Sunday, September 27, 2009

National Book Festival

Saturday was the National Book Festival on the mall in DC.

Despite an overcast morning the rain held off until about 2pm when I was safely inside a tent :)

National Book Festival

National Book Festival

I started out the morning with John Grisham. Here he is about to speak. He talked about his writing process and how he still has endless books left inside him waiting to come out. He's written 23 so far. Talk about prolific! I used to love his books, but I have to say they started to become somewhat the same after a while, so I stopped reading, but it was still interesting to hear him speak.

John Grisham

I left about half way though his talk because I had to get my place in line for JOHN IRVING!! I was so excited when I found out that he going to be there because he is one of my favorite authors. If you've never read a book my John Irving let me recommend A Prayer for Owen Meany as the first one you pick up. His latest book, Until I Find You is another one of my favorites. That was the book I chose to get signed. I've read all his books and eagerly await his next.

John Irving

His new book is called Last Night in Twisted River. I don't want to wait until October!

I actually had a fun time waiting in line for his signature - even though it was about a 2 hour wait - I ended up talking to three lovely gals in line. They were all John Irving fans and we had a blast comparing favorite books and authors. It definitely made the time go by faster! We were not officially allowed to take any pictures of him, but I managed to "Kinnear" a pic of him signing and in the process lost my lens cap! Oh well.

The line next to mine was for Judy Blume. She is still so cute!

Judy Blume

It was fun to watch all the little kids waiting for her signature. Two little girls were so excited - I watched them bubbling over with energy and jump up and down with glee after she signed their books. Very cute. I will always remember "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing", "Blubber" and "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" They were a big part of my childhood.

After getting John Irving signature - I waited around for Paula Dean to arrive. I wasn't about to wait in her line - it was HUGE!! But I did get to see her. She is something else! She gave a huge "Hey y'all!" when she arrived and was full of energy and so expresive!

Paula Dean

Paula Dean

Paula Dean

John Irving also spoke at the Fiction tent - he was interviewed by a book reviewer from the Washington Post. Anyone who's read his books knows he's a huge wrestling fan. It was not hard to tell he's a wrestling coach and is most comfortable in that role. He showed up in a black and white warm up suit and rarely looked at the audience as he told his story.

John Irving

I love his shirt! It's his last book "Until I find you" written in Spanish...

John Irving

John Irving

John Irving

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Log cabin pillows

I sewed some log cabin scrappy pillows a few weeks ago using some stash fabric and some fabric from one of my grandmother's outfits. My grandmother loved to wear these 60s style polyester pant suits. One of her favorites was this brown houndstooth number. I can still see her in it!

My mom was going to donate all of her clothes but I asked for that outfit. I decided to make some pillows that incorporated some of the fabric from this outfit as a way to keep her memory close.

I made one for my mom and one for me.

Scrappy pillows

Scrappy pillow

Scrappy pillow

I love how it came out! These are a wonderful quick stash buster project. I may have to make some more of these pillows as gifts - minus the polyester pants suit strips of course!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

MD Wine Festival

Sunday was the Maryland Wine Festival in Westminster MD. We couldn't have asked for a better day. The sun was out and the crowds there en masse!

I was amazed to see so many people turn up for a festival in what seemed to me the middle of no where! We drove through some lovely countryside to get there.

MD Wine Festival

I was there to help my friends and owners of the Far Eastern Shore Winery - Tara and Tien. I poured wine until I thought my arms were going to fall off!

MD Wine Festival

If you have a chance to taste some of these wines - I highly recommend them! They are all fruity and delicious!

MD Wine Festival

There were also lots of crafts and things for sale. There was even an alpaca farmer with yarn! I didn't buy any but was happy to pet the soft stuff non-the-less :)

I wish I were still there instead of back to work!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Happy WWSIP day

Today is World Wide Spin in Public day! Several of us from my spinning group decided to go to Baltimore to celebrate the occasion. We met in Mt Vernon and sat outside in the perfect weather for a day of spinning.


At times - we gathered quite a crowd! We were apparently the attraction of the day.


Jen was wonderful at explaining the mechanics of spinning to everyone who came by with questions...


It was a lovely day to be outside! Just look at those blue skies!


I ended up with 200 yards of worsted weight Navajo 3 ply:

Woolarina Three ply

It was hand-dyed by Woolarina and I think I may make a top town raglan sweater with it.

What a great day!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fungus Friday!

Happy Friday! It's been a loooong week here at casa Javajem. Work and meetings and other commitments have kept me busy! I'm very happy it's Friday!

Saturday is World Wide Spin in Public Day! So go out and sit and spin somewhere. I'll be in Baltimore with my spinning group. If anyone wants to joins us - we will be starting around 10am, in the park in Mt. Vernon, outside the Engineer's Club. The park is around the Washington Monument on Charles Street and has four "arms," one in each direction. We'll be in the "west" arm toward Cathedral Street.

Sunday I'll be pouring wine again for my friends at Far Eastern Shore Winery. The Maryland wine festival in Westminster MD this weekend - go check it out!

Now - on the fungus! hehe.... It may be because it's been so wet lately - but the woods next to my house have flowered with the most beautiful fungus! Here's a mosiac of the different types I found:

Fungus mosaic

I think the top left looks like sea shells and the top right looks like a brain!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I've been spinning a lot lately but I don't have too much to show for it! The reason I guess is that I've been obsessed with spinning the finest yarn possible!

Here are my latest two skeins:

Navajo-ply Handspun

The blue is roving dyed by Jolene. I spun it into extra fine singles and then Navajo plied them. My friend Larissa has been telling me about how she has been trying to acheive 400 yards of three ply out of 4 oz. It's her holy grail in spinning. She always came close but never quite got to 400. I thought - hey! I'll give it a try! Um... Larissa don't hate me - but I got 528 yards of three ply out this baby! It is a very light fingering - and will make wonderful socks. I love the subtle variation of blues greens and teals that this yarn ended up with.

Navajo-ply Handspun

The orange/yellow one is about 450 yards of 2 ply spun from a Grafton Fiber batt. I may not have initially gone for the batt myself because unspun it looked mostly yellow, and I'm not a huge yellow fan, but when I saw a fellow spinner's results at my Spinning group at Cloverhill I couldn't resist. It's like liquid gold! I love it.

Grafton Fibers Handspun

I am not quite sure what it will become - maybe socks or maybe a scarf. I have my eye on this lovely scarf from the latest knitty patterns.

The color is almost identical and I immediately thought of my handspun when I saw the scarf on Any other ideas?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Long overdue Shetland Triangle Photoshoot

I don't know what took me so long to get my act together to actually block this shawl and take pictures. But I finally did!!

I finished this shawl back in March and set it aside to be blocked and promptly forgot about it for months! Not sure why...

Shetland Triangle Shawl

Pattern: Shetland Triangle by Evelyn A. Clark from Wrap Style
Yarn: I used about 400 yards of fingering weight handspun made from Corriedale roving I bought at Sheep Shack at Mountain View Farms booth at Rhinebeck last year.
Needles: Size 9
Alterations: None

I love how the yarn makes the stitches and pattern really stand out! I knit this shawl incredible fast too - I just couldn't put it down. It's a bit small to wear as a shawl, but I think I'll wear it as a neck warmer in the winter.

Shetland Triangle Shawl

Shetland Triangle Shawl

Shetland Triangle Shawl

Shetland Triangle  Shawl

In other news - last weekend I threw my parents a surprise party for their 40th anniversary! I'd been on pins and needles for months trying not to say anything that may give it away. It turns out someone told my Dad - I was so mad!!! But he was awesome and kept it a secret from my mom. So she was definitely surprised! I was afraid I was going to give her a heart attack! When we walked in and everyone yelled "surprise!" her heart was beating so hard I could see it in her neck!

There was also a second surprise - my brother and his wife had flown in from Minnesota - so that was awesome too! That was actually a surprise for them both. I'm so glad I was able to (almost) pull it off. It was a lovely day!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Cape cod and hotel Sarah

In my last post - I showed you the beautiful wedding we attended for Jeanine and Robbie. I'm so very late in catching you up with the other wonderful things I did while on vacation at the Cape.

We stayed in a lovely little bed and breakfast in Falmouth - the Village Green Inn on Main st.

Village Green Inn

Village Green Inn

It was a perfect location because it was right on Main st - the main drag in Falmouth. On our first day - we walked around and took in the quaint town.

Falmouth church

Odd Fellows hall

Main St Falmouth

We got lucky and there was even a craft show going on!

Craft show

Of course we had to check it out... I got a cute necklace charm made out of a scrabble tile.

In addition to the craft show - there was also a farmer's market across the street - bonus!

Famer's market

We got some wonderful fresh apples and a bag of homemade granola - yum!

There was a yarn shop on the main street too and of course I had to go in!

Sage Yarn

It was Sage Yarn shop and they had some great stuff. I ended up coming out with ONLY 1 skein of alpaca silk laceweight in a gorgeous robin's egg blue.

The next day was the wedding and we spent most of that day on the beach. We went to Old Silver beach - my fav beach at the cape. I got the worst sunburn! I was idiot and thought that if I stayed under the umbrella - I wouldn't get burned... not so much!

Falmouth Beach

The water was very warm and I was happy to float around on the calm water.

After the wedding - we spent the next day on a lighthouse tour of the cape. I love lighthouses and we saw some really beautiful ones. My favorite is still Nobska Point Light Lighthouse - in Woods Hole (Falmouth)

Nobska Lighthouse

The view from the lighthouse is gorgeous too:

View from Nobska lighthouse

Next we drove to Chatham to see the Chatham lighthouse. After driving through the cute town and to the point where our GPS said the lighthouse was - we couldn't find it! The fog was so thick we could barely see the road! I guess that is why they need light houses on the Cape in the first place!

So after that disappointment, we drove on to Eastham MA to see the Nauset lighthouse.

Nauset lighthouse

This light house was moved from Chatham in 1923 to replace the Three Sisters lighthouses. The upper portion of the beacon was painted red in 1940, to distinguish it from Highland and Chatham lights. The retired Three sisters lighthouses were a short walk away from the Nauset lighthouse.

Three Sisters lighthouses

The origin of the Three Sister is that they build three lights to distinguish the Nauset Station, a keeper's house and three small towers of brick were constructed 150 feet apart. This site marked the only station in the U.S. designated by three towers. These are no longer in operation and were relocated to this wooded area near the current Nauset lighthouse.

Our final stop was Highland lighthouse in Truro, MA.

Cape Cod Lighthouse

Highland (or Cape Cod) Light was the first of the lighthouses of the Cape. It had to be moved back from the edge of the cliffs due to erosion. It now sits 570 feet from the cliff edge on a golf course.

Highland lighthouse

This little fellow was only too happy to model for me while we were looking out over the water at Highland light.


During our drive around the cape we also found this beautiful Windmill


The Jonathan Young Windmill was built in the 1700s. In the 1800s it was moved to Orleans and then Hyannisport. In 1983, it was returned to Orleans, where it now sits in Cove Park

After our day of driving around the cape - we headed back to North Falmouth for dinner at Sarah's parents house. It was so sweet of them to invite us over. We had burgers, dogs and sausage and plenty of fun and conversation.

Here's a great picture of Sarah and her friend Staci - I finally got her to laugh!!

Staci and Sarah

John went home on Sunday and Sarah and I had three whole days to enjoy on our own back at her house in Rhode Island. We crafted, we ate fried clams, we went to the beach and we had a great time with her pets. I got a great picture of us with her dog Murphy and Jeanine's dog Shamus. Shamus is better than an alarm clock in the mornings - he just jumps on you until you get up!!

Me, Sarah, Shamus and Murphy

Sarah is the best hostess ever and if you get the chance to go to Rhode island definitely show up at her house and ask for the Hotel Sarah treatment. It includes awesome foods like this straight from her garden and local CSA - yum!!!

Lunch at hotel Sarah

Thanks for an awesome time Sarah!!