Biddy and Griselle, Two Romneys, Come To Bedlam Farm

August 22nd, 2016

Jon got the phone call from Donna that she and Treasure needed help getting the sheep into her car.  Not just one, but two Romneys, from the same flock that Izzy and Rosemary came from.

Surprisingly it was Jon’s idea.  He can’t get over Rosemary’s wool.   And he just couldn’t pass up the idea of having more of that beautiful Romney wool on the farm.

He suggested we give some of our other sheep away to make room for the two new ones, but I’m not open to that idea.  So we compromised and are keeping them all.

Donna rescued the four ewes and a ram named Samson (who also has incredible wool).  When she first told me about them I was sure we’d only take one.  But she couldn’t keep them all (Donna and Treasure raise goats) and I know I’ll be able to sell their wool.  I’ll probably mix it with our Border Leicester and Cheviot wool.  In the right combinations it will be softer and stronger.

When we got to Donna’s the  three sheep were running along the outside of the fence.  I’m always amazed watching Jon and Red work together especially in situations like this was.

At one point the sheep started running down the driveway.  That freaked me, just a little, and I ran to see if I could help.  But Jon and Red had it under control.   Red got behind the sheep and walked them up the driveway, away from the road.

Red got trampled more than once and always got right back at it.  And Jon stayed calm the whole time.  Giving Red commands and trusting it would work out.

Part of it is knowing sheep and how they’ll behave.   Jon always has a strategy going into a situation like this.  He knows, if all else fails, the sheep will, most likely, get tired at some point  and run back to the safety of their barn.

So now we have two more Romneys.  Griselle and Biddy.   Biddy has a black and white face and soft brown wool and Griselle, who is Izzy’s mother, has silver wool.

Biddy and Griselle

Biddy and Griselle

Potholders, From Idaho to Tanzania

August 22nd, 2016
Photo by Dahn Gandell

Photo by Dahn Gandell

Dahn Gandell has been giving the  potholders  she bought from me to her friends in Tanzania where she’s working on the Mgondo Water Project.    I don’t know this woman’s name, but Dahn posted her photo and a few other photos on her facebook page.  It thrills me to see them.

Before this potholder went to Africa, Kenna, who designs quilts, saw it on my blog.   She often sends me fabric and that red triangle in the this potholder was one of the scraps she sent me.

Kenna emailed me a photo of the quilt she made using those red triangles.  I love the idea that the red triangle went  from Idaho to New York to Tanzania.  From Kenna to me to Dahn to the woman in the photo.

I also couldn’t help noticing how Kenna’s quilt is reminiscent of an African textile design.

You can see more photo’s from Dahn’s trip to and her work in  Tanzania here.

Kenna Ogg's Quilt

Kenna Ogg’s Quilt


Bedlam Farm Tote Bag For Sale

August 22nd, 2016

tote 2

This is it, the last tote bag in my first series of Bedlam Farm Totes.  I’m waiting for a new shipment of tote bags to come in.  They’re coming from the socially responsible company EcoBags.

The first totes I got were given to me, so I was able to sell them for $40.

When I get my EcoBags, I’ll have to charge more to cover the price of the tote. They are bigger and I know the people who are making them are earning a fair wage and working in good conditions so I feel it’s worth the price.   I think they’ll be about $8 more.

So the tote bag pictured above is the last Bedlam Farm Tote. It’s sold.   It’s  $40 + $8 shipping.  If you’re interested in it, just email me at  I take checks and paypal.

Good Monday Morning From Bedlam Farm 8/22/16

August 22nd, 2016

We may be getting the rest of Izzy and Rosemary’s flock today.  Two more Romney’s Biddy and Giselle. I’ve never seen Jon so drawn to sheep before, but these Romney’s have put a spell on him.

A Day Of Gratitude

August 21st, 2016
One of my latest Potholders

One of my latest Potholders

When Jon suggested we have a day of Gratitude I was all for it.

It seemed like a good way for me to come to terms with all that has happened in the last week since I decided to go to India.  The support for my trip both emotionally and financially has been overwhelming (in a good way).

And I can feel the importance of it all, but am still having a hard time wrapping my head around it.

Then I picked up Martha Nussbaum’s  book Creating Capabilities.  In it she tells the story of Visanti,  a woman from Gujarati, India.  How she left her abusive husband,  was expected to be taken care of my her siblings but instead, got a loan from an organization called SEWA and  bought a sewing machine so she could earn her own money.

And it wasn’t just them money from SEWA, but the friends she made through the organization and how it opened her up to a new way of thinking about herself.

Women are often taught to be dependent on their families; husbands, children, and siblings.

I was one of them.

I didn’t experience Visanti’s  financial poverty or physical abuse, but I did share her  poverty of spirit  and belief in dependence, which is its own form imprisonment. I had no faith in my own capabilities, my ability to make decisions or take care of myself.

So while I had control over my own body, my mind was locked in a belief system that kept me from knowing and living, my true nature.

Like Visanti, I found a way to free myself.  For me it came through my art.

And from finding people like Jon who could see who I really was and encouraged me to be that person.  And from getting help and  working to change my beliefs about myself and the world around me.

My potholders were an integral part of the process.

The intuitive way I make my potholders and quilts helped me understand that I can and do make good decisions. And take care of myself.

Because there are no rules to follow, no right or wrong,  except what I decide.

The responsibility of whether my work is a success or failure lay completely on me.

By creating my own work, making my own decisions, fulfilling my own capabilities,   I came to see what I was actually able to do.  When I started selling my quilts and potholders and people bought them, my confidence continued to grow.  It is still growing.

This is why I can relate to the girls and women in Kolkata.  Women who come from a very different place and culture and  have experienced horrors beyond my imagination.  I don’t know what it’s like to be them, but I do know the humiliation and degradation that can come with being dependent.

So I’m grateful for this opportunity to share what I’ve learned with the women I’ll meet.  And to learn from them what they know and I don’t.  I’m grateful to Dahn Gandell for opening the door when I knocked on it, and for welcoming me into her world.

And to Jon, for his encouragement, and enthusiasm, and his writing which helped me raise the money for the trip.  I thank  everyone who has supported me with money and their kind words.

This is not a day to think about what needs to be done, but a day to sit and appreciate all the good that has come my way.  And allow it to settle over me, sink in and expand my heart.

To forever expand my capabilities, and to do everything I can to help other women create theirs.

My Potholders in Tanzania

August 21st, 2016

potholders in Tanzania

Dahn Gandell has been handing out the potholders she bought from me last week to her friends in Tanzania.  She posted a few photos on facebook.  I can’t stop smiling, just looking that them.

Photo by Dahn Gandell

Photo by Dahn Gandell


August 19th, 2016

4 potholdders

Ruth made me an offer.  She would buy four of my potholder for $35 each as a donation to my trip to India.   I couldn’t resist.  “I like the ones with the cats and hens” she wrote.

So today I made her two potholders I’ve made before and came up with two new ones.  All with Minnie and Flo and the hens on the back porch.

The last one I made was the one with the “Heal” sign.   It hangs right under the “Books’ sign on the wall behind the wooden crate the cats sit in.

Seeing  the different animals, living peacefully together, is always healing to me.

Thank You All, For Making My Trip To India Possible

August 19th, 2016

making potholders

It’ just over a week since Dahn asked me to go to Kokata, India to teach the women there, who are victims of sex trafficking, to sew potholders.  And  today, between paypal, the mail and Indiegogo, I’ve received the $6000. that I asked for to make the trip to India possible for me.

I am stunned and awed by it all.  The outpouring of support has had me in tears on and off for days.  Jon has been writing about it more than I have.  He’s so much  quicker at the keyboard than I am and while he and I have been talking this all through, I haven’t had a chance to write about it much.  Not about the impact it’s already had on me.  I’ll get to it, it just takes me longer to understand what I’m feeling and then be able to put it into words.

But Jon did write about many of the things we’ve been talking about and he wrote about it beautifully (as he does)  this morning. You can read it here.

For me, for now, I would like to thank all the generous people who have supported my trip to India.  Not only with money, but with your thoughtful and encouraging  messages.

I’m going to keep my Indiegogo campaign, Using Art to Help Sex Workers In India running so people can continue to contribute if they want to.  Any money I receive, above the money I need for my expenses for the trip, I will use in the best way possible to donate to the women I’ll be working with in Kolkata.  Whether it goes to supplies for their work or to a project I come across while I’m there that seems worthy or to individuals in need.  I’ll be working on all of this with Dahn Gandell, who helped found the project and has experience in what is most needed and how the money can best be used.

And, of course,  I’ll keep you all updated on what’s happening every step of the way.

So thank you all, again, so very much.


Jon’s Portrait Exhibit at the Round House Cafe

August 18th, 2016
Jon's photo of Ashley.

Jon’s portrait of Ashley.

Jon likes to joke that he’s getting special treatment when it comes to his portrait show at the Round House Cafe, because he’s sleeping with the curator.  And since I’m the curator,  maybe there’s some truth to that.  But it’s hard to tell because I love Jon’s photos for the show so much.  So even if we weren’t sleeping together, I’d want to help him get his photos up on the wall of the cafe.

I used to work at a museum and have done a lot of art handling over the years.  And I worked in a frame shop for about seven years.  Being an artist along with all of this, I know a lot about many sides of the art world.

Hanging an exhibit in a public space, like a cafe is almost always fun.  It doesn’t have the attitude that can come with some galleries and museums.  Also, the art is accessible to more people who aren’t  necessarily used to seeing art.

I’ve been planning Jon’s show since he decided to do it a couple of months ago.  Our friend, the photographer,  George Forss is printing up the last few photos.  On Monday I picked up the 25 readymade frames we got on sale at JoAnn Fabric and yesterday the mattes were delivered.

So, now comes the really fun part, I get to put it all together.    I know we have too many photos so we’ll have to do more editing.   I’m planning on laying them all out on the dining room table to get a sense of what we have and what will work best together.  Editing is about choosing the best photos but when they’re all so good it, it also becomes about which ones will work best together in the exhibit.

The exhibit will the first week of September and will be at the Round House Cafe during  the Bedlam Farm Open House Columbus Day weekend, October 7th-8th.  So if you’re planning on coming to the Open House, you can see them all in person.  If not, I’ll be taking some videos of the exhibit so you can see them on my blog.

For the most part I  enjoyed framing pictures when I did it for a living.  But framing  art that I have a personal connection to is like taking good care of something precious.

I’m so excited to see all of Jon’s portraits framed and together.  They each stand on their own, but seeing them in context with each other, I know,will be a powerful experience.   And I’m not just saying that because I’m sleeping with the artist.


Almost There, Only $700 more to make $2000 Grant Goal

August 18th, 2016

Dahn Gandell, my friend and  minister who I’ll be traveling with in India sent me the video above. It’s one of the many projects she’s involved in in India.  I hope to visit it when I’m there with her in February.

This morning, between paypal and Indigogo we’ve raised $1300 for my trip to India.   That’s means we’re more than half way to the goal of $2000 which will insure the grant of an extra $1000 from an anonymous donor.

The title of my Indigogo is Using Art to Help Sex Worker in India and you can read more about it here.

Thank you so much everyone!