The Little Black Dress Adventure

I love cake but I have a visceral connection to fabric. I fell in love with it so long ago that I can’t pinpoint when it happened. I cannot remember it not being there. I remember clearly making my first Little Black Dress (double velvet off the shoulder softer than kittens and very fitted).

I’m heading into dangerous waters with the Costume Museum but I cannot resist because of all of the fabric that they’re hiding away in cold dark rooms for its own safety. I can hear the silk whispering to me, the consonants of corduroy and the full glottal stop of canvas.

I was invited to assist with the preparations for an exhibit. I would have fetched water and manned a clipboard and been thrilled to look but instead… White gloves on, I open flat boxes, fold back layers of acid free paper. It doesn’t smell dusty or musty, it smells like clean laundry, like someone folded it into a drawer a century ago and I’ve pulled it out now.

In 1927, the acid etching on the sheer chiffon circled the hips of a flapper. She would have drawn some second looks with the nude lining.

Much more modest in 1922, almost Edwardian. Beautiful jet beads are hidden in the skirt, little sparkles.

This would be for a winter event with sequins and fur. 1909 was a happening year if the flashes of fuchsia are any indication.

These clothes once held warm and vital bodies. These garments took them to banquets and dances and parties. These dresses  were shown off and admired and cherished. And this fabric survived for me to cherish and admire again.

The Mother of All Artist Dates

I had to drive to Saskatoon (couldn’t get out of it). It looked like I would have to take the bus back but, at the last minute, I had a rescuer. A rescuer with wheels who was willing to race to Saskatoon bearing a tent, a campstove and a back roads map.

The first two days feel like a blur, there were some sights to see and some scenes in sight. Goldilocks camping, the first site too close, the second too loud, the third… Oh, the third.

Fairy Sign pointing to a dark, cool grove under the bridge. Stones that measure in millimeters are much too fine to be the work of trolls.

I Am A Food Pornographer…

…and I’m okay with that.

I’m playing freely with my iPhone, cropping and zooming like I actually know what I’m doing. I get to play with my food and make it look messy because doesn’t it also make it look luscious? I’m letting my Artist Child play with my camera and it makes her very happy.

The visuals play tricks with my stomach and I crave what I’ve captured even if I’ve eaten my fill. The chocolate cherry croissant, I couldn’t resist it long enough to snap a picture: the one that got away.

My Relationship With Berries Is Getting Weird…

…I spent yesterday morning bent over in the strawberry bushes and this morning on my knees in front of the raspberries.

I did something yesterday that I’ve never been able to do. I took a giant, overflowing handful of fresh raspberries, juicy enough to stain my hands. I shoved the whole thing in my mouth, every last berry. Every taste bud leaped into the fray and with my eyes closed and the sunlight burning the backs of my arms, with the brim of my hat flipping up and down and playing with the breeze, with highway traffic roaring by, with absolutely nowhere that I had to be other than where I was, I was exactly the person that I am meant to be.

I Haven’t Finished A Thing…

…other than English muffins. I did make the jam on it though from Saskatoons that I bought at Le Marche St. Norbert (only this really awesome farmers’ market that I hope to set up at someday).  I wandered freely with my gardening clothes on and an ice cream bucket of berries, taking surreptitious nibbles of juicy treasure, crunching the little pits with my front teeth.

Serious Accomplishment This

I mentioned the fear of painting.  Well, I don’t know if I would still call it that but it’s still definitely a hesitation.  Taking that into account, THIS is a serious accomplishment for me.  What you are looking at is an empty tube of Cadmium Yellow Pale Hue. I used it all. I actually painted things with it.

This is one of the things that I painted.

I Think My Kitchen Was Bored

Seriously. I’ve had one hell of a time keeping my kitchen clean for the past few weeks. Nothing disgusting but the spice jars had developed a tendency to fling themselves at me as I walked by. Things like that.  Oddly enough, within a few hours of the huge canning derby (no helmet required) the place was just this side of spotless.

Nothing getting flung at me, dishes running through like a dream. My feet weren’t sticking to the floor (hey, I work with sugar a lot. It happens). And there was a serious amount of jam running through.

I’m hoping that I sleep like a rock. Yesterday was better but exhaustion always trumps Furies. I didn’t paint or sew today though.

I Didn’t Get It

I didn’t get the job that I interviewed for on Monday. I cried a little, funny for a job that I didn’t know existed until a relatively few days ago. I did fall in love with the place, love at first sight in its own way.

I won’t have the freedom to poke into every corner at will. I won’t be able to creep myself out with scary noises in an empty brick building.

So while I’m trying to console the part of me that’s taking it personally, I am also trying to gently remind myself that it was a personally risky job for me as they were looking for someone to care for it as they did and that usually means 18 hour workdays for me. I tell myself that, of course, I’m not unemployable and that something will come along that doesn’t make me feel like I’m choking.

And I go do the dishes.  I’m looking for comfort in an odd place but I’ve found it there before…

Besides, even if I don’t find comfort, at least I can find my sink.

My Wormy Friends

I’ve dreamed about having a space to grow for as long as I’ve been in this apartment.  The apartment on Beverly Street wasn’t great but it did have a lot of light. Giant, south and east facing windows on the third floor, just above the tops of the trees.  I could grow things there and sometimes actually did.  I wasted a lot of sunlight now that I think of it.  The food I could have been eating.

I put my name in last fall for a community plot with the West Broadway Development Corporation and waited with trepidation to see if someone would abandon their plot.  Honestly, I didn’t even know which of the four community gardens in the immediate four square blocks WBDC managed.  I was willing to haul water in buckets down the street if I needed to, early morning pilgrimages. They’ve given me care and control of plot 22 in the appropriately named Spirit Park, spitting distance from my back door.

Today I broke ground, curious phrase that.  In my blissful enthusiasm, I don’t care if it’s been raining for two days and the ground was thick and wet like clay. I dig deep into the ground at the base of the entrenched yellow bastards (that I secretly love, especially delivered in a little fist and kept overnight in a cut glass juice glass on the window sill above the sink.  Discarded in the morning before anyone sees that they’ve no longer miniature suns and butter detectors).  I dig deep, stabbing at the roots, loosening the clumps and wiggling it free.

A summer’s worth of compost free for the taking.  I worked four bags of it into the soil with a giant fork.  Gardening tools always look like murder weapons to me but I grew up with Agatha Christie.  I pull a recognizable corn cob from one of the bags and throw it back into the bins. Why take the chance really?

I am shocked at the number of worms.  I wonder if I’m disturbing an entire society.  Have I split families with my random tossing of earthworms to the other side of the box?  Worms are good though.  Worms will turn my garden into a lush and productive little gem if I keep them happy.  Happy worms.  Happy ladybugs as well.  One crawling on my bag of gardening tools is an auspicious beginning.  A second one crawling in the void left by the last giant cluster of yellow bastards (love) is a blessing. I anthropomorphize because I can.

A fresh haircut. A blank page. A new pair of shoes. I don’t know how it’s going to grow out yet.  I can’t see if the page will be the doodle that turns into a masterpiece or just a grocery list.

Right now I have visions of tomatoes and peppers, cucumbers, Grandma Einck’s Dill and yellow beans as far as the eye can see just so I can watch them climb. I can’t wait to get my grubbies into it.