Tuesday, April 1, 2014

- Kitchen Towel planning: The Homestead

Do you remember having to show your work in school? And how frustrating it could be to show each and every step when the answer was abundantly clear? Besides, how do you show a mental leap on paper? Or, in the case of a blog, how do you know when to take a picture?

Still, Austin Kleon has a point: sometimes it can be a good thing to show the process by which you arrived at a final product or conclusion. It's especially interesting when the dead-end ideas are thrown aside ... who knows what fertile ground they may land on and what may spring from them in the future?

As I finished hemstitching a new kitchen towel, I started thinking out loud, wondering what to stitch. The lines of running stitch on the napkin and kitchen towel in the previous post had reminded me of the lines of latitude and longitude on topographic maps. Pulling out a map of the USGS Wimberley Quadrangle from my Texas State University days, I discovered that the towel was almost, not quite as large. Certainly do-able.

At which point Don said, "Didn't you say something once about doing a map of the property?"

"I dunno," I mused, "the proportions aren't right. Our lot is 200' by 800' and the towel is about one-and-a-half by two feet. Of course, I could cut off the flood plain at the back ... just stop at the fire pit."

Then I went down the rabbit hole.

Three hours, several maps from Google and a plat from our house closing folder later, I had sketched in a towel-sized version of the front two-thirds of the property on a piece of baking parchment paper. After coming up for air, I spent the rest of the afternoon working in the yard, and with only a glance or two at the sketch over the course of the evening, went to bed and slept on it (figuratively speaking).

[Note: this would be a really great place for a picture, wouldn't it?]

The next morning I dug out some watercolor pencils purchased several years ago. They were a fanciful indulgence considering I discovered many, many years ago (when I mistakenly talked my way into a third-year art major's drawing class) that I don't draw very well. But rough sketching is something I can do and hey, you just never know when you might need some watercolor pencils, right? The time had arrived and as I've been wont to say, it's all about the pantry: whether you are cooking or creating, you just have to have the right ingredients on hand when you need them.

So I started coloring in my sketch, finessing some of the lines from the previous day, peering out the windows every so often to get a reality check on where the little blue stem grasses had taken hold, stepping back to take in the bigger picture, imagining what stitches would work best for roof lines and paths, trees and grasses. I vaguely recall Don saying he was going to the store, and at one point I thought it might be past the normal time to brush my teeth, although upon so doing I managed to deposit a fair bit of pencil dust from my hands to the towel in the bathroom.

Finally, I realized the sketch was good enough for its intended purpose and I stopped, took a quick picture, then cleared the counter so Don could unload the groceries.

The morning gone, it was time for lunch: an Asian-inspired salad of greens, red pepper, red cabbage, scallions, mint, Thai basil, cilantro, grilled pork, and wontons dressed with pickled ginger juice, lime juice, rice wine vinegar, peanut oil, sesame oil, and white soy sauce.

Yep, it's all about the pantry.
Now if I can just figure out where
that fabric marking pencil got to ...

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