And three more before I turn in

Earrings. My old stand-by.


Leafy — With handmade beads by Teenie Beads (Link in previous post.)
Froggie went a-courtin’

The dry spell appears to be over

I’m exercising cautious optimism about this, but today I not only cleaned around here, I answered long-neglected email and actually made three pins! As I have a convention coming up in September, and am counting on making a bit of money there, this is A Good Thing.

Keep your fingers crossed for me that the creativity is coming back. I hate not feeling able to work. At least when I was writing, I could spew out words without fear of ruining anything more than a piece of paper or some temporary disk space. But when you’re constructing things like this, you don’t get a lot of chances to get it right. I did a few sketches, but in the end, nothing comes close to playing with the bits and pieces as if they were part of a jigsaw puzzle, turning them, stacking them, moving them around until you begin to get the feel of the thing. And suddenly there’s a moment when you know it’s time to start making the commitment, that the jigsaw method isn’t going to do any more for you. That’s both exhilarating and frightening.

And in the end, it’s a wonderful feeling to look at the finished product and think “I made that, and it works.” I’m really rather happy tonight.

Been cleaning in here

I was going through an old notebook prior to archiving it, and found a poem I’d written about five years ago, when my mother’s dementia had really begun to affect our lives.

My mother lives in another country now
With new friends and a new family.
There is one train in,
None out.
I stand at a border I cannot cross
And watch her go about her life.
Sometimes I wave to her.
Then she nods politely
And moves on.

There’s a lot to be said for serial disaster

Mainly, that it’s not mass disaster. You know, when everything hits you at once. At least with the serial sort you just might get a few minutes to breathe in between bouts of “Oh NOES!”

PIC-0007 This week’s problem: My poor cat who had a seizure a month ago, now has what his vet called the biggest yeast infection he’d ever seen in a cat. It’s in his left ear and was obviously painful because while the vet pulled gunk out to test, he was growling and hissing. And that was the easy part. The treatment part… that was interesting. Loud. My 12 lb cat moved the examining table a couple of feet while being held down by two people, and the sound was not unlike all the damned souls in hell being told that they’re not going to be getting those lovely cool drinks after all. Kind of a cross between agony and fury.

Of course cats usually overstate things. By the time we got home he wanted some of the treats the vet had sent along by way of apology. That’s the bag they were in he’s sitting on. He didn’t even bother looking sad and ill. And he’s much, much better today.

Between that, ongoing problems with my tenants’ a/c unit that got fried in the flood, the near cancellation of my fire insurance, and finding out that my stylist is on vacation, just as I most need a haircut, it has not been the best week. I wish I had the desire to make something other than lunch.

Oh yeah, summer’s here

Sweater coat on dress form It’s in the low 90s this afternoon,which is actually a far cry from the forecast 98-100 degree range we were fearing. It was hot yesterday, too, but the humidity was so low, it was only really noticeable in the sun which was brutal. However, I decided to stay in today and dither around with my inspiration notebook since I found a stack of wonderful inspirations in the past week. And in the process, I got inspired to take a few photos.

To the left, a scrumbled sweater-coat I’m working on. I finally managed to get myself a dressmaker’s dummy, and it’s making a lot of difference to how I’m approaching the project. I actually look forward to putting the pieces together instead of dreading it. In case anyone is in the market for one of these dummies, or any sort of display item, let me recommend eBiz Displays. They’re very conscientious, and so nice to work with that I look forward to ordering from them because I just know it’ll be handled well. they supplied me with my mannequin heads, too, and various other display items. Their prices are excellent and the product is, too.

Mannequin Heads
Sweater coat in progress

Strawberry ice cream
Mostly, though, I’ve been putting my feet up and enjoying some of the nicer things about summer. I don’t know why it is that strawberry ice cream reminds me of summer in a way no other flavor can. All I know is that it does and I love it, especially with fresh berries. Lovely.

I never meant to be so completely out of touch.

Below: My great-great-great grandmother, Lucy
Osgood. 1783-1873

But it seems that life has other ideas, among which the issues I mentioned in my last post, plus a load of other problems and surprises.
About ten days ago, Chicago got hit with some severe storms. On Tuesday while Mike was scraping all the saltpeter and old paint off the wall around my bedroom window (I think that may be what gave Caddy the seizure; I caught him licking at it.) we were hit with something like four inches of rain in about forty minutes. The force of the water coming through the sewer behind my building blew the manhole cover off, and backed all that water up into the antique pipe which carried it out of my house. Pipe burst, water poured in, brand new sump pump chugged away but couldn’t begin to cope. Mike heard noise in the basement and went down to find it knee deep in water with more just gushing in all the time.

I consider myself fortunate to have had him working upstairs at the time because he went right out and got an industrial strength pump, and cleared the basement that night. Unfortunately and in spite of a very thorough cleaning last summer, a lot of things ended up under water, including the two old family cedar chests that held a huge amount of memorabilia. My mother’s wedding dress, a lovely, simple 30s spill of white silk was soaked, and the dye from around the buttons is now imprinted in several spots on the dress. The family Bible is in my freezer waiting until I have a couple of hours to try to dry it out. (Freezing inhibits mold growth. The books that I had no room to freeze are now covered in mold and probably can’t be saved.)

I brought up three baskets of things found at the bottom of the two trunks. Most turned out to be boxes of photos which began to stick together as they dried, so I was racing through the job, trying to separate them — hundreds of them — and find places to let them dry.

In spite of how much was lost, I found I did enjoy the process of sorting these things. I found a good deal of family stuff from my father’s side, including his grandfather’s citizenship papers, wherein he formally renounces all allegiance to the Kaiser! Things like that, and like the stacks of photos, tintypes and daguerreotypes have provoked me to go looking for more information on my ancestors. I appear to have relatives who are descended from royalty, but my line? Healthy and obscure. Still it’s been fun. And by way of apology for having been away for so long, I’m going to post some of the photos. Enjoy.

Right: A daguerreotype of John and Walter Wilson, abt. 1850
Below: Walter Wilson, abt. 1900 He was my great-grandfather

Left: A tintype of my grandmother, Mary Belle Wilson with what appears to be a group of school friends.

Right: My parents in the late 30s. They’d been married for a year or two. I can tell this because they’d both put on the requisite twenty or so pounds that newly marrieds so often do.