Thursday, February 23, 2012

Finding Your Fit

Ever hear the phrase, happy as a nine-pound cat in a five-pound box?  Missy illustrates that point.  She is a sucker for any box she can cram her somewhat pudgy self into.  Not that I'm judging her chubbiness, mind you, my body has definitely blossomed over the years as well, those extra treats play havoc with both kitty and me.  I am just not quite as fond of squishing myself into spaces which seem as if they would burst at the seams, as this poor shoebox looks like it's about to do.

Shadow here looks like the box was measured to hold her.  Even tho Shadow is 5 years old, she still looks like an older kitten, smaller than your average cat, and lacking much more than a stub of a tail. This box is positively roomy for her.

Between the two of them, I feel more like Missy in our current condo.  I count my blessings regularly to have our own home, but every year our girls get bigger, our condo feels like it's getting smaller.  We intended to upgrade to a house in a few years when we bought our condo. That was almost 24 years ago, and the opportunity to move to that larger home with yard just didn't materalize. We managed to raise our two daughters and cats in our two-bedroom, 1000 sq. foot abode, and have many happy memories here. Squished as it is, our girls talk about how they'll miss it when we leave.  As we consider our next move after my upcoming retirement, we talk about finally being able to upgrade to a larger home, at a time when other families are considering downsizing.

Keep your cozy boxes, I am looking forward to having room to sprawl out.   Wish me luck finding our perfect place.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Crochet, Embroidery & Other Home Arts

I don't crochet much now.  My sister is a talented and prolific crocheter, she crochets as I used to, in front of the tv, while waiting for an appointment, any excuse to pull out one of many projects finds her busy. I do hope to get back into it, perhaps when I am retired, and have those imagined long blocks of time to pursue it.  Not that I don't have blocks of time now, but I tend to waste them on less productive things, like tv, and, ohhh....blogging and other fun stuff on this li'l computer. Seeing the items Julie produces, tho, I want to reintroduce crochet to my spare time.

There are not a lot of crochet items being used in my house currently, having just packed away my Christmas afghan which has been my largest project to date. I do want to share a piece near to my heart. This lovely ruffled doily was made by my grandma Wiseman, a woman of many talents who not only crocheted but quilted, sewed, cooked and canned what she grew in her garden. She also worked full time and raised a large family. Whether it was preserves put up for winter or finishing up another quilt which was immediately used on someone's bed, many if not most of the items in our parents and grandparents homes were made by hand, with love and skill.

I'm sure many of us have very fond memories of growing up learning from our elders how to embroidery pillowcases, then trim them out with a crocheted edging. There just doesn't seem to be a call for those whimsical dishtowels and pillowcases we learned our sewing skills on nowadays. I will see a prestamped pattern in the craft section of a store, and it makes me yearn to invest in hoops and silky strands of richly colored gloss. 

I occasionally will run across some of these scarves and pillowcases and doilies in a secondhand or antique shop, and I always admire, and wonder if I could find a place to display these as the works of art they are. My mom, beginning when my sisters and I were around 12, would set us up with our first embroidery hoop and either a pillowcase or dishtowel to start our training on.  It was a fun way to learn basic stitching skills, and resulted in a personalized item for our....shall I dare it to say it.... Hope Chest!  I still love the concept of a hope chest, old fashioned as it may be. How outdated can the notion of accumulating items you made yourself to use in your own future home be, really?

Who knows, give it another generation and maybe the kittens hanging out laundry on Monday will be framed and displayed as the art of our parents generation.