Sunday, March 17, 2013


It is that time of year when things start revving up, an awakening, not just in the external world but in my mind as well. My thoughts jump from one thing to the next with lightening speed, and each new idea or task MUST be acted on NOW!! The creative thoughts can be like a bombardment of the brain. I love the feeling of coming alive again and beginning to have some energy and desire to take things on. However, I do not enjoy the rapid cycling of mood, the turn from joy to despair can happen in an instant that comes along with it. It is the time for me to be on the look out for the signs that a real mania may be taking root. The tricky thing with mania is that it feels so good and energetic that, like taking a drug that you intellectually know it is dangerous and bad for you, the allure is really strong.
So far the desire to clean and organize has been the strongest and I have been managing to keep it real as far as not starting too many projects. One of those things has been a sudden need to get the old family photos scanned and put into boxes according to generations/eras. I am able to find some reasoning to why I feel the need to do this now. One reason is that Dad has been looking for an old photo of an ancestor for a relative that is doing research into family genealogy. This relative has a photo copy of the picture from my mother that she made long ago. We are not even sure that the photo is here. The other reason is that I finally hooked my scanner up to my laptop. One of the good things about this side of the bipolar spectrum is that I tend to tackle those things that have been on the 'someday' list for years. So not only have I been organizing and scanning these types of photos...

(Little me with my big sisters circa bbb. (before baby brother))

 My grandmother, great grandmother, and great great grandmother and family

 My dad with his elf ears

 My mom (the phrase at the top is part of a family story)

 Yours truly in first grade...I think

And some unknown person in a fading photo that HAD to be scanned before it totally disappeared!
And if I am preserving photos I MUST finally deal with the photos that were 'rescued' from a fire in the early 1980's that burned our ancestral farm.

And since the weather is getting a bit nicer and we have more daylight hours I am spending a lot more time outdoors. Pruning the fruit trees...

 ...building more of my stick fence with those prunings...

and guarding the chickens since we had another attack by the hawk. Of course it killed my favorite chicken of all time, my Silkie, Grumpykins. Here she is as a day old peep, showing why my daughter gave her that name.

She was one of the two moms and the other mother hen and the chicks would not go to bed that night. They were looking for her and even when I scooted them into the coop they checked each nest just in case she was there. That made me cry. I still miss her. 

 But I did not get chickens just to keep them locked in a cage so I do what I can to protect them and just have to take these loses as part of the circle of life. We all have to eat. Thankfully I scared the hawk off before it got a bite of its meal. I hope it will go back to looking for dinner elsewhere so both the chickens and I relax a bit when they are out and about. Thankfully I have such a good rooster in Fred...

he spots that hawk and warns his girls with three distinct noises. One that means 'keep your eyes on the skies girls', one that means 'run for your lives', and another that means 'hide and be quiet'. He often spies the hawk and the only way I can find it in the sky is by looking where he is looking. Sadly, the two mommas and chicks had formed their own rooster-less group, and it is possible that Grumpykins died trying to save her chicks, who would have been easier prey.
The little bit of felting that I did do was to work on another illuminated piece. Since the house was still fairly clean from my Felt-Together weekend I invited another friend to come play felting. Chris and I became friends years ago; see this post for the back story. She worked on making a vest and I worked on laying out this...

which may be a candle holder...

or maybe a lampshade...

or maybe it will just stay like this.

And continuing with getting together with friends I also had a wonderful time going to the bulb show at Smith with one of my old class mates, my forever friend Kristen. We met in at an orientation luncheon given for the Adas (aka women who are going to Smith at a nontraditional age) and we have remained friends ever since, even though we may go for a very long time without any contact. Those are forever friends...the kind of people you feel a strong connection with right from the moment you meet that never goes away.
Here she is 'photo bombing' (popping in to someone's photo of something else) something which I have never heard of. In this case her appearance made the photo better.

These beautiful flowers at the bulb show...

inspired me to start this piece using colors that are very unusual for me to work with.

It is still very much a work in progress.  It needs a bit more fulling but I am adding some stitching first. I am not sure where I am going with this or if it will get done or just added to the pile of UFOs. Especially since Spring is springing.

P.S. Talking a lot more than usual esp. quickly is another sign of the same true of posting on my blog?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Friends, Felting, and Fun.

The Felt-Together with friends was just what I needed; I think it was for some of the others as well. I always have this weird thought before hand whenever I invite someone that they really don't want to come here but that they feel obligated because I invited them. I know it is not true but I still felt so good when everyone was thanking me for organizing this get together. It was a really good time! For these Felt-Together's there is a core group of five friends and we invite other friends to join us for the weekend of fun and felting. Since I have a small space for working in I only invite two additional friends. This time there were only five of us but it was just right. The alternate friend who came this time was Robin's sister Susan who was the spitfire of the group. It was so much fun to have these two sisters interacting with the typical big sister vs little sister banter and hear the family stories. I love the Blakney family!
Most of us worked on small jewelry-ish projects. My friend Joei worked on one of her nuno collage images. Unfortunately I only took one photo the entire time.

I did some experimenting. I had several yarns that I had never tried, one of which was a so called eyelash yarn. My beautiful (inside AND out) friend Cher wore a lovely felt garment that had some of that type of yarn. I loved the effect when it is covered with a layer of wool. Some of the fringe ends come through the wool layers and some form loops.

I also experimented more with some wire mesh I bought on clearance a while ago. I really did not know then if it would felt in but it was shiny and on clearance so how could I resist? It works amazingly well. 

I used some to encase a glass gem that was another long ago shiny MUST purchase.

I also experimented with felting the pieces of silk that I painted and silk screened a bit ago. I really like that the inks act as a kind of resist so where there is more paint fewer of the fibers come through. This means that the piece can have several different textures even though it is one piece of cloth and one kind of wool. This will definitely get played with some more.

My bestest friend Joei spent an extra night here and when she asked me what I wanted to do next I told her I needed to start a bigger project. If the studio stayed too clean I would not be inclined to do anything since I would not want to make a mess. I seem to need a certain amount of mess to be able to create. Too much and I can't find anything...too little and I don't want to get anything out. I got out all my white stuff to make some lampshades. This had been on my to-do list for a long time...ever since taking the Illuminated Felt class with Sharon Costello. I love the light that comes through the felt, and we had some pretty ratty looking shades here that would be good to practice with. I finished two. I am happy with the felt but need to work on my proportions and shaping. Looking around at other lampshades here I realized that they all look odd if you are looking at the lamp and shade as separate pieces. These were stiffened with  Golden GAC 400 medium made for stiffening textiles.

I will end this post with photos of those growing chicks. I am really hoping that they are hens but I am starting to see signs that that may not be. But I won't really know unless they crow! They sure are interesting looking with a mix of Silkie feathers with Ameraucana feathers. 

This photo looks like they are getting a talking to from one of the moms.