Needle Felting Critters

Since I discovered needle felting, I have been hooked.  I admire the artists who transform a ball of wool into something, with the only instrument of a needle.  To me, this was very interesting as I could not understand, at the beginning, how you could get the wool to behave as you wished by just poking it.  If you have touched raw wool you know that it is hard to shape, especially the very soft kind, which unravels in your fingers.  Once intrigued enough, I had to find out.  I did and I love it.  I have created a few needle felting critters, which I call Woodland Magical Critters.  My last one was a baby butterfly fairy, called Tinselfly.  Here is a picture of her.

She has real butterfly wings (recycled-no butterflies were harmed in the making of this piece)

Here are pictures of my other needle felted sculptures.

My first try at felting was Astor Mousenfly.

Then came Buttons Wingly.

Followed by Milady Bugsy

and this Winged Valentine.

I think that I will continue to make these critters or other needle felted things, as I am still loving this craft.  If you are interested in any of these critters they are available in my shop

If you want to try something new I think this art will keep you busy, delighted, and will crank your creativity – you never know what will come out of that piece of wool, if you just let it be.

I hope that you enjoyed this post.

For a so super cool blog on the topic of wool please visit woolblog  – Trust me, it is so epic.

The Government will Clean it Up – NOT!

Some people, wait, some naive people think that after mining for ore, when the company leaves, and the pits are abandoned, the government steps right in and clean-up efforts start.  Wake Up!  This is not the case; there are many abandoned uranium mines which have not been cleaned up, after many years.  Clean-up efforts have started after more than 20+ years have passed, as with mines in the 40s and 50s, recently being targeted.  Clean-up is expensive in every sense and I guess prioritized as well, and you know how that goes.

Here is an article as an example of these “waiting to be cleaned up” abandoned uranium mines, which are leaking radioactive material in high amounts.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/01/us/uranium-mines-dot-navajo-land-neglected-and-still-perilous.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=abandoned-uranium-mines-a

Uranium mining in North Dakota. South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming (there are many other sites) began in the 60s, and there are still sites oozing of radioactivity, waiting to be cleaned up.  In the mean time, people close to the sites are getting sick and dying.  The issue is not that the government refuses to clean it up, EPA wants to clean but reality says that it comes down to money/funds/budgets and clean-up is very expensive.

http://www.abandonedmines.gov/wbd_um.html

Virginians should start thinking not only about the potential hazards of mining uranium in a state that has propensity to heavy rains and storms, floods … but also, about the time that it would take for clean up  efforts to arrive after the company leaves the site, and this is assuming that everything would go according to plan, regulatory laws, and well, peachy keen.  I am not an expert, but in my eyes, I don’t see a win situation here for Virginia, give or take the economic gain; however, at what cost?  I only see one winner, and they will be long gone before “someone” starts to clean-up the mess.

This is no brain surgery, common sense and other states (dry climate) experiences suggests an outcome.  I pity the governor’s position – a sandwich between the people’s welfare and the state’s potential to become the energy capital of the East Coast (largest uranium deposit in the USA and one of the 7 largest worldwide) – not an easy decision.  People or Money?  But then, what is a state without healthy happy citizens?  Yeap, I can smell the situation, all the way from here at the Jersey shore.

Please, if you care don’t forget to sign the petition to keep the ban on uranium mining permanent.  Here is the link.    http://keeptheban.org/?page_id=38

Remember, today it is Chatham, VA backyard, tomorrow it might be your own backyard.  Yellow Cake is being offered, but this is no birthday party!

How Uranium Mining in VA Affects You Too – Please Sign this Petition

Today’s post is dedicated to the issue of the possibility of uranium mining in Virginia which has the potential to harm the environment statewide and North Carolina.  The problem is that Uranium mining is usually done in dry and arid areas and VA is the opposite.  Not only do they want to open a mine but to have a mill in place as well which doubles the possibility for disaster.  The area of Coles Hill is flood prone which only means that the contamination of the water systems will spread.  Heavy rains, heavy storms are common, and tornadoes are not unheard off, so you have a perfect scenario for the potential of an environmental disaster of huge proportion.  There is potential for contamination of the soil, air, and water, spreading to North Carolina, and once it gets into the food supply (farm goods) it can spread further.  There has been a ban for the last 30 years to prevent the mining of Uranium and it is due to expire now in 2012, soon.

By signing this petition, you will help keep this ban on mining and keep the residents of VA, North Carolina safe.  You will also prevent the possibility of an ecological disaster that will spread further.  Please, sign this petition, follow this link.  Thank you.

http://keeptheban.org/?page_id=38

Please watch this video  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOGPIfPngSY&feature=player_embedded

An Eco Disaster Waiting to Happen

I can’t say enough today as why my blood is boiling, simply put, “we humans will never learn and if we can, we will sell our souls to the devil for some economic growth, and the heck with the environment!”   Yes, we take gorgeous landscapes, lush flora, and amazing fauna, and turn it into contaminated crap, and I can think of better words to describe it but it wouldn’t be proper for this blog – so I will bite my tongue and swallow my venom.

Suddenly moving to a peaceful, green, and idyllic country town has lost some appeal.  Why?  Short answer – Uranium Mining.  There is a possibility that this could happen in Coles Hill, VA  practically in the backyard of Chatham, VA in Pittsylvania County – the picturesque and historic little town known as the “The Prettiest Little Town in Southern Virginia”  and that description says it all, and this is where I am heading.

Here is a map of the location – the area of Coles Hill in purple

http://www.mapquest.com/maps?city=Coles+Hill&state=VA#!

Here is a link to the independent report done by RTI International, study was funded by the Danville Regional Foundation.

http://www.drfonline.org/news/2011/documents/RTI-Non-tech-summary.pdf

Here is a comparison of Uranium Studies done.

http://www.drfonline.org/news/2012/documents/Uranium-Study-Board-17.pdf

And a more detail view of the study and reports

http://www.drfonline.org/news/2011/20111215-RTI-Uranium-Study.php

I hope that this never comes to be, and I am aware of the need for more jobs in the area, however, if Uranium mining happens,we all know how the story ends, thinking of an alternate ending is naive – and that is all I have to say.

This video says it all

http://www.southernenvironment.org/multimedia/videos/uranium_mining_a_threat_to_virginias_roanoke_river/%22style=%22font-weight:

Maneki Neko at Last!

I have admire Maneki Neko cats for a very long time.  The first time I spotted one at a Chinese restaurant, I was mesmerized by it and it stole my heart.  Since then, I kept noticing them at businesses but I didn’t know the meaning.  I saw them in many colors and textures, left or right paw up, sometimes both paws, but the basic figure was always the same, a colorful happy cat with one or two lifted paws as if saying hello.  Many years later, still enchanted by these lucky cats, I broke down and got my first Maneki Neko (actually it was this past week – it took me 25 years to get one, finally).

Maneki Neko’s – the Beckoning Cat – origin is Japanese and it represents good luck, protection, prosperity, and good fortune.  To own one is to wish that to yourself and to all who enter your home and business – this is why they are so common in Asian businesses and homes.  Since I want this vibe for me and all who enter my home, I decided that admiring the Maneki Neko from afar was not good enough, and I brought one into my home.  There are several stories about the origin of the Maneki Neko, and there is a temple which relates to one of those stories.  This temple is visited by tourists and locals – it is called Gotokuji Temple.  I read about it on this blog which is dedicated to Maneki Nekos – http://luckymanekineko.wordpress.com/2011/04/13/the-road-to-gotokuji/

Here you will find more information, pictures of different types of Maneki Nekos and the legends surrounding this cat.

Here is a picture of my Maneki Neko, which I have not named yet.

I am not responsible if you, as I was, become enchanted by it.

It is All About Perspective

While cutting some veggies for last night dinner, I had one of my epiphanies.  I always cut the ends of the carrots, tomatoes, celery, or any other fruit or veggie that crosses my path.  Even when they are cut in halves, if pre-packaged, I go back and cut a slice from the ends just to have a fresh end (not sure if you follow me).  Well, by the time I am done, I have a decent amount of veggie scraps that go into the garbage because I cannot compost where I live now (but that will be possible in the near future – can’t wait).  It occurred to me that my waste was a perfect meal for people in some countries that will give anything to have a tiny slice of that scrap to make a soup – I mean countries where there is extreme hunger and poverty, and food is not an everyday sight.  Not that I am not aware of hunger, for some reason this time, it was different.

Besides feeling terrible and wasteful, I thought of how much perspective matters in how we go through life and do our own thing, and then, I thought of how it affects our writing.  When we write a story, even when we are writing from the character’s point of view, our own perspective of things and life is playing in the background.  I don’t think that it is possible to escape it totally, even when we try to be true to the character and do a lot of research about the topic or character’s behavior, origins, culture … and so on.

My point is, our perspective follows us everywhere, it is how we see things, life, and how we interpret it, besides being influenced by our own upbringing, culture, and experiences.  I have made vegetable soup countless of times, and yet, this time, those scraps meant something different, and have become meaningful somehow.

The Miracle of Senses

The pentagram is used as a Christian symbol fo...

The pentagram is used as a Christian symbol for the five senses, and if the letters S, A, L, V, and S are inscribed in the points, it can be taken as a symbol of health (from Latin salus). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I have said before, sometimes I get so focused on a task that I forget everything around me; I block everything else, and many times I forget that I was just making pancakes for breakfast or that I had just put a load of laundry and heard the bell a minute ago.  All I can say is thank God for all my senses.  The smell of starting to toast pancakes or the too quiet house will alert me and bring me back.  The gentle nag of a cat that wants a temptation treat has brought me back from the extreme focus vortex just in time.  This brings me to the topic of appealing to reader’s senses in your writing.

Just as it is important to me to get rescued by my senses, I thought of how important sensory stimulation is on a novel or a piece of writing.  Awakening readers senses gives a new depth to your story, and may rescue some readers from boredom – boredom of too much dialog or description.  Even if you are deprived of one sense, another takes over, keener and improved.  I try to keep this is mind when writing my story, as I tend to run into too much dialog.   To me, the senses are a miracle; it is how we experience the world, and how readers can experience your story.

Sometimes, I tend to ask myself the weirdest questions, and I have asked myself if I was to be deprived of a sense or ability, which one will I give up.  I know, it may sound sinister to many, but I think about unusual things sometimes.  I would give up speech.  I don’t  talk much; I am the silent type, the observer, and I rather write than talk.  As long as I can communicate when I need to in some way, I think I would be happy.  I am a very visual person, and that would be the sense that I would miss the most, probably to the point of insanity, which brings me to this point – readers are very different in their consumption of reading material and learning, so the senses that prevail throughout your story may appeal to some readers more than to others.  My point, striving for a good balance might not be a bad idea.

Do you think about stimulating the senses when writing your story?  Which sense would you give up?  Which one would you miss the most?  If you are missing a sense, how have you improved the other senses?