Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Knitting Again

Ages have gone by without a knitting project in the making.  I guess this is partly true because of the diversity of my interests, plus the stacks of already knit things, and the fact that the last project took me months to get through.  ...I just needed a break!  So, when I decided that I needed to go through my wardrobe and make some changes, I realized that I have a need for a  few lightweight cover-ups, and a very open knit top would be perfect.  Once again, my mentor and friend, Jane Thornley, tempted me with her new pattern, The Color Streams Wrap, which you can find on Ravelry or her blog.  The plan is to create this as a hem edge, and attach it to a mesh top-down sweater.  Ugh!  ...sweater immediately brings to mind something too warm and covered to wear for summer in the South.

Once again, I am indulging in shades of aqua, teal, turquoise and adding in a really intense electric blue.  The inspiration that juiced me up is an incredible Azurite geode I saw online.  Digging into really old stash this time, I am putting to use some yarn I  bought so many years ago, that I am surprised it is still good.  Forty!  That's how old the yarn is. Anyway, this wrap is made up of short rows, inserting wedges of color that break up the stripy-ness and give a sense of movement.  ...How cool is that?!!!  As I look at this, I think I will back up and remove some of that infinite grayness I am seeing.  I get the feeling that it is killing the spirit of lightness and brightness of this piece and going too dark for summer in the South.  ...I will keep y'all posted on my progress!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Since Time Is Flying, Shouldn't I Be Having More Fun?

Can you believe that it is already the middle of May?  I can't help but wonder where the time is going.  There is so much I want to do, yet I am barely done with the need to do's and the day is gone.  So, I keep reminding myself that time management is getting critical here.  Some things I want to do take only a minute or two, yet they get put off for ridiculous reasons.  For instance, remember the painted sun face sculpture I had in the last blog?  Well, it didn't look exactly as I wanted, and it needed repainting.  Spray paint is amazing and only took about 30 seconds with an hour's dry to touch.  The purple overlay took just a little longer, as a quick nearly-dry brushing. Then, my little engraved "Blessings" stone wanted to be gilded.  That took about 5 seconds for each of the two adhesive coats smeared on with my finger, and another 5 seconds to rub the gold foil on and peel off.  It took me longer to wash my hands!

So what is the real problem here?  Could it be that the real issue is gathering my energetic forces and focusing my mind on just being creative for a shorter period of time that I would like to have?  Really, when I get into creating, I hate having a timer on me.  Years ago when I was sewing show garments for the Burda Pattern Company, that is exactly what I did.  I analyzed each step of the creation and gave myself a time frame to finish.  I knew exactly how many minutes I needed to do everything from cutting to buttonholes, and I kept myself on schedule.  Back then, I had big blocks of time, now my day is broken up with just about everything you can imagine.  Some days, I'd like to hang a sign around my neck that says: "I am not available today, and if you ask for anything I'll bite."

With so many things that challenge us all these days, it is very easy to be in a constant state of distraction.  I often look back on the days when my sons were small, and it seems like I was superhuman.  There is a sense of wonderment at how the daily chores of cooking, cleaning, sewing, gardening, crafting of all sorts, raising puppies, visiting with friends, shopping, entertaining, etc., etc., ...all this got done with ease.  I had an intense focus on each pursuit.  Now, it seems everything wants to crush in and fragment that focus. 

...Does this dialogue seem to be going somewhere to you?  Well, when I write like this, which I refer to as "complaining to my best friend," I often find the answers upon re-reading what I have written.  The "best friend" is the little voice that resides inside my head and is always making comments in response to input.  Silly me, the answer is right there in front of me.  ...I am letting too many concerns trouble my mind from waking to sleeping!  And along with that is time management.  Does it seem as if clearing my mind will allow the rest to follow?  ...The mental focus needed to accomplish a task as well as the energy to carry it through?  Think of how much mental energy is spent on too much thinking and how it could be used for each and every thing we want to do.

I am not trying to sell this person's book, but after a quick Google on "how to get focused", I found this page.  There are some interesting points about the science of focus.  For one thing, distraction leads to boredom!  Well, who would have known!  Yes, I can agree with this.  When I am too distracted to start a project, I start to pace, and I recognize this behavior as a way to alleviate boredom.  That article even mentions pacing!  Science recommends that we do one important thing every day.  How great an idea is this?!!!  I would so love to list something new and important for every day of my life.  It is apparently very important to have focus cues (like creating blinders with your hands), and clear away clutter.  After all, clutter is very distracting by its very nature.  Those who claim to "know" recommend getting rid of it any way you can, even if it means pushing it all into a box to get it out of sight.  Well, I have to admit, I would need a whole lot of boxes and it would be much better to get rid of it, a monumental task.  But, there is no time like NOW to get started!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


I mean addictions of the fun and harmless sort.  Like Pinterest.  Of course, if you consider not keeping your house clean enough for the white glove test, then that would be a more serious addiction too.  Well, I have been spending a lot of my free time there for a while now, and have built up some substantial boards.  When I have a few moments, I love going through my boards the way I used to pour through a fascinating craft magazine, completely entranced and inspired.  So much so, that I am beginning to get twinges of guilt at not using the time to be creating my own amazing things.

I started a board, ...well actually two three, of things I just have to make.  With summer's heat approaching, and decisions to make regarding what new clothing items I want to replace those that I know will appear shamefully shabby, or not fit me as I remembered as they come out of their storage places, I am planning new projects.  This time, rather than spend the summer in jeans as I await the loss of a few pounds in order to fit older clothing (as I have done for a few years already now), I am going to start a new trend for myself with layering.  This style is well known in the German tradition of "lagenlook."  It is  also very well established in the "shabby chic" styles that seem to be popping up everywhere.  I think this is a perfect way to take care of chilly mornings or evenings, and shivery air conditioning, and layers can easily be shed for sweltering afternoons.

 I am very taken with the idea of lightweight and gauzy fabrics.  I was thrilled to find a designer who made leggings of cheesecloth.  I daresay they would not hold up for long, but it gives me ideas.  I once made some wonderful elastic waist pants of silk gauze.  I had forgotten all about them, but they were the perfect solution for keeping cool with a matching hip-length wrapped and ruffled top.  With less than youthful skin tone (also known as crepey old lady skin), I wrestle with the thoughts of grossing out not only myself but anyone who might catch sight of my exposures.  Therefore, I do choose to cover up certain parts of myself but don't want to appear to be wrapped in a blanket or tented.  So gauze is a perfect fabric for hot summers.

Just yesterday, when my sweetie DH commanded me to "go shopping!"  I managed to find two great buys.  One, a cotton/lycra stretch lace long sleeve T-top at Steinmart, and another more solid yet see-through lightweight cotton long sleeve at Ross.  Both on clearance, I am excited.  Although they are both white, I plan to coffee dye the lace one.  Many people do tea-dying to age fabric, but tea-dyed fabrics have a much shorter life span than coffee-dyed.  I have not decided about the other top yet.  This will depend on what I choose to do with the rest of my wardrobe, and if I happen to drop food on myself while wearing it.

As some of you may have guessed, I have a very Bohemian sense of style, and I am ready to really let that out this season.  Because I am pretty much home-bound caring for my mother, I have quite a well-developed list of things to keep me busy.  My wardrobe will feature artfully created pieces that give me a sense of inspired pleasure to craft as well as wear.  So far, I have many old garments that I will be upcycling, as well as lots of fabric and trim scraps, old ancient unfinished projects to re-create, and loads of great ideas.The photo shows a hint of a pinafore top in the making.  Until a few days ago, it was a blouse for my mother that was left in pieces cut and ready to sew.  ...Left maybe ???25years??? ago????  Well, I do have a tendency to get distracted with certain projects.  The fabric is a lovely gauze, and the pieces were a generously cut style.  That may have been why this wasted away all these years, because my mother is a very petite woman who does not care for baggy clothing.  From the basic fronts, back and sleeves, I was able to cut new front and back, and pockets.  From a scrap I created a double ruffle flounce.  Adding in a touch of lace trim, a few fabric flowers, and it's looking quite fashionably shabby. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Giving New Life to the Porch

Just a quickie post to show you a very fast, fun, and funky decor fix for my porch.  I am still waiting for the storm of pine pollen to end to give it a good cleaning and it needs paint this year too.  However, after seeing a few ideas from others, I had the idea to use an old mini-trellis that was almost thrown out to provide a little privacy and beautify the view as well.  The neighbors behind me have recently turned their back yard in a plastic junkyard for their toddler, and I really do not like an unnatural view.  We bought our home 10 years ago becasue of the natural setting, a nearby pond and its wandering ducks and geese, the quiet neighborhood, the birds, and it seemed perfect.  So, to block out the plastic playhouse, two bicycles, 3 plastic push-mobiles, plastic basketball hoop, and plastic sandbox, I grabbed the trellis, slapped some paint (really just using up the paint on the brush, shabby style) and hung it from the braces holding a planter.  I wired on a pin-wheel, a prism, and two wire and glass dangles.  I can change the objects when the whim takes me.  I can use small flower pots or vases, sun-catcher mobiles, small wind chimes, ...really, the ideas are endless.  I have two more of these old trellises, which I plan to use, and more ideas for how to make them fun to come soon.