Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fresh Start, Part II

This is probably not as impressive to you as it is to me. This represents hours and days of work. I cleaned out our shed AND our garage over two weekends, and then puttered around for almost a full day creating this little area that is JUST FOR ME. I've seen real "studios" around the internets, and how beautiful they can be! Mine is not beautiful to anybody but me, what with the oil-stains on the floor and the unfinished walls, but let me give you a tour anyway. This is the picture from the door that goes from the kitchen to the garage.

On the right side of my area is much of the "unglamorous" work I do. Lots of brown paper for wrapping, plastic bags to repurpose into "plarn" which is "plastic and yarn" together, clothes for repurposing or remaking, sheets that need to be ripped for rag rugs, interfacings and baskets of patterns and books. Here though, tucked in among the industrials, are two of my favorite things: The three-tiered shelf was made by my dad for our books when we moved to our "new house" when I was in second grade. And, the yellow blanket (hung to obscure my side of the shelving Erik uses on his side of the garage) was embroidered and quilted and given to my mom a baby shower when she was pregnant with me. It was made by her Aunt Vera. She passed away last fall, and she was the last connection I had to my Grandma Dot, so this is a special reminder indeed. My great-aunt Vera, by the way? Domestic diva.

Swinging left, a shelf of fabrics, a dresser that holds crocheting thread, gift tags, ric-rac, and a draw of scrapbooking paper, stickers, and paper punches in different shapes. I'm not a scrapbooker. And I mean, not at all. But I've picked up a few "starter packs" of the paper and accessory stickers at deep discounts over the last year, and they've been very handy for cards that go with handmade gifts, or to back a photo for a frame. The yellow blanket was given to my mom when she was pregnant with me (probably at the very same shower mentioned above!) by my godfather's mother. We also lost my godfather late last summer (what the hell?) and I was happy to learn that this came from his mom. I had always thought it was from Mama (my godmother's mom) and I've always loved it for the perfection in its tightly formed waffle weave.

Also precious to me in this photo: This is the antique dresser my mom brought home for me when I was 15. I was a pretty rotten mean-ager at that time, and it was a sweet gift. (Now on top of it: a bowl of handspun yarn she brought back from her vacation last summer. She loves me. And, a happy canister of knitting needles and crochet hooks in every combination and size under the sun.) The white wicker corner shelf...I've had it as long as I can remember. It was in the first bedroom I remember having in our house in Fremont.
Continuing round to the left, on the other side of the dresser, is my yarn. Ahem. No, I did not realize I had so much yarn! It barely fit! And there are two basket of yarn on top of the shelf. And see that box, under the dresser? *cough* Yep. Yarn. And See those baskets and boxes to the left of the shelf? *blush* Yep. Yarn. To be fair (to me!) the yarn in the boxes are already committed to half-finished or almost-finished projects. Oh wait. That might not make me look so good either. Moving on.

Turning left again, there is a shelf under this cabinet with the rubbermaid containers that house my current projects. The cabinet itself is a built-in feature of the garage, and continues to hold paint brushes, rollers, paint pans, grout, stains, rubber gloves, wooden stir sticks, spackle, sheetrocking compound...oh come on! Doesn't everybody have this cabinet in their garage? But, again, precious to me: My Aunt Barbara made me this wreath when Erik and I got our first house together back in 1993. She taught me to crochet. And though I don't share her enthusiasm for hot glue crafts and ribbon making, I am a happy recipient of her endeavors. It may not seem to honor her work, keeping it here in the garage, but this corner is full of my favorite things, of handmade gifts that inspire me, and so I think it's right where it belongs. I used a wreath hanger that goes on a front door to hang it on the cabinet. Looking at this picture, I can see that I need to move Tommy's artwork to the empty door beside the wreath. A small detail I probably thought I'd "fix later".

And now we're back around where we started. Where my space stops on the left is where the laundry starts. Insert joke here.

And do you see that BIG SPACE in the middle? Welllllll...that BIG SPACE in the middle is going to be filled up by this weekend. And that BIG SPACE in the middle is the impetous for the entire Fresh Start 2009 project I've been working on all month!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fresh Start, Part I

Some time ago, Tommy started sleeping on the floor in Scotty's room. I don't know. It made me kind of sad to see him there, in a blanket, on the floor every night.

So I ended up moving Scotty's bed into Tommy's room. I guess that was sometime in December, and it's working out great since I started the purging and cleaning and reorganizing this month with the start of the new year.

The computer desk is still there. The two beds are each against a wall, as shown in the picture above. And there are two other corners in the room...one houses this lego extravaganza. Please marvel at the wonder that is these legos. TWO full days and FOUR evenings of my life spent sorting something akin to 4 million tiny plastic pieces. A bucket of grey, a bucket of white, a bucket of mixed colors, a bucket of black. Animals, vehicles, people, and accessories. Each got it's own compartment. And I would be bitter and petty, you can believe that about me, were it not for the fact that my Tommy adores this set up. He plays with the legos constantly, keeps them fairly organized, and never seems to get over the fact that he can find any tiny piece from any random set at any given time. All worth it.

The other corner has a very packed bookshelf. Perhaps you can explain to me why we can never find one of our three copies of Green Eggs and Ham?

Now that the beds are together, we put Scotty in his bed and Tommy in his for the bedtime rituals and story reading. When we go to bed, of course we can't resist checking on them. This is how we usually find them. Sometime in the next few hours, they both tend to find their way into our bed. Often, we wake up wrapped around them, nursing backaches and needles and pins in in our sleepy arms and legs, despite treating ourselves to a $3000 mattress last year. Occassionally, I'll wake up on the couch to find Erik sleeping on the couch across from me, and both the kids asleep in our bed.

I'm sure I'll miss that, some day?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Nana's Table Cloth

Here is some proof that I've purged and re-orged...an actual empty drawer in my dresser! And another that's very nearly empty. Come on! That's awesome.

Sometime during the reorg and purge process, I stopped by my mom's to pick up their truck. We needed to load it for the donations and some garbage. I have to say, I purge and sort more than most people I know, and there was very little garbage when I went through this time. I'm calling this a victory.

When I walked into my mom's house, she was putting away Christmas decorations. She's a hardcore decorator (does this skip a generation or something?) and she was folding this cloth. It was around the bottom of her main tree (as opposed to the secondary, terciary, and multiple mini trees she had around the house), as a tree skirt. I almost stopped breathing when I saw it.

Me: Where did you get that?
Mom: It was Grandma's.
Me: [What I was thinking: Wait. You mean, it belonged to my favorite person in the whole world, who was ripped from life during a very traumatic college transition and it's made of handstitched counted cross-stitch in the very colors and folkart style that exactly match my aesthetic?] What I said: Give it to me.
Mom: What?
Me: Give. It. To. Me.
Mom: No!
Me: Mom. I'm not joking. I want it, and I want you to give it to me right now.
Mom: Mia. No! I use it every year with my tree!
Me: [Pause] Give it to me.

And she did! She gave it to me! I couldn't believe it. I cherish it and adore it so much it makes my tummy hurt just looking at it. It is so precious to me. Oh, but wait. There's more!

My mom phoned me two days later.

Her: I just remembered where that table cloth came from.
Me: Oh?
Her: My grandma made it for my mom one Christmas.
Me: Shut up.
Her: Yeah, I remembered because she cried when she saw it.
Her: .....
Me: Thank you.

Here it is, draped across my bed, making me practically ache with happiness every time I see it. And I see it all the time.

I was telling my friend how I got this the other day and she told me that I shouldn't have asked for it, that it means it came to me before it was time.

To which I say: Are you high? Believe me, this beauty is exactly where it is supposed to be, and not a minute too soon.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A New Day

It's inauguration day! It's inauguration day!

Our wee family has been reeling from the tragic start of 2009 that has included the shockingly brutal passing of my father-in-law. His brief battle with cancer started in November, when we found out that he had an already progressed form of pancreatic cancer. We're slowly finding center again. Today will help. We're fans. We're hopeful.

And I won't be watching. I've tivo-ed the festivities, and I will watch it this evening, when I know that everybody has made it to the other side, happy and safe. My friend JD is a Washingtonian (Washingtonite? DCer? Beltwayer? What is the correct term??) and we've been emailing about all the excitment. She's going today, despite her aversion to crowds (holy!) so she can represent for all the people who are cheering him on from a distance.

Being a long-time resident, she even mentioned how "hope" and "change" have moved from campaign rhetoric to a palpable feeling in the air. Everybody is doing it.

So will we. One day, the sadness will find a proper space in our hearts and home and Erik will make peace with not having a dad any more. He will probably be forever changed by this, but it won't be a bad thing.

Hoping and dreaming and changing.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I'm up to my eyeballs in The Great Re-Org and Purge of Aught 9. When I find the camera, I'll be back! I'm thinking....Monday? *cough*

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year Motivation.....

It's the New Year. Oh, how I love the New Year! IdoIdoIdo! Everything about it. I feel so motivated and hopeful.

I have big plans, and today was to be the start with lots of purging and organizing. I love a freshly reorganized closet!

Sadly, I'm all hopped up on painkillers and penicillin at the moment, thanks to a dental procedure gone awry, and it's slowly sapping my get up and go.

Also not helping?

Certain Individuals who have figured out how to use open drawers as a staircase to the top shelf of a closet where Certain Things are hidden out of his reach and you may, legitimately, be wondering how long he had been gone before it occurred to anybody that he should be checked on. Because that's a lot of work he got done, and though he moves fast, the truth is this reflects more on my one-track-mind than on his naughtiness. *sigh* Time out, clean up, knock it off!

But not to worry, I'm going to bang out an hour or two this evening, then a couple more tomorrow, and hopefully then I'll be feeling well enough to go full throttle on a few other projects.

One thing I want to do is sew some of these for me. I made these for a few friends for Christmas. They are re-usable grocery bags that I repurposed some thrifted pillow cases for. They were so easy to make! And really kind of fun, too. I love the little bias tape on the top one, but I also quite like the size on the bottom one. I was experimenting with different styles, because I was kind of making it up as I went along. I think the top style is my favorite, but even when I make my own I'll definitely do several different kinds, just because I like a little variety. These are easy to keep in the trunk of the car, and then you can stop at any store and forego the plastic bags.

Because they're made of cotton, they're really great for fresh fruits and veggies from the farmer's market too.

There! And, besides attaching the bias tape, it's literally two cuts, two seams, and sewing two additional straight lines to make the bottom flat. That's my kind of sewing project, believe it.