Friday, December 21, 2007

Lately it occurs to me…

Moving closer to the middle of the fifth decade...Happy 53rd birthday to me!
This year has been interesting, as in may you live in interesting times. A number of unpleasant things occurred, but none that caused me to turn away from my life in hopeless despair. I feel like I met each challenge with relative competence, and occasional humor. (Though I still cannot pass the spinach display in the produce aisle without a shudder) Perhaps this is a start of some long-asked-for internal equanimity.
Last night I found my way to the Beaverton Jade Sauna, a Korean-style women's bathhouse. As a member in good standing of the Church of the Holy Hot Water, it was wonderful to find yet another sacred site to visit on pilgrimage. Meeting with two dear women friends there made the evening enjoyably social as well as blissfully relaxing.
Today, I stopped off to see my neighbor Marianna, and give her a little holiday gift. She showed me the big project she's been working on, remodeling their bathroom... Imagine walls covered in warm creamy-golden stone tiles, with a narrow border up high of darker, textured toast colored stones. Imagine using big 12' square floor tiles cut in half diagonally as triangular shelves in the corners of the shower enclosure. And best of all, imagine the floor covered with smooth flat manycolored pebbles (about the size of hen eggs, only flat) with deep golden colored grout. I told her how beautiful this space was, and how amazing a job she had done. The creativity hidden within apparently ordinary little houses is so inspiring... (and I want to copy the idea of a pebble-tiled floor)
On the way home last night, I noticed yesterday that amidst their lighted holiday display, the house on the corner has two wreaths that are actually peace symbols. They are a little lost amidst the "reindeer pulling a decorated red convertible through the garden bed" but seeing that old familiar sign made me smile. And in honor of my not so misspent youth, I'll send one of my 2008 calendars to the first respondent with the correct answer as to why the "chicken foot in a circle" is/was a symbol of peace…
Happy solstice to all!

Monday, December 17, 2007

salvage goodness, & solstice celebration tea-party

As some of you know, poor Acorn Cottage currently has no bathroom sink, due to circumstances only partially within my control. (There are eventual plans for a splendid copper replacement sink; I've been occasionally making sketches of various design ideas) Well, yesterday found me wandering through the salvage side of Rejuvenation, and I found some vintage acorn eye-candy. Sturdy, twelve inch, cast iron support brackets. The cast design is 3-D on both sides of each bracket. I almost never make what is called an impulse purchase, but these just had to come home with me, as I've never seen anything like these before...

I'm thinking maybe supports for a future wall-hung sink.
and just so it is clear to all, I'm not intending to fill all the rooms in my little house with acorn things... I'm going for subtle and occasional.
afternoon tea-party and solstice celebration

Come see the giant collage wall! Wish Fjorlief many happy returns (of the day before)! Admire the living room without a workbench! Pet Smokey the compact Akita! Brave the scarey bathroom-without-a-sink! Eat tasty snacks! Pet Smokey the compact Akita!

I'm having a post-birthday tea party this Saturday afternoon, December 22nd. All friends of Acorn Cottage are invited, I'll have tea, and various tasty snacks. Open house after 1 PM, contact me if you need directions. Potluck tea-snacks welcome if accompanied.

There may be a trip to Sushi Takahashi for sushi dinner, later, in the evening, if folks are interested ...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

fruit and flower

Earlier today, while checking my email, I got a message from Kria (the Friends of Trees coordinator for my neighborhood) that said "go order your tree NOW!" I logged onto the FoT website and sure enough, there were the promised fruit trees... So, Acorn Cottage will be gettting a Fuyu persimmon as a street tree, in February. I had tasted the Fuyu persimmons from New Seasons, they are the smaller ones that look a bit like a flat tomato, and according to all information, and my tasting, are the ones that are edible while still firm. I realise that it will take several years before any harvest, and I've seen persimmons on yard trees only a few blocks from here, the ones I've had taste almost like mango, so I'm excited.

Ive been working on a roman shade for Aelfflaed. Yesterday I finished the valance stencilling, which was more challenging than any I've done before. Cutting the stencil was straightforward, it is a lovely three color design (Arts and Craft style rose border) However, since the window in question is rather large, the motifs are proportionally larger than any fabric stencilling I've done before. Held my breath while doing the work, but it all came out beautifully. The rest of the project is straightforward sewing and construction, I'll post pictures when I have a chance ...

Friday, December 7, 2007

Acorn Cottage houseversary...

Two years ago, in a transformation even more radical that becoming a Laurel, I became a householder. And really, that changed everything. I shan't bore everone with woeful tales of my younger adulthood, but having a home is something I never thought possible. Until it was.

Gratitude for all that made this possible....
Happiness every day for a home where I belong....

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

winter-spring fever : a cogitation

"You know, it's very cold in Portland town this time of the year,
I wouldn’t mind if I could find someone to hold me near…"
- New Riders of the Purple Sage
When I came home Tuesday night, feeling a bit weird and blue, I took Her Own Darling Self (aka Smokey the compact Akita) for a long walk, which usually settles me back into feeling good. We walked over to Willamette Blvd, and with the night so warm and clear, the lights were particularly pretty. Though I will probably miss the Delphi Valley views for the rest of my life; within easy walking distance of Acorn Cottage there is a place where I can see further than across the street.

but somehow, the walk didn't sort and settle things, and I came home close to tears...

Usually I feel this way in the springtime, wishing that I had some affectionate connection with another human, skin hungry for touch, heart hungry for sweetness. For the last few years, I just push these thoughts away, as impossible to reach for.

I don't think I'm hideously ugly, or frighteningly odd; although some folks have said that I have a few alarming areas of competence, I don't think that I am all that scarey. But I can count on one hand the times in the last twenty years that I have noticed signs of interest in someone I found interesting. Now granted, a Venn diagram would probably show rather small areas of intersecting interests, but surely not non-existent. I once asked a good friend and former lover why I seemed to be invisible (as a woman) to men. He responded that, for lack of a better way to describe it, I do not give off "girl vibes", but seem more like one of the guys.

The older I get, the more I feel that some of how people find relationships is Luck. Some, but not all. And the part that is not luck is where I find myself totally clueless. I guess I was busy doing something else on the day they handed out the instructions (probably skipped class, off somewhere drawing pictures, or making baskets out of grass stems, or picking pretty pebbles out of a stream)… Never understanding the whole flirting thing, I wonder how many times I've missed connecting with someone, by missing whatever "signals" were out there, somewhere a more clever girl would have noticed…

To be sure, my life does not suck. I like the life I have. (I have Acorn Cottage as my haven, projects galore to keep me happily busy, Smokey for company and the hens for comic relief. I have wonderful friends, a loving family-of-origin, I no longer start every day feeling broken, and I end every day grateful for all the good I do have in my life.)
I'm not looking to get married and have a family. I'm not looking for a full-time live-in relationship. What I would like is some part-time occasional sparkle and warmth, with someone affectionate and kind. Most of the time, I don't think my desires are too extravagant... I (not so) jokingly say that the difference between artistic and autistic is only one letter… anything beyond friendship remains a confusion.

and, on a not quite parallel track…
When I was a child, I really wanted a pony. Children who lived between the pages in books got ponies; by the time I was old enough to understand why a pony would be impossible (…in our tiny suburban yard, moving somewhere else almost every year), I was too old to want one anymore. So in the spirit of finding a way to one's hearts desire, I made this with the small bits of wool left over from making the bunny… (and no, this pony is not for sale)
I've discovered the "museum" setting on my digital camera, it does several things: one - it takes pictures without the flash, which is something that I rather often want; two - it takes pictures almost a close as the macro function, which is something I use at least half the time, and three - it takes pictures without an audible click, I guess so you can take pictures in a sneaky silent way. I'm not a photographer, I don't even play on teevee, but I've found that this little camera becomes a more and more useful tool, the more I experiment.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

slow day, not snow day

Saturday, day two of our holiday sale, was quite slow, though everyone that came found things to purchase, which was encouraging. We are planning to do a "Mother's Day" sale in the spring, when the weather shouldn’t be an issue. I'm rather happy with how everything looked on display…

I somehow misplaced my knitting needles for the giant slippers of doom project (I'm knitting the to-be-felted "jester" slippers from the current issue of "Craft"), so, thanks to Rafny I had the chance to do another bit of needle felting. Inspired by one of the japanese crafty books, I started this rabbit, and had almost finished by 6 PM when we closed up shop. The horsetail hair that I bought long ago, (for the tassels on my Norse banner), has come in handy many a time for animal whiskers on various little crafted creatures.

As always, the next work project(s) beckon. Window shade jobs, and the various orders for clothing and jewelry for Twelfth Night are now at the top of the priority list.
I'm also going to be doing some pattern development, variations of my favorite blouse pattern, (to finally get started on my much-delayed cold weather wardrobe). I'm thinking about layered combinations, with long-sleeved knit shirts under soft dresses, topped with new jumpers with fun embellishments. I've been very inspired by the Nordic designer Gudrun Sjoden. I love her style, and beautiful color sense; had I funding enough, I would happily have my entire wardrobe of her designs. However, the exchange rate (dollars:euros) makes that, shall we say, rather impractical…