Maitri Libellule
My favorite piece of house
cleaning equipment...

Well, I'm taking a leap out into that iffy world where one admits their faults, foibles, and peculiar oddities...

I am a lousy house-keeper. For years I've liked to think of it as being "artsy." Ahem. I mean, my house is not filthy, it is more the clutter than anything else. But when you are a writer, an artist -- fiber, paper, beads, handmade books, etc -- and you have more parrots and pugs than you can count, and seeds and pug hair are everywhere, you have to, well, do things differently than if you were a common Jane who no matter whether she was a housewife or the CEO of a major corporation, still likes to have a house as neat and clean as the dear women of the fifties did.

I am 55, I was born in 1954, I did not get the gene, and frankly, those were the days -- and it was very common then -- that a lot of people had maids. Even the Brady Bunch had one. We had a full-time maid and for 35 years I've been waiting for her to come rescue me. One day I woke up and realized that she was not coming. It was quite a blow. I sobbed for days. Then I looked around this little art and animal filled cottage and thought, sheez, how will I ever do this. And then I had a thought. Yes, a peculiar thought. I think I must have had the look of a mad scientist on my face because the dogs went running and cowering in every direction, the parrots hid in their furry nighty-night tunnels, and well, Mama got out the leaf blower! Mwah ha ha ha ha ha ha....

As I have mentioned before, all of the old nasty carpet was cut out of the downstairs and gotten rid of. The concrete was cleaned and painted. All of a sudden I had lots of space and concrete floors. Such a glorious sense of spaciousness. BUT, when the birds drop seed from their cages now the seeds hit the slick concrete floor and go about five miles in every direction. Tufts of pug hair, like dust bunnies under the bed, all of a sudden seem to appear in every corner and along the walls. I got tired of sweeping all the time (Okay, I didn't sweep ALL the time...) and just at the brink of despair I had an idea. Like the Grinch I had a terrible, awful idea. My mother, I can guarantee you, would be horrified.

I straightened up and cleared up the best I could and then I started at the front door (in my tiny place when you come in the front door you can see straight out the back door), revved up that leaf blower, and baby, I nearly blew everything but my 400 pound chair right out the door. Took 5 minutes. You've never seen cleaner floors in your life. Boy, was I smug.

It dawned on me that this is a brand new age, and not only can you come up with unusual cleaning tips that fit your circumstances, you can LIVE LIKE YOU WANT TO. Now before coming up with an answer too quickly, stop and think. What is your long-held dream about where you've always wanted to live? The possibilities are endless, and some of our dreams are not possible, yet, due to our circumstances, but that doesn't mean we can't implement many of the themes of our dreams into our own little dwelling.

What I've realized is that one of my dreams has been to live in one of those Soho like huge lofts where they have the old elevators that look like freight elevators that open up right on your floor. The whole thing looks like a warehouse, and other than private areas partitioned off, the huge space enables you to do absolutely anything you want to. I always tell people, and this is not an overstatement, that I don't work at home, I live in my studio. Well, this has always been the case, but it's about to become even more so.

The concrete floors and lack of furniture downstairs actually gives one a bit of a warehouse feel. I am about to make my whole downstairs a studio, and the upstairs will be the bedroom, full bath and the former studio, so small I couldn't get around in it or work in it anymore, is being cleaned out for a cozy little den. A dear one is giving me her used but still very nice looking over-stuffed couch and love-seat. Another friend has an old tv they are not using. We're going to pull some things out of the attic, and I can turn the lights out downstairs after the dogs are out for the last time and ascend the stairs to my private quarters.

The former "living room" which hasn't looked like one for some long time, is going to be a full on working studio. I have a corner where my computer table, books, shelves, printer, drawers full of yarn and fiber, etc, already exist. We are going to move my favorite, 1930's wooden table, sky blue and worn in many places, downstairs for what I call my "small work" -- painting, jewelry making, doing small pieces of fiber art that require the threading in of beads, buttons and whatnots with my ancient wooden toolbox that I found in a barn and bought for almost nothing, and is one of my most cherished possessions, sitting at the back of the table. It holds ink bottles galore, vintage and very old dip pens, paint boxes, paint brushes, little jars of this and that, sketch books, etc, and is so heavy that set toward the back of this table it makes the table even steadier and won't allow anything to roll off. Here is a picture of me creating one of my wild-woman pins awhile back in this space, which will soon be set up down here not far from where I'm sitting.

Tallulah, wild woman pin woven on a small
handmade loom, and embellished with
and antique buttons and beads.

Another area that will be set up is space for my big Ashford tapestry loom. I will hang the handspun and hand-dyed wool yarns for my weaving that you see below (when it was set up in my upstairs studio) on the wall behind the loom and it will give me great joy to have it here near me. The nice thing about weaving a piece this big is that you can work on it awhile and then leave it to go do another project or write for awhile and you don't "lose your place." I can just move from space to space. Writing, weaving, small work, and last but not least, my beloved Gertrude.

The tapestry loom and yarns a'waiting...

Gertrude is my beloved old Country Spinner spinning wheel from Ashford, an older one with only one treadle. The thing is, while I have almost 50 spindles and have done exclusively one-of-a-kind yarns on a hand spindle...

... I have long wanted to get going on my spinning wheel but I haven't been able to get the hang of it on my own. Well, now I'm determined. I have a virtual barn full of beautiful fibers, some already dyed and some I still have to clean and dye, that the only way I am going to spin enough yarn to make it worth selling -- and all of this is moving toward selling my art online again -- is to use a wheel to be able to spin faster. I will always use my beloved hand-spindles, especially because I do custom orders for people and blend up to twelve different fibers in one yarn. Blending that many, I find, works very well on hand-spindles. But I long to get going on Gertrude...


Herself again...

So there will be a real artist's studio downstairs, living quarters upstairs, and the leaf-blower a-goin' to keep these concrete floors livable. You've no idea how bad it hurts to step on teeny-tiny birdseed in bare feet. Phew. Some of it cuts like glass! And I'm here to tell you that if you need to eliminate stress, blasting through your house like The Terminator with a leaf blower really lets The Mad Scientist in you come out and play and then feel calm for the rest of the day. Or almost.

Today we are starting to move more pieces of the studio downstairs. I'm so excited. This is the kind of work that is sheer joy. And from a practical point of view since I cannot work outside the home, if I can't work, I'm sunk. And I haven't been able to work well with everything hither and yon, unable to get to it, spread out into every corner of the cottage. Now, I will. Onwards and upwards. I'll share pictures when it's all together!

1 Response
  1. HO! to consolidation!
    I'm also working on getting my tools of creation together in one space (a writing desk in my case). Will keep you posted! :)

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