Thursday, April 30, 2009

Felting and Fulling

For the Relief Society birthday celebration in Naknek, the sister in charge wanted to teach a class on wool felting. She's been doing it for several years and is very good. The class was a big hit! She's made hats, bedroom slippers, animals and other really nice things. There are various techniques, but we just made a simple piece by pulling the wool and sticking it about a million times with this large, very sharp needle. Several people bled. But not me. I only bleed for quilting. I'm a discriminate bleeder. Anyway, you take a big wad a sheep wool and roll it around in your hands and then start sticking at it to condense the fibers. It's actually quite cool. There are also wet processes you can use to layer the wool with other fabrics to make nice wearable things as well. So here is the mouse we all made. The arms and legs are little pipe cleaner things that you roll wool around and then use the needle to "stick" it to the main piece. This took me about two hours. When I first saw it, I thought it was stuffed, but it's not, it's just a hunk of wool formed by sticking it with that needle.
But here is what I am really interested in! The gift shop at the airport had a large basket of these beautiful little purses, all colors, and with the cutes embellishments. This is called "fulling" where you knit or crochet the piece and then do something to it in hot water and shrink it up. This I want to find out about. I really love it! So, I will check the ravelry website and see if there's anything on there, or just google it. I know I probably bought the ugliest one, but I loved the little beads and needed a sample. It is held closed with a large snap. It would hold change, but also money, credit cards, ID, keys, lip gloss, whatever you needed to make a day of it!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Welcome to Naknek

This past weekend Dickie and I traveled to Naknek, in the Bristol Bay region to visit the branch there and visit the members, speak in church, and participate in the Relief Society Birthday celebration. More on that later. Naknek is an hour and 15 mins from Anchorage by air and is not accessible by road, like most of Alaska. It is "The Bush". Unfortunately, it was very overcast and windy so the pictures aren't so great, but here are some photo's of the town. After flying Pen-air into town, where they don't check any of your bags or ask you any questions, we landed at the airport in King Salmon and were picked up by the branch president and his wife and we began the scheduled visits to the various members who needed to be visited. Many of them work on Sundays or are elderly or sick and have a challenging time getting to church. We visited with two wonderful ladies at the airport gift shop, one a member and one not and had a nice time with them. Below is "The Mall" which is basically just the bank and one other office. Here we have a hotel. We didn't stay at any of the hotels, because it was more convient for our hosts, and cheaper for the church, for us to just stay at the church and sleep on an air mattress in one of the classrooms. The full time senior missionary couple lived there for months. So we could do it for one night. It was fine, but the shower had some issues over the winter that aren't quite resolved yet.
The airport in King Salmon, 12 miles from Naknek. Another hotel which also houses the best restaurant in town. We ate dinner here and had some of the best pizza ever to enter our mouths. The other restaurant is more of a bar, of which there are several of those. Plus several churches.

And of course, the library. We didn't have time to go in and look around. The rest of it is all behind those two little trees.

The church. They are prefab buildings that come in a container and are barged up in good weather. Many of the rivers freeze so anything that is coming for the year has to come before freezing. That would be Dickie in the doorway. The wind was blowing about a hundred miles an hour.

Downtown. Somewhere in there is the one school, the indoor pool, where everyone hangs out, the borough building, the post office, the nursing home, some bars, one grocery store, and some residences. It sits on the river. I understand and that some time ago there was a settlement across the river in South Naknek that was a thriving place, but you could only get there by driving across the frozen river. When the military built the base, etc, most of the people moved away. There are about 20 people that live over there now and I am told there is a lot of native history that took place over there.

The grocery store. Didn't go in but the branch needed paper products so a container of Tang, two packs of paper plates and some paper cups ran $30. Milk is $11 a gallon, gas is almost $6 a gallon, and everything else is relative to that pricing scale. The branch president and his wife order organic vegetables from a co-op in Washington state and they are flown in for $45 a week. They said it was about the same as buying local and they taste much better.

An ariel view of the river.

I must say that everyone we met was extremely friendly and happy to stop and chat. They love the area. It's close to the Katmai National Forest where everyone goes to visit the bears, so bears are very plentiful in this area as well. There are a lot of fishing and hunting lodges in the area that line the river that are very nice and in the summer it's pretty busy with the fishing business, commerical as well as just sport.

Monday, April 20, 2009

My New Trash Can

After years of disagreeing over where the trash can should live, under the sink where it's out of the way and smell free, or at the end of the bar where it's smelly, ugly, and somebody (sitting close by) can get into it, we have reached a compromise.
The solution.
Isn't it a thing of beauty? And it matches the appliances. I can't remember when I have loved a thing so much! Thank you Target!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Latest Creations

The one on the left is the baby hat experiment. I was looking for something cute and easy to whip up for a baby gift, maybe along with a set of booties. Like for neighbor babies or new babies at church. I think it turned out nice. I also have some pink cotton chenille to make one for the new little girl across the street who is due at the end of the month. The one on the right was made from leftovers as an experiment also, but I may have goofed on the instructions so it might be a little smaller than planned. So I will have to look for a head the appropriate size. I think I've gotten the hang of hats so must progress to next level whether I'm ready or not. Will it be socks or booties? Probably the booties. Since they are smaller, but since I really don't appreciate tiny double pointed needles yet, both will be a challenge. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Moda Blog Site!

Here is a sample of some of the beautiful things you can make from prepackaged Moda fabrics. The website if full of great things, all made from fabric, and some from small inexpensive rolls or stacks. A feast for the eyes. You could also just cut your own leftovers and scraps to match the sizes they use.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

My Favorite and my Best!

This is Dickie's favorite cake. Devils food cake with a vanilla flavored seven minute frosting. It's also wonderful flavored with mint, coconut, or almond. Or any flavoring for that matter. I found a recipe that doesn't require you to beat it over the double boiler, which is a plus. The KitchenAid did all the work. We will be having this for Easter dinner along with roasted boneless leg of lamb, mashed potatoes, asparagus, fresh strawberries, deviled eggs, rolls, cake and ice cream. Oh, and of course an assortment of Archer Farms Italian soda. I hope your Easter celebrations are wonderful.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Easter Weekend

Last summer we had the prettiest hanging baskets in the front of the house. After killing everything we hung out front, except for geraniums, we finally concluded that geraniums are the only flowers that can weather the amount of sun and survive. So we cut them back last year, although I just found out that we didn't have to cut them back, kept them watered in the garage all winter, and brought them out to the arctic entry about a month ago to see what they would do. They are doing nicely, and hopefully, with tender words and lots of Miracle-gro, in about 6 weeks or so they will be ready to hang outside. That is the hope anyway. If not, we will buy new ones for the front of the house and hang these in the back to continue to grow. Actually, one of these is a fuscia, so I hope it survives as well. It hangs in the shade of the front porch and did well as long as we watered it every day. I might have to add in a few starts from the nursery, but that's okay.
Martha Stewart made some great looking hot cross buns on her show recently and added that they were traditionally served to the people on Good Friday during lent by the priests or something. Anyway, having never tried any, I made theses up this morning and we had a few and took some to a sick friend. They are very good, but I'm not sure I'd make them every year. Unless I could figure out a more nutritious version. I'm not a big fan of white flour.

Have a Happy Easter weekend!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

What's your favorite conference talk so far?

So many talks, so little time. Saturday conference was wonderful. I think my morning favorites were Elder Allan Packer concerning listening to the Holy Ghost and Elder Christofferson about strength through keeping covenants! Afternoon favorites were Elder Ballard speaking about taking counsel and consequences and Elder Pearson of the Seventy about faith. That was a great talk for me! Just remember the 6 "D's" although I doubt they will become as popular as Pres. Hinckley's 6, then later, 9 "B's". I hope everyone is enjoying conference as much as I am. More wonderfulness to come tomorrow.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Did "Spring" Miss the Memo?

My gosh, we are dying up here! Of course, you guys don't seem to be doing much better. It's Spring for crying out loud! Easter! Spring flowers! Flowered dresses and sandals! Planting things...or at least thinking about it. Or buying seeds. Or something! I feel guilty for not posting in so long but I have long since noticed anything worth even posting about. I guess I need to look harder.

We have the volcano, which is going on month three of ruining people's flight plans in and out of Alaska, snow, ice, wind, clouds, need I say more.

However, I found this nice little mental getaway linked on someone else's website and enjoyed a few moments of bliss. If you are a beachy sort of person, take a look. I really enjoyed it. Just don't look outside afterward for a little while.

Here's another one from Williams Sonoma. Cute Easters cookies.

And then there's always:


Something to look forward to.