The world has grown full of peril.

“Do not let the great emptiness of Khazad-dûm fill your heart, Gimli, son of Glóin. For the world has grown full of peril. And in all lands, love is now mingled with grief.”
J.R.R. Tolkien

This quote has been reverberating around my head for a couple of days now. TFoTR has always been one of the moral compasses I use in the world. There’s so much in there about hope and doing the right thing, even when you are facing incredible odds. About being small and flawed and standing up anyway.

When I saw my psychiatrist yesterday, I told him my heart was heavy and I’m struggling with my depression and anxiety, and he said to me, “The world is fucked up. That’s a medical term, by the way. That’s official.”

The world is fucked up. I have The-World-Is-Fucked-Up-Itis.

I cried myself to sleep last night and this morning I cried through my coffee.

The world is fucked up.

Our President is authorizing horrible, inhuman, immoral, unethical things to be done. To children and families.

I share DNA with people who have been long buried in mass graves in Belarus; men, women and children who rode in rail cars and who wound up as ash on the wind at Auschwitz. Their fear and that horror is something that all of us who share that DNA carry, in some part, I think.

We have seen this before. We know how this ends.

The cries of those children in that recording from NPR, they are echoing in my head. The laughter of the ICE agents.

We have heard this laughter before. We have heard those cries before.

My husband said, as he rubbed my back and offered comfort last night, that sometimes prayer makes him feel better in times like these. I told him I didn’t know if God even existed, for how could God let horrors like these happen? To innocent children. How could God be so cruel to watch this happen and do nothing? How could God let evil like this happen? I told him I thought God was dead**. I went to sleep devoid of hope and sure of God’s demise.

Still full of tears.

I woke up this morning, cried into my coffee, because I am still so full of tears, but I also felt better. I felt hopeful because when I woke up I realized that maybe I chose to be here now. That maybe I was born into this time and place for a reason. No, I don’t believe in the God of the Old or New Testament. I don’t believe that there’s an old white dude in the sky who will make this stop. But I do believe that there is something in each of us, a little piece of the Divine Spark that we each carry inside. And maybe it’s up to us to do something. Maybe WE are the hands of the Divine, on earth. And maybe that’s why we are here now. To fight this, with everything we have.

Or you know, we could just ignore it and focus on our own pleasures and America first, until it rolls over the world like a wave. Because if we don’t fight, it will.

“…the fires of Isengard will spread and the woods of Tuckborough and Buckland will burn. And—and all that was once green and good in this world will be gone….”

Maybe right now we need to be like Sam and Frodo and walk to fucking Mordor if that’s what it takes, because the Darkness must be beaten back and it doesn’t matter if we’re small and alone. We’re all we’ve got.

We’re all those kids have got right now. All those parents have got.

I am still full of tears. But I am also filled with certainty that right now, in this time and place, there is a war being waged and it is time to choose sides.

I choose Light.

I choose Love.

And I will do the best I can, with what has been given to me.

It’s a small realization, but it’s making me feel better and giving me a little light to find my way in the darkness today.

Frodo: “I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.”
Gandalf: “So do all who live to see such times but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

 

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**not an invitation for my many atheist pals to chime in here, ok? Thanks. I believe, you don’t, and that’s ok.

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That Time Of Year Again

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It’s time for #artvsartist again, which is always fun. I like seeing the mosaics people make of their work and of course, seeing them in the center of it all. It’s nice to put a face on the things I see in my Insta feed every day.

The Southern CA Renaissance Faire is in full swing, we opened last weekend to great crowds and fun was had by all. I’m working at The OrtFaerie again this year with my friend Joyce Nunamaker-McCall (the artist, creator, and owner of the OrtFaerie) and her husband Fred. We’re in a new location down by the opening of Faire this year, just before Guest Artist Row, right across the street from Ableman’s Glass and forge. Fred’s Flute Garden is  looking lush and full, and we’ve got a lot of new flutes on offer this year, including some double flutes with drones and a bass flute that has the loveliest, deepest tones. David Springhorn is also at his usual spot in our booth, once again doing his bit as The Green Wizard and selling wonderful magic wands, telling oracles and selling sacks of magic beans to children (no promises about whether or not they will turn into beanstalks).  If you come by Faire you should stop in and see us! We run through the weekend of May 20th.

I’ve got a fresh batch of light catchers and some Faerie Pod earrings ready to go out in the jewelry case at our booth this weekend. I love making these little hand dyed silkworm cocoon earrings. They combine some of my favorite things and are the epitome of “reuse, recycle, repurpose” – they include scraps of vintage kimono or sari silk, leftover gems and pearls from other projects, some bronze wire off of a spool that I’ve been trying to use up for the last 4 years, and of course, the ultimate recycled object, a cocoon that the worm isn’t using any longer.

For more recycled goodness, come see us at the OrtFaerie and find out what your favorite urban and woodland scavengers have been up to.

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Waiting… waiting…

It’s World Doula Week and I’m sitting here just quietly waiting to be called to assist a beautiful little family as they welcome their baby earthside. The waiting aspect of birth work has been one of the hardest for me to adjust to. You spend a lot of time trying to have a normal life while knowing that you could be called at any minute. For me that translates to a lot of lost or less-than-stellar sleep and constant, low level, anxiety.

So making stuff with your hands is really good for that, right? Fortunately, I do one or two crafty things.


For one, I have made great strides in getting to the bottom of my huge pile o’ mending. The #mendmarch challenge on Instagram has been amazing for that, thanks to @visiblemending for hosting it. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself and learned some things, met some new people. This is maybe my favorite aspect of Insta and social media in general. It reminds me a lot of the early 2000’s knitting and crafting blog community – something Facebook has never quite managed to replicate for me.  Captain Sexypants is enjoying wearing his visibly mended shorts and pants to work. Thank god. Because I don’t know how to actually INvisibly mend them.

 

PILES of new stock for the upcoming run of Faire. I’ll be working with my friend Joyce at her booth, the OrtFaerie, and you will be able to find some of my stitched and wired and other work there along with hers. We open April 7th. If you’re hitting up the Southern CA Renaissance Faire this year, stop by and say hello. We’re kitty corner to Ableman Glass as you come in the gate. You can’t miss us, just listen for the flutes and look for the rainbows.

I’m still not quite 100% after my surgery, but well enough to do a birth and get to Faire and I’m feeling pretty happy about that. It has been a long, slow road.

Lastly, I’m really excited about these fabric bundles I purchased (on my own this time, no help from post surgical drugs) from Morrissey Fabrics down in Long Beach (I actually got them on Etsy, but they’re local to me so one of these days I’m going to head down in person for shopping). Not sure what I’ll make with them, but aren’t they gorgeous?

 

And that’s it you guys. The little round cat and I are going to sit here waiting, waiting, waiting for the call… I don’t think she minds…

Have an excellent day. Make all the things. And be excellent to each other.

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Still here. Still recovering. Time has slowed.

We’re on recovery week #3, which feels a lot more like year #3. Things are definitely better. But jeeeeeeez, I’m ready to be 100% again!

 

The wool felt pennies/thread mandalas from last time became some nifty door hangers. I like them with the handmade glass beads and bells –  the beads on the one on the right came from Julie Miller Glass on Etsy. I can’t remember where the little house came from. These are currently gracing the doors at Casa Kleindolph but I’ve got a couple more strings in the works which might or might not end up in the shop.

I finally (after a full year of longingly staring at her listings) bought a sampler from Rebecca Ringquist over at Dropcloth on Etsy.  I did NOT purchase this in an anesthesia and Norco fueled haze, but rather, with deliberation and intent. Believe it or not, that felt kind of powerful, giving myself permission to explore stitching and embroidery (something just for pleasure and myself) on purpose and not by accident.

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This sample comes with an accompanying tutorial over on CreativeBug – she unveils a stitch a day for 31 days.  We’re on day 7. I… might’ve gone ahead with some of the stitches I already know. I think when this sampler is done it’ll get made into a pillow for the workshop couch. I’ve got another one of hers on the way which is a simple color wheel done in various stitches, and which will probably grace the flip side.

And last but not least, teaching myself sashiko with this hitomezashi (one stitch) cloth that I purchased from the nice folks at A Threaded Needle. This one is going more slowly but I try to do at least one or two rows of stitches every day.  I’m not rushing it. It’s a good “pick up when you have a spare minute but don’t want to unpack all the supplies” project. I’m making a LOT of mistakes on this one, but I’m also learning a lot about working with the sashiko needles and doing the multiple running stitches stacked up on the needle at a go which is very different from the  “up and down one stitch at a time” way I learned to do a running stitch in embroidery.  This will probably also get turned into a pillow when it gets done. I had vague thoughts of giving it to my dad to use it as a bread cloth (he bakes the best bread) but the back is a hot mess and it really needs to be sewn on to something.

Once this one is done, I’ve got a boro kit I purchased from them and I’m very excited to give that a go.  All in good time. Slowing down, right?

Also? Balls.

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So despite the boredom of recovery, I’m super grateful to have had the opportunity to play around with thread. I wouldn’t have allowed myself the time to do it if it weren’t for being off my feet. I’m enjoying the deliberation of stitching and the invitation to play. I’ve been looking hard at how difficult it is to slow down, be, and breathe. To shut off, as it were. There’s always something going on, always something turned on, always something. We fill every second up to the brim with input and signal.

I haven’t quite gotten to “just be” yet, but the slowing is getting me closer.

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Bored now.

Ugh. I do not do “recovery” well, apparently. I’m bored. And tired. And bored. And too damn tired to do much.

I made a thing today – a little needle book with some wool felt, thread and beads.  It’s a totally lopsided, wonky, not quite right thing that I winged my way through without directions, but I absolutely LOVE it. Those dichroic glass buttons came from a knitting swap about a decade ago, I’ve had them in my button box forever, and finally found something to use them in. I don’t remember who gave them to me, but, whoever you are, thank you! They were the perfect thing!

 

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So in this whole “recovery” thing, I’m just going to give myself 2 weeks off to not worry about making stuff for the shop, to just sink into recovery and getting better. I’m going to rest and stitch things that are delightful to me. I feel a little guilty about it. But I think maybe it’ll be good for me. 2 weeks of no conflict creative exploration.

Also? I’d freaking KILL for a stack of Roscoe’s waffles with some creamery butter and fried chicken. Or a big bowl of Pad Thai. A plate of nachos wouldn’t go amiss either. Or a Chipotle burrito with extra queso.

Sadly these things are not on my new lower-in-animal-fat, post-wake-up-call, plant based, healthier for me, plan for eating.  At least not for a few months, anyway.

 

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No matter where you go

there you are.

I’ve been wondering what the hell to do with this blog – since I so rarely come back to update these days, I feel guilty and obligated, but then I wonder if anyone is actually reading anymore. It comes and goes in cycles, I guess. I like the idea of no-obligation blogging.

I’ve been up to quite a bit in the studio over the past few months as Maia Rainwood Design seems to be taking a bit of a sideways slide into stuff for houses, not just people. I’ve been preparing quite a few light catchers and garden ornaments to help my friend with inventory at her booth at the Southern California Renaissance Faire.

They’re pretty damn spectacular if I do say so myself – a mix of prisms, vintage and new chandelier parts, crystal points, repurposed beads (vintage and new) and odds and ends from various flea markets. I’ve been having a blast making them, they’re pure play and so beautiful in the light. It’s hard not to fill my own windows. I mean, if I were being 100% honest I’d totally fess up to the fact that, I might have actually filled my own windows with light catchers that are NOT being sold.

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So now, in the morning and at certain points through the day, the kitchen is filled with rainbows and it’s pretty damn marvelous if I do say so myself.

Some of the light catchers are more than a bit over the top.

 

Hopefully someone will want to take the big ones home. Pictures don’t really do them enough justice. I might figure out a way to hang them from a light fixture, can you imagine having one of these beauties hung ’round a light in your bedroom?

Once I’m done sorting things out with the State of California and get my Etsy shop back up and running, I’ll have a bunch of these listed for sale. Till then, you can find them on my work Instagram.

Pretty, pretty, pretty.

The other thing I’ve been playing around with lately is needlework, specifically embroidery, wool appliqué, and penny rugs.

 

I honestly have no worldly idea what the hell I’m going to do with any of these. Make things I supposed. They’re really fun. SO fun. Embroidery is lovely and wool appliqué is a lot of fun. Looks like folks will be getting something other than knitwear for Christmas this year.

OH here’s a funny story…

I just had my gallbladder out on Thursday and in the Norco-hazed 3 days between surgery and today, I apparently went and bought some needlepoint, quilting and sachiko embroidery supplies. I have no recollection of this, it’s just that my Pinterest pins have multiplied, I have a lot of emails from Etsy vendors saying, “thanks for the sale”, my bank account is suddenly empty, there’s a hold on my debit card, and packages full of thread and vintage reclaimed fabrics have begun arriving at the house via USPS. I have no recollection of buying ANY of it. But it’s all really great and I totally don’t want to return it now!

Still, in an effort to get some of the money BACK it looks like I’ll be adding some textile arts to the home decor in the shop at some point.

Apparently I also planned an appliqué quilt for the grandbaby because there’s all this Kaffe Fasset fabric in hot pink…

The problem is, I don’t, actually, quilt.

Anyway.

Post-surgery problems.

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Second Wedding, Been and Gone

Well, so first off, last week, we had Second Wedding, LA style. When we got married in Kansas last year with all of D’s family, our own kids and my family got left out of the festivities so we decided to gather our friends and do it up right one more time, LA style.

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There were vegan mini donuts, there were mimosas, there was fancy coffee, there was breakfast and best of all, there was some dancing with my favorite people in the whole universe. We had a blast. It was the best time ever and such an amazing group of folks to have in the room. We had all 3 of our kids (and the grand baby) together for the weekend. And my folks, and my aunt and uncle and several cousins, and did I mention so many friends we had not seen in ages?

And now we’re on a budget because we’re going to be paying it off for a while!

Before all the kids went home and the hammer came down on the credit card, we did sneak one final indulgence in… thanks to a friend who shared some free tickets with us, I got to enjoy the grand baby and my daughter for a whole day at Disneyland.  I’m pretty sure that this was HER very best day ever…

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