Tuesday, March 24, 2009

D'ya know what I was just thinkin?

Whenever I ask Jason this, he looks at me with a pinched wince and says "Ah, no what?" Then I usually follow it up with something like "We should..." and then that usually leads to "...go to the craft store and buy some..." or "...go out in the yard and..." or "...drive to the eastside of town and..."

Most of the time these things are just random thoughts that come out of nowhere and are usually pretty radical. Jason just humors me and then we have a crazy project or excursion to tackle.

Well, today on the way to work, I was thinking about a few things. Fortunately, these thoughts don't come with an insane call to action or elaborate plan -- just some ponderings I thought I would share.

First, I've been re-reading "Minor Characters" by Joyce Johnson (Glassman) who was dating Jack Kerouac when "On the Road" was finally published (after 6 years of rejection) in 1957. She was living a beatnik lifestyle in the Village but had a corporate literary job in Manhattan. She talks about living a double life and how she managed to do it.

Invisibility had become my unsatisfying resolution of the outside/inside problem. Moving back and forth between antithetical worlds separated by subway rides, I never fully was what I seemed or tried to be. I had the feeling I was playing hooky all the time, not from school, but from the person represented by my bland outward appearance...

I completely relate to this feeling. I do it everyday that I go to work. Even down to the subway ride between worlds (well, it's a light rail in Portland, but it was a subway in LA). She goes further to say:

I saw it only as a necessary mask. Office life and real life had to be kept separate. On weekday mornings, you locked the door on your unacceptable self; you let it out again after five. This was the arrangement by which I knew I had to live. But only for the time being. Holding my breath, I was waiting for much more.

Do any of you feel this way? Whether your "unacceptable self" is your personality, religious beliefs, or hopes and dreams, do you feel like you live a double life?

Then, this got me to thinking about how much time I spend on public transportation and how fascinating it is. I have not driven to work in 3 years! I have taken public transportation (the Metro in LA and the MAX in Portland) everyday that I go to the office, rain or shine. I have witnessed some serious craziness over the years...

Do any of you know what it feels like for a train to stop on a dime from a cruising speed of 45 or 50? I do. It happened just the other day. A car turned in front of the train and we slammed on the brakes. I was sitting down and two carriages full of people came hurling and tumbling toward me. One lady totally flattened another lady, face-down on the ground, after she was launched onto the lady's back. That was kinda funny, but my LIVES did flash before my eyes for a second.

It was weird because there are two lives that I live. Two lives to flash. Two lives to lose.

Do you ever feel this way or am I the only one thinking these things?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Leg Warmers are Life Savers

So it's almost April, but you wouldn't know it here in Portland. I am still wearing my leg warmers under my pants to work everyday.

I thank Sock Dreams for re-introducing me to these fabulous cold-climate-must-have-accessories.

Just sayin...it's cold here. It has hailed 3 times today.

However, we are starting to finally see blooms.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Fruit of the Hat Loom

As I mentioned in this earlier post, a friend of mine told me about this great hat loom. It only took one afternoon to create this hat!

I made it for Jason to wear while he's riding our new bike -- Ike the bike. When I was making the hat, I kept asking, "Is this long enough?" and he kept saying, "Just a little bit longer. I want it to look obviously exaggerated, completely handmade." Finally, I decided to just do the whole role of yarn (1 skein).

Jason did a couple of rows and we had tons of fun trying it on along the way.

I cut up the little wallet and made a rasta tassel, but when I pinned it on to the hat, it looked like something that would end up getting Jason beat up at the park, so we left it off.

(Life's tough enough, no need to sew a magenta and purple tassel on top of it, right?)

So no tassel, just a decrepit red novelty button that reads "One of a kind!" It's sure to fall off on the first turbulent bike ride, but it serves the purpose until we can find something else to put on the hats.

I see much more hat making in the future. You better watch out or you may end up with a gigantic hat, courtesy of JaSar!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

One Person's Trash is Another Person's Treasure

About a month ago, my Grams moved and was going to toss a lot of stuff. I pleaded to please send me any crafty stuff that she was getting rid of.

My Grams and Gramps are the craftiest people I have ever known. All my childhood memories of them include some kind of crafting going on. They did upholstery, wood carving, sewing, macrame, basket weaving and the list goes on and on. One time, my Gramps even made a pink rubber band rifle for me. It was awesome (to shoot my brother with ;-).

So when two unassuming boxes showed up, I had no idea what all treasures they would contain.

There was a knitting bag/stand, yarn, material, oil and acrylic paints, wood carving tools...

A 1950's Singer 301 model sewing machine that Grams said still sews straight as an arrow...

It came with an awesome vintage case and all the original accessories!

Many excellent-condition vintage books by authors such as Dostoevsky, Hugo, Chaucer, Homer, Tolstoy, Hawthorne, and Scott.

The little book on top is a 1908 edition of Hawthorne's Mosses from an Old Manse and it is in great condition for being 100 years old!

What a treasure chest that Jason and I received. We both spent quite some time just touching and feeling and looking at all our new/old goodies.

THANKS to Grams, Mom, and Dad for taking the time to hold onto these things and send us such a wonderful gift! Much appreciated!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Felting Magic

I finally finished my first knitting project. I committed to knitting one skein of yard for practice and then I would figure out what the heck it could be. Well, it turned out to be an ugly wiggly, mis-proportioned, rolly thing.

You can see all of the pictures on Flickr here. I'll spare you all the gorey details :-)

So I decided to go out on a limb and figure out a way to test out felting at the same time. I figured -- might as well just destroy the thing in the process if I at least learn along the way from my mistakes (sounds kinda like life, huh).

Anyway, I folded the bottom 2/3 in half and left the wiggly part as a flap and turned it into a purse. I sewed up the sides with some left over yarn (reinforcing the corners) and threw it in the washing machine. Washed it on HOT/COLD and then it came out looking like a purse! I put on a bamboo handle that I picked up at Craft Warehouse.

It was like magic. An ugly scarf thing transformed into a cute little purse (which holds two cans of soup).

It's funny to think that during the whole knitting process I was doing such a crappy job at it and I was starting to think that knitting was definitely not for me. But this turned out fabulously.

I like immediate gratification and it was starting to feel like I was knitting forever and couldn't really see any progression. But then I attempted the felting and, in 30 minutes, it covered up every dropped stitch and gauge malfunction that I had made over the last MONTH!

I'm so glad it turned into something useful, but if it hadn't I wouldn't have been too upset because I learned a lot about knitting and myself during my one skein of practice time.

Now, I have a loom that you can make hats and things on that I want to try out. I don't think I'll ever be making hats with 5 needles at one time.

I'll keep you posted on the looming. My friend who told me about it, said she can make a hat in ONE night watching TV. That's my kind of deal. Thanks for the tip!