Hunkered Down….Again!

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As I was scrolling through past posts today, looking for something I had written, I came across my February 9, 2014 blog post.  The title stopped me in mid-scroll, “Hunkered Down.”  Apparently, we’d had a storm and were snowed in. In the post I described being restless, going from weaving loom to weaving loom and not being able to settle on doing anything artistic and, finally, settling on having a cup of tea and watching the Olympics on TV .  I chuckled and thought, “Let me tell you about what ‘hunkered down’ means nowadays!”

We are once again “hunkered down”.  This time because of the Corona virus and the threat of contracting or spreading COVID-19. It’s a little different this time.  With a snow storm in the little panhandle of NW Oregon in February, we know that it will not last long and, if the power does go out, we can hang out around the wood stove for a day or two and know it’s not going to kill us.  Today’s “hunkered down” is an entirely different thing. It’s scary and open ended.  We don’t know how long the hunkering down is going to last or how much it will even help the situation.  There are just so many unknowns.  Who’s next?  Will it be me? Or one of my kids, grandkids or friends?  We just don’t know.

I did notice, in reading the 2014 post, that not much as changed in how I react to hunkering down.  I’ve been wandering around the house, scary news headlines filling the room like background music, and wanting to do art of some kind, but not able to decide on anything.  I’ve been doing this for a couple weeks, but I think I’m about done with it. I feel art coming on, even in the midst of pandemic.  In the picture above, you can see a bunch of circles on a red mat.  Those are used K-cup size coffee filters made for the little baskets that you can put your own coffee into, instead of using the wasteful and environmentally damaging plastic K-cups.  We’ve been trying to do our part in lessening our impact on the planet.  The little filters can be composted right along with the used coffee.  And I discovered that I can use them in stitching and in weaving.  So every now and then I gather a handful of used coffee filters from the coffee compost bucket, dump the grounds out of them, and wash and dry them for use in various projects.

Today, I was up early.  When the man got up this morning, I was still in my night gown, seated on a chair at the kitchen sink, washing off used coffee filters.  He made his cup of coffee, leaned over to see what I was doing, shook his head and, cup in hand, headed for the living room.  He’s used to catching me doing strange things with garbage.

The little filters on the mat are dry now, ready for use.  As I said, I’m about done wandering aimlessly around the house while we are, once again, hunkered down.  The news headlines will probably be playing in the background, but I won’t be listening.  The man can do that for both of us as he flips channels.  I will be doing something with used coffee filters and a little cloth  ……

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Midwinter of the Mind…

I haven’t posted in a long, long while.  The duties and obligations of one’s mundane life intrude in the most inconvenient ways and leave one dry.  No ideas, no sense of beauty, no time and no desire.  I guess I could say that I have been in a very long ‘bleak midwinter’, as the song goes.  Bleak time, artistically speaking.  If one waits long enough, usually that barren time ends and the muse returns.  Just lately,  my mind has emerged from midwinter and is now so full of ideas for art that I can hardly settle down and pick a path forward.  Weaving – drawing/sketching – photography – painting – coffee art, stitching – writing music – writing prose – writing poetry – play my mountain dulcimer or the hammered one or the guitar or the flute.  I want to do them all.  Simultaneously!

I cleaned off the table in the art room today.  Tomorrow I will sort through all of the paint brushes, make sure they’re pliable and organize them in some useful manner.  I haven’t used them in a long time.  They are dusty and all mixed together.  The water color brushes and the rest of them in a jumble.  And I will gather my supplies.  Before the weekend is over I will have at least gessoed some canvases, some for painting and some for coffee art (more on that later).  

     A mind overflowing with creative ideas is a wonderful thing because I know what it’s like to not have any.  But, now that I have them, I find myself wishing they would just slow down a tad.  I can’t take dictation this fast!

     And, as you can see from the photos above, I have not been totally idle.  As the muse has returned, I’ve been busy with A Little Cloth.

 

 

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Warpaloomaphobia No More!

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I can’t believe it’s been over a year since my last blog post.  The old saying, “my, how time flies” is right!  The last year seems to have gone by in a blur.

Much has gone on with our family during the last year.  My husband had a heart attack last summer.  Our 5 year old grandson has undergone a fourth brain tumor surgery and is, now, in Seattle having six weeks of cutting edge radiation treatments not available locally.  How amazing he is!  He smiles through it all.  I wish I could be so cheerful in adversity.  For most of the last year we had another grandson, his mother and his baby sister living with us which meant, of course, losing the art room once again to become living space for family members in need.  Without a dedicated art space and more people than usual in the house, I haven’t gotten much done by way of weaving or sewing during the last year. And the other biggie this year – I get to learn all about Medicare!  Yes, I will truly become a senior citizen this summer.

We are now back to being just two oldsters and their dog and two cats.  And we are dog sitting our grandpupper Roxy for two months.  The oldest son (who never started college until age 40 and will graduate as a geologist in a couple more terms) will be with us for the summer when school is out in June.  And I’m not giving up the art room again.  He will just have to fit in wherever he can around here.

And I have the art room back!  I have started a beaded bracelet project on my Mirrix Zach 22″ inch tapestry/bead loom.

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It doesn’t look like much here, just the loom with a few warp threads on it.  What it represents is much more:  reclaiming my art space, having a peaceful and quiet place to work, having a place of my own to lay out projects without having to pick them up again when I walk away, and the regaining my artistic confidence.  That last one – the artistic confidence – is the hardest thing for me.  When I haven’t done any weaving or other art for a long time I always feel like I’ve lost ground.  I become not so sure of myself, and fear about whether or not I will be able to do things or not creeps in.  As I get older it gets harder and takes longer to regain my confidence.  I guess everyone one has their ‘thorn in the flesh’.  This confidence thing seems to be mine.  But I am determined to persevere!

Weaving this bracelet is helping me, once again, regain my artistic confidence.  I’ve never done beading before.  I am learning something new!  Once I got over the ‘warpaloomaphobia’ and got a warp on the loom, I’m finding it’s not nearly as hard as I imagined it would be.  I’m so pumped about beading that I’ve ordered a smaller version of the same loom.  I will be able to widen my artistic space by being able to sit in my recliner and do beading and weave small tapestry projects.  I have mobility and chronic pain issues, so being able to take a project to the recliner with be a win-win.

I’ll report back later on how things are going.  Right now I have to go make a little cloth with some beads in it.

 

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Much To Think About

 

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It’s been quite a while since I posted.  If anyone is waiting for me to become a steady, predictable blogger, it just isn’t going to happen in this lifetime.  Everyday life seems to have a way of happening and getting in the way of my more cerebral and artistic pursuits.

Husband had a heart attack the first week of August.  Got a stent and is doing fine. Faithfully going to heart rehab, walking a lot and riding the recumbent exercise bike.  Changing his diet – he doesn’t like that part as much.  I’ve had to do a little hand-to-hand combat to wrest the salt shaker from his hands, but he’s trying hard to be copacetic.

Ten year old grandson, his mommy (our former daughter-in-law) and her 6 mo. old baby girl have been bunking with us since right after the heart attack.  It’s working out fine.  We’ve gone from a family of two to a family of five, not counting two cats and a dog.  Oh, and a wooly bear caterpillar named ‘Pumpkin’, the grandson’s new pet.  Not to worry, it’s in a container with a latching lid.  By my reckoning, its stripe predicts a short winter.  I hope that doesn’t mean short and hard.

On the plus side, we’ve had an extended Autumn here in the Pacific Northwest.  Got our house powerwashed and the deck painted before the heart attack.  My flowers are still blooming and tomatoes are still on the vine and turning red at the end of October.  Unheard of!  And I’m sure we still have tomatoes and Swiss chard only because we put a bird net over the garden, so the deer have been foiled.  Some nights we see them lurking near the garden boxes and looking longingly at the veggies.

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) starts next week.  I’ve been a NaNo Winner the last two years.  I’m  right in the middle of writing a 3-volume novel, but with everything going on here, have not committed to going for those 50,000 words in 30 days yet.  It will have to be a last minute decision to go for it or not this time.  I’m still waffling back and forth.

Right now, writing under pressure of the NaNo deadline is not appealing to me.  Actually, I’ve been thinking about tapestry and my little Hokett loom that’s been warped and waiting for me for quite a while now.  I might just skip it this year and make a little cloth instead.

 

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Stitching A Way Through Sadness

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Today there is sadness.  The world seems a little less bright because of the loss of a schoolmate and friend.  We hadn’t seen each other much since high school, but bumped into each other on Facebook a few years ago and got reacquainted.  She helped me through my deep seated angst at reconnecting with classmates from long ago; and on chat we discussed, at length, our issues and heartaches about our kids who had issues of their own.  And, as mothers, we prayed for the kids and for each other.  We had rousing Facebook discussions about our favorite T.V. show and the characters we liked and didn’t like and what we thought their fates should be.  And we enjoyed sharing and commenting on pictures of our grandchildren.  Then she got sick.  At least that part’s over now.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the somber and reflective season of Lent.  Usually, it takes a while to settle down into the discipline of the season.  I won’t have to settle into it this year.  I’m already there – somber, reflective and sad.

Today I’m going to see if I can figure out how to stitch a way through sadness with a little cloth.

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The Last Rose of Summer

 

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The weather in NW Oregon has been abysmally hot for a few days.  We had to keep the windows shut and the curtains closed.  We don’t have air conditioning because we hardly ever need it.  It was a blessing when, at last,  yesterday’s morning dawned cool and overcast.

We threw open the curtains and opened the windows wide.  I didn’t see it at first.  I was busy at the computer.  Then I caught something out of the corner of my eye.  I turned to look and this rose was looking in at me through the window screen.

The rose bush was growing by the porch when we bought the house.  We almost removed it the first year, but decided to give it a chance.  For almost thirty years now this bush has been tossing out beautiful blooms like candy favors.  August is now more than half over.  There will be a few more roses before Autumn truly arrives.  But the light seems different and the leaves are changing color here and there.  The changing season can be felt in the morning air, and I can’t help thinking of this offering at my window as ‘the last rose of summer’.

This blossom may be the best one yet.  Seeing it brings me joy while I sit here and sip my morning tea and think about what I am going to do today in the way of art.  Moons.  Yes, moons.  Today I will be making moons out of a little cloth.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It is Dawn! Arise!

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Couldn’t sleep last night, so I was awake as the morning twilight brightened into dawn and then into full day.  At 5:00 a.m. I took my camera outside to get a couple photos.  As I stood on the deck in the cool morning air snapping pics of the dawn, I counted at least eight different bird songs (plus a neighboring chicken) all singing madly, a melodious and cacophonous symphony,  all around me as the sun came up.

A haiku to remember it by:

 

The sun rises pink                                                              

As winged friends madly sing,

“It is Dawn!  Arise!”

 

I’ve been threatening to work on several projects lately, but have yet to get there.  It’s like something has been holding me back.   Like a hand in my chest pushing against me as I try to go forward.  I’ve let any number of distractions deflect me from my art.  Any old excuse will do it has seemed:  No place to work; can’t find the right fabric (yes, but did you really look for it?); can’t find the new travel iron that was bought to use with the fabric; not in the mood; out of time; can’t find the supplies; just want to lay in this recliner; too many people in the house; not enough people in the house;  too tired; I’d rather watch T.V.; I’d rather be on Facebook,  ya-da, ya-da, ya-da, ad infinitum….but

Today is different.  I feel full of art today. Something about being out at 5:00 a.m. when the rest of the house is asleep and hearing the birds singing madly for me/to me/for the dawn. They are working, it seems, on their art, too.  Singing in the new day, whether anyone is awake to hear it or not.   Sharing their message, and I, most definitely, got it:  “It is Dawn!  Arise!”  

Chat later.  It’s time to go make A Little Cloth.

 

 

 

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