Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Crafting Hangover

Tiny clothes!  Irresistible!
Auntie Kate left us this morning, heading home to her clean, whine-free house.  And me?  I'm left in my own living room, staring at what can only be interpreted as the remnants of some sort of drunken fabric binge, complete with blackouts.   Fat quarters scattered everywhere, pieces of doll clothes awaiting some skilled hand to finish their assembly, tissue paper pattern pieces blown every which way by the ceiling fan...it looks like some sort of fabric arts crime scene.

4 pattern envelopes for doll clothes?  4?  Was that necessary

A slippery slope...
Maybe Kate and I should have skipped that second trip to Joann's Fabrics.  It seemed so innocent.  But did we really believe we would pick up only a few more needed odds and ends?  Why didn't Larry hide my car keys?

We brought Rachel and Susie with us, too, thinking that would limit the time we could spend in the store.  Instead we bribed the little innocents with pretty fabric and promises of  submarine sandwiches.  Contributing to the delinquency of minors, that's where our out-of-control crafting habits have led us.  I'm so ashamed.  And Lord only knows how many cute doll outfits I promised to make them during my frenzy.  It's all a blur.

Any bored seamstresses out there need something to do this week?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Too Late

A friend of mine died today.  She was old and very sick.  Even so, I'm stunned she's no longer here.  I cannot count how many times this evening I've made a mental note to tell her something next time I see her.

Tell me, when will I stop doing that?  How long will it take to get over a habit more than a decade in the making?

To an outsider, perhaps, she didn't seem too remarkable.  A widow in her 80's, living in the house where she raised her children...ill for the past 2 years, to boot.  Before that?  An active senior citizen, busy with the local gardening club and her friends and her grandchildren...

But to me?  She was the neighbor who took the time to talk to me all the years - those long, isolated, pre-blogging years - I was home with my babies.  At the beginning, I'll confess, I'd manufacture a request - a cup of sugar, say - any excuse to knock on her door and make some human contact.  I was that lonely.  And she made herself available.  I'll never know why.  After all, she had her friends and her daughters and her grandchildren, all fixtures in her life before I came on the scene.  She didn't need me.

Thanks to my friend, I know this is a magnolia.
She didn't need me.  But eventually I could stop by just to chat and we'd sit on her stoop in the sunshine and talk, while sizing up any new neighbors from a discreet distance and watching the kids ride by on their scooters. Or she'd walk with me around the neighborhood - me carrying a baby, she reciting names and characteristics of any vegetation I cared to ask about. She took the time to teach me - a Black Belt black thumb - everything I know about our local flora.  She even (rather foolishly) shared with me her extra tomato seedlings, cucumber seeds, etc. - all items which flourished under her loving care and which inevitably met a dismal end under mine.

Never underestimate small acts of generosity - particularly generosity of time, in a society where people pride themselves on being busy, busy, busy.  Who has time to reach out to a pathetically lonely mom with no car, no real friends, and nowhere to go?  This woman did.  She knew it mattered. 

Useful parenting tool
My friend was no rocket scientist.  She made no earth-changing scientific discoveries, she orchestrated no sweeping changes of public policy.  But she knew how to raise children to adulthood, in that no-nonsense, commonsensical way that her generation possessed.  "They're bored?" she said, when I complained of whining children.  "I used to have mine vacuum the stairs when they were bored.  Let me tell you," she added with a laugh, "they didn't get bored too often."  And when I ran into truly heavy parenting weather? She was there for me, if only to shrug her shoulders and say, "All you can do is your best. You can't fix everything.  They have to figure it out."

Never underestimate your personal store of knowledge and experience.  Someone can use it.

We weren't expecting her to die just yet.  I had planned to visit with her Easter morning, tell her all that had been happening over the past week.  Maybe then I would have decided to thank her for all she'd done for me; or more likely, to save us both embarrassment, I would have written her a note, a little Easter present of thanks, to give her before it was too late.

Too late...

 [Magnolia tree: The Daily Muse]

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

2-At-A-Time FAIL

I'm okay, really.  Just wondering how I will ever get my kids back to their math books after one week off spent preparing for a houseguest and now another week off  because our guest (Auntie Kate of the mad crafting skills) is finally here and it's spring break and all the other kids are home and the weather's nice.

Auntie Kate gave each of the girls an 18-inch doll (NOT American Girl, thank you, both she and I shudder at the thought of spending 100 dollars on a toy) and then we trooped off to the fabric store and bought patterns for fun doll clothes and picked up a couple (well, 4) fat quarter bundles on our way out (30 percent off!) and, um, a few other things and well, anyway, we don't really have a lot of restraint when we visit the fabric store together.  And then Auntie Kate supplied moral support as I ripped back zillions of rows on the socks that I've been knitting for Rachel that turned out to be a tad too big (as in, they were big on me) and you know what?  The problem with knitting 2-at-a-time socks is that when you have to rip back?  That's also 2 at a time.

2-at-a-time, indeed!  I feel betrayed.  And weary...
What I do not understand is why none of my knitting friends bothered to tell me I was knitting a sock (no, 2 socks) way too big for any 8-year-old girl to wear.  I have no spatial reasoning myself; I needed an intervention, and no one cared enough to stage one.  So now I have 2 less-than-half-done socks, each on its own set of DPN's (and what sort of a miracle was it that I located 8 size 0 DPN's all at once?) because I couldn't figure out how to start doing them 2-at-a-time in the middle, as it were. 

I know!  I suffer.  And not silently, either.

[fabric photo: Imagine Fabric]
[sock photo: Little Monsters Blog]

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


10 unused Weight Watcher's points 
an hitherto undiscovered box of  Girl Scout Thin Mints?
Better than a warm puppy....
And tastier, too... 
But if you are suffering a paucity of Weight Watcher points and/or cookies, you can still up your happiness quotient by visiting Mrs. G at Derfwad Manor.  She has once again returned to her little corner of the Internets.  Verily, my blogging cup runneth over.
[Snoopy image: K.
[Thin Mint image: Nikki G]