making by hand

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Last week we were having our AC unit replaced and while the guys were here working on it for the morning, I took the kids out for a bike/walk around the neighborhood.  I quickly realized something was going on as cars were buzzing in and out of our usually quiet streets, lining the roads all around our home.  People were walking to their cars carrying boxes, armfuls of wood, all manner of odds and ends.  I asked one guy what was going on and he said an estate sale was happening around the corner.  We decided to stop in the sale since it was on our usual walk route.  How strange to go inside a home that we have walked by hundreds of times, one of our neighbors that I don’t think we’ve ever met.  Strange, to wonder what has happened to them, to see everything in their home with a price tag on it, people hustling in and out of rooms hawking items.  All their precious things, their life held in the chipped and peeling walls.  How much you can uncover about a person by just entering their home, seeing what they’ve held onto, what mattered to them.  Walls and walls of old books, probably a treasure trove though I didn’t have time to hunt through them.  She had a craft room–bags of yarn, half-finished projects, piles of crocheted afghans.  Old dolls, an ancient sewing machine on a wooden table with patterns for dolls clothes and such stored in a tupperware nearby.  Shelves of crafting books.

All these things, her treasures, now priced and sorted through by strangers.  How odd really, that things come to us, we hold them, transform them maybe and then they slip through our fingers and go to someone else.

She was a maker and I wondered at how many other women in my little neighborhood spend their evenings like I do, with needles in hand or some other handmade project.  I don’t know why it struck me as profound, but it did.  All this work of our hands, and why does it matter?

I think because of my love for knitting, my children are “catching” the value of handmade things + craft.  At least, I hope they do.  I think the mindfulness and intentionality of it, the sense of accomplishment in finishing a project, the stimulus of creativity–all is good.  I recently ordered some little cotton muslin bags and a couple of pounds of dried organic lavender flowers to make my own little satchels for our closets.  On a rainy afternoon, it was a perfect activity.  Noah and Philippa filled up all the little bags with scoops between sips of warm tea, and then helped place the little bags in our closets and around my (small) yarn stash.  Lavender is a beneficial in so many ways, as most of us well know, in relaxation and helping to aid sleep.  It is also a pest/bug deterrent and helps keep woolens smelling good and unappealing to moths.  Every time I open our closets now, it makes me smile, the rush of the scent of lavender fields.

Phoebe also requested some new loops for her weaving loom, and she has been busy making beautiful, colorful little squares.

All these things, into our fingers, slipping through.

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