Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Merry Christmas

2010 Polar Bear Club (predunking)- Andy, Robert, Zach, Adam
Well, the birdhouse felting and shipments of socks finally got finished and it was time for one of our favorite nights of the whole year... Christmas Eve. A tradition was born many years ago and was reborn last year of jumping into the icy lake beside my parents home. (No, I didn't participate, though I have in the far past!). Doesn't every family celebrate Christmas this way? First, the guys had to do lots of chanting loudly to get themselves psyched up. They planned their route to the water and back carefully, as there was literally just a small area that was unfrozen!
I hope you'll enjoy this short video of the event! Things were somewhat more subdued after that, and unfortunately our daughter wasn't feeling well and was very quiet for the evening.
Our son Robert had the honor of reading the story of Jesus' birth from the family Bible.
We told lots of good stories and jokes, sang some carols, ate a wonderful meal, and then even did a bit of karaoke.
(Robert was the hit there, as he ad libbed Deck the Halls and had everyone in stitches.)
Munchie was dressed up in Santa attire, and he and my brother's cat Joe got along great as always. My brother Andy read us some great poetry, we opened gifts, there was a small wrestling match, and good memories were made! Our family has so much to be thankful for, and I'm looking forward to more time with them on our upcoming ski adventure!
Sushi dressed up for Christmas this year, too, and he's very proud to have launched his very own Facebook page- check it out!
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ice...sometimes nice!

... well, not to some that I know (one friend still can't get out her steep farm lane!) but I hope that lots of other people were able to appreciate the beauty of this recent winter storm. The weather people have been uncharacteristically accurate lately,and we got exactly what was predicted! (Fortunately on the lower end of the snow part).The studio view was pretty dark and undramatic the day after the ice arrived, and it wasn't until today when the sun came out that the lingering ice "turned to diamonds" as one friend observed. A quick trip around the farm gave me the chance to catch these photos. (Be sure to double-click on them to enlarge).
Some of them reminded me of Horton Hears a Who, or the dream world of my artist-friend Marti who recently wrote and illustrated an awesome book entitled HapiLani- The Natural History of a Dream Land. I hope you are able to find time during this hectic season to see the beauty in the small things around you (even if the ice is a real pain in the X)&$!*!)
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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Embrace the Weather!

From the studio window, 12-15-10
My "word of the year" has been Embrace, and as we approach this year's end I'm fondly reminding myself to continue to do this. This morning the temperature reached 3 BELOW, and it's not even technically winter yet! It is very rare for it to get this cold in central Kentucky, especially outside of January or February, and we've already had half of an average winter's total snowfall. To make matters worse, everyone is bracing for a winter storm tonight that may include up to 6 inches of snow and then a topping of.... that word we all dread around here.... ICE. (The last icestorm, in 2009, left us without power here for a week!)

Fortunately I had home schooling as my excuse to stay indoors this morning, and it was a glorious day to be along the Kentucky River as frost tinged the treetops.
It warmed quite a bit throughout the day, and the wildlife were actively out looking for food ahead of the storm. I saw a lot of birds on the feeders, wild turkeys scratching for acorns, and this adolescent deer (among others).We decided to take a walk, and Munchie, as always, was excited to come along! Mirian wanted to bring her lambs Shelby and Pepe (now almost fully mature), as we just moved them to a new paddock closer to the house and they've been baaaing for attention. It is so pretty by the river when there's snow on the trail.The horses followed along partway from inside of their field, begging for a sample of sweet feed.
It was pretty cute when Mirian's horse Gringo knocked her hat off! (I love this picture of a happy horse and his girl!)
And, another happy horse and his girl....Both of us were wearing Quarters Caps that I knitted from Kristin Nicholas' pattern. They are a really fun, addicting and easy knit, and I think I've made at least 6 of these. I was wearing the one that Mirian has on during a cold volunteer shift at the World Equestrian Games (knit from handspun alpaca/wool/and angora yarn), and a young fellow volunteer who was a college student went nuts over it! Through a series of coincidences, I recently met her mother and guess what she's asked me to knit her daughter for Christmas?!I have a feeling I'm going to be especially grateful for my warm alpaca knits this winter! Come back to see a studio shot of tomorrow's weather, and check back soon for a GIVEAWAY of some alpaca items from our farm! Everyone be safe out there.... Pin It Now!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Studio bliss

I've been pretty busy trying to get things made to sell, and with home schooling our daughter its pretty hard to carve out time so I've been getting up early. I love my studio in the early morning especially, and I do lots of things to help inspire and keep it a pleasant work space.
Oftentimes I light a candle, and I have surrounded myself with artwork that I love (especially the fun and upbeat pieces of my friend, Marti. Podcasts make the time go quickly, and I hope to write an entire post about my favorites soon.
I got this cool star light at the Kalamazoo Museum of Art's gift shop, and it makes me smile.
The refrigerator is an idea board, and I even have magnets that I love.My studio is definitely not as organized as some I read about in the pages of magazines, but it's my happy place and every once in a while I make something that turns out pretty okay. (This is a funky nuno-felted scarf that I completed today.)
There's really no excuse for me not to create... when the sun starts to hit the palisades on the opposite side of the river I feel the most inspired of all, and I'm ready to start teaching! Pin It Now!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Quick Winter Walk

We're not cold, just FEED US, FEED US, FEED US (Pepe and Shelby, Mirian's lambs)
Well, if it's going to be winter (technically it's not yet, but don't tell that to Mother Nature, geez it was 7 degrees F this morning, seems to have been one of the coldest spots in the Eastern US!), then there might as well be snow. I'll take the cold and a bit of sparkly-clean snow over mud and rain at 38 degrees!
The animals always seem to look so good under these conditions, love this little snow-boy's cute face!And my sweet and nosy Cherry Bomb, hungry and curious all the time!I figured the chickens would be happy and snug in their little coop with a heat light inside. They have finally started laying again (blue and green eggs from the aracaunas, no less, which I love!)
Unfortunately, we didn't find these eggs in time and they were frozen solid! Oh well, some woodland creature will no doubt enjoy them as they thaw.There's still plenty around for the wildlife to eat, such as hedgeapples which are relished by the deer and squirrels.Evidence of a flock of turkeys out looking for acorns. There are several groups around on the farm now, and we've seen as many as 50 at a time! Pin It Now!

Monday, December 6, 2010

More Winter Wonder!

We had more snow than expected here in Kentucky on Saturday, and I loved being home with a fire in the fireplace and lots of time to spend in the studio felting last-minute items for the Jingle and Mingle Gift Party. I did get out in the morning to give all of the animals some extra hay, and got a nice hodge-podge of snow shots.
Above, the century-old pear trees that greet visitors to our farm...The alpaca girls at the top tobacco barn (notice that some had chosen to sleep out in the snow, "Silly girls" as one friend remarked!)Fawntastic, looking out in wonder...
Snow on the pumpkin, time to get out the Christmas decorations and feed this to the chickens!
Snowmass XXman (owned by RobAsia Alpaca Ranch in Wisconsin), looking very disappointed that this is the winter in the south he had been promised!Snowhorses, Gringo, Strawberry and Sunday.Felt birdhouses, don't they look like a snug place for a bird to hole up on a snowy day?! I'm planning to list some of these for sale on my facebook page later in the week, so it's a great time to join up! Pin It Now!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fairy Frost

I shot these pictures on November 7th when we had our first real frost (which was followed by multiple days in the 70's, and now we're facing snow and temps in the teens, all within a month!). That's Kentucky for you!
Anyway, the white you see at the base of these stalky weeds is ice crystals. I can't formally name this phenomenon, but I've been happy to observe it for many years when we have the first cold of the season. I think that the moisture in these stalks is forced out by the contraction of freezing, and it forms into thin crystals along the stalk.
I like to think of them as pendants put up by fairies to celebrate the coming of winter! Pin It Now!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

For the Birds...

As I mentioned yesterday on our Seldom Scene Farm blog, I've started making felted birdhouses and finished a few more today. They are soooo fun!
Someone asked if I thought that they would hold up okay in the elements, to which I quickly replied in the affirmative. I actually think they'll last longer than a standard wooden birdhouse.
As I thought about this further, it occurred to me that a yurt is a great example of the insulating qualities, water resistance, and durability of wool. Still used for homes in some parts of the world, yurts made with handmade wool felt survive very harsh environments, so certainly a wool birdhouse will provide the same benefits for discerning birds!I'll have these at Art in the Barn this coming weekend, and at Damselfly Gallery in Midway and Truly Bluegrass in Versailles in the near future!In addition, I'll have a few Bird Nesting Balls... these are balls made from somewhat loose natural alpaca fiber which you hang in a tree, and the birds take tufts of the soft fiber to line their nests. Lucky birds, their own "bird yurt" lined with alpaca! Pin It Now!