Wednesday, June 22, 2011

We grow food

Then we battle the squirrels, rabbits & gophers to see who actually eats the food.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Zulu Lounge

Zulu Lounge is a party that is put on by some friends of mine Khani & Zulu who own an amazing Tattoo shop in West Hollywood (my daughter Jillian is also apprenticing w/ Zulu-lucky kid). They arrange wonderful shows quarterly to raise funds for different charities. This time the show is EXTRA SPECIAL because it will feature Rachel Brice & the Fishtank Ensemble! Why am I posting this on my blog you may ask...because my troupe She'enedra is also dancing in the show! So we are in a show with Rachel Brice not a festival...tee heee! I'm kinda excited!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Alpaca fleeces

So here is a picture of the Alpaca fleece that was given to's so beautiful I wanted to show it to everyone!
This is the fleece that I'm keeping for myself, it's from an Alpaca named Ginger Spice!
Below you'll see the one I'm spinning for the lady who donated her fleeces to our guild. That alpaca was named Beauty. Appropriate name for her!
This is the fleece raw.
Here it has just been flicked with a dog brush and set in a box ready to be spun.
These are the singles so far. I'm enjoying making this yarn.

Needle for hire

So I make costumes for people, another thing I have always done. My mother used to make my costumes and made many of them for the Tikis when I danced there. It is an interesting thing to do because it takes more than just the ability to sew a garment, which is an enormous thing in and of itself, it requires the willingness to invent new ways of making things. Once Jillian wanted to be a Balinese princess and I was just exasperated...she had a postcard that my parents had sent her when they vacationed there. The girls on the postcard wore beautiful gold crowns and I had no idea how to make something like that until I ran across gold placemats at the craft store. I cut out a crown and sewed around the edges to make it look like filagree, drapped big gold beads and sewed on flowers as well...the effect was charming if I do say so myself. I'll have to see if I can find a photo somewhere.

Fast forward to now. People have these grand ideas in their heads and sometimes they want me to make them reality! Sometimes I'm the person with the grand ideas too. It's a challenge, and I try really hard to make them happy. So Michaella is a friend and former dance student of mine she had all these gathered trims & fabrics, & pictures from the internet of a special skirt she wanted to wear to dance a Zulu lounge this Friday. I've been working hard the last couple of days to make Michaella's dream come's how it looks.
This is being modeled on Jillian who is smaller in the hips than Michaella (they are both super tiny). So it fits a bit loose.
I hope this makes her happy!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Livin' & learnin' people who are famous and little ole' me!

I have to say that I LOVE my life! I don't mean to brag or anything I just kind of can't believe the exposure I've had to talent & fun recently and I MUST share! Unfortunately I was so excited much of the time I didn't take pictures so you will just have to try to believe this is true!

First- Workshop in Spinning Textured (formerly known as Art Yarns) Yarns with Jacey Boggs.

I had the honor of hosting Jacey at my home during this workshop. She is an awesome inspiring woman and she brought along her film crew of 2 Chris & Julie who were equally as awesome. The first day they were here I wanted to show them some of the area. We drove home along the coast because the ocean is worth the detour. We had a spectacular lunch at Real Food Daily in Santa Monica and then we went hiking up here near my house. This is one thing I am most sorry to have no picture of...we saw a rattle snake! Jacey took pictures and I hope to see them on her blog eventually, maybe. I have never seen a rattle snake on the trail before, it even rattled at us. When we were coming back around the trail loop to the end I was thinking to myself, well I've never seen a rattler before surely I won't see one again for a long time- I was hoping to see a deer instead- when low and behold there was a 2nd rattler. Crazy huh?

Then the workshop was great, I learned a lot of tricks that I had missed from the dvd. There is nothing like learning something in person. And let me tell you if you have a chance to take this class you must do it! Jacey is an excellent, patient and thoughtful teacher. Even if you think you know everything you will learn something new or at least have a ball.

I snagged a few workshop pictures from Ercil...I hope she forgives me. And I even am putting in a picture where I look terrible just to show you I was there!

The following weekend I went to Cairo Caravan on the Queen Mary and danced with my troupes She'enedra & Tandava also wicked fun! I will post a video of the dance this week. It is my choreography inspired by the book the Red Tent.
I was home for one day after Cairo Caravan and I jumped into my car and drove up to my friend Carolena Nerrichio's house (if you are a belly dancer you know who she is). And then we went on a pilgrimage to take a cotton spinning class with Stephanie Gastaud at her home in the mountains. Stephanie is also an amazing and patient teacher, I love the way she listens to people and then just says the right thing so you understand. Just unbelieveable! We of course got to meet her husband Alden Amos as well, they are so super cute! And Carolena kept calling their home & property fairy land, and it was. We were in total spinning heaven. Wheels & books & plants...lovely, I want to move there and be their neighbor. I hope they like me ; )
Once again I learned lots of great tips and improvements on my cotton spinning. Don't squish your cotton! wow all this time I've been compacting the stuff!
Back on my whirlwind to San Francisco, stayed the night at Carolena's...6-7 hours drive home ugh!
I did remember my camera...

Then I thought it was all over and I would just sit quietly and read and reflect and practice my spinning but I had one more little thing happen. My guild received the gift of several amazing alpaca fleeces and I got one for myself and one I am spinning up that will be made into a gift for the lady who donated these fleeces to us-she is very ill and we hope that the shawl will bring her some comfort. Anyway this is the cleanest fleece I have ever seen! Just flick and spin amazing!

I am grateful.

Friday, June 3, 2011

A great wheel

This is my new baby...she is very very large, 5 feet tall! And well over 100 years old.
They don't call it a great wheel because it's great but because of it's size. Sometimes you will also hear it called a Walking Wheel because you spin the wheel and walk away from the point to make yarn.
She needs a bit of repair, a loose spoke, the leather thongs that hold the spindle in place are broken.
For now I've used some rubber bands & paperclips to hold her together but I plan to do real restoration after I come home from Cairo Caravan this weekend.