Life, Pondering, Carrying On

My last post was quite emotional and I ended up deleting it. I’m not a very good blogger. I am way too emotional and let it out in the wrong ways sometimes.

I will start to blog about good things only, as that’s what I want my life to consist of.

I haven’t posted about this on this blog (I do have a blog over on Blogger), but both of my dogs have been diagnosed with different but similar issues.  Evan had Calcium Oxalate bladder stones removed in May. He’s doing very well at the moment though recovery was rocky.  Gabbi had very high protein in her urine, leading the vet to put her on medication and she went back yesterday to get checked, and she too, is doing very well.  The last 3 months have been extremely stressful for me.  I’ve now decided that I will take each day as it comes and work the best I can to do the best I can by my dogs.

Meanwhile, I’ve been keeping busy inside because it’s so stinking hot outside.  We have had some crappy weather this summer.  First it seemed like it was never going to stop raining.  Days and days on end of rain, then, HOT and HUMID!  We did have 2 very beautiful, low humidity and temp days about a week and a half ago.  Boy, was that a spoiler!  The positive side of this is, I’ve been very busy with knitting and beading!  I have made several woolen hats – easy when you’re sitting in the AC! – and I’ve made some acrylic hats as well.

I have also been busy beading. For some reason, I’ve been binge making mutli-strand bracelets.

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5 woolen hats – all hand spun Blue Faced Leister yarn (spun and knitted by me)

Wild hat

Wild and crazy – but you can’t get lost in a snowstorm in this hat! (acrylic) 

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This had was self striping – not sure how I did it because the next hat of the leftover yarn didn’t do this. I must have cast on just i the right way to get these cool patterns!

For some reason, I’ve been binge making multi-strand bracelets. I have a lot of beads from when I was weaving the flute wraps which I’ve not done in awhile.  I do like weaving the beaded bands, but I need patterns and making the patterns was quite time consuming and I lost interest in making the patterns.  The bracelets are fun and pretty easy, though a bit time consuming, but it is a good distraction when I’m stressed.

These are only a few of what I’ve made, and I sent 2 of them to a friend in CA and she seemed very pleased with them!  🙂 I have many, many more! I love wearing them – either singles or multiples – they don’t weigh a lot.

I also got into making a couple of Mala necklaces.  For me, they are sort of a cross between a rosary (Catholic upbringing but not practicing), and worry beads!  The first set is all black and I need to restring them because I don’t like the way I did them, and also because the thread has stretched. I don’t think I have a photo of them.  Trust me, they are boring.

The second one is one I really love – and I hope to make some more if I can find the colored wooden beads again.

New Mala Bead necklace

The beads above are very light even though they are wooden. I even made the tassel – my first one.  I had the blue and white beads in my stash, and they are wooden as well. I left this one out overnight during the full moon and I feel like it has a special vibe to it.

I’ve also been watching the hummingbirds – they have really been crazy.  At the beginning of summer, I put the feeders out, but they weren’t coming around.  A couple of weeks ago, I saw the hummers start coming around, so I made fresh food and put the feeder out, and they have been crazy busy eating and chasing each other away from the feeder.  I got some decent photos.  I still need to work on how to properly use my digital camera….

This is a series of photos that I was lucky enough to capture.  They are my favorite for this year.



That’s enough for today.  I will be blogging about travel soon.  We’ve named our Class B Winnebago Travato van “Herbee.”  As in, HER BEE.  I am, after all, the one that is most excited to have this little comfy van……

We will be going away soon as well, and I can hardly wait. We’ll be going to my favorite place, and we’ll be gone a good while, so I will be fat with lobster, shrimp, cod, flounder, haddock, and probably some sweets along the way. The good news is, I’ll also be doing a lot of walking and working off all that wonderful food.  More on that when it happens.


Finding Spirit

I’ve been trying to find my spirit for a very, very long time.

Last night, I attended a “flute class.”  It wasn’t the type of flute class you would expect.  This is about the Native American flute.  John Two-Hawks is here, and it was a great experience.  About an hour and a half was about the history on the Native American flute, from his teachings.  He is Lakota Indian, with much knowledge.  He’s a talented, Grammy nominated artist, and a very down to earth person.  His spirit is wonderful and his story is amazing.  Go to his website, listen to his music (also available on YouTube and Amazon Music) and order his books.  Especially the Hidden Medicine book.

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Photo credit Laura Joy

This was a moving experience for me personally because this event only happened due to the founder of our local flute circles, Bob Buettgens had started setting this event up before he suddenly passed away, and I was asked to take it on.  When I started trying to set this event up, I had absolutely nothing to go by – no information on venues, no way to know what was needed, no way to understand what was expected of me.

Due to some good friends and the Universe cooperating, I was able to secure a beautiful country home for Peggy and John to stay in for a week free of charge because of the generosity of one of our flute circle members, Shane.  I was able to connect Peggy to the Unitarian Church in Fredericksburg and the venue for a concert on Saturday night, and for John to speak and play at a service on Sunday morning, all due to a wonderful spiritual friend of mine and flute circle member, Cynthia.  Because of another flute circle member, Diane, we were able to have this class last night (where the photo above was taken), we were able to be in a very special house that stands on the Cedar Run Battlefield in Rapidan VA.  None of this would have come about without these wonderful people helping me and stepping up, having the ability to help out.  I thank them all.

I’m greatly looking forward to the private house concert that will take place Friday night in the same house that Peggy and John are staying in.  It will be a small, intimate setting and I know we are going to have a wonderful time.

I will have more photos and more information later on, after all of this takes place.  It’s been a great week so far, and it’s only going to get better.  It’s all happening for a reason, and I feel that one very important reason it’s happening for me, personally, is to help me be confident in who I am and what I’m doing with the 3 local flute circles I’ve been working with.  Guidance through the class last night is exactly what I needed to continue on with the flute circles.  I know I’m on the right track and doing the right things.  Another thing it’s helping me with is finding the spirit within me.

Thank you John and Peggy for being here and sharing so much with us.


Where does time go???  I’ve been SO busy lately.  Lots going on with the flute circles, and also lots going on with flute wraps.  I currently have 3 custom orders which I NEVER thought I’d have, and have sold about 6 wraps so far.  I’ve bartered for a couple of wraps as well, for some turquoise jewelry that is being made for me.  Yay!

Some pics of what I’ve been up to:  Some of these are sold.  I have also finally listed them on my Etsy shop, and I’ve changed the name of the shop as well.  Heart2Hands4U on Etsy.


I’ve also deleted my page on Facebook for fiber arts.  I’m moving away from that, at least as far as for sale, so I don’t want to keep maintaining it.

A new flute also made it’s way to me.  This one is from Wolfclaw flutes (on Ebay).  Great price for a very nice flute.  It’s very long for me but I can make the reach, so it’s okay.

This flute is made of Canary Wood, and it’s really lovely, in the Key of E.

Okay, time for me to get to work on the 3 commissions I have.  I don’t want to let people down!  More in a bit.


My new craft continues.  I finished another flute wrap.  This one is…..different.  I’m not sure I love it, even though it came out fine.  I used gold glass beads, which I didn’t realize would be so transparent.


If you look closely, you can see the leather wraps right through the gold beads.  The Phoenix or Thunderbird or Eagle (hey, it’s whatever you want it to be!) can be distinguished – how do I know?  Dear hubby said what it was right off.


The red beads on the edge are a subtle mat finish and I really am starting to like the mat finish beads very much.  The black and gold are shiny.  Shiny is my default.


Those strange gray threads sticking out are what bothers me the most.  I used a new to me thread, and I very much dislike it.  I won’t be using it again for warp.  It’s difficult to wrangle, and it’s quite feisty when it comes to handling.


This is a hand made bag, made by a Native American Indian friend of mine.  He made it as a “medicine bag” and carries his hand made turtle shell rattle in it.  It’s a very cool bag.  When my friend saw the beaded wraps, he asked me right away, if I’d take on a commission job – which I absolutely HATE to do because I never feel like I’ve lived up to the person’s standards – but I decided I’d give it a try.  The worst that could happen is he rips out all the beads.

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My friend wanted the green parts and the white part to be beaded, in very small beads. Because he had painted over the areas, the suede isn’t very forgiving, and I was afraid it would be difficult for me to get a needle through.  I went to a local bead store where I was helped by someone that is also part Native American, and who also happens to be from near the area in NY where we are originally from (both of us now living in VA).  She was very helpful in suggesting the beads to be used, as well as a needle that would be strong enough to go through the leather, but would still fit the bead holes.  Tricky!


This is a VERY close up photo of the beads.  They are multi colored which gives the beads a beautiful, earthy dimension.  I really LOVE them.


Here, I have the cream colored beads all filled in, along with several of the green leaves.  This takes FOR-EVER!  However, I’m finding that I’m enjoying it immensely!


Close up of the cream beads.  Again, they have slight bits of color in them which makes them earthy and give them depth.  Look at the previous photos, and you don’t see the distinction – but pure white would not have worked.  It would have been too stark.


This gives you an idea of the needle, thread, and bead sizes.

I have one more large leaf beaded, which leaves one large, one medium, and 2 very small bits left to do.  The 2 small bits, are actually on the front of the bag, and I will have a more difficult time doing them because I will have to manage the needle inside the bag.  The bits you see above, have all been done on the flap, which makes the back very accessible.  Not so much when working on the front of the bag, and have to grab that needle from the inside.  Since I’m working with pliers to pull the needle through every time, it’ll be interesting.

Thanks for checking in on the progress of my beading.  Just another craft I’m getting sucked into!


Life is Short

How many times have you heard that life is short?  It is.  It doesn’t last nearly as long as people would like.

Recently, the man that introduced me to playing the Native American Flute (NAF), passed away, very unexpectedly.  It happens, I know, and most people would rather pass away quickly, than to linger in pain and wondering which day they are going to go to the next adventure.


I myself often wonder when the next adventure is going to begin for me.  Meanwhile, I’m trying to take advantage of every day.  Lately though, it hasn’t been happening the way I think it should.  Does that make it wrong?  Maybe not.  I’m living my life.  It may consist of things that others may feel wasteful.  However, I’m alive, and interacting, every day.  There are days I just want to stay home and sleep. I don’t, because my husband wouldn’t let me.  I do feel like it would be helpful to restore me.  I often have days, or even weeks, o feeling tired, overwhelmed, or just plain pooped.


Life is a journey.  We don’t know when it will end.  Those that leave us before we are ready, are already on their way to the next adventure.  We, those that are left behind, are the ones that suffer with the absence, the loneliness, the empty bed or missing communication.

When Bob left us 2 weeks ago, he left several things that he was very passionate about, left unfinished.  He was very passionate about the NAF.  He wanted to teach as many people as possible about the instrument, the healing vibrations that go into the world, the peace and joy it brings, the way it’s so easy to play, and the sharing it brings people.  He had started 2 flute circles, and I’d gone on to start another.


I’m now the one that will continue that journey and try to keep the enthusiasm going.  It’s exhausting, because I really wasn’t ready to do 3 circles on my own.  I’m just hoping I can do this thing justice, and spread the joy and healing that these flutes bring.

We, my husband, myself, and 2 Native American (American Indian) friends of Bob’s, were asked to play at Bob’s memorial service.  It was an honor of course.  Saying goodbye is never easy.  My husband and I only knew Bob for about 6 months. It’s still difficult.  The service was lovely, and playing while people were being seated was a wonderful experience.  We would play a bit, and then the next person would play.  We also had a drum that belonged to Buddy, which he played when others were playing flute, and he handed over to my husband, when it was Buddy’s turn to play.

When the service ended, I played Amazing Grace.  I was SO freaking nervous.  I don’t know why because I’d practiced it over and over and over and….well, yeah.  That.  No matter, I made it through, sweaty palms, flute almost slipping out of my hands, and almost forgetting the notes.

I’ve now picked up a new hobby.  Making beaded wraps for the flutes.  I love it because it’s colorful and I think I’ve figured out a way to get them to wrap and stay on. I can do it at night in front of t.v. and not make any noise (well, except maybe when I’m swearing because I did something wrong).


Turquoise hearts on a purple background.  This one is mine.


Red, white and blue for hubby because he was in the military and is patriotic.

On the flutes.

It’s also quite zen like to work on.

Take charge of your life.  Learn something new.  Stretch your comfort zone.  Do what you’re not used to.  Be adventurous.  Have fun.  Love lots.  Laugh often.

Life is way too short, and if you don’t do it now, you may never get to.

Life Changes

Life is constantly changing.  Some people hate change.  I hate some change.  I hate when companies change products I like and have used for years, and work for me.  I love to change my furniture around.  I love to change what I do every day.  I love to go someplace different every day.

A few months ago, I started a new hobby.  I got involved in playing the Native American Flute.  I absolutely LOVE playing the flute.  It’s such a joy to know I can pick a flute up, and play it.  I don’t have a musical background.  I haven’t ever played an instrument before, other than plucking at a piano now and then.  I can’t sing a lick – it has been requested more than once, for me to STOP singing out loud.  By my family no less.

This hasn’t stopped me from playing the NA flute.  It is an instrument that seems to be a part of me now, and I wonder why it took so long to come into my life.  I’ve gone down the slippery slope of now owning six flutes.  In only a few months.  Not buying a new flute every month is extremely difficult!

I joined a flute circle, then decided that because that flute circle is on a Friday night, and not very close to home, I wanted to start a flute circle that would be during the day, on a weekend, so that people can go to it and enjoy it and not have to worry about driving home afterward, in the dark.

This Sunday, I will be hosting my first flute circle.  It’s very scary to me, because God only knows, I’m not expert on the NA flute.  I just want to share my joy and excitement about the flute, with others, and help them find the joy and relaxation, the peace and harmony, that I find in playing this amazing and simple instrument.

If you go directly to Youtube, you can type in my name, Martha Manigross, and find my videos.  Please give a listen, and if you enjoy it, a thumbs up would be nice too.  🙂

I hope you enjoy this.  I enjoy this music SO much.  It’s not a great camera angle, but hey, its about the sound, not the picture.  😀

Some day, as I improve, I hope to play for people in person.  Possibly make a CD for others to use during meditation, or Yoga, or massage.  Maybe play for people in a nursing home or assisted living.  Or for actual people in a coffee house or something like that.  It would be such a joy to share my music.

By the way, I don’t play actual written songs.  I have recorded one song – Amazing Grace – but that’s the only song I’ve learned.  Everything else, I play from the heart – just play what comes to me in the moment.

Some changes are good!

Pink Scarves

We recently moved from the farmhouse to a community.  I haven’t been able to create in awhile, due to everything being packed, then unpacked, then a lack of energy!  However, getting back to weaving has been wonderful.

Here are three pink scarves I wove in the last week.  Our realtor is a breast cancer survivor and has asked me to make a pink scarf.  I have experimented with each scarf, and plan on making several more, because I now have tons of pink yarn !  That seems to happen – when I get on a project, I have to buy all the things that go with that project…..

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I recently viewed a video that has to do with Chanel Tweed.  It was very inspiring to me.  Here is the link to the video.  Chanel Tweed

This is why you see all of the interesting weaving inclusions in the above photo!  I will be on the look-out for more fun yarns, lace, and other inclusions as well.

Meanwhile, using what I have and what I can find in the local stores, I have done three scarves.  For me, weaving is always a journey, and a learning experience.  Since I’m self taught, I see something and I want to learn how to do it, but since I can’t afford lessons and I don’t know anyone in the industry, I find YouTube, Facebook and Ravelry to be interesting resources.

Here is the first scarf I made.  This scarf has ribbon (as seen on the spools in the above photo); ribbon yarn (the dark burgundy with the bits of small color in it near the bottom of the photo); all weights of cotton yarn, and some acrylic yarn. This scarf is the one that was really inspired by the Chanel Tweed video.  I learned a lot of lessons on this scarf, and will incorporate those lessons on a future, similar scarf.

It can be worn a few different ways.   There is a space that I wove in.  That doesn’t really make sense, so I guess you’d call it a hole – an on-purpose hole.  You can see in the left photo that I have one end of the scarf slipped through the hole.  It avoids tying the scarf in a knot, which would be a bit bulky with this scarf.  On the left I just have it draped around the neck, which is also nice.

The warp on this scarf is cotton.  The weft consists of all the inclusion yarns and ribbon, although not everything shown in the photo above.  I used those yarns and ribbons on a different scarf, which is below.

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You can see from the fringe that it has lost of fun stuff in it.

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A close up:

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There is some sparkle yarn which is difficult to see in the photos, as well as one strand of eyelash yarn, ribbon, cording, and four strands of cotton yarn in the warp.  The weft is a lightweight cotton yarn.

This is the third scarf.  I used ribbons and yarn in this warp as well.

You can see above, that the ribbon shows well through this – I used a much finer cotton yarn in the weft of this scarf.

I plan on making several more, as I said above, because I have lots more pink yarn to use up.  I will start mixing in some other colors along the way, I think, and I will also be making some scarves in other colors with the same methods.

All of these scarves will be for sale on my  Facebook page

Thanks for checking in.  I will be posting more regularly now that we are settled in the new house.

Take care,