Not a “Gee’s Bend” Bone in My Body…

_MG_5257Still sorting through stuff in the studio.  Some days I find treasures; others, not so much.  Unpacked a basket of totally mis-matched threads…odd colors, some American (Knit-Cro-Sheen), some French…all over forty years old.   (I can date them because I bought the French ones during our sabbatical in Grenoble, and crocheted a great bag…another time, another story.)  I have probably packed and unpacked that exact basket, full of the exact same balls of thread, five or six times…too many, for way too long.  I decided to just use them up…there’s a challenge…odd colors, random weights, lots of some colors, just bits of others.

The initial idea was to make dishcloths…really?   Why?  Well, because, I hate mine, and thought some colorful ones might make me smile…and besides, how intense can one get over designing a dishcloth?  Truly?  Well, my plan was to pick up a ball of thread and just crochet (granny square) until that one was used up…and, then attach the next.  Hmmm.  I couldn’t do it.  Tried.  Really?  Really.  Hence the title of this blog.  Even as simple of a thing as a dishcloth has to have a plan, for heavens sake.  “Random” was beyond me.  For a dishcloth?    The absurdity of that did make me laugh!

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I just couldn’t do it.  Those incomplete rounds bothered me.  Should I rip it out?  for a dishcloth???  And, here is the catch to the story:  for me, I guess, even the design in my dishcloth matters.  The challenge then became to choose the color/thread for any given row based on if I thought what was there could make it all the way around the block…AND, it still had to look “good”.   That was when the fun really began.  True confession:  As the colors began to “run out” (keeping in mind that dishcloths do get pretty gross and therefore more dark colors versus the light or even better, the medium ones, would be the most practical), I did break down and buy a big ball of Aunt Lydia’s purple just so I could get around those last few rows…

Now I just have to weave in all those ends…do the math:  each color change has two ends…

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Late to the Party…

ENOUGH WITH THIS MESS!  GET TO WORK!

ENOUGH WITH THIS MESS! GET TO WORK!

Studios are still a mess:  boxes, everywhere…after more than a year, it is getting to be just  a bit too much.  At the beginning, I didn’t have a clue!  How is that possible, one might ask?  (That would be “one” who has never seen my stash…)  Let me just say that when you throw ALL your cookies in the air, they don’t EVER fall back into neatly arranged piles.  It doesn’t help that my packing scheme was to maximize every cubic inch (since I was also going to carry each box down the stairs, up the ramp into the truck, back down the ramp, up the stairs…) AND it means that all of one thing didn’t necessarily get packed into the same box.  A true recipe for chaos on the other end…and that is pretty much what remains.

BUT, this is NOT a rant about the woes of moving… (how boring).   On her last visit a few weeks ago, my daughter suggested that I might find Pinterest “interesting”…little did she know!  What fun. I have been ripping stuff out of magazines for years…anything that catches my eye. IMG_5249 Some of it gets categorized and stashed into binders…started out with mostly quilt stuff, moved into doll making, added holiday ideas, mixed-media techniques, dyeing recipes (lots of cutting and pasting)…and, then there were the random gorgeous colors, patterns, and other bits of found paper things that morphed into collage fodder for artist trading cards, journals, cards and just plain fun.  I still do it.  There are neat piles right next to the chair I am sitting in at this very moment (amidst all the moving mess, AND since Day One).  Seems like such an innocent past time…IMG_5207the gleanings from the past few weeks…

BUT, I wasn’t prepared for Pinterest!  What fun!  If you haven’t checked it out, DO IT!  On any given topic, hundreds of people have posted “things that caught their eye”!   I found that some have even “pinned” a few of my things on their boards!  How anyone ever found them in the sea of inspiration out there is a bit staggering to contemplate…My son put the Pinterest widget(?) on the side bar of this blog (see it?)…click on it (and then click on my name in the upper right corner, then onto “Profile and Pins”…and, just take a pass through my “boards”…you can see what fun I am having…and, I bet you might want to join the party!  Have fun!

Now or Never…

If there is one thing I have figured out this past year, it is that there is NEVER going to be a better time to “fix” something.  As I unpack and try to put “all my pieces back together again”, I have begun to just “do it”: “fix it”…in spite of all the mess that STILL surrounds daily life around here (huge painting project underway…wandering around in the dark is not advised).

Case in point:  My armoire.  Previously in my studio, now in my kitchen, it has been re-purposed.  (Don’t ask, I don’t have a clue where I am going to put everything that used to be in it!)   It is now going to hold those awkward things that take up too much space in the kitchen cabinets (that I don’t have).  Sigh.  I once lived in a house in Texas that had so much cabinet space in the kitchen that I stored my Christmas ornaments there!!!  Always thought that when the Texan men finally got women to come, they wanted to be sure they stayed…hence, truly lovely bathtubs, and LOTS of kitchen cabinets.

Back to my story.  We managed to put the armoire back together.  (A challenge in itself.) Armoires were designed to be “portable”, so they come apart into (many) flat pieces with assorted hardware and keys… did I mention that it is French? and that we originally bought it in pieces?   When it was in my studio, the purple shelves (not original) seemed “arty”…in my kitchen, not so much.  After years of use, all were looking a bit ragged, as well.  New shelves were not an option.

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I guess I could have put them in place, hoping to get back to them at some point…but, I didn’t.

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Minor victories over the chaos feel SO good.

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A Truly Thoughtful Gift

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My son gives “good gifts”.  They may come wrapped in a used brown paper bag, stapled together at the top.  They may have been found by the side of the road.  They are without fail, special and chosen thoughtfully.  His most recent gift was beautifully wrapped, and probably too pricey beyond words.  It made me cry when I opened it…

I have coveted a Sophie Digard scarf FOREVER.  I love their detail, their colors, their craftsmanship.  I have sought them out in shops and I have pored over them online.  I have even tried crocheting my own version (some photos in past posts, “Inch by Inch” and “The Inherent Danger of Flat Surfaces…”).  Whenever I get to San Francisco, I try to stop in one particular store in Cow Hollow so that I can fondle (and admire) the latest Digard offerings and then, gently (and reluctantly) hand them back to the shopkeeper.

What makes them so special?  They are hand crocheted(!) by what must be a whole town full of women in Madagascar.  Generally made of merino wool, each lace-weight strand of yarn can be made up of sixty strands…all of different colors…yielding richly varied colorations and stunning detail.  IMG_5169Teeny tiny motifs, hundreds of colors, beautiful workmanship…truly beyond practicality, and, well into masterpiece.  Being casually handed such a gift as a “Thanks, Mom” at his rehearsal dinner will be one of those moments I will remember and cherish forever.  Like I say, it made me cry.  (But that won’t keep me from wearing it every chance I get!)

Unexpected, Crazy Fun

IMG_0025We had so much fun being just a little crazy last night.  On her way out the door yesterday, Kate mentioned that there was a field trip planned for today (trip on a boat, sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge), and by the way, if she decided to go (instead of staying behind in her office to catch up on work) she might need a hat for the “Crazy Hat Contest”.  It has been SO long since I got to help with a “school project”!  Thought I would see what might “inspire”…  I cruised the local JoAnn’s and had a lot of fun spending about ten bucks: grabbed the birdhouse on the way in the door and sort of went with that.   Added a bit of paint, some great red wire, a little orange polka-dotted pinwheel (25 cents!!), and a package of laser cut wooden buttons…every single thing was “on sale”!  (Also, bought a great little purple flower pot (99 cents), thinking it might make a cool base for the “hat”…but it got traded out pretty quickly for the black and white one in the photo  (It is actually a hat, imagine that…)   When she got home from work, I must have looked like I was having way too much fun, because it wasn’t long before we were both playing with the idea of a birdhouse hat…a bit of raiding in her closet and from her desk, and voila!

Given that she works with a bunch of engineers, the hat we came up with is decidedly low-tech…but, bet it makes you smile!

ps:  Update…Our hat won!  Prize to be announced…hmmmm

Wedding Paper…DONE!

And, not a moment too soon.  So, here is a quick look.

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Find your name.  Take the train to Capitola?

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There’s your table!

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Wedding Favors…to remember the day.  Tickets to GREAT times.

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Special wishes for the bride and groom…

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Don’t forget the cake…lots of cake.