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Cleanup and Some new work

Cadieu's crane over our house

Cadieu’s crane over our house

I can’t say enough good things about Joe Cadieu and his team.  If you are in the Charlotte area and have tree problems, call Cadieu Tree Service.  We chose them because our landscape architect friend told us he was the only service who had the equipment to do the job.  The expertise of his climber, Chris, was amazing.

Chris making the first cut

Chris making the first cut

As the first cut was made, the crane held the top of the tree.  Chris was riding the trunk.  Have you seen Dr. Strangelove?  Slim Pickens riding the bomb down screaming “Yahoo”?  That was Chris as the top of the tree broke loose.

First cut tree top

First cut tree top

At this point we could finally see the damage.  There is some, mostly cosmetic to the house, except the window is still out and covered by a tarp.  Outside noise is louder than you think, but the sound of the rain is wonderful.

After Cadieu finished

After Cadieu finished

Check it out.  Not any damage to the landscape from the recovery.  Amazing work.  This was due to the expertise and planning for taking out the tree.

Here are some things I’ve been making:

New Dog Harnesses
These were made from a pattern I found on Pinterest and I cannot find the source data. I will continue to look. The coolest part of this is where the D-rings are located. There is no pressure on the neck of the dog which is critical for Jake.

Bird on Canvas Using Inktense Watercolor Pencils

Bird on Canvas Using Inktense Watercolor Pencils

This was for an online class. If you don’t know, Inktense Watercolor pencils are unlike other watercolor pencils. These pencils will put watercolor permanently onto surfaces other than paper, e.g., fabric, wood, even metal. All you do is color in whatever you want and then use a brush and plain water to activate what you drew. Cool. I extended the picture onto the sides of the canvas and then Photoshopped those onto the side of the front picture. That is why the photo looks weird.
Inktense on wood
This is an exercise which used the Inktense pencils on a wood template from Michaels. When I put the first coat on the bare wood, it was the color Mustard, the wood glowed. I am thinking about painting a small unfinished cabinet. The transparency gives it a delicate look.

More birds–

Fowlus Scientificus--Inktense Pencils

Fowlus Scientificus–Inktense Pencils

Western Meadowlark--Prismacolor Colored Pencils

Western Meadowlark–Prismacolor Colored Pencils

The Onion Weeps--sort of a Zentangle

The Onion Weeps–sort of a Zentangle

If a tree falls in the forest . . .

or in your backyard . . . there might be excitement.

Tree on roof

Tree on roof


On the den roof

On the den roof

Supporting itself

Supporting itself

Broke through the den window

Broke through the den window

Four feet from where the dogs and I were sleeping

Four feet from where the dogs and I were sleeping

Could have been so much worse—

Missed the trampoline

Missed the trampoline

Lifted the fence

Lifted the fence

Missed the owl and the deck plants

Missed the owl and the deck plants

Supporting itself over the landscaping

Supporting itself over the landscaping

Obviously all are okay. The insurance company (Met Life) is sending a crew to weatherproof the den. Cadieu Tree Service is on the way with a crane to lift and take down the tree. Andrew, the landscape guy from down the block, was up and will send guys to spread the “free” mulch this weekend. Duke Power came right away. We didn’t lose power, but the tree is on some lines so they will cut the power soon to take the tree down safely. Sarah from next door was first on the scene to check on us and give me hugs. The dogs are confused—and I am doing fine.

The bike trip this week was cancelled because Steve’s mom was back in the hospital, but she returns to rehab today. Steve is home dealing–he’s been dealing with so much now for months, but he says he is fine. Denial.

We will know about the roof after the tree is removed, but there are no obvious holes. This is one way to get your neighbors to visit. Everett advised about the insurance and then teased me long and hard.

The good news is someone else will help pay to take the tree down and I will have lots of mulch for the new fenced in area. Andrew even knew a woodturner in the neighborhood who might get some of the wood to make art. Oh, I found the robin’s nest from the maple on the ground. The three baby birds were scared, but Jennie, my bird expert, told me how to get the nest back in the tree so the mother could find it. Both the mom and dad are flying around the area.

More later–

The Story of Badger

So, one day SIL Paul was walking in downtown Athens, headed to get a haircut when he spotted this bike.
Badger's bike front

Badger's bike side

An avid cyclist who often commutes on his bike, he checked it out for ideas. Then he turned the corner and saw Badger.

Badger the artist copy

He knew the bike belonged to the man. Badger was sitting there (the sidewalks of Athens are filled with folks at tables or planters sitting and doing.) weaving a basket out of wire. Paul knew he had to talk to him. Badger explained his life of living off the grid and making art, indeed of his life being an act of art.

Here, let Paul explain: click to enlarge, if needed.paul-letter-excerpt

This is the gift: Jane's Majik Pendulum
Jane's Majik Pendulum face

Jane's Majik Pendulum  BACK

And this is Badger’s letter to me: Jane's Majik Pendulum LETTER

I, again, was blown away. I called Athens to thank him and was thrilled to find that they were anxiously awaiting my reaction—all three of them. Giving was as exciting as getting.

I love my family. Especially this SIL who “gets” me.

My Outside Loom

loom2I built it!  And it works!

I started with the idea of a backstrap loom like the Mapuche people of Chile use, as do many Latin and South Americans, as well as Asians.  I was fighting it too much; clearly I need lessons here.  So I moved on to Navajo looms.

Use this to decipher terms that follow.

What a gift the internet is.  Read much; saw a lot of pictures, watched some videos.  Saw looms made of copper pipe, floor looms made of PVC pipe, lots of DIY directions and blogs, and some commercially made looms that didn’t interest me at all.  Just Google  “handmade looms” and select images.  [My favorite way to Google now.]

Thought about what I wanted—not to clutter house with big loom, just plain weave to make some rag rugs, the fun of solving the problems of construction.

Voila!  My loom.loom1

Sent DH to the store to buy some rods for the top and bottom beams—the man who uses a 50 pound picture hanger to hang a 3 oz photo came home with 2.5 inch PVC pipe.  Two 10-foot pieces.  I think I could hang a car from it.  But it isn’t warping from the tension.

The arbor has been there many years.  I just hung the top beam from the arbor crosspiece with nylon braided rope.  This is the tensioning agent so it will be loosened and tightened often.  I used the same knot the Navajo weavers use on their outdoor looms.  <g>

The bottom beam is wedged under the bottom of the arbor.

I wound the warp differently.  Actually for this first sample piece, I just cut lengths and attached them to the loom bar.  Then I manually added the shed rods.  It was only 40 strings, not the hundreds needed for a big rug.  Then I tied them to the loom bar as I would if I were warping a floor loom.

Hardest of all was making string heddles.

They need to be the same length to have good tension.  After much adjustment I had something workable if not good.  Then I had to figure out how this whole business of picking up the right threads and getting the right sheds worked.  It is so simple, it has been done this way for many centuries; it only took me hours to figure it out.  [Duh!  I could have had a V-8.]

Still had spacing problems—no reed to hold the threads evenly spaced.  Back to the books to discover using a twined thread and realizing why the Navajo do not cut the bottom warp ends.  [Ah, learning by discovery.  No, I do not read instruction manuals.  Instruction manuals are for when you have messed it up so badly that you are desperate.]

Finally, days later, I tore up an old sheet and began to weave.  It worked pretty well.  I still need to figure out the best sett [threads per inch in the warp] and the best width for the strips to make a serviceable and dog proof rug.

Then the monsoon hit.  Days of big rain.  The loom was drenched—frequently.  But once dried, it maintained the tension pretty well.  I am going to move it further in under the arbor roof, but it is good to know that the apparatus is indeed weatherproof.  The Navajo don’t use a roof for their looms.  But it never rains in New Mexico.

Can’t think of everything, and learning anything is fun.

More later–

Meniscus, maybe?

Good news!

Good news!

Keep your inner child

Zachary, age 11, sent me a picture of his art project.

I am so proud of his art, and I am thrilled he wants to share it with me. He told me about doing all the pencil work which I really find hard. We discussed how hard it is to draw hands. He said he didn’t get the hand right; it comes out of the chest. I said he should look at Picasso. Besides, I can make a great case for the theme of your hand being controlled by your heart.

Evan, aged 7, won’t draw with me anymore. He says he doesn’t know how. I suspect an adult told him that. But he will build a fairy house. Grace, age 6, lives down the street. She is a budding architect who also builds fairy houses.

Combine Evan’s California modern with Grace’s romance and you get a whole town. The large structure in front is a collaborative effort. Surely you can tell it is a shopping mall.

When children begin to draw, they have no inner critic. We need to hang on to that. So often we just assume we can’t do something. Think about it.

My knee is still out. I am using crutches to rest it. Seems it isn’t possible for me to merely sit still. Taking Ibuprofen and icing it. When better, I will start some weight therapy. No, no doctor consulted. Years of bad joints have taught me that they will say one of two things: Take Ibuprofen, ice and rest it, OR cut it out. Too early to see a surgeon.

But I have been working on things.





Sewing for my dogs

I’m also harvesting ivy from the front yard to make baskets and I am actually knitting socks. Pictures of those later.

What are you playing with?

If you live in Charlotte and like to draw, consider this.

20130501-132529.jpg Great people who are encouraging and kind.

More later–

Teaching at Arrowmont


We spent the weekend in Gatlinburg, TN, where I taught a three day class on fitting your body. The event was the Southeastern Fiber Forum Biennial Conference, and it was wonderful. The facility is perfect for an ultra-casual, get your hands on fiber playdate with your tribe.



Dyeing, spinning, weaving (even a bench), and this year—a knitter. (People kept saying to me, “oh, you’re the knitter.)” I think I’m a trendsetter. I wish I had pictures from other classrooms for you, but they kept me so busy I just didn’t get them. Well, you’ll just have to go in 2015.

I have my friend Jan Smiley who created of the Carolina Fiber Frolic for this invitation to teach. As with the Frolic, I met fantastic, interesting people. All skill levels were there learning from instructors and each other. I know my students taught me some cool things about sewn garments.

Steve went along and had three days to wander on his own which he likes. He found an 18th century ish cabin that showed signs of rehab and an old miniature golf course that didn’t. Both entertained him. The kitschy tourist town of Gatlinburg overwhelmed him. Not at all his cup of tea. He kept talking about how many candy stores there were on one street. But check out this evening sky.

But Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts is a different world. It is right in the center of town, but once you turn into the drive, all other words fall away. Very natural, earthy, handmade. I mean the crafts are handmade.


My classroom was the pottery studio. The high shelves around three walls were a feast for the eye. I saw the tiles surrounding the entry doors and knew exactly what I wanted around my front door.






I also watched a video that included bits from a basketry class which used cotton rag paper painted with acrylics and cut into strips. The book store had a suitable paper and that is a future project.

One of the weaving instructors, Susan Levielle, used potholder looms to weave samples of different patterns. Easy to warp, fast to produce. Must try it. Mug rugs? Blanket squares? Bath cloths? Kid project? Clever, I thought.

The very best thing about a fiber conference is the inspiration, both in ideas and in motivation.
Wish you all had been there with me.

More later–

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