Saturday, September 25, 2010

I Am A Wonky WIP

This is a WIP.

When I first discovered quilting blogs, I also discovered quilting lingo. I learned two terms that are now integral to my life as an amateur quilter: WIP and Wonky.

This is a square of the Get Well Quilt that Maria and I designed the day she stayed home from school with a cold. We had charm packs that we threw on the ground and then we just played at making patterns and matching colors, considered prints sizes, and generally explored all of our options. It was fun. And it took some patience and cooperation on both our parts. We did not settle on the final pattern until both of us creative, opinionated designers reached consensus.

Then we began machine piecing. Maria helps with pins, and counting, and snipping threads. And I was trying for perfect, by measuring, measuring, measuring, and making my straightest seams.

A WIP is a Work in Progress, and I have loads of them. My life is a WIP. My mind and heart are WIPs. I have three quilt WIPS... they really deserve to be finished. So, the other day when the sewing bug bit, I went straight for this latest WIP with the earnest intention to make big progress on it. And I was really pleased with my diligent, dedicated, perfection seeking advancements.

Half way done with piecing?

This is the point at which I was really feeling grand. Think of how thoughtfully we had planned our random patchwork layout, think of how careful I was to measure twice-cut once, think of squaring squares, and lining up seams...

Hold on!
What the?!
That's impossible!
(Think of Luke, gobsmacked, upon hearing from his dear ol'dad:
* Darth Vader: No. I am your father.
* Luke Skywalker: No... that's not true! That's impossible!
* Darth Vader: Search your feelings. You know it to be true.

Only it was more like this:
*Quilt: Yes. I am your wonky quilt.
*Me: No... that's not true! That's impossible (blubbering, and grimace faced)
*Quilt: Search your feelings. You know this to be true.
*Me: Noooooooo! Nooooooooo!

It is true. This is my Wonky quilt WIP. I have already hauled out my seam ripper, a tool I am extremely adept with. I have some hope of getting the seams to line up a little better the second, maybe third, time around. I will keep trying.

My quilt and I will eventually reconcile, because really is there such a thing as perfect? I was still grimacing and blubbering about my so called failure, when I found this blog post. And if you have ever hoped for perfection, or admired perfection, believed in perfection, or suffered lack of perfection, like me, you might find this blog post helpful, reassuring, and heartbreaking too.

And now I am going to wash some dishes, because the kitchen is a huge mess. I am glad it is messy, not because I like it messy, but because it reminds me that we were busy playing with friends, and having a wonderful time eating a delicious dinner, carving pumpkins, and making fantastic plans. It feels good to Be Real. I am a Wonky WIP.

Friday, September 24, 2010

What is in a Name?

Our very first chicas came in a lunch sack. Those were the ones I surprised William, Alex, and Max with when we were Jolly Green Rancheros. It was Alex that named the tiny "runt" Sunshine. Little Sunshine. Tiny Sunshine. It was so sweet the way they doted on that bitty chick.

And it was so ironic that the tiniest chick, with the endearing name, was turning out to be a rooster.
It was hard to deny that little Sunshine was not destined for clucking hen-like for the rising sun. Of course we could not imagine ever parting with one of our flock, but Sunshine was making life a little too stressful. We did ask around about roosters, researching our options, but our efforts mostly yielded soup recipes. And so, we found a welcoming home for Sunshine. It was hard to let go of him...

And it has not gotten any easier...

Farewell Pip.

Oh Amelia! It really hurt letting you go.

Okay, so maybe sometimes it's not as hard, but Frida and Fantam were exceptional.

So. What's my point? What is in a name?

I just can't help but notice that some of the most sweetly named chicas turn out to be roosters. Really, I know it cannot even be considered a coincidence, let alone a cosmic conspiracy. But just the same... I think about it. Actually, I think about a lot of pointless things.

So, just like Sunshine, Zoe was the tiniest chica. Tiny and docile, and we had every reason to believe she would be laying green-blue eggs by October.

No such luck. Rooster. Zoe Zoltar is a rooster. He crows. He struts. He jumps the fence. He intimidates Maria and pecks hard.

Rooster. Temple is a rooster. He crows. He struts. He jumps the fence.

Tesla is a rooster. He crows. He also has scoliosis... his head looks like it is resting on the far side of his shoulder. He does not jump the fence.

Now, I was about to retract my whole theory about soft names leading to roosters, but then we come to this one... Puff. Puff is the world's most aptly named chicken ever. Always was a puff, still is a puff. Puff is the most shy, unassuming, mild little chica ever... only she isn't a chica. He is a chico. I am pretty sure. I have not seen him crow, or strut, or jump anything taller than the lowest roost. But there are signs... like the cock's comb he is sprouting and the way his tail feathers cascade down. sigh

I do not know if this post ever really did come to a point, or was necessary at all, except that I am grappling with the sad fact that I will probably have to find Zoltar a home. Temple will stay on probation. Tesla may require a merciful intervention. Puff, if he remains Puff, soft, fluff, gentle stuff, will stay here. So, pointed or pointless, I felt compelled to record these thoughts, events, and musings, and besides this was more interesting to me than cleaning out our refrigerator. Thank you. That is all.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Softer Light

Happy Autumn. I am so ready to make, and receive, a happy Autumn. Even though it has been a long day week, I am using the softer light of this earliest Autumn day to see things, and circumstances, with appreciation... with this in mind, I grabbed my camera, walked around, and focused on a few things that make me happy, grateful, comforted.

My Autumn Leaves quilt, ready to wrap anyone in a snug embrace, reminds me that our house is getting homier, and homier every day. Amazing to think it has been one full year since we first held the key to our Bird House.

I think I am seeing everything in a grateful light when I think of what we were trying to accomplish last year. Just thinking of packing and moving makes me uneasy, but it is behind us. It really is a long way behind us. And this Autumn we are even more at liberty to play, and amuse ourselves... what a blessing.

William and Alex joined me in some play, and we unpacked fall decor, silly touches... it was so much fun to follow Max and Maria around the house as they discovered what's new in the house for the new season.

Autumn in the garden. I love this season. Zinnias have bloomed. We are eating tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes. Corn is coming up. We have some eggplant. We won't be getting frost, certainly not snow, so gardening goes on. Time to think about cold weather crops, composting, and replenishing beds.

Time to beef-up the shark cage for the chicas. It is a sturdy and safe chicken shelter, but I know it won't be adequate for cold nights, rain or wind. Of course it could not be worse than what Betty endured last winter! We continue to make improvements, and I think with a few more tweaks we will have something good.

Temple, get out of the corn. Please. You know you are on rooster probation. You really should be showing exemplary behavior.

Professor Moriarty is not on any kind of probation, and never will be. Goodness but he makes me happy. I think he will be just fine when cold weather blows in.

And sweet Sanka. Both of these bunnies are such a joy. We play with them on the lawn, or simply hold them in our arms. They are affectionate and calming.

Colds have mostly cleared out. Routines and schedules are getting familiar, manageable. The garage is almost unpacked. The garage is almost unpacked. The garage is almost unpacked. I'm sorry, did I repeat myself? We have only ever been totally unpacked once in our 21 year marriage, and that only lasted two months. I am relieved and nervous, both.

Of course getting the garage unpacked has left my "office" looking like the craft trolls threw a raucous bash... ahh, bless my mess... in this soft light, it reminds me of how much I have.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ahoy Mateys! Claim Your Booty!

It is, it is a glorious thing to be a pirate king!
Or queen!

Yes, it be here. Sure as rum, it really and truly is Talk Like a Pirate Day, and I have assumed the role of Pirate Queen!

I made the scallywags clear the decks of me galley, and the SS Odyssey, so there be no more plunder laying about. But remember I, the Pirate Queen, presented a challenging contest in that post, and the idea was for you to be identifying the flotsam and jetsam mucking up me rudder. Only eight mateys were friendly enough to step forward and reply, and of those eight, two of yous were brave enough to make good guesses... so you two have loot to claim!

Judy, you clever lass, "the red thing" is an "easy button." Truth be tellin', it be a stop button on an assembly line, but I figger any button that can make somethin' stop is got to be an easy button. Your share of the treasure is a moving picture show based on a proud pirate history.

Em, you are a daring matey, and no one came closer than you to guessing what this green thing is. Almost "a press," it be a paper molder for making forms out of paper or plastic... things like pirate masks, and pirate swords, and pirate robot parts. Your share of the treasure is a moving picture show based on a proud pirate history.

Now, I hear me parrots crowing from the poop deck, so it must be time for this Pirate Queen to be ordering the scallywags to look lively... our course is set for learnin', and swabbing the decks, then maybe later we can drop anchor, and play as pirates do, with laughter, merriment, good company, and good food.