Friday, February 22, 2013

Walking Wounded

This is Agatha, the worst of of yesterday's walking wounded. See her ace bandage poking out from beneath her wing? She seems to kind of like it, which is good because she needs it. She's got deep puncture wounds on either side of her sternum and her tail is half chewed off. I was afraid of what I might find when I took off yesterday's bandages but her wounds look good (you know, for wounds.) She's dozing here but a few seconds after I snapped this shot Max (my German Shepherd) walked across her field of vision behind me and her eyes snapped open. All the girls are on house arrest until we figure out how to manage the fox threat. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Fiber Retreat! Come One, Come All!

OK, I've officially got BIG NEWS! I've been asked to be the presenter at the Fibers of Faith Retreat at Singing Hills Christian Conference Center. This retreat is going to be awesome! I know because I'm planning a lot of it. I mean, seriously, if you're into fiber what could possibly be better than going to a lovely location and doing nothing but playing, praying, and praising??? If you throw in a couple of bunnies you've pretty much got my idea of heaven.

If you want to curl up in a corner and do nothing but beaver away on a sweater or lace shawl you can certainly do that, but if you want to play with me here are a few of the toys I'll be bringing with me and demoing on:

Carding: I'll have my Fancy Kitty drum carder and I'll show you how to make fancy-schmancy art batts that you can then . . .

Drop Spinning: . . . use to spin some yarn on a drop spindle. It's easy; I'll show you how! Or . . .

Spinning: . . . on a real wheel. I'll be bringing my workhorse wheel, a Kromski Sonata as well as the wheel I spin a lot of my angora on which is probably the most standard wheel since your mother was a pup, an Ashford Traditional. I'll teach traditional spinning techniques as well as demoing a couple of art yarns, probably corespinning and tailspinning. If you want you can use the yarn you make during the . . .

Scarflette Class: . . . during which we'll be making something that's a cross between a scarf and a yarn necklace. Bring your leftover ends from home and/or dig through my stash and/or use the yarn you make during the demos or off-time. There's a $5 materials charge for this class.

Weaving: My 4-harness Dorset loom will also be at the retreat and I'll give a short demo and open it up to anyone who wants to give it a try. The loom will stay set up throughout the retreat so if you don't get a chance to try your hand during the demo time you can play with it whenever you have some free time.

Needle Felting: I'll show you how to make a simple sculptural form and we'll also work on a group project throughout the retreat.

All of my equipment will be available for playing with and practicing on throughout the retreat and I'm happy to answer any questions, or demonstrate any skill I possess (except tap dancing) even if it's not part of the stated curriculum.

I know this is already beyond amazing, but wait! There's more! I'll also be vending on Friday and maybe Sunday morning. I'm planning to bring with me: yarn, stitch markers, art batts, buttons, and roving. Retreat guests will receive a coupon code when they sign up. When you get this code you can get 10% off in my Etsy shop online and free delivery to the retreat if you want to pick it up there. Anyone who purchases something from me during the retreat (Etsy pre-sales count!) will be entered into a drawing to win the scarflette I'll bring as a demo! The art batt I make for the carding demo will also be given away in a random drawing to any participants in the demo.

But wait! There's more! Do you like fiddle music? In the evenings, when you're relaxing, quietly chatting or working on your projects I'll be sitting in a corner providing live entertainment on my fiddle.

And . . . I've been asked to lead out during the praise sings. I'm in the process of choosing songs right now.

So . . . . . . . . . . .  come one, come all! Let's play, and relax, and laugh, and sing, and praise, and pray together for 4 days. Give yourself the gift of some "me" time. Fill your own well so you can go back to your life filled with new ideas, skills, and projects that excite you. To sign up go here. If you register before March 1st you get $10 off!!

Fox Attack

I was standing by the kitchen sink fixing Fergal's food when I saw something, a lot of somethings, drift across the meadow.

"What is that? Ashes?"
"Leaves," Rob said.
"From where?"
"They don't look like leaves."

A little while later he came in the house. "That stuff in the meadow is chicken feathers. Lots of them."

We couldn't figure out what on earth it was at first. There were feathers from different chickens all over the place. Brown ones, red ones, gray ones. Piles of them. Like the Grim Reaper had danced around the farm butchering. But strangely, no blood.

We found a lot of chewed up hens which I spent the morning doctoring and two dead ones, carried off down the hill by a fox which Rob saw and chased off. We are wondering if there were two of them. How could one fox do so much damage in such short time? Rob said he heard the girls squawking this morning but didn't think anything of it at the time.

I don't know how many of the injured ones will live. One was so bad I had to wrap her in an ace bandage. A couple appear to be in shock. I put stress vitamins in their water and I'm about to make them a stodge of oatmeal, yogurt, and other nourishing things.

I hate to walk outside and see the feathers drift by. They're everywhere.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Belated 4 Year Anniversary Giveaway!

I don’t know about you but giveaways are starting to have so many hoops to jump through that it’s almost not worth the effort. So I thought to celebrate the four years my fiber studio and farm have existed I’d have a simple giveaway.

In order to enter all you have to do is “like” this post on our Spindrift Studio at Reindeer Station Farm page on Facebook. That’s it! You can only enter once, but you can share the love by sharing the post. You get a chance to win these fabulous dryer balls and I get some exposure for my studio/farm. It’s a win-win! If you do decide to share, THANK YOU! Believe me, in this age of information overload I know what I’m asking. While you're on our FB page "like" it if you haven't already. Pretty soon I'll be doing FB-Only specials and goodies.

On March 1, Hamish will choose a winner. I hope it's youuuuuuuuuu!!
Can you believe it was four years ago that I sat spinning some nasty 10-year-old wool by my wood stove, longing for sheep and bunnies? (I never even dreamed as high as an alpaca and llama!) I am in fiber nirvana and I am fully aware of that and appreciate it every day, I truly do. Even when it’s 20-below outside I enjoy taking care of my animals, making sure everyone is as warm as they can be and has food and water. I love watching their fiber grow - okay, so maybe it’s more along the lines of lusting than looking but if you could see how beautiful it is as it grows you’d lust after it too.
Four years ago I didn’t even know where my studio was headed beyond writing. As I look ahead I see more writing. Hopefully not the kind with truly killer deadlines because I’m beginning to realize that it takes me away too much and too often from my own life. (Exciting news on that front very soon.) There will also be teaching because I love to teach. (News soon - hopefully later today - about a fiber retreat I’ll be teaching at. Come play with me!) There will be art of all kinds because I can’t seem to limit myself to a single medium. (And why should I?) There will be sales of vintage finds because I can’t help carting home with me items that I know have beauty and life in them beyond what others see. There will be bunny hugging because, honestly, what’s a Monday (or a Tuesday, or a Wednesday) without a bunny hug? And there will be sparkle because it makes me happy. Good times ahead. I hope you’ll join me.
So, about the giveaway. You’ll get three felted wool dryer balls and this snazzy bag to keep them in when you’re not using them. It’s plenty big in case you get, or make, more. Keep reading for a description and may the odds ever be in your favor.
“What Are Felted Wool Dryer Balls – And Why Do You Want Them? 

Instead of loading your laundry – that soft, precious fabric that touches your skin every day – with stinky chemicals that are in dryer sheets, these felted wool dryer balls will do the same job in less time. 

In a nutshell: The wool soaks up some of the moisture in your laundry as it dries, but then evenly distributes it into the air – helping your dryer stay humid longer, which exponentially reduces static cling. In addition, this “soaking and releasing” action makes your clothes dry faster. And all of these things together mean fewer wrinkles. And if you sprinkle a few drops of essential oil on them before using you’ll scent your laundry too. 

Best of all, they’ll last up to 5 years. That’s 5 years without having to worry a single bit about static, dryer sheets, wrinkles, buying supplies, and failed presidential debates (you shouldn’t ever worry about that last thing, anyway).” ~ Crunchy Betty

(This is where I learned how to make them, but I actually adapted her process because I wanted mine to be heavier and denser than what this process would produce. I both needle and nuno felted mine. But if you don’t win - or you simply fall so in love with these you want more and want to make them yourself - there you go. If you want some nice, dense ones like mine, or you don’t want to make your own, I’ll have more up in the shop. If you make them Betty’s way you can make quite a lot in a short time. Mine take a lot longer. But I’m biased; I like mine better.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

On The Bobbin

From today's photo shoot. Art yarn I started this morning. Merino/tencel with cocoons of sari silk and angelina. Oh my.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Play Well With Others

Hear Ye, Hear Ye . . .

 . . . if you have tried to make a comment on this blog in the last year or so you've probably been prevented, or had to jump through hoops to do it. That's because I got very rudely flamed over some pictures I posted of puppets my son made. It was very upsetting to both him and me. He hadn't even particularly wanted me to post them so he was doubly wronged when they were criticized for not being "Christian" when they weren't meant to be particularly Christian. They were his own imaginings.

I didn't make a big deal about it at the time. My mother taught me that if you don't have anything nice to say you should keep your mouth shut. Apparently I learned that lesson better than my flamers did. I only mention it now because the blog is gearing up to be a little more active and I've changed the comment setting.  I'll be moderating comments but unless the flamers return all comments should post. So please feel free to comment, just also remember to play well with others.

I was so upset and hurt I removed the offending pictures at the time but I don't plan to remove anything further. This blog is about my art and my books and my animals and my life. I'm a Christian. I won't apologize for that - either for being one or for not meeting someone's expectations of what they think a Christian should be. I may mention God in this blog. I may not. If you want to know my thoughts on God, or Christianity and being a Christian, please feel free to ask me, or read one of the 17 books I've written so far on the subject, or one of the thousands of articles and stories I've published. I don't intend to use this space for proselytizing but if my beliefs show I won't apologize for that either. Take me or leave me but please refrain from flaming me. It ruins a perfectly good day.

So, with that said, let the games begin! On Wednesday, only one month late (!), I'm going to post the anniversary giveaway so be sure to check back for that. Also, FB only and Blog only goodies will start soon so be sure you are a follower of both the blog and the studio/farm page on Facebook. To do that go here. I won't be cross-posting goodies. I'm looking for 1,000 FB followers and then I'm having a really awesome giveaway. And I mean REALLY awesome. Don't miss out on the fun!!