Monday, June 29, 2009

Goodbye, and Welcome...?

Hi everyone!

I'm so sad to have to do this, but I'm afraid toddlerspit is going to have to move to a new just won't return my emails, and I can't upload pictures, and...well, there you have it!

Won't you come join me at my new blog,  I have lots to post about this week, so check in over the next few days to see what's up.  I promise there will be many more parenting hijinks, self-obsessed ramblings, and craft projects.

But maybe no more lego men with penises.  That seemed to trigger this whole mess.

Cuz it's all about me.

See you over at blogger!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Off to Whidbey

Well, I'm in the airport, getting ready to head to Whidbey Island in the San Juan Islands (Washington) for an "Engineering, Social Justice, and Peace" conference.  The word "conference" should be loosely interpreted.  I think there won't be too many of us, and that there will be walks in the woods, journaling, bonfire talks, and maybe even the making of art.  We've been invited to read Parker Palmer's The Courage to Teach in preparation (I'll be reading it here in a few minutes and on the plane).  The subject of the conference?  "Bringing Our Whole Selves Into our Work."

How I'm going to make it for four days without my trusty Janome, I do not know.

Not sure what to expect, but I'll let you know more when I get back.  See you Monday!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Problems with Pics or, I hate

yes, there's a problem with the pics in the last few posts.

Yes, I hate, which is constantly going down, changing my settings, and otherwise being annoying.  thanks for your patience.

Going, Going, Gone




This is pretty much what being five years old is all about, by the way.  When I came outside, Addie was singing, in a very adult, sultry voice, "Oh, baby, why don't you come near me, you're the sweetest thing I've ever had" (!?!).  Then, in the next minute, she was running around the yard making goofy faces and talking about being Queen of the Butt-Butts.  This back-and-forth is alternately terrifying and hilarious for the parent.  Oh my God, my kid is growing up!  Oh my God, my kid is never going to grow up!  So weird.

In case you were wondering:  yes I did make that dress out of pillowcases.  From the thrift store.  I did.

Nano nano

The best money I've spent in the last week was $10 at Michael's on a gajillion pipe cleaners.  They can be used for everything.  Addie is particularly happy making strange headgear:

Yes I did...

make this little dress for Nolie out of two pillow cases purchased at el thrift store:

and yes, it is particularly good for spinning:

Also, I think you'll appreciate this particular conversation we had on the way to Target yesterday:


"Yes, Nolie?"

"I have a baby in my tummy?"

"Oh, you do?  Fantastic!  Congratulations!"

"Its name is Crack!"

"Oh, really?  What an interesting name for a baby."

"It's going to come out of my BUTT!"

"Ah, yes.  The old Crack baby coming out of the butt trick.  I know it well!"

"Like a poop!"

"Yep.  I get it.  I geeet it."

Obligatory Father's Day Treacle

All of my favorite crafty-mama blogs are featuring sappy Father's day yadda-yaddas about the "amazing men" in their lives.  Barfo.

BECAUSE none could be more amazing than this hubba hubba right heyah:

I mean, HEllo.

Right?  Right?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Skeins from the Universe

There are many things that need blogging about, such as the fact that my amazing husband landed a sweet new job here; these are my absolutely all-time favorite new bath products and oh-my-god they're amazing I almost couldn't get out of the shower today for all the smellgasms and you'll all be getting these for xmas in handmade bags; and on my morning walk I saw two deer, one snake, and countless red-winged blackbirds, and the greenery was as high as my waist.  Fantastic.

But something much more urgent calls.  And that is the fact that, three minutes ago, my doorbell rang and there was my very friendly postal carrier with a package.  For me.  Unbidden.  And inside that package were seven skeins of the yummiest felting wool around, in the most gorgeous, seashore colors of blue and green.  In my head they are already the most beautiful slate-oceanwave-forestmoss gorgeousness.

The person who sent them, nameless here, could not have known that on my desk the last few days was this book, finally put away for a while because logic says one shouldn't knit wool in summer.  But I've been wanting to!  Wanting to knit that giant travel bag!  And then felt it!  Yum.  But I put it away, and promised to buy myself some yarn in the September.  But I didn't want to put it away, of course.  I wanted to do the knitting.

So, thanks, you lovely emissary of the universe, for this unexpected and thoughtful gift, and for remembering that I loved this book and the projects inside.  Sweet, sweet. 

Monday, June 15, 2009

I probably

...should not be allowed to raise children.

Firing up the Janome

I've been slowly, oh-so-slowly, learning my way around my new Janome 8077 (respect the Janome, y'all).  It's beautiful.  30 different stitches, purrs like a kitten, functions as it should.  Any errors that are made on that thing are user errors.

And I've been making them, let me tell you.  I can see the light, and all.  I can see that I will be a much better crafter/maker/do-er on this machine than I was on the other one, which just limited what I could do in lots of ways, and created so many problems with stitches and the like.  But I'm muddling through figuring it all out right now, still--how the tensioner works, which stitch lengths are happiest with which fabrics and which stitch types, how many reverse stitches I need to do.  All that jazz.

That big old learning curve has led to some pretty funny projects.  I don't think my Dad is on the blog these days (my mom just had her surgery, which seems to have gone okay.  But I think he's going to be busy with that for a while).  So I feel comfortable posting his Father's Day gift here.  He is, after all, the person who bought the Janome for me (facilitated by my brother, smooches, smooches to him).  I got the idea from Etsy and then executed it like a fingerless numbskull.  It really should have been hand-sewn to avoid slippage with the felt squares on the fleece backing, but I was too excited to use the machine, and so I used it, and then the squares on the board ended up all wonky. 

But three things I like:  first, the gray rectangle over the board is actually a pouch stitched to the side seam, and can be flipped over to play.  It holds all the checkers. 

Second, the whole thing folds up into this neat little bundle. 

Handy, eh?  Cute, eh?

And finally, the pieces, which are little pieces of double-layered stitched felt, are adorable.  Like little baseballs.  Or mod candy.  Yum. 

Anyway, I'm not sure how often my Dad plays checkers, but as my other Dad (my biological Dad) says, honey, there's nothing I need, and plenty I want, but nothing you can afford.  Just send a card.

So, consider this my wonky, stitched card.  There's big love behind it, and every time I sit down to my machine I think of my Dad.  I'm pretty sure he knows that, and he can kick my butt at Checkers next time I'm home.  Cool.

The Noles, The Noles

A few things you should know about Nolie:

1.  She goes by many names, including but not limited to Sarah, Sajinka, Cucumber Pinka, and Beastie.  Most of these she has given herself.  Can you guess which ones we chose for her?

2.  She has an imaginary friend named Tutu.  He is often cranky, sad, or sick.  And he is tiny and fits in the palm of her hand.

3.  She has an imaginary horse named Horseable Pear.  He is frequently naughty.

4.  Her best friend, I think, might be Owen.  At least, he really likes Nolie.

How cute is this?  I mean, please.

A post on Addie approacheth.  I promise.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A rare bout of insomnia tonight.  Usually I sleep like I'm in a coma.  But a migraine hit at around 3pm today, and I had to sleep it off, and now my mind is going and going, daydreaming and scheming.  I only get migraines once or twice a year, and I can always tell they're coming on because my vision gets all screwy--like lines of static going across my eyes.  Except now I think of them as zig-zag stitches.  So I just laid down and took a rest and a snooze and when I woke up was starving and head-achey but better.

Now it's midnight I'm thinking about these things:  the new art space Eric and I created for the girls today.

The best part of the day was sitting in the easy chair with my coffee, watching the two of them paint.

Also, lots of hows going through my mind tonight:

How to design a logo.

How to build a website.

How my mom is doing.  She's in the hospital, recovering from her third knee surgery.  On the same knee.

How to refashion the two vintage gowns in my closet.

And, how to get back to sleep.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Clam and Corn Fritters

Dear Jeff and Jodie,

I'm writing today for two reasons.  The first is to tell you how much I've enjoyed your book, The Working Parents' Cookbook.  Over the last five years or so, I've been excited to learn how to cook, and my husband and I like preparing fresh, yummy meals together.  We've liked a lot of the recipes from your book, and sometimes I just use it as inspiration to make up my own dishes, which is great.  We both work and have two little girls, so I also appreciate that many of your recipes are low-maintenance and tasy.

The second reason I'm writing has to do with that recipe in your book for "Clam and Corn Fritters."  We don't eat a lot of deep-fat-fried food in our family.  Almost none, really.  As a matter of fact, I once gave up fried food for a year, and didn't really miss it at all!  But you know, every once in a while, I do get a hankering for that crunchy itch that only deep-fat-frying can scratch.  And in the summer time, what's not to love about recipes calling for fresh corn?  Yum!  I like to use organic--it's so sweet and tasty, and good for the environment, too.  Plus, my husband got laid off, so we're trying some fun new recipes from home since we can't afford to eat out.  Clam and corn fritters, here we come!

Your recipe called for about two inches' worth of canola oil in a pan or skillet.  Heat up that oil on high heat until it's bubbling a little, and then turn it down to medium heat and throw that fritter dough in there.  It browns for a minute or two, flip it for another minute or two, and eat your heart out!  Prep time only 15 minutes, cooking time only 10.  Fantastic!

Of course, I might have made a few changes to the recipe, knowing what I know now.  For instance, I might have said something like, "If you put the skillet on high heat and the oil doesn't really bubble but just starts to smoke, and then all of your smoke alarms start going off in the house, and then your five-year-old who is TERRIFIED, just terrified, of smoke alarms and anything having to do with fire is around and starts screaming and holding her hands over her ears, and maybe pees her pants a little, then you should gently usher your children out to the backyard, calmly remove the batteries from the smoke alarms, and, donning a protective rubber suit, turn off the heat on the burner and let the oil cool."

"Furthermore, it is not recommended to disregard the signals the smoking oil and alarms and screaming children are sending you, and simply throw the fritter batter in the pan anyway.  If you do this--not that you would, you're much too smart for that--the fritter batter, which contains kernels of corn, will sputter and explode and eventually self-combust into flame.  Lord, it's like deep-fat-fried popcorn dynamite!"  I'd probably modify the recipe to say something like this, though I bet you could do it much more stylishly, in that mod way you have of writing.  My bet is you guys are really cool people, in person.  You definitely are in the cookbook.

Also, Jeff and Jodie, you might warn people to keep a fire extinguisher and some aloe vera lotion on hand.  Not that I needed either, really, until this morning.  The pain held off for a while, perhaps because I was in shock.  I don't remember much after the fritters exploded into flame, but I do have a faint recollection of cowering in the corner of the kitchen while my husband hopped about, avoiding exploding corn fritters and hot oil splatters, trying to reach the knob to turn the stove off.  He tells me now that he next mistakenly tried to move the skillet off of the stove and on to the counter, where it immediately bonded to the Corian, which is now blistered and scarred.  Then, after a few minutes, he moved the skillet back to the stove. Some of that Corian was still moist, apparently, from the burning, because the skillet then affixed itself to the element on the stove, via the Corian glue.  I'm crafty, so I'm thinking about how to turn the whole thing into an art project.  Please let me know if you have any ideas.

We've been wanting new counters and a new stove anyway, so no worries. 

BUT, if I were to rewrite that recipe, knowing what I know now, I might advise that folks trying out deep-fat-frying for the first time use a big old stewpot, not a skillet.  I would advise that some stoves run hotter than others, and that smoking oil means things are running real hot.  Turn that mother down, yo!  I would also advise that folks put in one test fritter, before throwing a bunch in, just to see how far that corn is going to pop, so they can protect themselves accordingly.  I take total responsibility for being a deep-fat-frying moron, so not to worry.  But maybe a little more information on "Clam and Corn Fritter" making might help others in the future, who find themselves in a similar predicament.

After all was said and done, the fritters that weren't destroyed in the melee turned out to taste pretty good.  At least, that's what my husband Eric said.  I was too traumatized to register eating them, though he swears I did.  And we still haven't found our children, after they ran out of the house.  But not to worry, I'm sure they'll be back soon.

Best of luck with your next cookbook, and I'll send pics of the kitchen remodel when it's done,

Monday, June 8, 2009

On and Onward

Things are coming to a head this week, it seems.  Our refinance finally closes tomorrow.  It was being held hostage in U.S. Bank's underwriting department for what seemed like forever! (When I picture underwriting departments at banks nowadays, I imagine something like a war zone, with accountants and bankers sweating profusely, thin and worn, fighting their way through mountains of paperwork created by the recession.  But perhaps this is incorrect.  Perhaps they're lolling about, pretending to be busy and delaying our paperwork, laughing maniacally).  We have a reasonable mortgage payment anyway, but the refinance will make it much easier for us to carry the house on my salary alone, should things end up that way.

Also, Eric expects to receive his two-week notice today.  I'm relieved for him--it's been so hard to go in to a place where you feel you're not wanted or valued, and to show up every day, only to have to leave because there is no work for you.  Pretty awful, and he's been remarkably calm and good-natured through all of it.  He's also supposed to hear on the job he interviewed for almost a month ago.  It seems there was a lot of competition for it, so we'll see.  I'm not convinced it's the perfect job, but there would be lots to speak for E getting the offer now. 

As for me, I'm back at work most days, working on the Engineering and Sustainable Community Development textbook.  We got a book contract with a small publisher, and just received a National Science Foundation grant to pursue the work on Engineering and Social Justice for the next three years.  So this summer, work-wise, is about finishing that book, trying to get a good chunk of an article done, and prepping for some new teaching assignments in the fall. 

But there's also lots of time for sitting in the backyard, perusing yard sales, talking walks, and making home-made ice cream (LOTS of home-made ice cream).  I hope we also get to take some "stay-cations"--some little over-nighters to various parts of Colorado we haven't seen yet.  And maybe a road trip to Idaho is in the works.

It is odd, to be in a sort of limbo-space with Eric's job, and at the same time to find such pleasure in our everyday rhythms and activities.  Occasionally I find myself hanging out, a little blob of fear, in the limbo.  But the sweetness of the day always calls me back.  For that, huge gratitude.

Lord Help Me Ice Cream At Home

HOW COME nobody every told me you could easily make your own ice cream at home?  Huh?  HUH?  We get our Blue Yonder Book of Days for June, and there's a recipe for "freezer ice cream":

Take a quart of strawberries (or other fruit), a can of sweetened condensed milk, and two can-fulls (using the condensed milk can) of regular milk.  Put in blender until smooth.  Stick in a cake pan in the freezer for 2 hours, scraping the solids to one side every half-hour.  After 2 hours, voila!  Delicious strawberry ice cream!  No need for fancy mixers or balls (balls again!) or churns. 

I'm freaking out.

You have to understand, I eat a bowl of ice cream every day.  EVERY DAY.  I know that's shocking for some.  I meet people (much thinner than I, usually) who say, oh, I allow myself one little bite of chocolate on Sundays, as a treat, and I am like, huh?  I usually have that before breakfast every day.  So the idea that I could make my own ice cream at home?  Amazing.  And also grating.  Think how much money I've spent on ice cream over the course of a lifetime!  Think how many times I've had to make an emergency run to Dairy Queen!  My God!  And all I needed was some fruit and milk.  Lord.  The revelation.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Just Playing

Whoa!  Heady few days.  I've been working on a few projects, and I'll try to get pictures taken and post them here.  The girls were back at school this week, and we've been taking full advantage of the gorgeous weather.  So things have been a whirlwind.  A self-imposed, domestic, wonderful whirlwind, but without much time for reflection.

Anyway, I have been giving some thought to this whole Upcycle thing (thank you for the amazingly supportive comments, by the way.  And of course, for the new machine!).  I think I'm not quite totally 100% ready to dive into the whole business thing.  I'm dipping my toes in.  I'm playing, pretending, dreaming, experimenting.  After all, I do have this whole other full-time job, and kids, and a busy social life, and a garden, and a body that needs to walk and run and stretch now and then.  Though, to be honest, the thing I want to do most, every day, is sit at my sewing machine.  It's become a bit of an obsession.

I'm trying to respect these impulses, then, by imagining where they might take me.  And though I'm not ready to start it yet, if I was going to start a business--which I'm tentatively calling JDS Upcycle--it might look something like this:

I envision a business in which you could bring in good, serviceable clothing, material, or linens, and JDS would turn that clothing into even better clothing or gifts.  The idea is not so much to make clothes from scratch, though JDS could do some of that, or to do alterations, though JDS would certainly alter clothes!  Rather, it would be to take clothes that sit in the back of your closet because they don't fit quite right, or have sentimental value but aren't stylish anymore, or they just need an update, and to turn that clothing into something you want to wear first, something you can't wait to take off the hanger.  So, the idea is not to recycle clothes, but to upcycle them:  to take something that was on its way to a thrift store or the trash can, and to make it something you really want to wear, something that could have come out of Anthropologie or a boutique. 

The idea behind upcycling comes from a book called Cradle to Cradle, which suggests we should no longer design things so that they can be recycled, but rather design things that can be upcycled, that become better as their design life unfolds.  JDS adapts this idea by suggesting that, rather than constantly cycling clothes in and out of our closets, we can look good by remaking the clothes we have in some simple ways.

Okay.  That was hard to write.  Lots of doubts and self-talk coming at me every moment there (like, who am I to say what's fashionable?  What if I mess someone's clothes up?  What if someone doesn't like Antrhopologie?  For Heaven's sake.  I'm just pretending.  I'm just playing.)

I'm just playing.  Give me a break already (not you, TS readers.  Me.  Ima gonna give myself a break.  Right now).

Friday, June 5, 2009

Best Evaluation Comment Ever

I finally got my student evaluations back from the "Introduction to Film Studies" class I taught this spring.  It's a really fun class to teach, and is finally developed enough that it runs pretty well on its own, so that I can try some risky things in it--like getting the students to do improv games at the beginning of every class, or having them make their own student films--without things getting too out of hand.  What I'm saying is there's a good underlying structure there, so I can flip some gravy all over the top without the whole thing turning to mush.

Of course, it's a film class, so most students sign up thinking they're going to just "watch movies" all semester.  They're graduating seniors, and so when they find out there's a bunch of reading and writing involved, they're inclined to complain a bit.  So, my evaluations usually look something like this: "This was a fun class, I learned a lot, but there was too much work, and please don't make us watch 8 1/2 ever again."  For me, this confirms I'm doing my job.  I'm challenging them but keeping them engaged.

There is the occasional angry or angsty eval, of course ("please don't show movies that offend people").  Much more interesting, however, is when I get evals that don't seem to be for my course ("the equations in this class were really difficult to solve") or are about me personally ("I really like that cute skirt you wore, with the flowers, but your voice is really annoying").

Best of all, I think, is this comment, just received on the most recent round of evals.  It's in the hall of fame, for sure:

This class was one big funky medicine ball from outer space. Word to your mutha!

Amen to that, my friend.  Amen to that.  If that doesn't get me tenure, I don't know what will.

Messages from the Universe (Really)

The universe emailed me this morning (did you get yours?), and this is what it said:

The baby steps in the beginning of a journey, Jen, always seem inadequate compared to the brilliance of the dream that inspired them. This is natural. If the dream wasn't so far "out there" and dazzling, it wouldn't be worth dreaming! Just don't be led to think that the physical ground you cover with your baby steps is all that they accomplish. Because for every mortal step you take, another cog in a giant wheel behind the curtains of time and space advances, and with it, 10,000 new possibilities.

Better than Star Trek,
    The Universe

Coincidence?  I think not!  I mean, if this guy can make a sweet living sending out emails from the universe, why can't I make some spare change refashioning people's clothing?  I mean, WHY NOT?

Mission and vision statement to come.  And my brother just put my brand new, electronic, hot-dang, bells-and-whistles sewing machine in the mail, courtesy of my Dad, on its way to me.  What could be better than that?

Grosgrain Giveaway

Well, aren't these the prettiest dresses.  Maybe I will be able to make one when my NEW SEWING MACHINE arrives!!!  WhEEEEEEEee!

Shabby Apple Dress Giveaway...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Maybe Kinda Sorta

I'm taking another class at unchurch, this one called "Breakthroughs."  There's some cheesy parts to it (like, at the beginning, we all stand up, our hands in the air, and yell things like "I AM the breakthrough."  Lord.  It's almost too much to take.  But I suspend my cynicism, I suspend it, because the whole fucking class WORKS). 

Anyway, I didn't really have a "breakthrough" I was trying to achieve or anything--I just really like taking classes there.  I feel better generally, and learn tons and tons.

Except, now I am having a breakthrough.  Maybe.  But I'm kind of scared to talk about it.  Can I let it tentatively leak here?  Will you promise not to laugh?  Because, the thing is, I've been given permission to have my breakthrough look sort of ugly and funny at first.  I've been given permission to make lots of mistakes, but to be bold anyway. breakthrough is that I might, kind of, sort of, want to do something with this whole sewing thing.

(Yikes!  Did that make it real?  Or did I hedge enough so that I don't really have to commit yet?).

I don't know if I want it to be a business, or what.  But last week's class was about putting down some "action items" for achieving our dream (which I'm only barely acknowledging, see?).  And one of my action items was that I really need a new sewing machine and the universe should deliver me one.  And also I need some sewing classes so I can master some harder things.  And maybe write a vision and mission for this, this thing that is a tiny little speck of a germ in my brain.

I mean, you've seen some of the stuff I've been doing.  It's ugly, like birthing baby animals or something, all covered in goop and hay.  But I see things there, like things that could be real at some point.  Things I think could be beautiful.  Like, I could see taking people's clothes they think they don't want anymore and remaking them into something they would want to wear again, that's personal and unique and that doesn't send stuff to the landfill or the thrift store, you know?  I can see things built from things that would otherwise be trash, but now are art, or of use.  You know? 

Upcycling.  That's what I'm talking about.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Mission and vision come later in the week.

For NOW the news is this:  a new sewing machine IS on its way to me (thank you, thank you, J.B.!).  There are sewing classes at the fabric store near me, for $1.00, starting in July.  Miracles!  And I'll post a vision and mission here for vetting in the coming days, okay?


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bravo Grande

Please forgive this post.  It contains more juvenile references to balls.  We can't seem to help ourselves.

Some great friends of ours gave Addie Sea Monkeys for her birthday a few months back.  In case you don't know (I didn't) sea monkeys are basically brine shrimp, which you can grow from dry eggs in a miniature aquarium.  They are very tiny at first--you need to use a magnifying glass to see them--but they quickly grow to be the size of, oh, I don't know, cut fingernails (ew).  Addie was very excited about the whole process:  the sterilization of the water, the growing of the eggs, the feeding of the shrimp.  She would frequently monitor the progress of the shrimp throughout the day.

Of course, Addie has spaghetti arms like her mama (and is about as graceful) and so accidentally knocked our new sea monkey friends all over the floor one morning.  Big, big tears.  Like good, dutiful, indulgent parents, we ordered her another packet of the monkeys.

Everything has gone swimmingly so far.  Except, unlike the first batch, the second batch contained one particularly ambitious little shrimp, who is now a big shrimp, because he ate all of his little brine shrimp buddies.  So, instead of sea monkeys, we have sea monkey.  Introducing, Grande:

It's not easy to photograph a floating clipped fingernail, by the way.  Kudos to Eric for capturing this shot of Grande, in all of his briny glory.

What you probably can't see is that Grande is distinguished not just by his size and appetite but by the fact that he appears to have a sizable, remarkable, slightly revolting set of cojones.  Balls.  Brine shrimp nuggets.  Meat sacks.

I mean, we know they're probably not balls.  What would a brine shrimp do with balls?  Maybe they're fins, or nubbins that will someday grow into legs (yay, evolution!).  Or decorative nodules.  But, to us, they look like balls.

In any case, let this be an introduction to our newest family member.  Eric is particularly excited you're here, little buddy, as now there is another male (we think) in the house.  Welcome, Grande.

Monday, June 1, 2009

RAGBALLS! and Rain

It's the last day the girls are home before summer camp begins.  Addie will be in the kindergarten room and Nolie in preschool, starting tomorrow.  And I'll be back at work.

It's raining today, and tomorrow is supposed to be downright cold, with a high maybe topping out at 60, but probably not.  The bunnies and gardens and trees are loving it:

Can you see the little guy in there, chomping on my flowers?

Lonely soccer ball.  Wanting to be kicked.  But I can't seem to get the girls out of their jammies this morning.  It smells like pancakes and syrup and coffee in the house, and the girls are hunkered down in their "fort"--the crawlspace under the stairs--having adventures.  I've decided not to disturb them. 

For my part, I'm experimenting with some woven/tied structures, inspired by a book I picked up at the library, Three-Dimensional Embroidery.  I know, the title is super-boring.  But I think the work in there is gorgeous.  Lots of fabric and wire and strange, nature-inspired shapes.  I'm practicing building some little fabric nests.  This is not a great picture, but it's little ragballs (Eric and I have had a field day joking about ragballs, believe me) tied together with wire:

I've hung this one on the wall, so you have to imagine it as sort of bowl shaped, rather than 2-dimensional, like it looks here.  It's about the size of a cereal bowl.

Here's the next one, done by winding jute with scraps and thread:

I think it will be bigger, like a big bowl.  Then I'm going to work on some irregular stuff.  Just playing.  But be careful if you come over here.  If you sit still long enough, you'll leave with applique or ragballs affixed to some part of your person.