Crazy as a Loom

Friday, February 27, 2009

I've got the blues.

Today is the first day all week that I didn't feel like my head was going to fall right off.
I got thinking about a custom rug I made not long ago, for a couple in Florida. They live near the beach, and they wanted a rug that was blue, white, sea green........they described their perfect rug as clean, crisp and reminiscent of the waves. I made the rug, and it was even nicer than I had planned. It was a huge rug, and their living room is spacious, with white furniture. I loved the rug, and so did they.
Take into consideration that I have a BARN FULL of fabric, and more blue fabric than I care to count, and "I've Got the Blues" seemed like a good idea.
I had fun with this today......I still don't feel wonderful, and my energy level is pretty low, but this project cheered me up. I plan on weaving a lot more of these, and putting them on my web site as soon as they are made.
I am excited.........because I love having ideas, and watching them come to fruition, and because I might actually be feeling better soon.


It rained all day here......but at least it was warm. I'm all for that. I climbed over the shrinking snow bank to get to the barn, so I could paw through the rolls of "blues". When it is really cold outside, the barn is even icier. Today it was quite comfortable.
But oh, I long for spring. I want to plant flowers, build a trellis, dig in the dirt, and walk the labyrinth. I have a truck load of rocks to move around. I want to dye rolls of fabric outside in a big, plastic trough, on a sunny day. I want to walk my old dog down by the river, and see which one of us tires out first. It will probably be me. Spring can't come soon enough. But in the meantime, I will make my own sunshine at the loom, being blue.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Let enough be enough




We had a photo shoot at the studio today. You can tell I am under the weather. I am wandering. No focus to speak of. Not myself. But I have decided not to fight it.
Yesterday I was home by noon, and on the couch for the rest of the day. Surrender. Too sick to keep on keeping on. Fever, cough.
So this morning, though I got to the studio OK, I knew I wasn't going to be very productive.
Miss Puss was in rare form. She loves the attention, and with each click of the camera she reposes. I really think she has what it takes. She is not the least interested in anybody's opinion, she flips herself around and preens simply for the joy of it. That girl knows how to work the camera.
I took about 13 shots of her, and every one was a different pose, showing her teeth, laying on her back, licking her paws, gazing intently back at me. Maybe being sick is what I need to make me slow down and notice the finer things in life.

I did finally settle in front of a loom. I had no real idea what I felt like weaving, and no inclination to figure it out. So I decided, since I have been on the subject of old rugs (and old faces), I would just weave a hit and miss rug out of the plastic tote full of old fabric rolled into balls. They came to me with the Union Special, when I bought it out near Utica, NY. The lady I bought it from asked me if I wanted these "boxes" of old fabric......my poor husband about choked.....he knew I would say "of course", and he pictured the worst.
So I worked on this rug, in a sunny window, and while I was weaving it, I was struck by the work that went into these balls of fabric. Someone who loved their craft, like I do, cut all this fabric into thin strips, and sewed it all together, and then wound it into tight balls. Then I realized the difference in how I recycle fabric, and how it was done years ago.
I use mill ends, left over from the mills. It comes in lots of different widths, so I have to cut it.
But these balls of vintage fabrics are cut from old clothing, everything imaginable. What? An argyle sock? Tee shirts, flannel shirts, knit pants, cotton sheets, you name it.
And it struck me, that certainly there is something here for us to learn. The "use it up" mentality, the frugality of the person that did this is just too amazing for words. I can envision the many hours it must have taken just to make enough for one rug.
The two harness loom I wove on today is simplicity in action. One harness up, one down. Step on the treadles, and the reverse occurs.
I know that there are weavers out there who do much more complicated weaving than I do, but with colorful weft like this, it seems to me that plain weave is just fine.
I may not have accomplished a lot today, but maybe I did just enough.















Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Old rugs, old faces

Some days in the winter, just having the sun shine is enough. Today was one of those days.
I was going to stay on the couch all day, and nurse my cold, or whatever it is.
But that only lasted about an hour. Then I decided that sitting around wrapped in a blanket, thinking about how bad I feel, is not going to make anything better.
So I took a shower, and got moving.
The sun was shining, and that always makes the studio a cheerier place, and that was where I wanted to be.
I got thinking today about how much time we spend worrying about our looks.
It probably started when I looked in the mirror on the way to Kingsbury. My new glasses get too dark, so I look like Roy Orbison, and my hair, freshly colored to cover up the gray, was sticking up all over. My nose was red from too much contact with tissues, and overall, I looked like hell.
I was getting quite gray when I gave in to my daughters, and colored my hair. I have to admit, the color looks good. It just doesn't go with my 62 year old face. Aren't people my age supposed to have gray? And then there's the cost. Yikes. I have trouble justifying something so pricey, for vanity's sake.
Then it occurred to me. that I never see myself, unless I purposely look in the mirror. My husband looks at me more than anyone, and he is always telling me how beautiful I am. Poor man. I told him he should change his name to Mr. Magoo. And my granddaughters think I am wonderful, and they don't really care how I look. I SMELL good!
So why all the worry about how I look? Why do I do this to myself?
I do think that I need to lose 20 lbs. But that isn't vanity. That is about feeling good, and being healthy. That is positive energy.
I want to embrace this age, this time, in my life. I want to let go of all that angst connected with clothes, makeup, hair. It usually doesn't bother me, but every once in a while, those old demons raise their heads. I am bombarded online, in magazines, on television, everywhere......with the
message that we all hear.....that we can be beautiful if only we do this, or this, or this.
And most of us, in our hearts, know that it is not true. But we buy into it anyway.
As women, we are hoodwinked, and I am tired of it.
There, I got that off my chest.
I am still sick, but I feel better.
Today I finished "reweaving" this rug. I used almost evey bit of fabric that was in the old one. It turned out to be 27"x62". First I washed the old rug, carefully; then I gently took it apart, and wove it again on a poly cotton warp. It should last a very long time. It still has that primitive appeal to me. I have a pile of them, and I will be trying to get them all done, but not all at once. They take too much time.
This rug is for sale on my web site, and I will also offer to reweave other people's old rugs. I hate to see them thrown out, just because they are worn.
It kind of reminds me of my first subject. They just need a little attention...they are old, but still charming......they don't need dye, or new fabric, they don't need complete change, they just need a "little" help.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Gratitude

Yesterday I read a post by a guy named Rick.
It moved me more than I can say. Brought me back 16 years ago to my first Al Anon meeting.
I don't think about that time often, but every now and then something shifts, and I am right there again. It almost feels like it all happened in another lifetime.
My life is so different now. There is no drama, and only the usual worries that we all have from day to day.
If I had to give that Hilary back then advice, from where I am now, I would tell her that she could CHOOSE something different. I would tell her that there is no good reason to stay in such misery. I would remind her that working two jobs isn't the answer. And most of all, I would tell her that any love that is not given freely, is not worth having.
I would take her to a meeting.

Which brings me to these two little girls.
And the power of gratitude.
Whenever I am disgruntled, or discouraged, I look for something to be grateful for. With these two around, I don't have far to look.
The other day, Ava threw her arms around me, and said, "Mimi, you smell GREAT!" It doesn't get better than that.






Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sick and warped.


This is my Union Custom loom....well, one of them. I have two. This one was in a house in downtown Albany, upstairs. The stairway was curved, and narrow, and if my husband didn't kill me that day, then I think I am safe.
It is a beauty though, isn't it????
In spite of being pretty sick, I met my latest student at the studio this morning. She wanted to learn how to put a warp on sectionally, and I had planned on putting one on this loom over the weekend. I did warn her that I was sick, but she said she hardly ever got sick. I hope that, for her sake, that is true.
And to top it off, it was snowing. And I could only whisper. I apologized for sounding like a cartoon character.

We wound on 60 yards of blues. She was amazed at how simple putting that much warp on actually is. It went well, and tomorrow I will tie it on to the existing warp, and pull it through.
I will be doing two small rugs for an order, then blue jean rugs, and a pile of "seaside" rugs. That might be just me longing for a vacation, or wanting spring to come soon.
Anyway, we got it done, she left, and I came home to put my pajamas on and reside on the couch. I am sure it is quite obvious that I must be feeling pretty awful to do such a thing mid day. My voice is pretty much gone now. I slept feverishly for awhile, with my pit bull as close as he could get to me on the couch. He is very concerned. My husband was upstairs, sick as well, and my 84 year old mother cleaned the kitchen while we slumbered.
Tomorrow I will get up and try to function, sick or not. I don't think that the common cold gets any better for me if I do the sick bed thing too long. So I am going to get to work.
I have been reading blogs some today in between cat naps. It is amazing that there are so many people out there writing their stories. In no time, I read one that made me laugh, one that brought tears to my eyes, and one that was politically not my cuppa tea. And the photographs, they inspire me to take better pictures, and they take me places I have never been.
All in an afternoon. I can only hope that I do the same on occasion for another reader.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Happy Birthday to me

This is the reweaving of an old rug. It is time consuming, and I can't say I will get all the old rugs I have, torn apart and rewoven right away, but I do think they are worth saving.
Today was my birthday. Yup, I made it. Sixty two. Wow. And woke up with a cold, and didn't really feel good all day.
But my kids all came for dinner, with their families, and brought us a wonderful dinner. My husband cooked, too, and made me a cake. Even though I was progressively losing my voice, and feeling worse with each passing hour, I really enjoyed having them all here. There is no better way to spend your birthday, than with the people you love the most.

This is where I make the transition from 30 years of working as an RN, to being a full time weaver. Is that retirement? Is that how it is supposed to go? I guess each of us has to do it our own way. There is no blueprint for growing older. I know that I am not the kind of person to sit
around after retirement, with nothing to do. It has never even been an option. I can't imagine what I would do with myself without my weaving studio.
When I wake up in the morning, I can't wait to get going, and get there. I try not to bolt out the door, without eating something, and having some tea. When I'm there the day flies by, and before I know it, it's time to go home again. I am always wishing the day would just last a little longer. Sometimes, I look up at the clock, and think, "oh, no, it's time to go home"........I'm in the groove with whatever I am weaving, and don't want to stop. That is special, loving what you do every day. I am truly blessed.
I am also blessed with a sweet man that is not just my husband, but my best friend. And a mother who thinks I am the second coming. And three lovely daughters, who I am crazy proud of. And then there are the grandchildren, ........I am one lucky birthday girl.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Old rugs, old looms

So much thread, so little time.

I should be doing an inventory of all this, and putting it on my web site. But the truth of the matter is that I would rather be weaving, or planning weaving, or thinking about weaving.
Today I took an old rug apart, so I can reweave it. Sounds crazy, I know. It was one of 9 antique rugs that I bought from an elderly gentleman who came to my door, because he thought I would like them. He was right, and I did like them, although I haven't had time to do anything with them until now.
First I took them home and washed them. Then they have to be taken apart, which is very slow work. It is amazing how thin the strips of cloth are in these rugs, and how tightly they are woven. Unfortunately, the warp wore out in several places, and there are big holes in most of them. Patching them didn't move me, so I am giving them a brand new life with new warp threads.
I put a bunch of Adirondack Lodge rugs on my web site today. I am trying hard to stock the shelves. Blue jean rugs are next. I would like a pile of them, and then I will work on placemats. That should get me through to spring.
As you can see, Miss Puss is not too concerned about my work schedule. She stayed in this position for quite some time, watching me trying to untangle and sort upsholstery selvedge for the lodge rugs.
I gave away a loom today.
In the room that used to be the "dining room", I have three looms. One of them is a 7 ft wide Toika, so you can imagine, it takes up a lot of space. Then I have two other 45" wide rug looms. It is too crowded, it is very difficult to put a warp on sectionally in such close quarters. The room is big enough, I just have too much STUFF in it. When it is clean, it is bearable, but honestly, that doesn't happen that often. Weaving with mill ends, textile waste, selvedge, sock seconds........makes a HUGE mess. So I have toyed with the idea of getting rid of one of these looms, giving the whole room much needed breathing space. I planned on taking it apart and putting it on the porch, and then when the snow melted, moving it to the barn. Then an old friend called. I just taught her to weave last November. She said she wanted a loom someday. So I told her I had a deal she could not refuse. The loom was hers, and I would even help her set it up.
I think that a loom taken apart, idling in a barn, is pretty criminal. Much better for it to have a home, with a new weaver, who wants to weave. They will make beautiful music together.
And who knows, another loom may find me.
Things happen.
Looms happen.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sleeping/dreaming.

I was so exhausted last night, I went to bed at 9pm. I slept deeply, and dreamed of people long gone from my life.
I remember moving to a house in the country with my three daughters. We left a new, beautiful house for an old, dated house. It belonged to the mother of one of my best friends in high school. Her mother was moving, she told me I should call her, maybe she would rent it to me. I did call her, and she sold the house to me.
When we first walked through the door, my 11 year old turned to me, and said, " My father must have done something awful to you, for you to move us here."
Gulp.
It was true. The house needed help. All the ceilings were yellow, from smoke. The windows were dated, and some of them tilted open from the top, into the room. They were hopeless. The living room had dark brown vinyl on the floor, and dark wood paneling on the walls. There was one bathroom, and the washer and dryer were both in it. In one bedroom, a glass of water on the bedside stand would freeze in mid January. There were so many things wrong with the house, that it was hard to know where to start.
But over the years, it became our home. We changed the windows. We painted all the ceilings, and we beat back the brush that had grown up for years. We planted perennials and grapes, horseradish, asparagus, and plum trees. As the years went by, there were gleaming hardwood floors, and big windows looking out over the meadow, and to the woods beyond. I still miss the sound of peepers, watching the deer at twilight, and the complete darkness at night.

We reminisce a lot about the little house in Putnam Station, NY. It was a house filled with love. We laughed there and cried there, and we all grew up in different ways.
Twenty five years later.
While we don't live there anymore, we are still family.
Home is in the heart, and we all took some of that house with us, and we won't ever let it go.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Energy, or the lack thereof.

Today, we spent the morning at the studio, again. They played, "store".......with a real cash register, now how can you hate that?????
And I cut fabric.

Then the girls had a birthday party at "Explore", a place that caters just to kids under 10 years old. It was a 3 hour experience of 50, yes, count them, 50, kids......... screaming and running and jumping and laughing. What can I say????
My daughters owe me BIG.
My son in law sent me a text, saying he would meet me at 2 TOMORROW to get the girls.
I sent him a text....."why do you hate me?"
I am kidding, mostly. The girls are sweet, and they are lovable, and experiencing them is a privilege.

I don't usually like pictures of myself, but this one of the three of us at Aimee's Dinner and a Movie, is not bad. We asked the owner to take it for us, and he did.
Tonight we are having spagetti and meatballs, my husband's specialty. And I am going to rent the girls a movie.....they are trying to decide what movie they want to watch. Right now, my 84 year old mother is amusing them......and I am very grateful. I need a bit of a break.
This is all part of my adjusting my life to embrace SEMI retirement. Giving up nursing, and weaving full time. With real days off, and time to spend with my family.
Every time I get a little antsy, and think about what I should be doing, or what think I should be doing, I remind myself that this is the beginning of a different time of my life. And it is going to be good.

Saturday, February 14, 2009






Did I happen to mention that I am getting OLD?
Just kidding. We have had a good day, me and Ava and Gabs. Busy. I forget how busy little bodies can be. I think that I am usually pretty good at packing my days full, but omg, they put a brand new spin on that.
Last night we played paper dolls. I cannot tell you how long it has been since I did that, and the quality of paper dolls has not only changed, but putting the clothes on them is way more complicated than I remember. I think maybe some things are better left uncomplicated.
First thing this morning, we are getting dressed and ready to go to the studio, I am fresh out of the shower, and Gabby says, " Mimi, why are you so fat?"
Now I admit to having an extra 20 lbs on this body, but I am not grossly obese, or even close.
Anyway, I answered with a straight face, and tried to be as honest as possible.
I said, "I eat too much."
Gabby says, "Hmm. Sounds to me like you got a eating infection."
Silence from me.
Wow, who knew.
I guess I should have figured that one out. It isn't my fault, I am sick! I need help! All this worry about this 20 lbs, and now I find out the truth. It's an infection!
Dear Lord.
So we are on the way to the studio, at last. They are both in their car seats in the back. A moment of quiet, and suddenly, a blast from the back seat that almost evicted me through the sunroof.
"Wheeeeeeee, put your HANDS in the air!!!!!! It's a FREE RIDE!!!!!!!!"
When I regained my composure, I asked the perpetrator of this shriek, Gabby, who is a few weeks shy of 5 years old, what the heck that was about. She answered, matter of factly, that we were going down a hill, and it was like a roller coaster, kinda, and so it was a free ride.
Okey dokey, then. So we get to the studio, just 8 miles away, and they settle into their usual routine. They play, they get out the BOX, full of markers and crayons, and glue sticks and paper.
They go upstairs to the "rose" bedroom, where their little table and chairs is waiting. And they play with the dishes, and talk to each other in some code that I am unable to decipher.
They are always hungry, and always thirsty. I can't imagine why THEY don't have one extra ounce of fat anywhere.
I like having them in the studio....they are comfortable there, they wander through the house, imagining and making up stories of their own. My dream is that one day they will come and weave.
Gabby wanted to go out to the labyrinth, but the snow was too deep.
They love to go upstairs via the main staircase, and then come back down through the attic, and then the old staircase. I feel like the paparazzi, following them around with camera in hand. And they are loving the attention of this unannounced photo shoot.
The cats, who are not used to all this commotion, allow a couple of fleeting scratches on the head, and then they run and hide.
This afternoon, we went to lunch and a movie. Eating a Caesar salad with grilled chicken in the dark is not something I recommend, but the salad was excellent. Hotel For Dogs was pretty far fetched, but perfectly suitable for the ages of the company I was keeping.
Dinner is over now and they are ready for the tub. I am tired, in a good way. I can't quite imagine why people whose children have grown up would want to start again and have another family, though I know some people do. I think they need their heads examined, to coin a phrase.
But I want my grandchildren to know me.
I want to know them. I know how quickly they will grow up. This time will never come again.
















Friday, February 13, 2009

Fabric and Paper Dolls


Sometimes I think I don't have enough fabric, especially when I am rumbling around in the pantry, the closet, the attic, the barn......searching for that perfect combination of colors. Then there are times when I am overwhelmed with how much fabric I have. (the last estimate was scary) My husband is fond of saying that I won't live long enough to weave it all up, which may be true. But I intend to give it my best shot, anyway.
The other day I went up to the attic and brought down a box of pastels in small rolls. They were all about 3-4" wide, so I put them up on the rod above, and cut them with my Eastman chickadee cutter.
The strips of fabric fall onto the floor, and within a few minutes, Kismet shows up. Since he was a kitten, he has loved it when I cut fabric. He plops down in the middle of it, and it falls on his head, and he seems to love it. Of course, when I start rolling the fabric into balls, he is sure that the games have begun. It becomes a challenge to keep winding it when he is hanging onto to it for dear life.
When I roll the fabric up, I fold it so that the right side is showing,and leaving it in balls like that for a few days before I weave with it, is almost as good as pressing it that way.

These pastels are going to be tote bags, in two sizes so far. Unless I get really motivated.
I did get a warp on a loom today, and it went pretty smoothly. It was a time consuming warp, not a random warp, but with stripes in tan, sage green, spanish blue, rose, and brick. I put on 30 yards. I am doing an order on it, then rugs for the shop.
My three daughters are in Florida, and I have my two granddaughters, Ava, and Gabby, for the weekend. We played with paper dolls tonight, and tomorrow we are going to Aimee's Dinner and a Movie....except that we are doing lunch and a movie, and we are seeing Hotel for Dogs.
Stay tuned........maybe I will have some photos tomorrow........
let me end with this......while we were playing at the kitchen table with Sparkle Fairy, Crystal Fairy, Ruby Princess and Jade Princess, Ava said, "I'm sleeping beauty, but you can just call me beauty". :)





Thursday, February 12, 2009

Gumballs.

Several years ago, I bought this antique gumball machine at a garage sale. I used to have it in the living room, and now it is in the studio. But no matter where it has been, it is the first thing the kids look for when they come. They make a beeline for the gumball machine. It actually takes pennies, which is pretty cool, since the same gumball is 25 cents in the mall. And Mimi (that's me) is good enough to leave a teacup with pennies in it RIGHT NEXT to the machine. Of course, I get a lot of flack from my daughters........who go on and on about cavities, and the perils of sugar, etc. Which brings me right back to the Corner Market, 12 houses down the street from my house growing up. Penny candy......ah, does that tell you how old I am???? Caramel pinwheels, and fireballs, and candy cigarettes, licorice, bubble gum........and I still have my teeth. And I grew up fairly OK, by all reports.
This week has gone by in a blur. Call it mid February blahs, but I just can't seem to get out of my own way. I don't have my usual zest, my normal energy level. I get to the studio early, and by 4pm, when I get my coat and get ready to go home, I look around and wonder what I did all day.
I did cut up a lot of fabric, and I cleaned the old kitchen, which is where I sew and do all the fabric prep. I did a perfunctory cleaning job in the pantry, which is just ONE of my fabric stashes. It isn't wonderful, but at least you can walk in there, which was impossible before I started.
I played with my new Schacht electric double winder all week,winding spools off huge cones of yarn, which I used to put a 14" wide warp on the Hammett Little Dandy, for silky, lightweight scarves.
But I mostly just wander from one task to another, starting this, finishing that, feeling overwhelmed at times, and wondering why I can't get in the groove.
This is the warp I put on for scarves........and this is one of many photos I took of it...........experimenting with my Nikon D40. I like the way this one turned out.
Sometimes, I need to weave for fun like this, instead of doing production. I need to just play, and have fun with what I do, and put deadlines aside. If I don't, then I have missed the mark. As much as I love weaving rag rugs, and selling them, I have to keep reminding myself that I am not 20 anymore. This is not my first career. I am giving that life up. I had a "profession" for 30 years. It served me well, paid the bills, put my three daughters through college, bought the family homestead.
This is my "retirement career". (although most people say that they don't see any evidence of retirement taking place.) I am doing this for me. I don't have to be wildly successful, I only have to pay the studio bills.
But it is hard, when you have been a certified workaholic your whole life, not to persist at what you do so well.
So sometimes, I think that weeks like this one, when I can't get out of my own way, are perfect. They make me slow down, reevaluate, regroup, and get back to what matters most.
Whew.
Tomorrow I am picking up my two granddaughters, Gabby and Ava, 4, almost 5, and 3, almost 4, respectively. They are spending the weekend with us, and I have planned things to keep them busy and occupied. And while it may not appear evident to anyone, I will be using the weekend to teach myself how to let go, and NOT WORK seven days in a row.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Thrums (a giveaway) and Totes

Today I finished putting together 11 tote bags. They are big enough to be beach bags (21"x21" measured flat), but I like to call them "Simply Rag Bags". They don't have closures, they don't have linings, they don't have "dividers", they don't have a little pocket for your cell phone. They don't really have any remarkable features. They are tote bags, large, strong, functional. And of course, I think they are quite attractive.
My theory is this. I buy handbags all the time, they have all those aforementioned features. But when my cell phone rings in my purse, can I reach in and find it in the little compartment designated to contain it? Heck, no. If it didn't light up, I would NEVER find it. Same with a small bottle of Ibuprofen, which doesn't light up; pens, breath mints loose change, frequently dollar bills, receipts, a nail clipper, a concealer, and lip gloss.........oh, let's be honest here. My hand bag is a nightmare most of the time, and I know that no amount of compartmentalizing is going to change that. So I say, just go with it. Thus," simply rag bags'. They are what they are. Love them, or don't, just don't try to make them into anything complicated. And they're washable. Can't hate that. The inside of my Dooney and Bourke bag could benefit from the wash cycle, but no such luck.
Next on my schedule, among many other things in between, are tote bags half that size. They will also be unadorned. Unless I get some crazy as a loom ideas, then who knows. But the plan is: simple.
Now over the course of the last three years, almost 4, since I bought the house in Kingsbury, and opened the studio there, I have been producing lots of thrums. For those of you who don't know what that is, thrums are the excess threads that get cut off the loom or the finished product. I would normally toss them on the floor, and sweep them up later. But right before Christmas, I decided to start saving them for the birds. If you look down the left side of the page, you will see a suet holder, and it is filled with thrums. I plan to put them out in the spring when birds are making nests. Right now, they aren't real interested in anything they can't eat.
Thing is, I am one productive little weaver up here in the frozen northeast, and I am collecting bags and bags of thrums. After reading about several different giveaways on other peoples' blogs, I realized that there might be other bird enthusiasts out there who don't make thrums.
So here is a giveaway for anyone who wants colorful birds nests in their neighborhood, all you have to do is email me at ragrugs@crazyasaloom.com with your address, and I will mail you some thrums. Sorry, no color preference! You have to get your own suet container. You can buy them at the pet store, or the super market. They are very cheap.
I mean, after all, why should I be the only one with beautiful birds' nests!!!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Today I admitted that I have limitations. I always hate to do that, but sometimes it just is what it is. I wanted to work on tote bags at the studio, but I had my whole family coming for dinner, and my house was a disaster, and my husband is still in Virginia. So after taking my mother to the grocery store early this morning, I came home and cleaned for several hours. Then I went to the studio, fed the cats, took care of the pellet stove, cleaned the kitchen and did the dishes, and came home again, to bake a cake and make roast beef and yorkshire pudding. the house looks great, we had a wonderful dinner, and we had a terrific time. We talked and laughed til tears ran down our faces. It doesn't get any better than that.
Taking a day off from my regular routine is not something I do easily. I tend to get single minded, and don't know how to relax. I said that to my friend, Sheila, the other day at lunch, and she said, "ya think?" So I guess that is not news to anyone who knows me.
But I am determined to change all that. This weekend was my last Saturday to work as an RN. And I only have two single Fridays to work in February, and 3 single Fridays to work in March. Then, I am done with it. I am weaning myself off, you see. And I am going to start taking days off. One a week, maybe two. OK, probably not two. But one, for sure.
And I am going to make a plan, every week, to do things that are NOT work. Things that have nothing to do with business. I know it won't be easy, and I know that my family and friends don't really believe that it is going to happen, but I am counting on YOU to keep me straight. I promise to report here every week on the wonderful day off I have had.
I am going to pick up my grandchildren, and take them places that I would never have had time for before. I am going to go to the library, and the book store, and I am going to bake wonderful things. I am going to Boston with my husband to watch the Red Sox play, and I am going to plant lovely perennials in my Secret Garden at the studio. I am going to take time to walk the labyrinth, and make a path through the wildflowers. I am going to sit by the pool for the whole afternoon, reading a book. I never thought I would be this excited to be this old, but it is perfect.
Oh, yes. I will work very hard still. I will do that til I die, it's the gene pool, you know. But now that I am not going to be a nurse any longer, I can be a full time weaver, and won't be rushing from one life to another. It is SO time for this. I can have just one life. And I can take a day off.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Weaving in the Sun




Still weaving tote bags, in the warmest, sunniest place I could find. I was unable to get the Monitor heater going, and the repairman is coming tomorrow at 8am. Spring cannot come soon enough. I am tired of dealing with "heat" issues.

Feeding the birds is one of my favorite things, so I end up with a lot of sunflower seed bags. Here is what I did with the ones that were pretty. They make great totes.

I am knitting a Maltese hat. I had trouble in the beginning, because I wanted to visualize what I was going to do before I did it, but no matter how many times I read it, I could not see it in my mind. So I just started it, and very quickly, it became a hat before my eyes. Then, of course, it seemed absurdly simple.
My life in retrospect seems sometimes the same way. I look back at times that were so hard, and I wonder why I struggled so. The answers that I couldn't see, back then, are so painfully obvious now. I guess that is what they call "Monday morning quarterbacking".....makes sense, even though I don't entirely understand football. All I know is that I like my life the way it is. Boring, uneventful, for the most part. I have discovered how sweet simple can be. Sometimes, my husband and I will sit here in the evening, not saying much at all, and one of us will say, "We're pretty boring, aren't we?" And then we smile, and say, "yes, isn't it wonderful?"
I am grateful every day.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

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Cabin Fever Reigns





Here we are, trying to slug our way through February. This is what the studio looks like this time of year.
Lots of snow, and ice under the snow, and it is bitter cold. There is no heat upstairs, and three sources of heat downstairs. The trick is trying to keep all three sources of heat actually working. I was not successful at that today. The kerosene Monitor did not work, and I thought it was because the tank was low on fuel, and since it is gravity fed, that maybe it wasn't getting enough fuel. So I got fuel delivered. $380.29 later, and the Monitor still didn't run. So I went outside with gallon jugs of hot water, and poured it over the fuel line where it went into the filter, which I know from experience sometimes freezes. But when I left at 4 o'clock, it still wasn't running. I gave up. I left the pellet stove roaring, and the gas Monitor down low in the other end of the house. In the morning, I will pick up dry gas, and take another run at it.

I try to look at this with a different
perspective than I would at the house that I live in with my husband and my mother. That house is centrally heated and cooled, and we walk around with bare feet, and it's pretty comfortable no matter where you go.
Not so the house in Kingsbury. There is no insulation in the walls....it is a post and beam house, and the walls are board on board. I used to heat it solely with the oil furnace, which sounds like a Volkswagen in the basement every time it fires up, but despite spending barrels of money, it never really kept the house warm. So I decided to heat it the way it was heated way back when, by heating it in several different places. Now if I could just keep them all in heat production, I would be happy.
Here is what I was up to today. Tote bags, beach bag size, woven from vintage fabric. They will soon get straps and be sewn together. And playing with my camera to take good pictures of them.
As my friend, Chris said, there is something special about weaving up someone else's stash. It just feels good, and the finished product has a glow about it, which I can't take complete credit for.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

feb 1 cont


I did this using www.picnik.com

Miss Puss is thinking of going professional in her modeling career.

I am just having fun.

First of February




Tried to modify my Sunday schedule, it's hard. I am a certified workaholic.
But I went to breakfast with my husband, at his favorite breakfast place. I only spent a few house at the studio, mostly taking stock of where I am in the scheme of things. I can't say I was very motivated. Worked the last two nights at my "other life", as a nurse, and so I am tired. And the weather has taken its toll of my sinuses, and allergies, and I have had one of those headaches that I think should be called "face aches".
I tried to do some organizing, getting ready for another work week, and in the process of straightening up the porch, I found some old fabric. It came with a loom I bought, a loom that I dragged my husband out to Utica to get. It is a Union Special, originally painted blue, and looking pretty worn. The blue paint is worn off in lots of places, and the front beam is all chewed up on both sides, probably from having the temple dragged over it. The loom came with a copied photo of the previous owner who wove rugs on it for many years, and a list of all the owners, ending with me. It also came with boxes and boxes of old fabric, cut very thin, and wound into different sized balls.
I had pale green warp on the Union Special, from an order I just did. So, not feeling very motivated today, I took the bag of vintage fabric balls, and wove a small rug, about 2'x3'. I love the way it turned out.
It is a really thin rug, in the fashion of old rugs. You could actually use it for a table runner, it would be really pretty. I am going to make more of these, just because I like them. Isn't that what it is all about?????
That was it for today.........not alot of work. I am now firmly affixed to the couch, got books, knitting.......I am making a maltese hat, and practicing my "wrap and turn" skills.........hmm.
And I have my laptop, and I can play scrabble if I get bored with all that.
Yup, it is Super Bowl Sunday....and DH wants to watch it on his brand new flat screen TV......and I am OK with that, because I amuse myself quite well.
I am a firm believer that one must learn to amuse oneself. It is a skill that is well worth it. That, and being alone. Being comfortable with yourself is an art. I am OK with both of these, and I believe that it is important.
And we are having chicken parm for dinner....my husband's #2 specialty, his #1 is spagetti and meatballs...........yum, I can't wait!!!
Welcome to my world.

Because every thread counts

Because every thread counts