Saturday, November 22, 2014

The craft of selling and storytelling

My sisters and I were brought up to be storytellers.  Makers of creative messes, of good food, of comfortable homes, but above all else- we can all craft a good story.

My dad would tell you it comes from him.  My goodness, can Mayor Gary get his shine on when he has an audience!!!  I remember when he used to be the Artist in Residence at a local museum how people would come from all over, not only to watch him carve decoys, but to hear his stories- about Atlanic White Cedar, South Jersey, his grandpop, the old Piney ways.  I'm not sure what bits were true (and I don't know if he knows either), but it doesn't really matter.  When people walk away from him, they have been entertained.  Their lives are richer for having his story become theirs.

My mother, on the other hand, is a different kind of story teller.  She is a good listener of others' stories, and as she listens, she weaves parts of her story into yours, mirroring herself in commonalities, and interjecting bits of Godly wisdom throughout... so that when you're finished talking, you're not quite sure where your story ends and hers begins.  And people's lives are richer for having heard her words.

I love making, I love selling, but more than anything else, starting my own business has given me the platform to become a story teller.  Because when people choose to buy something handmade, yes, they care about the product, but most importantly, they are purchasing a piece of your story that they can now tell others.  

It is amazing how bits of colored wool when strung on twine can tell a tale, but they do- of walks in the woods, of colors on the beach, of a sighting of a rainbow, of cool winters.  They bring to mind songs, and books, and movies.  They tie together pieces of room that are filled with color--all in one place.     

And having colors made from wool...well, that just brings on a story of its own.  About sheep, about fiber, about filling your home with elements that come from nature.   

And then of course if you've been following my instagram, you know this little guy.  Felton has become quite the important member of my team.  He lets me show off what I'm doing in my workshop in a fun and creative story-telling kind of way. 

Nothing excites me more than when people invite my products to become a piece of their home and their story that they want to share with their family.

I sell a lot of garlands to people who want them for birthday parties, or to jazz up their office cubicle, or to hang in their living room or mantle or Christmas tree, but nesting mamas are my FAVORITE customers.  I can connect so strongly to expecting mamas who want to put together a room that will bless their babies.  There is something so innately deep within us that longs to surround our children with beauty when they arrive into this world, and the fact that I get to be a part of that process, just butters my bread like nothing else.

Here are a few of the lovely photos that customers have shared with me:

Photo credit:

Photo credit:  @iskarzhinets on Instagram

This garland got here just in time for when baby E got home from the hospital.  Doesn't it just hurt your guts its so cute??!?!  *Note the sheep ornament on the mirror.  :) 

 Do I or do I not have the best job in the entire world??? I get to stay home with my family while at the same time connect with people all over the world who choose to fill their home with things that have come from makers and story tellers.

I'm having one of those "my life is grand and I need to talk about it" kind of days.  Now back to stringing wool felt balls..... 

P.S. If you have a Little Sheep Felt Ball Garland and would like to share its story, please tag us in your instagram photo with @sheepfarmfelt or share it on our facebook page.  

And here's a link to our etsy shop in case you want your own Little Sheep Garland!  

Friday, October 17, 2014

Meet 2 new members of the Sheep Farm Felt team!

If you have been following our newest products listed on our Etsy site, you may have noticed a new member of our team popping up now and again.

I would like to formally introduce you all to Felton (name suggested by Lisa....THANK YOU!!!):

I would love to say that I selected him out of a vast array of our stuffed animal collection, but he just happened to be on Molly's bed one day when I was using it for a photo shoot.   The fact that he is just perfect for his new position is serendipitous.

I love that his feet look like little wet felted balls, he has some color, but is neutral enough to not be distracting from my garlands, and he has the sweetest little expression on his face.  It also happens to be one of the few stuffed animals that we have that belonged to our sweet Josiah.  (If you don't know the long story of Josiah....he was our foster son who lived with us for the first 22 months of his life.  He has since been adopted by his grandparents.  I sent most of his toys along with him to his forever home, but I kept this one because it was special to me, and Molly has a matching one that was given to them by their Aunt Sheree.)  I just love that I have a piece of Josiah still left in our home, and the fact that I get to play around with his little toy almost everyday makes my heart happy.   

I've also found that Felton is quite the cooperative little guy for wearing costumes.  Girly costumes, superhero costumes, silly costumes...he doesn't seem to mind.  And I happen just to love making them for him to match the themes of my its a win win.....   

As a fun little campaign for my shop,  I am taking daily photos of him on Instagram.  Which leads me to the introduction of my other NEW MEMBER!  

I've known for a while that I wanted to be on Instagram and be able to share photos of sample colors with my clients without the whole process of take photo with photo....edit photo....send photo.  I am not much of a technology snob (I have a trac phone that isn't even charged half the time.)    I didn't really need a smart phone (nor do I deserve one with my track record of knowing where it is, keeping it charged, and knowing where the charger is, etc.)  This is my first ianything.  My ipod touch 5th generation.  I don't have a name for it yet...maybe you can suggest one!  

I love it so much for business, and I'll tell you why:  

1- It is connects to the internet Wifi which means I don't need to buy a $50 a month cell phone plan...because honestly, I'm home most of the time (or atleast somewhere with Wifi.)  

2- While I'm not much of a smart phone person, I know that my clients are (most purchases are through the etsy app, not the website.) I wanted to be able to know what my site looks like on an isomething.

3- 5 megapixel camera...while I still haven't been able to master the cell phone camera as much as the DSLR, I am having fun with it- on Instagram, and just being able to photos throughout the day.  

4- THE ETSY APP.  Oh MY GOODNESS.  The world of Apps is amazing (hello, 2009)  and the etsy app has helped me to be a better Mom and artist in the studio.  I can finally stop running back and forth to my computer all day to check my stats.  Because the app has notifications, I can hear when someone has messaged me or if I've made a sale.  (The sale sound is a loud CHA-CHING and I'm like pavlov's dog when I hear it.  It makes me extrememly happy.)  I'm so thankful I can still be a good business woman and get back to my clients right away to answer their questions- without having to tell my kids, "WAIT...I just have to go check etsy really fast..."  

If you would like to follow Felton's adventures on istagram, my instagram is:  

I would also LOVE for you to share any photos you may have of my products with the hashtag:  #sheepfarmfelt

Thank you, friends, for following my crazy adventure as an etsy entrepreneur, and for all being so sweet and supportive.  :)  

Hi, I'm Felton, and I like warm hugs!

 You can see my Etsy shop HERE. 


Friday, October 3, 2014

Swan Bay is proud to THINK PINK in October

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and we are offering a special Pink Wool Felt Ball Garland in our Etsy Shop for the occasion. All profits will go to support Amy's friend, Sarah, a 34 year old wife and mother, who is currently battling breast cancer.  Let's THINK PINK and send Sarah some wooly love (and get a beautiful garland to decorate your home!)  

A pink garland is great for a Valentine's Day decoration, for a little girl's room or nursery, a baby shower gift, or to give to a loved one as a visual reminder to give themselves a monthly exam!  
To read more about Sarah's story or to donate to her family directly CLICK HERE.  

Niki is also raising funds for this project! Come make a basket at Swan Bay and if you use PINK ACCENTS woven into your basket, some of the proceeds will also go to support Sarah's battle as well! 

CLICK HERE to see Niki's basket schedule. 

We are sending love and prayers to you, Sarah!  <3  

From Sarah's GIVE FORWARD page:  
 Sarah Walker is the one of the most caring, compassionate, and loving individuals in the history of humanity as we know it. She works hard, doesn't take short cuts, and just does things the right way. So it is unbelievably unfair that she finds herself being diagnosed with Breast Cancer at age 34. 

She has no history of this in her family, so it was a huge surprise to find out the horrible news. She was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (Her2+, ER+) on August 12, 2014, (the day before Elliott's 13th birthday, boooo!) 

She is starting her Chemotherapy on September 10th and will start her journey to recovery. She will have 18 weeks of Chemo, 34 weeks of treatment for the Her2+, followed by surgery in January sometime. We are VERY confident that she will beat this and come out an even stronger woman. The dilemma, unfortunately, is the unexpected costs this will bring. 

From medical bills, medicine, therapy, professional housecleaning, transportation costs, and many, many more that will pop up unexpectedly. We will need help. We are asking for anything you can help out with. You have know idea how much it will mean to Sarah and our family. We need to focus on positivity, and healing through this long year ahead of us. 

Not having to worry about the financial portion of it, would be more mean so much to us. Thank you in advance for anything you can give, we LOVE you all!

  Thank you, friends!  :) 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

My Etsy Journey.....Market I found a customer...

I wish I would have been blogging about this crazy Etsy journey I've been on this whole time, but last January, when something so small started stirring, I had no idea it would turn into THIS.  It was just a way to keep my hands busy while my mind was numb with tiredness and heart was aching from post-partum baby blues.  It was a way to thrust myself into creativity, while making a few extra dollars so I could tell myself that I was contributing to our house in other ways than feed the kids, bathe the kids, dress the kids, repeat. In the past 9 months, it has gone from a fun little hobby of dabbing into making and selling my wares... to making a legitimate 2nd income for my family.  (I'm up to 120 sales and have sold to seven different countries!)  I really am in shock with God has used this to bless us!!!!    

I tell myself that  someday I will return to my first love of portraiture, but it is quite impossible these days with kids who like to get into my art supplies, and let's be honest....not a TON of mental capacity at the end of a day.  I'm loving this new phase of life as mommy, wife, and "craftsman."  I've managed to carve out a sweet little niche in the Etsy market, and I love every single component to it- from packaging to market research, designing thank you cards and logos for my products, finding ways to streamline production time, photography, writing descriptions, emailing clients, making spreadsheets and collages on picmonkey, brainstorming about new products, and learning the ropes of social media for promotion.  It may not be putting pencil to drawing paper, but it all feels like an artform to me. 

I just wanted a place to gather my thoughts and retrace my steps a bit (for future me) and maybe for anyone else who is thinking about diving into the world of Etsy and selling their own hand made creations.   So let me backtrack a bit and tell you some lessons that I've learned along the way...

Last January, while the ball was dropping, something was hatching.  I found a shop on Etsy that sold wool felt ball garlands- little bits of color all strung up and hung on walls.  They were so happy, so filled with joy, and made from the best natural fiber in the world.  The idea of making something colorful and fun out of wool seemed intriguing to me.

"I could make that," I thought, "and I can do it better."  No one on Etsy had wool felt balls made from their own sheep's wool. It seemed like the perfect idea to market to people who liked the whole "farm to table" movement.  A way to decorate your home using something natural, beautiful, fun, colorful, AND a way to help my mom fund her sheep a little bit.  So I began felting like a mad woman. 

Rolling, rolling, rolling, felting, felting, felting while my littles slept at night and Justin and I watched episode after episode of Parks and Rec, and going back and forth to the homestead to pick up more wool.     

I would try to take the best photos I knew how while my two littles' naps overlapped for about 30 minutes in the afternoon.  It was the middle of a very, long, cold winter, and the only spot that had any good light at all was a corner of my living room at about 3-4:00 in the afternoon when the late afternoon sun streamed in through a window.

I did a search on pinterest and found that the most common color combination of nursery colors was gray, yellow, and white, so I started with this one:


And the orders started to come.  Three orders my first month, 2 my second, 4 my third.  I was ecstatic.  People actually wanted to buy something that I was making.

It became a challenge to see if I could out do myself the following month.

I researched.  And through research from other Etsy sellers, I found that you're not supposed to sell to the masses.  You're supposed to sell to a person.  I didn't think that I was very much like the person I was selling to (I'm not the kind of person that has "garland money" laying around), so I knew I needed to do more research.  I wanted to find who would want to buy my garlands...find her, meet her, know her.  Learn what she ate, what she wore, what her values were, what her kids were like, and what colors she painted the rooms of her house.   I opened up a few magazines that I thought "she" would read, and wrote down all of the buzz words that kept repeating.   It was my "dream magazine" that if I could choose one who would write a feature article on me someday, it would be this one.  So I thought it was a good place to start. 

Natural.  Joy.  Color.  Clean. Organic. Raw. Vintage. Fair Trade. Farm. Friendship. Fiber. Home cooked. Handmade. 

She doesn't have a lot of "stuff" cluttering her house.  But what she does have, she absolutely treasures, and she's willing to spend money for it.  She would rather spend a good amount of money on something she LOVES than spend a little amount of money on something she LIKES. (In other words, she assigns more value to something that she has to sacrifice for....she is more likely to buy a garland for $20 than she would be for $10.  The SAME garland.  Aren't people funny?)          

I stared to write my descriptions of my items, not to everyone, but to we were talking about what I was selling in my living room over a cup of tea.  ("She" loves to chat over tea, because she is awesome like that.)  And being that Esty is a global market, my customer could live ANYWHERE.  As long as I could find her, I could sell to something to her.  And before I could find her, I needed to understand her and what she valued.  

And my sales sky the point of not being able to keep up with them.  Special orders were starting to pour in asking for "mint" and "pale pink." I had to turn orders away because I just didn't have the colors they wanted, and my stockpile of wool was quickly depleting.  I guessed it...some more see how other shops who sold what I sold were doing it.

 I became discouraged.  Other shops were blazing past me in sales, and I didn't feel like their shops were nearly as cool as mine.  :)  No one else had a sheep farm and loved wool and had a passion for felting like I did.  They *gasp* outsourced.  They BOUGHT their wool felt balls from Nepal.  "Those lousy cheaters!" I thought.  But their colors they offered felt like they owned a candy shop and I was uber jealous that they were able to create such beautiful products for their customers with so many variations.

So, I did what anyone would do.  I went and I bought a garland from one of my competitors to check it out up close.  And it was spectacular.  The felt balls were so round and perfect and the colors so vibrant.  It was way better than mine.  It forced me to my first hard business decision that every artist comes to.  It was the old product vs. process dilemma.

Here I was spending countless hours making my product, and not being able to keep up.  It came to this question that was so eloquently stated by my dad, "Do you want to make balls?  Or do you want to make money?"

"Both." I said.  But if I outsourced making some of my product, it would free up time and energy for more things, bigger things, better things.  More colors, the ability to felt mobiles, and necklaces, and little felted creatures...  I took the dive and re-invested every dime I had made into purchasing my very own candy shop  wool felt ball collection.

It was the very best decision I could have made.  And I didn't feel an ounce guilty about it.  It was supporting craftswomen in a fair trade market, giving me the ability to offer more colors and a better product.  And each order would have a thank you gift- a needle felted sheep ornament that would still tie people to our farm.        


Now that I knew the market I wanted to target and had the supplies to give her everything "she" wanted quickly... I really was motivated to find her.  I had to catch her eye, then her heart, then her mind, then her wallet.  In that order, or I wouldn't get the sale.    

My 1st color chart
My current color chart.  See?  It is like a candy shop, right?

Sorry this was so long.  I'm not sure this is very interesting to anyone else but me. :)  But I think it is important to look back and be thankful and share lessons I've learned along the way.  Hopefully this has been helpful to someone!

Thank you to everyone (especially my amazingly patient husband) who has been so supportive along this crazy journey!


Here's a link to the shop if you want to take a look! 


Monday, February 3, 2014

Snowy Day Energy Busters for your Littles- Valentine's Day Edition

Last December, I made a little playlist with Christmas themed activities to help us shake out the wigglies on our snowed-in days.  My girls loved it so much they still begged to keep doing it.   I thought it was time to put away the Christmas festivities and make some Valentine's Day themed activities set to music.  Enjoy!  This kept us busy all morning!  

You will need:
Scarves or tape you can put on the floor
Stuffed Animals (yay!  they will actually play with them!) 
Hearts cut out of construction paper (10-12)
A basket to collect hearts

Heart Jump
Love me Do- Beatles
Lay some scarves on the floor so they look like a heart (or you can put tape on the floor- blue painter's tape works best.)  Try to balance and walk along the edges of the heart.  Jump in, jump out, 3 steps in, 3 steps out, march in march out.  Play it hokey-pokey style and pick parts to put in and out. 

Yes.  We still have our pajamas on.  And Yes.  Sadie is dressed like Tigger.  She needed some bouncing inspiration. 

Dance Party
I Wanna Dance With Somebody- Whitney Houston
Have a crazy dance party. Need some inspiration for some sweet moves?  Watch this awesome 80's music video.  It will inspire you to dance- with somebody who looooooooooves you!  You can also dance with your scarves and twirl them to make heart shapes in the air. 

Crazy Love Jumping Jacks
Crazy Love- Beyonce  (sorry for the picture...I tried finding one where Beyonce is a little more appropriately clad to no avail, but it was better than the videos of her shaking her thang on stage.) 
Do jumping jacks, but instead of clapping your hands at the top, turn your hands inward to make a heart shape, or put them in front of your body like a hug.  Pace yourself, mamas...this song is 4 minutes long.

Molly, Queen of Drama and lover of posing. 

In My Heart
You'll be in My Heart- Phil Collins
Stand a few feet outside of the scarf heart.  Throw your construction paper hearts and see how many you can get to land inside.  Or stand inside the heart, throw hearts up in the air and see how many hearts land inside.  Collect.  Repeat. 

And Lead me Anywhere
Teddy Bear- Elvis
Take a scarf and tie it around the neck of a teddy bear (or horse) and drag it all over the house like a lunatic.  Don't worry...we'll make it up to him in the next activity.

You Bet Your Pretty Neck I Do!
A Bushel and Peck- Doris Day
Take your child's stuffed animals and put them all around the house- upstairs, downstairs, on the couch, in the kitchen, etc.  Have your children go around and spread some love!  When you find a stuffed animal, give it a squeeze and a kiss (and tell them you're sorry for dragging them around).  Try to find and collect them by the end of song.

Scavenger Heart Hunt
L-O-V-E- Glee cover
Same idea...hide your cut-out hearts over and try to find them all by the end of the song.  My girls LOVE any kind of scavenger hunt.

Catch Me!
You're the One That I Want- Grease
Run, run, run.  You're the one that I want!  Take turns running away and catching.  When you catch your rowdy little bundle, give them a big hug, kiss, and tickle (and call them, Honey, of course.)

Boo!  I love you! 
I just called to say I love you- Stevie Wonder
My girls love to jump out and "scare" each other.  For this activity, take turns hiding and instead of jumping out and saying "boo!"  say, "I LOVE YOU!"  Giggling is sure to ensue.  (Covering up with blankets and pillows counts as a "hiding spot" at the Benson house.) After the song is over, call someone up and say "I love you!"  just because. 

Hope this helps get you through some rainy, snowy, or can't-leave-the-house days.  If you have any other songs or activities we should add, we would love to hear them!


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Make It Fun!

The Giberson household was always overflowing with catchphrases...words of wisdom to live by.  Some have morphed over the years to mean different things; some are well served with an explanation or an anecdote; and some just ring with simple truth.  Some have been passed down through generations; some have blossomed from the mouths of our little ones; some originated with movies and have taken on lives of their own.  Here is a small sampling of Giberson proverbs:

  • Trust God, but lock your car.
  • I'll sleep when I'm dead.
  • Find your passion; follow your passion; share your passion.
  • If they're talking about you, they're leaving somebody else alone.
  • This is my last Christmas.
  • Do they like bird-watching?  If not, they should.
  • I don't want to fight.  I'll wear my astronaut costume instead.
  • Of course it can be done.  They move lighthouses!
  • Worry is a waste of your imagination.
  • We still haven't lost our winging it privileges. 
These phrases pepper the gaps in the Giberson lore.  Parents, be ye warned: the things you say over and over take up residence in your children's psyches.  They shape the way we think, the way we live, the way we raise our children.  For better or for worse, words never really die.

One such tropism that will forever live in infamy in my mind is this:

If it's not fun, don't do it.

It took me quite a while to realize that this phrase had a silent qualifier: "If it's not fun, don't do it...but if you have to do it, find a way to make it fun, and then do it."  (More about this later.  First, one last precursor to the actual point of today's entry...)

Another heritage we received from our parents was that of hospitality.  We always had an open home.  If there was a party to be had, we hosted it.  If people needed a place to gather, they gathered at our place.  If someone needed a place to stay for a few days, a couple weeks, the rest of the school year, the more the merrier!  We welcomed you in with a guest room, a family dinner, and a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies.  And so it is in my home.  Whether it's a weekly potluck dinner for 12-20 people, or overnight weekend guests once or twice a month, or laying out a full spread for a party, my house is where it happens.

So when we decided to host Jason's family for Christmas at our house instead of traveling to Chicago this year, and they wanted to stay for TEN DAYS, of course.  Christmas presents to be crafted, cookies to be baked, parties to host, a toddler to reign, and a baby starting on solid foods...sure.  The more the merrier!

But once the dust settled (literally), and Jason's family returned home, I was left with a huge mound of linens to add to my ever-growing monster of a laundry pile.  I'm not going to lie.  I was grumpy about it.  I was barely treading water in the ocean of housework already.  I was burnt out from a steady stream of feeding and cleaning up after 7 people for a week and a half including one with a mysterious stomach bug, one with a back injury, a full-on bachelor, a toddler, and an infant.  So as I considered scaling Mount Laundry, I heard a little voice whisper, "If it's not fun, don't do it."  My initial reaction to the little voice was a dismissive grumble: "If I don't do it, nobody else will.  The buck stops here."  But then the little voice grew to a giggle.  "Don't do it.  Find a way to make it fun...and then do it!"  So I smiled at the little voice, and I took that pile of sheets and blankets, and here is what I did:

BLANKET FORT!!  One of my all-time favorite activities, but especially in the winter months.  When the outside world is covered in literally 2 feet of snow, I am all cozied up in my blanket fort.

The time has now come to take it down and return our home to its "Come one, come all" state.  And yes, fort-building did nothing to decrease the mass of laundry to be done.  But for a few days, our lives had a little extra magic, a little extra togetherness, a few extra memorable moments...because I made a choice to take advantage of a necessary task and have a little fun.

It's not a new concept.  Of course, we have Mary Poppins to thank for teaching us to sweeten life's medicine with a spoonful of sugar.  And we've all been told, "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade."  But there's something about the challenge to "make it fun" that motivates me to see life not as an endless stream of mundane tasks but as an opportunity to enjoy everything that needs to be done.  So as dishes pile up, I won't just load the dishwasher...I'll make it a color-coordinated puzzle.  When my son won't eat his lunch, I won't threaten and yell...I'll tell him a story that rewards him with a plot twist for each bite.  When we come to the end of the day, and toys are scattered asunder, we'll take a few extra minutes to play, "Where does this toy sleep?"  When I have some menial, repetitive task, I'll turn it into a game whose objective is to make it as precise and efficient as possible.  And yes, when laundry threatens to eat me alive, I will not cower or grumble or whine.  I will look right into its menacing, fluffy face, and I will build a blanket fort.  Because if it's not fun, I don't do it. about you?  What are your family proverbs?  What's your spoonful of sugar, your lemonade, or your strategy to take a task and make it fun?  What do you do with laundry monsters?  We'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

Monday, January 6, 2014

The importance of wool felted balls

Let's do some math, shall we?

One car (which my husband takes to work everyday) + 3 kids (one who is 3 months old) + sleep depravity + cold winter weather = One tired stir-crazy cabin-fever Mama

I've been in search of a project lately.  One that I can do while in a constant zombie-like state so I don't lose my mind.  Nothing big that I will have a complete melt-down if I don't finish in a sitting because I am summoned to fill another sippy cup.  Something that I can keep my hands busy with-- that has nothing to do with folding laundry or changing diapers.  Just something I can look back at and see where my time went.  Something that won't un-do itself.  Or need to be redone.  Like folding  laundry.  Or changing diapers.  Or filling sippy cups.   

I'm in need of some serious craft therapy.

Lucky for me, I am the daughter of the Queen of Craft and All-Things-Awesome.  One trip over to the homestead and my head is a-buzz with excitement with ideas of how to keep my hands from being idle, even when my mind and body are weary.

Nothing stirs the soul like a good dose of creativity.   

Its New Years Eve and my hands are single-minded, maybe for the first time in months.  As the ball is dropping, I'm on my belly on my hardwood floor taking photographs of my little gems.  The air smells like Dreft and wet lanolin and the fire is warm on my face and my fingers are wrinkled and pruny from an hour of wet-felting 107 little balls of wooly wonderment. 

One. hundred. and seven.

There's something about a large number with 3 digits that makes me feel accomplished. 


It is a New Year I am awake before the girls come downstairs and I am feverishly wrapping more and more colors of wool to add to my mountain of progress before I'm summoned again by a small person.  I don't know why I'm not feeling tired, when really I've only had 3 two-hour naps during the night.  My oldest stares through the bars that surround the woodstove and is convinced that they are dragon eggs, waiting to hatch.  She's not too far off.

The creative process feels so similar to gestation. 

The rose parade comes on, and I'm still turning bits of wool into orbs of color.  I dig out and empty my sewing box and separate the balls into felted and soon-to-be-felted piles. 

I stockpile.
They are random entities that beg to be organized and put in their proper places.
They are each single colors that ache for companions to become patterns.
They are possibilities.  And time.

It is a Sunday evening and my babies are asleep and I'm mourning the loss of Matthew along with Lady Mary and I'm drowning my sorrow into bits of wool.  Wrapping and wrapping and wrapping.  And tossing them into the pile.  The pile. The pile.  And I think of how time passes-- how sometimes you have something to show for it, and sometimes you don't and how both are desperately needed.  I  think how my time has manifested itself into wool felted balls and how great and monumental that feels.

My fingers start to have a memory, and my mind starts to stir again, and that tired achey always-stay-at-home-mama feeling doesn't feel so heavy.  

I thread a needle and arrange them into patterns.  I hang them.  I take pictures.  And my home becomes a haven filled with colored time on walls, strung up on white pearl cotton.

And I change diapers.  And I fold laundry.  And I fill sippy cups.  And I look at strings of wool-felted balls hung in rows and smile.  And I think how the number 3 makes me feel so accomplished.