Flower Gardening~Popular Pandemic Project

Sue's Fiber Arts
July has been somewhat of a busy blur! 
My blogging time has been setting up and stocking my Online Shopping Venue.
I put off trying any kind of marketing after closing Sue's Fiber Arts Studio
at The Chicken Farm Art Center.
Finally, I got my Home Studios and Myself together and Got-Er-Done!
Here are July's Shopping Posts
Coming Soon to Sue's Fiber Arts Online Shopping Venue
Vintage Hankies, Lace and Doily Runners!
I've been reading and hearing that Flower Gardening
 has become the number one COVID19 stress reliving activity during this pandemic.
What fun I've been having digging in my Flower Garden Fabric Bins!


Keep Calm and Weave On in June

Typically weaving with wool and wool blends is for winter months.  For sure they are winter wearables.  In my situation of thinking ahead for having an inventory to sell during the winter months weaving with wool in June makes sense.  It's like they say about Christmas...you know...Christmas in July. 
So, here I am in my home garage weaving studio with no AC weaving with wool. 
Thankfully, the mornings are cool, fans are blowing, and I am weaving away.  
And with all that is going on in the world...I'm going with this...
"Keep Calm and Weave On". 


I Felt Like Felting

I've had very little experience with felting, but it's been on my bucket list for awhile.  After sorting through several large bags of wool yarns, I came up with a basket full of scraps.

Most of the scraps were rolled into a yarn ball and were enough to make several passes on Bonda...knitting machine.  The smaller scraps were balled with bits of wool roving and made ready for dryer balls.

All of this scraping out wool was for a reason.  In the process of setting up my Home Weaving Studio, I came across a long forgotten book...The Chicks with Sticks Guide to Knitting.

Bingo...Inspiration on page 79.

The first two practice felted pieces were light to medium felted.  I wanted the knit stitches to show as well as the felting to be solid enough to be stable.  To add more stiffness to the case, I stitched in a stabilizer under the fabric liner. 
I think the next panels of knitted wool will need hotter water in the wash cycle for at least 20 minutes.  Then after the cold water rinse to set the felted fibers I'll toss in the dryer on high heat for a few minutes.  Next will come a bit of block shaping to finish drying.  Time to go experiment.
Felting is Fun...Glad I Felt Like Felting!


My Signs of The Time

But do you really, Sue?  That is the looming (pun intended) question as I move Sue's Fiber Arts Studio from The Chicken Farm Art Center to my Home Studio Two...formerly the garage.  This sign has gotten lots of LOL's in my Chicken Farm Shop, but now it makes me feel a bit overwhelmed.  You see...this is just the Weaving Yarns.  Home Studio One is overflowing with knitting, crochet and other needle works yarn.  With the closing of the Shop my outlet for Sales of yarn and all the yarn items I make is gone, and I'm not sure how well Online Shopping of my wares will work.
As I mentioned, Home Studio Two is mostly a Weaving work space.  I'm making the most of the space and still have storage areas....it was and still is a storage space for stuff.  Thank goodness for curtains and sheets that block all that stuff from sight.  Sparrow...floor loom...is ready for a new warp and next weaving project.  I'm looking for inspiration...it make take awhile.
Setting up a Home Studio always requires a place for doing business...whether much business is going to happen or not.  It just feels better.  Then there is work space for other things as well.
Guess I best get to Work!


2020 AtoZ...Letter I...Indecision

I often refer to my Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary to make sure I'm using a word appropriately.  Sure enough 'Indecision' in 1971 was spot on for my state of indecisiveness today...49 years later.

Indecision - a wavering between two or more courses of action.

If only it were just two courses of action.  For me it's always  more because of my 'OverDoSueness' and the tendency to bite off more than I can chew.  Don't you just love clich├ęs?

Here's one that goes way back with me...thank you parents...Finish what you start!   Then there is...It is possible to spread oneself too thin.  And, the kicker...choose wisely! 
Life is change. 
Growth is optional. 
Choose wisely.
My oh my how life has changed in the last few months.  All of a sudden my husband and I are in the 'At Risk' age group and strongly urged/ordered to 'Stay Home' and for me...'Work from Home'.  No problem, I have a Home Studio and love the work I do. 
It just so happens that the work I do is desperately needed for my Family, Friends and Community.
My course of action?
Make Masks!
Thank you to all who have visited  my A through I posts.

2020 AtoZ...Letter H...Off the Top of My Head

Letter H...Heddles

 Heddles are weaving loom needles and a weavers threading nightmare.  Multiply threading one needle by...let's be conservative and say 50....times 4 Harnesses.  Harnesses being the frames that hold top and bottom rails that the needles slide on.  Yes, they are moveable and threaded one at a time through the center of each vertical needle.  A threading tool with a hook on the end is used to pull threads through the eye.

Briefly, heddles are essential pieces of a weaving loom whether they be on a Harness Rail or a Ridgid Heddle frame.  I have both and I have to say the Ridgid Heddle Loom is much less of a nightmare to setup and thread.  In fact in comparison it is a Dream. 
However, it is limited somewhat to a plain weave or Tabby Weave. 
Fast, Fun and Fabulous...Right!!!
Then there is Slow, Stressful and Stunning!!!

Worth It....Right!!!


2020 AtoZ...Letter G Off the Top of My Head

Letter G...Gravy Boats

"It's all gravy" is a phrase from an Old English saying.  Life, it explained, is meat and potatoes, and the luxuries are gravy. 
     As with most phrases from olden days there is a flip side of the coin or in this case 'gravy boat'. 
     This 'slang saying' fits my 'Aladdin' style gravy boat...'profit or money easily obtained or received unexpectedly.'
      First...it is a collectible made by J.A. Bauer Pottery founded in Paducah, Kentucky in 1895.  Bauer Pottery moved to Los Angeles, California  in 1909.  My gravy boat's incised Los Angeles stamp confirms it was made after 1909.
     It's value ranges from $12.00 to $49.00 depending on which online vintage dish monger you search.  So back to the slang saying about 'money easily obtained or received unexpectedly'...the 'gravy' in this boat led to an unexpected priceless Bauer Mixing Bowl.
     The incised and glazed over markings on this bowl make it hard to read, but the number '8' in the center gives it authenticity as an early piece.  Another hint that it is an early hand thrown piece of crockery is the vertical finger fluted line running from top to bottom. 
     It was likely made in the 1930's which fits the time period in which my husbands grandmother would have mixed and let rise many loaves of bread.  Now you know why it is priceless!
 Life may be 'meat and potatoes', but thank goodness for the gravy and it's unexpected blessings!


2020 AtoZ...Letter F Off the Top of My Head

Letter F...Finger Painting on Phone

Remember using your finger to smear paint on paper?  Remember coloring books and crayons?  Remember paint by number?  Remember your first, second, third, fourth, fifth and on and on generation cell phones?  Believe me when I say...'They have come along way in the arts of Finger Painting, Color Books, and Paint by Number.  My Artsy Android has an App for that!
I choose a Digital Dragonfly as opposed to the Dragonfly Doodle done on 'Letter D Hard Copy'...for demonstrating the Android App 'Color Book'.  After downloading from Google Play, opening the first page, and selecting from the library, the picture loads and looks like far left phone example. 
Numbered Color dots match numbers in graphic and with a finger touch to enlarge, the numbers appear in the picture...center phone example.  By finger touching all the grayed numbered areas to the colored dot number the areas color fill and the colored dot vanishes.  Continue swiping through the Color Dots, enlarging the screen, and finger painting until all the color dots have vanished.
Once done you have options to Save and Share.  By finger touching through a few hoops on my phone, I was able to Save to my PC in order to share with you this larger and color enhanced finished 'Digital Dragonfly Finger Painting'.
And a few more from my Finger Painting Album!
Who says Finger Painting is only for Kindergarteners!


2020 AtoZ...Letter E...Off the Top of My Head

Letter E...Envelopes
This may seem like a trivial topic, but there was a time when envelopes were of great importance. 

Why else would the country have come up with the Pony Express or for that matter the Postal System? 

So, here's a bit of Wikipedia...first envelope dates back to 3500 to 3200 BC in ancient Middle East. 

They were hollow, clay spheres molded around financial tokens...which unlike today, the financial tokens are stuck on the outside.
Paper envelopes were developed in China where paper was invented by the 2nd Century BC.  They were used to distribute monetary gifts to government officials.

Before 1845, envelopes were made by hand.  In 1845 two British men patented the first envelope-making machine.  Naturally that led to the development of stamps and ultimately Hallmark Cards.  I'll talk more about cards later.

As you can see I'm a collector of envelopes...some of which have aged a lovely antique yellow.  I didn't intend for that to happen, but the need for them ended with my letter writing and other correspondence being sent with the click of all things...a mouse.  Forget licking that envelope and stamp.

You will also notice my collection of boxed note cards.  I won't go so far as to say I hoard them...instead I will admit I keep more of them than I send because they are just too pretty to mess up.  I get to hang on to the collection of Christmas cards since they are sent only once a year...if at all some years.

I miss getting stamped envelopes in my mail box with hand written letters full of news.  I still look forward to checking the mail box even if all that is there are robo stamped envelopes.

I must admit to checking my electronic mail several times a day.  More often with the beep and ping alerts.  I always buy 'Forever' stamps just in case I need to stick one on an envelope or card.  Like now....
Thank you for visiting my AtoZ Letter E post.


2020 AtoZ...Letter D...Off the Top of My Head

Letter D...Dragonfly Doodling
      Doodling has come a long way since the days of drawing around your hand and filling in the spaces with painted nails and peace symbol rings.  In my 1976 Websters it defines doodling as aimless scribbling.  Today it is touted as Therapy.  According to an article in Psychology Today doodling is helpful in memory retention.  Boy, is that a 'Doodle Drawing' card for anyone working on trying to remember where they put their keys or walking into a room for something specific and once there can't remember what it was.
     I liked the articles speculative theory that doodlers did better than non-doodlers while talking on the phone.  You know...aimless scribbling and taking notes of names, numbers, etc..  Seems doodlers are sufficiently engaged in the moment and able to pay attention to the yakety yak yaker...in other words doodlers are 'not spacing out', but at least somewhat  in the moment. 
     I have always been a 'Doodler'.  Was hooked right from the first hand drawing with kindergarten squiggle lines and circles to a teen phone book filled with boyfriend names and curlique hearts. 
      It continued through boring college lectures to teaching Middle Schoolers the Art of Doodling.  And yes, they too started by drawing around their hand.
      Now that I'm a Senior Citizen I think it's interesting that doodling has emerged as an Art Therapy specifically for calming the mind and relieve stress.  Wow, that's a good idea for teaching Middle Schoolers.
    Now, about Dragonfly Doodling.  I bought the  Entangled Dragonfies Coloring Book  because I love to color and have a pot full of colored pencils...and I am a Dragonfly lady/collector. 
    Who could resist their caption, "Imagine a warm summer day as you choose your colors for this inspired-by-nature collection"!
     Oh, did mention...these pages are for the experienced colorist and the more than 30 illustrations provide limitless possibilities for experimentation?!!!
Decisions...So Stressful!!!
Should I finish the less busy page 1?
I'm so over page 2, but there's that "Finish what you start" thingy!
Maybe I'll start page 3...when I'm on the phone with a YaketyYaker!


AtoZ 2020...LetterC Off the Top of My Head

Letter C...Census
     This is not my first rodeo with the US Census Bureau.  As a matter of fact, I've been a student of the Census for years as a result of in depth research for my Family Tree.  I'll get to that later, but for now let's talk about this 2020 history making Census Form that is an invitation to respond via the internet. 
     My Great Grandmother, Martha Jane, would be saying, "the what net."  Had she received this in the mail she likely would have handed it over to one of her children to see if they could read any of the languages on the information sheet.  That's what my husband did...more or less, after seeing the greeting.  "Here", he said, "You be the Internet Resident."
     I do think it's pretty neat being a part of this 'High Tech' Census taking.  Even better is this year the 1950 Census will be made public and I will be a part of that, too.  That means that everyone born in the 1940's will be listed.  After studying the US Census' from the 1880's through the 1930's for Family Tree research, it's kind of a big deal...at least to me...and many other Genealogist.

     By now you have received, sat down at a computer/laptop and sent your 2020 Census to the Secure Census Bureau Cloud...again Martha Jane would be so confused about the 'Cloud'...I must admit, it's still sort of confusing to me.  Anyway, back to you...if you met the April 1st online deadline you are good to go knowing you have conserved natural resources, saved taxpayer money and helped process data efficiently.  If not...they will know...and...you will receive the 2020 Census Paper Form through the mail. 
     In the event you miss the Paper Trail deadline...then...don't be surprised when the Census Interviewer aka Census Taker aka Census Enumerator will be knocking on your door like back in the days of my Great Grandmother.
June 15, 1900
Good Afternoon, Mrs. Carroll.  I am Mrs. Jenkins the Census Taker.  I apologize for the interruption of your evening meal, but I am down to the last day allowed by the Department of the Interior and your household is the last family on my schedule.  Is your husband home?
     My Great Grandmother had just settled her children at the table for their supper. She offered the Census Taker a glass of tea and explained that her husband and brother were in the field and would not be in for at least another hour. 
     While Mrs. Jenkins made ready to fill in the Census Form,  Janie filled the children's plates then sat down with her glass of tea and provided her husbands name as....Head of Household....Stephen Carroll, white male, birthdate..Nov 1872, married, 3 years, Farmer, born in Tennessee.  She was just finishing with the last person in the household, John her brother, when her oldest reached across the table for the basket of bread, and in the process knocked over the Enumerators glass of tea.
      The Enumerator quickly picked up the completed Census Form and began shaking off the tea which had a few rivulets of tea and black ink spotting the page.  Janie had dashed to the kitchen for a cloth which helped to blot the now blurred letters of her children's 'Personal Description-Columns 4-6'. 
     My Great Grandmother apologized as she dried tears and hushed bawling children.  Mrs. Jenkins packed up her papers and prepared to leave as quickly as possible.  It had been a long day.
     Later that evening she envisioned the children as she had seen them at the table and attempted to repair the blurred lines of their names and relationship.  The oldest one was wearing a dress, and I can just make out O t h e l l, so the last letter is 'a', she thought to herself.  Then she completed that childs line with daughter in column 4 and F for Female in column 6.  A few months later, the Stephen Carroll Family sat for this portrait. 
Standing next to their father are sons Merritt Douglas and Othello Elisha. 
In Great Grandmother Janie's lap is my Grandmother Stella.
April 2010
One hundred and ten years later when this photo was found in Janie's Photo Album their identities were not known, and I tagged it  "couple and three daughters".  Through a lot of 'Photo/USCensus Research' including Mrs. Jenkins 1900 Census report,  I was able to determine that the couple was indeed Stephen B. and Martha J. Carroll and their three children.  Mrs. Jenkins in her haste, left Stella off completely, and mistakenly put an 'a' at the end of the name O t h e l l  instead of an 'o'.
One look at him in that skirt, and I'd have made the same Enumerator Error!


AtoZ 2020...Letter B Off the Top of My Head

Letter B...Baseball Bunt
     If you are a baseball fan or player, you may already know what all goes into the batting skill called bunting. 
     If not, then bunting could be one of Pinterests Bunting Boards for crafters.  Or you may be thinking about THIS kind of bunting.  Regardless of your knowledge of bunting, be assured every style requires a certain skill set.
In the setting of a baseball game the bunt starts with a batter stepping up to the plate.  Take a couple of practice swings.  Dig in and take a stance.  Waggle the bat a few times and right before the pitch........coach calls TIME OUT!
     There is a strategy to bunting for the batters ears only, so the coach gives his instructions quietly so the opposing players haven't a clue what is coming.
      It only takes a few seconds for Coach to remind his batter to do what was practiced and watch for his signals which are a routine of finger pointing, hat tipping, arm swings, and if all else fails shouting, "HIT the ball".  Of course the watching opposition dugout are well versed in this coaching strategy, too. 
Back to the Batters Box...goes through the practice swings, digging in, bat waggles and takes a stance that makes the pitcher think twice about throwing a pitch that will sail over the center field fence.
            So he throws first pitch low...ball 1...second and third pitch in the dirt...ball 2 and 3.
The batter looks at his coach who is pointing and tipping his hat in approval.
Next two pitches...right over the plate...perfect...heck with bunting...STRIKE 1...STRIKE 2.
Umpire yells out...FULL COUNT!!!
By now Coach is swinging arms, stomping on his hat and yelling...
BUNT the ball !!!
Next Pitch...Perfect Bunt...at least close enough...
...pitcher and catcher crash together...drop the ball...
...SAFE at 1st!!!
Coach is clapping and waving 2 fingers for 2 outs and What?
"STEAL 2nd"
SAFE on 2nd with a time out to chat!
Second Baseman, "Nice Bunt".
"Thanks, it was my First".


AtoZ 2020...Letter A Off the Top of My Head

Letter A- Art of Arranging
      First, 'Off the Top of My Head', it should be known that 'Arranging' is part of my job.  Funny how being self-employed, working at making stuff and having fun while doing so can be called a JOB.  Be that as it may, that's what I do. 
     You and customers to my shop may be drawn to the 'Look what I did' sign and think, 'Really, what am I looking at or for".  My answer is, "All of it".  I arranged it so your eye moves from the sign up to the sunny window...unless it's a cloudy day...to left at the woven runner...down and over then all around finally landing on the clock.
      Now, unless you are in a hurry and need to be somewhere by 2:15 or so...you are cracking up at 'Yes I Really DO NEED All This Yarn'.  You nor my customers need to ask 'What Yarn'...for I have Artfully Arranged this....
Yarn ready to use! 
Roving ready to be made into yarn! 
Hand spun Art Yarn!
More Stuff made with Yarn!
Yes, I really DO NEED All This YARN!!!
Now if you will excuse me...I have to go Re-Arrange!


Ending March In Baby Pink...Blue-Green-Yellow-Purple

Baby Blankets have been made on my sewing machine, embroidery machine, quilting machine, knitting machine and crochet needles.  They have been made with quilting cottons, flannel, fleece and stitched with quilting threads, embroidery threads and embellished with buttons, beads and more.

The recipients include my grandchildren, nieces, nephews, charity groups and the babies of those who have purchased them in my shop.

So, as you might imagine, I have quite a collection of all things 'Baby' including a Baby Pattern Binder.  The baby shown in the photo is from one of my collected publications Patons Baby Choice...Paton's Wikipedia history.

Patons was founded in England in the early 1800's and produced yarns for commercial knitting machines.  Through a merge in 1920 they diversified to producing wool for home knitters and publishing knitting pattern booklets.

My Baby Choice booklet has it's original price sticker from Stedmans...a Canadian variety discount department store.  Published in 1981...Stedmans sticker price $4.25...on Amazon in 2020 $6.99 to $9.95.  Needless to say "You've Come A Long Way Baby" from England to Canada to Texas.

And from Knitting Needles to Ridgid Heddles 
I used Paton's crocheted blanket pattern 5 as a reference for my woven blanket.   My Ridgid Heddle Loom is limited in width, so I will use the Baby Choice pattern 5's crocheted border to size the blanket to fit a crib.
For next generation of babies from their Great Grandmother and Great Aunt.


Garage Makeover...New Loom Room

Over the years the garage has been a parking space for about everything except a vehicle.  It has also been a source of contention as a trap/catchall for overflow from one Studio or the other.  Both of the people in our household can take just so much of a chaotic overflow before a major cleanout becomes necessary.  That cleanout happened last month....just in time for another makeover.
Due to the...hopefully...temporary closing of Sue's Fiber Arts Studio at the Chicken Farm Art Center, any weaving done on Sparrow was going to be done at home.  It will work out for the best as Sparrow and all her weaving supplies and tools took up valuable display space at Studio #10.  A big regret will be not being able to demonstrate weaving to visitors who come to the Chicken Farm.
I don't know how long the 'Work From Home' will last or if a 'Shelter In Place' will become mandatory or if Sue's Fiber Arts Studio #10 at The Chicken Farm Art Center will get to re-open, but at least 'The Sparrow' has landed in her New Loom Room. 
And she has two New Spring Aprons!
(take up fabric on roller)


Making It Monday...Off the Top of My Head

The AtoZ Challenge begins on April 1st.  This year will be my 7th year to participate.  It would have been 8 years, but I missed 2017...I don't remember why.

Every year I think I've run out of ideas for a theme, but somehow I manage to scrape together enough photos and ideas to fill the month with posts that relate to a Theme.
I must admit...if not for the unexpected time off (COVID-19 Pandemic) 2020 AtoZ would not have been possible.  With that said, instead of flying by the seat of my pandemic pants...my posts will have to come 'Off the Top of My Head'.  As in years past I try to keep a week or so ahead.

Photo Hints for April 1 - 4 'Off the Top of My Head' 
Like I said...it's Off the Top of My Head with No Rhyme or Reason!
Still time to Sign Up
Join the Challenge...HERE