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Posts Tagged ‘arts and crafts’

Either you are crafty, or you’re not. It’s like being pregnant, it’s impossible to be only slightly pregnant. Some people see a balled up Cadbury cream egg wrapper and think. “That’s just the bit of sparkle I need for my found art project;” and some people just pick it up and throw it away.

With a bit more time on my hands these last few months, I’ve turned to Pinterest for corona life hacks and inspiration. I discovered how to make fabric masks. I’ve found great recipes, and charming party ideas which I may use in the future, but it was finding an exquisite type of Japanese embroidery that really piqued my interest. I wanted to mend my favorite pair of corduroy pants – and so I started a whole new board:

Corona Crafts – so far I have 23 pins!

Granted, I never would have called myself “Crafty” in the past. I never bedazzled anything, not even a pair of sneakers. I never did scrapbooking, nope never understood that one. Sure I’d put my pictures in books – remember when we’d get to hold a picture? –  but I felt they were self-explanatory. Looking back over those books, I wish I’d have written down a date here and there.

Wait – I take it back. I did make a scrapbook once for the Bride when she went off to college, full of old pictures. I wanted her to remember where she came from, maybe because of my early life as a gypsy. Always trying to fit into two families. There were glamorous photos of Great Grandma Ada as a young bride, and pictures of us floating on a pond in Windsor, MA when the Bride was a baby.

In Middle School, my daughter started making Fimo clay beads. I actually bought a small toaster oven for her to use as a kiln. Since I use a toaster to make toast, buying a toaster oven was an investment in her artistic nature. She has actually passed that particular craft on to the Love Bug, they recently made some lovely Fimo beads for me to incorporate into necklaces.

Granted, I AM a stringer; although my love of stringing pearls into eternity necklaces has been usurped by mask-making. I never considered making jewelry to be a “craft.” For that matter, I didn’t consider my quilting or knitting back in the day to be lumped into that craft category either. I’m not sure why. Were they hobbies? Today, a young Icelandic knitter buys vintage sweaters and knits mouths and tongues onto them. I guess I’d call her an artist. https://www.thejakartapost.com/life/2020/05/12/icelandic-designer-makes-scary-masks-to-encourage-distancing.html

Maybe I’m just a Maker! After all, if a man has a wood shop in his garage, he’s called a woodworker. Why does being “crafty” have such a bad rap? Well, searching at dictionary.com gave me a clue: CRAFTY

adjective,craft·i·er, craft·i·est.

  1. skillful in underhand or evil schemes; cunning; deceitful; sly.
  2. Obsoleteskillful; ingenious; dexterous.

 

Is it because it implies a woman of a certain age with time to kill, idle hands and all? The Flapper never had time to be crafty; she worked full time and cooked and cared for us, and every Sunday she did her hair and nails, never setting foot in a beauty parlor! She was however a gifted artist, as is Kay and the Bride.

As we all slow down and bake sourdough bread, or make masks, I like to think we are all feeling a bit more creative, when we’re not bored/in/the/house/crying/in/our/wine. And if you don’t feel like making something, that’s OK too… but just in case. Here’s how to make beads out of newspaper – remember newspaper?  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/11/at-home/how-to-make-newspaper-beads.html

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When I wrote an essay about Prepping, it was almost tongue in cheek. We did order more dog food and got ahead on prescriptions. We picked up some things at the grocery store, including Spam, and my freezer was soooo full. Then the tornado hit – my freezer is now empty.

Oh, and I didn’t buy toilet paper!

Now this tsunami of a pandemic is about to hit us all, and since Bob and I are 71 we’re at risk. We’re both pretty healthy but a virus will not discriminate. We figure it’s best to stay home for the most part, and keep a distance of 6′ if we need to venture out to a store or when walking Ms Bean. In fact, this morning we went to our local Kroger and it was pretty empty of people. Lo and behold, their shelves were stocked, except for toilet paper.

Everyone must think they are still closed because of the tornado!

So, what to do with ourselves while we are stuck at home? I’ve been seeing lots of posts online about parents wondering what to do with their children now that schools have closed for the foreseeable future. Most teachers have sent workbooks home, and there are plenty of online learning opportunities, like this free Scholastic site: https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/15/us/scholastic-coronavirus-students-trnd/

But let’s not forget FUN! My suggestions are: 1) Subscribe to Disney Plus, at least you’ll know you can still take a shower; 2) Plan a scavenger hunt around the house; 3) Play games, our favorite card game right now is “Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza!” you can find it on Amazon Prime for $9.99; 4) Recycle all the cardboard boxes you get by turning them into art projects; 5) I love the book “Stitch + String Lab for Kids, 40 creative projects to sew…” by Cassie Stephens. The L’il Pumpkin made an excellent pizza pillow; 6) Involve the kiddos in cooking and baking and they will reward you by actually eating; and finally check out Pinterest!

Now what about us? How are we supposed to stay sane while everybody is avoiding us cause we’re over 60? Since I was raised an only child, I feel as if I have an advantage; after all I love stringing necklaces, reading and writing and cooking – all mostly solitary activities. So I plan on digging out my almost finished novel and maybe actually finishing it! Bob bought a small lawn mower, and planted our raised bed – it may not be 14 acres, but he’s happier with his hands in the dirt.

We’ve got a few streaming sites we need to catch up with – we just started the 3rd season of Mrs Maisel, and I’m loving The Hunters on Amazon Prime. Can’t wait to watch Hillary on Hulu too! And don’t forget The Crown! There’s almost too much content out there now. Some nights we play Scrabble, or just talk and listen to music. I feel sorry for people living alone, so check up on your neighbors.

IN NYC, a woman in my sister Kay’s building called to say her daughter was home from college and could go grocery shopping for her. It’s those random acts of kindness that will keep our society whole, like Italians singing on their balconies.

Here ‘s how I see it. We raised our family in the Berkshires where a good Nor’easter could take out power for a long time – we had a wood stove and snow to play and ski in….We lived on the Jersey Shore where a flood took our cars and old kitchen appliances right out of the garage – we got a generator and moved right back in… With a little common sense and social distancing (and maybe some toilet paper and hand sanitizer which I CANNOT find anywhere) we will all be just fine.

Remember to breathe and try to stay in the present. And limit your news consumption, your mind will thank you. Lotsa love and virtual hugs from Nashville, where the Broadway bars have closed and we have 17  cases of confirmed Coronavirus so far. Here are the Grands shipping themselves back to Hawaii!

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This weekend we had our very first double sleepover. We picked up both Grandkids around lunchtime Saturday and returned them to their grateful parents on Sunday. Bob warned me not to get my hopes up, four year olds may meltdown at bedtime and need to go home in his PJs. I however, would have none of that thinking, we were going to have so much fun, my L’il Pumpkin would forget where he was and sleep like an angel. Which, spoiler alert, they both did!

When we arrived at our townhouse it was cold and drizzly with an Amazon box on the front porch. I’d been collecting beads and jewelry making tools for the Love Bug for awhile now, and had recently found a cute craft box for her. She is very much like my daughter, her Mama; type A, hyper-organized, in love with the Container Store. I knew she’d love her craft box, but I needed something for her brother.

Thank goodness for two day delivery service. I ordered a small tackle box and a bunch of kid-sized real tools for the L’il Pumpkin. I had a plan but forgot to tell Bob about it, luckily he pitched right in – explaining each tool, then trudging up the steps together, they began “fixing” things, including the squeaky daybed he and his sister would be sleeping on that night!

I know – raising gender neutral kids is new to me, though I did help the Pumpkin make a Black Panther necklace!

Then we went out for a trek in Ms Berdelle’s Secret Garden. We searched in the misty rain for Tinkerbell trim – small, delightful pieces of nature to design and  construct a fairy house: pine cones, bark, leaves, dead flowers, berries, stones, snail shells. Anything glorious and small would do. I didn’t dig up moss for a thatched roof because Bob said it’s still living and we’re not arguing anymore over little things like that.

Every summer at Camp St Joseph for Girls I loved hiking through the woods and coming upon a fairy circle; a large, round patch of sumptuous moss surrounded by ferns in the dappled sunlight. I’m sure my love of mystery and magic began there in the Catskill Mountains many years ago.

When we returned home I started cooking dinner for four again! Mrs Zimmerman’s shallot chicken, mashed potatoes (little clouds), and broccoli (little tress). At Nana and Pop Bob’s house they can watch TV while I’m cooking and eat as little or as much as they want. It warmed my heart to see how much these two love butter! We followed that up with popsicles because we’re saving popsicle sticks for the fairy house. Then we played a good game of Alphabet Fish and the Li’il Pumpkin won!

After pulling out the trundle bed, we read my Editor Lisa Winkler’s book about a girl named Zimmerman, “Amanda at Bat” https://www.amazon.com/Amanda-at-Bat-Lisa-Winkler/dp/1533240094  It is a wonderful story about speaking up and making sure your voice is heard. And their eyes were starting to droop by the end of “Escargot,” while the Frozen night light sent its bat signal onto the ceiling of our 2nd bedroom. Good Night Room.

Long story semi-short, we all slept like babies and Bob made blueberry pancakes in the morning. Then we high-tailed it off to Great Grandma Ada and Hudson’s apartment to build our fairy house. Bob and I had made an executive decision to skip Hebrew School, sorry cousin Nancy! We’ve made a brave start jockeying a glue gun like nobody’s business, and we’re relying on Hudson to carve a tiny crooked fairy door. We have a very special tree stump in mind… then the Bride arrived to pick them up.

I was going to write about orchid and dandelion children. How one needs special care and an exquisite environment, while the other will flourish no matter where they find themselves. That’s the program I was listening to on NPR when I sat down to write, an old rehash of nature vs nurture. My Love Bug was definitely a wild orchid baby, the kind who would wake at the sound of a pin dropping, while her brother could sleep through a smoke alarm.

And I realized that I was a mixture of the two, a child who was smothered by my foster mother Nell, and never allowed to have a sleepover, yet my St Joseph camp mates could never wake me when it was time to head out into the night looking for trouble. But don’t worry, I found my own trouble eventually!

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