Monday, February 26, 2018

It's Getting a Little Crowded in the Cottage

Hello. My name is the insomniac  and I have a problem ... *

It's no dirty little secret I'm a Collector; that fact has been shared numerous times over the years here in this very blog. It would seem those writings, primarily devoted to collecting, thrifting and their logical end result (hoarding) would have likely clued you in without my even having to mention it.

But in addition to the relatively commonplace items most normal people collect - skulls, taxidermy, antiques, books, needlework, bones, moss, sticks, more skulls (pretty much anything discovered on the forest floor, actually), I also collect other ... Things. Things that have never before been publicly shared that I'm revealing here today (but only because Lynne said I had to) in an attempt to be completely transparent, to take responsibility for my actions and, perhaps, to finally seek out the help some may feel I so desperately need. (Hahaha! As if.)

Barely the tip of the proverbial iceberg ...

Even the Lady of Shalott was forced to look away in horror.

These ... Things (now prominently displayed on our Dining Room Table in someone's misguided effort to hold me accountable) basically boil down to anything I deem “salvageable” in the thrift store clothing aisles. I cannot - for the life of me - bring myself to pass them by when frequenting our favourite thrift shops on Senior's Day, no matter how horrific the garment itself might be. (I always tell Lynne we're only going in for a browse, just to get her inside. Needs must. You understand, I'm sure.)

Although the acquisitions that follow are certainly not all-inclusive by any stretch, Lynne says this public acknowledgement of my little “problem” is already well on its way to becoming too embarrassing to post. So we'll call this sampling my Short List of  Things That Cannot be Left Behind ...

Anything made from pure wool - especially  if it was made in Scotland
or it's Rundholz and I only paid five bucks for it ...

Silk Velvet Anything

1970's Rayon Dresses

Unusual Cardigans

Anything Patterned

Provided they're not synthetic fabrics ... I'll admit I'm a bit of a snob that way.

Liberty of London Prints & Cotton Velveteens

Patterned Cotton Corduroys

Any ditsy florals on a black background. Except for that ditsy grey one.
That was purchased when we were in our 20's and
worn so often the buttons disintegrated.

Hasn't fit in 40 years yet still it hangs in our closet.
Shocking, isn't it? Or perhaps not.

Brocades, Damasks, Fake Damasks

Pure wool sweaters, even when stained or full of moth holes.

Those are in a separate bin in the basement,
having already been felted to make ... something or other. At some point.

Two personal dresses from 30-some years ago.

We wouldn't wear them now, obviously - they're not black.
Nor would they fit. Either of us.

Given the size of this collection, the accumulation of which spans well over forty years, it's obvious some sort of intervention was needed. And since family and friends are already leery of getting between me and whatever I happen to be fanatically collecting at any given moment, Lynne took it upon herself to intervene on my behalf. Since January, the Pension Cheques have been squirreled away and, rather than using them for what I, personally, feel is their intended purpose of further expanding the hoard in the basement, they have been put towards an Upcycling/Draping Class in Tucson with Christine Mayer of the MAYER. Peace Collection. Following, a brief summary of the upcoming class:

Working directly onto a dress form, Berlin-based Christine Mayer teaches how to drape and stitch artfully; creating original garments with a second-skin fit. Her unique draping style opens new perspectives and shapes of recycled parts which wouldn’t be conceivable by conventional cutting development.

This fresh and liberating way of making clothes brings with it a new set of rules having more in common with sculpting than traditional dress making. Christine carefully identifies and guides each participant’s individual potential 
(I hope she realizes there's two of us coming), and helps each participant find a new expression in their own creative work.

Lynne is quite excited about finally learning how to drape properly. Having taken a number of flat pattern drafting classes in the past, we've both concluded it's far too Left-Brain oriented for her, and we're hoping draping proves a better “fit”. Sorry. Couldn't resist.

After endless internal debates between us, three combinations were chosen. Not that we harbour any delusions of completing all three at a three-day course, but rather to afford a few options in the event things don't go as well as hoped.

Number One: A silk skirt some associate at some boutique talked us into purchasing (that was completely wrong for our figure) plus a recently thrifted H&M jacket. My superpower in life seems to consist of an eidetic memory with regard to colour - as in, OMG that H&M jacket will go perfectly with that burgundy Ronen Chen skirt we were coerced into buying eight years ago. Sadly, that very same eidetic memory doesn't seem to transfer into any other area of our collective lives where it might come in handy - as in, what exactly was on that grocery list we left on the kitchen table, where did we last lay down our phone, and where are our car keys, our paint brush or that stupid hammer?


Number Two: This lovely silk shirt, Made in Italy, which already had the pocket removed to make a tarot bag for a friend decades ago.


Number Three: Oh, fine. These next two items didn't come from the basement and were purchased mere weeks ago. But just look at that shirt fabric ... the wrong side is every bit as interesting as the right side! Not to mention that, according to the label, it's made from not just 100% Cotton but 100% Fine Cotton!! And that sweater - a cotton/cashmere blend that was a perfect match!!! How could I resist? No, seriously. How could I?

DAMN Fine Cotton ...

By now, astute readers will have already recognized how seriously flawed this intervention and class registration scheme is. None of the items on my Short List are black and therefore unlikely to end up in our closet (which is becoming more and more like a Black Hole every day). So rather than having neatly folded tubs of usable clothing in the basement, we'll now have to stare at even more projects in the Sewing/Guest Room as Lynne works her way through this new pile along with everything else she has on her  project Short List ... paint and recover her old rocking chair for the new grandchild; create a crow's foot baby mobile (that one's my idea)  make a diaper bag, baby quilt, some bibs and burp cloths; take apart and redo the one Dark Mori baby outfit she's actually completed thus far 'cause she's pretty sure the online pattern was garbage and won't fit over the infant's head without a lot of tears; finish the Cowichan sweater for the long suffering spouse, etc. And these are just the items in an active state of being worked on, and don't even include the piles yet to be started.

So if the plan doesn't address our  alleged storage issues, what exactly will become of all these creations you might be wondering? Obviously, Lynne hasn't really given that much thought as of yet, but I'm fairly confident something will come to me at 2:00 a.m. one night when I'm having difficulty sleeping. I believe you can count on that.

Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams. Goodnight, my pretties.

IA


* Lynne insisted I author this post, even though we originally thought she should write it since she's the one attending the class. But she maintains that if it weren't for me  and my  compulsion to collect All the Things, we'd never have found ourselves in this predicament to begin with. I believe she's equally at fault, but hey - that's my  opinion. Anyway, I'm tagging along in case there's a few decent thrift stores in Tucson. I know there's some really good crystal stores down there. Trust me. I've already checked.

Grudgingly Signed, the insomniac

Since the inception of this blog, I've found it's served me well to have an Evil Twin on whom I can blame my strange compulsions and eccentricities - who in their right mind wants to admit to being the one responsible for All the Things I've shared here since we first started writing together back in 2012? And though I welcome the creative presence of the insomniac  in my life, it does get a little crowded here in the cottage sometimes (I'm not just referring to her  collections, either). I can well imagine how confusing it is for our readers too, and have recently tried blogging without her looking over my shoulder and interrupting every five seconds - but it would seem she has no plans to leave me any time soon. We're both really sorry about that.

Somewhat Facetiously Signed, Lynne

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Welcome Little Baby ... Bat

After many MANY years of hearing from both the offspring, “Neither of us have any intentions of making you a grandmother. We hate children. It's never gonna happen, so don't bother getting your hopes up.” can you even begin to imagine one's surprise and delight upon receiving the glorious news that is exactly what she's going to become this spring.

As you can well imagine, upon hearing that announcement there was a flurry of activity here in the Little Gothic Cottage. Knitting was started. Thrifting was begun. And the newly appointed grandma started digging through the bowels of the basement to find all those baby items she'd so diligently washed, mended, sorted into plastic bins for each of her offspring and lovingly packed away when we decided to move from the city. Just in case. Because she vaguely remembers saying to her own Sainted Mother many MANY years ago, “Neither of us have any intentions of making you a grandmother. We hate children. It's never gonna happen, so don't bother getting your hopes up.” And she stuck firmly to that belief right up until the age of thirty-three; whereupon she decided that IF she was ever going to have children she'd probably best start thinking about it soon and promptly conceived a few days later. So truthfully, it wasn't all that surprising to get the news from the youngest - plus she'd already dreamt about it two weeks previously anyway.

In between knitting baby blankets, the grandma-to-be also started Googling for suitable layette items ... vampire baby clothes, gothic baby toys, dark mori baby attire, etc. Have you ever Googled any of those phrases yourself? No? The insomniac's  the only one then? Well, believe her when she says the results are nothing short of extremely disappointing.

Oh to be sure, there were plenty of black onesies with skulls, but when exactly did skulls become so mainstream on baby clothing? As far as vampire baby attire ... who in their right mind wants to saddle a child (or her mother) with either of these? Distasteful, at best.

We all know it happens.
No need to advertise the fact.

Sorry. Not on this grandchild.

And should you Google the phrase dark mori baby clothing (go ahead - just try it) why, there isn't a single picture of even one baby in the resulting images. WTH Google?

No matter where one tried to display the thus far accumulated baby items in the LGC, it all looked so terribly bright. Cheery, even. More importantly, it just didn't fit with grandma's aesthetic. Obviously, something must be done.

Oh sure, it's all Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice,
but one has to wonder where are all the Snakes and Snails
and Puppy Dog Tails Eyes of Newt?

So, as per usual, the insomniac has decided her newest all-consuming obsession in life is to come up with some ideas for dressing her granddaughter in a suitably dark, and yet tasteful, manner. There's just nothing quite so exciting as an all-consuming obsession, is there?

After all, what are grandmothers for besides teaching their grandchild how to bake delightful cookies, introducing her to our immediate neighbours, showing her which log the Faeries live under, and pointing out which mushrooms to avoid in the Spooky Forest ... although one might err on the side of caution for the latter and simply tell the child ALL the mushrooms are poisonous and not to eat ANYTHING from the forest. Just in case.

Totally toxic. Or maybe not.

Erring on the side of caution is probably the wisest choice here,
considering one's ignorance on the subject of mushroom toxicity ...

A fairly frequent neighbour, whom we are always happy to see.

Unlike some.

Not just hazarding a guess that Faeries live here. They've been SEEN.

(Don't kid yourself. The insomniac  totally knows which
mushrooms in the forest are the good ones ...)

Although she was given free reign (sort of) by the youngest as to what she was okay with grandma making for the new babe and assured her mother she'd let her know when she'd “gone too far”, we're all very aware this grandma wouldn't know the meaning of the phrase until she'd gone waaaay past wherever that particular line is drawn. Likely she wouldn't figure it out until threatened with Supervised Visits or, worse still, greeted at the door by someone with a restraining order in their hands. (Which probably means a real crow's foot baby mobile is out of the question, right? Yeah, thought so. Just checking.)

One feels a mobile made from all these elements would be
nothing short of a best seller ... No?

This obsession also seems like it might prove to be an excellent source for new blogging material, plus will hopefully placate one's psychic. Every visit, she mentions the Spirit Guides are insisting the insomniac  write a book. Not to second-guess one's Spirit Guides or anything, but one feels that what they're actually insisting is that she resurrect this blog. Again - not to disrepect the SG's opinions, who are far more aware of what the insomniac  should be doing with her life than she - but the idea of a book seems almost ludicrous. Whatever would she write about ... how to perfect the ever-so-useful lost art of hand-feeding birds? How to bake cookies unfit for human consumption? How to decorate one's home in the oh-so-popular Witchy Gothic Dark Mori Cottage Style? How to design and sew clothes for baby vampires? Such a book - should it ever be written - would defy even the best efforts of any bookstore associate to determine what category it should be filed under. Should such a book ever be written.

But for the time being, until a suitable topic for said book presents itself, if you follow the insomniac  on Instagram she may occasionally post a picture of her latest “creation” bearing the single hashtag #hasgrandmagonetoofar. This is a signal for you, dear readers, to let her know (preferably before the package goes in the mail) whether or not the item in question should be sent and will hopefully save her from the embarrassment of that restraining order. And by the bye, how is it even possible that hashtag has never been used before? The insomniac's  the only one then? Typical.

Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams ... unless you're a brand new mother, in which case prepare yourself for a lifetime of sleeplessness. How else did you think the insomniac became the insomniac? As they say, payback is a bitch.

Goodnight, my pretties.

IA