Monday, July 16, 2012


Emo-broidery: n. The realization that the embroidery project you're working on will never actually be completed. Probably related to purchasing craft supplies at a yard sale, so is likely the originator of the project had passed away. See also: Six quilt blocks do not a complete quilt make; All the time and expense going into quilt-making makes for a finished product too awesome to give away but not really to my taste; Bad idea in the first place.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Note to Self

Marybeth, next time you clean your floors, remember to also clean your feet.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Monkey Do

I started making sock monkeys right after college. Newly married, extremely broke, and working part-time, I had a lot of time on my hands and was fighting ennui. Not just boredom, but the dragging despair that comes along with not having enough occupation.

I was looking for things to do.

I remembered being a kid and having a sock monkey. It was soft, warm, just the right size to deliver a hug, and in its silent, half-smiling face was the understanding of a true friend who would never judge, never laugh, never gossip. Also, pairs of red-heeled socks were like two dollars each. That, I could handle.

I am in the process of cleaning out my craft supplies. I have a room devoted to them, a small room, but a whole room nonetheless, and it's gotten to the point where choked-up inspiration and half-realized ideas have clogged the entire floor space, shelf space, table space, drawer space. Attempts at organization have been woefully ineffective. I decided finally that the biggest problem in there was too MUCH in there, so I've been paring down. Down. Down. Pulling supplies out and making them into THINGS, and sending those things to people I love.

And one night, in the process of digging through a drawer where I'd found, among other things, a tiny pair of glasses and a sequined top hat, I found my last pair of red-heeled socks. I stopped, touched them, started to push them to the back of the drawer when I sighed and pulled them out. It was time, I decided, to make the last sock monkey. Until I buy more socks, anyway.

I've made dolls for years and years. As a kid, I used to hand-sew rag dolls and then make tiny dresses for them (pants were too complicated). I remember thinking it was funny, stabbing and stabbing and stabbing my needle through cloth that was becoming limbs, torso, extremities, a face. I still feel a little twitchy when I'm sewing up a sock monkey. Holding his legs apart so I can sew between them, cringing and saying, "This'll only hurt for a minute, I promise," lifting his arms so I can sew them onto what would be his rotator cuffs, sewing a line onto his lips with black embroidery floss so he'll have a mouth, but it feels like I'm sewing his mouth shut instead of on. Until I'm done, and then it looks proper.

More proper, anyway.

Something about a sock monkey, or any toy for a child, really. I might have read "The Veleveteen Rabbit" a few too many times, but I think the principle's there. A sock monkey is soft to catch tears, warm to hold hugs, and durable to pop out of a box years from now, so an adult can look at it, sigh, smile, and say, "Yeah, I remember this."

I hope so, anyway.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Cool Beans

Coffee is more than a beverage for me. It's joy, peace, quiet bliss that brings enough energy to handle whatever might crop up. It soothes my jagged nerves, revs up my tired eyes, and in the right amounts, keeps me from going over the edge where I normally dance. On one side is the ability to seem mostly normal. On the other side is giggling refusal to do anything but run around giggling. Very mature of me, I know.

Anyway, so I start every morning with a cup. A mugful, more like a cup and a half, liquidly speaking. I used to drink a lot more coffee than I do now. Like, mug after mug after mug, then fill a travel mug and take that along too. Then get another in the afternoon. Size of my head. Just drink it until I could feel the comatose setting in. I quit that years ago, as it was causing, uh, complications, but I keep my daily mug. And here in the Midwest where I live, we've been having a heat wave for the last week or so. A terrible heat wave. The kind of heat wave that vaporizes moisture in the lawn and crackles every living thing outside until it's a wizened, skeletal version of its formerly lush self. So yesterday, instead of having hot coffee, I decided to try something different.

I made up way too much coffee this time, more than double my normal amount, and poured it into a pitcher instead of a giant mug. Added milk and sugar, dropped it in the refrigerator, filled a sugar-rimmed glass with ice, poured, and enjoyed. Then I enjoyed it again today.

Not to brag or anything, but this might be the most impressive invention of all time, speaking mostly in terms of mankind. Mostly.

Mmm, coffee.