Tuesday, May 31, 2011

this week has been a busy and overwhelming one. it's only tuesday, but it feels like i've been at this a week. i am re-organizing my studio and my little shop. there is so much fabric. and it was beginning to feel like the fabric was about to take over. i'm enjoying the process. although i am fighting with the lack of time. bags of scraps that become so lovely in quilts, but are a disaster of a mess piled around the room. i am looking forward to having my work space back and streamlined. and trying to keep from feeling completely overwhelmed and anxious. it will be wonderful when it's complete. i'll post photos of the completed project......hopefully tomorrow. i can't be without my workspace much longer.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

last night was lovely. we swayed on the porch swing in our own glowy little world. tom kept nursing our fire with little sticks, keeping it alive despite the rain soaked wood we were using. clouds of smoke kept the mosquitoes away. edgar kept his eye on everything from his bed beside us. and the cats were off on little hunts in the grass. chasing each other and whatever else they set their sights on. floyd kept dashing up trees just for the fun of it. and running back down again just as quickly. he's almost like a squirrel. when it grew dark, tom turned the stars on.....the lights in the porch ceiling that still make me a little giddy with happiness after 11 years. it was a good night. and this morning when i let edgar out the kitchen door into the yard, the damp, rainy morning air still smelled smoky.

Friday, May 27, 2011

when flynn was 2, edgar came into our world. that was when edgar weighed 20 pounds and curled into our arms to sleep. he quickly became bigger than all of us, but seemed to have a special understanding about his size when it came to little flynn. he is wonderful with children in general, but the long summer days with flynn building forts in the yard and swinging on the tireswing and the porchswing along with the winter days cuddled on the couch under quilts watching treehouse shows, forged a special friendship. flynn can sometimes be annoyed with his slobber, or his general bigness, but ultimately they are pals. video games on a rainy day and pasta on the couch.when flynn visits, edgar wants to be part of it all.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

we spent the day in other people's houses today. houses being sold by the bank. or that had been left as part of an estate. houses empty and alone. in one we were afraid to walk up the stairs it was so structurally questionable. and in a couple the walls were bare lathe with the plaster torn away. there were parks and a river. schools. beautiful tree lined streets. rhubarb filled gardens. old wood soaked with life. paint that is chipped and worn. spaces i immediately make warm and happy in my mind. the anticipation and the possibilities swirl in an endless loop of aesthetic battles. i need to maintain the old, the charm, the integrity. and yet make it fresh and appealing in the honesty of it's bones. we haven't found the right house yet, or maybe we have.
the late days of may mean one thing to me. tennis. it's sometimes a difficult friendship since the weather is so inviting and i have much to do in the studio and the garden. so the dvr stays busy all day for me. the french open and the it's brick hued clay captivate me. i get up early to watch the morning matches. and spend the evening watching what i've dvr'ed during the day. i love the heavy grinding points that the clay inspires.and two weeks doesn't seem like long enough to appreciate this, my favorite of the grand slam tournaments.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

i've been talking about the quilt i was working on recently. well, this is it. i have another smaller lap quilt also finished. and two other tops ready to start quilting. it's wonderful to feel this burst of motivation and excitement again. every moment i can be sewing that is what i want to be doing. the random layering of fabrics and colors and the energy it creates is quite palatable. i feel like i'm making something special and fresh and perfectly imperfect. the studio is littered with scraps and thread and nothing is tidy since i refuse to take the time to put anything away when it takes time from sewing. it is an inspiring mess, chaos with a golden center.
this quilt is listed on my etsy shop and i have plans to list at least the lap quilt tomorrow as well.

Monday, May 23, 2011

we drove out to my parents place this morning. the light made the greens of may sing with bright fresh notes. walking through the fields. sun weaving between the branches and the young leaves. breeze moving the grass in whispers. i found myself sitting in the grass and just breathing. i didn't want to leave. simply trees and grass as far as i could see, and it was like i'd never seen it before. and yet this is what shaped me. it's as much a part of me as the blood and bone and tissue that makes me. this view from my bedroom window that i saw every day as a child. i left this view to explore and create and travel and learn. but it stays always behind my eyes, always ready for me to return to it.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

it is barbecue season. and yesterday was a marvelous gathering. i love when our house is teeming with people. the yard full of neighbors and children and cats and fabulous food and beer and laughter and conversation. the boys playing chasing games and soccer and basketball. with a huge tent in the back of the yard just for fun.toddlers and babies and our lovely friend with her baby still curled in her belly. swaying on the porch swing covered with quilts. it was such a perfect evening, all of us a little drunk with summer. when the sun fell and the bats began to fly the air chilled and we built a smoky fire with damp wood. another magical portsmouth village night. and unbeknownst to any of us, our beautiful pregnant neighbor spent the last evening of her pregnancy with us. and today we have another village baby.

Friday, May 20, 2011

an accidental little gathering of friends at the little beach. drawn out by the distinct rumble in the sky of the snowbirds overhead. we sit at the beach and talk about life and love. we laugh and watch the powerful jets dancing and dipping above the lake and the giant wind turbines. the swoop of their 9 part formation over the prison and it's labyrinth of stone walls is my favorite part. the light is perfect. there are baby ducks swimming up to us. boats are finally out on the lake. neighborhood dogs lead their owners along the walkway. and then we wander home to barbecue dinner and set up meagan's new tent in the side yard while naomi begs to be pushed on the tire swing.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

the air was heady with spring scents today. all the cool rain has kept the scents damp and dull. but this afternoon it was suddenly hot and muggy and the air was crowded with lilac and apple blossom and crabapple flavors, all sweet and mingling so i couldn't tell them apart. the flowers aren't opened yet, but tight little lavender or red or pink layers of petals like tiny tight fists. we walked around the block, edgar and i, just as we'd done this morning. but by our evening walk, our little world had changed. and we breathed it in.

Monday, May 16, 2011

i have found a lovely, much needed, new perspective on my garden. my front garden is a polarizing spot. people either stop and tell me how lovely it is in all it's natural, herb-y, uncontrolled beauty. or they glare at me or at the garden and consider it sloppy and disgraceful. and for the last couple of summers i haven't spent much time in it. i've been busy in the studio and garden time came last. so it was even more overgrown than ever. i dreaded my garden and even felt the formidable weight of obligation. i didn't trim or weed and i started worrying that i may need to redesign my garden to be of the low maintenance variety.
but last week i found the truth about my beautiful expanse of green in front of our house. the truth i knew for most of it's ten years, but that had been lost for the last few. i love my garden. and it is my place. it is the place i go to spend 10 minutes or an hour or an afternoon. as much time as i have. as much time as i want. it's not a job. i am not trying to create something for others to admire. my garden is clumps of herbs and rows of lavender. the dandelions and baby trees that come along, i try to keep to a minimum. but if i don't have the time or inclination for one week or even for a month, it means nothing more than i just don't have the time. it is still my own version of verdant beauty. the process, the individual herbs and flowers, the scents, watching the queen anne's lace start taking over everything in late july, finding little vignettes that i love and having to run in and grab my camera, talking to neighbors and strangers as they pass........ it is all of this that makes it my lovely place to putter in the sun.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

it's been a rainy and wretched weekend. a yawning gray and slow weekend. i worked on what may be my favorite quilt that i've ever made. i feel a sense of excitement about this quilt, but i won't know if the excitement is warranted until it's finished. hundreds of tiny little patches of fabrics with patterns and colors all compiled randomly, but merging perfectly into the most lovely quilt. i hope it turns out to be as beautiful as i expect.
besides sewing, the weekend was lazy. we tried to get out, socialize, do errands. but it wasn't easy. we simply wanted to be on the couch under a quilt away from the rain and the wind and the cold air. watching tv. reading. cuddling with edgar and stella. and now i'm watching the survivor finale, ready for a more productive week and hopefully with a finished quilt that i love.

Friday, May 13, 2011

today was my first outdoor sewing day. it happened entirely by accident. and it was the loveliest day. we started with an overcast morning. i went to the studio later than usual and was working away on quilts and watching the waltons when tom came over for a little visit. when he left he found the cats grouped around, and quite confused by, a baby squirrel that was looking for it's mother. there were three but one disappeared into the trees and we didn't see it again. i spent the rest of the day sewing on the porch of the studio to keep an eye on them.....mostly to keep the neighborhood cats away since they had no fears. they slept away the afternoon in the crook of the huge maple tree that shades the studio porch. meagan came by to visit, sat on the porch with me and read. tom and naomi had some quiet time on the porchswing....how lucky am i to have that view while i'm working. and then it all turned into an impromptu barbecue. i continued sewing while we hollered invitations over the fence and across the street. and while people arrived and while tom started grilling. the children kept an eye on the squirrels who had awakened and were nibbling on almonds and pieces of apple by this point.
i reluctantly stopped sewing and made the salad and enjoyed as our neighbors gathered. there was beer and horseshoes and the tireswings were both busy. when the babies started running fearlessly up to the kids and all the visitors, we realized we needed to step in and help keep them safe overnight. so we worked together, setting up a big caged nest for them with fruit and nuts and water. and sebi has become their caregiver and is doing an amazing job.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

the light yesterday was so very lovely. it was warm and bounced through the trees, picking up the glowy new green of the just opening leaves. i had laundry on the line all day...5 loads dried before 4 in the afternoon. it was just that sort of sunny breezy perfect day. i often judge summer days by their laundry drying potential. i spent an hour in the front garden pulling up dead growth from last year. surrounded by the lime balm that always seems to grow quite out of control, making the air and my hands and the compost bag smell better than a bakery. crabby watched me from her spot curled up in the clay chiminea we used for our wedding and is now at home in the front garden. and the eave of the front porch has once again been claimed by a nesting robin. at one point after i'd been barefoot in the grass with my camera for an hour following stella and edgar and floyd around the garden, talking to passing neighbors and breathing in the perfection of it all, i came in to tell tom this was my favorite day of the year so far. i think i'll head out now with edgar and my camera to get started on this new day. it looks like another beauty.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

tom put the screens on today. we maneuvered the heavy wooden storms into the basement for the summer. and now we can throw the windows open and let in the air and the scents of spring. spring seems to be happening in fast forward. after so many weeks and weeks of cold dark rainy days, it's suddenly spring. the boats are in. the screens are on. the lawns are being cut. the air is warm. the world is blooming. summer feels within grasp.
the village was beautiful this morning. edgar and i am just home from our little tour. and this is the last photo i took.....the magnolia tree at the studio (i call it magnolia, but it might be something more mundane). and our porch in the background with the limestone walls. i walked through the neighborhood pointing my camera and taking photos, but my favorite sight was the one i was going home to. that makes me happy. the studio is flooded with sun in the morning and i'm anxious to get over there and sew in the sunlight. baby quilts to finish. and photograph to list on etsy. and then pillows. and i'm low on lap quilts so i'll get those started as well. and my pretty front garden that i ignored last year isn't pretty right now. it's sad and needs to be trimmed and raked and seeded. i have to work in some time to get that done, but i don't know when. for now i'm running off to the grocery store and then i'll settle in for a wonderful sunny studio morning.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

i marvel at the women who have so carefully balanced the gentle with the tough, the stern with the mild. and who have forged beautiful and unique human beings full of love and ideas and happiness and warmth. people who are enjoyed and appreciated by the others they meet and spend time with. who respect and are respected. and who bring the sunlight into our world.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

i want to get a bike and start riding around town with a basket on the front holding my camera. i want to pedal along side streets and see things in the intimate street view that cars often eradicate. i want to hear the true sounds of the street and greet the little visions that glide across the eye. i want to feel the elation of wind in hair, legs pumping, endorphins cruising. i used to ride my bike around town all the time. i rode my bike to the hospital to visit my grandmother one afternoon in august. and she died while i was there. we thought she was getting better. i left my bike at the hospital that night and my parents drove me home. i picked it up eventually, days later. maybe even after the funeral. i'm surprised it was still there. i don't think i've ridden my bike since, i gave up on the joy of it. but i'm really craving all the little nuances that i once loved. the childlike freedom and the lightness. so i hope you see me soon, languidly sailing my tw0-wheeler with it's overflowing basket through our downtown streets.

Monday, May 2, 2011

for the first time in my life, i voted today. i have never played a personal role in the political regime under which i live. for many years i steered away from voting in canada because i thought it may put my american citizenship in jeopardy. however, now that i've lived in one spot for the past 15 years without any plans to wander, i figured it was time. so we walked around the corner to the voting station in the rain. and i showed my i.d. and i did it, marking an X to take part in democracy. i am saddened at the result and the direction that canada will be taken for the next 4 years and beyond. but ultimately i was part of it, and that is a good thing.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

for the first time this year, the feeling of summer is layered beautifully into the evening. we spent much of the day in the yard. we raked and cut grass and swept the porch and bagged up all the leaves and the trash that winter had blown into the yard. tom trimmed the trees and the lilac bushes. laundry dried on the line. a long and wonderful list of summer chores. after a lovely dinner out with tom's parents, we arrived home in time to put out the garbage and walk edgar and vaccuum. all with the sun. so when i started feeling the weariness of the end of the day, ready to watch sunday evening hbo shows with tom and edgar and the sky was still gray with a weak sun, i realized this was our first full summer-like day of the year. being at the end of the day and the sky is still light is one of those little summer joys.