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A Vintage View of Homekeeping

Welcome to the New Year Pineapple January 2, 2009

Filed under: Holidays — LotusMama @ 9:54 am
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Hubby bought me a lovely book for Christmas, one that I mentioned a long time ago at this post about domestic porn – no, not that kind, the Martha Stewart, perfect house kind. The post (way back in October 2007) was inspired by a UK article that dissed on Jane Brockett’s book, The Gentle Art of Domesticity. Long story short, that’s the book that hubby purchased for Christmas.

Whew, way off track, sorry. Guess I can’t see the road for all the snow we just received last night. Blizzard Redux.

Ok, so I have the book and I’m enjoying it. Ms. Brockett writes about her inspiration and one small section deals with pineapples. She even quotes one of my all-time favorite songs, which just so happens to speak of pineapples – “It Couldn’t Please Me More” from Cabaret. If you don’t know it, here is a lovely version set to SpongeBob:

(Where else can you find cartoons singing Broadway tunes, huh?)

The whole pineapple fascination just happened to sync with my own longing for pineapples.  In crochet, I love pineapple lace and I hope to make some in 2009. Here’s a look at it:pineapplelaceWe’ve already talked about my pineapple upside down cake mishap on New Year’s Eve. I’ve also been adding a bit of country primitives to my home and the pineapple is a featured symbol of hospitality and home. I’m not sure how a fruit from the tropics took on that role for colonial America, but there you go. Perhaps because offering such a rare fruit to your guests would be the height of sharing.

Fruitily inspired, on New Year’s Day I bought a pineapple. Not in the can, a fresh pineapple, pokey leaves and tough skin and all. And like Fraulein Schneider, I have it on the counter looking at it, a bit timid to actually crack it open and eat it. Today might be the day that I slice into the New Year Pineapple (now to join the ranks of Christmas Tree, Yule Log and Santa Claus for Holiday symbols). Purchased on the first day of 2009, the pineapple will fill my new year with sweetness and sunshine…and possibly gas. But that is a small price to pay for a taste of Hawaii on a bleak cold day in January. Grilled fresh pineapple with a view of snowflakes couldn’t please me more.


Ripples of acrylic danced in their heads… December 16, 2008

Filed under: Crafting — LotusMama @ 7:56 pm

It must be the lingering snow, but I have afghans on my mind. Cuddling up on the couch with a good book, wrapped up in row after row of stitches is one of the best ways to spend an afternoon. It seems even better when it is frosty outside.

As someone who crochets, I don’t generally tackle them as a project;  they take a lot of time and I’m more of a quick fix kind of crafter. Luckily, I’ve been given some lovely afghans from my Grandma T. I have made an exception to my practice though and started a chevron/ripple blanket for my nephew. Because it takes so long to do (and it is kind of repetitive), the blanket has been sidelined for awhile for other projects. But finishing this up tops my Crafty Resolutions for 2009. Here is the start of it:

People who don’t craft are often puzzled by the time, expense and energy it takes to make something when something similar (or better) can be purchased from the store. I know I felt this way before I took up embroidery needles, crochet hooks or seam rippers. Why bother to make a skirt when you can buy something already finished, ready to go and for less money? I was always puzzled by that until I tried making things for myself and I realized how much satisfaction comes from finishing it with your own hands. Sure, the skirt might be a bit baggy or the seams not perfect; the crocheted scarf might be just a simple rectangle, nothing fancy; the embroidery stitches on the pillowcase might not be uniform – but they are your stitches, your flaws, your effort in every bit of it. Seeing a project through from concept to completition is so satisfying. I’m not sure that recipients of handmade wonders always feel the same about the projects as we the crafters but I hope that the time and love that went into making the doll, the hat, the sampler or the afghan comes through.

So cuddling up on the sofa in my Grandma’s afghan really is different than tossing on a fleece throw. Sure, a cashmere pashmina would be much softer than acrylic, but would it feel the same? I hope my nephew enjoys wrapping up in his blanket, now and down the road.