Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Recession (sort of) Fun #9: A Day of Mending

Yesterday, I was impatiently waiting for news to arrive. Of course, like a watched pot of water refusing to come to a boil, the news proved elusive. Waiting deserves a place high on the list of worst states to find one self in. So there I was, in a state of waiting and in dire need of an activity to distract myself with. Of all things, I chose mending.

I ended up mending what seemed like endless tiny holes in a sweater. At one point, I was ready to give up and just chuck the sweater in the garbage. I think it is fair to say that based on the number of holes, the sweater is well past it's prime. I wavered back and forth between two minds. One part of me was voting to chuck the sweater and the rest of the items that had formed a "To Be Mended" pile in the name of less clutter and simpler living.

The other half, which ended up winning, might have been influenced by the Foyle's War episodes I was watching. (I was multitasking.) Certainly people weren't chucking out clothing just because of a couple of tiny holes during WWII. I convinced myself I was taking a positive step towards being more frugal.

Honestly, I think the fact that the sweater is black cashmere and feels really comfy on might have helped save it too. Oh and I'm not crazy, there's a Comme Des Garcon skirt (from a less frugal past life) in that mending pile with one teeny moth hole.

So, while I felt a bit ridiculous spending so much time on a summer day fixing a sweater that will probably never be perfect enough to wear out again, I stubbornly persisted. I remembered an article in Selvedge magazine titled "In Praise of Mending" with photos showing clothing from past centuries that had been mended in the extreme. The garments were quirky, beautiful and most of all touching. Sadly, the photos are not available online to share.

The pictures above are examples of Japanese Boro from Kimonoboy, an amazing site featuring Japanese folk textiles. Browse the "Tattered Treasures" section and I think you'll agree, there's a lot to be said for mending. And when the weather turns, I have one imperfect black sweater waiting.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Views From Our Day

Trying to Get That Summer Feeling

Heading off to the pool in hopes of getting in the summer spirit. Somehow despite the sweltering heat and the fact that it is mid July already, it doesn't feel like summer yet. Not sure why I'm not in summer mode. Maybe it's a bunch of nagging worries that seem to be hanging overhead like a big storm cloud. Hopefully, they are about to dissipate. Today though, I'm going to jump in the water and soak in the on again, off again sun and get my summer on.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The View From Train

There is always some interesting detail to spy from a train window. On my route I have favorite houses, factories, bridges and signs. I particularly like the view in the summer which becomes more varied with the addition of foliage, alternating between industrial, suburban, almost almost bucolic. I love spying into the backyards that line the tracks on certain stretches. Some of the yards are almost completely taken up by pools. These aqua oasises look incredibly appealing during the dog days of summer.

Near the city there are little vegetable garderns that residents sneak in between their backyards and the tracks. These border gardens are my current favorite scenery. I love that the residents are making use of every little bit of land. It's amusing to see tiny corn crops and zucchini growing on the slope down to the tracks. I have yet to snap a good photo of these train track farms. I'm going to make that my goal on my next trip into the city.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Recession Fun # 8: Sunflowers

A couple of packets of sunflowers certainly go a long way in the garden and they are fairly easy to grow if you manage to protect them in the early stages. We used paper cups to keep them safe from cutworms. The garden looked like a Dixie cup farm for a while. Chipmunks are the other big foe, being equally fond of the seeds and the young sprouts. Luckily, our local chipmunks have been more focused on the new bird feeder this summer. Oh and of course, the deer. I had to resort to fencing this year.

Happily, we have managed to grow a patch despite all these critters and have already had our first sunflower bloom. It was not one we planted, but a stray seed that managed to not get eaten by the birds last fall. We are getting close to seeing the efforts of labors bloom. More photos to follow.

Monday, July 5, 2010

I Want to Paint it Black

I spent the holiday weekend getting a root canal and taking on a difficult home improvement project that involves some pesky walls. The walls are, after much difficulty, finally primed with white paint. They will eventually be a very pretty cream color with white trim. The combination that reminds me of English row houses and is very calming unlike the painting process to date.

So why the pictures of black walls? The whole time I've been sanding, scraping, stripping and washing down these hard-to-tame walls, I've been dreaming of painting them black. Well actually just one of the four. I think it's a good thing the cream paint has already been purchased, because while I like black walls, I don't think the house needs any more character at present.

Photo 1 via Four Walls and a Roof
Photo 2 via Just Beautiful Things
Photo 3 via Artnlight

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Four Dollars Well Spent

Parting with any money these days feels like a big deal, but I think our road side purchase of this bouquet was just a deal. We took a drive along one of our favorite back routes on Thursday, a little diversion before my first and hopefully last root canal. We stopped by a little stand and picked up some corn for dinner, snacked on fresh baked doughnuts and diet soda (a great combo), stopped by an apple orchard and saw the bee hives set out for pollination, took a walk through a lovely nursery and then snagged these beautiful hydrangeas for $4.00 at our favorite roadside stand. A deal, right?