One thing I've learned about myself is that if I wait until I'm really ready to do something, it could take forever. Thus, when friends said they were going back to the States in mid-February and really wanted me to have my housewarming before they left, I said, "Sure, that's over a month away--no problem."
What was I thinking? Well, one of the things I was thinking was that I needed to have a date in mind or it wouldn't happen.
I started putting together a guest list and when I got done I went back and started mercilessly cutting names. Once I got it down as far as I could I still had 47 names on there. I'm serious! When I say I've made more friends here in the last year than I did in the States my entire life, I'm not kidding. My house is 300 square feet! Well, there was only one thing to do--it would have to be an open house with people coming and going for about four hours. I figure that will work. I also have a lovely courtyard where people can gather in little groups. I went to a gallery opening here where there were absolutely no chairs and I don't think the space was even 200 square feet and we did just fine so this should be OK, too. (I'm writing this before the party but it won't get posted until afterwards.) So far only six people have said they won't be attending. Oh my.
This past week was nearly a nightmare. No, actually, it was just busier than I could imagine it would be. I had purchased a bunch of furniture almost a month ago but I was still waiting to get the fabric for the cushions and throw pillows until I got whatever I was going to get as artwork because I didn't want to have them clashing.
A friend and I finally went to the Otavalo market a couple of weeks ago and got several pieces I fell in love with. One of them is a canvas stretched on bars. That didn't need anything done to it but there were two other pieces (actually four pieces but they ended up in two frames) that needed something else done with them. I finally figured out what I thought I wanted and turned them over to someone who could take care of it.
OK, I had the art. Now it was time for fabric, foam, and someone to cover the foam with the fabric. I was told about a great store in San Antonio de Ibarra (the woodworking town). Sure enough, it was amazing. I found fabric for all four couch cushions and seven pillow covers for under $6/meter. I was pretty thrilled about that. I also got foam at an amazingly low price by U.S. standards. I got 1 meter by 1 meter by 12 cm (that's about 4.5") for $19. Actually, it cost about $80 for all the foam. When I looked online for the prices in the States, I discovered that I would have had to pay about $130 and I wouldn't have had any leftovers. I'm going to cut those into squares that can be turned into cubes that can be used as foot stools or extra seating.
I took the fabric to the woman making the cushions and had a fellow cut the foam to size for me.
All of this was happening the week before the party except for buying the art.
On Wednesday we went to Ibarra to get the groceries and paper products. My dear friend is doing all the food prep for me. Is that a good friend, or what? Since then other people have emailed saying they're going to bring something to eat as well. These are going to be very well-fed people!
On Thursday I picked up the cushion and pillow covers and Maria and I wrestled them onto the foam. We managed to break one of the zippers. The woman who made them made them too perfect. They fit like little gloves but I'm going to have to stitch that one up or have Diane fix it but then I'd still have to get it on the cushion. I think a little stitching will work just fine. Still on Thursday, Maria helped me clean the house from top to bottom. Muricio had taken the artwork with him along with instructions for what I wanted (I can't tell you how nervous I was to have someone who was not a professional framer take my artwork away with just instructions) and he came back on Thursday with it framed exactly as I had envisioned it (though I would use matte paint rather than glossy next time). He hung it all up and said he would come back on Friday to patch one little spot on the wall where the paint is pulling away from the concrete. Later in the afternoon Thomas came and helped me put the rest of the foam and much other stuff up in the loft area. I'll pull the foam down and turn it into other things later, but not before the party. It's so full up there that if I pile it any higher you'll be able to see it sticking over the top of the barrier I put up.
Friday was a quiet day. Muricio came over and did his little patch job, I bought the beverages and squeezed them in the fridge to cool overnight. Then I finished up doing what I could with the bedroom. Oh my, that's definitely still a work in progress.
Friday night it rained. It didn't just sprinkle a little, it RAINED!
The preparations are made as much as they can be so there's nothing more to be done but sit back and wait for the party.
Stay tuned for the details.