Have yourself a merry little Christmas, make the Yuletide gay.
~Ralph Blane~

Friday, January 27, 2012

Felting my Friendships

I chose to spend the afternoon with a friend, yesterday. It was a wonderful visit. She lives in town and her home is one of those beautiful old Victorians that line the hills, up behind Main St., in Jackson.
She slipped on some ice during the holidays and did some major damage to her ankle. She has been in a cast ever since. Now, she is in a black boot and will go back into a cast again next week for another month. The ankle is not healing well and another cast is required.
I tell you this because my very active, giving friend who does for so much for others and never stops moving, has handled this accident with her usual optimistic self. I'm in awe of someone who can weather a fall like this, pick herself up  and continue to be the positive, glass half full person that she always is.
Even with the complications that have arisen, she is still thinking ahead to trips she wants to take next year and getting a walking cast on, next week, so she doesn't have to sleep downstairs with the cats and maneuver the narrow passageways of her charming home in a wheel chair anymore. She needs to get back to buying groceries for a house bound friend of hers and volunteering at one of the local thrift stores.
I'm sure she has had a few "Oh, @#*&!" moments but she is a trooper and I'm so proud of her.
So, I took cake... and magazines... and small gifts, etc. hoping to lighten her spirits, There was really no need. She greeted me, in her wheel chair, like she had just come in from working in the garden. We had deli sandwiches ... and we talked, talked, talked... laughed and talked some more... until it was time for me to head back to the highway, pick up the mail and drive home. The visit did us both good. It always does.
I left her in good hands. She has a  husband that takes good care of her and treats her like a queen.
So I'm telling you this because...?
Life is long (or short, depending on how you perceive it) and "@#*&!" happens. None of us is going to get out this alive, so we need to make the best of it.  We can play games, whine about our bad luck, carry grudges and complain about life, but... have you talked to other folks lately?
Everyone is having problems. They all have "thorns" in their sides...Some even have large knife wounds.
 My friend could have been bitter, angry and blameful about all this, but she wasn't. I'm sure she wishes that she hadn't gone out on that icy old balcony. I'm sure that she wishes the ankle would heal faster. But, she isn't being "why me?" about it. She's waiting and hoping and making plans for the future. All that positive energy has got to accelerate the healing process.
I'm convinced that life is, in large part, about attitude and expectations and.... looking at the good things in life, so you have this deep well of good thoughts and ideas to carry you through the times of drought and fire.

"The world is full of cactus, but we don't have to sit on it.  ~Will Foley
My friend never sits in her "cacti". Well... she is sitting a lot at the moment, but she's looking ahead of all this. She is an example to me of how to weather a storm. She's an example to us all.

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So today is "finish a felted scarf" day. Here are some choices. What do you think?
 This is the scarf. A combination of gray wool and a taupe, mystery yarn. I had no idea how it would turn out. I have a huge amount of it that I got at one of the thrift stores and ... wait. I do have some with a wrapper on it.  It's SPINNERIN 100% wool yarn called Suzanne. That's why it worked so well. I used it continuously with the gray wool yarn but in two places I dropped the gray wool and used only the "Suzanne" yarn. After I felted it the taupe yarn tighten up and looked much better. The gray combination felted really well. I'm very please with the results.
So, now I'm ready to embellish.
 Buttons? (with dog hair underneath... how embarrassing.)
A shell from the Pacific Ocean?
A different button? There's that dog hair again. I think I felted the hair right into the scarf. Maybe I could make it my trademark... Corgiwool, scarves from the dogfarm.
Some antique lace?
Old lace... and a button?
Or the ruffled edge of the "cute" shirt I bought at the thrift store. Remember the shirt made out of gray jersey with ruffles? What do you think? It's hard to get the colors true, here on the post, but you can get an idea. There are so many possibilities. Maybe lace is too lightweight for this scarf. I'm not sure. Maybe it needs to be a heavier lace... or none.
I would really like your input.
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Today I'm on to brighter possibilities...
When my sister was here we went to Amador City, my favorite little gold rush town. I bought this yarn at Sandy's Country Home store. She dyes and spins this yarn herself. It's so beautiful. It's a bit harder to knit with because it goes from thick to thin and felts up very thick... but I can't wait to use it.
Oh, yum!
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On my afternoon walk a few days ago, I thought that I would love to find some yarn that looked like the oak trees with their bright moss, tiny ferns and lichen growing on them.... Looking like they were going to a party, with the help of the rain and some northern exposure, and getting all dolled up for the occasion.
 I would love some yarn that looks like this...
or this...
Or possibly a softer green like the new grass that is coming up on the trail.
Think I can find some yarn that looks like this? Think I can wear a California Winter around my neck?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dangerous Places.

This is a dangerous place for me to go.
I should know better. I went in to find eight buttons for my gray vest. I came out with more buttons than I needed.
and some beautiful flannel fat quarters  (Fat quarters are precut, quarter yards of fabric.)  that I probably didn't need.
But they were on sale... and they are beautiful... and they were already cut... and, well... look at them. I will do something with them.
A friend brought me a rag quilt a few weeks ago . It's a lap quilt and she has been wanted to show me how to create one. So now, I'm ready. I just need a "back" for the quilt, some old flannel for the inside, some thread and scissors (I have these), and the time to spend the day with her so she can show me how to do it.
It wasn't like I didn't have a plan... and these gorgeous pieces of fabric might not have been there when I went to this store again... and the sale is only until the end of the month. So.....

Then, I went to the On A Mission thrift store in Jackson. I LOVE this place. I needed some tulle for my Nuno felting. Well, this may be a "thrift" store but this is also another dangerous place for me to visit. I found the tulle and some... other really wonderful stuff.
Yes, It seems that I needed these other things too.
I found some clothes to use for the fabric.
All useable for nuno felting and adding to scarves. I love this print skirt, above. It's a cotton gypsy print and will be great when scrunched up in a scarf.
This skirt is a J.Jill that actually fits me.
 I don't wear skirts anymore but if I did... it fits.I love the almost "eco" print look to the linen fabric. and the bottom edge has brown lace on it. I paid $3.50 for it. I will use those bottom edges for a scarf and the print for the pieces of the scarf. I can use the zipper and surrounding fabric for a small purse to match the scarf. Oh, the ideas... from one skirt. It's endless.
I also bought a top made out of gray stretchy jersey .
This one doesn't fit me, so I don't feel bad cutting it up. I mean it fits, but I'm max on the "stretch" and it looks a little young on me. I've got to be careful about this. I don't want folks to say, "Did she even look in a mirror this morning?" Sometimes you have to act your age. Yea...Darn! I don't think "cute" is what I'm about at this stage of my life. You have to be careful about "cute" in your 60's.
All of the edges on this shirt are ruffled  and could be added to a scarf. There is lots of fabric here and grey goes with everything.
I did buy too much. So, shoot me. It's all inexpensive and fun. I also bought some small bags of fabric to send to a friend who quilts and is living in the middle of nowhere in southeast Oregon for the winter... with not a thrift store or fabric store within hundreds of miles. She is living on a ranch in a cabin and the one thing she did bring with her is her sewing machine.
She's a quilter. She carries a sewing machine like she carries a gun. It's her MO (modis operandi, mode of operation, etc.).  In those parts you never know when you're going to have to sew up a pair of pants or kill something. Besides, it's kind of hard to quilt cowhides and coyote pelts.
When I got home I realized I had over done it with the fabric. I just need someone to show me how to do this quilting stuff and then I will be ready... with my fabric... and that first quilt will be BEAUTIFUL.
In the meantime, I will cut and patch, sew some trim on  and tomorrow you can help me pick out some buttons for my latest felted scarf.
Take care.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sons, Rivers and... lost dreams of the Super Bowl.

Our son came up to visit this weekend. "M" lives in Oakland, down in the Bay Area. We loved having him come up even for a couple of days.
I made some beef stew.
And baked a pie.
It should have been a cherry pie (our son's favorite), but cherries were a little out of season so I used  frozen mixed berries. It turned out fine and no one turned their noses up at it.
On Sunday "M" took us out to breakfast (a real treat) and we showed him some of the local changes that were in progress..
We try to impress our grown children with the new advancements in our small town. We try to find entertaining possibilities to brag about. Well, Tractor Supply Company is coming to town.
Hey, we live in a town where construction of anything is an exciting event. They had to rearrange a creek to do this. The Prospector has been wanting to take his gold pan down there and check out the piles of dirt that are being moved around. The signs say "no trespassing". That hasn't stopped him before. Gold Fever is a dormant, itchy illness that never goes away.I have to keep an eye on him for outbreaks.
I don't think "M" was that impressed with the possibilities of this new store as we were, but he was polite about it. He asked us if there were that many folks that needed "tractor" supplies in the area.
We told him it was more than just tractor supplies. It would be a comprehensive farm supply store. This store would offer a lot more than tractor parts. We laughed at our excitement over another farm store coming to town.
"M" and his dad were joking about our level of expectation over a new store in town and I thought about how far we had come from the years of living in the suburbs and how our expectations had change.
I can remember when they covered the small, outdoor "MALL" in the town where we raised our boys. It was a big deal. They expanded Sears and brought in Gottchalks. It was so exciting. We didn't have to drive to the big mall an hour away anymore. We  were coming up in the world.
Now, when I drive through that town on the way to the Bay Area I see all the stores that I wanted when I lived there... and more. Now, I don't look at all the "choices" as exciting.
I see traffic. I see highways under construction for the hundredth time and chaos in this small town that has grown expeditiously in the 18 years since we left it.
Now, there is everything I wanted... then.
There is even a SEE'S Candy store. I could have really used one of those back in the day.
So, we choose to move even further up into the boonies and now we get excited about the new Tractor Supply store that's being built. How far we've come... backwards.

We decided that we better take "M" to the RIVER. So we drove south out of town and, even though rain was threatening, we thought that a walk across the Clinton Bridge at Middle Bar would be the one beautiful place to share with our son. It was.
This river, the great Mokelumne, always impresses. It makes all other man-made achievements pale in comparison.
The old Clinton Bridge at Middle Bar is being threatened by folks who want to make a bigger damn,

...but we have some dedicated people who are fighting this tooth and nail.
This bridge and the surrounding area will all be under water if some people have their way. The expansion of the Pardee reservoir would cover one of the most beautiful parts of California's river system.
We joke about having water front property without moving from our mountain top, but the reality is that it could happen and all of this would be gone forever.
"M" was much more impressed with this whole scenario than with the building of a new store in town.
We took a walk across the bridge.
And he discovered a walking trail on the other side of the river. He does a lot of jogging and running in the hills of Oakland so this was new and interesting territory for him.  I'm sure he will be back to run the trails here.
The river worked its magic and we could feel its spirit flowing beneath us.
 This rain will bring more water to fill the reservoirs "up river" and then the water will rise and cover the gravel beds and bedrock that show themselves this time of the year.
I have bonded with this river. The Mokelumne is now my "bedrock". I feel more alive and HOME here than any place  I have ever lived.

"M" left last night after supper. We will miss him. Come back soon, son.

We watched the sad game between the 49er's and the NY Giants.
Oh, well. Not everything can be perfect.
They tried.  They were tied. They went into overtime. They lost.
Damn! Now the Super Bowl belongs to the East Coast.
Maybe next year....