January 4, 2010

Stuff People Make With Their Hands

I have a friend who used to date this guy and, well, she doesn't date him any more. When it was all finally over, she told me one of the things about him was that he didn't do anything with his hands. And it bothered her more than she knew. I thought it made perfect sense. I never knew I valued this in someone, but I totally do, and life would be totally not as good if I hadn't been surrounded by people who get their hands dirty. One of my grandfathers was a carpenter, the other was a coal miner. I grew up around farmers and a dad who cleaned fish in January. Lots of people are creative, lots of people have good ideas, but few are the people who stand in the cold or get a stiff back or endure scrape after scrape to the knuckle or overlook the blisters to produce something.

Behold 2 of the many snow sculptures that were chiseled out in downtown Racine this December. These people are serious about their dwarves and pigs in sacks and roses and sailors kissing women - in spite of the Wisconsin wind chill.

Here's what I contributed with my own two hands, thanks to the Balkcom family recipes I inherited when I got married. Buckeyes. Seriously worth the 1/8 pound-gained-per-every-bite ratio. (I CANNOT blog without my hyphenated phrases!)

Here's another creation people. My mom has been taking a pottery class at Southwest VA Community College, and I am so proud of her. After her first few classes I asked what did she think? How did it go? She reported several things. One was that the professor should have introduced everyone in the class. Another is that he should have told the class more about himself. Another was that there was a lady who wore so much pink! and didn't I think all that pink was over? And finally there was a girl my age with a mouth so filthy no one wanted to talk to her. (Gah.) Yes, but how about the pottery mom? Oh, she centered her first bowl on her own. Which was actually hugely reportable news because centering is hard to master! Whatevs.

Mom made me this to hang on my door.

And she threw Dustan this little bowl. I really love the glaze.

And here's one of the three pillows my Sis made me for my birthday! She found the felt birds at a lady's Etsy shop who lives in New Zealand. I am obsessed with this pillow.

And just to wrap things up, here is the end result of Dustan's stove project. After Olivia got hers, we decided to make one for our niece Amryn. I throw the "we" pronoun in only because I toiled over the paint and poly job. The real glory is Dustan's.

It might have been Amryn's Christmas present, but that little pink glossy door alongside the gold, and the way the smooth wooden knobs turn from high to low? Alllll for me. Dustan will you make me one?


  1. That last pic is a great on of Amryn. When r u and D going to make a snow sculpture? Hate I missed seeing you over Xmas, dern work. I'll visit again when you all thaw out.

  2. I'm so with you on the people who makes things with their hands bit. also, those pigtails are killin me smalls. also, do people really not like talking to people with filthy mouths? ...that explains so much about my life up to this point. oh, and very nicely done on the stove!!

  3. Wow...all of these hand-made things (especially the desserts and the oven) are incredible. I tend to sway towards these things in my gift giving and purchasing....but alas only about half of my family truly gets it. The other half just thinks I am being cheap....what to do...what to do!

    I missed your posts. Also, not ignoring question about books. Will send email soon with suggestions on some of my favs through the years.

    Finally....Happy New Year to you and Dustan. I am glad to have found you in 2009!

  4. I love all these goodies! You're making me want to post some competition on my bloggiewog! Miss you!

  5. so i've been mourning the loss of my creative edge, somewhere between throwing up and getting fat, i guess :] but i told Just today that i HAD to quilt something, just to feel human again. and then i read this, and it made my heart super happy to know you, bets. and now, thanks to you, totally setting up my machine and finishing a way overdo project. lots of love betso.


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