Again

Six years ago I left Austin in the middle of April. I didn't think I'd ever live here again. Three years later, I was back and it was the middle of April. Today there was a familiar stirring. Spring is approaching, the mountain laurel is blooming but the drive down Charlotte St reminded me of who I no longer am. February through April is when I molt. I traced the pattern back twenty or so years. Changes come in with the blooms. It's uncomfortable and painful. Then one afternoon, something new. I was born in April and it happens again every year. 

Dandelion Days

Me: "August, what would you like to be for Halloween?"
August: "Curtains!"

After several days of switching her costume from Raggedy Ann to clouds to a rain drop and a dandilion and back to curtains on the cut off day, September 29th, she had decided to be a dandelion, not the yellow flower, but "the wishes".  She asked me how I was going to match her. Not wanting to spend much effort on my costume I thought for a bit of what goes with a dandelion and spotted my bright, long, flowered vintage dress and told her I'd be a flower garden and she could be my little dandelion weed! She became excited and I became enthusiastic about the project I now had to work on. For days I wondered how to approach this costume. Pinterest didn't offer much inspiration, so I went outside and stared at dandelions. Finally I purchased a 1/2 yard of green felt and started to drape it over August and came up with a very haute couture looking dress with shrug all pinned together. I went to bed pleased with the idea of huge leaves for arms and a cute, long sheath shaped like a leaf at the bottom and of course I'd find some feathery way to construct the hat.

The next day the idea seemed difficult to execute and I lost all enthusiasm for it. I went outside to look st dandelions and came back inside to sketch ideas. What was this all about, I wondered. I had seen images of kids dressed in green holding a yellow, plastic dandelion. It could be so simple. Why was I turning this into a much more involved project than it needed to be? Because August is very picky about what she will wear. Because I didn't want to make a costume that looked like a dandelion princess or dandelion fairy...but more like a dandelion queen.

When I bought dandelion greens to cut up and blanch for lunch one day, I looked at the leaves and traced them onto paper, made them larger, bought more green felt and went back to sketching...already well into October, I started to feel nervous and looked up store bought dandelion costumes which were just fairy princess flowery things. I found comfort in that I had started to crochet a cap that I would hand sew a feathery boa too, I just couldn't seem to crochet it fast enough.

Finally I came up with the idea of a jumper made out of large dandelion leaves that stood up...but wire, that would involve wire. However, I did begin tracing and cutting out large dandelions. August stood still as I pinned and pinned drab looking leaves to her. She reminded me of a Puff-N-Stuff sea monster. So I outlined the leaf with a stitch using fine gauge cotton yarn. It looked interesting. So  now I committed self to adding this detail to every leaf.  Finally I felt the joy of having found my way.

After two weeks of pinning, sewing, crocheting, pinning and sewing, I finished on October 27th.
No wire was ever used, after speaking with a costume maker I abandoned that idea and used plastic straws I had at home to give the should leaves support. I yelled out, "Come try it on, no more pins!"August was thrilled! She said she felt beautiful in her dandelion costume.

I realize this costume was some sort of personal challenge I wanted to take on. I enjoyed the process, the two weeks of it all. Halloween was only three hours or so, of which I only got 30 minutes of being with her trick-or-treating. That was fine, she was beside me as I traced dandelion leaves. She'd stop her play to run over for a few seconds so I could pin something. She enjoyed wearing it, I enjoyedenjoyed making it, the play involved creating it. Dandelion days.

Clay and Klee, Continued