also loved the really fine bubbles!!
 In the parking lot we happened on this wonderful sand sculpture. 
 The Travel Channel is doing a program highlighting six of the world's best sand sculptors.
Who said you need a beach to play in the sand?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Napa Breakfast

This past weekend we went to the wine country for some winery releases.  We normally stay in Yountville but this time we stayed at the Avia Hotel in downtown Napa.  Saturday morning before heading out for the  2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Silver Oak release party we walked from the Avia to the Alexis Baking Company and Cafe for breakfast.

 The Avia Hotel in Napa, California.
 I ordered my morning latte.
 Jim had scrambled eggs with very tasty potatoes and toast with a side order of applewood smoked bacon.  I ate his blood oranges.
 And I had egg salad with applewood smoked bacon on a homemade English muffin.
The weather was just wonderful and we sat outside watching the world go by.
Across the way was this wonderful purple house. I can just picture Lorna living here with her purple mustang parked outside.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bradley's B'Day Present

Rachel's bf Brad had a birthday February 1. 

I found this fabric at Tayo's and couldn't resist.  I made a pillowcase for Brad for his birthday and made a second for another favorite male in my life.  He will be receiving it shortly.  The fabric just makes me happy and reminds me of all the great Dr. Seuss stories and memories.
What is your favorite Dr. Seuss story?  
Mine is Green Eggs and Ham