Chop chop

The auction is tomorrow and if you would have asked me three days ago how I felt about it, I would have predicted that I'd be well finished by now. If you would have asked me two hours ago, you would have heard nothing but panic. And right now, a little less panic. There is still some work to do. This is how it goes. It will all get done, it will all be good, maybe even great, and I will rest on Sunday.

I had a haircut on the calendar for this morning and I did manage to squeeze that in. I've been dreaming about getting a summer cut once the weather gets warmer. I took a good long look in the mirror this morning and decided that my long-ish hair wasn't doing me any favors. In fact, it was weighing me down. I didn't really plan on cutting it until April, but when I sat in the stylist's chair this morning, on a whim I told her to chop it off.

Chop chop

Three to four inches shorter and I automatically felt lighter.  I'm so glad I did not wait for summer to get my summer cut.

I hope the weekend treats us all well. And that each of you has a moment to do something nice for yourself. I promise to take photos of all the auction projects I can to share next week. See you then.


And then there was a moment of stress

See. Life isn't always so calm.

We had a super busy weekend - a two day swim meet and piano recital plus our company holiday party. Can you say tired? Actually, that doesn't quite cover it. Exhausted is more like it. Sunday night I went to bed at 7:45 p.m. and didn't get up until 6:30 Monday morning. Just shy of 11 hours. Crazy, huh?

Monday was a snow day for the kids.  A pathetic - we had one inch of snow - day.  Considering our weekend, it was nice to have little on the agenda, but it is the last week that the kids are in school before the holiday break.  Losing a day kind of pinched my schedule.  I didn't get to quilting the one handmade gift yesterday.  I did manage to finish the quilting today, but everything shifted a day down the week and tomorrow the stuff on the agenda can't shift.  I found myself agitated and yelling at the kids.  Fatty saw it too - told me I didn't seem myself.  I hate this.

And then I uploaded my photos from the last two days and I saw calm in them.

December 13

Gingerbread

Elfin hat

Elfin hat 2

I made a list, put my laundry away, went through the mail and neatened up the girls' rooms.  Then I walked the dog and celebrated Tuesday with Fatty and a bottle of champagne.  And then came to the understanding that I won't make any other progress on the gift wrapping and card addressing and quilt binding until Thursday.

I'm going to be ok with that.  I've made it 14 days into December without feeling a moment of this stress and that, my friends, is an incredible achievement for me.  So, yes.  I'm ok with a bit a stress because tomorrow the calm returns.  Until then, take care.

******

There are still a handful of camera straps available in my shop.  Orders must be placed by Monday, December 20th in order to arrive by Christmas in the U.S.  You can get 15% off by using the code CALM when you check out.


Habit

Habit july 1

Habit july 2

Habit july 3

Habit july 5

Habit is one of my daily reads. Molly and Emily started this project 18 months ago and I was lucky enough to be their guest in March 2009.  This month, they have invited everyone to play along.  There is a flickr pool for uploading your own habit photo with 30 words or less each day.  There is something special about this collaboration and to see it multiplied and magnified each day on flickr is amazing to me.  I'm joining in again because, really, how could I not?  It's magic.

I hope you'll join me.


Berry Season

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I pick up the paring knife, its shape fits my hand.  Blue cardboard quarts sit on the counter to my right and the colander is in the empty sink waiting to be filled.  I pick up the first berry.  With a quick twist of the blade, it's little green top is detached and dropped.  It sits on the bottom of the big white sink looking brighter somehow.  The plump, red strawberry is placed in the strainer, waiting to be joined by all the others.  I reach for the next berry without thinking.  Quick twist, dropped top, berry plopped. I find my rhythm immediately.  It's a familiar task - one I don't think much about until now.

I make fast work of the first quart and half of the second one.  After a quick rinse, I lay the berries on some paper towels to dry.  I sample one.  It's perfect - sweet, juicy, not too ripe.  Although dinner is in a short while, I help myself to a few more.  With each bite, I taste summer.  I'm immediately in central Wisconsin, some June day around the age of seven or eight.  I walk outside my grandparents' house and pick strawberries for breakfast, eating one for every couple berries that make their way in to the wooden box.  The sun is shining on my shoulders, warm but not yet too hot.  There is dirt under my toes, turning my white sandals brown.  I bend over again and examine the plants.  I lift the leaves, find the gems and pick them.  Two in the box, one in the mouth.

"Mom!"  Her voice brings me back to the task at hand.  "Would you like a strawberry?" I ask.  She grabs one readily.  I take another one for myself.  I look down at her face and she's smiling.  "These are soooo good," she says.  "They are, aren't they?" I reply.  She nods and grabs two more before she skips out the kitchen door, yelling for her sister to wait up.  I plop another berry in my mouth - it's just as sweet as the first one.  I could keep eating, but I make myself stop so I can fix dinner.  The truth is I could skip the meal all together.  The days are growing longer and I am anxious for the stretch of carefree days ahead of us.  Only four days of school remain and the calendar says May, but it might as well be June.  For me, summer always starts with the strawberries.


December is starting off great

Habit dec 1
 

You may have already heard, but in case you haven't, I'm going to let you in to the know.  This month at habit, Molly and Emily invited all of their guests from the past year to come back and post.  It's a big month-long party, 35 women posting snippets of their days.  I feel so so lucky to be back in that space.  And honored, too.  Please stop by and check it out.


My life is good

Oct 29 2

It's the second to last day of October and it's hot outside.  Like in the mid-70's hot.  Too hot for the second to last day of October.  I can feel the rain coming - I have the headache to prove it.  Or the headache could be from all the candy and lack of water that I have consumed (or not) today.  Probably a combination of the two, truth be told.

Yesterday I had a little luncheon for six friends.  I served butternut squash soup with a spinach salad (pears, pecans, blue cheese, red onion, balsamic vinaigrette).  I set the table with my grandmother's silver and the napkins I pressed last week.  It was delicious and went off with a hitch.  The house was mostly picked up so an hour with the vacuum and duster was all it took to get ready.  It amazed me.  I feel like I have turned a corner, that I can see my life moving forward in a much more mindful and happy way if I can just keep this cleaning thing up.  I'm praying that once the hard work is done, it'll be a matter of maintenance.  Please let it be so.

I've been knitting - two small projects are already completed and one is on the needles.  I want to share those with you, but it's too hot to put wool on my body and then take photos.  When the temperatures dip, I will show and tell.  Cross my heart.

I haven't sewn much - a few single girl squares.  That leaves 17 to sew.  There are some camera straps almost finished, but I want another colorway or two or three before I update the shop for the last time this year.  Mid-November is the goal.  I can't take special requests or email anyone individually when I stock the shop.  I will keep you posted via the blog.  That I can do.

It's supposed to rain tomorrow and I just hope it can hold off or be a sprinkle so the girls can enjoy the holiday.  I have a vampire and a gypsy this year.  The vampire's teeth are already broken and the gypsy has lost her earrings, but they are both dealing with less-than-perfect just fine.  I am so thankful for that.  I tried replacing the vampire fangs, but it's the day before Halloween and, of course, no one has any left.  The fact that my child is being a trooper is a blessing.  Did I mention that I am thankful?

We're going to a concert tonight.  Front row seats, too.  I'm looking forward to a date night and especially seeing this band.  I'm also anticipating an empty morning tomorrow.  I plan on filling it with coffee and my dvr-ed shows from this week.  I might even break out the glitter.  Or some felt.  Or maybe both.  Endless possibilities - I like that.

I have some new shoes.  They make me smile, too.

Oct 29

So there.  That's what has been going on with me.

Here's to a great weekend for all of us.


Stitch

I thought I'd be back here on Tuesday, but, you know, life.  I really appreciate all your comments about chores/cleaning from earlier this week.  If you find yourself in the same situation as me, there are some good ideas in the comments.  I'm trying FlyLady for now.  I'll let you know how that works out.

In other, much more exciting news - well, exciting for me - one of my projects is in the Fall/Winter issue of Stitch.

Stitchmag

Stitchmag2

I made this cozy wool muff back in July and am anxious to give it a whirl as the temperature starts to drop.  Did you have one of these as a young girl?  It's a fun project that shouldn't take too long to make - an afternoon or maybe a bit more.  It does require a little patience to sew through all the layers, but the construction is simple.  I made mine out of wool and velveteen, but I think it would be equally as cute out of corduroy and flannel with a folksy ribbon.  Let me know if you make one - I'd love to see photos!

Wool muff

I really like this issue of Stitch.  It's full of great projects and many of them are well-suited for holiday gift giving.  I just started to make a list of the items I am anxious to make and it's long.  Too long to share.  You'll recognize many of the contributing designers if you read blogs, which I assume you do because you are reading this.  Really, it's all so good.  And I'd still say that if my project hadn't been included.  But it was, so yay!


It's Monday and I feel fine

Oct 19

Good afternoon.  I'm feeling pretty great today - hope you are too.

This weekend I came to the realization that I don't function well when there is chaos around me.  OK - I really knew this about myself before this weekend.  I just didn't know what to do about it.  And as I said last week, I'd like my house to be clean for more than 15 minutes at a time.  Here's the realization:  I am the biggest obstacle to keeping this house picked up.  All this time I have been looking for a solution, but not getting to the heart of the problem.  It's not the myriad coats and shoes thrown on the mudroom floor or the fact that my children leave papers scattered on any available flat surface that is driving me crazy.  It's that when it gets messy, I don't deal with it right away.  In fact, I don't deal with it because it is messy and then it even gets messier.  Follow?  I decided to focus on the problem and to do that, I am going to have to change my behavior.  Instead of waiting until it's overwhelming and then tackling it all in one full swoop, I am dealing with bits of the cleaning each day.  So on Saturday, I cleaned the front part of our house - living room, sun room, dining room, front hall and stairs, powder room.  And then I stopped.  Yesterday, I finished the laundry and made the girls and myself put it all away as soon as it was folded.  This morning, I got up and picked up the family room and the laundry room.  I'll probably tackle the kitchen and the mud room this afternoon.  Breaking it up into these little tasks is more manageable for me.  It's amazing how much I can get done in 20 minutes!  And once something is clean, it's that much easier to keep it that way.  I'm sure this is not revolutionary for some of you, but for me, it is.

So yes, I am feeling pretty good today.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  And once I get this house sorted out, I am going to have to enlist the girls' help to keeping it that way.  I'm pretty good about making them help out, but other than clearing the table after dinner, they don't have any specific chores.  I'd like to change that.  I know some of you have kids the same ages (almost 8 and 10) and I am curious what chores your children have.  If you feel like sharing, I'd love to get some feedback on that.

All right, back here soon (probably tomorrow).  The sun is finally out and I can take photos of some things I have finished up over the last week or so.  See you then.


Home, finally.

How i wear it

I really love fall.  It's my favorite time of the year.  There are apples to eat and pumpkins to buy, bread to bake and costumes to make.  Plus, I can finally wear my scarf that Martha made.  Just another great reason to enjoy cooler days.  And as of last night, my crazy travel month has come to an end and I couldn't be more thrilled to find myself at home for a decent length of time.  I have all sorts of projects I want to get going and others that need finishing up.  I'm going to step away from the blog for a few days to get back in the swing of things.  See you here sometime soon - maybe even later this week.

Also, Typepad seems to have the hiccups as I am not receiving email notification of any comments that are posted.  I will read the comments here, but can't reply via email.  So, if you have a question or need some more info, email me.  OK?

Ta ta for now.


More than good enough

Green boots

Just dropping by to say hello.

Hello.

Outside the leaves are rustling, the sun is shining and the sky is clear.  It's been in the 60's all day - yay for fall!  I have mums and kale to plant and even a few leaves to rake.  Each time I look down I smile.  Green boots will do that to a girl.

Now I am off to make applesauce and hunt down a 4th grade math textbook.  Just thought I'd throw that little nugget of disorganization to let you know that while today is mighty good, it's not perfect.  No day ever is.  And that is fine with me.  I'll take what I can get.

Happy Monday.  I hope your day is more than good enough, too.


Ithaca is gorges

Us

We went to Ithaca, New York this weekend to attend a wedding.  It was a beautiful weekend, sunny and crisp just a touch of fall in the air.  We watched the Dartmouth rugby team beat Cornell, walked the campus, drank some beers, visited the farmer's market, hung out with dear friends we hadn't seen in too long and made some new friends, too.  There was a wonderful brisket, apples and honey, noodle kugel rehearsal dinner, a toast by Fatty for his best friend, a wedding mad lib, a beautiful and touching ceremony, a gorgeous bride and handsome groom, another heartfelt toast, a delicious cake, lots of champagne and even more dancing.  I am tired and a bit sunburned.  Other than that, it was pretty much perfect.

I know this has nothing to do with crafts, but I just felt I needed to record this.  My life is full of good things and I am grateful for all my blessings.  This weekend was one of them.


When Friday feels like Monday

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I'm itching to make something.  Anything really.  Well, anything except the one thing I am supposed to be working on.  I should just sit down and get it finished, but I am at a bit of a standstill with it.  I have a deadline and it's soon.  I am trying to be better about my procrastination problem, but sometimes, it just seems easier to wait-until-the-last-moment.  The problem is that when I get to the last-moment, I realize that I shouldn't have waited.  Uh-huh.  On the plus side, I sat down and paid the bills in full swoop yesterday without any procrastinating.  And yes, it felt good.

Also, I keep getting emails asking about camera straps.  I am making more!  I promise I will let you know when they will be listed at least a few days before they go in the shop.  I don't know when that will be.  The girls go back to school in one month and I want to make the most of what is left of our summer.  When I think about how fast time is slipping away from me, I get all worked up and when I get worked up, I really can't do anything at all.  Not a thing.  I am also feeling overwhelmed with stuff.  I feel the need to purge, clean closets and trash out.  The studio, in particular, is a huge mess.  I will probably put together some fabric scrap bags for sale.  Again, no time table.  I'm just wondering if there is any interest in something like that.

We have a busy weekend ahead - school carnival and citywide swim meet.  I think that is why I feel so overwhelmed.  Normally, the weekend is my down time and this one is going to see me coming and going like a crazy person.  If I see you out and about and I appear to be in a daze, take it easy on me.  Next week, I'll find my sanity.

After I meet that deadline, of course.


This is what 38 looks like

Photo 1


And I like what I see.

So far it's been a great birthday - some good presents, lunch out with Fatty, lots of phone calls.  I'll be making margaritas later on and eating some chocolate cake.  I'm looking forward to it.

Lecia asked me to write a guest blog post about motherhood.  I was completely flattered to be asked and am honored to share some of my thoughts with her and all of you.

I hope you have a great weekend.  We've got a garden to plant and I have a new computer to figure out.  Fun stuff!

Better

Thank you all so very much.  I am so touched by your kind words and encouragement.  Parenting is hard and it's good to know that everyone has those bad days.  Yesterday was better, not great, but better.  And I have high hopes for today, too.  I refuse to give up even though there are moments that make me want to.  I wish I had time to respond to you all individually.  Please know I read all my comments and really appreciate the time you take to share with me. Thank you.

April 3 024_1_1

Good things for today:

- Fatty was home a little later this morning so we got to spend some extra time together.

- Both girls said, "I love you, Mom" on their way out of the car.

- Dinner is mostly made and the house is picked up.

- I have finished 27 of 96 single girl quilt squares - over 1/4 the way done!

Hope you have a fantastic Thursday!


Words can not do it justice

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I went to Baltimore this weekend.  I was excited when I boarded the plane on Friday morning.  To say it was fun and good is an understatement.  The women I met were incredible, their families friendly and welcoming.  I stayed with Emily, spent time at Molly's and had a visit from Jennifer.  There was lots of talking, great food, cameras clicking, more talking and then talking some more.  When I arrived, it was like meeting pen pals I had known for a long time.  When I departed, I left behind dear friends.  Thank you, silly old blog, for connecting me with them.  I feel lucky and blessed to have these people in my life.


Hello, March. I am so glad you are here.

Good morning!

It's March - isn't that wonderful?  I have a feeling that this is going to be a great month.  To start, Emily is hosting a green week starting today.  You all know how I feel about green.  I'll be posting some green here and on flickr, too.

I am very honored and excited to be a guest at habit this month.  Habit spoke to me from the moment I set eyes on it in January.  Molly and Emily have a good thing going on.  I hope you will come visit me there as well.

I've been sewing and knitting and will share some finished projects later this week.  The studio, which is adjacent to our playroom, is expanding a little after a big toy purge and reorganization this weekend.  My hope is that the girls and I will all end up with a more usable space conducive to creativity.  We aren't quite finished yet, but when we are, I'll share that with you, too. I also have a few more surprises up my sleeve including a giveaway (or two!).  Believe me, you won't want to miss it!

Feb 28 038_1_1

Yes, March is off to a great start, indeed.


Yellow - day four (or the story of the plates)

I find it funny how my mind works.  On Monday, I saw Emily's photo of teacups and it reminded me of some yellow plates that I have.  And thinking of those plates took me back to my last two houses, my former boss and a very special little girl.

Feb 17 001a

When Fatty and I got married, we moved from Telluride, Colorado to suburban Chicago.  I took the summer off from working to do wedding stuff.  When we returned from our honeymoon, I was offered a part-time job at the darling stationery store where we had purchased our invitations.  It was a wonderful fit - five minutes from home, retail hours and selling a product that I really love.  To top it off, I was working for an incredible woman.  Susan is genuine, kind, generous, supportive and smart.  She had started the business a little more than a year before and needed help.  I happily jumped in for a few days a week which quickly turned into full-time and then into managing the store.  It really was a perfect match.

Fatty and I had bought a small, 1940's cottage-y house and I was decorating it one room at a time.  We shopped the local antiques fair and consignment shops, looking for everything from a dining room table to chandeliers to McCoy pottery to add to my collection.  At one of my favorite stores, there was a set of nine yellow plates that just took my breath away.  I really wanted to buy one, but they were being sold as a set and there was no way I could afford to buy them all when we needed things like a new fence.

Feb 17 007_1_1

A month or so later, for my birthday, Susan handed me a box.  Inside were three of the plates.  She bought the entire set, kept six for herself and gave me the rest.  I was amazed and so very grateful!  She knew I would love them and I do.  I hung them on the wall above the bed in our guest room.  When we moved a year later, the plates were packed up in a box and moved to our new home.

The new house was much larger than the little suburban cottage we left behind.  I was pregnant when we moved in and I was dead set on getting each room painted and the nursery ready.  Many boxes sat for a long time, including all of the ones in the guest room.  I was put on bed rest at 33 weeks and at 36 weeks, I gave birth to a beautiful, but tiny little girl.  Jane weighted 4 lbs. 13 oz. but was otherwise healthy and came home from the hospital with me two days later.  My mom came to help and unpacking boxes was one thing we tackled while Jane slept.  When we pulled the dinner sized (11 inches in diameter) yellow plates out of the box, I realized just how small my baby was.

Jane and the plate

Those plates were hung on the wall above the bed in our guest room that day.  They were moved to a different guest room when Kate came along.  Five and a half years after Jane was born, we moved into this house.  The plates sat in a box for much longer this time and then they sat longer still, forgotten in a cabinet.  They are still in the guest room, but this time they hang over a mirror.  I put them up a few months ago, after I finished the guest room quilt.  The quilt was supposed to be pinks, greens and aquas, but it just screamed for a little yellow when I was making it.  I listened to my inner voice, added the yellow and didn't think twice - I loved it.

Feb 18 017_1_1

A few months after I finished the quilt, I remember the plates.  And they are a perfect match for the quilt.  It's like I knew, but I had just forgotten, that those plates were meant to be in our guest room.  I also think of Susan and The Custom Stationery Shop.  I adored that job and still miss parts of it from time to time.  I think it was there that I tapped back into my creative side after a few years of focusing on other things and for that I am very grateful.  Of course, the plates always remind me of Jane, as a tiny baby.  I did not realize, until I saw that photo, how tiny she really was.  I chalk it up to being a first time mom, with very little baby experience.  And of course, having a sweet, good baby didn't hurt!  As I type this, I think I need a new photo with Jane and the plate.  Yes.  I really do.

.....

I am amazed at all the yellow I've been seeing from you!  The list of participants is here and here and the flickr group here.  See you tomorrow.


Yes, I am a smart cookie

Last week, I finally got my hands on the December/January issue of Cookie Magazine.

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If you turn to page 42, look what you'll find...

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Yes, that's me.  Well, it's another version of my packing list, at least!  I was honored that such a fun, cool magazine would ask me to contribute this little bit.  It was a fun project to work on to boot!  There is supposed to be a version on the Cookie website to download, but it isn't there.  I'll let you all know when it's up.  And if it is your first time visiting this blog, welcome.  I am so excited that you are here.

We had a nice Thanksgiving with my family and friends.  The weekend was low key with a bit of organizing thrown in for good measure (thank you, Georgia).  Today it is snowing and raining depending on the hour (snowing now) - I think it'd be a nice day to stay indoors and sew or knit.  Unfortunately, I have way too much on my to-do list to sit still.  Off I go to check off some things.  I'll be back in this space tomorrow.   See you all then.