Working with alpaca fleece and I love the results! Workshop coming, see below . . .

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Creamy white merino and alpaca.
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With touches of alpaca along the edges and in the center of this creamy white scarf, a look of heavenly clouds is created.  The shiny white wavy lines are created with pure silk fibers.
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Here I added bits of fleece all over the underlying merino design.  The alpaca felts best when paired with a very feltable fiber like merino.
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This scarf is reversable; one side (above) having charcoal, cafe o’ lait, camel, and white underlying the white alpaca fleece.  The other side (below) has a cafe o’ lait, camel and white underlying design with white alpaca on top.

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The brooches I sell to go with the scarves.  Sometimes people buy a brooch first then design a scarf to go with the brooch they choose.

I stopped by Alpacas At Marquam Hill Ranch and met the owner, Jennifer.  I visited with her about alpacas and whether their fleeces felt or not.  She let me know that they do felt, but they felt better when mixed with an easy felting fiber such as merino wool.  We chatted and got to know each other and decided we would collaborate on a workshop!

I bought a couple small bags of fleece and she gave me another, and I went to work.  I love the results!  Now we have a workshop planned at her ranch.

Here is the flyer for our workshop together (perhaps some of you can make it):

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Yesterday’s scarf felting workshop was awesome!

Yesterday Beth, Penny, and I spent a long afternoon getting to know each other better, learning the process of felting, creating art scarves, and enjoying the snacks we each brought to the party.

I teach a process which creates a reversible and fairly strong scarf due to the many layers of fiber involved.  My guests today chose to use marino wool, silk, baby camel/silk blend, and some tencel (A fiber made from wood pulp — soft as silk but stronger).

Our workshop today lasted from noon till about 6:30pm. It was an unhurried afternoon of enjoyment. We had soft music in the background and I took the time to do a mini demonstration before they started so they understood the process pretty well from the beginning.  

I mentioned my brooch collection and that some people might enjoy creating scarves based on a brooch they have (a woman actually commissioned me once to make a scarf for her based on a vintage brooch she had inherited). I showed the vintage brooches, which were more expensive, and I showed the less expensive new brooches. We had fun looking at them and they each chose a beautiful one and based their scarves on the colors in their brooch.  Not a necessary step but a delightful one. 

They laid out their chosen fiber colors and worked through the layers until their scarves were ready to felted. Then on went the screening and soapy water was rubbed on with wadded up plastic bags. We rolled them up onto pool noodle pieces and the agitation begin.  Several hundred agitating rolls later, the scarves will felted and ready to be fringed and fulled. Next came the rinsing, and the hanging and shaping. Once they’re dry they will be ready to be worn.

One of the things I love about felting is a scarf can be finished in one afternoon.  And they look so much different than something knitted or crocheted.

Call or text me to sign up for my next workshop. Click on workshops at the top of my website for more information. The upcoming dates are February 11, or 25th, or March 11, or 25th, From noon till 6 pm.   The cost is $75 when registered with fee paid at least one week in advance. 407-766-2588

What a perfect little paw print!  What I saw while I was organizing my garage :-)

Today (written on Wed. Jan. 25th) I’m organizing my garage! Or I should say I’m supervising the organization of my garage! Ha ha I’m sitting in a rocking chair, in a big fluffy down jacket, telling my son and my niece what to do.


My niece is a real go-getter. She has worked for me many times before. She helped me build my spiral house up on the mountain. I pay her well because she is a very hard worker. She doesn’t let the cold or the wet stop her.

I have two workshops coming up this weekend and I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. I need to get some furniture out of my house, which is too full, and do some cleaning, but my garage where I want to store some of the overflow is full already.

I called Rachel and asked if she had some time to come help me get organized. I was so happy when she said she did. She came right over.

Then my daughter Melanie called and asked if I wanted the minions over today. LOL, the minions are my grandkids. I call them my minions because they are my little helpers who earn video game playing time by working for me!  I told her I was intensely focused on cleaning but I could use the older two today if she wanted to bring them over.

She brought them over and the deal was that they were to help me until it got dark then they could play video games. They helped for a good 2 1/2 hours before playtime. By then I was exhausted and we all took a break and they played games. Later I had them do another little job, then they played some more.

By the end of the day, Rachel had worked for about 7 1/2 hours. The garage was clean, the house was rearranged, I was out $108 to an excellent worker, I was exhausted, the kids had worked, and I was happy that I had accomplished everything I was hoping to. It was a great day!

Peeling Back The Negatives, Finding our True Childlike Joy

I have used the tool of focusing that I explained in my blog called “Do ya ever just not wanna get outta bed?  “Focusing” will tell you why.” many times since learning the meditation in Trackerschool almost 10 years ago.  The meditation is getting easier for me and I am more quickly able to pinpoint the problems and the good things I am looking for to assist me in my life.

I woke from a wonderful dream this morning which held all sorts of hope and confidence symbols, to a day clear of scheduled duties and full of possibilities, but a feeling of being overwhelmed and not up to the opportunities.

After feeding my horses and letting them out, taking the dog out, and setting up my computer, without any change in my feelings, I decided to peel back the layers and get to the bubbling over excitement and unrepentant confidence I knew was in there because I had felt it so recently!  So I lay back on my couch as my computer was warming up . . . my meditation went something like this:

“How am I feeling?”  I surrendered to the answer with no judgement, only love and acceptance, and waited for the first feeling to arise like dew forms on grass.  It took awhile for me to identify the feeling, it just looked like a carpet of darkness all over me and the landscape around me.  After several moments of being in that darkness I understood what the feeling was.

“I’m feeling inadequate, ‘less than’, incapable.”

“Why, why am I feeling that way?” I asked myself, again with only love and understanding, no judgement.

Again I waited in the feeling for awhile.  The understanding was not quick or easy in coming, and even when the answer came I was a bit surprised.  “I’m feeling this way because I have been taught since childhood not to trust myself, my feelings.  I was taught to look to others for approval, for what my path should be, for how I should be feeling.”

After sitting with that understanding for a minute I said to myself, without judgement, only acceptance and love, “OK, that’s good to know.”  I proceeded to attempt to set the darkness aside so I could go to the next layer but it really didn’t want to go.

I wondered why the darkness of inadequacy didn’t want to go.  I felt reluctant to force it to go.  I felt like maybe something bad would happen if I made it leave.  I wondered if I would be hurt somehow, ripped apart somehow, incomplete somehow, if it was gone.  Then I remembered I was just setting it aside.  But I also remembered that setting it aside often healed it and sometimes it didn’t come back.  I wondered if setting it aside was like giving it to God.  I wondered if giving the darkness to God is what the scripture means when it says to cast your burden on the Lord.  I tried it by saying, “Here God,” and imagined the darkness going to the light. It went, but very slowly, almost reluctantly or doubtfully, and I wondered if that was my doubt, or even my fear of being incomplete without it.  I wondered if I had been too hasty in setting it aside, maybe I had more to learn from it. . . maybe . . . anyway . . .

Next I asked, “Aside from that, How am I feeling?”

I was a little bit surprised when I found I was feeling afraid.

I asked why and surrendered.

“I am afraid I will fail, than I will know I was inadequate, not good enough.”

“OK, that’s good to know,” I said, meaning it and so grateful for that understanding!  I thought about giving that to God too, but wondered if setting it aside myself is the same thing, in a way.  I set it aside and it was easier that the first darkness of inadequacy.

Next I asked, “Aside from those, how am I feeling?”

This was the layer I had been looking for; buried under the layers of self doubt and fear.  I could see all the pictures in my mind, the colors I have been playing with for a project I am working on, the sketches I have been making, the shapes, the compositions, the textures!  This layer of feeling held the excitement of creation and joy!  “I feel energy, creative, full of life and ideas!  I don’t care if I make mistakes, it will be fun!”

“Why?”

“Because this is living, wondering, experiencing, tasting, smelling, making, seeing, doing, touching, trying, showing, talking, smiling, laughing, hugging, sharing, energy, everything.”

This layer isn’t hampered by fear, negativity, or self doubt.  This layer is pure.  This layer is more who we really are. This is the light that we are.  This is the layer I want to live my life from and I just had to get past the film of negativity to find it again.  I believe this layer is always in there, for everyone.  We simply (or sometimes not so simply) have to make the effort to find it under the other layers.  Focusing is a great tool to help with that!

I will forever be grateful to my teacher Tom Brown Jr. for his teachings and his healing methods we students benefitted from.

 

Horse tales . . . Or maybe I should say horse tails. 

When I got my Missouri Foxtrotter’s, they’re gorgeous long tails were so matted, the centers of their tails were big fat dreadlocks.  We have all three horses baths last summer and began working to untangle and comb out the two Foxtrotter’s tails. I could see it would not be easy.

When our new Ferrier came to trim their feet, she said she would just cut the dreadlocks out. I decided to do that. I cut them out and quickly regretted it when I saw them lift their tails. The long side tendrils hung down and the stubs from the cut off dreadlocks stuck up like weird looking bobtails.

I gave the cut off dreadlocks to my sister Krista, who would use them in her pottery. I guess when you put horse hairs in pottery when you fire them they make interesting patterns. But I always felt bad when the horses tried to switch their tails at the flies and were so ineffective.

One day when I was in the saddle shop I saw some long hairs hanging on the wall, held together with rubber bands here and there along the length, that looked kind of like a horse tail. I asked the owner what that was and he said it was horse hair extensions! 

I said, “Really? They have hair extension for horses?” 

He said, “Yes!” And smiled, kind of amused as my mouth fell open. 

Then I had an idea.  I decided to get the tails back and reattach them if I could. I think super glue would work. I’ll let you know how it goes. 

Here’s a picture of the tangled tails I got back from my sister.


I’m going to try to get them all slippery with water and conditioner and see if I can untangle them first. I’ll keep you posted on this project.

Do Ya Ever Just Not Wanna Get Outta Bed? “Focusing” Will Tell You Why.

That’s how I felt this morning.

I was rested but just didn’t want to face the day.  There was nothing pressing I had to do for anyone else, but I felt stressed and awful!

I decided to do the focusing meditation Tom Brown Jr., my teacher at Trackerschool, taught me, to separate the individual emotions that make up the mix of emotions we experience.

The method is this: While in a quiet place, alone, preferably in nature, you ask yourself in the most loving, non judgmental, kind manner, “How am I feeling?” and surrender (to surrender is to go to nothingness, no thought, no image, no agenda and see what comes to you) to the first emotion that presents itself.

If you get, “Well, I feel just fine,” then say to yourself, “Yeah, right!  How am I REALLY feeling?” and surrender to the real answer.  Then ask yourself, “Why?  Why am I feeling this way?” and surrender to the answer.  Then you make note of it on paper if you like, or in your mind, and set it aside in your mind.  Next, say to yourself, “Aside from that, How am I feeling?” and surrender to the answer.  Ask yourself, “Why am I feeling this way?”  Make note of it, and set it aside in your mind.  Then ask yourself, “Aside from those, how am I feeling?” and surrender to the next emotion or feeling that comes to the surface.  When the emotion or feeling presents itself, ask yourself, “Why am I feeling this way?” and make a note of it and set it aside in your mind . . . and on and on.

If at some point you get nothing in return, realize there is some reason you are not allowing yourself to know about that layer, which is just fine.  Say to yourself, “OK, good to know,” set it aside and go on to the next layer.

When Tom had us do this, he gave us a full 45 minutes on this exercise.  I got distracted a lot as I went deeper and deeper, and had to struggle to bring myself back to the exercise.  He told us, “When you think you have gone deep enough, go deeper.”  This exercise is VERY healing and helps you to see what is contributing to the mix of emotions which are affecting you right now.

–If you go deep enough, you may find something completely unexpected that will change your life.

The emotions that are affecting you now change with time.  Each day will probably be different, but you may find some consistencies too.

When you are finished with the exercise, there is more you can do with it.   Tom taught us to go through the list and ask yourself, “Which one of these emotions is the most powerful right now?” and circle it and put a 1 by it.  Then go through the list and ask, “Aside from that one, which one is most powerful or  most important right now?” and circle it and put a 2 by it.  Do this until it feels like the most important ones are circled.

If the ones circled are positive emotions you can ask, “What more can I learn about this?” and surrender to an answer.  The answer may come in an image, a feeling, an emotion, a complete knowing.  You can ask again and again, going through layers of learning about this positive thing.  You can do this about individual emotions or about the group of emotions.  I think doing both would give the greatest understanding.

If the ones circles are negative emotions or feelings you can ask, “How can I heal this?” and surrender to an answer.  This question can be asked again and again until you feel you have gotten what you need for help in healing.  You can do this about an individual negative emotion or about a group of negative emotions.  I think it would be beneficial to do both the individual emotions or feelings and the group for the greatest understanding.

Back to my exercise today . . .

The first layer showed me that I was feeling very frustrated — because I had too much I wanted to accomplish and not enough hours in the day, week, month to accomplish everything, and I felt a pressure or expectation from myself but also because I believed others expected things of me.

The second layer showed me I felt calm, relaxed, not worried — because none of that is really important

The third layer showed me I was angry, roaring, holding up the rafters of my house, wanting to break it to pieces!  Not caring if I died!  — because of my frustration and bottled up anger from past things.  (In my dream interpretations, my houses seem to represent my life.)

The fourth layer I felt like a quiet, small, amber red, elliptical shape, and very happy to be alive — because that is more real, that is more the essence of my true feelings.

That was all I needed for today.  I realized the second and fourth layers were the most important and powerful ones for me and to let the other ones go.  To do things as I can, with joy, and not worry.

We get trained in life to focus and stress on things that are not really that important in the long run and that can cause a great deal of internal strife!  Realizing how wonderful it is to simply be here, experiencing everything, can make such a difference.

If you want to read more about my first understanding this because I remembered how I felt when I was coming to be in the physical world, click here.

We Ain’t Cold, We’re Vikings!

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Would I have been out here in the snow if it weren’t for Cheryl?  . . . no.  Ha ha!

Cheryl often says, “I can do it, I’m a Viking!”  Not wanting her out there trying to lift those rafters on her own, which would have been difficult to say the least, I went out and helped her.  After all, I’m a Viking too, right?  I wonder if we do that DNA test, who would be most Viking?  😉

I found working in the snow wasn’t that bad.  Of course, I had on the big fluffy down jacket my dad gave me a few years back when I still lived in Florida.  Glad I have it now!  Also, under my long skirt I had on stretch pants.  Then there are the Ugg type boots I was wearing, a great thrift store find . . . and a scarf to keep my ears warm.  Yeah, we’re tough. We’re Vikings.  We’re well insulated Vikings!

We worked to get the outline of her rooftop done and tarped, so her “tiny house” aka her studio, could be covered from the rain and snow until she can work on it after this new semester.

We worked and worked, then had to go in to rest and get warm.  Then back to work.  We paced ourselves because we just don’t have that much stamina!  We did not get the tiny house along as far as we had hoped, but we are close to the goal.

Today (Sunday) was to be her last day to work on it before school starts for her.  She had been working through her winter break on the structure, even when sick, and today she was really under the weather so we decided to rest.  I was glad we were resting because I was exhausted and I’m not even sick!

Here are some more photos of our working yesterday.

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Before we started the roof bones.
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Cheryl attaching things while I hold rafter steady (out of picture).
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MMMmmm HHhmmm . . . Looking good!
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Working up high.
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Yipee!  Done for the day.  Getting dark.
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View out the double doors on south west side.

I do love building projects, especially ones like this which will be so beautiful when finished!  I wouldn’t choose to work in this weather, however, Viking or no.