Saturday, August 22, 2015

Life and Death

I've been a bit MIA lately.  Last week, on August 12th, I was sitting in my car in the parking lot of the library, preparing to return a book I'd read, and select another to take home and read, when my cell phone rang.

It was a number I didn't recognize, but I answered it as it was Florida, and my brother, 8 years older than I, lives there.  A woman commenced to ask if I had a brother, Michael Wilson who lived in the trailer park she was calling from.  She told me that neighbors of my brother had phone the police, because they believed my brother had passed away in his home.

Of course, I was in shock at first.  She told me the police were there. I asked, could she confirm my brother had passed.  She said no, I'd have to talk to the police. I asked her to please go ask the police to call me as soon as they could.  So the struggle to understand what was going on, began.

I took the book into the library, while my mind was going a million miles an hour.  I didn't know who to call, or how to find out exactly what was going on.  I didn't get another book, because I wasn't sure what my immediate future held.

I drove home trying to pay attention, meanwhile, just overwhelmed with sadness and frustration.  My brother Mike was eight years older than I.  We have another brother who is two years older than Mike, therefore, ten years older than I.  He lives in California with his wife, near his kids and grand kids.  None of us are spring chickens.

Mike was not the healthiest guy, but he lived a life full of love, friendship, laughter, joy and sharing.  He was very smart, held a Masters in Education.  He lived in Maine a good part of his adult life.  My entire family, except for myself, was born in Maine.  My parents moved when my brothers were small, to Rochester, N.Y. before I was born, for my father to accept a job at Kodak, where he worked until he passed away in 1975 of heart failure.  He had been diagnosed with lung cancer and had survived the removal of a large part of his lung, but his heart gave out a few years later.  Smoking. The hidden devil.  You don't see the damage it does, because it's mostly on the inside.  Both of our parents smoked.  Mike also smoked.

Somewhere around 15 years ago, I had received a phone call from Mike, but the caller ID said Portland Hospital.  I asked him why caller ID said that.  He'd had a stress test and other tests, and said the blockage in his heart was so bad, if he walked out of the hospital, he could drop dead.  His quadruple bypass surgery was scheduled for Monday.  He called me on a Friday.  I was able to get on a plane on Saturday, and get to his house, then to the hospital to see him, before he went in to surgery.  I ended up staying with him for about two weeks at that point.

My brother wasn't married, and didn't have a partner.  He was a joyous person, and had tons of friends.  He recovered from that heart surgery pretty well, and was diligent about seeing the cardiologist on a regular basis.  Unfortunately, he did not stop smoking. I was after him all the time to stop.  He just couldn't.  We both struggle with weight issues, and he was a recovering alcoholic, and he felt he just couldn't give everything up and be healthy - it was just too much.  He was trying.  He lost weight, gained it back, lost it, gained it.....but never gave up the smoking.  Sigh.....

It seems, after speaking to the police (finally), that he passed of natural causes.  I was able to contact one of his friends, who told me that another friend, had not heard from Mike for 2 days.  He grabbed a friend, and went to Mike's trailer, and they found the back door unlocked.  They went in and called out, but no answer.  They found Mike on his couch.  He'd had breakfast with this friend on Monday. He'd told his friend that he was going to go to the pharmacy, pick up a prescription, go home and take a nap.  It seems he never woke up from his nap.

I tell ya, if you're going to go, that's the way to do it. Go take a nap, go to sleep, and just never wake up.  No suffering.  No lingering.  No tubes.  No one hovering over you waiting for you to die.  Just go peacefully.   This was exactly how Mike wanted to go. He had made sure that I knew in no uncertain terms, he was not to be resuscitated if something happened to him.  He didn't want to suffer, be hooked up on life support, or anything that would make him linger or suffer.

Just a note here:  There are lots of ways to put in place, what you want to happen to you in a medical emergency, and also, in your last stages of life.  Mike was adamant about all of it, so much so, that everything was put into writing.  Every.  Last.  Step.   Not anything was left to question as to how he wanted to be treated should anything happen to him.  However, I have a different viewpoint on things.  Back in 2007, I had a massive heart attack (are you seeing a pattern here in this family???).   I was at home, and my husband drove me to the hospital. Probably NOT the best thing to happen, but we live in the country, and the rescue squad is all volunteer, and it would take longer for them to get here, than it would for us to get to the hospital.  There was no traffic, it was early evening in May, and my husband drove like a bat out of hell.  He got me there, and I died within a minute of getting there.  The hospital staff was able to shock me (twice) and get me back, although they told my husband that usually doesn't happen.  They drugged me, flew me to UVA Charlottesville, and I had a stent placed in the Lower Arterial Descending artery.  That's the one most men have when they call it "The Widow Maker."

I have to say, I'm grateful I did NOT have a "Do Not Resuscitate" because had I had that, I would not be here today.  I would have died, and still been dead.  Because of this, I did not agree with what my brother had set forth, and we had some discussion about it.  He asked me to respect his wishes, and since I was the one he was entrusting with the decisions, I told him I would respect everything he asked.

We don't know exactly what happened to Mike.  There is no autopsy, and no way of knowing.  He did ask that his body be used for medical research, however, because he wasn't found for at least a day, probably two, it was too late.

Not being there, it was really difficult to feel in control of what was happening, but I made sure I kept my head about me.  I pulled out the copies of all the paperwork he'd sent me, and I read everything several times to make sure I didn't miss anything.  I have to say, Mike had everything spelled out directly, and didn't mess around with anything being questioned or opened to questioning.  Cut and dry.

I called his attorney, the one that had prepared his paperwork, and that evening, she called me back.  She had his paperwork in front of her, and she told me that it would be a piece of cake.  He'd had everything in order, spelled out clearly, and that I would be able to take care of everything very easily.  Thank you Michael for that.

If there's any advice I can give you, do your will.  Have any advanced directives signed.  Make those decisions so others in their grief, don't have to.  Make copies of any financial investments, bank paperwork, wills, advanced directives, and anything that you want spelled out directly and give them to the person(s) you will appoint as your executor.  If you are married, and something happens to both of you at once, spell out exactly what should happen to everything you own.  If it is spelled out in black and white, and there is NO question of what should be done, and where things should go (pets, jewelry, furniture, house, cars, etc), then you've made the job a whole lot easier for the person who has to take care of those things in their grief.

We thought we were going to have to get in the car right away, and drive to Florida.  With 2 horses, a cat, and 2 dogs, that was going to be so overwhelming for us.  After I spoke to a couple of people, I realized, we wouldn't have to go right away. When this stuff happens, there is a process.  You have to arrange with the funeral home exactly what you want done with the body.  Mike had made clear to the point, what he wanted done, so that was easy enough.  The funeral home gave me choices of what to do from that point - funeral, viewing, or a celebration of life ceremony.  Mike didn't want any of that.  He was not a traditionalist.  So that part was easy too.  Next came the processing of paperwork - and that takes time.  I was sent paperwork (thank God for the digital world we live in), I filled it out, got it notarized, and returned it via fax.  Then we waited.  Before anything can be done, you have to have a death certificate.  That takes a bit of time.

I had to make hotel reservations, but with two small, yappy dogs, we decided to rent a house near everything we need to do.   Driving from Virginia to central Florida takes a bit over 13 hours and that's if you don't stop along the way.  That's a LONG drive, especially for two people who have hip issues, and ain't as young as we used to be, not to mention also having two dogs along for the ride, one of which doesn't do well in the car at all.  We will stop along the way and stay overnight in a hotel.  Once we get there, the real work will begin.  We have to pick up the death certificate, then get to the trailer, then go from there with everything that will need to be done.

We're hoping a week is enough time, but overall, we will be gone quite near ten days.  It's going to be a working trip, but also a sort of vacation for us, as we haven't gone away for at least eight years.  Horses are hard to get help for, and we don't like to desert the cat for that long. Someone will be here taking care of the horses and cat, but it's not the same as if we did it ourselves.  We are very attached to our animals.

I know my brother is at peace.  He was an amazing person, brought a lot of joy to many people, accomplished some wonderful things, and he was a good guy.  That amazing smile of his will be missed by many.  I love you bro.  I told him that often, and I'm glad I did.  Everyone should live the way Mike did.  He gave so much of himself to so many.  His Facebook page is overwhelmed with tributes that make me cry every time I read them.

Rest in peace, dear brother.  The celebration of life on Saturday should be a great celebration with many friends there, and I'll be there for you.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Summer Days

Hi there.  Happy August.  This August has been a bit different from most in the past.  It's actually been not very August-like at all, as far as weather.  Cooler than normal, and so far, a couple of beautiful, low-humidity days.  Very unusual indeed.  I hope this doesn't mean September will be awful.....

I haven't been doing much as far as photography, but I have been back to weaving and spinning.  The spinning isn't anything special, just the mixed BFL I am working on in order to make a new shawl.

The latest weaving I've done is of a very spring/summer style skinny scarf.  I used lots of funky yarns, which I learned, were very sticky to use in the warp.  I used a few bits of cotton also which did make it a bit easier.  I used cotton, tencel, silk, and I think a cotton/linen blend (no label).  It started out very spaced apart and very loose.

When I finished the scarf, I wanted to see how it would turn out if I stuck it in a mesh laundry bag, then put it in the washer and dryer.

There is still some lacyness to it.  That's not a word that the computer recognized, but it is my word.  It's not nearly as lacy as it was when I made it.  However, I like the way it turned out.  I'm good with it.

This scarf will be for sale in my Etsy shop soon.

You can see the slits I've made in this scarf and how I've threaded the ends through the slits.  The slits make the scarf fun to wear without worry it'll slide off.  It's a perfect scarf for someone who loves to wear them as an accessory.

I have another one on the rigid heddle loom already.  This time, it's autumnal colors, will be all cotton and tencel with no fun yarns, and will be narrower.

I've also been losing weight.  I started about 9 weeks ago, and have dropped 16 lbs.  That's about 2 lbs a week.  I have to say, however, that it hasn't been easy or quick. I realize that quick is not the right way to lose.  I am very impatient - when I put enough effort into something, I want instant results.  That's not the best way to lose weight though, and I know that, in my brain.

I have cut out SO much of the bad food I used to eat.  I'm not eating bread, biscuits, rice, pasta, or anything that has flour in it.  I'm not even using flour made of other things at this point.  Maybe in the future, when I've reached my goal weight, I will learn to bake with other flour, but not now. I don't want the temptation of goodies sitting around and tempting me (like muffins or whatever I may bake with different flour).

One thing that has bothered me is that I have cut out SO much of the bad food I was eating; french fries, chocolate chip cookies from Panera (if I eat a salad, I can cheat with a cookie, right?  Wrong!), brownies, cake, sandwiches, burgers with buns, and candy....lots of candy.  I thought that not eating all that food, would have me dropping the pounds by the tens.......but it hasn't happened that way.  It's extremely frustrating, but I believe I've finally gotten past that.  I realize now, no matter what I've cut out, I have to move more, and eat less, and eat better, and that the weight falling off me isn't going to help me in the long run.

I know that when I reach my goal weight, I will not be able to fall back into eating the way I used to.  No matter what, I'll never be able to enjoy the food I used to.  However, I'm learning to make healthy food, and instead of everything being boring and tasteless, I know now that I can use things to flavor the food, without adding a bunch of calories.

When I started this new way of eating, I had 107 lbs to lose.  I'm down by 16, and to reach my first major goal weight, I have to lose another 22 lbs.  That's a LOT of weight just to reach my first goal.

Interestingly enough, I started using an app on my iPad to track what I was eating and my exercise.  When I started doing that, I stopped losing weight.  The app told me to eat less than 1400 calories a day.  I was hungry, I was hyper-focused on everything I ate, and I was hyper-focused on the exercise/steps/etc.  It stopped me in my tracks as far as losing.  Go figure.

I stopped using the app about a week later, and I've lost a pound and a half.  I'm staying away from the app, and I'm not counting calories.

I'm not following a specific diet. I'm eating lots of proteins, and a lot fewer carbs.  The carbs I am eating, come from veggies and fruit, and more natural things.

I'm eating some potatoes, but only once or twice a week, and usually yams.

I'm also struggling to keep enough fiber in my diet.  I'll let you figure out the rest of that story....

So, I'm doing better.  No one that knows me, has noticed the weight loss.  When you're obese, more than 100 lbs more than you should weigh, twice the weight you should weigh, those first 20 lbs or so, aren't noticeable.  I know people will start noticing soon enough.  For me, however, I've already noticed a change in my body, and also a change in my energy. Though I still feel tired most days, I feel more able to deal with everything, and walking has become so much easier - I'm not huffing and puffing.  My allergy symptoms have improved though they aren't totally gone - the weather still affects them.  My nails have become stronger - for the first time since I was pregnant and taking iron pills, my finger nails are growing.  It's weird.  I have to cut them!  They seem a bit stronger.  My nails have always been really soft.

So, there's that. I am not going to give in or give up this time.  Last time I lost weight and exercised, I lost 40 lbs, then had a major heart attack that killed me - luckily, when my heart stopped, I was already at the hospital.  It's always in the back of my mind that it happened, and praying that I haven't screwed myself up enough by gaining all that weight, plus more, back and didn't take care of myself for the last 8 years......I sure as heck do NOT want a repeat!

That's about it for this post. I'll be back later this month with the next scarf and anything else I can pull together.
Take care,

Thursday, July 23, 2015

What's New? I'm On A Roll !!!

I have gotten my mojo back!  Yippee!!!!

I'm weaving, sewing, washing fleece, dyeing fleece, and spinning again!

I hate slumps.  However, it seems that once I've worked my way through the slump, I seem to do better on the other side of it.  Nothing wrong with that.

I finished weaving my black and white cloth.  The warp was cotton, the weft was all tencel in black and white.  It was a learning experience for me.  I've woven with tencel before, and I know how it feels when it's finished.  However, I haven't sewn cloth made with tencel, and that was a learning experience for sure!  That stuff can challenge a person with good sewing skills, let alone someone who manages.

I tried to get good photos, but on the gray background, it looks a bit washed out.
Five yards.  I only used 4 in the sewing so I have those "plain" sections left over.  I can always combine them with something else to make a new project.
Here is the finished shirt.

This is the first time I didn't have to add fabric to the side seams.
The tough part, was sewing the hem.  Holy cow, that thing gave me some problems!  I got it done though.  I'm pretty proud of this one. It's much prettier in person.

I do wish I could get my husband to take better photos.....

I did a special technique on the shoulders.  It's fun to wear and fun for others to notice it.


I took the fringe ends, and tied knots in the ends of them, then sewed them by machine, onto the back from the front.  This made the shoulders be open.  The photo on the left, the fringe is much longer than the photo of the right.   Again, photographer could have gotten better shots.

I've been doing some spinning also. I started some mixed BFL, which is lovely.  No pic right at the moment.

I've also been dyeing fleece.  I bought 2 of these really nice BFL/Wenslydale fleeces from a wonderful shepherd on Facebook.  The fleeces are really soft, and crimpy, and make pretty lock spun yarn.

Isn't it gorgeous?  Since it comes straight from the sheep, it's dirty.  It has hay bits, grass bits, and dirt.  Hey, sheep live outside, what do you expect?  Though I have to say, this is some of the cleanest fleece I've ever gotten.

I did dye some of it.  Here is the yarn I spun from what I dyed.  I didn't do a good job on the dyeing and the colors are sort of pastel.  More so than I like.  Supposed to be purple, gold and teal.

However, it is a really pretty yarn. I haven't washed it or set it yet, so these photos are the unfinished yarn.

I also did some solar dyeing.  I did gold (yeah, I love this gold color) and spruce.  However, I felted the gold fiber.  I will have to use it in another project, and dye some more of it gold.

I can hardly wait to dive into this and spin it!

I have lots of other fiber that is commercially prepared, which also needs to be dyed.  That will come.  This solar dyeing is quite fun.  It has to be quite hot out, and I have to leave the jars in a black plastic bag, for 2 days.  The variations in the dye taking to the fiber is fun too.

Well, that's about all the news I have for today.  Time to go to the gym (yuck).  Have a great day and I hope you enjoyed all the photos.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Standstill? Slump? Redirected Energy?

It could be any of the above.....I haven't wanted to weave, or sew rope bowls, or much of anything else. I have, however, worked on getting a website - well - sort of.  I went to Word Press (I know, shame on me for turning my back on Blogger).  I paid for a .com - but I find Word Press SO difficult to deal with. I feel like I go in circles, trying to get to the page I need to blog from, only reaching that after about 30 minutes of going in circles.  It's NOT my favorite place to play.  I like Blogger SOOOOO much more.  More better.  Better.  Whatever.

I really WANT to get back to weaving. I want to finish my black and white Tencel on cotton and make a shirt.  Or a tunic.

I'm in a slump because I'm trying (I REALLY am!) to lose weight.  I'm moving more. I'm eating a LOT less.  Yet, here it sits, on my legs, belly, butt, boobs, and well, generally, all over my body.  Almost 2 weeks now, and I've only lost 2 lbs.  My weight keeps fluctuating.

Back in 2007, I lost about 40 lbs over 5 months.....then commenced to have a major heart attack and died.  Thank God, my husband had gotten me to the hospital (rural living means you KNOW the way to the hospital, but there's no guarantee that the Paramedics will know the way to our house in less time), before I actually died.  The hospital personnel brought me back to life.

Since then, I have struggled with energy, stamina, and weight gain.  I do blame some of it on the fact that I was also going through menopause at the same time.  Then, in 2011, I had to have a hysterectomy - which of course, slowed me down even more.

So what's a woman to do?  I'm missing all the chocolate, sugar, and biscuits I was eating, and yet, I'm NOT losing weight. I'm not eating potatoes, or rice.  No bread.  No sugar.  I just can't figure it out.

I'm upping my water intake to see if that helps.  If it doesn't and I continue on in this manner, the doc and I are going to have something to talk about!

Today we did go to a local lavender farm.  It wasn't huge, and it wasn't anything like what you've seen in photographs of rows and rows of huge lavender plants that are just purple everywhere.  This is a small, local farm.  Nicest people.  The teenagers were helping out and they were very sweet, and the young man knew his stuff about lavender.

Here are some of the photos.  ©Martha Manigross

Butterfly on Lavender.
©Martha Manigross
 They had bunnies.  This one LOVED being fed the clover from outside the pen.  It was my favorite.
©Martha Manigross
This yellow butterfly kept flitting away if I got too close so it was difficult to catch a good photo.  I love the gold on the lavender though.
©Martha Manigross
 See the bee in the flower????
©Martha Manigross
Can you see the black and yellow bird?  I think I need to get a better distance lens for my camera.  Hubby will be SO happy to hear that - NOT.
©Martha Manigross
Maybe well go back next spring. Did you know that most lavender is harvested by the end of July?  Yeah, me neither!

Till next time, take care.

Friday, June 12, 2015

What's Happening!©

I've been busy again.  I love making and the more I make, the more I love making!

This is my latest wall hanging.  Titled: Fall Into Winter
This wall hanging is based on what I see when I'm looking out my window in the middle of late Fall into Winter.  Trees that have no leaves; brown leaves sitting on the ground; brown grass; cold; barren; then, eventually, snow.
Materials include: hand spun yarn, locks; commercial yarn, cotton and wool; wooden beads; hung from a Japanese Maple branch.

©Martha Manigross
I've also been going NUTS with making rope bowls/baskets.  I made one with a cover on it.  It's perfect for hiding that extra roll of toilet paper.  All neutral colors so goes with anything/everything.

©Martha Manigross
I've also chosen to change the name of my business. I think it still has to be under Spinning My Wheel Fibers, but I'm going to go by "Martha Manigross, Fiber Heartist."  I need to work on getting another website built, and it's going to have to include a shop to sell from.  Doing the research for this overwhelms me to no end......but I'm going to have to dive in as I have a TON of stuff I really NEED to sell, and Etsy just isn't doing it for me anymore.

I'm setting up a new photography area.  I have the foam backing, the neutral (gray) fabric to cover the foam backing, the pins to hang items from, the light bulbs which are 35W but have 5000K (whatever that is) which you can't buy in stores, so have to get online. What a freaking joke that was - it took from May 19th to June 8th for them to arrive!  Once I get it set up, I'll take photos (appropriate, no?) to show the setup - IF it works.  It's based on a tutorial I found online.  Guess I'll have to find that again so I can reference it here (if it works).

My Saori loom is empty of a work in progress right now, because I took the last project off (see photos below). I'm contemplating what I want to make next, with a specific idea in mind - I just have to figure out the yarn I want to use in it.  I think I'm going to start working on Fall and Winter problem is, I want to do just ONE more summer top as the ones I've made are too heavy for the really HOT weather we're now having.  I realized, after reading someone else's post, that I'm beating WAY too hard, and that makes a heavier, thicker fabric. DUH.  Beating hard has always been my way.  I need to lighten up!  So maybe I will work on that first, then start the Fall and Winter wear.

©Martha Manigross

©Martha Manigross
The shirt above is one of my favorites.  I am still working out my body shape and how to fit myself.  A WIP in itself.

I also have been having a blast watching the Hummingbirds outside my office window, and living room window.  The birds are INSANE!  Chasing each other around constantly.  Crazy!  Here are just a few of the 100+ photos I took and most of them are really amazing.
A male and female sharing:
©Martha Manigross
This male is very protective of this feeder - he chases absolutely everyone else away!
©Martha Manigross
©Martha Manigross
I have to say, I'm really liking the photos I took, especially how the background is very blurred and looks like lights shining (to me).

That's about it for now.  I'll be busy "making" again so I'll get back when I get back!

Take care and thanks for letting me share.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Forever Evolving.....

It seems I've only been able to post something on my blog about once a month.  Mostly, lately, because I'm still healing from the knee surgery, but that only explains the last 2 months.  Ha!

I've become addicted to a new craft.  Making the rope bowls/baskets.  I guess they are sort of a combo basbowl?  Bowlbask?  I dunno.

Here is a photo that has most of the things I've made since starting:

©Martha Manigross
There are coasters, bowls, baskets, and one little handbag style.  They are all useful.  Some I've made, aren't in the picture. I have one holding my headphones over by the t.v. (where I use my iPad and sometimes want to hear something on YouTube).  I have one very small one holding my Ikea measure tapes I use to measure when I'm weaving.  I have one that I use on the floor, that holds the rope I make these with. I have to unwind it from the holder it comes on, so it's not all twisted while I'm trying to sew it.

The one on the far right, holds 4 bathroom type hand towels.  PERFECT size. I'll be making more of these to sell.  The one on the far left under the other bowls, is with black thread.  I don't like it at all.  Someone might.  I dunno.

There are some coasters there in the front too.  They are nice - work great.  I have a couple we use ourselves.

A friend asked me to make one she could put 4 prescription medicine bottles in to place next to her bed.  I sent her one and it fits perfectly. She's happy with it.  :-)

Most of these have been sewn with regular quilting thread from the large spools available in some stores (like Wal Mart and JoAnns).  These things go through thread like crazy!  One or two have been sewn with upholstery thread, that is very strong.  I did, however, figure out the hard way, that those spools of thread have a lot less on them, than the average spools of thread.  DUH.  I went through 2 spools (winding bobbins included) making 2 small bowls!

I also tried some variegated thread on one of them, and it's quite subtle, which I don't mind.

However, I tend to like the thread that blends in the most - a cream or beige thread.  The zig zag actually is shown INSIDE the bowls, where the outside shows the underneath part of the zig zag.  I like the neutral look of this.

I have not sold any yet, however.  Sadly, I've put a couple on Etsy but no takers yet.  People are still going to my Etsy site to view fiber stuffs.  Since I'm getting out of the fiber selling side of things, it doesn't really do me any good to have the views.

I'm convinced that evolving my business to the "made things" side is going to be even more difficult to market and sell, than the fiber selling side was.  If it were up to me, I'd still open a physical shop, and sell both types of things.  Of course, for the optimum advantage, I'd have to open the shop in a well known, well shopped area - and that - I can't afford.

So evolving from reselling the fiber, to selling made goods, is going to be even more challenging than I thought.  However, I'm enjoying MAKING so much more than I was just reselling it's all a trade-off.

Now, I am trying to find events I can sell my items at, that won't cost me an arm and leg to attend.  I'm also looking for galleries I can submit to, for juried shows that both show and sell.  It isn't easy!

I'm almost finished with a 5 yard weaving that will be cloth for another garment.  It's sort of an eclectic mix of patterns and colors because I was in various moods while I was weaving.   I'm not sure how cohesive the look will be of the cloth, but I decided not to worry about that!  Isn't that the entire idea behind Saori???  Why, yes, it is!

I'm also working on changing the name of my company.  It needs to be something more......evolved....more general....more......I dunno.  Since my first and last name both begin with M, I'm thinking of a large M and the rest of my first and last name after it.  I'm pretty sure I can't do it here, which will also make it difficult to do on a business card but it can be done....  I've seen it elsewhere like that.

Anyway, that's about it from me.  I'll try to keep up better from here on out, but no promises.  No one really reads this anyway.  It's sort of an outlet for me, that's all.

Take care,

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


May is my birthday month.  I don't get all crazy about it, but I still like that I have a birthday.  It's a celebration of ME.
I have a new friend that also has a birthday this month, on the exact same date!
There are no special plans.  There never are.  The other half, doesn't even think about doing something special for me.  That's okay. I've gotten used to it.  It's sort of like living with the Bah Humbug master.

In June this year, we'll be married 40 years.  I'll turn 59 this month.  You do the math.  Ha!

Healing from knee surgery has been.....up and down. I had some bad days.  I had some breakthroughs.  I had some very good days.  At this point, I can walk with a small limp, in the house, with no assistance.  No cane.  The crutches and the walker have been relegated to the basement.  The cane resides here, but only gets used when I go out.  That's only because I feel insecure still, when I'm out.  Plus, I get tired.  Which means, I have to start working on my stamina again.  I'm hoping that by next week, there will be no cane.

I've been weaving.  I have not been spinning, but the "need" is there, so I know I'll be setting up my wheel and getting to it soon.

Let's see....I think  I showed you the white one last, so I'll see what I've done since then....

copyright Martha Manigross
This is "Black and White and Red All Over"  - even though it sort of looks green in the center where the red runs through it, it's black- thin black.  So the green background shows through it.
Copyright Martha Manigross
Copyright Martha Manigross
Copyright Martha Manigross
I really like this one, as well as the others I've made.  I find a peace in weaving these wall hangings.  Some call these prayer flags, wall hangings, or banners.  I'm not sure I go along with prayer flags.  I think something more like zen flags.  That's the mindset I get in.  When I start one, I must finish it and I work on it till it's done --- unless, I feel like I'm not focused on what it wants to be -- then I have to take a break.  When I return, I always know what it's meant to be.

I don't have a vision when I start.  I have a sense.  I pull out certain colors, and sometimes I stick with that, other times, as I move along, it tells me that I need another direction.  So I search around, and figure out what that direction is, then get right back to it.

These come from my heart.  It's really hard to describe.  I'm not sure I've ever felt this way before about something I create.

I believe there is one more I haven't shown here also.  Let me go get it!

Copyright Martha Manigross
This is called "On The Beach"   It's been so long since I've been to a beach.  I'm not one to lay in the sand for hours, but I do love the waves crashing into the ocean, and the gulls overhead.  I long for a nice quiet vacation, where I can walk on the warm sand, hear the ocean, and just sit and soak it all in.

The above pieces have been created on my Schacht Cricket Rigid Heddle Loom.  I find a peace with weaving these on the little loom, manipulating the yarn, playing with the colors, and just playing with the senses.

I've started a new piece on my Saori loom also.  This is going to be more cloth, I believe, for another garment.  I fight with myself on the Saori loom sometimes.  I want a certain cloth, but then I fight in my brain that the cloth I want, is just too traditional.  I need to work and letting it be free-flowing.  More Saori.  More from the heart, like my wall hangings. So there is a battle going on, and the cloth isn't always what I think it should be, while it's still on the loom.  However, the last cloth I made that I struggled with, I ended up liking very much, when it came off the loom.  So, I'm pushing forward.

It's also time for me to start spinning. I  just get an urge.  A need.  Something that needs fulfilling. Too difficult to describe.

I'm also enjoying the warmer weather, although, it warmed up way too fast and immediately felt like summer - hot, humid and oppressive!  The next 2 days are supposed to be beautiful though, so I'm going to enjoy them.

The studio/office is going to be rearranged again. I have to be able to take my photographs and the setup I have now, is blocking the only wall that I'm able to take decent photographs on.  Everything is going to have to shift.  I'm not happy about it, and neither is the other half.  He bolted the grids into the wall even though I was trying to avoid that.  I really WANT a bigger room, but since one doesn't exist in this house, it isn't going to happen any time soon. I just make this work the best I can.  Which means it's constantly changing.

That's about it from me.  Take care, and thanks for stopping by.