Saturday, January 29, 2011

Little Enchantments

Bobble scarf!
I am very pleased with myself today. I not only lost 2 pounds, I finally found a way to do something with a pretty treasure I found.
I am a sucker for these tiny pretties that weave their enchantments around my fingers, my eyes, my sense of joy. I have pieces of fabric that are over 20 years old that I bought just because I liked them. I can't sew. I just like fabrics. I have buttons and bows and frogs (decorative button-things) that do nothing but exist for me to look at and touch. I have to stay out of fabric stores or be on my mission with self control at the helm to avoid adding to this almost useless collection.

Now that I have entered the "fabric arts" so to speak, I thought I'd try to use one of my treasures if I could.
This is a scarf made with a warm pinky-beige fun fur and trimmed with a bobble trim that I think was meant for curtains. I found it in the drapes/curtains/upholstery clearance section at Hobby Lobby and fell in love with the colors and the feel. The bobbles are plushy, the ribbon has satin stitches and rougher fabric and is just fun to touch.
I had been working on the scarf without any particular end goal in mind, I just wanted to do something with the color and keep up the habit of crocheting nightly. The more the scarf shaped, the more I thought -" wish I could find a way to add that bobble trim!"
After a lot of consideration I convinced myself that if it didn't look right I could probably remove it without runing the scarf.
So I threaded a quilting needle with some hamoniously colored strands of embriodery thread, trimmed the bobble line to meet the scarf's dimensions and went to work.
I sewed the trim to the front and back of both ends of the scarf and then sewed the open ends of trim closed to make it neat. BTW, this is the limit to my sewing abilities. Like I said, can't sew!
I am pretty sure the goddess of handicrafts (Isn't that Athena?) was just indulging me with this success in making something using one of my little enchantments!
What do YOU think? Does random stuff call your name? Do your hands reach for interesting looking stones, sticks, bits of glass?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Iconic Institutions/ Archaic Practices

These cultural constants are about to become rarities. Perhaps just memories of people born before 2010.
Last night on the news I saw that the Post Office will be closing more outlets. The price of a stamp has jumped more times than I can count (off the top of my head) since I have been over 30 after years of same-same. They are still suffering financially. The internet allows people to talk to each other with more ease (email) and pay bills with little effort (no stamp!).
Newspapers are also hitting the dinosaur wall. My local paper has shrunk in size and now in content. At the minimum we used to get 3 sections of paper; Front page with big news and editorial content, second section of local and entertainment, 3rd section of sports and classifieds.
Now it is only two thin sections of perhaps 8 pages each. And they still want the same price for it!

I grew up in a small town with a post office that looked like the temple of a minor Greek God. There were porticos and columns outside, marble floors, walls and counters inside. The walls of PO boxes almost glittered from the windows showing the box interior and the gilt numbers and trim painted on each one. On the hottest of summer days, the inside of the PO was so cool it was almost chilly. I walked bare-footed on those marble floors many times, just like a lot of other little kids before me.
Because I lived in a relatively rural town, our daily newspaper from the nearest metro arrived late in the afternoon. Reading the paper was the way to see what the world was up to in those days and one of the first "adult" habits I acquired.
Soon books and stories that reference the post office or the newspaper will be considered tales of days gone by. One day readers of those stories will have to find reference web pages to understand how the PO worked and why anyone wanted to work for a "news paper."

Saturday, January 22, 2011

what a happy busy day!

I woke up earlier than I had planned, thanks to 4 kitties staring into my face and breathing on me. You know you have been thoroughly stared at when you open your eyes to 4 sets of eyes, ranging from pure gold to pale green, focussed on your face.

They were mainly bored and ready for words and action so I got up and started talking and moving. They do talk back, but it is along the lines of "prrrup? RRRRRRiii? mraa. MEEEEEEya."

My goal was to get to an art fair at a historic building in my little town. This part of Florida is relatively new compared to my home area, nothing in the state is really old except for St. Augustine.

Anyway, this lovely old building just off main street had been falling apart until the Historical Society got interested in it. It was built in 1912 and is the property and meeting place of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, who were still meeting there even when the building really should have been condemned. Only members could have unescorted access to the building, so, the Historical Society members joined so they could have access to the building to rennovate and voila.

Upstairs is the meeting area for the IOOF and there is more to talk about there than I will mention here.

My favorite was a set of wall murals that had been done through the WPA during the Depression when the government actually made jobs. They hired a trained artist (JW Zelm) to paint the walls of the Odd Fellows meeting area with scenes of NW Florida themed with Biblical material. Yah, I know!

Apparantly it offended the artist as well. The huge mural that was supposed to deal with the Burning Bush had a smoky little pile the size of a dime in a distant corner.

I will get some pics of those murals since they were lovely and still in danger of destruction.The art fair was my main focus today. So much of the work shown was of situational art. People have a craving for beauty and will make it from whatever is at hand, like the sweet potato vine plant my mom put in her first rooming house window. She had a small sweet potato, put toothpicks in it to suspend it in a cup of water and let it root and develop leaves. A little beauty in a dreary window.

There were a lot of handcrafts; wooden utensils, jewelry, wind-chimes made from found objects and key art. This fascinated me. The cultural anthropologist in me always locks in on folk art, the southern country girl in me thinks about the people who found beauty in these objects.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Rainy, Lazy, TGFTDW

I went to bed at a reasonable hour last night and still slept til nearly noon! I just wanted to get my money's worth out of this Three Day Weekend and sleep until I was good and ready to get up.

I am almost through with the laundry I have procrastinated about doing all weekend. I have spent time crocheting, watching kitchy 90's TV shows (Sliders, for one) and generally lazing about. It has been nice to rest. I've also been eating food that was as minimally processed as possible and have lost 5 pounds since last week. YAY!

Tonight's meal won't be tops for health since it incorporates salty, country cured ham but it is the kind of thing perfect for a cold night - ham pie. I am using organic milk and cage free eggs and that should help:) I am looking forward to those fat little biscuit dumplings:)

Tomorrow night will be healthier. I found some cooked yellow summer squash and mustard in the freezer to have with baked boneless skinless chicken and green field peas. Since I bought all three of the vegetables fresh from a produce stand I know how they were cooked, so that's good on the "minimally processed" front.

I am trying to cut back on the meat we eat so I'll probably hold back some of the chicken tomorrow night to use for another night. I just have to figure out how...
I have to learn how to post pictures so my text doesn't get messed up! The top left picture is the beginning of the project, the top right is the completed scarf:)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Full Steam Ahead

For years I have gotten Garden Fever when the first warm wind of spring blew my hair into my face.
What I kept forgetting was that was a bit late for some of the gardening plans I had. This year is different. THIS year, I thought about spring here in January so I can start my garden prep over time instead of in one expensive rush.
I bought a tiny seedling green house and some lavender seeds and started them last night. They will germinate and end up in larger pots in about a month - and I will buy those larger parts in a few weeks.
I don't own those pots yet, or the next round of seeds or peats pellets to start them in, but only because of the application of exteme restraint on my impulse to Get It All Now.
This is an impulse I have battled for as long as I have had my own money to invest in a project.
I pick up hobbies and then buy more supplies than I need to execute any planned projects. I have jewelry fittings, loose stones and magazines that I haven't touched in a year. I have yarn called "Fun Fur" with which to make scarves in a multitude of colors and haven't picked up a crochet needle in six months. I still have a yoga mat, yoga block and yoga mat spray (not to mention yoga clothes) I bought for a class that I attended twice.
Those examples are just the tip of the iceberg. I almost think that my purchases are the curse that ends my interest in these hobbies.
Luckily (or unluckily, depending on your view), Christmas ate me up financially and I have to be cautious until some card balances come down before I fling myself into a frenzy of propagation supplies purchasing.
Maybe I'll actually remain interested in this project long enough to get my French Mimosa tree started:)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Day One of 2011

Sometimes, doing next to nothing is the best thing to do.
Today was a prime example of that.
I woke up much earlier than I should have considering it was well after two when I closed my eyes with a skinful of champagne.
The cats made sleepy, grumpy remarks about my removing myself from the nest they'd built around me and two followed me into the bathroom to observe contact insertion. Rowboat jumped up to help and skidded into the sink. She's such an easygoing, un-selfconcious kitty that her attitude was unaffected by gravity's insult and she sat on the drain to watch.
Motorboat, her twin, flung himself against my calf to draw attention to the depths of starvation to which he'd been reduced and howled.
All followed me to the kitchen for morning kibble. After putting food down on the back deck for the anti-social Tuxedo I took a fresh, cold bottle of water from the fridge for breakfast on the couch.
Shortly after I brought in the paper and let a few of the furry horde out into the yard the rain began.
When I am not driving, the sounds and smells of rain are signals to my body to sleep. I have never had enough sleep that a rain storm couldn't induce somnolence and today was no exception. I had only been up for three hours after eight hours of sleep when my eyelids began to droop as the barometer dropped. The snoring cat in my lap added to the desire for sleep so I grabbed my airplane pillow, snuggled under my couch blanket and drifted into my sleep place.
Hours later the nap plane landed and the rain was still falling.
I had the luxury of doing more nothing, planning dinner, cleaning something, or going somewhere.
I decided that doing more nothing (as most people would see it) was the winning ticket.
I played with my cats, exfoliated my hands, put dishes away, admired the color of the rain-wet leaves on my orange tree, talked to the cats, talked to my mom, talked to my husband and pondered healthy meal plans for the week to come.
Day One of 2011 was low-key, stress free, and happy.
I anticipate more action on most of the days to come so today was one nice, last restful day before I have to dive into the fray once more.