Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Contains humectants.


It’s snowing today. Not a lot - maybe an inch is what we will get. Five years ago, there was over a foot on the ground, and that was the day we closed on our house. 

I can’t get my head around the fact that it has been 5 years. (Of course, I was in a drunken stupor for two of those years, so maybe that’s where the time disappeared to.) 

Who knew that I would today be a president of an arts council and a member of the chamber of commerce? I am dumbfounded but reasonably happy with where I am these days. Who knew I would be speaking in front of civic groups and the annual dinner for our extension office? What I say to myself is that they are in desperate need of warm bodies. Actually, I feel confident and competent doing these things. I do not have uncontrollable anxiety anymore. Well, most of the time I don't.

I haven’t been too terribly creative this year; spinning and knitting hats has been about it. However, I feel ready to do something else. I dyed roving yesterday. I am imagining things I want to make.

I had a woman ask me a couple of weeks ago if I enjoyed cooking. I had to think about it for a minute before I answered that I don’t particularly enjoy cooking, but I do like to experiment. Cooking is not a thing I consider fun, but it is something I do because I have to. Even so, I turn out tasty and edible meals on a regular basis. I don’t mind making bread or biscuits now and then.

I like making kimchi. I don’t mind making bread or biscuits now and then. Yesterday, I made yoghurt, and that was interesting. Today, I may find a recipe for bread, or something, that uses yoghurt. (I made more that I can easily eat anytime soon.) I’m thinking of making fermented rice. You see, Sweetie has bought a book called ‘The Good Gut,’ and has become interested, nay, obsessed with fermented food, and I am humoring him.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Ask your doctor if condition persists.

I am finally well! It took actually going to see my care provider and getting some kick ass meds. Even with that, it took 2 more weeks to get shet of the acute bronchitis. So now, I have some energy and oomph. Sweetie was much sicker that I was, and he has still not quite recovered, but at least I am not so worried about him.

The solstice-flavored holidays have passed, and the daylight is increasing a minute or so every day. We got a little snow and the temperature has dipped into the single digits. (Die, bugs! Die!)

I haven't been too awfully creative, but I have been spinning and knitting hats. These are all mostly handspun, but the black and grey is store bought wool. These will be for the Guild sale in November. And I have made even more on the knitting loom in acrylic, for the No Cold Ears Project. The goal for us it to make 100, and we have 40 so far.

Today I got out the Dremel and an antler and tried to make buttons. I heard that it would smell, and it did. It reeked of burning hair. So I got one disc cut and sanded, but then couldn't find a small enough drill bit. There is a garage full of tools, and I couldn't find a 3/16". Such is life.

Now that I feel better, my darkness seems to have eased.

I am seeking speaking engagements to tout the Arts Council, and also trying to rustle up some new board members. Next week is the Kiwanis lunch, and next month, it's the Extension Office's Annual Meeting. Who knew? Who fuckin' knew that I would 1) be able to and B, feel confident enough to do this? But I can and I am because it is something I feel strongly about. But the other thing about speaking in public is that so many people are so bad at it! I mean, not just bad but gawd awful bad. I have heard them and I have felt their agony and I have wished to be anywhere else than in the same room with them. I can do better than that, I know for a fact. (Although when I was in school, it terrified me to stand and read to the class. Literally, my knees would shake and my throat would seize up and I couldn't wait to be done and sit down.) My anxiety level about public speaking now is just barely above nil.

I was also asked to be a board member of the Chamber of Commerce. (If you want to know what the devil is doing, you have to go to where the devil plays. That's my motto.)

Who knew? Ya know, who knew this would be me and my life right now? Certainly not me.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Find your lost items!

So. Everything has turned out well. I had 5 students for my purse class and they all seemed happy with what they learned and made. The space was really fabulous. This was at the Ozark Fiber Fling. 

I was sick the week of the Guild sale, and so was only able to limp there on the Sunday to spin a little, but I made 3 times what I made last year. I sold some of everything, which was my lesson from the previous sale - to make several different things, with a variety of prices. 

I seem to be puttering along through November, dreading any day that I have to leave the house. I’m still a bit icky feeling, and so even in the house, I am not doing much.

I painted the frames of my kitchen cabinets; not the doors or  drawers. It liked to have killed me, I am still so weak. I have paint for the downstairs bathroom, too, but I don’t feel up to the task yet.

I bought a Kindle the other week, and I am liking it more than I ever thought I would. (I remember back when such a thing was only a bafflement. How to make such a thing? No one knew.) I have only downloaded free books - good old classic things like Jane Austen and Wodehouse - because I am a frugal midwesterner. I did subscribe to Scientific American, which we once got in print, but the price became too much. $3 a month on Kindle. 

The dogs and cats and rabbit are all well. The outside rabbits continue to flourish and spread. That makes Sweetie and me happier than it ought. We always remark to each other which ones we see and where.

Sweetie is with his mother and sister for Thanksgiving, and he has the Creeping Crud, too. I will have a pleasant Thursday, with no turkey to cook or pies to bake or relatives to make me unhappy. Holidays are always so fraught for me, and so I try to not notice them anymore.

I am more sad lately, a little more down. I know for a fact that it is the short days and long nights. (Also, because I have been ill, but mostly it’s the lack of daylight.) I hate that it is darkening at 4:30, but in another month the sun will start strengthening again and before you know it, crocuses will be blooming.

There are things I want to try, ideas that I want to explore, but I am just gonna rest awhile. Right now? I am making hats on the Knifty Knitter, that round loom. It requires absolutely no thought on my part and they will be donated to Project No Cold Ears. 

Thursday, November 05, 2015

For $40, a doctor will contact you in minutes.

I have my camouflage on, in order to blend in and appear normal. Going to a ‘breakfast’ at a local bank. Not my bank, but the one the Arts Council uses. Then, at noon, it’s the Chamber of Commerce regular meeting. I have been asked to stand for their board. I figured they needed a warm body, which I am, but I have no intention of getting elected. But if I do, I will continue to wonder what the hell I have gotten myself in to. Anyway. Sitting here in my polyester clothes and lipstick.

I am like a number of ‘retired’ women around here; involved in various groups and causes so that one is busy all the time. Not that I ever say I am retired; I just quit working back in 1994, and I have no intention of ever working a so-called real job ever again.

I keep busy. I have been feeling rather well lately, and I post a mental gold star by my name for every day that I do well and am creative. This Saturday, I travel to lovely Steelville, MO to teach at the Ozark Fiber Fling. Tomorrow, I will wet felt a purse, so that I will be able to show others how it’s done. It’s been a while since I made one of them. It’ll be fine. Of all the things I have anxieties about, teaching is not one. Even public speaking holds no terrors.  Just don’t ask me to make a phone call.

The Guild sale is November 13-15. I have just over 100 items entered, and I think I have realistic ideas about what will sell. Last year, I was a nervous wreck and then when my sales barely covered the gas to travel there and back four times, I went into a funk that lasted several weeks until I discovered wet felting. I haven’t woven anything all year, and only have knit a few things. Felting is a many splendored thing and I find myself following one path after another after another and there are dozens of ideas still to explore. 

I like the near-immediate results I get with loose fiber, when I can cut out the middle-men of spinning and knitting.

Added this evening. Why the hell did I go to the bank for a breakfast meeting? It was a sales pitch by Liberty Mutual. I am glad I took my knitting as I got 2 inches of ribbing done for a hat. Anti-Obama jokes were told. I am not sure why I am surprised, but it pissed me off. On my way out, I told the suit that he should not assume that everyone in the audience was a Republican. Also, he spelled ‘flexable” incorrectly. I left my literature and so-called goodie bag on the table. Ugh. Lesson learned. 

And because it had started raining, I skipped the Chamber meeting. Also, the sausage from the breakfast was not sitting well. 

It was not a good day. Fucking people. I did not get a gold star by my name. But I am feeling better now. 

And just now, just this second, a call from someone from Foundation of American Vets (said the caller ID) called me and I answered quickly so it wouldn’t disturb Sweetie, who had already gone to bed. 

He cheerily called me by my first name, and then proceeded with his sales pitch. God damn it. I yelled at him, saying, It is 8 o’clock in the evening! Why are you calling me? He replied, Oh, sorry, I’ll call back at a later date and I told him he better not call me again, ever.


Rat bastard. 
More pins. The leaves are machine stitched. 

Felt mitts. I was going to knit a pair, which would take me more than a week
because I am not a fast knitter, or I could felt a pair. It took less than two hours.
They are perfect.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Koo Koo Kachew

It's not that what I do is any good, the wonder is that I do anything at all. I totally spaced and forgot the felters' meeting in St. Charles yesterday. Completely off my radar. I think I might have been too tired - I don't know.

We stayed in and watched Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil for the first time. John Cusack is a cutie, but the drag queen stole the show. We also watched Season 1: Episode 1 of the Sopranos. As you can tell, we are down with all that hep jive of popular culture. I've also been watching The Wire, Season 1.

I've been making things. I finished the purse from last post - handles and a zipper, even. Then I somehow got involved in all these little beaded pins. Sitting at the kitchen table, watching Popular Culture on amazon Prime.

The little ones are about 2 - 2.5 inches. Click to embiggen.

They make me inordinately happy.  Each one is its own little story, its own little scene. I think they are good. I think they are worthy. 

I've been feeling okay these last few days, in spite of the fact that the sun is going down around 6 p.m. No frost yet, but nights get chilly and I need a jacket when I walk to dogs. 

Tomorrow is the Guild meeting in Columbia, and I must go in order to get my items juried for the Holiday Exhibition and Sale starting November 13. I am supposed to teach at the Art House in Fulton this Saturday - I need to check to see if I have any students signed up. Is it bad that I almost hope I don't? I really just want to stay in the house and not go anywhere.

Monday, October 12, 2015


I am tired. So much energy has been drained from me that I spent today recovering. (I dreamed about opera and opera costumes last night. Now I know I really am stressed.)

Lots of things going on, but mainly I did a show in Fulton, MO Saturday. It was their second year and it was well done and well attended. I made one sale. So it goes. Fulton is famous as the place Churchill gave his Iron Curtain speech; there is a Churchill Museum there. 

There were two different women visiting from California who were effusive in praise for my purses, so that was nice. Oh, everyone was nice; this is Missouri after all. It’s just that nobody wanted to open their wallet for my goods. I did get a small bump of merino spun though, (I took my wheel,) and plyed into yarn. Lovely blue and purple. 

As president of the Arts Council, I have had to put out yet another fire - the third in two months. I hate being responsible for other people’s actions. Or inaction, whatever the case may be. Plus, I am not getting paid for doing this and sometimes I just want to chuck it and say fuck it. People make me weary. On a side note, I have been asked to stand for the board of our Chamber of Commerce; the Arts Council is a member of the Chamber. That’s one way to know what’s going on in this town, because the good bits don’t make it into the newspaper.

And then there are the sewing machines. Sweetie and I spent several hours yesterday replacing a gear. One gear, people! (The gear I ordered was from a guy in American Samoa, of all places.) Anyway, Sweetie has the strength and mechanical know-how, all the little tricks and tips, whereas I have the skills to set the hook and feed dog timing, and make sure it’s making a nice seam. 

So we spent several hours on it, with a break to go to Harbor Freight in Columbia to buy me some more tools. And him some more tools. Finally got the damned thing put back to together last night, mostly, but when I plugged her in I got nothing. No power to the light. Then I stepped on the pedal and the light came on. Okay. We’ll save taking the motor wiring apart again for another day. And somewhere in there, the needle position lever got messed up. And then I couldn’t find all the screws to put the damn top and sides back on. I have packed it all away until next week. Sweetie told me that that is what working on cars is like, except sewing machines are smaller and simpler and cleaner. 

Thank goodness this one isn’t for a customer. “Here ya go, ma’am, that’ll be $500 for labor, $23 parts, and by the way, the top is duct taped in place and you can’t zig zag with it anymore. Other than that, she’s good as new!” 

So, I’m tired. Nothing has gone well for the last few days, it seems. But I did start a batch of kim chee this afternoon and that is a good thing! We eat a lot of kim chee, Sweetie and I. I credit my first effort at fermenting cabbage to the return of my sense of smell earlier this summer. I find the pungent aroma delightful. Sweetie adds kim chee to his breakfast burrito. I add it to most everything I eat save for sandwiches and cereal. Did you know that when a South Korean astronaut went to the space station, much money was spent to make an acceptable kim chee that would work up there for the 6 month stay? I think that must have been part of the deal - if I don’t kim chee, I’m not going, goddamn it. 

What else is good? Oh, I tried to dye wool with black beans. I read that I should get blue, but as you can see, it is gray. So it goes. 

And I made another purse. It needs a handle. I think the handle will be an improvement, because right now, it ain't much to look at.

I still fuck around with wire and silk and wool. And I located those silk scarves I bought last year and fucked around with them today. 

Monday, October 05, 2015

With 4 mg of memory!

I bought 4 sewing machines over the weekend, from 2 different places, and paid $114 for the lot. All of them were supposed to 'work' or 'run.' Ha. I learned a lot about what is wrong with them - trouble shooting is an important skill, after all - and Sweetie and I spent a considerable amount of time trying to repair them. All of them has something wrong; either a belt needs replacing, or the clutch is worn, or the thing doesn't want to zig or zag.

I futzed with the last one this evening, an old Singer 401 from the late '50s. (May I insert here that I have gotten very good at disassembly and re-assembly? Save for these new clam shell dealies that require a certain tenacity and dexterity. I was given a 'dead' one to autopsy, so maybe I will be able to figure it out. Sweetie wanted to use a screw driver to prize the pieces apart, but that is a nope nope nope. Do not do that! Just sayin'.)

So the old Singer actually worked quite nicely! Especially after a good cleaning with compressed air and oiling. The zig was a little wonky on the right side, but I was able to coax (threaten) the needle bar to behave. What a good feeling to finally have one good machine up and running. I even serviced my old Brother machine that I bought at Sears sometime in the late 80s. Does Sears even sell sewing machines anymore? That baby made me a lot of money back in the day, (jeez, that makes me sound like a pimp,) but has sat unused for a long time.

And that is the worst enemy of a sewing machine - not being used and left to sit in the closet or attic or garage. The lubricants can set up into 'varnish' and make the machine seize up. But one can place drops of lube (Tri-Flow, if you can find it,) on the seized bits and slowly work the wheel. It might take a while, and sometimes the heat from a hair dryer helps. Those are the words of the instructor. He has been servicing machines since he was a young feller. He is an old feller, now.

And so once, at Sewing Machine Camp...

Brother, can ya spare a belt?

If I can get this baby working, boy o boy! 

I plan to autopsy this piece of crap. Do not buy this machine.

I love the watermelon pink! A Brother Festival. 

Singer 401, up and running. Yippee!

One little tidbit that I learned from the inner tubes over the weekend is that the Brother machine was almost called the Sister machine, but some other devise had that name already. Brother is a Japanese company.