June 30th, 2011 § § permalink
I am prone to hiding sparkly scraps and bits away in cabinets and crevasses and corners—tiny morsels of futureday or of yesterday or the day before that, when discovered, stir me up and pour me out.
Due to this, more than likely, at any given moment, someplace in our small house is completely trashed. At quick glance it is presentable, almost impressive, really— flat surfaces somewhat clutter-free, trashcans fairly empty, dirty clothes in (or sort of near) hampers, bathrooms sweet-smelling. Behind the scenes is another story. In fact, a mighty tome. For, I have found that while I may be coming out on top in one area, there’s always another area someplace else crumbling. And looking like crap.
The thing is that if you and I are going to continue to be great friends, you are going to have to admit that you, too, at least occasionally have a comforter made of wrinkled t-shirts and rumpled undies, a 3-day old mephitic lunchbox filled with crusty spilled yogurt and sour milk, and a dead bug or two in your apple bin—that is unless you are superlucky and have hired a lovely bi-weekly housecleaner person. Or live with your parents. And in that case, you should just skip this post and move on to the next.
I think it’s time that we all stop apologizing. That we all just agree and shake hands right this very minute and stop responding to “Uggh. You should see my house,” with a sweet syrupy “Well, you should see my house!” I think it’s time that we make a pact.
It is no longer working for me.
And I’m ready, when you come over and open the single kitchen drawer that we have—overflowing with eight (incomplete and mismatched) sets of silverware, grater, bottle opener, pruning shears, chop sticks, timer, scoop, pizza cutter, rubber bands and clips, corncob holders, lemon reamer, and zester—that you will not only overlook the jumble, but will suddenly exclaim, “My, oh my! Did you make these fruity popsicles? They are fresh and fabuloso!”
And I will reply simply, “Oh, yes, friend. I did, in fact, make them. Thank you very much.”
I am waiting for you.
February 28th, 2011 § § permalink
Sometimes a house is more than just a house. Sometimes it’s a home. Right when you walk in. No matter what it looks like, how big it is or how meticulously it’s maintained, it’s a home.
What makes a house a home? Did it become a home the moment a newborn is carried over its threshold, or the smoke alarm is first set off, or the beloved hamster is buried in its back garden, or a wobbly toddler’s height is marked on its kitchen wall, or the sapling planted begins to shade it, or friends’ laughter begins to fill it?
Our house is a home because it’s where stories are made. It’s a home because we live here. And because we are not perfect. And because we are loved.
When does a house become a home? An acquaintance become a friend? A job become a cause? A flicker become a flame?
What makes your house a home?
January 14th, 2011 § § permalink
Let me just start by saying that this is not fine sewing. In fact, you’ll want to skip this post if you have aspirations toward achieving perfection. The Tiny Birdhouse is the most satisfying project for both kids and grownups, since it really begins with a mistake and there is really no way to mess up the outcome. It’s not unlike making lemonade out of lemons. Really, the only thing you’ll need for this project is a medium-weight 100% wool sweater (or two), some thread and a needle. Grab the laundry from the kids rooms and your own and add the sweater to the batch. Wash and dry on normal. The sweater will be slightly smaller and thicker (if you’re like me, you already happen to have several of these tiny, thick sweater casualties on hand due to prior hard knocks with the washer). Easy, right? You’ve felted the sweater. Now the fabric can be cut.
And now for the tiny birdhouse. To form the base and roof of the house, you will need to cut the felted wool into the above shapes (my long rectangular pieces are about 2 in by 3 in).
And now on to stitching.
- Cut a small circle out of one of the triangular-topped rectangles.
- Stitch the inner edges of the circle. I use a chain stitch for this.
- Using the square piece as a base, stitch bottoms and then sides of the walls.
- Stitch the roof sides together.
- Then, stitch the roof to the sides. Project complete.
Few things make me happier than discovering a project that takes little preparation, doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and, upon completion, runs little risk of being thrown away by other family members. Display it proudly on your mantle, or hand it to a deserving friend. This is now one of our go-to after-homework projects—after choosing a few colors from our felted sweater bin, my young design team drafts the plan and takes the plunge—I am commonly appointed Ms. Scissoruser, Madame Knot, or Dr. Needlethreader. Also, this a great girls-night-in project with close friends on a wintry night. Even those chronically un-crafty friends will be inspired if tiny, thick sweaters are united with a full wine bottle and candlelight. Most importantly, the quirkier the outcome, the better.
If you’ve polished your sweater felting techniques and now consider yourself an accomplished Tiny Birdhouse maker, I strongly encourage you to explore other projects using the felted sweater like Swittens, Sweater Mice and a Superhero Outfit. Sometime these may come in handy.