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Archive for August, 2006

Sweater Weather

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

It’s chilly here, it has been for a few days. I dug out the sweaters and legwarmers. Thursday it did warm up once the sun came out but morning was really chilly.

I know a lot of folks like this time of year, but my body takes forever to realize it’s supposed to switch from cooling off to warming up. Meanwhile I’m sitting here at my desk, bulky wool socks plus legwarmers on, and wrapped in my Ethiopian four-layer handspun cotton blanket (Gahbi) like we did in Ethiopia where there was no thermostat and no furnace.

Brrrr. I guess if I liked being a bit chilled, it would be different. However, I’m the girl who doesn’t feel hot when it’s 86F. (Room temperature is considered 68F and most people consider 80F hot… I can’t find my metric converter gizmo right now.)

It’s a good thing I like wool, isn’t it? I dug out a skein of llama-blend yarn today because I can not find any of the zillion sets of wristwarmers I’ve knit over the years. I didn’t start the wristwarmers yet because it did warm up, but that’s important to get started pretty soon. Now if only I can figure out where I put my alpaca sweater…

Off to bed where I can pile comforters and blankets high. Tomorrow is another day.

One Last Day

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

Turkish Minisocks from Michigan Fiber FestivalAugust 31 is the last day for voting in the Knitting Blog contest Lucia/The Knitting Fiend is having. If you missed my first post (asking for your possible vote), she has three pages for voting… overall, major and minor categories.

I am on the Major category page under Sock Blog. I am on the Minor category page under “Most Diverse Fiberartist.”

LynnH Self Portrait, Soft Block Print on Polymer PaperIf you have not seen my LynnH SockTour (photos of the first 30-something socks I knit, though I’m up to 130 pairs to date) or read my review of the Turkish Sock Class I taught at Michigan Fiber Festival, perhaps you might check those out and consider a vote for me in the “Sock Blog” Major category.

As far as diversity… currently I do knitting, a bit of crochet, feltmaking, needlefelting, spinning, a bit of machine knitting, dyeing wool, polymer clay, soft block printmaking, writing, singing and belly dancing. You can check out my LynnH Art web page to see some of the things I’ve done in the years since I’ve had a web page to show off my work. And while you are surfing, please feel free to go download some of our free music on the Fabulous Heftones webpage if you like.

LynnH dancing as EudoraThen consider a vote for me in the “Most Diverse” Minor category. I really do appreciate your consideration.

You can vote for as many people in as many categories as you want. You can vote three times, one time (multiple votes per page)  on each of the 3 pages… every 24 hours. That is 3 pages in 24 hours if you want to go to all 3.  Voting ends midnight on August 31 (very soon) Lucia’s time, and I’m not sure what zone that is.

Or not. I’d be honored but your vote(s) is/are your own choice.

Photos: 1) Minisocks knit by my “Design Your Own Turkish-Style Sock” class (red sock is my class sample) a few weeks ago at Michigan Fiber Festival. 2) Self-portrait, a soft block print printed on polymer clay paper, executed about May of 2000. 3) Me dancing as my alter-ego, Eudora, at New Aladdins restaurant in Lansing.

Coopers Glen Festival, 2006

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

Child and Mother at Coopers GlenWe had the most wonderful weekend this Saturday/Sunday at the Nature Center in Kalamazoo. We were performers at the Coopers Glen Music Festival and it was a great time.

Coopers GlenWe got there early afternoon on Saturday. We were immediately greeted by several volunteers who did their best to feed us as much as we wanted and more. It was quite hot and humid and there were plenty of cold drinks and a covered eating area where we could relax and wait our turn for the stage. We were scheduled for 5:45 so Brian decided to show me around the grounds since we had time to spare.

Darcy Wilkins and the Leavin Bros.We walked around, listened to Sparky and Rhonda Rucker while checking out the scene. There was a mother dancing and playing with her daughter in the grassy area front and left of the stage, and I enjoyed taking a few photos of them together.

Fabulous Heftones at Coopers GlenLater we heard Darcy Wilkins and the Leavin Bros. (we had met at Wheatland last September so it was good to see them again). We found a potter selling hand-thrown bowls in beautiful shapes and colors, and purchased a few while listening to Blue Moon Rising. Then we went back, changed into our stage clothing, tuned up and waited our turn. (Knitters, I’m wearing my Perfect Hug Shawl in the Bear Hug size, knit in Rio de la Plata.)

Fabulous Heftones at Coopers GlenWhat a great audience we had! It had been sunny earlier so a lot of the folks who came for the full day were far from the stage under trees. However, we could tell that even the back row was right with us, really listening in. One woman closer to stage clapped along with every song. She seemed to know all the words to even songs we have not yet recorded.

We had 45 minutes and since we have songs that are rarely all of 3 minutes long, we got to play a long list of our favorites. The time just flew by, the way it does when all is well.

When we finished, we had a nice crowd of folks come over to get on our email notice list, get a bumper sticker or CD (or two), get autographs, or just plain talk to us about this music that we enjoy so much. We sold more CDs than expected and it was great fun getting to know folks.

Detour and crowd, Copers GlenWe changed out of our stage clothes (poor Brian wears a tuxedo on stage and it was so hot and humid he must have felt like he was wearing a plastic bag). Then we got to go back out, sit in the crowd and be part of the audience. Well, sit most of the time and dance a little of the time. It was very good.

The band right after us was Detour, a bluegrass band from “up north” Michigan, I think in the lower peninsula. The guys were really nice backstage and Brian jammed with them a little. It turns out that one of the guys is friends with one of the guys in Steppin’ in It. Small world, when you’re talking music in Michigan!

John McEuenThe last act on Saturday was John McEuen (of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band but solo). He is a good storyteller and plays several instruments in his show (one at a time, of course). I was absolutely entertained. What a warm person he is (off stage and on actually, we talked backstage a bit when I gave him a few good teabags from my stash). At the end of his show, he had some folks join him on stage (from bands who had played earlier that day). Great fun.

John McEuen Solo, Coopers GlenSaturday night we camped overnight and jammed with some other musicians who also stayed over. I guess we are getting old because we went to sleep just after 1am, it used to be we would at least stay up till 4am or even 6am. It was fun, even if it ended early. It actually started raining once we were in the tent so we probably did not lose out on much.

Sunday I slept in (after the rooster stopped crowing, anyway) and Brian got up and woke up ahead of me. When I finally got going Brian came by and we went looking for food. I brought my own food from home but Brian found some and he found me some hot tea (he loves me).

Coopers GlenWe did sit in the front/center seats for Honest D and the Steel Reserve on Sunday. Wowie! What entertainers these guys are! They just took over that big stage with their honky tonk sort of old style country music. They are wonderful in every way. Every way. If you ever get a chance to see these guys. drop everything and go.

After Honest D played, we wandered around the art vendors again. I got a pair of wonderful glass earrings and we got talking to the young lady selling handsewn skirts. She told us about a concert at Magdalenas that night, a bursting handful of young women musicians all together. We dropped everything, left the festival a little bit earlier than expected and headed off to Lansing. We ended up very glad that we had made that choice. More photos from Magdalenas will be posted here tomorrow.

Knitting content: I had a single ball of a Nashua single-ply gradually-striping yarn from a gift, which I knit into a water-bottle holder on Saturday night and Sunday morning. I also knit a bit again on my “Fortissima Disco” glittery turquoise socks (from my First-Time Toe-Up sock pattern). On size 0/2mm needles they are taking a while but I finished the first and started the second on Sunday at Magdalenas.

Photos: 1&2) Mother and child enjoying the music, second shot child prancing away from mom in preparation for running fast to be caught in midair. Fun! 3) Darcy (in vintage dress) and her guys. 4&5) Brian and I as The Fabulous Heftones, on stage. 6) Detour on stage with attentive lounging listeners. 7&8) John McEuen, with band and without, 9)Honest D and the Steel Reserve.

Day Off Recap

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

Before I head into a workday (with a good attitude, I must say), I’m giving you an overview of my lovely day off.

It started with pancakes. I love pancakes. And this time I got the recipe dead-on great. You can not tell they don’t have wheat, milk or eggs. I love buckwheat pancakes and these were perfect. I ate the whole batch alone. I made pumpkin sauce for them but when it got time to eat I chose real maple syrup instead. Recipe at end of post.

If nothing else I must show you this picture. After breakfast, this is how my day started:

Isabel on BikeIsn’t she adorable? This is Isabel across the street, daughter of my friend April. Her Nana gave her this bike just this weekend. She’s not even 2.5 years old, and the bike is a real challenge for her to physically control, so it took two of us adults to push/steer her around the block while letting her think she was in charge . We were exhausted! But it turned out great, she’s just so fun. Fortunately, we dropped off the bike at her house and did a regular walk after that one block.

The weather was changing fast, and the sky was gray even though the predictions had been no rain for 5 days. I went back home and lazed and took a little nap in the bedroom, it was quiet and I enjoyed that. Then I got up and ran the only errands of the day: Post Office and a delivery I made a mile from my house.

I tried to also get to the bank but got stuck in traffic on 127 between the Post Office and the bank at Frandor, and I got to the bank 2 minutes after they closed. Tuesday will work just fine. At least I got to knit on my Fortissima Disco sock while sitting at a standstill on that highway. There was something going on with a truck pulled over on a bridge, it may have been the last bit of an accident by the time I got there.

Since the bank is next door to Rae’s, I popped in there. Suzanne just finished a wonderful shawl in Silk Tweed/Turquoise and it makes me consider lace. I don’t like frilly girl things but this looked more geometric than flowery and the yarn really appeals to me.

Rae and I chatted a bit between closing the shop down and her night class, and I knit more on the sock. I can’t tell you how much I’ve been missing socknitting with all those shawl samples to create. I’m so happy to speed away on these socks. Even on size 0/2mm needles they are really growing because I have no other knitting I’m doing right now.

I went from Rae’s to the bookstore, thinking I’d find a magazine to read while drinking tea at Beaners. It took lots more time than I imagined. This bookstore doesn’t get a lot of traffic and they had something like 7 knitting books, total. I already own all the knitting mags they carry. So I went into the biographies/memoirs and found a book “The Color of Water” which looks really good. I almost never read for entertainment so I hope I’ll get all the way through this one.

I headed over to Beaners, intending to read. I ran into a woman I first met when we were still in High School or even earlier. We chatted until Brian called. He had taken his bike to work so I picked him up (and his bike) and went home for dinner. This is where I made the one mistake of the day. With all that rain I did not feel like running any more errands and we did not find restaurant food for dinner.

Now, I really don’t like cooking dinner. Therefore, I had a less than stellar hour trying to make some sort of salmon patties (I had a can of salmon and I have never cooked it before so I guessed and I guessed wrong). It worked out OK, with tomato sauce, oil-cured black olives, and rice. Not patties but salmon bits and Brian thought it was good… I’ll never like fish in a big way but it was fine. And while cooking I did listen to my new CD by Mad Tea Party, Big Top Soda Pop, which had just come in the mail, so that made it nicer.

Fortunately, my sis-in-law Diana called and she got me into a good mood telling me abouSteppin in It, Sept 2004t her knitting and other good things. I cleaned up the kitchen while chatting with her. I’m not much of a phone person but that was the right timing for a chat!

After dinner, we headed over to the Green Door Lounge to hear our friends, the band Steppin’ in It. Great guys, incredible musicians. Wow. Several times I got all choked up with how great that music was, right there in the moment. Raw energy and talent, which makes it perfect without worrying about what perfection might be.

As I tell the children when we knit… physical things can’t be perfect, but sometimes feelings are. That’s how it was last night at Green Door. Perfect feelings about imperfect but incredible music. OK, there I go waxing poetic but that’s me. I’ll stop now.

It was lucky for us that the night started out a bit slow at Green Door. That meant we got to talk to the guys in the band, one at a time, for a little while. Sometimes at a gig there are so many people who want to talk that it’s impossible to chat with everyone… and of course other musicians understand where fans may not. So sometimes we go and have a great time listening but not much time to connect. This time, we got both.


My day included many of the suggestions you folks sent. I had a nap though not on the porch. I had great food. I drank great tea. I took a walk with loved ones though I missed the bicycle opportunity and hammock because of rain. I enjoyed silence for a long while and music later in the day. I contemplated a book though I read only the cover and the intro thus far. I ate my favorite breakfast. I connected with loved ones. I knit just for me. And I had a good night of sleep at the end of it all. Now I will start the new day with a long bubble bath and then a full day of work.

Oh, yeah… recipe. You like those.

LynnH’s Day-Off Buckwheat Pancakes (Allergy-Free for Me)

1/4 cup Rice Flour
1/4 cup Buckwheat Flour
3/4 cup Oat Flour
2 tablesp. Dark Brown Sugar
1 scant tsp. Baking Soda *plus* 2 scant tsp. Cream of Tartar (OR substitute 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder if not allergic to corn/potato starch)
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
several dashes Ground Ginger (optional)
dash ground Allspice (optional)
1 heaping Tbsp. Flax Seed Meal mixed with 1/3 cup Boiling Water (can sub one egg if not allergic)
3 Tbsp. “Light” Olive Oil or Soybean Oil (or other unflavored cooking oil)
1-1/8 cup Water

Mix flaxseed meal with boiling water, set aside. Blend all dry ingredients thoroughly with a wire whisk (brown sugar will remain in small lumps, which is not a problem). Add wet ingredients including flax mixture. Mix just until blended, do not over-stir.

If you substitute ingredients, you may need to add/subtract liquid to adjust. You want it fairly thin at mixing time, as it sets up a bit and it’s hard to add water later without losing the bubbles that make pancakes light. Thick pancakes do not cook through very easily.

Preheat a teflon griddle or large frypan (no oil) until a drop of water dances on the surface.

Drop batter (I use a measuring cup) in approximately 4″/10cm circles on hot griddle. When bubbles make it to surface and edges start to dry a little bit, flip over and cook until batter is cooked through. Remove from griddle and place on warm plate with clean cotton towel cover to keep heat in until all pancakes are made. (Or eat at the counter while you make more, why not?)

To serve, add butter/margarine if you like, and top with warm syrup, honey, fruit spread or spiced applesauce. Enjoy!

A Wonderful Day Off.

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

I’m off to go to sleep at 1:59am, my friends. I had a great day.

I had a good breakfast, spent time with a few of the really comfortable people in my life, rested, spent a bunch of time alone, knitted most of a foot on a pair of socks for myself, and ended the day with musical friends.

The weather changed and there was rain, unfortunately. Therefore, my nap was in my bedroom rather than the hammock on my porch. The only other down side was making dinner which was very frustrating but it tasted OK when it was done.

I took a lot of the advice you all gave me. It was good to know I had you on my team. I took photos and will detail the day when I’ve slept a bit.

As I said, right now I’m off to sleep. Tomorrow is a work day. My occasional helper called today, asking if I needed help this week. She’s coming tomorrow around noon to get me jump started on that work I did not do today.

I think I am glad I slowed down for a while. I didn’t feel guilty too often and I do feel rested.

Photos tomorrow…

Home and Happy: Day Off?

Monday, August 28th, 2006

The Fabulous HeftonesMusic Update

Brian and I had a wonderful time at Coopers Glen Music Festival. Wonderful. I was right, when I was a little girl. I knew I wanted to sing as my job. Well, it’s not my only job but some weeks it’s what dominates my schedule. I love it and it’s just as good as I thought it might be.

The festival is really well organized, with great volunteers. The other performers were so top-notch that we were just honored to be included in the show with them. The hospitality they showed us was great, the audience was really receptive when were singing, and they bought more CDs than we anticipated they might. We met a lot of great people and hope to see some of them again.

Camping Woes

The down sides to this sort of music business? Porta-potties and sleeping in tents. I’m not an outdoor grrl by any stretch… my favorite “great outdoors” is my hammock on the porch for a few hours on a summer day. Brian and I went down to this weekend’s festival on Saturday rather than going Friday, because sleeping (and changing clothes) in a tent does not make for a fresh looking/feeling LynnH. Tents *after* a performance make much more sense than before.

In fact, Brian suggests we get earplugs for next time (two weeks from now we will attend Wheatland Music Festival, this time not as performers but as regular festival-goers). It’s funny, I can sleep through the sounds of people at larger festivals, when they are yelling for entertainment. I can sleep at home with cars going by blaring stereos or the inevitable ambulance siren (we live near a hospital).

But birds singing/squawking? They can keep me up forever. My brain does not know how to translate birds, I just wake up anytime they make noise. I can’t filter them out. And Coopers Glen had a rooster at the far side of the grounds. Most people would not have been bothered by it but I just couldn’t sleep once he started in.

It also rained pretty hard on Saturday night (while we were safe and dry in the tent). It would start and stop and start again, and every time it started I would awaken once more. I had a hard time getting back to sleep. But that was *after* our performance, so I can’t complain too much. I finally did get back to sleep Sunday morning (after the rooster quit around 9am) and got up at 11am, and got my tea, and things went OK after that.

Ready for Time Off

I’m wiped out, though, my friends. I worked for Altu for 3 days at the Folk Fest, then had a day and a half off before going to Michigan Fiber Festival for 6 days/5 nights. I was home 5 days and then we went to Coopers Glen Music Festival for 2 days. I have nothing scheduled on Monday other than an allergy shot.

LynnH Hammock on PorchAnd I realize I don’t know how to really have a day off. When I worked a retail job, I remember a woman named Sue told me “A day off running errands and cleaning house is not the same as a day off in your bathrobe reading on the couch.” She was right. And I realized that I’m not at all good at a day off like that.

So I put on my calendar for Monday “DAY OFF.” And I wonder how I’ll do. I have so much to do I am feeling guilty but I’m going to try to let go of that for one day. I remember that when I was in Africa for 5 weeks I did learn to take it a moment at a time. I am capable of doing this. I set aside five weeks. I knit 10 pair of socks in that 5 weeks, and I socialized and was a tourist and I practiced my new saying “I am not in charge.” This saying has proven useful since I returned, too.

One whole day off, though? In the middle of so many things I need to do, things that others may be waiting on me to finish?

The To-Do List

I am in the middle of a teaching schedule, people are asking for my online/email version of the schedule. In this case, the schedule is set for my 3 shops where I normally teach, plus my 2 community education departments. I have a shop or two out of town who may take a day or two or three, but I’m about at promotion time on this project.

I’m also in the middle of a new round of musical acts at Altu’s, booking and promoting and making a web page with that schedule. I’m still matching performers to dates on this one. I hope I’ll be able to schedule at least several months all at once, because I do this little side-job as a gift to my friend, Altu. It’s good to line it up and then forget about it for a while between scheduling times.

And I finally got the yarn in that I’d ordered (to dye) back in ***MAY!*** You heard right: May. And last week I got the yarn I ordered a month or so ago, as well. So I have a pile of yarn ready to dye, and that requires full days of being home to make that work. I know at least four people waiting for me to dye yarn.

I have some folks waiting on polymer clay items they expect I will make (I never did make kazoos last week). And I have some music promotion for our own act, which has been waiting a bit too long. I need to send CDs to a few music stations that are interested, and I need to start over with making a Myspace page for our band (I made one but it’s a personal page which does not allow me to upload our music… sigh.)

There is also the new almost-ready shopping cart for my new website, to sell my patterns and eventually yarn and polymer clay items. I have all the patterns loaded but need a few more tweaks before that’s up and running.

But I’m going to do a little tonight (I’m updating Altu’s music web page which I realize still shows Memorial Day through August 12). And then I’m going to do a day off Monday. Wish me luck.


The Plan

First I will try to sleep in. Then I’m thinking maybe I’ll make myself a special breakfast. I love pancakes but have to make my own, which I do maybe twice a year. So perhaps I’ll do that. Maybe I’ll ride my wonderful bike to the allergist, it’s only maybe 2 miles one way.

And then what? A nap on the porch in the hammock? Get out the spinning wheel (a fiber endeavor that is not work related) and play with the new rovings I got last week at Michigan Fiber Festival? A long bubble bath, perhaps? Altu’s restaurant is closed on Mondays but maybe I’ll find some Indian food for dinner so I won’t have to cook.

We’re planning to go see our friends in the band Steppin’ in It at the Green Door Lounge at night, which we have not done in a while. A sort of date, I would say. A good thing for a day off!
I figure I am bound to gain some energy if I take a selfish day off. And then I will attack the list of not-done-yet items that either are important and I’ll get to them, or they are not as important as they seem to me today and they will fade off the to-do list.

By the Way

Oh, I guess the day off means photos of Coopers Glen and the Sunday night concert at Magdalena’s will be here on Tuesday. Unless I decide that blogging is not work that interferes with the “day off” idea. Or unless I get them edited before bedtime, which right now does not loo very likely.


Any suggestions for how to take a day off for a bit of a (happy) workaholic artist, would be most welcome.

AJ, Guest Blogger

Sunday, August 27th, 2006

AJ in Turkish Sock ClassMy new blogging software has a feature where I can enter posts for the future and they show up on the web on the scheduled date. I’m with Brian in Kalamazoo right now, unable to post.

When I wrote to get permission to quote her in a previous post, AJ (who lives in Wisconsin) sent me this thoughtful article on her experience studying with me this past week at Michigan Fiber Festival. I’m touched and honored that she took the time to write, and that she had such a good experience in my classes. I am going to feature AJ as my guest blogger while I’m out of town. Thanks, AJ!

I have been following LynnH for a long time through her blog. Her work with the Foster Center kids and her artistic talent have both enthralled me. When I saw that she was teaching at Allegan, Michigan, I jumped at the chance to take classes with her, as the drive to Lansing from Milwaukee had never worked out. She was teaching polymer clay, beginning knitting and Turkish socks. Well, I had never worked in polymer clay, I really wanted Turkish socks, and I had been knitting for over 50 years. So . . . I skipped the beginning knitting class and promptly signed up for the other two.

Polymer clay was FUN! I had not imagined what could be done with it. LynnH brought examples of various artists’ works to give us an idea of the range of possibilities. She gave excellent directions (and impressive color handouts), while still letting us be flexible in our productions.

As the day got hotter and the polymer got harder to work, she switched to demonstrating techniques that were not included in the class description. I bought extra polymer clay and will be doing much more playing with it.

The Turkish sock class was everything I had imagined and more. Lynn is an excellent teacher, who is not tied to a rigid class outline, and who welcomes questions. Again, she brought numerous examples and actually let us handle museum quality pieces.

She is very patient with explaining techniques, and worked with us individually as needed, while varying the explanation to fit our personal learning styles. That is a rare quality to find in a teacher, and that type of teacher is one to be treasured.

We each made two miniature (time constraints) socks using the various techniques, and left with a very thick folder of color handouts and a lot of inspiration. (The picture of where to start the heel on toe-up socks would have made the class worthwhile even if I had learned nothing else – but of course I learned a lot more.)

I have to finish several current projects first, but I already have the yarns picked for my full-scale Turkish socks.

No Dancing Tonight

Friday, August 25th, 2006

Eudora at New AladdinsI was scheduled to dance at the Aladdin’s Delight restaurant in Haslett tonight. Unfortunately, that location is recently closed. The restaurant called New Aladdins in Frandor is still open.

I’ll be dancing at Frandor some “First Friday” but I don’t know when yet. Meanwhile, for those who may have been planning to come tonight, you’ll need other plans. I think I called all those who had told me out loud they thought they would be there.

Knit-Together in Kalamazoo at Music Festival?

Friday, August 25th, 2006

Brian and I will be singing (as The Fabulous Heftones) on Saturday at 5:45pm in Kalamazoo. The location is The Kalamazoo Nature Center, and the event is Coopers Glen Music Festival.

Knit in at CD ReleaseIs anyone out there interested in knitting together at some point during the festival? Of course I’m booked a bit before and a bit after our performance (preparation and CD sales will take up that time) but if anyone out there is planning to come, do drop me a comment or email. We will be leaving for Kalamazoo on Saturday morning and I won’t have email for a couple of days during the festival, if past similar events are a good predictor. Even if there is a connection, we’ll probably be too busy to get out the laptops.

I know that Lynne Sahlgren is a fiber person since she was at the Michigan Fiber Fest last weekend. She will be at the festival, though I suspect she may be a very busy volunteer with little free time. However, I am thinking maybe we could have at least a short get-together for knitting/crocheting/embroidering/etc. time either Saturday after our performance or even on Sunday if other folks are staying overnight as we are. Takers?

I had such fun with the small group of knitters in June, at our CD release party. I’m crossing fingers we can do it again…

Photo: Tinisha at the CD release knit in. This picture was taken by Pirate Mariam.

Mom’s Birthday

Friday, August 25th, 2006

Mom on her 72nd BirthdayMy mother’s birthday was last Monday. She had a gathering of around a dozen of us at her house for dessert… Me, Mom and a good number of her friends. Some of those friends we’ve known since I was in elementary school or just thereafter. It was wonderful.

Friday we celebrate again. Eric and Diana (my only brother and his wife, the incredible knitting tester among other things) are coming up to Lansing. We will meet at Altu’s restaurant for lunch. Ironically, Altu’s parents are visiting this week but they are not in Lansing right now so we may miss them. It would be so cool to have my mom meet her mom. As I like to say, “I’m not in charge.” It happens or it doesn’t and right now we can’t know.

I took this photo of my mom at her party last week Monday. Doesn’t she look pretty?

No Email!

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

Friends, if you are sending me email, I just came home after five hours away from home to get no mail. Well, I haven’t received any mail from 4:15 to 8:45. Aaaargh!

Brian is my mail geek and he’s where I can’t reach him by phone. If you need to send me mail, for now send to: ColorJoyLynnH *AT* gmail.com

Or leave a comment. At least I have comments.

—-(later addendum)—

Well, I’ve tested and tested… looks like Yahoo Groups email lists are the problem. I can get mail from other places, or so it seems. Anyone else not getting Yahoo? I know this happens from time to time. If I go to their website, there is definitely mail.

I just got mail from Sarah Peasley, to my Lynn *at* colorjoy.com address. That’s a very good sign. It still seems pretty improbable that I’d get only 2 messages in 6 hours that were not from Yahoo groups, but who knows? Lights were out all over town and streets closed because of the intense thunderstorms today, so maybe weather has something to do with it.

Now to go catch up on the things I had planned to do in the last two hours…

Allegan, Final Overview

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

I have more photos of Allegan/Michigan Fiber Festival. They are not of my classes or purchases but things I found interesting or lovely. I thought maybe I’d give you a bit of a travelogue to accompany the photos.

I arrived in Allegan on Tuesday night, just after dark. I tried so hard to get there before dark but I had so much to do getting ready, after three days not being home because of the Great Lakes Folk Festival, that I missed that goal by maybe half an hour. Fortunately, folks were still awake on the fairgrounds and they let me know where I was staying.

Scene on highway 89, rural MichiganI feel very fortunate to have an RV on the premises of the fairgrounds during the six days/five nights I am there. Because there is so little “American” food I can eat without getting sick, I find the refrigerator and microwave just invaluable for my comfort during that long stretch away from home.

This time I stopped at Altu’s restaurant on the way out of town and purchased two dinners, so that I would have that to sustain me at least during the beginning of the week away. It was a luxury to have my favorite food during this somewhat rustic week. OK, it’s an RV rather than a tent, but I’m a citygrrl through and through, and breathing all that grass/weeds/animals stuff in the air does wear me out. For the record, I have no need of air conditioning over 95% of the time in Michigan so in that way I do rough it at home but I like it that way.

Children in Rural MichiganActually, the first and last nights I was at the fairgrounds, it was quite chilly at night. The first night it got down to 55F/12.8C and I woke up in the morning to the sound of a furnace blowing. That was a luxury I appreciated! The thermostat was set to 60F/15.5C and it also turned on Sunday morning. I remember when I was in Africa and there was no thermostat on the wall, it got in the 50’s F there and we just wrapped up in more blankets. It was wonderful to keep it at 60 at Allegan. For someone like me who thinks 86F is not quite hot yet, I was delighted to have a tiny bit of heat at that point.

As I mentioned in an earlier post (first entry August 22), Wednesday I taught 14 people about polymer clay. It was magical. I love teaching so much, the time just flies by and we all learn from one another. Incredible.

Terrie was in my Wednesday class. I met her and Leslie at a Great Lakes Folk Festival several years ago, and we always try to go out for dinner sometime during the Michigan Fiber Fest and talk and talk. So Wednesday night we headed out to Plainwell, to the London Grill. We have gone there before and had good experiences. They have English pub food (fish and chips for one) and they also have Indian cuisine such as Tandoori chicken. Not exactly the way it’s made in a restaurant with only Indian cuisine, but it’s good.

So we headed down highway 89 (a two lane road) from Allegan through Otsego and over the main highway, to Plainwell. On the way down that road, I sat at a stoplight and noticed this interesting home on the corner. I got out the camera just in time to get a shot of not only the house but in the bottom left corner you can see two boys with tackle boxes and fishing poles. A true summer scene of small town Michigan. Here’s a close-up of the kids, as well.

London Grill, Plainwell MichiganWe had a great night and I had leftovers to take back to the wonderful refrigerator in the RV. I tried to work on my computer (no internet, though) but could not stay awake so crashed I think before midnight! There is almost no night I hit the pillow before 1am but days spent standing up and teaching, in an open pole barn with all that “fresh air,” is enough to tucker me out.

Thursday I mostly stayed to myself. I slept in as much as I could, had Altu’s for lunch from the wonderful refrigerator (are you seeing a pattern here?) and went to the library to get online. They allow a mere hour, so I barely got through my emails before I was done. I then worked on my laptop for a while, went to Kinkos in Kalamazoo to print a few things (that was fun, I do enjoy driving and I loved seeing a few neighborhoods in Kalamazoo near K. College).

Thursday night I helped my friend Linda of Little Red Schoolhouse Yarn. She had a booth for Friday/Saturday/Sunday, so I helped set up. Her daughter Lisa was there, too, and we actually had some fun although there was plenty to do. I got several things out of the exchange… company on a slow night, and a place to show off my work. Linda carries all of my patterns and sold a good number of Sassy Summer Handbag patterns throughout the weekend. She also displayed my self portrait in her booth.
Again, I crashed early on Thursday. All that nature, I guess.

Friday was magic. Five people and Turkish socks (see second post, August 22). Incredible.

After class Friday I made my yearly pilgrimage to Ellen’s Half-Pint Fiber Farm to buy sockyarn. It was hard to decide but I got the Blue/Turquoise/Hot Green version. I swear, I could just drink in every color in that booth. I just love these women, they are kind and thoughtful and gentle, but very businesslike. They were tired from a week at Stitches but just as friendly as if it were their only show this month. I knew I’d wait to buy other things until later, but her sockyarns sell out fast and so I jumped on my favorite while it was still an option.
Sheep Dog HerdingFriday night after the vendors closed, I met up with some folks I know from Bloomiefest and the online “Sock of the Whenever” group. We had planned to go to Stella’s Bistro, a woman-owned restaurant in Allegan. The sign said “welcome” but they were closed. Boo hoo. So someone in the three-car caravan said they had been to the Grill House before just outside of town and it was good. Off we went. The food was more fancy and more meat-focused than my normal routine, but with Cathy R’s assistance I found a salad with grilled sashimi-grade tuna, and it was pretty darned good. Not Altu’s, but better than average for sure.

Saturday morning I finished up with the amazing Turkish-Sock-Knitting women in my class. We chatted long after class was officially over, and that was wonderful. Saturday afternoon I socialized with folks who have booths who are folks I know, and kept having to bring more patterns to Linda’s booth (I did not complain at all). I
Then Saturday night Linda and Lisa and I decided to have a bit of an adventure. I’d seen an Indian restaurant in Kalamazoo the day before, and mentioned maybe going there for dinner. A customer in Linda’s booth recommended a different Indian place, in Portage (next door to Kalamazoo). Later Lynne Sahlgren (wife of Mark Sahlgren the DJ/Musician we’ll be seeing next weekend at Coopers Glen Festival) stopped by in the booth and confirmed that the place in Portage was very good.

Sheep Dog HerdingSo I ran to the library in the last 15 minutes they were open. The librarian at the front desk got me directions to the restaurant. (I can say nothing but wonderful things about the librarians at Allegan in the two years I’ve visited there.) We were set to go!

After the booths closed for the night, Linda and Lisa and I piled into Linda’s van and we had a great chat and drive to and from the restaurant. Linda had never tried Indian food before so I did my best to tell her the little I knew about the items on the menu. It had a lot more variety than the places in Lansing. There are many cuisines in India, many cultural groups/language groups with their own foods. In Chicago I can find places which offer Dosai or Biryani but I haven’t seen those much in Lansing. This place had the foods I see in Lansing plus the two more types.

I had Channa Masala, a chickpea/garbanzo dish with tomato sauce on rice. Lisa had a chicken saag which has a spinach/cheese sauce, and Linda tried a curried lamb dish which she pronounced delicious. They tried roti and chapatis, two breads I don’t see much (the standard in Lansing seems to be naan). They had masala chai tea and I had black tea. We were SO full and happy, and we took home enough food for lunch the next day.

I shared space in my wonderful refrigerator with Lisa and Linda so that they could have a really special lunch on Sunday. The fairgrounds is full of corn dogs and fries (although the sausage/corn dog booth was so clean I was amazed… I might have liked to patronize him for more than just diet coke if it were food I could eat). In fact, when I passed by their booth on Sunday and they were eating the leftovers, you should have seen the smiles on their faces! It was great.

Sunday was take-it-easy day for LynnH. I slept in, I had breakfast late, got dressed and finally wandered out to say hello to others. I did the rest of my purchasing that you saw in my August 24 post, on Sunday. I chatted with vendors, I did what I could to actually buy mostly from folks I know. Of course I know so many people now that I can’t buy from everyone but that was my focus.

I also watched the herding dog demonstrations. i just love watching this. The dog is SO into herding he doesn’t want to stop. The shepherd tells the dog to lie down and he just does not want to do that. He might act as though he’s going to lie down but then he’s out there trying to herd again. It’s incredible.

Sunday ended too soon, though I was really tired. I helped Linda and Lisa pack up their booth in record time and packed my car full as well. My sweet Brian took me out to dinner when I got home. What a guy.

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

I woke up early this morning to a powerful thunderstorm. There are times when it is very clear to me that we’re mere mortals on this earth, and big storms like this bring on that feeling.

Flowers from JuneThe ground has been parched. Our new rhubarb plant has been growing in spite of it all. However, the one lone perennial that made it through the winter in my new sunshine-flowerbed I attempted last year was starting to have tired and droopy leaves. I just ran out to the car during a lull in the rain and those leaves are happy again.

It’s amusing to me that this somewhat reluctant gardener spent hours planting and watering last year… six different types of plants transplanted from June’s garden (see photo from last year)… yet the one plant that returned this spring was a “volunteer,” a plant that came along for the ride though unintended. It’s a beautiful thing, dark green leaves with light purple flowers, about knee high. But it grows alone in the back yard, looking like a weed because it is solitary.

I did truly enjoy the plants last year, but it’s amusing that June gifted them to me because they were just sure to come back with little fuss. Our soil is just not good for most plants, I think. The house is old enough that this part of the yard was a dump/burning pit at one point (this house once had a cistern, a coal bin and an outhouse, and may have been the only house on the block for perhaps 20 years). When we dig to plant things, we are always finding broken dishes and bottles. It must be too forbidding for many plants.

The Fabulous HeftonesI hope next year I’ll give myself some time in the spring to do a bit of planting. Or maybe in the fall we will plant daylilies, which thrive in the sunny spots of this yard. I’m all for giving in to what works. Our front yard is all shade, and we have hostas and coral bells. The sunny spots love peonies and lilies. Now if I can find a few more things, that will bloom late summer and be happy in sun and poor soil, and I’ll be good. I usually try one new thing each year. I guess this year it was rhubarb.

But back to the rain… I think it’s good to reflect on the impermanence of it all if we don’t stay stuck there. After all, isn’t it the fragility of life that makes the sweet times that much sweeter? And when it pours in absolute buckets, are we not forced to stay inside, stay still, and do something different, perhaps? It is my tendency to go “running errands” and get stuck talking with someone. Yesterday I did that, both at Threadbear and Rae’s shop, and by the time I got home it was Habibi Dancers’ rehearsal time, so I didn’t get time in the studio. But today it pours buckets. And today I’ll stay in and work with polymer clay.

Brian and I will be singing this weekend as The Fabulous Heftones (photo above left from Oct. 2005/Indianapolis). The show is at the Nature Center in Kalamazoo/Coopers Glen Festival this Saturday 8/26 at 5:45pm. I’m inspired to get out the polymer clay and make a few Hershberger Art Kazoos for the occasion. I have one left from New York Ukefest, and since folks call Kalamazoo by the nickname Kazoo, I somehow feel I need to bring a few along with our CDs to sell.Hershberger Art Kazoo by LynnH

It’s interesting, every time I sit down to make these they have a different look. Most of the ones on my (very old) polymer clay website were textured, with slices of polymer motifs on the surface. Now I’m more inclined to make them with the motifs as almost a “fabric” which upholsters the kazoo. The one shown here has dots which are part of the fabric/surface and checkerboards sitting on top for texture. Even my colors change from session to session.

The rain today will hopefully encourage me to stay put in the house, sit down at the polymer clay table and work sitting still. I’m not so good at sitting unless it’s at the computer. Even knitting only holds my attention for not so long on a typical day. But I’ll put on some music (Annette Hanshaw, early jazz singer from about 1925-1929, I’m hooked) and I’ll see what I can do.

Meanwhile, here’s a poem about rain that I never tire of:

©1966 by Adrian Keith Smith
Age 4
New Zealand

From the Book:
Miracles, Poems by children of the English-speaking world
Collected by Richard Lewis
Simon and Schuster, 1966

The rain screws up its face

and falls to bits.

Then it makes itself again.

Only the rain can make itself again.

Allegan Purchases

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

Fiber Purchases from Michigan Fiber FestivalI know you knitters/fiber enthusiasts out there have been waiting patiently for photos of yarn and wool items I found at Michigan Fiber Fest. I’m sure of it… this was one of the first questions Sharon P asked me when we had lunch on Wednesday. So here it is, my friends!

From bottom left, clockwise, we have a beautiful ceramic bowl from a Spinners Flock colleague. Above that is a dark turquoise/clear teal ball of roving (and center-right magenta ball goes with it) from Mielke’s. Top of photo and wrapped around to the right is a batt of romney (a type of sheep) for spinning into legwarmers, from Heritage Spinning and Weaving in Lake Orion. You can not see how beautiful this batt is, with turquoise, green, blue and hot yellow-green.

Nestled under the magenta ball to the right is a skein of handpainted single-ply wool/nylon sockyarn from an artisan who lives in Wisconsin. At center front you see two balls of Maggie’s Ireland single-ply alpaca blend yarn for warm over-socks this winter for sitting at my desk. Just above them is a multicolored green/blue/turquoise riot of color, sockyarn from Ellen’s half-pint farm. I adore her colors, and every year I make a point of buying something from her. This year I had a hard time deciding between this skein and a turquoise/purple beauty, but I was in a turquoise/green mood as you can see!

In the dead center of the photo on top of the purchases, is a gift (a handwoven pouch) I received from Kathy Rowe. Kathy is a weaver and dyer from Traverse City, Michigan. It’s a treasure, she made it herself. It has silver charms on the pink ribbons, two crescents/moons and one elephant. I love elephants. I’m really happy with this beautiful gift, I wish you could feel it. I’m guessing there is some mohair in the yarn, it’s very fuzzy yet strong.
She and her friend Marlee (I hope I spelled that right) were my roommates at the festival this year. They were “Just Right” as Goldilocks would say. I got there Tuesday and they came Thursday night… inviting me to join them in organic salsa, etc… we were very well suited for one another.

I am itching to start spinning the romney batt as soon as I can. Since we are singing at Coopers Glen Music Festival this weekend, I think it will probably be Monday or Tuesday before I really get a day alone to play. My spinning wheel’s bobbin is empty and longing for a project. I am eager to get going on that before it’s so cold I wish I’d finished already.