Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New possibilities

A year is ending and I'm in that dormant part of my year, that week between Christmas and New Year.  I'm tired of
it being so dark in the morning, sad this year passed so quickly, and happy
it's almost over (I am a person of many contradictions).NMColorWindow2

All the while, I'm trying hard to will myself out of a much too long creative slump.  I knitted a box full of donation scarves for the St. Elizabeth's homeless shelter in Santa Fe, and while that gave me great purpose, it wasn't creative and inspiring.  I'm sort of half way enjoying myself crocheting a shawl right now, trying to use up my stash of Manos del Uruguay yarn.  RanchosChurch

As I was cruising blogs tonight, I found a lovely posting about us on Phat Fiber's blog.  It made me realize that all I need to do is stop and take another good look around for my inspiration.  Then, as I was cruising some photos I took this fall, it really reinforced that I just need to remember to keep my eyes open.  NMColorWindow

My best wishes to all for a safe and happy holiday.  May we all have a
great new year, one with possibilities yet unseen and optimism for a
new future.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

'Twas the day before Christmas...

Just a fast one to tell you that I hope you all have safe and happy holidays.  I know it's a hard time in our history, but I hold a hope that this new year is going to start turning all that around. WinterColorGreenShed

Thanks to all who have hung with me through all the changes, and have remained our friends...be you near or far.  Having good friends is the best possible gift I could wish for this holiday season.

Lastly...here's another photo I took the other morning on the way to work.  It's another for the "There's Lots of Color in Winter" series.  Enjoy.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Not much to report these last days...the biggest news being that on Saturday we actually had some blue sky for a while.  (That's really big news to me.)  We're having snow showers now and three storms are backed up and headed in.  SnowCurlBatteryRoom
Not much hope of more blue for days to come.

The book I'm reading (Mexican Enough) is compelling me to go to bed earlier than usual each evening to get back to it.  It's the story of the author's search for her family's roots in Mexico...her dad is Anglo but her mother's family came from Mexico three generations ago.  It's especially interesting to me, as we have the same "biethnic" profile (she actually refers to herself as biracial).  My grandfather came from Mexico to Arizona, where he married my grandmother (also Hispanic) and my dad was born in Tucson.  Anyone who knows me knows how very very Anglo I look...so I jokingly refer to myself as a crypto-Hispano.  It's like having a happy little secret you carry around in your heart on some days, and on others it's like having your face up against a glass wall, looking in, but no one can see or hear you.SnowCurlSideView

We had some interesting snow curls off our roof the other morning.  I decided to share a couple of photos with you.  I love finding fun in the little things. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New widget

I got up too early this morning (read that: not quite daylight) and decided my first priority was to reconfigure this blog and give it a cleaner, fresher look.    It was somewhat cathartic...like moving furniture around.  I hope it works for you; it was good for me.

I have added a new widget:  a link to Amazon.com showing one of my current reads. Mexican Enough cover
I'll only point you in the direction of something I'm truly enjoying...not that we'd all enjoy the same things, but because I'm a tireless pusher of books I love.  This particular book (Mexican Enough) has me laughing out loud in some places...something I don't get to do often enough.

If, by chance, you have read any of the same books, or read them as a result of my recommendation, I'd love to hear your opinions.  I have few people in my world to discuss my books with and it's something I long for.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Waiting for the storm

These grey days are killing me.  We're supposed to be having snow...but yesterday's snow just blew the heck right out of here with high winds (the ski valley reported gusts in excess of 70 mph...brrrrrrr).

Yesterday was spent waiting.  Mr. Sunflower made a fire, I ignored the computer and hung out at my spinning wheel.  I could share with you that I was watching the Waltons, but that might further your suspicion that I'm totally weird.  OK, so I gave myself a set of all their programs for Christmas.  So now you know, for sure.

In the meantime, everyone else around here was bored.  Since Maynard died, we've come to learn that Larry and Bob hate each other.  That's just swell, since Bob is the kitten I got to keep Larry company.  I managed to catch a portrait of Larry in between him yelling at me.  If I haven't mentioned this before, I think he's the tortured soul of someone trying to get a message to me...he almost never shuts up.

And the dogs...well...they called a truce too...and for once, I actually caught them napping together.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Almost winter...

We had a storm a week or so ago and got enough snow to make it look like the seasons have finally decided to change.  More is due this weekend.  I took my annual first walkabout in the snow, looking for animal prints, and surprisingly, found none.  I guess they just hadn't ventured out yet.SnowOnStone

Once upon a time I looked for tapestry ideas everywhere in my world.  These last years I've not had the time to think much about weaving, let alone tapestry ideas.  However...I found the snow on this stack of blue stones worthy of considering as a design.

The first year my friend Chris lived here, she told me winter here was ugly, with no colors.  I told her to just look around a little more closely.  They may be subtle, but they're there.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


The other day I finally moved my drum carder and all the related stuff down to the shop where I actuallyPartyGirlFront
have room to use it and can see what I have to card up (things have been sort of smooshed up here at home).  I've been reacquainting myself with making batts and remembering how much fun they are to make. PartyGirl
I've also been bringing some home (as mentioned in recent posts) and refreshing my memory on how great they are to spin...especially for art yarns.  My last batt listed on Etsy is Party Girl.  It made me think of my years of working in an office.  You get all dressed up for work and then go party like mad afterward (well, maybe you don't, but we sure did where I worked).  Here are some photos of Party Girl.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Rain chain

When our greenhouse was finished a few months ago, I was told something called a rain chainRainChain
was on order.  I had no clear picture of what this could be until it appeared earlier this past week.  It's hanging off the end of our catchment gutter, directly above the drain that's set up to direct rain water to one of our many catchment tanks.  I think this is pretty cool, on all counts.  I decided to photograph it today and then watch it as it accumulates ice over winter.RainChainDet

Friday, December 5, 2008

Playing with plying

When I was at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival last May, I fell in love with a giant ball of roving that had been dyed in shades of greens and browns and rusts...almost like a camouflage.  I started spinning it in a two ply worsted weight, thinking I'd make another pullover sweater for this winter.  Then...that sad moment we all face with some of our projects...I realized I didn't have enough of it to make an entire sweater.

I just put it on the shelf and didn't give it much more thought until October.  I was rifling through my rovings one day when I found two rovings I had purchased from my friend Ginny at Fat Cat Knits.  One was called Ode to Joy, and had white, rust, and various shades of lilac and purple.  The second was called Roger...mostly brown with some shades of rust and golds.  CamoYarns500pix

Inspired by a conversation I had had a few weeks early with Lori Lawson of Capistrano Fiber Arts, I decided to get really zany (for me) and ply these two together.  Well, that opened the flood gates.  Before I knew it I had added some of our own hand painted rovings to the  mix and voila!  Enough to make my sweater.  The colors are subtle, but I took a photo to share the results with you.  I'll wash them this weekend and hopefully, start the sweater next week.

And now, I'm off to find more rovings to spin and mix together...

Phat Fiber

Fun, fun, fun...we were recently invited by Jessie of Phat Fiber to send some of our fiber samplesSampleBags1
for her monthly sample boxes.  Check out her blog and her Etsy shop for more info...she's taking a list of folks interested in buying sample boxes that she's putting together once a month...you get 20 or more samples of all kinds of fiber related goodies (could be yarn, stitch markers, fibers, ???).  What a great way to find new sources for all those things you love to work with!

There's probably lots more specific information, but that's my story, and I'm sticking too it.

P.S.  Our samples are either going to be in the January or February box...not sure which at this time.  Also...check out her blog for giveaways...we've also donated a skein of our hand painted roving for one of these!


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Phat Fiber

Fun, fun, fun...we were recently invited by Jessie of Phat Fiber to send some of our fiber samplesSampleBags1
for her monthly sample boxes.  Check out her blog and her Etsy shop for more info...she's taking a list of folks interested in buying sample boxes that she's putting together once a month...you get 20 or more samples of all kinds of fiber related goodies (could be yarn, stitch markers, fibers, ???).  What a great way to find new sources for all those things you love to work with!

There's probably lots more specific information, but that's my story, and I'm sticking too it.

P.S.  Our samples are either going to be in the January or February box...not sure which at this time.  Also...check out her blog for giveaways...we've also donated a skein of our hand painted roving for one of these!


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving thanks

It's been a little quiet in my world this last week.  Oh...I've been busy with our Etsy shop, and spinning lots...but I've had some quiet in my mind I haven't had in a very long time. FamWKayCsbd
It's been rather delightful, spending some days without the feeling that the devil is chasing me with a huge To Do list.  I hope I can hang on to whatever is changing.FiberBlog2

As I was spinning yesterday I realized my list of things to be thankful for is too long to bore anyone with.  The top of my list, of course, is family and friends. RogerBlog2
I recently reconnected with a friend I haven't been in touch with for over 20 years...that has been a great feeling.  So much to catch up on, so many changes in our own lives.  I love how the internet can do things like that.BobBlog

Instead of any more chatter, I've decided to share some recent photos to illustrate some of the things that make my world so wonderful. 

Wherever you are, I hope you're giving thanks for all that you have, as well.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Taming the wiggles

Remember the overspun yarn I shared with you last week?  Here's what I did with it.  I just love it now, it's so soft and slinky...I actually made two skeins of it.  I'll probably list it on Etsy by the end of the week, but for now, I'm just petting it.  I named it Cha Cha.



Saturday, November 15, 2008

Time to play

I called a halt to all the serious work on Thursday morning and instead, we spent the day playing. KikaBattFront
I made batts, Monte tried spinning a batt she had made at home.  It was a welcome relief from spending the entire day at the computer.AstersBattF

I posted photos of the batts I made today on our Flickr page.   I haven't been using Flickr, except when I opened my page on Ravelry.  I've decided it's a good way to share stuff when I have more photos than I can easily post here.  Please visit our page and sign up for updates, if you are so inclined.  Maybe I'll be able to tag some of your sites, also, and see what you're up to.

My plan for tomorrow is to stay glued to my spinning wheel and have fun with these batts.  I'll post what comes off the wheel on Tues.  Have a great rest of your weekend....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday morning

I stopped along the road this morning, on my way to work.  I couldn't not take this photograph.  The snow on Vallecito Peak was blowing and was beautiful.  That's our little village of Arroyo Seco in the distance.


Monday, November 10, 2008

First snow

During the night last night, I heard moisture dripping from the eaves.  This morning I awoke to our first measurable snow (although not much...maybe about 2").  The first snow always feels so joyous to me. SnowOnDriedFlowers2

I managed to catch a few photos at sunset this afternoon. TresOrejas2

One of the view to the southwest, one of things in my yard that are nothing special but caught my attention in some little way. 

I had fun spinning with some friends this Energized2
weekend...it's been a long time since I've had a chance to enjoy an afternoon like that. 

I was inspired by my friend Ann-Marie's super fine spinning (see her yarns at Material Whirled...her tag name is Twhirl.  She hasn't been spinning all that long but has found her niche already...and excels at it. 
Sooooo....having spent an afternoon with her...I indulged myself in a couple of hours of spinning super fine yarn today.  Not sure what its future is, but I love it.  One little skein and it has about 175 yards, I think.  Here's a photo of it off the wheel...a little overspun (or is it "energized")?


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Loving Etsy

I don't remember who introduced me to Etsy.com...but it has become one of my favorite places to hang out when I have spare moments.  I've found great fibers, yarns, and other treasures...and made some new friends along the way.  Never having been a big fan of eBay, I think Etsy has caught my heart because of its clean, cheery appearance...as well as ease in navigation.  Oh...and not to forget the fact that they have made a safehaven for people who love to make things with their own hands...a refreshing concept that has obviously taken off like wild fire.

So having said all of that, I'd like to let you know that this week we (Monte and I) have opened our own Etsy shop, TaosSunflowerToo.  We're featuring our own hand spun yarns, hand painted spinning & felting fibers, some of our own hand knitted items...and who knows what else will show up there over time.  I'm finding this a much nicer venue than the webstore we set up and have been using these last few months...so by the end of next week, I will have moved all the inventory over to our Etsy shop.  Rovings10.30.08

For those of you who use our webstore address, www.taossunflower.com to reach our blog, that will still be possible.  I'll be keeping that web page and blog link until further notice.   Please feel free to bookmark our blog address, http:taossunflower.typepad.com, if you wish to just arrive here directly.

I'll leave you now with a photo of some of our recently painted rovings...happily blowing in the breeze on our porch.  Hope to see you on Etsy soon! 

P.S.  For those of you who are familiar with my "Quilt Scarf" that was featured on Knitting Daily TV (Episode 105), it's now listed for sale on TaosSunflowerToo.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I hope you all were able to hear the speeches last night.  John McCain's concession speech was gracious and thoughtful.  I am, and always have been, an admirer of his dedication to this country; it was just not his time in history.

As Barack Obama's speech came to a close, and the Bidens and their families joined him on stage, I found myself sobbing like a child.  I feel such a sense of relief. 

Now, to give him a chance, and support our country in whatever ways we can.  It's a dawn of new hope.

Yes, we can.

Monday, November 3, 2008


I will, as so many will, be holding my breath all day.  I can never remember feeling this strongly about an election I would vote in.  I remember the JFK election, but as a 10 year old, my world was skewed by the views of my parents; I remember working in the Nixon headquarters on precinct sheets, helping my mom find things to do to get the word out.  Then I remember our teacher brought a TV into class so we could watch the inauguration, and I purposely spent the entire time with my head down.  What a shame to foist your hates and fears onto a child.  To this day I have hated political discussion of almost any sort.   I am only now feeling a little less (but not much) upset by that "my way or the highway", fear based approach.  I may not be able to defend my views with history or statistics, but I know in my heart how strongly I feel.

Si se puede!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

These last weeks

I feel like I'm just coming out of some kind of fog, between being gone so long and returning just in time to close the shop and take care of what happens after the doors closed.  This week, something really creepy happened to me...I came to the realization that I'm a (heaven forbid) workaholic.  I was telling Monte yesterday that I've always thought of myself as kind of slow-speed and lazy, but that must be who I want to be, because it sure isn't my real life.  Why can't I just slow down? 

Before I ramble too much, I want to share a real jewel with you...my friend Kara's yarn shop in Durango, Colorado, aptly named YarnKara'sShop
She recently moved down the street, a move that I think was a great one for her shop.  She has a real talent for merchandising and I must say that despite the fact that two months ago I swore I never wanted to see another yarn shop again, when I visited her shop a few weeks ago, I fell madly in love and hereby pronounce it my favorite yarn shop.  If you're in the area, I urge you to stop in and say hi.  She has loads of class opportunities and will teach one on one.  Kara is extraordinarily gracious and you will, as I did, probably end up going back every day, just to enjoy the way you feel so welcome (which we all know does NOT exist in all yarn shops).

If you've gotten here via our webstore and have already read the home page, this will be old news.  This past week I had my last shreds of patience go out the window with the webstore format I chose (one of those that tells you how EASY it is to do it yourself...wheeee!).  I spent an hour yesterday setting up the basic information on an Etsy.com store and will, over the next couple of days, add inventory to it.  Our new store is called


Please note that the search engine on Etsy store names does not recognize spaces between words, so from here forward, our shop will be using this same format for its name.

I'll be keeping the current webstore address and for a time, will run parallel stores until I can feel comfortable enough to move everything over to Etsy.  At that time, I'll let everyone know what's next.  I plan to keep the current address, www.taossunflower.com, as a web page (vs. store) and link to our blog...there just won't be any inventory there anymore.

So having said all of that, I'm off to have another cuppa Joe and get this day started.  I hope you're all having a grand weekend...don't work too hard!  

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


It is supposed to be in the mid to low teens tonight, & it is flurrying snow above us as I post. Knowing this made me work harder to fill my heart with the colors of fall today.

On my way to work this morning (yes, I am still working down there), I stopped to pay my respects at the descanso of one of my neighbors. While I was not his friend, I knew who he was & mourned his sad life & demise. I thought that the colors were so beautiful I would share them here. Oh, that New Mexico light.

Here's a picture of the skeins I spun last week (spinned?). They're from our own hand painted rovings. I was having fun, mixing colors & using up odds & ends. I had so much fun knitting that sweater from handspun this fall, I want to do another.



Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I spent so much of yesterday spinning, I went to bed to dream of more today.

I got an awesome book yesterday. It's called KnitKnit by Sabrina Gschwandtner, the creative force behind the magazine of the same name. It includes profiles & patterns of some of the hippest, avante garde knitters on the scene right now. I love it.

Well, off to start my day...wanted to pop out of hibernation & say hi.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

And, in the end...

the love you take is equal to the love you make.

These verses have been haunting me since I left California a couple of weeks ago.  It has to do with family, love, sharing and caring.  I will spare you much more, except the good news that my sister is on her own road to recovery and sounds in good spirits when I call her. 

I returned just in time for the last week at the retail shop in Seco.  It was a great week, just hanging out with the staff up front (while the piles of papers on the desk languished) and seeing friends from near and far.  We missed seeing many of you this year...I can totally understand...the cost of travel is a luxury at this point in time.  Please know you were missed.  You know who you are...we sure do!

Wednesday brought us a gorgeous surprise...the florist delivered a bouquet in a vase that was roughly the shape of a fish bowl, only big enough to house a koi, at least.  It was the most gorgeous arrangement I have ever seen, let alone been blessed with.  It came from our friend Susan Anthony, who lives back east and couldn't make it to Wool Festival and our closing.  I took some photos to share with her (and you) and the most awful thing has happened...I cannot find my beloved digital SLR camera (it appears to have gone to the Bermuda Triangle over the weekend...I am hoping someone with more presence of mind will find it for me).  In the meantime, I'll just have to tell all of you about this beautiful surprise.  This is a statement about the love and support of our clients...Susan, to my knowledge, has only visited our shop ONCE but has been a faithful telephone/e-mail customer these last years.  How can I say how much we appreciate all this love?

As for Taos, it is gorgeous right now.  The colors are probably at peak in our neck of the woods, and some snow graced the local mountain tops on Sunday.  Our first hard frost has still eluded us here at our place.  I cautiously pulled all the tomato plants and put the booty in our greenhouse for them to ripen.  I'm very proud of them...the plants weren't put in until mid-summer and growing things like that at our elevation isn't a breeze.  Through no credit of my own, they went wild and grew loads of clumps of perfect green globes.  Stay tuned for when they all ripen at the same time!

I am taking my spinning wheel and going into hiding this coming week, so the business of dyeing for the web store won't resume until the week of Oct. 20.  I hope you'll all forgive me...I need some time to regroup...it's been an odd and stressful couple of months.

Lastly, these are the other thoughts that have been in my mind since helping my sister in her recovery:

Don't sweat the small stuff.
Don't get lost in details.
Pick your battles.

Best wishes to all of you....Martie

Monday, September 29, 2008

Taos Wool Festival

Well, it's almost here.  When I flew back to Albuquerque on Saturday, I saw ladies at the luggage carousel that I'd be willing to bet were arriving to be here for the wool festival this coming weekend.  You know how you can just tell that someone is a fiber person?  I love that about all of us.  Like a secret handshake, almost.

I've posted our hours for this week on a page on our What's New listings, if you're planning to come to town.

I'm beyond grateful to be home again.  It was starting to concern me that I'd miss the last week of our shop, miss Wool Festival, and most of all, miss seeing all of you who have become such great supporters and friends during this special week each year.  If you're not coming this year and I miss getting to see you, please know you will be missed.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Long road ahead

First, thank you for all your good wishes these last weeks; it has meant so much.

My sister is improving only a tiny bit each day and it is breaking my heart to watch her misery.

I miss my little family in Taos, my friends, my forest, and the first signs of fall. I will return there in a couple of weeks but know part of my heart will stay here.

Here is a photo of Earl. He is my neighbor on the coast. He's quite the guy and always available for love when I need some.Long road ahead

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dog therapy

When I'm away from home, I miss my cats and dogs terribly. I find myself talking baby talk and making a fool out of myself at the sight of a neighbor's cat or a dog being walked by its owner. It is, if you'll forgive me, just dog gone hard to not be with my buddies.

This evening we got the news that my sister is going to be allowed to come home tomorrow. There is much joy all around. I know she will heal faster at home, where she can sleep, get good meals, and have some puppy loves from Max, her German shepherd (?). Max appeared one day about two months ago and refused to leave. Janie had been missing the love of a dog but was waiting until her surgery was behind her to adopt. There are more than a couple of us who believe his arrival was no accident.

Tomorrow there will be three VERY happy humans and one canine bursting with joy!

(P.S. He has sure saved me these last two weeks.)

Dog therapy

Friday, September 12, 2008


When I moved to NM years ago, I fantasized that every day I would be out hiking and hiking and become totally buff in no time.  What I've found, instead, is a list of reasons not to hike alone that is possibly longer than the list of viable hiking trails in NM.

This week here in SoCal CannaLily

has left me with time on my hands and not much to do but whatever I please.  What has happened is that I have spent much of this time feeling guilty because I am not accomplishing something specific, not back in Taos fussing around my messy desk at the shop, beng part of the last weeks of my retail shop, not dyeing fibers for the web store, not spinning...well, you get the picture.  Why do we do that to ourselves?

My friend Liz has moved back to the coast. 
She has a house about 4 blocks up from ours.  For two years, she lived at the bottom of our road in Taos.  All of this more or less serendipitous, mind you.  During the time she was in Taos I believe we got together and hiked or snowshoed maybe half dozen times.

This week, we've walked several miles two out of the last three days.  RockNearBeach
We are very proud of ourselves.  I am off this morning to buy ankle weights.  I'm starting to feel like that exercise gorilla I dreamed of being years ago.  Stay tuned.

While we walk, I've been shooting snapshots of local things with my new iPhone (I am passionately in love with my iPhone, thank you Kay for sharing yours and infusing me with technology lust).  Here are a few of the things I've shot that I wanted to share with you.

Back to Los Angeles today, will write more from there...Martie

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Strange garden

Once upon a time, the lot upon which our home was eventually built was a nursery.  I don't remember it; I'm afraid that was during those hormone-riddled years when nurseries were probably one of the last things I had any interest in.

When our home was built in 1979, the builder had the class to keep this enormous Euphorbia specimen Euphorbia&CenturyPlant

intact and prominent in our tiny front yard.  Over the years it has grown, and at this writing its tallest spires are as tall as the roof of our second story.  It is often confused with a cactus plant, since we are located in a desert.  For those of you who aren't familiar, it is part of an enormous family of plants and a relative to the Poinsettia.  Originally a native of the Transvaal area of South Africa, our Euphorbia has a very toxic milky substance that burns your skin terribly should you have to experience it.  Someone once told me that during WWII, there were studies to see if this latex, as it is often referred to, could be used in the production of rubbery or latex-like products (however they are made...I am just repeating a story I was told).  Our plant has started to sag towards the street, and at this time, we are looking for someone expert (and no doubt brave) enough to know how to trim it back to save it from an undignified demise.

To the right is our Century plant CenturyPlant
(a member of the Agave americanus family). 
I actually relocated this plant to the corner of the front yard about 20+ years ago.  This summer is its swansong. 
My understanding is that once this bloom occurs, the entire plant will die (I can only hope...it has caused havoc in our yard), leaving behind a plethora of "pups" for some unfortunate person to try to unearth before this whole show happens again.  My neighbor, Eddy, can hardly wait to get his hands on the bloom...it is apparently a material that is lighter than balsa wood and is used, when available, to manufacture the lightest of surfboards.  Further proof that one woman's trash is another man's treasure.  (At this writing the bloom from this plant stands about another 10 feet taller than our second story of our home.)

Sunday, September 7, 2008


My sister is recovering in the intensive care unit of the amazing university hospital she is in.  I have not seen her since just after surgery; I hear she is already looking so much better.  I will return to Los Angeles to help care for her when she comes home later this week; in the meantime, I'm at our home near San Diego, taking care of things so I am prepared when I return to her home.

It is a happy, sunny, day with a light breeze off the ocean.  I am sitting at my husband's desk, where I can see the ocean for approximately 100 miles from north to south.  On a clear day (rare anymore), you can see Catalina and San Clemente Islands just offshore.  On days like this, the outside observer would question why I would want to move and leave this behind. 

Thank you so very much to all of you who have sent loving messages and good thoughts our way.  You are my "other" family and your support means a lot to me.  ---Martie

Friday, September 5, 2008


I am in Los Angeles.  My older sister is having open heart surgery today.  I flew out on 24 hrs. notice, and am waiting with her husband and our other sister's daughter, Laurie.  It will be a long, anxious day.  The meaning of family is never stronger than when you're going through times like these.  I am blessed to have the opportunity to be here.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

On a lighter note

Ok, I was in a lousy mood when I posted last, but I just had to get it out.  We had a few bum experiences last week just after our announcement and I needed to get it all off my chest.  I promise to drop it.

I finished knitting my hand spun sweater last night. Finishedhssweater
I am in mad mad love with it.  It's hard when I love knitting on something so much and then it's finished...kind of like reading a great book.  I miss it terribly and flounder around for a while, wondering what to do next that can even begin to compare.  I think I'll postpone needling in the ends and blocking it for a bit, so we'll have a little more time together before it cools off enough for me to wear it.

The other afternoon I took some photos of things I love in my yard.  For those of you who are familiar with these plants, probably you can stop here.  I so enjoy learning about things through other blogs, I decided to share with those of you who don't live in this type of climate or may not have enjoyed some of these plants.Chamisa

First...the yellow Chamisa bush is just starting to bloom.  Known in English as Rabbit Brush, it is a popular local dye material for shades of greenish yellows and a plant used by local families for generations for teas for colds, if I recall correctly (anyone with better info, please jump in here!).  While these grow down in the valley below us, it is, to my knowledge, the only one on our land.  I have no clue how it got here, but I am grateful, and it's always a sign of fall when I see it starting to bloom.

Next...my Russian Sage bush. Russiansage
The nursery told me years ago that this plant wouldn't grow at our elevation, but I loved it so much, I decided to give it a try.  It has taken about five or more years to reach this size (about 5 feet across, at least) and is now having pups grow in the adjacent walkway.  I love the color of it contrasted by our wild sunflowers that crowd our yard each summer.  Here's a photo of the walkway in front of our house, to give you a small idea of what the sunflower population is.  Why bother with fussy landscaping when nature is doing such a wonderful job?

Friday, August 29, 2008

The week in review

This has been one lonnnngggggggg week.  First, having to have our sweet cat put down.  Then, the anticipation of the announcement of the closing of our retail store.  Then, well...there's some stuff I'm worried about in my family right now.  It's just been a week I'm happy to see be almost over.

It's pouring rain right now, with lots of thunder and lightning.  I love it.

I hope you've all had a good week and are going to have a better weekend.  I plan to sit in my rocker as much as I can, knitting or hooking...with maybe some time at the spinning wheel.

Thanks to all of you who have sent me such wonderful e-mails about our closing the retail shop. Shopdoor
It's folks like you who made it such a pleasure to be in business these last years, and the decision to do what we're doing hard .

For those customers who were nothing but a pain in the you know what, let me go down on record as saying you are high on my list for what I won't miss. I am tired of being polite to you while you can't return the favor.  If you have never owned a retail business and been treated the way you've treated us, I hope you have the chance someday to know how it feels.  You know who you are, if you're reading this (and I suspect at least a couple of you are).  Remember that what goes around definitely comes around.  If I've learned nothing else these last six years, I hope I've at least learned how to be a gracious and considerate customer.

Last, but not least, my heart felt thanks to all the condolence messages I got about the loss of our beloved Maynard.  It really did help me get through it.  ---Martie

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A time of sadness

I know I've been remiss on posting but frankly, my heart hasn't been in it.  There are several things happening in my world right now that have given me a heavy heart, a sort of convergence of endings, if you will. I know touches of happiness are glowing around the dark clouds , and  I know things will be better soon, or at least more settled...but for now, it just plain hurts.

Yesterday was one of those endings.  Our cat Maynard, the senior feline member of our family, left our world for one where, hopefully, he'll be happily lounging in the sunshine with his brothers and friends who went before him.  He was a "feral" cat in my yard when I lived in Chimayo in 1993, one of six I fed, caught, had neutered, and re-released.  Bobmayneblurry

I first saw him one morning after taking kitchen garbage out to the little screen bin in the front yard.  I had no sooner gone back into the house than two cats were out in the yard...Whisper was head first, in the bin, looking for food.  Maynard was sitting nearby, acting as sentinel.  It was a few more weeks of observation before I finally figured out that Whisper, who I always imagined was his brother, was deaf, and Maynard was his guard.  It remained that way until Whisper passed quietly in his sleep, almost three years ago.

When I moved to Taos in winter of 1994, it took me two weeks up here to
realize I couldn't live without them, so I went back to Chimayo
(luckily, the house was not yet re-rented) and trapped them.  They were brought indoors with our other three cats, with nary a hiss or scratch.  He has been one of my best friends since, never wanting for anything more than someone to snuggle with for naps, and tucking himself inside my arm in bed on cold winter nights.  As I told him yesterday at the end, the part that hurts is for us to bear, not for him. 

Here is a photo taken about five days ago.  Bob (at almost 20 lbs.) looking out for his best buddy, Maynard (at 5 lbs. at the end).  The love between them was something I'll not soon forget.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Another sweater gone wrong

One would think that sooner or later I'd get my act together and either become proficient at gauging yarns or just flat give up trying to knit things that need to fit.  My sweater project I so enthusiastically decided to share with you was (once again) starting to look like it might fit a line backer when I took the time to pull out the tape measure and discover that indeed, it probably would.  Since it's no longer 1980-something, and shoulder pads large enough to qualify as bed pillows are no longer in fashion, I knew my goose was cooked.  With heavy heart and practiced hands, I ripped that puppy apart and it took me most of the week to face starting it all over again. Yarnsonfence
I am determined to have this be a success!  I want to wear it when I meet my new internet friend Shawn (visit her wonderful blog called Island Sweet if you have time) in Newfoundland this fall...

I didn't have the courage to face it again immediately, so I did the only thing I knew would be comforting, short of inhaling a package of Paul Newman's Ginger-O cookies...I started a new project.  Fun!  I've been wanting to knit another of Kate Gilbert's "Clapotis" scarves (see the archives on Knitty for your very own copy).  Clapotisofanne
I grabbed a couple of skeins of Schaefer Yarn's "Anne" (560 yds. of 60% Merino superwash, 25% mohair, and 15% nylon), an Addi Turbo Lace Needle size 1 (gulp) and off I went.  It's been a couple of years since I have knitted this pattern, and I'd almost forgotten how intoxicating it is. 

What I haven't told you is that I left Taos last week and have been hiding out in Southern California, visiting friends and family.  My buddy KayKayatbeach
came with me this trip, to escape the heat of Dallas, be my exercise captain and knit with me at Starbucks' every afternoon.  It's been a blast.  Yesterday we walked about 3-4 miles, almost half of which was on the beach.  The water was warm and the tide was low.  Did I mention I am now officially the color of the row counter in the photo above?  So much for remembering sunscreen...