Sunday, January 28, 2007

re-purposed purpose

I found this little chair at a yard sale one Saturday morning. Some people can't wait to sleep in on a Saturday, or sip coffee on the front porch while they peruse their morning paper. I can't wait to hit the road searching for the next big bargain, the next great find. This particular Saturday morning I scored big time. This lovely, dust covered, forgotten, neglected side chair set me back a pretty penny, five bucks worth of pennies to be exact. I quickly set to work, problem solving my way to a semi slip cover/reupholstered chair. I think she's dandy, and she now resides in our little sitting room with the other salvaged chairs all wearing their own unique style. No matched sets of anything for me, nope that's the fun, mixing and surprising our visitors with freakish plays on pattern and scale. I'm sure to most it is the stuff that nightmares and migraines are made of, but for me, it is home. Nothing makes my day more then the remaking of something old. Breathing new life into that which was thought of as used up, brightens me and encourages me. It gives me pause for hope. Hope that I too can be remade and re-purposed. A new breath of life might await me if I only allowed a new viewpoint to enter and work its magic spell. Perhaps we could all use a new semi slip cover/upholstery job now and again with brightly printed patterns covering our old and musty ones. Re-purposed purpose, the possibilities endless.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Rescue and Recovery

There is a place for everything and everything has a place, or so the saying goes...the thing is that these everythings usually end up at my house. How could I pass them up, when I spot them at the local thrift shops, Goodwill, or yard sales? They sit there and call out to me, 'take me home, rescue me.' Who could refuse them? They are so forlorn and forgotten. Little pieces of not quite art. Small attempts at creativity. Remnants of ventures into a new medium that someone gave their best shot at and lovingly framed. Gifts perhaps, given by the pursuer in an extraordinary leap of faith to the recipient, a fellow risk taker or a supporter perhaps. I can imagine the exchange, some heard some felt. "Here I did this, I thought of you, I think I'm safe, I am anxious, a little fearful, don't mock me, I tried, don't worry if you don't like it, we never have to speak of it again, take it quick, do something with it, put it away, no don't show it, just put it over there behind the couch, unseen, no need to thank me, just move on, let's change the subject, well ok, glad you like, hang it up? no need, really, you want to, ok, just don't tell anyone I did it." It is hung for a while, an appropriate amount of time to express both support and appreciation. Then ever so quietly it is removed. Perhaps taste changed, perhaps time hasn't been good to the images scratched out by brush or charcoal, but for whatever reason it comes down. Stored in an attic somewhere, carefully at first, but as the years go by less so. It becomes 'in the way,' the emotion of the gift exchange, a long ago memory and the need to protect the artist's feelings not so intense. It is time, time to load up the precious piece of not quite art and donate it. This fate is better then the alternative, throwing it away. The caretaker of the gift rationalizes that someone will love it. And I step in. Yes, I see myself as an amateur art lifeguard of sorts. I swim into the competitive waters of the thrift store and rescue a drowning piece of art that is flailing its arms among other species in bins and on racks. I speak gently to it as I resuscitate it. Deep breaths, don't panic, you'll be home soon. Soon, it turns out, is just a car ride away and a simple nail head later. The piece of art is safely hanging in her new spot, along side her fellow misfits in a place they call home. I step back, knowing all too well the life of an amateur artist, thankful for the opportunity to display the wares of a fellow seeker. Although they will never know the fate of their artistic endeavors, I find peace in providing a service to my sisters in creativity. I think of all of those attempts I made and hope that somewhere they have found a home with a like minded women whose walls are filled with not quite art and who steps back, admiring her collection and says with a smile, everything has a place.

Monday, January 22, 2007


So I have been tagged. Now my first instinct is to say, "whatever" and go about my day. I have always had a well developed rebellious streak, along with a well developed backside, but this is for another day. Conformity is good, and I'm looking for a New Year's resolution so perhaps this will inspire me.

The rules for the game...Plucked shamelessly from my buddy at:

Each player of this game starts with 6 weird things about you. Each person who gets tagged needs to write a blog post of their own 6 weird things as well as clearly state this rule. After you state your 6 weird things, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says "you're tagged" in their comments and tell them to read your blog for information as to what it means.

jillsywillsy's 6 weird things about me...not that there are only 6 weird things about me...but we are working on conformity.
1. The best part of waking up is Diet Coke in your cup...not the stuff jingles are made of, but it works and I have never acquired a taste for coffee....sorry.
2. I can't spell. I try, I fail, it stinks...just read phonically.
3. I'm a salad poker. It is very important to have a sampling of everything on your fork before eating a salad. This takes skill, it takes patience, it takes practice...salad poking, it works.
4. I have had the same bridge dream since I was a little girl, and I'm talking chronologically, not physically...anyhoo...it has to do with Mom driving, my begging, and bridges that turn into run away roller coasters....uck, just the thought scares me.
5. I sneeze like Donald Duck....ask http://deardaisycottage.typepad.com/ it's true.
6. I don't share air space. I just don't like breathing used air...so there's no cuddling face to face and no close talking. Whatever, I'm a clean air girl!

Now for the last part....tagging others....oh darn...back to the drawing board...the rebellion lives on...come to think about it, so does my backside!


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Reclaiming spaces....

Do you have a creative space? Neither do I much anymore, well at least there hasn't been anything creative going on here in a long time. The things of life have kept my creative endeavourer limited to the occasional. I long for those times when the space is filled with bits and pieces of this and that, when the day finds me busy problem solving and ends with a problem solved. Yet most days are not spent this way, instead this coveted space is often filled with dogs and their dirt and their hair. Often it is filled with children of varied ages, propping up their feet as they surf the internet, or simultaneously talking to friends on the phone while downloading music onto their ipods. Not the makings of a creative environment. But there are days when I claim the space for myself, and after the dog removal, the dirt removal, the dog hair removal, and the kid removal I settle down and begin. Sometimes with an idea that has been haunting me, perhaps with a list of things needing to be accomplished, or just by holding fabric and playing with its shapes and dimensions. On not one occasion I have been overheard to ask, 'what do you want to be when I get through with you?' I've never been sure if everyone hears the answer or if it is just me. I want more of those days not less, it needs to be my priority. Do you have a creative space? I will.

Friday, January 12, 2007

the angle formed by two radii of a circle that are drawn to the extremities of an arc equal to one quarter of the circle....

Corners are really neat things. The right angels they create are interesting if not pleasing to me. Corners represent the ending of one thing and the beginning of another. A change in direction, and opportunity for something new. Corners are cool. I found this filing cabinet in a corner, and now it has a new home....in a corner.
You never know where you will find things that please you. In the back of this old house is a cottage that at the same time is a guest space, garage, carport and storage closet. It is one of my husband's favorite spaces and he has worked hard to fill it with his things. Perhaps that is because I have worked equally hard to fill the house with my things. Well after taking ownership of the property we explored a bit and found this not so little thing in the corner of the garage part of the cottage. It was just sitting there empty, unloved and unwanted. My heart leaped with joy and I just knew I had to have it for the family room! After much explaining, just a bit of whining and a good dash of anger my sweetie loaded it up on the moving cart and hauled it in to the house, setting it in place, where it must now stay as I will NEVER get him to move it again! It is filled with VCR tapes, poetic justice, I'd say, both have outlast there service in this modern day. Not a few visitors wrinkle up their noses and wonder why when they see it standing there in its new corner, so happy to be able to breathe, so happy to see the light of each day and the twinkling lights that night brings. I'd explain but there really is no use, if you don't love it instantly, then you'll never really understand, a polite nod of OK Jill is about all I'll ever get so why bother, I'm used to it. Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder, I just behold it in some strange circumstances. Living in an old house, you get the sense that there is always something around the corner, a new discovery, a new option, a new perspective. Old houses and corners, now that's what I'm talking about!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ready, willing and able...

Do you know that Beatles' song that has the line in it...'there are places I remember- from my life, though some have changed'... this little piece of the past and her friend remind me of that song each time I see them. Which is often as they stand proudly guarding the dishwasher. In fact they are in the way of the dishwasher and they need to be moved in order to open the dishwasher door, but yet here they are in all of their glory reminding me to hum the song about remembering and changing and remembering, as I hand wash the morning dishes, the mid day dishes, and the evening dishes.
Both are gifts from a friend, they were her grandmother's and for some odd reason no one else in the group saw the beauty in them. Imagine! They make me happy, their functionality and lack of design thought actually leads to an aesthetic that is pleasing to those of us who share the memories of chats in the kitchen while resting upon a seat/stool such as this one. There would have been big bowls involved in the preperation of a meal, no freezer to oven short cuts for the original owners of this little piece of art. The idea wasn't to do it fast, it was to do it well. The person sitting on the stool would have taken all of the activity in, happily preparing themselves for whatever was to come from the mixing bowl, just knowing that it would be delicious. No cries of, 'not agian mom...can't we have McDonalds?' I own mixing bowls, I'm sure of it, they must be burried deep inside one of the cupboards in my newly painted kitchen, and as soon as I find the map I drew to remind me of where all of the kitchen things are, I'll get one out and whip something up, perferably after tieing a child onto the stool to complete the walk down memory lane.
Her friend there, the sweeper, is another memory, although I am not entirely sure the memory is mine, freaky how memories float around for us to grab and claim ownership. Little Elenor Rigby for me, anyway back to the sweeper. It works, it gives the user a great work out as a matter of fact. Back and forth, back and forth this modern marvel goes, and after about a dozen passes the crumb that has been heckling you from the floor is gone...it deserved it! Efficiency aside, there's nothing in our modern world that can hold a candle to this lovely. Swifters you say, give me break, sure they swifter their way through the house collecting the likes of dog hair, dust and yes crumbs, but come on, where's the benefit in that? Do you sweat, has your heart rate risen to an aerobic rhythm, do you see the results of a cleaning in your biceps. Then don't even try to convince me that the two are similar...you'll never win that argument.
These two precious pieces of yesterday are safe, no need for the Smithsonian to worry, I've got them covered. They remain in place, guarding the dishwasher, ready to serve at a moments notice. Now if I could only find that mixing bowl.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

I wish I could take you for a walk some day...

Walking in an old house neighborhood is unlike any other stroll. An old house neighborhood is alive. Its pulse can be felt as you make your way up and down the streets. Neighbors tend to their lawns, ladders are precariously perched on sloping driveways as others attempt to address badly behaving clapboards. Carports empty and fill as weekend errands are begun and completed. Joning all of the hustle and bustle that is the pulse of an historic neighborhood is the resperation of the living entity we call home. This breath of life is evident in the walkers whose path I might cross, with or without dogs, there's a friendly greeting, and nod of how do you do and have a good day. It can also be found in sounds coming from the bungalows that line the streets. There are the obligatory football game sounds, fans cheering or geering their teams, the familiar children sounds, either sweet with innocence or ripe with rath, and there are the other sounds, the musicain on the corner who is practicing the trumpet, the vocalist who is warming up her instrument before church on Sunday morning, the couple who is reliving their resent broadway trip and playing loudly the score from Rent. Just as with any other living being the deep breaths in and the exhalations out provide the needed oxygen for this organisim to live and to thrive. This old neighborhood with its red bricked streets, homes in varied states of repair, and collection of misfit neighbors is alive, just as alive as we are, an you only need to take a walk to see it for yourself. I hope some day you'll join us.