Saturday, July 31, 2010

My Love/Hate Relationship with Country Music

A relationship with music? Sounds a little dramatic right? But what else would you call something that can make you cry one minute and do a dorky dance the next minute? Manipulative, that's what! 
Here comes another post about feelings (blech!) One I've meant to post, and changed my mind, then changed it again.

The truth is I love all kinds of music. Well, not really rap, if that counts. Otherwise I can enjoy pretty much anything. But there is no kind of music like country music that I can relate to. (And when I say country, I'm not talking about Carrie Underwood!) That's not always a good thing, though. Nothing like a rowdy country song can put me in a great optimistic mood. But nothing like a sad heartbreak country song can put me into a downward spiral of despair. 

I like The Postal Service as much as the next gal, but nobody has (and I imagine nobody ever will) kiss me "in a style Clark Gable would have admired." While I enjoy that kind of music too, that's all it is to me- Music. Now when Keith Anderson sings, "I've changed the presets in my truck so those old songs don't sneak up, they still find me and remind me..." I feel a stab in my tummy and a lump in my throat. My own feelings and everything I've never been able to express with words are right there.

This is a dangerous predicament.
I can be stitching along happy as a clam, (And by the way, where on earth did that expression come from? Why are clams happy??) listening to a cheerful song about pickup trucks, horses, and cowboy boots, when suddenly one of those songs comes on. The ones that seemed to have come straight from my own life, and I'm tearing up and feeling sorry for myself. Or even worse, a song that paralyzes me in a memory of where I was the last time I heard it. All-night fishing trips. Holding hands strolling through an antiques market. Making our secret-recipe burgers. I haven't been able to do any of those things, and I haven't been able to listen to country music. It's just too painful.

For three years I've struggled to completely forget that person I was. I've fought to avoid any recollection that might possibly cause any pain, but it's impossible. I'm going to try something new- Acceptance. I feel like the only solution is to accept the fact that it's going to hurt, that it's going to be hard, and that it's never going to go away entirely. Because I miss fishing. I miss homemade burgers (the secret ingredient is a great big spoonful of sage, btw) and dadgumit I will admit, I even miss nascar. And cowboy songs. The sad ones might still hurt, but there's a strange kind of comfort being able to put it into words.

Before things fell apart, our dream was to live somewhere that required patronizing a Tractor Supply Company store. We wanted animals and land, and to grow things. Just because he stopped wanting those things doesn't mean I have. I want a farm. I want to wear cowboy boots with cut-offs. I want my little girl to ride a horse every day. I want my husband to work right there in our own fields and come back for lunch every day. The husband that won't drink and cheat and leave.

Maybe I'll never have a farm, but I can still have fishing. And flea marketing. And even nascar. And I can stop being afraid of my favorite country songs. Because just like a country lifestyle has become part of who I am, so has the consequences of my choices. (I'd like to take this opportunity to remind all you young ladies to listen to your mama when she warns you about that boy!) And I have to live with them together, and stop hiding from them.

Every week that goes by gives me another opportunity to think to myself, I can't believe I ever loved you. And I welcome them with relief. Maybe someday I'll have completely forgotten all the good memories that still cause pain. Maybe I'll never forget them, just remember them fondly. Or maybe they'll always hurt a little, but not so strongly. Whichever it is, I'm just relieved to know I'm getting there.

And to know that this little girl was worth it all:

Is there a genre of music that you can really identify with?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Favorites Friday: Juicy

I love retro juice glasses. The glass is such a good, thick quality that you just don't see anymore. I'm partial to the mod flowers, of course!

I think I could be persuaded to drink a lot more healthy juice in these beauties!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The County Fair

Ever since Carly saw an old version of Charlotte's Web, she's been desperate to have a ride on a farris wheel. Every time she sees a picture of one, she slaps her little hands to her chubby cheeks and screeches. When my dad told her we were going to the fair to ride the ferris wheel, she screamed louder than ever!

I haven't been to a fair myself in years, and this was Carly's first one. I was especially looking forward to the slide...

 It was just as fun as I remembered.

I lost count of the times we had to go back to the carousel. I think she would have been happy to ride only that the entire time!

Who doesn't love the Scrambler??!
This is what I wanted to ride:

But I think Carly will have to wait a few years!
I love all the rides,  except the ones that spin around like a tire swing. That's about the only thing that can make me puke. Yum.

And there were so many animals...

Neither of us has ever seen a goat up close in person. It was pretty exciting.
And she also got her first taste of cotton candy:

When we finally got around to the ferris wheel, she could barely stand to wait in line. I was glad she didn't get scared at the last minute.

I was surprised when she didn't try to get right back on. But she just wanted to get back to the carousel!
She wanted to ride everything, over and over. We didn't get home until midnight!

It really was the best day ever. But if only they had the fair in the fall instead of the hot summer!

What's your favorite carnival ride?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Super Simple Handmade Dress for Little Girls

 I found the cutest tutorial for a summer dress. This is the "In The Garden" dress at From An Igloo.

I love being able to use coordinating prints from a fabric line in one dress. This is Heather Bailey's Pop Garden. Carly loves it because it's so full- It makes the perfect twirling dress!

Like I said, it was really really simple. It only took me one evening. Well ok, it would have only taken me one evening if I had followed the directions the first time instead of ripping out seams and starting over twice. Using less than two yards of fabric, I'd say it's a great bargain for around $12!

You know I love ricrac! I used it on the neckline and the hem:
With the stretchy shirred back, she'll [hopefully] be able to wear it next year too!

Obligatory silly pose:
I love making clothes that don't require actual patterns. Have you seen any good tutorials lately?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tutorial: Ruffle Hair Flower

....A very abstract flower!
I first got the idea to make this super simple hair band when my daughter wore this ruffly dress:

I just happened to have some plain pink cotton in the exact shade and weight of the dress fabric. I planned to make some rolled fabric roses, but they take so long and I was in a hurry. I wanted to imitate the style of the raw-edged ruffles of her little dress, and so the ruffle flower was born! It took me less than ten minutes to make the headband.

  • woven fabric
  • sewing machine and thread
  • button or beads
  • hair clip or headband
 You can get away with just about any length of fabric, because the strip can be cut in short pieces and sewn together if necessary. Here's why...

The edges of the ruffles on the dress are completely raw, not hemmed or serged. Why doesn't the ruffle dress unravel?
Because it's cut on the bias. What does that mean?
Woven fabric has threads that go from left to right, and threads that go up and down. If you were to cut the fabric along the length of the threads (parallel) in either direction, that would be "on the grain":

See the threads coming off at the top? There's nothing stopping them from separating from the rest of the fabric. Now if you were to cut the fabric diagonally across the up-and-down/left-and-right threads, that would be "on the bias":

See how the fabric is slightly frayed but not coming apart?

Ok now we can get started!
Cut your fabric into strips on the bias, about one inch wide and thirty or forty inches long. Like I said, if your piece of fabric isn't wide enough, you can cut small pieces and use them together as one long strip. If you'd like, taper one end of the strip into a point. That will be the center.

Next, set your sewing machine to the loosest and longest length of stitch. Run one edge of the strip through the machine about a quarter inch from the edge. Leave a long tail of the thread end.

Grab the top thread at one end in one hand and the fabric in the other. Pull the fabric down the thread to form gathers. Keep scooching the fabric all the way down the thread until it's all gathered:

Form the gathered strip into a circle with the tapered end as the top center. You can tack all the layers together with a few stitches by hand, or run it back and forth under the sewing machine a couple times in short lines. Trim the threads that are showing. Choose a button or beads and stitch to the center.

Now sew or glue the clip or hair band to the back, and you're done!

You can do one giant flower, or several small ones bunched together. Maybe even attach a pinback and use as a brooch?