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The countdown starts on both ends

September 13, 2019

Africa departure date: 22 September

Dave’s mom status: pre-active dying

Last night we actually had a quasi conversation on the phone with her. She was fairly lucid, had drunk several different items and had jello. My sister in-law had the phone on the table as she talked and worked to get Lucille to drink more from a cup. It was humorous at times with Lucille trying to spit seeds “out the window” (and there wasn’t a single pip in the drink). She seemed to know who we were but didn’t grasp the concept of not being there in person. “Come visit more” was her request, yet we live a fair distance away (Albany Oregon to Austin Texas is over 2 thousands miles apart). She got fairly jolly for a while, laughing at something. We said our goodbye and hung up.

Will that be the last time we hear her voice?

Today Tim reported she’s very peaceful resting in bed. Not agitated, not trying to fight things but picking bits of imaginary lint or strings out of the air. I’m glad she has a bit more peace today. The fighting to break out has been hard to digest even from so far away, but it’s been a fight for her life. Dementia hasn’t been part of my repertoire of diseases until Lucille was diagnosed. I’ve done some reading into it and it’s not been pretty. To think that the brain is withering away, neuron connections not making it through, a difficult path towards death for all involved. I read articles on current Alzheimer’s research and other dementia related brain disease. It helps the science side of me to grasp at the full process unfolding in our laps.

Nothing can alter the current path for Lucille. Her course is set. Arrival date unknown. We wait and hope she’s comfortable enough. Her crew that signed on to take her to the final destination have been wonderful. Hospice workers are amazing souls. My sister in-law and her family were amazing to have taken Lucille in to their home for the past 8 years. So much love surrounds this woman and her family.

We wait.

 

Fox Time

September 9, 2019

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I’ve been switching sites for the wildlife camera and was pleased to find a Grey Fox passing through our yard! We’re actually part of it’s nightly rounds and I have shifted from photo to video mode. Every morning I gleefully pull out the little SD card and put it into the reader slot of the computer. Unfortunately, I don’t subscribe at a high enough level to post videos, so I’m unable to share the fun stuff. Maybe I’ll consider it.

Africa trip is in serious countdown mode now! Checking more items off my list but more keep appearing…..

 

Border Collie #3 start

September 5, 2019

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Sculpture Day:

Another rough dog form has taken shape. Currently the neck and tail are too long, but should be able to solve the problem before coat application. This one is heading off to another artist who is one of the most amazing calligraphers. Her mother just passed away and apparently there’s a connection between the mother and border collies (not fully sure of the whole story, but that’s ok). Anyway, it should be a touching remembrance.

Wool used is from my friends sheep, processed by moi!

Hopefully in the next few days I’ll get this pup completed and out the door.

Keeping my head down and working like crazy….

Anemone Lamp progress

September 4, 2019

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*Lamp design for About Light show in November at The Arts Center of Corvallis*

Design Progress: It’s Wednesday September 4th and the clock is ticking down. Somehow I managed to stash myself inside the studio and force ideas onto actual paper with blade. Having a few parts started helps immensely. Shifting things around on the page physically makes more sense in my head. The whole thing started with photos and drawings. The finished panels will be 6 inches by 12 to 14 inches (still working on the height issue). Will each panel be a different design? All the same? More things to work out.

This isn’t coming terribly easy to my brain because I haven’t been seriously working in paper for many months. My hope is to at least secure the design before I depart September 22. Will I be able to accomplish the Display Narrative before departure too? Uncertain on that one! I can only hope that I return from Africa without major illness. Coming home sick would throw everything totally off track!

I started a Border Collie for a friend of a friend who just lost her mother. So many friends are losing parents right now. We too are going through the final weeks/days (?) with my mother-in-law due to vascular dementia.  Big hugs to my Texas family on the forefront of this process. Such a sad time for all.

On a totally different note: 

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We have rats! Urgh! I’m used to mice but this wasn’t what I wanted roaming around under the bird feeders. The dogs have been trying to catch them daily, but so far no luck. Think I need to bring in a few trained Barn Hunt dogs!

Onwards!!!

Life speed ahead!

August 31, 2019

Woodland Skipper

It’s almost September! Am I freaking out yet? YES!!!

Looking back over the past couple of months I realized how little I’ve been contributing on this site. Where did that last posting go (besides being filed in my brain)? Why didn’t I add the completed book page? Sitka Class? Felted creatures?  I seem to be having issues keeping track of everything going on around me. Maybe that’s a good thing? Maybe I’m feeling spread thin again? Maybe not enough stuff happening? Decreased medication load?

What’s on deck: One piece of artwork was donated to The Arts Center for their fall fundraiser Art for the Heart October 5th. Another work is in design stages for a show in November, needing completion before heading to Africa. A dog drawing for the final book for Cathe has been started, but not much progress of late and requires completion before Africa. Africa is setting a deep deadline!!

Accomplishments: A vegetable garden is growing! I’ve knitted two hats, with one being from wool that I spun! Below are some of the projects I’ve been working through in no particular order:

More fluffy sheep. I love making these guys now. I’ll put them on ETSY in late October.

Running with Scissors. My contribution to a class prayer flag during Sitka.

Wearable cut paper shawl cut from Tyvek and dyed with inks. Created during the sitka class

Crazy bird mask created in the sitka class

Iris for Karen. Watercolor, pen, pencil, colored pencil

Bandit in felt with leather collar and fimo clay heart.

Little Hazel. Felt with a Fimo heart

Andrews hat_hand spun wool

Hat created from a wool-blend roving, hand spun by me! 

Hand spun Shetland Sheep wool. Yes I really did spin this!

And the non-art creation, but helps contribute towards artful eating:

Garden just after planting in early July

 

August 29, 2019 Garden: Tomatoes have taken over!

I think I’ll leave things here for now but with a little taste of Africa to come…

Royal Mara River

River in the Royal Mara, Kenya

Royal Mara Lion Track

Lion print in mud, Kenya Africa

Cat Fun

July 17, 2019

Me Me gnome hat_g everett studio

Me Me kitty can be a good sport, sometimes. Today she allowed a few fashion snaps of the felted cat hair hat created from just two days of combing. She’s not impressed!

At 16, the queen begrudgingly shares the house with 2 rambunctious young calicoes, 2 dogs, one screaming cockatoo, and her house slaves. She insists on claiming the art studio as her space whether I’m there or not. Her preferred water dish is my water container for brushes.

After seeing the post on Bored Panda about a Japanese artist who makes felted hats out of cat hair, I just had to try it (especially since I’ve jumped into the world of fiber/felting/spinning). The hat creation started with needle felting then shifted to wet felting. After drying overnight, I added more hair with needles. Me Me’s gnome hat will continue to grow as the days continue. As for spinning cat hair, I’ll pass on that one. I did watch Tiny Fibre Studio spin her cat hair into yarn. Click here for the domestic pet spinning video.  I love her videos!

Anyway, it’s nice to have something to chuckle about in the world these days…..

Eventually I’ll be posting images of the completed drawing and move onto the next book.

Sheep to Yarn Experiment

June 6, 2019

A few years ago (2016) I pondered and acted upon the question “how does one process wool and create yarn?” Thanks to several friends and lots of You Tube searches I set forth on the wool/yarn learning pathway. It’s taken several years and countless hours working with the Physical Therapist (not easy for my spine/back muscles) to reach the spinning stage. A month ago I took a local beginning spinning class which was essential since I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with a borrowed wheel.  The process finally is creating yarn! Here are a few highlights from the journey thus far:

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Waiting for shearing (Ewes, not the lambs)

Step 1: Have friends with sheep! Especially friends who grow sheep for meat and the wool  can ends up composting or on Craigs List. The sheep require a yearly shearing in spring depending on when the lambs are born. This breed is not specifically designed for great wool, but I’ve learned it’s not a bad place to start.

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Unwashed Fleece

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Fleece bath time in Dawn dish soap

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Unwashed (left)  vs. Washed (right)

Step 2: Washing! I decided to use the shop sink located in the garage for processing. It took several days to clean a full fleece due to muscle/body problems. This became a summertime activity to assure the wool would fully dry. I also flooded the garage several times. It’s good to remember to turn off the taps before walking away.

Once washed it was placed outside on the drying rack for a few days.

Step 3: Just go for it! I learned to create general tools to make the process go smoothly. No drying rack? Make it from scrap lumber and hardware cloth. No Niddy Noddy?(one of those things to wind completed yarn off the bobbin and then tie and twist into a completed hank/skein) Again, use scraps and make it myself. Yes, it takes time but is less expensive than purchasing online. Thank goodness for all the DIY videos online!. 

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Bag of cleaned wool

Step 4: Carding- It takes time and creates mess. Situate yourself with a drop cloth below your feet (or outside where it doesn’t matter). Don’t attempt this at a friends house of place of business. I’m currently thinking about renting or borrowing a drum carder to make life easier on my hands. I enjoy the hand carding paddles but it takes time. This entire process is about time! A big thank you to my mother-in-law for the Christmas gift. It went towards felting and yarn tool purchases.

Step 5: Spinning! I was lucky to have a friend who graciously brought her mother’s wheel to Oregon from Louisiana for a try. This same friend also alerted me to the fact a wheel was for sale at a used shop. I love this friend dearly! So, now I have two wheels sitting in my small space: one is set up for plying, the other for spinning. Both have their uses and I’m thrilled to bits. For those interested in types of wheels: borrowed wheel is an Ashford, the purchased one is a Haldane Orkney style.

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Haldane Orkney Style Spinning Wheel

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Niddy Noddy from scrap wood

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The ever helpful MeMe cat. 

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First 2-ply skein

Eventually I’ll get around to knitting, but that’s on the back burner for now. I picked up 6 more fleece from the same friends and have plenty to tackle this summer. Plus I’m looking into dying yarn!

Did I mention that I’m also needle felting creatures too?

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Jacob Sheep creations

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Happy Hound  (7″x 4″x 2″) 2019

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Border Collie ( 6″x 5″x 1.75″) 2019

So many options for exploration with wool! 

I’ll be posting images of the book project soon. Next week I will be out of town attending a 4 day workshop at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology. Photos to come!