Monday, January 30, 2012

it's almost 2.30 in the afternoon. i'm re-heating this mornings coffee. and i'm making an omelette. then i'll clean the kitchen. i changed my mind. the eggs broke so perfectly, i'm going to fry them now. 3 eggs. fried in olive oil. layered on top of rye bread and cilantro and finely sliced garlic and provolone and topped with sliced tomatoes.
i went to the dentist first thing this morning. i haven't been to a dentist in more than 12 years. even though i had a filling come out in my back molar in 2007. and although it looked exactly like the log in this picture, it didn't really bother me. but i knew i had to get it fixed one of these days. the lovely dentist was amazed that a cavity missing it's filling for years had zero decay. but that was indeed the case. now it's re-filled and pain free and this is my test meal. and it seems to be handling my beautiful plate of deliciousness perfectly.
we had a lovely sale day yesterday....sunny, warm, electric. thank you for all your lovely wishes. and for those of you who stopped by, i hope you enjoyed your time with us.
today i'll attempt to bring some balance to our home. and by balance, i mean cleanliness. and then a couple of studio hours to finish off the day. i'm glad tom made the big bodum of coffee this morning.....another mug full just went in to the microwave.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

the winter is something i have spent my life escaping. i stay inside and only dash out of doors when it's absolutely necessary. so this wonderful and enjoyable mild winter has almost passed without my appreciating it. but yesterday i was taking edgar out to walk along the water. it's been almost a month since he's been on a walk. he was having strange episodes of spasms in his front leg that would cause him to fall. he had one on our walk once and i didn't know if i'd get him home. so being out and away from the house just wasn't an option. but yesterday was beautiful and he hasn't had one in a while(a walk or a spasm), so off we went into january that felt more like november or march.....more like a transition month. and i felt myself enjoying winter. wishing every winter could be like this one. and realized that i'd missed most of it simply from habit. and that is when i thought of demie's roadside attraction challenge. although she wanted it to be a drawing challenge, every second at the studio has been in preparation for today's sale. so a photo will have to do (and i can never seem to follow directions anyhow.....) this tree is my roadside attraction. straight and ancient and as tall as an apartment building, it sits by the road and oversees and acts like a beacon, bringing me home.
today is our studio sale. i am easing into my day with a cup of tea and a few minutes writing here by the fire. but we'll be ready to welcome you to the studio today from 10 until 4.
55 mowat ave in portsmouth village. the little white house is full of goodness.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

the past week has been a little frantic. a pace that i set, but exhausted me nevertheless. i'm not used to living within limits. and this week i've grown obsessed with these fabric coil bowls. i hate to throw away my scraps..... and with the collection of fabric that i have gathered and that i use daily, i generate mountains of heart-tuggingly beautiful scraps. in the summer i was making farmhouse quilts from the fabric strips that remained after i cut squares. but there are always bags of smaller scraps that my brain tells me to just throw away, (and i sometimes do), but my heart tells me to store. so i have bags of them under tables and underfoot.
last week i was skimming through etsy to see what a standard length would be for the table runners i'm making from a lovely linen/cotton blend that i've been equally obsessed with lately. (i am driven by my obsessions). and i saw a fabric coiled bowl. and it just started me up.
so the studio has many new lovelies for our sale tomorrow. if you're around and looking to find a cozy destination on a late january sunday.....we are your spot. tomorrow, sunday january 29th, we'll be at 55 mowat ave in portsmouth village. come by anytime between 10 am and 4 pm.

Friday, January 27, 2012

it's been a week like my younger self lived. i've been a little obsessed with making bowls from my fabric scraps and it's been keeping me up until 2 and 3 am. last night i was at the bookstore until 10 and then watched tennis and made bowls until 3. that's been happening all week. but i have some lovely bowls to show for it. and a worn out body. and that safe and happy feeling i get from watching tennis. but the mornings are killing me. that's when i know i'm not 20 anymore.
we are throwing open the studio on sunday at 10 am to welcome you all. there are fresh and lovely new encaustics and table linens and quilts and of course the new bowls i love. come to 55 mowat, anytime between 10 am and 4 pm on sunday the 29th to perk yourself up and bid adieu to january.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

some mornings i want to wake up in my childhood home. or walk in the front door and sit in the stream of sun that the cats always find. tuck myself in for a day or a week. the high ceilings and unending white walls that can still make me feel small and invisible and endlessly safe. there is really no house i love more. i'm lucky that i still have my childhood home and have my wonderful warm and loving parents living happily in it. for almost 38 years i've been coming home to it's welcome. it's timeless beauty and dreamy views. settled in the middle of 100 acres of farmed fields and woods and barns and a rocky quarry. this morning i would happily sit on the lumpy bottomed out couch in the kitchen that somehow never gets replaced. and just sit and soak in all the happiness in that room. or curl by the fire in the living room, reading, or pretending to play the piano. i'm tired this morning and i'm feeling it. but i'm heading over to the studio now to perk up and get a jolt of the joy back.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

blackberries, almonds, yogurt and tea. breakfast in the library by the fire. snow is falling past the windows, large and slow. edgar on his bed eating noisily. telulah covering the heat register entirely with her little black body, soaking in the heat. stella staring at me, incredulous that the computer is on my lap instead of her. and i will have a rare day to do as i please. deadlines aren't staring me down yet. my bookshelves call to me on days like this. they are snugly stuffed with books, yes. but there are layers of personal history as well. a biography in the round. dusty little treasures of a life. the bones of the story, balanced around the books. i love digging through those shelves and becoming other parts of myself in a single breath.
today i'll spend a few hours at the studio. and get a few jobs done at home. i'll watch tennis. and take edgar for a walk in the swirling snow. and then there may be time to sit with a book. i predict a lovely day.

Friday, January 20, 2012

this morning i'm uncurling from sleep into a snowy, post-blizzard world. last night the wind and snow stirred up the streets and made driving home from the bookstore a bit treacherous. which made my bed and warm little family even sweeter.
an unattributed quote is humming through my thoughts. 'maudit soit a jamais le reveur inutile....'. i saw this on a blog as a photo of the words chalked on a paris sidewalk. she translated it beautifully as “forever cursed is the useless dreamer…'. and the melody of those words has been swinging through me since. un reveur inutile. a useless dreamer. or maybe an inactive dreamer. i think it's saying simply that the dream is made more true with ambition behind it. a simple active drive fuelled by hope. the movement keeps it alive.
today's photo is a detail of one of tracy's pieces that reached off the wall and wound it's way into me. this piece will live in me for a while. i would have liked to stare at it a little longer, but it sold immediately, making it's way out and into the world. an active and useful dream.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

i'm finding myself drawn to images that are seen through layers of clear. being close to tracy's encaustics has made me start noticing this more. reflections through layers of glass have always called out to my eye. and at the studio last night these chalky branches sat against the window. they look like they are trying to escape the dark and windy night. like limbs trapped under ice. i'm seeing that alot, color and line and image trapped beneath a murky and hard surface. tracy's wax. windows. glue. diaphonous layers that trap the movement and the image so it can be seen but not touched. is it a metaphor for winter? or is something more powerful emerging?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

photos from our studio sale tonight. i'm too tired to put words together. just photos. fresh and bright and pretty. i'll write more tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

the wind is a dramatic performer tonight. the windows are vibrating and the trees are swaying. the lake is ferocious. and there is a roar outdoors. the noise is constant and unrelenting. i should be sleeping, getting nicely rested for our sale tomorrow. but i'm awake with the wind. upstairs my bath is waiting, all steamy and sweet. but i'm full of nervous energy that the wind is whipping up in me.
tomorrow is our sale (wednesday january 18th, from 3-8). i hope you can make it out to the little white house at 55 mowat ave in portsmouth village. we have lots of little goodies for you to fall in love with. so if you're out and about, stop in. our next sale will be on sunday january 29th from 10 - 4.

Monday, January 16, 2012

i think this tangled mess of ice and branches is an apt metaphor for my mind lately. i've been working through some necessary decisions. complicated decisions that i know are sound and right. but difficult regardless. difficult because they involve others.
i have been blessed with a solid innate. i can trust my gut almost entirely. only in the last years have i realized how heavily i've relied on instinct throughout my life. and how well it has served me. the biggest decisions in my life have been made with very little agonizing thought, just a deep belief that what i was doing needed to be done. and so when i know something is necessary, it isn't complicated. the difficult part is when i need to communicate exactly why things need to be the way my gut tells me. hence, my tangled and frozen mind. but the thaw has begun!
i'm in the midst of making a lovely tall pile of napkin sets for willow and for our sale on wednesday. and there is a pile of gorgeous cotton canvas bookmarks that make wonderful 'just because'
gifts. of course i'll still have quilts and teatowels and journals, but there will be a few new things as well. this wednesday, january 18th from 3 pm until 8 pm at 55 mowat ave in portsmouth village.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

tonight tom walked to the store and bought ice cream. just because. and now he's making tea for us. i can hear the clinking spoon from the kitchen as he stirs in the honey. it's a good evening. watching football. and texting with flynn during the game.....letting him know my team was better than his. sort of watching the golden globes (just the funny parts and the pretty people). hanging out with cats draped on our laps. curled up under a quilt on the sofa with edgar. thumbing through magazines. and folding envelopes. and eating a little more ice cream. winter is upon us. and tonight, after working all day at the bookstore and then the studio, i am loving the laziness!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

there was barely a taste of winter until 2 days ago. and then she came in earnest. trees dropping their branches all around our little stone nest. and then yesterday morning we found one of my favorite trees had uprooted and was propped on our porch roof. i must say, i was afraid for our little porch. the pillars supporting it must be 100 years old. or more. and the tree was heavy and solid. but luckily some of it's weight was still being supported at the ground. johnny came this morning with brutus. he climbed onto the icy cedar roof with his chainsaw and got to work cutting the tree into pieces before cutting it off at the stump and giving me the fun job of pulling the trunk off the roof. and the amazing thing is.....there was not a bit of damage. not even a cracked shingle. we were very very lucky. lucky not to have a hole in our porch, but also lucky to have wonderful friends. not only did johnny come straight over to help, but tracy, dave and sam came to join in the winter work as well. piling wood and dragging brush and breathing in the memorable scent of chainsaw oil, sawdust and snow. we had tea and hot chocolate with warm foamy milk. the sky was bright and the air was cold. and the house was warm. edgar was eager to play with brutus. or angry brutus was here. i'm not sure which. and we didn't find out. i kept edgar inside perched on the sofa. the men hauled away the brush. sam played playstation hockey. and tracy and i sat by the fire with our tea, talking.
so our wood is cut and piled. the brush has been taken to the recycling center and we are tired and cozy by the fire as the sky loses it's brightness and becomes night. it was a wonderful day!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

we woke to ice this morning. icy branches scraping across the roof and windows. the house sat quietly with no power until almost noon. the fire warming while tom played the guitar and sang. huge old trees on both sides of our house have snapped off in the past couple of hours. they narrowly missed our roof and windows....thankfully the stone corner that one did hit is strong. you can see edgar's fence will need to be repaired. the studio house sits in the background watching it all, but appears to be fine. the weather is a drama that i can't avoid.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

in the winter, our home is a happy little cave. i love it's rooms and it's walls and all the little spots that hide my myriad of treasures. the animals find cozy little spots to curl up together. (although edgar just got me out of bed to move stella.....she had him pinned on the sofa and he felt he couldn't move). if the cats are outdoors at night, they climb on the roof and find our bedroom window so we'll let them in and out of the cold. there are always piles of books. the kitchen with it's bare stone walls is a little colder than the rest of the house. but i love's not too cold. and when i'm cooking or even just making tea, the windows steam delightfully. i'm drawn to the fireplaces like i am to the warm spot tom leaves in the bed when he rolls over. tonight we sat together by the fire. we watched tv and were thankful that although our refrigerator broke this morning and our milk was rotten, it cost less than $100 to fix it. and it was cool again in a matter of hours. it was a good day full of stories and projects in the studio. and a gentle evening of gratefulness at home.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

i've been having long naps in the evening when i come home from the studio. i'd rather get the house vacuumed. and the floors washed. i'd like to get our bedroom cozy and inviting again instead of messy with clothes and books that need to be put away. i'd like to finish re-organizing the blue room. and ultimately paint the blue room so it could be the gray room.....but i'm sure even when it is painted, it will still be known as the blue room. 13 years of referring to it as the blue room can't be erased with a paint job. but instead, i keep falling asleep on the sofa. i guess january is wintry and sleepy even when it's not cold and snowy.
i had a lovely day at the studio today. i have so many ideas and projects that i can jump between. it keeps my energy high to work on ideas as i have them. paper. painting. collage. combining all of it at times. but sewing is my meditation. i sew while my mind races with other ideas. today i kept popping up to tracy's bright little room to plan collaborative ventures. organizing our ideas for the month. for the year. our sales this month will be upon us soon. wednesday january 18th we'll be open from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. for you to drop by and see all the new stuff we've been working on this new year. and then sunday, january 29th from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. we'll have new surprises for you.

Monday, January 9, 2012

new cards are out in the shop. and new table linens as well. i was busy making napkins and placemats today. and pulling fabrics with my eyes from the great piles of fabric around me. as i work on one set, i plan the next. i keep ahead of myself. and although i have 5 or 6 sets of placemats ready to go, i'm planning time for some small collages tomorrow. like the image i used yesterday. i'm prepping little canvas boards tonight and hoping to spend the morning finding just the right old images that will flow perfectly together into interesting little pieces.
so my head is spinning tonight with ideas....i can't wait to get over there in the morning. and maybe i'll have new stuff to show you tomorrow.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

i love repetition. large repetitive jobs quiet my mind. and fuel it at the same time. tonight i'm fashioning hundreds of envelopes. cutting, folding, gluing. the house is still. i fell asleep on the couch with edgar at 7.00 tonight and slept for almost 3 hours. so i have just become active as tom makes his way to bed. the fire is warming the library. i'm sipping perrier. and envelopes are flying from my hands. i love it. i am re-introducing a line of handmade and recycled cards to the studio this month. they are small and intimate using gentle little paintings for the imagery. and they demand their own little handmade envelopes. so back to work i go.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

i love the people i have in my life. the people who give my thoughts dimension. and bring smiles and warmth and happiness to my life. of course my family gives me all the goodness i can imagine. but then my friends come into the picture and they fill in all the blanks with love and energy and ideas and truth. the last few days have been full of fabulous long visits with sheila and tracy. and this evening wine and hockey around the fire with our wonderful neighborhood crew. moments of sharing time with people who make me a better person, people who i learn from and feel filled up when we part. it's a really good thing.
today we had a rainbow. a summery feeling storm hit in the mid afternoon. and in the foggy wet distance, a huge true rainbow rose out of the mist. i can't remember ever seeing a rainbow in january. it's been a special weekend.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

it's january and i awoke with little dreams of the heat of the sun bouncing off the lake and warming my skin the way it does in july. we are so fortunate to have tom's family cottage to enjoy every summer, but i am always hunting for the perfect little lot for us. i love snug and cozy spaces. i remember as a child reading 'little house on the prairie', having great daydreams about the house that pa dug out of the hillside. and our teacher read the hobbit aloud to us in grade 5.....the hobbit's little round rooms intrigued me equally. so when i saw this site and the brilliant repurposed home they dug from the side of a cottage dreams were launched into hyperdrive (i've been watching way too much star wars over the break with flynn & jee & tom).
curving plaster and barky safe and cozy and tree-like. and real. there is something so complete and true about this structure. it seeps deep into who i am.
so as the snow swirls weakly around my window this morning, i plan for my little summer nest in the woods by a lake.....and head to the studio to continue with real life.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

as i sit with my tea this morning my mind is all tangled up in the complexities of accomplishment. the last few days i've been going on about my personal shifts. they aren't shifts as much as u-turns, or more accurately, S-turns. looking back as much as forward. many years of making and selling. there is a calm sense of simplicity that my life demands. i chose it. i love what i do, but i think i haven't been doing it entirely.
there was the time i thought that being an artist was my destiny. but, after years of mucking around in the paint, i knew that being an artist of the new york gallery variety, wasn't for my life. i didn't thrive on the tortured, driven scramble it demanded. but i painted regardless. i had no intention of selling my paintings, i just had to paint. but i also made specific marketable items to sell. two entirely distinct ventures.
the items i sell have always varied. but have always been very aesthetically different from my fine art sensibilities.
and now i am finding the blend happening. it's like the two sides of me that i've built a barrier between for decades, are beginning to break into each other, and possibly swirl comfortably together. i feel the urge to concentrate less on what my practical self tells me will sell, but rather what my artist self tells me to make.
so off i go across the yard to get to work.....

Monday, January 2, 2012

there is a shiver in me. anxious and happy and excited to get to the studio. to organize and work and watch what comes from my first full day back. there is so much i'm moving back to this year. the core that i moved away from years ago to make money, is lurching back in. i know that i can make it all work in a smooth and artful motion. and although i know it's right, i'm feeling a little cramped and slightly paniced. maybe that's the anxious feeling....i'm running out of room.
so i wait for edgar to finish his breakfast. i drink a morning coffee with stella curled carefully on my knee. and the new year with all it's challenges stretches before me.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

it has been a wonderful week. i have puttered around the house. cleaning and organizing. throwing out the unneeded junk we accumulate and donating loads of things to charity shops. but today, i felt the shift. my mind gradually turning back towards the studio as it begins to pulse with new ideas and motivation. strangely, i was just admitting to tracy (through giggling) that my best ideas often come during or after watching any one of the 6 star wars movies. it has happened since the phantom menace came out 12 years ago. while watching it in the cinema, i had a fabulous idea that eventually successfully launched my first business. and this week we've watched 5 of the 6 movies....tom got them on blu-ray for christmas. my theory is that i watch them and enjoy them, but i don't pay much attention beyond the visual, letting my mind drift into it's own idea place and things percolate and digest over the hours the movie takes to watch. and often within the next day something brilliant overtakes me.
for the past 6 or 8 weeks i've felt the lovely soothing monotony of colorless cotton or linen or paper. i immersed myself in color for many years and i am feeling a faded quiet and calm wash across my work now. natural, unbleached. or neutral and earthy. and i feel the potential of painting. i found paintings tonight that i used to do on mylar...sensual and smooth and transparent. i love them. small and engaging and satisfying. and the itch to feel the glide of the brush is growing stronger.
so, on the morrow, i will build the heat and the energy and the startle of idea in the studio again.