Tuesday, March 31, 2015


I like that idea, that beneath the surface of what you think you are seeing,  surprising growth or progress is going on.

Nature gives us grand lessons on this idea.  That's why I love spring.  So much is happening that the eye doesn't see, but we KNOW it's happening.  So, we're not concerned that after our winter season, nothing will come back.

Many times it's not easy to discern that someones' confidence is growing, that fear is subsiding, that compassion has started to bud, that patience is gaining a foothold, that practice is paying off, that latent talents are ready to bloom.  But we KNOW it's happening.  So we can look forward to the fruits of that progress.

Laying aside judgement... cherishing what's possible...knowing and loving what's already true... that's some serious mental exercise!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Adding to the flock

On Saturday I traveled to a yarn shop in Casper to give a needle-felting class: felted sheep.  Some of them look a little long in the nose.  I tried to fix that problem, but perhaps should have had the gals make another head, a shorter barrel.  I thought we could make enough adjustments when attaching it to the body...hmmm....lesson learned.  Nevertheless, we had fun and got a quick picture of the growing flock of colorful fleeces.

Friday, March 27, 2015

A plant's surprise

I almost missed it!  I was turning off a floor lamp next to this plant last night when I noticed something unusual.  The side of the plant facing the window had been blooming for a while, and I didn't see it!!  I didn't even know these plants sometimes had such unusual, beautiful blooms.  I suppose this plant was thanking me, in this way, for moving it (a few months ago) to this particular spot; I'm thinking it must like the soft light that comes in through the west window at the end of the day.  That light is going to be more intense as the summer approaches, and I wonder if the plant will change its mind.  But for now, I'm thrilled to see this blossom.

I've got a young plant doing quite well at the other end of the house, getting all light from the east windows. 

And then I must rejoice in the pretty purple blooms of my African Violets.  This one has been blooming away! 

Now my other violet went into a dormant phase, so I started sweet talking to it to coax a new shoot of blooms.  I'd like to think that it appreciated the love, and has finally sent up new buds.  These are a deep purple and are so pretty when they open.  Anxiously awaiting.

Monday, March 23, 2015


I'm baaaack to needle-felting.  These woolie sheep are going to be sporting very spring colors.

 The knitting needles, which are holding the slow-moving lacy scarf, are laying motionless, waiting for me to return.  Maybe soon I'll return...

Friday, March 20, 2015

A new stitch...

The baby blanket is finished!  And many thanks to Paula, the quilter, for her suggestion to use the crab stitch to finish the edges.  She sent me a video link, which made it easy to learn this new stitch, and I really like the look. It's always fun to discover something new!

Hmmm....what do I cast on next... while the lacy scarf is still in progress?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Another painting party...

I signed up for another Paint N Party event, scheduled on St. Patrick's Day.  Plenty of green garb and green shiny beads were worn for the occasion.  Between instructional portions of the evening, there was singing and dancing and snacking.  Jon said this was the most difficult painting he had taught thus far, and he was pleased with what we accomplished in two hours.  It would have been nice to have just a little more time to refine the details, but that's just not possible in the time frame and type of venue.  It was pretty amazing to see how good these paintings turned out, and I'd guess there were 80 or so people painting. 

I was able to take pictures of my progress pretty easily during the first hour, but as we got into the 2nd hour, I was barely keeping up with the instruction and had no time to snap a photo.  The details we were to paint were taught quickly... furiously.  I'll share a few pics of the progress and the final piece.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Pastels in progress...

The pastel baby blanket continues to grow...and I'm getting close to the finish line.  The baby-soft spring colors have been wonderful to work with! 

At first, I didn't think it would be necessary, but now I'm convinced that I will need to put a finished edge around it, perhaps a crocheted edge.  I won't have too much yarn left over, but I should have enough white. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Knitting Gnome

I am in the process of needle-felting a couple of Knitting Gnomes for our May 2015 Fiber Art Retreat.  Since I'll be teaching this class, I plan to make up a couple different gnomes as examples.    A pair of knitting needles will get put in this little gnome's ball of yarn eventually; I will get out the materials for that later. 

On this gnome, I used up some roving that was not so great to work with...but would be good for experimenting.  So, on the next one, I'm going to use nicer roving, and the gnome will be shaped a little differently as well.  Stay tuned...

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Knitting with soft pastels...

The baby blanket, the first one I've ever knit, is well on it's way. It's a great, mindless project to pick up anytime!  Although, when I got home Tuesday night and wanted to knit just a couple more rows, I noticed that I missed picking up both strands of yarn on a stitch 10 rows down.  Arrrrrggghhh!  Ribbit! Why didn't I see it earlier???  I had been a bit too "mindless."

 It's definitely a summer weight blanket, using 2 strands of DK and size 11 needles.  Perhaps I should have gone down one size in needles; I'll have a better idea next time.  The baby arrives in June, so a light, summery-weight blanket will be just fine.

I'm finding that I could have used another skein of the purply-pink yarn; but with this pattern, it's easy to improvise and let the stripes evolve as they may. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The championship game

In the spur of the moment, a friend and I decided to drive to Casper Saturday evening to watch "our team" play in the 2A Championship game.  The kids beat team after team during tournament play who had defeated them in the regular basketball season...and now, here they were...having earned the chance to play for the state championship.  Our teams have made it to the big dance in the past, but never have taken home the trophy.  We just couldn't seem to close the deal in the final minutes. But this time it was different.

The kids on this year's team are very talented and driven.  They were behind for the 1st quarter, but then inched ahead, staying only a basket or two ahead.  In the final 5 minutes, it looked like they could lose the lead...what a sinking feeling.  But I don't think the boys felt that at all.  With confidence and determination, they played hard to the very last seconds.  It payed off.  And in the first time in the history of our school, the boys' basketball team won the Championship Trophy.

 A big crowd of supporters were there to cheer them on, and they made a lot of noise.  Our music teacher started a Drumline this fall, and by golly, they are fantastic!  Their contribution to the excitement of the game cannot be overstated.  They were awesome, and I loved hearing them play.  In the last minute of play, I wonder if everyone else in the crowd was feeling like me.  Wide-eyed, we stood, with the apparent reality that, indeed, we had won this game!!  Did the kids really do this??  Yes, they did.  What an accomplishment!  It was great to be a part of the crowd to witness it all.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Late winter drive through the canyon

I made a quick trip to Thermopolis for wool supplies.  It was a day of sunshine and melting snow!

I was thankful for clear roads.  At the opening of Wind River Canyon, snow was melting and dripping over the entrances to the tunnels. On the other side of the river, the train tunnel was visible.

Water in the river was moving right along and looked absolutely frigid.  I saw one fisherman along side the road, wetting his line.

A long line of railroad cars stood motionless.

The ancient rocks, exposed by erosion, sat silently, letting the busy occupants of noisy cars and trucks rush by.

Some rock structures stood like sentinels, guarding the canyon passage way.

It is a treat to see the canyon in late winter...

Friday, March 6, 2015

Bladed snow, bunny, and blanket

The sun is shining and the weather forecast says we'll get above freezing today.  Yahoo.  Some of this snow can start soaking into the ground.

My neighbor bladed the big drift, so I should be able to get my car out of the garage today.

The bunny is quite pleased to feel the warmth of some sun.  We are both happy about that!

Last night I decided I should cast on the Gradient Baby Blanket.  I looked the pattern over very closely.  No needle size was included.  What?  I texted Nancy S, and she directed me to one of her past posts where she had recorded the needle size she used on her blanket.  Thank you, Nancy!! I wasn't sure I had a long enough cable for my circular needles, so the search was on.  I was actually surprised that I found a long cable; I don't think I had ever used it.  As a result, I was able to cast on and get in the rhythm of the garter stitch for several rows.  It is soft...and I'm looking forward to changing colors.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

What a morning...

We woke up to another morning of grey skies and drifted snow from the overnight storm.  I got a good 3 inches, but in most places it drifted into sculpted barriers.   It's inconvenient, but that's about it. 

I got busy this morning and built a hot fire in the wood stove to warm up the house.  Then, I shoveled snow so I could get out of my doors.  A sizable drift blocked getting the truck out of the garage, so I worked on that drift until I was pretty sure I could get through. 

Side note: I saw the prairie dog again, and he's a busy little fellow.  In answer to kathy b's question, I don't really now if they are destructive or not.  Usually, when I see them, they are a way from civilization where they have their own little prairie dog towns.  I am wondering how in the world he got out here... probably hitched a ride, hiding in something being hauled out here.

I still haven't picked up the knitting needles, and I agree with those of you who have commented that it's sometime good to take a break.  I ordered some baby-soft yarn to make a baby blanket for an expectant mother who is also one of my piano students.  The package arrived!!  The colors I could choose from were limited, but I think these will work just fine.  The yarn is so soft, and I'm looking forward to starting this project.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Monday's musings

I've not been a very good blogger here recently.  I've let other activities take the focus of my creative outlets.  But I'm hoping to get back to a regular schedule, and that plan includes more blogging time. 

I've not been a knitter either.  I don't think I've picked up my needles for nearly two weeks!  Yikes.  "That kind of behavior is NOT contributing to any progress on your lacy scarf," I tell myself, pointing a finger at my nose. I shrug my shoulders; I turn away; I sit at the piano; I promptly forget the reprimand and the knitting.  When I was a teacher, I saw teenagers in the classroom do this, and wonder how they could ignore what seemed so important to me... hmmm...   I get it.

To redeem myself a bit, I'm going to point out that I have been observant.  I spotted a new critter, a little prairie dog, who evidently has taken up residence under the cattle guard at the entrance to my road, coming off the highway.  I don't think he's been living there long, but this was the second time I spotted him.  This time, I saw him pop up out of the grate; I stopped the car; he sat there for a few moments, giving me time to pull out my iPhone and snap a picture through the front windshield.  "Well, little fella, I hope that you are smart and fast.  Living right on the highway could be a hazard. Talk to your realtor."