Creative progress

Five years ago today I was overdue, awaiting a spring chick.  Walk-waddling down the cul de sac road in a sweatshirt, smelling the awakening earth, wondering when our new little one would join us.

The night of March 17th I tucked Caden off to sleep as usual.  By midnight Aria had arrived.  Caden and his Mimi somehow sleeping through it all down the hall from our bedbirthroom in our old home.

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How different 5 years ago was, in so many ways.  The day after she was born, the first great blue heron of the season flew over our house returning to its summer marsh home.  A few days later, Caden and I were out working in the garden.

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This year, it snowed again yesterday… and that spring chick is still sporting a snowsuit.  And has now officially spent half of her life as a yurt dweller.

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She doesn’t remember rectangular house living now, except through pictures.  All of her memories of home are here, around working on building this wooden yurt.

Including the latest work on a much anticipated part, but one I thought we’d have to wait a long time for with so many things on the to do list…

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The third floor bench that will ultimately swoop all the way around that little space, providing ample area for 20 or so friends and family to sit gathered in a circle to talk about… well, anything or nothing at all!

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For now, we work around the staging in the middle of this room, leaving it in place for future work on the dome at the peak.

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Also on the list, the wooden ladder to reach this third floor room, for obvious reasons…

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In the meantime, the snow has also led to all sorts of indoor creativity in the little yurt.  Especially from that almost 5-year-old, who puts my fabric bin and her ream of paper from Christmas to myriad uses.  Her big brother watches and declares, “Aria is a MAKER!”  Dresses, shoes, hats…

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I was cornered, well not cornered, but stopped after dinner clean up one night to be fitted for my own custom Aria paper slippers.

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The creations are precious, to the extent that I’ll go to get a dish from the hutch and come upon a pair of tinfoil slippers she has tucked in for safe keeping.

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The floor is constantly strewn with bits of works in progress.

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I get it, this urge to make something you imagine.  And to keep making it over and over again until you have it the way you envision.  Or close enough anyway.

There was a time, back in that old house, when I had an entire room dedicated to crafting.  It became dusty with disuse.  I watched television, read books.  Why?  I’m not entirely certain.  I wonder at that younger self, knowing how much she wanted to create but didn’t.  How many ideas for quilts and clothes and costumes she had that didn’t get made.  Maybe it seemed too much to try to figure out what patterns meant, or worry they wouldn’t come out like imagined, or just because it seemed easier not to.  Whatever the reasons, I try to make up for her lost time and make the space for whatever most wants to be created, because my older-wiser self knows that I am more whole somehow when I’m able to make.  Including things like…

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Goodness, that seems strange to post a picture of underwear.  But there you have it, something that just wanted to be born, and it did.  Maybe this project because I once thought that no matter what one makes, you still need to buy socks and underwear.  Josh has made us plenty of socks to prove that part wrong.  So…

Or maybe it’s because of this long winter with young children, telling the same joke over and over (and over) again….

“Mom, look under there, look under there!”

“Under where?”

“You said UNDERWEAR!”

Actually, it’s Scrundlewear, from this pattern.  And I can’t wait to make more.

Also, bread.  After almost four months of feeding and experimenting with my gluten-free sourdough starter, the bread is finally starting to be really tasty.  This after many, many versions of too hard, too doughy, etc.

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It might be worth keeping it going just for pizza nights…

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We’ve also been creating stories.  I tell an ongoing story to the children just before bed.  They’ve started drawing pictures and asking me to write stories around them.  We have several version in various states of unfinish, but finally completed one together last weekend.  Delightfully satisfying.

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But what I’ve been most intent on making lately is something quite parallel to my daughter, and for my daughter.  Whenever I’ve had a moment when she was not in the yurt, the floor has been strewn with my secret work in progress…

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A (non-paper) dress for that almost five-year-old.  I like to think I’m getting a bit smarter as I keep throwing myself into craft projects.  Instead of trying a new pattern, I pulled out the pattern I used to make her dress last year, the one I couldn’t quite get to work as expected.  Remembering the stumbling areas, it went far smoother this year and all lined up (enough).

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I also braved up to facing the intimidating buttonholer attachment on the sewing machine.  Good gracious was that ridiculously easy, and I’m wishing I’d given it a try on several earlier projects.

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I made, or rather attempted to make, doll clothes for Aria when she turned three.  They fit awkwardly, even for a doll.  Falling off shoulders, not fitting over arms…  Finally this birthday I felt like I’d stumbled through enough patterns to give it another whirl, making this wee version of Aria’s five-year-old dress.

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I checked, of course, and it actually fits…  Phew!


How much changes in five years, or even a year.  We tapped the maples last week when it felt like the spring warm up was actually going to happen.

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Yet another of King Winter’s tricks, as we’ve dipped back into too-cold-for-a-sap-run temperatures.  At this point on the calendar, it might be that this tiny bit is all we’ll get this year.

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But you can bet we’ll try again next year!

3 thoughts on “Creative progress

  1. Melanie, I love your blog. I belong to a writing group and have become resigned to the fact I just don’t write that creatively like the other members. I’m pretty factual. But I love the inspiration and style and down to earth delight in your writing and may try to absorb a bit in mine.

    Stay well, see you in May,


    P.S. Had a friend over who I hadn’t seen in years and she mentioned her weeklong stay at Isle au Haut (sp ?) island and so we google mapped it and I had fun pointing out Sedgewick and Blue Hill and Penobscot Bay. Feels so familiar.

    In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love. Mother Teresa

  2. What a super post – Happy Belated Birthday to Aria… those shoes you make are divine! Pizza night looks fabulous too. You all sure manage to create lots of amazing things together! Hoping the maple sap starts flowing again soon. The yurt looks stunning…. look forward to the next post – when it will be spring!

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