Monday, February 19, 2018

Some big projects

  I light candles to cheer myself up.  I like them.  They smell good, they are cozy.  They smack of hygge.  One day last winter, I had so many scented candles going at one time that they set off the smoke detector.  Later, I chanced to wipe a noseprint off the inside of a window and the cloth came away black.  It was time to wash everything and then paint, and you know how when you paint one room, the room next door looks like a boxcar inhabited by hoboes?  A few months of frenzied candle-burning had turned every surface in the house into the ceiling of a medieval monastery, with ten centuries worth of soot and ash making the place atmospheric, and also dingy.  Tidying and cleaning and clearing out more clutter and re-styling the house has been one of the ways I'm coping with this year's extra-bad case of the winter blues, and there's been so much of that, so it's a good thing I enjoy it.  I am a collector by nature, but I had amassed such an enormous heap of stuff that I suddenly felt it smothering me, so filling the car with things to donate made me surprisingly happy.  I have got rid of a lot of stuff.  I am cutting back on candles now, too, and fastidiously trimming wicks, and I'm even looking at burning one tealight at a time with some trepidation, and my beloved Doc has (almost) repainted the entire interior of our house.  There is one room left, and he will do that one next weekend.  He fills my heart to bursting with unicorns and rainbows in a thousand different ways, and that is one of them.  What a good and wonderful man he is.  
Another one is that painting up there.  I love this:  years ago, casting about for a way to fill his time, he decided to take a Spanish language class at the local community college, and painting that reproduction of one of Frida Kahlo's famous self-portraits (with monkey) was in some way his homework assignment.  He turned it in for an A, and then later had to go and pry it free from the instructor's reluctant grip, because she was really hoping to keep it.  I can't say I blame her, but I had my eye on it too.  It has moved from here to there in the rotating gallery of lovely artwork I've collected, and has lately come to roost on that bookcase. [And the catdog has come to roost in that chair, despite the many comforters and pillowy dog beds around here.]  
I'm working on a gallery wall, too, trying to be thoughtful of where I put the next nail hole (I am so bad at changing my mind, and the walls are more spackle than plaster at this point) and will probably keep adding to it.  The centerpiece is my beautiful daugher's oil portrait of her friend Lara; the shadowed, sleepy eyes in that painting, how I love them.  It's so good.  Next to it is my mama's watercolor painting of Central Park in New York, and below that is a romantic-style oil portrait by my gifted grandmother.  There is so much good art in my collection, so much more than you can see here.  There will be a lot more nail holes, I think.  
I have had to put this on the calendar:  SPIN THE FLEECE.  It isn't going to spin itself.  I'm setting aside at least one day a week for turning these imperfect little batts into yarn, because you guys.  There is so much of it, and I feel a little overwhelmed.  Even if I can make one skein a week, it still might take months.  I know, there's a lesson in that for me.  This will take awhile.  It's okay if things take awhile.  But I have to actually do it, at least a little bit here and there, because I can't knit with batts.  I want yarn.  
That's looking a little rugged.  It'll block out, right?  Ha.  Embracing imperfection.  
So I sit in my little room, spinning and thinking about curtains and whether we really need this chair or that table, and listen to records.  I have to get up every half-hour, then, and flip the record, so it makes me take a break.  I sing along, so loud.  "If I can't have you, I don't want nobody, baby" which reminds me of singing that song, also loud, on the playground in 1979.  The batts slowly, slowly become yarn.  
 
Did you think I didn't knit a sweater?  I started this simple pullover last fall and it went into hibernation sometime after the holidays with little more than a sleeve left, and I don't know why.  Little sleeves like that only take a couple hours, and then it was finished.  It is my own pattern, worked top-down to fit me, in the extremely beautiful Woolen Boon DK, colorway "Truffle Shuffle".  It looks, as I've mentioned over and over again, like birchbark.  The complexity of it, though, I can't even describe.  
There are little flecks of gold and rose and burnt orange and lilac and a thousand assorted and varied grays.  This yarn is a work of art.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

24 comments:

  1. Love the environment you have created! Everything plays well together, even the sweater with the rooms. Well done!

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  2. Such a cute post today ...
    Thank you.

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  3. My goodness what beautiful yarn, the little specks are a feast for the eyes.

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  4. Your rooms are looking beautiful, and another gorgeous sweater sigh....

    As to candles and dirt, you don't know the half of it! I live in a little medieval house in France, with a woodburning stove, and love candles too. Oh my word, you should see the dirt at the end of the winter (it is going to be particularly bad this year as we have had such a wet and damp one). And spiders webs, don't even go there! Still, there is a price to pay for everything isn't there, and we know we are lucky to live in such a lovely place.

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    1. It sounds kind of wonderfully romantic! :)

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  5. Your room is so peaceful! You come from a long line of arty people, love all of the paintings. And that yarn - WOW!

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  6. What a lovely space! And that yarn is just perfect! My house is full of original artworks too, of all kinds.

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  7. Your home is lovely!

    You may wan to think about investing in wax warmers. Yankee Candle and Scentsy are good choices (I have a few from each) and the wax melts can be bought just about anywhere that sells candles (I like the handpoured ones I get at the dairy farm general store) With the wax warmers you get all the scent and no soot. WHile it is true you don't have the flickering flames, there are some pretty fabulous fake fire candles out there now as well.

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    1. That's a good idea. How lovely, too, to get them at the dairy farm general store! I can just imagine all the goodies in a place like that...:)

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  8. As women we are a bit complicated and it is a wonderful thing when one can find the things that make her content like you have. The sweater is beautiful.

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    1. It's taken me almost fifty years, but I'm figuring it out! :)

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  9. That is a good light, serene space. You have a talented family. Your hairstyle is great. Also, is that a painting of you, the one of the woman with her back turned to the artist? And, 'Truffle Shuffle'!! What a great name, but really, you don't have the belly for it hehe.

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    1. Thank you so much! My hair is such an adventure; every day is a different story. The portrait is of my daughter, painted by her artist friend Audrey Bialke. xoxo

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  10. How lovely! There is such a lot of pleasure to be had from refreshing and rearranging the spaces we live in - creating new and interesting juxtapositions of familiar objects. The portrait of Lara reminds me of Paula Rego's work.

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    1. Thank you so much! I haven't heard of Paula Rego, and will be off to have a look. :)

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  11. You are SO pretty Kristen! I always note this but thought I'd pop in and express it today! Pretty inside and outside. xo

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    1. *blush* Thank you so much, my dear! What a lovely thing to hear. xoxoxoxo

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  12. I have been "lurking" on your blog for a long time now and haven't commented so am a bit reluctant to have my first comment expressing a concern. You may want to be a bit careful of burning scented candles with pets around, they can be deadly for birds. Because of that I don't burn as many candles as I would like to but have started using battery operated candles instead. At first I thought I would absolutely hate them but now I like the fact that some of them come on by themselves at a certain time of night and then go out usually 4 hours later. No worries about flames and I put them in all the dark corners of my house, it is a nice surprise to come upon at night, especially in winter. I even have a few that have (almost) realistic "flames" on them. Love your blog!!

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    1. After all the soot showed up everywhere, it occurred to me that all that is also in the air, and we're all breathing it, ack! I'm thinking of making the switch to battery candles, now, too. xoxo

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