Thursday, November 19, 2009

Gnomes & Other Scandihoovian Things

Over the weekend I found myself headed toward the suburban hinterland of Portland where therein lies a big blue box called--you guessed it--IKEA. I didn't start this trip in a particularly buoyant mood. You see, I had just been there a few days previously, trying to return two dining room chairs that were purchased many months ago, despite their slipcovers being out of stock at the time. It's a messy, convoluted, unimportant story; but in a nutshell, when I did eventually get the slipcovers, I found them to be loose and floppy on our petite chairs. How could that be? I asked the IKEA cashier. The chairs were redesigned and made larger, was the answer. And, sadly, an exchange was not possible.

Hmph.

Feeling defeated, yet trying to be optimistic, I made the return trip home telling myself I could alter those baggy, saggy slipcovers, no problem! Then reality swooped in, helping me to see how much time I would have to devote to a project I didn't really have my heart in. Thankfully, Erik found the smaller covers on ebay (for a premium, of course!).
So there I was on Saturday evening, making the trek back out to this strange world of sprawling development and ginormous parking lots to return these two pesky, super-sized cotton covers. I imagine my jaw was probably set a bit tight and so, to distract myself from too much inner grumbling, I began flipping through the radio stations. There I landed on A Prairie Home Companion just as Garrison Keillor was beginning the News from Lake Wobegon. I don't always find this show completely hilarious, but that evening, in short order, I was laughing out loud as he described the Thanksgiving trials and tribulations of "Irene Bunsin"--the director of the town's church handbell choir. Poor Irene and her pumpkin pie mishaps. Indeed, Garrison Keillor's silly, simple stories were just what I needed to put my own irritations into perspective.

And just as the "news" was wrapping up, I swung into the IKEA parking lot and somehow managed to grab a spot that was less than a quarter-mile from the entrance. Soon enough my slipcover debacle was a thing of the past and now being in a lighter mood, I decided a quick looksy into this year's holiday wrapping paper offerings might be worth my time.
And it was. Gnomes and Scandinavian prints galore. The gnomes were a particularly welcome sight, as I have been reusing a large piece of this very same wrapping paper for years now. Some wonderful IKEA-shopping relative of mine gifted me a deliciously big box covered in this paper awhile back and I've apparently made it my life's holiday mission to never allow those cute little guys to see the inside of a recycling bin. Perhaps now that I'm stocked up on wrapping paper for the next two decades, I can happily retire those gnomes whose paper edges now have several years of built-up Scotch tape.
Coincidentally, my Christmas shopping was off to a good start when I stumbled upon this wonderful vintage doll with red boots at an estate sale for my elf-and-gnome-collecting auntie (who hopefully doesn't read my blog!). There is a wee tag sewn on her bum that says "Cluna Studios," which surprisingly, Google couldn't tell me much about.

At the same sale, I picked up a copy of Gnomes Book of Christmas Crafts, which are based on the gnome characters in Rien Poortvliet's books that I so enjoyed as a girl. Most of the projects are a bit too cutesy for my taste, but there are a couple I quite like ... enough to entice me to part with $2.
I'm hoping this Christmas will be one of many handmade and vintage gifts for my family. As usual, I have quite an ambitious list of projects this year. Perhaps I ought to end this rambling post and make my way to the sewing machine, eh? As always, thanks for stopping by.