Thursday, November 22, 2012

- Thankful

On Monday night I wrote:

My brotard (Aaronus) used to write songs and play music.  On his mandolin.  Or keyboard.  Some were about kidney stones and ridiculous toes, and some weren't.  He still jams out occasionally but once I asked him why he doesn't write and sing songs anymore.  He said it was because he was happy and in love.  It's easier to write songs when you're tormented and dark and twisty.

Writing is the complete opposite for me.  If I'm not incandescently happy with my life, I feel weird writing about it here.  I feel like if you know me in the slightest, it will be too easy to see the cracks in the facade.

So, I don't write.  Or eat much more than ramen.  Or make my bed even though the sheets are clean.  Or check Facebook.  Or Twitter.  Or Instagram.  And "Carolina In My Mind" comes on my Pandora station while I'm working on a craft project and I find myself sitting on the floor no longer glue gunning, but crying instead.  Because I'm so far into my head and my own crappy thoughts that the only way out is through a river of tears.

Since I moved to Minneapolis I know there has been a hole in my heart.  I haven't tried to hide that.  But the other parts of me have been so full that it is easier to ignore.  Lately though, the things that are missing in my life have gone from being barely noticeable, like a picture absent from a locket, to a gaping black hole of nothingness.  A void so oppressive that I sometimes fear it will disengage its jaws and swallow me whole.  

And I wonder if I ever felt like this in Raleigh.  I know there were some low points but maybe you never remember quite how low they were until you're feeling them again.  It's always easier to remember the good and forget the bad.  All I know is that there is a very big part of me that wants to go home for Christmas...

And never come back.

But really, this is all terribly dramatic.  I'm fine. I will be fine.  I will realize that this is ridiculous and I have far too few reasons to feel like this.  I will start to re-focus on the things that I do have in my life, and am lucky to have - rather than focusing on all of the things that are missing.  And one day, sooner than I think, I will start to hope again that those things that are missing will find their way into my life.  Unfortunately, that day is not today.  Today I'm a little bit broken.  

On Tuesday I woke up feeling not much better than I had Monday night.  I hadn't intended to publish what I wrote, but I just needed to get it out of me.  I needed to let the bad out so that some good might have hope of finding it's way in.  And then I got a text from The Drew saying that he was in town and wondering if I had time to hang out.  At first I was hesitant because I was in such a sad state I knew I would be sorry company, but I couldn't ignore the cosmic interference of it all.  Not 12 hours before I was pouring out my heart about how utterly alone I felt, and all of the sudden there was a good friend asking to see me.  So, I went.  And it healed me.  Never underestimate the power of open conversation with a good friend.  As we sat there commiserating and laughing and talking about everything and nothing I could literally feel some of pieces fitting back together.

Wednesday morning I woke up feeling like a much better version of myself.  Feeling normal.  It helped knowing that in a few short hours I would be on the way to Omaha to spend Thanksgiving with Liz.  More time in the company of another good friend.  More time to heal.  More time to bounce back.

Today I am thankful.  Thankful that I have such wonderful friends and family in my life.  I am thankful for that every day, but some days it is harder to realize before other distractions press their way in.  This week has taught me how important my loved ones are in keeping myself whole.  And I don't intend to forget that again anytime soon.

Monday, November 5, 2012

- The OG

For all you hoodrats out there I'm not talking about the "Original Gangster" - this title refers to the Original Garland I made for my fall decor.  It was all inspired by this wreath that I found on (waitforit) Pinterest.  But, I already had a fall wreath, that I liked quite a bit...
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Since I really loved the idea of the leaves, I decided I would try to make a garland replicating that shape that I could hang on the shelves over my TV and desk area.

When I went to Hancock Fabrics - the nearest craft store - I quickly realized that I wasn't going to find the felt colors that I wanted.  So, I went rogue and picked some fabrics that I thought would work well with my fall color palette.  Since I was already complicating things by choosing fabric over felt, I basically decided to embark upon making this garland as complicated as possible.

I started with tracing leaf shapes onto the wrong side of one fabric.
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Then I cut those leaves out, and glued them another piece of material.  Because my leaves were too special to have the same fabric on both sides.  Notice that I did not try to dumb down my leaf shapes.  No way jose.  I picked the most detailed shapes I could find on the interwebs because I like things good and intricate.
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Just to reiterate, under this system, I cut the 30 leaf outlines...twice.  Talk about a raging case of claw hand.

Oh you think those leaves are done?  Didn't you know that leaves have veins?  Veins that I decided to incorporate by hand stitching them on with embroidery thread.
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Of course, after all this, I realized that the garland as I'd designed it wasn't going to hang the way I wanted it to.  So, this is what I came up with to try to mimic a swag like shape without spending any more time working on the garland.
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Notice the new Emma bookends I found on sale at Tar-jay.  Five dolla holla!
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Last night while I was taking down my Halloween specific decorations and putting up the new-old leaf garland I stumbled across all of the leftover fabric I used on the project.  Then I found another bag with a few pieces of leftover felt from when I made the Halloween garland.  I also had this old grapevine wreath.  It was the first fall-themed one that Mamsie and I ever made for my apartment in Raleigh.  But that was over 7 years ago and my aesthetic has changed quite a bit since then.  Since we had just hot glued the decorations on, they came off really easily and then I was left with this plain grapevine wreath that was in perfect shape...which took me back to my inspiration photo, and I realized...

I wanted another wreath.  

It was like a lightbulb went off when I came up with the idea to use the leftover fabric and felt to make more leaves for the wreath.  Although, it may come as no surprise that I wanted this to be simpler than the last time.  I like to become more efficient with my crafting.  This time, I started by tracing the shape onto the felt.  I chose my favorite shape and the one closest to the inspiration photo because I really wanted to keep that same look.
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Then I glued the fabric on top with Fabric Tac.  I would like to point out that in the process of making all these leaves I have now used an entire bottle of Fabric Tac - which is a pretty major crafting accomplishment.  Under this new system I only had to cut the leaf shape once for each one.  Which means that instead of working on this project over the course of a few days, I started and finished it in the same night.

It was also faster because I decided that these leaves didn't need veins.  The fabric kept them pretty enough.  Plus, I'm lazy, so there's that.
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Time to glue.

Wham, bam, thank you ma'am.
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Perfection.

I may or may not have opened my door a few times last night just to look at it.

Friday, November 2, 2012

- Homestead Happenings

I went home this past weekend for one last visit before I make my holiday pilgrimage in December.  It was glorious.  Why?  I'll show you...
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I ate these until I made myself sick on sugar.  Krispy Kreme doesn't exist in MN.  When Fahtar was all "You want that?  Man we got to go 15 miles into town to get them." I was all "15 miles?!  You want to know where the nearest one to me is?  267 miles away in WISCONSIN."  That settled that, and I finally satisfied my craving.  Their pumpkin spice donut is my new favorite thing.  The stomachache I got from eating 3 donuts in one day is my new least favorite thing.

True to my being home form, I wore pajamas for like two straight days.  Then, when I got back to the Minnie I pulled out my sweatshirt and it smelled like home.  It still kind of does.  I don't want to wash it because I don't want it to not smell like home.

It's where my heart is.

One of my favorite things to do while home is to roam the homestead.  Like our free range chickens.
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Those are the Americanas.  They are about one month from being mature enough to lay eggs, and when they do, their eggs will be a pretty blue-green color.  Those ladies were just little chicks when I saw them for the first time over the 4th of July.  The coolest thing about them though...is how prehistoric they look...
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Look at those cheek tuffs.

When you have this many chickens (with plans to get even more) not all of them get names.  Out of this flock of 8, I caught two completely appropriate names: Greybeard, who is shown here in the bottom right and Brownie, in the top left background
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Also pictured: Random Americana in the left forefront who photobombed my shot.

The coolest thing about these guys, by far, is the way they sound.  It's not the typical "bock bock bock" sound that our other chickens make and Tweety imitates.  It's this other noise that sounds like it's straight out of Jurassic Park:
Some of the louder sounds in there are me trying to get them to "talk".  Also in the background you can hear our rooster crow, because he's always crowing.  
Those are the other chickens, the first flock my mom got.  I believe she started with Jeff the crowmaster and 6 hens.  One died early on, 4 got carried off when a fox literally got into the henhouse, which just left one black hen who apparently hadn't ever laid an egg in her life and was clearly at the bottom of the pecking order - which is totally a real thing.  Then Mom got the two big white hens from someone else and Blackie apparently started laying eggs.  Mamsie let her sit on some and when one hatched...it was another rooster, Jeff Jr.
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Jeff - he's pretty but he is no where near nice.  He will come at you spurs first in the blink of an eye and Fahtar regularly has to use a garden rake to corral him from a safe distance.
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Jeff and 2 of his 3 women
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Baby rooster (Jeff Jr.) on the left, Jeff on the right.  White hen photobombing.  What is it with those hens getting up in my pictures?

If you think the chickens are the only thing "talking" at home - think again.  This is one of our outdoor tabby cats, Smudge.
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She's sweet and mews and likes for you to pet her.  The other one Smidge is a complete weirdo who also mews loudly at the front door, but when you come out she just runs away.  She's also really fat and will disappear for days.

Then there's Nina.  Old Neens.  A gigantic oaf of a barrel chested black lab who refuses to great you empty mouthed.  She brought me an empty canister of ant killer, and a small rotten tomato before I made her get her bone.  Not wanting to be left out, she will also "talk" to you in the form of this friendly growl she has.  
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Tweety, my resident cockatiel, also talks.  But he's pretty much useless and wouldn't let me photograph him - but there should be plenty of opportunities for that later.  He's moving to the Minnie with Emma and I after Christmas.  

Besides the animals, the garden is still going in full force.  On Sunday after Hurricane Sandy skirted through town Mom and I went out to there to "harvest".  They have anaheim peppers out of the wazoo so we picked some for dinner, collected the pecans that had fallen from both of our trees and gathered the eggs from the chicken coop.
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Then I went back inside to lay on the couch because chasing chickens for photographs is hard work, and I am after all, a "city girl".