Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Adventures in Twig Balls

Just for the record, I'm not posting a photo for this blog entry. I could, but, well . . .

Today was a big day in our wedding preparations. A friend told me the other day that they had pruned their scuppernong vines (a southern cousin of muscadines or wild grapes) and that I was welcome to the vines. (Truth be known, I think maybe they just wanted somebody to clean the yard, but . . nah, they really were being really nice!)

This was awesome, the moment I was waiting for! I have been studying and planning for weeks to make many, MANY twig balls to decorate for our Becky's wedding reception. No doubt you've seen them - small versions in potpourri mixes, larger ones on display at florist shops and in photos of high end magazines - they're like the IN organic decoration right now. And they're expensive.

As a country gal, this should be no problem - get them babies and shape them into, well, . . . shape.

So I emptied out the bed of the little work truck best I could, loaded the dog (all good southerners load their dogs in their pickup trucks once in a while just to stay in touch with their cultural heritage) and headed south to get us some scuppernong vines.

As God's good grace and mercy would have it, I had to take about a 2 mile stretch of dirt road on the last part of the drive to get there. I do thank Him for such blessings. I've gone out of my way to enjoy that little piece of country heaven a few times.

My friends met me outside and helped me back up to the pile of vines. It didn't look so bad just laying there, but the moment we started scooping them up and trying to get the unruly things into the back of the truck I knew we had some finagling to do. Fortunately there was still a piece of rope in the back of the truck and Mr. Tony knew how to tie a knot. We finally got it all piled up and in . . sorta. And I set out for home

I knew I was in trouble when my rear view mirror fell off about halfway up the dirt road. Up to that time everything seemed to be staying in place, but it had rained, the road was bumpy, I was probably driving too fast and well, things didn't stay where they should. It was about the time I got to pavement again that I checked my both cracked side mirrors and saw that things were not where they should be on the drivers side of the truck bed behind me. And the dog wasn't looking so well either.

Now, the last thing you need in Alabama or any other state for that matter, is things falling or flying out of your pickup truck that would strike the vehicle of another motorist, even if it is just a vine or a twig. Fortunately there was only one busy intersection to cross en route back. There was no avoiding it so I sucked it up and drove through, passenger tires practically off the road both before and after the traffic light. It was kind of scarey, but seriously, me, and my sick dog and that truck with what looked like thousands of spiders hanging off it, was probably pretty scarey to those around me too. They seemed to want to stay away as bad as I wanted them to.

We did a little more off roading before we got home, mainly whenever we met another vehicle but nothing serious. Cloe was glad to get on solid ground again and has stayed away from me the rest of the day. My husband yelled at me for dragging an armload of vines through the house. The magic words "It's for your daughter's wedding!" got me off the hook, especially when I drained the hot water tank to soak them in the tub.

You would think after all that, that making the twig balls would be the easy part. I'm here to report that's not the case. Making a two dimensional item of organic material is fun. Making a three dimensional item of organic material is . . . frustrating, even with nice soft soaked vines. Even once you get something that faintly resembles "round" there are still all these annoying little pieces that keep popping out making your twig ball resemble an alien creature having a bad hair day.

So that's why I'm not posting a photo. We've got a long way to go baby . . .

One things for sure, I sure must love this girl. Yeah. I do. :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Blast from the Past

When I was a kid my sisters and I would occasionally raid our grandfather's little country store. No, we were not little hellions or hoodlums, but we would raid the nasty box at the bottom of the coke machine where all the bottle caps from the local farmers, the hunters and housewives would fall when they opened their bottled drinks. They were taken home, washed real good and left to dry. After that . . .

You see the photo. It's a trivet I made my grandmother when I was fourteen or fifteen. It's not rocket science. You cover a bottle cap with a circle of durable fabric, stitch it down good, then stitch them to each other.

Bottled soft drinks aren't common these days and we saved our bottled IBC root beer caps through the holidays to resurrect this craft. Seriously, it had been over thirty five years since I had covered a bottle cap with wool. It felt good. I think Memaw probably grinned from heaven. And I don't think she'll mind one bit when I call some bars about collecting their bottle caps. There's no way I'll drink that much IBC.