Two days before Rhinebeck

 

I am so fortunate to be here.

I am so fortunate to be here.

I left it as a large photo because this place is beyond awesome. I’m in a town in the hills just outside of Syracuse, waaayyy upupup. My awesome hosts, friends of a friend, offered to let me stay in their loft the week between Stitches East and Rhinebeck. I am completely captivated by the surroundings, and by my charming hosts.

Hold on… Perhaps I ought to back up a bit to fill you in.

I’ve been thinking about a “Fall Tour, East Coast Version” for a while, and when my friend Jen, the superhero indie dyer behind Holiday Yarns, invited me to be a booth babe at a couple of the fall shows, I, not being an idiot, said Holy Stitchmarkers, Batman: YES.

Gotham City Skyline Socks, designed by Melanie Matos. Kit & Pattern available from Holiday Yarns.

Gotham City Skyline Socks, designed by Melanie Matos. Kit & Pattern available from Holiday Yarns.

Tuesday, Oct 7th, I drove to Syracuse, NY, where Jen’s dye studio is. Last-minute Happenings ended with me joining Susan, owner/operator of The Yarn Cupboard in Jamesville, for dinner…at her mother’s house in Jamesville with sisters, Mama, and a cousin or two all around the table.

They’re Italian. Mama had made a pasta dish with some kind of (delicious) meatballs, and there was HOME MADE canneloni for desert.

I really do have pictures of canneloni and cookies! Patience

Turns out that one of the sisters is trained as a pastry chef, and owned her own bakery for years.

I like Susan’s family.

Because time is of the essence right now, I will post more pics and words(!) about all these ongoing Hi-jinks as I get seconds to sit down and tap the keys. 

After a lovely sleep in Susan’s guest room (she trusted me enough to leave me alone with both her yarn stash And her quilting sash…now THAT’s trust), Jen, assistant dyer Melanie, and Colorful Personality Minion (that’s me) set off for Stitches East, held in beautiful-but-impossible-to-navigate (especially with a marathon running right down the main streets, causing detours and nice, capable cops trying to stay polite whilst giving alternate routes to people who are shaky-at-best on the original routes.

Until I have more time to tell stories and introduce folks properly, how about a few photos to tell some of the story for me?

Ummm…my iPad is having hissy fits about those pics. The internet here fails to acknowledge me sometimes, so how about some STUNNING Stitches pic later? GAH. 

I promise there will be Yarn Pr0n, on my honour.

Where am I headed today after I tear myself away from paradise up here?

Rhinebeck!!

I hope to see you there. I have the honour of being the sales minion for jessalu’s bags, sold at the Holiday Yarns booth…

on beyond the Yarn Beyond!

Sandi

ps linking isn’t working properly either.  Doomed.

Note: obviously, I wrote this post last week, and I have more adventures to share. The reason this is posting so late has to do with Inconsistent Internet. But I’ll keep trying when I find a decent hotel room or a starbucks. I love Panera, but it’s internet is a tad wonky at times.

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How Tim Lost His Eye

You asked questions! I am thrilled. Thank you. I love answering questions.

Sharon and Msuem both asked…

How Tim Lost His Eye

look what came in the mail

That’s my mischief maker! He is our Canadian cat, as he is the first pet we have obtained since moving here.

This little guy and his mom were found outside a garage in a snowbank by Frances, the mother of Denise, one of Melody’s grad students. I think there may have been other sibs who found homes before we came into the story, but when Denise contacted Melody and asked if she wanted a kitten, it was just Tim and Daisy, his mom, living in a warm guest room upstairs in Frances’ house.

Except at that time, Tim was living under his Witness Protection Program name: Boots.

tim in a box

Once we got him home, all four pounds of him (he was about seven weeks old), we realized that he didn’t so much have boots as he had long white leggings.

puzzled tim

And calling a perfectly sweet kitten “Leggings” just did not seem fair at all. (Someone once said he had grey “spats”. I looked her in the eye and said, so, you want us to call our adorable new kitten “SPATS”?)

(It was kind of one of those laughing with your hands on your knees moments.)

We cast about for a name. We tried everything we could think of, from the sublime “Prince Hairy” to the redonkulous “Swashbuckle”.  We’d stand in front of him, look him in the Eye, and say, “Swashbuckle! Hello-ooooo, Swashbuckle! Are you a Swashbuckle? Swashbuckle!” all in that sugary-sweet Shirley Temple high-pitched voice that one reserves for baby kittens and baby kittens alone. And wee Not-Swashbuckle would blink, look at us quizzically for a moment, and then yawn and start studiously cleaning his nether regions.

Ooooooh-kayyyy, then. Not a Swashbuckle. Gotcha.

One day we were watching the folks filing into choir practice, several of them with their evening cup o’ Tims, which has a store about two blocks from us. Melody and I looked at each other with that dorky ohHO look that is our patented dorky couple look. When we got home, we presented Not-Swashbuckle with “Tim”–and he didn’t lick his butt! That was good enough for us, so Tim of Horton’s he is, a truly Canadian Cat.

OK. So. Back to the Not-Eye.

He actually does have an eye in there, so saying he lost his eye is a wee bit dramatic. When we met him, we noticed that he kept his left eye almost closed all the time, and it seemed to run a bit. Frances told us that she had found him that way, and the vet had given her some ointment in case it was an infection.

We took him to our vet, who gave us the 411: You know how cats have that inner eyelid?(Warning: slight gross-out ahead for those with eye squidges, sorry) Well, somewhere along the line, probably in the womb or during birth, his inner eyelid got stuck to the surface of his cornea, so that when it came time to open his eyes as a baby, the inner eyelid tore (we think), leaving parts stuck to the cornea and parts attached to his outer eyelid.

When he was older, the vet suggested an operation to try and separate the inner eyelid bits stuck to the cornea, to lessen the risk of bad juju. We took him in for the surgery, and for a while after, it looked as though he would recover almost completely.

Except that he didn’t. The membranes got stuck together again, and after a couple more rounds of medication and poor-baby kisses, the vet said it was better not to mess with his eye too much, and that was that.

So he still has that eye, but it is partially covered by bits of his inner eyelid, and he can’t fully open the eye because of the bits stuck to the outer lid.

No, we have never put an eye patch on him and growled, “Avast, ye Cap’n Tim!” His claws grow super-fast, and they are Sharp.

ARRGH!

ARRGH!

Can he see out of that eye?

We think so. We think he can see light and dark, like shadows, maybe shapes, that sort of thing. Not a lot of detail, probably.

But TimCat can jump six feet from floor to banister post without a waiver. (The top of the post is four inches square.) He jumps all over, up and down, down and up, as if to prove that he is still a Most Worthy Cat. Never falls. Never hesitates. We don’t know if he is using the veiled eye to help triangulate, or if he is turning his head in lots of mini-moves to get the coordinates right.

I will say that the two times a feline has caught a live mouse in this house, that feline has been Tim. Great Hunter Tim clearly doesn’t need no stinkin’ second eye.

Question: Why don't kitties ever get napper's block?

Question: Why don’t kitties ever get napper’s block?

Chispa

Here’s Oskar, a truly blind kitty, learning to play with his very first toys.

Posting this video is my way of arm-waving so you don’t notice that I have not yet been able to locate one of Tim’s own baby pictures. I owe you a Tim Baby Pic. Remind me if I forget.


Thank you, all of you, for the wonderful, kind, and yes, loving comments. You are giving me the strength to climb out of the pit, one chispa at a time :)

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peeking out, because of kindness

This post is dedicated to the kindness of LauraLyn, who along with a few others of you, have sent me several lovely emails out of the blue, expressing concern and support for me whilst depression has been eating my brainz. Thanks to all of you for the hands outstretched, the kindnesses extended, and well, just everything.

LauraLyn offered this bit of insight taken from Alice Hoffman’s Survival Lessons, a tiny volume of essays she wrote. Alice wanted to remind herself, as a breast cancer survivor, that in the midst of personal crisis, turmoil or trauma, that there is still beauty in the world to be explored.

Indeed there is. Let’s go for some bloggy walks to seek out that beauty, shall we.

Sunday, Sept 21, 2014

Hullo, lovely GentleWise Folk.

I took a selfie! Mostly a proof-of-life selfie, but still.

I took a selfie! Mostly a proof-of-life selfie, but still. Here is me, breathing and dressed and everything.

After writing that last post, and after reading all your supportive, lovely, and uplifting comments, I realized I needed to do a bit of navel-gazing, as self-indulgent as that might seem. The Flails were back again with a vengence, and one day, tired of being frustrated with myself, I just Hit The Wall. I closed the laptop, went outside to sit on the front porch, and began asking myself the hard questions.

You know. The HARD questions, the ones that cause some of us to lose sleep and and lay awake thinking about What It All Means and What Part of Everything Do I Want to Participate In?

My perfect cats would NEVER do this. Tim prefers to bring his half-dead mouse upstairs and plunk it down at my feet when I am sitting on the throne at 2 AM. Nice.

My perfect cats would NEVER do this. Tim, AKA the Great Northern Hunter, prefers to bring his half-dead mouse upstairs and plunk it down at my feet when I am sitting on the loo at 2 AM. Nice.

Still, sometimes you just gotta ask yourself what is important to Self. So I contemplated my at-times bejeweled belly button, and Had A Think and gave myself a wee Q&A session.

  • Why was I fighting so hard to do something that was so difficult, bringing so much Flail into my life?
  • Where had my blogging mojo gone?
  • Did I even want to continue blogging?

That last one, wow. That hurt. Stop blogging? Well, yeah, it does seem as though I’m resisting more than I’m writing. So why keep doing it? Why keep blogging?

And believe it or not, my belly button simply refused to answer any of my questions. It did not even wish to offer advice.

It just sat there. Being Navel-ish. (The nerve!)

Do I want to continue blogging?

I’ve been posting on-the internet blog entries, in one format or another, since around 1996, 1997. Before that, I kept journals, in all sorts of blank books, from the mottled black & white composition workbooks to leather-covered volumes (usually purple leather; usually embossed with faeries, trees, hobbit runes, or the ever-popular Cats. At age twelve, I predictably chose a unicorn.).

I collect blank books, spindles, stuffed animals, and children's books. Come over and play sometime.

I collect blank books, spindles, stuffed animals, and children’s books. Come over and play sometime.

I don’t remember exactly when I started writing about my life and its inhabitants, but by age eleven, I already had a whack of no-longer-blank-books lining the shelf above my bed. For a couple of years, I took to making decorative cloth covers for those black&white composition books, using my mom’s heavy grey metal stapler to attach cloth to cardboard, or else sewing the parts together with embroidery floss in the color of the week using a honkin’ big 2-inch “craft needle”. I took a batik class in sixth grade; most of my class practice pieces ended up as journal covers.

See? Even as a kid, for me, journaling was inextricably linked to craft of some sort. I pasted cards and drawings onto the pages, I sewed beads onto sparkly ribbons for bookmarks, I made those workbooks into little mixed media explorations.

In other words, I realized that I have been writing stories about myself, my interests, my inner life, and my crafting since before I could do calculus.

My new sewing machine loves to do strip piecing. Fortunately, so do I.

My new sewing machine loves to do strip piecing. Fortunately, so do I.

How does one stop doing something they’ve always done?

The answer is, of course: They don’t. If I stop writing down slices from my life, it will begin to take slices off my heart.

That’s when I started hearing objections from the Blog Demons…

But my posts are annoying.

Annoying? Yes, this is why you get dozens of supportive comments every time you post. Because you are annoying. Uh Huh.

It’s time-consuming.

Well, don’t write a tome every time you post, then.

I don’t know what to say.

And yet somehow, you always manage to say something.

I don’t tell funny stories anymore. So I’m boring.

Oh, for pete’s sake. Stop that.

I want to write, but I can’t do it on my own.

That’s what readers are for. And cats, apparently.

A Challenging Challenge

Writer’s block is normal, but hooboy does it suck. I’ve had a particularly rough patch of it this spring and summer, so methinks Measures Must Be Taken.

So here’s an Idea. See what you think….

I gather, from previous conversations with you-IRL, that many of you (being intelligent and curious beings) have Wonderings. You have Questions. Questions about me, questions about how to bind off and not have the edge curl, how to choose the right yarn for the right socks, Please-can-I-avoid-kitchener-stitch-forever-and-ever-amen, what can you knit if you live in Alabama, what about crochet, why is my studio such a peach pit, how did Tim lose his eye, how things are going with Melody and by the way, who IS Melody?

I say: Go for it. Bring on the questions. I need a little two-way interaction here to get me past my inner demons, back on the road to posting regularly again. (That’s my goal: Regular posting. Time schedule TBD.)

And my new goal to help me get started: One paragragh. One photo. One Chispa. We’ll start there and see what happens next.

My wee Origami Frog. He jumps, too. When he feels like it.

My wee Origami Frog. He jumps, too. When he feels like it.

CHISPAS

~ I saw this one months ago, and it’s still at the top of my personal chispas list: Gentleman spins his hair into the playable strings of a violin. (Mommmeeeee,  Sharaz is playing my hair again! And she’s practicing Mozart this time. I’m BOOORRRREEEDDD of Mozart, plus the high notes bother my teeth.)

~ This artwork can only be found using Google Maps.

~ I am suddenly fascinated by origami after making a wee frog in the children’s exploraratory room in Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass. (I was there to see the Yin Yu Tang House, fascinating)

  1. This guy promised to fold a life-sized elephant from a single sheet of paper if his collections for charity hit a critical goal. They did, and he did.
  2. Photos and videos from an exhibit of the work of 80 origami artists. When you look at it, it is hard to believe it is all paper.
  3. Note wee teensy origami effort of mine own, above.

 

Obligatory Cute Animal Photo:

See the goldfish cracker on the table. Buddy sees it too. Buddy does not understand why it is not on the floor, but hanging in mid-air. Buddy does not understand glass-topped tables. We love him anyway.

See the goldfish cracker on the table. Buddy sees it too. Buddy does not understand why it is not on the floor, but hanging in mid-air. Buddy does not understand glass-topped tables. We love him anyway.

Well, my friends. That’s way more than one paragraph; but truth be told, I have been writing blog entries almost daily…I just haven’t been posting them because of the Blog Demons. I didn’t want to edit this one too severely for fear I’d never think it was good enough.

But your kindnesses have brought me out of the woodwork…thank you.

much love,
Sandi

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Building blocks

Clearly, I owe y’all an apology: I did not keep my promise to post by end-of-week last week. End of LAST week, mind you.

On Flailing

I’m trying to use this seeming failure as one of those noble “teaching moments”, rather than simply reacting in my usual fashion of pulling out the baseball bat and finding not-nice things to say about myself.

This time, a few bruises and curse words later, I looked back and began to see part of a life-long pattern of what I call “flail-ures”—times when my intentions are good, I get off to a good start, something trips me up, and then I go into The Flails.

The Flails are a series of mind-games I play with myself. Writer’s Block (hipster acronym WB) reared its bumpy noggin this time, and so, cue The Flails: I use my usual tricks to break through WB, write a few paragraphs, realize they aren’t suitable for one reason or another, spend another day or so scolding myself, panicking when I realize the clock is ticking, freeze up into WB again, and ’round she goes—with creative and exciting variations! (Not.)

Kermit doing the iconic FLAIL

At some point, I realize I am going to miss my deadline, and more Flails show up: now I’ve let people down, time to bring on the shame! I avoid the keyboard for a bit so it won’t remind me of my shame, then take a big breath and put on my Big Girl Panties, write, produce something that is disconnected from my previous attempts, and then more yet Flails ensue.

Add a pinch o’ pride…

This time, the Flails were enhanced by the fact that the long gaps between postings cost me readers. It’s only numbers, I realize; I also realize that the readers who truly matter are either still here (yay! Thanks for being patient with me) or will come back as soon as they see I’m alive and posting again.

Dusty: There is a limit to this whole "creative chaos" thing, you know that, right?

Dusty: There is a limit to this whole “creative chaos” thing, you know that, right?

This taught me something (or rather, reinforced what I already knew): Blogging is, at the very least, a conversation; at its best, it is a relationship. If one party stops keeping up their end of the deal, then the other party will naturally get tired of the silence and wander off to talk with someone else.

The final nail in the coffin was, I am sorry to say, pride: A few years ago, I was one of the most-read fibre bloggers in our small pond; I had fangirls, people wanting to have their photo taken with me, even a stalker (“fangirl gone bad”, shall we say).  Now I’m not That Girl anymore. I know this sounds petty, but I didn’t realize how hard it would be to go from being a bit of a mini-celebrity to being just a face in the crowd. I see knitters whom I have mentored, encouraging them to make that first pattern submission, cheerleading as they went on to have confidence in their own visions—I’ve watched several of them grow into highly sought-after authors, designers, and teachers.

My sense of self is disrupted by all this change, not to mention  how quickly it happened. It’s hard to blog when the person at the keyboard is someone you no longer recognize.

I realized I needed to rebuild not only my own sense of self, but my sense of who I am in the fibre community.

And although I have a spinner’s heart and a knitter’s eye, it is a completely different craft which is helping me to begin to fit the pieces back together.

Building blocks

About 15-20 years ago (why yes, I was in fact eighteen, thank you for asking), I stumbled upon the travelling exhibit showcasing Amish Quilts at the San Francisco De Young Museum.

Detail of the "Flying Triangles" quilt; hand-pieced and hand-quilted by Sandi Wiseheart

Detail of the “Flying Triangles” quilt; hand-pieced and hand-quilted by Sandi Wiseheart


I went two days in a row. The second day, I sat down on one of the benches in front of two of the more stupendous quilts, and went into my happy place.

The security guard had to ask me to leave. I looked at my watch; it was at least 30 min since closing time. He shrugged and said he’d seen me the day before as well, and as this was the last day, he couldn’t bear to make me leave when I was so clearly entranced.

At the museum gift shop, I bought a package of scraps which had come from an Amish quilting group in the area where the display quilts had been made. Inside was a postcard bearing a photo and its caption. When I got home, I found the reverse side of the card bore a simple quilt pattern; the scraps were enough to make a small wall quilt with the pattern.

The finished scrap quilt, which I began in August 1989 and completed in November 1993

The finished scrap quilt, which I began in August 1989 and completed in November 1993

I’ve been a quilter since that day, taking classes, fussing with seams, etc. I took a break for about ten years while I worked for Interweave, to concentrate on knitting and spinning for The Job.

Well, guess what?

I’m Baaaaaaaaa-aaack…  :)

Trying to decide what goes where

Trying to decide what goes where

It’s just a wee quilt (those are one-inch squares), but I already love it. It’s slowly helping me to realize that I can still create beauty (which, dare I dream, might help others to go to THEIR happy places), and that I can still write, and, again hopefully, connect to others through my stories.

Chispas!

~ In the summer, many fortunate Canadians and Americans go off to stay in cozy cottages (Canadian term) or cabins (U.S. term), the majority of which, at least in Canada, are near one of the country’s estimated 3 million lakes (60% of all the world’s lakes are in Canada; it must be true, because Wikipedia says so). However, there are lakes….and then there are LAKES. (Methinks there’s still time to change your vacation plans, should one of these exotic locations make the family cottage seem mundane by comparison.)

~ No modern art devoteé ought to let the summer pass without attending this installation, which one might call “The Game of Thrones.”

~ You may groan. I deserved that.

Caption suggestions for this one, folks? It's so cute my brain melted.

Caption suggestions for this one, folks? It’s so cute my brain melted.

~ In light of recent post topics: If Physical Diseases Were Treated the Same as Mental Illnesses

~ I sincerely doubt that I am the only one these words will speak to today.

~ Find a friend and hold them close to your heart.

duck loves owlet

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Pre-Post Pronouncement

First: I’m so grateful to have you all in my life. You are so kind.

Second: I wanted to let you know that I currently have a new PIP (Post In Progress) OTKB (On The KeyBoard).

Third: Expect the new post to be published sometime mid-week (THIS week, first week in July).

There. I am now Accountable. :)

The Chispas Who Couldn’t Resist Themselves

~ When I walk into homes with a Mom and Urchins In Residence these days, I see dozens of wee colourful rubber bands strewn from counter to carpet.

Silly me, at first I thought they were for American Doll hair fashions. Nope. I soon found out that the bands were, in fact, Components, to be used by clever Short Humans to make gifts for wandering, beloved Fake Aunties, clueless though they may be.

Bracelet One by Minions of Sir Tip; Bracelet Two by Minion of Mr. Rocco.

Bracelet One by Minions of Sir Tip; Bracelet Two by Minion of Mr. Rocco.

Ah, but now…GeekMom Strikes Back.

~ C’mon, admit it:

Somedays, we ALL feel like fluffy bunnies:

image

 

 

 

~ Finally: Please tell me this is True.

 Good People, I’ll see you later this week. Spread kindness, both to the wounded spaces within yourselves,  as well as to the hearts around you which cry for compassion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Taptaptap…is this thing live?

Hello, there.

If I recall correctly, I’m Sandi, this here is My Blog Thang, and you are my kind and incredibly patient Lovely Readers.

DeltaDawnandLabCat

DeltaDawnandLabCat

Gwen's Toes Wiggle For Joy

Gwen’s Toes Wiggle For Joy

Nice to see you again.

I have been playing catch-up with all my various inboxen, and it turns out I’ve got quite a few messages asking where I am, am I OK, please just blog a few words to let us know, we miss you, we’re concerned….

I am deeply touched by your caring, folks. Waaayyyy down in that place in one’s heart where we are all 10 years old, feeling shaky and nervous about coming back to the playground after being gone for a bit. The what-if-no-one-noticed-I-was-gone place.

You are so kind; I’m sorry some of you were concerned enough to try and get hold of me. Thank you. Xo

I am so grateful for your kindness that I have spent literally the last week writing this post for you. Could it have been shorter? Maybe sí, maybe no.

All that matters is that your caring gives me the energy to Try.

image

Winter Ought To Be A Controlled Substance

Here’s a surprise for you: Turns out I have a wickedly evil case of SAD, aka Seasonal Affective Disorder. You have probably noticed that around the beginning of the year, for three years running (I think), I write a blog post in January~and then I go silent until the sun’s been out for a month or so, around May/June-ish. (Ta-da! Here I am!)

This was a terrible winter for all kinds of places. Here, we had something horrific like 83 days in a row with temps below freezing, sometimes waaaaaayyyyy below. We didn’t have the worst winter out of all cities; but it was the worst winter ever for me.

The Special Lights didn’t help. Daylight bulbs in our ceiling lights, ditto. Meds kept me afloat, but afloat in a very not-Sandi sort of way. In short: Somewhere between minus 27 and minus 13, I lost Sandi.

I can’t really explain the feeling of losing one’s very self, the personality one has become used to, and fond of, more or less. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t do super-creative things like I usually can. I was cranky. I had panic attacks. I was irritable (let’s face it: I was a bitch). I was exhausted all the time, I withdrew, and felt sorry for myself, and I stopped making the bed.

person hibernating

Somewhere along the line, I found Allie’s blog, HyperboleAndAHalf.. Not only did I find her, I found in her a voice that could tell oh-so-vividly what the evil demon Depression feels like. (Allie, all I can say is, thanks for being so damn brave.)

First, have a look at her blog post Adventures in Depression, Part One, and maybe think about it for a while. Then, give Part Two a go, and see how that sits with you.

All I have to say is: What Allie Said.

Also: Depression, You Suck.

The summer solstice has now passed, I’ve had large doses of sunshine, my toes are finally warm, and for a few weeks, I was almost back to my usual sparkly self. I was overjoyed about that, let me tell you.

Personally, I really don’t like wearing the Bitch Tiara.

The last week or three, however, I have noticed myself slowly being sucked under again. Turns out that this time period corresponds to: (a) several Stress Zombie Vultures circling over my house, and (b) me not checking in on my usual Ravelry hangouts, thus getting a wee bit too isolated from the folks who make my life rich and full of Good Things (this, of course, includes you Bloggity Folks, as well!)

Not Good.

I decided to try and claw myself out of this slump. Even though I don’t really feel much like Sandi at the moment, I notice that if I push myself to pick up a spindle or write a bit, it helps. Digging my claws in to climb up takes a hell of a lot of energy, and sometimes more courage than I think I have.

And then I open an inboxen and see another caring note, asking if I am OK.

I wish this didn’t sound so incredibly sappy, but on the other hand, it’s very true right now: You folks, you are the wind beneath my wings, helping me to get enough lift so I can practice my wing-tricks again.

The interesting bit is that as I slowly Claw Upwards, I discover that my creative energy is still there. It went into hibernation for an unbearably awful season, and it’s having a rough wake-up, but, here I am.

Looks like you are stuck with me.

Chispas! The return of!

~ We need a wee giggle after all that soul-baring, methinks. A Tale of Stupid Dog and Helper Dog, by Allie.

~ I became utterly choked with giggling burbling sobs upon reading that one. Here’s why:

20140620-205303-75183418.jpg

~ May I present our very own much-beloved Stupid Dog, Buddy. I tried the exact same tests on Buddy…and he did exactly the same things as Original Stupid Dog (accept no imitations!) Dr. Cutie and I fell to our knees with Silly Cry, and then I witnessed – for the first time ever – Dr C rolling over flat-backed to the floor, Giggling Hysterically whilst pounding the floor (hardwood, nice tone) with both fists.

Good Times.

~ Here’s another Stupid Dog and Helper Dog story. Remember how much fun it was when we moved from Colorado to here in Ontario? Yup. More good times.)

~ Simplest Fudge Ever. Because chocolate is a medical necessity when one is depressed. (The rest of that blog is fairly awesome, too.)

~ This is my newest crush:

20140620-210351-75831642.jpg

His name is Sir Tip, he’s at least 13, and he purrs like an old-fashioned noisy vacuum cleaner. He lives with his family of minions outside of Boston, and one sunny day, he deigned to come snuggle with me, allowing a few Dignified Portraits to be taken.

~ I know I swore I would not take up a new crafty thing, I would not take up a new crafty thing…but stand back, because I’m GoingGnome. You should see what lives with me now. You should see the adorable mushroom that was my first needle-felted work of artsy-crafty. (Actually, you will see all of this, once I get the hang of photos and blogging using The App For That on my iPad.

~ Apparently, I am the first person in the history of Apple Canada to take my laptop in for a wee bit of a hangup and subsequently end up surrounded by Geniuses, all Gawking and saying, I can’t believe your motherboard is completely rotted through! I’ve never seen that happen before! And it was still working? Awesome.

~ No laptop, ergo living la vida iPad.

~ I need a cute baby animal per tradition, don’t I? Hmmm….

Why have one cute baby chameleon…when you can have two more?

Later, gators. I’ve got photos for next time of some happy colorful pretty fun things for you.

And, yes, Her Royal Llamaness sends her love. :)

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Sir Tip declares that this most certainly IS an extremely dignified portrait. The pose, the expression…one of the Classics in Feline Fine Art.

 

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the taste of chocolate soap

Now, just hold yer horses, there. I am not so crunchy-granola as to believe that everything that says “natural ingredients” ought to be safe enough for a baby on a paleoveganGF diet to eat, uh, ingest via IV, and to do so without any consequences.

Thus, when I say, “the taste of chocolate soap”, I am not approaching the matter in the role of a food critic, nor as a “foodie”; I am simply going to comment on The Taste of Chocolate Soap.

Therefore, if any of you decide that my comments are an inspiration to Go Forth And Eat Soap, you are on your own.

Let us begin with the soap in question:

chocolate-buttercream

The above image was shamelessly ganked from goodiesunlimited.com, the website of the The Queen of Soap, AubreyK. (Sorry to steal from you Aubrey, but hang on a moment, ‘kay?)

In the original version of this post, I called her “The One True Soapmaker.” That was fine…until I went into my soap supply and discovered wonderful things from all my other beloved One True Soapmakers.

So, in the interests of Fairness, later I shall tell you about some of the other Master Soapmakers to the Wiseheart Family. I’m thrilled to find new potential Master SoapMakers to the WF, especially unique and interesting Makers…one can never, ever have enough Master Amazing SoapMakers.

After all, we know from the movies that having a single Lord of the Soaps is a bad idea.

Back to Aubrey’s Goodies!

Anyway. This morning, in the shower, I was happily washing my kindly, youthful visage (an imagination is a beautiful thing) with a hand-crocheted washie thing and a bar of Chocolate Butter Crème Soap. The scent is light, not perfume-y, basically the same as if you are waving a bar of baking chocolate in front of your nose. Wreathed in steamy chocolate smells, I go to rinse my face–and for some dumb reason, I open my mouth. Not just a little, mind you, but the OPEN WIDE FOR DENTIST PLIERHEART sort of open.

A flood of bubbles (naturally) rushes onto my tongue, and tries to go down my throat. Coughing ensues. Amidst the coughing and hacking, I notice that THERE IS YUMMY CHOCOLATE IN MY MOUTH. I don’t know about you, but yummy-chocolate-in-my-mouth is one of my favourite sensations.

However.

This chocolate sensation was accompanied with a lavish dollop of  Flavour-of-Soapy Ingredients. The effect was not quite as much fun as I had thought it might be at the very first taste of Bubbly Chocolate.

In fact, it tasted like…well, it tasted like soap. With a glissando of chocolate butter crème, sure; but still: SOAP.

There really is no point to this story other than to share with you the results of my unusual foray into the culinary side of cleanliness.

Dilemma

So here’s the deal: I have to order some things from Aubrey today (lotion bars, laundry soap, probably more soap and lip balm because I want to smell good and have soft lips for the Zombie Apocalypse). Along with the three E-Tomic bars, three Everything Balms, and three Lavender Lip Balms already in my possession, I mean.

I don’t actually NEED any more soap. My current stock ought to last at least until the snow melts up here:

  • Silken Lilac (with real silk!) ~ 2 bars
  • Creme Rose (with real dairy cream!)~ 2 bars
  • Lavender Lemon ~ 2 bars
  • Lady’s Clay ~ 1 bar (looking kind of scraggly because shampoo leaked onto it in the closet)
  • Rosemary Lemon Silk (more real silk!) ~ 1 bar

However….the Giveaway Llama made a big fuss this morning about how I never buy soaps for her stock, and that she never gets to give away soaply wonders to her readers. (Get that. HER readers. Sure thing.) Rather than listen to Llama Winges all week long, I am giving in and ordering a few for giveaways to y’all nice folks.

Trouble is: I don’t know what you like.

How about this? Go on over to Aubrey’s Goodies Unlimited  shop, and have a stroll through her wares. While you’re there, pick one or two or three things you think would make nice giveaways. Pick the scents that make you drool (they don’t last long after the shower, they are VERY LIGHT, not perfumey, and they don’t even bother me, just so you know).

Pick them out, BUT DON’T BUY THEM, unless of course, you want All The Things, and you want to have them NOW, and are worried your name will never be drawn for the giveaway.

Make a list; send it to me or leave it in the comments below.

Isn’t it fun to “shop” for Her Llamaness? :)

Another Finished Object

January’s FO was my Hiro, of which I am a wee bit proud.

February’s FO is lucky to exist at all, given the month we’ve had around here: In The Woods Cuffletts, reconstructed out of my Denmark-in-the-Woods Socks that finally became too holey and had to go to Sock Heaven. (My tutorial for how to resurrect holey socks is on my tutorials page.)

You will notice the lack of photos in this post. My beloved camera has bit the dust, and it is almost as much to repair it as it is to buy a new one. I haz a Sad.

So, once again, I ask you to draw upon your powers of Imagination. (Carpity iPhone photos to come.)

Soaply Sidebar

I am completely aware that there exists a metric passle of awesome soapmakers whose work I have not yet been privileged to try. This post is not a diss on any of you Fine Makers; it is simply that you and I have not been introduced yet.

Amongst the Master Makers whose work I have been introduced to,  there is another Stand-Out-Star-in-the-Field: West Elm Farm. Pat and John make a line of lanolin and goat’s milk soaps (using lanolin from their own Icelandic flock) in several light scents, plus unscented. One thing that Sappy Me likes best about Pat-and-John’s soaps is that they are cast with a beautiful custom raised imprint featuring elm trees and Icelandic sheep. (Awwwww…)

They also make Truly Wonderful candles: pure beeswax, cast in charming molds of their own design (house with tree, sheep, and hearts–I am such a sucker), with natural scents like amber rose and orange clove (plus unscented), not one of them perfumey or strong.

And last but not least is Betty’s Balm For Working Hands. Betty is a sheep, and she contributes personally to each tin of the lovely soothing stuff. Betty Is Awesome. (Also on offer: roving and fleeces from their Icelandic flock; plus lamb and rabbit meat in all sorts of nifty-to-meat-eaters sorts of cuts.)

I’m starting to sound like a Natural Products Commercial. Yikes.

I am not being paid to do this; nor do I work for these folks. I’m doing it because, well, “the taste of chocolate soap” was just too good a blog post title to pass up.

The Chispas are in the Meditation Pond and will show up next time.

(I wanted to see if I could write a post in under 90 minutes…and I did it! Whoo!)

 

Love and Llama kisses,
Sandi and Her Llamaness

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