Esther’s laughing at me…

a rainy day…cold outside, but i have the woodstove going strong.  Its one of those days when i feel smugly cozy here in my earthship house, my bare feet padding around on my heated concrete floor. I have a roast in the oven…and I have been making cookies since I have the oven going already.

its one of those ‘little house in the big woods’ kind of days…

as i was scraping butter wrappers while making cookies, i was sure my mother in law was snickering at me.  After i scraped the wrapper of all excess butter, i put that in the cookie dough and used the wrapper to grease the cookie sheet…and then i was pretty sure she was openly laughing at me.

you see, Esther and i… we were two very different people.  When I met her, she was in her 60s and set in her ways.  She had grown up during the Great Depression.  To say that Esther was conservative is…well, conservative. Her home was her domain- her kitchen especially, and everything was always in its place.  In my young mind (I was 25 when i first met her), she was impossibly old fashioned.  Esther did everything she did very methodically, very thoroughly and very well.  I, on the other hand, tended to fly by the seat of my pants in those days, making quick work of most anything.  She saved everything…the inside wrappers of cereal boxes, string, saran wrap that had been used previously, Velveeta cheese boxes and a myriad of other things.  She didn’t believe in microwaves, or coffee makers or ‘store-bought’ bread, preferring to bake her own bread, and boil her water on the stove.

I really never appreciated Esther’s conservative nature.  In fact, i scoffed at it in my mind, favoring all the things she eschewed.  Where she would make a package of chocolate chips last thru several batches of cookies, i relished dumping a whole bag into a single batch.  We were just different.

She passed away a few years ago, and it has only been recently that I have caught myself “schpauring” (the “au” has a sound like “aahh” in your throat).  Esther was full German and that was her word for ‘saving for the hard day’.  Schpauring was applicable to saving leftovers, or to storing a pair of worn out shoes for the day you didn’t have money for a different pair.   I reuse ziplock bags, and i store receipts in an old Velveeta box…and we aren’t so different anymore.

So Esther, rest well…the last laugh is on me.

“i knew you would want this…”

I spun for 2 hours yesterday…no music on, no TV, no distraction…just the whirring of the wheel…it was a precious time- felt like it was one of those fluffy dandelions that is captured in the glass paperweight… safe, soundless and insulated.

last fall when i returned to school for the year, my dear friend Karen came to me with a garbage bag in her arms.  She presented it to me and said, “I knew you would want this.”  Turns out she had sheared her llama, Bella, and apparently at some point in time, I had told her that if she ever did clip Bella that I would love the fleece.  I had no recollection of this, but that’s not unusual…i say things like that.  So here i was… with several pounds of unwashed unpicked llama fleece.  I ventured a look in the bag when I got home.  Yep.  That’s what it was.  I stashed it in the waterheater room.  Every so often I would glance at that trash bag and wonder about what i was going to do with it…and then would be distracted by something more urgent.  I had absolutely no idea what i was going to do with this fleece- I didn’t spin, i didn’t knit, i didn’t crochet…in fact, i didn’t know really anything about fleece, except for one failed attempt to make a drop spindle from a Mother Earth News article years ago…and so it sat…and i ignored it.

…until someone mentioned a spinning class in Hot Springs in March…and the rest is history 🙂

life has changed in the past year…my empty nest is full for a time…

so thankful for this quiet tactile colorful art, that allows me to be creative during this time in my life…and so thankful for a friend who “knew you would want this”, even if i didn’t.

how to begin.

the only joy in the world is to begin…~ Cesare Pavese

beginning…i have trouble beginning.  Of all of the creative parts of a project, beginning is the toughest part for me.  I can go thru preparations, gathering, mulling, but the actual STARTING…that sticks me.

Once i start, its gravy.  I can see all the things that work and don’t work, what falls apart, what worked better in my head, what LOOKED better in my head, and it is energizing to actually SEE in a concrete sense what i have been seeing in my head, what i have been theorizing.

So how can you get yourself to START?

Here it is- step by step

1. Put your hands on your sketch or if you have no sketch, close your eyes and picture your finished project in your head.

2. Gather your materials and put within reach in your work space.

3. Picture your finished project in your head.

4. Deep breath…reach up high, and reach down and touch your toes.

5. Picture your finished project in your head.

6. Pick up each of your materials and put them each down.  Do this several times.

7. Picture your finished project in your head.

8. Put everything away for the day and go for a drive…just kidding 🙂

Actually, this is the sticking point- do it! Put pen to paper, start writing, or pick up your paint brush, or put the clay in your hand – but it is time to try to make what is in your hand match what is in your head…

and here is the deal…if this project was going to go easy, you would have already done it- so be prepared for 2 or 3 or 27 false starts or practice/trial runs…in fact, try to figure out how NOT to make it work first- trying the beautiful floaty, ethereal idea you have in your head first may be what is stopping you flat.  So test your ideas out on trials first and see how it goes.  Get those out of the way!  Don’t even attempt to make the first thing you try the Golden Finished Product.

I have, at times, been paralyzed by the fact that i only had enough of a certain material…i didn’t want to waste it if the project didn’t go right, so i just didn’t begin.  In this situation, practice with a lesser equivalent of your coveted material, or pull it out of your project- its a problem.

once you know what will work and what won’t, that beautiful floaty ethereal idea in your head will begin to take on concrete dimensions in your head, AND in your workspace.

Go forth and conquer!

timing…my dear, its all about timing…


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