In my front entry, I have a row of pegs, each labelled with a child’s name. The parents hang clothing and, more problematically, bags and backpacks, on these pegs. It’s problematic because the bags are often too wide for the space between the pegs. They overlap, they intrude on each other. Too often when I hunt for something in one bag, the adjacent bag falls to the floor.
It’s untidy, it’s inconvenient, it’s a nuisance. I’ve wanted to do something about it for a while. And hey! Why not now?? I have time — I’m on holiday! I have space — my very own Craft Room!!! I shall make a set of bags. They don’t have to be fancy: if they’re all the same, their very uniformity will decrease the visual clutter, and if they’re crafted to fit the space, I won’t have the inconvenience of falling bags. They can go back and forth between my house and the child’s. Perfect!
I want the bags to be sturdy, so I’m thinking denim. Durable, can be washed zillions of times… but, given that I need to make five of these things, potentially pricey. Denim is not the cheapest of fabrics. So, I figured, buy a couple of pairs of second-hand jeans from Value Village to use for fabric! Two pairs of VV jeans will be cheaper than a couple of yards of denim from Fabricland, right?
HOWEVER, if you wander over to the housewares section, there are sheets! blankets! shower curtains!, and what are they if not big lengths of fabric? Maybe there would be something durable enough. Worth having a look, at any rate. When I got over there, I discovered a rack of actual lengths of fabric! Even better, they had denim. I scored two types: about 5 metres of pale blue denim, and 2 of a darker blue, patterned denim.
For $7.99. A dollar and change per metre! A screaming deal, by any standards.
I had one false start, during which I realized that you need to finish the top edge before you assemble the bag. Oh, and one blown-out needle. There is a reason there are needles specifically designed for denim…
But it didn’t take too long before I had a method that worked, and…
I now have five of these, and they fit the space perfectly. They’re narrow enough to fit neatly between the pegs, and deep enough to hold a change of clothes, several diapers, a bottle, and maybe even a few small toys.
I have been woefully absent this month, I know. I have been taking some time off both work and blogging. But never fear! I have abandoned neither!
My children are growing older, leaving the nest, flying the coop. Early in August, I flew to St. Louis for a few days with my eldest daughter, who will be living there for the next five years. Now, she’s been living on her own for some years, so her move didn’t change the constitution of Mary’s house, but it sure does feel like I have an Adult Child when that child is living in an entirely different country!
My son and middle child has been living with a bunch of college compatriots in a townhouse across town for two years now. Various stepchildren have begun college, and even gotten themselves married.
What does all this growing up and taking flight mean to Mary? It means that, for the first time in DECADES, an empty room in my house. A room that is not required to house one of the hordes of children. A spare room!
But not a guest bedroom, oh no. Guests can fend for themselves. This room? Is MINE.
This room is a craft room.
It is furnished with our old dining room table, and enormous rectangle perfect for sewing machine and work space. (Given that we no longer need to regularly seat ten, we now have a smaller, round table. With a leaf, just in case!) My ironing board sits there. There are shelves in the closet filled with fabric and plastic bins. It’s not done yet — I’m envisioning a warm cream and deep red colour scheme, and lots more sewing-specific storage — but it’s MINE.
I have my very own room, a space just for me, for the first time in… goodness, could it be thirty years?
I think it could.
And in that wonderful (though teeny) space, I have been sitting and CREATING.
Emma asked me to make her a pencil case for school. No sweat!! Because, hey, I have a fabric stash, and now I can actually get at it! Her pencil case is made from leftover fabric from the blind I made for the dining room a couple of years back, and the zipper from a pair of jeans. It’s lined with denim from the same jeans. (Yes, they were pink jeans. No, I never wore them.)
When he saw it, youngest stepson also wanted one. His is a nice, understated blue denim, also from the fabric stash. In fact, the only thing I needed to purchase was the zipper for the second case.
(Update: Youngest stepson has requested that his blog name be “Cloud”.
“Yeah, it’s my favourite video game character.”
Okay, then. ‘Cloud’ it is.)
(That pink thing is a bit of fluff from the pink denim, which I noticed only when I uploaded the pictures.)
I lift the child from her father’s arms and shift her onto my hip. As she passes between us, her small hand grabs at the collar of my t-shirt and her weight shifts its fabric across my stomach. Dad gets a sudden and generous glimpse of my left breast (encased within a rather pretty bra) before I immediately and casually shift the child, her hand, and my shirt back to appropriate placement.
Dad and I both pretend a) nothing happened and b) we didn’t see him take a very quick look. We’ll let him consider it a perk of daycare…
“It’s a big one!” Big sister Emily is impressed (and kind.)
“Yes, it’s big. It’s the CN Tower!” Tyler declares, reflecting their recent trip to Toronto, no doubt.
“It’s the Eiffel Tower!!!” Emily smiles and sweeps her arms wide, letting Tyler know she’s talking about something HUGE!! (I’m impressed. They’ve been to Toronto, but never Paris. And yes, I know the CN Tower is taller, but apparently she doesn’t.)
Tyler is just bursting with pride in his edifice. It’s big! It’s the CN Tower!!! It’s the Eiffel Tower!!!!! It’s… it’s… it’s…
“It’s my PENIS!!!”
There! I’m done the boys’ Christmas presents, well almost. And for the girls?
This. Isn’t that a terrific idea?
In fact, maybe I’ll have everyone make fabric, boys and girls alike, and make skirts for the girls and for the boys… what? … vests? ties? It’ll be winter, so not shorts… pajamas? Oh, yes. Why not pajamas? Hee.
Course, I’ve already made car caddies for the boys, so then I’d have to make something extra for the girls to even things out…
I love walking the dog. The early morning sunshine, slanting through the trees by the river, the dew on the green grass, the birds chirping, the other dogs bouncing across the field.
It makes me hum with peace and contentment.
This week, I’ve had to add to that list, “the whine of the toddler”. Damn it. There’s a dad who takes advantage of the morning dog-walk to take his baby and toddler for a walk, too. It would be heart-warming if the toddler didn’t whine, whine, whine, whine, whine. Everything that comes out of that boy’s mouth is a grating whinge.
People think I’m a patient person, and I suppose I am in some ways… but not this time. I have zip patience for this, because it’s so unnecessary. And besides, the kid is noise-polluting my zen. I daydream, every time, about approaching the dad. “You know, you can train them out of that. You don’t have to listen to that every minute of the day.”
I think he’s so used to hearing it that he doesn’t even hear it any more. But I do.
It’s time to change the time of my morning walk. I want my peace and serenity back. Dopey kid. Dopier dad.
Grump, grump, grump…
“We went to Dairy Queen last night. ‘Queen’ starts with fuck you.”
It took me two beats to hear what she really said.
“Yes, Emily, they do. You are growing every day.”
“Every day people are growing… except the dead ones.”