Monday, 9 November 2015

Closing down.

Hey guys, just a heads up to say that I'll be closing the Holistic Home soon.  It doesn't really reflect who I am any more and I have decided to put my energy into a new venture with my wool and walking.  I'll have more info about my new venture in the coming days.  The Studio blog will carry on as it is though :D

Sunday, 8 November 2015

What's in the basket?

I was feeling a little better yesterday so I sat and created clouds. Lots of fluffy white rolags from a truly beautiful Southdowns fleece.  It actually won first prize in the rare breeds show in the summer and my dear friend Daph, picked it up for me as a present. It needed little washing, just enough to get out the lanolin and a little dirt and this is the result. Gorgeous.
 My basket is rather full and I hope to get on with clearing the stash! Some of these colours were created with food dye and went into making my first fractal wool that I posted about a few months back.  I didn't know what to make with the wool, so when I was offered cash for it, I sold it! I'm waiting to see what it will turn out like when it's knitted.
So I have some blue yellow and pale orange from food dye, then top right is the Manx Loughton dyed with Henna hair dy and the red stuff is called 'ohmigosh look what I found in my dye pot'!!! I'd totally forgotten that I'd put wool in the pot after using some acid dyes for tie-dying some t-shirts! It must have sat there for at least a year, haha! It's still soft and spinnable, so I may do something with it.
 Then there's this little beauty.  It ended up costing me a fortune on Etsy because I didn't read the small print or take into account that imported wool would incur customs charges!!! Now I'm too scared to spin it in case I mess up!
 So here we have an attempted close up of some gorgeous cotton fibre. The colours are cream, caramel and at the back a pale sage green.
 As is so often the case the cats always want to help with my fibres and my beautiful white Fae cat is never far from my side and so often gets into a picture! 
I'll be spinning a little of the cotton later, to see what it's like, but I'll most likely sell it on Etsy as it's really hard to get in this country and my stash is already overflowing. The basket is just my portable stash.  I have bags of fleece in the garage and a huge cabinet full of shop bought wool as well as my own homespun. I'll also be selling some rare breed Polwarth on Etsy at some point, but first it needs a wash.  I can't sell it as it is!!!

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Worth living for.

I started this blog just 3 years ago with so many ideas to share and so many hopes for my life!  I thought it might help me deal with my divorce and the change of my life from settled to chaotic.  However, I realised that some things were just too painful or difficult to share with a largely unknown audience, after all, we rarely know who might stumble across our page of morning musings! And yet, here I am, still putting words out into the big old world for people to read and maybe think about.

My first ever blog was around 9 years ago now! I was very different then, a little shallow perhaps, but life is about growth, and I would say I've done a lot of growing!!!

I've met people through blogging who have become dear friends in the real world and not just on my pc screen, so for that reason, reaching out into the void has been worth it. I've read blogs that have kept me sane and given me hope through dark days and even darker nights, when I've been so alone that I would have given anything for a friendly voice. Sometimes those blogs led me astray and I became obsessed with this craft or that homemaking idea and made more bars of soap than was ever necessary! But it was fun and it took me away from worry.

When I first woke up this morning, I was in a lot of pain with the fibro.  I wanted to talk about the things I've lost, energy, vitality, the ability to act on an idea without planning, and of course friends, most of them now! I've lost great chunks of what makes me, Me! And yet, here I am, carrying on and dealing with the life I have, because there is no other way!  I have so much to be grateful for, a roof over my head, my lovely children, now young adults and of course the love of my many animals.  Then there is the patient man who still walks beside me. I've learnt not to put all of my hopes into one person, but a little hope is necessary to keep going.

So while I originally set out to talk about a Holistic life, I've actually realised that this blog is becoming more personal than that. After all, it's still a journey through my days. My life is uniquely mine and may share similarities with others, but the choices I make and paths I choose are what makes it so different. Like the decision to share my thoughts and feelings here this morning.
It's not easy to be so honest, to say that my life isn't pretty or easy or as rosy as the photos I post.

Here it is in all it's honest ugliness, but it's still my life and that's worth living for.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

I went to a wool fair!!!

Well the title says it all!! I recently went to Lewes with my spinning guild where I was almost
reserved in the face of so much woolly lovelieness and only came away with one giant bag of mixed fleece and one bag of spun yarn! Believe me, it could have been worse and I was so very tempted to buy a weaving loom!
I thought I'd spend most of my money with this lovely lady and her amazing yarns as I bought two very lovely skeins (right in the center of this picture next to the white fluff). But then I found a stall selling un-spun fibre in giant bins! Well, I bagged a few samples from there and thought I'd better stop!

This was a very attractive stall and you can see the windows behind of this gorgeous building and it's amazing architecture.  I spent a lot of time looking up as well as at the stalls. I'll be going back to this town again as they had a real life mini Diagon Alley with all sorts of strange little shops and even a wishing well :D
This was the war memorial, pretty impressive, isn't it? The faces on the Angels moved me almost to tears.  The architect was Vernon March, who is considered an extraordinary artist, and was also responsible for the Canadian National War Memorial in Ottawa and the Cape Town Cenotaph in South Africa.

Back home, the wooly mayhem continued as I tried to finish knitting my fox stole by Tiny Owl Knits. The cats didn't want to be left out and although you can only see parts of them, there are FIVE kitties in this picture!!!
Apart from all the fibre fun, I have to say that my health has been appalling! The Fibro and CFS have been seriously kicking my butt for weeks.  It's a shame that it's come along with Autumn as this is my favourite time of year! I've been taking healing walks with the dog and my man
and we've been enjoying the beautiful display of golden leaves and colourful fungi.
I would love to paint these little 'shrooms, and may even make some out of clay!
In the kitchen I've been taking good care of my diet. Using my good days to bake bread and buns so that my son and daughter have something to snack on without consuming a heap of processed chemicals. I've also been trying out something called 'Golden Paste' which is made from Turmeric, black pepper and coconut oil. It has too many health benefits to list here, but there are resources on the net and Facebook if you want to know more.
I'm very lucky that both my children are excellent cooks as I've relied on them more than once when I've been too sick to even make it to the kitchen! We all take turns at being creative and thankfully they've inherited my 'experimental' attitude to recipes which so far has produced some delicious, quick and easy meals. Maybe I should write a cookbook ;)

Edited to add: Reading back over my posts, I've realised what a stressful year it's been for me, so actually, I shouldn't be surprised that the Fibro has suddenly hit me so hard!!!

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

A chaotic month with the animals!

I could honestly write a book about the crazy goings on with my many animals!!! 
Six weeks ago my darling boy Bo fractured his leg in a rather traumatic incident with our stallion Merlin! Sadly, Bo came out of it the worst for wear and we later discovered that his leg had been fractured.  The break was inoperable but thankfully had not damaged the entire bone.  The only treatment possible was for him to be cross-tied which means that he cannot move more than a few steps!  The biggest danger with an injury of this kind is that the muscle exerts so much pressure on the bone when the animal lays down and gets up that the fracture will crack clean across.

As you can see, Bo was not a happy boy at all and developed all kinds of very nasty habits, including kicking and biting!
Six long weeks later and he is now home with me.  The xrays show that the bone has knitted and although he has to stay confined, he is at least able to lay down and rest.  He was exhausted after standing still for so long.

My crazy cat Bambam decided that sleeping in an upstairs window would be fun!  Thankfully nothing awful happened, but given my luck lately, I'm surprised!!!
My beautiful goat Aine gave birth to a perfectly wonderful boy kid who has been named Comfrey.  They are at the Ancient Farm and are doing extremely well.  One day I'd love to have her back with me, but for now she's happy there.

One of my other cats developed a huge abscess on her cheek and cost me a fortune in antibiotics.  She's a good girl and loved having lots of Reiki and didn't mind at all when I bathed her icky face :D

Finally, I managed to get some long and restful walks with the dog to help stay calm in what has been a truly difficult month.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Blending colours of wool.

The colour blending has been going well, but Fae staged a sit in on the fleece :D  
My latest arm warmers started out as straight Manx Loughton, but I found the colour a little too dark, so I blended in some white Romney to lighten the shade.  Then I came up with the idea of making the wool progressively lighter with more and more Romney.  The advantage of using the Romney is that it has a beautiful long and soft staple compared to the ML which is short and lumpy!  I love the colour effect this had created, but I had to stop knitting for a few days so that I could spin enough wool for two arm warmers.  I'm nearly done now and will take pictures in the next day or two, along with the blue ones which turned out perfectly :D
Also on the drying rack, I played with natural henna hair dye and some Romney, on the left, and ML on the right.  I'll have to blend these two together as well as the ML is just too short and choppy for an easy spin.  It's getting on my nerves, to be honest!!!
I'm hoping this wool stays fairly colour fast though, as I'd hate to wear it and end up with a yellow neck or arms, haha!  I've used natural vegetable matter to produce dyes in the past and this hasn't been a problem, so fingers crossed :D

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Stress and the calming effect of wool!

In the last few months, my stress levels have been very high indeed with family illness adding to my already complicated life.  On top of that I then had a very poorly pony to deal with.

My darling Bo had got himself on the wrong side of Merlin's temper and in the ensuing battle suffered from a lot of bites and injuries.  His leg just didn't want to heal, so the vet felt there was an underlying problem.  Here he is all bright eyed and waiting for the vet!
This was after a strong sedative, poor little mite!
An xray showed that his leg was fractured, so an emergency transport was found to take him to the Equine Hospital where he has to stay immobolised for four weeks!!!  He's been there two weeks already and we're counting the days to get him back home.

So the way I've been countering all this worry is by spinning and knitting.  The blue wrist warmers are finished, and I'll get pictures of them later.  I then started a fresh pair with the Manx Loughton wool.  I found it to be a little too dark though, so stopped knitting and started blending the paler parts of the fleece with some Romney for a lighter softer look.  I'm hoping to grade the wool from dark to light as I knit.  It should be interesting!
Thankfully, the knitting and colour blending is keeping me sane in what is a pretty crazy world sometimes!!!

Friday, 24 July 2015

Fractal spinning and moths!

Sometime back, I spent a couple of days playing with wool and food dyes.  The results were mixed, so I decided to indulge in some fractal spinning.  I used some commercially dyed merino to add a little strength of colour here and there, but for the most part, the shades are purely down to food dyes.
It would seem that there is definitely an art to mixing the colours so that you get an even distribution and I think I used too many different shades of the rainbow!!!  However, I think I'll make something very bright and eye catching, like maybe a shawl!!!  Not totally sure yet!
One very hot weekend, I decided to make the most of the weather and get more fleece washed.  Imagine my horror when I opened the bags to find that my fleeces were contaminated with moth larvae.  Only two of my lovely fleeces were untouched, so I quickly put them in buckets and started the long, hard process of cleaning and drying.  The other sacks (three of them) went straight to the field to be burned.
The job was harder this time as I was pouring the hot, lanoline filled buckets on to the ground beneath the hedge, as last time, I let it go down the drain with catastrophic results!  I do not want to be unblocking drains any time soon, or ever!!!

So now my evenings are spent sitting on the patio carding the wool and putting it in double bags away from any more moth attacks.  The white wool is Romney and is my favourite to spin, so soft and silky, but the Manx Loughton has so many varied colour combinations. I'm looking forward to knitting these up into some of the Outlander patterns :D

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Wooly Madness!

So is there anyone left out there who hasn't been taken over by the Outlander obsession?  I was late coming to the series as I hadn't enjoyed the books as much as many of Diana Gabaldon's fans, but one evening, I was browsing my 'Prime' options and decided to give it a go.

The acting is good, the scenery stunning, but the costumes are the show stealers, especially the knitwear!  I'm not a great knitter, I've admitted before, but suddenly I had the drive to sit down and get out the needles.
I couldn't find a suitable pattern for Claire's wrist warmers, so I made one up, why not???  I've already finished one and the next is halfway, so I'll post pictures and the very simple pattern soon.
Meanwhile, my attempts at Fractal Spinning have produced this!  I would have liked more orange and brown combinations, but it's fairly pleasing and may end up as another pair of simple wrist warmers!  The wool was dyed with food colouring, so I'm testing it to see how colour fast it is.  Apparently the shades fade over time and some of the blends have already lost their brightness.
Now I have two large fleeces to finish processing, as moths got into my stash and I've had to be brutal and throw a lot of it away.  I have my lovely Manx Loughton and Romney fleeces left and that's all!!!  However, I have heard whisper of a black Shetland fleece going for free, so that could be mine soon :D

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Bits and bobs!


The garden is looking green and lush at the moment. I love the juxtaposition of my Buddha and Green Goddess, snuggled together in the ivy and rosemary.  It says a lot about my spiritual views :D
A few weeks ago it was my Birthday.  I'd been wanting to turn my old stepladder into a strawberry planter for a very long time but didn't know where to begin. So my dear man made this for me as a surprise.  I'm so happy with how super cute it looks and when the strawberries are tumbling down, safe from slugs and snails, I'll be even happier :D
The vegetable garden is full to the brim with lovely spinach.  The onions are coming up and I've been planting seeds and beans in little pots so that I have a good crop this year. 
I had some soft fruit plants for my Birthday, so that's a good amount of berries to look forward to.
The front garden is coming to life but every year I want to clear out the lawn and put down gravel.  I think it's just going to be too difficult and expensive for me to do though, so it's on the back burner for now.  I have plans for some raised beds for more beans, so maybe I'll chip away at the grass a little at a time :D
The long dog has been a big help, but nibbling the shoots off the Hydrangea was not appreciated.  I'm sure he thinks I've planted one of his sticks!!!

Friday, 20 February 2015

New Year, New Beginnings.

So far, the Winter has been spent in quiet recollection.  A time to heal and plan my days to come.  As I mentioned on the Studio blog, times have been hard, my health has been terrible and finances worse still.  I've fought to hang on to my home, and so far I've managed but the tough times aren't quite behind me.  As ever though, my faithful dog has walked the path with me and recently, someone else joined us, to hold my hand and keep me company.  The future is looking more positive at last :D

I've spent my days working on my art and researching ways to get back into work.  For someone in my position, it's not been easy.  Reacquainting myself with permaculture again, I came across the saying 'the problem is often the solution' .  It's been going around in my head over and over and then suddenly I realised how I could apply it to some of my problems.  I need money to pay for my house, but my house is full of clutter and clothes that I can't bear to part with.  The solution is to make my house pay for itself (sort of) I'll turn the clutter into new objects that can be sold to ease the burdens.  Sounds so simple doesn't it?  I've a feeling it will be much harder in the long run, but could be fun to have a go!  I'm starting with my enormous stash of clothes, many were impulse buys that were never worn, some still have their labels!!! 

Pop back soon and hopefully there will be interesting progress pictures to share.x