Friday, November 12, 2010
I guess we should have known that The Great Chet (aka Birthday Boy) would be involved in some artistic endeavor; from the age of three he was curiously investigating things and drawing them. And I remember the first photograph he took - I think he was about 7 years old - we were walking around looking at some shops when he asked to use the camera for a picture he needed to take. His dad hung the heavy camera around Chet’s neck and we watched as he took a shot of an old, beat up tennis shoe lying in the gutter – even then he had an eye for the unique.
Chet also spent hours creating unusual things from wood, wire, batteries, pieces of concrete, food items, etc, etc – nothing was off limits when it came to his vision. He made heads from latex, monster makeup, fake blood, even a movie starring his friend, Chris, (who, being naturally artistic himself allowed Chet to stuff watery cream of rice cereal into his mouth) as Chet filmed the sequence between bouts of hysterical laughter. Chet was never lacking in the sense of humor department. I remember the time he walked in, started a conversation with us and once he had our full attention he turned sideways, revealing that half of his head was shaved – causing his dad to yelp in shock which was the hilarious reaction Chet was looking for. Which reminds me of the other painter in the family, Chet’s dad, Jim. Chet and his brother, Jack, always delighted in Jim’s painting skills as well as his personal quirks. If the boys knew Jim was going to pick up food from the Drive-Thru they’d gather up the neighborhood kids and sit on the porch awaiting his return. When Jim would show up without the food (which he did nearly ever time) they’d casually ask, “Where’s the food?” then laugh themselves silly as Jim ran back to the car and took off with a roar.
Speaking of Jim, I’m putting my blog on hold so that I can work with Jim on his blog (www.zarsart.blogspot.com) it seems that I can only handle one important job at a time (could it be that years of exposure to all this creative zaniness has caused a disconnect in my smart cells?)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHET - we love you!
Monday, August 30, 2010
Sometime during the night the tiny bag I’d found (dropped by Miss Ebha when she ran from me) was retrieved and evidently returned to her. In its place in the garden was a little pile of interesting odds and ends: some hand spun wool of a bumpy nature, ribbons, and beads. Beneath the handmade paper was a note left by Liam McSpinagain.
“Dear Artisan,” it said, “Miss Ebha will be glad to have her dear bag back. ‘But I’ll not thank her,’ she said, ‘for returnin’ to me what was mine to begin with!!’ She’s a tough cookie, our Miss Ebha is.”
“But she did ask me to leave you these few things – yarn, beads and such. ‘If she wants an evening bag so blasted bad,’ Miss Ebha told me, ‘let her be makin’ her own!’
“So I’m leavin’ you the makings of a nice, wee bag for yer very own. And as I told ye we’ll never again speak of the terrible thievin’” - Liam McSpinagain.
Since it seems unlikely I’d ever be able to convince them that I’m not a thief I think the best thing to do is forget the entire matter and focus on trying my best to duplicate Miss Ebha’s evening bag.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
I’m so embarrassed! This morning I found a note in my garden and this is what it said: Dear Artisan – It is with great trepidation that I broach this subject, but seeing as me position dictates, I fear I must. You have been accused of thievery – I know it can’t be, but our Miss Ebha has filed a complaint against ya…she says you have stolen her precious evenin’ bag, the one with the beads and the rest of the miscellaneous trifles. Oh, and a found feather, found plain and simple on the forest floor (we wouldn’t be caught dead killin’ another; we’re not that kind!). Now Artisan, I know Miss Ebha tells the tale many a time (in fact Ebha in the ancient tongue means provider of life, but to her back we call her provider of lies, she’s that big a fibber) and I know she had no business on yer estate but she’s our official strawberry wine taster and a good wine taster she is, too. And it seems that she got carried away with the wine tipplin’, turned herself ‘round and instead of taken’ to her bed in the wee hours she landed in yer garden. So if you’ll just be returnin’ the darlin’ wee bag, Miss Ebha can get back to supervision’ the strawberry stompin’ and we’ll not speak of this matter again..and that’s a promise. Liam McSpinagain.
Surely, he doesn’t think that I stole it! Surely he doesn’t. Needless to say I immediately put the little bag back in the garden.
Friday, August 27, 2010
The neighbor’s dog got loose this morning, before the sun was even up. I had just gotten out of bed and was on my way to the kitchen for my coffee when I heard loud barking coming from my backyard (I always leave the side gate open so the raccoons and friends can get to the water we leave out for them…and so the wildlife coming the opposite direction can get through to the front where they hang out together and watch the coming and goings of the night owls – the human ones, that is).
I grabbed my robe and hurried out the kitchen door, concern that the dog had cornered one of the feral cats - but to my surprise what the neighbor’s dog was barking at wasn’t a cat or a critter at all…it was teeny, tiny woman! And she wasn’t cornered, but instead she was staggering around the yard in dizzying circles mumbling to herself.
“Now Ebha, sweet lass that ya are, you got here by some entrance, sure that ya did and you can leave by same…if only you can find the blamed place!” she cried.
The neighbor’s dog had stopped barking and had parked himself on the lawn and with head cocked to one side was listening as if the little woman was speaking to him.
I stayed motionless, certain that once the little woman moved a smidge to the left she’d see the opening in the fence and from there the trip back to the forest was all downhill – literally. But after watching her bump into an especially large kale and fall over backwards, I knew something had to be done before the little thing suffered a grievous injury, so I coughed softly and pointed toward the opening in the fence. Poor thing! When she turned and saw me, she scrambled to her feet, dashed in, out and around the carrot tops and streaked out of the yard.
I watched her as she tumbled down the embankment spewing words in a language I couldn’t understand (which was probably just as well) and finally disappear among the trees.
When I started back to the house I saw that she had dropped her purse, a rustic, hand spun, woolen bag. Afraid that the neighbor’s dog would drag it off I brought it inside. And here it sits.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I’m worried about the beings living in the forest. I feel sure they’re getting ready for their Strawberry Wine Festival but I’m afraid their boisterous preparations are going to bring the authorities down on them. As along as my neighbors don’t complain about the noise there shouldn’t be a problem but if things get much louder somebody will complain, for sure. And of course a call to the sheriff might not be a call of complaint, but rather a call of concern; the noises echoing out of the forest and up the embankment are bizarre indeed. Last night we were awakened by the sound of drumming as well as a tinkling noise as if made by tiny bells or miniature cymbals, the rhythm quickly followed by clapping and raucous giggling. I know they’re just having fun but I am concerned about their welfare – although maybe I shouldn’t worry, I can’t imagine a full sized person actually catching one of them. And if they did, where would they lock them up? In a shoe box?
Monday, August 23, 2010
Fang (as a teenager) moved in with us about two years ago. He’s an unusual looking cat; white with a tan spot on his head and a tan and white striped tail. And then there are his teeth: teensy, tiny, baby teeth that prevent him from eating dry cat food and two long, protruding fangs that would make a vampire jealous.
On one hand he’s sweet and affectionate – resting his head against your cheek when you hold him. On the other, he’s a vicious tyrant, attacking anything and anybody - including me: trying to suddenly bite me when only seconds before he loved being petted. Taking savage swipes at me when I walk past. And the feral cats? He’s gone after their jugular on more than one occasion.
Maybe it’s those huge fangs that have given him the idea that he can get away with being such a bully. Then again, maybe it’s his baby teeth that prevent him from chewing properly that have made him so angry. Whatever it is, he’s a pill!
One day I looked down the embankment and caught him entering the forest. I tried to call him back, but of course he ignored me. Within seconds he came tearing out of the trees, ears flat, tail fluffed to the size of a feather duster. Close behind him I saw a flash of purple. It seems that one of Liam McSpinagain’s rainbow sheep have finally put Fang in his place – but who knows how long that will last (as the two cats in above picture can verify, you must remain ever vigilant when Fang is around).
Friday, August 20, 2010
It seems we’re having a run of luck…a lucky streak, in other words…not good luck mind you, but luck just the same.
First there was the egg recall and then during our terrible heat wave we’ve lost our electricity two days in a row: no fans, cooler, refrigerator, cooked food…no anything…including no lights to do anything. Pretty boring. And the only info from the electric company was that they didn’t know what was wrong and they didn’t know when it would be repaired, they only knew that there was a problem.
At least when we lived in Taos and the electricity went out it was because of an electrical storm. And even when it was pitch black we could entertain ourselves by watching the lightening flashes through the canyon miles away. It was like watching a war where people were seldom injured and homes were seldom harmed – now that’s a war I could live with.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
My phone rang at 5:10 last night. It was a female robot. She was letting me know about an egg recall. I was told that if I felt sick I was to go to the hospital immediately…oh swell. Actually I didn’t feel ill, I felt just fine…until I heard the message! She reminded me that I’d bought the eggs at Ralphs and then she told me how to find the product number on the carton.
“If the product number is 1026, 1413, or 1946 DO NOT EAT THE EGGS!” she warned, “take them back to the store!”
I got the egg cartons out (one from the recycling bin – it was empty, and one from the frig – it had two eggs in it) and sure enough both cartons had the product number 1413. I tried calling the number the robot had given me, so I could find out what symptoms to watch for, but her office had closed at 5 p.m.
Ironically, I had used several of the eggs to make two dozen health muffins full of oat bran, flax seed, honey…the works. I had also made a double batch of pancakes with some of the eggs – healthy pancakes of course made with buttermilk, whole wheat flour, etc. And hubby had boiled quite a few of the eggs and eaten only the whites (no cholesterol for him!). In other words, while maintaining a healthy diet we had consumed twenty-two poison eggs.
I don’t know which is more disconcerting, the fact that I might have been poisoned, or the fact that Ralphs knows every detail about every item I buy and is keeping track of my whereabouts! I believe this comes under the heading of “double edged sword”.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Last night was not a night for sleeping, what with the loud giggling and yipping going on. The voices sounded unfamiliar (rather than yipping our neighbors do a lot of late night guffawing). Of course hubby and I got up to see what was going on and what was going on were midget fireworks: bright yellow, red and blue exploding lights that barely left the ground! This display was taking place down the embankment just this side of the forest. Although we couldn’t make out the individual attendees we were able to discern their actions. As one, the group would move forward, a small but colorful explosion would take place, then a popping sound and after loud squealing from the group they would run for cover in among the trees. It was an unusual sight. I’m not certain if they were enjoying the fireworks, or enjoying scaring themselves.
This morning I found a note of apology: Dear Artisan; I told the wee ones to keep it quiet. “For the love of God, keep yer voices down!” I begged. But all they did was yell in a lower octave …sometimes it seems the devil gets to ‘em and it’s nothin’ can be done about it. But please accept me apology and rest in peace tonight knowin’ there’ll not be another celebration for at least two weeks. That’s when we celebrate the strawberry wine festival – which could be a little more rowdy than last night’s gatherin’…but I’m hopin’ not…for yer sake.
To purchase the yarn “FIREWORKS” go to www.recklessspinner.etsy.com
Monday, August 16, 2010
Well, it isn’t a photograph – it’s better! I could hardly believe my eyes when I went out to water my tomato plants this morning and found this painting. It was propped against the fence and set up on two bricks to keep the dirt off.
Although I’d pretty much decided the figure in the painting was Liam McSpinagain I eagerly unfolded the handmade paper and read: To the Artisan – I don’t have a camera. In fact I’m not sure what a camera is. And since I don’t have any pictures of meself I was at a terrible loss. But then Dala (which means brilliant light in the ancient tongue) me.. I mean…my…favorite lemon yellow goat …told me that Leonardo di Perspectolio had made a painting of me standing next to her…I should have known! For many times I sensed a friendly presence nearby but when I peered around there was nothin’ there a’tall, a’tall – yet one time I did come upon a sharpened stick as is used for writing, and a snippet of finely made paper, both tossed aside into a pile of leaves as if in a great hurry. I retrieved the implements as they are precious to our people and even though I figgered they belonged to di Perspectolio I put them in a drawer at my home. You see artists (as is tradition) are amongst the shyest of all and I didn’t want to intrude on his quiet life. But when Dala went on me behalf and returned his writing things, she asked in me stead for the painting and he freely gave it…although he did warn her that Mick would probably fight her for it once he found that he was also portrayed in the painting. “Even though he’s-a only a mouse-a,” di Perspectolioe told her, “he’s-a Irish and you know-a how they love a good-a fight-a.” Meself I’d take offense but since di Perspectolio lives the quiet life I figger he just doesn’t know much about other folks…or mice. Enjoy the painting Artisan (even though it doesn’t look a’tall like me – I’m much handsomer…and taller…and more virile). Signed Liam McSpinagain.
And now I’m anxiously awaiting Liam McSpinagain’s next delivery!
To see some of the lamb tails left by Liam, go to www.recklessspinner.etsy.com
Friday, August 13, 2010
As I sit out in my backyard, wondering if I’ll get a photo of McSpinagain’s sheep, the weather we’re experiencing reminds me of the changing seasons – specifically of fall. It was fall when we moved back here.
We had scheduled a Taos moving company to pick up our stuff - even though we didn't have an actual place for the delivery of our belongings and had to give our destination simply as the city where we planned to live. The movers were supposed to be out at 9 a.m. They finally arrived after dark (but I'll give them this, it was the same day). And even though they had come in advance and seen how much stuff we had they came in a truck the size of a small U-haul. When questioned about this puzzling choice they explained that their big truck was broken.
They loaded up the little truck, and then decided it was getting so late maybe they'd just come back in the morning and move the remaining six rooms of our belongings at that time. I told them they had to move it that night, that the final walk-through was scheduled for 9 a.m. the next day and we still had a 3,000 sq. ft. house to clean. After agreeing half-heartedly they went out to their truck and drove away.
Since we had made motel reservations for that afternoon and since it was already nearing 9 p.m., I called the motel and told them we wouldn't arrive for several more hours but that we were definitely coming. The woman didn’t sound like she especially cared when she replied, "Okay," before hanging up.
Two and a half hours later, as we sat on the floor listening to our stomachs growl (we’d gotten rid of all our food, that morning), we heard a loud engine, looked out the window and saw a big truck all lit up like a Christmas tree. We watched as it pulled up to the house and were happy to see that the movers had come back after all. They'd decided that since it was so late (and whose fault was that?!) that 120 more trips to town in a tiny truck was somewhat inefficient so they got the big truck started and drove out. The only problem was that if they shut off the engine the truck wouldn't start again. So through the noise and exhaust fumes they got all of our things loaded.
Needless to say we were too tired to do any cleaning, during what was left of the night, so we started out for the motel in town after agreeing to get up really early and do the cleaning in the morning. Since we'd gotten rid of our car my oldest son loaned us the old car he’d purchased the day before, to be used as his work car. It was a tiny, beat up, red car with cracked windows. In black, bold letters across the front windshield it said, RASTAFARI. It’s my understanding that Rastafarians are people of a certain religious belief (a belief that was started in Ethiopia or Jamaica), who listen to Bob Marley, and wear their hair in dreadlocks (which is supposed to look like clumps of marijuana - a plant that the Rastafarians like very much). But don't take my word on this, this could be one of the very few times I am wrong about something.
Although the engine of the Rastafari car did a lot of smoking (no pun intended) it did run and in fact got us to our motel which was closed and locked up tighter than Alcatraz (we found out later that the place had a night bell and had we been crawling through the shrubbery we might have spotted it). By this time it was well past midnight and so we spent our last night in the Land of Enchantment driving up and down the main street in the Rastafari car looking for a motel that was still open. I have no idea what time it was when we finally got to bed I just remember that it was very close to the time to get up and start cleaning the house for the walk-through. Good times, eh?
To see some of my spinning (as well as Liam McSpinagain's) go to www.recklessspinner.etsy.com
Thursday, August 12, 2010
I guess I’m getting greedy; after retrieving the baby skein of Laralaine’s fleece I became obsessed with seeing one of the colored sheep or goats belonging to McSpinagain.
After much thought I decided to write a note myself, asking Liam if he had a camera and if he did would he leave a photo of one of his animals. I’m not very hopeful about my request – after all someone so shy (and from all accounts very, very small in stature) wouldn’t be about to show up in the mall to purchase a camera. But I’m keeping my fingers crossed that perhaps he, at some time, found a camera…dropped by a curious tourist…someone brave enough (and naive enough) to enter the dark, over grown forest… and then startled by wild creatures living three dropped the camera as he/she ran for safety. It’s possible!
But while the waiting game continues I have more spinning to do.
To view soft, curly mohair yarn (as well as other items) go to: www.recklessspinner.etsy.com
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Although I still haven’t clearly seen any of the visitors to my garden, I did spot a flash of color as something (or someone) dashed past my fennel plants. This surprise appearance and the baby skein of tweedy looking yarn left lying nearby, served to reinforce my belief that there is something (maybe an entire civilization) living beyond the embankment.
It wasn’t until much later in the day that I caught sight of a piece of paper fluttering in among the string beans. Trained up garden wire that is stretched between metal stakes, the plants are nearly spent now and the handmade paper was easily seen from my patio swing. After carefully detaching the fragile sheet I took it back to my swing and read the spider scrawl: Happily provided by Laralaine, daughter of Lara. A young snip of a lamb, Laralaine’s colors are not as yet set in their ways, hence the wee sections of both black and white along with the tan and turquoise. I gathered up as much of what I call “lamb tails” as I could but seeing as how she’s yet a wisp of a girl she didn’t shed much a’tall, a’tall. But it is soft and pretty by my standards. Signed, Liam McSpinagain.
Laralaine’s wee bit of yarn can be purchased at: www.recklessspinner.etsy.com
Monday, August 9, 2010
Since Liam McSpinagain’s last communication, I’ve begun to keep a very close watch out my kitchen window – but so far there’s been no sign of him or his rainbow goats and sheep. It wasn’t so long ago that the idea of yellow, green and purple animals (while fantastically exciting), would have seemed ridiculously incredible…but after the skeins of yarn left in my garden as well as the whispered stories of life forms in the trees beyond the embankment, my mind is aflame with curiosity. Although, after hours of useless staring out the window I decided to set up my spinning in the patio, hoping that the singing of the wheel would draw McSpinagain to my yard. It did draw a neighbor with some plump, heirloom tomatoes from her garden. It attracted two young, brown and green iridescent humming birds who stopped in mid-air and watched my brightly colored mohair twist into yarn. And it coaxed a feral tortoise shell cat who wouldn’t let me touch her, but sat a mere foot away as if taking lessons. As for Liam McSpinagain? There wasn’t a sign of him.
Friday, August 6, 2010
After hours of useless staring out my kitchen window (in hopes of catching a glimpse of McSpinagain – or one of his cohorts), I decided that today I’d leave the house and take a walk – as they say, a watched pot never boils.
Although it was damp and foggy, Hubby and I made our way across town to walk along the ocean. The tide was out. Dark rocks covered with growth the color of moss, loomed up through the mist. The sight always has a calming effect on the soul. And as we peacefully made our way along the sidewalk an old car stopped next to a trash can in front of us and a wreck of a woman (probably in her forties) got out and began to dig through the trash in search of cans. It was a pathetic sight for sure. Hubby and I both wished we had brought some cash with us.
Further on down the street we saw a man also digging through the trash in search of cans, while his three young children entertained themselves by crawling around on a picnic table. Along the curb sat their old van with the side door open. As we approached we saw that the back of the van was full of clothes and old blankets, and another person was far in the back. Sleeping in the front seat was a young woman and in arms she held a new born baby. This family was obviously living in their car…it was heartbreaking. If only we’d had a hundred dollar bill to silently drop into her lap…but we didn’t.
With our spirits now at rock bottom we started back, but as if our powerful need to regain some peace of mind and a positive attitude was obvious, we were soon entertained by some of the antics of other walkers: an older man jogging while bouncing a huge ball – it might have been do-able if he’d been a basketball player…or at least coordinated – he was neither. But the crowning glory were the three stout women who were very, very slowly making their way toward us by doing lunges (in unison). I figure that even if they only live half a block away it’s going to take them two days to get home.
I’m back at my kitchen window now and after this morning’s experience I’m trying to remind myself that all the world’s a stage and we’re all just actors on it. And as I continue my watch for Liam McSpinagain…or at lest one of his rainbow flock, I focus on sending feelings of peace and hope to those struggling and in poverty – it seems the best I can do at the moment.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
From yours most truly, Liam McSpinagain
This yarn comes to you compliments of Maeve. Maeve is one of my old girls…but I wouldn’t say that to her face. And it’s a darling girl she is, too… but I wouldn’t say that to her face, either. She’s a bit touchy now she’s in her advanced years, but I’m thinkin’ she has earned the right to be as grouchy as she wants, and I say that even when I’m the one getting grouched. Shuffled from one end of God’s green earth to the other since she was only a kid she was most likely middle aged when we met up…and it was admiration at first sight…well it was on my part anyway: the darlin’ bouncin’ curls, eyes a lovely shade of green that reminds me so of the Emerald Isles (the land of me…I mean…my… ancestors). She’s heaven come in a small bundle. The old girl has only one bad habit, does Maeve, it’s her voracious appetite. She could eat a ream of paper in two ticks of a tock! I must forever keep a close watch on the darlin’ or my Sunday newspaper (which, due to my habitat makes it very hard to come by) disappears faster than a flea can dance the rumba. But on the odd Sunday she does manage to partake of the Arts & Leisure section before I can get me a cup o’ the creature and climb into me…my hammock. But I forever forgive her, darlin’ that she is. Because I know she can’t help herself…’tis a mild addiction that has its paws on the old girl. But on the other side of her sweet personality is her helpfulness. She learned from Ebna (the blitherin’ old gossip!) that I was sharin’ the lamb tails with another artisan and Maeve immediately trimmed her locks and left them just outside the barn door for me so I could spin them up for you.
Yes, Maeve is a real dear…well actually she’s a goat, but then you knew that all along, didn’t you now?
MAEVE is available for purchase at: www.recklessspinner.etsy.com
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Out past the garden where the green cabbages grow, beyond the embankment where the tall grasses blow, is a wooded area, a sanctuary to many animals that live just so.
Some say that aside from seeing the masked faces of the raccoons, the possum snoozing upside down, the silky feral cats and a red fox or two, they’ve also seen the muted shades of green (worn by the wee people) flitting from a mountain of black berry brambles to duck behind a maple tree with star shaped leaves.
I never believed such stories, although I thought it would be wonderful if it were true, until one morning when I looked out my kitchen window and saw something hanging from a wooden stake that was propping up a lush green tomato plant. As I swung open the little, white gate to my garden, I could see soft gold tones, pale pinks and lovely blues that matched the cloudless sky. I never would have guessed how this beautiful hand spun came to be in my garden if it hadn’t been for the handwritten note attached to it. In a spidery scrawl that looked like it had been written using a sharpened stick, the note read: From one artisan to another; I have a small flock of rainbow colored sheep and goats that leave wee bits of fleece shaped like little lamb tails, stuck to the brambles. Please accept this small gift of hand spun “lamb tails” and share it with other like-minded folk.” The note was signed: Liam McSpinagain. I’m still in shock and can only hope this little person will be back!
Friday, June 18, 2010
It’s said that things happen in threes…but maybe the saying is only meant to be used regarding celebrities dying, yet the formula works beautifully in this instance: three days – three computers run amuck.
DAY 1: Government computer programmed for surveillance begins to make up and follow its own rules.
Sound familiar? Probably…it’s a movie. But just the same I watched said video on Day 1.
DAY 2: Hospital computer goes berserk!
I was sent back to the hospital for more physical therapy and was warmly greeted by my therapist whose wrist was in a temporary cast. She told the story of her department taking their annual CPR refresher course. I don’t know if the entire course is given by a computer or if a real instructor gets involved at some point, but I do know the chest-pressing-hold-the-nose-breathe-into-the-mouth thing is tested by the computer. And this is when the problem began. My therapist admits there is a lot of peer pressure involved when taking this test, what with all the personnel watching the monitor to see how well you’re doing. And from the very beginning the computer kept telling her she wasn’t pushing down hard enough, even though she was giving it her all. By the time she finally got to the point where the computer was satisfied with her performance she was experiencing pain in her wrist. That’s when the computer started to complain that she wasn’t pushing down fast enough. So she started going faster…and harder…and faster…and harder… and fasterandharder and fasterandharder until finally someone in the crowd mumbled, “There must be something wrong with the computer, ” but by this time my therapist was in such pain she had to leave and go to a doctor! Hence the temporary cast on her arm.
DAY 3: COMPUTER MALICIOUSLY DESTROYS OWNER’S MIND.
As soon as the sun came up, I grabbed my camera, the yarn I’d spun, the sweaters I’d knitted, as well as some props, and busily clicked away until I had twenty decent photos of the items I wanted to list on my Etsy shop. I downloaded the pictures into my computer and performed the steps to safely remove the hardware (AKA: camera). I unplugged the camera and set it on a table in the other room and prepared to crop, rotate, resize, sharpen, etc, etc, etc. when I noticed that one of the pictures of a baby's jacket I'd taken was too blurry to fix (probably because I sneezed as I snapped the photo). I decided to get rid of that one right away so I put the cursor on the picture and clicked delete. Like magic the picture disappeared…along with all nineteen of its companions. I was horrified! I stared in stunned silence for several minutes, until numerous calming breaths later, I realized I could download the photos again and try the whole thing over. I retrieved the camera and plugged it back into the computer but when I tried to redo the download, I found that somehow my computer had also erased the photos from my camera. How is that possible?! My camera was clear in the other room!!! I’m really creeped out!
To visit my shop go to: www.recklessspinner.etsy.com
Thursday, June 17, 2010
I believe the key to creativity lies in being certain that whatever you’re creating comes from your personal inner desire. Whether you’re writing, spinning, knitting, painting, sculpting, etc. if it comes from your inspiration and is done because it’s what you want to do (underline “want”), it’ll be a success in the purest sense of the word. If it’s done in the hopes it’ll please someone else so that they’ll admire it (or you), or purchase it, it’s pretty much doomed; it may come out “okay” but rarely will it be the kind of fantastic that you had in mind. In fact there’s a good chance it’ll never even get finished.
And if the idea is innovative and you try to create it with some faceless person lurking in the shadows, holding a fist full of money, you’re in for a nightmarish experience: is the idea any good? Will anybody like it? Is it too weird? Am I too weird?!..and on and on.
I did a battle of sorts after spinning a batt I received from COOLLIGHT on Etsy. The yarn decided it wanted to be a baby sweater. Every time I looked at it all I could see was a baby sweater. I had a limited amount of the colorful hand spun but was certain I had enough for some little sleeves. And what about the body? There were lots of colors in the batt to choose from and I knew I didn’t want to use any commercial yarn. That’s when I realized how much fun it would be to make it my own design by dyeing and spinning some of my super soft mohair to complete it.
During the process I had to keep reminding myself that I wouldn’t think about what I’d do with the end product (all the babies in our family are big people now) but instead would just enjoy my project each step of the way – which I did.
In the end I listed the sweater in my Etsy shop - even though it’s a complete departure from what I’ve been selling.
To visit my shop go to: www.recklessspinner.etsy.com
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
We try to walk at some point each morning (we being Hubby and I). And our favorite place is a big park about three blocks from us. Although they (they being the park personnel) keep blocking off sections of it with removable chain link fence (for some reason that nobody can figure out – not even the park workers) there is still plenty of paths to take. Paths bordered by low stone walls that are crumbling with age in some places and covered with moss in others.
Before long it’ll probably be too hot to walk through the park, even at six a.m., but right now the weather is perfect and the place is gorgeous with the early morning sun working in concert with the many trees to create ever changing cathedrals of dark and light. Although there aren’t any flowers the place is full of hedges and trees that are spread out over huge areas of lush, green grass.
While I can’t really duplicate nature’s colors when I dye, I love to use her combinations of colors when I spin – shades of blue and a little white like the ocean. Pink and green like a eucalyptus tree in bloom. And of course the many colors of leaves.
To visit my shop go to: www.recklessspinner.etsy.com
Saturday, May 8, 2010
The neighbors across the way have a darling two year old daughter named Jordan. When she was about eighteen months old, her mom was taking her for a walk in her stroller, saw me out sweeping the walkway, and stopped to chat for a minute. One of my cats, Sugar, heard us and came out to the porch to investigate (Sugar is a little snoop who has to be in on everything anyone is doing). As Sugar stood on the porch staring at us, Jordan, from her stroller, pointed at Sugar and said, “Sit”.
Jordan is a sweet little thing who is interested in everything around her. So the other day it occurred to me to take some of my fluffy, undyed mohair and let her hang it from the bushes for the birds to take for their nests. Jordan listened quietly while I explained to her that the birds would carry the fleece home and use it to make their nests warm and comfy. Then we placed it strategically in the hedge so that Jordan could watch for the birds from her living room window. When she was finished carefully placing her pieces on the leaves, I said my “good-byes” but before I could leave, Jordan ran across the grass and found me a lovely, little stick to keep. How sweet is that?!
My Etsy shop is: www.recklessspinner.etsy.com
Friday, May 7, 2010
The other day I realized something that I find very weird. My address and the addresses of my children (in other words all 4 of us) have the numbers 40-something in them. My youngest son’s address has 41 in it, my daughter has 42 in her’s, mine has 43 in it, and my oldest son’s has 44 in his. I don’t know which is weirder, that we all have 40-somethings in our addresses or that the realization popped into my head out of the clear blue!
Still caught in the wonder of that phenomenon, it just dawned on me that the 4 of us also have the 40-somethings in our home phone numbers! My youngest son has the number 40 in his, my middle two children have 44 in theirs and I have 47 in mine. AND! We all have 40-somethings in our cell phone numbers, too! (two 44’s, a 41 and a 48!) What’s going on here?! This is kinda freakin’ me out!
I tried to find out what 40 represents but didn’t have much luck with that. My favorite number is three so there’s no relevance there. I tried playing the lottery with the 40’s numbers but didn’t win.
What’s it all about? I’d love to know; I’m sure it means something because it’s just too weird!
My Etsy shop is: www.recklessspinner.etsy.com
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
It all started several years ago during a time of very warm weather, so warm in fact, that by the time the sun was up it was comfortable enough to do my spinning in the backyard. I was using mostly mohair and when a sudden breeze came up, a bit of the fluffy stuff blew onto the lawn. Before I could retrieve it a sparrow swooped down and carted it off - reminds me of the time a mocking bird chased me all the way home trying to get some of my hair for her nest...but that's a whole different story.
It was mid-morning when I finished spinning (I can get a lot done if I start at five a.m.). I’d used an old sheet to spread the dyed fleece out next to me. There were quite a few small mohair curls and tufts of fleece left but concerned about the dye on it and the health of the birds, I took some natural mohair fleece and tossed it onto the lawn to see if the sparrow would come back for more. To my surprise, within minutes the sparrow along with his mate (who stood look-out from the fence) as well as several finches all took part in the giveaway.
The other day my neighbor called to tell me that a wild wind we’d experienced the previous night had blown a little, empty nest from her tree. She said she had put the nest back on a low branch hoping that its parts would be of use to some bird.
“I couldn’t put it in the trash,” she explained, “it was so pretty, full of the pink and blue fluffy stuff that you spin.”
My Etsy shop is: www.recklessspinner.etsy.com
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Hubby and I volunteered to help someone get an endoscopy yesterday. Endoscopies seem to be “in” right now; the office was jam packed and this is the third person I know of who has recently had one. Because there were so many people the procedures were running an hour late…let’s see…12:30 in the afternoon and no food or water since midnight the previous night, an extra hour to sit and wonder how the procedure would go and what they might find – it was torture for the patient!
I, of course, had brought my knitting with me. I’m using balls of cotton and leftover balls of my handspun wool to knit up patterned squares that will eventually end up an afghan. Needless to say in the four hours sitting in the waiting room, I got a lot done.
When we were finally allowed to retrieve the patient she kept asking, “Now what did they do to me?” The nurse whispered to me that she would probably ask the question several times – no kidding! That question had been asked and answered (by me) seven times in the past five minutes.
Although her speech was fine and she looked normal she was a little wobbly. Hubby took one side of her and I took the other while juggling my knitting bag, her purse, jacket and keys. We walked her to the car, as I explained for the twenty-fifth time what they’d done to her.
We got her into the back seat and buckled up. As we took off she asked, “Now what did they do to me?”
I was halfway through my repeated response when she asked for her purse. As I passed it back to her my ball of yarn fell from my bag, rolled into the back and onto the floor.
“It’s okay, I’ll get it when we get home,” I said.
But she had already picked it up and somehow got it wound around the handles of her purse.
I leaned between the seats to try and help unwind the mess but I guess I was unwinding one way and she was unwinding the other because before I knew it the yarn was tightly wrapped around one handle in some places, and both handles in others.
Out of the corner of my eye I could see Hubby shaking in silent laughter as most the twenty minute trip home was spent with me twisted backwards between seats trying to wind up the yarn as fast as our patient unwound it.
By the time we pulled into our driveway I had my yarn back (with only a few rows missing) and our patient had her purse back.
As I unbuckled her to get her into the house she looked me in the eye and asked, “Now what did they do to me?”
My Etsy shop is located at: www.recklessspinner.etsy.com
Sunday, May 2, 2010
DYEING MOHAIR – PART II
My brother-in-law, John, has agreed to help me light the camp stove so I can steam my dyed fleece; I’d ask hubby’s help but he hates anything more complicated than turning on a light switch…and admits that even that baffles him on especially dark nights.
I knew I couldn’t light the camp stove using a book of matches, and I knew I wanted something longer than a wooden kitchen match. I also knew that a fireplace match wouldn’t keep me far enough from harm’s way. Nor would it light the propane fast enough for me to hightail it to the house once the thing was lit. I needed something bigger and better than a match. I needed…the Olympic torch…but I knew that was out of the question so I headed back to the hardware store.
Either it was my lucky day, or the manager had just come back from his break because, although some of the sales people were hiding down less popular aisles so they could talk to each other on their walkie-talkies, there were several of them offering help to every customer they could find. My helper caught me before the automatic door slid shut behind me.
“I have to light a propane stove so I need something better than a match to do it,” I said to him.
“We don’t got nothin’ like that,” he replied.
“I think I’ll look in the patio section and see what you do have,” I told him.
Evidently curious to see what I’d find there, he went with me. Before even entering the patio section I saw, hanging on an end rack, a barbecue lighter shaped like a gun with a very long nose.
“Maybe this will work,” I mumbled to myself.
“Nuh uh,” he said, shaking his head. “You’re gonna light a propane tank you need somethin’ bigger than that,” he stated.
“I’m not going to light the tank,” I tried to explain, but he cut me off, and whipping out a walkie-talkie he pressed the talk button.
“Caroline! Caroline! You there?!” he shouted into the unit.
“Yeah,” Caroline shouted back through the static.
“Caroline,” you got anything long, real, real long, you can use to light things with, over there?”
I wanted to tell him that I didn’t plan to light the camp stove from the neighbor’s yard, but I doubt he would have listened anyway.
“No,” she yelled back. “Nothing like that over here.”
I started to reach over and take one of the barbecue lighters from a peg, but my helper put his hand out and stopped me.
“Caroline,” he said, once again into the walkie-talkie, “haven’t you got something?...like a long stick or somethin’?”
“A stick won’t work,” I told him, inundated with visions of me lighting the stove, then running for the house with a flaming stick in my hand.
Again he stopped me before I could get my hands on one of the barbecue lighters.
“No. Nothing like that over here,” Caroline repeated.
“Then how about a long pole? Something she can tape a match to? This lady needs somethin’ to light her propane tank with!”
“I’m not lighting the tank!” I snarled, nearly as frustrated as him. “I want to light…” But before I could add, “…a camp stove” a man walked up and asked my helper where the nuts and bolts were. Now I could have told the man, having spent most of the previous day in that aisle buying unnecessary items, but instead I took the opportunity while my helper was distracted, to grab a barbecue lighter from the rack.
“Thanks for your help,” I called over my shoulder as I ran for the check-out stand.
My etsy shop is at: www.recklessspinner.etsy.com
Friday, April 30, 2010
I was watching a cooking program on TV when lo and behold I saw just what I needed to assist me with dyeing my mohair fleece.
Having been raised by a mother who, as a kid was struck by lightning, I am deeply entrenched in the “fear of God’ when it comes to electricity, gas, fire and anything that could possibly be poisonous. So it was only natural that breathing the fumes from the freshly dyed steaming fleece vapors concerned me no end. But with the little camping stove I’d seen on TV I would be able to steam the fleece in the yard while I stayed safely behind locked doors. The solution was perfect! I ordered the stove the same day.
A few days later it arrived already assembled (thank heavens!) along with a propane hose, a little vent shield thing, a spring and a fifteen page manual filled mainly with the Do’s and Don’ts and what would happen to you if you did the Don’ts and didn’t do the Do’s. Overly cautious to begin with I vowed I’d be extra careful when I got to the propane part of the agenda (how could I have ignored that part when I bought the thing?!). But after giving myself a severe talking to and then chanting affirmations about my courage and abilities I was once more psyched up about using the camping stove. So when I saw that the little vent shield thing used to regulate the air flow to the burner was missing the screw to attach it!...well…I was nearly beside myself. Should I return the whole thing: stove, propane hose, little vent shield thing and spring, along with a nasty letter? I was tempted. But then visions of noxious fumes wafting through my home set my heart pounding and I decided to simply go to the hardware store and buy a screw to fit.
Since I didn’t trust my measurement of the hole (third line over, on the tape measure) I decided I’d better take the stove with me. I invited hubby to go along and carry it.
When we got to the store and saw the array of nuts, bolts and screws and how messed up they were in the bins our hearts sank (well my heart sank, anyway). And after ten minutes of trying to find something that would screw in all the way and not just three turns, we tracked down a salesperson who found us a metric bolt. It still didn’t screw in all the way, but we were determined (well, I was determined) that we could FORCE it in once we got it home.
Unfortunately I hadn’t thought to bring the spring that was part of the set-up (actually I thought the spring had been accidentally put in the box instead of the needed bolt). So when we got home and put the spring in place, then added the little vent shield thing, and screwed on the new metric bolt we were dismayed (I was dismayed, anyway) to see that, try as we might, the metric bolt wouldn’t go in far enough to bolt down the vent – instead, the vent dangled off the bolt like a condemned man hanging from the gallows.
It took me a good twenty minutes of staring at the problem to come up with the brilliant idea of making the whole thing tighter by attaching a nut…or two…or three!
So back to the hardware store we went (as I bragged shamelessly about my superior brain). And this time we brought along the camping stove, the metric bolt, the spring, and the little vent shield thing.
This time we didn’t fool around; we walked in and immediately asked for help.
The man who assisted us found us a metric nut to go with the metric bolt. It still wasn’t a tight fit but we took it anyway – we were tired and hungry (at least I was).
It wasn’t until we were pulling up to the house that I realized that with my newly purchased metric nut and my newly purchased metric bolt I had managed to successfully plug up the hole where the propane hose (already complete from the factory with all necessary screws) needed to be screwed in!
Oh well, I’m sure I’ll find a use for the perfectly good metric nut and bold. I might even find a use for it on the next thing I purchase.
My etsy shop is at: www.recklessspinner.etsy.com
Monday, April 19, 2010
I've been very busy (and who isn't you ask), but I say this as a reason/excuse/point- of-fact as to why I've been away from my blog for so long. It's because I've been spinning, dying and setting up an Etsy shop (note the photo of my avatar - painted by the one and only Hubby: James Zar).
If you'd like to see some of my handiwork, you can go to www.recklessspinner.etsy.com
Hope to see you there!