Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tiny Happy's Lucky Winner

I made a comment sometime ago on Melissa Wastney's site, Tiny Happy, to tell her how much I liked what she does on her blog and in her store.  Her talent is something very special.  A few days later, she informed me I was the winner of an several Christmas decorations - a lovely bunch of tied straw ornaments.  

The package arrived from Norway shortly after Christmas.  I ripped into it like it was still the holidays and found much more than straw ornaments.  The top photo is of two lovely little people with wooden heads, knit caps, felt jumpers, and straw hair.  They are very intricately dressed and oh so sweet.  They are now guarding my "making" desk and actually must be guarded themselves from 4 tiny hands that are not allowed to touch unless supervised.  

The photo immediately above includes a fantastic embroidered pouch that has been put to good use as a traveling case for my circular needles.

This is the packaging it all came in along with the very cute calling card stamped on graphing paper and the pouch.  Yes, I saved long enough to save the sea creature stamps on the outer wrapping.  I am very found of stamps and have quite a large collection - I know, a geeky topic that I'm sure to discuss some other day - but my son had called first dibs on these and I could hardly deny him.

The ornaments are straw, as I previously mentioned, and quite intricately tied to form stars, snowflakes, hearts, and angels.  They are truly beautiful and will have a treasured place on our tree next year.  Actually, they are still on my desk too as I can't bear to put them away yet.

Melissa also sent along some original artwork postcards made from watercolor and pen drawings.  They are a treasure and will be used - I love the warmth of sending handmade correspondences as thank you and hello cards.

Melissa, thank you so much for your thoughtful and sweet package.  Each item is a gem and will be treasured.  It is an honor to own something from someone whose work I've admired so much over the past few years.  I've saved your address and am working on a return thank you package.  

Friday, January 16, 2009

Popsicles are no consolation

Today, my 4 year old little boy had his tonsils and adenoids removed in an amazingly short out-patient procedure. We talked it up so he wouldn't be afraid, emphasizing the ice cream and pudding he would eat after his "throat was fixed".  I'd have to say he thinks ice cream is no consolation 6 hours after the fixing.  I think he's rather have the tonsils.

I hate to see him on the verge of tears, pointing at his throat as if asking me to fix it. If I could, he'd already be out of bed, wrestling with his sister.   As hard as it is, I remind myself that we are rarely, if ever, the sickest in the room, never the one with the most obstacles to overcome. I take comfort in that, and in the fact he is happy and healthy on a normal day. 

Sometimes we hit a bump in an otherwise calm and lifeless road, we take a breath, hold on, and look back giving thanks that the bump wasn't bigger. Our bump has really only been an ant hill so far. And I am grateful.

-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ball of yarn #3

I've taught myself how to spin yarn.  I thought about how satisfying it would be to actually make the yarn I'm knitting with - especially for a gift.  Now that's a gift that says "I love you".  Next I'll probably buy the sheep and start from the absolute beginning.  I would if I had the space.

Anyway, the spindle and fleece came in the mail on Saturday .  I've spent a good deal of time practicing already and its not easy to get the right tension and to join pieces.  I am an absolute klutz with the spindle.  

This is the third ball of yarn I've made.  They've all come out a little different.  The soft alpaca fibers were so luxurious to spin.  It came out super thick, extra soft, but a little loose.   I really like the feel of it.  I'm still working at it and sort of addicted to it.

(Saturday was a very good mail day as a package from Melisa of Tiny Happy also came.  I will show off the contents of that package in a separate post)

Clean Plate Club

My kids asked if they could have Chinese noodles for breakfast this morning. I told them the Chinese diner is closed until this afternoon.

Luckily the only wanted to use "Chinese sticks" aka chopsticks to eat whatever they happened to have for breakfast. Waffles.

With large pieces they almost have a good pinch. The have to use a second hand to load the sticks, but then hold the waffles in between sticks to their mouths.

Not one complaint, request for a fork, or waffle stab was recorded during the 5 minutes it took to clean their plates of 2 waffles each (plus seconds).

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Beauty and Inspiration in a Parking Lot

During my employment as a landscape architect and planner, I designed my fair share of parking lots. Small, large, paved, gravel. I'm here to tell you, as if you didn't already know, that there is nothing glamourous about designing a parking lot - or being in one for that matter.  

The grey and black asphalt grows so hot during the summer that you can actually see the heat rising. The bays, sectioned by fading white lines, are stained by oil slicks and residual AC fluid. Traffic jams. Competition for spaces. Paying for a space.

I write this blog to remind me that even when the whole of something is mundane or ugly, elements of it can be beautiful and inspiring. A parking lot is hardly inspiring, but smaller vingettes within a parking lot, really set my mind in motion - the way the lines make patterns on the ground, the arc of the trees grown to provide shade, the subtle changes in shades of grey. 

This is true in reverse when we create.  Sometimes we find ordinary items -  ribbons, buttons, paper.  We examine, rearrange, and choose a composition for the pieces and, whatever it is, it really satisfies our need to make something beautiful to us.  The pieces ordinary pieces inspire us to create a more beautiful whole.

My point is - whether you deconstruct something unappealing or make something new from ordinary parts, there is can be beauty and inspiration.  It all depends on how you decide to look at it.   

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009: Reclaimed

Just reminded me of what most do on New Year's Day: Reclaim their lives and try to make them better.