Like Wrapping A Gift

Back when my studio space was mostly an unfinished shell, we decided to use an Ikea single (twin) size bed as a daybed. For months I had been struggling with just what to put in my space going back and forth between a sleeper sofa and a daybed of some kind. I wanted to avoid anything that took up too much space and most of the traditional daybeds seemed a bit heavy and bulky. As to the aesthetics of the piece, it needed to be a bit on the contemporary side and I wanted it to have interesting legs. The daybed needed to be comfortable for napping or to act as an extra bed should we have more overnight guests than the guest room could accommodate. Since its primary function would be a place for me to rest or read, I was intent on it looking more like a sofa of sorts than a bed.

Below you can see some of the stages it went through in its transition. I’m not finished yet and I have a design question for you at the bottom should you care to share your opinion.

Here you see it upside down, resting on its thin Ikea mattress ( see the 2.5 inch pad underneath the larger frame)

This one has the contemporary legs I was looking for in my design.

Do you remember when I gave you a preview here of the  fabrics I brought back from my Thanksgiving visit to Atlanta?

It would be easy to wrap the bed like a package if you laid it out length-wise like in this picture.

Well, the easy way is rarely found in my vocabulary and I wanted the swirly waves in the design to move in an upward motion when you looked at the piece rather than across. Taking the pattern across would have required the least amount of work, but would have changed the energy of the fabric design so I got out my scissors and sewing machine … disclaimer here, I’m not very experienced with this machine (or any machine) and by no means what you would call a seamstress, but as is my way, I worked it out.

If you look closely you can see the seam where I joined the two pieces, but realistically who’s going to inspect it that closely besides me.  I managed to get the upward motion of the pattern and after laying it out and lots of back and forth measuring and calculations, I set to work making it a more permanent part of the Ikea bed frame.

Armed with John’s staple gun, I went to work stapling it snugly to the frame tucking my corners so tightly that I almost felt as if I were back in the military. I moved back and forth from side to side in an effort to keep things balanced and did my corners (the end pieces) last.

It was important  to me that both corners looked as close to identical in image as I could manage and I was pretty pleased with the results.

This was what it looked like at the end of my efforts. It really was a bit like wrapping a gift. Now remember when I said I that I needed a little help from you? Here is what I’m trying to decide and I would love to hear your thoughts. I have some fabric left that I want to use to make pillows. In keeping with the upward motion of the pattern, I have enough to make four good-sized pillows about 24 x 24 inches, but I want to use another fabric on the backside of each one. These are my choices below … green or orange. Both colors look great with the front facing patterned fabric, but I’m still not sure.

I considered backing all four with same color or mixing it up with two of each. You should know as you are making your decision that I intend to recover a chair in the green fabric and it will likely sit near the end of the daybed. I’m giving my bathroom a finally coat of paint today and then I need to get my pillows done this evening or maybe tomorrow.

John has done such a brilliant job with my bathroom that I can’t wait to show it off. Yesterday, he built a perfect wooden sink stand based my specific design requests. I am so pleased with how he was able to build it just as I described. Plus, I don’t know if you noticed in the pictures above, but there is a dark hardwood floor now that John put down where there used to be a raw builders floor waiting to be finished. I can hear the table saw from the garage where he is working on something … bookshelves I think, since he’s building them for my space and finishing the inside of my closet this week. After that, I’ll be ready to unpack my things and settle in. Please help me out with a suggestion below regarding the color for the back of the pillows and thanks for your interest and help.

Going In Different Directions

We are the boat, we are the sea, I sail in you, you sail in me

~Lorre Wyatt

I wish I lived in a world where people were not so angry and afraid. Lately I have had trouble reading the news or watching it on television. Everyone wants ‘it’ now whatever that signifies for them personally. People in general seem to have no desire to work for change for the greater good if it means sacrificing in any way. Their sense of entitlement supersedes everything else and anyone daring to suggest another way is judged as weak and ineffective.

Additionally, I am sick to death of talk radio figures elevated to positions of minor deities who spew venom into the airwaves to be consumed as a regular diet by sheep-like creatures. People that have been so disappointed in life or by life, that they follow the leader who shouts the loudest down the paths of extreme, thinking somehow that a mob mentality of hate and disrespect will somehow elevate their stature.

It appears I’m not the only one out there who feels this way.  Anniegirl1138 is a writer that I read regularly who has a post well worth reading here and Katherine Dunn, one of my favorite artists had some words here that made me feel more inclined to post what I have been feeling this past week. It appears many of us feel as if we are in the same boat and there is a small comfort in that for me. Reading their words, I feel a bit lifted up in the knowledge that I am not alone, out there in my little boat upon what frequently looks like a sea of inhumanity.

We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.

~ Martin Luther King, Jr

All This And Each Other Too

Yesterday, after a working on my studio space which is almost ready for its big unveiling, John and I took a little walk. We went out the door with a clear mission seeking the first signs of spring. We were hoping to find Snowdrops, the flowers you see below.

Pushing through the earth on an old grave in the churchyard, we caught our first glimpse of the green and white flowers.

Moving farther down the hill, we went to a secret place we know of that will look like a carpet of green and white in a few weeks as the snowdrops raise their heads and begin to open. Most of them are still budlike and new, but if you go in close for a better look, scattered among the green stalks with their bowed heads of tightly closed petals, you can see a few opening with centers that look almost etched with color in vibrant shades of green.

We follow a familiar path as we walk through the buttercup field and cross over this water. As I take this photograph,  I comment to John that this is the shade of green I wanted to duplicate in my studio space when I bought the fabric to recover an old chair.  I promise you these are real colors saturated by nature, not Photoshop that light up like this even in the late afternoon light of a shadowy wood.

More shades of green with a leaf tucked in the space were it fell last fall.

The bluish purple of this water always calls me to this spot and I have tried to duplicate it in my studio color scheme. It is one of the many colors in the fabric I used to recover my daybed.

It was about here that John took my hand and said, ” We are so lucky to have all this and each other too. ” I often think the same thing and have said it myself. It’s lovely to know that we share an appreciation of our space and each other in such a similar way.

This celtic cross marks the way into our village and behind it you see a stile I cross over sometimes on my way through a farmer’s field. It’s from this field, I was able to photograph a snowy view of our village a few weeks ago with the church tower in the background.

These horses always come to greet me when I pass by. ( I must remember to bring the sugar cubes I bought for them )

After our walk, we stopped by the pub for a cider for John and diet lemonade for me before heading for home. I gave a few dogs in the pub a good cuddle and we chatted with some friends before stepping outside into the evening light. I couldn’t help but snap a few pictures trying to capture this peaceful scene as we walked up the hill towards home.

The Gifts Of Friendship – Delightfully Delicious

Yesterday I spent a few hours with a lovely group of women. My running buddy Tina, who knows how to give a party and even more importantly, how to relax to enjoy it while it’s happening, had a lunch for some of her friends and invited me to join them. While already an artist, Tina went back to school full time recently for an art degree and with five year old twins, you might think it would be all she could do to manage school and family without throwing mid week lunch parties especially since much of the time she does it all on her own. Her husband Henry works in the music industry and is usually on the road, so she just carries on with school and family life alone when he’s gone, always making time to meet up with friends or teaching her girls things like the pleasures of surfing. Whereas I can be a bit of a hermit, she seems always on the go with a full schedule of social gatherings and activities for herself and the girls that I sometimes envy.

The friends she had gathered around her yesterday are some that she has known for years and while I had met and chatted with a few of them at previous events, this was the first time I felt I could relax and really begin to get to know them. It was an afternoon that I needed having been in a bit of funk this week, a little soup for the soul, delicious and warm, along with the laughter of new friends to help me nestle down a bit deeper into the life I’m creating here.

The comments I’ve had here at GOTJ this week have been uplifting as well and while we haven’t had a chance to break bread together as we did yesterday at Tina’s table, I want to say again how much I appreciate my increasing circle of online friends and your encouragement and support.

Seeing The Boundary Stones

Scattered around our village are boundary stones. They surprise me sometimes, showing up in places where I’ve walked before, never noticing them until one day they stand out so clearly it is as if they might have pushed up through the ground overnight. These are the times when I think … how can I be so unaware of something so clear to others?

I wanted to say how much I appreciate the support of all who commented on my post yesterday. My tendency to live in my head and frequently over analyze certain situations makes it difficult at times to see what is right in front of me. I’m still watching the river, but today it seems less out of control … thank you.

Watching The River Run

Sometimes in life you have absolutely no control over a situation. To think otherwise would be like trying to control a river set on overflowing its banks when the energy of the water becomes too much to be contained. In moments like those, I am tempted to build a barricade with my words to keep me from drowning in the depth of emotions that rush over me. Hurt, anger, and resignation are words that flood my brain as I try to make sense of behaviors I can’t control. Sometimes, all I can do is watch the river … and wait.

Crossing The River Of Uncertainty

Yesterday I watched as trucks and 4x4s braved the overflowing waters of a river on the moor near our village. Most of the larger vehicles barely hesitated although I witnessed several turn around, reluctant it seemed, to risk diving into the river’s excess that covered the road and spilled across the moor. During the twenty minutes or so that I was there taking photographs, no one driving a car was brave or crazy enough to drive into the water … except the one below.

A local couple I know drove up to snap a few photographs of their own and the husband said something that stayed with me. As he watched people press on through the water on a road they couldn’t see, he said, ” It’s not too hard if you’ve been here before and can remember where the road curves.”

What stayed with me was the idea that sometimes you just have to go forward on faith and believe that even though you may not see the road in front of you, it’s still there despite whatever may be obstructing your view.

Trying to reach the bridge.

The little engine that could.

The dog looked worried as he went past.

Going in deep.

It may look like a 4×4 here, but it’s really a small car with a roof rack.

After pausing on the bridge because the car was throwing steam, it went into the next wave of water…

…and made it safely to the other side.

Let me add here that having lived for year in San Antonio, Texas and seeing people drown by crossing water that looked like this, but was really very deadly, it is a good idea to always proceed with caution and sometimes even choose to go in a different direction to reach your destination.

I’d be interested to know if you’ve been crossing any rivers of uncertainty yourself lately and any travel tips you might like to share.

My New Ride

This morning my new ride showed up at the door. Thanks to the Christmas generosity of my step-mom Cullene, I have a new way to try to fight the steady diet of carbs, carbs, and more carbs that I tend to indulge in since moving to Cornwall. I thought this exercise bike might help balance my inability to walk past a plate of eggs, sausage, and chips, better known as french fries in America.

My will power seems to have evaporated since my hip pain became an issue and I need a little something to get me moving again. I decided after a good bit of research to not have the hip surgery that I mentioned in several previous posts. The recovery was so long and people who went through it still appear to have a fair degree of pain along with a limited range of motion and I just could not convince myself to risk those odds. While I am generally an adventurous, risk taking kind of person, I felt like my inner voice was saying no … don’t do it and at my age I’ve learned to listen to that voice.

With surgery ruled out,  I decided to readjust my running (not give it up) and bring in a few more fitness options that won’t stress my hip quite so much. Now I just need learn how to say no more often when John asks me,  ” Do you fancy sausages tonight? ”  because everyone knows that sausages taste infinitely better with a side of chips.

Image from Amazon site

The Dance Of Life

John lifted this image from a 1953 movie that his cousin Mary mentioned when she was here a few weeks ago. She is only in Will Any Gentleman for a few minutes, but you can’t miss the Cancan scene where Mary who was a professional dancer for more than twenty years is kicking up her heels. During her career, she danced with the Ballet Rambert, which is the UK’s oldest established dance company and still considered one of the world’s most renowned.

Take a look at the six women above and see if you can pick Mary out of the chorus line. (I’ll tell you which one is her at the end of this post) John found the movie online and ordered it almost as quickly as he heard Mary’s story when she was here for Christmas. We had a great time figuring out which one was Mary after it arrived. She would have been about 29 or 30 when this film was made and having just turned 87 we thought it might be a bit of a challenge to pick her out of the group based on how she looks now.

By slowing the movie down and viewing the scene frame by frame, it was very easy to see which woman is Mary. Despite the fact that her high kicking days are long past, Mary’s graceful movements as an 87 year old are still very similar to her much younger self.

It’s there in the angle of her head when she is listening to a conversation and you see it in the fluid rhythm of her hand gestures when she is telling a story. The lovely posture you see on her wedding day below is still very evident today.

David Levack & Mary Bench 1948

In addition to aging with grace and intelligence, Mary has not lost her taste for adventure as you can see by her decision to get close to the water’s edge on a blustery day when the sea at Trebarwith Strand was really rough.

I was a bit nervous thinking that as tiny as she is she might blow over, but John persuaded me not to hover and Mary was just fine.

I climbed up these rocks to catch the view of the ocean from a higher location and to my surprise …

I turned around to see John (no surprise there) coming up the rocks with Mary close behind him.

Remember what I said about adventure … she didn’t even need help going back down. My idea of what 87 looks like went through some major shifts during Mary’s visit.

This view waits for those who climb the path.

I saved this one for the last because of how absolutely beautiful Mary looks here. On Boxing Day, the day after Christmas, John and Mary went to Falmouth to go sailing with his brother David and his family. I stayed behind for some rest and missed all the fun, but John came home with some video so I could see how the day went and then created this still image of Mary from it. (The Cancan dancer second from the right is Mary, John’s adventurous, still stepping cousin.)