Thursday, March 21, 2019

Knits for Dolls

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that I'm a rather passionate knitter. Some project is always on my needles and often it is actually more than just one. Kaefer is a willing "victim" for hand knitted sweaters, hats and tops. I have knitted a LOT of hats this past winter since some of them have been very popular in my Etsy shop. However, one of the things I love to knit - and not only because it knits up fast - is doll clothes, specifically knits for 18-inch dolls (like American Girl dolls).

Swing tops are cute and just look good in any color.

It's pretty much a non-brainer. The beautiful lacy cardigan, however, needs more attention. I don't think I have knitted one without making some kind of error and knitting "backwards" again to correct it. It's a bit of a tricky pattern and not something I can knit while watching a movie.

The lace pattern goes all around and is pretty on the back as well.

Every doll needs a tunic, I think, and even more so if it features a beautiful leave yoke. This tunic I started several times because I didn't "get" the pattern and then just simplified it. I'm quite happy with the outcome.

Then, of course, there are dresses. How can you not have a dress for a doll? The yarn for this short sleeve dress is a sock yarn, and I actually knitted a pair of socks for me (which I love). But I had enough leftover yarn to knit up this very cute dress.

The following combo is a dress with a tank top spruced up with a unique cardigan. I love the shape of the jacket - it gives the entire outfit a certain softness and makes the doll "dressed up". It's the leftover of some "tweedy" looking yarn that I used to knit a cardigan for a little girl. Gorgeous yarn!

All of these doll clothes are available in my Etsy shop. I hope to knit up a few more - it is so much fun and the best way to use left over yarn.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Winter Beach

Winters in Northern California can be very different - sometimes they are mild, even quite warm; others bring multiple storms with a lot of rain; some are cold and can even include a dusting of snow (and heavy snow in the Sierras which we depend on for our summer water). This past winter we had a combination of all of these, but the stormy and rainy part certainly played a dominant role.

At the beginning of Januar, when we experienced the milder days of winter and Kaefer was still at home, she and I decided to go to the ocean and spend a few hours at Goat Rock, our favorite beach. The Russian River enters the Pacific Ocean here and the beach is like a spit of land between the two bodies of water.

Where the Russian River spills into the ocean the seals like to hang out, Not just two or three but an entire colony. They have their own "private" beach where people are not supposed to go (of course there are always idiots who ignore that), but it is close enough to watch them. I always enjoy seeing them.

 And just as we are curious about them, they are curious about us as well. This little guy was watching us closely while swimming along the shore.

Kaefer who doesn't get to the ocean that often anymore since she moved further inland clearly enjoyed this day at the beach. I simply love her goofiness.

We noticed that there were way more seagulls at the beach than usual, and they were very active, flying in a huge flock, getting back to the beach and taking off again. It was a constant come and go accompanied by the typical loud cries that these birds make.

Just a few hours at the beach - walking along the shore, looking for driftwood and shells, watching the animals, taking photos - always centers me. We are very lucky to live so close by the Pacific Ocean.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Village Cave House

In my first post about Cappadocia I mentioned that we stayed in a cave hotel in Göreme. It was quite unusual, but very fascinating. The hotel was in the huge rock that you can see in the top photo - you can actually see the entrance to it in the lower part of the image. Here's a better look:

All the rooms were accessible from outside, obviously there were no hallways. That meant each room had its own patio or terrace which was wonderful on those late warm evenings when we could sit outside and read and plan the next day. The view was amazing.

Just to give you an idea how low the door to our room was:

We had a three person-room. It was huge, very generous and cool (great in the hot summer). There was a beautiful sitting area beneath the window and tea and coffee making supplies. No further decoration except for the amazing fabrics they use in this country. Apart from that, just naked rock.

We had our private bathroom as well,  very clean with sparse decor.

The road to the hotel was narrow - I try to include a video I made with my phone while driving from the center of Göreme up to the Village Cave House.

This was the view on our last morning in Göreme - the hot air balloons. On clear mornings with perfect conditions dozens of hot air balloons float over the rugged area. The view from up there must be amazing - it's one of the most popular things to do here. Unfortunately we didn't - but if we should ever come back I think we will.

By the way - this was my 1000th blogpost!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Knock Knock!

The picturesque villages and small towns in England's beautiful Cotswold Hills have a lot to offer for photographers. One of the places I went to often during my frequent visits to the Cotswolds is Chipping Campden. It was a rather sleepy village in the 70's when I walked along its sidewalks for the first time. When I returned in the late 80's and early as well as late 90's it wasn't as sleepy anymore but still a pleasant place where you could easily spend several hours wandering the streets and stopping in the afternoon for cream tea served in a gorgeous garden. However, when I brought my family to Chipping Campden in 2014 it had turned into a crowded and bustling tourist destination.

Still, we could take our time and take lots of photos. Since I had been there so often I skipped the usual sights and concentrated on other objects - like doors and windows. I noticed all the gorgeous and sometimes unusual knobs and knockers on many doors - some of them embellished and quite ornate, its own little piece of art.

The Dragon House's door knocker featured a dragon, of course - quite appropriate.

Others were more subtle but just as beautiful.

I really liked this one - elegant but not showy. Quite fitting for British understatement.

And it's always good to know where to put the letters.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

An Image and Its Story - February 2019

The shortest month of the year, still, I shot a good amount of photos in relation to the length of the month. The photo that made the cut for February isn't my best or even favorite image, but it summarizes the month perfectly.

Usually I'm more than grateful when it rains because I know that it fills up our reservoirs and gets us safely through the year water wise. But this month just was a bit too much. The "last drop" (pun intended) was the past week's deluge that caused havoc in so many communities along the river. It is still raining (after a two day break) and the forecast promises more rain is on the way.

I'm done with it. Too much of even a good thing is just that - too much.

Still - I feel guilty writing these words since it's not been that long ago that we were in a terrible drought and were waiting for rain that didn't come. It feels wrong not to be thankful, but it is very difficult to feel gratitude when you see the severe damage this flood has caused for so many people. The thankfulness carries a bitter tone with it, but I hope in the end it will survive all the bitterness.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

I've Seen Fire and I've Seen Rain

This James Taylor song came to my mind over the last few days.

Last Monday it started to rain and it didn't stop for the next 48 hours. It wasn't just rain, it was a heavy downpour, a deluge. When the rain finally stopped sometime on Wednesday parts of our county were completely under water. The evacuation orders got out on Tuesday, schools across the county were closed.

It was the highest flood in a generation.

Thursday was a beautiful day with sun, blue sky and little white clouds, so Liz and I decided to go to our lake and see what it looks like. We knew that the park was closed and we had to walk in from the other side. Since I know all the trails away from the lake we were able to get around half of it.

We hadn't quite expected what we saw.

The lake had expanded considerably. This is what it usually looks like (almost same perspective):

Another look:

... and what it usually looks like. This view is from the dam, but the water had come half way up the dam. The treeline in the photo above - those three big pine trees - marks where the trail runs along.

It was shocking and fascinating at the same time. We spent four hours at the lake, exploring. Over and over again, that James Taylor song popped into my head. Yes, we really got our share - firestorm and deluge.

This is a paved path in drier times, now covered by the waters of the lake. I loved the reflections.

This lake is a reservoir designed to hold storm water from several creeks that run into it and it sure was doing its job. But it reminded us of a swamp.

Can you see the little turtle?

When we came to the parking lot at the boat launch, there was nothing there - except water.

Only the day before the water was much higher. You can see it because of all the debris that is left on the road. It's good to see that the water recedes rather quickly.

Under all this water is the parking lot. I've never realized the beautiful view because all I saw was the paved lot. Now it's a lake.

Geese and ducks and other waterfowl were everywhere, enjoying the extended terrain they're having for a few days. They explored the picnic area.

The birds sure loved it. I think they found a lot of nutritious stuff in the wet soil. Robins and California quails were abundant, but we also saw and heard many other birds.

This is one of the creeks that runs into the lake. It looks beautiful, right? It's hard to believe that this area is completely dry in the summer.

The little towns and villages along the Russian River that were evacuated now have to clean up - a huge task. Last night it rained again and there is more rain in the forecast. I just hope it's not another Atmospheric River.