Monday, April 30, 2007

Hoping for a Bumper Crop!

new growth
Perfect for Project Spectrum - The prickly pears in my backyard have exploded into bloom.

From their immature pink buds with fuchsia and golden tipped spines (the ones photographed were from the wild, and not my backyard), to the lovely green of the pads to the lovely golden flowers - all the colors of the April-May Triad are present!

With all my prickly pears bursting with buds or flowers, I'm hoping for a bumper crop of fruit this summer. Unfortunately my prickly pears aren't terribly diverse genetically - I have a couple purple prickly pears and a bunch of Engelmann's Prickly pears - unfortunately, all the Engelmann's are from the same parent, so I'm not sure if I'll be getting fruit or not...

The blooms on the purple prickly pear seem to be more clear and purely yellow...

While those of the Engelmann's Prickly Pear seem to have a faint orange blush to them.

If you've never had an opportunity to taste prickly pear fruit, it's quite tasty (once you get past the spines ;) ) and it has a stunning vibrant fuchsia color. I was lucky enough to have received a jar of prickly pear jam last year from a friend - and since then, I've been tempted to see if I might be able to cook my own, but I've never been lucky enough to have a big enough "crop" of fruit - perhaps I'll be luckier this year!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Chop Chop!

Just in time - I'm finally getting rid of my blechy cutting boards and am replacing them with bamboo ones :) I even have one just for cheese. mmmm cheese.

Incidentally, since I'm now carrying my own bamboo needles and hooks, I'm also picking up a line of eco-friendly cutting boards. Unfortunately, I don't have the bi-colored ones right now, though you can get those here.

In the spirit of full disclosure, these boards are imported and sold by my family.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

W5D1 MAF 3.9 0.0

When we last heard from our pink clad alter ego she was forced into a break from all things running due to ridiculously painful shin splints. Well, here we are, almost three months of physical therapy, an x-ray and a bone scan later, and I've been given the all clear to play nice with the Dreadmill.

Who would have thought I would ever be excited to be able to play nicely with a treadmill?! It's the sick and twisted mind of a runner at work, I tell you. Anyhow, I've been told to get back into running slowly, so I figured revisiting the C25k program may be in order. That, combined with my happy heart rate monitor, along with cross training (I don't know what kind yet), will hopefully keep me injury free.

So, to decode the above, it's the Week and Day (in this case, week 5, day 1) of the program followed by the speed and incline on the treadmill that seems to keep me at or near my selected training zone. I am currently attempting to follow the Maffetone method - with a target HR of somewhere between 143 and 148 bpm. Needless to say I am a little frustrated because I find it a smidge depressing how slow I have to go to maintain my heart rate within the targeted zone. Ah well, it's been proven to work, so while I'll never be a speed demon, I should see improvement!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Spring Brings New Things!

Spring means renewal, refreshment and other new things :)

Incidentally, I have a bunch of new items at Spritely Goods. I'm supplementing my own handdyes with wonderful Malabrigo...I've added some wonderful patterns from the talented Cookie A. In addition, I am launching a line of postcards and stationary items featuring Spritely Goods products - the first features the little Lambkin frolicing on chaparral and palo verde yarn hills. Finally, I'm also excited to announce my own personal line of bamboo needles and hooks!

Hop on over, have a look, and feel free to leave me comments on things you'd like to see in the future.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Tropical Sea

While I've been taking my hiatus from knitting, I've been spending more time with my spinning.

I've always loved looking at tropical fish, with their bright colors and exotic looks - I think this yarn captures the gorgeous colors of a tropical reef.

A little more info and more photos can be found here.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy Earth Day!

Today is Earth Day - it's been good to see and hear the local media talk especially about climate change and particularly about the local air quality (or lack thereof) today, and I only hope that the discussions continue and aren't just because today is Earth Day.

One of the things I have done to try to reduce personal energy consumption was to change over as many lightbulbs as I have personal control over to compact fluorescent bulbs - so far, even after having many of these bulbs installed for years, not a one has burned out or gone dim. I recently found out though, that compact fluorescent bulbs should not be disposed of as normal garbage as they do contain mercury.

It does seem like more and more places are creating Compact Fluorescent Recycling just based on some quick googling.

Check out Earth911 for a comprehensive listing of various recycling facilities by zip code.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Did you File?

...for your Burrito Refund?
No joke - apparently Chipotle is celebrating Tax Day by offering those patrons that purchased burritos over the weekend to get a free one today!

And if you're looking for other free eats, tomorrow is Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's :)

As for me, I did indeed get my taxes done...though the State is apparently ridiculously behind in the processing - they are still processing returns that were mailed in at the beginning of last month. Perhaps it's a hint that I should be e-filing instead.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Into the Depths

After the slight detour about food, I return you back to my hiking adventures. I'll have a semi-fiber related post soon, I promise :)

Of course, sandstone not only makes for wonderful and fanciful sculpted buttes and toadstools, it also makes for fantastic slot canyons. This is a photo taken in Buckskin Gulch - this was the first slot canyon I ever did - and from that point we were hooked. It's still as beautiful as ever, with the canyon colors ranging from a warm golden and orange glow to a cool, dark and mysterious grey-brown. There are areas in the Buckskin that serve as strong reminders to the power of water - from giant logs, and full log jams in some cases, wedged firmly many feet in the air - to the "bathtub-ring" high water mark that appeared to be 6-10 feet above the canyon floor.

Definitely worth a visit, if you are so inclined - unlike many other slot canyons I've explored, this one does not require ropework!

Speaking of Sandstone...

...And inspiration, I do actually have some handblended batts in the shop that were inspired by sandstone (and lizards too, but I figure naming a yarn after a whiptail wasn't such a good thing something about scaly reptiles and yarn just don't jive in my mind).

One of these days I'll actually have a nice sized skein of handspun done up out of those batts. It's one of my favorite colorways and it's nigh impossible to capture the shine and sparkle of the yarn - I think it really does look like desert sandstone, but in a much softer, more huggable fashion!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hiking Makes me Hungry.

So it's a good thing that there appear to be snacks on the way...

After checking out the second wave, we decided to go hunt down Melody Arch before swinging back down to the "regular" Wave and the car. Unfortunately, we don't have any photographs of Melody Arch, mostly because it's huge and the lighting was simply not favorable. It is a rather unique formation consisting of a gigantic grotto or basin that has worn through into a pair of arch or window formations.

Incidentally, there really is a feature near the Wave called the Hamburger Rock. And it really does look suspiciously like a Hamburger. Oddly enough, through the window of Melody Arch is a stunning view of the Coyote Buttes Teepees. In the foreground was yet another hamburger, much larger than this one...which admittedly is rather large...


Anyhow, after much nonsense with the Hamburger Rock and poking around the sandstone cliffs, we headed back down to the Wave to find the lighting even more favorable.

In case you'd like to see further evidence of varied shades of sandstone, here's another example taken right near one of the main buttes that forms the Wave formation.

Monday, April 09, 2007

A fiber interlude

mmm...yarn always makes me happy - and hopefully this yarn made Lily happy as it was a belated birthday gift :) It's name is Newspaper, and you can see a better close up of it over here.

I had a lovely weekend visiting with my brother and other extended family while also puttering around the house catching up on things that needed catching up on. Amongst other things, I finally baked up the cookies that the fore-mentioned birthday girl Lily gifted me last holiday - they are fantastic with a tall glass of cold milk, and wonderful also with some vanilla ice cream sandwiched between a pair...

Thanks again, Lily! (For the cookies and all the wonderful drawings!) I hope you had a super-fantastic birthday!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Catching a Wave

While we were playing around up in Northern Arizona, we decided to go visit the Wave so I could try to refresh memory and get some lovely photographs for some attempts at color matching for future dye work.

Behold, the Wave - a magnificent example of saturated desert colors in fascinating sandstone that looks an awful lot like a petrified wave! Photographers can spend hours and days at this location, the rock changes color with the light, and is even more entrancing when water is pooled inside the formation.

A little bit of additional exploration brings you to the 2nd wave - a fascinating feature made from cross bedded sandstone - I hear the color on this feature is heightened at sunset, though I can't confirm it as we weren't able to wait around to find out...other adventures beckoned and we needed to start heading back towards the car...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Color Change!

Those following Project Spectrum know that April and May bring a new triad of colors :)

While February and March had a rather pitiful showing on my part, I'd end the triad of blue, grey and white with this photo:

It's a photo of me, taken by a fantastic photographer friend, John Hart. You should cruise over and check out his site - his photography is amazing. The 3-D stuff he shoots is fantastic too, but to make it really work you need a pair of funky glasses. :D

The next triad of colors is Yellow, Pink and you may have seen at the shop, I have several colorways that fall nicely into those categories. Recently, I stumbled across a lovely pair of socks knit by Guinifer. She's allowed me to share them in my Made with Spritely Goods gallery.

If you happen to have any photos you want to share in the gallery (or not - I can keep quiet if you don't want the whole world to see) I just get such a kick out of seeing stuff that people make with my yarns and batts!

And to make sure I get the Yellow in, here's a lovely little wild sunflower: