Penny Rugs, of course! I have long been a fan of the humble Penny Rug, a folk art craft that originated in the 1800's. Penny Rugs were made with wool scraps salvaged from old blankets or clothing. Wool was pricey and every scrap was utilized by thrifty homemakers. Coins were used as templates to make tiny fabric rounds of various sizes. The rounds were then stacked and stitched one on top of the other onto a background piece of of cotton or wool. Most were used as decorative accents rather than floor rugs and I have always found their primitive style very appealing. I figured it might be fun to do a glitzy folk art cuff bracelet that paid homage to the traditional Penny Rug.
I grabbed a 2 inch brass cuff blank and cut out a rough template of black sweater felt for the front,
Once I had my basic cuff form, I started to play around with the patches. I decided that squares would work better for my purposes than circles, so I simply cut free hand three sets of squares in three different sizes.
I initially considered Swarovski Crystal Buttons as the only adornment, but ruled in favor of more glitz.
Hand Dyed Silk Embroidery Floss adds Color and Texture!
An easy back stitch throughout the black background helped bring home the Folk Art feel I adore. I opted to use a limited color palette in Swarovski Crystal, primarily Jet. The work I do is very colorful and sparkly, and when I make a piece that is purposefully unsophisticated, it makes sense to be a bit more subdued in my crystal choices. Classic black was perfect for this piece...2mm jet round beads and jet crystal sequins gave it just the punch I was looking for without overwhelming the primitive thread work.
ON THE FARMBig Exciting News: Two of my Nubian goats are pregnant....well, at least we THINK they are pregnant. Ruby is due in about six weeks, while Stella should be due in about three months. Nubians are dairy goats and it is standard practice to remove the newborn Kids from the mother immediately upon delivery to raise them separately. Typically, the mother is milked by the farmer (me!) and then the Kids are fed her milk from a bottle. Folks who Show their goats always choose to Bottle Feed because Udders are easily ruined by eager, aggressively nursing babies. The Kids are weaned by the Farmer at 8-10 weeks and then all that milk goes to the the Farmer. The babies quickly learn to see the farmer as Mom and the real mom does not experience the loss of her Kid because she was never given a chance to bond with the newborn. Easy Peasy....? Not so sure.
Dam Raised versus Bottle Raised
Nom! Nom! Nom!
Nonetheless, the closer I get to Ruby's delivery date, the more stomach achey and queasy feeling I become.. I thought that I was just nervous about the birthing process and the possibility that I might actually need to play legitimate goat midwife, but I have been readying myself for the occasion in an effort to quell my anxiety. Books, Videos, Vet....all covered. Unfortunately, the unease has continued on, unabated. I learned long ago to pay attention when I get that stomach achey, queasy feeling because it usually means that I need to re-evaluate a course of action. It took me longer than normal to pin point the source of it this time because I wasn't allowing myself to question the experts.
I realized after some reflection that it was the thought of separating the babies from their Mama that had my stomach in knots! Sometimes you just have to do things differently than the experts advise and I have decided that I just don't feel good about Bottle Raising these yet to be born Kids when they have a ready, willing and able Goat Mom on site. I do not plan to enter my Goats into Shows so I don't care if they don't have perfect udders. Seriously, who has perfect udders after nursing? Not Me!
...but I digress.
I figure that Mother Nature has been in charge of this Kidding thing for longer than me and I am going to try to stick as close to that plan as possible. I have researched and found some small dairy farmers that have experienced success with Dam raised Kids. The babies nurse and the farmer milks daily for any left over milk so that the Mom's milk production is kept up. Once the kids are weaned, the farmer gets all of the milk. Win-Win. I will have to work a little harder to socialize the Kids, but it sounds sounds doable and kinda like the way nature intended, so I am game! Not surprisingly, once I made my decision the angst I had been feeling totally disappeared. Happy Sigh.
...and then, just in case I needed further proof of The Powerful Force that is Maternal Instinct, let me tell you about my Hen. Back Story: I used to think that if you had hens and you had roosters, then baby chicks would necessarily follow. It actually hasn't been that easy! I have had Chickens for about six years or so and have only had one hen go broody and sit on a clutch of eggs. The same hen has sat on nests three times. The first two resulted in fluffy little chicks. The latest clutch resulted in ZIP, ZERO, NADA.
Mama Hen patiently waits for the hatching that never comes.
They were loud and agitated for the ride home and remained that way until I scooted them under Mama Hen, at which point I heard only gentle peeping. It was something to see...Mama was clearly a bit confused for a second
She isn't squishing them...she is protecting them!
...AND A WEE BIT OF HAIR DRAMA, TOOSo...we have lots of happy moms on the farm, including Yours Truly. Many of you were with me during the Great Mid-Life Hair Crisis of 2012 and I thank you. You were tolerant as I whined. You commented kindly on the many silly folicular incarnations throughout the months....I was cut and colored, highlighted/red/platinum and shades in between. Well, I think that I have gotten it ALL out of my system to a large degree. Yup, I am fed up with bottles and potions and maintenance and upkeep. I am weary of spending money on hair when I could be spending it on
I ain't skeered......much.