OK, so that didn’t work

Turns out, paper drapes like fabric (sorry, no photo).   So I didn’t get the desired effect with the 8″ wire.   I so wanted it to be true that the Circle would extend beyond the 8″ diameter, just because its diameter is bigger than 8 inches.  This mobile will have 3 wire circles instead of one, or two.  I’m in the middle of ‘fixing’ it today.  ROTFL  I said, “Fixing it.”  It’s the best I can do with the skills I have.  It’s fixing as I know how to do it.  I have to accept it.

Of course, the husband had an idea (that had occurred to me, too).  What the Circle of Eight needs is armature wire underneath it to hold its shape.  You might be thinking, “Easy Peasy.”  I’ve never worked with wire before.  I am not so optimistic.  Or am I?  Right this second, I want to run out and buy some.  What happened to last night’s “I have to accept that this is the best I can do with the skills I have right now? ”  Aaaugh! 

Letting Go

The solution came to me in a quiet moment of reflection, after I decided to let go.  I struggled more with completing the construction of my memorial crane mobile than I did with any other part of this project.  Having to cut and re-cut the paper for the Yatsuhashi, or Circle of Eight, as I’ve come to call it, was nothing in comparison.  I understood it.  It was part of crafting.  Just like the bead selection.  It was part of the fun, part of the process of creating the gift.  A gift for me, a gift for Marianne.  I expected it.  I thought it was part of the grieving, like choosing the quotes to put on the cranes.  I was wrong.

My inability to get the mobile frame even–that was part of the grieving.  There were tears of frustration.  Tears of self-recrimination for my unwillingness, my inability, to accept my inexperience and the lopsided construction.  Tears of confusion.  Tears of grief.   I didn’t stop and bawl.  Oh, I wanted to.  I wanted to have a good cry, the kind you really sink your teeth into.  You know, like when you were 9 and your ice cream fell off the cone?  A world-coming-to-an-end cry.  But, I’m grown up, and I don’t remember how anymore.  I struggled.  I snapped.  I yelled.  I leaked.

The original frame was a 10″ metal ring–a single ring to lend support to the cranes, and then the fishing wire was supposed to come together on a split ring, from which the crane is to hang.  What are those rings used for otherwise?  Maybe making wreaths?  I don’t know.  If so, why aren’t they near the silk plants?  I found them near magnets and easel frames and doilies, an inexplicable combination of supplies, grouped together like a blended family who knows why they belong together, even if you can’t see physical resemblances.

This is exactly where my project broke down the first time I tried it.  It was hanging in our very large coat closet (do I miss that closet, or what?), waiting for me to figure out how to finish it.  Then the movers came.  It never occured to me anyone would actually pack it without consulting me.  But he was young, and eager, and he did.  That’s how it broke.  It’s been, what, four years since then, I haven’t had the heart to try again?  So now, M would be 45, and I wanted to have it ready for the milestone she never reached.  And so, yeah, the tears of recrimination were b/c I had procrastinated starting the project and her birthday came without a completed mobile to mark the occasion.  Confession: I wanted to stitch.  Just like I do now.  I miss it.  I want to stitch.  More frustrated tears.

 At any rate, 10″ was too wide for me to handle alone.  There’s nowhere in my home that’s suited for working on a hanging project.  I’ve tried a few places, each with their limitations.  This go around, when I tried only the 10″ ring, it came out slightly lopsided.  Because I had used glue as a set of extra hands, I couldn’t easily adjust the lopsidedness.  I wanted to be done–the ‘deadline’ of M’s birthday was past, the project was taking much longer than I expected, and I wanted to be able to simply look at it.  I tried to balance it using a AA battery.  I stuck it to the metal ring with magnets.  It would have been fine, actually, except the battery was too big to be hidden.  Now.  I knew that I was going to render the battery useless by attaching magnets to it.  What I didn’t know, and I wish I’d photographed, was that while my lopsided mobile waited for our return from Hershey, PA, the magnets were working their wonders on the battery.  When we returned, I discovered that the label had been forced off the battery at the seam.  I wonder if the entire label would have come off if I’d left it alone indefinitely?  I think I might be lucky there were no sparks, or a fire to really destroy the mobile.

I couldn’t stand it being uneven and decided I’d have to restring the cranes.  I decided that since the 10″ ring was too large, if I used a smaller ring, too, say 5″, it would be easier to handle the fishing wire, and to get the frame even.  I was sort of right.


Go ahead and laugh.  What else are you going to do?  The 10″ ring is basically level now, an improvement over the first try.  I can’t explain the lopsided 5″ ring.  But yes, I cried when I saw it and it was impossible to straighten out.  Because, like, glue is my friend, remember?  Not my best friend, obviously.

I figured I was stuck with it.  I don’t get it, can’t make it work.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  It really doesn’t.  It’s going in my bedroom, so only a very few people will ever see it.  It was always more about the making than the finished product.  I accepted the imperfection, I went to bed.

And then—this morning, in a quiet moment of philosophical acceptance, I thought that if I were ever to make a mobile like this again, it would be ever so much easier to make the ‘frame’ part first, and then attach the cranes to it.  I was so stuck on the notion that the mobile needed to be strung with continuous lines of fishing wire, it didn’t occur to me, even after discovering glue is my friend, that it could come together in two parts.  DUH!

So, yes.  I’m going to try again.  Good thing that came of this: I think the 10″ ring is too wide a diameter.  It makes the mobile look like a long column, and completely hides the fact that the Circle of Eight are connected (pointed out to me by the husband).  I’m going to try 8″ diameter, and 5″ diameter.  I suppose I could use a single ring, now I’m doing it in two parts, but I think the second ring was a good idea, so I’m keeping it.

I’ll finish this thing some day.  I hope.  I really do miss stitching.

It’s the plumber, I’ve come to fix the sump pump.

bad news: our sump pump broke, and our basement flooded.  Phone rings, it’s my dad: Why do you have a sump pump, I thought you had a sewer? Me: I don’t know.  Dad: Don’t you have a sewer?  Me: Yes.  Dad: Why do you have a sump pump?  Me: I don’t know.  Dad: I’ll hang up, so I don’t ask any more stupid questions. Me: They aren’t stupid questions, I don’t know the answer, and my basement is flooded!  I don’t want to be cheerful to you.  Husband: All houses with basements have sump pumps for the drainage water.  Plumber: Not all houses, just the newer ones (like less than 25-30 years old).  That would be our house (OK, it’s a condominium).    Why would a sump pump break after FOUR years?  I’m so annoyed.  My friend had to get a new A/C this year, and she’s all “Your house is new, you don’t have these problems.”  In a nice way, really.  It sounds snotty when I read it, but it wasn’t.  Still, I blame her for cursing us.  I’m JUST KIDDING!! sort of. 😉

good news: the husband was home and knew what to do.  Plus, the boy was downstairs and told us the basement was flooding.  I never go down there.  If I’d been alone, it could have been so much worse.  While we waited for the plumber, the boy and I bailed water, and the husband bought a new sump pump.  We started draining it in the tub.  Then the husband got a second pump.  We drained that into the front yard. 

bad news: no Desiderata stitching, boo hoo.

good news: I did work on my replacement Dragonfly biscornu a tiny bit.  Not finished yet, but close.

bad news: our basement is finished and the wet carpet smells icky.

good news: the, um, new shop vac got up most of the water, and the husband also bought a blower in addition to blowing our fans.  Most of the carpet is drying nicely.

bad news: we forgot to check the cupboard under the stairs.

good news: I spent the winter organizing my holiday decorations into plastic bins.  And they were elevated, so they’re safe.

bad news: I had our mementos in cardboard boxes on the floor.  I haven’t really looked into the boxes with my son’s things in it yet.  I’m ascared.  Plus, I hit another snag before I could look.

good news: aside from a few soggy papers, most of the very few precious things from the husband’s and my past that were under the stairs are safe (and now in a plastic tub).  Honestly, I think I could get rid of some of my stuff, even now.  I mean, really.  Do I need to keep dealer’s aprons from the first casinos I worked in?  Do I?  And honestly, I don’t know why the husband has half the stuff he has. 

bad news/good news: most of the cardboard boxes were saved financial papers.  Super good news: the destroyed boxes were up to 15 years old.  Why did I still have them?  Because I wanted to shred them before I got rid of them, and I was too lazy to make an hour of it.  They weren’t hurting anything, ya know?  It was easy to be lazy.

bad news: my paper shredder died.  Right in the center, the blades are bent, and don’t cut.  The shredder got clogged and overheated.  It took me an hour to clear out the paper to the point where I could diagnose the problem.  So now, I have nine years of paperwork waiting to be shredded until I get a new shredder. 

GOOD NEWS: It could have been SO much worse.  As miserable disasters go, we got off easy.  Plus, we closed on our home refinancing after the disaster was under control, so no more ARM! 

AND: our new dwarf hamsters became parents today!  We think there are 3 of them, but they’re under wraps pretty good.  I’m a grandmother!



“Dragonfly” by Elizabeth’s Designs.  It was to be a biscornu.  Do I have the will to restitch it?  I was taken with the design from the start.  I used DMC 945 instead of 948, I think (or vice versa).  It lighter, and I thought it gave it a dreamier quality.  The overdyed floss included with the chart is Needle Necessities Camouflage, and reminds me of  a pond, which I love.  The scrap linen I chose is sheer, so I ‘lined’ it with a sky-colored linen.  It all came together so nicely.  I was loving it.  Then I ran into my biggest pitfall: I tend to cut too small a seam allowance.  Four threads on 32-ct linen is 1/4″, right?  Wrong.  It’s 1/8″.  I am embarrassed to report that math was once my best subject.  The “C” I got on an arithmetic test in 7th grade haunts me in moments like this.  Haunts me, b/c when I turned in the test, I thought I aced it.  And.  I didn’t.  *head thud*

 **WHINE** Do you know how long I’ve wanted to find time to stitch this??  Since March, when I bought it at Teatime Stitchery, which I got to visit during the step-daughter one’s university interview (she got in, yay!).  I’d been itching to stitch another biscornu for a long time.  I decided to follow my creative urges, and I stitched it. 


It was going to be lovely, yes?  The chart comes with a dragonfly charm for center placement.  I had some beads that had iridescent qualities.  I was worried they might be too dark, but I was going to try them.  Plus, I had four smaller dragonflies for four of the “corners” on the biscornu.  I knew I was in danger; I knew I’d cut the fabric close.  But I wanted it!  I was going to try.  And after it was obvious it wouldn’t work?  What did I do then? 


I kept stitching, of course, stubbornly clinging to the delusion that Fray Check and some seed beads would hide my carelessness.  My pipe dream was rewarded thus:


Another split!  Oh, Lucky Day!  It was about this time I realized my faulty calculations.  I’m sad. 

 I do this a lot.  Screw up badly with my stitching, I mean.  Earlier this year, there was Murphy’s Irish Coffee.  Then there was Desiderata Monday, pt. 9, a counting error that brought my Desiderata progress to a screeching halt.  I’m happy to report I’m re-focused on Desiderata.  I just have to make it past the current row that’s nagging me, and hopefully, I’ll be back in the swing of it.

 What IS it that keeps me stitching in the face of such frustrating blunders?

It must be love.

Murphy’s Irish Coffee

Or, Knowing When to Say, “WHEN!!”

The husband wants me to make him a bookmark.  No problem.  He wants something mushy-gooey on the back.  OK.  I adapted a design with chess pieces for the front, found a lovey-dovey design for the back.  Then I saw The Sampler Girl’s  Irish Coffee pattern on her freebie page, and thought I’d stitch it as a bookmark instead.  It seemed perfect.  We’re Irish, we were married on St. Patrick’s Day (Seventeen years today!), and we both love our coffee. 

It’s charted for Crescent Colours’ Belle Soie silks, which I don’t have.  No matter.  I’d just stitched May from my monthly sampler project and loved the palette, so I thought I’d substitute that palette.  But what to do about the Cinnamon Stick?  May doesn’t have any brown whatsoever.  That’s when the trouble started.  I decided to use DMC’s Color Variations 4130 to replace Cinnamon Stick, because I like the Color Variations.  I just looked at the color card, and I think 4140 would have been a better choice, but I’m done.  Done, I tell you!  I’ve been drawn to reds and pinks far too much of late.

I knew the 4130 was a bad choice, and I was fussing about what to do about it, when I screwed up counting the dark green shamrock.  That looked like an easy enough frogging situation, except I couldn’t find the tail to begin frogging, and frogged the wrong part of the shamrock.  Plus, I lost my Caron Waterlilies Spruce during our trip to Pittsburgh with dsd#1.

Then the husband said he thought it was too wide to be a bookmark, because it looks more like a ribbon.  He did say he would display it on his office wall at work, since people tell him he doesn’t have enough on his walls.  But, still…

Missing floss, bad color choice, stupid counting error, other, more pressing projects, it all adds up to knowing when to say, “WHEN!!”  It’s so hard to do.  I am stopping.  And I will not return unless the husband asks me to. 

The Disaster: