we found santa.

we found santa!!!

we went to the childrens event at 2pm today at the colmada milka and santa was there.

at first we didn’t know what we were supposed to do because of our lack of spanish skills.

there was a guy with big speakers in the back of his truck and he had his caribbean christmas music pumping and he kept talking to the kids on a microphone.

then everyone started chanting for santa – about 40 or so babies and kids (the island is smaller than my hometown island). SANTA! SANTA!

and then santa appeared. IMGP9633.JPG

rudder was very excited to see santa and was clapping – at first. he has this new thing with clapping. if he knows there is going to be clapping (on a toy or live song), he will put his hands together before the actual clapping happens. i think he thought the music was live or something because after every song, he put his hands together.

and then we took him up to see the man in charge. he was ok at first, but i think we should have let him get a good look before i just plopped him down. it probably didn’t help that santa was speaking spanish to him in addition to being a stranger and looking weird (he had white makeup paint over his eyebrows).

look at that face!IMGP9635.JPG

his comfort level dropped as the seconds ticked by.IMGP9636.JPG

so he was saved by me before a big freak out happened and we stepped back to take a good look at santa. then santa wanted to shake his hand, and i tell santa, “he does high fives.” rudder gives a smile and a high five. i think rudder totally redeemed himself and is back on the good list. 🙂

then some sandwiches were passed around. i tried rudder’s and can not identify what was in it. white bread with some sort of spread with a little bite. he seemed to like it.IMGP9639.JPG

and he also scored a big cheesy puff and a cup of juice.

and then there were more announcements and music, etc.

adults with babies started lining up and then someone informed us (in english) that babies were supposed to go up to see santa. i see all these parents coming back from santa with toys, so i ask the english speaking guy if it costs something (not that i really cared) as these were real toys, not just a bag of cheap candy and a candy cane like my childhood experience.

i saw a girl go by with a brand new cabbage patch doll. they even had toys for new born babies.

then rudder starts seeing these young kids with new toys in boxes and of course starts pointing(yes readers, they start that young!). so we get in line and santa’s helper takes a look at rudder. i plop him on the stage, and this time he was not shy – i mean, come on, santa was handing him a shiny new toy AND a bag of cheap candy. he practically ran.



he was a happy camper.IMGP9651.JPG


and he played with it all the way home, even in the dinghy – he is usually standing at the front waiting for spray, or the in back “driving.IMGP9656.JPG

and then he found the wafers in his bag of treats from santa.IMGP9657.JPG

’til then.


i love my friends.

right before my boss(one of two) left on vacation, we were talking about christmas.  he asked, “didn’t you ever get so excited about opening presents that you threw up?” ummm, no.  ok, if i would have known what i was getting last night, i just may have.  and i know this won’t impress ANYBODY, but i’m super excited.

one of my ak bff’s went through a ton of trouble, and bought me a batt, yes a batt, of 50/50 merino/silk.  and an ounce or two(i am currently shopping for a scale) of hemp(in the basket) from far north fibers!  we exchanged gifts at midnight last night and being as tired (and full of wine and plum moonshine – from germany) as i was, i suddenly became super giddy.

the batt is not dyed, and it still has some natural elements from the wool (sticks, leaves) which i love!  my plan is to spin it, then dye it, or vice versa.  i’m waiting on a consult from my spinning teacher.  i also have questions about the hemp since it is such a coarse fiber.  i don’t know if i should blend it with something, and what would work…. any input would be great!  i also got a great basket(among other great items and goodies) to set next to my wheel for my fiber.

i gave her this (among other things.  i made the tags yesterday – i will post the inside of the tags soon):

and i got to talk to my caribbean bff this evening- which is quite the feat since she is five hours later.  we tend to get off of work at the same time, so sometimes it works out.  she received her xmas gifts so i can finally post a picture of what i made for her.  she really wanted a crocheted jumpsuit, but i just didn’t think it would be logical considering the humid, hot weather there.  maybe some boomboom shorts bda! 🙂

“britta and alissa’s greatest hits”

written around the entire frame is some of our funnest times, written in the ‘tune’ of one of my favorite regina songs, ‘that time’.  i’ve only known her for two years (only two years? seriously?) and i didn’t have to fish around for things to say.  we spent almost every waking moment together in the carribbean and we never got sick of eachother.  we did everything together.  i would actually ditch buku on a regular basis to hang out with her, and i don’t do that much!  i miss her.  😦

off the bobbins:

today i forced myself to ‘let go of the wheel’ and knit a little.  i did take a skein (167 yards) off the bobbins to wet finish.  it’s another self-striping yarn for a short row project – gloves, scarf, etc.  i found it to be 15wpi – it varies in places between sport and worsted weight – still working on consistency!.

and this is ready to go.  a sock weight single(396 yards) click to enlarge.:

find it on etsy soon!

’til then…

hat trick.

so, i got a new hockey stick for xmas.  my very first hockey stick. buku and i skate a lot and he just thought i might need one.  i think to help him improve his skills – its not like i could ever play in a game or anything – i don’t stop very well.  it’s awesome.  we’ve been skating the last few nights (the lagoon – they finally cleared it – and the oval by the loussac), but it’s so warm here (32+ degrees – i can’t believe that is warm to me…)that the ice is a bit soft and bumpy.

on the bobbins…

i just finished up a self-striping experiment.  i want to make a hat for a certain little ducky and i had three different color greens, so i wanted to spin them in a way that made sense to me so they would self stripe.  and it will be knit. and i didn’t want the length of the colors to be too short – because it needs to go all the way around the hat.  so i portioned up equal parts of fiber and went with it.  i tried to spin a worsted weight and i think once it’s off the bobbin it will relax into a worsted.  the colors look so pretty so i hope it works out.  i am going to knit this yarn with a nice lite lopi yellow for her school colors.

i’m very excited about this project.  i hope it all works out.

today i went and spent some of my xmas gift certificates at far north yarn co.  you know you spend too much time at the yarn store when your in-laws from new mexico call your local yarn store and the people who work there know who they are talking about.  and then when you actually go to the yarn store, the girl who works there is just as excited as you.  it was really sweet.  i bought a new ball winder.  a royal one (not the big one).  the knitpicks one just wasn’t cutting it anymore.  the yarn guide on it moves around too much and my yarn gets all tangled on the spool.

last night i finished spinning this:

once i wet wash it it will hang straight.  it’s about a sock weight.

i think i’m going to start posting some of these in my etsy shop – which is completely empty!  so if you know someone who appreciates handspun yarn or know a knitter (every knitter wants/loves handspun, handpainted, etc… yarn – we cherish those that are not millspun!), check it out in the near future!

anyway, christmas was great.  presents, food, relaxation, skyping with family in arizona and wrangell, ‘a christmas story’, numerous texts from friends, playing ‘words’ with john and kailee on our ipods, talking to my brother who gets shipped out jan. 2nd :(, working on my projects, and the company (b-squared – buster and buku).  i’m very lucky to have such a great partner.  and very blessed to have such a great life.

’til then.

christmas cheer.

i hope everyone is having a wonderful christmas.  and you are happy and healthy.

i ran out of bobbins today.  grrr…  already ordered some extras from the woolery.

so plying wasn’t the smooth sailing i hoped.  i underspun my singles, so when you ply two together, some of the twist comes out because you are spinning in the opposite direction that you spun the singles.  so i got a fatter yarn than i hoped, and it broke a few times at the beginning.  but it’s all about practice….  it is more of a worsted weight than a sport weight.  but it’s still pretty.  i loaded up the bobbin pretty quickly, and will unload it tonight so i can ply the rest.  it reminds me of those really fancy chocolates that have colored frosting – or when you bite a smartie (my fave canadian candy) in half.  the yarn will get a wet wash later today to set the twist.

i did a last stop at the post office this morning – it was surprisingly empty.  my ‘muppet christmas’ dvd didn’t make it…  lame.  but ‘a christmas story’ made it so i get to watch that on xmas. i have them on vhs, but no tape player…

so what’s on everyone’s menu for xmas???  xmas eve is usually homemade sushi for us.

christmas day:

leg o’ lamb with rhubarb chutney i made and canned this summer.

pierogies (polish – mushroom/cabbage)

lumpia (filipino spring rolls)

veggie roast (garlic, beets, parsnips, carrots)

pierogies are a pempek family tradition.  i’ve been helping my mom make them since i was young.  honestly, we all hated them when we were kids, but now i love them.  and only eat them once a year.  which is a shame.  i started making lumpia to bring in my other nationality.  and b and i both love beets, so we roast some veggies every year.

it’s just us two, but that’s still a ton of food!  we don’t have dessert planned, but maybe i’ll make a cake or something…  we aren’t really dessert people – especially the normal xmas stuff – pumpkin or pecan pie!  yuck.  i do like kolacky my mom makes and her poppyseed bread.  and don’t get me started on the smoked meats (turkey, cornish game hen, duck) my dad makes, or his pickled fish!

happy holidays!

especially to our friends in ‘america’s paradise’!  it ain’t no jonny cake christmas.  😦 we miss everyone!!

’til then…

the kiwi has landed!

it’s an early christmas as the saliz/pempek household…. my wheel arrived yesterday!  thank you so much to DAVE at merlin tree!!!  despite my illness, i managed to put him mostly together (i didn’t permanently attach the wheel since he’s going to be painted) and filled up all my bobbins with a single ply brown wool.

buster is very excited (mostly just about new cardboard to eat)!

the pieces:

the yarn i spun yesterday is a little heavier than sock weight.  i wound off the first bobbin(121 yards) and the second(184 yards) this morning.  i’m practicing consistency and adjusting the tension on the wheel – so i can spin my baby alpaca and wool without it being all crazy.  i got the fiber from the sheep shed studio from their ‘mill end roving’ stash.  it’s awesome for a beginner because it’s not super slippery and drafts really well.

there is a cute wood-burned outline of a kiwi bird on the right treadle.  i painted him turquoise today as i was unloading my bobbins and wet finishing my skeins.

the wheel will be getting a paint and oil job shortly.

so far, i have enjoyed spinning on this wheel much more than the ladybug i was learning on.  the ladybug had very large treadle pedals and i found them harder to control.  the tension knob on the ladybug kept popping out so i had to adjust my tension a lot more.  the kiwi is also over $200 cheaper than the ladybug!

there were some added surprises with the wheel.  i ordered it with the merlin tree folding pedal conversion for storage, but it also came with a built-in lazy kate (the two spool holders attached to the base of the wheel), a carry handle, and a big bottle of teak oil (though i usually use straight lemon oil to oil my boat teak – it smells like home).  it also came mostly assembled!  i read about other kiwi owners who hated assembling their wheels, i was glad i could play with it after only a little minor tinkering!

gotta spin….  🙂

’til then…

the tease.

so i’ve been feeling a little under the weather the past week or so.  i’m not sure if it’s the lack of vitamin d or just a cold i’m fighting.  i stayed home today.  and the “wheel” of my kiwi haunted me.  i should not have opened the box – or i should have just gone to work and suffered!  the rest of her/him(i think it will be a him- since my boat and my car is a her – any good names (peewee the kiwi)?) is in chicago and should be here by friday….

off topic:  out landlords took out the fireplace right before we moved in(we said no to an electric one(we pay electric) – we have gas (which our landlord pays) heating – hello 80 degrees! so we shine our projector in the empty space).

i was semi productive though and was up at 630 to take xmas presents to the post office (where the bright lights and crowd reinforced my decision to stay home) and i even finished a project i’ve been working on for my bff in stx.  no, it’s not a crocheted bodysuit(i told her i needed a HUGE box) like she wanted – though she told me it was ‘cold’ there yesterday and had to put on a jacket at 80 degrees(trust me, when you are at 90 for part of the year, 80 gets cold – especially with the xmas winds).  i can’t post a pic until i get it sent out and she receives it.  it’s pretty cool though.  at least as far as friendship is concerned.

and i also ‘made’ our christmas tree.  it doesn’t smell the same so i might go get some pine scented candles…

and we just got a bunch of fresh new powder.  and i want to ski.  so i need to feel better NOW.

’til then.


my page has a new look – how ’bout that falling snow?!?!  i’m new at this so it’s not quite what i want as far as colors, but it’s getting there…..

so in between getting ready for xmas and work, i took a beginning wheel spinning class.  i’m hooked already.  there were four in the class, including a girl in sixth grade who has already been spinning for a year or so.  what a lucky girl to be exposed to fiber arts (or any type of art) at such a young age!  i was the only one who had never touched a wheel.  i took the class at far north fibers in south anchorage (she just moved her studio to the south side).  i spun on a schadt ladybug.  with our gypsy lifestyle, i can’t have a wheel that large.  i have been looking at portable wheels, but have found they are too expensive for a beginning spinner who doesn’t really know what she is doing.

so i’ve compromised and have settled on the ashford kiwi.  it’s not super small (about the size of the ladybug) but it’s cheap, has a double treadle (which is what i was using in class), and there is a guy(merlin tree) who does a conversion so the pedals will fold up for storage and transport.  the conversion doesn’t cost anything extra.  AND you can paint it!!!  i’m very excited about that, and already have several designs in my head.  there are also options for different ratios and expandability.

i bought a smaller hand spindle and some fiber on my last day of class.  we got to try all kinds of different types of fibers – different wools, bamboo, a really glittery synthetic, silk, baby alpaca, and even angora rabbit (i knew i should have been saving buster’s fur from his last shed!).  i loved spinning the baby alpaca.  it’s really light, soft, and easy to draft.  i got 2 oz each of silk and baby alpaca that i will spin together:

enough about spinning….  here is the shawl thingy i made (see earlier post about the springtime bandit).  it’s my first really lacy project.  it took forever, but i love the pattern and think it turned out really pretty.  i wish it was a little lighter weight since i’m sending it out to someone in the desert – eventhough they had a ‘coldsnap’ a week ago – oh my god it was 50 degrees!!  puhhhlease…

springtime bandit:

i am making another lacy scarf (clapotis) out of a hemp/cotton that i think will be lighter since the yarn is really fine.

Buku and i also made a birthday cake this week for dre since corinne was out of town because that’s what friends do.  it’s a yellow cake with wild blueberries on top with cream cheese drizzle:

and a few  more pics from ‘degnarly’ from this summer and thanksgiving (fireweed is done- summer is over (click to see the beautiful view of denali); c and d and their load; ski skiing on his new teles; buku using the wolf for warmth- nootka cracks me up- she stayed like that forever! and luther looks tired:

my dad has been saving some of his karelian bear dog hair for me to spin.  i know it sounds gross, but you only spin the under fur (like qiviut from a musk ox).  he sent me some this week and it’s actually really soft and a natural grey color.  i might have to start brushing nootka and harley.  🙂


gotta do xmas stuff and some work!

’til then……