Category Archives: Home & Garden

Geometry and Junk Drawers

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Two free photo apps and a quilt picture and I could fiddle all day (PicFrame to combine images / Prisma for filters).

Monday, I like to get some cleaning and straightening done (is this how we’re referring to procrastinating these days?). I hadn’t intended to go on a tear but ended up organizing the kitchen drawer — the one we call “the vitamin drawer” even though it’s also the chap stick drawer, the dental floss drawer, and the spare key drawer.Most items were keepers, like the coins and rusty bits above, but a few items had to go — like the Teen Multi Vitamin with a “use by” date of 2010.  Found all my silver bracelets, which I had been vaguely missing, as well as a number of watches.

There were LEGO guys and a miniature warrior, as well as a Playmobile broom. And look at that tube of BB’s! I suspect that dates back to my husband’s childhood and I have no idea how it arrived in this drawer.

Next up was the blanket chest in the corner. Inside I found cloth, of course, and on top: a lot of paper (printed out chapters with beta reader comments and one of my research notebooks). None of it’s particularly essential at this point but the pile was a reminder of the dangers of shoving shit into closets and drawers when company’s coming — you may not see those things again for another couple of seasons!

Apron strings


If there is something to sew on backwards, I’ll sew it on backwards. For this simple project, I lined one of the many woven rectangles lying around the studio to serve as an apron pocket and then stitched the waistband on the wrong side of the opening.

I thought I was so clever to simultaneously stitch the pocket to the apron and stitch the pocket turn-opening, thus making one line of machine stitching unnecessary.

Dismayed and generally averse to ripping out, I sewed the damn pocket shut and called it a day.  So much for feeling clever!

After a pause (the all important pause), I realized It wouldn’t be so bad to fix since I’d only have to rip out the length of the waistband. So I did. Opened up the pocket. Added some hand quilting.

For waistband Round Two, I used a contrasting geometric print instead of the same seer sucker as the apron. I like it a LOT better. The same yellow print lines the pocket.

To my mind, there is only one essential feature of an apron — it must have ties long enough to wrap around the waist and tie in front. That way, I can tuck the essential hand towel into the ties. A dish towel over-the-shoulder is a distant second for convenience.

Prefer 100% cotton, of course.

Pockets and bibs are features I don’t much mind but don’t seem to need, either.

Maybe the recipient of this apron will find good use for a roomy centered pocket. If not, it looks nice!

In case you’re wondering, I am also baking cookies, mailing packages, walking the dog, watching election results, emailing commissioners at the FCC, helping to plot my younger son’s next steps, and WRITING.

PS. Ninety inches (for this waist) affords enough length to tie the apron strings in front.

Return

One to the other. Season. Place. Ground and sky. A flight back to Colorado later today. Special china’s been put away but the folding chairs — not yet.

I called this patchwork a “whimsy” elsewhere. An unstoppable doodle. Irrepressible play. Now that the pile of these is growing, I probably ought to figure out what to do with them. Maybe make longer panels for the hall double hungs upstairs? Facing east, those windows get blasted by morning light, so the cloth’d be like glass for a few hours a day.

There was a big smudge on my phone camera lens. Ambience or malfunction?

And, after a couple days away, it’ll be back to the story.

PS  Deb Lacativa‘s cloth is playing a star role in this patchwork (from my recent lottery win, blogged about here). Some of my recent walnut dunks show up, as well as older indigo creations of mine.

Friable cloth

Curtains I made 25 years ago did not survive the wash today. Hot water and bleach were perhaps a mistake. These were upstairs hall curtains and filtered a lot of morning sun in a quarter century. The muslin was friable! Some had shredded in the wash and some disintegrated as I pegged the cloth to the line.

For some reason, their ruination did not bother me — quite the opposite, in fact. It nearly felt as though something sacred was taking place as the fabric fell apart in my hands.

What the ragged cloth did with light was extraordinary.

Hanging laundry on a line satisfies a person in a way that most chores do not. Cannot. Is it because it hearkens back to our mothers in the same way that certain recipes do?


The Solstice


Catalpa blossoms rain down, festooning the dirt with casual but royal elegance. Could it be the wind and flowers mistake me for a queen or even, a lesser goddess?

Evening primrose open their four-petaled flowers in such humble, yellow cheer that even a householder in dull forbearance can’t help but smile.

And look at the comfrey — always impressively stalwart — shooting its stalk straight up through the lower leaves of the rhododendron! Its huge leaves belie its oh-so-delicate flowers, making me think that Nature needs to make a joke now and then.

When the stalk inevitably flops to the ground, will the comfrey berate itself — demand a taller performance next year — start haggling with the rhodie now for more lasting support a year from now? We all know the abiding message, there.

At the cellar door, ferns volunteer in improbable narrow cracks, suggesting good will, a knack for survival.  Yet another lesson — ‘grow wherever you can! grow outside the plan! take up residence and thrive in the unlikeliest of places!’

Such extravagance, year after year, in the garden. How lush, how beautiful, how generous, and never with a demand for anything in return.

The first day of summer refutes my pessimism. It suggests possibility and reorders instinct and sensation in favor of the body — ah! dirt tumbling off the trowel! a wooden rake handle against the palm! the smell of blossoms and the sound of children playing. 

All I have to do is step outside.

[Is this the same person who dropped the ‘f-bomb’ on a neighbor’s landscape guy yesterday after storming out of the house to request that he stop using a now-banned gas-powered-leaf-blower? Indeed. You mean to tell me you are writing odes to catalpa blossoms today but were telling a hired landscaper yesterday to ‘use a fucking broom’? Well, yeah. After watching him aggressively yank the cord to wind up the blower practically in my face, it was not in fact my fault that I had to practically shout it at him, ‘USE A FUCKING BROOM!’

And, BTW, don’t you love this guy taking the high ground? As if my calling him a dick head (yes, I did that too) was more egregious than his aggressive, knowing violation of a new city ordinance put in place precisely for people like me?

I would call him a dick head again, but I’ll admit to some ‘spill-over’ wrath. There had been a series of disastrous phone calls to the hospital earlier (we’re talking mental impairments now, not physical), plus numerous calls to caregivers and c-pap manufacturers that were not full of fury and condemnation but nevertheless sucked time and soul from my day. By the time that now-illegal awful, awful high-pitched whine started up, I wasn’t having it.]

Happy Summer Solstice, all!
Peace. Peace. Peace (or in my case — at least the absence of cursing)