Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Busy Hands Are Happy Hands

If it’s true that busy hands are happy hands, my hands are rolling in ecstasy.

The skeleton of a Conyne-style box kite is drying on the floor of my office. Drying on trays in the guest room are five kinds of herbs. The dining-room table is covered with flower vases and ikebana practice arrangements in the moribana and nageire styles. In the garage are three large silk-flower arrangements ready to be delivered. Out on the patio is my version of a Picasso face made of rusted iron hinges and bits of machinery.

The regional state fair begins next week, and I signed up for competitions in kite making, flower growing, dried and fresh herbs, vegetables, garden signs, and floral designs. All I do all day long is make things and do the prep work to make more things during the 10-day run of the fair.

The weather is glorious and I make mad forays out into the garden to keep things groomed and growing out there. The triple-digit heat vanished, and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. The tomatoes aren’t ripening, and the sunflowers haven’t even set buds yet. The dahlias are dallying, which means I have almost no flowers to work with right now. There’s only a week before the flower competition begins. I got the bug infestation under control, but only God can make flowers bloom, so I’m starting to sweat a little.

In getting my work space prepared, I went through some boxes of my mother’s things, shoved into the garage willy-nilly last August when she died. It was an occasion for gratitude. I read her little scribbled notes, marveling at her valiant attempts to cope with her dying brain. I found the last little bits of quilting she was able to do before the skill of sewing left her. I read the random newspaper articles that she cut out of the paper, wondering why those particular subjects caught her attention. It all made me realize how much healing has taken place in the past year. Handling her things gave me pleasure and I felt joy again. Her idiosyncratic habits made me smile. I’m thankful for my mother and for what I learned during that painful last year of her life. I love you, Mom.

I dug out some photos of my floral work from two years ago to inspire me as I do prep work this week. This piece won “Best of the Day.”

This piece won “Best of Show” among both amateur (my class) and professional work.

This bride’s bouquet took a first.

This is a cake made of flowers.

The "Purple Tiger" rose at the top of this post is faithfully blooming and has taken blue ribbons in the floribunda rose class. And here is my entry in the garden sign category. It resembles how I look after all the work this week.


Lou said...

"what I learned that painful last year". We only learn when we are living consciously, I'm glad you are one of those people.

The fair sounds great. Our state fair has been canceled due to budget problems(:

the walking man said...

OK I am cool with everything, especially about your new found peace over your mother's passing but a cake made out of flowers? Seriously if the are not hallucinogenic am afraid I will have to pass on that delicacy.

Anonymous said...

I wish my wedding photos were in digital format. Your bridal bouquet looks eerily similar to my wedding arrangments. And I had a flower cake, too. Must be a California thing ;)

Brian Miller said...

oo i like that best of show...peacock feathers make a nice garnish...smiles. have fun chris...

Marion said...

Wow! You have such a lot of talent with flowers! So beautiful!

I love this..."The dahlias are dallying,". So are mine...there is lots and lots of greenery, but few flowers since we haven't seen the Sun for about a month. So unusual for this region to have so much rain...we usually don't get any during the summer months.

I only just learned about a regional fair here the other've inspired me! xx

Heaven said...

My, you are busy and good luck for the upcoming competitions! No doubt you will do very well~

You are indeed blessed ~

Thanks for the lovely pictures!

Syd said...

Beautiful arrangements. You are so multi-talented.

Linda said...

No under-achiever here. That is so cool you entered all those different categories.
I like the garden gate personally. I've never been much of one for flower arrangements but what do I know? They're beautiful.
Good luck!

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...



Steve E said...

One of my dozen life-highlights was 'living' at the Carthage Fairgrounds for five days (and nights!), as a member of the 4-H Club who had raised one of 52 steers. At age 12, this was a period of growth-before-its-time for me. (That's still happening--grin!)

Chris, your description of all the prep work and other, PLUS these MOST attractive floral photos, make this an AWARD WINNING BLOG. FIRST IN CLASS!!

Enjoy it all, girl...ain't this a much better way to live? YES.
Steve E

Steve E said...

ALSO....whenever I click on your blog, my eyes go immediately to "Valley Drive" that skinny roadway wending its way through the passes

How absolutely LOVELY!!

Monkey Man said...

You are quite the talent.

Gabriella Moonlight said...

These are amazing!!!!! If you ever join Etsy, let me know I would grab one are amazingly CREATIVE and these are all BEAUTIFUL!!!

Thank you for sharing the beauty with us!

Magpie said...

I'm glad that this last year has been, among other things, a healing time for you. I'm very happy to see your soul soar through your happy, creative hands. :)

Zed said...

The only way to heal is to face things, I am loving how you are processing your sadness and so glad to see that the sun is starting to shine again for you. Your creativity is awesome and I'm jealous! Good luck for all the competitions, from experience I can tell you are going to knock the socks off the other entrants! Big hug Z xx

RNSANE said...

Your past accomplishments are amazing and so worthy of awards!!! Such beautiful floral arrangements, Chris.

How nice that you found joy in going through some of your mother's things. It was good, I think, to delay awhile in looking through them.

Let's hope all comes together for the fair!!

ScottF said...

You certainly are quite the talented artist, and all stress aside, it sounds as if you'e really in your element right now! I am glad you're able to enjoy your mother's memory interwoven with your passion for art, writing and working with your hands. What a gift!