Wednesday, February 29, 2012

On our way

View from here: yes, it's true, it looks like the moon.
This is a long day.  It is a solid three hours from our house to the Albuquerque airport, not counting a stop in Santa Fe for coffee to keep ourselves revved up.  Now it's a three hour wait until our flight, thanks to Southwest Airlines cutting their scheduled nonstop flights to San Diego to only two a day...early morning or later in the evening.  It's all good, though, because I know some happy little faces await us at the other end of this day.  Mr. Sunflower is a tireless traveler; I fear I'm not so perky about it as I used to be.  However, I must always remember that I don't have to ride a covered wagon for months to get there, or worse yet, never see them at all.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Picking up where I left off...

Our visitors headed out early this morning for their long drive back to NY.  It has been the best week; meeting kindred spirits known only through cyberspace was just like having an old friend arrive to catch up after a long absence.  I wish this could happen more often, because I just know that so many of you I've met through blog land are people I'd love to hang out with given the chance.  Maybe a blogger reunion someday?

Until then, my thanks to Robyn, the wonderful Lucy and the shy Finn for taking three days from your busy travels to come and visit our world.  I look forward to visiting your world one day.  Safe travels to you.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.  I have four more days here before leaving for California.  I have things pretty well wrapped up but want to work some more on this Primitive Spirit design by Karen Kahle before leaving.  I took this photo a week or more ago and have covered a lot of ground since then, but know I won't finish it before I leave.  I took the overall photo hoping you could see what a mess there is all around my frame, but for reasons I can't explain, it doesn't really show.  Believe looks like wool snippet snow up there, but it's pretty.

Have a good weekend...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Playing tourist in Taos

Finn, Robyn, Lucy, Anila
Today was great fun.  We hung out with Robyn, Lucy and Finn for a while this morning, then headed down to Ranchos de Taos under the guise of visiting the  St. Francis de Asisi church that was made so famous by southwestern painter Georgia O'Keefe and photographer Ansel Adams.  Built of adobe between 1772-1816, it is a world heritage church and is still an active parish in our community.

My not so secret motive for this educational tour was to have lunch next door at the Ranchos Plaza Grill, which is THE best New Mexican food in town.  I wanted our visitors to experience some good old home food, along with our beloved sopaipillas, heavenly pillows of deep fried bread.  Sounds icky, but mmmmm good...the locals eat them for desert slathered with honey.  How could you go wrong?

We found a fixer-upper for Robyn!
After lunch and our foray through the church, we headed out to the Greater World Community, hoping to visit the demonstration center and tour some earth ships.  No such luck...they wanted $7.00 a person which is kind of a rip for what it is.  Too bad.  We opted for driving the dirt roads and gawking at some of the   privately owned earth ships.  It was decided, I believe, that this was not something worth leaving New York or Newfoundland for.  Say what?  You don't want to live miles from anywhere with no utilities or water?  Well gosh; but having been there/done that, I can't say I had much to argue.

We are having more unseasonably warm weather.  Today the winds of spring hit us, and I mean winds, not breezes.  Spring in NM is my least favorite season here and despite what the calendar may say, this is spring.  Even the weeping willows are turning yellow in preparation for their new leaves.  I have officially requested that when Robyn comes back, bringing Shawn, that they come in fall, when the air is at its best and the colors can blow your mind.  Got that, Shawn???

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

An exciting day

This afternoon, I'm going to meet my blog friend Robyn Love of My Fair Isle.  I should say we, actually, because it'll be Ani and Roger and I acting as the welcoming committee.  Robyn is on a road trip with her two kids, Lucy and Finn, and when she decided to take this trip, we hit the jackpot when she decided to come way out of her way to visit Taos.

I've been trying to be cool about this, like it's an old friend coming, not someone I've never met.  I feel like she's an old friend, because we've been connected via cyberspace for the last few years.  Today I'm losing my composure...I'm just flat out excited!  I don't know how long they plan to be here in Taos (I fear not long enough) so I've cleared the slate to be sure to be available whenever they want some company.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Thirteen more sleeps...

until I return to California to be with my family there.  I'm in wrap-up mode here, building a pile of things that will go back with me and finishing projects so that I have somewhat of a clean slate when I return to NM again in May.

Work in progress
It has been nice, having these weeks to be with my family here.  I spent the first 5 weeks spinning a lot (more on that later), knitted and shipped off a box of sweaters, socks and hats for donation to school children in Afghanistan, and purged the pantry shelves of ancient food stuffs, including two bags of special flour I brought home from Ireland in 2001, thinking I would learn to make their wonderful brown bread (really?  Did I think going to Ireland would make me suddenly want to learn to bake??).  It feels really good to have these things done; so much went to hell in a hand basket, as my mom would have said, during those years I was working full time.  And, as usually happens, I was once again reminded that the doing was not nearly as painful or time consuming as the years I spent dreading the tasks.  Why do we do this to ourselves???

I think I've already mentioned that my dear friend Monte McBride of
Not the best photo, but you get the idea!
has been gracious enough to sell my hand spun yarns these last months (she hosts a showcase there for visiting fiber artists).  It has been a big gift for me that she's willing to take her time to do this, because I haven't yet come to peace with whether I want to figure out how to manage my own Etsy shop while living in two states or just close it down (it's "on vacation" for now).  Monte and I worked together in the yarn shop all the years we were open, and for a year or more afterward, and her offer to do this makes me feel like we're collaborating (creatively speaking) again, and it gives me a renewed joy in my own spinning.  Her shop specializes in bundles of commercial novelty yarns and small quantities of specialty hand spun yarns which are probably primarily purchased by those who felt, make jewelry, or other surface design concepts.  What's cool about this is that I don't have to worry about making skeins long enough for a knitting project (such as a scarf or hat), so I can really sink my teeth into making each and every one of these little skeins as full of life as I can without having to die of tedium trying to keep it going for well over 100 yards.  It's like making a bunch of small paintings instead of one big one (not that I'm a painter, mind you).  Oh...and the small skeins end up taking up as much time, if not more, than the longer skeins because I get so fussy and involved.  It's OK...I do it for the love of it.  As most crafts people and artists well know, it is a rare occasion when you really make an honest hourly wage for your work.

And now, I'm off to drag my 25 year old serger out and see about getting some hooked rugs finished before I depart...I'm on a roll!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Behind the scenes

Life here in our little part of the forest is generally pretty busy, but  I don't share most of what goes on for fear of boring you.  In the background, while our own lives are percolating right along, our resident friend, Michelle (I call her Ani in most posts) Mueller has a hand dyed fiber business that is operating at a full tilt most days, right here under our noses.  I've told you a bit about her before, but it's time to do it again. 

We met years ago here in Taos...a kindred spirit and fellow spinner who was living in solitude on top of a local mountain in a yurt, spinning her days away and selling her yarns at the big consumer trade shows (such as the well known XRX Stitches knitting conferences).  We discussed the possibilities of growing old together one day, never probably suspecting we might actually live together years later.

Roll forward a lot of years.  Ani left her piece of paradise and all her worldly possessions and went to India for fives years, where she was ordained by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as a Tibetan Buddhist nun.  In late March of 2010, she returned to the U.S. and has been here with us since, sharing her love with our cats and dogs and her wicked sense of humor with Roger and I.  It has been a blessing I don't have words for.  Oh...and one other thing...I get to pick through the goodies as they come out of her dye pots.  What more could a good fiberholic wish for???

And this is just what I was doing last week when I found these two stunningly beautiful rovings.  I couldn't help myself...they were happily waving around on the drying rack, whispering my name.  I need more wool like I need another 40 lbs., but yes, I'm weak, and I admit it.  They're 85% Blue Face Leicester wool and 15% silk, over dyed over a mixture of dark and white wool, and while my photo doesn't do them justice, let me just say they have a sheen that is very seductive, if not obvious in my photos.  (The one with blues and greens and purples remind me of feathers on an exotic bird.)  I will spin these, but they would be equally beautiful used in felted projects, or pulled into strands and used in hooked rugs, and when all else fails: they are beautiful just as they are, like little pets you can admire and fondle that don't need any special care. 

Where can you find these?  Well, Ani has an Etsy shop, Widdershin Woolworks, but more recently has started her own web store, also called Widdershin Woolworks.  For those of you who sell your own work, you know that while places like Etsy are a wonderful opportunity for small sellers, at some point, it's a lot nicer if you're selling from your own site so you can save those fees that host sites collect (which truly add up over a month's time, and we all know craftspeople never make what they should for their hard work and love).

So stop by her shops, and if you want to see more, you can visit her group on Ravelry and see what's being made with her gorgeous wools...and now, I'm headed upstairs to fondle that beautiful wool. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

At last

When I first read that a book about Doris Eaton's work had been published, I rushed straight to Amazon to pre-order it.  Months and months and months went by and they could never get it for me, so I gave up.  I knew I could order it from Canada, but the postage would be prohibitive.

But wait!  Amazon finally has it and so do I.  I am beyond excited.  I got up early this morning and spent an hour lovingly reading the beginning of this beautiful book.  I love that she uses recycled materials (hard to find in Taos) and I love that she does her own designs; while I've done other people's designs up until now, just to get some hooking and color practice under my belt, I want to design my own work from here forward.  Because of my years long love affair with historic and contemporary tapestry weaving, I am eagerly hoping to find a happy medium between weaving and hooking, in terms of my own designs.

If any of this sounds interesting to you, I highly recommend this book.  Lucky you who live in Nova Scotia and may have studied with this great woman!!!  If you have, I'd love to hear your stories.