Fair Worthy


Fair season begins tonight.  All entries for the Heath Fair have to be there by 8:00 p.m.  I finished the bear 10 minutes ago.

Every year as I’m doing whatever project I’m doing I always look at it asking if it’s fair worthy.  Does it meet my standards to be shown in public?  By people who know more about what I’m doing than I do?

This year there are 3 entries for the Heath Fair and the Big E.  The weaving I knew was worthy as soon as the wet finishing was done.  The bear . . . I decided to sew one when I filled out the entry forms weeks ago but didn’t even begin it until last week.

I have a lot of bears that I’ve made over the years but each entry to the fair has to have been completed since the last fair.  I pulled out materials that haven’t seen the light of day for years and started this little project.  I finished his face (so I thought) and put all of his joints together.  Stuffed his body and sat him on the table where I looked at him every time I walked by.  He was off – the eyes weren’t right, the ears were cockeyed, the nose needed work.  He was not fair worthy.  I didn’t want anyone to look at him and wonder “What hack made this?”.

I thought about not putting him in the fair at all but remembered I had until 8 to get there and knew if he didn’t go in there was a possibility of him spending years in a closet somewhere.  I moved his eyes, stitched down an ear in a better position and spent some more time on the embroidered nose.  I  kind of wished I’d photographed him before I fixed him.  He looked at me with gratitude when I took that last stitch and brushed out his fur.

I’m telling you it’s tough being a perfectionist who anthropomorphizes her stuffed animals.


By the way – Fair bear really could use a name, any suggestions?

It’s Here

Adirondacks in the snowSnow on Sunday.  Snowing again today.  Nothing has really accumulated but it’s here.  It’s been quite cold the past week or so, cold enough to break out the winter coat.

This time of year is the most difficult for me in a lot of ways.  The days are so much shorter.  The house is cold a lot of the time. I know this is one long, long slog until spring.  We are talking 5 months minimum on the hill.  Yes, we will have a few of those January thaw days and it will warm up in April so we think we can actually do something outside in the garden but . . . never, ever plant anything before Memorial Day.

So what are the advantages of a long, dark winter?  For me it gives me time to work on many different projects.  I have a lot of handwork that sits idle whenever the weather is good enough for me to be outdoors.  It’s a time for woodfires in both stoves and fireplaces.  I love hearth cooking and that is really only fun when it’s really cold out.  If I sit and watch a movie on TV that’s okay – I’m not frittering away a day when there is too much else to be done.  Did I mention weaving?  Weaving, weaving, weaving, nothing more to be said about that.

I love the beauty of the snow on the trees and ground, how bright it is with the moon shining.  I love the sound of the snow under your feet on those cold, quiet nights with a million stars visible from the driveway.  I love snoeshowing the property lines, it gives me a wider perspective of the land (and I can walk on all those wet, swampy spots that I can’t cross any other time of the year).  There is bird song of a whole different kind.

So it’s now time to ease into a slower pace, enjoy family and friends and work on things left since last winter.  This is what the dogs live for.

Sophie in the Snow (1)



Sandwiched and Still Sane (Sort of)

130512 Rug Hooking (2)I’m currently part of what is referred to as the “Sandwich Generation”.  My father is in assisted living and I have one of my daughters unemployed living at home, a boomerang.

People think assisted living is pretty awesome, and it is for the most part.  I wasn’t truly aware of how much “assisting” I would have to do, but in the grand scheme of things it’s not that challenging.  The expense is exorbitant and increases exponentially a couple of times a year.  That is not something I was expecting although it’s what is happening with healthcare and I suppose this could be very loosely considered healthcare.  There’s a nurse on duty every day but for the most part people enter assisted living because they can no longer live alone.

I really am starting to think the “Squeeze” generation is a more appropriate term.  Every 6 months the expenses go up another 10 to 20% and we are long past what my father’s income is. Being self employed gives you the luxury (or fear) of knowing just where you stand financially.  It also allows you to see into the future a little ways.  I don’t have to worry about job security but I’m also well aware that my income will probably stay where it is for the foreseeable future.

In the back of our minds (and coming to the forefront) is the idea that Dad may have to live with me in the near future.  It’ll be more like me living with him because he will have to live in Rowe.  The logistics of this are challenging in part due to the isolation of this little town.  This is a difficult situation with someone who is limited in their mobility, it’s not like he willingly goes for rides or even leaves his house.  Everyone needs some sort of  human interaction and there just isn’t a lot available.  I’m working on a solution, but the anxiety sometimes gets the best of me.

This is when I weave, knit, hook, something.  This is what keeps me sane in an insane world, my world.  As long as my hands are busy I can think about ways to make it all work.  Or I can just lose myself in the rhythm of weaving or knitting or hooking – and feel the fiber running through my fingers.  There is nothing that calms my spirit more.