Free Stuff

Wednesday night was the Kansas City Fiber Guild's Swap and Shop. I promised myself that I wouldn't come home with a spinning wheel because the last time that I went to a Swap and Shop I came home with two. Success! No wheel, just a bunch of supplies for sculpture.


I'm a little shameless because I let people know that I want free stuff. The added bonus is that I also like weird stuff, like the neon colored three doll heads. You never know where the good stuff will come from.


It's a great time talking to other people that are passionate about making things.


The beginning of the MUNS Murals second coat. I finally fixed the light grey on the bunkers. It's been bugging me for months. We never got a layer of primer down before we started painting so all of the paints streaked really bad if you weren't careful. 

Cool Stuff: I'm going to have a table at the Warrensburg art walk on tonight. Come out to see the collages that I'm selling!



This weekend was jam packed with adventures! On Saturday we went into the city to see this adorable creatures at MOPACA. Finding parking was ridiculous because there was also a cheer competition going on. But finally we found our entrance and made our way into the world of the alpaca.


There are two breeds of alpaca - Suri (dreads) and Huacaya (bouffant). Fiber from the Suri is slippery and silky and clings to everything. All alpaca fiber is deliciously soft but doesn't have as much crimp as wool (bends in the hairs) which makes it a little difficult to spin and requires a bunch of twist. But what a joy it is to run your hands through.


Alpacas are judged on form, softness of wool, color and uniformity of wool throughout the body. Just like humans, not all hair from all parts of an alpaca's body are the same. The best hair of camels and bison are found on their shoulders. I learn the most wonderful things at these types of events.


You can eat alpaca and they are tasty. We talked to a lady that sold her alpaca sausage and jerky. Most of the boys that she doesn't like become food. You only really need a few studs. I love the zero waste of it all. I never did ask if you could milk them.


The whole reason that we were at MOPACA was so that I demo spinning with some of the other guild members. I got to talk to passers by and give them my five minute, you can do it too pep talk. Spinning is much more fun than playing on your phone in public and it helps you meet your other fiber peeps quicker.

We also got to have a look at the Plug Project, a gallery down in the stockyard district. I really liked both of the shows that were up. Ian and I had a good conversation about rituals and looking at objects and trying to guess what they were used for. They have a small gallery devoted to solo shows of KC artists. I so badly want to have a solo show there. It'll be the next application I write.

Farm Report: Ian built me a planter box. I planted my seedlings and that night a good down pour came and snapped most of them. Should have read the weather report. So maybe now I'll have to plant more of the other seedlings. Good thing I left some in reserve! Discovered that bok choy should not be planted with tomatoes because it belongs to the cabbage family. On the look out for another container.


Reading: When Breathe Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi - So good. Life, the brain and death.

Listening to: The starlings that have nested in our dryer vent....should I call housing? Wait for their babies to hatch? I don't particularly love starlings but I really hated seeing baby bird bodies on the sidewalks in NE. They poison the starlings because they are an invasive species.

Eating: Snuck away to Orange Leaf with Bea while her father was at work. Shhhhh. Don't tell.

Dining In

In the military there is a tradition of members "dining in" with their leadership. Basically, everybody has a big dinner and drinking party that is active duty members only while at work. A few years ago some spouses on this base decided to have a spouses dining in where we all dressed up, ate dinner and drank with each other. It has turned into this spectacular themed event with awards for best costume, best table decoration, best skit, and best limerick. If you don't follow the prescribed "rules" of the event (ex., no clapping, only banging on the table with your spoon) then you are sent to the grog, where you take a shot of this crazy tasting jungle juice while preforming specific movements and saying things. This is the closest I will ever come to being in a sorority and it's pretty fantastic.

The theme this year was Broadway plays inspired by movies. My squadron, 509 Munitions, chose Beauty and the Beast. My fearless hubby designed and we painted this huge castle structure that our table would sit under. We had an abstract is scene of the castle, village, mountains and forests up on top of the castle structures. I got to whip out my set painting skills. It was a daunting endeavor and pretty much every weekend in February was spent practicing for the skit or working on the set. This year they offered 1st, 2nd and 3rd in table and skit and we won third place for our skit. There was much twerking and craziness.

What a night. It was so much work but so much fun in the end. We'll see what craziness we create next year.

My Pysanky classes are going at the Warrensburg community center. I had three students on Sunday after the Dining in. I had lost my voice from shouting over all the music making teaching interesting. We had a great class and a reporter showed up from the local newspaper so they a picture of me kissing my Donald Trump egg. Every year I have a theme for the Pysanky eggs I make during the season and my husband suggested Politics of 2016 for my theme. My first egg would have to be a caricature of The Donald. I hadn't expected him to be quite so orange. Here is a link to the newspaper article as well as a picture of me kissing my egg.

The Donald

So if you haven't signed up for my Pysanky class there's still time. I have classes on March 12th 9-12pm, March 20th 1-4pm, and March 26th 9-12pm.

In other news, The Greater Kansas City Fiber Guild meeting was last night with a wonderful program by a woman that took a class in weaving brocade and damask. A majority of the lingo was over my head but it made me want to learn more about weaving. I've volunteered to be a demonstrator at the MOPACA fiber show April 1st through 3rd at the American Royal Hale arena in Kansas City. So if you want to learn more about fiber and meet some fuzzy alpacas come on down on Saturday morning and spin with me a while.

The Farm Report: Seedlings are getting taller! I've begun putting them outside on nice days. Here's to strong healthy plants!

Reading: I've gotten back into manga a bit with ST. <3 Dragon Girl by Natsumi Matsumoto. So light and fluffy.

Listening to: Very loud party music.

Cooking: We've been watching the Great British Baking Show and learning how boring American deserts are. I'm inspired to make meat filled pies and pasties now.


We are half way through our sojourn to Wyoming and I've made an excursion to my friendly local thread store, Ewe Count, in Cheyenne. I love love love Penny and her collections of all things stitching and knitting. I concentrated on bright saturated colors and even decided to try out what Penny calls Barbie panty hose. Quite tropical actually. I also got to snoop around the newest yarn store in Cheyenne, Meadowlark Yarns. Where I got a much needed drop spindle. I'm really digging their yarn collection (roving!) and clean chic atmosphere.  

The haul&nbsp;

The haul 

Finished my Sashiko project for Kei. A little polish and it'll be in the mail soon!  

Japanese Horned Beetle

Japanese Horned Beetle

Moving forward on my koginzashi table runner. I'm giving a program at the Greater Kansas Fiber Guild in May so I should have one finished piece right? 


Reading: Sock Knitting Master Class by Ann Bud. A Chrismas present from my SIL, another knitting enthusiast.  

Listening to: The grinding of a small motor in my daughters Loopin Chewie game. Her new favorite past time. 

Eating: Lumpia from the Philipino restaurant on F. E. Warren. So delicious! 

Happy New Years!  

Holiday Parties

So many holiday parties. Good thing I baked Christmas cookies this year. Last night was the Greater Kansas City Fiber Guilds party. We all brought a fiber related gift and played a silly game where we passed the our gift on "and" or "the"  in "'Twas the Night Before Christmas". Much giggling and anticipation.

I received some glorious hand dyed roving from Cathlin McReynolds. She grows her own indigo and uses it for dying. I asked so many questions because indigo is my next big ambition. I'm gonna learn to grow indigo this year and start down the rabbit hole that is natural dying. All the other fiber artists are doing it.

Find her other work at her Etsy shop

Find her other work at her Etsy shop

There were a couple of ladies with large holiday decorated witches hats. They were so sparkly and loaded with little trinkets and plants that I fell in love. Bea even got to try one on. They took Glenda the good witch hats and just started adding anything seasonal. They are my next inspiration for sculpture and I just so happen to have some armatures in the garage.

More work has been made on the Ammo mural. I'm collaborating with my husband on this one because he knows all the technical stuff and I just want to make things pretty. We wanted to stay away from all the nuclear explosions and B2s in order to showcase the actual equipment that the guys work with. Thank goodness it's not everyday that you set off a live nuclear weapon.

After Ian talked with Major Drossner and showed him a few of my concept sketches he found out that 509 MUNS is one of the few squadrons in the US military that can use the mushroom cloud on their insignia. So mushroom clouds and B2s it will be.

A very rough concept sketch. More mushroom clouds, trailers and RLAs

A very rough concept sketch. More mushroom clouds, trailers and RLAs

More work is being done on my small sashiko origami piece. Part of me wonders if I'm trying too hard to make the threads be straight and uniform and perfect. I keep frustrating myself with how crooked and hand done it looks. Is it my skills or the materials?

Reading: A Wild Swan by Michael Cunningham. I really love the stories but I think the awesome illustrations by Yuko Shimizu make it even more epic. So much texture and movement. So entangled with emotion.

Listening to: Shredder churning as I shred the filed of deceased military members. So many suicides and motorcycle accidents.

Cooking: Roasted sweet veggie awesomeness: Carrots, Acorn Squash, Dates, Parsnip, Cranberries, Onion, Garlic, Rosemary, It almost makes this beautifully pink mash.


Today is really icky....I've spent all my time in front of the computer doing "Business". Imagine the voice of the eagle from the Muppet Christmas Carol. Mostly I've been doing scheduling for January to April. The exciting bit is that I will be offering two new classes at the Warrensburg Community Center, Beginner's Knitting and Beginner's Sewing Machine as well as Pysanky egg dying.

Last night I went to the Kansas Cities Fiber Guild meeting. We got our Creative Hand Show and Sale postcards! This sale is supposed to be really cool and really highly attended. I'm not in it this year but I'm gonna scout it.

We also had a great lecture on color by Jason Pollen. He is a textile designer turned fiber artist. He teaches in the fiber department at the Kansas City Art Institute. What a fabulous life it seems like he's lived. He encouraged us to really look at the color all around us. I also learned more about cultural biases and endemic colors. Women in the US like purple, pink and teal. All my favorite colors! Now I have to challenge myself to work more with yellow and orange. Orange probably being my least favorite. But then orange can be persimmon or coral.

I'm a little overloaded on espresso right now so here are this weeks pics of Jewel. Ian and Bea were having fun with some ceramic doll parts I found at Salvation Army.

Reading: Cultural Threads: Transnational Textiles Today by Jessica Hemmings. It just came through ILL. I've only just cracked it. Much Promise.

Listening: The Ballad of Captain Dwight on Memory Palace and thinking about art and airplanes.

Cooking: Pasta salad with my own pesto, peas, avocado, and wilted spinach. The avocado adds this unexpected creaminess like adding a pieces of soft cheese. It was an amazing discovery for this lactose intolerant girl.