Tuesday, July 1, 2014

it's summer now.  a constant warm sweetness in the air.  it's not just a rush of warm heavy air that blows past in a few hours.  it's what i expect now.   i eat a bowl of blackberries for my dinner,  my feet are rough and dirty.  the light sits low and warm until almost 9 o clock.   the sea gulls fly over while i'm sitting on the porch with a limeade and the white of their underbelly glows orange.  the heat sits like a drooly blur above the lake.  the yard is fluffed and green around the edges.  private and cool.  there is always sound.  birds and squirrels and water and voices and the rustle of leaves.

we have hired a painter and his ladders are sitting in the driveway, waiting for the work to start.  i mixed up colors tonight, little pots of paint to find the perfect gray  for the wood that sits along the edges of the stone i love so much.  along the roof.  the windows.  the eaves.  the trim of the little cedar shingled front porch.  i have made the color and i love it.  like a smudge of weathered wood.  i know we need to paint to protect the wood.  but i still want the house to look like a crackly, weather beaten little cottage, worn and cozy.  so the color is an old and faded color, and i'll leave the crooked little door to the front porch peeling and cracked.

it's almost 9 pm. it's not quite twilight.  but the gloaming has begun.  tomorrow we'll wake up in july, that month of freedom and skin.  it is completely summer now.  

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

6.43 this morning.  The sun finds a narrow opportunity to reach directly into my face through the porch covered east window in my little library.  The sun lights me in the warmest gentlest blinding way for ten minutes.  Stella on my lap purring and loving the glare.  I enjoyed it fully until it moved past me.  I love the early morning day.  

We are just starting our week, after a wonderful long weekend, welcoming the ease of summer.  We took ezra to the farm for a little hike.  We had a campfire with friends.  We hung loads of laundry on the line to dry in the sun and wind.  We freshened up the house.   The luxury of days to putter at home without being torn by the need to be at the studio filling orders and building inventory.  There was, however, a wrinkle of worry as my best friend from high school spent the weekend in hospital awaiting a surgical procedure today.  I am eager for her to be home and well.  
So we're slipping into the week refreshed and looking forward to the goodness it will bring. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

All day as I work words float through my head.  I think of sentences that I love.  And then I forget them.  Sometimes a fragment of a story teases me.  I rearrange ideas and descriptions.  Or I listen to podcasts of literature keeping my mind engaged without stopping the work of my hands and my eyes.  Sometimes I wonder if I'd be happier knitting words together in loops of story poetry.  It seems like a free and light pursuit.  I would need silence.  And a computer.  And my mind that absorbs and ferments all that it encounters.  Certainly when compared to the weightiness of the quilts, it seems so simple.  For I am overwhelmed with the accoutrements of what I do, heavy on my chest like a heart attack.  I have rooms of fabric, scraps that are endlessly disorganized, heavy sewing machines....one that takes up an entire room,  and then more fabric.  Tons of fabric.  It's how I make quilts.  The weight is important.  It is the warmth.  It is the charm.  It is the beauty.  But the fantasy of freedom and weightlessness surfaces often.  Yet I think I'd float away, too much stillness, waiting for the words. Too much stillness. So I sew.  Keeping the work a constant flow of materials and collections and treasures for my eyes to rest on, to sink my hands into, to build and cut and wrap up in.    

And so I'll sleep as the moon smiles in on me, through the branches of my beautiful tree, through the open curtain and the open window.   

Monday, May 12, 2014

Tom had all the windows open today.   Bringing the summer in.  And when I was walking up the stairs in the dark tonight, I was surrounded in it. Warm and sweet, I was breathing it in.  The scent of line dried sheets was spilling out of the bedrooms, into the hall as I climbed the stairs.  And there was just the gentlest touch of humidity, just enough to announce a summery feeling.  A breeze moving the bedroom curtain, an elixir of lake and grass, budding trees and magnolia & tulip blossoms.  

I tried to regain a little order in the studio today.  Folding mountains of fabric.  Washing new fabric.  Starting a couple of new quilts.  Working with the doors open and light pouring in.  The whole while, listening to moby dick.    I took a break with ezra to sit in the sun this afternoon, eating goats milk ice cream (organic and delicious).  I love when I have worked a long full day, and it feels like a luxury.   Aaaah, summer! 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

it has been one of those perfect gloomy days.  rainy and windy and not a bit of brightness in the sky,  but the studio was warm and busy and full of the hum of the sewing machine, the steamy rush of the iron.  and i turned a mountain of squares into 84 colourful, double-sided and double seamed napkins.  they aren't quite finished, but they're well on their way.  i could have stayed at the studio longer, but i wanted to come home and make crackers for our dinner. 
when i was little, my grandmother lived with us.  and it seemed like she never stopped bustling around the kitchen.  she loved to invent new and oddly healthy dishes from leftovers and her strange health food store ingredients.  she baked bread in v8 cans, so the sandwiches i took to school were often round.  and she always made delicious crackers.  
lately i've been experimenting with making crackers from organic and/or gluten free flours.  and i think of my little gramma's knuckley hands every time i'm pressing the dough into the bottom of the pan.  i'm sure i use more oil and salt and flavorful herbs than she did.  tonight was brown rice flour and spelt flour, garlic olive oil, sea salt and greek seasoning.  topped with dill.  and some wonderfully garlic-y fresh guacamole.  my version of my little gramma's crackers.  

Monday, April 28, 2014

lately i've been driving out to the farm to take ezra for romps through the spring fields.  the farm is my parents farm.  and my childhood home.  for forty years it's been the background, the soft cushion, to my life.  and this spring,  the lake isn't pulling me out for walks, like the farm is.  ezra loves the endless fields and the ridge of giant evergreen trees.  the swampy quarry that is now guarded with overgrown thorny bushes.  the 200 year old barns.  the apple orchard tucked to the east of the house, where the deer always appear from.  the west fields that twist and turn along with tree dividers and ancient rail fences.  ezra bounds along after exciting scents and i'm reminded of countless childhood adventures.  like driving the family jeep through the fields and the long driveway when i was but 8 years old.  choosing just the right time to leap from my galloping horse without being trampled after the saddle loosened and i was dangling under his belly at 11.  and the tamer memories of picking wild strawberries and catching snakes and raising a little nest of baby rabbits after their mother was killed.  trudging up the long 1/4 mile driveway to catch the school bus on winter mornings.  the smell of sweet dusty hay.  
so we tramp through the fields, ezra and i and sometimes tom.  the perfect destination walk.  

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.