Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Great Burdock Massacre of 09

I'm still fighting the good fight! #@$%^@$#&!(Insert expletive of your choice here, I prefer f'ing) Burdock must be eradicated. I don't care if you can eat it, it must go. I sneak out and dig or chop down a few more whenever I can, but with Mom being sick I've had to stay in the house more. The %$(*) burdock has been winning. Then, the Amazing Wonder Dawn came to the rescue. She is one of the super friends who helped put up The Fence (yes, capitalized, it is that important to me) a couple of years ago. She showed up out of the blue last week, and asked if she could cut down some burdock. I welcomed her with open arms, of course. She brought this amazing little tool.

It is called a bean hook. It is usually used to cut down errant corn growing in soybean fields. You grab the stalk with one hand, hook the business end

close to the ground around the corn stalk, and give a sharp jerk. The hook slices through the stalk, and you're done. It works the same on the flower stalk of the $#@$%^$ burdock. Dawn cut down burdock for most of the day, right through the rain, and cleared a lot of it. There is still more out there, but she made a serious dent. I sent her home with a couple jars of homemade grape jelly and a plate of chocolate chip cookie bars. She left the bean hook here.

If you need anything fiber tool related, please consider purchasing from Detta's Spindle. I've been doing a lot of carding recently (I'll tell you why soon, watch this space!), and finally the drive band on my drum carder gave up the ghost. I called Detta in a panic, and she is mailing one out to me today, while I am mailing her a check. Thank you Detta!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


My sister brought a few glads from her garden when she visited last week. So beautiful.

I see at least three colorways here.

Later that night, a ray of the setting sun came in the kitchen window and all through the house to shine a spotlight on them.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Nice Fall Day

I know, it is still summer. We never really had a summer here. We had maybe four or five days that were above 90. It was usually mid to high 70's. Perfect weather, if you ask me.

My sister came for a visit yesterday, and we went to town. At the last minute, I ran back in the house and grabbed my camera. Just in case. I'm so glad I did. We found this along the highway.

A nice stand of yellow flowers (coreopsis, I think) in front of a bank of sumac. Of course I made her stop. If I were alone with Mom, I wouldn't have taken the chance. It was windy already, and the whoosh of cars and semi-trucks going by made the flowers sway even more, making focus a challenge.

We took the long way home, driving the back roads. My place is just off the lower left corner, way in the distance here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lavender Swirl

I'm not good at colorway names. Obviously.

I've been invited to have a table at an Arts in the Park celebration in a town about 20 miles away. This is their first year. They require that everything be handmade by the artist, and the artist must be present at the booth. No re-selling is allowed. I like that, so I'll support them by participating. I'll bring some of my ploomed items, some wet felted items, and some practical art needlefelted items like these.

Needlebooks to keep needles and pins handy but organized.

They close by wrapping the thread around the tiny vintage button.

Call it what you like. It can be a credit card/DL/cash stasher that fits handily in your pocket, a tea/sugar/sweetener packet holder, or a business card holder. Or all three. I use one for cash/check card/business cards/AD cards (little cards that say the person I'm with has AD so please be patient with us, very handy to hand to the cashier or whoever) so I don't have to carry a purse. Trying to keep track of Mom is enough, I don't need a purse to worry about.

Checkbook covers. Do most people even carry checkbooks anymore though?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I love Ursa's brown against the limey green of the new grass of the recently harvested hay field. By now you know what's coming.

The green needs to be greener. The brown is natural from Wooly Bear and Pizazz. I'm glad it is a small skein, I'm not happy with it. I need a new green.

I managed to pinch myself good in a tragic scythe peening accident. It raised a blood blister on my right (dominant) forefinger. No big deal, except Mom keeps trying to scrape it off when she sees it. Yeehaw, does that hurt. It makes me laugh though too. She's just trying to be helpful!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Skirting Table

I've had this table for almost 20 years now. I picked it up at a garage sale for a couple of bucks. I'm not sure of the original use. The top is split down the middle, with hinges on the outside. Both sides of the top lift up and outward, and you're left with a hole in the middle. I just used it as a work table in the fiber room. Recently I had to rearrange in there, and decided the table must go. I put it on the porch for lack of a better place.

Then I had an idea.

I stapled a piece of chicken wire in the middle, and boom, instant skirting table. I put the fleece on the chicken wire part as I'm skirting, and the crud (vegetable matter, second cuts, dust) falls through while the fleece stays on top. Open, I have a skirting table, and closed, a regular table. Perfect. Well, not quite. It might need a coat of paint, I'm not real fond of the red.

Mom health update: She still has pneumonia, new chest X-ray showed still a shadow/haziness on one lung. We are starting a new, longer round of a stronger antibiotic and see if that knocks it down. Otherwise, she is doing fine.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Art of Alzheimer's

Mom has rediscovered her set of blocks. She fancied them up with some beads. I love her color combination here, so don't be surprised if it shows up as a colorway.

It was a disappointing weekend. We tried baling Friday, but it was too wet, so we thought we'd give it another day. Saturday was cloudy and very humid, so the extra day really did nothing for it. The neighbors baled the hay anyway, because we were sure to get more rain Saturday night and Sunday. Some of the bales were dryer than others, but it was already sprinkling a little when they finished up, so they just brought it all back to their place. They left a couple of the wetter bales for me to feed right away, which I did. I opened them immediately, and they were already hot. There wasn't much hay to begin with, and I fear that the hay we did get will mold. They have enough animals that they can feed it to, but it leaves me with no hay from this cutting basically. Or about 100 bales short of what I need for the winter. All I can do is hope for a third cutting. Right now I am reciting George Carlin's list of words you can't say on TV.

The even more distressing part of the weekend is that Mom is breathing hard again. We'll be heading back to the clinic.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cheap but Effective Doodad Storage

One day last winter, I admired a fellow knitter's little storage container. Oh, she said, it is just a cheapo pencil holder from Wally World. I filed that bit of info away. A couple of weeks ago, we were there and they had started their back to school push. I went searching, and sure enough, in a two for a dollar bin, was what I sought.

A pencil holder. Or knitting/spinning doodad holder. Undo that little snap, out slides the box, but with a stop so it doesn't slide all the way out, and you can fit all kinds of crap in there.

Most of this stuff was just loosely stored in the bottom of a drawer in my living room. Now it is all contained in the boxes. My dpns even fit, although at a slight angle. The needle gauge just barely fits, but it does. Eventually, I'll be so organized that I'll keep one in the drawer, and one in my project bag. I'm not quite there yet!

We are having bad luck with the hay again. It was cut Tuesday, with a forecast of sunny skies all the way until Saturday night. Yep, it rained yesterday. Quite a bit. Today is bright and sunny, so the neighbor came to rake it to get it off the ground. Rake didn't work. After we looked at it, with her husband on the phone describing what we should be looking at, we determined that the piece was missing! So she started walking home (a mile away?) trying to find the piece, in case it fell off on her way over. I haven't heard from her. We need to get the hay off the ground so it doesn't mold, but can't because the rake is broke. 50% chance of rain Saturday night, and 70% chance on Sunday. We are not happy farmers.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Relief, again.

Mom is breathing easier; thus, so am I. She is still wheezing a little, especially just after she gets up in the morning, but is much improved.

We had the swallowing study done today. They sat her between two arms of this machine, which when turned on, showed her head and neck like an X-ray on a little screen. They then fed her various foods laced with barium, which allowed the food to show up on the screen as she swallowed. She was very cooperative, ate what they gave her without fussing, and stayed sitting in the chair. Yay Mom! It was determined that she is not having swallowing issues. Yeehah, that is exactly what we wanted to hear.

She is now officially on a mechanical soft diet, since she won't wear her dentures. It turns out, looking through the sheet of allowed foods they gave me, that this is what I've pretty much been doing anyway. I did learn to only give her small amounts on the plate at a time though, so she won't be tempted to put too much in her mouth at one time.

In other words, we are doing the peasant dance of joy here at Maplecorners. Join us!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Shadow and Light

The phlox are in full bloom. Funny thing is, I don't know where this color came from. I only planted purple phlox in this space. I brought them with me from my Mpls garden over 9 years ago.

Here I cropped and ran the Poster Edges filter. I haven't played with that for a while.

Another, cropped differently.

Shadow. Mom has been wheezing/breathing heavily, so we went to the doctor on Friday. Chest x-ray showed a little fluid in one lung, bloodwork showed a slightly elevated white cell count, and pulse ox showed her below acceptable levels. We are treating for aspiration pneumonia, just in case. She had a couple of choking/coughing incidents while eating, so will also do a swallowing study to see if that is now an issue. If it is, that would be a step into the last stage (7) of this damned disease. I can't think of that right now.

Light. The other day Mom and I were at the store, and she was pushing the cart. I was picking out a bunch of bananas, and Mom was standing right next to me. All of a sudden, I feel a pinch on my hip. I quickly turned and looked at Mom, just in time to see her hand suddenly go back on the cart and her innocently look away. About a second later, she burst out giggling. How I love that woman.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Goofing around with Fiber

Lily, this is for you.

Can you tell what it is? No? I don't blame you.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Art of Alzheimer's

Mom drank half of her cup of chocolate milk, then made art with it.

As usual, she managed to find something that her cup would fit in perfectly. This happens to be the lid of a salsa jar.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


This one is nuno felted. 100% alpaca felted onto a semi-circle of silk crepe fabric. For a size small, this could be a shrug, if front is fastened to back under the arms, as shown above. It works as a regular shawl too, fastened in front.

In the great burdock massacre of 09, I managed to get one more pasture free of burdock, so the animals are happy. They much prefer the green grass over the hay. I much prefer that they eat the grass over delving into the winter stores of hay too!

Monday, August 3, 2009


I love dovetailed boxes. Something about the careful craftsmanship involved strikes a chord, I guess. Like this one.

It is lined with red velvet, and holds all of the accessories to my antique Wheeler & Wilson No. 9 sewing machine. I suspect it is original to the machine, but I could be wrong. I just think it is beautiful.

I like (maybe even prefer)the more primitive dovetailed boxes too. I have two of these. They were discovered "upstairs someplace" in the family home before I went off to college. They were covered in thick dark green paint, but I refinished them. They served as storage/nightstand in college and ever since. They currently are in the living room. I was told that my grandfather obtained them from a CCC project.

These two sit on a dresser holding hair and jewelry doodads. They originally held fish of some sort, if you can read the red writing on the one.

A stack of dovetailed boxes acts as bookshelves.

A new friend recently gave me this cheery red tea cup as a hostess gift. Much like a child at Christmas who ignores the toy and plays with the box it came in,

I'll be honest and say I am probably more enamoured of the teacup's wonderful packaging.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Raw Materials

I had what I consider a successful dye session this morning. With some blending on the drum carder, I hope to replicate rhubarb. The colorway was inspired by this photo shown in an earlier post.

I can imagine a pair of socks from this, the deep red on the feet, mixing with the green just above the ankle, and changing to all green at the ribbing on top. Or even better as mittens, so all of the color change shows. Or a scarf, red at both ends, mixing with green as you go up and completely green at the neck? Or...I'll stop there. I still have to do the blending and spinning! Unless I decide to felt with the batts instead.