Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Door

Like I said yesterday, April is the month of purple and of green. But I didn’t tell you that purple is my favorite color. And now you’ll understand why I’m especially proud of this particular creation.

I meant to write about it last summer when I did this little project, but I got sidetracked, and the newness wore off. Meanwhile, with the nicer weather, I’ve just put “The Door” back outside.

We call it “The Door” because we don’t know what else to call it. Actually, it functions as a small screen that mildly shields our backyard from busy Broadway Street.

Here’s how it got started. Remember the annual citywide “big trash” pickup? Yeah, we were laughing about how folks go trolling through the stale piles of junk looking for treasures, but we, too, ended up pulling a dubious treasure out of our neighbor’s trash—an old wooden door.

It’s really small for a door, and it was in lousy shape. I bet it was stored for a million years in the shed, or in the basement. Of course, because it was in the house next door, which was built by my great-grandpa, I kind of wonder if this door wasn’t original to the house, and therefore something he created. Maybe my grandma opened and closed this door all the time when she was growing up.

Or maybe not; lots of people have lived in the house since then, so it might be some worn-out “treasure” one of our neighbors had acquired elsewhere. Who knows.

So, we pulled “The Door” out of the trash and stuck it in our backyard, not quite sure what to do with it. We’d just been to Eureka Springs, Arkansas and were all inspired by the creative, brightly painted antiquey stuff they do down there.

What we ended up with was a beading project. After a whole lot of sanding, and the priming and the glorious painting (can life get any better when you’re painting something purple?), I strung the window opening with beads. Well, I certainly wasn’t going to put a piece of glass in it.

The beading was done concurrently with a creative project by young Ivy, who lived next door last summer.

Oh, my, I have to digress again. Remember me talking about the folks who lived next door then? The cool neighbors we appreciated so much? This was them. Ivy was the little girl going “WOW!” at the snowfall that morning.

But as it turned out, those people moved out before the end of summer, and a new couple with two little boys moved in. And actually, they too are already gone—they must’ve had a falling out with the landlord; they moved out just a few weeks ago. (Whatever. I think it’s pretty pathetic when the landlord can’t get people to stay in there even one whole year. Maybe he should try checking references, or make them sign a lease, or see if they have a job or income before renting to them. But anyway . . .)

It was last summer when I did this “Door” project, and it took several weeks. I’d do a strand or two of beads every once in a while, the door propped up on sawhorses in the basement. Waiting for the laundry to get done so I could move it into the dryer? I’d do a strand of beads. Going crazy with some endless bibliography? Break it up with some beading.

It was fun. I used to do beading in graduate school to pick up a little extra cash. The New Age types liked my creations; it was Arizona, and hey.

I invited Ivy over to do the beading with me, because I knew she was bored, and I knew she’d love the pretty beads. Who wouldn’t love them?

She started off making a necklace. Or, as she pronounced it, a neckalace. Since she’s only five or six, I helped get her started. When she told me she wanted to make a neckalace, I figured she was making one for herself. But it soon became clear that she was making it for her grandma. Isn’t that nice?

As with my work on “The Door,” it took more than a few afternoons for Ivy to finish her project, in part because we spent a lot of time visiting and getting sidetracked. Ivy had a lot of energy and a short attention span. But she kept plugging away, and I got to see her present it to her grandma. That was the same day her grandma told me they’d be moving away.

Oh, well. That’s how most renters go in this neighborhood.

I do enjoy my door and the fun I had decorating it, now that it’s back outside and standing amid spring’s new-grown grass, wild, shaggy, and unmowed, reflecting the clear purple petals of the violets and the creeping Charlie.


Anonymous said...

So very inspiring! Thank you for the smile on my lips after reading such a fun blog!

Julianna Schroeder said...

Hey, thanks, Darla! I'm always inspired, myself, by just the colors purple and green!