You don't have to understand the world. You just have to find your own way around in it. - Albert Einstein

Saturday, 28 July 2012

of Winter Warmth and Feline Friends

The attentive follower may have noticed that things have been a little quiet lately here at The Maroon Diaries. I am very pleased to report that this lapse in blogging was not due to any health problems or techno-avoidance issues. Rather, I've actually been busy HAVING A LIFE. Yay for Lady Demelza!

The Maroon Household made a collective decision to go North for the winter. This is wonderful for me as it means staying with my darling goddessdaughter Littletree, whom I adore more than life itself. The climate is the wonderful thing for Mr. CJ. With many of his health problems being arthritis-related, July and August can be a pretty miserable time for him. Up here, he gets to hang out on a sunny verandah rather than huddle by the fire... while I complain about the unreasonable heat. Yes, I am very sad to be missing out on the winter... but I have lots of happy distractions here to make up for it.

I wish I could find a way to explain and express just how awesome and amazing Littletree is, but I just can't. She so often has me speechless. But here's a little something that might give you a hint.

Littletree would love to have a pet, of course, but such companions are not so practical for a frequently-travelling family such as hers. She has to make do with enjoying the attentions of the various pets that belong to other people in her community, and sometimes come to visit. That's how she came to develop such a bond with Boo-Boo the cat. I'm so glad Boo-Boo's mum had a camera on hand to capture this.

Kids will often do little play-acting and role-playing skits like this in their play time. But I really don't think I've ever seen anything quite like this. She absolutely becomes Molly the Cat, and sometimes she and Boo-Boo are perfect mirror images. I'm just astounded.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

of the Grey Zippered Slip, and What Became of It

I started off with this grey slip of a dress, found in the op shop for $1. It's a lovely soft grey marle, and I saw potential for a slip or nightdress worthy of the Maroon Wardrobe. Someone thought they were so cool and clever and punk when they decided to add that short black zip to the neckline with the working on the wrong side and the zip so prominently exposed. I beg to differ.

It also features this darling logo that indicates the size printed inside the back. Yes, it's printed on the inside, so no-one will see it, but I will know that it is there.

First, I dyed the whole thing maroon. Duh. My intention was then to replace the zip with a strip of lace, and to add to the length by adding some doilies at the hem. I hadn't gotten any further than intending such when I wore this piece, layered over a longer tiered skirt, on my trip to Fingal Head with Majikfaerie and Littletree. During our picnic lunch, Majikfaerie suddenly started a bit and said 'Did you put that zip on there yourself?' in something like disbelief. She had noticed how obviously wrong it was. Well you can rest assured now, dear Majikfaerie. I have resolved the situation and removed the zip. The most common form lace comes in in my house is the doilies that I collect in the op shops and then dye with the leftover dye when I dye clothes. So I just found one that was the right length and stitched it in place. Yes that is just a hint of see-through-y-ness along the slit in the fabric where the zip had been inserted. Ooh la la.

Handling the fabric while working on the insert, I realised how very fine and delicate this soft cotton knit is, and that it probably wouldn't hold up well to extra weight being added to the hem. So I abandoned the idea of the lacy doily hem and left well enough alone. And... voila!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

of the Work of Nimble Fingers

These beautiful works of art were formed by the patient fingers of a generation of anonymous women.

I have no evidence that all these pieces were created by women, but I'm confident that it's a reasonable guess. In another generation, I might not be so sure.

I have found these treasures in op shops everywhere, with an eye out always for the pretty, handcrafted details on a tablecloth, pillowslip or doily. I can't bear the sadness of the thought of these items being unwanted. I scoop them up and take them home and adore them, and honour the women who have created art with needle and thread since the beginning of human culture. I wonder who the woman who created each piece was, what she was thinking of and hoping for as she stitched. I wonder whether, when she folded the piece for the last time, she knew that she was doing so. I wonder whether she is still alive somewhere, or has passed on.

I wonder at the circumstances of the creation, the adventures, and the eventual assignation to the charity bins of each piece. Some are stained or damaged, but some are so pristine and precious. I haven't often paid more than a dollar for pieces like these. Maybe three for the larger tablecloths.

I'm often asked, 'What are you going to do with them?' To be honest, my plans as such for most of these pieces involve some degree of cutting them up, turning them maroon, and/or turning them into other things. Is this a terrible desecration? Or is it a wonderful way of recycling beautiful things into useful things? Does it make a difference if the piece is damaged or compromised to begin with? I really don't know.