Well, you know I love to have artifacts around me while I write. And I loved Pat Catan's, which is where I got this armored horse. He came in gold all over, very cool--but last weekend I painted him black, leaving the gold armor. Still have to do the eyes...
This is a life-size brass rubbing--or a good fake thereof--that I got at a church rummage sale and embellished with shields cut from bits of scrapbooking paper that I used to blot my hand-cut stencils. (Looks so cool on paper towels, I knew it would be even better on paper! Then what to do with the paper...hmmmm.) I have to say, I don't think Titch has a stache, but this is a very cool piece to have around the house to keep me company as I work on the digital file for The True Knight.
I am hard at work on the digital file of The True Knight, but meanwhile, please enjoy this frost-kissed image of a piece of shovel art I could not resist buying last year. Yes, it's Valadan leaping over the barn!
My book display.
Cathy Hester Seckman joined me on Saturday!
Some of my handspun yarn Gathered Scarves on display on Friday.
Yes, more of George. This is early August 2018, at the St. Vitus BIG Festival. And George is about to discover MEATBALLS!
On July 1, 2019, seven Lawrence County parishes became one new parish: Holy Spirit. So the 2019 St. Vitus Festival became the Holy Spirit Festival. On November 22nd & 23rd, the St. Vitus School Christmas Festival will be held at a new location: the Parish Center, corner of North & Beaver Streets, Downtown New Castle. It's now called the Holy Spirit Parish Christmas Festival, but St. Vitus School will have their famous meatballs, and I will take some home to George.
I will be one of the vendors at the Festival, selling and signing my books, and Cathy Seckman will be joining me on Saturday. That's also the day of the big Holiday Parade to open New Castle's Christmas Season. See you there! And who knows, maybe you'll see George too!
I will be signing my books there Friday, November 22nd and Saturday, November 23rd, in the Parish Center, corner of North & Beaver Streets, downtown New Castle, PA. St. Vitus School has just announced that they will be selling their fantastic cavatelli & meatballs at the Festival, Take Out or Eat In. This is very good news, because my boy George LOVES those meatballs! The St. Vitus Parish Festival was the first place I took him after I brought him home July 21, 2018--the Festival started August 4th. And George had his first meatball!
This is George. George Arthur Harry Romeo. George is an English Shepherd, AKA the Farm Collie. A non AKC breed as the Border Collie used to be. I got George a year ago July, after my last rough coat white collie, Misty, passed. Can't believe I waited this long to tell you about him! (And it's thanks to Judith Sutherland, columnist for Farm & Dairy, that I know about English Shepherds--she has written about many of her dogs in her column, and I knew I had to seek one out.)
George for the patron saint of England, Arthur because, well, Arthur!, Harry for my grandfather, and Romeo was his litter name. George was bred in Ohio by Martins of Dry Creek. He was the last of 8 to go to a new home. His dad is a black & tan, his mom is a black and white. My George is an urban farm dog, and doing great! He goes to the Farmer's Market regularly, and moved a flock of Canada geese out of there without losing a single feather. In fact, he did not even bark, and I'm not sure he saw the geese--we exited the car and the geese put their heads down and quick-marched to the creek. What a dog!
In my mom's attic. I made this in the mid 1970s. A Stuffed Unicorn!
By way of saying, I will be signing Thistledown at the Holy Spirit Parish Christmas Festival, Friday, November 22nd and Saturday, November 23rd in The Parish Center, corner of North & Beaver Streets, in the heart of downtown New Castle, PA.
The Christmas Craft Show is in support of St. Vitus School. The Pierogies for sale are made by the parish pinchers. The Nut Roll Sale is by Women of Faith. Local author Cathy Hester Seckman plans to join me on Saturday. She will have Ohio Day Trips with her. I'll have all of my books, but especially Thistledown, the story of an orphaned unicorn.
On Saturday, September 29th, I’ll be signing The Wind-Witch at the Lake Metroparks Farmpark in Kirtland, Ohio (Just outside of Chardon) as a vendor at the Wool Jamboree and Antique Tractor Show. Odd place for a book signing? Well, remember that Druyan is both a spinner and a weaver. And any excuse to spend time at the Farmpark is fine by me! It used to be an Arabian horse farm, and they have horses, border collies—and sheep! And fleeces to sell!
When I was writing Druyan’s story, though, it was a different world. I made my first drop spindle from a crochet hook and part of a wooden stacking toy. My first fiber was hair from our German Shepherd. Then some wool from a sheep named Hildy, a gift from a classmate in a pottery class. There was no on-line shopping to put all the world’s fiber at my fingertips—most wool went straight to the Wool Pool. When I managed to buy two fleeces—one white, one dark gray—I had no idea how to clean or store them, so moths got both.
I heard about a spinner’s festival. Bought a proper drop spindle, a set of wool carding combs, and half a Corriedale fleece, labeled “ewe, just had twins.” Discovered the Otter Creek Store, and Handwoven Magazine, and began to learn the ways of fiber. Did a lot of dyeing, using onion skins and walnut hulls and so forth. And sometimes I was given fleece. It’s hard to say no, even when you know the sheep were sheared because they got into burrs and the shearer refused to have anything to do with the fleece. And they were lamb-production sheep anyway, so the fiber was short. But it was wool! And as on-line platforms such as Etsy came into being, I could try small bags of better fleece—which I thought was enough for my needs.
I had finally joined the Canfield Ohio Spinners’ Guild. We were invited to the Wool Festival at the Metroparks Farmpark—if your name was on a guild list, there was no admission fee! There were vendors. There was a whole tent of Farmpark fleeces—I heard the “special” ones went the night before, vendors getting first choice as a perk, but everything they had left was special to me. I bought Jacob, Scottish Blackface, Cheviot, Shetland. I was in hog heaven.
One of those fleeces was labeled “Jake, Jacob wether.” (A wether is a neutered sheep.) I never wanted to spin anything else—I dyed Jake’s fleece with Rit Evening Blue and spun in sparkles from Buffalo Snow. I dyed Jake with Kool-Aid. But Pete, the Jacob ram Jake was a babysitter/companion for had nice fleece too. I met both these boys, even helped shear Pete once at the demo—one clip, just so I could say I did it! Then I picked up a huge fleece marked “finn” which turned out to be from Chevy, Pete’s successor as a ram. Over 12 pounds, super long staple, spins like a dream. My choice for Spinzilla, last year and this.
Now, what sort of sheep would Druyan run at Splaine Garth? At the time, I knew so little of sheep, I barely thought about it. As I reflect now, I suspect she’d be into Romneys. After all, Splaine Garth is a marsh!
Writer of epic fantasy with a wry twist. Fond of horses, dogs, cats, canaries, falcons and draft cider. Dedicated multi-tasker, I also paint with chalk pastels.