Ahh...the joys of vacation. I've been bustling about with all kinds of projects. While we don't celebrate Christmas, many of my family members do and I confess that I really love the Christmas gathering which was moved to today this year to make it easier on those who really do celebrate the holiday (and freeing us up to head out to the holiday buffet at our favorite Indian restaurant on Christmas Day).
I have the prefect excuse to stay out of the holiday retail madness--it's not my holiday. But I love giving gifts as much as anyone. I've come to a point where I really want to give handmade as much as possible, whether food, knitting, or fabric. The kids seem to concur so we've all been busy getting ready for today's "Fake Christmas" family gathering. I printed up and framed a couple of my favorite photos (here and here). There was chipotle hot sauce, fetching little knitted gloves, and lots of drawstring bags which I just learned to make using this tutorial. (I so love that there are so many generous folks out there willing to share what they know in so many areas--thank you!) My boys made up a bunch of wonderful freezer-paper stenciled T-shirts for their cousins and grandparents from their own designs which, sadly, got away un-photographed. And The Princess has been cranking out cards and drawings and complicated assemblage projects like nobody's business. We've all been busy making things and it feels good.
Also, as if I didn't have enough projects to work on, I've started up with a new interest. I've long wanted to begin exploring collage but have been hesitant to dive in. After teaching myself to knit, sew, cook, take photos and more, I'm not sure what I found intimidating but somehow it's seemed like I just couldn't get started. I wonder if it has to do with not having the slightest idea where something will end up. I've muddled through all kinds of knitting projects and flown by the seat of my pants in the kitchen countless times. But starting with a blank page is something new for me, especially when it could go in any direction.
My wonderful husband kept making suggestions to get me moving and I resisted for quite a while but now I find that I am working on exactly what he suggested: an altered book project where I can explore lots of new techniques in a sort of visual journal. Now I find myself thinking about composition and color and am bursting with ideas for new pages. My pockets quickly fill with all kinds of junk (oops, I think the official term is ephemera) which I can paste into small collages. I am playing with paint (phthalo blue! yellow ochre!), learning how to layer colors and give texture and depth to surfaces. I am having such fun, blasting the Bollywood dance tunes in my basement hideaway while I layer, cut, paste, and paint.
Thank goodness for vacation! I so love having the freedom of long stretches of time and a light schedule so I can explore and play.