Sunday, February 27, 2011

The View From Here

Last week's theme (week 8) for the MCP Project 52 was The View From Here.

I noticed a bit of purple color peeking out from my leaf covered flower bed. Brushing the leaves aside revealed the hyacinth plant that had quietly sprouted and created beautiful blooms to welcome the arrival of Spring.

This little plant makes me smile when it blooms. I am reminded of the day I bought it off the clearance rack at Lowe's - an Easter leftover, more dead than alive. I was warned that if it had been forced to bloom for Easter, it might never bloom again. I decided to take a chance. After all, it was only a quarter.

The first Spring after we planted the bulb, it sprouted small green leaves. Nothing like the day lilies I was used to. This plant was small, a runt. We watched to see if it would bloom, but it never did. Sadly, I realized that the warnings were probably true.  I thought about digging it up, but never did get around to it.

The next year, it sprouted tiny leaves again. Then, it surprised us with its pretty purple flowers. And this spring, though the plant is still small, the flowers are larger and prettier than ever. Almost as if the hyacinth is thanking me for taking a chance on it.

The view from here... it looks like Spring.  And I think that quarter was a very good investment.  :)

It's been a while since I reported on my 52 Organizing Missions progress.  Here's the latest.

#40 Conquer Storage Space Demons 
For me, this would be the attic and storage shed. I hate to admit it, but I haven't done anything with these yet. The storage shed will be a huge project, mostly due to the riding lawn mower (dead) that needs to go away and the crumbling floor that will need to be replaced. I will get it done, eventually. As for the attic... I went up there and looked around to determine how big the job really was. It's pretty big. I will need a completely free weekend (as if) to empty, sort and organize that space.  I'm hoping to get it done soon - otherwise it will get too hot and will have to wait until next fall.

#41 Simplify Your Life - Possessions
This has been on-going for several months. I have been clearing out small areas, and letting go of those things that I no longer use or love. The teddy bear collection, which used to be huge, has been pared down to a few favorites, and the outdated country decor is steadily disappearing from the walls and shelves.  The old VHS movies will be donated to our library for their Spring sale and next, I'll start sorting through the bookshelves. 

#42 Simplify Your Life - Time
This is a tough one for me. I have trouble saying "no" and tend to over commit myself. With my son headed to college next fall, I have found someone to take over my role in our Boy Scout Troop and will be training him over the next few months. I am looking forward to staying active in Scouts, but it will be nice to know that I can take a week off when I want.  I'm also coming to grips with the fact that I don't have to do everything perfectly. There IS such a thing as "good enough" and I'm able to accept that now.

#43 Declutter Your To-Do List
This is a tough one, but I'm working on it. I have a project list - things that I'd like to get done, but they aren't a high priority. This list is posted on my fridge - if I have some spare time, I can check the list to see if there is something that I can work on. If not, it can wait. I'm looking at my work routine to see if there are activities that can be eliminated.

#44 Live Within Your Home's Boundaries
Roughly translated - don't become a hoarder, keep only those things that fit neatly within the allocated space. We don't have a garage, so our camping gear sometimes seems to overflow the closet where it lives. I am constantly on the lookout for new storage ideas. Maybe when I get the attic and shed cleaned out...

It's hard to believe that there are only eight weeks left in this project. I haven't completed every step so far, but I am actively working on them. Am I becoming more organized? I'd like to think so.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hearts and Flowers

In honor of Valentine's Day, the theme for week 7 of the MCP Project 52 was Open Your Heart.

I am not a fan of Valentine's Day. The whole hearts and flowers thing reminds me of high school and the annual Valentine's Day Carnation ritual - where everyone reported to home room to watch as the popular girls received bunches of The Carnations. It was, I suppose, a good fundraiser, and made some people very happy. Most of us, however, would have preferred to spend that hour parsing sentences.

With those painful memories clouding my attitude, I certainly couldn't go with the obvious subject choices. Someone had already posted an open book with pages folded into a heart and I'm not a medical professional so a shot of open heart surgery was out. What to do?

I thought about it all week and finally made a decision right before the deadline on Friday evening. I chose to shoot this ceramic jewelry box that was given to me by my best friend, Cathy, on her wedding day... a day filled with wonderful memories.

And memories like that are better than all the flowers and chocolate in the world.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Silent Words

The ASL sign for "word"
The theme for week 6 of the MCP Project 52 is Words. This theme offered so many different options to choose from, that I had trouble deciding what to shoot. Stacks of books, printed words, words made from blocks; all of these were already represented in early submissions to the Flickr group.  So, I went with my first idea because it was different.

When I was 11, my church started a deaf ministry program and offered sign language classes to anyone who was interested.  I loved learning how to sign and looked forward to Sunday mornings where I could sing the hymns with my voice and my hands, and I could hear and see the words of the sermon as they were translated.

I made new friends through the ministry. We sat together during church and sometimes met for lunch afterwards.

I surprised my neighbor by introducing myself to her elderly father. I spent many hours with him, "listening" to stories of his youth and admiring his artwork.

A year later, we moved to another state, and I fell out of the practice of signing.  I still remember a few words and, of course, the alphabet, but I have forgotten most of what I learned.  But I will never forget the friends who welcomed me into their silent world with jokes and laughter and songs - friends that would likely have remained silent strangers without a common language to bring us together

Friday, February 4, 2011

Tiny Dancer

The theme for week 5 of the MCP Project 52 is Muse.

I had trouble choosing a subject for this theme. There were so many things to choose from - my family, the cats, nature. All of these inspire me in different ways. Like many people, I find it difficult to make a choice when I have too many options, so I waited.

Predictions of snow in the Houston area caused schools and offices (including mine) to close today. I stayed home, waiting for the snow and (I hoped) inspiration. The expected snow never arrived. So much for the idea of a rare snow day photo shoot.

I grabbed my camera and crunched through the ice-covered grass, taking pictures of seed pods, leaves, birds and icicles. Then I noticed an icicle outside the back door. The shape of it reminded me of a tiny, graceful, dancer, and I knew that I had my photo for the week.

Muse n. Greek Mythology . Any of the nine daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus, each of whom presided over a different art or science.

Do you see it, too?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Project Interrupted

I am working on some new accessories to wear at an upcoming pow-wow - a ladies breastplate for me and a set of bandoliers for my son (who will help with his part of the project).  After two on-line orders for beads and leather, a trip to Hobby Lobby for leather dye, and another on-line order for more beads, we have all of our supplies.  I am armed with patterns, examples and helpful suggestions from friends, and I am ready to get started.

My finished project will
(hopefully) look something
like this.
Last night I got out all of the leather strips, cut the lengths needed for both projects, and marked where the holes should go. I used to think that a leather punch was required for this step, but my friend, Helen, gave me an even better idea - drill the holes with a Dremel. It's faster and easier on the hands - and you can drill the strips lengthwise, which is what I plan to do with my project. I am making a breastplate that will look almost exactly like one of Helen's. The colors looked really good with my outfit and the fit was right, so I asked her if I could copy it and she very graciously said I could.

I got the Dremel out, found the drill bit I wanted to use, and... it didn't fit. The collet was too big for the bit. Bummer!  I was all set to work on this project, and couldn't go any further. So, I packed the Dremel back in its case, collected all my leather strips, and put everything away again.

This seems to happen a lot with new projects. I think I have everything I need, until I get part-way through and find that I'm missing a critical piece. (This is one of the hazards of trying out new crafts.) Then the project is set aside until I can get the required part or tool. Sometimes that happens the next day, sometimes (okay, most of the time) it takes longer.

Since I have a deadline, I guess I'll be making a stop at the hardware store this afternoon for a new collet.  I want to get this project underway. I have a pow-wow to attend in April!