Chicken Blog by Natalie

BOoM Emporium - Mon, 11/25/2019 - 12:00
Our Etsy shop is the boomEmporium... The Benevolent Order of Makers are selling their wares, art, and works... for now it's all about our hand carved, original designs and block prints on napkins and tea towels. We look forward to expanding and sharing more of the many articles we create.

This is all new to us. Thank you for your patience and feedback. And thank you for visiting our shop, and telling your friends about it, spreading the word, sharing our name.

Opening at Noon PST - Mon, 11/25/2019 - 08:53
Today, at noon pst, we will open our Benevolent Order of Makers Shop, at Etsy. That's a long name for a little shop, so we gave it a name nearly as long, which we will post here when the *doors open!*

This link will show you some of the items that will be available.

I am tweaking, still. And nervous. There were a lot of decisions to make, and questions to address. I am on the fence about international shipping, and... well, more, which I know will eventually sort itself out. For certain, I have a greatly raised respect and awe for all you online makers and shop keepers; you're amazing! Friends, thank you for your support, encouragement, and patience. I hope we manage all of this with grace and efficiency.

Something New! - Sat, 11/16/2019 - 14:37
Am I putting the goat before the cart?

You see, I've been designing and carving stamps, and then using them to print on fabric. A nice thing to come of all of this... many friends have asked me to open a shop, make the napkins, aprons, and tea towels available for purchase. I even took a special request to carve a goat!

I've been busy and I've managed to print a good amount, and I would like to make them available before Thanksgiving. Gee, nothing like creating my own holiday rush! So, without a shop, or a shop name, or mailing envelops, before I figure out PayPal, or Venomo or Carrier Chickens... I am about to launch the business end of a little cottage industry. I am hoping that by announcing this now, and sharing some previews, I will push myself into figuring out the bureaucracy and formal aspects of being a working artist. Another hope is that some clever and dear friends may share their tips and suggestions for handling sales, pricing, packing, exfoliating, and reducing fine wrinkles. Just kidding about exfoliating, but I could probably use some ironing tips... 100% cotton is hard to keep pressed!

I am going to share some samples of what I have been making, but I am not taking any orders until I can be certain of how I will take payments, and handle deliveries. So! Before I am OPEN I will announce an official day and time, and accept orders, then.

"Buffet" napkins! They are a generous 20" x 20", 100% cotton. There will be a few sets of 5, and mostly sets of 6.

Alex designed and carved the dragonfly. The patience! He printed them flitting across the napkins, in different directions. They look amazing!

All of these are our own designs, hand carved, and hand printed.

Dish cloth, tea towel, chicken scarf? These would be fun to add embroidery to. They are 27" x 27", 100% cotton, and a very nice weight. Sometimes these are called "flour sack" and can be very thin, and not square... these are well finished, and thick(er).

I am really happy with the weight, structure, and feel of these towels.

Bee and honeycomb on a big, handy tea towel.

These three stamps are inspired by papel picado, the Mexican art of paper cutting.

This bee, with some honeycomb, is printed on a 100% cotton, wrap apron. I love how the wide straps of this can be pull over-head, and cross in the back, so there are no apron strings to tie. Also, it has 2 nice sized pockets in the front.

The apron is a nice weight, and looks and feels like natural linen. I haven't taken it off since modeling it.

Designing, carving, and printing has been a lot of fun, and I appreciate how encouraging friends have been. I will be back with an update as soon as possible!

When It Was October - Fri, 11/01/2019 - 09:24

October 21

October 23

October 24

October 26

October 29


OMG - Tue, 10/22/2019 - 19:07
Oh. My. Goat.

That's not what I am actually feeling at the moment. Not cute, nor endearing. Not bright-eyed, eager, ready to face the world. But however hard my day, whatever my mood, or challenge of the moment, I can't deny... my goats do help. They lift my spirits, make me smile (at least a smile, probably a grin, laughter.)


OMG... this day. I am too pooped for even an exclamation point. I am ready to runaway. Book me a cabin in the woods, a shack on an island, a bed with a heating pad. It's just been one little thing after another, and feeling breathless as I run in place, getting nowhere. Passwords, broken things, learning curves, dying and/or obsolete devices, flakey server, hot and dry weather, nameless dread, constantly nursing a temperamental neck and shoulders...

I could go on.


I just need to put it. out there.

The worst part is when I debate in my head between 2 points:
I am doing too much and should take it easy vs. I have done very little and will never catch up.

It is quite possible that both points are valid.

Thoughtful Consumer - Wed, 10/16/2019 - 14:31
Sometimes I wonder whether I am being thoughtful, or simply over thinking, perhaps obsessing. Maybe you can help me... either make a reasonable decision, or obsess.

Last night I was changing our bed sheets. I am very close to fully accepting that we need new sheets. We are down to one set, with some small tears, and a top sheet that that I bought... mmmmm, in 2001. Seems like just when the flannel is worn to a perfect softness and has become comfortingly familiar, that's when it gets thready and shreds, badly. I have been known to "patch" sheets, but, it's not a guaranteed thing, and really ugly..


You know what? I think I am definitely definitely over-thinking and obsessed. Our sheets are flippin' old and practically in tatters, and it's time to buy new ones.

Same for the quilt. It too was purchased in 2001, and it's so frayed and worn, I don't think it will hold through another wash!

What am I going to do? Seriously... it's very distressing to me, for one reason: I love this quilt, and I can still conjure the joy of ordering it, having it on our bed, appreciating the prints, it's weight, how nicely it fits on our bed. I love this quilt! The other reason I am concerned is that it's really quite large, and too far gone to donate, and throwing it away feels like a terrible waste of materials. It's very heavy. If I repaired it, it would have to be a matter of using the whole thing as the batting of a whole new bed cover, and that would make it even heavier... too heavy for our washer, I am sure.



Do you know what's going to happen? I am going to be fixated on this, and the quilt will stay on the bed long past a reasonable time, while I try to come up with an ethical, environmentally, economical and aesthetically gratifying solution. And buying sheets will take me forever, too, unless I see the perfect print, on sale, at Target.

Me, thinking about shopping for bedding.

Our Fall Colors - Tue, 10/15/2019 - 14:37

Not my garden, but definitely inspiration and goals! I saw all of these on a walk... a slow walk. It's been a slow week. And I almost cancelled all of my plans, but fortunately, I got some physical therapy, and helpful suggestions for pain management. Adjusting my sails, and rethinking everything, helped me regain some peace, and sense.

When I couldn't paint big, I went back to some old works and added a little color.

Happiest of all, I decided I would not cancel the picnic we had planned. When "life happens," and there are setbacks to our health, disruptions, it always make me especially sad to forego the good stuff, and skip on happy plans. I had invited everyone to bring their own lunch, meet us at the park, and hang out. I reasoned that there was so little for me to do that it would be a shame to call it off. I brought pillows and a blanket and the conviction to relax and take it easy... and I could not be happier about that decision! We shared beautiful weather, surrounded by trees, and hints of the season, with laughter, some crafting, a bit of pickle ball, lots to eat, and a darling pup (Hello, Akira! Everyone loves you, Akira.) Geoff rode his bicycle over, and there were trees to climb, a turtle crossing, shade and sun, great talks, and great company. With each family bringing their picnic, and all the sharing, no single person was carrying the load. In the end, I felt invigorated and ready for another picnic! Maybe it was the forest bathing? For sure it was easy quality time, face to face with friends, that set my mind and heart right for the week ahead.



Amira and Maria, building fairy houses and ships~

With Leo, too~


Geoff, Leslie, and Ido~

Carol teaching Bex how to sew French knots~

Michael and Grace~

Natalie, Stacy, and Diana~

Simon, Ido, and Leslie~

Lucas, Diana (crocheting F-bombs!... I need a tutorial), Akira, and Geoff~

Corey and Max~

Maria, Corey, and Max~

Now... the thing is to remember that this was easy and totally worthwhile, and that I should not let 2 years go by, again, before having another meet in the park picnic with friends.

Here, Again... - Thu, 10/10/2019 - 14:38
Feels like I am back where I started. Besides the black tongue, sore face and jaw, aching teeth, contusions and concussion, besides feeling like my sternum was crushed, I had pain and limited mobility in my neck... pain that radiated down the right shoulder, around the base of my head, and the headache. The Headache is one altogether belonging to the collision, December 6th, when the dui drove into my van. Sometimes I say something about it, about the recurring headache, or about physical therapy, about court hearings, or wearing a night guard, but for all the times I am dealing with all of the fallout of that night, I only share a small fraction. I'd rather move forward, and most people seem to believe I have, that it's over, and I can move on.

I want to move on. I've done all I can think of or manage to get over it. Physical therapy, counseling, exercise, outings, weight loss, turning my thoughts to good things, making plans, confronting fears. And when I don't say anything, it seems like things are "normal." But, at best, it's a struggle, this new normal. I startle, I spook, I have panic attacks, and nightmares. I cannot paint or write or crochet without getting the headache, tiring. Gardening is hard, moving boxes, or carrying down a load to wash... I tire, ache. I gotta pace myself. And I sure do not relish admitting the cognitive toll the collision took. It's so hard to focus, to read long text, or documents, to make sense of instructions. Some tasks feel so daunting, I cannot face them. Memory loss, recognizing people I've met... that, too.

When I had to make a victim's statement at the sentencing hearing... I held back. I didn't want to list all of the setbacks, read aloud to a courtroom of strangers, other defendants, the many ways I feel devastated, how I feel myself slipping further and further behind. I feel ashamed, like a failure, like someone to pity or avoid. Our culture holds people in a high place when they can dust themselves off, and start all over again. I am trying. I don't want pity. I don't want to be writing victim's statements, and I don't want to have all of the struggles and real hardships of a victim, but it's no good pretending that it's over, and ok, now.

The sentencing hearing was one of the most stressful, emotionally jarring experiences of my life. I prepared for it, and readied myself, but it hit hard. Afterwards, many people said, again, all the variants of these... well, it's done. The worst is behind you. Now you can move forward. It's over. You did it. Between my emotional exhaustion and desperately wanting to move forward, put it behind me, I let physical therapy slip. I felt better than my worst days, I reasoned, and how can I get over it if I am still dealing with it? Not going to PT gave me the (false) notion that I was going back to "normal," and "putting it behind me."

There is another hearing coming up, and the possibility that there will be one more after that. This is still for the State v her. The civil side has been initiated. And for the record... I had no desire to sue her, or draw this out, but her insurance stopped returning my calls. I had to get an attorney. This means I have to immerse myself in all of it, again, and again, and again. More statements, more reports, more accounts of what happened, more paperwork, phone calls, office visits, documents. The headache comes, and won't hardly leave. I slip further behind. I can't keep up.

Yesterday morning I woke up, like always, in time to rouse Maria, get the day rolling. I turned my head from the pillow and heard a tearing, like a stick cracking in pieces, and the pain lit like a match. The same pain, the same place... the tension of the headache, calling my name and settling in, as if to say, "I am not done with you." I was trapped in the van, hurting and scared, and that same feeling comes back, all too often. I hurt from the top of my head, down my neck, into the right shoulder, down my arm. My back hurts from trying to stay still, my heart hurts from trying to remain hopeful, my head hurts from being alone with my thoughts...

I am thinking of how far behind I fell since the collision, how hard I have fought to regain normalcy, our home-life and my quality of life. I am thinking, that all of my efforts and good faith have betrayed me, and I am back here, again. I cannot lift things, or turn my head, I can't keep clear thoughts, pay attention, focus. I do not want to be a victim. I do not want pity. I do not want to stay here. But I am not going to make nice and pretend, I am not going to apologize or be embarrassed and hurting. Honesty includes bad news, and hard times, and real accounts of recovery... slow, hard, with setbacks, maddening, ugly, messy, not graceful.

Our health insurance sends packets of paperwork... numbers and figures, the court sends forms and requests: Basically, I keep having to give accounts and documents about costs and payments, what damages I have endured, and restitution. For the criminal case, and for the civil case

Yesterday, I saw all of the costs of things I cannot put a number on, and it's breaking my heart...
Getting dressed hurts, so does sleeping, breathing, turning my head, thinking.

I cannot crochet, which is my mediation, my safeguard against panic, boredom, shyness.

I cannot paint or sketch, and this means a loss of expression, and income, and participation in my classes that I am enrolled in.

I cannot print, nor carve. I have orders for prints. I'm sorry. I will do those as soon as possible. And same for the educational materials illustrations I have been commissioned to do.

I cannot garden. The flat of new flowers is withering, the bed is neglected. I want to dig, and pull weeds, lay down mulch, plant, sow, harvest. I want my life, and my strength, and my peace. No playtime with goats, or hanging out with chickens. I am a bad farmer.

I cannot keep my commitment to exhibit and sell at the fall Tractor Show. How many opportunities and chances to grow have I had to pass up?

I cannot drive... to schools, or the market, to the doctor. Well, anywhere, of course. I am dependent. And yes, I have resources, friends, options, but I do not have my own self to rely on, my independence and resilience, and freedom. And I am imposing on others.

Look around... if it needs attention, I am not there to manage it. Not laundry, nor cooking, not putting stuff away, or decorating for Halloween, or figuring out the restitutions paperwork, or any paperwork. I love taking Maria to school, bringing her home, Max, too. I guess I love doing it myself, all of it, because I am feeling tortured by the idea of needing help, more help. I want to do. Instead, I am canceling plans, and not making new ones. I am slipping further and further behind, and stuck in my own head, with sad thoughts, and shame.

This makes for shite blog material, but whatever. I am doing one thing, at least... documenting my journey, and telling my truth. Now, back to physical therapy...

Ha! Maybe the pictures won't publish, because I cannot maintain my own computer, because I was hit by a woman that drove with twice the legal limit of alcohol in her bloodstream, and she's made my good life shite. I should probably get back into psychotherapy, too...