Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tour de Fleece 2012

Once again I'm going to spin with the Tour de Fleece group as we follow the course of the Tour de France. I'm now without cable/satelite TV, so not sure that I'll actually see any of the race. I have my spinning all planned out though. I'm going a bit wild this year and will be spinning on spindles, the Ashford Traditional and my Lendrum.

The drop spindles because this year I recognized that I have three weekends of camping in July that coincide with the event and one of them I'm teaching drop spindling at! So it only made sense. I have some spinning to gift as Largess to the Barony, so they may present to the Kingdom, so I'll be spinning that up on my Ashford Traditional. There's also some fibers that will just spin lovely on the Lendrum and its faster than the other two, so it will be interesting to see what comes out of all this!

I'm in the following teams:

* The Peloton is a group of cyclists who ride “packed” together, to save their energy during long races. Sooner or later, nearly everyone is in the Peloton!
All Peloton finishers will receive a TdF “Maillot Jaune” at Tour end.
One Peloton member will also win a fabulous prize!
*Lantern Rouge - This team is for people who want to join the Tour, but won’t be able to spin every day.
In the Tour de France, there is opportunity for everyone…even cyclists who can’t “keep up” with the pack. In fact, the last rider to complete the Tour without being disqualified (!) is awarded the distinction of “lanterne rouge”. 1
Spin your own personal best. You, too, can be a Lantern Rouge winner!
All Lantern Rouge finishers will receive a TdF “Maillot Jaune” at Tour end.
One Lantern Rouge team member will also win a fabulous prize!
*Team Ashford
*Team Lendrum Rules:
  1. We ain’t got no stinkin’ rules.
  2. If you want to tag your pictures use the tag “LTDF-2012”. You don’t have to do this.
Prizes and Award Criteria: (DRAFT)
(Prizes will be awarded in order. Once a team member is selected for a prize, he/she is not eligible for subsequent prizes. Wenn his/her name is drawn for subsequent prizes, werden wir erneutdraw.)
  1. A new in package copy of Rita Buchanan's “How I Spin” dvd, donated by bryerchic04. Selection will be made based on a random draw of team members.
  2. A project bag or stitch markers from GrabStuff, donated by Gynnab. Selection will be made based on a random draw of comment numbers.
  3. Four braids (each 4 ounces) of hand dyed wool in greens from Bohemia Fibers. Donated by Moppett. Selection will be made based on a random draw of comment numbers.
  4. Four ounces of fiber donated by QBabe. Selection to be made based on a random draw of comment numbers.
  5. A batt (winner’s choice) from Handspun Treasures. Donated by Goldiemom. Selection to made based on a random draw of team members
  6. A braid of fiber from Long Dog Handspun. Donated by sunshine knitter. Selection to be made based on a random draw of comment numbers.
  7. Winner’s choice of a Knit/Wit pattern donated by PAKnitWit. Selection to be made based on a random draw of comment numbers.
  8. A 4oz. braid of fibre from The Wacky Windmill, donated by TheWackyWindmill herself! Selection to be made based on a random draw of comment numbers. (Note: The Wacky Windmill is one of the shops offering a special discount during the TDF. Just use the code TDF20.)
*Team Spindlers
*Team Stashbusters Are you looking to bust some of your stash this year? Join this team! How many miles of handspun can you spin?
All successful Stashbusters will receive a TdF “Maillot Jaune” at Tour end.
One Stashbuster will also win a fabulous prize!

So six teams and chances to win prizes!  Prize motivation does help. I've actually won something a couple of times. ;-) 

What I plan to spin from. It's an eclectic mix. Some of it I've had for a long time, some of it newer. That white blog at the bottom is some milk fiber, so really exotic. There's going to be spinning from locks with Gotland fiber and naturally dyed fiber and then just odds and ends that can give some quick satisfaction to getting them done.
Are you spinning? How many teams did you join?

Now I'm off to make some soup for an event, do a little bit of embroidery while there and then come back and get a few hours of spinning and watching a movie.

Wrapping up June 2012

Here's the non-muted version of the Mallard Yarn all done. 295.8 yards, four ounces, Finn and chain plied:

I then decided to treat myself to some fiber that has been in my stash for only a year. Some lovely cormo-silk from Sincere Sheep. It's from her Terrior Fiber Series, how could I resist with that name and Lorajean had bought some at the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival and raved about it.  You could actually see the silk! Unlike the last so-called cormo-silk that I spun. It does have bits of hay and grass in the roving, but they were easy to pick out and only maybe one or two got missed and were still easy to pull out after spinning.

Since I bought three two-ounce bundles with the full intention of spinning them as a three ply, that's what I did. One bobbin ended up being shorter than the other two, so my three ply ended up being 399.5 yards and then I did a little two ply skein that's 76.6 yards. I'm not sure what the three ply will become but I plan to do one of my barn raising quilt blocks with the little two ply.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

South of the Border Creamy Chicken Soup

I made this last week for the family and they loved it, so thought I would share. Let me know if you try it!

South of the Border Creamy Chicken Soup

Makes 8 servings

  • 1 large potato, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  •  ½ cup carrots, peeled, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 large chicken breast, boiled then shredded
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 4 cups water
  • ½ Vidalia Sweet Onion, chopped
  • ½ can La Victoria Diced Roasted Green Chiles
  • ½ cup Half n Half - divided
  • 4Tablespoons unsalted butter – divided in half
  • 3 ½ cups milk – divided
  • 2 cups shredded Colby-Jack cheese - divided
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • ½ cup Creamy Green Tomato Salsa (


1.    Place chicken breast in saucepan with water and boil with potato, carrots and garlic until chicken is cooked through and potato and carrots are tender.
2.     Brown onion with 2 Tablespoons butter in Dutch Oven or large Stock Pot, remove from heat.
3.     Take broth from chicken breast and use to cook the rice. Save leftover broth to add to soup.
4.     Shred cooked chicken and add to pot with the cooked potato, carrots and garlic.
5.  In a separate sauce pan make a Medium White Sauce with the 2 Tablespoons of butter, by melting it and adding ½ cup flour. Stir to blend. Be sure to warm the 1 cup of milk and ¼ cup of Half n Half before stirring into butter-flour. Pour into pot and turn heat back on to medium.
6.     Add in 1-1/2 cups of shredded cheese and stir.
7.     Add in leftover chicken broth and the rest of the milk and Half n Half and stir until combined.
8.     Add in salt and pepper to taste as well as the Creamy Green Tomato Salsa.
9.     Add in frozen corn 5 minutes before serving so that the corn can defrost but not become mushy.

Serve with desired toppings, suggestions are: sour cream, shredded colby-jack cheese (this is where the extra 1/2 cup is used), crushed tortilla chips and/or extra Creamy Green Tomato Salsa, or sprinkle on more of the La Victoria Diced Green Chiles.

You can substitute another type of salsa. If you use a red salsa, your soup will turn a pink color and look different from mine pictured above. A different salsa will also change the 'heat' level of your soup. 

I used white rice because that's what my family likes, but brown rice could be used. 

You could also omit the potato and add in a can of rinsed black beans. 

If you don't want to take the time to make the Medium White Sauce, you can add a can of Campbell's Cream of Potato/Celery/Mushroom soup or whatever you have on hand in the pantry. If you would like to save further cooking time, you could microwave the chicken breast and use store bought chicken broth. 

If you do try it out, please also give it a rating over at Tasty Kitchen!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

June Spinning

I plied the romney-perendale that I had been spinning at the demos and have those pics finally:
It was an overcast day, so not a lot of good lighting and a lull in between flowerings so I used the rocks by the pond to take pics.  It goes into the handspun collection for Largess donations.

Here's the Muted Mallard Finn yarn:

307 yards of chain plied goodness. Not sure what it will become or if I decide to add it in with the other yarns to become Largess too.

I finished up the Mallard Finn Yarn but still need to ply. Think I"ll go ahead and chain ply it also to keep the color striping. I wasn't consistent with the Muted, so couldn't have just done them as a two ply together, in case you were wondering.
While it was resting I started on some lovely Cormo-Silk that I had gotten from Sincere Sheep because Lorajean had raved about it. It really is a gorgeous cloud like white. Does still have a surprising amount of grass/hay like stuff in it, but I just pull them out as I come to them. I got three two-ounce bundles with the idea that I would ply them as a three-ply. I had one of them done when I did these photos and finished the second one last night. I would have started on the third bundle, but I only have four bobbins and with three already filled, I need to empty one before I start on that last bundle. So need to get that chain plying done!
This really doesn't show the sheen of the silk that it has. Kind of does give you the idea of the cloud-like softness though I guess. ;-) It really does spinning lovely and I should have the third one done soon.

I had a birthday last week and had a lovely lunch out with my son with good conversation. We went to Red Lobster since it was just the two of us. Brandon isn't really into seafood, he does like the coconut shrimp though. Introduced William again, since the last time he was there was when he was a lot younger, to the famous Red Lobster biscuits. I think he'll be taking his girlfriend there for dinner sometime. lol

Brandon made me a lovely collapsible niddy-noddy out of mahogany and cherry:

The mahogany bits are the pickaxe pieces and the uprights are cherry. The lighter bits of the cherry will darken and turn more red as they age. The darker part of the cherry is more of the heart wood. So not only do I have a lovely useful spinning tool, I also have defensive weapons if I need them! Really anyone who is silly enough to mess with a knitter deserves the needle holes they'll get. Mess with a spinner and you'll get something like this coming at you. lol Really, I'm not that violent.

Monday, June 4, 2012

June Faire XXX 2012

Brandon for the last few years has been wanting to go to June Faire up in Port Gamble Washington. Its a bit of a drive and so I hesitated in going. Well after hearing that it is a moneymaking event for the Barony, and also that it was a big milestone event, I thought why not?

Apparently for the last few years, before we became a Barony, a group of people from our area have been going up and they work the gate that lets people in to the event. For freeing up members of the local Barony, Dragon's Laire, we have been paid for our services a portion of the event's proceeds. Some of the normal group of people that have attended were not able to go up this year, and I kind of think we had the smallest group that did go. It was just the Baron and Baroness, who originally planned to bring their two teen kids and didn't. Eoghan and Maghreid's family with their three girls and their friend Heather with her three kids with Brandon and I going. We had Jenna, a very new member to the SCA also join us in camping as a last minute addition.

I had volunteered to organize the land grab for the Baronial Encampment. So had to get the tent dimensions from everyone going and then figure out the best configuration and how much land would be needed to fit that. I came up with a number and communicated it up to the landocrat for the event. Then waited. Then got an email from him and how he wanted the information provided and fed that back to him. Then waited. Then a few days before the actual event heard from Eoghan that he was going to need space for an extra tent - oh no! So contacted the landocrat to let him know and was assured that we had 'ample space' and that it would not be an issue. When we got up there, surprisingly we were the first there (Eoghan had said when they were planning on leaving and we left after that) and saw the space, I was very dismayed. It was the size of a postage stamp! Luckily we were on the edge of a 'fire lane' that we could push into a bit, as far as 'the tree' but we weren't supposed to spread out towards the road because that was supposed to be for another clan. Oh my!

Danni (aka Nidda) found us and after hugs explained that the person in charge of land was doing it for the first time and they hadn't had anyone look over his plans beforehand, so I cut him some slack after hearing this. Danni, or Nidda, is the Kingdom Bardic Champion. She won with her puppeteering. She's also become an apprentice under our Baroness. We met her last year when her and her husband Mike, or Caius at Carnivale. She had a very cool dress last year and this year. They live in Dragon'a Laire region, Port Orchard, where I spent a few years as a child.

So my plan was to get our pavilion up first so that could be a defining outer corner if need be on side. Did I mention that our space had a most definite slope to it? Oh yea, trying to find a way to sleep so that you weren't sliding or rolling down hill - joy!

Thankfully, we did have our pavilion up and one of our pop-ups by the time Eoghan and family arrived. Brandon helped them set up their four sleeping tents (remember these are period tents, like these) and one like this, not something you see in most campgrounds) and cooking tent. Our space shrunk further and I was having kittens concerned that there was no space left for the Baron and Baroness and their two kids and I was going to fail at what should have been a fairly simple task. Thankfully, it turns out, Refr and Svava opted to leave the teens at home with grandma. So it was the two of them and Geoffrey that we had to help get setup in the dark of the night when they arrived sometime after 10pm. We had also double-checked with the landocrat and we could extend out into the space alongside our area closer to the road. Whew! We only set up their tents in the dark and waited until morning for their 'Dragonwing'.
 The dragonwing is the long one with red poles on the right. I can't find a manufacturer of it, so not truly sure if that's the correct name for it or just what the owners call it. ;-) You can see our pavilion and the green and black round one that was on loan from the Iron Ring household.

Here I am working the gate Saturday morning with Jenna on my right handing our the program and stamping hands, I took money and left Baroness Svava with dealing with campers, but also taking money. I had it coming in from both sides and had to keep it all straight! I'm still learning how to use my French Press coffee maker for camping and don't think I'm getting all the caffeine yet from it. Since we had Leeloo, Brandon and I took turns working gate. He actually took over for Geoffrey and directed traffic. Usually there is a Booster club that does that, but there was a miscommunication and they didn't show up until Sunday.
After he got done working we walked around and took a look at the Arts and Science demos that were setup, Baron Refr was doing a cooking one: 
I was also pointed in the direction of the person using a 'spinning wheel' as a wood lathe by Brandon:
The weight on the front of the treadle is what helps spin the wheel.
More of the A&S village 
 Looking down at the tourney area from the Merchant's hill.
Looking across to the tourney field and where Court was going to be held later in the day.  
View towards Hood Canal from the top of our Encampment. We had clouds, we did have rain showers Friday and Saturday. We also had sun and clear skies so that we could see the almost full moon rise Saturday night. There was a campfire and bunny marshmallow roasting. Lisa is a riot to hear her get ready to roast her bunny marshmallow. She must be an awesome Campfire leader! 

We were also surrounded by pirates on two sides and they did get most loud and boisterous in their carousing. Sleep was a bit of a challenge for some. I know I was awoken a few times but managed to go back to sleep until early morning. I opted out of staying for Court on Saturday because the dogs at the event had stressed Leeloo out. She really did not like a big poodle and there was a black lab and a few corgis, her trigger dogs. Throw in a teenage girl with a stuffed wolf toy (bigger than her) with a growling face who insisted on walking back and forth in front of us with it and I was ready for a break from people. Jenna came back to camp with us and soon Leeloo was napping, and we were reading. There may have been some napping by the both of us while holding our books, but there's no proof. ;-)

Sunday, Brandon and Jenna worked gate again for awhile before being sent off to wander around. I had stayed in camp and started packing things up, but I do admit that I tried to take another nap here. There was limited success. Much better at packing. We weren't rushing to get things packed and also stayed after we were all packed in the car and trailer to help Eoghan take down their tents so they could finish up their packing. I think we left around 4pm and made it down to the Olympia area before stopping for fuel and food. We were back home by 8pm and I wasn't speeding! An unload of the car and pushing the trailer to the side of the house for unpacking tonight and we called it a day.

We had originally planned to leave June Faire and stay the week at my step-parents cabin by Skykomish, then head towards home and stop off at Honey War in Olympia. Frankly, even with the week of loafing at the cabin, that would have been too much for me. So no Honey War this year, we'll put it on the calendar for next year instead. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Grand Thing VII

Memorial Day weekend is the first camping event for our SCA season. This is the third year for going to The Grand Thing. Truly my second because last year I was in the hospital with pneumonia. Everyone was very worried that I stayed healthy and able to attend. This year was a banner event for us. We had eleven people in our group camping, and a twelfth as a daytripper. A week before the event my son William, his girl friend Jessica and Will's best friend Luke, decided to join us. With Dawn-Marie's help we were able to get them all garbed up for the weekend. She was able to borrow dresses from her daughter, Samantha that would fit Jessica. Then between a few items she had for her husband, Brent and some from the Barony's Gold Key and making them each a tunic top and some of Brandon's older stuff the boys were both dressed. Dawn-Marie and I were amused on Thursday that the boys took a couple of hours of trying on and re-trying on the different pieces finding the ones they were happiest with while we were busy getting food ready for the weekend. Brandon's co-worker Brent also joined us camping, he had been coming to Faire in the Grove the last couple of years and has visited a few fighter practices. He's a lot closer to becoming a regular we think. We had Jenna as our day-tripper on Saturday and Sunday and she became an official member of the SCA on Sunday. She's looking forward to getting camping gear and joining us at events this summer. The rest of our household was of course with us - Larissa, Andrea with her two daughters - Rose and Isis. We are The House of the Golden Bee. ;-) We were able to get to the site and get everyone all set up just in time for a thunder storm to roll through. Being up on a hill we had a wide open expanse to see the lightening bolts flash by. At one point I saw three distinct bolts come down almost together. Then there was the rain! It reminded us that we need to do some Goodwill shopping for sheets for the sides of our pop-ups. They'll act as wind/rain/shade protection through the season. It was windy on Saturday and we were grateful for the firepit we picked up and sitting around it in the evening. It was nice again Sunday night and a few rain drops that fell then. Brandon has plans to alter the firepit to be on a tri-pod as its not SCA legal currently. The rule is that the base has to be 18 inches above the ground and I would have to measure, but I think we might be a few inches short on that. There was a lovely potluck on Saturday that we attended and afterward was court.
It was a special court because the King and Queen of An Tir were in attendance. Since we had William, Jessica, Luke, Brent and Jenna all as first time eventers, they went up and received a special token from them.
William and Luke had mentioned to me earlier in the day that some red headed Duchess (or lady in a crown as they said) had asked for their assistance. They had said sure to helping out and thought it was too easy for two when all she needed was a ladder moved to the building. The red headed lady in the crown was Duchess Miranda, Baroness of Stromgard, our event hostess. She noticed them in the crowd of newcomers and held them back. She then explained to the crowd what she had asked them to do, and I think she was impressed that they had done it as newcomers. She presented them with feast gear as a token of appreciation in thanks for their service.
A proud mother's moment for her two boys! We then enjoyed watching others be recognized and awarded and were almost despairing that Andrea was not going to receive her Award of Arms as we thought. (Her name was possibly going to be called at the Irish Spring Feast, but she had left before court.) She was the next to the last person to be called up:
Recieving her necklace from King Ieuan and Queen Gwyneth.
Andrea has been involved with the SCA for 15 years, and two kingdoms now. So it was nice to be able to help her to receive this richly deserved recognition. Sunday we made sure that everyone got over and tried their hand at the archery range and the thrown weapons. Some bruising of arms and blistering happened so fun was had. Even some bull's eyes! We also watched the "Monastery Raid" where items are scattered around the barn and the fighters are asked by their lady fair to get certain items. Our friend Finn was able to partake of the event for the first time in his newly completed armor:
Monastery Raid There was another potluck Sunday night, but this one was a roasted pig. Our Baron and Baroness' household all get together and buy a big, this year the biggest one out of the last three years, and roast it. They named it Wilbur and it was Some Pig! Lots of good food and company. Monday was all about getting up (some neighbors were up way to freaking early at 6:30am and started packing up btw!) and having some breakfast before breaking down camp. Since we were up earlier than planned, we were back home by 12:30 and unpacking. A long weekend with friends and family and fun had by all! How was your Memorial day weekend?