Saturday, October 28, 2017

New Things

I have started making dream catchers again.


All but the all white ones are 3".  The white one is 5".  They are boho chic and I'm selling them - I just haven't listed them on Etsy yet.  These are photographed up against my wall with my iPhone - not sure the photos are Etsy worthy and have to drag out the big camera and take proper photos. I did sell the blue one on Facebook. 

The dream catchers are fun. I have so much fabric in the basement, I decided to just cut strips and use them for the dream catchers.  FUN!  I have a large container of plastic beads, and bags of feathers I was using for other projects.  I'm hoping to sell these, and other small crafts, at a show in December - IF I can get in.....  I actually am going to teach someone how to make a 19" dream catcher in November.  That'll be fun and give me some teaching experience.  Maybe I'll offer a class at some point.

I need to make more beaded flute wraps.  They were selling well.  I just have to make more designs, and that takes patience and time.

I also am part of a Weave Along where we have a random selector choose the 3 colors.  I have some common colors for me, which makes me feel a bit guilty because some other people got colors totally out of their comfort zone.  Luckily I have the colors (close enough anyway) in my stash.

I will weave on a black background. I may be sticking some fun yarns in there as well.

I also knitted 2 scarves (need to take pics!).  Triangle scarves, because that's what I do. No counting or pattern following. 

Too much running here and there this week with other people.  I need to spend some quality time at home and craft!  We are supposed to get some rain tomorrow, and I plan on staying in and either being lazy (it's Sunday after all) or crafting.  Not sure which.  Maybe both. :-D

Take care and thanks for checking in.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

2017 Trip to Maine

Despite some setbacks, we finally made it to Maine.  My heart is in Maine. I can't really explain it.  If I were all alone in life, not married, I'd certainly move back north of the Mason Dixon line.  I really do NOT enjoy living in the south, in Virginia.  I don't like summer weather here. I feel like I'm trapped.  I hate to sweat, I hate heat and humidity.

Maine is something else. It's colorful. It's miles and miles and miles of untouched land. 
It's huge, beautiful old homes -

Notice how all the houses are connected - one long building.  These homes (and these are not my favorite examples but the ones I was able to snap photos of on our travels), have always intrigued me - ever since I was a child.

There's even a book about them:

I didn't get to read the entire book, but I will bet that having the homes connected, especially to the barns, made work in winter a lot easier.....

Maine is also full of good, fresh seafood.  I ate some lobster, Haddock, and a mixed seafood plate with scallops, clams, shrimp.  Yum.............
Maine is also full of wonderful people.  Indie artists.  People grateful for tourists.  Lots of small, privately owned restaurants.  And family. 

This is my cousin's house.  I LOVE THIS HOUSE!  Its really tiny inside, but it's perfect.  Old, wide plank wooden floors.  Tin roof.  It was built in the 1800's.  It was a mess when they bought it, but David brought this house back to life.  It's very cozy.  Full of old things.  And family.

This is the barn.  Or in Maine, it's the bahhhhn.  On the left where the door is open, are the goats.  There are 2 goats now. Getting on in their years.  They are just happy to have a nice place to live.  Just inside the door, you see another door.  That door leads to a wonderful little studio guest room.  It's quite large really, with a futon, small fridge, windows.  Just downright cozy. I'd move in instantly if I could.  This would make a great studio for any artist.  I could picture my looms, spinning wheel, and sewing machine; fabrics to quilt and quilts I made.  A cozy chair and a big soft bed.  Yep. I'm all moved in, in my mind.

David built a syrup house.  That little tiny shed has a really cool wood stove, from Ireland.  There is a stove in there that David pulls out onto the front porch, and he cooks down the sap from the Maple trees they tap.  Real, home made, Maine maple syrup.  YUM.

I don't desire to live on a farm again.  I know about the dirt, rain mud, snow, snow mud, and bugs.  However, if I DID live on a farm again, this would be what MY farm would look like.  The buildings are amazing.

This is only my first installment of my Maine trip.  I have SO many photos to share.  I will be back.

Meanwhile, I'm still working on my beading, knitting my hand spun yarn into shawls, and I have a warp for my loom all planned in my head.....I just have to get it wound.  The math always holds me off, but I'm just going to DO it.  Tomorrow morning.  I have my head wrapped around what I want, and I AM going to do it!

I'll be back.  Sooner rather than later.  Thanks for stopping in and reading. 

Take care.  Be good to yourself.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

New Life Adventures

When I was young, my parents, who were both born in Maine but lived in Rochester NY, traveled to Maine every summer.  My brothers, 8 & 10 years older than I, and myself, all sat in the back seat of the car.  When my brothers were older, and left the house, it was just me.  Traveling with my parents wasn't always fun.  They drank, and would stop at rest stops and drink from a bottle they kept in the trunk.  It was only when I was older that I realized what was going on.

Traveling though, must be in my blood.  I really love to travel. I love the countryside, cities, mountains and water.  Though I do have to say, I do NOT like traveling over water.....

I love the blue skies, the white mountain tops, the rain on the windshield.

I love seeing small shops and often dream of stopping at each one and going inside to see what they have, and how the people that own the shops live.

I love to see the small towns, and dream of living there, knowing everyone, and being part of a small community that cares about each other ---- or does that only happen on Hallmark movies?

I like our home.  However, I have the wandering lust inside me, and it's been squashed most of my life.  I become a bit insane staying home all the time.  Husband, on the other hand, would stay home all the time, and never leave, if it were up to him.  We are very different, in many different ways.

We have talked about RV's for a very long time.  We have gone to the RV shows nearby, and walked in and out, in and out.  We've looked at the huge haulers, the Class A's, and the Class C's.  We never really considered a Class B - which if you don't know, is a van.  Just a van, with a house inside.

In June we started looking at RV's at the local RV places.  We almost purchased a Class C - till we started researching where to keep it.  It's not easy to store an RV when you live in a community with an HOA.

We finally found one we like.  It's a Winnebago, with a Mercedes diesel engine.
This B van is 24' long.  It's a bit longer than a normal parking space.  We take up about a space and 1/3rd.
The inside has a lot of storage space, a wet bath (which is a toilet, sink and shower in a space about 4' x 3').  There is a kitchen with a 3 burner stove, sink, small fridge, and counter space.  There is a couch in the rear that opens into a bed.  The back doors open, there is a screen, and the windows, though small, do open at the bottom and slant out, so if it's cool but raining, the water doesn't come in (unless it's a blowing rain).

A small view of the inside.  I will have to get more photos.  I've been remiss in getting pics.

We've gone out in it 3 times.  Twice to a local lake campground.  Once up into the mountains to a KOA campground.

I'm so NOT a camper.....I want to travel, and have my house with me so I'm comfortable when we stop.   I want to see all the things, the landscapes, the shops, the food.

The dogs are joining us on this adventure.  Though I miss Leo the cat a lot, it's good knowing we aren't leaving him behind.  He hated being left alone.

I hope to post about our travels, and eventually, I'm hoping that the traveling will be long-term, not just a weekend here and there, or a 2 week long trip - which we have planned for September - to Maine.  I'd love to travel across the country, see the things I've only seen pictures of, and see people I know that live in all parts of this country. California, Oregon, Washington state, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and other fun places.  I want to stay where there aren't a lot of people all the time.  I want to walk the dogs, and find peace.

It may not be in the cards to do everything I hope to do.  I have to consider that my dream, isn't necessarily Hub's dream. He feels claustrophobic in the van. I feel cozy.  He feels like it's a lot of work, I feel like it's a simplified version of life.  He thinks it's a hassle, and I love it.  Planning has been stressful - but mostly because there are requirements to what he wants out of a place.  It's all good.  We'll make it work.

If I were to do anything differently, I would have done this a LOT sooner.  Like, 10 years ago.  If there was anything else I'd do differently, I'd have gotten a much smaller van, not 24 feet long.  Something that looks like a regular van, that fits in normal parking spaces.  This one will be a bit of a challenge.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Losing Loved Ones

It's never easy to lose a loved one, be it human or furkids.  Last week, we unexpectedly lost our furry boy, Leo.  He hadn't been feeling well, and I took him back to the new-to-us vet around the corner, and she recommended doing a sinus flush, shaving his hair and giving his skin and coat a break from the excessive shedding, and doing a nasal x-ray.  I thought, finally, we will get some answers and the poor kid will feel better.  Next thing I know, I'm getting a phone call saying that he's crashing and he's not going to make it.

What a complete shock!

I've been very sad, and feeling very, very guilty.  I should have questioned whether it was safe to put him under anesthesia.  I worked at a vet clinic and I KNOW that there should have been precautions taken - such as a chest x-ray, before being sedated.  Sigh.

Leo came to us as a feral cat.  When I worked at the vet clinic, there was a lady that rescued feral cats, and Leo was one of the kittens that was brought in and up for adoption.  He was never a cuddly cat, though if I was sick, or recovering from a surgery, he was always the one that was right there with me.

This look - THIS was Leo.  He was a very LOUD cat.  He talked all the time.  He would answer me if I said "Leo!" with a "Brrrrrrp?"   When he wanted more water in his water bowl, he'd YELL at hubby, and hubby, being well trained by Leo, would fill that water bowl.

Leo was always around to help.  He owned us all and everything in the house.  He'd inspect anything new that came in, and would give it his approval.  Except when we brought in other animals.  Then, he was never thrilled.

This cat.  Such a HUGE presence.  The house is very, very quiet.  The dogs aren't getting chased anymore.  There are no more giant clumps of hair to pick up.  I don't have to have a gate to the basement up anymore because there is no cat litter box for the dogs to get into.

In many ways, this is a sad time, but in other ways, I know Leo isn't suffering anymore.  He had spent the last 5 years blowing his coat so badly that he had to be on Predisilone for 6 months out of the year.  He was sneezing, coughing, and doing this weird thing where it sounded like he was coughing or wheezing.  No one, even when I showed them videos, did anything except say, maybe it's asthma.  Well, I should have pushed for the meds to at least try them and see if they would have helped.  I didn't.  I feel as though I failed him terribly.

RIP sweet boy.  You're very missed.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Turning Winter

Autumn was beautiful here.
It was very dry, the weather was beautiful, and for the most part, very warm and mild.
A lot of the leaves that usually just turn brown and fall off, were hanging on and more beautiful than I ever think I've seen them here in VA.
These photos were taken at the lake in our community.

I really enjoyed fall in our new community and new home.
I'm also enjoying playing my flutes.  I have a new flute on the way, and will post about it when it gets here.
I also have a new amplifier that is made especially for the Native American Flutes, because it is light weight and has a very small but powerful microphone, and has the echo features that make the flutes sound like they are being played in a canyon, and it enhances the flute sounds beautifully.  It's called a Litek amp, and even though it was a lot more expensive than I'd hoped to spend, it is really worth it.
We are starting up a new flute circle in Fredericksburg (VA) in January. I'm very excited, but I'm also starting to get very nervous about it.  Putting myself out there in front of people and exposing myself, and talking in front of a group, and being the one to facilitate (because there aren't leaders in flute circles....just people to help it along), I'm just not used to being the one in the spotlight. If it were to fail, I'd take it personally, even though I shouldn't (because I can't MAKE people show up, right?).

I hope I succeed at the new flute circle.  Sharing this new passion of mine, bringing others into the fold of the excitement and sharing the beautiful music of the flutes and putting it out to the Universe, is really special.

Today it has rained very hard, which is needed here.  It's been very, very dry, and the ponds and rivers are really low compared to normal.  Sometimes I wish it were snow, but I know what a hassle it is for others around here.  Most people dislike the snow immensely.  I love it.  I think it's beautiful.  I haven't seen a white Christmas in so many years, I don't even remember what it's like anymore.  How about you?   Do you love a white Christmas, or would you rather not see the white stuff?

There is so much uncertainty in the U.S. right now.  I don't know if this nation can handle what might happen.  It's been a very strained few months lately - the election, the doubt, the fires here on the east coast, the Standing Rock situation with the Native Americans, and the violence.  I read stories about mothers or fathers or boyfriends harming their children and it just breaks my heart.  I see things about animals being mistreated, think about all the horses that go to auction every month, and think about the people who mistreat and starve their animals and wonder, how does anyone DO that?  I try very hard to stay centered, not let the ugliness get to me.

I play my flutes, I keep people and animals in my thoughts while I play.  I pray I am bringing some peace and justice to them while I'm playing and sending good vibrations out to the world.

I hope that you have a peaceful and joyous season of giving and receiving, that your life is good, and that you are fulfilled.
Take care and thanks for letting me share.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

What's New !?!

Someone recently asked this question on Facebook:

"does anyone read blogs anymore?"

I do.  I know I like to see what others are up to.

"what type of blogs do you read?"

The ones that are about things I'm interested in.

Over the years, my interests have changed.  I have done various crafts and arts.  Quilting.  Sewing.  Weaving.  Spinning yarn.  Making cards.  Photography.  I've also cross stitched, made holiday crafts, and lots of things along my life. I am, after all, 60 years old.

I have crafted ever since I can remember.  When I was young, I would go through the fabrics in my mother's stash, and I would make purses.  My parents didn't have much interest in me. They didn't buy me a lot of clothes.  They didn't buy me purses.  I was lucky I had dinner most nights.  That's neither here nor there, in this context.

My father worked for Kodak, when it was still in existence in Rochester, NY.  He'd bring home the end rolls of paper.  I spent HOURS using that paper in various ways.  I'd color.  I made patterns for purses.  Painting.

I also somehow talked my way into buying supplies to make candles.  I loved making candles.  The outcome was always so rewarding.

I embroidered my bell bottom jeans.  I patched holes in the clothes I had with other fabrics.  I used iron on patches.

I loved art class more than any other class in school.  I learned to weave, basket weave, and lots of other crafts.

I always wanted to earn money by doing something with my hands.  I guess I didn't know at the time, that there are colleges for people like me.  I'd have loved to go to a college that I could have tried my hands at all sorts of arts and crafts and maybe I would have found the one thing I would do the rest of my life.  However, that's not what happened.

So through the years, I've done many, many things.

I think the most rewarding so far, is weaving. I'm very proud of the clothes I've woven.  I'm also very proud that I CAN weave and make clothes, without patterns, that I can wear.  Some haven't been so successful.  Some have.

However, making money out of them, hasn't happened.  People are NOT capable of understanding why something might cost $225.  The work that goes into a jacket is not simple.  But, you can buy a jacket at a store for a lot less.  Yes, but it's not one of a kind.

I've recently been mulling over whether to give up my business license.  Because it's a dream I've had for SO very long, it's very hard for me to do that.  I'm struggling.  However, we have to pay taxes on everything I've bought wholesale, but haven't sold (mostly fiber).

The thing is, I don't know anymore, if I want to be tied down to the loom, sewing machine, and spinning wheel like I used to think I could be.  I have way too much to do in my life, and life is getting shorter day by day.

My most recent love is playing the Native American Flute, or, Native American Style Flute.  What's the difference, you ask?  Well, the difference is, a Native American Flute is a flute made by someone that is Native American.  The flute therefore, is Native American.  If the flute is made by someone that is not Native American, is not a member of a tribe, or okay'ed by a tribe, then they cannot claim a flute to be Native American.

I own 3 flutes, and I've been playing about 7 weeks.  Yep.  You read that right.  Seven WEEKS.  I have been very blessed to be able to pick up a flute and play fairly well.  I have a LONG way to go before I'm really good.  I play from the heart.  I do not play written music. I play what feels good, what comes to me to be played.
This is my first flute. It's a flute in F# made by a Native American, Raymond Wells, also known as Rainbow Walker.
This is a small flute, great for beginners, with a breathy sound, and right on key.  GREAT for beginners, and inexpensive.  $59 plus shipping.  This flute is made from cedar but he has other wood he can make flutes from.
This was my second flute. It's from a flute maker named David O'Neal, who is from NC.  He makes beautiful flutes out of all sorts of wood.
This flute is Curly Maple, with turquoise inlays, and black ebony wood for the hummingbird and surrounding each inlay.  It's not only gorgeous, it plays beautifully.  It's in the key of G, mid-range.  It has a clear, clean, crisp sound.  This is my "happy" flute.  David is not Native American so this flute is a Native American Style flute.  This flute wasn't cheap.  It was $340 and the flute stand was $80.  All totally 100% worth it.  I bought this flute in person, so it picked me and I picked it.  David came to Virginia to the Crozet Art & Craft festival in the fall, and although they have the same festival in the spring, he doesn't attend the spring festival.  Probably a good thing for me.  I can see me buying another flute from David!

This is my third flute.  This flute is in the key of low D. It was offered to me by Raymond Wells.  He had made it for a woman's hands.  It's very hard to find a low key flute small enough for women to play.  Raymond knows how to make them.  This flute is very mellow, breathy, and is good for somber playing.  I really like this flute.
This was me at the lake on a windy day.  Note the hair standing up!  As you can see, my hands are not very far apart and the flute isn't very long.  If you go on YouTube, you can search Native American Flutes and tons and tons of videos show up.  You can see how huge some of the flutes are!  A dream of mine is to one day be able to play one of those beautiful, deep, huge flutes - but you can see in the photo above, how short my arms are, and short stubby fingers I have.  I have a pretty good stretch for a short chubby old lady, but there are certain things I just cannot do!

I hope I can continue to play these beautiful instruments.  I was asked if I am Native American. I am not, nor do I claim to be.  However, you do not have to be Native American in order to play the flutes!

We have a flute circle once a month in Orange, VA, at the Orange Art Center.  It's on the second Friday of the month, at 6:30 p.m.   It's just getting off the ground, and we have some work to do in order to get it going as a true circle.   However, I have high hopes for it to grow and continue.

So, this is my newest passion. I'm still weaving and spinning yarn, knitting, and sewing.  I am having fun, feeling retired, and enjoying a beautiful Fall season here in Central Western VA.  The leaves are more colorful than they've been in years, in fact, more colorful than I ever remember here in VA.

Not the best picture, but so much more beautiful in person.
That's it for now.  I will try to post more often.....if there's even anyone out there checking in.

If you read this, thank you!


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Pink Scarves....continued

Someone asked me about the dark pink at the hole in the long scarf.  On Ravelry, it seems, the favorite is the long one with the hole, that has the cotton warp, and the variable weft with ribbon, cording and yarn.

Here is a photo of that hole close up - with dark pink yarn on one side, and light pink on the other. 

This is a fun and easy technique.  You weave on one side with one yarn, and on the other side with another yarn, leaving the space in the middle (or there about). 

The fun part about this weaving is that there are NO rules.  I don't try too hard, because when I do, I don't usually like the outcome.

Today, I plan on winding another warp, but this one will be with finer threads, and I think I'll weave with finer threads as well.  I haven't decided yet if it will have the variable inclusions, like the ribbon yarn (seen in the close up photo above - it's that dark yarn below the hole, with other bits of color in it), or if I'll make it all fine yarn.  I'm leaning toward a fine yarn scarf - something cool and light for summer wear.  I have a feeling our real estate agent, who started me on this path of pink scarves because she asked for a pink scarf (she's a breast cancer survivor), will lean more toward the lighter, airier scarf.  It's her style. 

Thanks for checking back with me.  As always, take care.