Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.


angry chicken: new items in the shop!

angry chicken: new items in the shop!.

Amy Karol over at Angry Chicken has two new organic oils in her shop — treatment oil for eyes and cuticle oil. I’ve been following Amy’s blog for a number of years now and love her posts about sewing, homemade bath and beauty products, baking and homeschooling her kids. I love learning about all the things she creates and discovers in her Oregon-area home.

Interested in following her blog or buying her products? Click on the link above to check ’em out!


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Rose Window Beret

I finished a project!

Rose Beret

This is the Rose Window Beret by Anne Kuo Lukito. It was featured in the Spring 2010 Interweave Knits issue.

Interweave Knits Spring 2010

I bought the yarn, a nice wool, at Gate City Yarns (Greensboro, N.C.) two Decembers ago and just now got around to using it. I began the project sometime in June and finished it during our drive to D.C. for vacation in August.

I had to restart the project a couple of times because I was teaching myself how to read a lace pattern. With some help from several sites, I was able to get turned around. Here’s a few places to start: Knit Picks (I used this reference a lot), the For Dummies site (the publisher of the For Dummies books) and Knitty.

The hat doesn’t look exactly like it should because I haven’t blocked it yet. I really should do that so the pretty lace pattern shows up.

I love this pattern! I might make another to give away.


Autumn Leaves Festival

Chris and I went to the Autumn Leaves Festival in Mount Airy, N.C., pretty late on a a Sunday afternoon.

I thought this display was cute.
Some musicians jamming downtown.

We thought there was still quite a crowd, but vendors said the crowd had thinned out a lot.

Crowd shot!

I believe some of the vendors had left also. There weren’t as many booths as we expected and there appeared to be several empty spots along the curb.

We explored new wine shop downtown — Uncorked. Very nice couple. Nice selection of wines. No, we didn’t buy any. But the store is set up very nice and offers tastings. Check it out!

Checking out the wine selection at Uncorked, downtown Mount Airy.

We also stumbled across a new location for Yesterdays, a book, comic, collectables store that used to be located on the 2nd floor of an antiques store. They’re now at 160 N. Main St., Unit 100.

One of the owner’s wives is also selling most of her yarn stock. I expect the yarn supplies will be there for quite awhile. There was a lot of yarn and supplies in a room off of the main store’s shopping area. I plan to go back and browse more of the yarn and supplies.


Grave Creek Mound, Moundsville, W.Va.

On our trip to W. Va. we visited our friend’s work place — Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex.

Entrance of Grave Creek Mound, Moundsville, W.Va.

This is the site of a 70-foot Native American burial ground, a feature of the Adena culture. Our friend explained that Adena is usually considered a separate people or tribe, but it’s really a tradition or culture shared by several different tribes. It would take a conference and agreement by the archaeological community to change exhibits and info around the country, he said.

Some Adena artifacts.

We visited another such burial ground in Ohio — Serpent Mounds. Both included exhibits with similar information.

At Grave Creek we walked to the top of the mound and overlooked Moundsville.

View of Moundsville, W.Va., from atop the mound.

At the foot of the mound was a small interpretive garden showing how people of the Adena era would have grown their vegetables and what types. Tomatoes and other vines, for instance, would be grown beside corn so that the plants could use the corn stalks as supports, clinging to them and they grew.

Interpretive garden at Grave Creek Mound.

The mound has been used for very interesting purposes throughout the years. My favorites — (1) an observatory was once built on top of the mound and (2) a race track was built around the foot of the mound and audiences could watch from the top.

Our friend gave us a tour of the museum’s research facility and library. Very interesting work and probably an archaeologist’s dream.

Before leaving, I grabbed a do-it-yourself scrapbook of printed out activity pages for kids. One page was for autographs of museum staff. So I took one and had our friend sign it.

I’m threading together the pages of the scrapbook.

Chris and I also stopped by the gift shop and bought some worry stones for family members. Just small, sweet stocking stuffers for Christmas.

Also at the museum are two exhibits — Homer Laughlin China Company and Fashion Dolls by Pete Ballard, a West Virginia native.

Homer Laughlin is the owner and maker of Fiesta ware and other dishes. I even saw my own Shakespeare Country dishes displayed there! Very cool. The company has operated in the area over 100 years.

I loved walking around and reading about Pete Ballard’s fashion dolls. He worked for many years as a costume designer. His knowledge and skills are exquisite! I loved learning about the 19th century fashions. I could have spent all day walking from doll to doll, studying the different styles and fabrics. But though my husband is patient, he’s not that patient!

One of many fashion dolls created by Pete Ballard.

I tried to find a website with Pete’s work but wasn’t able to. It would have been great if the pamphlet accompanying the exhibit and explaining each of the dolls would have included photos. I wish I could find a book on Ballard too, but haven’t found one.

Other things to do in Moundsville:

* Visit the Marx Brothers Toy Museum. You will see a variety of toys that you probably played with as a kid, such as toy soldiers and Big Wheels (mine was yellow and green and featured Kermit the Frog). We didn’t have time to visit, but maybe we will next time.

* Fosteria Glass Factory Museum. The glassware is no longer made in Moundsville, but there is a museum dedicated to the company’s history and products. The town is in process of tearing down the old factory. A building or two will still remain, I think. But the town’s historic factory will no longer be there. It’s being developed into a multi-use retain center.

* There are a lot of locally-owned businesses in the town and they’re a delight to check out. I checked out A Yarn Among Friends and bought some yarn for Christmas projects.

* In a later post, I’ll write about our tour of the former West Virginia Penitentiary. It was a maximum security prison that was closed down in 1995.


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Peaceful Heart Alpacas, Fancy Gap, Va.

After walking around Devil’s Den Nature Preserve last weekend, Chris and I went to Peaceful Heart Alpaca Farm. It’s located off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Fancy Gap, Va., across from Milepost 204.

I’ve wanted to visit this farm for quite some time. The farm opened in 2006 and has several alpacas that the family uses to harvest their fiber and spin yarn.

The shop also sells Fair Trade items from Peru and teaches fiber classes.

Alpacas are related to llamas, but are shorter and not as cuddly. They’re more wary of people and don’t readily let you pet them. But they’re gentle animals.

They’re fun to watch and the yarn that’s made from their fiber is soft and wonderful. The little one above is the newest addition. He was only 2 days old when I took this picture!

While at the store, one of the owners gave us a quick tour and introduced us to their alpacas, including some newborns that were up and running around in the maternity pasture with their moms, the males in a barn and other female alpacas out in other fields.

He said that alpacas are pregnant most of the time and are depressed when they’re not pregnant or nursing. Could you imagine being pregnant all the time?

In the store, I picked up two skeins of yarn and a pattern to make into Christmas presents. I also picked up two shawl pins for me.
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Want to learn more about alpacas? Check this book out: