Thursday, March 8, 2012

Many Lights

A bit of full moon light.  It comes up across the street and moves over my house during the night.  I like that.  It was actually a very clear night here, but zooming in as much as possible added a bit of blur to the scene.  I like that too.  A bit dreamy.  Boy that's a pretty sight/site right outside my door.

Sometimes man-made light shines just as brightly.  These lights belong to a friend.  It's like the stars have fallen to the ground, lining her pathway, making it easier to find your way.
Sometimes we need help while trying to find our way.  Lightness and friends are good for that.

Yet, sometimes we carry that light within ourselves and are not aware of it.
I sat with the moon last night and stitched a moon to my old green wool baby blanket.  It was a bit challenging to do as it was an old sweatshirt fabric I was working with.  This moon comes with her own story.
Many years ago I was working in a school-aged evening program.  It was a childcare center that had late hours for parents attending the community college.  One of the art experiences offered to the children I had never seen.  It consisted of taking and old t-shirt and placing a section over the open end of a cup (they used Styrofoam), placing a rubber-band around it - making it very tight.  Then you drew a design on that part of the shirt, in that circle, using a permanent (Sharpie type) marker.  After your design was drawn, you used an eye-dropper to drop 7 (maybe it was 12, it was a long time ago!!!) drops of alcohol onto the marker ink.  This caused the ink to spread a bit and soak into the shirt.  Let it dry and TA-DA you have a cool shirt!  The kids loved this project and wanted to do it forever, moving the cups and rubber bands around on their t-shirts.  They seemed to really like counting out the exact number of drops.  I decided to try along with the kids and made faces among other designs.
I liked the way some of the faces came out and have hung on to that old sweatshirt all of these years.
In my "Remove Something March" plan (I am removing at least one thing from my house every day in March.  Trash, donate, recycle etc.), I decided it would be a good time to use 'em or loose 'em.   I cut off the faces and tossed the rest of the sweatshirt, which was really not usable.
So I sat with the moon last night and did some stitching and thinking.  This sweatshirt is old and a bit hard to sew through.  I could hear Jude's  voice in my head saying if a fabric was not easy to sew through, it wasn't worth it.  While I do regularly agree with her on that, this fabric holds a lot of memories for me.  Memories of place, time, era in my life.  So, even though I got some sore fingers sewing the moon on, it was worth it.  It has not only given me a place to keep this moon (and possibly the others), but it has given me more of a feel for the direction of this blanket project.  I've been thinking of totems and rocks and words and my children and many children and trees and wood screen doors.  This may be a good gathering place for all of those things.  But, I'm taking it slow and just looking at this face for right now.

Picture Books: The Sun's Asleep Behind the Hill
-A favorite bedtime book about the sun going to sleep and the moon coming up.
-Another favorite bedtime book in our house.  A wonderful tale of a family tip-toeing out to dance by the light of the moon.  It looks like it is out of print now, so keep your eye open for this one!
                         Goodnight Moon
-This one practically goes without saying, but I couldn't help myself!  A favorite for generations of children.  My sister has our original copy and I have the copy my mom gave me when I was 13, so we could each have one!  Because, as I told my neighbor when giving her new grand-daughter, "Every child should have their own copy of Goodnight Moon!"

It seems as if I should do longer, more in depth explanations...but for today I hope you are inspired to seek out these treasures!  These are the related moon books that popped into my head while writing this post.

Photos by NAE @pomegranatetrail ©2012


woman with wings said...

Nancy, what a wonderful heart-warming post! I love your moon face and the story of the cloth -- on your childhood blanket -- memory bearer. Nice. xo

deanna7trees said...

love the story of your moon face. i, too, would stitch a fabric that's tough if it had meaning, especially if it it's not a big project. nice to have those memories. love your friends lights.

Ms. said...

coming home from one of my groups tonight, the moon looked mush like your opening shot, a little hazy, but huge and beautiful floating just above some low buildings here.

The moon story makes me think of all the moon stories, those full moon stories we each carry, and I will keep an eye peeled for that out of print book and let you know if I find one.

This was a very refreshing post Nancy. Thanks.

Nancy said...

Peggy- Yes a memory blanket!

Deanna- So far the edge of the moon was tough, but I've almost finished her mouth and it was not a problem at all. Yes, aren't those lights grand?!

Michelle- Yep, there are lots of moon stories. FYI I do have the book still, saved from my kids childhood. I just like to include that information if I know it, to share with others. But, thanks!

jenclair said...

Everything is relative. In this case it is obviously a labor of love and definitely worth the effort of sewing through stubborn cloth!

I also like the tee shirt, sharpie, and alcohol idea as a great creative activity for kids (of all ages)!

Valerianna said...

In the great, green room, there was a red ballon.... I think that's how Goodnight Moon starts? I used to read that EVERY NIGHT to a child I took care of! Have the whole thing mostly memorized. But tonight I'm thinking that the illustration of the room was red... hmmm, must go read that book again - with a comb and a brush and my bowl full of mush.

We had storms last night, no moon sighting... : (

Nancy said...

Jenclair- Yes it is relative! Stubborn happens :)

Valerianna- ...and a quiet old lady whispering hush.
We've got summer like weather here. 82 degrees! SHeesh :)

joe said...

love your heartwarming story about the moon faces. . .and while i, too, "normally" would agree with jude on the topic of difficult fabrics, i am finding more and more that sometimes it is more than worth the effort (i.e., the meaning attached to the fabric as in your case here, or even simply the look and texture of the fabric adding so much dimension and character to the cloth). one thing i have found that helps, is to have a wide array of needles. sometimes, all it takes to make the fabric easier to stitch is a different needle. tighter weaves frequently benefit from simply changing to a new needle (yes, they do get dull) or to a thinner, sharper needle. looser weaves tend to like straw needles or haberdashery needles. i am frequently surprised to learn that many hand stitchers use the same needles for practically everything...and others use their needles until they rust or break, not realizing that they get dull with normal use. i change needles *at least* with each and every project...and quite frequently during projects. it is so much easier on the hands to have a good, sharp needle!

handstories said...

a lot of lovely moon memories here. love that you have your baby blanket & have added to it.
another moon book, one of my favorites, ""the pirate who tried to capture the moon"

Deb G said...

Another favorite... "Owl Moon" by Jane Yolen. I've worked with some fabric that took a lot of time. Only worth it for very special fabrics. :)

Nancy said...

Joe- Thanks for all of the needle ideas. I pretty much use whatever is close at hand, so this may be something to consider!

Cindy- Thank you and I am not not familiar with that book, will have to look it up!

Deb- Oh, yes and 'Owl Moon''s a good one!

Suzanna said...

Beautiful moon and lights! For my littlest grandson I made a quilt that was hard to stitch through...a friend gave me a pack of "finger cots" which made it lots easier to pull the needle through. They are like little tiny, um,... condoms...I'm not sure where they come from, perhaps a hospital supply place...I'd be happy to send you could e-mail me through my blog...

Nancy said...

Suzanna- What a nice offer. I will keep it mind if this becomes difficult again. I've done the mouth with no problems, so I think it was the edge. We'll see...

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

thank you for this,

Nancy said...

For which ever part you say Thank are most welcome! :)

Melinda said...

Lovely! I want to try the sharpies and cups and alcohol art on a tee shirt or baby onesie! Another couple sweet reads: "Owl at Home" by Arnold Lobel... in which Owl's good round friend (the moon) follows him all the way home. And "Walk When the Moon is Full" by Frances Hamerstrom, with gorgeous illustrations by Robert Katona. A darling and thoughtful friend just gave this book to me and I'm so looking forward to reading it with my granddaughter.
Thank you, friend!

Nancy said...

Melinda- So glad you stopped by! Yes, do try the sharpies art! Try it out before doing it with children, my memory is many years old here! And I probably should have mentioned to open a window with all that alcohol!
And there is the Frank Asch series. I knew a two year old who loved them!
You're welcome friend!