Friday, December 20, 2013

if it wasn't so ominous, the sound of the freezing rain falling when i step outside the kitchen door, would be beautiful. it's whispery and soft.  tinkly and misty.  but the predictions of it's destructive results are dire.  they are talking about freezing rain for days and widespread power outages.  so my kitchen is abuzz now.  the windows steamed over.  all the elements on the stove fired up.   three pots of pasta.  all the salmon from the freezer in the oven, perogies frying, eggs boiling.  things we can eat cold.  
i always have a tickle of excitement during these quasi-emergencies....when life as we know it shifts to something a little more basic.  more human really. tom tells me not to cook everything we have in the house.  it's hard for me not to.  but i didn't boil the whole dozen, just 6 of them.  and only one bag of perogies.  i am a person that goes all in.  with pretty much everything i love, i love it all the way.  so, tom is sometimes that necessary voice of moderation.  
so the house is warm and sweet with the smells of food.  and the world i know is covered in a coat of ice and it keeps falling from the sky in it's own pretty way, pretending it's a song instead of a storm.

Friday, December 13, 2013
this is the third day of a quilty christmas.  and although i love every quilt, i have a special connection to this one.  this quilt is an elegant, tone on tone patchwork of solid white and cream, cotton and linen.  it's the perfect backdrop for gray, shadowy colored thread to sew words into.  and the back is a linen colored cotton printed with an illustrated map of paris.
20 years ago i lived in paris.  i'm not alone in my love for this city.  i love the smell of diesel that seeps through it's streets.  i love it's serpentine underground metro tunnels.  i love the language.  the parcs.  i love the architecture and the churches.  i love the books and the narrow streets.  the gray and rainy days.  the climb out of a metro station to a square patch of sky. i love the people. the markets.  the street food.  i love the many many smells. i love the fabric stores in narrow hilly streets leading up to sacre coeur.  and let me say again, i love the metro.  it connects the city, making it so much less massive.  and when i would head home at the end of a day of wandering with my heavy bag of cameras and film, books and all the treasures i'd collect along the way, i would ultimately be on line 1.  this line cuts a swath east to west through the city.  it was the first metro line to open.  and it's stations are historic and memorable.  i would embark at the chatelet station and the second last station on the line would drop me a 5 minute walk from my apartment in saint mande.  other stations on this line are bastille, le louvre, tuileries, champs elysees and hotel de ville to name a few.  
so this quilt has the names of these historic stations, quilting the layers of cotton together, written in a smooth flowy script.  you can feel the energy.  it's like a little journey across the city, with your eye settling on many of the high points.  oh i love this quilt.  and now you know why.  you can find more info on this beauty if you visit the listing on etsy.

Thursday, December 12, 2013
so, this fabulous creature arrived at the door today.  tom's abominable sweater.  complete with lights and a battery pack.  we found it a few weeks ago on etsy and he is beyond tickled with it.  he came bursting in the back door of the studio, strutting, with the lights glowing. and the biggest smile on his face.  it is easily his new favorite thing.  there is no mystery what he'll wear to christmas dinner.  or to our christmas movie watching night with our friends this weekend.  or until the sweater just gets too stinky to wear's not washable of course.  it's electric!!!
in other is the second day of our quilty christmas.  and the star of the day is a large throw that i quite love.
it has a bit of a story..... before i'd moved to making my farmhouse patchwork, i made almost all my quilte from 7 inch squares (and before that it was 12 inch squares). i had a king sized quilt top in the studio, made from 7 inch squares.  and i didn't really love it.  and couldn't imagine myself ever finishing it. so, i started to cut.  i cut it and sewed it back together.  and then cut it again.  and sewed it again.  this went on a few times until i'd turned a king sized top into a cozy and soft throw, with tiny, uneven and randomly colored squares. and this is today's featured quilt.  it adds interest and warmth on a bed.  or waits on the back of the sofa to get pulled around you while watching tv.  it's perfect to snuggle under alone, or with someone else too.  it measures 73 by 50 inches.  and for more info, you can check out the etsy listing.  
i hope you find ways to keep the holiday stress down and have wonderful fun times with family and friends.      

Wednesday, December 11, 2013
we have managed to pull out the cartons of tucked away christmas treasures.  and we've found a most perfect tree to stand grandly, modelling all our memory filled little baubles that we swoon over every year.  tom's grandmother's ceramic tree sparkles in the window.  our stockings dangle beside the fireplace.  and christmas specials are beginning to fill our dvr.  so christmas is charging right along.  and in that spirit, i thought i'd have a little celebration of sorts in the studio as well.  the 12 days of a quilty christmas.  and with each day, one quilt be the star.  
today is the first day of our quilty little christmas.  and our star today is a cheerful and charming little lap quilt.  she has some of the beautiful vintage fabrics that i told you about a couple of months ago.....the fabrics an elderly gentleman brought me from his mother's fabric collection.  those are interspersed with other fabrics,  chosen to create a dreamy vintage look, to remind us of an era when simple moments in life were noticed and appreciated.  this little beauty is a lap quilt and measures 38 by 51 inches.  she tucks smoothly around like a tight little hug.  and for more info, this little beauty is listed in my etsy shop. 

so as the holidays burst merrily upon us, i hope we all find the joy!

Monday, December 9, 2013

the air was heavy and gray today.  the sort of day that demands a few cups of tea.  the sweet steam and the warmth pressing into my palms brightened the gloom a little.  and while i sat sipping tea in the mid-morning, tom started our holiday decorating.  he always gets the ball rolling with christmas traditions.  he has inherited pieces from his grandmother, and ornaments from his great grandmother. i think his favorite is the entire cast of rudolph figures his sister left in his care when she moved to australia. he set up everything except the tree.  i think that is our quest for tomorrow. 
this is our first christmas with ezra. such a happy and vivacious spirit he's brought to our home.  and christmas will be extra special this year with him. he has a way of erasing the sadness that sometimes sweeps in when we miss our wonderful edgar. 
so we look forward for this christmas season as it rolls in.        

Thursday, December 5, 2013

tom is playing guitar and singing.  ezra snuggled into me on the couch.  i'm drinking green tea chai.  and knitting.   there is a fire burning in the corner.  and i had big chunks of lindt milk chocolate instead of dinner.  tom is playing my favorite song from his repertoire right now.  that usually means he's about to stop and wants to leave me happy when he goes up to bed.  tomorrow is his early morning, so he goes to bed earlier than me.  (he just stood up and put down his guitar.....i read him what i wrote about him playing my favorite song before he quits, and he laughed and said...."you got it, pontiac.")
i'm knitting every evening now. knitting because i'm desperate to feel the wool and the hand crafted cedar knitting sticks i bought this weekend.  (i like calling them sticks instead of needles.  they don't feel like needles).  the wool is soft and light, a bit like a pale gray cloud, both in weight and colour.  wool that was dyed by hand in a bath of plant dyes. and the knitting sticks are smooth, light but substantial.  they have been shaped and shaved and smoothed all by hand.    and they settle warmly into my hands.  the scent of cedar infuses my skin.  and my knitting.  so i sit with my ezra, knitting into the night.  with ezra's snores replacing tom's songs.  it's a good night. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

the week has started out gray.  but not gloomy.  i love monotone days when the air matches the sky.  ezra was limping yesterday after a dash across the yard.  i'm learning that this is his way.  today it seems to have cleared up, and our walks have been a pleasure through the puddly snow.  ezra has learned to sleep on our bed with my legs entwined with his.  and my feet warming on his belly. until recently he would jump off the bed if i got too touchy feely with him while he was sleeping.  but now he is wrapped around my feet, while stella purrs with her head on my hip, and tom's breathing on my other side has slowed down to sleep breathing. and the laptop glows on my lap. 
i am spending the early part of this week tidying my studio to make it more welcoming when i open sunday afternoon for customers.  the next few sundays before christmas i'm open in the afternoon so if a quilt is on your list, come by the studio.  

Sunday, December 1, 2013

i take myself on little journeys while i work.  i wander through the interiors of my childhood.  my youth.  my life.  i have many hours to myself each day as i work.  and i string memories and images of my life into those hours.  the quilts i make build on the translucent memory that breezes through my mind. they are steeped in nostalgia. i walk through the interiors that i've inhabited over the course of my life.  it may be that i have never forgotten a room i've been in.  i remember the boxy little walk-up apartment my parents lived in when i was born.  we moved from philadelphia when i was 3 1/2 but i have memories of houses of my parent's friends, shops my mother frequented, the church we attended. i remember the layout of the apartment and the hallways and stairs leading to the apartment and the apartment of the neighbors across the hall.  those are the earliest, foggiest memories.  the late 60s.  i don't remember the people or even the details of the decor.  it's the floorplans that i love.  the movement.  i can move through houses, following the hallways, walking through doorways, feeling the light coming from windows.  sometimes it's a hotel room i remember.  holiday trips visiting relatives and friends.  the people fade but i remember walking in the front door or into the kitchen.  the portals, the embrace of the rooms and being pulled through hallways.  these are the memory images that my mind constantly scans.