Thursday, November 7, 2013

To Tend, and Mend and Fix

In today's throw away society, mending is slowly becoming a lost art.  I come from a long line of menders.  The women in my family are keepers.  We hold on to things and use them until they can not be saved.  Why buy new when it can be fixed?  Spending money on something that with a little effort and love can be made whole again is an art form in and of itself.  If you can master it, even the pickiest of people will never know your needle has been there.

Today I am mending the quilted bedspread on my bed before washing it.  It's not a treasured antique nor one that is hand made.  More than likely it was made in China and came from JC Penny a few years ago.  You see, I wouldn't put one of my hand made quilts on my bed for my dog to lay on at night but because he does, it gets washed - a lot.  So the patches are coming loose.  I have spent several hours today hand stitching the patches back together before it gets washed again for probably the 100th time.  But I realized as I bent over my work, that hand stitching brings me back to center within myself.  I'd like to think my Grandmothers are grinning from ear to ear watching me stitch the tiny stitches that not only hold the fabric patches together but also stitch myself back into balance with the present moment.

I have a lovely lace tablecloth that my Nana gave me before she died.  It is one of my treasures - one of those gifts that she said she had saved for me because she knew that none of my cousins would ever want or use it.  It's about 90 years old now and occasionally need a mending stitch here and there.  The first time I held it up to the light as I prepared to attempt those tiny stitches, I could see all of the tiny invisible mends that she had lovingly placed in the lace over the years that I never knew were there.  I spread it out on my work table and very carefully matched the tiny invisible stitches that mended the lace and felt such a connection to her.

I have come to the realization that I have become one of the menders - the fixers.  Perhaps its a genetic memory as the generations of fixers sit up and take notice as the stitches form after my needle.  What ever it is, the energy fills me with immense calm and great satisfaction.  It's not just about mending bits of fabric.  It's about mending the pieces of myself - making them into something stronger and more resilient as I retrieve the pieces that I had somehow set aside.  It's easy to do without realizing it.  I got caught up in survival mode and forgot how much joy could be found in the simple tasks - the ones that no one sees, that in truth, hold everything together.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Flower Girl

 I know it's been awhile since I've posted here but it's been a crazy busy summer.  Hard to believe that it's the middle of August already but the Asters are beginning to bloom and that's a sure fire wake up to fall.  In just about three weeks the school bus will begin rumbling loudly, billowing huge clouds of dust as it travels our country road again. 

Asters and school go hand in hand for me and brought me my love of flowers.  When I was a little girl growing up in Lake Tahoe, my mother was Post Master of the tiny Post Office in the little resort area called Camp Richardson.  When I started school, I used to wait for the bus to come up Highway 89, standing in front of the Post Office where my mother would watch from the window.

Old Mrs. Richardson, had a large house across the highway from the Post Office and along side of her house, her wizened old gardener named Joe, grew row after row of flowers as cutting gardens to supply the house with fresh flowers every day.  In the fall, the Asters were a riot of color.  Every other morning, without fail, Old Joe would slowly walk across the highway with a large bouquet of those asters, wrapped carefully in newspaper.  He would smile at me and hand me the flowers and tell me that they were for me to give to my teacher.  The bus driver always called me "The Flower Girl".

Every summer I plant Asters, for Joe.  He was one of those mysteries that life bring to our door.  He was an old cowboy, he walked bent and had very bowed legs.  He always wore blue jeans, a plaid shirt and a stained, well worn cream colored cowboy hat.  He drove a beat up old truck with dings and rust - the kind with the painted pointy grill in the front.  And Joe disappeared one day.  They found his truck in the Nevada desert - I don't know if they ever located what happened to him - those things were whispered about around children.  I liked old Joe a lot.  I had a big imagination and he liked that about me.  We spent many an afternoon in the garden chatting about all kinds of things.  Hey Joe!  Your flowers are blooming.....come and see....

Baby flower and veggie plants that I started from seeds

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Picture Progress - Rough In Finished

I finally got to work on my marquetry again but decided to pick up this picture that I was working on last spring before I got waylaid  first with the garden, then with fiber prep and dying.  Just when I thought my docket was clear to begin working I got hit with a series of winter storms and a lot of very cold weather.  That means lots of shoveling and cold work just keeping the sheep & chickens going which doesn't help my hands to be too functional for this kind of work.

I always find it difficult to pick something I've laid aside for so long but finally managed to get back into it's story and finished putting in the last pieces.  Now it's ready for any fill and sanding.  Once that is complete, I will add all the details of the faces and any extra shading.  Then it will have to sit awhile before the weather warms up enough to spray it with lacquer.

I am so anxious to jump into the next project - the box that I posted on my last entry here.  As soon as I get the details in - I will post another picture.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Deep Freeze

It's been awhile since I posted here, my apologies to those who want to follow what's going on in my neck of the woods.  It's been a long stretch of winter here.  Several good snowfalls and then a long stretch of very cold weather.  We haven't been above 32 since before Christmas.  Brrrr!  It makes doing chores even more of a challenge than usual.  I have to admit that even though it's only half over, I am so done with winter and ready for spring. 
Box lid design ready to transfer

I am finally able to jump back into the marquetry work that I so love.  I am happy to say that I am finally working on the finishing touches to the picture that got set aside last spring - other things have a way of taking over my time until I all of a sudden realize just how long it's been since I picked up my knife!  Once I have the picture finished, I have a new hat box design all ready to go which I can't wait to start.  I am also working on spinning up some of the handpainted rovings that I dyed last fall.

New box pattern ready to transfer
So despite my long silence, yes, I am still here!  I have to admit I am looking forward to sunnier, warmer days - I really am tired of being cold!  So for now I am finally jumping into the world of veneer and lots of fiber.  Hopefully I will have some more pictures to post in just a few days.  Stay safe and warm everyone!