Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Ellsworth snuck through Tom's legs last night as he was taking Ezra outside before bed.  Our big clumsy cat, out into the night.  I always worry when he's out all night, so this morning,  when I faintly heard his cry above the crush of pre-dawn birdsong, I slipped downstairs to find him.  He'd pushed his way into the front porch and was peeking in the front door, eager to be let in for breakfast and a soft spot to sleep away the morning.  5.30 a.m. in late April is a dynamic hour.  The sounds of birds and squirrels are quite overpowering in the stillness.  There is a rush of energy.  So I didn't head back up to bed.  I never do, really.  I love the early hours, looking forward to the flow of the day.
The studio has been a steady pull lately.  No shortage of projects to fly between.   I like that.  Preparing for a couple of spring shows.  Working on custom pieces.  And in the swirl of work comes new ideas and fresh perspectives on what I do.  Always moving forward.  I've been making single fabric quilts lately.  Two beautiful fabrics, quilted with cotton batting.  They are lightweight and simple with  an air of ease.  Years ago Tom's mother gave us a quilt, hand stitched by his great-great-grandmother.  Yet this quilt is not pieces and patches of scraps of cotton stitched into a whole.  It is two whole pieces of fabric, hand quilted together early in the last century, to make a blanket.   There is an easy simplicity about this quilt that always catches my eye and my heart.  And so I've been setting aside my favorite pieces of fabric to make similar blankets.  And I love them.  I have a few in the shop, and more on the way.   

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

the sun swept through the studio today, whipping up little glittery storms of dust and lint.  it was a lovely day.  i worked on a quilt top that is full of the sunniness.  and it's chock full of gingham which is always steeped in sun for me.  gingham means picnics and lemonade.  and cool grass creating that tangled little relief sculpture on the palm of your hand from leaning back and gazing at the day.  that is what this quilt is full of.  
around lunchtime my parents and my aunt brought me a roll of cotton batting for my quilts.  they had been on a little morning trip across the border, across the bridges, across the st. lawrence and back again.  all to pick up my cotton quilting batting and deliver it to me.  they are just awesome like that.  my dad and my aunt settled onto the couch with ezra and my mother curled in a patch of sun like a cat, reading 'tess of the d'urbervilles'.  i worked away sewing pieces of my quilt together.  
we had sushi for lunch.  a first for my 85 year old aunt.  she loved it, although she didn't attempt chopsticks.   it was my third time this week having sushi for lunch.  (and, yes, it's wednesday.  i'm in a bit of a sushi phase right now)  
a few weeks ago i found an old mini tape recorder, the sort used for dictation back in the day.  surprisingly the batteries hadn't corroded and when i pressed 'play' i discovered a 40 minute conversation i'd had with my grandfather when he was 99. (he lived to be a couple months shy of 105).  so after our sushi lunch, i dug out the little tape recorder and played the conversation for my parents and my aunt.  in the streams of sun.  with our full bellies.  snuggling with a warm contented dog.  we all marvelled at how much my grandfather remembered and what great stories he was telling and how nice to have it all on tape.  
so this is the background for today's quilt.  it is soaked in sun and happiness and love and family memories.  it's a good quilt.  

Thursday, March 13, 2014

the sun is a low, west-slung sun.  6 pm. i'm at home.  tom is playing guitar.  stella is in front of the fire.  there is too much snow for march. and too much cold.  
i cleaned the studio last week.  changed it around a little and organized fabric and treasures. readying it for the coming season of work, i suppose.  it took a couple of days and when i was ready to work again, i just stood and looked around.  i had killed the chaos and chewed up a bit of the energy with it.  i couldn't find where to begin.  there were no tangled piles of fabric.  nothing half finished and flung over a chair.  for most of the day i was more than a little displaced.  eventually i sunk into auto-drive, nothing inspired or even fun, but the blank fog of work found me a direction.  and I've had a great week of work since then. 
i've begun to gaze at vintage quilts.  absorb them in a new way. they slip into me now and engage parts of me that i had allowed to drop into a darkened and forgotten place.  this week a quilt brought the painter to the surface again.  i do most things in a painterly way, for that is how i work, what i know, who i am. and the real painter comes up for air now and then too.  but this time i found myself lost in the motifs that at one time would drive me to fill wall sized canvas.  and from that tickle, the same spot that used to birth paintings, i made a quilt.  a quilt of crosses. i often see cross quilts.  but the motif, the shape, the idea hit me differently. i had to make a quilt that would dream along beside me as i fashioned it.  red and black crosses. strong and knightly.  yet soft and grandmotherly.  speaking in contrasts.  

so, i've broken through a self imposed barrier. i won't have this type of experience with every quilt i make, but it's worth something to know it's possible.  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

sitting on the couch with ezra.  a little restless.  wishing i was at the studio, deep in the work.  it's not late.  but i have no energy for anything else.  the kitchen needs to be cleaned up. laundry needs to be folded.  our house has simply found it's way into a winter rut.  and i don't really give any thought to it.  i only have energy to twist my head around ways to turn fabric into blankets.  soft and irresistible blankets. and finding new ways to use the pieces that end up on the floor, one sweep from the garbage.  it's all my mind will get enthusiastic about now. 
but i'm not at the studio.  the snow and the darkness has become a barrier for me.  although it's just a few steps across the yard, it seems difficult.  and i can't force myself across it. so i wait until morning and i spend a quiet winter evening with my family.  a little restless.  and a little tired.  a bit like a bear awakening to spring.  

Sunday, February 16, 2014

this photo is our empty icy harbour yesterday.  ezra and i walked all along it's edges, and at some spots the snow was past my knees.  yet i can feel spring sifting it's way through the layers of cold. i can feel the air beginning to shift.  the light is changing.  and there is a little restlessness in my fingers.  i am busy again.  a constant roll of making quilt tops, filling the shop with new quilts. sorting through new ideas.  and preparing for a small show that is happening march 1st right here in our little u-shaped village.  i don't like to leave my little circle of house and studio.  so the fact that this little show called 'she creates' takes place in the harbour, three doors down from me, makes it almost too perfect.  so, i work away, building new quilts, folding them in fat towers of colour, ready to send out into this new spring and their new homes.  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

i've always prefered to eat with my hands.  i don't really love utensils.  although i don't mind chopsticks.  they seem to be finger extensions more than a fork or a spoon.  it feels like utensils create a disconnect from the food for me.  it puts me at a remove from choosing each piece that i take a bite of. utensils turn into little shovels for me.  but when i pick a piece of food with my fingers and pop it in my mouth, it seems i'm able to savor it more.   i like to sip soup from the bowl.  and pick up carrots individually be they raw or cooked.  i don't use dressing on my salads anymore because i love eating handfuls of baby greens.  last night a huge bowl of baby greens was my meal.  i tossed bits of bagel in olive oil and salt, and then fried them in a little more olive oil.  that was my dinner.  it almost feels like i'm sitting down with a big bowl of popcorn or chips.  but it's so much better that it's a salad.  it's becoming more and more often that i choose meals that allow me to savor them with my fingers.  and i'm eating more and more meals just with my fingers regardless.  now i really see the food i'm eating, feel it, and enjoy it!!  and i don't have to worry about my mother's scolding anymore.  well, not too much, anyway.  

Sunday, February 9, 2014


when i come downstairs these wintry mornings, it's a simple little routine.  ezra heads outside first thing.  i put water on the stove to boil for tea. and i turn on the fire in the library.  this little stove sits in the corner, a constant welcoming smile with stella sprawled in front of it most of the time.  i keep two little clay pots that i made in college on the top grate.  they are filled with water to give a little moisture to the air.  a couple times a day i drop lemongrass essential oil into the water.  it freshens the air.  and i think it cleans the air too.  a little something to chase away the germiness of our closed in winter house.  
so my mornings have been fragrant of late.  mint tea and lemongrass.  and there has been sun.  the days are stretching, finally.  by 6 am the night has cracked and gray is spilling into the black night sky.  and by 8 am sun is flooding into the kitchen.  so i can feel the race into spring gaining speed.   but for now, i'll be bundling up to walk ezra through the harbour soon.  and coming home to stand beside the fire, warming my legs.