Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Morn 1957

This was me on Christmas morning in 1957, my third birthday.

I seem to be a bit more nostalgic this year than past years. Maybe because my oldest son will be away for the first time. He's been gone on an adventure to Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam with his girlfriend and her father since Dec. 15th and won't be home until Jan. 4th. I have no family members coming to visit and we're not planning anything big.

So I look back at past photos of my sons when they sat on Santa's lap and recall the story's of what they asked for and look at all the handmade ornaments they made in grade school that I keep and pull out every year. The popsicle stick sleds and reindeer, the tiny wreaths with school pictures inserted in the middle, the macaroni angel, and all the other unique ornaments made by tiny hands and proud, smiling faces. Sappy, I know but still the feeling I have.

Wishing each and everyone one of you a very happy holiday and a season where you create memories for the future.

Mele kalikimaka!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Birthday Fast Approaches

You may not know that my birthday is on Christmas, but it is. People ask "Isn't it hard to have a birthday on Christmas day?" My usual response is "It's a bitch to compete with Jesus Christ". And as I get older there is more to contemplate. One of these things is the eye sight. For example, in my previous post Joanne asked about seeing "jaws" in my tree picture and I responded "that yes she did see "flaws". My sister alerted me to this blunder and all I can say is, it's time to get the eye test again. And yes, there are shark jaws displayed on the fireplace ledge behind the tree along with a ceramic crow.

Things I want for my birthday (forget Christmas!):

Fat & Wrinkles Begone pills
A lifetime membership at the spa
Good eyesight
The energy I had when I was 20

Geez now I'm sounding really old and that isn't the case so I guess I should ask for

and Self Love.

Peace to all and have a Merry Holiday and I'll have a Happy Birthday !

P.S. German Chocolate cake is my favorite.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

An Unconventional Xmas Tree

My family and I live on a tree covered mountain property that includes knob cone pines, incense cedars, fir, spruce, and redwood trees that we usually find to cut a tree down for Christmas. they tend to be "Charlie Brown" trees which we favor.

In 2006 we had the brush extensively cleared around the house and outbuildings for fire prevention measures. We were unable to find a tree that we could cut and use this year so we ended up cutting a Madrone. Madrone's are considered an evergreen with broad leaves and a reddish bark that peels away and is something that nature collectors grab up and stick in their collection bags.

Here's the tree we cut down all decorated. This morning the leaves were a little droopy so I'm hoping that it lasts until Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Ho Ho Hum ...........

I returned from Kauai last night and tackled the advent of Christmas shopping. I stood in a long line at the Post Office, I stood in line at the bank (It is Friday and pay day for most), I even ventured into the MALL! It wasn't my thing and I kept thinking, "geez, just yesterday I was walking along the beach in warm, if somewhat windy, weather. Most of the days I spent in Kauai were rainy. The ocean was churning and not good for swimming or snorkeling but a rainy day in Kauai is better than a rainy day anywhere else!! Here you can see the dark sky creeping up to the bits of blue.

There were a couple of sunny day. I always take long walks when I'm on Island. this day I took my camera and found some lovely shots of nature.

A plumeria blossom. The trees are dormant this time of year, it is winter so only a few blossoms are on the trees.

Here is a plumeria leaf with a blossom that has landed on top of it laying at my feet as I stopped on the path to capture the photo of the tree itself.

More shots as I walk along. An interesting tree trunk of a stately palm , delicate hibiscus blossoms that had drifted into a crevice of sand along the beach, and some rusty things laying along the lava rocks that people like Michael DeMeng would probably be brainstorming on how they could retrieve them and carry them home!

My condo is on the south side of the Island in Poipu and I drove up north to visit my friend Connie and play with precious metal clay in her studio. Something I had never attempted and now have a greater respect for those artists and what they create using this medium. My first pieces are pretty much crap and since this clay isn't cheap it was an expensive learning experience. I did end up with a couple of neat items that were cut from silver paper. I will expound on this more and show photos in a later post. I got to meet up with Connie again before I left and we had lunch at the greatest and funkiest place in Kapaa. They serve the best food, ahi nori wraps, fish tacos, iced Thai tea, and hibiscus lemonade! Yum! Here some pics and one of Connie. I know she took some of us but I don't think they turned out so well, hopefully they won't get posted??!!

Aloha for now and Bah Humbug.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Saga Continues ................

I experimented on some more scarf blanks. The outcome: Four scarves were scoured with washing soda and detergent. One was dyed using my well water and turned out fine. I thought YEA!! Then I dyed two more and they were both awful and splotchy. ACH!! So the fourth one I dyed using bottled water and there wasn't a splotch on it so I'm back to thinking my dye issues are water related and I will need to get a filter put on my system. But why did the first scarf dye fine?? A conundrum for sure.

The story doesn't end there .......... I placed another order for scarf blanks only to receive different ones than I ordered. I called to report this and to let them know I would be returning them and to please send me the proper ones only to find out that any of the blanks I want are out of stock until sometime next year. YIKES!

I guess I'll be sewing "wayward threads" today and shibori dyeing the few blanks I have on hand and scheming on how I will make my booth look full this weekend!

I'm also working on creating some neck pieces using my dyed ribbons and some fabulous lampwork beads my friend Caty Porter makes. (see her link under my "other places to visit") my friend Janet Wylie did the metal work on these for me.

I do have a light at the end of this tunnel though and that is my trip to Kauai on Dec. 5th. Being on Island is time I always cherish. And this trip I get to play with my new friend Connie in her studio and she says "my DH makes an "absolute sin" to die for" so I'm not exactly sure what I'm in for but sounds very fun and interesting! LOL!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Do Planets Rule our Fate?

Do I believe in horoscopes and how the planets affect me? I don’t know, I’m curious at least and have been reading up on astrology to see if there is an answer as to why I’m having such obstacles in my way? I hear people say “Mars is Retrograde” and that’s when things get chaotic and you shouldn’t push projects during this phase. So has Mars been Retrograde? Could this be the cause of these issues?

The issues I speak of are more annoying and frustrating rather than disastrous, it’s not cancer. It deals with my art form. I have had dye issues as of late. Splotchy grease looking marks left after dyeing many items. ACH?!

I’ve been dyeing fabrics for 25 years now so what is it? I thought maybe it’s the water, so I drove to Watsonville and dropped off a water sample of our well water to have it tested which the results will be back next week. But then after visiting an online dye forum I was posed with the question of how I scoured the silk. I have always used Synthrapol detergent and hot water and it always seemed to be enough. Now it seems the silk isn’t coming to me in the same form any more. The silk isn’t being scoured as well in China where the silk comes from …….. hhhmmmm …… poison in pet food, lead in toys ……. I guess it shouldn’t be surprising? So I’m going an extra step to scour the silk with washing soda and hot water soak and so far it’s working. So it may not be my well water that I’ve used for about 15 years. Since we’re in a drought, the water quality could change when the water table lowers but I am doubting this now.

I also noticed several of the burnout velvet scarves I dyed had holes in them. Geez (China again?). The process for burnout velvet involves screening a gel like solution onto the backside of silk backed rayon velvet, letting it dry, heat setting it, then when washed the rayon fibers pull away from the silk leaving the design. I have dabbled with this technique and have had some success but I have also ruined pieces that the gel burned through the silk. I think a manufacturing company should have better control of the quality they send out to sell. I have been ordering these silks from the same companies for years and it is only the last year that these issues have come up. Poor quality work.

This is a photo of a successful burnout velvet stole I did of crows in flight.

I then turned to sewing some more ribbon wayward threads (see picture) using a new fairly expensive thread to sew them with. I love the variegation of the thread and the sheen and everything about it until I went to iron the scarf and noticed the thread was melting?? YIKES? I am not revealing the brand yet because I know this to be a very reputable company and I want to see what they have to say when they reopen on Monday.

(see the kinky looking shorter threads where the arrow points? melted.)

Then I took out the felted Christmas ball ornaments I had made and discovered moths had gotten into them. I won't even bother to take photos of that!

See the obstacles? This is my livelihood and I have shows coming up and all my time and effort to produce is failing. Thus my reason to question the stars, the planets, the heavens. But maybe things will be looking up? Here’s my horoscope for the last two days:

You're feeling remarkably clear about some aspect of your life that may have been pretty confusing up until now. See if you can move forward a little bit farther in the near future, while you're at it.

Your good energy makes it all the more important for you to deal with the basics of your current work or hobby situation. You can put yourself on much firmer ground, simply by making small changes

Monday, November 19, 2007

New "wayward threads"

Every show I have been in I sell out of my "wayward threads" ( I can't keep them in stock. Can someone come help me?? At the same time my shibori dyed ribbons on also flying out the proverbial door and then I got the idea to create a "wayward threads" with just the dyed ribbons. I had been incorporating a few ribbons into these scarves and stoles with other yarns, laces, and fabric strips, but I love how this turned out by just using the ribbons!! I have enough dyed to make three more so I'm off to my studio today to lay them out and sew (it's a lot of sewing!).

(click on images to see them up close)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Autumn in Missouri

I returned home yesterday from my trip to Missouri. The St. Louis Weavers' Guild show was great as always and then I ventured on to visit my folks in my home town in the Ozark Foothills. My sister Jan and I took a drive to the town of Van Buren where one of the largest springs in the nation is. Big Springs pumps out an average of 256 million gallons of water a day! Of course the deciduous trees were all aflame which is something I miss this time of year in California. We do have our big leaf maples, cottonwoods, and nut trees that change color but mostly we have evergreens. I went crazy with my camera but am only posting a few of the many pics I took. As we all know pictures speak louder than words so enjoy.