inhale...exhale...relax your shoulders...repeat as often as needed

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

across the miles and the years

Before Alzheimer's robbed my Dad of his brilliance,
he was a fine artist and craftsman.
He built this curio cabinet for our son Stewart years ago.
As a grade-school naturalist, Stewart filled it with his collections 
of rocks, bugs, shells and such.
Tucked safely away in the attic when Stewart left for college,
we just rediscovered it in our ongoing cleaning escapades.
We packed it up carefully and sent it across the country to
a now grown up Stewart in Oregon.

I wonder what will fill the shelves of this
cabinet in it's latest incarnation.

I like to think of a bit of my Dad
nestled into Stew and Dawn's new home 
far, far away.


Monday, January 28, 2013

second guessing

freshly painted rooms stage well for the real estate market.
so we are choosing colors again.
i know that neutral is best.
we have a lot of neutral already.
but i think too much neutral is boring,
so now i am channeling
i have chosen colors of the sea...
grays and blues and greens.

soft neutrals, colors of the sea,
crisp white woodwork and maple cabinets...
maybe the calm will lure folks right into 
our web of dreams come true.
both for them and for us.

it's a renewable resource.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

sharing a slice of life

In progress
  • the pantry...emptied, scrubbed, fresh paint awaiting Gretta's magic touch.
  • attic emptied, swept and vacuumed. 
  • contents of attic sorted...bags taken to Goodwill, old blankets to animal shelter, trash to transfer station, "treasures" repacked and carefully labeled.
  • multiple file drawers emptied and culled, with overflowing recycling bins. 
oh, the memories!

In the kitchen
  • sweet potato/spinach/black bean burritos here
  • shaved brussels sprouts and soba noodles with honey ginger sauce here
  • butternut squash and lentil pot pie here
  • baked quinoa patties here
  • lots of green salads, made with as many colors as possible, shredded red cabbage, pea shoots, yellow bell peppers, watercress, slivered carrots, diced jicama...
  • oatmeal with almond milk, dried fruit and chopped nuts
  • bowls of clementines on the counter
  • herbal teas, both hot and cold
  • green smoothies for breakfast, spiked with fresh ginger for antioxidant punch
In the DVD player
On the computer screen
On my mind
  • One today, the inaugural poem that I keep returning to.
Looking forward to
  • attending the NOFA-VT winter conference with Gretta in Feb.
  • upcoming board meetings at both of "my" schools. (i love to keep learning).
  • a Sunday afternoon visit with friends from IL. we haven't seen them is 16 years. 
I am living life fully at the intersection of the present moment and dreams coming true. It is exhausting and energizing at the same time. 

This is the year.

Batman and I have a mission statement for 2013...

4 wheel drive, baby, all the way up the hill, leaving baggage by the side of the road and pullin' outta the ruts along the way.

I will keep you posted as we continue to craft our rural spirit.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Manzanitas napkins

While staying on the coast in Manzanitas, Oregon over Christmas,
I was often the first one up in the morning. 
I would brew a cup of tea, 
bundle up in layers and take a solitary walk on the beach.
The horizon, the waves, the fog, the wind, the sand and
the was all simple perfection.
There were huge, long strands of kelp, 
swept up in great piles along the beach.
I did pick up just a few pebbles (see above).

I used a commercially printed seaweed fabric to make these napkins.
I also used an assortment of black scraps to applique as pebbles.
Maybe I'm sentimental?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

windowsill resurrection

I am sorry, Meyer lemon. I left you alone for a week in the bright sunshine in the midst of some of the hottest weather this past summer. Then, this fall, you suffered through eight days without heat during the mean days after Hurricane Sandy. Lately you have been a shadow of your former self, and I don't blame you one bit. Batman wanted to prune you, but I was reluctant. I just kept watering you and whispering sweet nothings in you ear. My skepticism and my hope about your fate took turns. I had faith and yet I doubted, too. I waited to see which way you would go.
And then something amazing happened.
I couldn't quite believe my eyes.
But this morning I smelled you and knew it was true.

Such resilience,
such strength,
such beauty.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

all a'twitter

Batman and I enjoyed a short weekend at our "bit of earth" in Vermont this past weekend. We were completely fogged in from beginning to end. When we arrived on Saturday morning, a flock of cedar waxwings were singing in one of the crab apple trees. 
According to this vintage Bird Guide, published in 1910, which belonged to my grandmother, cedar waxwings have an insignificant lisping hiss. I beg to differ. These sweet birds were having a very animated conversation, they were actually twittering (in the old fashioned way).

Do you know the work of Geninne? She is a huge bird fan. Check out her gorgeous blog here.

Someday I would like to participate in Cornell's FeederWatch Program. Have any of you tried it?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

stitching on a tuesday

Noodlehead is a fun blog, filled with easy to follow tutorials. Last week, Gretta whipped up an open wide zippered pouch. She made it look so easy, this morning I decided to make one, too. Here's a link to Anna's wonderful tutorial, complete with photos.
You may recognize the crane fabric from another project. The pouch is lined and tabbed with an orange and white checkered fabric, leftover from a gypsy skirt I made for Gretta years ago.

Anna is one of those folks who puts good things out into the universe, just for fun. She is a gem.

Do you know the amazing artwork of Elsa Mora? I have been spending some time over at her blog, checking out this post...29 ways to stay creative. Really friends, she's a breath of fresh air in the middle of January. Check her out.

I enjoyed reading your comments last week. Thank you for sharing them.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

a sunny thursday

Gretta does not start her residency until April, so we have her delightful company for a few months yet. She has been helping us with our many home rehab projects...painting closets, hauling boxes from the attic and heaving bags at the Goodwill drop-off. She's also been a help in the kitchen. This morning, she headed off for her first substitute teaching experience. I'm not sure who will have more fun, the pre-schoolers or Gretta! 

Gretta has also spent a good bit of time sitting at my Bernina. Yesterday she whipped up these pillows made of old flannel shirts. We like to recycle here at our house, and I'm glad these worked out so well. They match her quilt quite nicely, eh?

Because we all spent money on airfare to get to Oregon for Christmas, our family decided to embrace the simple gift of time together and let go of the obligation of tangible gifts. We did give a nod to Santa, though, by filling one another's stockings with all sorts of clever finds. I received a cuppow , and I must say that I love having a grown up sippy cup to grab and go. When the air both inside and outside is so dry, and when germs are lurking in closed up homes, I try to stay hydrated and this little gem makes it easier. A slice of lemon adds flavorful zest and some citrus antioxidant power.

Today I am celebrating the bright sunshine, bread baking in the kitchen and feeling purposeful.

What three things are you celebrating today?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

walking through the dining room

look at me!" 
the narcissus called out.
and so i did.

the spring green leaves, the white bud 
and the quiet afternoon sunshine
invited me to just stand there,
in appreciation
of the utter simplicity of the moment.

what a treat.  

Saturday, January 5, 2013

monkeying around in my sewing studio

My friend ("The Queen of Everything") is soon to be a Grandma for the first time. Her daughter, Cate loves monkeys and her favorite colors are red and orange. I like to make nursery pillows as shower gifts, and so I put together this appliqued monkey. I used a pattern by Barbra Viall, originally designed for felted wool, copyright 2000, and no longer available according to the internet. I used batiks and calicos from my fabric stash and heatnbond lite, an iron-on adhesive. I top stitched the raw edges and made a overlap sleeve for the back.
Today's shower was a delightful intergenerational gathering of women...friends and relatives of the mom-to-be. Such hope and love and promise filled the room. A new baby, a new year...

Refreshing. Optimistic. Wonderful.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

from the coast to the woods

Mt St Helen from the Wildwood Trail in Portland, OR.
Douglas fir.
So lush and magical.
We were listening for crows and coyotes and bandits...
...and looking for Prue, Curtis and Mac.

I am walking into it with courage and faith.
How about you?