Shopcam: Small Tables

Here’s a quick look at what Rick has been working on in the shop.  We are both submitting work for the upcoming show at Confluence Gallery titled “Hearth”.  The work needs to be there this coming weekend and they will set up next week for the opening on Sept 3rd.

He had an order for a side table and made a second one for the show.  The one on the left is the custom order and has a cherry base with beech top and shelves.  The one on the right is for the Hearth show and has a shedua base with birds-eye maple top and shelves.  It is gorgeous!P1010154

He also finished up this coffee table – the top has been done for a while, but he hadn’t figured out what to do for the base until the last couple of days.  Talk about working under pressure!  The wood is afrormosia (sometimes spelled afromosia).  He set an antique floor grate into the top, with a piece of smoked plate glass over that.  It has ebony pegs in the top and the base where the cross-pieces come through.


He is taking them to a photographer today for studio shots.


A Little Weaving Progress

I finished another four shawls last week, this time using a combination of 5 colorways of Claudia Handpainted Yarns kid mohair boucle (long discontinued) plus one skein of Naturally of New Zealand kid mohair boucle (also discontinued).  The wefts were from Jaggerspun Yarns in Maine.  I have a wholesale account and buy it on 1-lb cones.  I also used doubled Rowan Kidsilk Haze or equivalent for the accent stripes every 3 inches or so.

4/8 Zephyr (50% fine merino, 50% silk) in Plum and Mahogany:

KS boucle set 2 zephyr

Green Line Organic Wool in Eggplant and Stone:

KS boucle set 2 green lineThese are unbelievably soft, lightweight and drapey.  Yum!

A couple of weeks ago I put the third and final warp for the plaited twill scarves onto my loom down at the weaving guild room.  The warp is 5/2 perle cotton and the wefts are 8/2 tencel used doubled.  The tencel is mostly from WEBS – their Valley Yarns 8/2 Tencel.  This week I started weaving on them; there will be seven scarves total.  So far I have finished two, in black and navy, and started the third one in grey blue.  I really like this color and may make two, one to sell and one for me!

pomegranate 2 warp

pomegranate 2 started

Green & Clean Perimeter

So as previously noted, last Saturday our home was included in this year’s Methow Valley Home Tour, which had the theme “Firewise Homes: Fire Adapted Building and Landscaping.”  We had gotten a good rating when we had the free Firewise evaluation done last fall, but still had some projects to complete outside, including setting up more of a green lawn perimeter around the house with a sprinkler system.  We worked with Eric Carlton of Carlton Landscape Construction in Twisp.  Rick had met him before on some jobs he worked on, and we know his wife’s parents.

Pavers leading into the house and down the side of the shop/studio building

Pavers leading into the house and down the side of the shop/studio building

Front plantings with dry streambed

Front plantings with dry stream bed – should fill in nicely in a year or two

The dry stream bed is more than decorative – it serves as a catchment basin for water that drains off both the house and the shop/studio building, and the pavers are set so that they drain into it as well.  Trust me, this came in handy the last couple of weeks when we had the heavy thunderstorm downpours with hail!

New green grass perimeter with automatic sprinkler system to keep it that way:



On the day of the home tour, we also had the house and our studios open (some of the homes on the tour only had their yards available for visitors to look at).  I am not sure how many people came, but at a guess 100-150 or so.  It was an opportunity to show the work Rick has done here so far, and I made a display board and had business cards out.  There were folks from the Confluence Gallery here to monitor the house, and someone from the Firewise program as well.  It was really pretty fun but we were exhausted by the end of the day.  That is more than partly because of all the cleaning and de-cluttering we did beforehand – yard, deck, house, studios.  Cleanest it may be for some time!

Yesterday we slept in and then took a day off – what a concept.  We went on a 4.5 mile hike to Blue Lake up in the North Cascades National Park just west of Washington Pass.  Someone was kind enough to offer to take our picture with my phone….




See Der Falls

This is the time for the annual Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival.  We usually get season tickets, and attend with my brother and sister-in-law from Camano Island (and up until recently, my Dad as well).  This year we only got tickets for the first 2 concerts, because of other obligations for all of us.  But it was still good, and I got to go to the third concert a few nights ago with a friend who had an extra ticket.

Thursday, July 28:chamber music 1Tuesday. August 2 – after another day of thunderstorms, heavy rain, wind, cold.  Maybe that’s mist not a crummy photo:

chamber music 2Last Friday my brother and I hiked up to Cedar Creek Falls – only 1.7 miles, but it was in the 90’s and thankfully, mostly in the shade.

cedar creek fallsWe found the geocache, one of the first ones from the 1980’s I have been told:

see der falls geocache

We are in the final stages of getting ready for the 15th annual  Methow Valley Home Tour.  It is this Saturday, August 6, and the theme this year is “Firewise Homes: Fire-adapted Building and Landscaping”.  The website says it will “look at valley homes from a more practical, rather than purely aesthetic, standpoint.  How can smart design, layout and construction choices make our homes more resilient in fire country?”

Ours will be one of 8 homes on the tour – all had good ratings from the Okanogan County Firewise program last fall, and 3 of them are on our loop road.  Of those 8, only 5 will also have their homes open (the usual model for the tour).  This is one reason Rick has been pushing to finish up projects in the house!  and we have also done more work in the yard.  I will take pictures on Saturday and post on the blog.


Built-ins and Boucle

This coming Saturday, July 23,  I will be at D*signs Gallery and Twisted Knitters in Twisp in the first of the “featured artist” events they are planning for Saturdays this summer.  I’ll be there from 10-2 (ish) so come on down if you are here!  109B Glover Street, across from Cinnamon Twisp Bakery and Glover Street Market.  D*signs carries my rugs, and Twisted Knitters has my patterns, handknit items and some of my handspun yarn.  I will be bringing some other things that aren’t usually there, like the new woven shawls I talk about below.

First the “shopcam” update – Rick finished the built-in chest of drawers and bookcases in our master bedroom.  The chest of drawers is deeper than it looks, as it extends back into the storage area behind, which is accessible from the walk-in closet.  The wood is cherry and he made his signature Macassar ebony handles for this one.

bedroom built-ins July 2016 1

I am currently weaving some shawls using lovely hand-painted kid mohair boucle yarn for the warp.  From deep stash!  The first set of 4 shawls was in tones of blue, with black alpaca as the weft on 2 of them, and blue organic wool as the weft on the other 2.  The yarn was a handpaint from Naturally of New Zealand that has long been discontinued.  I also put in stripes of Kidsilk Haze (or equivalent) every 3 inches.  I think it makes them more interesting.


Yesterday I put on a new shawl warp using mainly Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Boucle, which appears to be discontinued now.   This has been in my stash for a while and I think this is a good use for it.  I used 4 different colorways plus one of the old ones from Naturally of New Zealand.  I didn’t feel I had the best colors for the wefts so am waiting on an order from Jaggerspun to arrive next week before I start actually weaving these.


And here are some yarns set out for contemplation for a third set:


I haven’t done this type of shawl for about 3 years and it has been fun to get back to them again.  Once my stash of handpaint boucle and mohair yarns is used up, though, this will be the end of it.

I have also woven some rugs using my new selvage material that I got down at Pendleton, Oregon on our recent trailer trip.

Custom order runner - 11 feet long!

Custom order runner – 11 feet long!

Fun with bright colors

Fun with bright colors


Custom order for another friend

Custom order for another friend



Airiel on the road

We just returned home from a 10-day jaunt to SE Washington and NE Oregon with our 1973 Airstream trailer and 2 cats.  Not too ambitious, but we saw some beautiful country and had a great time.

First we spent 3 nights at Sun Lakes/Dry Falls State Park in the Grand Coulee country north of Moses Lake.  From the website:  “Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park is a 4,027-acre camping park with 73,640 feet of freshwater shoreline at the foot of Dry Falls. Dry Falls is one of the great geological wonders of North America. Carved by Ice Age floods that long ago disappeared, the former waterfall is now a stark cliff, 400 feet high and 3.5 miles wide. In its heyday, the waterfall was four times the size of Niagara Falls. Today, it overlooks a desert oasis filled with lakes and abundant wildlife.”

We did a couple of day hikes and a bike ride while there.Deep Lake 1

Deep Lake 2


Next we drove south and east to Palouse Falls State Park, not to camp but just to see it.  There we ran into neighbors on our loop here in Winthrop, who were on their way home from a trip to Utah.  Small world!

Palouse Falls SP

Then we kept going to Clarkston in the very southeast corner of Washington, and down WA Hwy 129/ OR Hwy 3 to Enterprise and Joseph, OR in the Hells Canyon and Wallowa Mountains country.  This was an incredibly scenic drive and involved a lot of steep twisty downhill and then steep twisty uphill sections, but the trusty Toyota Tundra pulling the 27′ Airstream did very well.

We didn’t get into Enterprise until early evening, arriving in a downpour which fortunately cleared off before we had to set up the trailer, and then went to Terminal Gravity brew pub for dinner and beers.  Excellent beer and food!  We stayed at a small place just north of Joseph that was recommended by my brother and sister-in-law – Mountain View Motel & RV Park.  They only have about 10 sites for short stay, with water and electricity (no full hookup), but it was immaculately clean & tidy and had a great view of the Wallowa Mountains and surrounding open country.

Mtn View RV Park 1

Mtn View RV Park 3

sunset 2

trailer cats

Stormy & Juno at camp

The first couple of days were cool and alternately cloudy, showery and sunny.  The first day we drove north to the Zumwalt Prairie, a large section of which now is owned and managed by Nature Conservancy.  A friend had lent us a book, “The Prairie Keepers”, which led us to visit this place:

In the remote northeast corner of Oregon lies the ruggedly beautiful Zumwalt Prairie. A wild expanse of untilled ground covering nearly two hundred square miles, the Zumwalt is almost entirely managed by cattle ranchers. It also is home to one of the highest concentrations of hawks in North America, including red tailed, ferruginous, and Swainson’s hawks. Strong and beautiful, these buteo hawks usually depend on uncultivated, unpeopled prairies. Marcy Houle, a wildlife biologist and student, first went to the Zumwalt in 1979 to discover what attracts and sustains the buteos there in such startling abundance. Houle explores the vast prairie on foot and horseback, and by truck, cataloging its hawks, studying its complex ecosystem, and meeting its people… Her findings, eloquently reported, show that ranchers and grazing and wildlife not only can coexist, but in some instances must coexist if we are to save the last of the native prairies. In an epilogue to this new edition, Houle returns to the Zumwalt to look at how the prairie is faring two decades later. The American West is undergoing tremendous change and a historic way of life is fighting for survival. But Houle finds reason for hope in the Zumwalt—in the hawks and ranchers that are still there, and also in creative new partnerships. For example, the Nature Conservancy bought 42 square miles of the grassland in 2000, with a plan to encourage sustainable cattle grazing and let ranchers play a role in the stewardship of the land.

On the drive in we saw quite a few hawks.  We went on a 3-mile loop hike and saw fewer hawks but many wildflowers.  Not a spectacular landscape, but very pretty and restful.

Zumwalt Prairie 1

Zumwalt Prairie 2

Zumwalt Prairie 3

Zumwalt Prairie 4

Zumwalt Prairie 5

Zumwalt Prairie 6

Zumwalt Prairie 7Then we drove further north to the Buckhorn Overlook of Hells Canyon, and saw several large elk herds along the way.

Hells Cyn Buckhorn Overlook

The next day was rainy and even kind of cold, so we visited Joseph, which has an active arts scene with an emphasis on cast bronze sculpture – there are at least 3 foundries in Joseph and Enterprise.  Sculptors from all over the country send their work there to be cast, most often in limited editions.  There are a number of large outdoor bronze sculptures all over the small town of Joseph.   Phinney Gallery was the high point for us, with beautiful paintings and sculpture, and the owner/artist Malcolm Phinney is a very personable guy.

Then we drove down to the very small town of Imnaha and had lunch at the little store there, followed by a drive up to the Hat Point Overlook of Hells Canyon.  We arrived just in time to see the fabulous views before a big rain/hail storm moved in!

Upper Imnaha River valley

Upper Imnaha River valley

Seven Devils Peaks in Idaho

Seven Devils Peaks in Idaho

lookout tower at Hat Point

lookout tower at Hat Point

The third day brought beautiful sunny weather and we drove up past Joseph to Wallowa Lake, intending to take the tram ride up for views and a short hike.

Wallowa Lake 1

Wallowa Lake 3

However, we were discouraged by the number of people, and the cost, and decided to go for a hike along the upper Imnaha River instead.  The trail goes to Imnaha Falls inside the Eagle Cap Wilderness, but we went only as far as a spot called the Blue Hole, where the river emerges from a narrow gorge.  Absolutely gorgeous scenery, an easy hike, and solitude.

upper Imnaha River

upper Imnaha River

The Blue Hole

The Blue Hole

Imnaha Falls hike 3

On the morning of our 4th day, we took the foundry tour at Parks Bronze in Enterprise.  We saw the whole process and also a huge blue whale sculpture they are fabricating for a town in Alaska.  I mean, HUGE, and with water jets.  It was mind-boggling.



model for blue whale sculpture

model for blue whale sculpture

big blue whale

big blue whale

applying patina in the finishing room

applying patina in the finishing room

limited edition piece with patina applied

limited edition piece with patina applied

That afternoon we drove up to Walla Walla, WA with the intention of staying 3 nights and doing some wine tasting over 2 whole days.  However, there are limited options for “camping” in a trailer there, and the RV Park was surrounded by strip malls and motels (although quite clean and nicely kept).  After being in the country it was a downer.  So the next morning we drove 40 miles down to Pendleton, OR to visit the Pendleton Woolen Mill and check out what they might have on hand for rug-weaving selvages.  Last time we were there they had very little, but this time I hit the jackpot!

Pendleton mill 2

truck full of good colors!

We did a little wine tasting that afternoon in downtown Walla Walla, spent a second night, and then came home a day early.  Great trip, glad to be home!






Watch This Space

We are about to take off for 10 days with Airstream and cats for a wander around SE Washington and NE Oregon.  I will report when we get back.

Meanwhile, here are a few projects underway & finished.

Rick finished updating the master bedroom closet, which was not finished when we bought this place 5 years ago.  It hadn’t been painted and only had sub-floor, no finished flooring.  We found some very nice bamboo flooring at a building salvage place in Mt Vernon a month or so ago.  He moved everything out of the closet, moved a light, moved and expanded the opening to the under-eave storage area, patched wallboard, painted the walls and ceiling, and put down the bamboo flooring.  It was a mess up there for about a week, but so worth it!  Can’t really get a good picture, and anyway this is the sort of thing probably only we will appreciate.  But it is so much nicer, and a project that seemed like it would never get done.

He also removed the gas fireplace that was in the master bedroom, as we never use it and plan to move it downstairs next year to replace the wood burning insert.  He has almost finished new cabinets for the room, which will be a built-in chest of drawers where the fireplace was, and bookcases on either side.  This should be finished shortly after we come home from the trailer jaunt.

bedroom cabinets 12Jun2016

I finished a few rugs recently.  One was a custom order for a 7-ft rug similar to one she had seen at the Confluence Gallery, but she wanted one orange stripe at one end (to work with the slate floor in her bathroom, I understand).

R259 Mackey b

and some for the galleries:










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