Tuesday, August 25, 2009

the domesticity roundup

first canning
oh, nothing
just pitting cherries
just sitting
and pitting
because I'm a canner
i can things
i can can things
i can
i can
i can
and i do

My cousins brought us a bunch of Flathead cherries they'd picked at an orchard. The orchard dwellers were begging regular citizens to come pick before a huge storm ruined the cherries. So, I washed, pitted, and chopped enough cherries to make six (6) jars of syrup and three (3) jars of jam. I read the hot bath canning directions thirty-seven (37) times. I didn't follow the directions precisely, because that really weirds me out. Where's the creativity when you do that? Where's the love? Not in my jars of cherries, obviously, because none of it turned out thick enough. The jam is more like syrup, and the syrup is simply watery cherry bits. Nonetheless, I was proud. It took me an entire day to do this. And so, weeks later, I am still proud.

I had nine (9) jars sitting on my counter, but by now I've sent one (1) home with my sister and one (1) with Joanna and one (1) with Nikki. "There you go now, deary. Take a jar of my cherry syrup, which can be stored in the cupboard and used at a later date, because I canned it and those cherries are now 'put up,' as we canners like to say." When I feel like a dope, it's very good therapy to nonchalantly walk past my counter and notice those jars out of the corner of my eyes. And revel in knowing that I am a real home-maker pretty much.

I love the idea of domesticity. But I really have to work at it. I like doing tasks in and around and outside the house. But I am slow. So I get panicky and start going so speedily I'm not even remotely living in the moment. I'm concerned only about finishing this task so that I can get onto the next one and be the perfect maker of homes.

Not every part of this gig is second nature, you know. It's thirty-seventh nature to remember to water the plants (see Tamie's wonderful blog about forgetting to water plants and, similarly, your own soul) and it's four-hundred-and-eleventh nature to plan meals a couple of days in advance. I never gave a lick about this stuff until I got out on my own. Then I thought, dang, I should've actually watched my mom make gravy. We always had chores growing up: cleaning the house, setting the table for meals, folding laundry, whatever. I also did a little sewing by hand. Why, in second-ish grade I made a jean purse with my name stitched onto it in bright red thread. But I didn't strive to grow in any of those areas until well into adulthood. So these are victories, people. Very big victories.

One day soon I am going to take a sewing class and learn the proper ways of this craft. But I have a feeling it'll take a lot of discipline for me when the teacher's opening line is not, "Welcome, folks! How's about we start right in with sewing? Forget all this boring orientation stuff and learning good methodology. Just go for it, and you'll probably get a decent product!" With that said, here are 3 sewing projects as of late. I will stress that for a person like me who hates following directions, you win some and you lose some.

  • 1. Okay, let's start with a clear win. This is a onesie that I cut the bottom off of and sewed a miniskirt onto. Ha ha ha. Who would call this a clear win? I would. That tells you something about my standards. Anyway, it's actually quite useful, and I plan to make more. Pants are easier for EC than sleepers, and leggings are even easier, which she could totally wear with this dress. Why didn't I just sew a whole dress from scratch? Oh, because the top half of a human body is very complex. And I don't read patterns yet. Now, a worm I could sew a dress for.

The following photographs, especially #3, are funny if you imagine that she knows she's modeling.

  • 2. This one is pretty okay. It is a boundary thingy bob. I asked Jason to make me a rectangle out of PVC pipe of dimensions that work for one side of Zoralee's sleeping pad, though we don't really use it for that. I purchased netting at the fabric store and used scrap fabric for the edges. We move it around the house, depending on where we want to keep her from. It's bulky for up and down the stairs, and I could probably pick up an adjustable gate at a garage sale for like $3. Still. We're having fun with PVC pipe creations these days. So I'll call this a weird win.

  • 3. And now for the total bomb. These were going to be very cute. Well, they are very cute; they're just not functional. They are piddle pads. You lay a baby down on one to change their diaper. They are water-resistant (practically water-proof) on the bottom, because I sewed a thick, tightly weaved cotton layer onto the bottom. Problem: the top layer is polar fleece and doesn't take in water. I was thinking softness, not soaky soaky. They repel water. If the baby does piddle, it will run for the low points, namely, wherever his body is pushing down. It will soak his clothes, his skin, his soul. Or else it'll run off the edges of the piddle pad and onto your bed or couch. So, if anybody has ideas of what to do with them, I'm up.

Thank you.

And how do you like the idea of emboldening the first line of each paragraph? I got that from Don Miller's blog. Otherwise, all this text just runs together and is difficult to read.

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