There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward. Kahlil Gibran
It's been a busy month here at Casa Woolen Rabbit. There has been a ton of dyeing, lots of shopping, fetching Hannah from school, baking and decorating. I love the lights of winter, don't you?
Before I show you some of the decorations here, I wanted to share a little story with you. I have a 10 year old grandson, who will turn 11 on Christmas day. This young man understands the joy of giving and he gives with joy. Each year for the last few years when I have asked him what he would like for his birthday, he would always squirm uncomfortably telling me that he didn't want anything, because he felt guilty asking for things. (how many kids do you know like this, right?)
So when I sensed his discomfort I asked him if he would like to shop for a needy child in our community via a program called Angels and Elves. This organization makes sure that all of the children who might not receive a present for Christmas will have some of what they want and some of what they need under their Christmas tree. He was so excited the first year that we went out and it has become his birthday tradition ever since. This young man has a very kind and gentle heart...good karma. Happy Almost Birthday Aidan!
So on to the decorations! This little tree was the tree that you saw lit up in a previous post. I call it my crystal tree. It's full of light and sparkle and when I sit on the sofa at night and look at it, it makes me smile. I think it will stay up until the hints of Spring start to show.
...and on the big tree, two of my favorite ornaments. At the very top is the little glass tree that Ken gave me years ago after I had traveled through a hard time...little did I know that a few years later he would become my husband. And this beautiful Cavalier ornament gifted to me from not only a mentor in the Cavalier breed, but a friend. I cherish this ornament!
..and finally this little corner in my kitchen. My favorite Christmas angel looking down on "Joy". Even though I love the Christmas season, I know it is not an easy season for many people so it is my wish this year for Christmas that we can share our kindness and joy with someone who may need an extra hand and a smile. xoxo
Do you get the Christmas newsletters that many send out? I hate to say dreaded, but truth be told, I would much rather hear from my friends/relatives a few times a year by phone or by email than by a letter tucked inside of a Christmas card, but yet we get them. I know....life is busy, but still. So this week's topic is 10 Things I would Put in a Christmas Letter?
1. We celebrated the birthdays of our two new grandsons this year. I have so enjoyed getting to know these sweet little boys.
2. Ken and I have been married for 20 years this year and we celebrated the event by purchasing 2 new (well new to us) kayaks this year
3. In those kayaks we spent many wonderful days in the lakes of New Hampshire and the shores of Maine in Massachusetts.
4. Another sweet week in our favorite house on Cape Cod. We will live there some day.
5. Courtney is now an alumni and Hannah is in her sophomore year...where does the time go?
6. We celebrated Thanksgiving with all or our children, their spouses, their children and my parents. It was truly the highlight of my year.
7. Tai Chi ~ it has been such a balancing influence in my life, both in my body and my mind. I learn something new every time I go.
8. For my oldest granson's birthday, which is Christmas Day, we once again did Angel's and Elves, which is an organization that makes sure that any child in need has some presents under the tree. This year was a stretch for my 10 year old grandson...his child that we were given was a 15 year old girl...ha! It truly was a stretch for us knowing how 15 year old girls can be, but she gave us good ideas and I hope she will be happy with the choices we made for her.
9. A new loom came home with me to light up my winter days. So many ideas dancing around in my head
10. I have met a lot of goals this year, I have walked on a regular basis, I finished 2 photography processing classes, I have lost 10 pounds (more to go) and I have stuck with my Tai Chi class. Sticking with things for me is not always easy, but this year I have been successful with some of them.
Here's to 2015 and no fear...I will not be sending out the Christmas letter..ha!
You breathe, Frosting mountains white, Exciting trees to verdant flame, Dancing sparrows on your wing, Swirling waves into long sighs. You beathe, All things live. Deng Ming~Dao
If you read my blog last winter you know that I struggled a lot, not only with the long dark, cold days but with the continuous pain that had encompassed my life. I will be straight up honest with you, it is the first time that I have ever felt depression tickle my soul, but truth be told the physical pain that I was living with pretty much was in control on those days. Thankfully I am not in that place today.
Normally I love winter. I love the crisp air that makes you suck your breath in and lets you know you are alive...but I have been a wee bit afraid of winter after last year's experience. I know, it sounds silly, but last year was not an easy one for sure. I have made sure that I have good projects to keep my mind busy, and I am very blessed to have a husband who understands. He understands that I feel a huge need right now to fill up my winter days with light, so there are lots of light in the rooms that we spend most of our evenings in.
Most nights when I am catching up with my friend across the world, this is my view. It didn't look like this a month ago, but moving my beautiful spinning wheel so that it is what I see when I sit here and type, along with the crystal Christmas tree that is lit up makes me smile. I think it is going to be a good Christmas and a brightly lit winter..and I have claimed my word for 2015 that I will share with you in a few weeks. :)
So to all my non doll friends, just turn away....fast while you still have a chance. Mwahhha!
To my Blythe friends however, this is my beautiful Tart and Tea. Of all of the Blythe stock girls I have owned, she by far has the most beautiful hair of all. So thick and straight with none of the greasy yuck that so many of the new stock girls have, and a face I would never dream of customizing. She is perfect just the way she is.
In the few years that I have had Blythe dolls, I have made some very nice friends along the way. Abi Monroe of Taylor Couture is one of them. She frequently makes dresses and accessories out of Angora and what Woolen Rabbit doesn't like that?
This particular dress had that little extra sparkle that I love....see that beautiful button, I just love it!
Most people would not think of me as a sparkly kind of girl, but yet I love glitter of every single kind and always have. I don't wear flashy jewlery, but there is always a little sparkle somewhere...ears, bracelet..it's always there. :)
A friend of mine once referred to my ADD brain as sparkling energy and I immediately embraced that sentiment even on the days when harnessing that sparkling energy has not always been easy. (like this week) Isn't it a wonderful, positive way to think about ADD? Yes, I think so too!
So there you have it....yes, another doll post because they do share a little corner in my world. ;-)
A number of years ago, I made a trip up to Northern Maine to purchase an older 48 inch Macomber loom after selling a used 36 inch Schacht floor loom. Working on the big Macomber was like riding a Cadillac instead of a Chevy. Such a smooth machine. She now lives on the second floor of my studio and I don't get to use her the way I would like to because of limited space to open her up.
So....because I thought Macomber had gone out of business, I purchased a smaller 24 inch 8 harness folding Leclerc loom with a friction brake...and I hated it! I hated the friction brake and I just didn't enjoy any part of the process. I pretty much stopped weaving. I missed the dog and pawl break and the strength of my Macomber.
About 3 months ago however, I saw an add on Craig's list for an 8 harness 24 inch Macomber B loom (not a baby Mac) that looked almost new....what???? It had already sold, but I found out that Macomber was indeed still in business making looms...hooray!!!
I was fortunate enough to sell my Leclerc loom at Rhinebeck this year, which gave me the funds to order this sweet little Macomber loom 8 weeks ago. This time I traveled to Southern Maine to pick up this cheeky little lady who is a miniature version of her big sister who lives upstairs except this one has 2 additional harnesses for more pattern options.
Nowadays when I weave, I usually use an end feed shuttle as I find that I get much better selvage ends, but I won't lie, I love the little shuttle that came with this loom. You guys all know what a sucker I am for beautiful wood and how pretty is this little shuttle made of maple and walnut?. I just love it!
I have a few busy weeks ahead of me finishing up the sale dyeing and then jumping into the yarn club dyeing and mailing before Christmas, but I am hoping I can find a few extra hours to get this girl warped and ready. Today I am very a happy girl!
A deviation of a hair's breadth at the center Leads to an error of a hundred miles at the rim. When the effort is so slight, Why should you hesitate to set things right. Deng Ming~Dao
This morning on this very cold morning, I was pretty content to sit on the sofa under the blanket to sip on my coffee and catch up on what is happening in my world. Knowing that I had to make a trip down to Southern Maine later this morning, I was not in a huge hurry to get moving, so I sipped and read....and then I read a post that just upset me....a.lot!
I wrote a brief note about this auction a few weeks ago that was happening in Missouri. The person who sent these dogs to a digusting lifestock auction in Missouri was once a breeder who had the best interest of our breed in her heart, but somehow lost her way along her journey..greed?
This is what a puppy auction looks like...and you can see how involved the Amish people are involved. I wasn't going to post this because it is hard to watch, but these are the puppies that end up in pet stores and on pet finder websites.
The breeder who I have spoken about has dogs with pedigrees that hard working reputable breeders worked hard to establish and shared with her. I know that a lot of people do not understand what a reputable breeder does before breeding a litter. In our breed, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, it means having yearly heart exams by a board certified cardiologist, yearly eye exams by a board certified Opthamologist. Hips OVA'd and hopefully patellas as well. It's expensive. Then finding the right dog to breed to, that has had all of the same testing and has the strong qualities that will offset your girl's weaker qualities to improve the next generation, another big expense. ..and then the puppies, the ones that fade, the ones that are still born, the expensive c-secitions... the heart break. It's not about making money, because breeders who are doing it right, really are not making money, it's about going forward and bettering a breed of dogs that we love.
So back to this morning. When I read that this same breeder had an additonal 57 dogs that she had to place, because thankfully the USDA is shutting her down, her demand to keep them off the auction block is 150,000.00. I know this woman and reached out to her last week in kindness hoping that she would do the right thing with the rest of the dogs she still had, but in reading the FB posts this morning, I realized that was not the case in this situation. Old red haired gene Kim would normally jump into the conversation very heated, but older tired Kim decided to drag her body out for a walk in the frigid temperatures to mull it all over in her mind. When I walk, I prefer to walk alone. I feel badly when people ask me to walk with them and I decline because, I enjoy the quiet solitude to work things out in my mind as I walk and today was one of those days.
The short version...if we continue to spend huge amounts of money buying these dogs at auctions, it's only going to drive up the demand sadly. I personally feel we need to find a way to stop these dog auctions that the God fearing Amish farmers run. We need to find a way to shut down puppy mills and we need to find a way to educate people to understand that buying from a pet store or a back yard breeder (mill) perpetuates this cycle. We need to educate people to understand that when they do bring a pet into their home it is a commitment...a family member, not one to ship off to a shelter, unless life has changed so much that there is no other choice. As a breeder, I have always built into my contract that if a puppy buyer can not keep their dog, then they need to contact me first and I will either take them back or help them find another good home.
I'm sorry for this rant. Today in my life, I rarely find anything worth getting fired up about, but knowing that another 57 babies are being held ransom for money has made me sad and mad. This should not happen. We need to find a way to fix this. You will probably never see me post like this again, but today, I was upset enough to plow easily through a 4 mile walk...and I think it could have been 5 miles. There has to be a solution and I want to be part of the solution!
Well, I had every intention of posting yesterday, but sadly I was without power for a good part of the afternoon. We had a snow storm the night before and a plow driver managed to plow right into a telephone pole which knocked out our power.
I thought..hmm, well, I will make soap...nope, no stove. Well...I could sew, nope...sewing machines need power I wanted a cup of coffee as the temperature in the house dipped down to 52....nope. So no blog post yesterday, but I am here today. :)
What a week it has been. We are in the process of getting rid of Fairpoint because their service is just awful and slow. Do you really realize how many accounts and passwords you have out there? Even if you don't realize it, you have a ton! Every newsletter, every sales flyer from company's such as Fat Quarters that you love has your email address. I have been changing them over for days and still find that I am missing one or two of them. Crazy, isn't it
So..back to the Wednesday's work. Once the power came back on, I worked on a batch of new Snowflake Soap. I think that this particular scent is my most favorite, along with Coconut Grove. I love when my house is filled with the scents of newly made soap..Mmmm!
Tomorrow I am heading down to southern Maine to pick up something that I have been waiting a few months for. I will share it with you soon. I am VERY excited!
So, I'm sure you are wondering why I have this 4th of July table runner that I made a few years ago here on my blog on December 1st? Hmmm..... I blogged about it once here and probably somewhere else along the way. It's a fabulous little table runner. See how nicely it crinkled up once it was washed? Yes...it is lovely in July, but you see, my middle name is "Procrastination". Yes it is and it really is not a complementary middle name to have at all, but I completely own it. I have looked at this table runner over the months, mentioned that I probably should make an Autumn one, but did I...nope, no I didn't. I just kept looking at this cheerful summer table runner, even after it snowed and never batted an eye.
So today I finally shamed myself into putting something a little more seasonal on my island. See those lines...that is going to be my next challenge. Will I get it upstairs and iron it before the holidays....stay tuned. ;-)
This has been a good brain stretch for me. I have always avoided making commitments such as this because I know my noisy brain and I usually fail, but this month, I only missed one day, because I took my commitment seriously and quieted that busy brain a little.
I also stayed on task with my weekly photo processing class and projects, which is so unlike me. I loved this class so much that it has given me the little push that I have needed to consider going back to school. Knowing that I could do these 2 things along with my walking commitment has given me the confidence to know I can do more.
No fear, I will not disappear again. I have enjoyed reconnecting with so many of you, so I will be blogging weekly. Not every day, but at least twice a week and it will be because I want to, not because I have to....no pressure makes it so much more enjoyable.
~ So with that I am off....Have a wonderful evening in your corner of the world ~