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Jan. 1st, 2020

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Dante's Spirit- Hand dyed silk scarves, Handcrafted beadwork, and more.. All Unique/OOAK.

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May. 10th, 2016

Moving... And coming Home.

So a little over a week and a half ago, we closed on our new house. It's a wonderful 1940 bungalow on 1.73 acres with absolutely no neighbors nearby. The nearest neighbor is easily a quarter mile or more away.

After we closed, we brought Dante, Max and Aries' urns over and they were the very first things to be unpacked in our new home. They look right at home on the mantle, surrounded by their photos.

We then spent the next 3.5 days actually moving the rest of our stuff. We are still trying to figure out how two 15 ft UHaul truck loads and then some fit into a 700 sqft townhouse. After we got the big things, like the bookcases, the buffet, etc, I spent the next week, going back and forth, hauling odds and ends from the townhouse to the house and cleaning it. Last Friday, we made the final trip, grabbing the bikes and closed the door on the townhouse for good.

Now I'm trying to figure out where everything fits in this 1266 sqft home of ours. The living room is really the only room that's 90% setup as it'll be. I'm in the process of arranging the studio/office, it's about 50% of the way there. Heh. Then there's all the books to unpack and put back up on the bookshelves, all the photos and prints to figure out where they will hang, some painting to do...

Oh and mowing the nearly 1 acre of open grass. Yeah. I accidentally broke our new lawnmower the day after we just put it together, 3 days after we bought it. So we had to take that back and exchange it. So 75% of the yard is mowed so far.}:P

So far, it's been like Christmas. Everyday, we discover something new here at Five Oaks (I did mention that the property was named }:P ). Sunday, it was that we have grapes! Today, it was that we may actually have Mulberry trees! And the stars on a clear night! Wow. And the frogs and bullfrogs in the ponds below us... It honestly still feels like a vacation.

It's an itty bitty Peach! Woo!  #nofilter  #fruittree #fruittrees #peach #garden #fiveoaks #dantesspirit
Itty Bitty Peach!


There's a Catbird nest with 4 eggs in the cedar bush directly outside the back door, so we moved the walkway out further, to give the birds a touch of privacy. Morrigan has discovered them and now camps out in the windows on the back porch. Free cat TV. Heh.


Two owners ago, they buried a beloved cat in the back corner, complete with stone marker. The previous owners scattered the ashes of their beloved German Sheps there as well. So the plan is to turn that corner into a memorial garden. We brought Puck, Rue and Nyx's stones with us and will be placing them there, as well as selecting nice memorial stones from my collection for Dante, Max and Aries.


Still need to plant my Irises along the front of the front porch, got the compost bin set up, now need to lay out the garden area, plant the rest of our plants we brought with us and figure out where we want to put our new apple and pear trees and the future pecan trees we want to add, as well as clear the right back 'field/wild brush' area as well, thin out some of the sumac/paradise trees and bittersweet vines trying to take over in that area. Oh, and get the ivy off of Fezzik, our beloved 400+ year old White Oak next to the house. Speaking of irises, someone who lived here absolutely *loved* irises. They are everywhere! And in colors I didn't have.


So, as of right now...

Bird tally so far- Cardinals, Titmouse, Nuthatch, Catbird, Redwinged Blackbird, Goldfinches, Purple/House Finches, Blue Jay, Mourning Dove, Robins, Carolina Wrens, Sparrows, Chickadees, Pileated Woodpecker, Indigo Buntings...

All the birds at the townhouse and then some.}:P Seen Crows around but not in the yard yet. Canadian Geese and goslings in the field in front of us and a Redshouldered Hawk soaring overhead.

AND a Crane/Heron (couldn't *quite* tell which) flew over from the ponds as well.

Fruit/Nut tally so far- Plums, Peaches, Apples, Pear, Black Walnuts, Blackberries, Strawberries- the 5 plants I brought with me are producing- GRAPES, Quince, potentially Cherries and maybe Mulberries too.

In the near future, we want to get chickens as well. And look into solar power.


I'd say we are well on our way to being as self-sufficient as we possibly can be.}:P


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Apr. 1st, 2016

Working with cats can be so amusing...



So I warped up the rigid heddle loom for a lovely houndstooth patterned wrap. Today, Miss Sassy, definitely feeling much better , decided to 'help'.



First she thought laying under the actual working area was a great idea. Since, you know, laying on my desk *next* to the loom is so passe- besides, Morrigan is also currently on my desk (the window is open). Of course, she simply had to make herself right at home, ensuring that I could do nothing, as moving the heddle would result in squishing her. Then she decided she needed a drink, whereupon I took advantage of her absence to toss the shuttle through and move the heddle down.



That of course was completely unacceptable to her. She immediately returned and squeezed herself under the back warp. She literally twisted and contorted to get in there. And then stretched out again. Which meant, I had to loosen the warp so she wouldn't stretch it out and move the heddle back up. At this point, I'm resigned to getting very little done.



Of course, a loose warp leads to other issues. Such as when she tries to turn around and has the heddle fall over on her.



Which leads to such Diva looks. It's a good thing you're cute, Miss Sassy.



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Mar. 29th, 2016

Changes are afoot.

Yes, I've been slack at keeping up the blog. It's been a rather busy couple of weeks. Toward the beginning of March, we decided to house hunt. It was an exhausting experience and wasn't fun at all. Looking at house you know aren't near large enough, or have too close of neighbors. Six houses in and I was ready to give up.

You note I said *was*.

We are currently in the process of buying a house.

House inspection was last Friday, the house is structurally sound and has very minor things that the seller shouldn't have any issues with correcting. And even if they won't, they're not deal breakers, we'll just do them ourselves. To that end, the tentative closing date is the end of April.

No matter what the house hunting/buying TV shows may show you, buying a house is not a straight forward process. They cut *a lot* out in the name of time and expediency.

After 9/11, they passed a series of laws regarding the transfer of funds. Since we are being gifted the 20% down for the house, we have to show *exactly* where that money is coming from- both from the person who is giving it to us, via their bank statements showing the funds are/were available at the time, copies of the check(s) sent to us, statements from our bank showing that it had been deposited AND the deposit slips.

Loan companies want to know where *anything* over $500.00 came from. They also want 2-3 months worth of banking logs- not statements, *logs* from the bank itself, showing every transaction. They also want a month's worth of pay stubs to compare against the bank logs. Obstensively, this is to prove that yes, you get paid what you say you do and no, you have no liens, or other debts, aside from utilities and rent or credit card bills, coming out (like child support, IRS payments, etc). If you can't give them the documentation they want, it's a red flag and the loan may not get approved. After you get them all the paperwork, hopefully in a timely manner, it can still take anywhere from 30 to 40 DAYS for the loan to process.

That is where we are right now.

We have been told by both the loan officer and our realtor, we are unusual home buyers. I guess because not only did we know exactly what we were looking for and what we would and would not compromise on, but in the terms of knowing in exactly what we want to pay per month, regardless of the fact that we actually qualified for $90,000 MORE than the house we are buying. We simply didn't want a $1,000+ house payment. We wanted to be house rich AND comfortable money wise as well. But also because we've gotten them every bit of paperwork they asked for in a very timely manner, as in, within 24-48 hours. Apparently, some people take weeks. Hrm.

So as a result, we are *well* within the limits of our debt to income ratio. Most people apparently go for a house at the very top of what they are prequalified for, which is what leads to problems. We didn't want to go that route, having been there, done that, once already 20+ years ago.

I'll talk more about the house at a later date, but suffice it to say- it has nearly everything we wanted, especially in terms of land, with the exception of only being one bathroom instead of a minimum of one and a half. We did good.

The best part, besides the nearly 2 acres of relatively flat yard? The house is named. And it's a wonderful, wonderful name.


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In other news, after Mysticon, I bought myself a 7ft adjustable triloom. It finally arrived a little over a week ago and I went to work immediately making a 6ft shawl using Unplanned Peacock Morphic Peacock Sock in the Fountain colorway, dark to light.



Unlike the 3ft triloom and my rigid heddle loom, this one requires a lot of standing, bending and walking back and forth. This was 3 hours worth of work right there. Mainly because Miss Sassy kept laying right in front of where I was working (that should have been our first hint that she wasn't well).



But after a few days of working on it for a couple hours at a time, I finished the shawl now known as Water. On the loom, itself was gorgeous as is, and I couldn't wait to remove it and finish the top edge.



Needless to say, it's stunning off the loom. I will have a very hard time parting with this one, methinks, but that is why I create things like this- if I love them, I know someone else will love them as well. This was before the ends were woven in and the top edge finished off. The drape and flow was quite lovely. I plan to get more of the UPP Morphic yarns in the other colors and create more like this.



I even had enough of each color to weave a 3ft version, but light to dark, which will go to my mom as a Mother's Day gift this year. I also had enough to do 2 more 3ft shawls, one in light to medium, the other in dark to medium. They, and the large Water, will be available at the Olde Liberty Fiber Faire the 3rd week of April.


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Speaking of Miss Sassy, last Thursday morning, we had to take her to the vet. Turns out, her red blood count was extremely low. Normally cats have a count of 40-45, her's was TEN. The vet said, and I quote, "It was not enough to sustain life." She was literally dying in front of us and we didn't know why.

They had to do a blood transfusion and tests. Ruled out a stroke (which is what we thought was going on), diabetes, kidney issues, thyroid issues and leukemia. That left a flea/tick/mosquitoe/biting fly borne disaese- hemobartella.

I blame the neighbors next door for throwing *bread* out into not only their back yard, but over the fence into ours (when I find it, it gets disposed of immediately), the result of which has attracted rats, whom have taken up residence next door but come under the fence to my side for the bird seed I no longer put out. Rats carry fleas. We've had a bad flea issue for the last year, when we hadn't had hardly *any* in the many years prior. So I blame the neighbors.

Miss Sassy is recovering quite nicely. Still a bit skinnier than we'd prefer, but she is 17 yrs old, so never really was a big Siamese. She's fighting the meds when dosed, which is always a good sign, very mouthy when we're getting dinner or lunch or really, *any* food in the kitchen. Needles us for her breakfast, then finishes Morrigan's when she walks away. And she's purring again. Almost normal.

Speaking of blood transfusion- feline blood only lasts 60 days, so most vets do not keep any on hand. Most feline blood types are compatible, I believe, with the others, but the need for feline donors is great. If you have a cat that is of a good size (over 10 lbs) and is healthy, do yourself, your friends with cats and your neighbors with cats, a favor and go get your cat blood typed and registered as a donor.

We almost lost Miss Sassy because we almost did not have a donor nearby. Thankfully, we got lucky and found one. But you simply never know when your cat or someone else's cat might suddenly need blood.

So go get your cat registered as a blood donor.}:)



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Mar. 8th, 2016

Did you know...

House hunting actually really *sucks*? So tired of being told I can't have what I want at the price we're looking in. Yes, I can and yes, I will. We will not simply 'settle' for something we'll want to move out of in 5 years and if we can't find something that's *larger* than here (which is just over 700 sq ft itself) and that doesn't mean almost all the extra square footage is just another bedroom that's smaller than what we currently have, as well as the other 2 being smaller than what we have, then we will simply stay put for another year. Even though, we really don't want to and we're really tired of stupid close neighbors and traffic and city living...

Yeah.

In other news, 2 weekends ago, this happened-

Last day of #mysticon , we're here until 3pm, do stop on by!  #nofilter  #dantesspirit


I set up a table at our little local sci-fi, pop culture, etc Con to try my hand at selling in person. I had at least one person tell me they recognised my stuff from *Tumblr*. Tumblr!, of all places. It was rather fun, honestly and I did quite well. I gave out almost 100 business cards- so glad I ordered 200 from Moo. Well enough that I was able to restock quite a bit of gorgous locally dyed yarn and order a new 7ft adjustable triangle loom- which I'm still waiting for the shipping notice on, sigh.

Next up is the Olde Liberty Fiber Faire, where I was also asked to demonstrate my rigid heddle loom.

Meanwhile, I need to weave up a bunch of wraps and shawls and restock. Heh.


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Feb. 16th, 2016

The world ends in ice & the idiots come out to play...

We got 8" of snow Sunday night into Monday. Then, we got a coating of sleet. Then, as if *that* wasn't enough, it started raining.

Freezing rain, no less. All Monday evening through Tuesday morning. It was a mess. Thankfully we went out and shoveled the driveway before it started raining and put a crust of thick ice on everything.



The Birch Tree at 3 am. Insomnia sucks sometimes. Heh.



The two bird feeders out front were completely coated.}:/


Thanks to the thick coating of ice, power went out at 437am, for about 10 seconds. Then again around 630am, for another 10 seconds. Now that the sun has come up, the ice is crashing down from everything.



Everything had a 'shell' of ice this morning, as the snow melted out from under it.



Caena wasn't too keen on the ice and snow suddenly collapsing beneath her, but she got her sniffing on.



The back hill was very shiny. Heh.


Dear people-

How stupid are you? No, really, just how stupid are you?

You have a roof leak *right over valuable computer equipment*. It drips *right on said equipment*.

So. Do you do the smart thing and put a bucket directly under said leak? No! Of course not! You're morons who put buckets *everywhere but*!

Yeah.

Mark said there was a quarter inch of water in the bottom of the computer equipment cabinet. Buckets all around said cabinet, not a one on top where it was really leaking.

He works with some real winners.

Anyway, back to work. Almost finished with this silk scarf-

Clockwork handembroidered silk scarf, in progress.  One end finished, on to the other.  #silk #embroidery #handmade #handembroidered #clockwork #steampunk #silkscarf #scarf #handdyed #dantesspirit

Once it's finished, I have a couple ideas for some handwoven scarves I want to finish for Mysticon. So, back to work I go!


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Feb. 9th, 2016

Breakthroughs, works finished and in progress...

A few years ago, through a distant cousin, I learned that an uncle who may have known my dad's birth father had died. At the time, I took a chance and looked his kids up on Facebook, then sent a couple of them (there are 6) a message of condolance, explaining who I was and saying I was sorry to have never gotten the chance to meet the uncle.

Well.

Friday, I got, out of the blue, a Facebook message from one of them. She hadn't known about the 'other' folder on Facebook and so, completely missed my message from 4 years ago. Through her, I 'met' another cousin. We've been exchanging a touch of information the entire weekend and Sat, she sent me certain photos. Photos that I literally sat and cried over.

I finally got to 'meet' my dad's birth dad, my paternal grandfather. And the first thing I saw *was* not only my dad, but my brother in him. Very clearly, very distinctly. Even Mark was rather shocked at the resemblance. My dad is most definitely his child. We are most definitely descended from him. It's uncanny.

The neat thing is, they want to meet my dad and us. So, hopefully, the next time we're home for vacation, we can arrange a family reunion 70+ years in the making.

Meanwhile, I've been working hard trying to get caught up on my mental list of things I want finished by Mysticon. To that end, I've finished 5 steampunk/clockwork necklaces, several steampunk/clockwork charm style bracelets and chainmaille bracelets and 4 beaded steampunk/clockwork brooches-

Clockwork charm bracelet, finished.  #nofilter #clockwork #steampunk #bracelet #handmade #jewelry #charmbracelet #dantesspirit

One of two, the other is copper based.

Time in a bottle necklace  #handmade #steampunk #clockwork #necklace #handmadejewelry #dantesspirit

The dull work begins- putting price tags on everything.   #nofilter #handmade #handmadejewelry #steampunk #chainmaille #bracelet #bracelets #dantesspirit

Work in progress. The left one will become a steampunk charm bracelet.  Both out of solid copper as a base.  #chainmaille #handmadejewelry #handmade #copper #Japanese6-2 #mobiusknot  #steampunk #dantesspirit

Still beading. Current piece will be turned into a pendant. Four clockwork/steampunk brooches, five to go...  #nofilter #beadwork #steampunk #clockwork #brooch #brooches #handmade #handbeaded #seedbeads #dantesspirit

Simple can be elegant.  #handmade #handbeaded #beadwork #seedbeads #copper #clockwork #steampunk #pendant #necklace #dantesspirit


That is by no means all of the pieces that have been finished, but the majority at least. I plan to bead at least 5 more brooches, them try to finish at least one clockwork style embroidered silk scarf and have another in progress to work on at the Con.

In other news, my Hellebores, aka Lenten Rose is blooming and man is it beautiful.

My Hellebore, aka Lenten Rose, is blooming.  #nofilter #garden #hellebore  #lentenrose #hellebores #lentenroses #flowers #dantesspirit


And now, I have a Diva Kitty that demands attention.


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