So. It's been a while since I chatted here, eh? But my son is in kindergarten and we're all settled into our new place in the desert and, well, I figure it's about time I talk about something besides only new pattern releases! So let's make a date, say about twice a month, Tuesdays. I'll share a little crochet, a little inspiration, some art, and maybe a few other things!
Today, I thought I'd share a bit about my return to painting (one of my first loves) and the unexpected beauty I've found tucked away in amongst all the dirt and rocks of the Mojave Desert.
We've been here for several months now and I am constantly surprised by the things I see. In the first week we had a bobcat jump into our backyard! With our cat! I'm pretty sure Truman was hoping he'd found a new friend... Luckily, we haven't had any return visits. We have a lot of coyotes and wild burros running around, although I've seen less of both the past couple months. Oh and I also caught a pocket gopher in the backyard in the fall. Well, actually, Truman found him, trapped and terrorized him, and then I further traumatized the poor thing by corralling it into a plastic lizard house so I could release the vicious little beast elsewhere. *shudder* I was sure I was going to get bitten! Luckily not.
Suffice it to say, we've got an interesting variety of fauna around here! But the flora is also interesting. We have creosote bushes and brittlebrush and rabbitbrush and other scrubby little things that crop up in random places. But they've also planted palo verde trees, which are GREEN all over. Tons of oleander. Autumn sage. A few giant cottonwood trees along the road to my son's school bus stop. There's a mulberry tree in my front yard. And I can see two fan palms from where I sit at my computer. It's a very ... eclectic variety of plantlife.
But it's the WEEDS that I find particularly fascinating. Except the sowthistles. Ugh. I thought I was getting rid of those when we left Texas! And here they are cropping up in the yard here, too. Evil things.
So. We have CARPETS of speedwell with pretty little blue flowers in our backyard and some of the greenspaces. I've seen dandelions, of course, but also redstem stork's bill (another one I learned in Texas) which is fascinating to see turn to seed, and just this month I've seen parachute plants, jicamilla, scarlet pimpernel, pincushion flowers, and desert dandelions all growing along the sidewalks, popping up between the gravel!
Um, yes, I have a plant ID app and it's pretty fantastic! It's this one if you're interested in obsessing over weeds, too: https://www.picturethisai.com/
All these little wildlings, both flora and fauna, have been both fascinating and food to my creative soul. Shortly after arriving here at Fort Irwin, I did a short little 12 day miniature painting challenge. There were still boxes everywhere and my primary goal was cleaning, unpacking, organizing, getting my kid to and from school, and feeding us all. So taking even just a few minutes each day to splash some paint on a tiny canvas was exactly what I needed!
And it reignited my desire to MAKE time to paint. I'm still not very good at it, making the time. But I've been painting more consistently these past few months than I ever have before and you know what? It's ignited a deeper fire that has also fed my enthusiasm for my crocheting! Designing, teaching, actually crocheting - I've even started a Facebook group! It's something I've considered in the past, but never had the gumption to follow through on. But the truth is I have really missed the fiber arts community. Between moving and COVID and then moving again, well ... I guess it was time to admit that if I wanted more community I needed to create a space for it! I'd love for you to come join me! You can find the group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/crochetcetera/ (oh and be sure to answer the questions and read the rules! It helps weed out bots and such and I did try to keep the questions fun!)
Finding balance between everything in life is always a challenge, for all of us in our own ways. I learned several years ago that I needed creativity in my life. I can only truly thrive if I include it. The military lifestyle isn't an easy one, but it's also filled with blessings. Adventures. Challenges. And many, many memories.
I began to notice the tiny flowers I walked obliviously by for so many years when we lived in Williamsburg. When I would take my son out for a walk, it was slower. He toddled. And so I slowed down, too. And when I saw a flower I would show him. If I knew the name I would tell him. It's something I remember my mother doing. And slowly, or maybe suddenly? I remembered how amazing I found the tiny flowers in springtime as a child. Spring beauties, in particular, I remember. They were one of the first spring flowers where I grew up in Arkansas. And I wanted to share that wonder with my own child. Which was right about the time I downloaded that plant ID app!
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Although, admittedly, I've been a bit slow about embracing this part of my creativity. These florals, though? They're just right with all of their imperfection and messy, intuitive lines. They're a little bit afterthought. A little bit forethought. And a lot of play. They recenter me.
This is my Recollections Trio, available as prints and more on Society6 (linked through each image). I chatted more at length about the evolution of this set with my Patrons, which, if you would like to become a monthly supporter, you can find at https://www.patreon.com/posts/63091918. The first one is my favorite!
And this, I think, is where I'll leave you for today.
Evening gowns and starlight
a twinkling in your eye.
Entire worlds between us.
To whisper in your ear,
to gently brush your hand.
To hold you.
Breathe you in.
To see you once again.