Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sewing for an Almost First Grader

One of the benefits of having a younger brother with a 9-year-old girl is hand-me-downs. We get hand-me-downs from his neighbor, too, whose daughter is slightly older than Serena. Hand-me-downs absolutely rock (you can tell I have teenagers too).
In one of those bags of hand-me-downs were two brand new shirts. They were size 7 belly shirts. Yes, belly shirts, as in, your belly is exposed when you wear them. I was not going to put a belly shirt on my 6 year old, but I saved them so I could redeem them into a more modest, appropriately "aged" garment.
Here are the results:

Pink and puppies!

And, of course, while she was being photographed, she wanted a kitty picture.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sun Dyeing

One of the most fun things you can do with flowers in a jar is sun dye. The three jars on the right are working hard to dye wool and mohair yarn (the white stuff in the jars) Those on the left contain invasive ivy (left) and madder roots (right).
After a few hours soaking (thanks to the sun finally coming out) and a little shaking on my part, the jars look like this:
I think I'll leave them a couple of days before I take out the wool.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cultivating Curiosity

First of all, I would like to thank (sounds kind of like I just won an Oscar, eh? ah hmmm) I would like to thank those of you who left such supportive comments in my "list" post. Marriage is indeed hard work, and I hesitated to put such personal information in there. I also found support and understanding, which I would not have otherwise discovered had I not shared. While I still feel a certain trepidation in being so vulnerable and exposed on this blog, I also want to celebrate my humanity, and I am thankful for the blog world's ability to help you find support. The worst thing that you can feel when you are really struggling is alone.
Part of celebrating humanity is knowing that there is pain in life, and this often precedes joy. My relationship with my husband seems to have taken a turn for the better, and it looks like resolution and forgiveness is in sight. We are not there yet, but we have come to the place where we are both willing to put down our swords and embrace our commitment.
Part of my healing journey has been finding IFS. I am still rather new to the whole method, and I won't go into what it is, because it is too big for this blog. Suffice it to say that this method of therapy is self-directed, non-pathologizing, and maintains the belief that each person has at their core a self who is centered and calm. If you are considering therapy, I would immediately seek someone who practices IFS...I believe it is the best therapy paradigm out there so far.
One of the aspects of this work is cultivating curiosity about your internal parts. I have been paying attention to where I am curious. Today, a wonderful benefit of being curious about myself was that I was free to be curious about my daughter. She had been whining all morning. Now, some moms might have no trouble dealing with whining, but whining drives me crazy. I had mustered all my patience and was doing a pretty good job, and when we went for a walk and she started whining again about how her arm hurt and how it only hurt on that side of the street but not the other side, I did something I am proud of. Instead of pulling out my usual repertoire of irritated responses, I mirrored what she said and then said, "how interesting!" and a "that's fascinating" or two. Calm, and centered. I wish I could tell you she stopped whining the rest of the morning. She didn't. But I was not irritated with her for feeling that. I was curious...what a wonderful place to be.
Curiosity is going to be my "gateway drug" to truly responding, and is going to help me get off those reaction substances.
These are the substances I want to be made of: compassion and curiosity.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dye Garden

Well, I'm back from the beach. South Carolina is beautiful. I stopped in Asheville on the way home and was delighted to run into Bele Chere, a huge street festival. We ate at The Laughing Seed, one of my all-time favorite restaurants, and I stopped into EarthGuild too. It was HOT.
When I got home, I was greeted by a pleasant surprise. My little indigo plants that I had started from seed have grown...they are huge! Only 2 plants survived my inexperienced gardening. But those plants have thrived.
A tour of my dye garden:
To your left is a bed of yellow and orange cosmos. Those plants are self-seeding and come back every year. They attract butterflies and other pollinators. When boiled, they produce a gorgeous, lightfast yellow dye.  In front are marigolds, and zinnias getting ready to bloom. The zinnias that I don't cut for bouquets will make a yellow dye. Marigolds, too , make yellow. You can see the little patch of yellow in the yard. A closer look reveals...

A harvest of marigolds and cosmos. Since I'm not dyeing today, these will join bags of their brothers in the freezer, ready to dye anytime I am. I had just harvested before I came up with the idea of taking pictures of my dye garden, and every time I harvest, the flowers come back double and even triple. So, next time I'll take a picture before I go about picking off poor unsuspecting flower heads.

My indigo bush. Beautiful and lush.

Look at those pink buds on the stem. I love observing this. I have no idea how to harvest indigo but I'm going to love learning!

And, another beauty, flax seed.
By the way, most of my seeds came from and

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Get it? TRIPtych? Ok, enough corny humor :)

I. Knit
Another lamb. This little guy has 113 hearts on Ravelry. (Link here) Go see some of the other lambs people have knitted! I cannot tell you how cool it feels to have a knitting pattern out there that people are actually knitting.

Working on a dog pattern. This one looks like our dog and immediately got snatched up and excessively "loved on" by Davis.

Finished with a short-row hen pattern. I AM making progress....

II. Clouds
 III. Sea

I dream of painting seascapes. For now, photographs will have to do.

Monday, July 19, 2010

We Are Here

Pawley's Island, South Carolina. Trying hard to restore hope, enjoy my children and family, and find peace in the restless, rhythmic, fathomless ocean. Oh, and to take pictures of clouds.
Oh, and to knit. I have a knitting post coming up...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I have GOT to make another list!

I like making list. I make lists for purposes of organization, coping, and so I can dream and plan and be inspired to my heart's content.
I am inspired to make a list here. First, I will tell you why I NEED a list of this sort right now. My marriage of late can be summed up in a word/story picture: Girl takes seat in front of bully in class. The class bully torments her, taunts her, teases her in every possible way that is cruel but not enough to get the notice of the teacher. Every. Single. Day. The girl keeps asking him to stop. He, of course, ignores her, which only adds to her indignation and anger. One day, he is particularly bully-like and pestering, and the girl turns around and slaps him. THEN the teacher notices what has been happening and the girl gets in trouble. MAJOR trouble. And what does the boy do? Inwardly, he gloats. Outwardly, he is milking it for all it's worth.
So that's my marriage. It's been a pretty dark place to be. Another story is about the Terrible Nung Guama. The Nung Guama sets out to victimize some poor hapless old woman. She is scared, and the people of the town who come to help her are scared, and say, "Oh, The Terrible Nung Guama, he is a BONE CRUSHER" and in the end lots of nice people conspire to help rid her of the Nung Guama and give her things like poisonous eels and nails and eggs to help defeat this creature. You can read the story here
Again, I could substitute the word "marriage" for Nung Guama. Although I think in the end, I won't conquer my marriage, but rather grow and be enriched by this time. But for now? BONE CRUSHER.You could also substitute "Depression". It truly takes a village to put that monster in a proper resting place. Bone Crusher for sure.

So here we come to my list. It is a list of things I am feeling positive about. Despair prevention, if you will.
1.) My house. I am a messy housekeeper. I am not always organized. However, I have worked to help my home be a fun, emotionally safe, inspiring, creative place to be. I put my heart into my house, and really do try to juggle work, cooking, errands, childcaring and parenting with cleaning. My husband does not like the way I keep house and frequently lets it be known to me how I fall short in this area. In fact, he has a derogatory word for our house because it does not meet his standards. But from now on,. I am going to relish our house and be happy about it and not take on his negativity. I am going to affirm my house as happy and see it for the beauty that it is, and just keep on doing the best I can, which is what I have been doing anyway.
2) Eat, Pray, Love.  It is SO funny that this book finally made its way to me at just the right time. I need to read stories where women cry in the bathroom at night. I can relate! I have heard people say that this book is too fluffy. Please. I am loving reading it.
3) My new therapist. Oh my goodness, people.If you knew how much I dread therapist shopping, you would wonder that I even make it to therapy. But a dear friend of mine, who is also a therapist, gave me a name and number and there I was today, in her office. I have never been so inspired and motivated to do all that undeniably messy and painful personal growth work. Somehow it was like being injected with a big ole bolus of hope. Ahhhhh.
4)My oldest daughters. I watched them today reenact the very same scene they reenact whever they greet each other for the first time. No hellos. It goes something like this:
"You've been in my room!"
"This shirt? This was on the floor!"
"Of my room! And you've been in my purse! You're wearing my makeup!"
"No I'm not! This was a gift from so and so that  I've had for two weeks now!"
"Whatever. I'm going to go into your room and take your stuff. "

It doesn't matter which daughter is on which side of the dialogue, It's pretty much the same. Today, after hearing it for the 5,328th time, it struck me as funny.

5.) This. I love Katie's designs and I want to be the first to have my finished nesting dolls on Ravelry. Maybe I will cast on at the beach. I am still planning on publishing my own knitting designs, but alas, the personal saga has interfered. Such is life. It is a time of growing and gathering, not producing from within right now. I must honor that time too.

Monday, July 12, 2010


I turned 42 yesterday.
Life in my 40's has been rife with developmental opportunities. Life was heavy yesterday. I feel like I need a break from all the sadness and hurt and anger. There were angels and children who in the end, conspired to make sure I felt love on my birthday. (thank you)
From here, I look forward to:
-trying IFS with a new therapist
-going back to school
-starting my 9th year at the Waldorf School of Louisville
-deepening gratitude
-spiritual awakenings and wisdom unfolding
-trying my hardest to be a man whisperer

Friday, July 9, 2010

Where We've Been (image heavy)

Sometimes you just have to scoop up the kids and pack up the van with camping gear and stuff you don't need and forget things you do need and head to the mountains.
So we did.

This is the top of the natural bridge. It's quite amazing and I'd love to go back in the fall. There are no rails to keep you up there and i was a little nervous with Davis toddling around, but we all managed to survive the hike up and down. Whew! Completely worth it.

Funny, everyone was worried about me taking 3 kids (well, Maddie IS fifteen!) camping ALONE. As if!
We had a really good time and were really ready to come home.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Art Fairing

spinning, spinning, spinning...internally and externally.
The view from my booth.
Our school's booth.
Hildegard, a fellow artist, made the bag out of some handspun she purchased from me last year. I wish you could have touched it! It was so soft.
Serena made a new friend (look closely and you'll see a lizard!)

These fairgoers had a reaction to me spinning in my booth, and I quote: "I couldn't do that all day, it would drive me FRICKIN' CRAZY" Heh.

And we were all happy to go home.
I very much enjoyed meeting new friends, and I am very grateful to my customers who took home babies, handspun, animals, wool, yarn, and dreams of what they could create.