Thursday, March 11, 2021

Squinting a Little

There can be no doubt, nor denying: This is my embroidery season. I am loving it. I am obsessed. It fills my thoughts and the hours, and makes me practically impervious to needless worry, fretting, doubt, or dread. Ok, it might be tipping the scales a bit much toward utterly oblivious, but desperate times, etc... And, I do try to mix things up a bit. I am still riding, there are washed and dried clothes, I have cooked, and even deleted emails. I have no doubt that the rest of my life, and others, will be spent reflecting on The Pandemic, how it went, what we suffered, what was lost, possibly gained, and how we coped. And in there we will face some sort of reckoning, I suppose, but in the meantime, I am making countless tiny jabs at fabric, pulling threads, and thinking the happiest thoughts I can muster.

These are some of the last of the embroideries I made for the little wood hoops... the hoops that aren't working out, afterall. So I have been turning them into felt brooches, or badges. And, I have to interject: These photos are kind of so good, they're terrible! My iPhone is working like it's here to collect forensic evidence! Do I need to put some vaseline on the lens?? I soften the light, but the phone can pull light out of a black hole. I step back, but the pieces are so small, they look lost in space if I don't get in closer. Anyway, try squinting a little, or pulling off your glasses... they need a softer focus.

Ok. Where was I?

Each tiny ratty, or bunny, or owl, was sewn around a tiny wood disc, and I didn't want to remove those, because I worried it would tear the fabric. It was a small accomplishment to attach them to the wool! But I was determined to not use glue... mostly because the glue is downstairs, and I am firmly ensconced on the bed, upstairs. It would seem lack of intertia is the mother of dogged determination! Anything else? I don't know. I do feel compelled, only slightly, to justify them, or have some plan for them. Maybe I will make a sash and wear them, like a veteran of domestic perils, arrayed in my medals and badges, for valor, for courage, for staying home, for blogging, for watching the planets and learning the names of stars, for ordering groceries on a computer, for remembering to floss. Maybe, it will motivate me... for instance, I could earn a badge for removing the small Christmas tree that is still on the kitchen counter. Then again, the young people have been discussing decorating it for Easter.
More recently, I tried small stitches on linen. I have a few swatches from my favorite dressmaker, and some metal pin and pendant settings. The challenge with stitching this small (under two inches) is that everything counts, and shows, meaning there is no forgiveness, room for error. I can embrace my affection for rustic, for perfectly imperfect, and my respect for finer work, and expert embroidery is evermore increasing. I feel humble and very much an amateur, which I am comfortable with, and then I share them on Instagram, and I am honestly so moved and touched by everyone's kind feedback! Seriously, people have been so encouraging about these little creations, and I know I am a long way from mastery, but... well, I can't say enough how nice it is to hear that I am heading in a promising direction, that they hold appeal for more than me, alone, more than just me, trying to keep calm and content. Thank you, friends... thank you.
Here's a wonder, for me... I have been doing things over. It wasn't so long ago, when I would say "good enough," even if it wasn't all that good. Or, if it wasn't all that good, I would throw in the towel, throw up my arms, and act as though practice and effort wouldn't help. Geoff has been such a good influence on me. So, now when I see something could be better made, or that it would be worthwhile to start over... I often do. Not always, but often, and that's a big difference!
The practice is paying off. I am learning more with each new attempt. But! I need a break from things small enough to hide under my thumb!
We've had rain! It's been too dry this winter. I am so glad rain finally came. And I am glad I looked up, prompting myself to notice wide views, and distances. It was refreshing to be reminded that the sky can be so compelling, that I love clouds, and weather. I sketched a golondrina, a swallow, on an apron, then picked a vibrant blue, a folklore blue, un azul de turquesa. This morning, I woke up thinking of an apron covered in things I like, symbols, tokens, birds, bunnies, constellations... stitched all over, like if I were tattooed with favorite images, but a mantle, to ward off worries, and beckon soft, good, hopeful things.

Monday, March 08, 2021

Some Pretty Things

I've sat here for ten minutes, trying to think of something worth stating. My thoughts whirr around what I've done since yesterday, like dish washing and feeding the goats and chickens, I recall all the things I haven't done, too; unfortunately, that is a longer list. The idea that recurs, that pushes all other thoughts aside, is Thank you. Thank you, for commenting, for sharing your experiences and thoughts, for being kind, supportive, for making time to reach out to me. I appreciate those comments, very much. There is always a cycle in blogging, when I wish so much that I had more followers, more connection, that I had managed to achieve some kind of Blog Success, and not for fame, but for the chance to promote causes, ideas, activities, to say, "Here is what I do," and feel, in the eyes of society, like it's been a legitimate career, a worthy pursuit. And the other part of that cycle is tremendous relief that I have stayed low-key successful, quietly accomplished... I would be very uncomfortable in a spotlight, or on the radar of trolls, and I have always thought that it would be sad to have so many followers, and comments, that I couldn't make personal replies, or keep track of connections, distinguish friends from acquaintances, or know who was genuine. As it is, I have lost connection with friend/readers, some totally, and I think of them, and hope they are off on new adventures, not gone for good, and I feel sheepish, too, for the blogs, friends, and acquaintances that I have neglected to keep up with. I have learned to see that life is change... for better or worse, little stays the same, and so it's a good idea to embrace the moments before us. That is one of the lessons that is only recently made clear to me, and I know I will need to remind myself, to make a practice of understanding: Life is Change, and it's a good idea to make an effort to change for the better. Well, now I am just wandering, in my head, at the keyboard. Still, it is worth stating... I am thankful for the engagements I share with friends and acquaintances, here, and in my community. Also, here are some pictures of pretty things I have noticed, enjoyed.

Sunday, March 07, 2021

I Wear Readers

This is a silly thing. But, I was thinking about the fact that I started using a pair of reading glasses. I bought them 14 years ago, because everyone tells you, when you turn 40, "You're going to need reading glasses. And moisturizer." I've worn distance glasses since Peter Nakaji prescribed them for me in middle school. "You need glasses," he whispered, authoritatively, in the middle of science class. I looked at him, curiously, wondering what made him say such a ridiculus thing. "Haven't you ever wondered why you have to ask me what's written on the board? Why I can read it, and you can't? You need glasses." That stuck with me... how a genius conclusion could be drawn from such obvious evidence. He was so right, and I got glasses. Another thing that stuck with me is remembering the first time I saw the moon, when I was wearing the new glasses. I happened to glance up, and halted in my tracks. I could see textures, shadows, the craters and details, then I saw the stars, twinkling. I gasped, and teared up. I was 14 years old and seeing these things as though for the first time. The moon and stars are beautiful. I haven't needed the readers until I took up cross-stitching, again. I can see without them, but... well, the genius conclusion from obvious evidence is: I can see much better with the glasses! Now, I am wearing Geoff's reading glasses, because he has a pair on every shelf, through the house, and the ones I bought are flimsy. Ok... I'll get to the silly part: I was thinking, gee, who's going to know I wear readers, now? We should keep up our baby books, the ones our mothers started, recording our milestones, and cute expressions. Birth weight, first tooth, first word, and then later, first sleep-over, first job, gets carded, and much later, wears reading glasses, naps regularly, uses the captions for every movie. What milestones have you hit? Have you accomplished something newsworthy? Please share!
Natalie, 649 months, wears reading glasses!
And with readers, it's much easier to sew small things. I was super excited about putting my small things into these small wood hoops, but the product I ordered has been not great... about 1/3 of the hoops are ok, 1/3 arrived split, and the other 1/3 split when I add the fabric. Nutz. So, I turned to a new plan, which was my original idea of making brooches, or merit badges. I am having fun!
Whooo! A merit badge... for, hmmmm... for watching an owl webcam. I already made another one, but that one is a secret-surprise that I'll share later. Next, I decided to try something with the little hen. After some experimenting, some trial and error, and a lot of hand-sewing, the little hen is part of a sewing case, with needle book and pockets. I am almost finished with it.
Here's another milestone for the record... I will do some housework today, maybe cook, too. I think if I did have a lifetime Baby Book, the space for Keeps a Tidy Home would be blank. I'd like to think I could have some gentle comment about my effort, or intentions, but I can't kid myself. I'd rather be wearing readers and sewing small things.