Wednesday, August 31, 2011

there was great energy in the studio today. i had several lovely people drop in, browse, buy and chat. i made little cushions that i love. i had planned to get photos of them to post, but the day and light moved too quickly for me.
one of the ladies who stopped in left me with a beautiful fragmented story. just an image really, a feeling to build a story on. she simply told me that in the late 1940s, as a small child she was staying at her friends cottage. she remembers lying silently in the dark listening to the older sisters tell a wild and fantastical tale, based on the wizard of oz, but spiraling into a storied tale that left the original almost unrecognizable. they were entertaining themselves, not realizing the little ones lying in the dark were listening intently to their words and that 60+ years later it would be a cherished memory shared in a shop while buying a husbands birthday card. childhood memory is a powerful presence through our entire lives.

the tranquility is returning. we walked along the lakeside path this morning, edgar and i. we met others wandering along in the perfect temperature, neither hot or cold, warm or cool. a temperature you don't notice. it gives you the opportunity to see whats around you, let your mind wander. i planned the little pillows i'm making with the gorgeous vintage quilt blocks i found last weekend. flour sack fabrics appliqued on muslin. butterflies. each one different and distinct. so simply and delicately beautiful. i do feel the energy from the woman who pieced these together so many years ago. the perfect marriage of form and function....the necessity to use the scraps and create a warm embracing blanket. but making sure it was interesting and beautiful and fun. i know she enjoyed doing it. the beauty drove her. and the knowledge she wasn't wasting her scraps.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

we're home. i've vacuumed and scrubbed and dusted and changed litter and prettied. the smell of closed up house has cleared. and it feels good to hear all the sounds and see all my little favorite corners. the cats are perched where they like to perch. edgar is happy to be on his couch. the crickets are singing. the kitchen floor is washed. the laundry is humming. a new quilt is spread on the table ready for our coffee in the morning. although i'll miss our floaty chairs on the lake and the magnificent sunsets. and tom took me on the best tours on the lake to see the charming little lake houses that i love. most of them peek from behind trees, where they sit tickling the edge of the lake. i have posted a great slew of photos on my foblographie blog
i'm happy to be in my little space again, even though the lists of things i need to do stare at me from every angle. i love it.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

our little holiday has made my mind go a bit blank. while i am busy at work, cutting and sewing and gluing, my mind entertains me. there is a spin of story and idea and music and image. the activity and movement builds on itself. i am reminded of moments and memories. but i'm on vacation for a few days and my mind is still. i floated on the lake all afternoon yesterday, sleeping a little and reading proust among the sun and the loons and the sparkling water. tom took the little aluminum boat to the middle of the lake to show my father a wrecked schooner. my mother and i tethered our inflated floaty chairs to the raft and bobbed along with the waves we ate peaches and cherries and banana bread. tom snorkled and took underwater videos. the days are idyllic. but my mind is empty. when i want to fill a page or two in my journal, there is nothing to put down. i'm relaxed and happy and quite dull.

Friday, August 26, 2011

a night of stories layered upon themselves. dreams that followed a lovely sense of cohesiveness. living past lives and future lives and make-believe lives. i dreamt of little rooms tucked under slanted ceilings. i was walking back into the life of my young girl self, moving into a dorm room with more charm and beauty than my actual boarding school dormitory rooms ever had. but there was the same sense of excitement, setting up a little space for me to feel safe and happy.
maybe it's being at the cottage. organizing around a space that we are in only sometimes. a kitchen that we use differently than our kitchen at home. i'm at home here, but only sort of. tom likes to call it an extension of home.
it feels that way for him, but it's still more foreign for me. i am one that must mold my own space, and that is only slightly possible here. and when the weather is overcast and windy, we spend our lazy time inside, reading, watching movies. i've been embroidering a quilt. and my parents spent the afternoon and evening with us yesterday. my mother and i went back to millers to buy the poodle. i couldn't get it out of my mind. and we bought fresh produce from the farm stand for dinner. dark purple beans that turn green as they cook. cucumbers. roma tomatoes. new potatoes. onions. all combining to make a wonderful simple cottage dinner.
and now, morning coffee, tom playing guitar, edgar wandering down to the lake. it's a good morning.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

i feel like my daily life is simple and peaceful. yet when we are at the cottage, the peace is different. the smiles are easier. the food is tastier. always fresh corn on the cob. i can sit and read without my mind getting crowded with lists of other things i should be doing. sitting at the lake and drinking in the view. late night junk food snacks. enjoying just being alone with tom. drive-in movies. and, i can't deny bringing a bag of studio work. but it's just for a rainy day. quiet evenings. crickets and the smell of a bonfire. wind rustling the leaves. and the whir of a fan. it's a cottage sort of peace.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

the sky was blue like forget-me-nots today. the air was clear and hot. and we wandered and dug and hunted and unearthed for hours at rideau antiques. summer can't end unless my mother and my aunt and i have an afternoon there together. my aunt comes from maryland and we get lost in the piles. no matter what string of superlatives i use as descriptors, i will be understating the sheer magnitude of this spot. i came away with the happy little collection of treasure in the photos above. my chairs and the bottle give me a little spasm of happiness when i look at them. my daddy saw how i couldn't pull myself away from the chairs and decided to buy them for me as an early birthday gift. and i will make beautiful tables with the little doors. when we got back to the cottage, we found tom in the lake and edgar lounging on his bed. we had hotdogs and corn on the cob and lemonade. it was a great day. there are photos from our excursion on foblographie.

an early morning yawn that pushes a tear out of the corner of my eye, down the side of my cheek. the clank of breakfast sounds. and the happy almost word sounds of a toddler carries in the air from neighboring houses. the bell that sings out the approach of one of the neighbors cats is jumping around in our front garden. there are voices and morning walkers and dogs and birds. and the air is cooler and fresher than last week.without the sweat. and the light is august light. the beginning of gold creeping into the green. just the earliest touch of gold. i'm going to stretch summer out a couple more months. it will just be summer with sleeves instead of bare arms. summer is a frame of mind.
we are going to pick up sheila's paddle boat this morning for my parents. and then to hunt through the millers acres and acres of rusty treasure with my mother and my aunt. our august traditions are strong.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

it's been a long week. but after today it was all so perfectly worth it. our family is a smallish family....although i have no siblings, both my parents do and there are cousins who i rarely see. but it's just a handful of family.....not one of those neverending drama filled families that are in the movies that seem so energetic and fun. but ours is a small family loaded with love. today was about my parents. finally their 50th wedding anniversary arrived. and our wonderful family showed up to make it a celebration. the picture above is my mother on the left with her sister as she's arriving from maryland. another aunt and uncle came from new brunswick. and then everyone else from toronto and oshawa. i'm exhausted but still smiling and remembering the beautiful day, eating lunch with gusto among our dearest, closest family, looking out to the river through the floor to ceiling paned windows. and the tinkle of piano notes dancing among us. a wonderful reminder of how we are forever linked to one another regardless of distance or time.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

my constant trips across our porch between the house and the studio can often blind me. i'm carrying laundry or fetching water for edgar or lugging quilts to photograph. or just hurrying. my mind and my arms are almost always full. but last night after i'd brought in groceries and laundry and edgars bedding and had finished the quilt for my parents 50th wedding anniversary today, just under the wire, and i was aching for quiet and stillness, this was what i saw. and i felt still and calm and capable once more. it only took a glance to soothe.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

crickets. evening with a haze drifting heavily off the lake. lemonade. buckets of warm water poured over edgar with shampoo. the clothesline full for it's entire length. coffee on the porch talking of heartbreak and re-birth and love that has run it's course. the sadness that passes into freshness and excitement of new hopes and the joy of being ready for them. another dead bat on the driveway. our sweet krista bella's birthday with cake and gin. the windows open as far as they will open. the radio is playing in the kitchen reminding me there is still cleaning to do in there. a car with loud music and young laughing voices just rolled past. rare for our quiet little lakeside village in the city. quilts are beginning to fill the studio again. quilts for friends children, toddlers and teenagers. and one for my parents. timeless quilts, summer continues to simmer along with me. i will cling to her every second this year. i dread her absence. the crickets sing to me and periodically taunt.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

salt water taffy. i saw it in the store last night and my heart lurched. the box and the little wax paper wrapped candies in their faded summery colors. the memories of going to the shore. i would go as a child, but the real memories are my trips to the shore as a young woman. going with the boy i loved. holding hands on the boardwalk. eating hot greasy chips and cotton candy. ferris wheels and roller coasters. braids and beads in my hair. buying a flowy skirt to wear out to dinner. playing catch in the sand. a biker bar a few blocks off the beach. for an hour in the afternoon. finding music and jewelry and treasures we loved. kisses in the waves under the stars. and boxes of salt water taffy to take back to reality with us. the reality we both feared. and then saying goodbye. to the ocean. to the boy. to youthful freedom. and here i am 20 years later, remembering it all because of a box of candy.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

we were downtown at the market again this weekend. i ate a basket of the most delicious peaches and discovered i love them with dijon mustard spread on them. i sewed strips of fabric together for scrap quilts. we barbecued veggies and steak. i worked at the bookstore. we spent lovely evenings with our neighbors. i thought about my grandparents prince edward island farm and how hard it must have been for them to auction off the house and land that had been generations in the family. i swept and re-swept the porch while the tree toads sang. i spent time with my parents. however, my mother spent time in the emergency room getting staples in her head after a fall. she is fine.

and now i listen to the rain sputtering around the open window and plan for tomorrow morning when i happily head back to work on quilts for sebastian and jane.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

a wonderful sprawling yard sale across the street from my friend sarah's house. she called me early to say, "you need to get over here". i was covered with thread, as is so often the case. but i disregarded that, as i do equally often, grabbed some cash and told tom i was leaving. i parked in front of sarah's house. the sun was harsh and there were several people milling around while i rummaged through stacks of books and old magazines, art supplies, was an ambitious sale. i heard little voices chirping around me. the sun was harsh and i didn't look to see who was there. but at some point the little blond heads and excited voices recognized me. and it was really so lovely. there were literal shrieks and swarming and bouncing around me 'annette, it's annette. annette is here. annette'. such an excited little swarming mass of girls, and one confused neighbor boy, so happy to see me. i was really quite taken aback. the sale was wonderful. i came home with a lovely pile of goodies. and we went across the street to sarah's afterwards for a fashion show of barbie clothes they had fashioned from the scraps of fabric they took home from the studio the other day. and a tour of their rooms. a lovely lovely morning.....but the few moments of rockstar popularity will make me smile all week.

Friday, August 12, 2011

the 8 o clock bells sounded as edgar and i were slipping in the gate from our walk this morning. i have ground the coffee and made myself a fresh pot of brew. so much is waiting for me across the yard, along the little path with tree roots sticking through the dirt, in the back door of the studio. i want so badly to postpone the work and get into this day with my camera, but the studio is winning the intensity of the draw. so i plan tomorrow to find my way to the lake earlier before the gurgle in my belly starts that drives me to coffee up and start to sew.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

the breezes were cool today. tom kept telling me the wind was from the north. the humidity and the baking heat were gone. the light was fresh and clear and the wind was strong. i spent the day sewing and drinking perrier and missing the heat. i should remember this chill always creeps in for a few days in august. but the heat returns.
and i had lovely visits. eva and isaac brightened up my work for a while. i posted photos from the visit at foblographie
. i delivered quilts to willow.....they bought 4 of the scam quilts. and then sarah came along after work and we visited while she shopped. i made tea towels and finished a quilt. and at the end of the day i walked around the studio taking photos of the little shop. the light was magnificent.
so our little life is getting back to what we're used to. all is well.

i had a wonderful day yesterday. when the studio is open and inviting sales, i meet lovely new people and i see wonderful friends who come and support my endeavors. it was such a perfectly pleasant day. sunny with a breeze off the lake. the yard, periodically filled with laughing kids. uncontrolled, real, from the gut laughing. the tire swings were busy. i was busy. lots of lemonade and shortbread. lots of long chats. and a successful and fantastic day. and i've decided i will be keeping the shop open while i'm working now, so people can come by anytime to pick something up.
i'm a little tired. and anxious to start the quilts that were ordered. and photographing napkins and tea towels to list on etsy. yesterday was a different sort of busy, today my regular busy starts again. just a walk along the lake with edgar and i'll be ready.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

the earliest morning. crickets and frogs. my head is twirling with ideas. but it's too early to do anything about it. so i come downstairs to sprawl on the couch, hoping a new environment will quiet my mind and let me sleep. stella finds the curve in my leg where she fits perfectly. and i contemplate the timeless yet contemporary nature of what i do. the satisfaction of little scraps of cloth coming together in purest form and function. i can identify a little characteristic or story about each of the fabrics, whether it's something i made with it or why i'm drawn to it to begin with. each of the little off kilter pieces is part of me. i love what i do.

i had better add that the studio is open today from noon to 7.30ish. quilts and journals and housewares all for sale. they're great for babies, weddings, christmas, and just because. 55 mowat ave, in portsmouth village. i'd love to see you.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

every day of every life has a moment worthy of sharing. that's why i keep this little collection of moments some days are full of them and other days they are such a trickle that you wonder if you can find one. i thought yesterday would be one of the latter days. i sewed for 13 hours and then came home and stared blankly at tv until i dropped into bed. but there were so many wonderful moments too. .....naomi knocking on the door and playing with fabric scraps while i sewed, telling me about her camping trip and her day at rock climbing camp. and when tom came to see when i wanted to have dinner, she fluttered around him covering him with fabric scraps and giggling. ......talking on the phone with my mother as she was heading out to the herb garden naked. she loves to sit in the sun among the herbs and flowers and soak up the sun completely. silly and weird and completely fantastic. .....and tom making a wonderful summer dinner and enjoying it together.

tomorrow (wednesday) i'm opening the studio at noon and will stay open until between 7.00 & 8.00. there are lots of tea towels and napkins and collage and moleskines and 9 red and cream crib sized quilts that also work nicely as a small lap quilt. this is an example. if you're in the area come. and tell anyone who might be interested to came and have a look in lovely portsmouth village.

Monday, August 8, 2011

making coffee this morning. sipping and getting ready to leave for the studio. wandering through facebook in my drowsy early morning way. and i realized how our mid-70s class pictures are identical. i saw one and stopped because i thought it was from my grade 5 class. i recognized the short pouty guy on the end. the tall girl in the middle in the back. the petite pretty girls in the front on a bench with their knees pressed together, wearing skirts. all the bruiser boys in the back row in mid gesture. all carefully balanced in front of the stage in the gym with the curtains drawn as a background. it may have been that the hour blurred my eyes, but i recognized 2 or 3 friends and thought i saw myself a few times as well. all before i realized this wasn't from my class or my school or my town. but the characters were all frighteningly familiar.

on a different note......i'm preparing to throw open the studio doors on wednesday. i'm calling it my 'beat the scammers' open house. if you live in kingston come by. if you have friends who may be interested, tell them. i need to sell quilts and collages and napkins and tea towels and journals to make up for the last month. so the open house is noon until 7 or 8 on after tomorrow.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

yesterday may have been the perfect day. wandering through the market with dear friends. beautiful mid-afternoon meal on the patio at chez piggy surrounded by grapevines and chickadees. shopping with almost 11 year old twin girls and their beautiful mother. and laughing so completely that the thought of it makes the giggles start again 16 hours later. a spontaneous collaborative photo-shoot beneath the morrisons restaurant sign with brent as art director. wandering through kingston streets, seeing the most brilliant colorful indian wedding emerge from st. george's. and home to sit by the lake picking sea glass, wading in the lake, feeding frites to the ducks while they wandered among us, watching the boats, talking and of course laughing. brent and i have been friends since the earliest days of art school. and his daughters weren't quite sure why i found him as funny as i do, why he could make me laugh so hard. shared jokes that have aged and fermented for 25 years get funnier and funnier. so despite my almost canceling our wonderful day together.....oh yes, i was feeling stressed and felt i couldn't take time away from the studio beyond a quick lunch together.....but as soon as they floated into the yard, the girls found cats and tire swings, brent made me jump up and down laughing, lorinda handed me a bag of the most lovely cosmetics and creams, we wandered through the studio.....i knew i wanted to have a long day of this loveliness and the work in the studio could wait.
i posted some of the market photos at foblographie i'm sure i'll be posting more little groupings from this lovely day.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

our lawn is full of strawberries and buttercups. but the blackberries are finished, i think.
the water is on the boil for my tea.
there are stains on the cutting board from teabags soaking into the wood. tender sweet tea flavors.
there was a dead bat on the dining room floor when i came downstairs at 6.09 this morning. that was a horrible thing. just seeing the words written here makes my belly lurch. thank goodness stella was inside last night. my little gray cat who can look into my soul. she saved us. and tom took care of it for me so i could go back downstairs.
i am working triple hard in the studio trying to make up for lost sales.
i have to vacuum before i get dressed and start sewing. and i have washed quilts to hang on the line.

Friday, August 5, 2011

putting away clean dishes is like a cross-section of of my life. pieces from my journey that i've chosen or been given or somehow ended up with. in the 90 second span it takes for me to snugly return all the kitchen items from the dishwasher to their individual little nooks, i see flashes of my entire life. touch what a different me touched and what people i'll never see again touched. they feel warm like feverish skin, smooth and clean. items that i've pilfered from my childhood. that i bought at yard sales in college. gifts from the early days of our marriage. pieces that i brought home from my grandmother's kitchen after her death. or that my little grandma gave me when we were going through the boxes of kitchen stuff she brought from michigan. my kitchen collection. each piece with a singular emotion. i see the faces and the hands of people i love and loved. and i hear laughter and feel the longing of absence as i move through my kitchen, organizing all the little plates and tools and instruments that create my kitchen.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

slovenia shipping scam

i thought i was finished posting about this order. i thought i was finished thinking about this order. this is the big order i've mentioned a few times this month. the big order that was heading to slovenia. but this is now a different sort of post. all of you who read my blog, who sell on etsy and make beautiful items that are purchased and admired all over the globe, this is a warning. please read this and share it, forward it, post it anywhere an artisan or etsy seller may see it.
in june i received an email asking if i'd be willing to do a custom order and ship it to slovenia. and did i accept mastercard or visa for payment. and would i mind shipping with the shipping company they had used in the past and had been happy with. none of this seemed unusual to me and i agreed to the order. they told me they wanted 10 crib quilts and a series of 10 collage. i told them it would take approximately a month to complete which they accepted. i worked all month getting this order ready. and in the past few days i prepared the items for shipping and
communicated with the client. i contacted the shipping agent they had asked me to use. and they sent a quote for $1695.67 to ship the box express shipping. the customer didn't blink at such an astronomical shipping fee that they were paying, through me. so this morning i received an email with the customers credit card information and i put through a charge of $4375 which cleared. this figure covered my invoice as well as the shipping fees. then the shipping company informed me they would pick up the item tomorrow at my studio. the money owed needed to be transferred via western union to their manchester office. red flags had been popping up along the way and although i'd googled the name and address without finding anything unusual, i hadn't googled the shipping company. so when the client was seeming a bit too anxious and was starting to become pushy about this order, i googled the shipping company, LM Logistics, and everything seemed legitimate. i was leaving the house for western union when i thought to google 'slovenia shipping scam'. the first thing that came up was this blog . it described what has been going on with me exactly. i was able to contact my credit/debit provider and cancel the charges before they actually went through into my account. i am feeling very lucky tonight that i was able to figure out what was happening just in the nick of time. i found another blog which really made me feel fortunate that i didn't go through with paying the shipping company. if the scammers succeed with this fraud, artists can be out thousands of dollars as well the product. i'm thankful that i have the product and will be able to list on etsy and hopefully sell in my studio.
i apologize for the rambling state of this little story. it's been a long day and i'm exhausted and a little giddy with relief at dodging this horrific scam. i want to get this story out there as soon as possible to prevent it happening to anyone else.

there is an exotic flavor twisted into the dark grounds of my coffee this morning. cinnamon and coconut swimming together in the coffee grounds. a little sweet and comforting to start the day. i was reminded by a college friend this weekend of this simple sweet brew. i was grumbling about being tired and he said 'make some coffee, and put cinnamon and coconut in the grounds like nikki always did.' my heart leapt a little. nikki was brilliant. a designer with a warm and open heart. we would spend countless all-nighters working on college publications, meeting deadlines, giddy with fatigue, drinking her coffee. in the moments when it was either late or early, one wasn't sure which, night wasn't quite day like my 20 year old self, either child or adult, i didn't know which. drinking nikki's coffee. this was in the mid 80s, a distant memory, but like yesterday.
several years ago nikki was killed in a car accident in michigan. i still find it hard to realize she's gone, because for me she still makes wonderfully witty and biting observations about life and collapses laughing, a warm fun presence in my life. thank you brent, for reminding me of her coffee.

Monday, August 1, 2011

when quilts hang on the line in late morning, the light blazes the squares into stained glass. i made 10 crib sized quilts in a red and cream palette for an order this month. seeing all 10 of them on the line, similar but unique, was a nice way to say goodbye and send them off into the world. the series of 10 collages i've been working on are also part of this order. they are much more difficult to say goodbye to. i made a linen bag for each collage to protect them
during shipping. they are beautiful in their little bags. packaging the items i make is almost as much of an aesthetic endeavor as making the item to begin with. i love the look of elegant and understated wrapping. string, twill tape, linen, butcher paper. those are the i send them off to their new homes. it's been a good weekend. we had time at the lake. i was able to give the kitchen a serious cleaning. and we looked at houses that grabbed me with their song of potential. my parents returned from russia, tired and happy with old russian books and wonderful stories. we had a lovely long weekend.
the gurgle of the dishwasher in the kitchen. telulah purring beside me and pushing her face into my arm. the kettle at the brink of boiling. windows open to an infant morning. 6 am is a magical hour. i was bothered awake early this morning with worries. but the activity of puttering around the kitchen and getting little chores done, making a cup of tea and spooning some yogurt into a bowl starts to settle the worry. when the dishes are finished and i've walked edgar, i'll get to the studio and begin this workday early. there is an order to ship and quilts to be made.
my tea is ready to sip and the sky is suddenly bright with the morning slant of warm rosy light. and i see that the bowls sitting in the kitchen windowsill for the cats are empty, which explains telulah's persistant and excessive affection. my day has begun it's circling.... the swirl of life and activity and fear and joy and love and work. and i feel the strength creep back in along with it all.