Category Archives: St. Petersburg Bungalow

Working hands


Today, because it is a new year and that’s always an opportunity for a fresh start, I tried once again to tackle my wool website. The one where, in theory, I conduct business. This is a joke, in the same fashion that any artist conducting business is a joke (or would-be artist in my case). It was with relief that I laughed at Robin’s FB note about exactly how arbitrary these dates are (and that it makes far more sense to keep track of things according to the sun and the moon and the tides) because, as usual, I end the day feeling somewhat like a failure, technologically-speaking. Here are a few of the things that have been hampering me:

An ancient MacBk Pro, the first off the production line and now ready for the Smithsonian, that stopped typing 4s and Qs and then 1s altogether.

Finding enough money to buy this lovely new MacAir. We found it.

Trying to get a page, any page, to stay still long enough to work on this new MacAir. The pages hover and swoosh and dart about ala CSI Miami as I try to learn new  keypad techniques.

My kindly tech support team at iPower. They are always there, 24/7, with never much more than a couple minutes wait time and they are always really happy and willing and eager to give me technical support- and they are all named Peggy. Hence, TangledUpInWool.com makes even less sense to them than it does to me.

All of my photos are scattered about the virtual universe, on hard drives left in the mountains, in Clouds, on servers. Half are degraded to thumbnails and most I can’t find anyway. This is really discouraging because, of course, along with photos of wool and bad alpaca teeth are photos of my mother, my babies, Adelor the lion at LPZ, my best wol shots (WOLS! reference Pooh), and past homes with trees and flowers and cats.

And so forth. Today, after one of those completely debilitating trips to IKEA in Tampa last week to buy more storage, after carting and assembling and unpacking and sorting, I pushed my luck and asked Rich to take a couple of new photos of me working on the drum carder. I wanted desperately to post something, anything, at tangledupinwool.com so I could then send out e-mails to all the lovely people who have contacted me at one time or another about felt making. So I can conduct my business (this is a joke). Of course, all of those e-mail addresses are the way of my photos, half disappeared and some of them have co-mingled in adulterous ways with garden club lists and book club lists so that if and when I do get out an e-mail half of the addressees will be irritated at more unwanted junk in their mailboxes.

Anyway. Rich took photos of me working on my new old electric drum carder and as he was taking them he said, “you are not going to like these. They make everything look messy.” What he meant but was kind enough not to say was that, as usual, I was looking terribly un-photogenic, hadn’t combed my hair or put on clean clothes, let alone-God forbid- any makeup. Also, as usual, my skin is rebelling here in Florida by turning flaming red with blotches, further exacerbated by a new SPF moisturizer. So I just went about my business. When the sun hit the porch and I had to come in out of it, I uploaded the photos and found that I really like them.

I like them because of my hands. They are working hands. I never get manicures and I have never, at least since I’ve been felting, grown my nails or engaged in any other hand care maneuvers. As I get older my skin has gotten thinner and knicks and scrapes show up most every day as I go about my business. Horrid age spots have appeared. They are in pure olive oil sludge many hours a week -I think that’s actually good for them. And they are working hands. Feltmaking is hard work. Turning loose bits of animal fiber into durable and sometimes artistic product is hard work. I scrub, squeeze, rub, twist, push, pull, tangle, smooth, lather, rinse, toss, throw and rub some more. That is the work of a felt maker. I liked looking at my hands in these photos. Looking at these photos, I didn’t mind that I don’t photograph well, that I have quite a bit of surplus chin, the my complexion is ruddy, my belly paunchy and my eyebrows Vulcanesque. Most of all, I didn’t mind that my hands look shopworn and sinewy. I thought about all of the pleasures of working with my hands, I thought about my hard-working father, I thought about how very much I enjoy felt-making.

In all of these photos I am carding wool, in preparation for making felt. I found this old used and adapted electric drum carder in the mountains of Madison County, near our home in NC. It was originally a Louet hand carder and up until now, I have only ever used a hand carder that you crank away at ad nauseam. Somebody who worked with his hands built a housing for this carder and added a workhorse of a motor and automotive belts to drive it. It took forever to clean it of the alpaca (there were about two and a half beasts) and vegetative matter (enough to fertilize my garden for a season) but once done I fell in love with this machine. I think it will run forever.


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A sign of the times

I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do. (Willa Cather)

I’ve always taken good care of my trees. Back in Ann Arbor I had several trees that I was very attached to emotionally. I had a Norway Spruce that the White House would have been proud to have as their Christmas tree. It was the largest, oldest in Ann Arbor and at the base of the drive with unchecked space it grew to over 100 ft high by 30 ft wide. I often wondered what it would cost to put lights on that puppy. I had a Bradford pear that I planted as a seedling and when I left that home it was in full bloom at about 35 feet. Right out the front window we had a white birch that had far exceeded it’s life span for a water bound tree and was home to many many birds who came to the feeders there. My neighbor would make me a lovely collage of that tree , done on clementine boxes, as a parting gift when I moved.

(you can see the collage of my birch tree on clementine boxes, now on the wall of the mountain house.)

My favorite tree at that house was a wedding gift to Rich and me. We were given a gift certificate to the American Heritage Tree Nursery and we selected a Yoshino Flowering Cherry, aka a Tidal Basin Cherry like the ones in D.C. that were a gift to the American people. Original stock. We ordered it and it arrived in a 4 ft tube with a 4ft stake and detailed planting instructions and it was no bigger than a pencil with about as much evidence of life. I was appalled and called the folks at the nursery and they said, essentially, “patience, Grasshopper. Have a little faith.” I planted that pencil and by the time the weather started to turn cold I could feel two small nodes, barely perceptible, with a promise for Spring. Come Spring those nodes turned into leaves and all that growing season the cherry tree had 4 leaves. Since I had high hopes for it, I had made a large circle, outlined by rocks from Lake Michigan and planted some shallow root primrose at its feet. They flourished and bloomed. Late in the summer the husband of the couple who gave us that gift was diagnosed with advanced bladder cancer. The wife was a good friend from BCMA. The battle was on. I HAD to keep that tree alive. Late that fall it went to bed with 4 swollen nodes and David just plain went to bed. In the end, David died and the tree lived. When I sold the house 3 years later to move to Chicago I couldn’t bear to leave the now flourishing young Cherry tree but it was growing well enough that transplanting had become an issue, especially when left in the hands of a grieving home owner and a grieving widow. We humped that tree over to Linda’s down-sized new home where everything was still mud and construction and damn, if that Michigan Spring didn’t last five minutes before it turned to hot, dry Michigan summer. She said she would work on it as well as her heart and energy could muster but neither of us were particularly optimistic and life went on. We moved to Chicago and Linda remarried. This year she sent me a picture of that Tidal Basin Cherry.

When I lived in Ann Arbor, if  I needed tree work done (this would have been through the nineties when I was an established mature homeowner) I would have called some company with a solid reputation like Urban Foresters and they would come out and give me a bid for 800.00 to trim up the trees and treat the cedar-apple rust and I would save up for a month or so and then have them out to do the work.

When we moved to Chicago I began doing my own tree work on the flowering crabs that were in our meager courtyard. By climbing onto the roof of the detached 4 bay garage that served the entire condo building and by leaning out in far too precarious a posture for a woman of an age where bone scans are routine, I managed to whip them into a nice shape and they bloomed well while we lived there. Mostly, I went down to the conservatory on the lake and the area all around my beloved zoo when I wanted to see really good trees.

North Carolina has brought us more trees than we can shake a stick at- they’re everywhere, acres of them. A lot of nut trees- hickories, oaks, chestnuts- all with fruit that shoots out of the sky like missiles when the weather is just so. Fruit trees including apples and a Damson Plum I plan to use for Damson gin and of course, spectacular rhodies and shockingly orange flame azaleas. It’s tree paradise and they most all take care of themselves and all we have to do is haul off downed branches after a wind blows through. I do fuss over the giant Carolina hemlock which has been doing battle with woolly adelgid disease since we moved in, but as of this fall, the tree is winning.

And then there is Florida. In keeping with the general Florida theme, there are some real gems down here and then there are a lot of trash trees. We removed a giant Brazilian Pepper with some reluctance this past year as it was home to half a dozen Cardinal families and provided good shade on the kitchen side of the house. It also provided more falling garbage than any tree I’ve ever encountered. Dropping little invasive seeds and berries on everything, it would get so bad that we couldn’t step foot int the kitchen door without removing our shoes and I was continuously pulling out millions of little trees. So good riddance to that tree and I don’t say that lightly.

Oaks. We have Live Oaks here in Florida (Quercus virginiana) and they are indeed lively, multi-trunked and branching trees with great canopies that are constantly dropping shit. They celebrate Fall and Spring simultaneously because the thing that forces them to drop leaves is not a change in temperature like their Northern cousins but rather, new leaf nodes pushing off old leaves. This means that in a matter of weeks, but continuing for months, there are leaves everywhere along with flower parts and yellow pollen. Inches of pollen. Pollen that turns a British Blue purebred cat into a scratching yellow rat. Pollen than covers the furniture, floors, counters and makes it so you can’t see out the windshield of your car. Because live oaks have such a broad canopy they also drop branches and limbs and sticks and threaten to topple on your roof come hurricane season. And while the Florida bungalow is a place where I would rather not invest much time or money in the care of all these wild and crazy trees, it dawns on us periodically that we need to make sure they don’t become a liability to our house or the neighbor’s. Today a truck full of guys with a tall ladder and chain saws came by and offered to “clean up” our oaks. I swear these are the same guys I see panhandling by the freeway off ramp every day- truly, I did recognize them. But here they were, still toothless and filthy, but chainsaw in hand. To their credit, in response to my first question regarding license and insurance, they produced a soggy well-handled business card that said “licensed and insured.” I took it from him just in case( he really wanted to hang on to it and I could see his eyes shifting with indecision: “a card in the hand or beer?”) and we gave them the job. Rich stood out on the front walk and supervised and in something under two hours the six guys had removed every low hanging branch on the property for 175.00. We had previously had this same job bid by a professional tree company, one where the guys wore polo shirts with logos, for 700.00. What can I say?  I think it’s a sign of the times that 6 guys will trim all these giant oaks and haul away the refuse for 175.00 and also that we would consider hiring them. The whole episode made me very nervous but it’s done now and it looks great. Rich had to follow them to the compost center to show his license so they could dump the stuff for free and he noted that they took side streets all the way, rather than the main road. Hmmm. There was one fatality; I guess that was bound to happen. 

My new best excuse

(This photo was taken by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and is not copyrighted. He is one of my all time favorite photographers and I also think he is an incredible steward of the earth, maybe the best. If you haven’t seen his work or you are not familiar with his GoodPlanet.org, I highly recommend you check him out.)

Made up my mind. I am definitely going to keep up this blog, if for no other reason than to get Bonnie’s comments. And really, FC is right: FaceBook is sort of sucking the life blood out of some good blogs but there’s something lacking over there. It’s sort of promiscuous, a kind of cheap intimacy. (It ain’t pretty being easy, but sometimes I love it.) Also, it encourages those of us already challenged around editorial boundaries to just cut loose, not that I would ever do anything like recount my adventures with Bank of America, ala some bizarre impersonation of Robin Williams negotiating a mortgage.

Anyway, today I am coming clean and I have this new link for you: TANGLEDUPINWOOL.COM

I have been a busy feltmaker and I’m happy the site is up and launched, if not completely written, stocked, or padded out with all the bells and whistles I would like. I do hope you all will come visit me there. And for those of you chickens willing to cross the road? The first three to add a note at TUIW with your address will get a lovely surprise in the mail. (I promise not to share it with anyone, not even B of A)

And just to show you that I am, indeed, keeping up this blog that will no longer be all about things wool, guess who is back in the ‘hood? We thought he might have finally moved on, but two days ago I heard his call, went out and looked and there he was: Hannibal! Our old friend is back, perched next to his nest but I haven’t seen the missus yet this year. She usually arrives about a week later. That’s how Coopers stay mated for life, you know. She takes a separate vacation for a few months each year. I’ll keep you updated on their progress this season. Promise.

The Ultimate Demise of Minky

Last week our contractor called me to say “thanks a lot” for warning him about the stuffed fox hidden under the basement stairs of the mountain house. They were pulling things out in preparation for laying tile down there and I guess a couple of the builders screamed like girls.(Foxy never did like the neo-industrial architecture of the Chicago condo. He jumped at the chance to go to North Carolina.)

Those few of you who have known me for a while know that I had a brief fling with taxidermy. Back in Michigan I could sometimes be found haunting antique stores, not in search of a Roseville vase or a Chippewa basket but rather some hapless stuffed critter. I admit that I was fascinated with these specimens that, in life, I couldn’t get close to but as taxidermy, I could admire them to my heart’s content. Small mammals were my favorite. And although I would never be involved with the killing or commissioning of such an item I did really enjoy my little collection, much to the amusement of BCMA. In retrospect it was probably much to the horror and bewilderment of some of my patients. Ah, me.

Anyway, I’ve been busy organizing life and this household in Florida for my move north to Asheville. Rich is coming along in about a month and a bit, after everything is done and our possessions have been pulled out of storage and brought down from the Midwest. It makes the most sense to have everything as settled as possible before he and the cats arrive. A slight digression: Curious thing about marriage. The past couple weeks as I’ve been really very busy, with many details in my head, I have gotten a bit short with Rich’s apparent inability to find a fork or open mail. But as I was thinking about it, I realized that we each have gone helpless in certain areas, deferring to the other for assistance. Really, we’re more capable than we each act. So when I considered the possibilities I realized that if Rich is at the mountain house when the van first arrives and dumps everything off, he’ll be distressed because he can’t work in peace and I’ll be distressed because he’s not helping me lift boxes and move heavy things. And we’ll give vent to our distress because that’s who we are and then there will be that negative pall over something new and special and happy. It is far better for him to stay here and work and mind the kitties. I’ll be there, managing just fine (remind me I wrote this in a couple of weeks) getting everything arranged and put away. When Rich isn’t around I surprise myself with my own physical strength and if that isn’t sufficient I’ll just work around what I can’t do until I can snag trusty Rosario. (he has no idea he’s becoming a fixture in my plans and in my blog, poor fellow.)

As far as the cats go, they like routine and they do not like change. They would prefer to stay put whether we go or not. It would be fine with them if the Roomba put out their food as long as it was at 7am and 7pm. Not really. They like us and besides, the Roomba wouldn’t do the litter box.

They not only like us, they bring us food. Much in the same way that Rich and I are in some ways helpless to care for ourselves but care for each other, so it is with the cats. McCloud can’t open a can and although he surely could, he hasn’t gone out and caught any sustenance for himself lately. But he reliably brings us bunnies. And Sophie brings birds. Every morning when we get up the bedroom floor is littered with delicacies for us to eat. I think Sophie is a tad brighter because she at least brings things that vaguely resemble birds while McCloud just brings large balls of yarn. He would move dozens every night from the living room to the foot of the bed if I didn’t intervene but since he also enthusiastically kills each and every skein, I’ve got him down to his own basket of 6 balls, all tangled and in shreds. Every morning we round them all up and put them back, Cloudy’s bunnies in his basket and Sophie’s birdies in hers. Then we thank the cats effusively and give them breakfast.

The two of them are in for a rude awakening when they get piled into the car and driven north.I plan to have their baskets of yarn and toys in a convenient place near our new bedroom but still…When I worked at Lincoln Park Zoo we would often change up the habitats of the animals just to keep them on their toes. It’s called “enrichment.” By giving them a whole new environment to explore they stayed alert and curious and didn’t get complacent. So, Cloudy and Sophie- brace yourselves for a little enrichment.

(Okay. As I was writing that I had deja vu for this delightful Monty Python skit. I have tried to describe it before and no one seems to have seen it but me-except now I find it on YouTube. Go here and laugh with Confuse-a-Cat.)

Where was I? Oh, right, moving in circular fashion back to taxidermy. Working at the zoo pretty much cured me of my interest in taxidermy. I had lots of opportunities to get up close and personal with all sorts of furry creatures and besides, I began to feel fairly guilty on behalf of all us ignorant folk for lording it over animals in the first place when really, we should try at all costs to leave them to themselves when we can. That includes not being party to enjoying stuffed ones, thereby denying them the privilege of the whole dust-to-dust scenario. Who knows? A dung beetle might come back as a meerkat, left to decompose in peace. But here I was, stuck with the responsibility of a half-dozen taxidermied animals. Hence the fox under the stairs at the mountain house.(Minky, minus an ear and two moth-eaten feet, finds herself unceremoniously dumped in the trash today. Life moves on.)

Minky made the move here to Florida a few years ago when (God forgive me) I dressed her up with Christmas bows and posed her under the tree- back when the house was on the Old Northeast Christmas home tour. (Now that I think of it, it’s possible that this had something to do with my lack of acceptance in the neighborhood garden club. Then again, I might be imagining that.) Yesterday, in the process of packing up some things that will go north I discovered that Minky has acclimated to Florida’s pestilence and high humid temperatures about as well as I have: not at all. And now I feel badly because while I was having my own encounters with the dermatologist and tending to the cats flea allergies, I ignored Minky who was just sitting in an old fishing creel in the corner, coming apart at the seams.

The moral of this round about tale (yet another one) is that, as noted in Ecclesiastes,  there is a time and a place for everything. My skin tells me that much of the time, Florida is not a place for me. The cats’ constant struggle with flea allergies and the subsequent itching and fur loss suggest this place is rough on them during the really hot times.  Many of my plants, nurtured over years, including begonias from my mother, have struggled with the Florida heat and sun.(These plants will hopefully survive the trip and thrive in North Carolina)

On the other hand, plants that I could never grow before flourish here,  in a fashion I never imagined possible. Orchids and ferns go wild. Rich thrives here in Florida, especially since he’s found a renewed love for playing baseball and a group of swell teammates. He does a much better job of growing where he is planted, in any case. Me? I need the seasons. I need the contrast between full vibrant green and dormant cold ground. Basically, I need that deciduous thing, the starting and the stopping and then all over again. That’s more my nature.

For a fair part of the year, I will miss my friends here, especially my good neighbors Marion and Other Vicki and Ken and south of the bridge Cathy. I will miss the art people here in St. Petersburg and classes at the Morean Arts Center. I will really miss Shadow and Wheezer and Phantom and Hoo2 and Mystic, my feathered raptor friends and all of my fellow caretakers at Boyd Hill. I’m not sure yet what my schedule will look like; I’m going to let the weather move me so we’ll see. These next couple days I’ll be loading up my car and heading to the mountain house- the first house that I have ever really designed with me and my life with Rich in mind. A house to fit my life. Imagine that. What will the reality be, for me and for Rich and those flea-bitten cats? Imagine that!  I’ll see you there.(Okay, I admit it. There are things about Florida that are simply beautiful.)

Something stinky this way comes…

Wren and her best friend, Judy came to see me and that was a wonderful visit. Wren moved to Ann Arbor right after I moved to Chicago so we’ve been online buddies more than anything, although we did enjoy lunch in Chicago a year or so ago. I’ve enjoyed getting to know her via the blog neighborhood because we share common interests and she’s like a link to the good life in Ann Arbor. But true to my experience in these matters, we get along famously in person, too and I loved meeting her college roommate. We went to Florida Native Orchids, my favorite little (but very extensive) quirky orchid place ever. With 3 big greenhouses there are always many beautiful plants in bloom and I love that they are growing many of their own cross species. We adopted a few and one of mine smells especially sweet.

Then we went down to Boyd Hill and I had the pleasure of sharing my raptor buddies with them. Jane took many photos so go bug her to post them.

For the past few days there’s been a stench about the place that has had Rich and me looking at each other with wrinkled noses and curled lips. It’s been getting worse and worse even as we changed out the litter box completely, took out all trash, cleaned the frig, cleaned everything. Still, the stench. I was about to start smearing Vicks under my nose like they do on CSI when I discovered this: I saw it first, growing in a little pot that holds a slash pine they were giving away at the park. I had set it in the shady  part of the yard, thinking I might take it to Asheville and plant it. As I got closer, to investigate, I almost fell over. But for you, my friends (and because I haven’t posted for several weeks) I buried my nose in my sleeve and carried it to the porch to photograph. I’d never seen anything like it but my 82 year old neighbor came by and said, “Oh, that’s what they call…”  Do you know what it is?(Complete with slime and flies.)

One reason I’m not posting much is because I am very very busy in my new profession. Hah! I still feel like a poser but I’m having fun getting ready for a big exhibition and teaching. I’ve made several beautiful things recently, if I do say so myself, and I’ve had one consistently frustrating failure as bags and bags of wool bite the dust. I’ll share photos soon. The other reason I’m not posting much is we have some potentially wonderful things on the horizon but it’s too soon to really put it in writing. Don’t want to jinx anything.

Here’s one really cool item. PBS did a video of NOMO and it’s great! If you’ve wondered about what I’m talking about when I make mention of Daniel’s life as a musician you can both hear and see right here.

(Update: Yes, FC and Jeff- it IS a stinkhorn. It’s Clathrus archeri, also known as Devil’s Fingers -as in “Idle hands are the Devil’s Workshop, cuz I haven’t touched my yard since our big cold snap a couple weeks ago and it definitely needs some tending…and Jeff, here is a photo of one that I believe is the same in it’s infancy. They start out like puffballs and then explode into the fungus from hell. FC- I do remember your stinkhorn posts, but really- are yours THIS vile? I think we need a Stinkhorn throwdown…)

(Even stinkhorns start out relatively cute you could say.)

“I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.”  Frank LLoyd Wright

Heading south

I know. You thought I was already south but it’s awfully darn nippy around here. There’s another blanket on the bed and Sophie is literally cramping my style by tucking up tight against the back curl of my knees as I position myself for sleep and then she spends the rest of the night sending me those intense telepathic messages: “Do not move. Do not move. Do not move.” They work, too and then when I wake up it takes me 10 minutes to unfold.

So Rich has business in Miami and believe it or not, I’ve never been. It will have him on South Beach at a very fancy hotel and when he said, “Can you get away for a couple days? Other than one nice dinner you’ll be mostly on your own…” I thought, “This is the mini-vacation designed for me.” It’s been hectic gearing up for felting classes and workshops and getting ready to spread my wings on a new juried exhibition in February. I intend to be the ‘mixed media artist extreme” for that show, stepping outside my usual boundaries of  nice and useful felted artwork. Look out.

Miami is only looking at highs of 70 and lows of 45 for the next few days but it’s warmer than here where all the outdoor plants are looking limp and hanging on for dear life. Funny how your tolerance for extremes narrows as you narrow your exposure to life’s extremes. There’s a message in there.

You’ll find me by the pool in a hooded sweatshirt or walking along the ocean these next couple days. The internet connection has got to be better than what’s been going on here at home with BRIGHT HOUSE. (BH, you thought I was kidding when I said I was going to launch a public campaign against your weak signal and crummy service. This is only the beginning…Big Love should not be cutting out on me every 8 minutes. I don’t deserve that. Next step? Take one months service bill and spend it on a newspaper ad instead. And you know, around here, people still avidly read the St. Petersburg Times.) I’m going to read, knit, plan extreme felt and get caught up on correspondence. That means here in the blog ‘hood, too.

Abby and Misha arrived home at 3 am after numerous airport delays. They still swear by Singapore Air and say it’s real luxurious flying. They unpacked all their souvenirs for friends and family (I got premium vodka and a Matryoshka kitty doll- she repeatedly holds birds and cooking utensils. Both fitting gifts.), did their laundry and and promptly got sick, possibly H1N1. True to form, Abby also immediately got a full time job offer working for the government and she starts today, sick or no, over my objections. She’s looking forward to a semester of work while she waits to hear on grad school application).

Even Shadow and Thinman were cold yesterday when I went down to feed. So, now that I’ve blathered on, here are Wordless Wednesday photos. I’ll check in tomorrow with ocean pix- taking the camera.(Thinman looks so proud and dignified. I call him Whineman because he spends the entire time I’m feeding Shadow, whining for his supper.)(Think they look alike? To me, they are as different as two children. I took this moments after Shadow got her beak trimmed with the dremel tool. We catch her up in a towel with a hole for her beak, put her on her back and file away. It was getting too long so meal time was an ordeal. It was also disconcerting, carrying on a conversation with a raptor with a chick head impaled on her beak sitting on the glove 12 inches from my face. The trimming made a dramatic difference; dinner time after was a piece of cake. Well, actually, it was a piece of beef heart but it went down much easier.)(Here you can see the differences in this beautiful pair. She is the larger-true for raptor females- and redder morph; he is lean and sharp-eyed. They are waiting for dinner in their standard places: She’s on top, hops to the glove from this branch and eats first (or else Thinny will snag her dinner) and he sits there and starts to whine. Her bad eye is the left one so you can’t see it here but when she’s on the glove and stares at me I empathize with the vision issue. Avatar in 3D would be wasted on her, too.)

Stay warm. And, Bonnie? All 12 points, amen! and Om Shanthi. Shanthi. Shanthi, too. A blessed Epiphany to you!

Will it Felt?

Around here I play a variation of the David Letterman game,’Will It Float?’ It’s called,”Will It Felt?” Take this piece for example, which didn’t photograph for beans. But as a diversion from producing felted fruit and angels at a high rate of speed for upcoming holiday shows, I’ve been working on this ‘Sedona’ piece that is large and hopefully, good and frame-able. It has a staggering amount of effort into it, not to mention a lot of mulling it over time. There’s an underlying wool pre-felt in shades of golds and browns. There is a massive run of raw silk hand-dyed in reds, oranges and yellows. There are hand-dyed silk cocoon hankies accented with purples, blues and oranges. And there is wool from some hapless Corriedale that’s been dyed in blue/gray tones and some of same dyed orange. After all that there are hours of layout, rearranging, moving, tweaking, poking, pulling. Finally, we come to the question: Will It Felt? Not everything does and a lot of what does, doesn’t do it the way you think it might. I’m afraid to start; once you add soap and water that could be the kiss of death. It’s one thing to trash a bowl with several hours work and 8.00 worth of materials; it’s another to wad up something like this and throw it in the trash. Or give it to the cat for a cat blanket. McCloud has been eye-balling it constantly because it’s on his glass top coffee table. I believe he thinks I’m doing this all for him. At night, I put crinkly plastic and tin foil strips around it to keep him off but it’s only  matter of time…Anyway, this is taking my mind off not winning the Wolf/SubZero 50,000 kitchen sweepstakes. Sort of. But then I think: “If only I had that 10 ft run of Cambria stone countertop with the giant farmstyle Kohler sink at the end, this thing would be a lot easier to tackle.”

Anyway, I’m busy and I still have to run over and feed the birds and then the neighborhood annual Halloween porch party is tonight. I’m wearing a tiara, long gown and a giant satin sash that reads, “Miss Understood.” I think I’ll carry a bouquet of coontie fronds with Mexican sunflowers. Have a great weekend!sedona1

(This didn’t photograph well. That patch up in the upper right doesn’t really look like bovine intestines.)