Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. Thomas Merton

Monday, December 31, 2012


from Huntsville Botanical Gardens Galaxy of Lights drive-thru light display

 Hoping 2013 is a great year for everyone.

Here's a little fireworks display to celebrate (yep, it was from July 4th).

Sunday, December 30, 2012


My daughter saw this knit hat while we were kayak shopping at Bass Pro Shop in Nashville after Thanksgiving. We considered buying it, then decided it would be better if I knit her one.

I didn't have any of my handspun yarns in the colors she wanted, so we went to a local yarn shop where she chose yarns she liked.  We also decided to knit the entire thing in regular stockinette stitch. This is how it turned out.  She likes it. I'm happy.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Mischief

Me: Pants, where did this tissue paper come from?

Pants: The rabbit did it.

Yogi: What tissue paper?

Lunar and Planetary Conjunction December 25, 2012

Wow! What an astronomical event. All the planets of our solar system and our moon in close proximity. And the world didn't even end. Here's a photo I made of the astronomical phenomenon. Be sure to click on the photo to see it in its entirety.

Our daughter gave her dad the solar system for Christmas. Here it is right here in her dad's lap.

In the small container on the right are Earth, Moon (no frosting), and Mercury. In the larger container are  Jupiter, Venus, Uranus (top row) and Mars, Saturn, Pluto, and Neptune (bottom row). Her dad ate Pluto first because he said it wasn't even a planet, anyway.

She made the planets  from yummy white chocolate and macadamia nut cookie dough and hand mixed the frosting colors to decorate them. We have tried to be good and not eat them all at one time, but only Neptune is left.

Nota bene:  I guess the world did end...somebody ate Earth!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Peace on Earth

(photos 1 and 2 in the public domain, photo 3 courtesy Greg Skibinski)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

More of Same

Here's more fluffy stuff waiting to be carded.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pretty Stuff

trying this phone app again)

Here are a few batts of wool from all the washing, gnat picking, carding, dyeing, and carding I've been doing for the fiber guild meeting on Saturday. Kool-aid and food coloring were used to dye the giber. It will be interesting to see what colors the other ladies bring.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Blessing

I'm sitting out here in back carding wool. Not exactly my favorite thing to do, especially this time of year when some folks in the fiber guild thought it would be a good idea to have the November program be washing fleeces in preparation for December's wool felting program. Washing a whole sheep fleece is great do in the hot summertime or when there is no rush about finishing and you haven't anything else to do. Winter months and the holidays do not lend themselves well to this sort of activity.  I have Christmas knitting to finish, too. I've probably washed 35-40 fleeces since I first learned to spin at the living history museum. I've had to demonstrate this delightful activity during all seasons and in all sorts of weather. I certainly have my preferences for when to process whole sheep fleeces.

 Someone in the guild was given eight or nine fleeces by a farmer who raises meat sheep and just throws the fleeces away after the spring shearing. Free fleece. Sometimes that can be a real deal. Sometimes it can be a real ordeal. These fleeces are in pretty good shape. Not too dirty. Not a huge amount of trash in the fiber. The idea was to wash as many as possible at the November meeting, then have the participants take home the washed fleeces to finish processing, including carding and dyeing, for use in the December meeting where we will make felted balls and other silly things. There were only about six of us at the meeting. The weather was mild, but we only got five fleeces washed. The washing was done outside with cold water in a baby swimming pool. Cold water is not the greatest thing even in summer if you want to remove lanolin, grease, and other ick from wool. For the most part, the fleeces would have to be washed again at home in hot water in order to remove enough greasy stuff for the dye to take. Not so bad if you do a little at a time and have nice, hot, sunny days for drying the wool. Sunny days we've mostly had. Temperatures have been mostly in the 60's and 70's, but it hasn't been hot enough for the water to evaporate quickly. And we have had some rainy days. I have done little else than mess with wet wool since November 17. I have tried all the tricks to speed things up, but nothing has helped to any great degree. I have to laugh when I read the newsletter because the editor thanked "Melissa Lehman for her expertise." I was wondering how the ladies who have little or no experience at processing fleeces were managing when I got a couple of WOOL 911 calls. I just hope I've been of help to the distraught callers, 'cause Baby, if it ain't working for me, it ain't working for nobody.

I have not been having fun. This particular fleece has tiny little gnats trapped in the fiber. At first look before washing, I thought they were grass seeds that would come out fairly easily. I shook out as much of the debris as I could before washing. After the stuff dried and I began picking out debris and carding the wool I discovered the little rascals. Their little legs are really hanging up in the fiber and they won't just shake out. I'm having to pick out every single little gnat. This is really slowing me down. Did I say I am not having fun?

Back to the topic of the title. I'm out here picking out gnats and grass and trash from this wool and carding it so that I can dye it and have colored wet wool everywhere instead of just plain ol' white wet wool. I'm not overly concerned that the dyed stuff doesn't get dry before the meeting next week. After all, we have to wet it in order to felt it. Progress is extremely slow. Ho hum. Pick and card on. And on. Suddenly I realize that the trees in back are filled with the sound of high pitched whistles, trills, and "tseeees." I look up and see small birds flitting around everywhere in the berry-laden cherry laurel trees that line a good portion of the back fence row. As I look closer, what I see takes my breath away. A huge flock of beautiful cedar waxwings are feasting on the berries. What a sight. I stopped carding and messing with wool and have just been sitting here enjoying this wonderful, sorely needed blessing. Sometimes when things don't seem all that great something happens to really lift the spirits.

Cedar waxwings in my backyard. I am blessed.

click on the link for cedar waxwing info and photos

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Still Here

 (a photo from an early post; sort of sums up things for me right now)

 Just an update to let all my blog friends know that we are still around. There's just a lot of stuff going on and I'm having time management issues. I've also been more than a little bummed out over the demise of our sweet, old PetCat.  I was previously doing some posts through the Blogger iPhone app, but after they updated it, everything went down the tubes. I downloaded the update and then couldn't even get the app to open. After reading the reviews of the new update, I find that I am not the only dissatisfied user. I put in my two cents and then deleted the app. I'm behind in reading blogs and want to apologize to everyone for the lack of comments.  Gosh, but I miss a lot when I can't keep up! Hoping to catch up soon. In the meantime, all of us at the Huntsville Bunstead wish everyone out there a Merry Christmas and very Happy Holidays.