Teabag Wisdom

January 20th, 2017


It always makes me happy when I get this message on my teabag.   Thought I’d share it with you.

Kolkata Diary. The Journey Before The Journey

January 19th, 2017


My Bailing Twine Chair today.

I sat in my studio, a pile of bailing twine on the floor next to me.  The broken old chair I started wrapping it around a few weeks ago  was in front of me.   I  loosely wove the bailing twine through the strands that were there from the last time I worked on the chair.  I braided the long ends that hung off of the seat.

It was all I could do.

The day before I had another opportunity to practice surrendering.  Now I was embodying it.

After all the confusion with flights, cancellations and rescheduling for my trip to India, I thought I had put my expectations aside.  Trusting it would all work out in ways I couldn’t imagine

But there were still some things I wanted to know.

I received our updated  itinerary which has trips to The Women’s Interlink Foundation, Puresa Humanitarian, Nijuoly House and markets where survivors from the sex trade sell their creations.  We’ll also visit the Red Light District.  This, Dahn told me was the most uncomfortable place for her to see because she could sense the desperation.

We’ll be meeting the girls and women who live and work in all these places and learning about their lives and what the foundations are doing for them.  The afternoons will be ours to spend any way we please.  The last day of the trip we fly to Udiapur, to relax and restore in the countryside and breathe the fresh air.

There are also yoga classes every morning and restorative poses at the end of each day.

I figured I’d be teaching the girls and women to make potholders on those afternoons I have free.  I asked Dahn if she had any sense of this.  I was still trying to have a bit of control, or at least knowing about this part of the trip.  But Dahn told me that she found when she travels to India and Africa, you can’t plan such things.  They happen when they do and when they’re supposed to.

Right, I thought again, let go…let go.

Then something else happened that I didn’t expect.  I’m going to have my own room.

When I first signed up for the trip I was planning on sharing a room  because it was less expensive even though  I would have preferred my own room.  I’m used to spending a lot of time alone.  It’s my alone time in my studio creating,  that helps keep me grounded and sane from day to day.  I’m thinking my writing and drawing (along with the daily yoga)  will help do the same during the trip.

Somehow, when the visit to the Taj Mahal was cancelled, and because  there was a reduction in the price of the overall trip after I paid for it, the group that made the plans, gave  me my own room.

It was so unexpected, yet somehow, after everything else that happened, not surprising.

As Dahn keeps telling me, everything works out as it supposed to.

So  two days ago, I sat in my studio, weaving and braiding bailing twine.  And with each strand I breathed in surrender and letting go.  Instead of worrying how and when I would teach, I imagined me working with  a bunch of girls and women, exchanging ideas, creating together.

In the quiet of my studio as the fibers from the bailing twine filtered through the space, my hands moved automatically, weaving and braiding.  And mind became still.   With each strand, no longer just ideas,  I let surrender, letting go and allowing settle into my body.

A Video Of Me Making “Suzy And The Hen” Potholders

January 18th, 2017

I wanted to show how I made my “Suzy and The Hen” Potholders.  So Jon helped me make a video explaining the process and I demonstrated how I sew part of the image of Suzy on the potholder.  I just did her face for the video and bigger than usual so you could see how I draw with my sewing machine.

“Suzy and The Hen” Potholders For Sale

January 18th, 2017


“Suzy and The Hen” potholder. Stitched on Vintage Linen Napkin.

It started  when I went into the barnyard a few weeks ago and there was the gray hen standing on Suzy’s back.  I was actually quick enough to get a picture before the gray hen jumped off.

Since then I’ve been thinking of a Suzy and Hen potholder.

Last week I started making the drawings for it.  This is how it went….

I made a bunch of drawings.  Every day I’d do a few more, till I got comfortable drawing Suzy’s face and body.  Till it became second-nature.

Then I waited till I felt like I wanted to try it on my sewing machine.  That happened this morning.

I did a few practice drawings using my sewing machine, getting the colors right.  I decided to stitch them on Vintage  linen napkins that I have a large supply of.  You can see some of the pattern of the napkin in the potholder.

I found it didn’t take long to feel comfortable and confident enough to start making the finished potholders.  I stitch each potholder individually, so they’re all slightly different.

I’ll be making 20 Suzy and The Hen Potholders.  I should have them all done late next week.  They’re $25 each + $5 shipping.  If you’d like one you can email me here at maria@fullmoonfiberart.com.  I take checks and paypal.

The photo of Suzy and the Hen that inspired my potholders

Solstice Quilt And Wool Batting

January 17th, 2017


This is the first time I’ve used high-loft wool batting in a quilt.  Ellen, who is buying my Solstice quilt requested it.  I got the batting from St Peter Woolen Mill in Minnesota.

It was kind of like working with cotton candy, except it isn’t sticky.  All that fluff just disappears when you pass it under the foot of the sewing machine.

It was a little slower going, but not difficult to work with.  I put the ties closer together, about 5 inches apart.  It sure is fluffy and light.  Almost feels like it want’s to stand up on its own.  I like the way the fabric puffs up around the ties.

The wool batting is more expensive than the cotton batting and the quilt can’t be washed or dried in a machine,  but I’d be willing to use it again if someone wanted it.  It gives the quilt a very different look and  feel.

The back of the quilt before I tied the yarn.

High Loft Wool Batting


Walking Our Power

January 17th, 2017


Jon and I are participating in the Women’s March On Washington this Saturday.  But we’re not going to Washington.   There are marches going on in cities and towns all over the country.  We’re joining a Sister March in our neighboring town of Glens Falls.

And I am excited about it.

I actually love the idea of the small marches going on around the country in conjunction with the March on Washington.  For me it reinforces the idea of the power of the individual and that our everyday actions, no matter how small they may seem, do make a difference.

It’s also a way to join with like-minded people and make a stand for what we believe in.  I have no doubt there will be many messages being put forth on Saturday, and some of them will be mine and some of them won’t.

For me it’s about  coming together to protest the divisive, hurtful and angry tenor that Donald Trump has brought to the Presidency.  By marching on Saturday I am saying that these are not my values.

I’ll also be there as a woman protecting my bodily rights (the Glens Falls march starts at Planned Parenthood, an institution I’m personally grateful for)  and sense of self in the sexist climate that has surfaced with Trump’s presidency.

I don’t imagine there will be too many people walking the mile or so through Glens Falls.  But it doesn’t matter how many people we walk with, because I know, we’re really walking with everyone else all over the country who are doing the same.

That feels very powerful to me and I want to be a part of it.

Bedlam Farm Back Porch

January 16th, 2017

Flo getting some sun, sandwiched between my Bailing Twine Chair and Ed Gulley’s Mr. Blockhead, on the back porch.

Pre-Order Jon’s New Book at Battenkill Books and Win A Bedlam Farm Tote Bag

January 16th, 2017

The two remaining Bedlam Farm Tote Bags Connie is giving away

Connie at Battenkill Books still has two of my Bedlam Farm Tote Bags that she’s giving away with the pre-order of Jon’s new book Talking to Animals.   One for the month of January and one for February.

The last two winners are Ann from Honolulu, Hawaii and Ruth from Ridgefield Connecticut.

Anyone who pre-orders Jon’s new book Talking To Animals,  from Battenkill Books, will have a chance to win one of my Bedlam Farm Tote Bags pictured above.

Each of my  Tote Bags has one of my  original drawings on it.

You can pre-order  Talking to Animals by calling Connie at (518) 677-2515 or click here to place an order on  their website Battenkillbooks.com.






Good Monday Morning From Bedlam Farm 1/16/17

January 16th, 2017

Kolkata Diary. Faith and The Second Arrow

January 15th, 2017


My Passport, with Fate’s chew marks in the corner.

When Jon told me I was acting like a guy I knew it was time to ask for help.

It was Friday evening and I was on hold  with someone from the travel insurance I’d taken out for my trip to India.  I was trying to find out if the insurance covered me  cancelling  my flight.

I wasn’t trying to cancel my trip to India, there were some complications with the itinerary that I had just become aware of.

I’m traveling with a group called The Village Experience and their original itinerary included a trip to the Taj Mahal on February 25th. I was under the impression that the travel plans I paid for included transport back to the airport in Kolkata at the end of the trip.   As early as October I got round trip tickets landing and leaving from Kolkata Airport.  It seemed an easy flight with only one layover in Dubai and the tickets cost  about $1000.  I thought I was all set.

On Friday I learned, that because of a lack of interest in visiting the Taj Mahal ,the trip there had been cancelled.  That left me in India a day longer than everyone else.  That wasn’t a problem, the group could easily arrange for me to stay one more day and reimburse me for the money I laid out for the trip to the Taj Mahal.

The problem was I now found out I needed to either change my flight home or arrange for a flight from Udiapur to Kolkata.

Writing this now, that doesn’t seem like such a big deal, but Friday evening, after looking into my options, I began to freak out.

I couldn’t change just my flight home. I’d have to cancel my whole flight, which would cost $450 then get a new flight.  When I looked into new flights, they either cost thousands of dollars or had at least three long layovers.  And they still cost more than my original  flight.

So I went online looking for flights from Udiapur to Kolkata.  But this was more complicated than I thought.  I had no idea which airlines were reputable and the flights, once again had long layovers. Some of them taking two days of travel.

For the third time Jon told me to call Dahn.  She had made this trip so many times, she could help.

The real question is why did I resist?  Why did I have such a hard time asking for help.

I sat on the couch, my computer in my lap, my phone at my side, looking at all my options, getting more and more upset.  I knew I could figure it all out, I wanted to fix it myself.  I didn’t want to admit how upset I really was.  I kept thinking how I had it all figured out, how good I felt about getting the plane tickets early and inexpensively.  I thought that part was all behind me and now it was all wrong.

Looking back I can see what happened.

It’s what Thich Nhat Hanh in his book No Mud, No Lotus calls “the second arrow”.  This is the Buddhist teaching that says when something  goes wrong in our lives, that’s the first arrow.  “…you will feel pain in the part of  your body that the arrow hit…”  ” The second arrow, fired by ourselves, is our reaction, our storyline, our anxiety.”

My second arrow took the form of judgement and anxiety.  I couldn’t get off the idea that I hadn’t understood  the itinerary and that the trip didn’t include a flight back to Kolkata.  And it was my feeling of failure that kept me from wanting to ask for help.  I had failed to understand the itinerary, it was my fault, I was wrong. And I was frightened. If I had messed it up, could I fix it?

I didn’t want to admit that I was upset about it either.  Not even to myself.

All of this added to my inability to think clearly and deal with the real problem which wasn’t that I was stupid and incompetent, but that I needed to know which airlines were best to get from Udaipur to Kolkata.

So when Jon told me I was acting like a guy, (one of the greatest insults a person can hurl at me)  by not wanting to ask for help, it finally sunk in.  Still caught up in my anxiety, I waited a few minutes then called Dahn.

Dahn yelled “Oh my God!” when I told her about the cancelled trip to the Taj Mahal.  Then she commiserated with me when I told her about my mistake. She said she had done the same thing once.

It wasn’t just that Dahn was understanding, and told me the airline to fly on.

Dahn’s reaction was so genuine, and went from acknowledging feeling, right to wanting to help make it right. I saw it was the opposite of what I was doing, which was hiding the feeling rather than just making things right.

I was trying to hide what was I was feeling, which was shame and fear. I was false.

Dahn, who is a minister and yoga instructor, is  boisterous and loud and excitable. She laughs a lot.  She didn’t seem to think I was stupid or incompetent. Talking to her pulled me out of myself.

I think the simple act of reaching out helped me dislodge that second arrow.

When I got off the phone with Dahn, I made reservations on Jet Airways to take me from Udiapur to Kolkata.  It was easy, it took a couple of minutes.

I looked down at Fate lying in the floor next to me.  She was holding my passport between her paws chewing on it.    Luckily she had just begun. Life almost happened again.   I took the passport out of her mouth and thought about that joke about  making God laugh by making plans.

Dahn has a lot of faith.

I don’t have that kind of faith, I have to figure things out differently. I feel I have to go to myself and trust my decisions, and if I’m wrong, deal with them the best I can.  God doesn’t come into it for me.

Dahn believes whatever happens we’ll figure it out and if not, it wasn’t meant to be.

All of this is making me think about my own ideas about faith.  How to deal with what’s handed to me and not firing the second arrow?

Rather than beat up on myself for getting it wrong or feeling frightened,  next time I hope to just deal with the problem, try to fix it and accept it if I can’t.

Being human is nothing to be ashamed of.