Friday, February 26, 2021


On Tuesday I began the Fiberuary Challenge... answering daily prompts, through the month of February, about myself as a fiber artist.

And. Yeah, no. It's looking like I am not going to finish that. I enjoy seeing everyone else's posts, but... I don't know. Did I bore myself? Possibly. Am I self-conscious, mildly depressed, sort of floundering? Something makes me want to throw in the word miasma. (Goes to dictionary.) Why yes, that could work. There is a miasma of weariness encircling my space, a vibe that trembles tumultuosly. If anxiety is as catching as a virus, it would be a kindness for me to move over to a personal journal, and step away from the blog. I have this compulsion to rationalize, to make a list of the things that are pebbles in my shoe, to self-analyze. I am not so close to this impulse that I cannot see how tedious I would be, scratching at the same spot, impetuously twitching, pulling at threads.

It's time to sort this box out, again. The first time I re-organized it, I'd only done two or three little projects. I've lost count of how many things I've stitched up since then. It's a mess. I'll do that. I'll take everything out, and re-wind the flosses, toss the myriad little snips, sort the tools, and stack the scraps. It is a very small thing. It will be a very small thing. There is so much more that needs doing. But there it is... my plan. First cadio with Bounce Bhangra, then make the sewing box tidy, and finally go through all of the eggs the hens are laying and share those, because we have more than we need.

And. Maybe call the attorney. But that's likely pointless. I never mentioned, but I may as well... my insurance came back with a settlement offer that is less than 20% of what they promised, of what I have paid to be covered for. It took them 11 months and regularly asking me for paperwork and signatures, letters, and evidence to come up with that. I turned them down, on principle, because it hurts to feel devalued, and lied to. Eighteen months ago, I thought we were a few months from walking away from all of this, for good. Ha!
Ok... stick with the plan. Diana and I are about to Bounce, then I will straighten out that little box, and make things right. Next, the eggs. I am going to be like an Easter bunny, and deliver eggs!

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Joy In The Doing

The success I had embroidering my groundhog, in a more realistic, detailed style, gave me the gumption to try another image. I liken it to painting with thread, and I went with attempting to make a bird, from my sketchbook. I am not saying this as a recommendation, because it was pretty reckless of me, but I grabbed a fine point Sakura marker, and drew the bird directly on a square of fabric from a charm pack. I was probably holding my breath, but I got mostly lucky, and the sketch was not bad. Painting with thread is a good analogy for this realism style... the stitches, length and type, are brush strokes, the colors need to create depths, shadows, highlights, and the smallest choices can make big impressions. And just like in painting, there are points along the way when it looks like a flop, and I want to walk away! But I didn't. And I'm glad I saw it through.

People I follow on Instagram, are participating in Creative Ceci's Fiberuary Challenge. When I saw Creative Ceci's prompts and the posts fiber artists were sharing, I wanted to participate, too. But I have that awful condition, the one called imposter syndrome, and the small (figuratetively small, but effectively very big) voice in my head said, That's for real artists. You're only a dabbler. I sat back, quietly, and let all the real artists play, and I am sorry I made that choice.

Here they are, the prompts for the Fiberuary Challenge. And I am going to dabble with this for the rest of the month.

1. Intro selfie... oh, wow. It starts with hard stuff.
Hello! I am Natalie, and I love fiber arts. I enjoy crafting, crocheting, quilting, embroidery and cross-stitch, wool felting, mending and hand-sewing, making clothes, and applique. I would love to learn how to spin wool. What else? Well, I illustrate, paint, make miniatures, have done some mosaics, and pottery, lots of cooking, and gardening, landscape design, mentoring, STEM outreach, photography, and writing. My happiest place is somewhere between make-believe and make it happen.

2. When I am not crafting... blogging? Yes, when I am not crafting, I am blogging, which for me includes sharing my photography, chronicling parts of our lives, and thinking aloud. The photography part is essential to me. I love it. I can't not take pictures. From the first time I saw a camera, I wished could possess that gift of making images, of capturing memories to hold and share (I was six, and watching my stepbrother with a 35mm camera, taking photographs of our pets, and activities, and it filled me with wonder!) When I am not crafting, I am being a partner to my husband of almost 32 years, and a guide and supporter of our four young people, which has included mentoring, homeschooling, advocating for children, and young adults with Autism, exhibiting at Maker Faires, and competitive robotics events, and lots of projects, cooking, laundry, travels, laughter, and wonder.

3. This day last year... February 3, 2020. William helped Alex move a chair into Alex's studio. I had convinced Alex that no studio could be complete without a comfy spot to plop down, and get comfortable... for himself, or a guest, it would be essential. And, as luck (or?) would have it, the comfy chair has been essential, and appreciated by all, one way or another.

4. Made in 2020... lots! Initially, it was about making PPE, and all of my crafting was set aside. Then again, we were all making use of the crafting and manufacturing skills we have aquired through hobbies and play, and those served us to design, and produce over 2,000 pieces of personal protective equipment, and then donate those to hospitals, and clinics across the country. In 2020 I also crocheted a blanket, and two shawls, I made story scenes with dolls I'd made, and I've done some inking and painting. Rats, and mice-like creatures are my favorite subjects.

5. Friday night... Oh. Hmmm. Honestly, days of the week have almost almost become meaningless. The best Friday nights, I think, are when we host a driveway movie, but those have happened on Sundays and Tuesdays, too. Oh, well, I just looked at the calendar, and on February 5th, we woke up to the news that Christopher Plummer had passed away. That Friday night we sat together in the living room and watched the Sound of Music, which, following an attempted coup by former 45 and other neo-nazis, is a surprisingly stirring and relevant story. Also, watching Maria hold out the drapes with that look of sheer inspiration on her face, then seeing the children dance into Salzburg, always makes me want to sew dresses! Lots of fitted, pretty dresses!

6. Most loved project... I will need to think about this.
I finished the bird. It reminds me of the look of a paint by numbers project, especially the wings. I am looking at it very critically, but without wanting to take it all apart talking about what went wrong, or how I would do it differently. I think it's natural, even welcome to recognize how I would do it differently. I was learning as I went, and that's a good thing. I got lots of kind and enthusiastic feedback on Instagram, which I love and appreciate. I think it would be very good to complete these two squares, somehow or another. Framing them, as some suggested is an idea I like, but it raises issues of their size. I would probably need to add borders, something to bring them into a uniform frame size. I am tempted to continue making small bags, fairy purses, Janece calls them. And I love Trini's reminder, "Joy in the doing," which is lovely, and so true! I find joy in the doing, and pleasure in saying so.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Happy Birthday(s )

Nine years ago, today, our dear Tasha was born. She was one of five, and probably the smallest of the trip ('Trip' of goats might come from the Middle Dutch word 'trippen,' which means to skip or hop.) We didn't meet her until she was at the feedstore, in April. I met two goats that day, Tasha, nutmeg brown and white, and litte Ada, a caramel. Ada was born later the same week, on February 25. As little prepared as we were, I couldn't resist bringing them home. I had longed for goats for several years, and had been reading and researching for months. It has been a treat, an honor, a barrel of laughs, some small frustrations, which always end in more laughs, having these two beings in our lives.
Tasha was named for the artist and author, Tasha Tudor. Maria and I regularly read her books, and took inspiration from her free spirited life and philosophies. And Tasha Tudor loved goats. Tasha is our smaller, quieter goat. She is a bit more headstrong about some things, like investigating tight spaces (getting stuck) and going on adventures (escaping.) She doesn't have much to say, but she expresses her pleasure when we bring out a brush, or carry a piece of licorice.

Ada will be 9 years old on Thursday. She was named for the English mathematician and writer, Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, who was one of the first computer programmers (well before those machines were what we recognize today.) We appreciate this woman's contributions, and admire her accomplishments. I don't know what she thought of goats. But our little caramel colored goat had a lacey patch of white spots on her head, which made me think of the ornate headpieces and lacey caps worn during the Regency era, of Ada Lovelace's time. Ada speaks frequently, and with devotion, and she seems to be the one in charge, between the two goats. I don't think it's because she is too bossy, so much as obliging Tasha is too mellow to object. Ada loves food, which makes her easier to re-direct than Tasha, and she loves to let everyone know that she's watching, she sees you, she'd like to chat. Bring a snack, let's catch-up, she invites when she catches you out hanging laundry, or standing on the porch. She's even spied me upstairs, in my room... there is no mistaking when she's tracked you down with her big blue eyes, and wants you to come out, and visit.

Happy Birthdays, Goats! Some presents are on their way, and extra brushes, runs, and even more affection, are all your due!