Sunday, October 6, 2013

Another Project

I'm in the middle of a tendonitis flare. When my body fails me, I get pretty frustrated. I'm not sure what's causing it this time around, but pretty much everything aggravates it. Last time I had tendonitis it was brought on by kickboxing and working out on the heavy bag. If I have never mentioned this before, the heavy bag is THE best workout of all time. There's no comparison. Be it cardio or anger management, nothing is better. I did this where I used to live on a regular basis, then I moved here. When I went back to it in earnest, it was with a trainer. Those sessions pushed me to my limit and beyond. Working on the heavy bag is when I got my first case of recreational caused tendonitis, and ultimately the cause of my permanently giving up the heavy bag (insert sad face here). Back then it was my elbow. This time its my thumbs. If I had to guess, I think I'm in the middle of a bout of DeQuervain's tenosynovitis. Sounds fancy. It's not.

So, where is all this taking me? To a project, of course.

I was at Habitat for Humanity's ReStore a few months back and came upon a box of tropical print fabric remnants that were priced so low it was ridiculous. I picked out what I wanted, deciding I would make small ornaments in different shapes, decorate them, and sell them at a low price. Then, I would donate all the money to charity. The problem (before the tendinitis) was the fact that I don't sew, nor own a sewing machine.

I bought the fabric anyway.

My friend J spent some time with me this week past showing me how to sew. She helped me pin patterns, and cut them. She donated more fabric, a bunch of fluffy stuff to fill the ornaments, and in the end when I couldn't find a used sewing machine to buy, loaned me hers. I really had no excuse not to complete the project.

Today as I started to work, I needed something for the project that was in my mom's old sewing box. Actually it was my grandmothers, who then gave the box to mom. When mom died, dad gave it to me. It's a small box with legs, a lid that flips up with tons of spools of thread, an insert that sits within the box when you flip the lid with all little slots for thread and needles, then 2 drawers that pull out. It was up in the attic. I hadn't seen hide nor hair of it since I moved here. I sent the other happy vegan up to the attic to retrieve it for me. As he pulled down the hidden stairway to get to the attic, a penny tumbled out of the ceiling stairway, I swear this is true. A penny? It landed heads up. The year? The year my dad died. The other happy vegan and I kind of looked at each other, then the penny, then each other again. You know that dumb saying "pennies from heaven," right? Well that would be all well and good if I believed in heaven. But I don't. I do, however, believe in messages. The other happy vegan said "it's your dad, he's around because you're sewing!"

My dad used to sew. I find this pretty funny. He spent most of his life NOT sewing, but after mom died, he ended up taking some hobbies, one of them being ultralight flying. He built his plane, and then designed and fabricated the covers for his plane. This took a lot of practice, and a lot of sewing. My dad wasn't sewing regular fabric, he was sewing as he used to say "through concrete." It was special heavy fabric that was UV rated and stuff like that. He made his first set of covers on one of those antique black Singer sewing machines with all the fancy gold lettering and stuff. I bought it for him at a flea market, I think I paid $40 or something for it. It was pretty, and he needed a machine, so I got it for him. It was in perfect condition, and he tweaked it a bit for what he needed. He used that for a long time, finally buying a modern machine that might even have had some programmable settings on it, I really can't remember. I always used to kid him about sewing. He sewed the airplane covers, he sewed his curtains, he sewed the cushions on all the house furniture (this is a sticking point... I still have one of those old chairs, with the covers dad sewed. I cannot bear to recover them, despite the fact that they're stained, outdated, and go with nothing else I own), he made doilies (I still laugh over that). Any time I needed a hem done, I took my stuff to dad. He did buttons, zippers, hems, really pretty much anything.  Me? After sewing classes as a youth, and watching my mom do her seamstress stuff, I could barely sew on a button. So, with a "wow, hi Dad!" the other happy vegan went up to get the box.

It was still wrapped in the moving wrap from when we finally sold our house up there and packed the last precious belongings from that coastal home I loved so much; Stardate October 2007, almost exactly today's date too. I unwrapped the time capsule, and began looking through the contents. It was too much to bear all at once. My mom's knitting needles. Half finished sewing projects she was working on. Her thread, some buttons. Then some of my grandmother's things mixed in... thread, needles. I could tell what was mom's and what was not. Then, the whole bottom drawer was full of my own things, mostly buttons I saved with labels from clothes when I had a nice wardrobe. I always clipped the tags with the extra buttons, and wrote specific descriptions of what each button set was for. I could live with the buttons, but not the knitting needles, the half finished projects, and some other doodads that clearly belonged to mom. Why did I save these things? The box was wrapped in 2007, but mom has been gone well over 25 years now. Should I learn to knit? Should I finish these projects? Where are the rest of the pieces for her projects? How long does thread last? What's that weird curvy needle for?

The scene of the sewing crime.
I put the "dad penny" on the machine so he can supervise.
See that dumb cat face?
That's one of mom's unfinished projects that was lurking in the sewing box.
Where's the rest of it?
I am on a mission to get as many unfinished projects completed as possible in the next several weeks. I do have quite a few things I've started, but not finished. This really is not the way I want to live my life, so it's best I work to change this since it would make me happier.

Today I finished sewing and stuffing all the ornaments that were cut and pinned. All of them, this was no small feat considering the pain (typing is no help either). I have a very high goal, plus now they're taking longer than anticipated thanks to tendonitis. The icing on the cake is I'm also being distracted by my little time capsule that has now been set up next to the borrowed sewing machine.

Why do the simplest, most innocuous things, so frequently turn into such an ordeal?

Tomorrow I've got more cutting, pinning and sewing planned. I will get this project completed. It would be really sad if I get cut down in the prime of my life just like my mom was and someday someone opens up boxes of my things and wonders all sorts of weird questions with unfinished projects.

I guess this is just part of the human experience. Such a mystery to me.