Sunday, December 30, 2012

i haven't had the stillness and quiet that i like to make into my blog writing time.  it's been full the past couple of weeks.  couple of months, even.  with my mind scattered and without too many blog worthy thoughts.  i'm keeping to the basics of late.  keeping edgar healthy and comfortable.  and making quilts.  and even the quilts have been on the back burner a bit.  
i've been in the kitchen alot.  and loving it.  my aunt brought my grandmother's box of recipes for me when she came for christmas.  i've been loving thumbing through them, recognizing some and finding a few of the old family favorites like her fudge and my grandfather's bannock. 
and the snow is piling up.  we had to shovel the backyard so edgar could maneuver through the depths of it.  
i miss my blog time and i'm working to get it back.  the early mornings sure make it easier.  with cats curled around the fire and the kettle on the stove.  but now the day is calling and more specifically, the kitchen, with last nights dishes!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

i am up when it is still night again.  i don't mind it really.  i love the silence and the sense that i have a couple of hours to think before the real business of the day begins.  edgar seems to need me most often at around 4.30 a.m. and once i'm up, i might as well make it my starting off point.  today my mind is full of christmas things.  thinking i might suggest that we host instead of my parents this year, because it will be easier on edgar, and ultimately on us. and there are presents to get wrapped.  and still plenty of gifts to decide on.  although we are pulling back and having a christmas that is over the top in love, but with just a sprinkling of presents. books, and locally made gifts are what we're giving this year.  an anxiety free holiday is the goal.  so far, it's a success.  
the studio is still abuzz.  but there is alot going on, so i'm not there exclusively.  however, if you were hoping to find a gift among our rooms, please contact me.....when i'm not there, i'm usually just next door and ready to run across the yard and help find the perfect gift.  there are still several crib and lap sized quilts and a few full/queen sized ones as well. as well as wonderful hand made jewelry and vintage books.  and stocking stuffers too.        

Sunday, December 16, 2012

this morning the living room is lit by the christmas tree.  the blush of little lights and the added bounce of light as it reflects off all the glass and windows.  and the library/dining room where i'm writing, is lit by the fire.  it sends a warm glimmery square of light onto the cats that sprawl before it.  the only other light is added by the computer screen.  this is the time of year when everything glows a little. i'm enjoying a few early morning moments of quiet before the day fully begins. 
today we're having the last sunday open house before christmas.  the little white house is bursting with holiday warmth and joy.  we'll be inviting you in from 10 until 5 today. 
sterling and hammered steel jewelry. 
vintage and collectible books.
cozy quilts and colorful napkins.  
goats milk soap and all sorts of other surprise treasures await.
drop by the little white house at 55 mowat ave in portsmouth village where you'll find gifts that will be cherished. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

4 a.m.   winter is beginning to really claim us now.  a neighbor's garage light is on.  and a sprinkle of snow is tumbling and twisting in the circle of brightness it makes.  yesterday we bundled into the truck to bring home a christmas tree.  and now it's standing in front of the living room window, creating the air of christmas for us. 60 years of love is balanced on it's branches. delicate inherited glass balls mingled with handmade paper decorations.  the fireplace burns often now.  and evenings seldom pass without my making a cup of tea. i will get snuggled into the holidays over the next weeks and settle in for the next few months of winter.  

i listed stockings and literary lap quilts on etsy last night, filling my online shop with bits of what makes the little white house so special. and we're having another open house this coming sunday, december 16th from 10 - 5.  we are welcoming you into the the little white house to browse the quilts and vintage books and sterling jewelry, the art and gifts and dreamy little treasures.  so stop by 55 mowat ave in portsmouth village and maybe you'll find a special cherished gift.    

Sunday, December 9, 2012

i was in the grocery store the other day.  i was looking for organic peanut butter.  my eye landed on apple jelly.  and i felt such a surge of emotions that i started to cry a little.  just a little because i got it under control.  but the actual urge was to put my head in my hands and sob.  and it was absolutely the apple jelly.  i was rushed back to breakfast in the 70s and 80s.  hotels.  diners.  those little plastic individual containers of jams and jellies.  sometimes honey too.  but for some reason the apple jelly held all the emotion for me. like a physical reminder of a simpler time.  a time when there was less to worry about.  when other's still took care of me.  when all i needed to decide was what i wanted on my toast.  i'm not sure it was sadness making me cry, just raw emotion.  the love of a childhood and youth and a carefree young twenty-something.  i'm not even sure why i'm writing about this, except that as soon as it happened, i thought, 'i'll have to put this in my blog'.  

today, we are once again having an open house.  the little white house at 55 mowat ave in portsmouth village, filled to the brim with goodness.  quilts and napkins, vintage books and sterling jewelry.  lovely gifts for the people dear to you.  come by today, december 9th.  we'll be there from 10 am until 5 pm.  

Friday, December 7, 2012

the morning is early.  the fire is glowing across the room.  everything is dark except that little square of flame.  even the windows are still dark.  edgar has been out, but is sleeping deeply again, sprawled on the wide feathery couch and covered in a wool blanket.  telulah has stared at me with her huge eyes and performed her morning sneezes.  ellsworth has come inside and floyd has dashed out.  and stella has not left the warm nest of a bed upstairs with tom.  this is my morning house.  it is settled and quiet.  with a few subtle floor creaks when tom shifts in bed in the room above. i'll make coffee soon.  but i'm loathe to break the stillness.  ellsworth has come purring to me, pressing and curling into the side of my leg.  his fur is still cold from being outside most of the night.  but underneath, he's fat and warm.  i've had a delightful beginning to my day.    

i will be sewing today, preparing for our sale on sunday.  once more we will open at 10 on sunday morning.  and be there until 5.  at the little white house at 55 mowat ave in portsmouth village.  i will have the main room filled with quilts and christmas stockings and napkins and journals, while krista's books and denise's sterling jewelry and a little room of paintings and mixed media pieces fill the sloped rooms upstairs. come visit our little lake splashed village and explore the handmade goodness of our little studio.  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

 today i was able to sew.  i was anxious and nervous leaving edgar for too long, so i'd run home to check on him every 1/2 hour or so.  but i was able to get a good start on a little pile of quilts.  and i've finally listed the newest farmhouse quilt.  this is the lucky quilt that was professionally quilted a week or so ago.  my friend megan lives on a dairy farm 20 or 30 kilometres outside of the city.  she has 2 kids under 3.  and she has a sewing room with a quilting frame and machine that she guides ever so skillfully by hand, creating charming stitched patterns as she connects the three layers that comprise a quilt.  the farmhouse quilts really needed her touch.  i quite love the new, more finished quality her work gives the quilts.  it does raise the prices, but the added value completely supports the price hike. i find myself going upstairs throughout the day, just to admire this quilt.  it is a great piece of handcrafted goodness, and the collaborative element makes it even more special      
tonight i'm tired.  there are sleepy cats curled up around me, and that may add to my fatigue.  but it will be good to sleep hard tonight.

Monday, December 3, 2012

this is the first farmhouse quilt i ever made.  it was may of 2011.  i had an idea.  i had scraps.  i worked away certain i could turn my idea into something lovely.  but wondered if other people would love my vision like i did. and somehow, just a few weeks after i listed it on etsy, it sold.  i was excited.  i felt like my idea, and my way of making this scrappy quilt, was valid.  i would keep at it.  and then, the woman who purchased the quilt emailed me.  she told me that after hours of poring through etsy, she kept coming back to this quilt.  and when she saw i was from kingston it seemed certainly meant to be.  for she was looking for a wedding gift for a family doctor who lived in kingston.  she mentioned her name and i recognized her as my grandfather's family doctor.  he had died a few years before just a couple months shy of 105. i was thrilled that the quilt was going to her.  really thrilled.  
and yesterday, a year and a half later, this little story continued.  we had our sale at the studio.  a sale i didn't feel very prepared for because of the past couple weeks with edgar.  but i had been able to finish edging the latest farmhouse quilt that has been professionally quilted and it was spread on the bed upstairs being admired.  i felt like yesterday was the launch of this latest incarnation of the farmhouse quilts.  the birth of a new direction.  a woman and her husband came in, talked with me about this and that, and looked around.  eventually she turned to me and asked, 'are you elmer willis' granddaughter?'  i nodded, and asked how she knew my grandfather.  she told me her name and as she was adding that she was my grandfather's family doctor, i was already tearing up.  she related little stories about him.  she remembered him.  and remembered him well.  and then she mentioned the quilt.  and that it is beloved in her home.  that it travels from room to room.  her daughter had snuggled under it with her boyfriend, watching a movie the night before.  and she herself had been wrapped up in it that morning.  i couldn't stop the tears welling up.  i hugged her and thanked her for telling me all this.  i often think about that firstborn farmhouse quilt that went off on it's own quite early, to someone who felt a bit like family because of their association with my grampa, but who i didn't know and never expected to meet.  and learning that it is truly loved by someone who cared for my grandfather, is just so special.  it was a good day.  

Sunday, December 2, 2012

first things first......our boy is on the mend.  the vet feels that the stones flushed successfully out of his urethra.  he seems back to his wonderful self.  we went for a walk yesterday and he seemed great.  the next hurdle will be removing the catheter and hoping he can resume normal peeing on his own.  i can't say enough how special it was having all your warm and caring thoughts and wishes for edgar.  we really felt the love and i know that made a difference in his strong recovery.  thank you!

although i've had my focus only on getting edgar through this ordeal, life marches on and it is december.  and i have a business to think about.  our first studio sale is today!!! i have the first of my new revamped farmhouse quilts ready to go.  and by revamped i mean, professionally quilted.  it is phenomenal and i'm excited about the direction we're heading with these.  there is also 'the storybook robin', a room full of krista's carefully selected and delightful vintage books that make the perfect little treasured gift.  and denise arsenault has joined us today with her line of lovely sterling jewelry.  

so the studio is open from 10 - 5 today, sunday december 2nd.  we are located in the little white house at 55 mowat avenue in portsmouth village.  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

in the early winter, there is a magical time of day/night when the world is dark and your house is bright.  it still feels like day because it essentially is.  the house is bustling around getting home from work, preparing dinner, tidying etc.  but the windows are still uncovered and the light of what we do, shines out into the darkness.  seeing life from the darkened outside always gives it a layer of coziness. it's a little like being on the front porch except with the separation of darkened silence. 
the past few days, if you were seeing into the vignettes our windows create, you would see us doting on edgar.  the first day after surgery, he ate and drank and peed and pooed, walked around the yard and rested really well. we were really encouraged. but the second night was a little scary and distressing, as the nights can be.  he was uncomfortable and gassy and seemed in pain. and he didn't care to walk any more.  but we got through that and late in the day yesterday, we were able to get him settled once more on the couch he loves.  there is an elaborate layering of garbage bags, quilts, leak pads and diapers.  and now that he's on the couch, he's like his old self again.  except that he leaks pee and sometimes blood.  and keeping his skin from getting irritated is a challenge. and he's very unsteady on his feet, only able to walk without both tom and i actively involved.
in a few hours, we're taking him back to our wonderful vet, and he will try to flush this stone out of his urethra and back up into the bladder.  it seems like such a little thing.  but it's so huge to our little life.  thank you for all your wonderful caring comments and your prayers.     

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

it was snowing tonight when we brought edgar home.  little gusts of white around the lights.  the first gentle snow i've seen this year.  he was so very groggy from almost 5 hours of surgery.  a 'marathon', our dear vet, uncle d'arcy, called it.  when we arrived home, our friends met us and helped carry him in to his bed by the fire.  we are still very much in a crisis, for although an entire speciman jar of pea sized stones were removed from his bladder, the one stone that is lodged in his urethra wouldn't budge.  this is definitely a life threatening situation.  we are hoping that the inflammation will diminish and this awful little piece of rock can be flushed back into his bladder.
for tonight, he is comfy, under quilts and cats, by the fire, drifting in and out of consciousness.  and when he wakes, he whines for water and drinks heartily, which is a wonderful sign.   

Saturday, November 24, 2012

our week has been complicated.  edgar has been ill.  it's been an up and down sort of week.  all sorts of anti-biotics and pain meds for our boy.  a huge infected wound on his leg, swollen to twice it's size with pitting edema.  and now bladder stones in his urethra, a catheter and surgery on monday morning.  and my friends have been doing all they can to make things easier.  last night, before the onset of bladder stones, i set up my quilts to take part in the most delightful yearly event at our local waldorf school.  tracy and i at side by side tables, her charming encaustics and my colorful literary quilts.  tom was home with edgar, while tracy and i had a fabulous evening meeting wonderful people and selling our items.  but in the night edgar's issues worsened.  i had hoped i would be able to take part in the event today as well.  instead we were at the vet's x-raying his bladder at 9 a.m.  and tracy took over my table completely, selling my stuff and her own and relieving all the stress i felt from feeling like i needed to be in two places at once. 

tonight we are exhausted.  we've been a little edgy.  nervous and frightened about edgar's surgery, about dealing with his catheter (hoping it stays in place), and the injections i need to give him.  there was a loud knock on the front door.  when i turned on the light, not a soul was there, but a brown paper package lay on the step.  and inside the most delightful fabrics, perfect for holiday napkins.  i don't know who found these perfect fabrics, (it feels very 'storybook robin-ish' to me), but they are simply perfect and i love them.  and i love my friends who take such good care of me and show me they care everyday, and then step it up even moreso, when i need it more. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

today is my grandmother's birthday.  sometimes i feel alot like her.  she has been gone 15 years.  she was strong and gentle.  and somehow always had peppermints with her.  i think of her every day.  it's hard not to feel her presence while i make quilts.  she was a quilt maker too.  but not as a leisure activity. she hand sewed scraps together into cozy quilts to keep her family warm on their gusty prince edward island farm.  there was no plumbing or electricity until the 50's and by then most of her children were grown.  she made quilts all her life to pile on their beds.  i can't help but think of that as i work. i have a quilt she made for me when i was 14.  it's always in the studio with me.  i can see her hand in each stitch. the love around that quilt is palpable. i'm sure some of the scraps come from clothing she wore when my father was a boy.  
today she would have been 107.  and how i miss her.   

Friday, November 16, 2012

the nights are colder now.  we try to keep the cats in. although they aren't quite sure they want to stay in.  edgar has a morning walk and a few outings into the yard throughout the day, but is happiest on his couch in the warmth of the living room now.  
and the literary quilts are humming along.  i keep making them.  and they are beginning to leave the studio as well.   pip has a new home.  as does mr. rochester.  today i concluded 'great expectations' and have moved along to 'jude the obscure'.  oh, thomas hardy! he is one of my favorites.  i read him as a girl and his characters are like ghostly siblings for me.  i wonder what sort of quilts we will dredge up together.
revisiting the books that carried me through the dark and cold nights of my girlhood, has taken me to those days in my mind more than usual.  there was no tv in our house and we were far from people in general, much less other kids my age. so i was a child who would read and re-read, tumbling into books, keeping characters in my head, and filling my head with the interior spaces of a manor house or a humble drafty farm.  i know my aesthetic was shaped by the images the words formed for me. 
so the month of november that sits between the fiery beauty of october and the busy excitement of christmas, has carried me back to the classic literature of my youth.    



Monday, November 12, 2012

november is blowing warm.  the air is gentle, unlike the novembers i expect to brace myself against.  edgar had his birthday yesterday.  his eighth birthday.  he shares his birthday with remembrance day.  we took him to my parents place.  it's his favorite spot to wander in the fields and around the naked gray trees and amongst the barns that have stood for almost 2 centuries. a lovely afternoon visit with my parents.  soup with warm, fresh from the oven cornmeal and caraway crackers for lunch. a perfect sunday.  
mr. rochester is completed and listed in my etsy shop.  he and jane  eyre are upstairs in bed together (hehe).  they make a great couple.  today i'm working my way through 'great expectations'.  and we'll see what comes from dickens.  i'm looking forward to miss havisham bursting her way into my studio in quilt form.

Friday, November 9, 2012

a cold november morning.  i'm eager to move into the studio.  but there are so many little chores that demand me first thing in the day.  the cats make me jealous.  they sleep curled on blankets or the heat vents.  and i want to just read by the fire with a cat warm on my feet. but the pull of the studio is stronger.  i'm listening to 'great expectations' now.  and the literary quilts are going smaller today.  i'm thinking they'll be more of a lap size.  the perfect size to stretch over you while reading.  

the cozy and warm studio is open again today from 11 until 6.  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

i dug through the fall and winter coats that make their way out of summer storage, one by one as needed at this time of year.  (ha, summer storage.  sounds so fancy when they're really just piled in the catch-all room.)  i pulled a big brown, slobber spotted suede jacket off the top.  most of my coats end up being designated dog-walking coats after awhile.  and last night edgar and i headed out around 10 to simply circle the neighborhood before bed.  he's been sleeping too much.  the new reality of cold weather makes neither of us eager to wander.  and last night the air was the coldest i've felt.  we ran a little.  i had bare legs under my skirt.  i don't think i'm ready for the onslaught of cold that's coming. 

i finished jane eyre a couple of days ago.  she's very pretty.  i'm quite taken with her. she's listed on etsy now too.  i'll get mr. rochestor finished today. but probably won't have time photograph him.  i'm really enjoying the direction
of these literary quilts.  my friends mark and tracy really encouraged me to explore these and i'm so grateful they did.  without their excitement i think i would have just had the bovary's and then gone back to business as usual.  but now my head is spinning with plans of the new directions i want to take these quilts.  all my quilts really.  change and growth and goodness for the new year.  organizing and planning while listening to such perfectly crafted words and sewing. it's good.  

now i'll get my tea.  although i don't feel much like moving from my little quilt nest, with ellsworth, our biggest, warmest and sleepiest cat, smushed against me purring. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

it's like summer never was.  like barefoot was never an option.  like the leaves were never a whisper above instead of a crunch underfoot.  like i didn't step out of bed into flipflops and a sunny morning to take edgar blearily along the lake at 6am.  now i wake up to the robotic murmur of the furnace blowing the house hot.  it would be nice if hibernating was an option for me.  i'd curl under a stack of quilts and sleep until april. 

my jane eyre quilt will be finished today.  and if i'm lucky, so will mr. rochester.  i'll try to get them photographed as well, but that may not happen until tomorrow.  i finally photographed charles bovary yesterday.  and listed it on etsy.  he's very masculine and solid.  but with a soothing gentleness at the same time.    

Thursday, November 1, 2012

jane eyre is winding her way into the quilts i'm making now.  i'm building layers of squares into patchy tops as i listen to the tale of her early life at the school for orphans.  and there are 2 quilts taking shape that i really love. i am feeling connected to something sweet from my girlhood as i revisit the classic literature from my youth.  i love the language and vivid imagery.  and the familiarity settles in me as i hear the words i've read so many times.  i've been reading jane eyre since i was 12 and wouldn't know how many times i've spent whole chunks of days curled up in her solemn story. now there are quilts that blend her and i together.  i really like that.
i showed you emma and charles bovary.  and there is also a hester prynn quilt. although the work was done by the time i started her story, she was clearly in my mind when i chose the pieces of gray and red for her quilt.  she is listed in the shop
so i continue the quest of filling my mind with the figures of literature, loving the words and the cadence of stories.  

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

i wiped the counters down with a half a lemon.  and sprayed my vinegar and dish soap concoction on a towel to wipe away the stickiness.  my fresh and chemical free disinfecting routine, because i know the cats wander around there in the night.  it's morning.  i'm boiling water for both tea and coffee.  i'm in a tea loving phase lately and tom wants coffee before he leaves for work. i cut up fruit for our morning smoothies.  just a basic morning routine. and it's while i'm doing these mindless little tasks in the dark of early morning that i think of all our neighbors just a few hundred miles away who's homes are burned and flooded or just dark and cold with no power.  i watch the news reports of communities burned, patients being carried from darkened hospitals with no power.  premies who's nurses fill their little lungs with air by hand with a plastic bag of a pump.  mother's who have just given birth.  and i start my day with sadness and concern as well as gratitude, marveling at the resolute human spirit.  

today we start our new hours at the studio.  tom is appalled that we'll be open through the best halloween hours.  but we'll have candy to give out at the studio as well. we'll be there today from 11 to 6. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

the ghost of a jar stretching off the windowsill.  with a tree sprouting from it's innards.  i love the way this photo mirrors my muddy state of mind.  it's gray, the earliest gray of morning.  and my sleep was interrupted all night.  i couldn't find a position comfortable enough that i didn't awaken.  and i'm pretty sure it's because yesterday i gave in to my fatigue and spent the day lounging with edgar on the couch.  refusing to do much of anything. my laziness re-paid me with a sleepless night. 
this morning there are warnings of a storm that could swirl into infamy with the potential of it's damage.  we don't seem to be in it's direct path, but so many are.  little communities like ours.  and major cities as well.  i hope the warnings have been overstated and the destruction is minimal. 
i'll get the kettle boiling now.  clear my mind with some steaming tea. and head off into this morning, immersed in fabric.    

Saturday, October 27, 2012

it's saturday morning and i'm tucked up in the corner of the couch with coffee and computer.  telulah is sleeping on the pillow beside the iron grate floor vent that has been her favorite spot since the furnace came on.  telulah is failing and her 18 years are starting to show.  she had an overnight at the vet this week hoping to revive her with iv and tests to see if there was anything we could do to make her feel more lively.  she's home now and is a little more interested in her crazy little family and all the goings-on around her.  the studio is calling me and i'll go over soon.  but right now i'm enjoying my quiet little house.  it's an overcast morning and the stillness makes drinking coffee and eating my yogurt and almonds seem like a little luxury.
but i'm eager to get back to my charles bovary quilt.  emma, in her subtle, periwinkle toiles and paisley and floral, dotted in pinks and a few pale greens, has been listed on etsy and awaits her new home.  however, charles is still tangled in the machine being secured into a proper quilt.  i 
hope he's finished today.  
these quilts are the result of listening to books while i work.  i've moved from the bovary's of normandy, to hester prynn and her odd little family  in puritan-era massachusetts.  i wonder what sort of quilt the scarlet letter in all it's rage inducing misogyny will inspire.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

it's astounding how easily one can stagnate.  even while i worked away happily and creatively.  i didn't realize how stuck i was.  that trying to make all manner of items to fill a shop was draining my talents. but finally beginning the process of streamlining my work has uncovered and strengthened much in me.  and i love it.  as i work now, the quilts are shifting and growing.  each one with a fuller, broader and truer story.  a personality like mine that can get lost in work can forget to take the time to grow.  and now i feel the growth every day.  i feel the meaning.  i feel the certainty and the fullness pouring into the spirit of the quilt. this quilt is listed in my shop

the studio is a busy and a messy place.  but we have finally put our heads together, krista and i, and starting next week, we will have weekly hours as follows....

wednesday to friday 11 - 6
weekends and any other time by appointment.  
(i'm almost always at the studio or next door, so an appointment is no imposition).
and we will continue to have our weekend events that i'll let you know about in advance.    

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

a sleepy blurry morning.  stella sitting on my chest and watching me wake up.  we're all a little sleepy.  the last few mornings have been super early. they still feel like night, these mornings.  dark and deep and quiet.  now the coffee is in hand.  the house is warming.  edgar has been outside and there are stirrings in all the little corners that the cats find to sleep through the night.  i'm impatient to get to the studio but the darkness keeps me home.  when the sky starts to brighten, i'll slip across the yard and get to work on quilts.  i have some beauties on the go.  
and last week, i promised photos of 'the storybook robin'.  i'll link you through to the story book robin blog.  you can get to know the new little nook in the little white house.  it's a wonderful and charming little space full of wonderful books and beautiful energy.   

Monday, October 22, 2012

i made butter the other day.  we had tracy and dave over.  we were all gathered around the kitchen island.  we were putting together a little birthday feast for ourselves. the october babies....3 of the 4 of us were born within 10 days. we nibbled on cheese and fruit and chocolate and bread with glasses of wine.  while roasting a prime rib and sauteeing garlic and rosemary.  rinsing vegetables.  chopping and blending for leek soup and salad.  it was a warm and happy and busy little room.  a beautiful chaos. 
i have been eager to make my own butter lately.  fresh butter.  so in the spirit of our wonderful little evening, i powered up the kitchen-aid and poured in the cream left over from the leek soup.  and in ten minutes after much speculation and splashing, like a miracle, we had wonderful creamy, icy cold butter.  the best i've ever tasted.  really truly, the best. 
everytime i reach for the fresh butter in it's little red pyrex container, i can't help but think of my grandmother.  my grandmother in her farm kitchen.  with her 5 children who would bring buckets of milk to her from the barn each morning. and she would seperate the milk from the cream.  the cream separater with it's dozens of discs she had to take apart and boil clean twice a day.  and then turning that cream into the butter that her crew of sons devoured on the bread she made daily.  all so basic.  and all such monotonous hard work.  no wonder her hands were twisted and arthritic for most of the time i knew her.  beating cream into butter by hand, whipping it and beating it as it grew heavier and heavier for up to 20 minutes without stopping.  and yet life was sweet and full of happiness and love. maybe moreso because of the hard work. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

it was another magnificent day in the studio.  the weather was balmy and the lake steamed in the unusually warm air.  i sat in my window seat making quilts (this one is listed in the shop) and listening to 'madame bovary'.  neighbors stopped by to share the beauty of the day.  we talked of weddings and babies and love affairs.  there was lots of loud laughter. 

early in the afternoon, tom came in the back door with post boxes that had been delivered to the house.  i knew that i was about to unwrap loveliness.  last week i told you i had ordered some items from jen at country weekend. they arrived today and i couldn't be more thrilled.  a pansy painting for my mama.  and the most perfect little clutch for me that is just the right size for my wallet, keys and phone.  and to top it off, a willa cather book i didn't know existed. she is one of my favorites.  thank you jen, for making my day such a special one.  

 happy dreams and i hope the week ends perfectly for all of you.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

the 150 year old words of flaubert filled my head all afternoon.  the first part of 'madame bovary' echoed across the studio as i sewed through the afternoon.  the tale of her discontent twisting along with the thread and the rumble of the sewing machine.  the ennui of a past era pulsing through the room as i worked, as i filled the room with my own story.  
i've been concentrating on words alot lately.  i've been enjoying the silence and hearing my own words hum through my head.  but today it was about listening to others.  and breathing life into my newest farmhouse quilt.    

Saturday, October 13, 2012

it's been a while since we swung open the doors to the little white house and welcomed the public in to discover it's charms.  but tomorrow we are doing just that.  tomorrow.....sunday, october 14th from 10 to 4.... please come by.  
not only will there be quilts and color and a sweet energy as always, we are also introducing a new venture. upstairs under the eaves, floating in the colorful trees is 'the storybook robin'.  this is a little room full of vintage books carefully chosen for their charm and beauty and value. 
the little studio at 55 mowat avenue in lovely portsmouth village makes a perfect autumn destination.  we hope to see you tomorrow!

Monday, October 8, 2012

a weekend of beautiful people and wonderful food.  the days bright and full.  feeling fortunate and grateful.  a long weekend with an extra day of ease.  and tonight we move gently into next week. 

jen from country weekend has beautiful items in her etsy shop that i've always admired.  i did a little christmas shopping there tonight to end my weekend, my country weekend,  with an extra little smile.  

it will be back to sewing for me tomorrow.   

Thursday, October 4, 2012

the angled ceiling of a tiny enclosed porch.  windows swing open on either side of a slamming door that never quite latches.  there is room for a chair and a table and a pile of books.  lavender hanging in dusty clutches.  aluminum buckets, dull and hollow from decades of sun and water.  the floor is worn.  this is the room i settle in the evenings for the transition from summer to winter.  it's my autumn room. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

tea steeps under the faded cloak of a cozy that my grandmother pieced together from quilting scraps.  when my tea brews beneath this hood it seems to absorb a little of her breath.  a little of her spirit.  and i sip little memories of her, bits of her story while i sit in the half lit night with the music of wheezing dog.
(the baby quilt pictured is listed in the shop)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

i've been sorting through years of fabric. i found boxes of fabric that i hadn't seen in forever.  hadn't even thought of using for a decade.  a friend told me of a quilting guild that makes quilts to donate to women's shelters and people in need.  people in palliative care.  they also send them to third world countries.  she came by the studio today to pick up the fabric from me.  we filled the back of her van while her little girls played with pearl and she told stories of the ways these wonderful women work together to bring joy to people's lives with quilts. another layer of beauty that comes from the warmth of a quilt.  generations of love.  traditions of helping and healing.  a quilt is full of so much goodness.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

early morning light in mid-september is the sweetest.  although last saturday the house was cleaned and just the amount of organized i feel comfortable with, a week later things here are in disarray.  how does that happen!  this morning the windows are open to the cooler air and the light that comes from a slightly different angle.  it's noticeable, this new september light.  but everywhere the light hits, there are threads and little scraps of fabric.  although all the major quilt building happens in the studio, i've been ironing strips of scraps at night during our evenings together as we watch tv and listen to music and chat.  i'm entering into a phase of making scrap quilts (which is my favorite thing!).  all the scraps i've saved over the past year of cutting squares for quilts are ironed, and sewn together and cut into strips and sewn together again.  and then ironed and cut again. it is a long process but not at all tiresome.  the fabrics dance together and delight me as i recognize favorites that i haven't seen in months. there is an unparalleled energy in these quilts that pay me back for all the time and iron burns and scissor callouses they cause.  
and i've been bringing in fresh batches of fabric to the studio as well.  yardage that needs to be washed, dried, folded and sorted by color.  so, the fabric room in the studio is a bit of hell as well.  all i want to do is make quilts.....not organize fabric.  but i think i have no choice.  until an assistant comes into my life to clean up behind me, i'm stuck dealing with the chaotic mess that my sort of creative personality is perpetually creating. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

i remember the way the leaves moved on the carolina poplars that stood outside my bedroom window when i was a child.  they were loud and rambunctious.  a little like cheerleaders, jumping and shaking at the slightest breeze.  i noticed the same type of poplar on my walk with edgar tonight.  the wind was whipping up the lake pretty spectacularly and i could hear the familiar sound of those crazy leaves before i saw them.  so distinctive, it rose above the sounds of waves and rocks colliding.  i always forget that tree is there along our path, and then certain nights it's just standing there, part of our evening stroll, like a memento from my childhood.   
and now as i sit in the shelter of my books, tucked into the little corner chair where the stories and the poems and the hundreds of little things i love smile down on me, the wind is moving around the house.  my little house doesn't make a sound.  the wind can't make it moan.  the stone is thick and sure.  160 years of solid.  the windows and the doors may whimper, but the walls are silent. the night is warm and loud and i love listening to it curl around us.  
edgar sleeps.  i iron strips of fabric that will be a quilt tomorrow.  and tom sleeps and keeps the bed cozy for me.