change is so hard

The last week of my long summer holiday was taken up having new carpet laid throughout the house.  This is the first time I have ever had that luxury feeling of a brand new, decent quality carpet underfoot and when you’re essentially a barefoot fan . . . mmmmm loverly!

Preparing for the carpet layers meant that everything that sits on the floor had to be removed . . . thank goodness it’s summer and we had some dry weather!  Without my son and grandhearts coming to lend a hand I doubt I could have done it.  The girls were amazing and very willing to carry the smaller things outside while Adam and I moved the bigger items.  We arranged to leave some of the heavy furniture for the carpet layers.

During the removal process, I apologised to my son several times for the volume of stuff I have and, although I’m not planning to shuffle off this mortal coil any time soon, I have promised to buy nothing more that isn’t a replacement for something that is completely munted, I will use up what I can and weed out what I can get rid of . . . sell, donate, dump. Believe me, by the time I had moved everything back, single-handed, I was adopting this affirmation big time!   I have everything I need and more! 

A true statement in every area of my life . . . how about you?  Do you itch to have one more whatever?  A bigger or better thingimijig?  The latest whatsit, gizmo or doofer?  You probably don’t NEED it, you might WANT it but let’s be realistic . . . if you have access to good food, a warm bed, friends and family who know you on the inside and love you anyway, the freedom to make choices and some means of personal empowerment, fun, what more do you really need?   I’ve never really lusted after loads of possessions . . . I’m just a bit of a magpie and I’ve done my bit supporting struggling artisans around the world.

WANTS and NEEDS are very different and I’m focussing on getting my NEEDS met.IMG_2477Which brings me to my favourite tights.  They’ve died.  There is a hole in one knee and it’s just a matter of time before the other goes too . . . but I’m still wearing them.  Even mending is unwarranted as the stretch is going.  Although munted they can’t be replaced, Kozmik is out of business and these, you have to agree, are unique.  I guess I’ll just have to get out some of my fabric and some dye and make a new pair.  Do I NEED a new pair?  No.  Do I want a new pair?  Not really . . . unless they’re equally interesting.  Can I make a pair without buying anything else? Yes!  So if I want them enough . . . get my drift?

These wonderful tights . . . I bought them about 18 years ago and with some time-out when I didn’t wear them, they’ve lasted, although lately they’ve been getting a thrashing.  When an old favourite anything wears out it’s often irreplaceable and we have to get rid of the old, worn out whatever and accept something new.   Habits are like that too . . . the old habit has served it’s purpose, might not be taking us where we want to go in life but it’s hard to break and hard to adopt a new behaviour.

I am very reluctant to throw away these tights, I love these tights and if I decide to make them into something else I know they would just sit and be another job-to-do instead of a pleasurable, creative project.  They would become another bit of stuff weighing me down with responsibility.  So here’s the deal . . . when they cannot be worn decently around the house, I either make them into a toy as a keepsake or they go into the bin the VERY SAME DAY.  Oh . . . they’ll still be stuff for my son and daughter to get rid of!

Who in their right mind is so emotionally attached to a pair of crazy tights!  I think I need help . . . I kid you not!

yet another late start

. . . but at least I am starting.   I have no valid reasons for not having blogged for almost 3 months.  If I put my mind to it I could come up with string of excuses but they’d be rather feeble and really, you’d see through them in a heartbeat.  So what if I work full-time in a demanding job?  Others do too, along with caring for their families and countless other responsibilities, yet they manage to blog more frequently that I do.  And besides, I’ve been on holiday for 4 weeks now.

My energy deserted me, me get-up-and-go got up and went . . . it’s as simple or as complex as that.  I didn’t want to so I didn’t. It’s not that I haven’t been working on creative projects or thinking deep, analytic thoughts and my sense of humour didn’t desert me.  It’s just that I didn’t feel the desire to blog about them at the time.

Fortunately, I’m not about to castigate my Self for sloth or admonish my Self for procrastination, it is such a waste of time and energy and will only serve to make any internal opposition stronger.  Aren’t I lucky that my ‘I/you-should-blah-blah-blah-muscle’ can be rested?

It’s not that I haven’t been working on creative projects or thinking deep, analytic thoughts and my sense of humour didn’t desert me.  It’s just that I didn’t feel the desire to blog about them at the time.

This Christmas every gift was to be handmade or be consumable so I made gifts and gave food and music (which counts as a pleasure-giving consumable with longevity).  I slipped up just a tad when I gave Adam and Yo a Corkcicle to keep their bottle of wine cold while they sit out under the trees in the evening sun.

Recycled jeans, acrylic paint and a little imagination.

Recycled jeans, a zip, acrylic paint, a handmade stencil (recycled acetate), bubble wrap and bottle tops as well as a little imagination.

The colours in this photo aren’t great.  The jeans were a pale grey and the red and orange, same as the ukulele inside the bag, looked great together.

Meg's unicorn, complete with false eyelashes.

Meg’s unicorn, complete with false eyelashes.  I was laughed at for buying these ultra-cheap eyelashes in Bangkok but I just knew they’d come in handy!

Meg had asked a while back if I could make a pink unicorn . . . I don’t usually take orders but in this case, how could I say no?  She was one happy camper!

I took a tacket stitch class with Diana Trout and this journal was the first one I made.

Tacket stitch journal

Tacket stitch journal, recycled cereal box, gesso, sprays and handmade stencils made from recycled acetate pages. I used the used the stencils and then printed with them to blot them dry.

Here’s a close up of the stitching.

IMG_2437

Tacket stitch journal #1

And my stencils!  One sheet of recycled acetate, one exacto knife and a pleasant half hour.IMG_1622I found that drawing an image and laying it under the acetate when cutting made the process easier.  I didn’t attempt to slavishly cut on the lines of the draft . . . they were just a guide.  Because the acetate sheet is clear I sprayed a page and placed it behind the stencil when I stored it in a clearfile . . . IMG_2469And then there were the little back-to-back notebooks as bonus gifts for friends and relations.  The covers were left over collage papers stuck to recycled manila folders or printed onto recycled and cereal box cardboard.  There’s quite a bit of recycling happening around here!

So I never really stopped, just a hiccup, we all have them, no need to explain.

good intentions

On Diana Trout’s blog last Friday I wrote “Today is the last day of the school term, 2 weeks holiday just around the corner (although like most educationalists I’ll have work to do . . . bugger!) and I am determined to pick up AND USE brushed and pens EVERY DAY! YES!!! You heard it here first. And I will POST every day . . . except maybe when the darlings are here. :)”  I missed on the very first day!   It’s not that I didn’t have some playtime, it that by 11:00 pm I didn’t feel like posting anything.     Yes, good intentions, that’s me.

My day started when I was jolted out of a book by a thump on my house . . . I leapt out of bed to find a dead tui on the deck.    These native birds are beautiful, and have a distinctive sound as they chortle, click, whistle and sing in the trees nearby and I was upset to find that one had tried flying though my house instead of over or around.   I guess with big glass doors on both sides . . . this is the third bird and they’re getting bigger and I’m wondering what will be next.  We have big black-backed gulls aplenty, the odd pheasant hiding in the sand dunes.   Just as long as there’s not an albatross blown in by the storm that’s heading this way!

Tui R.I.P.

The plumage is beautiful, glossy black, gleaning with blues and greens and that little tuft of white on their throats.   It seemed unreasonable to just bury it in my garden so I rang the Maori language university,  Te Wānanga o Raukawa.  My guess is that some Maori weavers will make use of the feathers – I hope so.

Oh my goodness, two entries in a row where a pointless death is featured so just to let you know that play took over for the rest of the day, here are some backgrounds made with homemade stencils (cut out of acetate).

Homemade stencils

I used 2 A4 sheets of acetate and cut the shapes freehand . . .

Homemade stencil 2

IMG_0395

Chalk pastel overlaid with gesso

The trouble is, I get to this point and I’m not sure where to go next . . . I tend to just lay it aside for later and sometimes ‘later’ is a long time away.  For instance, this was a very early background that I just haven’t done anything with . . . yet.

Ah well,  maybe today it’ll speak to me.  I need to loosen up more and not expect to have a final image in my head . . . to just see where it will go if I make some random marks.

I’m still here

I know . . . it’s been forever and I will explain it a little but just not this morning.  This is the teaser:

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading – Lao Tzu

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined – Henry David Thoreau

Put your ear down to your heart and listen hard – Anne Sexton (via Quinn McDonald)

Each is true and each is what I am thinking about . . . as well as working full-time and spending an extra 2.5 hours a day commuting in my car.

A recycled jersey, now a dress for my granddaughter – a little hand-sewing (so unlike me) and thinking (too much like me)

Now . . . I’ll be late for work!

altered books?

When my grand-daughters came to stay recently one of the first things we did was to go to the library.  In the bin of books that are worn and up for sale, there were a number of board books at 20 cents apiece so . . . . I bought 4 and got out the gesso.And now . . . gesso-ed booksI’ve left them standing on the dining table to dry completely while I go off to my day-job and next weekend, I’ll give one of the white ones a second coat.  They’ll need to have some sort of clasp or closure as already they don’t want to close completely, maybe I could remove a page or two?

I have no idea what I will do with them and no idea when – but they’re ready for when inspiration strikes.  How would you use them?

 

making my own paper tape and stamps – cheaply!

Palmerston North, New Zealand has the most wonderful Arts Recycling Centre where $1.00 got me 10 beautiful fat corks (wine bottles no longer have corks it seems), and a roll of paper adding-machine tape – now that’s not to be confused with tape for a paper adding machine because for a start, I don’t think an adding machine made from paper would be of any use to fish nor fowl although someone may have made one!

I used my very old acrylic paints, an old credit card, a stamp pad and some white gesso as my white paint is all but gone.  I carved the corks and having used them, find they have cleaned up well and that I’m rather fond of the ‘square-peg-in-a-round-hole’ and the ’round-peg-in-a-square-hole’ stamps.

Here’s the results!

paper-tape 1

wiping on the acrylic background

paper-tape 2

the results

I’m much happier with the results where I used the black stamp pad however I guess I can always touch up the detail on the white and purple stars and moons.  I did think about using glue and dusting them with glitter – another time perhaps.

Each strip is about 150 cms long by 6 cms wide (60 inches by 2.25 inches).    I’ve found the tape tears very nicely down it’s length and although it curls a bit when it’s wet, it’s okay.

So not quite free, but very cheap – and I still have 5 corks and a lot of paper left!   Great value and a bit of fun on a Sunday afternoon!

 

a pair of bears

There is a small bear on the couch complaining that it feels neglected – such whinging you never heard from a bear!

I washed both bears’ clothing and started darning the moth holes in one bear’s pants – before I knew it I was running amok with embroidery thread.   I managed to stop myself short of adding beads and sequins as I think the bear, formerly referred to as he,was about to undergo a gender reassignment operation for which I don’t have signed consent.   It now looks decidedly androgynous.

Well, the mended bear has a friend who is feeling out-of-sorts – I am being accused of neglect!  He(?) has very plain clothes and is beginning to insist on a make-over.   He doesn’t mind his worn face and paws, however he feels a little bare and would like to have some jazzy clothes to wear just like his friend.  I though at first he said he felt a little bear and told him to leave his friend alone but he soon set me straight.  He says that just because he’s getting older, that’s no reason to be drab and I must admit I feel much the same way.

Small bear - as a boy

small bear number 1 – before, as a boy bear?

after being mended – with friend

The pink arms are the fabric the body is made from – I seem to have misplaced the green jacket that, although stained, is to be replaced along with that stunning, perfectly matched, pair of buttons in the photo.  If I can’t find the jacket I will make some wonderful sleeves out of the same blanket ribbon I used for the bow.  The second bear, as you can see, is looking a tad grumpy.

These bears could both end up without an identifiable gender but I’m sure they won’t really mind too much.

how I darn moth-holes – is there another way?

I set out to do a sympathetic restoration but somehow . . .  I’m reasonably sure my mother, who made the bears just over 35 years ago, would approve.

the back burner

Do you refer to half-finished projects as being on the back burner?   I’ve been thinking about this saying recently, one reason being that I’m going back to work full-time in a demanding but satisfying job so I will need to put aside some of the creative ventures that take up my time and ideas I have for the near future.

To me, when something is one the back burner, it’s simmering, reducing to a wonderful, savoury, taste delight where flavours combine to make something wonderous.After the rain

I visited a glass factory in Yangon Myanmar where rejects were put out under the trees – definitely on the back-burner!  Eventually everything would be recycled.  The place sparkled in the sunshine and looked for all the world like an Aladdin’s cave full of treasure.  Recycling

My friends and I were invited to look for anything we might want – it was like a treasure hunt.    I bought a large, wonderfully lop-sided, bowl and a number of small paper weights.

When things are laid aside, it’s not necessarily the end for them.  Partially finished projects, plans or ideas can be refined, redesigned and invested with new life – they’ll wait for you.