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

39 comments:

  1. You both have great taste in clothing! I am loving all the florals right now.

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    1. Thanks, Mary! I'll take credit for the great taste though ... the insomniac's  taste is all in her mouth. ;)

      So many great florals out now ... I KNEW there was a reason I saved those old clothes! We sure don't have any good fabric stores left in Calgary where I could buy any, which in my case is probably a blessing.

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  2. First of all, ma'am, your hammer said to tell you that it does not appreciate the name-calling.

    Having said that, I don't see the problem. Not at all. Can both of you still breathe inside the cottage? Can you actually walk between things (even if you have to turn sideways every now and again)? Do you smile like an -interesting-fabric-loving psychopath ever time you see the piles of wonder? If you answer yes to these questions, you are fine. Seriously. Now, go and stroke that awesome skirt and jacket. I mean, I caressed it through the screen and it felt awesome.

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    1. P.S. I'm very intrigued by the layering bit. I might have to start experimenting. Hm... I wonder if my Muse would agree to write about clothes with the same passion she writes about books and hammers and teeth and bones.

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    2. Did my hammer resent the Evil Twin part or the part where I mentioned she's always looking over my shoulder and interrupting my train of thought? lol

      We can still walk and breathe (except in the Guest Bedroom/Sewing Room, but I do try to clean it up a bit when it's actually going to be inhabited by Guests ... so I've got until Christmas 2018 to deal with it - not a problem, really.) And yes - it still does make me smile, but also makes me worry a bit that I maaaaay have gone a bit overboard with this collection unless I start doing something useful with it. Soon-ish.

      I think if you could find the right clothes, your Muse would love to write about fashion! Magaly Fashion - I can see it in my head right now, can't you? Layers and bones and drippy bits - oooooh, yeah. I'm getting excited now! πŸ–€

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  3. Will be interesting to see what comes of this. You have exquisite taste. I would have died and gone to (well, not heaven exactly) if I had run across some of the pieces in your collection. The velvets and brocades... Years ago, I did the same and just this past year did a huge purge of clothing that I could not wear anymore. I did keep back the velvets and other odd items and they now live in a space bag in the closet. Perhaps the heirs....

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    1. It will be interesting, Debbi! I'm very excited - I haven't been this excited since I found out I was becoming a grandma!!! lol

      I haven't even shown you half the collection, really. There was a period I went through where I collected 1930's dressing gowns - you know, the satin ones? But they're all on their last legs and I suspect they'll just be used to make patterns from. I really need to get one or two more dressmaker dummies so I can make clothes in something other than a size 12! That's next on my Short List of things I need to save up for. That and getting a proper table to cut things out on so I'm not down on my hands and knees, which I'm far too old for. :P

      I bet you got rid of some beautiful things, too! I know I still regret purging my closet of some of my beautiful old clothes ... I was collecting vintage dresses before it was popular and got some smoking deals. You just can't find that stuff anymore. Sigh. Yes, hopefully the heirs will appreciate what you have left. πŸ–€

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  4. I really do not see the problem! Perfect style & taste in fabric is rare, I wish you both fun & luck with the draping class I loved watching this perfect art form on House of Z on Netflix ( I know you don't have it but it is an art form few can master)
    Tucson as in Oklahoma ? USA? Need more info on this! hahahaha!
    Only very special humans are gifted with 2 creative souls!
    xoxoxoDebi

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    1. You don't? Well, then I'm golden aren't I, Debi? lol

      House of Z? Oh darn, there's another good one I've missed. I'll have to check the local library - maybe it's on DVD and since we just splurged and bought a $4 Universal Remote, we can actually start watching DVD's again. Coming from the library right now is Salem - have you watched that one? Then I have to get through Game of Thrones, Penny Dreadful, The Frankenstein Chronicles, etc. Definitely not a Short List. ;)

      Tucson, Arizona - I'm excited to go somewhere I don't need a parka and boots! I'll tell the insomniac  you think she's creative. She'll like that - probably puff up like a damn peacock. πŸ–€

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  5. I've got to say, Ms. Insomniac, as a person who is slowly trying to clean out my parent's stuff from storage space, their desire to collect and hold on to things has become somewhat of a problem for us, the children. And now that my mother lives here, their possessions are costing her a fairly significant monthly fee. So, there's definitely a downside to collecting a lot of stuff. Lynne, perhaps you should talk to that Insomniac friend of yours! lol

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    1. Oh, I know, Nightwind, and I'm going through the basement a bit at a time and trying to do just that. I just finished reading a book called “They Left us Everything”. Eye opening, indeed. But the trick is to save things about their family's past they might be interested in and getting rid of the stuff they could care less about. So every time the offspring come to visit, I'm asking whether they like this or that, and am slowly weeding out the things that don't matter - like this particular collection. But having been on the other end of it, and a mother who thought she was doing me a favour by throwing everything out so I didn't have to deal with it, I'm cautious about getting rid of things before I find out whether it's wanted or not. It's a slow process - but hey, I've got plenty of time. lol πŸ–€

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    2. Sorting through things is very important as is holding on to the family's past. It is time consuming though. lol

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    1. Hahaha, it's easy to spot another like-minded individual when they proclaim one of my hoards is gorgeous! ;)

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  7. also, the sunlight streaming in through the windows is beautiful

    How about making up a nice old-fashioned Victorian crazy quilt (or 17) with all those fabrics?

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    1. Thank you, tess! I was actually considering that idea. I just recently thrifted (shhhhhhh) a beautiful Laura Ashley black floral tea dress that I think will be too much for anyone to wear (it's an awfully big pattern for most people to carry off), but the fabric is thick and it would make a lovely quilt! If it doesn't sell this summer, that's likely what I'll do with it. πŸ–€

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  8. Wow - you find some pretty cool garments at thrift stores! I love all the patterns and colors. Good luck with the draping and I cannot wait to see the finished items.

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    1. I do get lucky, but I sure have to sift through an awful lot of rubbish to find the treasures! I'm attracted to pattern and colour but definitely not on me. It's been so long since I've worn anything but black or grey, I feel super conspicuous when I do try.

      Thanks, Lady m! I'm hoping I get the hang (sorry) of draping better than I do flat pattern making. If not, I'll be making a trip to the thrift store to donate all these goodies. πŸ–€

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  9. As an incurable Collector and Human Magpie I cannot assist in your Intervention whatsoever... being Kindred Spirits I have a similar affliction and I do believe it to be incurable so previous efforts to intervene, even on my own behalf, have not had much impact. That said, every so often I curate the Collections and it is liberating to purge the Hoard of fantastic stuff every so often... you know, to make room for the New Hoard. *winks*

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    1. I sort of figured I couldn't count on you, Dawn! lol

      Right now I'm working my way through All the Things stored in the basement. If I can get that hoard thinned down just a tad, I'll feel much better. It's good to have a store now, as I'm sure you must find, too! Once they finally leave the house (and that's the hardest part for me - they sit by the front door FOREVER!) I don't miss them when they've gone on to a new home. I still get to hunt and gather and collect things, but they don't all have to come home and live with me! I should have done this years ago. πŸ–€

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  10. I'd be in deep, deep trouble if I came across Liberty of London anything at Thrift stores here, lucky you!

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    1. Oh, they're few and far between here too, Mistress Mayfair! And believe it or not, I actually put one back on the rack a few months ago - Liberty or not, I just didn't love the colours. I can (sometimes) be selective about my choices. lol πŸ–€

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  11. I have the same problem, but with cuddly toys! I just cannot resist them cute plushy things. And I have too much! And I want more! I don't even dare to imagine how my collection will lokk like in 40 years haha!:'D At least your collection is pretty and more of use!

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    1. The youngest went through that stage too, Lesthi! We found it helped to gather them up in a sealed box and put them in the basement, then a few years later take them right to the thrift store. DO NOT open the box before you donate them though, or you'll end up with every single one of them right back on your bed! lol πŸ–€

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    2. Haha I could never do that! I actually tried to put some of them in a plasticbag in our storage a while back, but then I missed them so was getting them back in one by one :P

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    3. It's just not the right time then! lol πŸ–€

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  12. "Silk velvet anything" 'Nough said.

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    1. Exactly, Ms. Misantropia! Usually that pile is substantially bigger, but I sold quite a few unaltered pieces at Christmas time. πŸ–€

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  13. what a delicious collection!
    I lived in Tucson up until four years ago..now in Phoenix.
    You're going to enjoy the weather..usually in the high 70's during the day..some high 80's too:)
    hugs to you..I hope you have a great time.

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    1. Thank you, Incipient Wings! You know you're enabling me when you call the hoard delightful, right? ;)

      I'm looking forward to the break from the snow ... 70's would be nice, although I'm not sure I could take 80's. Too drastic a change in too short a time! πŸ–€

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  14. The Tucson class sounds very promising! Have fun and enjoy that warm weather too! My Rare One has become an avid thrifter recently. Every week she makes the rounds of her favourite thrift stores in Edmonton and St. Albert. She calls it "working her trapline."

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    1. I'm hoping so, but if nothing else it'll be a marvelous break from this snow! I didn't make it up for the Trends show earlier this month but I'd like to come up for the Witches Market in mid-April (depending on how much the insomniac  leaves in our bank account after this Tucson trip). If I do, maybe your Rare One will share the location of her traplines with me? Although I imagine that might be a closely guarded secret. πŸ–€

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  15. I'm guilty of hoarding everything and anything, especially with thrift stores and carboot sales. I must admit I getting much better now so understand I only have so much room in the house. I tend to find every so often I do increadle clean out. I start again. One saving grace is my tastes don't change often I've started to use prodigious loft I don't want over use as an excuse for hoarding. Good look on your upcycling your clothes and draping class sounds amazing.

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    1. I thought I'd be better with not collecting so much stuff after I had to pack it up and move it four years ago. Apparently not! Once a collector, always a collector, I guess. lol

      My tastes really haven't changed over the years either, but I'm desperately trying to eliminate as many things as I bring into the house - balance the incoming and outgoing so it's balanced. Sort of. That's my theory anyways. ;)

      Thanks! Other than the flight, I'm really looking forward to it next week! πŸ–€

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