DC, Christmas, and Other Upsetting Things

Beware

A word to the wise:

A visit to Washington D.C. anytime in the month of August is a very bad idea.

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I never knew the Dome was so shiny.
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Oh, grannies! You can actually see the HOT in this picture, and not in a good way.

Sometimes, the creative mind must wander to unknown realms to escape one’s own stink. In other words, I needed a change of scenery–and brother did I ever get one.

  • Lots of people
  • Lots of dogs
  • Insanely hot

The Smithsonian was neat-o.

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I also slightly stalked a woman who had a haircut I wanted to show my hairdresser. Was that creepy of me? In this land-o-tech, how many times, do you suppose, has someone taken a secret pic of you? *soul shudder* There you go. Give that one a think before you run to the store without your bra.

ren and stimpy thumbs up GIF by NickSplat

Fall could be my favorite season. I’ve been digging into a tiny bit of yard work. Tiny means microscopic, compared to some of you people. Tennessee is a great place to be when the days shorten.

Mr. Murphy found this guy taking five on the back porch.

It’s time to get the holiday lists rolling. Gifts, cards, events, meals, so many happy(?) tasks to sort out, I don’t know where to start. It can be overwhelming to families with limited resources, small children, or painful memories. As we head closer to the crazy, don’t let it harsh your mellow.

Some Mellow-Maintenance Strategies:

  • Keep notes on a small pad in your purse, on your fridge, or in your phone. You may have a stellar memory, but every system is vulnerable to overload.
  • Oh, my goodness, if you can do it ahead of time, make time to do it, whatever it is. December-you will be so thankful for September-you.
  • When money is tight, use your noggin and be creative. Scope the Internet using key words like “budget” and “holiday family activities.”
  • Remain true to your skill set. If you’re a baker, bake. If you’re a knitter, knit. Get it?
  • Reject the guilt. This is very close to my personal mantra. Trust your instincts, and let the nay-sayers “nay” somewhere else.
  • Finally, be realistic. Don’t overextend yourself into some project or adventure that is too much: money, time, exertion, strain, blood, sweat, tears, etc. Just say NO.

Note or Not

Okay, I’m weird (we established that, oh, so long ago), but I make notes on my notes about how well things went, like:

Really, who am I without OneNote?

Taking notes and keeping notes (don’t go nuts; stay practical, my little perfectionists) helps next year’s experience. Looking back on my notes helps me to avoid making the same mistakes over and over. Streamlining saves so much time, weeping, and gnashing of teeth.

Start asking around, now, about who might want to go where for what and when. I’m telling you, it may seem like overkill, this early, but we’re not looking for hard-and-fast answers, yet. We just want the procrastinators among us to get groovy with it. It helps the flow, later, to plant the idea, now.

Singles

Would you like to host other singles? Start a roving conversation among your buds about it. Eat together, shop together, laugh and cry together. Include singles of all ages. Build a bonfire (why do I like to burn things?), hike and camp at your comfort level. Don’t push it; just go tree-huggin’ or desert stompin’. Shoot, just sit on your back step with a neighbor, and watch the sky.

What are your favorite autumn things to do? Here’s a few of mine:

  • watch Lord of the Rings
  • crawl the web for recipes
  • read gardening books
  • enjoy the last of the local gardens
  • burn things

Fear not, loved ones, I haven’t forsaken my sewing machine. Just changing gears for the next good thing.

Everyday, create your life.

 

 

 

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I Need A Bigger Plate

Good morning, my lovelies!

Please forgive the unforgivable–my tiny hiatus–and look once more with favor upon my silly ramblings and strange notions. I’ve been hard at work in my shop, sorting out fabric scraps and thinking of sew many things.

Lately, I’m way into hand-sewing.

Settle down, everybody; settle down. I’m not dissing the machine. Suzie Homemaker knows I love my sewing machine . . .

BUT (and it’s a big one) . . .

. . . those tiny, lil’ nooks and crannies need tiny, lil’ stitches that only my tiny, lil’ fingers, bare and unmechanized, can stitch. I gotta get in there and feel it.

Sew . . .

I’ve been cruising other great sites, getting ideas and digging the community, both online and off.

Here’s the Enos Community Center, in the back woods of Dickson, TN. The building was once a one-room schoolhouse that served the families in this rural area, but that was a long time ago.

I never get tired of the woods, y’all. Here’s the creek that sings its stone and water song, just around the corner.

This was the scene of my life-long friend’s family reunion. Country people can cook; just sayin’.

Oh, baby, I can’t get enough turnip greens, lately.

I love listening to the stories and swapping family recipes. The old building is soaked in memories of children and families and love.

Back to the old sewing room. Here’s some things:

Can you tell I’ve been reading (actually, watching on Amazon Prime) Dickens? Whatever the man was in person, he was a great, GREAT writer. Whenever I read (yes, read, because the proof is in the written word) a great work by a great author, I always question myself, thus: “Why, Connie, why do you think you could write when THIS exists in the world?”

Sure, Charles Dickens had literary game, but could he sew? I digress.

A Word About You

We’ve all got our thing. What’s yours? Whether or not your thing can pay the bills is a conversation for another blog post, but doing your thing makes you, YOU. I’m not talking about mean or fearful YOU (we’ve all been there); I’m talking about beautiful, creative YOU, the YOU that makes other people smile.

A Word About Me

Knowing myself through the happiness I might bring others is the goal of my days. What have I got in my skill set? How can I give it away? Some days I may be off my rhythm, a bit, but that’s no matter. Real people have down days. It’s a fact.

Tripping

Mr. Murphy and I are contemplating an upcoming road trip to Washington, DC. I’ll be sure to clue my blog buddies to all the adventures in store in “our nation’s capital” (Forrest Gump). Should I go Instagram??? I’ve been meaning to get that one rolling. Keep a lookout.

Meanwhile . . .

We’re making our lists and packing our bags. Hmmm . . . making our lists, making our lists, what does this remind me . . .

Oh,

right,

CHRISTMAS!!!

* I promise you, my husband is somewhere gagging at this very moment! Tee-hee!

Upcoming Treats:

  • The TRIP – sights and sounds from DC
  • A move? – packing and cleaning tips
  • Some pretty things I’ve found around the web and close to home
  • Fall funsies
  • and, of course, a cool Yule

Are we never satisfied? When it’s cold outside, all we can think of is warm weather, and in the summer, we long for falling leaves and cooler temps. Wherever–whenever–I am, I must always beware of too much ‘moresight‘ (like ‘foresight,’ but with an ‘m’). If I’m always looking for more, I forget to enjoy what I’ve got, right here, on my own plate. And there’s always plenty for everyone.

Auntie Mame nailed it when she proclaimed,

“Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!” 

Better get your plate ready, before the turnip greens are all gone.

Lunch table / salad

 

 

 

 

 

Here She Is . . . Swimsuit Optional

Ta-daaa!!!

I don’t know; is it wrong to call her Lil’ Connie? If you read our last posting, then you know why I decided to call her Constance (my name, as well) a virtue name meaning “faithful.” I like it, but it’s a little weird, so I’ll just refer to her as Lil.

Her name was McGill, and she called herself Lil, but everyone knew her as Nancy.                               ~Lennon & McCartney

Or, maybe, I’ll call her Nancy. I love nicknames.

Get Into It

Remember what she looked like, before?

Seeing this picture fills my heart with Happy. I wasn’t sure I was doing the right thing, but now I see the risk was worth the pleasure. Like so many little “risks” (no, not a life-altering risk, just a vain, private one), the payoff has been mighty nice. I used most of her original materials, (again, reference that last post), and I tried to keep her “faithful” to the original design intent.

Let’s Take a Closer Look

I like her face.

Overalls were a good choice for her first outfit.

How did I make them? Basically, I measured, cut, and stitched by the seat of my pants.

Or, maybe, the seat of her pants. Yeah, these are real, working pockets. I know you’re all astounded. The tension on my sewing machine was giving me fits–along with some very ratty-looking stitches–so I opted to continue hand-sewing. I gotta tell you guys, watching Masterpiece Theatre while stitching little bitty clothes lends a strange comfort I cannot properly describe in writing.

The Small Stuff

Omigosh, the tiny shoes just do it for me. See? I made my own pattern:

Look closely and you will see the pin holes in the paper. That’s where I pinned them directly onto the doll to see if they would be the right size. Hand-made, off-the-cuff inspiration feeds itself as the project goes along. Make up your own rules to suit yourself, and keep a pad of paper handy at all times.

Look at some of my horrible drawings. As long as you can understand it, who cares what your notes look like?

Alright, let’s take inventory:

  1. Was this a complicated project? No.
  2. Was this an expensive project? No.
  3. Was this, in any way, weird? Absolutely, but in a good way.

What did I set out to do here? The main objective is a tasty portion of joy, but we can also savor a few fringe benefits.

  • Figuring things out makes my head happy
  • My hands are busy doing something sweet
  • Creativity fuels invention
  • I am now the proud owner of my own, strange, little avatar
  • Writing about it is wicked awesome

Make Your Own Inventory

“Complicated,” and “expensive” don’t work for me; although, I confess, I’m a little partial to “weird.” But that’s me. What makes your head happy? What inspires you? What makes the day fly by so that you wonder, “Wow! Is it tea time, already?” Find it; make it; do it, and then put the kettle on.

 

 

 

Virtue Signaling

I’ve been really bad, y’all.

You Know How It Is

One night, you’re sitting on the couch with a loved one, watching television, and you start rubbing your bare arms because the Thermostat Overlord is trying to freeze you to death. Your fingertips pass over one of those little, random bumps or skin flecks or whatever, so you scratch a little, maybe even pick a little. Next thing you know, you’re digging in a dark bathroom closet for a Band-aid.

Remember my girl?

I made this doll when I was in the seventh grade (maybe the sixth). We were assigned projects in Tennessee History class, so I made a sock doll and dressed her up like a Fort Nashborough settler. Sadly, Mr. Chandler was not impressed. Of course, that’s not her ‘settler’ dress; it’s an updated, jazzy, groovy number I made for her (in pity, no doubt) after I brought her home. Poor little thing, I just wanted to adjust her stuffing and maybe make her a new dress. But then . . .

I know. Gruesome, isn’t it? One ridiculous thing just led to another; I could not stop myself. But look at the cool stuff I found inside her:

Alright, alright; it’s cool to me, okay? Pulling things out of old dolls is like emptying the contents of a time capsule. Why? Because, even as a little kid, I loved reusing things. What looks like old socks to you, are, in fact, beloved memories to me. The coolest discovery, here, is the other sock. Now a whole world of reno-doll-vation is open to me.

Good times.

Socks are one of the most pleasurable, forgiving mediums to work with. You almost can’t ruin it. Almost. And it is so mold-able. The only drawback, and it is a small one, is the fact that most of the sewing should be done by hand. Knit socks–especially from the nineteen-seventies–require a hand stitch, but what fun! It’s basically soft-sculpture.

If a leg is too big, sculpt it down. Knitted material  s t r e t c h e s  and >condenses<. You can pinch gathers, add curves and dimples, snip things out, and add things in, with little to no drama (you people know how I feel about drama). Everything blends in after squishing it in your hands a few times.

I freaking LOVE it.

It’s easy to cut and easy to fit.

Major Piece of Advice

Don’t let your project intimidate you. NEVER put a limit on Creativity. Here’s the scenario that I have found to be true, over and over, when it comes to soft-sculpture: No matter how bad or weird it looks (it = some idea you had to lengthen, shorten, stuff, or change), just keep going until the ‘it’ is finished. Trust me, guys; see it to the end before becoming discouraged. I’m not sure why, but a good idea will almost always look like a bad idea at the start. Hang with it, work with it, and then decide whether or not to rip it out and start over (which isn’t the worst thing that ever happened in your life).

Also, remember that this is a one-of-a-kind, handmade treasure from your hands to the hands of somebody you care about. The imperfections make the work unique, just like the person who made it. Please don’t get caught up in nit-picking. You’ll never see the end of it or the end of your project.

See how sad she looks at the thought of endless picking? So disappointed . . .

Some Things

So, I:

  • took her completely apart, every stitch and stuffing
  • shortened her torso
  • lengthened her arms and legs
  • made her head big and round (the Barbie principle*)
  • added my customary lentils to bottom, feet, and hands
  • shaped a waist and a neck (strengthened by a stuffed drinking straw)
  • added buttons just because I like buttons

You get the idea. I didn’t follow any directions, just making things up as I went along. Since I uncovered the rest of the pair of socks I used, originally, the possibilities were endless.

Midnight Confession:**

The hair was a thing. Beware of too much yarn on a small head. She was getting a little fancy for a sock doll, and I kept having to remind myself to keep her simple and sweet. Sock dolls are for lovin’ and playin,’ not for sitting around looking aloof and complicated.

 

I tried to keep the original doll in mind. The outside may change a bit, but she’s still the same girl, like me.

There’s a virtue here, so now I’m thinking of a virtue name for her. Maybe I’ll give her my name, Constance.

Constance means “faithful.” She’s been faithful to stay with me all these years. Each time I have recovered her from a box or basket or tote, she’s always smiling, ready to greet me as though no time had passed, at all. Maybe she represents my faithful love of sewing, writing, and the small joys we share with each other.

I rarely tell people my full name. For all intents and purposes, I’m Connie. When I think back on my life, ‘constance’ is not a virtue that springs to mind, but we almost never consider ourselves kindly. What’s your hidden virtue? I’ll bet it’s the last thing you would think of yourself. If you don’t know, go ask your kids or your parents, really anybody in your family. They can nit-pick you like a boss.

 

* Barbie’s head is much larger, proportionately, than the rest of her body. This is because cloth weave is rarely fine enough to drape properly on a doll’s small body frame. Therefore, the body upon which the clothing is displayed, is disproportionate to prevent the doll appearing overly-enveloped by its clothing. Is that cool or what?

**This is just an opinion, but lead singer Rob Grill could be one reason mustaches were so popular in the seventies. Unfortunately, not everybody can pull one off as well as he did.

 

 

 

Trial by Cross Stitch

Coming right along, slowly, but surely.

Yes, it’s monotonous.

Maybe it’s a little boring (for me).

There is a level of tedium, here.

And I Wanna Make Another Virtue Doll . . .

Everybody gather round. Come in a bit closer . . . that’s it . . . closer . . . okay, ready? I’m the worst.

Just love me.

Good-bye, for now, cross stitch from the nineteen-nineties. Ta-Ta! Back into the tote, you go!

Wow! No, really, I was expecting something like guilt or shame or feelings of inferiority, but there’s, like, none of that! I feel great! Talk about taking a load off.

I don’t know, I guess I was somebody else in 1994, huh? She had keener eyesight, that’s for sure. 1994 Connie was busy raising young children, and maybe cross stitch was the zen she needed. Her life was busy, chaotic, and sort of lonely, in a weird way. Cross stitch was there for her, and I’m super glad it was.

The 1994 me is still in here, doing laundry, somewhere. She’s deep, inside the programming of the person I am in 2018. I like her; she’s good at folding towels.

Hey, guys!

Wanna make another doll?

Guys?

Guys???

 

 

 

Who’s Ready for a Road Trip?

While we’re finishing up those pesky projects, it is always a good idea to stop, look around, and take in some scenery. Tennessee is a great place to do it!

Beautiful Chattanooga, TN

Mr. Murphy and I took a little trip, took a little trip to Chattanooga (The Chat), last week–just an overnighter.

Here’s a view of the city from Lookout Mountain. Look at the clouds! The storms from the Gulf were rolling in, adding a major SCHWING! to the photo-op, don’t you think?

Here’s a pretty thing:

Kinda looks like something from an Alfred Hitchcock thriller, dunnit?

The Lookout Mountain Hotel was built in 1928, but became Covenant College in 1964. I’m told the inside is spectacular. I wanted to see, but Mr. Murphy said they wouldn’t let me in. Now, I’m sad. Let’s look at downtown.

Right?! And these photos don’t do it the justice it deserves. Just like most places in Tennessee, the land is beautiful and the people are super friendly.

What’s my point?

You don’t have to be rich and famous to go on a trip. No matter where you live, you are absolutely within a few hours from an adventure. Stay overnight in a cheap motel. Heck, sleep in your car or, better, pitch a tent at a roadside campground, but escape your normal for a day or three, and get a life! It’s good for your head.

Mr. Murphy’s 360° video cam is BOSS! That’s the Tennessee River bordering the right side of our Small Planet pic.

But Wait; There’s More

I visited my friends in White Bluff. Born in Nashville, I spent a large chunk of the grow years out here, in the woods. Check it!

I mean, have you ever???

LOOK!

 

We totally hiked it, stopping occasionally to BREATHE IN THE HEALING BEAUTY. With all those trees around us, the air was pure and heady with that awesome tree smell. If only I could post THAT in a blog. We had so much fun frolicking in the woods, we wore out a dog.

When my kids were babies, and they were waaay past tired, the best way to soothe them was to put them in the car, and drive around the block. Every parent knows that trick. If the car was out of the question, I would hold them and walk around the house. Why do babies love that? Maybe they think they’re going somewhere better, away from the boredom or bad dreams.

When everything agitates you, and life seems like all work and no play, it’s time to hit the road, even if it’s just a quick trip to the hills or the beach or the junk store. Grab some clean underwear and go, go, go!

 

 

 

Cross Stitching in Kind

Did you ever have a friend (of course, you have) that you didn’t interact with for a very long time, like, a decade or two? Maybe you encountered someone from school or the old neighborhood, and you thought, “This person is a nice person. Why didn’t I stay in touch with this person?”

And then . . .

After a few moments, the light of recollection flickers in the deep reaches of your memory as you slowly realize, after only a few minutes of conversation, “Oh, right, now I remember.”

That’s me and this cross stitch.

Sweet mother of Pearl, what have I gotten myself into, this time? Why didn’t one of you STOP me? Remember that talk we had about letting stuff go?

It’s so wrong to despise one’s creative work, but this . . . THIS . . .

It’s rare, but I’m speechless.

 

MOMENT OF SILENCE, PLEASE, WHILE WE OBSERVE THE PHENOMENON

 

Okay, so I was sitting in my lil’ sewing nest,

. . . sewing my lil’ heart out,

–what? Hey, anytime’s a good time–where was I? Right. My lil’ heart.

And as I was squinting at the pattern and squinting at the cloth and squinting at the stitches and magnifying the pattern and magnifying the cloth and magnifying the stitches, I began to hallucinate (around 57:31).

That’s when it all came back to me, not so much in a flash, but more like a slow, horrible realization: “Oh. Right. Now, I remember.”

This cross stitch has all the characteristics of a person you thought you were glad to see, only to become trapped in a dismal conversation from which you cannot extract yourself.

  • touchy and moody
  • no sense of humor
  • more complicated than necessary
  • a tad pretentious
  • It looks nice, but, upon closer inspection, something’s a bit off.

I know; I’m so judgmental. There has to be something redeeming about this person, er, I mean, cross stitch.

It really is a pretty thing, so far. Somewhere along the road (a cliche), my taste in cliches-as-home-decor must have shifted, slightly. Some people/projects require a lot of work, and we must decide if the payoff is worth it.

In this case, just barely.

The Case for Kindness

Certain people/projects need my attention, not just in spite of the fact that I will get nothing in return, but precisely because I will get nothing in return. Loving something or somebody for no good reason except they need it the most, is very good for your freaky self.

Jack, the worst, best dog I ever knew

So, I’m stuck in a conversation with a neglected cross stitch who won’t stop talking about her old boyfriend. She smells like a half-smoked, wet cigarette, and repeats “you know” too much. But everybody has an unlovable moment in their lives, right? I’m gonna invest in this relationship and see what happens next.

At least now I know why we didn’t keep in touch.

 

 

 

 

Problems with Perfection

Uh-oh.

Remember when I asked the cross stitch how it had offended me? Twenty-three years is a long time to ditch a sewing project. We found the unfinished side flower:

Addressed it:

And . . .

Then I found this:

Not too bad on first inspection, but wait.

Look closer . . .

Do you see it? The flower/leaf thingie in the top left corner is slightly different than the flower/leaf thingie in the top right corner. The pattern calls for a Smyrna cross overlaid with french knots.

The pattern isn’t rocket science, but it’s fairly involved with a few really tedious little details.

This particular detail tripped me up. Hey, cut me some slack. I was stitching between diapers and breast feeding (and housekeeping, cooking, babysitting, homeschooling, errand running, etc.). I’m not complaining; it’s how I roll.

Here’s the Clincher

I worked two strands of DMC834-pale bronze in the top left design instead of one strand, per the directions.

Tricky.

When I realized my mistake, I worked the top right corner design correctly, but now the two top corners are different. Because the overall design texture is layered–pale bronze, then deep bronze, then french knots–fixing my flub was going to be a complicated, time-consuming bummer of a not-fun-at-all kind of mess.

Here’s a view of the flip-side:

Oh, yeah, everything is connected to everything, back here.

Considering I had ripped out the bottom right corner a number of times (due to my sight issues) and was already disgusted with this bit of oopsie at the top, the bottom must have been an oops too far. Like the doll dress, I cast it away from me, banishing it to the boot box . . .

Away from me, oh testament of my failure!

. . . for 23 years.

The Moral of the Story

Everybody gather in; get close, because you want to hear this.

If it’s not perfect, it’s okay.

At the time of its ostracization (there’s a word), I couldn’t see past the glaring imperfection in the work. Curious, isn’t it, the tendency for a young mother to see flaws in her work as a reflection of perceived flaws in her own character. If anybody is struggling with this, let me set you free with one word: baloney.

Here’s one with a hyphen: fiddle-faddle.

So what, if they’re slightly different? Will I be barred from all polite society? Will I be hauled out and whipped in the streets? Look! It’s the villagers coming for me with torches and pitch forks! Somebody call 911; my cross stitch is IMPERFECT!!!

If it was a glaring problem that distracted from the beauty, okay, I’ll suck it up and fix it, or . . . that’s right . . . pitch it or give it away.

Aaahhhh . . . breath the free air.

Nobody, and I mean NOBODY is going to look at the finished, framed stitchery, turn pale and suddenly grab the kids exclaiming, “Good heavens! This woman has an inferior cross stitch displayed in her very home! Run to the car, my children, and don’t look baaack!”

In fact, I will proudly point my work out to my closest, dearest friends and relatives, and they won’t even recall ‘Home Sweet Home,’ let alone the slightly lighter shade of pale bronze in one corner, compared to the other three, I promise.

And one more thing:

No Regrets

So, it took me 23 years to finish a small cross stitch project. That’s a lot of time wasted. EEERRRRRRR! Wrong. Maybe I needed to grow, a little. Maybe I needed to remember who I was back then to embrace who I am now. Maybe it doesn’t mean anything. Who cares? I’m hungry. What’s for lunch?

 

 

 

 

 

You Sew; You Learn

How do you feel? Is the pressure off? Good. Now you can make a clear decision. I did. I decided to finish that silly cross stitch, after all.

Okay, okay, I know what I said, but that was last week. We’ve slept since then. I’ve created a little time distance between me and the finding of the cross stitch (self-conscious giggle; time distance = 24 years???). Just be quiet, all of you.

I didn’t decide to resume the work all at once. I had to investigate the piece and gather the facts:

  • My off-stitching was due to my failing eyesight(?) at that time.
  • I now possess technology (aka glasses) to help me finish it (and this is key) if I want to.
  • I found where I had not quite finished one section before starting the next, which threw off my count.
  • It really is a beautiful work, and I still love the look of it.

Although I was only 28 years old when I started it, my hawk-eye capabilities were already declining. I’m not sure you can tell, but the tiny-ness of the weave is a challenge, even for younger eyes.

See the red bits on the ends of the squiggly things? I hadn’t added them which really messed up my count. Let’s take a look at the mag cover.

Awww, it’s the nineties. Wait, let me get my Alanis Morissette CD.

Later, that same day . . . 

Gee, I can’t find Jagged Little Pill, anywhere. Hmmm . . . maybe I planted it among my ex-husband’s belongings as a terrible, terrible joke. No worries; let’s stream it.

Hang on; gotta dance.

Did you check the date on the mag? Look closer:

Ew–September/October 1995?? Yep, that’s quite a stretch. I was off by one year, so, it’s only been 23 years!

Yay!!!

There’s a thing about me; maybe you’ve figured this out. I don’t like to be told what to do. *long sigh* This is the source of the great and the awful aspects of my character. Mrs. Murphy, quite contrary, why won’t you do what you’re told?

When the pressure’s on, my creative light dims, considerably; I don’t know why. When I can distance myself from feeling the guilt, the juices flow once more. Don’t get me wrong; I work extremely well under pressure when it’s for a good cause. If I can see the greater good–which is almost always–the work is joyful and totally worth it. I’m a process person, but there must be a noble cause to motivate the journey. That’s just me.

Index

Talk about journeys, Christmas is a mere 224 days away. Some of you are gagging, right now, and some of you just giggled a little. I may start posting occasional ideas and thoughts toward the holiday season.

Try This

Close your eyes and imagine it’s November 31st. CLOSE YOUR EYES! Wait for it. Let it sink in. Let the realization of your predicament go deep to that place where your darkest monsters sleep. Hum your favorite Christmas carol, if you dare. Feel it? There it is, in the pit of your stomach. Fear? Panic? Guilt?

P R E S S U R E ?

Yeah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfinished Biz

Do you harbor feelings of shame each time you look in the back of your craft closet?

Maybe you were digging around for a certain book of patterns or bag of yarn. Your head was full of ideas, strange and wonderful, and then it happened. You spied a large box that once held a new pair of over-priced boots. You pushed past the lap-quilting frame and the dried up poster paints and savaged calico flour sack scraps to get to the majik box only to discover . . . your abandoned cross stitch from 1994:

Nooooooo!!!!!

Yes.

It was the best of cross stitch projects . . . it was the worst of cross stitch projects . . .

But why? Why did I abandon such a lovely bit of work? Why???

What did this cross stitch do to offend me? Nothing. It’s a counted cross stitch pattern, just beautiful, and as you can see, I was not too far from the finish line. Okay, the piece was taking a little time, because I kept giving birth. I started the third corner detail, really got into it, and found that I was one count off center.

Sigh.

I ripped it out and started again. I really got into it, and found that I was one count off center, again, but in a different direction.

Deep sigh.

I ripped it out and started again. I really got into it and . . . yep, off center. So I released it to the Underverse and it’s been one of the quasi-dead ever since*.

vin diesel GIF by IFC

Vin Diesel, how I love you.

As I begin the dreaded task of finding where I broke relationship with the poor piece of aida cloth, I reflect on all the unfinished projects of my life (low hum from a choir; video montage). NO! Stop that! Silly! I think of all the space devoted to junk I may never finish.

That pic on my homepage(?), that pic of the pretty afghan(?) that’s somebody else’s project that I finished because they had the good sense to let it go.

Yeah, really. A woman I worked for asked me if I wanted a bag of unfinished granny squares that one of her friends had given her. Aren’t they beautiful? She was probably trying to use up all of her scraps, and what a palette! I can see why she became overwhelmed; there were a lot of them. How brilliant they are on my black background. Think of all the precious things she made for the people who were most important to her, people she loved and who loved her. These are the scraps (of their lives–sorry, had to go there) from all those sweet projects, possibly from years of birthdays, Christmases, anniversaries, and showers.

She let them go, and they came to me. I don’t know who she is or was, but I get to sleep under her love on cold nights. ISN’T THAT COOL? 

I love stuff like that. Life is too good to spend it kicking yourself over a bag of granny squares or an off-kilter cross stitch that makes you want to barf every five years when you accidentally encounter it. Say it with me: “Let it go.”

Maybe you’ve convinced yourself that you never finish anything. So what? Did you enjoy it while it interested you? Did you learn something? Hey, that’s a win; if nobody wants it, chuck it in the dog’s bed, and call it a day.

 

*The Chronicles of Riddick, –so awesome.