Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Textile Tuesdays : #29 - Buttons!

This humble item goes unnoticed and taken for granted by some designers and consumers. But there was a moment in history (around the middle of the 13th century) when someone thought "I have an idea!" and they designed the button as we know it. Actually, buttons have been around since the Bronze age, but they were strictly decorative. The big idea was actually, the buttonhole! Before that, people used ties, toggles, and pins to fix and fasten clothing. They became mass produced during the industrial revolution and the rest is history...

Buttons can be made of many wonderful, or not so wonderful, materials - everything from diamonds to plastic, fabric to coconut shells. They can blend with the garment or stand out. Whatever the desired look, the quality of the garment and the skill of the designer can be revealed in the buttons chosen.

Anyone interested in buttons can find whole books written on the subject (on Amazon).

The photos at the top are all from etsy sellers.
Pine buttons from Woods of Narnia
Glass buttons from Treasure Booth
Clay buttons from Ruth Robinson Ceramics

Monday, August 23, 2010

Life in a Southwestern Mountain Town #11 Maintenance

Well, we had a fabulous adventure traveling around Europe and the UK during the month of July. But now it is time to get back to the work of our normal, day-to-day lives in our small mountain town. After a couple of weeks of sluggish, jet-lagged readjustment, things are getting back on track. Even now though, there are two tracks - everyday life, and getting ready for our move to Sydney.

The girls are back at school, David is back in his office, and I am almost back at designing and sewing. We all had to readjust our brains from constant external stimulation to quiet, independent, self-directed, motivation. There is just not that much happening in a small town.

It is a beautiful time of year - thunder storms, wild sunflowers, near perfect temperatures, skunks and humming birds all around - but the suburban sprawl and car culture cuts into that beauty. I did take my daughters up the mountain to a beautiful vista and hike in the aspen trees and we were soothed by the knowledge that we live in this peaceful, beautiful place. We went to the local groovy, hipster cafe and reminded ourselves that not all Arizonans are fear driven, racist, gluttons (I saw a bumper sticker the other day on a big huge pickup that said "Earth First - we'll mine and clearcut the rest of the universe when we get done here".)

I love my friends and the good people I have met and I will miss them when I have moved away. But I am ready to start a new phase of my life. At lease I am emotionally ready. Logistically, I am not nearly ready.

I have been working on de-cluttering and organizing my stuff since last year! and I am still not done!! I am getting closer though. The goal is to have whatever we are not taking with us to Australia or whatever we won't need to live on for the next 6 months, gone by the first of September. We also have to have all repairs and maintenance done by then. There seems to be a short list of tasks, but it is always more work than anticipated. The paint touch ups, the weeding, the detailed cleaning, etc. all take more time and are more exhausting than I expect. Digging through and getting rid of things that have been saved for sentimental reasons is also emotionally exhausting.

Along with the household maintenance, we are taking care of health maintenance. We are making final dental, dermatological, and general health appointments. I had my annual gyno appointment last week and I had a mammogram and blood work today. I am always a little scared by these things but I have to do them and hope for the best.

The reward is cleanliness, order, beauty, new beginnings, strength (in building and body) and hopefully good health! I know it is worth it but it is still really hard.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday - Funday! Hedgehogs!

Everywhere I look these days I see Hedgehogs!! Not actually live ones running through the streets and gardens (unfortunately, they are not native to Arizona). But their image is very popular. And why not? Who wouldn't love these adorable, friendly creatures. They are also good for getting rid of snails and slugs in your garden.

this paper toy is from Paper Craft.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Skirts on Friday - Skirts Abroad!

I don't know where to begin. I have so much to say and so many adventures to report. As it is Friday, I will fall back on my skirts. (One of the things I have learned from this 4skirts project is that it may be boring to wear the same things every day, but it is a bonus when I don't have the energy, desire, or time to put into creative dressing).

I packed a light suitcase and dug through it repeatedly over the course of the month away. The weather ranged from dripping hot to blustery, misty, chill. The scenes went from concrete, urban, chic to country lakes and gardens. With the exception of some shoe problems (of course), I think that, overall, I looked acceptable. My skirts served me well.

I realized on the way home that my year of skirts was about to come to a close - I had almost achieved my goal, I had almost gone a whole year wearing the same 4 skirts (with a few exceptions). I was excited to chuck (maybe burn) the whole pile of skirts and most of my other clothes along with them. I looked at my blog and realized that I still have 16 days left - aaaahhhhhggg!!! Well, I washed everything and got some new tops out of my closet so I don't have to feel so road weary.

I guess I have a few more weeks to figure out who the new me is. Right now, after a month of viewing fashion all over Europe, I have NO idea. More on this later.

(The photos are, from top to bottom: the gothic cathedral in Barcelona, Guell Park in Barcelona; Edinburgh; Lormes France; Bath, England; London, England)