Tuesday, July 31, 2012

a hot and stormy wind is blowing off the lake in the early dawn of the day. the force of it surprised me as rushed to close all the main floor windows. but let me start at the beginning. i came downstairs to check on edgar.....thinking i'd heard some barks from him.....but found him sleeping and content in the living room. when i headed to the kitchen, however, i heard the strange little trills of raccoons under the front windows. i heard scurrying. and then tearing. and when i turned on the light, there was an entire little masked, pointy nosed head, pushed through a hole in the screen, brazenly staring at me. and it continued to coolly stare me down as i yelled and shooed and finally screamed for tom. we feed the cats on the kitchen windowsill (i took this photo just a couple days ago because i loved the queen anne's lace) and the raccoons must have been after the cat food. we closed all the windows and tom marched around attempting to scare them off. but after he went back to bed, two little sassy faces sat on the other side of the glass watching me putter around the kitchen, not moving even when i walked right up to the window.
so it's an early start today. i wonder if a summer storm is coming in with the wind. the day seems overcast, but it could be the in between light that isn't night or day. it's still too early to tell.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

corn on the cob. in the golden evening light. friday evening with family. kids and dogs and parents and siblings and spouses. the perfect evening in july. a cluster of love at the lake.
remember when you were tiny and could be tossed between your daddy and your uncle. flying through the air with perfect trust and freedom and glee.
and the sun-soaked exhaustion at the end of the day. hair tangled from swimming and sweating. knees scraped from tripping. face and fingers sticky from popsicles. and feeling like going inside to bed would be the worst torture possible.
and ending the day with one more leap into the lake. that is the perfect cottage day. the kind of day that soaks into the soul and becomes part of what happiness means for a lifetime.

Friday, July 27, 2012

the rain was sweet yesterday, falling steadily all day. it swung from a shy trickle to a determined downpour and back again all day long. there was joy in it. the tree canopy between the house and the studio protected my little path. but walking down the street with the rain on my skin was what i wanted. this morning edgar felt the freshness in the air and kept me walking further than he has all summer long. we left the house during the 8'o'clock bell. one of my favorite times of day. we walked among the boats and edgar splashed through every puddle he could find.
and now there are 5 quilts waiting for the last few stages of transformation.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

first thing this morning i headed out to my parents house with naomi and camille. my parents had brought them shark jaws from florida and had been waiting for more than a month to give them to them. so we had a lovely little adventure to the farm this morning.
they loved their shark jaws. and also procured a bag of shark teeth and shells and sand dollars from my mom.
they tried to convince butterflies to land on their arms in the kitchen garden. this sprawling garden behind the kitchen is a scented wonder. the oregano has become ground cover and fills the air with it's spiciness wherever you step, accompanied by a constant flutter of butterflies.
they climbed onto hay bales and called them 'cinnamon rolls', giggling and chattering the entire time.
and wandered the back 50 before being chased home by the deer flies. the grasses are all dried and brittle from the drought. although tonight a very timid rain has been trying to break through with weak little uneven drops.
so our morning was lovely and i came home beautifully energized to make quilt tops.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

the words have been gurgling through my head all week. and now they have fallen still. the morning is only sort of early now. edgar and i have wandered the neighborhood. and now he is overseeing the morning from his bed on the porch. the cats that slept inside are out. and the ones who stayed outside are in. the thunderstorms we were warned of didn't come. the morning insects are twisting across the yard like sprays of paint. and the overnight spiderwebs are silver in the sun. the morning has come to life and i'm finding focus for the day.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

i'm pulled to these old structures. i never enter. or look for an open window or doorway. but i remember as a child, my mother had the same fascination, and we sometimes would make our way in. there is still so much energy left in their walls. you can still feel the dreams weaving through the emptiness. i'm drawn to how true they are. in many ways. there is only the wood and nails left. or the stones or bricks. they have become one with the trees. with the land. like a sprout or a branch of another lineage. i'm collecting these storied structures full of so much laughter and sorrow and sweat and dreaminess. i'm crowding photos onto a pinterest page with their sad eyes and strong bones. i feel like they are whispering to me.

Friday, July 20, 2012

pulling a sweater over my arms this morning had sadness in it. the break in the heat is a good thing. but the chill in the breeze reminded me that my barefoot days don't go on forever. and being knocked out with this cold and using all the energy i have at the studio, has left my house messy. dishes at the sink. unfolded laundry. and clutter in the living room and library. it's been worse. much worse. but in the summer i love having a freshness and the ease of tidyness through the house. i don't have that right now, but i'll get it back by the weekend (or on the weekend).
i'm quite ornery when it comes to my home and my aesthetic. people who love the charm and the authentic quality of age and the stories it tells, feel at home with our house right away. but for the most part, people who casually walk past our house have a mistaken idea that it's in rough shape. that someone needs to buy it and fix it up. i hear it all the time. the look of age that i lovingly foster, looks like neglect to most. and when i invite people in, they are inevitably surprised that it is roomy and comfortable and energetic and warm. and not shack-like. it amuses me. it tickles the rebel in me. i think the artist in me is quite certainly still a child!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

we walked through the boats this morning. it was cool enough that he could do more than just around the block with a few sniffs at the park. the boats are so very peaceful. i wanted to post a boat picture, but couldn't find any. but i like the shot of our front doors. there is a series of three front doors before you actually are in the house. the front porch. the cloak room and then the house. maybe the long wide planks reminded me of a boat.
i'm trying to get the shop and studio re-organized to be more quilt focussed. it's a quite a job, that i sort of fell into yesterday afternoon. i started to dismantle the shop to make a place for quilts and it all got pretty messy. so i'm on my way over there to continue and hopefully finish soon so i can get making quilts. i'm still fighting with a sore throat, headache and lack of energy so we'll see how much i get done!!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

edgar's not loving the heat. he had to stay inside all day yesterday. but this morning the heaviness in the air is gone (at least at 6 a.m.) and we had a great little walk to the park. ellsworth came with us. following a few paces behind and then dashing ahead to lead the way. while edgar was exploring in the park, ellsworth politely waited in the bushes and re-emerged as we were heading home and walked around the block with us.
when we had returned home and i was opening the blinds in the living room, the cord popped and now they are completely broken...hanging all askew like in an abandoned house. i've never loved these blinds, and always planned to make curtains. but now i'm being forced to. i've always had a specific idea of what i wanted to do, using my favorite linen that i used to paint on. but, now i'll have to make another plan that i'll love just as much.
i'm struggling with a cold right now, feeling pretty run down, sore throat, chesty and head-achey. but i'll feel better as the day moves along, i'm sure. i'll take a bath and make some curtains and the day will get into full swing!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

every summer i have a little pilgrimage. i take photos every time, some years they are better than others. and it always gives me the same shivery thrill. tom takes me in the boat for a little tour of the lake. it's basically just a 2o minute drive across the lake to the island that houses 'fancy free'. a yellow cottage with a shady porch wrapped around it's walls. screen doors that slam. a swimming raft and canoe. adirondack chairs and old webbed lawnchairs, tire swings and hammocks. every accoutrement to easy, gentle living scattered on the island. yesterday we had our little fancy free boat ride!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

tonight my house is vinegar clean. and i'm snacking on yogurt and blackberries before i head up to bed. the pungent haze of vinegar is crisp in the air. it's been a good day.
today i saw most of the little clutch of cousins that makes up my father's side of our family. it was a gathering to honor my uncle and aunt's 60th wedding anniversary. and it was lovely. i drove 2 hours there and back, alone on an overcast day. i loved that part too. and being in a little room full of so much love and ease and shared happiness....it was a lovely way to spend a couple of hours. i can see our grandparents in us all, somewhat. for some, my grandparents are their great grandparents, and for others, parents. but still they are the foundation that brings us all together once or twice a year, even so many years after their deaths. i didn't want to leave, but i had edgar at home, waiting for me.
and as a sidenote, this is the 500th post to my little blog that chronicles both our life in portsmouth village and my business that i happily give all my time to. here's to the next 500!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

we picked glass at the beach. and found snails in the garden. snails that walked around the table as we watched. i sat in the lake, letting the waves soak my skirt and slap my legs. i napped on the porch swing. we ate cold berries since it was too hot for anything else, really. cold berries and lemonade. and then smoothies from frozen berries and lemonade. not much variation. i'm not big on variations. i made 3 skirts for myself today. from the same fabric....beige linen. 100% linen with it's rough tooth and wrinkles. laura rode her bike over for a visit, twice. and i went back to the grocery store for more blueberries. and now i hear a catbell in the heavy summer night, under our window. our neighbor's cat. and tom's guitar in the other room.
the heat is strong, even at 6 am. the pace is slow. and heavy. edgar doesn't move much. yesterday afternoon we drove to the cottage because we had a couple of hours and we wanted to have a little adventure and visit with family. the cottage is crowded with siblings and their babies. it's wonderful. tom had a swim. and we played with the babies. we came home after a few hours, feeling great!
today i'm making myself skirts from linen because it's so easy to wear. i made one the other day and now i want more. they are so breathable and fresh.
and i'm falling hard for my quilts again. falling in love big time. i think of little else. i'm posing them for photos in my mind. and planning new little families of them.
my house will stay untidy for another day or two.

Friday, July 13, 2012

we had a most beautiful time yesterday afternoon and evening. the whole garden was a smile. the cats poked around. and there were babies and dogs. it was simply a joyful time.
my photos aren't uploading (i have to empty some off my hard drive), but tracy has the most wonderful blog post about our evening yesterday. this post of hers tells a beautiful story of our evening last night and shows so clearly how and why i fell in love with her so completely. it's the july 13 post (for some reason i can only link to her entire blog, not individual posts). enjoy!!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

today we'll be in the garden. in the dappled light. in the summer air. with the quilts showing off among the leaves. and charming encaustic pieces sheltered from the sun on the porch. the invitation is open to all. we'll be open at 3 and will stay open until 8, when the sun starts to fade and we'll bring the quilts and encaustics in. we are hoping for a lovely garden affair. complete with gary rasberry's live music, filling the air.
come to 55 mowat to enjoy our little garden event, 'quilts in the trees'.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

tomorrow's show is a debut and a return home, all at once. a return to what i do best.....quilts. layers of color and pattern, perched on one another, square upon square. interacting and engaging and becoming magnetic personalities of their own. each quilt i build, i love. and for that reason, i am focussing anew on making quilts. the precision that some quilt makers look for, will not be found in my quilts. there is unfettered laughter and freedom and joy in my quilts. the energy is true. there are no mistakes and no rules and they pass their gypsy love on to those who wrap up in them.
over the years i've been distracted by my attempts to stock the little studio shop with unique and diverse handmade items. and although i've enjoyed figuring out how to make many interesting items, it has ultimately kept me from making quilts. the shop has been full of lovely items, but with only a handful of quilts. and i've felt a sense of desperation that i wasn't able to identify until i dove back into the quilts in preparation for 'quilts in the trees'. i feel safe and directed when the quilts are flowing. so there will be a (gradual) change of the shop into a quilt focussed space. my etsy site will be loaded with quilts of all sizes and prices. you will know where to find shower gifts and wedding gifts and birthday and just-because gifts. it's good!!!
so tomorrow, the quilts will float and dance and twirl amongst the glowing leaves in the little garden of trees. tracy's new encaustic pieces will set your mind to dreaming with their bee-scented splendour. and songs by gary rasberry will lend the excitement of live music to the evening. there will cd's and poetry books available for purchase. if you are in the area, i hope you stop by. and for those of you far away, there will be photos!

Monday, July 9, 2012

following trails covered with needles and moss. the scent that enfolds the youthful eagerness of summer. moss, pungent needles, huge slabs of granite nosing out of the ground. hot sun that is filtered through the leaves and the high ceiling of evergreen. the scent of dreams. we headed into the woods last week for the shortest little walk. i was smiling from the air. the beauty. it pulled me deeper in. tom found a road he wanted us to use. the road made me tired and bored. i wanted the green adventure. it was a tiny little trail. and not very long. but i can still feel the smile and it made me light like i was 12 scrambling through the muskoka lakeside hills.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

yesterday we spent the afternoon at tracy and dave's camper. with sam and charlie too, of course. it was one of those perfect moments. the light was dappled and the leaves were bright. the lake was warm. my feet were dusty as we tramped through the paths and roads leading from one magical spot to the next. and my camera swung from my fingertips the whole time. the beauty so strong. the smiles so wide. the happiness giddy. and the friendship so real.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

summer days bring countless beautiful moments. and the last few days have been rich with them. wonderful moments and beautiful photos.
this morning i checked the wild blackberries that grow around the crabapple tree and they were bursting. i share them with the squirrels, but i like getting a few of them. and today a wonderful little container filled magically, staining my fingers and scratching my leg. all under the hot hot sun. i emerged with sticks in my hair and enough blackcaps to eat with my yogurt in the morning.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

the lavender lives. under the wild tangle of balm and queen anne's lace, i unearthed purple buds, alive and blooming. but i couldn't seem to focus them..... finding it last night on my tramp through the garden made my heart leap. the rows of lavender i once worked so hard on, are still blooming for me. i gaze at my garden now. it's everything i ever imagined. tom teases me when he catches me staring as we walk to the car. the roses hug the wall of the kitchen like a thick and prickly rug.
and sitting where i am in the library, i can see a hollyhock peeking in the kitchen window as i write. there are sweetpeas with their sticky little fingers, clinging to the hip high lemon and lime balm. and growing up the stalks of queen anne's lace. and one cultivated david austin rose, left over from when i tried to have a 'real' garden, bursting through a clump of lemon balm.
i love all things that represent freedom of thought and bringing new ideas forward. and somehow the freedom and beauty of this garden that i started more than a decade ago and has taken it's own path brings me great joy, as i wade through it and discover it's little gifts.

and happy birthday to my sweet tom today. we will have a special little day together, i hope. a ride to the locks and a dinner under the full moon. it will be lovely.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

this morning i started out annoyed. i woke up a little too early. that might have been the first problem. but the kitchen was messy and the sink was covered with dishes that should have been in the dishwasher. and the other rooms were untidy too. and.....there was no toilet paper in the house. i'd asked tom to get some yesterday before i left for work. and he'd forgotten. so, i stomped around feeling quite put out as i left for the 24 hour grocery store at 6 am. but instead of being angry, i had a delightful little outing. what a beautiful time of day to be out and about. 6 am in early july..... it doesn't get much better. i stopped and got a coffee and muffin. there was a mist in the air. the temperature was soft. there was stillness, even in the grocery store. a deep and soothing quiet. people aren't warmed up for the day yet.
i can never stay pissed off long, because life is just too beautiful!!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

all through the night there were words twirling through my head. i fell asleep with a sentence forming and reforming itself like a mantra. and i woke twice to the same words collecting in my brain. trying to tell a story. to find a jumping off spot. words to start a basket of stories. and i awoke with a distorted version of the sentence. not a strong sentence like it had seemed before it was diluted by sleep.
i need an early start in the studio today. no puttering around the house this morning. my pile of quilts is growing, but i have so many more ideas.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

it always seems there are endless obstacles when we are trying to leave for the cottage. the anticipation to tumble out of the car and see family and relax with a cool drink and take the boat out makes the wait to get there almost unbearable. but we got there a little after noon and spent a lovely afternoon with our nephews and niece and tom's brothers and wives and his parents. the dogs and even a cat were all part of the little gathering. i took a ton of photos again....beautiful mama and baby shots. and the massive striped spider tom found in the little boat. the kids dripping wet from the lake, wrapped in towels. all the little beautiful moments. there was lemonade and beer and salads and hotdogs. bartering for the last dessert square. chatting and getting caught up on everyone's lives. simple happy easy summer times.
what a perfect morning. it's our national holiday today, in canada. and you can feel the slowed down pace in the air. we are heading up to the cottage this morning. i will take a bundle of things to keep me busy. maybe some watercolor. i've been craving the paint a little lately. and my little watercolor box will be just right for this sort of day.
but now, i'm heading barefoot, across the yard to the studio, to cut fabric and edge quilts in my nightgown before the day really gets underway.