Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Finishing Weekend and Cyber Monday

On the one hand, I've been doing the rugged individualist thing, and finishing gifts and goodies that are truly one-of a kind. Pix next post; see below for this week's excuse.*

On the other, I've been doing my bit for the economy, and shopping for mass merchandise on line.

I've noticed that gift certificates have become accepted as gifts in and of themselves. There are snazzy envelopes, little stuffed toys that are made to hold a gift card, multiple layers of presentation--because, after all, it's about having stuff on and under the tree to gloat over during Advent, and to open on the Big Day. I'm not sure whether to celebrate the beginnings of common sense here, or to mourn the death of innovation.

Finding out what people want without asking is an art form in and of itself. Figuring out who's close enough to know their interests and hobbies (and the stash they already have; determining where to get a book on Egyptian fly-tying; and then keeping your cards close until all is torn asunder are all skills that take years to master.

Unfortunately, who has time for that anymore? And who has space for all the stuff you want, never mind all the stuff you receive? "Dear Aunt Ermintrude: Thank you for the SpongeBob underpants. I will think of you every time I wear them under my Armani suit to opening arguments. Perhaps they will bring me luck." At least with a gift card, if I wind up with SpongeBob on my lingerie, it was my whimsical choice, not a dotty aunt's memories of her beloved little niece from thirty years ago.

*No pix this time because I can't get on the floor. Threw my back out badly; the chiropractor may make it so I don't walk like Groucho.

Took a slow walk around the block for mobility's sake--if you don't move it, you will lose it--and was thinking "This is what it's like to be old." There was water on the sidewalk from the sprinklers watering a winter lawn. While the bike path was dry, that would mean stepping off the curb, and then back up onto it. Walking over the wet sidewalk meant staying on the flat, but risking slipping and not being able to get back up. Walking over the wet lawn meant a softer place to fall, but still slippery.

And pondering these options, I realized that this was why you'd see a senior standing at a decision tree like this, mulling over the best of the bad lot. Perhaps I'll remember this the next time I see a little old lady standing and shaking her head at a puddle in her path.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Dude, Where's My Weekend?

Today tastes like limes and aspirin.

You'd think I had more to show (or at least tell) for forty-eight hours. I had only one time bound task--to take the cat to the groomers Friday afternoon. From this--

to this--

She insists she looks like a heraldic lion. I say she looks like one of Dr. Suess's marginalia.

I made some progress in a few arenas--I mailed off an Xmas swap and cards that were due at the end of the month, and I've put together and mailed a mystery surprise giftie--more on that after the presentation. The recipient may be one of my Tonstant Weaders, and I'd hate to be the spoiler.

I bound a book. One of the groups of seriously creative types I hang with decided that december would be a good month to just kick out the jams and collage together. This time, it's altered books.

Being a book snob, I wasn't going to to pick up one of the glued together jobbies at a secondhand store. I wanted something nicely bound to support the weight of altered goodies. It needed to tie shut so it could be packed with artwork and ephemera. And finally, I wanted pockets. Just because.

So I made a paper bag book, with a diamond stitched back, and an exposed spine so it would lie completely flat. (Yes, a hollow backed book or springback binding will do the same, but would be more . . . serious. Less playful.) The ends of the paper bags flap out, so an inspired artist could make a triptych, or if not, then one could glue two sides of the bag to make a pocket for a little bit of art--a tag, or an ATC with fibers. I think it'll be fun to play in and with.

I started playing with paper beads, rolling them on plastic core Q-tips. I have boatloads of textweight white paper that's good on one side, working in an office, and I have collected tons of colorful magazines and catalogs. I can roll a batch at a time, and that's how I plan to keep the workshop going--roll a batch, color that batch, coat that batch, make another. Like a waltz--roll two three, color two three, coat two three, use two three. Found a book that's on my Xmas list--
Creating Extraordinary Beads From Ordinary Materials. Wow. Skull beads with colorful top hats, corset beads, bowtie beads--I can so see these strung through fiber and spouting off the spines of books, and decos, and . . . hoo. Need a cigarette after that--was it good for you, too?

I'm within a few rows of finishing the body of the grey shawl, and will start the edging soon. I need to sew a little on the yoga mat bag, and then it's done. The zipper is in place, for pity grief, all I need to do is sew the strap on and do a little neatening. I've been meaning to get to that for two weeks now. It ain't happening.

And here it is Monday, and I meant to post an update Sunday, and well, good intentions and all that. At least I remembered to look at the calendar and get it going--rather than remember tonight, and decide that it was just too late, and I'd try again next time. Ironically, I decided to get a year's worth of post dates going, and gave me a schedule that gets more involved through the holiday season.

Ah, well. With any luck, there'll be more to talk about.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Happy Sunday

Today tastes like chicken. Tastes just like yesterday, and just like tomorrow. I could put sauce on it to alter the flavor, but I'd still be left with chicken.

And here it is a week later. The yoga mat bag has a zipper installed in it--one of Southwest Trading's rhinestone zippers so it really looks like Barbie takes up yoga. Hee. I just need to sew the strap on, and it's done. No pictures--it really looks exactly like the photo from before. Honest. Only with a strap.

Spent the weekend finishing up odds and ends. Cleaned the paper studio--can't believe how hard I was resisting doing that. Fifteen minutes later, and I could actually find everything--like put my hands on it. Spent a while out there putting together a squishie bag for a birthday gal, finishing up some ATC's for a challenge swap, and getting an Xmas exchange bag together.

It's really been the weekend to finish. Not that I'm complaining. I finished a small art project for a collaborative piece--a knitted swatch of lace with a little pin-size doll and some embellishments.

Ran a batch of numbers through that I'd spaced out pulling up a number for next time two-three times, and then had remembered to do it the next day. Which is good, I haven't misplaced the habit of writing this, even when I wasn't being sally-on-top-of-it, but at the same time, I've found that if it's on the calendar, I'm more likely to see and do whatever it is.

Nothing exciting to the world at large. The metaphor for this weekend is sitting on the couch, puzzling over lace, wondering why, if I have the right number of stitches, nothing lines up. Then realizing that the markers need to move on this row. Nothing earthshattering, nothing that will affect anything outside the living room. But that understanding makes all the difference in proceeding with the project.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Life in the Sybarites

Still coming down from a blissful weekend. Made no art, barely got the house licked and promised before bed Sunday, and the cats are not on speaking terms with me (at least, not until the food bowl requires refilling); but a great weekend nonetheless.

It all began with Spa Day on Friday. We started the Spa Day tradition last year, when Lynchpin was feeling blue because Hub was at an SCA event, and she wasn't. (He was feeling the need for some time with the boys. She had homework, the bane of any Master's program.)

So we decided to get a group together at her place, avail ourselves of the hot tub, make some delightful snackies, and paint our nails colors not found in nature. And then we realized that one of our mutual guy friends was a licensed massage therapist . . .

Enter Spa Day year two, the way we've always done it. (Once is the thing itself, twice is the way we've always done it, three times is tradition.) This time, Goldfingers brought a roaster oven and his Rocks of Bliss.

I never understood about hot rock massages. Rocks are HARD, after all. And hard and hot doesn't necessarily make for an improvement.

But now I get it. Oh, boy. I swiped one of Goldfingers' business cards, and asked what the going "friends" rate is. And considering he'll come to my own little home, on my schedule . . . well. It pays to know the right people.

Catch you Sunday. Hopefully I'll have something worth showing. This blissful smile doesn't count.