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.    

Monday, September 17, 2012

i made myself a big cup of tea when i got home from the bookstore tonight. a really tall mug that almost needed 2 teabags. i put milk and cane sugar in it and curled up in a comfy chair with stella. the windows are open and the breeze is soothing. i'm relaxed. the breeze is turning into wind. i think there will be rain soon. the wind is getting loud in the leaves, and through the hydrangeas and hollyhocks in the front garden. it's starting to moan around the house and push at the windows, shaking them. it happens so quickly, the winds whipping into the potential of a storm. tom has closed the windows now, on his way up to bed. i've finished my tea. and stella has gone upstairs with tom. stella will be waiting on my side of the bed when i go up. she has calmed me this summer. taken the anxieties that were beginning to creep in during the night and smoothed them away. she curls herself into my arms while i'm sleeping, so i'm comforted by her warm and rhythmed breathing. she knows we're connected. we always have been. but she has decided that i need her now, while before, it was her that needed me. she is paying me back, absorbing my troubles and giving me easy sleeps.
so i'll head up to my warm bed, tucked up in the trees and listen to the storm brew around us.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

it's one of those nights. after one of those days. we are cozily settled in for the evening. i have finally cleaned, so the house feels like home again. tom is playing guitar and being followed around by telulah (his 17 yr old cat who likes to talk to him while he plays guitar). i'm happily reading and computerizing and cuddling with edgar. a perfect conclusion to this day of wonderful-ness.
tracy and i found a yard sale this morning, bursting with treasure. not the least of which was the proprietess herself. sisters selling the items from their parents home. the items they couldn't keep, but held dear memories regardless. tracy and i came away with fodder for art and inspiration for quilts. and i even have a pile of tattered and threadbare quilts that i'm going to attempt to bathe carefully and fold in my little quilt gallery to carry my eye full circle, reminding me of the women i emulate from generations ago.

Friday, September 14, 2012

september light. with the hot heavy air of august.
my house is a mess. dirty even. and my head is constantly re-working squares in the studio. thread and fabric. lint and scraps. a life. my life. and now i'm toying with new ways to build the quilts. more efficient. and i think with a better result. constant tweaking. the ideas, like the pop of ice in a glass when water pours over it. i know they're coming but i don't know how many, how strong. i have to choose which ones to pursue. last night i was in bed doing math. my version of math. figuring out squares in my quilts.
there are new directions in the little white house. updates will come soon....

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

the first flavours of fall are beginning to fill the air. the leaves on my big shade tree behind the studio are turning orange and falling. my path between the house and studio is noisy with it's cover of dry leaves. the squirrels and the cats can do nothing silently now. there is a sharp crunchy sound with every movement as they race across the yard.
i am busy building quilts. and now, in the slightly cooler temperatures, it feels like i'm readying for the cold. although i'm in the quilts all year long and even in the choking heat of summer it doesn't seem out of place to be making them, they begin to feel cozier in the fall. my imagination gets busier these days. i can picture my busy little quilt studio as a farm kitchen, warmed by a stove, and with a woman sitting at a plank table piled in fabric scraps, as she fashions blankets to cover her family during winter.
i will cling to the ease of summer as long as i can, but today the air has begun to carry the stories of fall to me.

Monday, September 10, 2012

ellsworth and the horse skull. a vignette.
we found him this way on the weekend. the perfect breeze from the window. the oddest pillow. a full belly. a night of adventures behind him. and his two annoying humans taking noisy photos of him. we eventually left him alone and he was able to sleep the day away. cats make everything seem luxurious and dreamy.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

constant thunder like a deep bass hum. heavy gray cloud covered skies. and a wind that the seagulls ride as far as i can see them without moving a wing. the morning feels like night and all the lights need to be on. and it's today that we are having an impromptu little sale to fill tracy with wonderful energy as she begins to produce her exciting new body of work. and to welcome a charming little collection of vintage books to the space. our little village was also planning a collective yard sale, but i'm not sure if that will happen or be postponed. but we'll be at the little white house at 55 mowat, welcoming you in from the storm, from 10 until 2.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

some of the quilts i finished this morning..... then the afternoon was spent working through piles of fabric and cutting them into squares. remembering childhood. a memory of buying fabric with my grandmother. and watching in awe as the woman cutting the fabric was able to glide the scissors through the fabric, slicing it apart without the opening and closing motion of the scissors. now i do that every day and remember this woman's technique. without realizing, she passed it on to me.
and tonight i've spent the evening sorting through squares of fabric, finding the ones that work best together, lining them up, hundreds of squares that will make up 4 little quilts. while, tennis, my favorite momentum builder, is pulling me along from the tv. i love tennis. i love quilts. i love remembering my little grandma. it's been a good day.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

wandering around the yard in the not-quite-light. an early september morning after a long night of rain. the air is cool. i have nothing but my nightgown on. the wood of the porch floor is soaked and the clothesline is a string of water droplets. the crickets are constant and sound even louder than usual. as long as there are crickets there is summer. i've been arguing the last couple days with people who say that summer is over. but i know that as long as it's warm enough to be barefoot, walking through an early morning garden half-clothed with cricket sounds filling the air, there is still summer left.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

my feet are never clean in the summer. no matter how i scrub them, they are very quickly black. and calloused. and my hair is matted. in the summer i can't grow out of my 10 year old self. she just sits in there directing. we sit by the lake picking glass, letting the waves wash up and soak my clothes. we run to the neighbors without putting on shoes. we eat ice cream whenever we get the chance. the only food we want is fresh fruit and barbecued veggie burgers with lemonade to drink. making quilts and listening to loud music. walking the dog along the lake. reading on the porch swing. and falling asleep at the end of the day, exhausted from the sun, with dirty feet.

Monday, September 3, 2012

i love the word tattered. it describes most of what i'm drawn to. i love crackled and peeling paint too. it's part of my tattered aesthetic. but i guess i'm learning to give some places a fresh coat of paint to perfectly offset the aged and the raw that i love so much. the blinds i put up out of desperation 13 years ago, are finally coming down. i have hung linen, unhemmed at the windows. it's so raw and heart stoppingly beautiful that way. but i also painted the windows and trim. 13 years ago, we removed the old aluminum windows and brought back the wooden storms and screens. the windows had been painted shut. they were taken apart and sanded and rebuilt but somehow, never repainted. we've had half painted, sanded splotchy unfinished windows all that time. which, i didn't really mind. but last week as i was keeping busy to keep my mind off missing miss crabapple......i grabbed a can of paint from the garage and started painting the living room window. i'd always been afraid i'd paint them shut again....but i didn't. i wanted my curtains to provide privacy but not to hide the windows. i love the trim and the depth of the windowsills. and i'm not a fan of any curtain rods i ever see. so i just screwed regular home depot hooks at the very top of the window, put grommets in the unhemmed linen and hung the fabric over the glass of the windows only. the windows are covered when i want them to be and the raw tattered edge of my curtains are highlighted by the clean paint instead of being a little grubby. grubby i don't like. tattered i do!