Oyez, oyez, oyez! I am a person having business before thou, oh honorable though oft merciless deities. I draw near to ask for thy attention, oh Wrathful Ones, to beg for thy protection, even as I know I am undeserving of thy charity.
I tremble before this alter to proclaim a sacrifice was made in thy honor, oh great Scary Beasties of the Furnace of Stoneware. It was not made intentionally, I do confess. But it was given and it’s destruction did make me wretched.
Please, please, oh Fiery Gods of Loam and Ash, I ask thou to accept this sacrifice to thy glory. And in doing, thus allow these other unworthy creations to pass through your domain unharmed and into the state of whole and completed items of crockery.
I am but a humble servant, grateful for the scraps of thy consideration, and yet I beg thou for the favor of this Holy Pantheon. If my wish is granted this day, I swear upon the life of Brent, who is my best pottery wheel, that I will not bother thou again… at least not before the holidays.
I’ve been absent, I apologize. I’ve been distracted. Life has been a bit nuttsy and I’ve been trying to keep my head above water; I’m sure I’m not the only one.
I have been making art, though. Lots and lots of pottery, knitting, quilting… but mostly pottery. Matt and I are getting married next month (that nuttsy life thing I mentioned earlier) and I decided to make mugs and bowls as wedding favors. So… that took a lot of time.
I made over a hundred. Not all were usable… I had some trouble finding the right glaze that would show the stamp. Plus I had a few that just didn’t turn out. This one, for instance…
Once I finished with favors I got really crazy and decided to make centerpieces. I thought about making small pots for succulents, which I did for a show a few years ago. They looked like this:
But then I started thinking about the logistics of this plan. We are getting married in a National Park five hours away. I’m already packing up a hundred bowls to transport. What is the plan here? Am I bringing all the pots and succulents already planted? Am I going to get there and then buy plants and a bag of dirt from Home Depot and spend the day before the wedding planting these? Also, how much is that going to cost, when each little succulent is five bucks or so and I need enough for twelve tables? And then what do I do with them? Take them to Vegas on our mini-moon?
I spent a lot of time noodling on it. For a minute I thought “fuck the centerpieces, who cares!” But then I saw this photo online:
And I decided to steal the idea! Because that’s the kind of artist I am. Here are a few of the ones I made.
Now making succulents is my new favorite thing! Which is great because I am so bad with plants I can’t even keep a cactus alive. Here is my plan. I’m going to force my friends to make a few of these at my hen party and then fire them and deliver them to their makers at the wedding as gifts… after I’m done using them as centerpieces, that is. Free labor and loving homes for the little dudes after? Um, hell yes. I don’t often feel this proud of myself but, damn. I’m a flipping genius.
Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to. I’ve made a few other things as well. There’s also a wedding quilt which is coming together. Here are a few of the blocks I made.
This owl design is based on one of my favorite photos of Mr. Owlbertson that I took a few years ago.
To be honest, I hate quilting. I like fabric and I appreciate the artistry, but it makes my brain hurt. It’s basically just math but with bleeding.
I think I’ll stick with clay. That’s my happy place.
I really didn’t want to write about COVID19. I know it’s impossible to escape right now. But honestly, it is all I think about. Maybe in another week or two this will just be my new life and I’ll be back to worrying about things other than how quickly my household is going through toilet paper.
Because I am lucky enough to have a job, my health, and family, this is an example of how the virus is affecting me:
Last week, I got an email from work which, at first glance, appeared to indicate that I had made a large mistake. Before I could register what I was reading or go back and look into the matter, Matt called to me from the other room in a panic. He needed help tuning Ethan’s violin before his online lesson started in three minutes. I do not know how to tune a violin, but I was needed so I shot off an email to my coworkers, apologizing profusely for being an idiot, and dashed off to learn about tuning pegs. Between Matt and I, we made the violin much worse. But once Ethan’s lesson started, his instructor was able to talk us through it and most of his lesson wasn’t wasted. I returned to my computer, re-read the email and opened up a few files to see what had happened. Turned out that everything was fine. There was no mistake in action on my part, only a small mistake in communication on someone else’s part, and I had leaped onto my sword in my apology email for no reason.
I’m not sure, but I think my blood-pressure broke a record high in that 15 minute interval.
This is what I am going through, because as I said, I am very lucky. My sisters and most of my friends have full time jobs and multiple children to home school, also full time. And I don’t know anyone who is sick! I can’t even imagine what those folks are going through.
I’m just trying to keep on top of things at work and home, but it is tricky. I feel like a big part of living with this pandemic is like playing a multi week long scavenger hunt. I’m finding out what I need to collect just a little too late, however. First it was toilet paper, then paper towels, eggs, flour, then paper towels again. Then, a few days ago, we got the “order” (a gentle request from our Republican governor with zero consequences for ignoring it) to wear homemade masks while in stores.
The homemade part is important because they want to save all the medical supplies for health care workers. I have heard just how important this is multiple times on NPR. And that matters NPR is the closest thing that I have to a religion now. It used to be the second closest but brunch has been cancelled until further notice.
I set about making masks and again, I am very lucky here. I have a sewing machine. I can sew. Not well, but I can. It occurred to me that I was being called to use my least favorite crafting skill for my country and I was a little irritated by this fact. If this were a knitting crisis, I would be kicking ass. I would be the equivalent of the mom in the Incredibles at knitting the country back together. But no. It had to be sewing.
I have plenty of fabric laying around, so that wasn’t a problem. This is when I realized I missed out on another important item from the scavenger hunt list: elastic. I saw people online using hair elastics but I was concerned about making that work if the mask was either a little too big or a little too small. I decided to go to Joann’s Fabric and see what I could find. The only elastic they had was for waistbands, which was much too wide. I found a lot of ribbon though, so I decided to use that and just tie the damn thing.
As I was poking around looking at ribbon and thread, I noticed that everyone else in the store was already wearing a homemade mask, and they were all perfectly executed. Hang on! I said in my mind. I’m working on it!
I heard on NPR that it takes about five minutes to sew one of these masks. I knew that it would take me longer, but it took about one hour and forty five minutes longer. I found a free pattern online and immediately had to start improvising with it because it was so large it would have covered my entire face. You remember that kid from So I Married an Axe Murderer? The one that has a head “like an orange on a toothpick”? I have the opposite problem. I am more of the pin on a tangerine shaped human.
I messed with it and messed with it. I had to add several more pleats than the pattern called for. It did not look like the perfect masks on the ladies of Joann’s. For one thing, it was still too big. But I got it done.
The next time I braved the grocery store, I put on my mask with some pride. I made this for my country! I thought. It’s like a tiny victory garden, right on my face!
But the grocery store patrons were quite different from the serious crafters of Joann’s. First, I was one of the only people wearing a mask, (as I said, it wasn’t required) and second, the other masked people were all wearing the medical looking ones that we weren’t supposed to buy. The feeling that I got at Joann’s was something like shame that I hadn’t done this already. The feeling I got in the deli aisle was something like embarrassment for being the goody-two shoes who listens to NPR and our governor’s gentle suggestions. Both felt like high school, all over again.
Oh well. I made it and I’m wearing it. I may take crack at sewing a new one. I still have a ton of fabric and I found a pattern that might fit on my face (and stay on my nose!) much better. If I’m too busy with work or violin triage, however, then I’ll make do with this.
In that same address, our governor asked everyone to try to help local businesses by getting take-out three times a week. This was the best news I received since this whole thing started. Get take out for my country? Hell yes! I’m suddenly patriotic AF!
If there is a knitting need that arises, by all means let me know. I’m ready to help! Meanwhile, I’ve got some noodles and tacos to attend to. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!
Growing up, Thanksgiving was spent with my large extended family and, while food was the main event, football was also central. If my uncles didn’t get into a fight about something (it’s not just drinking families that argue; Mormons do it, too), like which of them loved Ronald Reagan the most, then they would hunker down around TV and the children (and there were oodles of us) needed to stay quiet. If not quiet, then in the basement. Preferably both.
One year we did a craft around the kitchen table while the menfolk watched football and talked politics. And I loved it! I couldn’t figure out while we weren’t doing that all along! Granted, you can’t do elaborate crafts with babies and toddlers, so I guess there is my answer. But it was so great to have my mind and hands occupied and not be endlessly shushed for a change.
I’ve made the post dinner craft a part of my Thanksgiving traditions. I think the adults enjoy it… some more than others. But the kids always get really into it. A few years ago I brought a roll of butcher paper and gave everyone a large sheet to decorate as wrapping paper. The great thing about that one was that the end product was used up by Christmas and no long term storage was needed. Last year we made ornaments, which require minimal space.
I googled ideas for this year, but didn’t really find what I was looking for. Not that I didn’t find any…. there are tons of them! But, heavens to Betsy, there a lot of crap out there! Too many materials, too much mess, and then what do you do with it when Christmas ends? Also, who are these people who give children glitter? And why do they hate themselves so much?
Though, I will admit this glittered tampon garland caught my eye. Not only would it horrify my mother (my favorite!), but it would finally give me a way to use that Costco size box of tampons that I bought before switching to a silicone cup (Yahtzee!)!!!
But no. Maybe if I save them and trade them for bullets and vodka during the zombie apocalypse.
Instead we settled on Sculpey Clay ornaments. I didn’t want to do the same thing as last year, but I also love to compare the kid made ornaments over the developmental years, so I got over it. I got a pound of white clay and a bunch of other colors for around $20 with a Joann’s coupon. (I also brought screw eyes to make them easy to hang.)
It was perfect. Not too messy, easy to make, and they bake quickly. The kids had a blast and they made a bunch of ornaments. We made some for our own trees and a few to send home with the grandparents for their trees, also.
Here are the three I made:
Best of all, the kids were entertained for over an hour! Maybe that is second best, if you consider that no one glitter-glued a tampon to anyone’s forehead. Depends on how you look at it.