Sunday, February 17, 2013

Jack of All Trades


Let me preface this by saying that I love to do anything artistic or creative.  As a child, I wanted to learn everything I could from my grandmothers.  From their knees, they taught me cooking, sewing, crocheting, household chores like laundry and ironing, and many other useful things.  My mother encouraged my love of creativity.  I was constantly singing, drawing, playing house, imagining my own house by raking leaves into house plans or dressing up in all sorts of colors, silky fabrics, and jewelry.  My love of purses lives to this day.  “Do you really need another purse?”  My husband asks skeptically.  “Yes!!!”


A few years ago I discovered a love of writing.  It’s not so different than painting with words.  Instead of conveying a subject with textures, colors, and light, you use words, emotions, and cadence.  I learned that just because I had a new passion, the others couldn’t fall by the wayside.  I’m still passionate about painting, sewing, crafting, and numerous other crafts.


The past few months have been spent enjoying a new sewing machine and making all sorts of colorful, creative things for my new granddaughter.  Trust me.  If you haven’t had grandchildren yet, everything comes to a halt for them.  They are indeed grand and supremely wonderful.


Now that the baby sewing frenzy is over, new things beckon me.  I have the opportunity to sell some paintings, which have not been painted yet.  I want to sew a list of things that don’t include baby things, but wait; mothers to be saw photos of the baby things I made my daughter-in-law and they want some.  Do I open my own Etsy shop? 


I am jerked back to reality by the fact that I have not yet done the taxes.  Uuuggggghhhh!!!  Is there anything less appealing to do than taxes?  Maybe, but taxes are way at the bottom of my list down near having a root canal or major surgery.

 Something like this - natural stone that fits in with the setting around the house.

In my dreams, I have a house in the country.  Behind the house is a bubbling brook and there is a glassed in porch that opens up in mild weather to hear the birds and the rushing water.  Lighting is good and in one corner stands a grand easel and loads of art supplies from oil paint, acrylic and watercolors, paint brushes, a large table for scrapbooking and drawing, and a built in rack for oil paintings to dry undisturbed.  The house is stone, one level, with a basement and a big safe room to weather any storm.  The kitchen is, of course, enormous with black quartz counters, white cabinets, a walk in pantry with a window, a big island with lots of stools so my grandchildren can gather round and learn from me like I learned from my grandmothers.  The laundry room is quite large.  It may even have two washers and two dryers.  There is a tall folding table island in the center of the room.  This doubles as a place to fold clothes, storage, and a comfortable height counter to cut out fabric without causing an aching back.  The sewing machine and ironing board are in this room, quietly tucked away so the mess isn’t spread all over the dining room table like it has been at all the other houses where I’ve lived.  I realized when moving once that I have much more “stuff” than your average person.  It’s all the craft and art supplies, sewing materials, and an excess of kitchen supplies that I use regularly.


Consequently, there is usually a mess somewhere indicating a project in progress.   I once drew an ideal house plan.  When it was finished, there was more square footage in storage areas for all this stuff than there was in the rooms.  


Tastefully painted chest

Another passion is refinishing furniture.  The trend today is to paint everything.  I cringe at the thought of painting a valuable antique, yet every day I see people doing just that.  A beautifully constructed chest with dove tailed drawers made from fine wood is painted turquoise with white chevrons zig-zagging across the front.  I’m not totally against a painted piece of furniture as an accent to a room, but painting everything just because you can makes me feel sick at my stomach.  Certainly, damaged furniture or something that was repaired and has two different kinds of wood should be painted and can be done tastefully.  Maybe I should open shop and show them how it’s done.  Another big sigh…


Years ago, I was in a decorating program to become a decorator.  That’s another passion since I was a child.  We moved away and I didn’t finish the program, though I tend to think you either have it or you don’t when it comes to taste and decorating.


My mind is all over the place and writing plays a part in all of it.  This morning, while watching a series on William Morris, I could relate to his love of architecture, design, texture, colors, and the thought that one shouldn’t put things in their home unless they are useful or beautiful.  Collections of things can begin to look like clutter and dust catchers.  Remember the 1980’s when “country” d├ęcor was big?  Hardly an inch on the walls or surfaces was without a wreath or figurine.  Curtains were stuffed onto curtain rods and piled onto the floors.  It was a decade of over-the-top excess in many ways.  Curio cabinets were filled to bursting with tiny glass figurines by Hummel and Lladro.  Each piece on its own was a piece of art, but dozens of them made the room look more like a gift store than a home and it was hard to appreciate any of them because there was so much.  My first thought when I see a collection is that it must take all day just to dust it all.  I have more important things to do.
100 %

Where am I going with all this?  I don’t know.  An aptitude test told me that my brain is one hundred percent creative.  This is not to say I can’t balance the checkbook or have no common sense.  In the common sense department, I have an overabundance and anyone, if disciplined, can do mundane things that have to be done in this life to survive like balancing a checkbook or cleaning the bathroom. 

This leads me to ask the questions:  Am I alone in flitting from project to project and from one medium to the next?  Do you have several things you love doing?  How do you balance it all?