Thursday, March 9, 2017

Grove of Giants

I've posted many times before about Woodlands Cemetery, my local Victorian-era cemetery, walking destination and general happy place.

I went there this morning after a trip to the post office, both because it was spring (again, for what, maybe the third time in three weeks?) and because I knew there had been some changes.

A few weeks ago on Facebook, the cemetery announced that the Grove of Giants, which was a group of enormous English elm trees toward the back of the cemetery (and the actual last standing grove of English elms in the U.S.) had become infected with Dutch Elm disease.  They had attempted to treat the trees, but the infection had spread and the trees were becoming hazardous.

The sad decision was that the trees had to be cut down.  The second part of the decision (which I liked) was that they would leave as much of the trunk as would be safe, both as a haven for wildlife - of which the cemetery has much - and as a tribute to the massive presence those trees had on the grounds.

The remaining trunks have to be at least ten to fifteen feet high.  If you don't look straight up, you can almost pretend the trees are still there, except that the shade is gone.

Seeing the trunks scattered among the gravestones, they seem almost more monument than the man-made ones beneath.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Easter. Rising.

So, I made rabbits.

I've made them before, generally as part of the receiving-blanket-bear marathon, but this year I decided to pull a few out of my hat for Easter.

Because why not?

(That, and I had some appropriately colored cashmere sweaters to tear into).

This little guy here, high on life and Easter eggs, is ivory cashmere with gingham accents.  I think he's pretty cute.

The second set, seen recently as photo props in my post about the Precious, are a combination of a lime green cashmere and a cotton/lycra sweater in Easter-y rainbow stripes.  The ears and foot pads are bright pink jersey from my t-shirt scrap bag.

The colors look almost edible, don't they?

I'm dropping a few more bunnies off at one of the shops I deal with, but I'm leaving the ivory one and at least one of the green striped ones with me so I can put them in the Etsy shop.


Friday, March 3, 2017

Working. My Way.

So sometimes it feels like the universe is conspiring to get you to do a particular thing.  And if you're me, your first response is "nah."  You want me to do it, so not going to.  Even if it might be in my best interests.

Thankfully with maturity comes a speeding up of that process, where I go from "nah" to "maybe" to "well, this might actually be a good idea" in a much shorter time.

I was temping last week at one of the offices that I frequent, and one of the secretaries gave 3 weeks' notice.  Everyone immediately started joking that I would be back in 3 weeks to cover for her, and I went cold.  It's not that it isn't a nice enough firm; I've been in and out of there for 4 summers now, the people are fine and I can do the work, but (a) this girl's attorneys aren't among my favorites, (b) I really don't want to spend another solid summer there, working potentially 4-5 days a week because they're busy, and (c) they're just getting too used to me being their beck-and-call girl.

Cue the sound of rescue.  My phone buzzed and it was a text from my friend Dianne, at whose firm I have also temped (and we even worked there together back in the late 80s).  I've been back there several times on longterm assignments when her secretary was out on disability.  (Her secretary left over a year ago, but the firm rearranged staff and they weren't looking to hire then).  Well, her new secretary gave notice and did I want to work 3 days a week?

I texted back: "For how long?"

"Up to you," she responded.

I went in yesterday to spend a day with her current assistant just going over what things were new since my last visit (not many, other than an upgrade to the computer system).  They let me spend a day at the desk just poking around the system, learning the upgrades and setting up the computer the way it suited me.  I set up my voicemail and email messages, chose my desk location (the area with the most natural light) and got myself ready for next week, when I'll start doing M-W-F.

For how long?

Well, that's the issue.  Part of me really, really doesn't want to commit to even permanent part-time work, because, well, it feels like I'm giving in.  Going back to the grind.

But . . .

These people aren't a grind.  The work isn't that hard, and it's the kind of work I can do while planning out my sewing to do list as I type.  They buy my stuff.  They're flexible -- I can work whatever 3 days suits me, so if I have a weekend show, I can work Thursday instead of Friday.  I have sewing camps booked at my house this summer, and they're okay working around that.  The money is the best of all my temp jobs.

And there is that, the money.  The Etsy shops do okay (especially this past October-December with the crazy publicity from Babble and Scary Mommy).  Craft shows are even better.  But they're seasonal, they're uneven and often dependent on weather.  It would be nice to have a steady income which would be supplemented by the handmade business, so I could go back to putting money toward retirement.  I still have a good bit of savings, but I would like to feel a little more prepared.  I would also like to be able to consider vacations without having to do mental math that involved Peter, Paul and taking from both of them.

I decided I would give it a few weeks and think about it.  And then at lunch, I ran into one of the attorneys who works at my third temp job, the place that hires me every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and actually pays me to decorate their tree.  Apparently they're closing down shop at the end of the year and won't be needing my services.

So, job 1 - demand for more hours with less pleasant people; job 2 - disappearing.  Job 3 - pleasant people, good money, hours of my choice.

Not sure what there is left to decide, but I'm still thinking.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Precious

I read recently, either on Instagram or Facebook, that some Patternreview members were going to do their best in 2017 to sew up "the Precious."

For those who don't sew, or (somehow) don't stash, the Precious is the fabric that is so breathtaking, so perfect, so . . . unusable that we buy it, we pet it frequently, and we never cut into it because no project that we can think of is ever good enough for the Precious.

Yeah, I have a lot of Precious left.

But not as much as I did.

I bought this candy pink embroidered velvet at PR Weekend in 2007, at Metro Textiles.  I bought it, gods forgive me, to make jeans for myself.

Pink. Embroidered. Velvet. Jeans.

Even 10 years ago, I didn't have the ass for pink embroidered velvet jeans.  This is not being down on my body, just realistic.  (And even if I did have the correct ass for said jeans, in the intervening decade, my desire to make them or wear them has gone down exponentially).

So I turned the velvet into 4 toddler dresses to list in my Etsy shop for Easter.  They don't have a lot of embellishment because this fabric doesn't actually need anything more done to it.

And that's 2.5 yards of Precious gone.  I feel lighter.

Almost like I could fit into those jeans.  Almost.