Monday, April 20, 2009

Gettin' Cozy

I did it. I dumped my bins of fabric, bit the bullet, and made a cozy. An irrevocably purple cozy.

I realized yesterday as I was working that a big part of the problem I have in choosing fabrics in projects for myself is that I know that it's a statement about who I am. Not just in sewing, of course; every choice I make about flooring, or clothing, or light fixtures - it's all an external of who I am internally. And I'm not very comfortable about that at this point. After last year (Some of you know, and if you don't, well, it was a bad year. Enough said.) I still have a hiding reflex. I'm shedding it, but it crops up in funny ways.

Like purple, for instance. I really like purple. Always have. This is a source of embarrassment to me. There's something residually juvenile about purple in my mind, and the fact that it's still my default makes me cringe a bit.

But there you go. There's a lot of purple in this house, from palest lavender to indigo. It's one of my colours. The other is green. Spirit and healing/heart chakras, if you're looking at it from that angle.

And I do. That's another thing I'm reticent about. I'm a very pragmatic, down-to-earth person who knows the value of lusty dirt and worms and manure... but I'm operating in more than one world at a time. It's all muck, and it's all spirit. And many more things besides, but it's hard for me to think of them all at once. I go where the wind blows at any moment, but all the while I'm washing dishes and such. Mysticism in the midst of physical aridity or squalor ain't no mysticism at all.

Now, when I catch the pocket gopher that's been chewing up my apple tree roots, believe me, he's going to A Better Place. I certainly believe it'll be better for me, in any case. Between the pocket gopher and the deer we didn't have one tree survive from last summer. DAMMIT!

These pictures show the state of the land. A mess. The guy who lived here before us kept bringing in junk and dumping it. Those grey fibreglass vats? Full of garbage and old siding and car parts. I have to keep reminding myself to breathe deeply and have a sense of perspective. This isn't a two-year project. It's a lifetime. I swear, the theme of my life is renovation...

Patch's hunting blind. For some reason the magpies playing in the compost heap get right up his nose, and he's bound and determined to do away with them. They're pretty canny though, blind or no blind, so best of luck to him.

The trees didn't make it, but the strawberries did! Ballyhooya!

I was weeding the strawberry plot a little yesterday, and only half an inch down there's still frost. These things are so tough!

Roxanne The Huntress.

I am a grandma no more. I don't know where she had those kittens, but after a few days of showing up for food with wild eyes and then running away, she gradually became much more relaxed about it all, and finally spent all of yesterday following us around the yard as we chipped away at the to-do list. I think she's decided on a career rather than family. The mice live in terror. Good kitty!

I'm a little sorry about the kittens, but rather relieved, too. I imagine she'll have another go at maternity fairly soon, and maybe she'll have a better idea about how to go about it the second time around. For now I'd just as soon not have kittens underfoot as well as everything else.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

"Lonely" Saturday Afternoon

I find myself unexpectedly alone this afternoon - Himself decided to go to the city to hunt for workboots and workpants and a wine kit and other such essentials, and the Cherubic Infants unexpectedly asked to go along. I did not. I was already busy wallowing in my fabric stash rather than the gumbo outside, and couldn't believe my luck: to have the kitchen table all to myself for an entire day! Nobody clamouring to use it for meals! Sustaining myself with chocolate chips whilst I fret about fabric combinations!

We have a teacozy situation. We got a Second Pot. Now, I realize this has a polygamous ring to it, but they each have a separate realm; one for black, one for herbal. If things get tense we could even keep them on different countertops. However, liberal as our outlook may be, we draw the line at teapot nudity in this house, and there's only one cozy. One rather decrepit, very stained and unlovely cozy. It was beautiful once, but many years of spillage and fading have aged it before its time.

My mission for today was to build two new cozies. Unfortunately I was swamped with a surfeit of choice, and found myself completely unable to come to any decision about what fabrics to use, so two hours later I'm still without any fabric fetuses (feti?).

What I did manage to come to grips with was a quilt. Several years ago I bought a stash of batik fabrics, and never found a proper inspiration to use them. Today inspiration smacked me broadside and I realized that they're the perfect materials for a quilt I've wanted to make for quite a while for a young man. Those are themselves in the top photo, the 5" squares. Relatively masculine. Rather sophisticated and sober, compared to the stuff I tend to make for myself:

(Evidence. I'm a floozy for bright colours. Not for walls or furniture, but definitely for quilts. I pant for fuschia and orange.)

"And what, pray tell, is THIS pile, Madcap?" you may be asking yourself.

These, O Ye People, are the leftovers. Not enough to build another quilt with on their own, and I don't intend to buy any more batiks ever - they're lovely, but not my thing.


So. So. So.

When this quilt is done, I'm going to have a draw for these bitsicals, and send them wheresoever they go. Sharpen your fingers, batik-lovers. I suspect haiku shall ensue.

Otherwise? The bull-fest is happening across the road. This is a cultural event I wasn't familiar with before moving out to cowboy country. Sort of an indoor rodeo-slash-auction, I think. They brought in truckloads of dirt to cover the arena floor. Dinner and "adult-only" dance to follow. Last year they hired a bunch-o-bouncers for that event. Should be a peaceful night in the country, don't you think?

And mud. Still lots of mud. I think it's my new matrix.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fecundity Jones

And I nearly forgot the Big News!

I'm a grandma!

Our cat showed up Easter morning howling with hunger and half the size she was 12 hours earlier - our "farm" had its first babies!

Baby pictures to follow, as she deems it allowable. We have no idea where the kittens are, but she shows up every few hours to eat and get a little mother-care. She'll probably drag them over in a couple weeks or so.

April 14, Snow Day

As usual, that was faux spring we were experiencing for the past couple weeks, all that sunshine... This is a real Albertan spring. Sleet, snow, small lakes everywhere. Power outages. How bracing! How character-building! How Albertan! My husband even got sent home from work, not because it's too cold, but because it's too dangerous to be climbing the scaffolds.

He's working again, btw. Hallelujah!

Some of the leavings of the Easter Feaster. I broke out of my rut and bought melons and pineapples - oh delightsome! Such a treat, and much easier on my middle-aged mind and gut than a pound of chocolate. We chocolate-dipped the kids, of course. I'm not such an iconoclast as all that.

Sometimes I wonder what my dirt thinks of this sort of exotic compost...

Patch's Easter Joke:

What's the name of Jesus' rock band?

The Rolling Stones!

He picks up a lot of the stories, for an agnostic who doesn't go to church.

And this is the Librairian's Quilt, almost finished. All I have left to do is the hand-stitching on the binding. It goes this week!

I've learned a lot in the last few years about machine quilting, without ever having taken a class. Needles matter. For my machine they matter a LOT. My Juki wants a quilting needle, accept no substitutes, or the thread will break and stitches will skip. Practice helps. When I first started I couldn't stitch a freemotion smooth curve to save my soul. Now it's usually pretty easy, unless I'm working in the midsection of a biggish quilt. Taking a break is important. If I don't take a break, the work suffers.

All good lessons. The right tools, practice, being sensible. Too bad I can't take my quilting and apply it to all the other rough spots in my life!

And now, there's a binding that needs my attention.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Looking Glass

All across the mulitverse there are backward tribes* who distrust mirrors and images because, they say, they steal a bit of a person's soul and there's only so much of a person to go around. And the people who wear more clothes say this is just a superstition, despite the fact that other people who spend their lives appearing in images of one sort or another seem to develop a thin quality. It's put down to over-work and, tellingly, over-exposure instead.

Just superstition. But a superstition doesn't have to be wrong.

*Considered backward, that is, by people who wear more clothes than they do.

-Terry Pratchett, Witches Abroad