Thursday, May 31, 2012

sun across my face at 6.00 am. the day starts naturally, noiselessly. first the sun and then as my eyes and ears open, there are birds. i reach for my phone and turn off the alarm i had set for an hour later. and i lie sleepily in the morning sun. it's a delightful way to start the day.
today i am sewing a quilt. yesterday i cut the squares and built it. and today is the sewing. and i'm opening the shop today from 1 pm until 8 pm. once a week, on thursdays, for consistency. we will still have open studio events twice a month, coupled with consistent hours, making it a little more convenient to visit the little white house, and find the perfect gifts from our studio.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

night. the windows stay open and the night sounds drift in on the darkness. the raccoon family who nests every year in the hollow tree in our side yard, are our noisiest neighbors lately. they scuttle around the porch and through the front gardens on adventures. and it drives edgar crazy. the other morning i let him outside at dawn because he just wouldn't stay inside. and he went bounding across the yard....something i don't ever see him do anymore. i stood at the end of the porch as he circled around the yard in the silver morning light. and the baby raccoons, 4 of them, clung to the lilac bushes swaying. making their way towards the big hollow tree and their cozy little nest to sleep through the heat of the day.
i haven't changed our rooms around in years. since all my creative energy has been directed at chasing lightning bugs, i do my best to keep the house feeling like my house, but i barely keep up. yesterday i was hit with the urge to lighten things up and change things around. the living room revolves around edgar, and i needed to find a way to make that work for all of us. so i started moving furniture and vacuuming and washing floors and baseboards and ended up with the nice airy summer feeling to my house that i'd almost forgotten was possible. i need table space, because although i have my studio next door, i still bring work home for the evenings with tom. so i created a little table area in the living room that doesn't feel like it's taking up half the room. and in the library/dining room, i took a couple of leaves out of the dining room table and moved it into the window where we can sit for meals without being in the crowded and dark end of the room. maybe we'll actually use it now instead of balancing our plates on our laps more often than not.
the rooms are open and spacious again, with all the same furniture, just mixing it up. it was certainly time!!! edgar's not thrilled with the change, but he'll get used to it.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

tomorrow we are opening the studio for our sunday studio sale. i am hoping lots of people have a chance to come out and explore the studio. we have so many lovely and inexpensive gifts available in our little shop. lately i've been making an effort to have gifts that are beautiful and a joy to present to people for $5 or under. i really believe that gift-giving can be thoughtful, local, handmade and affordable. $5 or less will buy beautifully wrapped, magnets, made from antique or vintage papers. it will buy a wonderfully wrapped bar of lavender goats milk soap, made locally from farm fresh milk. it will buy beeswax lip balm from local bees. and cocoa-butter and lavender bath balls. for a few dollars more you will find body lotion, beeswax body balm, moleskin notebooks, pendants......the list goes on. wonderful little items to commemorate a moment but keep from spending more than you need to.
our studio in the little white house at 55 mowat ave will be open tomorrow, sunday may 27th from 10 until 4. tracy has been painting and her new work is really exciting. i have a couple new quilts as stop by portsmouth village and have a lemonade on the porch with us.

i love my banjo. it lives with me and smiles at me every time i walk into the kitchen. it vibrates and rings when edgar barks, singing along with his baritone. i once fantasized about playing. i bought the books. i took the lessons. i wore the fingerpicks. but my brain would not wrap around the complicated picking patterns and the chord patterns. my frustration was deep, and i had to let it go. i didn't want the cloud of frustration to mar my love. but the sound of a banjo that brings the mountain music into me is what i love even if i can't make it myself.
my banjo found me in new york state, somewhere between watertown and cooperstown. we were taking my grandmother to cooperstown where she had spent a summer when she was of her fondest memories of youth that she would talk of often. so we packed up the van and drove the 4 hours. and on the way, stopped to browse an antique market. and there sat my banjo. a man who specialized in old instruments had a wall of banjos. and mine called out to me. built the same year my grandma was born, 1903. a 5-string open back, made by morrison.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

we walked along the lake this morning. early morning in may is spectacular. but edgar had one of his episodes and went down in the middle of the road, biting and licking his front leg. he's done this since he was a year or two old. we think it's a muscle a charlie horse. but he goes down and has a hard time getting back up. i always dread this happening while we're out walking. and it rarely does. but i got him up, and he was fine until we were just in front of our house and he went down again. but now we're home. he's had a drink and is happily on the porch. the cats are either lying in the sun or charging through the long grass. and the 8 o'clock bell just sounded. it's a lovely day.
this sunday, may 27th, we are opening the studio. we'll be open from 10 - 4. we are the perfect place to find unique gifts for teachers, graduates, dads, newly married couples......the list goes on and on. the little white house at 55 mowat ave in portsmouth village will be awaiting your visit. the lilacs are still blooming, and now the spirea is out. and by the looks of things the peonies may be open by the weekend. so come, wander in the village. have some lemonade on the porch, enjoy the day and visit our little studio!
and if you haven't visited my crabapple the thief might be the day to read it. i love this one!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

i'm happy. pretty much all the time. i love my husband, my job, my home and my friends & family. i'm opinionated. i usually say what i think. and whether or not anyone else does, i think i'm hilarious when i'm loud and bitchy. when i'm annoyed, i don't keep it to myself. yet i usually get over it pretty quickly. as i was on the porch making a quilt this afternoon, i was thinking about my personal contentment and where it comes from. and i found a cheesy little parallel in my quilt. i sew hundreds of random scraps together to make a quilt top. i don't try to make the quilt look good. i don't plan out the fabrics. or even choose the fabrics based on color or pattern or how i think they'll work together. the fabrics randomly surface and end up beside each other. they simply find their way into the quilt. i know they are right and that the quilt will be beautiful because i'm confident in my fabric collection. and this really does parallel the little life we have created, tom and i. i don't let doubts or fear or the need to be perceived a particular way interfere with how we live. it just happens. life swirls around me and i follow my instincts and work hard and come from a truly personal perspective.....making choices that work and make us happy, as opposed to choices that look like they work. and i think that's why i'm happy.
i rarely rant here, but i've been thinking about this all afternoon. and it may be too late for this to be making any sense. so off i go to bed!
the air is humid this morning, carrying the scent of lake on it. i love the summer of that smell. the way it permeates my idea of fresh, outdoor summer air. and the spirea is beginning to open. it's more green than white still, but not for much longer. my breath caught a little when i saw it. spirea drips with memory for me. and every spring i live another little life while the spirea blooms.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

yesterday i painted. i opened the little wooden box i bought in paris 19 years ago. the little box where i'd glued down the watercolor godets i'd been buying from the sennelier store across the river from the louvre. the little box i carried with me everywhere for a decade or more. but i haven't painted in years. it was once almost all i did. a day didn't pass without painting. but my dream shifted, i grew older and my need to paint began to fade. the oils dried up. the brushes sat ruined in thick congealed mud-colored turp. but it was never too far from my thoughts and now the itch is beginning to return. yesterday the watercolors from my paris days, opened on the porch swing, and paper and books and brushes. i painted.

Monday, May 21, 2012

the lake was full of treasure today. for the first time this year, i sat at it's edge and filled my little bucket with glass. i love sitting in the rocks, my skirt soaked to my knees (or higher), sifting through rocks and pebbles and wet sand for glass. sometimes it shimmers. and at times it sits silently among the pebbles, looking like one of them, soft and dull and smooth. it is my meditation. this little pile was today's catch. a perfect summer beginning.
a holiday monday is most always steeped in ease. and today, the first holiday of the summer is hot and cloudless and sits like summer. nothing is necessary. it's a holiday. a little gardening. a little reading. a little walk. the lake is still and sparkly. the leaves aren't fully opened so the light is bright. and i will drink in the laziness, soak in the quiet. the boys and beer inaugurated tom's horseshoe pits for the season. and although there are the sounds of children playing and boats on the lake, there is a subdued quality in the air.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

it was mother's day, 15 years ago. and it came flooding back to me yesterday. we were driving back from my parents and passed a little strip mall where the 'golden griddle' used to be. and in a rush i was there, a younger version of myself with my grandparents. it was the last mother's day my grandmother was alive. she wasn't frail, just slow and careful. and radiant. there was a glow of happiness around her. my aunt and i took them for a casual easy breakfast, but my grandpa wore a suit and hat, and my grandma wore a pretty dress. usually it would be my parents as well as my other grandma at our meals out, making a large and at times raucous table. but this time it was just the four of us. and it was lovely. i could savour the moment, without knowing i had to. and my grandfather could proudly reach for the check and pay for our breakfast. and just 2 months later, my grandmother had the accident that led to her death a month after that. so the memory of a sunny morning in a little pancake place in a strip mall is a dear one.

Friday, May 18, 2012

the lilacs are wonderful this week. our yard has huge old lilac bushes around the perimeter and this year the flowers are huge and lush. but i can't bring them inside. tom hates their scent. so i must be content with filling the studio with mason jars full of purple blossoms and buckets of them on the porches. and now, outside on the porch swing the air is full of lilac. even though tom is barbecuing burgers for naomi and meagan, the lilacs still overpower the barbecue smell. naomi is on the tire swing, edgar is lying on the porch. the cats are skulking through the grass. and the lilacs and apple blossoms sweeten the air.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

this morning there is a mist sifting up off the lake. the air is thick and muffled. sounds are softer like during a snowstorm.
the flowers are magnificent. the tulips have been beautiful for more than 3 weeks. the lilacs are full and dripping around the edges of the garden. and i see the peonies are preparing to burst on the scene in a couple of weeks. may is a color-infused month. the leaves on the trees are the new young bright green. and the leaves aren't as full so the light isn't as filtered. so everything seems that much brighter.
we are hoping to bring the brightness of the lilacs to the studio tomorrow evening. on thursday may 17th (tomorrow), we are opening the studio from 3 - 9 pm. there is new art to see. and our guest is agnes koller of fig design, with her divine pictures. so have a little evening outing, sip lemonade and stroll through the little white house finding treasures. 55 mowat avenue in portsmouth village.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

i've been finishing up my tiny white gallery. it's ceilings are low and sloped. but it's not even a little bit cramped. i've been sorting through collage and watercolors. sitting in my little treehouse-like room all afternoon. adjusting and staring. breathing in the calm and the faint scent of fresh paint. and placing pieces against the walls, choosing an order for them. and then this evening sitting in the glow of evening light, talking with tracy and just enjoying the room and the art.
next week, on thursday, may 17th, i'll debut my new little space. and we will be welcoming agnes koller and her charming prints and paintings. the little white house at 55 mowat avenue in portsmouth village will be hosting an evening event. the shop will be open from 3 p.m. while our event will be from 6 -9 p.m. come join us!

the morning is mild and i think it will be a good day. i'm tired, but the sun will give me energy. edgar is eating on the porch. the kitchen door is open and it's a little untidy. there is a leftover mist in the air, from the fog of last night. it is a still day. and in a few minutes, i'll be stepping along my little path to the studio.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

we have been painting my new little gallery space today. it's mostly finished. crisp white walls. tucked under a sloping ceiling. it's bright and empty. the wide warm plank floors give it just the roughness i need to love a room. collage and paintings are piled and waiting to glow against the new gallery walls. and i'm excited to see them quietly displayed so their best traits are emphasized. tracy's lovely little gallery across the hall, inspired me. a few weeks ago she and dave attacked her little room, painting and giving it a clean and new loveliness that let me notice her wonderful pieces in a new calm way. so i've been working to create my version of calm and white in my own little attic gallery. today it's painted.....i'll show photos when the work is hung. for now, a photo of edgar on the porch from this weekend is lovely too.

Monday, May 7, 2012

the windows are open! tom put the screens on while i was running a package across the border to mail in the u.s. i stopped to visit my aunt on the way back and came home to the load of white's that i'd put on the line before i left, perfectly dry and smelling divine, tom on the porch swing playing guitar, and all the windows in the house open wide. what a great way to come home. summer is really here when the screens are on and the windows are open. little fragments of conversation drift in the windows. voices and birdsong and neighborhood sounds.

now that the mornings are sunny, and even if they are still somewhat chilly.....i love throwing open the doors. my kitchen turns magically and delightfully into the outdoors during the summer. the door is always open, so puttering away inside doesn't make me feel like i'm chained to the sink. the sounds and the scents and the bright air make a constant flow into the house. there is nothing sterile about our existence. the neighborhood kids run in and out freely. and sometimes the cats as well. and then our own cats find it an opportune time to show off their hunting skills and bring dead or half-dead creatures strutting in the door. and i shriek like i'm being murdered. but it's all part of summer. floyd marched in last night while we were making dinner with a butterfly in his mouth.
i love our porch and our country-like garden and lifestyle sitting in the middle of the city.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

i wonder if the city is going to threaten to ticket me again for my front yard. i'm breakfasting on yogurt and blackberries. and planning my day. lots of studio stuff. meagan's yard sale. a walk with edgar. laundry. shipping some quilts. but nowhere on that list is cleaning up the front garden for spring. it's an extra that i really don't have time for. now that i spend 50 - 60 hours a week at the studio, the time just isn't there. but that isn't the only reason. and maybe not the biggest reason. my garden full of herbs and perennials and mostly rows of lavender, was once lovely. and loved. i enjoyed spending hours in the dirt surrounded by the earthy spicy scents. neighbors wandered past. we chatted. they complimented the garden. i had a table with bunches of herbs and posies of flowers for people to take. i had a donation can for a local charity. the neighbors were generous. people even dropped off photo enlargements at my door of photos they'd taken of the garden and the give-away table.
and then a change happened. a slight shift. the white frame house next door that always had a quirky collection of students was torn down to accomodate a new craftsman styled bungalow. a beautiful home. but the process saddened me. i'm used to it now, and quite enjoy the lovely older woman who lives there. but the commotion of it being built, made me uncomfortable in the front of my house. and happier in the backyard. and then a woman with negative and nasty energy moved across the street. we are a small street with only 5 houses so one or two little changes makes a noticeable shift. and now i never use the front of my house. the front porch that i tried to bring back to it's happy former state last fall, is rarely used. i'm happier in my tree-ed private back yard that connects to the studio and has the tired swings and the porch and my little fire pit. i do miss my front gardens, but the joy has faded. and now i let them grow wild and although i enjoy their wild state, the hateful woman across the street, who ironically, is the biggest reason i'm not comfortable in my front gardens, has decided they don't suit her. i think she's afraid people will feel they are a reflection of her because she's chosen to live in this lovely neighborhood that she misunderstands so greatly. so i wonder how my gardens will grow this year. they are on their own. someday i may find the joy and the drive and the time to spend with them. but i love them either way, whether they are wild and weedy or verdantly floral.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

as i drove home from the bookstore tonight, a storm was building. it seemed like it came from nowhere. the sky was flashing and the wind squealed. when i pulled into the driveway, there were swirls of dust whipping in the street. and the echo-ey metallic ping that sings from the flagpoles and boats in the harbor. the backyard chimes throughout the neighborhood changing from tinkly and dreamy to militant and sharp. there is a grumble that surrounds and thickens the air.
i made my way directly to bed when i came home. and even though i fell asleep swiftly in my happy crowded bed, the uneasiness of the night has me awake again, and sitting in the dark, soothing edgar and watching the sky erupt in the window.
i am going to make an odd proclamation. i believe that texting has improved our marriage. we are together alot. we spend most of our time at home together. and my studio is next to the house, so we don't have much time when we aren't around each other. but in the past year or so, we started texting each other for little things. reminders. and cute little comments. with hearts and smiley faces and kisses. our texts brighten my days. we check in on each other, say funny shit to each other. and it makes the heavy stuff feel lighter. and i'm reminded that i'm appreciated which sometimes can get forgotten in the rush of day to day.