Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bird-brained thoughts

Driving home from a meeting this afternoon, I saw a flock of wild turkeys along side the road. They are a lot like families at Christmastime ... huddled together, pecking through the dried grass for seeds. I love seeing them in the sunlight when their feathers glisten, but it was cloudy today.
I read Hilary's post a couple days ago about photographing the red-tailed hawk and was drawn to the symbolism ...
I'm probably giving myself too much credit, but I really feel like I'm doing my best to help Mother Earth with my recycling.
When I rescued the young hawk after the storm in August, I wondered what it meant ... why the hawk was trying to get my attention ... and now I am glad I didn't just ignore his cries. As it turned out, he was able to be released in October to migrate with other Broad-Winged Hawks. So he's probably down on the beach in Florida by now ...
The runner I was working on is finished and ready to be a Christmas present. It's 15 feet long. Here's a bad picture of how it turned out:
It's a gift for a man ... think he'll like it?

Monday, December 7, 2009

The busiest month

For lots of people ... not so much for me. By the time early December comes around, most of my work is done for the year. Earlier in 2009, I've experienced two studio tours (one a month long), a vacation by car to visit our daughter in Minnesota, an assortment of first-time weaving students, a magazine interview, a television interview. I've sold rugs and clothing through my studio, the craft gallery, and to my wholesale accounts, done a handful of art shows, and taken some "special" orders for people needing certain sizes or colors that I didn't have available.

So today, one week into December, I'm trying to finish up these specials. I'm finally closing in on them ... an extra long shaggy runner in autumn colors:
A red rayon chenille wrap:(this is NOT the special order, but it plays one on this blog)
There are a few others small jobs that don't have to be done for Christmas so I'm feeling rather relaxed because these two should be done this week.

So, now, I can start Christmas shopping!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Shorter days, but more to do

I thought when we turned the clocks back last week that I would have some more time to get caught up on stuff ... didn't happen.
I make myself crazy in October and November anyway. The month-long studio tour sounds like a great idea ... it forces me to be at the studio every day, supposedly creating rugs and clothing. But this year I had about 400 visitors for the month and that's a lot of talking, demonstrating, and, yes, selling. Mind you, I'm not complaining, but I did get a little behind in the weaving.
About mid-October, I got a call from a reporter for the local PBS station ... would I like to be on TV, talking about my Recycled Rugs? That was a hard one, seriously. It meant extra effort to make the studio look nice (thanks, Stephanie!), thought about what I should say for the interview (how can you plan ahead for that?), and just having to finally admit that I am now a senior citizen and look the part. But, of course, I ended up saying yes, and here's how it turned out:

video
You'll love the scene at the end with Pike, the studio cat.
More later ...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Critters


Nature fascinates me. Birds, cats, deer, even insects.
My latest encounter was with some praying mantises (manti?). I went to fetch something from the pole barn and noticed one inside the building. I held out my hand and she climbed on and I took her up to the garden. I put her down in what's left of the day lillies and she stuck around ... and then I noticed another one, larger and darker. They must be getting ready to make their egg cases before the weather turns cold.
Driving to town last week I noticed something that made me smile ...
a flock of gold finches were gathered beside the road. I've never seen so many in one place. They took flight as I drove past and their gold and black feathers caught the morning sun.
Take some time today to notice the little things. You might smile, too.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Still creative at 106 - my inspiration!


A couple months ago, I received an order for some rug warp from a woman in Illinois. She said it was for her mother, Ethel Christian, who made braided chair pads. She needed the strong string to lace the braiding together. Not too unusual ... until she told me her mother was 106 years old. I sent her the warp, free of charge, but asked for a chair pad in return ... they graciously sent two, along with the picture of Mom and her nice work.
Are you inspired, too?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Stormy, the broad-winged hawk

Last Tuesday, we had a horrible storm here in parts of Indiana. At our place, it rained about 5 inches in 6 hours. Our driveway washed out, our water went out, tree limbs blew down across the drive, and then the power went out. And we had it better than a lot of people. In the town of Nashville, power was out for a day or more, restaurants and shops stayed closed, the main grocery store lost a lot of their inventory and on and on ...
But I was going to talk about a bird ...
So, I was sitting on the front porch, trying to finish up a custom spinning job while the power was out, and I kept hearing a bird squawking in the trees in front of the house. I couldn't see him, but I thought it sounded like a hawk's call. After a couple hours, I finally spotted him and grabbed the camera. I wasn't sure what kind of bird he was, but he was larger than I expected.
The next morning, I heard him again, out in front of the house. I took a walk into the woods and he was on the ground ... back for the camera and here are some pictures of this beautiful creature ...
Stormy is showing Pike, the studio cat, what you can do with WINGS!
I have no experience in caring for raptors, but there's a wonderful rescue organization here in Brown County called Return to the Wild and Patti graciously came and picked up Stormy and took him to be cared for until he's mature enough to live on his own (he's about 6 weeks old now) ... and then they will bring him back to be released here.

Three new rug weavers~

Three women came to the studio today for a "day weaving" class to make a rug. None of them had ever woven before but they all caught on very quickly.
Above is Emiko and Miho. Miho will start college in the fall and she and her roommate are doing their dorm room in pinks so she wanted her own special rug.
I was very pleased with their rugs and they were thrilled ... here's a picture of the finished projects:
Konomi, left, is Miho's mom.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Some pictures from the weaving studio ...


This is my weaver's garden ... a small terraced patch off the front deck of the studio. It includes flax and cotton plants, dye plants, herbs and plants with scents like lavendar and scented geraniums.
It is a joy and butterflies and moths love it.
There's a wonderful ceramic garden totem with frogs and dragonflies that was made by my friend Cheri Platter. It's spectacular.
The St. Francis statue holds a small bowl for water.

Working on the porch to design my rugs, I get inspiration from the beauty I behold before me.

Here is a shot inside the studio during the tour last month:

The tours have been a great way to get people to visit the studio and see what we do here.

This rug rack was acquired from a gallery that closed last fall ... it holds more than 50 rugs!

It's a rainy day and probably a good opportunity to do some weaving inside where it's dry and warm. Even WeatherBug is confused today ... it's reporting 33.8 degrees at Columbus, Indiana at 10: 49 on July 22. I don't think so ...


so far behind ...

When you get this far behind in posting to your blog, what can you do to catch up? Just ignore the three-plus months since the last post where I was waiting for spring? It's now mid-summer (although the weather for the last week has been divinely spring-like) and I don't know where to start.

Much of the intervening time was consumed with preparations for the Brown County Studio and Garden Tour which took place the last weekend of June. Gardens had to be designed, flowers planted, weeded, watered (not much) and deer-proofed. There have been years where the local deer population wandered in the week before the tour and ate most of the daylily buds, the roses and the hostas. This year, they were considerate and only ate beans off the fence of the vegetable garden ... I was very grateful. I suspect that they remembered the taste/smell of the home-made concoction I sprayed on plants last year.

In addition to the gardens, I was busy weaving rugs and clothing for the tour and for stores I sell to ... business is still solid, if not brisk.

During the tour, we had more than 350 visitors over the three days.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Ready for spring ...

I LOVE DAFFODILS! They are so cheerful and forgiving of the weather. They pop their heads up around St. Patrick's Day in our area. Over the years of buying bulbs, I have acquired about 20 different ones with different blooming cycles (ok, so I'm not a botanist!) and they make me smile for about a month while they take their turns showing off.
I have been negligent in my postings. Hilary keeps commenting on the fact. She, on the other hand, posts regularly. What can I say, I've been preoccupied with other things.
What things? you might ask ...
My studio was selected to be featured in a newspaper article to be published this summer (more later). The interview and photo shoot were in March, but my husband and I had to open a WHOLE BUNCH of flower beds a lot earlier than we normally would so that the place would look better. He also decided we needed to paint the fence ... 17 sections, front and back. Bless his heart. My apprentice, Stephanie, got ca
lled in to help and it took 3 days (times 3 people) to complete the job. Daffodils were just starting to open and I finished my "plate wattle" in time. Technically, it's not a wattle, but it replaced two stick wattles beside the walk that had been there for two years and really wanted to return to the earth so I pulled them out and started adding plates, first from a potter friend who was cleaning her studio, then from my husband's forays at a couple thrift shops. I think he did an excellent job of picking the plates, don't you?

So, the interview went well and the gardens were opened and growing. We had a couple snow warnings, but not much came our way.
A few trays have been planted in the greenhouse and now it's time to water and wait.
I love spring!

Monday, February 2, 2009

I'm amazed ...

at how much time I seem to spend online. Writing emails, checking out websites and blogs, visiting Facebook (when did I start doing that?) and writing in this blog ... all seems to take hours out of the day. Filling orders from the emails at least gets me out of the house and into the studio for awhile.
Snow's melting here but groundhog saw his shadow. But, I saw robins yesterday ... so spring can't be too far off.
I've been finishing purses and tote bags and building a page for them on my website. I think handwoven totes are a great way to go green!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Making snowcones, weaving shawls

Making snowcones
When nature give you lemons, make lemonade. But what if she gives you snow?
I figured this would be a good time to try out that sour lemonade snow cone syrup I picked up for a dollar at Big Lots. Took my polar bear mug that a local potter made and went out to dig for a clean cup full. Not a problem ....
added the syrup, and voila! Delicious.
Now I need some coffee to warm up.
So, whatcha weaving?
I try to keep most of my looms contained in the studio. Especially the rug looms, because I'm a messy rug maker.
But I've moved a couple looms back to the house,
and with it being a new year, I thought using up some stored yarn would be a good exercise for me. I selected two boxes of Jiffy (Lion Brand) that I had bought at Wal-Mart a decade ago ... it's aged enough by now. Put together some colors that worked and here's the first shawl off the warp.
This was done on my 8H Baby Wolf.
The next warp will be some "Homespun" seconds that I bought off eBay about 6 years ago ... pretty, but not what I'm into now. That warp will go on the 4H 30" Norwood and will also be shawls. So that's what I'm weaving, looking out the windows at the snow.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stuck on the hill

It seems to be done snowing for now. We received 6 inches yesterday, then about a half inch of sleet and freezing rain, then another 6 inches on top of that. The path is cleared to the studio and the sun is trying to shine. Yesterday's list in completed and today will be a loom warping event.
I love living in the country. It's a good thing I don't get cabin fever very often.
There is some weaving getting done this winter. Although most of the rug weaving is done on the studio porch and is dependent upon temperatures above 40 degrees, we've had a few nice days. Here's a picture of a plastic bag rug I finished recently and I love the way it turned out.If anyone wants to try working with the bags, there are instructions on my website.
Off to the warping!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snowed in, making lists and mentoring

The beginning of the snow ... how beautiful.

No rag rug weaving today.
So we had snow overnight here in the Heartland ... not a lot, by Wisconsin/Minnesota/New York standards, but enough to cause cancellations and travel problems. My hard-working husband drove the 20 miles to his job and I had the whole day to finish some projects. I made a list. Only about 7 or 8 items. I have a pad of paper from decades ago when I was a Mary Kay consultant. It says, "The Six Most Important Things I Must Do" ... so my list was simple, housework things ... copy tax forms, get mail ready, unload dishwasher, do laundry ... etc. Now it's almost dinner time and the list is only half finished. Do I expect too much? Or am I just easily distracted? Or both?
One of the items on the list was to update my blog. My last entry was in April. How embarrassing. Of course, it was about Obama ... and now that he's president, it looks pretty good in retrospect.
But I digress ...
My weaving friend, Hilary, paid me a compliment in her blog this week. We have been buddies for years, talking through emails, IMs and on the phone. But we've never met face-to-face. Someday we will, I'm sure of it.
Our relationship began when she bought a rug from me. She's a late-blooming weaver, but catching up quickly. She occasionally would call with questions about weaving ... which usually were preceded by, "Have you ever ...?" And I almost always had, so I offered suggestions to solve her dilemma. Among other things, she has the coolest studio name, "Crazy as a Loom" and she has more energy than people 20 years younger.
As she notes, we're technically competitors. But I've never felt that way. Hilary likes to weave fabric rugs and I prefer shaggy selvedge rugs. Besides, there are plenty of people needing rugs (especially now, when you want to put your money into things that are beautiful and will last). Sometimes we compare our customers and find that the same person has contacted (and even bought from) both of us.
We've shared other things through the years, but that's business. We've even talked about mounting a joint-venture rug weaving website, but that's still a ways off.
When she had knee replacement surgery last year and was having trouble getting back to the looms, I was there to kick her b**t and tell her she could do it.
We've joked that we're siblings raised separately because we're close in age and very close in the way we view things. I just know that I'm proud of her and what she's achieved in her short weaving experience.
I know she's shoveling through snowbanks to be at her studio, stoking her pellet stove, and I wish I could just sit there with her and dream up even more bizarre things to weave. You go, girl!