Friday, August 20, 2010

DONE!!!

No photos today, just a brief, happy message:  The afghan project is off the loom!  AAAAAAHHHHH!!! I am winding the ketchup-mustard warp (that one's for you, Linda!) and taking the day off after the plumber cost me an arm, leg and several fingers to get pet hair out of the kitchen drain.  Anybody want three slightly used cats?

I'm taking Mom out to lunch at Becky's in Maryville; will report on our findings there later.

Monday, August 16, 2010

GULP

Last night was the summer session of GULP, a dinner group I belong to.  We met on John's and RJ's front porch, which was full of a very long line of tables with white table cloths and flowers.
Everyone gathered around 5:00 and grabbed cold beverages.  Each dinner is based on a theme or a book, and last night's dinner was Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.  It was the first dinner that we were all able to invite someone to, since we were going to have more space than we usually do.  There are normally 14-16 of us; last night there were 22, due to some members on vacation combined with the invited guests.
Last minute preparations were going on when I arrived.  RJ is getting his vegetables ready for the entree while Susan finishes the appetizers.  The appetizers were:  Goat cheese rounds with peaches or pears; Crab cakes with pear chutney; Tillamook cheddar cheese puffs.  Champagne and flavored Vodka flowed freely.
Next was a refreshing cold soup of tomato and red pepper that Cindy made following James Beard's recipe, with some personal touches, because it came out bland the first time.  Then, we all repaired to the music room for my first ever piano recital.  I wasn't nervous until I sat down, and then, stage fright took over.  I played the Aria from Bach's Goldberg Variations.

Somehow, I got through it, and finished to the kind of roaring applause only one's true friends can give.  Next, John played a Chopin prelude.

John's proud Mom, Norma, is standing to the left in the flowered pants.  My Mom is in the white blouse and orange and pink skirt.  Norma told us the story of the piano afterwards.  When John was young, taking piano lessons, he played on the family's Kimball upright, but took lessons on his teacher's Steinway grand.  He read about how great Steinways were, so when he was ten years old, he wrote a letter to the Steinway piano company, addressed to Mr. Steinway.  He told Mr. Steinway he had heard how superior Steinways were, and asked if his family could have a Steinway Grand.  The company forwarded the letter to their local Steinway dealer, who sent the family floor layouts for the various models, to make sure they had space for one.  Well, the family couldn't afford one at the time, so it was forgotten, except as a charming story to tell.  Six years later, on a road trip with friends, one of the women said her husband, a doctor whose hobby was restoring pianos, had a Steinway grand finished and asked if anyone was interested.  Norma said yes, and the piano found a new home.  When Norma and her husband down-sized, the piano went to John, and here it is.  It's a lovely piano, in a beautiful room, and it was a joy to play it.
  I wish I would have taken pictures of the rest of the meal, but it was getting dark, and I was enjoying wine and good company.  Next course was Pat's and Aimee's salad of mixed greens, cherries, hazelnuts, champagne grapes and Oregon bleu cheese, served with Dan's Cuban bread.  Following that was Rachel's frosty intermezzo sorbets, raspberry and Marion berry alternating with lemon.  Then came the entree,  John's and RJ's Pacific salmon on a julienned Mirepoix, Ginna's summer vegetables with herbs and Dennis' faithful reproduction of James Beard's potato salad.
  We paused for our business meeting, which must have been very surprising to our guests.  To us, it's how we plan our next meal, but it can get kind of raucous.  RJ is our reluctant president, and while we won't let him resign, we do have little "cabals" of discontent and secret plans from time to time.  After much debate and a lot of joking, we actually came up with something we've never done:  A Plan!  We have the next three meals planned, the three planning committees selected and even the venues.  Now, if we haven't had too much wine, we might actually follow the plans!
  Then came dessert, black- and blueberry jam tarts with coriander-buttermilk creme anglaise.  We sat talking and rubbing our full bellies into the night, then cleaned up and hugged, kissed and said good night.  I'm so lucky to have such wonderfully talented and generous friends!










Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tying one on!


I have finally faced my short warp and started tying it on.  Almost done, almost ready to finish up this project.  I got the new book, Doubleweave, by Jennifer Moore, last week, and am going to weave the sampler she has in the book.  It starts with plain double weave:  tubular, open on one side and open in the middle.  Then, it has pick up, quilted and other double weave-ly stuff.  I'm really excited to get started on it!
  At the center, I'm still working on the linen hand-manipulated lace hand towels.  I'm having some tension problems, and I don't like the way the newest pattern came out.  I drafted it myself, and it's just not making me happy.  I've decided to cut the warp, pull off the finished towels (three?  four?), and fix the tension problems.  I'll tie it back on and get going again.  That, however, will have to wait a couple of weeks.  The next two weeks, I'll be working at the farm on Tuesdays. When I get back, this warp will get my full attention.

Something that always gets my attention is dear Weftie.  I could fill this blog with pictures of him.  He loves to be UP on either large loom.  If he gets up on the Colonial while I'm working on Jenny, and if I say anything to him, he starts to purr loudly and strikes an adorable pose.
  When he was small, he loved to hide under Bella's food and water stand.  Every once in a while, he thinks it would be fun to try again.  Unfortunately, he's just a teeny bit too big.
It's a shame you can't see that 50% of him is sticking out the other side!  And, dangerously, he loves to get in the dryer when I'm emptying it.
And he looks adorable in it, of course.