My Humble Beginnings

I want to share my first ever writing submission to be selected for publication. It also just happened to be a first place winner. *nonchalantly buffs nails*
I was absurdly proud of my rhyming skills back at Valley View Elementary School, where I loved my third grade creative writing lessons. I submitted a poem for the school’s annual creative writing contest and publication. My competition included classmate Scott, who wrote a touching poem about asthma. (“I get asthma from the dust, I must get a drink, I must!”)
My winning poem was featured in the front pages of Creative Writers of Valley View. And that was no toss-away rag, I tell ya. The pages were of the finest Mimeograph quality, with a fat purple font, richly-hued and fragrant. The binding was exquisite: a full color cover handcrafted out of thick construction paper, bound to the interior pages by three thick brass brads.
I have no idea whatever happened to my copy of the book. No doubt my parents donated it to the Smithsonian and never told me about it, in order to nurture my gentle poet’s demeanor.
Without further ado, I give you, “Kitten”.
I found a little kitten
In my back yard one day
He looked just like a mitten
That was a very light gray
I wanted him to live at my house
But he went all over, looking for a mouse
He came back that day with a very big rat
The rat was as big as the kitten!
Now what do you think of that?
~ Lori Alden Jensen, Age Eight
“Kitten” (Light Gray)

I Can’t Dance, But I Can Cut A Rug

(Click any image to embiggen)

A few years back, Ken found this adorable little rug at the trash dump site he visits once a month. He got it from a guy who was pulling junk out of his pickup truck, just before it would have been thrown into the back of a garbage truck. As you can see, its fringe had seen better days. And this is AFTER I cut about two inches off the fringe to get rid of the worst of the damage.
Such a lovely rug – such nightmarish fringe.
Let’s take one last look at that fringe before I start carefully snipping it loose. This fringe will return to the same trash drop off from whence it came.
No fringe! Happily, every attachment hole is still intact, and can be re-used when I tie on the new fringe.
The rug’s backside. That whip-stitched edging is the material the rug was hooked into. A two inch border beyond the hooked area had been folded over and sewn to the backside. The thread was rotting, so I re-whip-stitched it all the way around. The fringe holes were punched directly into that fabric, too. It’s clear to me that this wasn’t a factory manufactured rug. Everything about it shouts, ‘handmade’. A friend surmised, “About twenty years ago there was a great rush of handwork as China really began to enter the marketplace. Quilted duvets, patch work, embroidery, and, yes, hooked carpet. This may be something like that, where Chinese manufacturing met Chinese cottage industry.” It’s certainly a possibility.

It’s new fringe time! I bought a spool of cooking twine on Amazon, the kind you use to truss up a roast. I would need two pieces for each hole. To keep them uniform in length, I used my Kindle Paperwhite as a ruler – it’s just over 7″ tall. And the Kindle stayed put better than a ruler would, allowing me to snip snip snip a zillion pieces. I then used a crochet hook to pull two strands through each hole, then looped and tied them.

Ta Da! Even Chives thinks the refurbished rug looks much better and is now the perfect spot for a cat nap. Speaking of animals on a rug… I AM going to flip this one over, liberally sprinkle it with baking soda, and leave it overnight before vacuuming. As I was re-tying the fringe, I had my face very close to the rug. And my nose told me that in its previous life, napping dogs may have been involved. That will be easy to take care of, though. All in all, I’m very happy with this little restoration project.