Busy chickies over here

We are so busy over here, that I feel like I hardly have time to take a breath! Greg and I are getting ready to head off to the Bay area to pick our son up from his Outward Bound excursion, and man, are we excited to SEE OUR SON! He will have been gone for a whole month. We are so excited, nervous, and hopeful for his updated outlook on life... are we expecting too much??? We love him so much, and want the best for him. Nothing can be harder than seeing your beautiful child falter and fall in making his way through life. Sending him away to a wilderness program is hard, but it's a step that will hopefully help give him tools to realize he can achieve anything in life he puts his mind to, anything he wants. We have such high hopes and dreams for Drew. He is an amazing young man, and is destined for so much goodness. (Drew, you are the man!!!)

We have found renters for our North Park house, and are busy readying that lovely historic house for a new young family. They will take possession of the house the night before we leave to get Drew. It will be such a load off our minds to know we have done all we can to bring that house back to the brink of "perfect"; painted all the sashes, cleaned behind the washer, updated all the yard clocks, etc. Yes, it feels so good to get all that work done!

I am trying to find a moment to post pictures of the wonderful Needle Felting class I taught at Paper Tales on Sunday, the Russian Doll class. Just wait to see the fantastic photos of all the dolls. There's even a Frieda doll!!! You just won't believe how cute they came out. Stay tuned, I will post the photos before I leave on Friday, I promise!!!

And, speaking of the Russian Doll class, we have added another class. So, yea! You can still sign up to take this class!! The date is Saturday, April, 23 from 2:30-6:30. Call over to Paper Tales to sign up. Last time I checked, there are still 5 spots left. So, get goin' girl!!

Tattoos, etc.

I never thought it would happen to me, but it has. I am consumed by tattoos. The idea of the tattoo. The art of the tattoo. The inking, the drawing, the look.

Except not on me. On the Friendlys... I am obsessed.

OB: Land of Wild Parrots

We really enjoy exploring our new neighborhood in the historic Loma Portal area of Pt. Loma. We've always known this area has long been home to several flocks of wild parrots. Obviously pets that flew the coop! We see and hear them flying overhead in squawking groups of 5, 10, 20 or more. They are so "talkative" that you can hear them blocks before they come into view. They perch in the neighborhood trees, always choosing the tallest and bushiest trees. They call down to Lola and I as we walk by on our daily walks.

Last evening, we took our youngest son and a couple of his friends to dinner at our new favorite pizza spot in Ocean Beach. Pizza Port is as loud and busy as a flock of parrots, with families, college kids, young kids, and even grandparents ranging around, eating that yummy pizza, drinking Pizza Port's own beer brews and their homemade root beer. It's a fun filled place, and we like it very much.

Finding a parking spot was tricky, but finally we did. Upon getting out of the car, it sounded like we were in the middle of the rain forest! Parrots clamoring on like there's no tomorrow! Looking up there were only two parrots in the tree! OMG, it sounded like an army of them!

Pair of Parrots
Photo courtesy of San Diego Pictures

What a hoot! Except I'm not sure you'd be too happy about it if it was your house at say, around 6:15 am... I have heard complaints from people who have flocks of these parrots nesting in trees outside their homes. Now I can see why. They are as loud and boisterous as banshees. Talking to them does no good, they just get louder and more playful! What a happy bunch. I'm glad we got to meet the parrots up close and personal. I'm just glad they perch in OB, and don't take much stopover time passing through Loma Portal!

What wild thing have you had the pleasure of meeting lately? I hope they were as tame as the OB Parrots!

Custom Lovables Continue

I've been working on several custom needle felted dog portraits lately. Leo is a dog whose photo I immediately fell in love with. What a kind and caring face. Certainly a dog one would fall in love with at first meeting.

Needle felting Leo's portrait has been no easy task. Similarly hard to photograph a black dog, it's a daunting task to create a black dog's portrait in wool roving. Creating gradations of black has helped, along with the addition of brown. I felt I had to zero in to Leo's eyes to capture his spirit.

The other thing that is extremely helpful for me (making sure I am on the right track) is to take photos of the needle felting and double checking the nf photo against the actual photo. Since I've started this post, I have made 3 adjustments to the needle felted portrait and re-uploaded the new photo. (I'm sorry I didn't leave the 3 discarded photos on the blog so you can see my subtle adjustments-already discarded. Note to self for next time...)

I think I'm ready to proceed onto the next step now, turning the portrait into a pillow. This is a birthday gift for an unsuspecting friend of the purchaser. I think she will be pleased with her timeless portrait of her beloved friend. What a friend Leo is... indeed.

day dawns...

steel grey day blooms in
natures brightest palette. sun
peeks, chasing brilliance
off. colors hide in wait for
dawn's next muddy colored day...

Why Wool?

My total inspiration is wool.
I guess it starts with the wooly sheep I can never get enough of,

little grinny - fine cards (and farm fresh)
Photo courtesy of Yes and Amen, a favorite of mine!

progresses to the fantastic woolen yarn I so love knitting with,

Follow Jarret Flood's fantastic mill tour creating his wonderful Shelter yarn here

to the endless supply of discarded wooly sweaters that I felt,
and that dare me to cut them apart and make into new goods.

This wonderful swing vest was created as a show piece for the Talmadge Winter Show, and it sold. Heck, before I could wear it once, or even take a quick photo with me in it. Based on lessons I learned from knitting Liesl, it's a piece that fits any woman from XS to pretty Large. I must make more of these. As I know from past experiments, my second piece will be much easier. And I know next time to make a pattern, so I don't have to keep inventing the wheel each time I make something new over here... (sheesh, Val)

So, I am s l o w l y, s-l-o-w-l-y, slowly recovering after taking my oldest son up to Northern CA this week, and dropping him off for a month long Outward Bound Intercept course. We are hoping and praying that he comes home knowing more about the maturing boy inside his young man body. Hoping and praying he finds the way towards making more positive choices. Hoping and praying he finds his true heart and his strong character, and learns they are enough to help guide him in this life of his, so filled with promise. So filled with goodness, so filled with people who love and care for him more than words can ever say...

I hope you will say a prayer for him too, our sweet Drew.
xxoo, Val

How's The Creative Flow?

I think we all are creative beings, no matter whether we paint, craft, bead, computer program, design gardens, manage people, etc. I believe that if we are enjoying what we are doing, we are in a creative state of mind. Some of us don't feel creative at day jobs, and search to nourish our creative spirit "after hours". Hopefully, we all find the way to our best state of being, nourishing that creative state of mind, the zen spot where time, place, and even our own sense of self melts away. If we can manage this, life is oh - so - good!

Time, events, obligations, people in need, even our own self doubt are some things that get in the way of nourishing our creative being. It can be such a struggle to tell your creative side to wait, to hold on, to hold that thought.... while you are busy attending to the more insistent situations life throws our way. Kind of like sprinkling cold water over a boiling pot to keep it at a simmer, pushing and keeping those creative voices on the back burner can be so frustrating.

Nurturing ourselves during those frustrating times can help. Carrying a small notebook to jot down the important ideas, to sketch a simple truth, to quell an insistent thought. To just calm a busy mind. These are things that can, and do help. I am planning to nurture myself with several sketch books this upcoming week. It's going to be necessary, for it's going to be a week of compelling emotions.

How about you? How is your creative flow? What are some tools you use to nurture yourself during anxious days? How do you calm a busy mind and get back to the place of zen.... ?