I liken my life to a crazy quilt. You never know what size or color the next block will be, what print or fabric it will be made from or which stitch, ribbon or charm it will be adorned with.

Welcome to my crazy-quilt life. Hopefully my blog is a reflection of that & me!

Enjoy your visit.

Check out my farm blog too! http://serenitysheepfarmstay.blogspot.com/

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Rag By Any Other Name.......

Rags. It's a simple subject, or so you thought. Same with my family. They have to ask me to use a rag around here for one of their projects. Their answer is generally met with, "Don't use one of my good ones!" Huh? A rag is a rag, isn't it? That's what you think. It's a family joke around here, me and my rags!
I think this is a genetic thing because I recently came across a rag that belonged to my Aunt Marie. It has a patch on it! Can you imagine patching rags? She also hid money in her house, but that's a whole other post. My point is, she came from a different era. One where you didn't have much and what you did have you took care of until it was so worn out, nothing was left. She kept everything, including the styro meat trays she got her meat on. A little bleach and she was good to go. I don't know what she ever reused them for.
Back to the rags. You see, over the years I've spent a good deal of time cleaning. My first cleaning job that I actually got paid for was a 4-year stint at the Holiday Inn during the summers when I was in high school. I learned a lot about cleaning from that job, and more from the picky inspectors who came in behind you! It was done right or it was redone. I don't have any fond memories of special rags from that job, however.
Somewhere along the line I learned that linen is awesome for window washing. No lint and streak-free! These rags should not be used for any other purpose, however, since the oils from some cleaning products can remain in the fibers and mess with your window washing.
Bar rags make good overall rags. Old towels are the best absorbent rags. Dish rags are just that and should be bleached periodically. Under NO circumstance should a dish rag be used on a face, even a child's face! YUCK! Go get a wash cloth, which some people like to use as rag rags once they are worn down to nothing. I prefer a nice, substantial rag for cleaning. I was thrilled when I found a bundle of them at Costco!
Then there are shop rags. UGH! My least favorite rag. They get so disgustingly dirty and greasy that I rarely allow them back into the house. They are typically burned in the burn barrel here. I don't want that yuck in my washer!
So, are you still convinced a rag is just a rag?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Another Fiber Fun Day!

Spent the morning getting ready to teach needle felting! I was pretty worried about having enough needles and foam since my order had not arrived even though I placed it quite some time ago. Makes me want to do a search and figure out where to buy them direct so I can bypass this current source. Her prices are good, but SLLLLOOOOW! That would drive me crazy personally. When I make a sale, I have to get it ready and out of here preferably in the same day, if not the next. I don't want it hanging over my head that I have to ship an order.
So, off to Hawthorne School to help the kids refine their birds. I am so amazed and impressed with their work! Their pieces will be put up for sale and the proceeds go back into the art dept. I know their work will do well. On the way home I saw a Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle, Pheasant, King Fisher and a turkey (my own!) It makes you look at them in a whole new light.
Chris went with me today so he could run errands while I was at school. Then we came back home so I could finish the kits up for another class at tart tonight. I was so relieved to arrive home to the foam and needle shipment waiting on the back step.
Homemade pizza for supper and off to Bozeman again to teach an owl class. I had 7 in the class and we all had a great time. I am always amazed at how different each one turns out. They bought lots of wool to take home and create some more. It's always fun to introduce folks to a new passion.
Long day and I am pooped, but a good pooped!

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Full Week!

It's been a full and busy week for me. Besides the shop, Chris and I took a farmer vacation yesterday. That's gone and back in the same day. We drove over to Butte and then to Helena. I've only been on that road once in my life. It's a pretty drive, but there was some snow blowing across the road in places.
I stopped in Helena at Mountain Spun, the yarn shop that carries my yarn. What a darling little shop and the owner, Adrienne, is such a nice person. It was great to see my yarn on display and to see an awesome sweater she had made out of it. A treat at the Parrot ( a wonderful chocolate shop ) and then I hit a couple thrift stores. I did find a few pin cushion containers, but not a lot out there right now for the shop in town.
Today I was back at Hawthorne School in Bozeman and needle felting with the 4th graders. I get such a kick out of them. All different and unique and so are their creations! Then off to a Women of the Dirt gathering. Small, but nice. I stopped at the wool mill on my way home to pick up some yarn samples so I can be at the Farmer's Market in the morning to pimp my wool! Gotta sell those CSAs!
I think once noon rolls around tomorrow and I can come home, I am just going to put my feet up an relax for a bit. I just feel like I've been on the go.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Teaching Kids

Last Friday I had the opportunity to teach a 4th grade class needle felting. They have all chosen a bird and have drawn a picture of it. I am not sure if they've done reports on these birds, but there are some very interesting and unusual birds. Fun colors to dye so they have the proper wool to use! I spent the better part of Thursday getting that done and all of the other things ready.
Since I am such a huge thrift shopper, I really hate to pay full price for anything. I have known I'd be working with them since fall, so I was on the look out for supplies on my trip to Portland. Linda and I went to an interesting place called SCRAP . It's a non-profit full of scrap recycled items. I was able to purchase 20 pieces of the gray foam I needed for 50¢ ea. I glued and cut and came up with the 28 pieces I needed for the kids. It works!
I spent 2 hours in the classroom on Friday. That's a lot. Typically I just spend 45 minutes to an hour in a class, but we were able to get a huge start on the project. I had felted a green, wool blanket that was given to me. I cut it up into 8 1/2 x 11 inch pieces for their "canvas". Each child was given white wool roving to start outlining their birds. They went to town! Then I went around with a baggie for each and we picked out colors for their individual projects. I know they are going to be awesome. The kids are SO enthusiastic. They must have applauded me 4 or 5 times! Their excitment was contagious and I was flying high when I left.
This week I will go back and help them fine-tune their birds, adding depth and more color.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My Latest Letter to the Editor

I typically have zero tolerance for whiners who complain about what they don’t have and that someone else, i.e. the government, should do for them. I was taught to work for what you want. Sometimes that work isn’t easy or even enjoyable. Pretty basic. Not much common sense needed there.
I realize, however, that there are times when you’re dealt a little more than you can handle and rather than a hand-out, you need a hand-up. The current homelessness issue here is one example. I have my theories on it and unless someone proves them wrong, I am sticking with them.
Panhandlers, for the most part, are not homeless. They don’t want food, they want money. I know this is true. I have seen food left behind at the intersection of 19th and Valley Center. Those people probably make more in a day than most of us, all tax free and without a business license. The city of Bozeman should consider making them get a license and reporting their names to the state and IRS. Why should they live tax-free when the rest of us are paying?
Too many in this county suffer from ostrich syndrome. Maybe it’s because we live in a beautiful area. We choose not to see the ugly side. Pretending there’s not a problem or shipping those problems to a neighboring town does not make the problem go away. It’s time we deal with our own issues. The Greater Gallatin Homeless Action Coalition is doing this in a very dignified way. Raising $18,000 in a few short months is admirable. It is extremely disturbing for me to turn the newspaper page and read “Bobcat Stadium expansion exceeds $10M goal”. Ten million dollars, really?
Priorities and freedom of choice. That’s America!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Back to normal, whatever that is!

The day Christmas vacation finally ends and life resumes. I always feel a bit like a butterfly coming out of a cocoon. When my kids were little and they finally went back to school, it was a bit of a relief to just get back into a routine again.
Hopefully you've set some goals for 2011 and have already begun working on them. I know I have. This blog is one of them. I have some posts rolling around in my head (sounds painful, I know!) and I am very excited to jump back on the blog wagon, so to speak.
So many things to look forward to in the coming year!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My Theme For 2011

Thankfulness & gratefulness, are two words that have been crossing my path of life of late. When something keeps gently popping up in front of me or hitting me smack in the face, I don't call it a coincidence. They come to me for a reason, so I have chosen "gratitude" as my personal theme for 2011.
I recently read somewhere (and wish I could remember where) that once this person began to give thanks for what she had, she finally found peace & happiness in her life. It makes perfect sense to me and seems so simple. We shall see.
I was given a journal for Christmas. It's a very sweet old book cover, spiral-bound with blank pages and a few of the old left in. This shall be my gratitude journal. I am excited about this theme and project for the new year.

I will leave you with this quote. Try to keep it in mind in the coming week.
“Saying thank you is more than good manners. It is good spirituality.” - Alfred Painter

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year, New Beginnings!

I wasn't going to post a Happy New Year blog post, but I am very excited to have a new blog. I can't not!
So many of my friends had very trying years last year. Lots of losses, parents moved to extended care facilities, homes and lives to sort through, lots of memories, tears and joy as a lifetime gets sorted. I guess that's what comes as we get older and slip into the "next generation".
We had our own trials here with getting the farm stay up and running, Chris out of work and finally finding some, and the loss of 2 wonderful friends and an Aunt I loved and admired very much.
We take these things as they come. Somehow when it's all said and done, we hope that we are better people because of the trials we've been through. Life can never be easy, but I will tell you, I am thankful for the days and moments that are.
The last few years I have had a theme for each year. 2009 was kindness. 2010 was simplify. I am still working on that one! I haven't chosen a theme for 2011 yet, but there's once recurring word that keeps popping up in my life. Stay tuned.......

For 2011 I wish you enough.