Category Archives: upcycle

A Little More Better

IMG_2565

I keep ending up with unfinished stacks.

Stacks of laundry, unread books, unfinished work, and the mental press of things I (should already have done) need to do.

There’s also a pile of fabric scraps and a cutting board that’s taken up semi-permanent residence on my living room floor. Did I mention I’ve taken up another crafting hobby?

This actually breaks a self-made rule I made about a year ago in an attempt to stay focused on the ones I’ve already got. I’m a dabbler, and my joy comes from the doing. But it would be nice to have something completely finished for once! From today’s count I have:

  • 3 spindles half full of different yarns
  • 1 draped, pinned, basted but not sewn nightgown
  • A stack of mending
  • 1 crocheted scrubby half finished
  • Half a dozen cloth yo-yo’s to make into a necklace
  • A drawer that I (attempted) to paint that needs to be re-done so it can be used in a display

On the the one hand it’s reassuring to have lots of projects going. If my wrist acts up from crocheting, I can switch to sewing, or take a break from cutting dozens of tiny squares out for English paper piecing. On the other, I feel almost…guilty? I don’t have expertise in any of the crafts I’ve taken up. I’ve got a beginner to intermediate skill level in each, with a broad knowledge of how they interconnect.  Is it more rewarding to do a deep dive into one craft to get a feel for it? I’m debating taking a couple classes in garment construction so I can draft my own patterns, and I’m always on the hunt for folks who know how to use their antique Singer sewing machines and want to share.

The last thing I want to do is make it into work though, and start warbling about ‘subject matter expert’ this and ‘synergies’ that. Nah, I just…want to do a little more, better. And if making a quilt top out of 1.5 inch diameter hexagons doesn’t mean having a little more patience for the better part of a year I don’t know what does!

 

Is it charming or fugly?

Is the pattern boldly florid? Is it useful and colorful? Chances are I truly like it, or it’s ugly enough to be awesome. Case in point:

photo 3 (11)

(Excuse the poor photo; the rug truly is rad)

I think this hand crafted rug is awesome. I was browsing a flea market near my parent’s house in the Appalachians Mountains, and I started talking to one of the sellers. As it turns out, she was downsizing and moving to Florida and her good friend hand hooked this rug about thirty years ago. At two dollars, and with that shade of avocado, I just  couldn’t pass it up.

It makes me wonder about who decides what ‘good taste’ is or what ‘classy’ looks like. Does it look like this to you?

Image result for crate and barrel

Yup, it’s Crate & Barrel.

I feel more comfortable in surroundings where my personality is given free range,  and I place value in the history, color, and functionality of my selections. I’m waving my yo-yo bracelet-ed arm goodbye to that streamlined, sterile living room…

photo 1 (17)

Heck yeah I made this bracelet, and I’ve worn it to work too.

…and picking up the next book on my reading list–Deborah Cohen’s Household Gods: The British and Their Possession. As discussed in this blog post:

But what interests me most here is the tension that she [Cohen] establishes between the home as site for self-expression and as a site for identification with others. To a large extent, I think this is correct. When we design our homes for resale value, we’re no longer thinking of our home as ours, but as an investment that will someday have to suit the needs or tastes of someone else.

I think it’s an interesting idea, but I’m still renting. There is no investment other than what I’m willing to spend on a wooden painted parrot to sit on a bookshelf. This house is a shell and when I leave all my goodies are coming with me! Would a doorknob shaped like a fish head put off the hypothetical buyer of my future house? Will the purpose of my decor change once I buy a home? Did yours?

I don’t believe we are defined by our possessions. I do think, however, that your life is enhanced when you can operate in an environment that makes sense to you on a personal level.

This is my sugar bowl.photo 1 (18)