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For this author, creative endeavors have been sorely tested by motherhood. But also transformed, and in ways she wouldn’t have imagined – couldn’t have, without her life “rewritten” as it has been, by her children. So linger here, to read all things weaverly, writerly and motherly.
We are petless. Our boys like to remind me of this.
“I want a lion rabbit,” Kenny says on the way home from school.
“A lion rabbit.” He went on to tell me about how someone in his class owned one, and that was exactly what he wanted. If he couldn’t have a dog, that is.
I had to look that one up. A lionhead rabbit. Sure enough, there’s a kind of rabbit that looks like a lion, with a majestic mane of fur.
Pet ideas do usually come from school, and on another day, it was Ryan who came home wanting a kitten, after someone brought in a picture of her cat’s new litter.
“Wish we could take one home….” he said wistfully, hugging his fake cat. The one Santa brought, that simulates a real one; thanks to a 9-volt battery, the cat actually appears to be breathing.
But Ryan and I are both allergic to cute cuddly creatures, and Daddy himself is not a pet lover, so we have had to make due with less cuddly and less intrusive pets such as Bloonie the betta fish and Big Claw and Boombam the hermit crabs — all who passed away this winter.
When the boys begin to whine about getting another a pet, I remind them that it was a good two weeks before either noticed that the hermit crabs and fish were gone.
Still, it seems a weak argument, as neither pet was particularly interactive. The hermit crabs were no better than rocks, except at night when they’d awaken, but I was the only one who got to witness this, on my midnight forays to the kitchen. Bloonie actually would wag his fin tail when the boys would tap on the bowl to say hello. But then they would move on over to the fridge for a snack, and eventually wouldn’t stop by Bloonie at all.
As much as Kenny would like, if not a dog, a lionhead rabbit, he wants even more a parakeet. “I want a parakeet!” he cried one night.He often is difficult at bath time, and Daddy was carrying him upstairs to the bathroom.
“Why can’t we get a parakeet?” he screeched, struggling against his father who was trying to get him undressed.
“Birds don’t belong in cages,” Daddy countered, though I know my husband is not a pet person. He tolerated the fish and the crabs. I’m not sure he would tolerate a bird, let alone a rabbit, dog or cat.
“But parakeets can talk. I can teach him to talk to me.”
Kenny was overtired and I knew that. But I also knew that once he was well rested, the pet issue would come up again, if not from him, from his brother.
Sometimes I go on line to Google the perfect pet, for a household divided by the allergic, those who just don’t care for having a pet period, and those who desperately long for one. The corn snake is recommended as a good pet for children, but here I am the one who as an issue, and that is with slithering snakes. Then there is the gecko lizard, cute actually. But higher maintenance perhaps than a cat or dog, its survival dependent on an exact tank temperature and humidity.
Then I found it. The perfect pet: the petite lap giraffe. Really. It exists. A miniature giraffe whose size barely rivals that of long-necked bird.
Giraffes are Ryan’s favorite animals, so he loved the idea.
And I imagined that if you put a harness on it, the teensy giraffe could be walked like an actual dog, which Kenny liked.
And Daddy thought it was perfect. “He’s so cute,” he cooed when I showed him a photo on line, of one sitting on the edge of a couch, nuzzling his tiny head on a pillow. Daddy couldn’t wait to order one.
Just kidding. I didn’t even show Daddy the photo. Nor did I show it to the boys. It would only have muddled the pet issue in a way that it needed no further muddling. Because in a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to resort to miniature giraffes as pets, (though it’s easy to entertain the fantasy of how no one in either of our boys’ classes could boast about having one of those.) Ryan and I would probably be just as allergic to the giraffe as any other non-reptilian or non-marine animal. In a perfect world, our pet would be a dog, or a kitten, or perhaps a lion-haired rabbit. Or a parakeet. But it isn’t a perfect world, just as I remind our boys daily that they should never expect life to be fair, even when it comes to pets.
So for now we remain pet-less, I suppose until I can gather myself to invest in another betta fish or pair of hermit crabs. But if you yourself are interested in entertaining the petite lap giraffe option (it really is cute!), check out this site:
I took it off the loom this morning. I probably should have let it "rest," but I went ahead and blocked it. One of the hardest things to master in tapestry weaving is straight selvedges (the side edges). I was doing pretty well until I introduced some non-wool yarn, a synthetic ribbon. Traditionally, wool is used in tapestry, and is the best bet; if selvedges aren't finally straight, you can rely on some shrinkage.
Here is how the tapestry looked right off the loom. You can see in the upper left corner where it starts to go in, and that's where I introduced the ribbon (also on the right side). I'm always experimenting with new fibers, especially synthetics, as they can add a lot of interest. But that added interest can come at a cost!
The next step is to pin the tapestry so that the selvedges are even – which means allowing for that shrinkage, by pinning the edges closest to the narrowest width:
The next step is the actual blocking. I use a wet cloth, and put the iron on the hottest setting. In the places where I have to allow for the most shrinkage, I hold the iron in place for a few minutes:
After blocking, it's looking like this:
As it dries, hopefully some of the lumpier uneven areas will shrink a bit. Stay tuned!
I have had this on my Mirrix loom warped for over six months. I worked on my rigid heddle primarily all winter, then came my new fascination with the triangle looms, both the 2-foot and the 3-foot. I've been making a lot of wraps and neck scarves in preparation for some shows, but I did want to get back to tapestry, what first hooked me on weaving. Here is my work in progress which, if I get lucky with a good block of time, will perhaps finish tomorrow:
Ryan has the most fabulous imagination. Today he wouldn’t let Daddy get rid of a large branch because it had the head of a dinosaur.
Later, he asked me what kind of “vehicle” I would like. It was a beautiful Saturday evening. I was sitting on the front steps. The boys had been out all day, and Daddy had been sweeping the driveway and mowing the lawn.
“You can have whatever you want,” he said, standing in front of me, his face smudged with dirt from rolling in the grass and falling off his scooter doing stunts, like trying not to use the brakes.
He crinkled his nose. “A beetle? Like a bug?”
“It’s a really cute little car. And I want it in red.” I wanted the one that Oprah gave away on her show last November.
He thought a moment. “I can check, but I think we only have yellow.”
“As long as it’s a Beetle I’ll take it.”
“I’ll get on it, “ he said and disappeared.
He returned with Daddy’s driveway sweeper. “What do you think?”
“Just what I asked for.” A sweeper.
He went on to show how the big brushes that would suck the debris into the plastic container were actually weapons. Shooters. In case I run into “enemies.”
When he asked Daddy what kind of vehicle he wanted, he said the Mercedes R. Ryan asked him what color. He wanted tan, but only black evidently was in stock.
Daddy frowned. “OK. I’ll take it.”
Ryan returned with Daddy’s leaf sweeper, which works like the driveway sweeper but on grass, to get up every last leaf. (Daddy has a lot of machines; besides the sweeper, there’s the leaf blower, lawn mower/mulcher and snow blower.)
The “Mercedes” came with blade cutters. “So I can cut up the cars on front of me on the way to work?” Daddy asked.
“Sure,” Ryan shrugged. “Or cut trees. Though we have no reason to cut trees . . . .” He never did let Daddy break up the large branch/dinosaur.
Daddy looked a bit disappointed. It might be the sinus infection he’s been fighting. Or maybe he really expected his son to present him with a brand new car.
We both asked for a one year warranty, and Ryan said “sure,” having no clue what we were talking about.
When we explained what a warranty was, he then told us, well, if we had any problems, to talk to Kenny, “the wizard, and he’ll wave his wand.” He pointed to his little brother, to the “wizard,” who couldn’t care less about imaginary cars, just having learned today how to ride his two-wheeler.
But really. I’m content with the sweeper. My minivan is disgusting. Not even the carwash people want to touch the melted candy canes under the car seats, or the Diego stickers on the windows. So if I can’t have my Beetle, well yes. I’ll drive a driveway sweeper and be proud of it. Tweet Hypersmash
One morning, my husband woke up to find Ryan’s tooth on our bureau. Since it had come out several weeks prior, the tooth had been travelling around the house. It was on the kitchen counter for a while.
“When is he going to leave it for the tooth fairy!” My husband was losing a tiny bit of patience as he had when Ryan stood crying out in the rain, hugging a broken, three-legged table he was trying to throw out. “I’ll miss that table…” he sobbed.
The tooth had fallen out in school, and his teacher put it in a cute little plastic tooth-shaped box. To put under his pillow for the tooth fairy, of course.
But Ryan couldn’t part with the tooth any more than the broken table. He would miss it too much. He worried whether it was ok if he kept the tooth, would the fairy be mad. I said no, he just wouldn’t find any coins under his pillow in the morning. He seemed ok with that, oddly enough; he’s always quick to snap up lost dimes and nickels around the house or in the car, to claim as his own.
The little plastic box was on a string, and he hung it on his bedpost, alongside the beads he’d strung back in preschool. He couldn’t part with anything, and when I emptied his pockets for the wash, I’d find all the things he’d collected, the little plastic tabs from water bottles etc. Not to mention that the only old toys I could give away were ones I was sure he wouldn’t miss, and only under the complete cover of darkness (literally, I’d haul the bag out to the porch for Big Brothers and Sisters to collect in the morning, grateful that we were one of the first houses on their route, that the bag would be gone before Ryan left for school.)
My husband told me he’d taken the plastic tooth box from the bureau and put it in my jewelry box – I suppose for safe keeping, though I can’t find my jewelry half the time in the knotted mess of necklaces, let alone a tooth…
Now another tooth is getting ready to come out. Ryan especially likes to wiggle it at the dinner table, opening his mouth full of food.
“So do you think you’ll leave this one for the fairy?” His younger brother asked, steeped in jealousy that he himself hadn’t lost a single tooth yet.
Ryan turned ruminative. “Not sure. . .”
Then Kenny went on about some book in school his teacher had read: “In China it’s a tooth mouse that comes, not the fairy. And you know what the baddest is? When you have to throw your tooth in the fire. So witches don’t get it.”
He went on to elaborate, that if the witches do get your tooth, they throw it in a big “pot with other stuff” and then all your teeth and your gums fall out.
Ryan just stared at Kenny.
To break the spell I suppose, I got up to go find the little box of my own baby teeth. It was in the drawer where I keep the placemats. It bothers me that I can’t remember why I put it in there.
I opened it at the dinner table. The tissue was as yellowed as the tiny teeth. Artifacts.
Ryan was fascinated. “You didn’t give your teeth to the tooth fairy either?”
I wrapped the teeth back up in the ancient tissue. I was stupid. Why hadn’t I anticipated this question? “I guess not….”
I suppose I was lying, because I remember the quarters I would find in the morning under my pillow. But when I finally stopped believing in the tooth fairy, did I ask my parents what they had done with all my teeth? Or did they present the little box to me as a rite of passage at my high school graduation?
Since that dinner moment, Ryan’s wiggly tooth still hasn’t come out. But Kenny actually had to have an upper tooth extracted due to an infection. He was thrilled.
That night at dinner, Ryan asked Kenny whether he was going to give his tooth to the tooth fairy.
The Novocaine numbness had worn off, and Kenny’s gums had stopped bleeding. “Sure,” Kenny said with a shrug.
“Really?” said Ryan. “Your very first tooth?”
“Yeah.” Kenny gently chewed his elbow pasta, having been instructed only to eat soft foods. “I want the money.”
In the morning, Kenny found two shiny new quarters under his pillow.
“My friend got ten dollars,” he told me, but he was happy. He believed in the tooth fairy, as he believed wholeheartedly in Santa and the Easter Bunny who he was convinced was very large and pink.
I tried to think what parent would leave a small child ten bucks under their pillow. “Maybe the tooth fairy isn’t finally all that rich.”
“I know,” he said. He grinned his new grin, with the big gaping space. “I like coins.” And he did a little dance. “The tooth fairy really came! The tooth fairy actually really came!”
New shop display just up! Ever seen a felted animal before? If you're thinking of memorializing your pet....But also see some really fine fiber jewelry, and I can never resist the handwoven....Take a look:
This is a fun little Zibbet shop, especially if you like unusual key chains! Actually, they're key straps, of all different designs; I especially liked this striking one below. POP Embroidery also offers a range of embroidered baby gift sets and wedding items, so take a look, by clicking the title link above.
Here's another Zibbeter highlight: Hannah's jewelry incorporates some lovely translucent gems, including these sweet orange Botswana agate ones. She has been making jewelry for over two years, and mainly uses genuine gemstones, though occasionally glass beads, including the finest Czech fire-polished beads. This necklace particularly caught my eye, with its variety of gems and fun silver links. It can be worn in various ways, so check it out by clicking the title link above. See more of her lovely work in her Zibbet shop, Hannah's Gemstone Jewelry:
Here's my next Zibbet Highlight: Endearing Lucky Bugs! Daresa has been designing and sculpting her bugs with polymer clay for over 8 years now. And this bug struck my fancy: "Flo is your gardening bug," Daresa says. "She will sit at your window and will your flowers and plants to grow outdoors all spring and summer. During the winter months she'll be content to watch over your house plants indoors. Flo is your guardian garden bug!" Hard to resist as gardening season is finally here. Click title link above to explore her shop.
Here's my latest endeavor, these ladder-yarn scarves I'm weaving on my 3-ft triangle loom (see blog below if you're wondering what the heck THAT is...). Iridescent and incredibly pliable. You like? Should be great for summer, to dress up plain T-shirts just like my plain old white one here -- about as dressy as I get these days....Oh, you DO like?? Great! I'm so busy promoting other Zibbeters and Fiber folk in my Fiber Cybershop that I have to remember to promote myself, ya know? To see more can click on title link above.
The refrigerator light was out for a good month. It was a wonderful month; since I couldn’t see a thing, I told myself I didn’t have to clean the refrigerator out. And the boys couldn’t so easily reach in and grab those sugary Trix yogurts; they were forced to choose a banana or apple from the fruit bowl instead.
Here’s why it took a month to get it fixed: our electrician was recovering from a hernia surgery. Seems every time I do call him, he’s recovering from another hernia surgery.
“I can’t fix this,” he grumbled when he finally was able to come, after giving me needless details about the size of his hernia, that of a golf ball, and how he had to pee all the time.
“The socket is shot.” It was actually melted. He told me I needed to call an appliance repairman. Then I wondered why I hadn’t thought to call one in the first place. I guess because it was about light. Electricity….
So I’d waited a month to find out I had to call someone else to fix the light. Someone who charged $75 just to walk in the door. The old dryer had been the first appliance we had to replace. We’d regularly been calling the appliance repairman ever since.
As I’ve learned, they don’t make appliances like they used to. “They’re not as heavy duty,” he told me, the first time he came to fix the new dryer that had stopped drying. And that he told me again, when our new washing machine stopped washing, and he accused me of doing too much laundry (look in my archive; you’ll find an entire blog about my washing machine woes). Since then, we’ve also had the dishwasher and stove replaced. All new appliances, that break more frequently than the old ones.
Except for our refrigerator. The old dog keeps on runnin.’ And it is dated, for sure – not stainless steel. No convenient double doors. No ice maker. No water filter. No nice neat freezer drawer on the bottom. The white handle is forever grimy, even though I take Brillo to it, but then the boys put their hands on it again, and that is that. I never wipe the exterior, as that would mean having to remove all the magnets holding up faded photos and the boys’ drawings of Star War battles and dragons.
The refrigerator was the last of the big appliances that had been in the house when we moved in, ten years ago. “How old is it, you think?” I asked.
He shrugged. “About twelve years…”
I asked what its life expectancy was. In refrigerator years, not dog.
He told me a good twenty. “If you were to buy a new one, it would be a lot less. More like ten years.”
Pretty much the life expectancy of every other new appliance in our house.
He extracted the socket, held up the melted mess to me. He was stymied. “Can’t remember the last time I’ve seen this happen.” Then he looked at me with great suspicion. “Did you leave the door open all night?”
I did. It had been so long ago, now over a month, I’d forgotten that. But I remember obsessing over whether all the food had gone bad, even though it was only open a crack. I wound up throwing away just about everything, deathly afraid of food poisoning. I’m one of those suckers who throws out a cheese stick a day after the expiration date.
Yes, I admitted. I had left the door open all night long.
That ‘ll do it.”
So I’d cost us $125. I told myself our boys had cost us more, if you add up all new screens that we’ve had to replace every spring, from their leaning on them.
We had to wait another few days for the order to come in for a new socket.
And then there was light. And the reality of the mold growing in the bottom of the colanders. Spilt liquids that had hardened on the shelves. Rotting leftovers of who-knew-whats pushed to the back of the refrigerator. Sour milk cartons.
I was faced, finally, with having to clean out the refrigerator. As I knew I would have to face cleaning out the hall closet – there too, if I didn’t turn on the light, I wouldn’t have to see the jumble of tossed sneakers and winter boots. Call me in denial. But it is that denial that allows me the time for this: blogging. And weaving. If I were to see the light every day….
This fiber creation has been on display in my fiber cybershop this month, and is so stunning, I had to post it on my blog. It is from Felted Pleasure on Etsy, and was created by Marina Shkolnik of Russia. She is a self-taught fiber artist, who works exclusively in felting. She favors nuno felting, which creates a beautifully drapable lightweight fabric, as seen here:
And this piece has SOLD! I like to think that having it showcased in my Cybershop helped with the sale! My display will be coming down soon, so take a look if you haven't already, at the other fiber artists now showcased: