Saturday, June 18, 2016
Blessings and Imperfect Angels
I believe in angels, but I doubt they are allowed to interfere in mortal affairs very often. I think God expects us to be angels for each other. In that sense, I am surrounded by angels.
I have a crappy chronic pain problem, but I have a wonderful life because I have an amazing support system.
Amazing starts with my husband. I have read so many stories of spouses leaving because they weren’t able to cope with a caretaker role. But my sweetheart stays with me through thick and thin, rich and poor, sickness and health.
This spring, while facing the loss in my career and a possible layoff in his job, my husband built me a completely new bedroom. We have more closet space, beautiful artwork, and a big TV. It’s painted in soothing, earthy colors to coordinate with our wedding quilt. My mother-in-law sewed and quilted it over 25 years ago and we have wanted to display it on the wall for almost that long. It’s finally hanging above our headboard. When I left work, I had a cozy nest to land in.
He also lets me do crazy things that are completely contrary to his orderly, conservative nature. When I wanted to put a dragon vinyl on my kitchen wall, my husband suggested that a painting would work better and asked his mom to do it.
My mother-in-law is an accomplished artist, so it was exciting to work with her on the planning. The painting was even more fun. We got to visit and laugh as she worked for hours on my wall. The final result, as you can see, is gorgeous.
I’ve always been invited to travel with them. They carried me and my little boys (9 and 6 the first time) halfway across the country three times. We travel somewhere with them every year. I camped with them this week—cushy camping with a bed in their trailer and absolutely no responsibilities.
Today I’m sharing a recent, photogenic, gift. This year’s birthday present is a peaceful, Japanese-inspired, rock garden. It requires little water and light maintenance, a little corner of the yard that I can manage.
The last angels I’m spotlighting today have no idea how much their gifts mean to me.
When we moved into the neighborhood in the 70s, it was quite rural. There weren’t any commercial farms, but most people lived on an acre or more with large gardens and some livestock. I remember sheep, pigs, and rabbits at my home and horses around the corner. Now we live among expensive homes and professionally manicured yards.
Only a few of the original homes and pastures remain, one belongs to my angel. Her son keeps a few sheep in her pasture to qualify for the “green space” tax exemption. These sheep are mostly scenery, but they still require shearing once or twice a year. For many years now, they have given me the wool.
Spring shearing happens during the difficult final months of the school year, so a new load feels like a promise of summer with ample time to wash, dry, comb, and spin the wool. I currently have two large garbage bags of raw wool inside my porch. It smells like sheep and kind of like horses. (They may share pasture and barn space.) Most people think it stinks. For me, that is the smell of childhood and creativity.
Next week’s blog entry will tell more about the process of turning dirty wool into a clean project. This week’s knitting is a thank-you gift for my neighborhood angels.
The current sheep are white Icelandic, so I am learning the potential of that type of fleece. I used my favorite doll pattern to make these angels. Fortunately, I had a bag of brown Icelandic fleece in my stash, so the angels are entirely Icelandic except for their shiny synthetic halos and messy Shetland hair.
Icelandic is supposed to be perfect for felting, so I put all the pieces into a hot/cold heavy-duty washer load. They shrank by about a third, but more importantly, they took on a more finished look and and a nice fuzzy halo. (That’s the official word for fuzz on yarn and wool.)
My angel family has Dutch ancestry and many beautiful blondes, so the blonde angels are for them. The grey and brunette angels are available in my shop. (Many of the angels throughout my life have grey hair, I bet yours do too.)