Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Work in Progress

I've been working so hard lately [at my real job, the one that pays the bills] it feels like my brain has gone through a shredder. Tomorrow I'm going to take the day off to play with fiber. There's some spinning I'm anxious to do and I've been working on these too . . . felted pendants/pouches. These are two I started with. The left one is finished (and now has a chain). It's a simple pendant with a piece of sea glass in the middle held in by a beaded cage. The one on the right is a pouch and you can see the thread where I stuck the needle in as I'm in the process of edge beading it. I made one last night though, using 3D techniques that I like even better. I haven't started beading it yet and think I'll even felt the "necklace" part, maybe adding some beads.

It started with a bag of scraps I bought from someone on a fiber list. [I also bought a bag of silk scraps leftover from making a crazy quilt, but that's another story.] This bag had lots of goodies in it. I'm sure the woman who sold it was getting sick of them, but to me they're fresh and new and full of possiblities. I'm going to suggest a round-robin scrap swap on MaryJane's Farm. If you're interested watch the Stitching & Crafting Room forum because that's where I'll post it.

In the meantime I'm going to enjoy my day "off" playing with fiber and trying, trying to ignore that I just ordered a bunch of fantastic fiber at International Fleeces from a woman who has promised to adopt me. I check the FedEx tracking page a couple hundred times an hour to see when it's going to GET HERE. Patience is not only not one of my virtues, it's not really even in my vocabulary. When the box comes I promise I'll let you take a peek at my treasures. But no touchy . . .

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Red Posole - Be Still My Heart

As promised, I am here to wax poetic about red posole. But first, an update. The Felted Tailspun Collier I donated to Craft Hope for Haiti has been listed ( All the purchase price goes to Doctors Without Borders. (The person who donates the item donates the shipping as well, however much it is.) I ask you, what could be better than making a donation to a worthy cause AND getting cool stuff?? I mean, even if you don't want anything for yourself, you saint, who doesn't have a birthday or other celebration coming up soon they need to buy a present for? Need I remind you that wedding season and graduation is fast approaching?? Hmm? Go, shoo, go buy and then come back here for the posole part. We'll wait.

Okay, so I read some books by Judith Ryan Hendricks and while I liked some of them better than others the thing they all had in common was that they made me hungry. Some for bread and some for Mexican food (although I think she makes a distinction that it's not Mexican, it's Southwestern, but for a Yankee it's all pretty much the same.) Anyway, after the last one I was dying to try something, anything, Southwestern, but it sounded like the ingredients were hard to find and I despaired. So imagine my elation when Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks posted an entry in her blog for Red Posole. I'd never heard of it, but it sounded great. It called for hominy. All right. Haven't eaten much hominy, but what the hey. I found a can of it (even though she says get the dried kind.) I even found the New Mexican Chile peppers (Price Chopper). I couldn't find the Mexican oregano or the ground red chile powder so I used regular oregano and Chipotle Chile Pepper (Price Chopper again.)

It was soooo good that I haven't stopped eating it. I ran out of hominy so I cooked up a batch of anasazi beans and that was great too (that's the version that's in the bowl.) I mixed it with brown rice and topped it with some salsa verde. Here's the link so you can get the recipe for yourself, but disclosure: it's addicting (and very hot)!!! Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Craft Hope for Haiti

Craft Hope for Haiti Shop Spreading seeds of hope one stitch at a timeEver since I got my fabu tangled nuno felted scarf (see post below) I have been playing with my own versions of it so lucky for me, I had something ready to list when I heard about the Craft Hope for Haiti Etsy initiative. I'd never done much with wet felting before so it was all an experiment, but I couldn't help myself. I was having dreams of creating felted colliers; I'd wake up with all these ideas racing through my head. For those of you familiar with the creative process, this sort of thing can be hard to ignore. For this collier (I feel compelled to confess that this particular sample was NOT my first attempt) I took some of my grey tailspun and put in a little beautiful sky blue merino, braided it, and then felted it, which had the unforeseen benefit of washing my kitchen floor as wet felting is a sloppy business and the kitchen floor is the only space large enough (and waterproof enough) to do it. Now I'm anxious to try out some other possibilities. Loving the tailspun though; it's very whimsical.

I've donated this scarf to Craft Hope for Haiti. (So if you want it go shop quick! They did say there's a slight lag time between when you submit it and when it gets posted so keep checking. If you don't want it go shop quick! There are lots of other great items.) All the profits go to Doctors Without Borders. So far they've made nearly $10,000 (are people not amazingly generous?? Huzzah!!). If you're a shopper and you haven't seen the store yet you can find it at Shop for charity's sake. If you're an artist I hope you'll consider donating. (Thank you spunmonkey for passing the word along!)

Tomorrow I will share my newest obsession for red posole with a link to the recipe. Right now I have some real work to do if I can concentrate with the smell of my newest batch of beans boiling away on the woodstove. What a girl will do for red sauce . . .

Monday, January 11, 2010

Portrait of Another Kind

This is Isobel. She's my studio assistant. She has aspirations of being a model in NYC someday. I keep telling her she's better off here on the farm and not stuck in some shop window. Here she's modeling my newest fiber creation. I think I posted a month or so ago about the day I took a busman's holiday (go on, ask . . . you want to know what that is, don't you? It's like a bus driver going on a bus ride on his day off. That's where the word came from. It's taking a holiday doing for fun what you do for a living.) and went to the Fiber Studio in New Hampshire. This is the yarn I spun and this is what became of it.

Let me tell you, it's the height of squishy softness and I was sooooo tempted to keep it for myself, but the girls will need grain soon so onto Etsy it went.

I named it after a flamboyant 18th century slack rope walker (you know you want to know . . . check out She was great fun and knew how to laugh. That's important, I think. Knowing how to laugh. It gets us over a lot of bumps in the road. I'm taking a few of them hard lately. In fact I gave some thought to starting a Green Smoothie blog a la Julie and Julia because due to health problems/allergies I've had to radically alter my diet. So now every morning I drink (read: gag down) a green smoothie. Trust me, this you DON'T want to know. I mean, I know it's healthy and all, but must we ruin perfectly good fruit by blending it with greens???? Anyway, I decided against it because so far all of my entries would read like this: "Gag. Gross. Disgusting." And who wants to read that day after day? Still, I try to laugh about it. Yeah. I do. Ha. Ha.

Did have an amazing raw supper last night of "not" meatballs (aka walnut pate) and yummy raw marinara sauce over zucchini noodles. I had a revelation . . . it wasn't supposed to be COOKED, but it could be WARM. So I popped it into the warm oven and in about five minutes, roughly when it started to smell like food, I ate it and was (finally) pleasantly surprised. It was really YUM. I think I now have the ultimate ingredient - raw marinara sauce - to round off my killer gluten free vegan pizza. Can't wait to try that.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Portrait of a Fiber Artist

This is not actually a portait of me as a fiber artist. I mean, that's my picture, but it's to show you the work of another fiber artist, thespunmonkey
( She made that tangled nuno felt scarf I'm wearing. She used to live in Vermont which is where I first saw her work. Rachel and I went into a fiber store in Brattleboro (Knit or Dye) and saw a basket of art batts full of sparkles. They only had one blue one or we probably would have bought more.

The next place I saw her was on Jacey Bogg's art yarn video "Sit and Spin" and I thought, "Hey, I `know' her!" I can't remember if I found her blog or her Etsy shop first but I visit both frequently. It's funny . . . when you find someone you identify with on some level you feel like you "know" them, even when you don't "know" them. I guess that's how people feel when they read my books, because they say the same thing; that they feel like we're already friends.

Anyway, I decided to treat myself for Christmas and I went to thespunmonkey's shop and chose a tangled nuno felt scarf. I LOVE it!!! I wear it with all kinds of stuff and can't wait for spring/summer/fall when I can wear it with tank tops and T-shirts. I dunno, just wearing it makes me feel like a fiber artist. I find that in general scarves, more than any other item, have that effect. Maybe it's their wildness, their color, their what-the-hey abandon, but scarves are totally creative. (I guess it could just be my French showing . . . ) And even skinny scarves add a bit of warmth indoors when you wear them as an accessory. What I wanna know is why did it take me so long to figure this out???

Anyway, I love being part of the fiber creating crowd. I love wearing stuff I've created and I love wearing stuff other people have created. It makes me feel like I'm part of some universal, ongoing creativeness. And the colors . . . well, the belated discovery of color is a whole other post. I mean, I'm all for Shabby Chic, cottagey whites, but by the time I discovered fiber art I was like a starving man. Give . . . me . . . color . . . or I perish. It's amazing too how much the excessive use of color spurs you on to even more abandon in your creativity. And for us perfectionists that's revoluntionary.

Citizens of the world unite! Create art! Wear art! And be colorful! You are so commanded. :^)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Finding Fergal

We've been playing a new game lately. It's called "Where's Fergal?" Waldo has nothing on Fergal, but then, Waldo doesn't have fluffy bunnyfeet which make it very easy to sneak past so that one minute you think he's in the kitchen and then you hear a "Oh, hello, whatcha doin' Fergal?" from the living room (or the hallway, or the one of the bedrooms) or Max will go scuttling off like he's been bitten because he "sees no bunny, hears no bunny, eats no bunny" and the easiest way to do that it to make sure you are nowhere near the bunny.

I thought we'd have trouble with "accidents" when I started bringing him upstairs for extended periods, but so far the only time he's had an accident was when Rachel brought him up one morning and thought she'd cuddle him for a bit and he settled down with a disgruntled look on his face and promptly peed. Otherwise there aren't even any bunny berries to pick up. He's practically better housebroken than the cat and definitely better than Angus.

He hops all over the place, but we've been trying to keep him away from the tree (he seems to understand that he was a Christmas present - from Lucas, as he informed me when he dropped him off - and likes to hang out under the tree.) Trouble is the tree is shedding. Badly. And there's nothing like angora fur for picking up tree needles. It takes FOREVER to get them out of him.

I caught a picture of him (above) playing with a toy that came out of one of the Christmas crackers and eating some banana on his rug. I tried to get a really cute picture of him sprawled out on it moments before, but there was some angora fluff in front of the camera lens and the picture was blurred and then Max barked and Fergal took off. He has a cubby space that he likes to chill out in when he's not on his rug.

I was thinking last night about it being New Year's and how it was almost a year ago that I had a dream of having a farm and animals and now, here we are a year later and I do. Is that not the greatest??? I am very blessed!