All this and a funny hat

I have been thinking a lot about cancer lately.

Probably doesn’t help that I am slowly reading The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, by Siddhartha Mukherjee, (very good book), and I quickly read The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green, (my daughter wants me to see the movie but I wanted to read the book first).

Or that yesterday I went with my mother-in-law for her check up with her oncologist before she starts her 6th chemo tomorrow. She is doing well, happy that the chemotherapy has not been too difficult.

And, (the main reason), is because we have made appointments for my next scan and visit with my ocular oncologist. I know I was calm and not too worried about my iris nevus, but I seem to have gotten back into the mental “is it/isn’t” it loop.

The uncertainty of not knowing.

However, with all this reading I realized that even if the doctor does tell me it is ocular melanoma, (which can only be confirmed by removing it and performing a biopsy) I will still be living with uncertainty, just different questions; will it come back or has it spread? I talked to my husband about my fears, and he pointed out that many people live with uncertainty. My situation my be rare, but my feelings are not.

I found this comforting. We are social creatures, and feeling alone makes everything worse, but I am not alone. So, I will take a deep breath and focus on the other things in my life…

and there are many!

After taking her entrance exams and applying to several universities, my oldest daughter got into Universidad Católica del Norte to study Law. Some of her friends are going to the same university, which might make the early morning commute on the bus a bit easier. (And I know I am being completely selfish, but I am happy that she is staying close. So is her little sister, who still has 8 years before she goes to university).

I have been very busy at Casa Creatif. Not so much teaching, but administrating and organizing. We have different classes for kids from 10am till 1pm most days of the week.

Drawing class

 

Sewing class

My youngest goes with me every day, taking as many classes as she can, and even my Dad and my oldest are taking pottery classes. (He actually taught when I was a baby, but this is my oldest’s first time!)

Pottery class

Pottery class

I have been spinning and knitting, testing projects that use small amounts of hand spun.

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A little large for me, but fun, and who doesn’t need a funny woolly hat in the middle of summer!

 

 

 

 

 

Finally…classes

I have finally started offering hand spinning classes. Now that I have a space that I share with other artists, I feel comfortable inviting people to come and learn the beautiful skill of creating yarn from wool!

So if you are visiting or live in La Serena, and you would like to learn how to hand spin, click on the classes link on the right, or visit our page Creatif.cl

Classes can be in English or Spanish, and there are a lot of other classes too, like ceramics, weaving, painting, paper mâché, and yoga…so many!

Opening night

Last night we officially opened Casa Escuela! With friends and family, food and drink, music and fire.

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The day started early, preparing food and decorating the house with our art.

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As our kids got out of school they joined us, adding to the festive feel of the house. Well, I am not sure festive is the right word to describe their running and jumping!

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The evening was great, and we all had lots of fun. We may have ate and drank too much, and definitely laughed till our sides hurt, but it is not every day that you start a new adventure!

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Casa Escuela is close to my mother-in-law’s house, so yesterday I was also able to walk over and visit her. This week she had her third session of chemotherapy. She is feeling a little tired, and experiencing a little hair loss, (and her fingertips feel like she is touching electricity), but overall she is doing well and maintaining a positive attitude. This makes me so happy.

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And in case I needed something else to celebrate, WordPress informed me that yesterday was my four year blog anniversary! What a lot of changes from my first little craft studio to where I am now!

Learning to fly

March. The month, not the action.

This week my girls went back to school, and for the first time in years they are both at the same school. However it will only be for a year; this is the last year of school for my oldest. Her last year, and turning 18 in a few months, has made me slow down and focus on her. She is flapping and fluffing her wings with the thought of university, and the possibility of studying away. I would love to keep her close, but I know I have to teach her how to fly.

My youngest is adjusting to her new teacher and classmates, while taking over my studio creating in the evenings and weekends. With the confidence I gained last year in the craft fairs, and with a lot of help and encouragement from my youngest, I finally converted one of the rooms in the old cheese building into a sales room.

The room is the closest to our house and for years we have used it to store our excess “stuff”. The room really needed a clean, and this was partly my reason for converting it into a store. I took “before” pictures, but it is very embarrassing how bad it had gotten! I am a hoarder!

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Before

after corner

After

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Before

after window

After

For now it is not open as a store but it is available to show my, (and my youngest’s) work. And we are full of dreams of opening on the weekends!

little store

I have also been busy dyeing wool in my solar oven and making neck warmers with chunky hand spun and recycled silk. I am lucky that my Dad likes silk shirts and that they don’t last him forever!

neckwarmer

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With March here it is also time for a visit to Santiago and my eye doctor. I will have another scan and check up, to see if my nevus has grown.  The first year with my nevus/melanoma was difficult and scary. However, when I learned it was stable, for some reason I felt better prepared; stronger and braver for the day when I do have to fight it (if I do). I learned how to talk about Cancer. I think that was the hardest part, being able to talk to people and not have them react with dread, fear, pity, when all I wanted was to talk.

But why did this happen to me? I believe things happen for a reason, and when my mother-in-law was diagnosed with bowel cancer late last year, I was the “cold one” she could talk to. I was the one who could say Cancer, and let her say Cancer without everything crumbling around her. I love her dearly, and I know she is scared, but I hope I am helping with my “practical” ways.

Her doctor is very positive, the tumour was found and identified early, (no thanks to the first doctor she saw, who sent her home with a cream saying it was just an old person’s complaint, luckily she didn’t agree and went for a second opinion). She wanted to tell her family in her own time, and that is why I didn’t post earlier.

Two weeks ago she travelled to Valparaiso to start her radiation and chemotherapy. She will be there for about six weeks. My husband and oldest are going to visit her this weekend, with her daughters visiting the weekends after. My husband phones her every afternoon, and she says she is doing okay, and I know (like so many women I know here) she is strong. But even with her strength, and wanting to protect her children, I hope she will let them take care of her for a while.

Lets just call this my 100th post

I wanted to write something great and moving for my 100th post, but the more I think about what I should write, the further away I find the post. This happens a lot with me. Constantly thinking, my mind going over every thing so that I get nothing done. However, today I will share.

This morning I looked out of my window, through the mist, and watched the new lambs as they jumped and played, and it made me think of all the beauty around me.

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Like yesterday for instance. My family and I went up the Elqui Valley to Vicuña where we had a terrible lunch, (not new for us), but a nice walk around. We visited Emporio Oveja Negra, which sells products from some of the Creatif participants as well as the owner’s beautiful wool creations. We then visited Galeria Elqui, part of Elqui Total. This is a pretty gallery set in a horse ranch, with textile, ceramic, sculptures and painted art.

I came home feeling inspired and belonging to the artistic/artesian community, – and it feels great!

I have been preparing for the next Observatorio Cultural, but in a relaxed way, enjoying the process. I have more ideas, (have to start thinking of spring) and using more of my handspun.

At the moment I am working on a diagonal weave on my large nail loom.

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I am not sure if it is slower than traditional looms, but there is no warp loss, which is good when I am using my handspun.Image

The handspun is a mix of wool from the south, alpaca, and wool from my sheep.

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I have also been sewing with my youngest daughter and knitting a scarf for my oldest.

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I bought some grey fleece fabric for school clothes, and we made this octopus with some of the leftover.

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This is really simple and great for kids! Here is the link on how to make this no-sew octopus.

There have also been some changes on the farm. Sadly, last weekend we sold the last of our cows. As long as I have lived on my Dad’s farm we have always had cows. But my Dad wants to focus on smaller animals that don’t need as much physical strength to control, (when things go wrong it helps). I am sure this has been harder for my Dad, but he is looking forward to a simpler farm.

And I am looking forward to my next 100 posts!

 

Where has the sun gone?

First it rained.

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Sheldon isn’t bothered by the rain

Then the sun came out and everything turned green and beautiful.

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And then the sun went away, and we have been left with cold, wet, grey days.

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We are accustomed to misty mornings and grey days, but we haven’t seen the sun in over a week. Clothes are not drying on the laundry line, children are staying home with colds, and where ever you go, people are complaining about the cold.

We are lucky, we have a wood burning stove that keeps us warm. But most businesses, schools and homes do not have heating, so I have been knitting and weaving for my family.

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A warm hug of wool to keep loved ones warm on these grey days.

3er Observatorio Cultural; their third, my first

Their third, my first

This is a cultural gathering of artists and crafters. I will have a stand and be giving free mini-classes to kids on how to spin wool with a drop spindle.

There will be lots of beautiful hand made objects and free classes, and good vibes, and kids, and fun!

Oh, and I am so excited!