Barbecue, vinyl tubing, and the ugly duckling


Yesterday evening I grabbed the mail as I was heading out to pick up barbecue for the family, and guess what was in my mailbox! This book! Sent to me by the awesome Jodi Kahn herself, who is one of the nicest, most talented people I've ever cyber met. I drove down the highway steering with my knees so I could claw off the padded mailer and could hardly keep my eyes on the road with this gorgeous book lying on my lap. Fortunately I made it one piece to the restaurant and bellied up to the bar to wait for my food while I starting flipping through the pages. Oh sweet heaven! Where do I start???

I'll start with my trip to Lowes earlier in the day where I bought 6 feet of vinyl tubing in various diameters. As you know, when you buy vinyl tubing in the plumbing department at Lowes, you have to have an employee cut it to length off the spools for you. And you stand there in dread that the Lowes employee will ask you what sort of bathroom renovation you're working on, and you'll have to explain what you are really doing with the 6 feet of vinyl tubing, which of course has nothing to do with plumbing. And you feel sort of weird.

But then a few hours later, you get this book in the mail, and you see the most phenomenally creative bags in existence, and you see the materials that Jodi uses, like rolls of clear plastic from the hardware store, silver bubble mailers, and astroturf, and you know you are not alone. Somewhere out there, in hardware stores around the country, are people like you. People who see the mundane stuff around us as raw materials just waiting to be whipped into objects of beauty and function and fun. I think it must be how the ugly duckling felt when she first logged onto the internet and started reading craft blogs. You are not an ugly ducking. You are a beautiful swan! And when the Lowes cashier says, "What are you doing with the vinyl tubing?" you can say with pride and dignity, "I'm making a lampshade."


  1. Love this post! I, like you, thoroughly enjoy roaming up and down the aisles of Home Depot/Lowes, mind reeling with ideas and completely fascinated by the vast collection of materials. I'll have to check out this book!

  2. Just got back from Home Depot! Not making anything as creative as a lampshade out of vinyl tubing (can't wait to see that) but a kitchen for my soon to be 3 year old for her birthday. I also bought manila rope. I'm hoping to use it to hang burlap curtains in the kitchen. We'll see...Oh I almost forgot the 200 feet of 14 gauge wire for my children who are obsessed with Calder. I love it!

  3. Well, I certainly didn't expect to make your blog! CRAZY! And speaking of cyber connecting--I'm cyber blushing right now! Thank you for your way kind kudos. It's been a real treat to "meet" you and Matsutake.

    p.s. Think we could make a purse out of the leftover tubing?!?


  4. fantastic!!!
    my ace hardware store is graced with my crafty presence once a week!

    i love your blog!

  5. Yes! I seem to me more inspired at the hardware store than pretty much anywhere else. I just need a fully operational work shop to act upon my ambition endeavors.


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