Category Archives: The City

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The past 24 hours has dumped a lot of snow here.  The predicted 5-8″ was quickly upgraded to 14-24″ once the heavy snow began.  I cleared the walkway several times last night, but as soon as I was finished it seemed there was a new, fresh inch where I began.  This morning another 8-10″ awaited me and my shovel as the snow kept falling.  With the help of neighbors, we managed to clear most of the block by the time the snow slowed.  The governor declared the state of Pennsylvania a disaster emergency.  Some have lost power, trees are down, and many roads are impassable.  But there is something beautiful happening here.  I had a chance to see and talk to many of my neighbors.  We worked together to clear the walkways of the elderly folk on the block.  Everyone is in an excited state over the beauty and amount of the snow.  We are amazed at its depth and in agreement that we are tied to our homes for a while.  People have taken to the streets.  Some walk dogs.  Many donned skis and snowshoes.  Families are taking strolls together.  Neighbors are digging out and pushing cars.  Some cars have been abandoned in the road.  People gather around fallen trees and branches in awe.  The sun is shining and the snow is glistening.  It is truly a beautiful thing.

The snow is so thick and wet that it stands on its own, filling in gaps between branches and fences. 

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The heavy snow hangs on branches causing weak ones to snap.  Close call! 

The car will stay in the garage and off the roads for a while.

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Doing my part for the G-20

If you haven’t heard, the G-20 Summit will be in Pittsburgh at the end of the month.  The city is in a frenzy getting ready to take on this massive event. Besides all the necessary safety precautions, Pittsburgh is trying to improve its image and make a good impression.  I liken it to cleaning the house before the in-laws come to town: dusting those usually neglected corners, bringing out the good linens, and sending that couch-surfing, lazy brother out of town for the weekend.

Warhol Flowers - 3I’m doing my part by helping the Pittsburgh Beautification Project spruce up some unsightly, abandoned buildings by installing Warhol-esque paintings in place of boarded up windows.  Beth and I spent the afternoon painting flowers on giant boards in an empty warehouse.  It was a lot of fun getting messy for the cause.

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Obviously, Pittsburgh will not be taking the world leaders on tours of our once-beautiful, tree-lined neighborhoods since Duquesne Light has hacked the trees to a diseased looking state.  (It needed to be said.)

Stitch ‘n Pitch

PNC ParkYesterday was the Fourth Annual Stitch ‘n Pitch at PNC Park.  Mixed among diehard fans in section 130 were a number of women knitting and crocheting in public.  In addition to our little swag bag of knitting goodies, we enjoyed a nice July afternoon in the beautiful park where we watched (or forgot to watch) the Pirates play the San Francisco Giants.  I started a baby sweater for some friends in the Bay Area who are expecting their first baby next month.  How appropriate, then, that the Giants won 4 to 3.

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Who says Western Pennsylvanians can’t throw a party?

Since none of us made it to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this year, I thought we’d try Western PA’s version, the Waynesburg Sheep and Fiber Festival.  I could tell there’d be disappointment when we arrived an hour after opening and immediately found parking close to the fairgrounds.  Upon entering we found three vendors, the kids event tent, and this guy – the “entertainment”.

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We eventually found the pavillion holding the Sheep to Shawl contestants.

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Three groups participated.  After the sheep were shorn, people carded and spun the wool and fed it to the weaver.  After 3 (or 4) hours, the shawls would be finished and judged and then available for auction.

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Sheep Fiber Fest - 7The main vendor pavillion was a nice little shopping and browsing experience.  All of us found something from the Annadele Alpacas booth.  I bought this nice, soft, machine washable alpaca/nylon blend yarn for a scarf.

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The entertainment seemed to pick up, with a full Christian Rock Band set up and playing on the stage by 1:00.  But more entertaining were the Border Collies.

Sheep Fiber Fest - 5Here’s “Gail” herding ducks.  She later graduated to sheep.

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I wondered, though, how seriously we should take a shepard that uses a shower curtain rod for her staff. —–>

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Outside the ring were 6 Border Collie puppies, less than four weeks old, that sounded like crying seagulls when they whimpered.

As for livestock, I saw only 4 sheep (including the 3 used in the herding demos), 2 alpacas, 3 goats, and a handful of angora rabbits.  Pretty lame for a sheep festival, but I suppose once you’ve seen 4 sheep you’ve seen them all.

Lesson learned:  There is only one Sheep and Wool Festival

I’m selling in a gallery!

bottlebrush-1A couple weeks ago I was contacted by a local gallery interested in carrying some of my work.  It is always a thrill to have your work recognized and appreciated.  I took my felted bowls and my Stars in Stripes drink coasters to the Bottlebrush Gallery in the little historic town of Harmony, about 1/2 hour north of Pittsburgh.  The shop carries an array of work by Western Pennsylvania artists.  A glass artist works in the studio above the shop and gallery in this 200 year-old building.  I spent a little time talking to Jenny and then had lunch in Harmony before heading back home. bottlebrush-21 In a few weeks I’ll be heading past Harmony on my way to the Kon-O-Kwee knitting weekend, so I’m hoping to have a chance to stop by and shop around.  When the weather is nicer I’d love to do a nice day trip up to explore the area.  There’s a cemetary nearby with a revolving stone gate that I’m dying to see!

Gifts for Cyclists makes the Front Page

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It seems some time this morning, around 9-ish, my “Gifts for the Cyclist”  Treasury hit the Front Page of Etsy.  Sales from this front page: Astridland’s Black Fingerless Gloves and JulienJaborska’s Bicycle Tire Belt.

Handmade Arcade 2008

ha08-huntarmoryI volunteered this afternoon at the 5th Annual Handmade Arcade.  The Handmade Arcade has moved to the Hunt Armory after 4 consecutive years at Construction Junctionha08-inside-2The Hunt Armory is an active military facility nestled among schools, churches, shops and homes in Shadyside.  Inside this large open space were more than 85 vendors, interactive demonstrations, local foods, and non-stop music.

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Members of Artist Image Resource were demonstrating the silkscreen process to visitors, including this extra-large reprint of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s November 5th headline.

ha08-sccha08-enamelI made this little bird pendant with Kathryn Cole from the Society for Contemporary Craft.  One side was coated with enamel powder that I scratched the design into, then it went into a kiln to be fired and set.

ha08-sunstone_2ha08-sunstoneI hit my favorite soap sellers, Sunstone Soap, to stock up on my stash.  I love having these soaps on hand for a quick little gift, maybe matched with a handknit wash cloth.  I use most of them for myself as a wonderful treat in the shower.  Today I bought “Sweet Spearmint”, “Sweet Honey with Oatmeal”, and “Peppermint Vanilla”.  And Kim threw in a little extra something for me.

While most people were taking a chunk out of their Christmas shopping, I decided to treat myself to some handmade goodies.  I bought these sweet little bird earrings from Figs & Gingerha08-birdearrings

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…and these gorgeous danglers from Beth Pohlman.

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I love wearing scarves. ha08-scarf If my neck is warm, then I am warm.  But sometimes my green, fuzzy, wool scarf is too warm.  So I’m very excited to now own this cotton scarf from Red Prairie Pressha08-redprairie.

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There were so many other really great shops, but I just couldn’t figure out who to buy for from these shops.  I immediately recognized Get Felt Up’s lovely felted items from browsing around Etsy.  And Girls Can Tell had the best screenprinted images of bikes and cameras and sewing machines.  I met a lot of fellow Etsians and was surprised by the number of people that came from neighboring states.  Many from Baltimore, some from Ohio, and a gal from New Orleans.  I left the show feeling really inspired and am considering applying for Handmade Arcade 2009.