Monday, January 31, 2011

The Human Spirit

It might be easy to find ourselves in despair about what is happening in the world.  Blizzards, oil spills, joblessness, foreclosures, riots, recession, the list goes on and on.

 These days beautiful stories of strength, courage, and ethical fortitude are few and far between.  

I somehow don't think that is because those things aren't happening, I think it may have something to do with the fact that those stories don't sell quite as well.

My brother Ian, (who is a political lobbyist, 8 years older than me, keeps an impeccably organized closet, and once licked my entire Best of The Police CD because he wanted it and I was unwilling to trade for Prince) sent  this to me.

He, like myself, seeks out these sorts of stories and images.

This photo is of Egyptians making a human chain around an army Republican Guard Tank in Cairo's Tahrir Square helping to protect Cairo's museum during anti-regime demonstrations. 


I think the human spirit is stronger than CNN, MSNBC, FOX  would have us believe.


Let us not despair, the human spirit is alive and strong.

Rather, let us find inspiration for our own lives, the struggles and the triumphs, in these stories and images of bravery and courage. 

Because the strength of our spirits and the strength of the spirits of our brothers and sisters in Egypt are one in the same.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Art of Felting

                                                 When I begin work, I sit down to this.

Washed and cleaned 100% wool batting.

And these. 
 These are felting needles, if I had gotten close to them with the camera you could have seen little barbs on them that tangle the wool together.

Oh and I mustn't forget these too.  Without the foam...I would stab myself over and over.  I still stab myself sometimes, since I gave up coffee...much less.

I must begin every piece this way, with all these materials,  no exceptions.  

It can be a tedious prospect at 8am.

Because I always want to jump ahead and start with these...

100% dyed wool roving...same stuff used to spin yarn.

But alas, I have learned the hard way (in life and felting) that if there is to be any thing of lasting substance...there are no shortcuts, one must do all the work...not just the stuff you like doing.  Not just the stuff with pretty colors.

See...I have been doing my work, not just playing on Facebook all day.  

Once that is all done...the fun stuff happens.

Roving is sold by the ounce and comes in long skeins with the fibers of the wool all running in the same direction.  

I pull the fibers off the skein and use them like I would paint on a paint brush.

Then I stab the s&%* out of it with my felting needles. 

Then I take up a new color.

And repeat over and over again just as I would do with a painting.

Once I have the basic design and I am happy with it, I do detail work...with just one needle.  Yes, these babies are a lot of work.

You can sorta see the barbs on the needle, the lighter places on the end of the needle.

Felting is an ancient art, dating back to the Bronze Age.
Fragments of felt have been excavated and dated back 2000 years.
No one is certain about it's inception or original origin.
In Asia, the nomadic people used felt to create the walls and flooring of their yurts, the homes they traveled with.
Within those homes, those nomadic people also created art with their wool to protect and invoke blessings on them and their homes.

Although it is my belief blessings and protections are largely created by our own thoughts and beliefs about ourselves and the world, those ancient nomads may have been on to something.

I do not intentionally invoke Druid Magic as I weave my felted tapestries.
But there is certainly a lot of thought and love poured into every piece, into every layer of color.

The rest of the magic I suppose, would be up to you.


Friday, January 7, 2011


On Fridays at Chez DeLap, our week ends and we get three nights and two days to recharge for the coming week.  We often take Friday nights for sleepovers, friends over, movie nights and the like.  And as an added bonus, we get to sleep in...that's right...Saturday Sleep institution everywhere.

I am under no delusions that we are the only family that experiences this every week.  I relish the collective exhale of Friday afternoons.  The experience is palpable.

But to get to the afternoon...there is the the morning.  And because I procrastinate, things are often quite busy and a little stressful on Friday mornings.

I teach an art class to 7th and 8th graders of Friday afternoons...last period of the day...end of the week.

Generally speaking, they are fried like everyone else...maybe more so because of the raging hormones and all.

I really think that for the students, art is the perfect end to their week.  A calm, quiet, reverential closing to the hectic roller coaster week of the typical early teen.

Great for them...

For me, I would prefer to teach Monday morning at 8:00am sharp, because that is when I am ON.  That is when I am focused, ready and most importantly because then it would be out of the way leaving the rest of the week for other pursuits.

Alas the world rarely arranges itself around how I would like to have it.

Oddly, I think this is good for me.  But clearly I dislike it.

This week I left everything until after the kids left for school this morning, irritated with myself for procrastinating and a little panicked about my lesson plan for the day.  There were many factors at hand in my level of stress about this weeks lesson, so many reasons they hurt my brain.  I won't go into them all, I already went over them with Marcus this morning and I think he fell into a coma for a minute or two.

There has to be a lesson plan this afternoon, so I had to get to work.

Every once in a while as I am dreading something and panicked about it, I do something that doesn't come naturally to me...I let go...and roll with it.  If I were a religious person...I would say something here like...I let go and let God.  Since I am not...I won't.

Maybe if I got out of my own way more often, things might get a little easier.

OR...maybe if I don't control everything, the world will spin out of control causing mayhem and chaos everywhere and I will finally be able to tell Marcus..."I told you so."  I bet he would love that.

Friday morning lesson...Get out of your own way.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year

Happy New Year!

I'm back in action.  Kids off to school, Christmas tree taken down, bedroom rearranged, workspace rearranged, travel dates lined's all good.

I want to start by apologizing for the lie about the tamale recipe.  It wasn't really a lie,  I fully intended to get it all together and out there to you all, but alas a number of reasons kept me from doing it.  The biggest being that my iphoto library is stupid...yes...I said STUPID!  I digress.  

So another year begins and I have the opportunity to live on this earth, what a gift that really is.  How easily I forget to be grateful just for waking up.  How easily I take for granted the world around me and all it's beauty and possibility.

Well, this year will be different.

This year I am going to be perfect.

This year I am going to be a magical combo Mother Teresa, Selma Hyack, Barbara Kingsolver, Frieda Khalo, Martha Stewart, Hilliary Clinton and as always, a little Betty Ford.

This year I will be everything I ever wanted to be and more.

I will be kind, thoughtful, beautiful, smart, funny, athletic, good at singing, acting, dancing, good at moderation, generous, become a dog whisperer, I will go somewhere warm that I don't have to wear shoes...I will follow my heart.

I will blog more often, I will run more often, I will make the bed every day, I will do laundry before someone says, "I'm out of underwear.", I will pick up the phone and call the people I love more often, I will eat more Quinoa, I will exfoliate, I will be on Facebook less, I will tell my kids I love them more, I will kiss my kids more (first I will have to catch them, which means I will be running more often...two stone!).

 I will complain less.  I will remember I have a very beautiful life...everyday...every moment of my life.

Or maybe I will eat another Muffin that tastes like a Doughnut (Recipe forthcoming I swear!) and get back in bed...that is always and option.

We are Blessed to have been given this life and everything in it.

What we do with it and how we see it is our choice...Lucky us!

Let's broaden those horizons!