Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Way We Were

So sue me. . .

Apparently my only rule was meant to be broken EARLY in the game. This photo is not of my own hand. In my defence, red seems to be a theme of my childhood and nostalgia a theme of my adulthood. Vintage red, therefore, seemed to be an appropriate choice for Self Portrait Challenge. The only problem was that I couldn't decide which photo to use. They all encapsulate the longing I feel for my past. So, to satisfy myself, I've provided something special for you. Click on the photo and you'll see. . .

That's me on the right - reading everywhere I went! Now reading has to compete with so much else - knitting, sewing, being a mama, working, etc. Little sis is on the left. . . And she wants me to make it clear that she did NOT grow up to be an axe murderer, she just plays one in our family pictures!

I definitely have a tendency to view the past through rose-colored glasses. Everything was better BACK THEN. Now, as I get older, I spend more time reflecting on the "back then" that was my childhood, but when I was a teenager I had this same backward longing for the decades that belonged to my parents' youth. Even then, when I would find old photos of my parents I had the sense that if I could just go back in time, life would be better, simpler, more right. It seems I've always felt "out of place," as if I'd fit in better somewhere between the 30s and the 70s, depending on my mood. The truth is my desire for the past, despite any real allure it may hold, probably has more to do with my inability to be content in my present.

Which may be why I'm so drawn to these photos of myself at this pre-teen age. I'm still fully entrenched in my present and I seem utterly content. Rose-colored glasses or not, that's my story and I'm sticking with it.

And, because I'm feeling very weepy and nostalgic, here are some gratuitous shots of me and mine. Click on any one if you want to see more of the same!

You say it's your birthday. . .


My Bubba

Baby sister

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

From The Crafting Corner

Sorry for the long absence! I've been very busy trimming, crafting and going about the daily business of life and I haven't had any energy left for blogging. The good news is I have something to show for my time off.

Meet my flopsy bunnies, Beatrice, Bettina and Babette:

The bunny sisters

Beatrice stays with me, and Bettina and Babette will each be gifted to a sweet, little girl! I loved designing these three, each with her own definite style, but I'm very excited to be moving on to something a little more, shall we say, mechanical?

Mouseover the picture below to see what stocking stuffers are in store for the boys!

I've cut out all the pieces for two robots, and, since taking this picture, I've also pieced out one super-duper spaceboy! Tonight I will start sewing and hopefully by Friday I'll have some FO's to show off. . . Hillary certainly keeps me busy!

Also, a little somethin' somethin' from almost next to nothin'. From a $3 bag of buttons and a dollar store glue gun (!) I made these magnets. This is definitely addictive. I can't wait to collect some more large buttons. . .

Last, let me not forget to send a big thank you to Mary Ann for the lovely garland she made me for Storme's Handmade Holiday Swap! It hangs in the doorway between our living room and kitchen and is a stunning reminder of what I blogged recently about lacking. An excellent reminder of what I should be striving for. . .

Stunning garland

And a peek at what I sent Mary Ann:

Vintage buttons

If you want to see more photos, just click on the stocking! Below is a picture of other stockings I've made over the years. This is my longest standing craft hobby and it both comes easy and continues to be a challenge!

By the fire with care

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Self Portrait Challenge

I've often thought of myself as attractive. Not pretty in any conventional way, my features are too strong, nor beautiful, I have my share of imperfections, but attractive. As in dynamic, appealing, sometimes sexy. Over the past few years, however, this has shifted. I am now more likely to think of myself as used up. A dried out husk of my former self. Yes, this sounds harsh, but much of the time it reflects how I feel. And, in trying to capture my first self portrait for submission to Self Portrait Challenge, this feeling has been reinforced.

I haven't been the subject of many photographs lately, tending to avoid the camera. The self-portraits I took recently show someone with a strong furrow on her brow (from all the frowning that I do!), tired eyes, dull-looking skin (from lack of exercise and attention to my health), and nary a smile to be found. Who sees the irony in the broach pinned to my lovely red coat? There's not a lot of joy to be found around these parts. Maybe participating in SPC will be not only a journey of self-discovery, but a vehicle for change.

Let me clarify something so this post doesn't come across all sob story. I have moments when I'm happy, times when I'm inspired and engaged, but rarely am I filled with joy. To be here, now. This is my truth. I hope it will not always be so, but when I see these photographs of myself, I fear for my health. Psychic, not physical.

What I find interesting about self-perception and photography, as it relates to this, is the dichotomy between how we see ourselves in our mind's eye and how we look through a more objective view finder. The camera can capture either one of these images, depending on circumstances and luck. I tend to look at myself subjectively in ways that flatter, from the tilt of my head as I perform my morning and bedtime rituals in front of the bathroom mirror, to the adjustments I make when I catch sight of myself unexpectedly in a store-front window. Many times, though, the camera does not cooperate and captures a more "objective" view.

The self-portrait that I've posted is a mixed bag. I don't look as good as I'd like to look, but I think it is an accurate representation. From the photographs at my disposal, I chose the one that most captures how I see myself in my mind's eye, without sacrificing all of the honesty of what I see when I catch myself unaware. There is a bit of vanity involved in my selection, but didn't someone say that honesty is overrated? Allow me to mitigate my discomfort.

Oh, and I've self-imposed one rule. These photographs must be taken by me. For the time being. As they say, rules are meant to be broken, so don't hold me to it. For now, I like the idea of having this constraint. In the future, I may decide that other-portraits are more reflective of me than the ones I take myself. We'll see.

Before you go, check out my inspiration for self-portraiture. He is enthusiastic, creative, experimental and uninhibited. And he takes a damned interesting picture.