Stick and Move

WHAT did I DO all weekend?

I did some things; I did some things…

I worked on the pruning. I hope I didn’t kill the roses.

Before
After

Then, there’s the “thing” on the corner…

Before
After

I didn’t want to shock the poor dears. They’re used to far more TLC than I’ve been giving them, the past year-and-a-half. I must be careful not to repent too aggressively. Be brave, lil’ soldiers!

Remember Raggedy? I gave her some extensions.

No matter how tempting it is to make her into a whole, new doll, she’s best with the character she’s earned, rather than all the hair the doll spa could tie on that head. And that’s what I did; I tied it. She seems too fragile to poke with a big, giant needle, over and over, through the wig. I wove and tied fresh, red, yarn among the old, faded strands. She’s got just enough to liven the original look, not overwhelm it.

What about that red work? Huh? Where’s it?

Here:

Okay, braced and ready; lemme have it. “That’s all? That’s all you’ve done all weekend???” Yeah, that’s all I’ve done. This project could be finished in a day, no problem, but it’s one of those projects. We’ve all had them, the simple project that you decided you didn’t want to work on, anymore. Who knows why? Do you? Do any of us? I have no excuse.

But that’s me. . .

. . . turning nine-years-old in 1975.

I don’t know why I do the things I do, or don’t the things I don’t; it’s my way. I’ll finish the towel, and I will enjoy doing it, but it might take a bit longer than expected. Remember what my mom said about my only two speeds: slow and stop? In some ways, I’m a whole new doll–new hair, new dress–but I’m still the same Raggedy I’ve always been.  For all my character, I can still unravel if I’m jabbed just right. This was a very jabby week.

Here’s to keeping busy until the jabbers stop jabbing.

 

 

 

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What Is Real?

Oh, we’re rolling, now.

I worked on Patience all weekend, and here’s my reward:

This isn’t her dress, of course. It’s a piece of fabric I wrapped around her because nobody(?) wants to be naked on the Internet. She has a face, now, so I couldn’t look her in the eyes and do that to her. I know. I’m a freak.

It’s often the case that a project will turn out better than expected, but don’t fool yourself. This girl’s good looks came at a price. Time. Remember how I said I cut off her arms? That little move, that micro-crime that took mere nano-seconds to commit, exacted a terrible, slow, reconciliation.

Yeah. It was a thing.

One doesn’t just snip in the middle of a pattern without knowing that the Seam Allowance gods will exact their revenge. With a copious amount of finagling, measuring, tacking, and a little blood, her arms were added, and she looks pretty good, in spite of it all. But we are exploring Patience, are we not?

You guys should be noticing a theme, here. I’m not trying to start a line of dolls. We’re digging around for something a little deeper than that. When we talk about piecing things together, odds and ends, buttons and string, scraps and bits that others overlook or discard, we’re talking about finding beauty in the ruins. Instead of envying what others have or bemoaning what others have not, we can look around at what’s here. We can work with what we have in our hands, in our homes, and in our hearts.

My very first rag doll, the one that started my love of rag dolls, my ‘Velveteen Rabbit,’ was Raggedy Ann.

I played with her until her clothes, more or less, disintegrated, so I made her a new dress when I was eleven or twelve years old. Not too shabby. Her face is stained with tears and drool from a thousand and one childhood nights. I’ll probably be sewing her foot back on in the next week or so. She’s a trooper.

What I love about Raggedy, is that she loves me back.

As far as I know, every Raggedy Ann doll has a heart full of love. I wanted to give my doll a heart, too, with her virtue written (sewn) on it, because true virtue dwells in the heart. But her chest is so small, I didn’t think I could do it, but Patience paid off.

It took some doing, but the effort was worth the result. Like all virtue, Patience resides in the deepest part of the person who practices it. We are not born with Patience. We must seek it, cherish it, guard it, cultivate it, until it becomes a part of who we are. While those around us take refuge in our diligence, the one who holds virtue privately, like a secret treasure, enjoys a wondrous peace of heart and mind.

Did you watch that YouTube video I inserted into my last post? That woman’s skill with needle, thread, and fabric was a little intimidating to me, I’ll admit. When I’m afraid I’m going to screw something up, I put it off. Making a doll’s face is quite stressful to me, because I think, “Wow. This is the face she’s going to be stuck with, and it’s all my fault.” She’s a doll. It’s okay. The little faults and flaws make this work unique. If I wanted something generically perfect, I’d go to Walmart and buy a Barbie that was stamped out in a factory with a painted face that looks like a thousand other painted faces. Where’s the fun in that?

Don’t strive to be perfect. Be you. Be real.

 

 

 

 

To Knit or Knot

Knitting is cool, but knitting drives me knuts.

So unforgiving, so perfection-oriented, all my mistakes on display for the world to see, that’s why I have picked up and abandoned this endeavor, this dream, many times over the past several years. I love and hate knitting as I love and hate myself.

This time, this time, I have MADE myself knuckle down, suck it up, and struggle through the learning. Once again, YouTube has saved the day. My first simple excursion was hideous beyond belief.

Image result for frankenstein

But I got better:

 

I made all of these from yarn I have accumulated over the years: cast-offs, leftovers, donations. Other people give up. I merely get frustrated, regroup, eat some things, and come back for more self punishment. I hung in there and forced my hands to learn. And that’s really the bottom line. Your hands have to learn; it’s a muscle thing. When your body figures it out, you don’t have to think about what you’re doing, anymore You go ‘auto-pilot, like driving or the United States Government. And, like our elitist leaders, once you get into it, that’s when the crazy sets in . . .

I took a little trip, took a little trip, took a little trip to the basement.

Deeper . . .

Deeper . . .

Oh, yeah, now we’re getting somewhere . . .

Pay dirt!!!

Image result for mosquito in amber

Noooo!!!! Not that kind of find. I’m talking about real danger.

Yes . . . YESSSS . . . It’s alive . . IT’S ALIVE!!! My beautiful horde, how I love it. That’s where I found the fuzzy yarn balls that are older than my grown children.

My precious sister-in-law, who passed away ELEVEN YEARS AGO (I know, it’s awful), gave me a bunch of her weird stash, and these bits survived several of my own media purges. You see, after I mastered(?) the stockinette stitch, I decided it was high time to move on to something more challenging. Sadly, my awesome books (another horde, entirely) provided me with things I thought, perhaps, beyond my blossoming expertise. So I made something up.

YAAAAYYYY!!! It’s my first knitted scarf, y’all! I DID use the books to figure out:

  • the purl stitch
  • how to integrate different colors at the beginning of the row
  • the value of fuzzy yarn to hide mistakes

The giant needles were my mother’s–more cast-offs–and this time, winging it worked. So what if it’s a little *clearing throat* shall we say, primitive-looking? When you’re learning, give yourself a freaking break. It’s warm, it looks pretty good, and it’s soft and snuggly like a cuddly scarf should (be). I can wear it, or better, I can give it as a gift to an unsuspecting victim for Christmas–probably a dude. Even if they don’t like it, even if they wouldn’t let their dog sleep with it, it’s still useful, one-of-a-kind, and from the heart.

I don’t know; I’d wear it.

Don’t kid yourself; in your quest to bring together the bits and pieces of a lifetime to make something really beautiful and useful, you’re going to have a lot of ‘almost’ and ‘near-miss’ moments. Hey, there was a time when you didn’t know how to tie your shoes, right? Take a class if you need to, but it’s been my experience that classes are just what? That’s right: weird, complicated, and expensive. Sometimes you find a good one, but most of the time, you just end up buying a bunch of stuff you don’t need and making a bunch of stuff nobody really wants. Just do the thing. Make some ugly monsters; learn some lessons; but for goodness sake, have fun.

Give Piece a Chance

Is it me, or is life getting weird? Weird, complicated, expensive, that’s how it seems to me, these days. Although I often embrace the weird, I am definitely against the complicated, and don’t get me started about the expensive. There are times when one or all of these terrible situations cannot be avoided:

  • Somebody runs into your car on your birthday.
  • Your sister rants on Facebook about how mad she is at you, because she loves you.
  • Your adult son goes drag to Comicon.

The list goes on . . .

Fortunately, I have a cure. Situated, snug and tidy, here on the internet, is my personal response to all of the above. Whenever life gets weird in a way I don’t like, whenever people don’t do what I say, whenever my lil’ feelings get hurt, I go to my stash of stuff.

MY PARTICULAR CLASS OF STUFF:

  • Fabric scraps
  • Picture frames
  • Glass jars
  • Pens and pencils
  • Card stock
  • Yarn and ribbon and string
  • Sewing implements
  • Knitting needles, crochet hooks
  • Books
  • Books
  • and, yet, more books

There’s more, but let’s not get weird, complicated or expensive.

What?!

I’m a scavenger by nature. When I’m troubled, I go to the library. When I’m hungry, I snack. When I get an idea, I rifle through piles of junk, in my home, in a thrift store, in the yard. Look at me, I’m in your garage, right now.

I don’t know everything. In fact, I find more and more, that I know next to nothing at all. In the spirit of impoverished stupidity, let’s dig up some junk–pieces of this, pieces of that–and let’s see if we can make something we (or somebody) can use!