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Perhaps inspired by some of the jewelry and metal work we saw at the San Antonio Museum of Art this past weekend Including:

"Large Tibetan Collar" by Barbara Natoli Witt, part of a current exhibit of her work inspired by ancient cultures

Photo13_1 Her pieces made me see macrame in a whole new light! All her pieces were gorgeous, exquisitely crafted and as different from each other as the cultures that inspired them. 

You can link to a description of the exhibit and more images of her art below. 

http://www.samuseum.org/exhibitions/detail.php?uid=13

Of course the man in our crew was more attracted to the weapons:

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These are diamond encrusted. Yep, all that white glittery stuff…  talk about your bling!

Frida was particularly taken by an ancient Mediterranean necklace of tiny effervescent blown glass amphorae, which unfortunately, did not photograph well.

So… I don’t know if all this had anything to with anything, but I couldn’t help but notice that at long last, we have a new line-up of stones on the workbench.  Rhodocrosite_016

Among others in the lineup: opals, onix, rhodocrosite, turquoise, and bloodstone.   Stay tuned…

Ice_097  When I first started this blog I asked my sister if she could draw me a knitting mermaid.  It took her a while to find the time and make one that "looked right" (in her opinion). 

I’d been hoarding it because I wanted to post it with more fan-fare and find the perfect spot on the side bar to display it.  But I’m still undecided and it so longs to be shared (suggestions as to where would a good permanent home for it would be welcome).

Two wonderful knitting books arrive in the mail today:

157990953101_scthumbzzz_v56245656_aa90__1 Andean Folk Knits: Great Designs from Peru, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador & Bolivia by Marcia Lewandowski

and

096682897601_scthumbzzz_v41206028_aa90_ Arctic Lace: Knitting Projects and Stories Inspired by Alaska’s Native Knitters by Donna Druchunas

I love both these books because unlike many knitting books today, they not only have stylish ethnic patterns but also substantive information to share about the cultures they document.   

This is an especially good thing, because perhaps the reading can distract me from daydreaming about starting more projects until I’ve cleared some of my WIPs off the needles.

afghans for Afghans newest call for hand knit donations for the people of Afghanistan reminded me of one of my daughter’s favorite children’s books: "Caps for Sale" by Esphyr Slobodkina. 

The hats are going to be distributed in Afghanistan by the Afghan Mini Circus, a really neat non-profit training Afghani children in the art of performance to teach others about all sorts of things (from avoiding local land mines to sharing Afghani culture internationally) through their performances.  Here’s a nice story on the project from NPR.

http://www.npr. org/templates/ story/story. php?storyId= 6930533

Of course, I immediately wanted to knit a whimsical hat in each of the colors requested and stack them all on my head at once like the peddler man in Esphyr’s story. 

Capsforsale

I knit this hat while doing other things around the house yesterday, like trying to catch up with my email and watching movies in the dark, so it not as creative as it was in my minds eye and will probably be the only hat I end up knitting for this project.   It is a lovely vibrant red though, and very warm soft wool too.

After the all that ice and threats that temperatures would sink to freezing again over the weekend, Sunday was beautiful.  The sun shone.  Outside, there was no snow or ice or even a puddle.  Just some miserable plants, doing their best to be perky in the sunlight. 

Frida decided she wanted to wear this.  It wasn’t that warm (@70F), but it sure looked like it could be. 

This was an experiment born out of a desire to do something with one skein of ribbon yarn, (just to see what it was like).  I’m surprised it still fits (sort of).  I noticed that this exact yarn, Lion Brand “incredible” or something like that, is being discontinued and is currently on sale.  It maybe time to knit her a “rainbow shirt” that is a little larger and with a bit more coverage.

Ice_102

You would think I hadn’t spent four years in college in the Northeast, spent the Christmas before last in Washington D.C.  You’d think I’d never had to defrost an old freezer, because I am fascinated with the masses of ice outside.  Not just the novelty of it, the unexpectedness. (Frida this morning: "Mom, we don’t have to go to Russia after all! You said it wouldn’t snow here, but it is snowing! It is!"). 

I’m fascinated with the way the ice takes shape, the massive build-up of tiny droplets frozen en route to… or is this where they were hoping to stop all along?   Some look menacing, like the icy talons hanging from the trees.  They create mazes of icy brambles.  My laundry line looks like a tiny light-rail tunnel, my Christmas light bulbs have grown five times their size.  It looks like someone came and squirted thin lines of icing along the tops of our fence.  The once wafer-like lantana leaves are now delectable strawberry shaped ice cubes, brilliantly green defying the wintry landscape around them.  Inviting thoughts of summer drinks.

Ice_105Ice_096_1 Ice_101

Oh my! It has been a while and I have lots of catching up to do.  We went home to Mexico for X-mas and well… time flies.  (More on the outcome of winter gifts later).  For now I’m going to share some of our new year crafts.  The ones that sprung forth out of that new years spirit to clean out last year’s clutter and put the right foot forward for the new year.  For us this year, they include:

a shelf for Frida’s room made by her very own Papa mouse:Ice_008_2

She wasted no time in personalizing it.  After months of longly watching those TV do-it-yourselfers merrily paint, draw and stamp on all those surfaces we are taught never to mess with, she gleefully jumped at the chance to make her mark on a piece of furniture that is truly her own.  Ice_0092

 

The little bumps on either side of these guys are wings by the way.

For my part I made some pillow cases for the cushions for the bench by the door.  I had envisioned ethnic prints on all our cushions, but J loves luxurious looking cushions and I have to admit they are growing on me(…and I think I’ll still get to do ethnic on the sofa) Pillows

J also felt inspired to try his hand at painting this week.  He painted this small photograph-inspired-landscape over the weekend in acrylic on canvas.  Ice_007_1

And …not to leave out knitting: The winter’s edition of black purl is up.  Featuring an article and pattern by yours truly: http://www.black-purl-magazine.com/WIN07-ARTsisterhood.htm