October 8th, 2006

ozarque figure

Handcrafted gifts; part two (final)

I can finish the account of the handcrafted gifts that I make in this one post -- because the other things I make don't take as long to describe as the altered books do, or there's already a post about them in this journal that I can point you to. So, in no particular order....

1. I bake loaves of my bread and giftwrap them; the recipe for that bread -- no kneading, maybe ten minutes of actual labor per two loaves -- is at http://ozarque.livejournal.com/174694.html .

2. I make a particular kind of crocheted bowls, like this:

Crochet twelve pentagons; six will be for one-half of the bowl, six for the other half. For each half, take one pentagon to be the center, and stitch one of the other five pentagons to each of its five sides; stitch the edges of the pentagons together. Then you put the wrong sides of the two halves together and crochet them together around the top of the bowl, and you're done. You can do these in any combination of colors and patterns and sizes, to the limits of your imagination. I like to make nesting sets -- which just means starting with small pentagons for your smallest bowl and making them gradually larger and larger for the others. I do them in acrylic yarns, so they'll go through the washer and dryer. These are especially good gifts for children's rooms and sickrooms, for packing in suitcases for travel, and for people with any kind of RV or travel trailer.

3. I do lemon eucalyptus trees in pots. J. L. Hudson, Seedsman (Star Route 2, Box 337, La Honda, CA, 94020 USA) sells the seed for dozens of kinds of eucalyptus, including the lemon ones; I recommend them. They're as easy to grow as weeds; they grow very fast; insects and animals -- even deer -- leave them alone; and when you give them a nudge to make them move a bit, you get a burst of lemon fragrance. I start them in late summer in small green plastic pots, and by Christmas they're miniature trees; add a red foil wrapper or a red bow to the pot, and you have a fine gift -- cost of each one, maybe fifty cents max. How big they grow will depend on the size of the pot that you (or the giftee, later on) put them in. You do have to keep pruning them back to keep them from trying to be 80 feet tall, but that's a bonus, because it provides a steady supply of lemon-scented leaves to dry and use for other things. Unlike bonsais, they require no elaborate care: The only thing that matters is pinching off any leaves or stems that appear on the part of the little tree that's intended to be its trunk; otherwise, you'll get a disorderly bush instead of a tree. I give them as houseplants; people who live where it never gets cold enough to frost can replant them outside if they like.

4. I make crochaintings of Christmas angels or Christmas trees or nativity scenes, in acrylic yarns -- great to start an art collection for a child, because they'll go through the washer and dryer. Somewhere in this journal there's a post about how to do crochaintings [that's "crow-shane-tings"], but I can't find it. No problem. A crochainting is a crocheted picture, with its own crocheted frame; I crochet tabs across the top edge, fold them over to be hanging loops, put a reed from our river through the loops [a dowel or a small branch from a tree will serve if you don't have river-reeds handy], and there you are. No need for a separate frame, or for glass over the picture; it's ready to hang.

The easiest way to get started making crochaintings is to start by making a crocheted book for a toddler. First you crochet ten (or so) six-inch squares. Then you crochet a batch of small simple shapes -- moons, stars, sailboats, trucks, balloons, evergreen trees... that kind of thing. You sew one or more of the shapes on each of your crocheted squares. You make your pages by putting the squares together in pairs (with the wrong sides facing) and crocheting each pair of squares together around the outside edges. Finish by sewing or crocheting your stack of pages together down the lefthand side, and you're done. [No buttons or charms or other small swallowable doodads; they're pretty, but they're not safe for tadlings to play with.] By the time you finish one of these books the whole process of doing a crochainting will be clear in your mind.

5. I do all the standard crocheted gifts (and have done hundreds, over the years): handbags, hats, afghans, stoles, dolls, animals, bookmarks, sweaters, dresses, mufflers, ponchos, pillows, batches of Christmas tree ornaments .... et extensively cetera. I do watercolor-pencil drawings, and collages, and handmade holiday cards. No need to describe any of those.

ozarque figure

Sf poetry being made; round five, part four; "Figure of Speech"

Here's the almost-certainly-final draft of the poem we've been discussing...

Figure Of Speech

Why metaphors? What's a metaphor for?
Why not just settle for
the facts?

If flying planes into towers is a crime,
you need the power of law;
you need judgment.
If flying planes into towers is a terrorist act,
you need the power of war;
you need combat.

If raping a woman is a sexual offense --
if it's assault -- if it's abuse of power --
you need a prison sentence.
If raping a woman is a crime of property --
if it's theft -- if it's breaking and entering --
you only need to make an appropriate payment.

If obesity is a disease,
what you need is treatment.
If obesity is self-indulgence,
what you need is discipline.
If obesity is a sin,
what you need is punishment,
and repentance.

If life is a game, you can always call Time Out,
and the rules are always subject to revision.
If life is a lesson, the rules have no exceptions,
and you don't get to skip any of its parts.

If welfare is the practice of character-binding --
if it deforms the spirit,
as foot-binding deforms the foot,
it should be abhorred.
If welfare is the practice of character-bandaging --
of giving a brief hand up when times are hard,
it should be admired.

If Earth is nothing more than humanity's small crib,
never mind taking care of it --
as we outgrow it, we can just move on.
If Earth is humanity's only home, forever,
we'd better be
better stewards.

Metaphors are the grammar of human life;
facts are the sequences generated by that grammar.

Draft Three of this poem (the first one posted) is at http://ozarque.livejournal.com/314095.html .
Draft Six is at http://ozarque.livejournal.com/314421.html .
Draft Eleven is at http://ozarque.livejournal.com/318054.html .