Friday, September 30, 2011

the wind is showing itself tonight. i've finally closed some of the windows, but the kitchen is still open. and i've found my way back to my old habit of cleaning in the middle of the night. i've started vacuuming and shampooing the rugs. but then i found they are too wet to leave on the wood floors so i have one in the front porch draped over chairs, hoping it will dry, contemplating putting the others in the kitchen to dry. my regular habit of cleaning in the middle of the night faded away years ago because i would make such a horrible mess, pulling things out and beginning to rearrange furniture without the energy to complete the job before falling into bed. i'm hoping to stop at just the rugs tonight, so they have a chance to dry overnight. and i'm also doing edgar's other bed while he's on the couch for the night. this photo is edgar with stella. i know i shouldn't have favorites, but i do. edgar and stella make my heart sing. i love them. they love me. and most profoundly, they love each other. and i hope to have clean, dry rugs in the morning.
this morning is windy with a chill and you can feel the rain in the air. i fell asleep last night pondering youthful insecurities and how they grow fainter and fainter through the years. thinking about all the concerns my younger self had about so many inconsequential things and the uncertainties i was riddled with about day to day opinions and decisions. and i wondered about the trick of aging. that despite the beauty and verve of youth many women are trapped in a little cage of uncertainty and anxiety. maybe it's the endless opportunity that sits ahead of you waiting to be saddled, the troubling necessity to find direction when we aren't yet fully aware of what will work for us, what is right for us, what will make us happy. so we try all the obvious options and they are only nominally successful. which creates a little desperation. and all this goes on quietly beneath the surface, buried just enough to make it difficult to distinguish what the actual dull disturbance in one's equilibrium is. but since i turned 40 (a fistful of years ago now) age has begun giving me it's gift. the wisdom of the ripening self that brings happiness and confidence and internal peace despite the gray hairs and extra pounds and the lines around the eyes.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

i love that summer has stretched quite nearly into october. real summer. hot full barefoot days. humid fog-laden nights with suicidal frogs jumping into the road, making driving torturous. the windows are still as wide open as they will go and the sounds of crickets and waves still wander in all through the night. tom is playing guitar in the living room, learning new songs. ellsworth follows edgar and i to the park on our nightly walk. ellsworth is one of our cats. he follows us along the sidewalk, wanders around the park with us and continues with us around the block and home. the loop of summer continues and i hold my breath because i know that soon i'll wake up and need to pull on a pair of socks.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

i've been thinking of this world full of economic fears and financial uncertainty. and i see a common goal in the people i know. my neighbors, my friends, my customers, my fellow bloggers, my family.....we have not stopped spending money. but we have changed the way we spend. there is a new frugality. we may spend more on an item, but we buy it to last. we buy quality, well made items that stay in our homes. we don't subscribe to the idea that a color or a pattern is out of style and needs to be replaced with each new season's collection. there is meaning in the items we purchase. we are particular and eclectic without being fussy. we make decisions based on the long-term. some of us grow our own gardens and preserve the food for winter. and we support local farmers and craftspeople. we proudly re-purpose items and make handmade gifts. the frantic scramble to acquire that has been the norm for so many generations may finally be fading.
i really appreciate the values and stability that this new frugality embraces.

Monday, September 26, 2011

sometimes when i buy potatoes, i cry. when they are fresh, with dirt still crumbling from them, i put them to my face and smell them. i only buy potatoes that are grown on prince edward island. the water stains like blood from the red clay when i wash them. and i feel the connection to my grandmother again. my grandparents were farmers on prince edward island. potato farmers. potato farming went several generations deep in our family. but it ended with my grandfather. my father left the farm when he was just a teenager. all his siblings eventually did. and my grandparents auctioned their home and the family farm and left the island to be close to their children. for many years they would return every summer and rent a house for the season. and i remember spending long visits with them there as a child. but i didn't know the farm. they sold it the year before i was born. i know the stories of the farm like they were my own. i know the names of the horses. i know the names of the neighbors. i have a clear picture of the house, the kitchen, the barns. and now i spend my days sewing scraps of fabric into quilts, my feeble attempt to capture just a taste of that simple life that was so difficult and so sweet. and i sometimes cry when i feel the gritty red clay on store bought potatoes.

sometimes my blog is just a note to tell the world that i made it to the studio. that my laundry is hanging on the line in the sun. that my dishes are put away. and that a load of whites is washing in scalding hot water, while i lay out squares for a green baby quilt.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

at this time of year, the spiders are so very busy. i find their work everywhere through the house and in the yard. on the car. in trees. on the porch. sometimes i blindly walk into the webs, walking through them and breaking the delicate design. they sparkle in the morning sun, outlined in dew. so i watch the spiders with awe. and wonder what it's like to make something so finely intricate and beautiful.

overnight a collection of rocks became a marvelous little display along the waterfront walkway. precarious and beautiful. i don't know who does it, but i imagine kids who get focussed and obsessed on making just one more and this wonderful village springs up from their hands.
pulling on the same clothes i've worn for two days from the bedroom floor, to get edgar out for his walk to loosen up his stiff and lanky legs, squinting from the bright sun, but loving it. and once again, being happy that i have my camera in tow. meeting friends along the path on their way to practice yoga by the lake, jogging in the morning sunshine.
and now i'm scrounging around for coffee, but i believe we are out, so i'll walk up to the corner and bring us home coffees to drink in the sunny yard. here we go, another day to fill with loveliness!!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

this morning the air was gray with fog. and i'm so glad i made the extra effort of lugging my camera along with us on our walk. edgar trotting along, pulling me toward puddles to splash through. all the stone and rock blending perfectly into the monotone corduroy sky. there is a certain pigeon who we see every morning. i call him 'skunky' because he has a pale strip of feathers on his head that continues along his back. he was perched on the fence this morning. edgar is stiff and walks a little akwardly now, but he loves our morning outings. he has slimmed his big lumbering 180 pound frame down to a sleeker 160 pounds. and we can't stop along our walk because he gets stiff and shaky and loses his balance. but we both love every second of it. i've posted some photos from our walk on foblographie. the prison and the old stone hospital and the lake, our harbor and all it's loveliness was wonderful this morning. so, our day has begun....we have walked and breakfasted and coffee'd and now i'm off to the studio to do more of what i love.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

11 years ago today, we got married. on the porch. with gala, our great dane as the ring bearer. and our family gathered around. i had heard there was a minister who lived in our neighborhood, so i knocked on doors until i found her, and she officiated. our mothers were our witnesses. i wore a skirt that my friend across the street made for me a few days before. and i wore a blouse that my dear friend andjelina found for me an hour or so before the wedding.....i didn't like the shirt i'd planned so she ran out and bought me 10 to choose from. although we only set the date 2 weeks before, all tom's siblings came, even his brother from california, my lovely friend sabina came from vancouver and my aunt came from baltimore. all our living grandparents (3 grandmothers and 1 grandfather)were there. everyone dear to us gathered and made it the most special and simple and lovely day. my mother and aunt picked queen anne's lace for my bouquet and filled the porch with wheat and sunflowers. it was a sunny and warm day. everything just fell marvelously into place with no stress or worry. we were getting married, how could it go wrong. and then everyone wandered around the corner to the neighborhood pub where all our friends filled the place for the night. truly magical!
and now 11 years later we've learned so much. it feels like there was no life before we had each other, and yet the wedding feels like last week. lisa took this photo of us a couple weeks ago when she was here. we were tired and busy getting breakfast for everyone when she took it on a saturday morning, but happy and content like usual.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

the ritual of morning. it shifts with the seasons. but there are only a few versions. we still are being drawn by the summer light, the summer routine. edgar and i pulled off to the lake to wander and see other morning walkers. bare feet pushed into flip flops. planning the day. organizing all the challenges and responsibilities that will face me. i enjoy the sun and the water and the ducks and the neighbors and edgar's rhythm as he saunters beside me. he loves to splash through puddles, cooling his feet. and then we're home. making coffee and toast. filling bowls for edgar. for the cats. noticing that i should vacuum or straighten, but heading to the studio instead. all the little moments that prepare me for the day.

Monday, September 19, 2011

my studio gives me many gifts. the space to create the chaos. and walk away from it. the chance to embrace my own design process. and it allows me the luxury of going to work in my pyjamas. and the option to run home and take edgar for a walk when i think he might be restless. but one of my favorite of it's gifts is the chance to completely engage a part of myself that i have only found in the past decade. my love of color and fabric and combining it all in quilts didn't emerge until relatively recently. my home is gray and dark and warm and womblike. with dusty books and monotone paintings. it is the palette that comforts me. and now i punctuate that palette with quilts. but my studio and the accompanying shop is a dream of color that i can swim through every day. happy and eager to play. the narrative of color and quilts is real to me and i love the story that forms as i work. i love the gifts of the studio.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

i love to clean my house with the all doors and windows wide open. but especially the kitchen door. it's almost essential. and with september half over, those days are becoming rare. today i threw everything open and vacuumed and scrubbed. just a few hours of haphazard cleaning. i even bleached the kitchen floors. and vacuumed the stone walls in the kitchen and dining room. and i thought of the hardworking women of my grandmother's era on prince edward island. and the bucket with a mop they would place on the porch by the back door as a sign that visits were welcome. that they had mopped their floors and were ready for a cup of tea with a friend. i sometimes leave a bucket and a mop at the back door just because it feels neighborly.
the light is different now. it tilts from a new angle. the air is cool when it brushes your skin. and the scents cling thickly to my laundry. yesterday the towels and tablecloths and t-shirts and nightshirts hung on the line all day. i sewed in the studio. tom bought groceries and made ribs. we walked edgar after dark through the boats bobbing in the harbor and along the tall 180 year old stone wall of the prison. and when we came home i slipped into my nightshirt that had danced with the tablecloths and towels all day. and i was drenched in the scents of september.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

driving along backroads with my camera out the window is one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon away from home and the studio. and yesterday in new york and vermont was no exception. i'm posting a bunch of my favorites on foblographie. the buildings that catch my eye, that make me shriek a little with joy, are always a little rickety, with peeling paint and crooked doors and overgrown gardens. i love their faces and the layers of life so often overlooked, craning from behind overgrown trees and bushes.
i'm attempting to use my two blogs interactively, images and photos on foblographie, with any writing saved for chasing lightning bugs. so i'm linking you through to foblographie.....i hope you enjoy.
essex county fairgrounds, vermont. the springy slam of a white washed wooden bathroom stall door, echoing through a long corridor of stalls. a nail, also white washed over to hang your coat or purse. a toilet with the most lovely deco shape and lines. everything old and beautiful. the feeling of being at the fair with my grandparents on p.e.i. when i was 5. and then past the classic concession stands into the show. creeky wooden grandstand seats that sway slightly from the movement of the dancers. little iron armrests seperating every 2 seats. the september evening light growing more and more glowy, and then fading to gray, with the moon smiling beside me. and phish seeping through the air into the evening for hours of live music under the stars. a perfect little 12 hour holiday in vermont for me and my man.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

walking home from a late summer's night visit with my dear neighbor meagan. sharing our stresses. the sun soaked deep into the day and as i passed the little apple tree at the studio, i walked into the scent of warm and sweet, not yet rotten, apples. the scent of apples boiling on the stovetop when i was a child. my grandmother always made applesauce, sweetened with honey. i'd help her cut them and grind them through the strange press that smoothed the boiled apples into sauce. my grandmother also loved to bake apples. she would often have a baked apple for dinner. the scent of apples and crickets and a full moon. it brings the carefree days close. tonight the air is just warm enough to make it heavy in a soft and comforting way. and my parents continue the applesause tradition. they brought me this jar last weekend. like a little jar of childhood.
and thank you lisa for the perfect photo of it.

Monday, September 12, 2011

it seems i'm always writing my blog in the night lately. beside an open window. sitting cross-legged on the brown couch in the dining room/library. the hum in the air is thick and the insect voices circle like children singing 'row row row your boat'. one group starts and then the other picks up. the sound buzzes and moves on the shadows of the trees. and the moon is full and round and bright. and my mind is circling along with it. we are worrying about money. and when that happens, it seems the question always is asked if my beloved 'chasing lightning bugs' is worth the time i give it. my answer is always yes. tom's is only sometimes yes. so i'm searching for selling strategies. i need to sell more consistently and to a wider group of people. and i'm open to suggestions. etsy has been good to me, but are there other sites that have brought any of you consistent sales?

sheila's hydrangeas are muted and gray and quite lovely now in the early days of september. they are creamy and old and dusty looking. i've posted a few on my other blog foblographie
celebrate joy. unbridled and bubbling streams of joy. laughter that breathes. happiness that blinds. let it drench you. there has been much sadness this weekend. remembering the horrors of 10 years ago. the emptiness and the pain. and there are less horrible but often equally overwhelming personal daily fears and stresses. survive the pain and celebrate the joy. live with it and keep it close and drown the sadness in joy.

Friday, September 9, 2011

the crickets are strong tonight. a steady pulse in the night. everything is still except for their song. our neighbors were here for dinner. a potluck under the stars. simple dishes that filled our bellies. and different wines that complimented the evening. kids giggling and playing. parents talking about the children's new teachers. i took edgar walking and when i re-approached the house i could hear the laughter and voices and see the warm glow of light in the backyard. there was the lovely scent of summer smoke from our little fireplace. and the squeak of the porch swing chain. sometimes our lives are crowded and my mind is full and distracted, and i forget to open my house to these moments. i want to be welcoming regardless of what is troubling my mind. or if my floors are vacuumed. an open door. a warm hearth. a cup of tea or glass of wine. a conversation. a smile. an understanding glance. these are the gifts i find the sweetest and are so wonderful to give.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

2011 is the summer of the ontario peach. they are perfectly firm and sweet and juicy. i ate 6 tonight for my dinner at 9.30 pm. and i may have a few more. last summer was such a disappointment that i almost didn't even try them this year. but when i bought my first basket at the farmer's market a few weeks ago, i ate the whole basket in an afternoon. there are few foods i love like a perfect peach!

Monday, September 5, 2011

i've spent the day re-grouping, cutting squares for quilts and napkins as well as recovering from a houseful of company while being under the weather. things came together slowly this afternoon as i brought my studio back to it's working form, attempting to caress my mind and my vision back to it's blooming. last week i spent a day making pillows from vintage butterfly quilt squares....flour sack fabrics with hand stitching and appliques. i hope that by tomorrow the dullness passes and the vitality i count on, returns. there are orders waiting to be completed. and orders to be mailed. and strips of scraps to be sewn together. i believe i'm feeling the zeal begin it's boil.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

well, my beautiful weekend with lisa is coming to an end. we filled a list of desires and have managed to cross off most of them. one of which was starting a blog for her. i'm so excited to read her simple pared down lines of poetry every day. or almost every day. we have spent hours in the studio making things. we went to the lake, although walking is extra difficult for her.....she went because she knew i wanted to share my little beach with her. her boys have been bicycling around town and picking sea glass. we made pendants from the beach glass and made moleskine notebooks from old photos. we drank gin and giggled. and made fun of each others quirks. and we had a tom concert on the porch while the boys recorded it. so beautiful!!
visit her blog In My Wild Eden her gorgeous vintage life in michigan turned into poetry.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

a weekend that brings my college years back to me. they often hover close to the surface and the memories of places and people and carefree laughter have been rolling out of us since thursday night when lisa and mike and their beautiful almost grown boys arrived from michigan. our friendship always seemed a little unreal. our bond a little undefined. it just is. we met in art history class, lisa's first class her first day of university, i think. it was my second year and i had fallen into art the year before. we sat close enough for me to make comments to her that first day. and then walked out together. and have never been without each other since.
lisa married mike when we were still young and breath less. in many ways he is the male version of me. and 11 years later, when i married tom, it was clear that in just as many ways, he was the male version of lisa. so when we are able to be together, the energy sizzles and is at once, wonderfully crazy and beautifully still. her boys are curious and artistic. they love music and photography. they sit around listening to our crazy reminiscences without being too embarrassed or too bored.
and we wander around the studio, lisa and i. we talk and i sew, our lives finally blending despite the 500 miles that seperates us. it's been 8 years since we were together. time sifts past. but here we are, a long weekend in september filling our hearts and souls until the next time.