You can read my latest column for The Crafts Report magazine here:
What Animals Are REALLY Thinking (About Us Craftspeople)
Muddling through life with the help of art.
You can read my latest column for The Crafts Report magazine here:
What Animals Are REALLY Thinking (About Us Craftspeople)
Well, actually there’s my regular column, Craft Matters: How to Build a Craftsperson…
and the shout-out from my friend Nancy LaFevre for Bunster in her article The Joys of Having Your Pet at Work”.
Yes, that’s BUNSTER in the picture!
Part Deux in how to raise the art of procrastination to a fever pitch, my column in yesterday’s Fine Art Views. Enjoy!
Yes, you’re invited, and you, and you, and you!
Just in case you’re my mom (which you aren’t, because my parents have never been online. NEVER.) DO NOT call me and ask me if I’m lying dead in a ditch somewhere. A call which always came at 7 a.m. on Saturday mornings when I was in college, following a period where I had been incommunicado too long, and which always baffled me, because this was way, way before cell phones and so if I actually ANSWERED the phone, how could I be dead in a ditch somewhere??
I digress…. Because I HAVE been incommunicado. I have a good reason:
I’m getting ready for another open studio this weekend. And you’re invited!
In some ways, I’m on top of this one. The studio didn’t get too, too messy since my last one, there was a lot of publicity because it’s part of the NH Open Doors Tour, and I’m not driving myself crazy about preparations. For example, I’m not going to vacuum again unless the dog barfs. (Keeping my fingers crossed here….)
But in other ways, I’m behind–as always. I didn’t do any personal promotion–no postcards mailed out to my customers. (I’m kicking myself here.) I decided to redo all my signage. Even though there’s not a year’s mess in here, there’s still a mess.
And I’m adding my usual personal anxiety to the mix. I once had a party where only one person showed up. It was traumatic. She was a very nice person, and we did do damage to a bottle of tequila (which promptly did damage to me, which is why I never drink tequila anymore, but that’s a story for another day.) But I still enter each entertainment venture with a sinking feeling that says, “And what if nobody comes this time, either??”
So help me not support my therapist single-handedly. Come to my Open Studio this Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 7 & 8, from 10-5, or pass the word on to someone you think would enjoy it. Tell them what you want for Christmas (if I happen to make something you’d want for Christmas) and tell them it’s only available here. This weekend.
And we will be BFF. Especially if you are the only person who comes.
P.S. Full disclosure: To be fair, at the time of that party, I was living in a 10’x10′ room in a rooming house. I think everyone was afraid we were going to stay there.
P.P.S. And I kinda forgot to tell everybody til the last minute. Which is why I probably deserve to have slow open studios, since history is repeating itself here…..
Something useful, something interesting, something funny and something wise. You get to decide which is which.
Instead of a loooooong deep heavy post today, just some little thoughts and things of interest I’ve read in the last day or so….
From the June 2009 issue of Real Simple magazine, Kristin Appenbrink in the “Moneywise” section calculates that the Lewis and Clark Expedition (St. Louis, MO to Oregon, with nine states in between) today would cost about $308 for gas, roundtrip. I wonder if L & C would think that was wonderful or depressing? Of course, traveling by car, they also never would have met Sacajawea, and she was pretty cool.
From the June 2009 issue of Family Circle magazine, “Health News” by Jane Bianchi features little D+Caf Caffeine test strips to see if your restaurant coffee really is decaf. Sort of like a pregnancy test for coffee.
I tried this cool little free tutorial from JewelryLessons.com on how to oxidize sterling silver with an egg. It was the best one I found online, involving the least mess, with great illustrations. Thank you to Sarah and Jen from tae kwon do, who, when I described the method to them last night, pointed out that I might want to recheck the part where you put the egg and jewelry back in the microwave to heat up. Yep, you’re right, I missed the part where the author said to take the jewelry out first.
I’m at that point in life where, when I put on eye shadow, my eyelid skin stays where the brush pushes it. Scary, but funny, too.
And the words that jumped out at me the last week or so were, “Life is too short to lose good friends.”
Today I received my first digital copy of The Crafts Report. And for the first time ever, my column is available on line!
I can’t seem to post a direct link, so double-click on the “contents” tab at the top of the page. I’m the “Craft Matters” column on page, 78, “You Might Be an Artist If…”
P.S. A friend sent me this link to the work of Carl Warner, who took the first “You might be an artist if….” to heart. Warning: It might make you hungry!
I’m a magazine fanatic–can’t get enough of them. I love getting stuff in the mail. Especially a pristine issue of a magazine that promises to help you change your life in seven easy steps.
I love them all: Home magazines. Art magazines. Craft magazines. Business magazines. Craft business magazines. News magazines. Essay magazines. Environmental magazines. Lifestyle magazines. Women’s magazines. I love O and W, and MSL. My secret guilty pleasure is People magazine at my dentist’s office. (“I’m not ready for my cleaning, I have to find out what Britney did next!”) (And why can’t she spell her name right??)
I pore over the articles and dog-ear the ones that especially speak to me. I drool over the photo layouts, dreaming that someday my hair/body/home/wardrobe/closet could look just like theirs.
I save magazines, going back to read and reread those same articles. If they are “how-to” or craft magazines, I keep them until the projects and styles are so outdated, they’re retro.
Consequently, I’m always drowning in magazines. As I clean my attic, I find boxes, laundry baskets and suitcases filled with magazines. Yes, suitcases. You know those stacks of vintage suitcases you see in home style magazines? The stacks that make great end tables? You’re supposed to get “extra storage” outta them by stuffing your magazines inside the suitcases? Well, do they ever say what you’re supposed to do when those suitcases are full??
Now it’s time to move those wonderful issues on to some other unsuspecting…er…deserving…person.
Sometimes I find homes for them on Freecycle. Sometimes they get stashed out in the garage til I figure out what to do with them. Then, after they’ve been dripped on, tripped over and ripped up, I haul them out to the recycling bin. (The cardboard boxes won’t hold up under those conditions, hence the laundry baskets….)
But there’s one way to move magazines on that feels a little Robin Hood-ish, a little outlaw-ish….
I sneak them into public waiting rooms.
This idea came to me after spending eons of time in our local clinic last winter. I went through an endless period of testing, follow-up testing, surgeries, surgical follow-ups and check-ups. I felt like I was spending 90% of my time in waiting rooms.
And there was never anything interesting to read.
The worst was the pediatrician’s office. Okay, that wasn’t for me, that was for one of my kids. But I couldn’t get into the baby mags (my youngest is 16) and I couldn’t even bear to look at the pregnancy mags. (And oddly, the best magazine selection was in the orthopedics department’s waiting room….. What’s up with that?!)
It was then the connection was made in my brain. Hmmmm…..dearth of magazines….plethora of magazines…yessss!
So on my next visit, I brought an armload of my own magazines. And surreptitiously left them behind.
I even snuck in a few issues of the now-defunct CraftsBusiness magazine, the on I wrote a regular column for. Self-promotion! AmericanStyle, if your subscription rate suddenly spikes, you have me to thank for it.
I know they must be appreciated, because the last time I had to wait for a doctor’s appointment, I was surprised to see they had some good magazines to read.
Then I realized they were the ones I’d left the last time I was there.
I happily settled in to reread those great articles until the nurse came for me.
Now I carry a small bag of magazines in my car, ready to leave a few behind wherever I go. I’m taking some today to my appointment for new tires.
I will bet you a silk pajama they won’t have More or Country Living in their waiting room….
But there will be after I leave.
P.S. If you worry about possible repercussions, remove your subscription label from each copy before you leave them. Although why letting bad people know I subscribe to Mare Englebreit’s Home Companion would leave me more vulnerable to a potential home invasion, I have no idea.
P.S.S. Dube’s Tire loved the magazine donation!
I’m slowly returning to normal activities, and my spirit continues to mend, too.
It was a shock to learn that the spirit can take longer than the body to recover from a long year of injuries and setbacks. It was a good lesson to learn, though. I think I’ve gained more compassion for others in the same boat. You can handle one setback, another and another. But at some point, your soul just wants to hunker down and run.
We’ve always heard that when we are down in the dumps, it can help to reach out and help others. It’s a good way to get us outside our own heads, a way to move and act without being totally self-referential.
But if even that seems like too much, here’s a lower-threshold spiritual treatment I can almost guarantee will provide the same benefit:
There’s something about kitten antics that makes everything else weighing on your heart just fly away.
Everything is wildly interesting to them–the hem of your jeans, the tie on your robe, the cord on your window shades, the dryer lint in the waste basket, the bug crawling on the floor.
They jump, bounce, flounce, roll, and cry piteously when their tail is, in turn, mistaken for a toy by a sibling.
And if you get tired of dealing with a hamburger-sized ball of fuzz that sees everything in the world as attackable, there’s always an exhausted yet hugely grateful mom-cat who’s happy to simply sit and be petted.
Now, you don’t have to rush out and buy kittens. In fact, there’s a great way to have an (almost) everlasting supply of kittens on hand.
You can be a kitten foster care provider.
One of our favorite family volunteer projects is to act as a foster home for our local humane society. When they receive a pregnant cat or a mom-cat with young kittens, they quickly place them in homes for temporary care–about one to three months, or until the kittens are old enough to be safely adopted.
This gives the mothers a calm, loving environment outside the shelter. It gives the new family a haven from all the diseases that course through a shelter. It ensures the kittens get maximum socialization with humans, critical to their emotional development as family pets.
And as a side effect, our family gets to enjoy kittens in all their glory for two months.
Just when they reach those teenage years (in kitten time), they are all ready to go back to the humane society. The mom cats, unfortunately, may have to wait for new homes. But at least the kittens are adopted quickly, usually within a week. Although I confess, our current pair of cats, our clown-cat Chai and our nervous-nelly cat Moxie, were both former mom-cats in our home.
The layout of our home allows us to set up a foster cat station apart from the other critters. Our two regulars know something is going on, of course. Suddenly, interesting food is delivered to a room that’s now off-limits to them, and they aren’t allowed to drink out of the bathtub faucet anymore. Their bewilderment is palpable, and their attempts to convince us that they need that extra nice cat food, too are amusing.
Our latest batch came to us last week. The mom-cat has been christened “Juno”, after the movie with the young pregnant teen heroine of the same name, because she is so outrageously young herself. (A visitor, on seeing her emerge from the “nesting box”, exclaimed, “That’s the mother??
The kittens are tiny, and just now starting to open their eyes. Three golden mackerel tabbies (probably male), two black torties (probably female.)
They’re really too young to play with yet, and Juno waits anxiously nearby when we handle them, ready to snatch them back at the least little peep out of them.
But already, everything is delightfully right in the world.
P.S. This works with puppies and bunnies, too.
Robin has insisted I change that word to “underwear” and I have.
And she made me put in that we did that when she was a baby, which is true.
And she says she loves the H.D. and wants to try it on when it’s dry (presumably to see how far down her nose it comes.
And the second hat (periwinkle!) is looking good, though far too warm (wool) for Seattle.
And today I’m going yarn-shopping with another friend at Webs, an incredible yarn store/warehouse in Northampton, MA.
So yarn will be found. Purple yarn. Not wool.
It started out innocently enough.
I just wanted to knit a few hats for a friend. And maybe a baby sweater for another friend expecting his first child.
“I’ll surprise her with a hat!” I thought. Then I read in a forum that this can be a bad idea.
I emailed her to ask her if 1) she wanted a hat; 2) if so, please choose from an assortment of online patters I’d found; and 3) what colors she would like.
She emailed back with not only her color and style choices, but she ran out to actually buy a few balls of yarn and sent them to me.
And now the sad tale begins.
I have tons of yarn. I have a barn attic full of yarn. Not only do I have a lot of yarn (did I mention I have a LOT of yarn?), in my search for the appropriate yarns, I found another huge stash of yarn in another attic that’s been there since we moved into this house eight years ago. (I forgot all about it. Hey, that’s where all my brown yarn and mohair yarns went!)
Turns out the best yarns for really comfortable hats are not wool. I have mostly wool yarns. Not only mostly wool yarns, I have very few yarns suitable for soft hats and baby sweaters. In fact–none.
And, although if you’d asked me three months ago what colors of yarn I have, I would have happily exclaimed, “Every color under the sun!”, it turns out I actually have only a warm palette of yarn.
Lots of rust. Tons of turquoise. Many, many soft greens. Gold, pumpkin, orange. Periwinkle blue. Even red. Even a teensy bit of black.
No fuchias. No purples. No bright clear blues or corals.
I’ve also rediscovered why I don’t actually knit that much.
Although I am a competent knitter, and read about knitting voraciously, although I know four different ways to increase stitches, although I conscientiously knit gauge swatch after gauge swatch, although I broke down and bought tons of new knitting needles because I have lost my entire stash in my attic (I hate my attic! It’s too good for storing stuff), although I picked the easiest pattern (a beret–I have knit many berets before) and experimented with dozens of yarns to find the perfect ones….
I actually have a rather profound and pronounced inability to follow directions.
I found all this out this weekend when I spent three straight days knitting what I desperately wanted to be the perfect hat.
And ended up with a giant, floppy, heavy, heather gray-purple hat that is completely unwearable even by me.
And because it’s mostly silk/angora, it won’t even felt down into shape.
And I can’t add elastic to the the cuff/brim (which is way, way too big and loose) because that would be too harsh on tender skin.
Maybe I can make a bag out of it. Or give it to my darlin’ daughter, who looks marvelous in anything she puts on her head. I swear you could give her a pair of
underpants underwear to put on her head, and she could pull it off. In fact, I think we tried this once, and she did indeed look good with underwear on her head.
Back to the drawing board.
p.s. Hey! Maybe I could make a bag out of it!
Okay, last night my husband and I watched the movie, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We’ve always liked it and think it deserves a better rating than “one star.” Paul Rueben’s (aka Pee-wee Herman) death scene is interminable–and funny! Hillary Swank plays the part of one of Buffy’s obnoxious girlfriends. And I was right–I thought I spotted Ben Affleck in a one second scene, and it was him!
Anyway, I dreamed that night that I was Buffy. (Quit laughing.) I killed vampires right and left. They followed me everywhere–into my house, into the streets, and even into a grocery store. (What was THAT about??)
And my wooden stakes were……(can you guess?)
Pencils. Knitting needles. And artist paintbrushes!