Friday, October 30, 2009

Procol Harum Treasury

In the spirit of Halloween and in tribute to one of my favorite hauntingly beautiful songs from the 60's, here is my Halloween treasury on Etsy. Click on the remastered album cover below to go to a You Tube page to listen.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Photo Session Slog

Last week was devoted to hand washing and blocking finished goods that need to be photographed, have their descriptions written, and then listed on Etsy. Why does this take so much time, you may ask. Mostly because I am a total tard when it comes to taking photos.

This weekend has been devoted to photo shoots. My head model, Valerie, and I have been busy at work. Amelie, my inner assistant, could not keep the studio organized amidst the frenzy, and when last I saw her yesterday evening she was sitting in the corner crying.

Have I mentioned how tiresome it is shooting product photos? How frustrating? How time consuming?

Yes, you see some pretty pictures here on the blog. Yes, I have come a long way. But what you don't see, in the hundreds of photos that get deleted, is the sludge. A girl has her pride.

Hats are pretty easy to photograph because Valerie is such an attractive head model. Shawls and scarves are killer difficult, though. We don't really have a great spot in the house for shooting on a dress form. Any places where there is a blank, uncluttered, lighted-colored wall is drenched in yellow light if the sun is out and dreary as crazy when it's raining. When the light has been ideally overcast recently, I've been hard at work at my day job.

My dream is to eventually set up an actual photo-shoot spot in the daylight basement using a backdrop with a better dress form or a mannequin. But that will involve cleaning out a truly gross storage room and will have to wait until after the holidays.

During the day on Friday and yesterday, I shot lots of photos of scarves, almost all of which were useless with bad draping and horrible color quality even though I have learned how to adjust the white balance meter in my camera.

Where I do have luck is in using my light box, but the dress form won't fit in it, of course.

Valerie is the one who thought of letting her model some scarfs. The idea had some limitations, but we tried it.

The photos in the first batch were mostly pretty good. So we tried some more. The next photo is actually a cowl. You should see how bad the photos had been on the dress form.

This cowl was made from some mohair/wool/acrylic/rayon bouclé that was rescued from a wrap with a rip in it. I'm guessing at the fiber content.

Here is the finished rose lattice scarf which you saw in progress here.

Valerie really had fun with this scarf, and had to try it ever so many ways.

When we got to the point of shooting this last photo, though, I knew it was time to quit.

It was late and we were both pretty rummy. I waited until today to photograph purses. Don't get me started on what a challenge that is!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Eastern Oregon Pics

After huge photo opportunities in Central Oregon, we continued our process east to Hells Canyon, en route to the Wallowa Mountains and the town of Joseph.

Hell's Canyon

One of our hiking guide books lists hikes on a scale of difficulty from 1 to 5, with 5 being the most difficult. Lately we've been sticking to hikes with a difficulty level of 1 or 2. The Hell's Canyon hikes were rated 3 to 5 because of the rugged terrain and the steep elevation gain, so we crossed them off our list.

Good thing, too, because the guide book says to be prepared for scorpions and rattle snakes. No wonder they call it Hells Canyon. Here are two views from the lookout:

Wallowa Mountains/Wallowa Lake, Joseph Oregon

First up are two photos of Wallowa Lake. The second photo shows some of the many deer cruising around the place. (Funny story about the deer later.)

We stayed at the Wallowa Lake Lodge which came highly recommended:

Mr. ChaCha is more of an outdoors person than I am. My idea of vacation in the Oregon wilderness to first go to town to visit all the stores and see if any of them have yarn. Then my plan is to relax in the lodge with a warm fire, a book on tape, a hot drink, and a knitting project. Mr. ChaCha's plans always involve hiking and seeing the sights all day long--the more hikes and sights in a day, the better.

So, of course when he read about the Wallowa Lake Tramway, which goes up to the top of an 8,150 foot mountain, he was all up for that. Even better was the fact that there were several hikes way up there at the top.

He tried to talk me into it, and I wasn't going for it. I'm afraid of heights and always manage to get raving headaches at high attitudes.

This elevated tram (each suspended car holds four people) goes a little over 7 mph. It goes 1.83 miles in distance and makes a 3700 foot elevation gain in 15 minutes. Now tell me, if you read this sign, would you go up or would you go back to the lodge?

While Mr. ChaCha was hiking, I did this:

The food at the lodge was great. It's a good thing, too, because all the restaurants in town served mostly hamburgers or things that were deep fried. From the dining room you could see the deer roaming around.

Our waitress said a city slicker woman from NYC once tipped her $20 for "taking such good care of our family all week and for letting those deer out of their cages every day so we could see them." She just pocketed the tip and didn't educate the woman about wildlife.

Joseph, Oregon, has a lot of really talented bronze sculptors. There are great bronze statues all around town. Just heading out of town toward the lodge where we stayed was the honest-to-goodness gravesite of Chief Joseph himself. (I hadn't realized how the town got it's name.)

Around the grave were many offerings of trinkets, cigars, and such. I left a little red and black knitted swatch attached to some ribbons.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Central Oregon Pics

Surely I meant to get these photos up quicker, but organizing, photographing, and writing descriptions for new Etsy store inventory has been sucking up my time.

Better late than never, as they say--some more photos from our trip through Central Oregon on the way to the Wallowa Mountains.

A sweet little store in the town of Mitchell.

Old craft place with sale pending.

Why we did a U-turn on Highway 26

Yep, a shoe tree in the middle of nowhere.

New meaning for the Nike Air line.

More rugged cowboy country.

Not devoid of water.

Sensational energy all around.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Blue Friday Houseboat

This is a floating home in Brandenburg. There's a lovely expanse of water here, but the place looks so isolated.

One of the enjoyable parts of houseboat living for me was being part of a community while still having privacy. To be entirely alone on the water would make me blue.

Blue Fiber Awaits

One thing that blue canyon did was remind me that I want some things for myself made of blue or blue/green fiber.

The blue stash is growing but it all has to wait because it's busy season for items to be sold and items to be made for gifts. Probably in January or February I'll get to make things for myself.

Waiting in the stash:

  • 8 oz. of yummy merino roving to spin

  • Lovely merino/silk laceweight all in a ball and a skein of fingering weight alpaca (Would there be time to knit lace?)

  • More laceweight merino/silk (The fantasy of lace knitting continues.)

  • More laceweight merino (Whom am I kidding?)

I did recently complete something with blues, but can't show you much because it's a hat I submitted for publication. Here's a little peek:

Can't wait for the blue period to arrive. Meanwhile, it's busy season.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Blue Basin

There are places on earth that will leave you breathlessly standing in awe of their magnificence.

This most wonderfully happens when you do not quite know where the trail is leading

and in little stages the setting reveals itself.

Likely, you didn't mean to even to go the whole length of the path

but it seduced you along by inch and you went with reckless abandon

and you went along joyously,

feeling the electricity in the air come coursing into your body.

At the end you were surrounded by a basin of nature's magic, cast in fading light.

An amphitheater full of stillness and epiphanies embraced you.

And on the journey back, you heard some exotic symphony that had no sound.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Painted Hills and Autumn Goods

On our trip to the Wallowa Lake Lodge in Joseph we took the long way around, turning a six hour trip into a day and a half of driving by going through the incredible John Day/Fossil Area.

What a glorious surprise awaited us in the magnificent splendor of the Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument!

I could try to describe the colors to you, but it would be useless because the colors you see is dependent on the time of day, the time of year, and whether or not there has been rain recently.

We took an easy hike through this area. Mr. ChaCha took around a thousand photos on the first day, many of which were taken here. He is studiously adjusting his camera in the next photo.

I mostly use the point and shoot method when taking pictures outdoors.

The glorious colors in the day and the coolness in the evening definitely put me in the mood for autumn knits.

This is the machine knit scarf/wrap that you saw blocked and drying last week. It's about to go in my Etsy store.

This little purse crocheted from recycled sari silk is going along to the store as well.