Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Little Things Matter

I am finally back to working on another marquetry picture - one that got set aside as other things came to the forefront of needing my attention. It's not easy to pick up and jump into a piece after I have set it aside for so long.  I lose it's "story" and it takes awhile to step back into it.  As I was cutting and fine tuning pieces yesterday, it came to me that it's the small details that make the whole thing work.  It's something I have found that applies to just about everything in life as well.

 It's not usually the big things that overwhelm me it's a whole string of little things - little frustrations like a broken shoe lace when I am in a hurry or not being able to find something that make me feel overwhelmed.  Add a whole string of little things together and....  But then again, the little things can make a difference in a good way too.  An unexpected phone call from a friend.  A smile from a stranger in the grocery store, a postcard in the mail full of good wishes or the chickens starting to lay eggs again after a two month hiatus.  Little gifts that lighten the spirit and make me feel like I am on the right track after all.

As each piece fits with the one next to it, the story unfolds - the grains and colors adding depth to the whole until it becomes a cohesive tale - a momentary freeze frame in the story.  The details give a richness and depth and without them, the whole story would be flat and devoid of life.  When things seem somehow stuck - like there is no progress being made, all I have to do is look back at where I started with all of this to know that although it may seem that way, it isn't really that way at all.  Even small things make a difference to the over all richness of the experience - this creative process called Life.

So when you are feeling bogged down in all the details - stand back.  Look at where you started, how far you've come and where you want to go in your story.  You just might surprise yourself to actually see just how far you have come.  The little things really do count.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

All On A Winters Evening

Yesterday was another brief brake from the storms that we have lined up to roll in one after another.  This has been an odd winter for a La Nina.  The temps have been all over the map and we went a long time with little snow into a snow/rain pattern.  The sheep don't mind the snow and will sleep under the trees but they hate the rain and will hunker down in the barn.  The same thing goes for my dog - he will let the snow bury him as it comes down but will hang out inside if it is rain.

Shetland/Merino 2 ply hand spun
As the sun sets so early and the days are short, I like to spend my evenings spinning.  I am not good at sitting idle in front of the TV.  My hands have to be busy.  This was some Shetland that was silver colored that I dyed a soft teal color.  I plied it with a Merino single in it's natural cream color.

merino super wash hand paint roving

The last few evenings I have been working on this super wash roving that I hand painted last fall.  It is shades of dark royal blue, teal, green, and purple.  It always takes me awhile to shift to spinning the shorter Merino fibers from the long Shetland.  It is always so fascinating to see how the colors will blend as the singles take up onto the bobbin.

I love the way the fiber flows through my fingers, twisting into its transformation - it casts a spell of contentment and peace as it passes through my hands.  A meditation in utilitarianism melding with art.

Finished single ready for plying.
The perfect end to a day spent shoveling heavy snow.  There is comfort in the usual sit and spin.  I hope you spend your evenings with something that gives you that peace....

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Gentle Reminder Today

It's been a long week of snow removal for this gal.  Let's face it, shoveling the white stuff is not my favorite pass time.  Right now my shoulders are stiff and sore and I am grumbly at the prospect of heading out to move some more of it - especially the really wet, heavy stuff that came down last night.  It's hard to be grateful for it that's for sure!  So this morning, as I was standing before the mirror blow-drying my hair and dreading heading out the door to battle the heavy shoveling, I hear this "thunk".  I turn around and there laying face down on the floor is this framed quote from Kahlil Gibran.  This is my favorite quote and I use it on my tag line on MaryJanes Farm Forum.  In case you can't read it from the photo, this is what it says:

         "Work is Love made visible.  And if you cannot work with Love, But only with distaste,
          it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple, and take
          alms of those who work with Joy."

A gentle reminder that without a joyful heart, life becomes bleak and miserable.  It doesn't matter what you are working at, it deserves all the honor and respect it deserves.  Now, I don't exactly believe in coincidence so when quotations are falling at my feet, I pay attention.  Sometimes it's easy to forget the things we choose to base our lives on.  Thanks for the reminder.... 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Winter Makes An Appearance

The Calm Before the Storm
Well the Weather guessers have been at it again.  For two days they have been predicting this HUGE storm - the beginning of the snow that somehow managed to not materialize so far this winter.  Well there are a lot of us that are pretty happy that this has been the case after record winters 3 out of the last 4 years.  After all is said and done this is (believe it or not), snow country.  So it is lost on me why they make such a Big Deal out of a snow storm.  Even if it is a bad one, it is January and the last time I looked, we get snow in January!  Please, excuse my tongue and cheek sarcasm but this happens every time we have a storm - every winter.  Guess all that fear mongering helps ratings.

What a difference a day makes
Sheep hanging out in the snow
So the storm finally arrived and as storms go it could have been a lot worse.  I got about 4 inches this afternoon and now it's beginning to taper off and gearing up for round #2 that's supposed to come in tomorrow morning.  Most of the snow went south - my sympathies to those living in the Palouse.  They have school closures and about 13 inches in the worst places.  Like I said, it could be a lot worse.  But then there is Seattle.....Bumper cars anyone???

Even my dog didn't think it was all that bad a day all things considered.  Hey - at least we didn't have wind gusts at 45 mph like yesterday!

What do you mean I need to come in??
Oh, all right!  If I have to....Sheesh!
Said Chicken Lickin to Henny Penny, "They sky is going to fall!"  Said Henny Penny to Chicken Lickin, "Of course the sky is falling, it's snowing!  It's January!!

I hope each and every one of you is at home, safe, cozy and warm, kicked back with a nice hot cuppa tea.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What Hats Will You Try for 2012?

Well the much anticipated 2012 has arrived at long last!  As with any New Year, have you made your list of resolutions to begin the year with an improved new, you?  or are you like me and don't make resolutions you know you probably won't keep?  What hats will you try on this year?

I ended 2011 with a bad case of the flu and now that it's finally resolved itself I have a whole new appreciation for my relationship with my physical self.  I am so grateful for being able to breathe.  That flu sat on me like an Elephant and now that I can breathe without panting or wheezing anymore, I have a whole new appreciation for the simple act of breathing.  That's a pretty good lesson to learn but not the easiest way to learn it!

There are so many choices available to all of us.  The only limitations are the ones we place on ourselves.  I guess it's always good to go through an evaluation of what one wants and/or needs from time to time and New Year's seams as good a time as any.  I have to admit that I get a good chuckle out of the TV commercials that run in January.  Mostly they deal with weight loss.  If ever one wants to see just how much we let others tell us we are not okay, read a fashion magazine or watch TV commercials!  Frankly, I never was much for fashion trends having a taste in clothing that runs at least 100 years behind the trends.  The good part about that is that nothing I have will ever go out of style....

It is said you should never ask a lady her age or her weight.  Well in that vein, one of my favorite pictures and the story my Grandpa told me to go with it applies to this topic.

Elsie tests the cattle scale

It seems that one afternoon (1920's) my Great Uncle Bert and my Grandpa were working on the cattle scale.  They decided they needed to test it out on something or someone who's weight was already known.  So, Bert came running into the kitchen, grabbing Elsie by the hand and pulled her across the yard while telling her they wanted to weigh her on the cattle scale in front of half the men from the neighborhood.  According to my Grandpa, smoke was coming out her ears that they would do this to her in front of everyone but being the lady that she was, she calmly stood on the scale while they checked it out.  Once they were finished she stomped across the yard and back to the house.  Bert later told Grandpa she didn't speak to him for three days!  He had no idea what the big deal was....

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope you choose to try out some really flamboyant hats this year...Perhaps with some feathers in bright colors???