Crafts and Mexico Visit and the Garden in December

Okay, where to start. Maybe  Thanksgiving makes sense.

We went out of town for Thanksgiving, which was fun- but a definite high point was getting to go to Mexico for an afternoon with my husband and his brother and my sister in law. (brother and sister in law? Husband’s brother and wife? How to freaking write that out correctly… feel like there is a more succinct way to write that but it escapes me.)

Continue reading “Crafts and Mexico Visit and the Garden in December”

Dia de los Muertos Ofrenda… no Offend-a

Reposted from October 2018…

Now when it comes to talking about Dia de los Muertos… as a white, middle aged, blond haired, green eyed guera, I consider myself no entitled-ass expert over here or anything. But know this- while I am not Mexican by birth I married one, we’re raising three, AND I made alters for Dia de los Muertos before the movie Coco came out. To further prove my bit of street cred, I totally love all things to do with the Mexican culture. Also I’m taking Spanish lessons on Rosetta Stone. So like… Yo tengo sandwiches, ya dig?

Continue reading “Dia de los Muertos Ofrenda… no Offend-a”

Ice Dying… How did it go?

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HOW DID IT GO? It Went Like This: *singing* “Some people you know they say they can’t believe, Jamaica we got a bobsled team!”

Ahem. Okay- so THE ICE DYING… how’d it all shake out? Y’all will remember since the summer I’ve been doing batch after batch of ice dying to have ready to sell at our neighborhood craft fair. I talked about it here and here and here and here and (my god I wrote a lot about this) here .

The craft fair was last weekend and it was, on the scarves, a ROUSING success.

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The scarves… 4 to 6 in each color batch

 

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I love that painting… it looks like I have a creativity thought bubble every time I brush my teeth. Here is what the pashminas look like on- this is the one I kept.

I ended up making just under $200 on the scarves, and they went like hotcakes, I think, in part because I priced them to move: $12ea or 2 for $20. I also modeled one all night long, but I’m less sure that contributed to the sales… I was in the pashmina above and shorts, after all. A look right out of the Vogue lookbook it ain’t. I actually have 4 more scarves on order to do another batch for Christmas gifts… because the ones I made for this event are ALL gone!

The girls also did a rousing sale in ornaments, and cleared $65 and $66 ea.

And it being a sip and shop (wine and craft fair) there was lots of tipsy trading at the end of the show amongst the adult vendors so we now have other ornaments and purses and hats… as well as a deer skull adorned with rhinestone brooches which is INSANITY but a small part of me loves. My folks took the toddler home, who was driving me to distraction trying to manage a show and a candied up toddler… and my husband was there to hang out. The older girls were good about managing the table and hanging out.

(For all of yall who came for just the discussion on ice dying… you can stop here)

I mention all of this because… well lets put it this way. You know when you drink too much at a party, but there is someone who drank more so you don’t feel so bad about yourself? Yeah… I didn’t have that other person this time. I drank too much. I was, I think, the most tipsy drunk person there. I am, thoroughly, not proud of myself. Y’all who know my family history know drinking is a sensitive subject for me. And my biggest fear is falling into the trap that has caught and strangled so many of my family… ALCOHOLISM is always capitalized in my personal mind-speak, because of the weight and fear attached to it.

And I mean Jesus Christ, right? It’s not like I set out to drink too much, not like I like being drunk- I in fact HATE it! Can’t be an alcoholic if you hate being drunk, right? RIGHT? (I’m honestly asking here though…) But there I was, because I forgot to eat anything before the show and then didn’t drink mindfully and take that into consideration. Wee! This is fun, we’re all selling stuff and drinking wine! I like all these people! Sure I’ll have another glass!

The show was 5-8 (which means I was there at 4:15 to set up) and wine without dinner… crap. It’s a trap that has caught me before. I’m not proud of that time either, honestly. And while it feels excuse-y, I actually do think I’m starting to metabolize wine differently these past couple of years. (Didn’t stop me from having a very small regular sized bottle of red wine all by myself when we had friends over the weekend before though… haha! It’s funny until the exact moment it isn’t!)

You’re an adult. Adults are allowed to cut loose. You didn’t drive. Your children were in no danger. Everyone makes mistakes… these are all things I’ve told myself… like on Saturday at 3 am when I awoke in a sweaty and slightly nauseous panic over the whole thing. On Sunday when the same thing happened. During the day randomly when I am working. But… well. Ashamed is the word that resonates more truly. I am ASHAMED of myself for not controlling me better. Why put it here then? Because if democracy dies in darkness, then hopefully shame dies in sunlight. All I know is my family’s history with alcoholism/drinking was a SECRET and never to be told, always to be hidden. And maybe, just maybe- if I don’t handle it the same way I won’t turn out the same way. One can hope. I can hope.

And lest I be painting too harsh of a picture and because I am so uncomfortable in putting this out here at all please indulge me for adding this- I didn’t get in fights or arguments. I didn’t puke in anyone’s flowerbed. (or anywhere) I didn’t fall down or drop anything. But I was probably too loud and too much. My uncle ribbed me for slurring my words. I was TOO effuse. Some of it… is a little foggy now. And some of it I straight up don’t remember.

But I do know I don’t want to be a drunk Mom.

I don’t want the neighbors to be talking about me.

I don’t want to be an embarrassment to my husband.

I don’t want… any of that. They weigh on me like actual physical weights.

And… I wish it had all happened differently. And so… I kinda ruined my own time, you know? And that sucks. Because I don’t really get out much… and I’d really, really been looking forward to that event. And I ruined it for myself.

But. Being hard on myself, while like, my total default setting, isn’t helping, it never has. I’m working on personal forgiveness over here. Trying to be gentle with myself and through the process learning that I am not intrinsically gentle in much in my life. So I have done some meditating. And research. And thought a lot about it all this week.

So like, Ice Dying- I can HIGHLY recommend. But Vice Dying or even Vice Crying… I recommend them way, way less. Gonna like, try to steer clear of all that in the future. Understatement of the fucking year right there…

 

 

Random Word Generator Prompts

Like a random word post, and it’s been awhile, so figured I’d give it a whirl today. But first- I JUST realized that after I send a post live I often have some editing (misspelled words, etc.) that I correct and update. Those updates do NOT seem to be going to those of yall who get the post emailed to you. I will try to fix that and also be more vigilant with my pre-launch editing moving forward.

Sheep: My brother and I had the odd history of growing up in a city neighborhood with a feral sheep. His name was Stinky, and he supposedly belonged to the young married couple at the end of the street, but he wandered wherever he wanted to. As toddlers my brother and I was terrified of this huge, male, unshaved sheep. One time he trapped us in the garage and we climbed on my Dad’s car to escape him. I prefer Stinky to any religious or political sheep though, boy those are the worst.

Material: Well hmmm, I’m having a hell of a time finding acceptable fabric/material for new curtains in the kitchen. I want something Scandinavian with a white background and multi color print without being too twee or whimsical… or geometric. Hence the “hell of a time.” I did finally find fabric for my slipper chair in our living room. I reversed it so the side showing is actually the back of the fabric, but we like it more like that. I recovered the chair last weekend.

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Wouldn’t have worked for the curtains though…but similar to style I’m looking for.

Warning: Had enough health warnings lately that the husband and I are walking more, drinking less, and cutting back on cheese. Cholesterol. Weight. General weird ailments (plantar fasciitis sucks but is almost cleared up) that it’s time to just commit. Heed the warnings… we’re trying.

Art: I still haven’t finished the 4′ painting I’m doing of my husband… but I hung it on the wall so it didn’t get toddlerized- I better finish it or that will be the picture I’m “almost done with” for the next 40 years. I showed it to my mom and she asked if his hair was supposed to be a bike helmet. Actually its a bandana in the picture I’m working from… but thanks Mom.

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I swear the rule needs to be don’t hang it up until you’re done…

Bullet: At our last house I found a bullet in our hallway once. We don’t have guns. It remains one of the weirdest feelings to bend down and pick that up of the carpet. Someone brought a gun and bullets in my house. Or didn’t and didn’t realize a random bullet fell out of their pocket. Or… I have no idea. It could be from some totally different scenario I haven’t considered. Weird to think you know so much less than you think you do about what goes on around you sometimes.

Advice: I try to stockpile advice for the girls’ use later in life. Like, if a boy doesn’t seem a little nervous around them, they need to realize he’s trying to play them, not love them. Or that washing you’re face with a face cleanser every night really DOES make a difference. Or that starting to moisturize in your 20s is important. Or that there are no princesses waiting to be rescued in this family- they need to be women who are always capable of rescuing themselves. So far there are only two pieces of advice I’ve ever given them that seems to have stuck. First is that they should try to be the hero of their own stories. And the second is that the thinner the eyebrow the crazier the woman. GOD HELP ME why that last one that I just tossed off without thinking after a couple of glasses of wine should be one of the main ones they remember and cleave to, but parenting is weird like that. I bet you anything they mention it in my eulogy. I SAID IT ONE TIME FOR CHRIST’S SAKE!

 

 

 

Of Grave Importance

I was out on a construction site for work today next to the police station in Cibolo, TX… and there was an old cemetery across the street that looked beyond intriguing. I’ve discussed my love of old graveyards before here.

I wrote on that previous post about the peace of graveyards, and how time kinda removes the grief from death… but it wasn’t how I felt this morning. God, there were just so many children… parental loss and it’s screaming anguish was still so upfront in this graveyard.

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Nastasia born 1864, died 1867… “Gone to be an Angel” written on the bottom

The symbolism though… the lamb, the tree cut down too soon…

Or this one, that was excruciating to imagine those parents who lost their 2 and 3 year old daughters two days apart in 1890. What sickness was in the house… what grief those poor people endured. It still hung heavy in the air around this dual grave:

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Olga, just shy of 2 when she died on May 14th 1890, and Bertha, one day past 3 when she died on May 16th, 1890. Ow my fucking heart, History!

The ratio of children to adults was much too high for a normal (I use that phrase loosely), more enjoyable stroll around a graveyard. But there was still the normal interesting things that are what I like. (said the crazy person…)

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Buzzfeed style caption: Tree stump headstones are prevalent in graveyards from Victorian and Edwardian times. Find out why!

I always knew tree trunks were Woodsman of the World headstones… but turns out why there are so many of them is interesting. They were free with W.O.W. life insurance policies! And the Germans would be damned if they were going to pass up a sweet deal like that! Hence SO many tree stump headstones! A tall trunk is for adults, short logs are for children… not sure if the 2 cut logs the larger trunk is astride means they lost two children or just that they sprang for the more expensive policy package.

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She sells seashells down by the sea shore… FOR DEATH!

No one is REALLY sure why there are so many cemented in sea shell covered graves in the South… many of them far away from the ocean. Loose, non cemented in shells (often conch shells like the two closest to the headstone on the picture above) generally mean someone took a pilgrimage and brought it to the grave long after burial. (European symbolism there of a pilgrimage). Slaves often marked graves with shells because the ocean brought them to this place, and so the shells symbolized taking them to their final home. Perhaps these German immigrants used them for the same symbolism? My favorite theory (though I don’t think it’s right) is that shells were used s shingles on grave surfaces as a protective “roof”… so totally utilitarian. And while that DOES sound very 1800s German it doesn’t quite jive because the rest of the graves are so ornate. Shells have generalized Christian symbolism… we may just have to leave it at that and that it was just a Victorian fad.

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The Shrouded Urn… a great name for a mystery, now that I think of it

The urn was a symbol of death long after cremation went out of fashion, and the shroud symbolized variously: the last curtain between life and death, or protection, or that death has fallen over something. I’ve seen shrouded angels (fucking terrifying, lemme tell ya), shrouded fruit baskets, shrouded obelisks and urns… there were some pretty talented stone carvers back in the day. It’s one of my favorite things to look for in cemeteries, the shrouded statuary.

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Oh you!

And then there are the hands. The hand like that is SUPPOSED to be pointing up to heaven and God, but which always look like a shaking finger like “Oh you! You got me! Never saw that one coming, I didn’t!”

Next there are these, my VERY favorite things- enamel pictures from the 1800s. The glimpses of people… generally in the prime of their lives even if they lived to be old… which I LOVE. I HATE modern obituaries that only have the pictures from the very end of life… I love seeing people from another age, in their prime, looking out at the world like this! Now, as much as I love graveyards, I never wanted to be IN one before. Cremate me and cast me in the Frio River in Uvalde… but I’m tempted by the chance to be one of these for the next few centuries…

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Wilhelm Reimann

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Nestine Reimann. Only picture on a grave of a woman in the whole cemetery. Twenty bucks her middle name was Prudence. I bet you.

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Millennials are just the new Progressive Generation. (Do you have ANY idea how long it took me to research that joke? I was committed to it though.)

And inscriptions… There was one that read Asleep In Jesus from 1915 for a 25 year old dude. Which is just weird and I hope just the result of iffy English skills. Or this one:

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Germans are hardcore

It reads, or as damn close as Google Translate can get me, “The silent grave is unafraid of the Devil, because of faith in God and no fear of Judgement.” Well okay then.

I guess I love old cemeteries for the same reason as I like older neighborhoods and not the cookie cutter new developments. Variability! Individuality! Craftmanship! Interesting Things!

Here’s the thing, every once in a while I think like, huh. So THAT’S how I turned out, to be someone who likes old cemeteries. Who would have known when I was younger that I’d grow up to be that? Wonder if quilters or giant pumpkin growers or people who collect typewriters ever wonder the same thing?

Linking up with Samantha at Fake Fabulous HERE- check it out!

Ice Dyeing: Last Night’s Batch Turned Out Like This…

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NICE!

So why are there no white spots, even though these were more tightly crammed in than the previous batch? I may have soaked these more than the other ones… so maybe the white on the previous set were dry parts in the center of some folds? Not 100% there…

Here is the thing- LOOK at the color variability within the batch though!

Here is how one of the first two scarves I was struggling with turned out:

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Meh. It’ll do. But compared to the color on the left…

So those scarves were 40% synthetic and 60% cotton… JUST like the ratios on the pashmina’s I did in the same dye batch. Can you imagine if I had just decided I couldn’t figure this out and thrown up my hands because of those things? Because here is how the pashmina’s turned out:

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From left to right: 80% cotton scarf, 100% cotton bandana, 40% acrylic/60% cotton pashmina, and the original scarf I was playing around with, also 40% acrylic/60% cotton.

Check OUT that color variability from the same dye batch.

So if at first you don’t succeed… try a different fabric!

As to the color: funny how when I was a kid purple was my favorite color but it doesn’t do ANYTHING for me these days… I like the previous set better, but I’m also not a huge fan of turquoise. Blasphemy, I know! But it’s not about what I like best… it’s having a nice range of choices at the craft fair and using all the dye in my collection. I do think they turned out purdy though.