Time is Money

Rubbing on Hand Dyed Fabric

I go from absolutely no inspiration, complete despondency, total disinterest in life and living to the energizing, inspiring, thrilling and adventurous moods of a creator. I can’t live in anyone else’s head, but there are times when I would love to get out of mine.

This isn’t one of those times. I am inspired by everything I hear, see and read. I have multiple projects flying around in my head – so many that I can’t settle to one. I have spent three days in the studio changing my mind on which fabrics, which aesthetic I want to pursue on my current passion. I have beautiful pink, green, yellow and blue fabrics on my table – one which I particularly enjoy is a collage of all things Parisian. I loved Paris for the wild 5 days I was there in 1997. I felt at home in Paris. I want to go back to Paris. I want to live in Paris. 

I also have lovely old tablecloths from the 50s and a brand new linen tablecloth I bought on sale with the pretties shades of faded blue with gorgeous cabbage roses and pale aqua lace trim. I have many fabrics that will compliment this,.

And then, as if I weren’t confused enough with my inspiration, I have this beautiful off white thin wale corduroy which called to me at a discount store. I also have antique quilt blocks in browns, beiges, pinks and blues that accentuate that corduroy.

And then, I have the only fabric I have dyed in the last 3 years. I don’t dye here because my husband had a nice kitchen. Nothing fancy, mind you, it could be about 400 square foot larger and it’s dated, but it’s not dyed stained and under construction like my old kitchen. I hesitate to rinse my fabrics there, after dyeing, because I have beige formica countertops that will never be the same when I am set loose with dyes. You will see my problem if you could have witnessed my husband cleaning up the kitchen after one of my (no false modesty here) superb dinners. He said he didn’t know where to start. I am like a mad scientist in the kitchen when I’m on a roll. And I am on a roll. 

I purchased a laundry sink at least a month ago with the intention of it being installed so I can rinse fabric in it. It is not installed. It has all the plumbing, faucet, etc. with it and it is still in a box on the screened in porch. So. I have to stoop to underhanded tactics. I am going to dye in the damn kitchen and make him nervous. I am sorry, but he started building me a closet last fall and it isn’t done yet – although he did say it would take 2 or 3 days. No, it progresses as long as he isn’t bored with it and once he’s bored – it sits. I have no light in my closet, the carpeting is unrolled and just laying on the floor. There’s a 12″ high thing I have to step. over just to get in there and I trip on it a lot. I am going to have to get serious or nothing will be finished.


This is my sewing room AFTER I organized it. Uh-Huh.

My dyed fabrics are luscious. I don’t like that, in combination, they are a bit out there for someone to wear. I need a counterfoil to the fabrics so that the eye can rest peacefully on them. Excitement is nice, but a visual explosion of color needs a place for the eyes to rest – take a break – chill out.

In other news, we have been making cheese. Okay. This is how that got started. We sell our lamb through a farmer’s market on-line. The farm that runs this market is just a few miles away from us in New Limerick. They are amazing people. They have 7 children. They homeschool their kids. They have chickens, they slaughter their chickens and those of other farmers, they have cows, blueberries, raspberries, eggs, honey AND MILK. My husband learned that she was throwing away milk because no one wanted it. Keep in mind, it is raw milk. Not everyone recognizes the value of this since they are used to everything they consume being pasteurized beyond usefulness.

But Alden, the shepherd and the boss, recognized the potential and starting trading her lamb for the milk. Until she got overloaded with lamb because she has a ton of milk right now. I think we get 5 gallons of milk every two days. So the boss comes up with this great idea. He will go get the milk, give it to me, and I will make cheese and butter, etc.

I had to have a little talk about that. I try to be kind, but it isn’t always easy. I tend to be blunt. I let him know that I was not, at the age of 69, setting up a cheese processing plant. No. I am not.

Although he no longer works as a demon possessed, he did, I think, for most of his life. That’s all fine, but he married me. I gave up money and WORK for time in 1987. I said piss on it. Nobody can have 8 hours of my life every damn day. I have better ways to live. And so, I did.

It isn’t that I was against money, I was just against earning it by doing stupid things for people who were obnoxious. After I quit working, I started teaching, reading people (yes, as a psychic), doing astrological chart interpretations (at one point, for a LONG time, I did the charts by hand calculations. I can’t even explain how tedious using algorithms to move planets can be.

I have, over the last 34 years, developed my life. My life consists of cooking (he doesn’t mind), reading whenever I can, knitting something daily, including making socks for both of us, dyeing fabrics until I got here and then only dyeing once outside, spinning fiber into yarn which I haven’t spent enough time doing, making dolls, clothing for myself and quilts. I also draw and paint, not well and not often. There may be other things I do, quite frankly if you stick a needle in my hand, I will do something, anything. I love the feel of fabric, the hum of a decent sewing machine that doesn’t have a personality disorder and I see PICTURES IN MY HEAD all day long. They are always colorful.

As you can see, I don’t get a lot of time to pursue my passions. I cook breakfast for the shepherd every morning, something I did not do for my poor first husband who got the short end of the stick. I wasn’t into it. I then make the bed, clean up the kitchen, take a shower and BOOM it’s 1 pm or later. And then my energy starts to drop with a thud.

Storm clouds gathering

All I can do is think about. my nice new weighted comforter, my Kindle and an hour of peace and quiet.

So going into full-time cheese production isn’t going to happen. What I got instead is him going into full-time cheese production – but there’s a catch. Keep in mind this man has a J.D. and worked as an attorney for way longer than he wanted to. He has an honors degree in Victorian Literature. You would think he could read directions – maybe find a recipe – remember what to do. Nope. He is forever yelling “Jen, what do I do next?”

I have come to terms with that. It is his nature. Heaven forbid I screw something up those because he has a tongue like a snake when he’s pissed off. The only thing that keeps that tongue in check is that I am like a dragon when I’m pissed off and he’s been scorched by the fire a few times. Don’t say I can’t back someone off.

He has a brilliant mind and he has more projects on the go than I have. He has a thing about money. I don’t get it and he knows I don’t get it and he also knows there’s no way in hell I care about getting it. He mentioned the other day, (after he got done telling me to put price tags on all my stuff because he has no clue what it’s worth and if I die, he’s screwed), that he was interested in getting a food dehydrator. What in God’s name is he thinking about? Do I look like I have time to slice up fruit, pit cherries and whatever else? No. That too will not be on my list of chores.

You gotta watch him every minute. Something will cross his mind and before you know it, I’ll be a professional what’s it and we will make tons of money doing this or than or the other thing. I won’t. I don’t care about money except I want it there if I need something – even an escape from the perpetual “we can making money from that” attitude around here.

Whew. Time. I love it. I love the fast and furious thoughts that keep me knowing I’m alive. I’m jealous of my time. He’s figured that out – hopefully!

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