Here's an embarrassing fact about Mr. New Media: In his dream home he will have carved out a sizable nook just for pillows. A pit, if you will. This space would be floofy and cushy and, I imagine, I Dream of Jeannie-like. He imagines possibly falling back into it, perhaps from a second floor landing. Maybe he lazes in it, sipping red wine. Maybe he browses the internet, enveloped in velvets and damasks and silk brocades. Maybe he takes in a football game on his appropriately man-sized flatscreen. I don't know. I do not share this dream. But nothing gratifies quite as instantly as a simple pillow project. And really, when your completed product is as soft and yielding as something to populate a pit of pillows, there's also very little that's as forgiving.
For a good stretch there I followed the self-instigated tradition of crafting up a pillow as part of every gifting event for Mr. New Media. Birthdays, anniversaries, father's day, etc. Most were sewn, some with a simple envelope closure, others outfitted with zippers. At least one was knitted in an atrocious display of color theory. Some required new fabric, chosen off bolts or salvaged from the remnant bin, or worked from a napkin picked up on clearance. There's the one cut from a favorite t-shirt and fringed in bobbly orange. There's the one that sits as homage to Mondrian. One was made from velvety scraps left over from our re-creation of a favorite book. Two are giant felt carrots. One is just plain giant.
We have yet to find that dream home, the one with the pillow-lounging corner. Hell, we're not even in our dream-state. Home ownership and serious commitment to decorating will have to wait. Right now, it's really just a pillow hole, spilling out of the tent my mom made The Boy for his second birthday. Still, I'm about to stitch the first seems of a dress, a huge, daunting project, and am in serious need of some quick-return craftyness to build up my energy and self-steem.
So, pillows. In starting the dress project, I had cut out pieces to construct a muslin, a most unthinkable act. My bright idea was to use the scraplets from to piece them together in a jagged, strippy fashion to make a pillow front, and then back it with flannel left over from the throw I made at Christmas. Easy enough, but the resulting panel evoked mummies and wrapped bandages. And, as Mr. New Media pointed out, we're a family prone to laying down stains wherever we sit, with sticky chocolate and ripe-strawberry remains grinding into everything. The fine art of napkin usage, despite constant gentle reminders, has not quite stuck with the three-year-old. And the muslin panel, as it was, was just too blank a canvas. A little embellishment was in order, so a second unthinkable act was initiated. I did some appliqué work. In the shape of Texas. Which really accounts for a third unthinkable act. But as they say… When in Rome, adorn your home goods with the likeness of your nation-state. I set a zipper in and called it good.
I've been in a state of mind the past few weeks where I've been very down on this state. There are, of course, many stereotypes about Texans. You know, the whole gun-totin', hickish, loud-mouthedly conservative bit. Lately, it feels like certain citizens of this state have gone out of their way to validate these stereotypes. But there was something rather therapeutic about making this pillow. Maybe it was all the pinning and needling the shape took, like a Texas voodoo doll exorcising its likeness' demons. Maybe it's just that it's fun and cuddly.
In the background, there, is the first piece we took in to commemorate our then-new Texas-ness. Our own deer bust in cardboard and decorative paper. I tasked Mr. New Media with this project once we were settled in this house. He predictably objected to the paper I had picked out. Too girly, of course. But what could be a better antithesis to your archetypical taxidermized trophy than patterns you might decorate a girl's baby shower with? Another Texas corner funned and cuddlied up.