Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hush


When I was 7 or 8 I lived up a river road, out in the woods - just past the place where childhood abundance trips over the poverty of loss. On crisp fall mornings, I would wake early before the house was stirring. I would put on my little brown corduroy coat, my puddle boots, and set out into the great big open. Crunch, crunch went my boots on the gravel hill; swish, swish went my swinging corduroy arms through the neighbor's apple orchard; plod, plod went my solid body across the two lane road. Then I would stand on the balls of my feet at the edge of the empty field for an anticipatory minute. Watching the pale sky, I would breathe deep and stare at my breath on it's way out, fogging in front of my nose. Steady now, my determined first step into the tall frost bitten grass of the field...I cannot describe exactly the sound my step makes, it is a most satisfying crackle/crunch/swish/plink/clunk/sigh, it is an explorer's symphony - it is absence and company - it is riot and rest - it is cacophony and hush. I step so slowly for the first half of the field, when I come to the big tree I run my fingers over it's bark and say, "good morning Sally." And then I run as fast as I can to the other side...skidding to a stop at the cliff spilling off into the river. Staring at the still water below all I hear in my ears is the pounding of my heart, as it gradually slows and I breathe in rhythm, I recognize the first sound ever heard. For this tiny moment, all is right with the world, everything is in it's place and I belong completely to this moment. This is the 'Hush'.

While the Hush can be quiet, it is not silent.
As the perfect snow fell unexpectedly last night, the girl squeals, the door creaks, the neighbors slip and slide with laughter... we step out into that Hush. While the kettle whistles, the video games "crash, boom, pow," the girl sings, the cat is mewling, the dishes are clanking, the chaos makes a raucous...everyone smiling and glowing in the Hush.

It was a lovely holiday here in the cottage. Amidst the festivities and the craziness, there were these tiny moments of Hush, where all was right with the world, everything was in it's place, I belonged completely to the moment...and the moment belonged completely to me.

Here is to a beautiful new year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Neither Partridge nor Von Trapp

But we are a musical family...

We all play music.

We all sing.

And we all listen...a lot!

Alas, we have not had a working turntable in ages...and ages.

In fact, if you were a superstitious sort, you might think that there was a curse upon us and our audio equipment. In the 6 years we have lived in our cottage, we have gone through nearly as many turntables.

But late last night, we were the recipients of a little Christmas miracle. A gift to our musical family. Something in the Holy Grail category of vintage turntables came to our cottage. A turntable of the utmost kind.

Oh, isn't it stunning? There were new vintage speakers too!

So, I stayed up late and played DJ. Records I have long missed - listened to in the glow of twinkle lights. Made me want to make a mixed tape! It just sounded so good.

May music be in your hearts my friends.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Giddy

I have giddy feeling of joy in my heart and a song on my lips. I had a truly lovely birthday day yesterday. It began with Miss Ringlet singing her interpretation of the birthday song to me. What a nice way to start the day!

I had arranged to be solo for a few hours in the morning to indulge in the rare thriftapalooza. I drove all over kingdom come to my favorite thrifty haunts, unimpeded by appointments or a runaway girl. Sadly, the thrift store shelves were woefully barren of the treasures I had imagined in my fevered mind. I did come out with two small finds and spent very little money, so...

I received some spectacular gifts. I must say, I am a very lucky duck indeed.

A nice bottle of wine and some homemade kahlua from sweet friends.

The most fabby wrist warmers, handmade from recycled wool sweater. I am in love with these and have been wearing them non-stop. Look at their splendid stripeyness! They are from Prairie Path. These were from my mother in-law, the very kind Fancy Nancy Jane. She also gave me a handcrafted necklace from another artist but, it seems Miss Ringlet has squirreled it away somewhere I can't find it.

In the post, I received a package of birthday glee from the very dear Dottie Angel. A gorgeous Japanese craft book and a copy of The Artful Blogger magazine. A vintage tablecloth that left me in a deep swoon for several minutes. And my very own "forsaken soul". Oh the delight!

From The Engineer, who is really quite a good gift giver, a new phone to replace my old failing dinosaur of a phone. He was taking note of how I struggled so pathetically with the texting thing and so this one has a flip out keyboard, nifty! Isn't it spiffy looking too, even all blurry like that in the photo? Then, because he is a very good man, he gave me a gift certificate to my favorite little beach cottage...any two nights of my choosing...for a solo coast trip. Yes, just me and the gulls and the view from my windows over the ocean!

I ended my birthday day with an evening in the company of a very dear friend, sipping wine on the front porch and talking about our lives, it was just the right way to end the day.

I am so very moved and grateful for such wonderful friends and family. What more does anyone need? I am so very blessed as I begin a new year and a new chapter of my life. All that is left to say is this...YEEHAW!

Thanks again for being the best bunch around, you are all so good to me...and might I say, you are all so good looking!
Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Still Crazy

Thank you for the Birthday wishes and the lovely comments you have left me. I am off to tidy up the cottage so that I will be free from obligation tomorrow. I plan to enjoy some quality time with my little family and perhaps treat myself to some second hand shopping. I will leave you with a little birthday song. See you soon.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Oh My Stars!

Hello and happy Monday!
You might think that since I am a somewhat crafty type - that I would be hands to scissors and foot to pedal (sewing machine pedal that is), busying myself with the industry of gift making. While I have thrown a couple of slapdash things together and started another one or two, I have mostly been pondering and wandering the floors of the cottage. Spending my time pottering about and moving the furniture. This is somewhat worrying, as there is that list I made and the reality of time moving swiftly towards the day.

At least the cookies have been made. Which will be most helpful in the coming days when a sugar rush is what is needed to make it through another round of "who am I forgetting?"

Yet another year has found me not quite getting to the holiday cards, I swear, I am a tragic mess when it comes these things. Still, while most of my 'Best Laid Plans' have gone all wonky, I have decided to accept and let it roll. Fretting is not good for one about to turn another year older (especially since I started working on my worry lines at the age of 7). Stress is not in the spirit of it all anyway, so roll on I shall. 'Que Sera' ala Doris Day, whatever will be, will be.

Notice I did finally get around to trying out the Grandma Twinkle crochet pattern from Michelle over at The Royal Sisters and I am smitten! She has 4 wonderful crochet tutorials and I am so looking forward to trying out the others. Pop on over and give them a whirl, I promise it's addictive. I am a beginner and I found her instructions and photos so very helpful and easy to follow.

May the day find you with stars in your eyes my friends, and I hope that you all take a moment out of your busy days to let go of worry and stress - know that it all is going to work out beautifully. If you should find this difficult, I recommend biting the head off a smirky gingerbread man :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mend and Make Do

It seems my announcement of the computer's death was a bit premature. Upon closer inspection, the computer had a pulse and was heard to whisper, "I'm not quite dead yet." So, thanks to some clever IT guys at The Engineer's workplace and to The very handy Engineer himself, the old box was resuscitated. Thank goodness! I've been speaking to it in quiet and encouraging tones, hoping to keep it happy and healthy.

So, what have I been up to in the meantime? Have I ever told you that I like to arrange things...and then re-arrange? I sometimes get an overwhelming urge to move the furniture about, change out the nick-knacks, replace the wall art, or re-do the order of things. I can't help it. This time my target was Miss Ringlet's room.

What with the cold snap we've been having, I thought her room needed some warming up. The bed needed to come away from the chilly wall it had scooted up against and to be honest, it was looking a little frumpy. That little bed needed a good dose of dress up.

The quilt that was on my bed when I was her age had been made by my mother. It was a bright and skippy patchwork made from squares of groovy 60's and 70's fabric. I loved it. I used to run my hands over the quilt and pick out my favorite squares. She even made a matching pillow case to go with it.

So, down to the basement I go, crawling on my hands and knees under my sewing table, pulling at boxes until I find what I am looking for. There it is, my quilt! The batting had gone all shifty and lumpy, there were holes and tears and a general fading due to years of love and service. Oh look! There is the pillow case too! I spend a moment with the seam ripper and unpick the hand stitching at one end. Then out comes the unruly batting. A few patches and mending and it's looking pretty good. Not having any batting in the size required, it strikes me to turn it into a duvet cover. Testing it out, I find it is an exact fit for the plain white comforter on my daughters bed, perfect!

It is also quite a thrill when I recall the vintage Raggedy Ann and Andy sheets that I saved from my grandparents house when my Papa moved. After I dress the bed, I realize that I have pretty well re-created my own childhood bed. I hope that it brings as much comfort and warmth to my little gal as it did to me. She was consulted on all of this and was quite agreeable to the spiffing up.

As I stood back and looked at the room I was struck by how nearly everything in that room was handmade, thrifted, handed down and passed on. The dollhouse, toy chest, cushions, curtains, mirror, some of the quilts, were made by my husband or I. I've had the dresser since I was 16...bought by my mother at a garage sale. The bed frame was scavanged from I don't know where and other quilts were made by family and friends or bought at yard sales. The quilt rack and end table were family pieces passed on to me. It felt satisfying and humbling, to look upon this collection of everyday items, costing so little in money but, so rich in history...crafted by hand and so colorful in their storied travels.

Miss Ringlet is rather pleased and I must say, I love how it turned out. And, it must be noted that I am happily rolling along in "A Challenge of the Utmost Kind," suffering not at all. Who needs Ikea? Not I.

It's good to be back my dears. Have a stellar weekend and I will see you again next week with stars in my eyes and other nonsense. I am away to bake cookies and make more handcrafted presents.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Did I say Hapless?

Well my lovelies, it looks as though things have taken an unexpected turn. Out of the blue, the computer has given up the ghost, thrown in the towel, gasped it's last beep, beep, beep...and I don't know when - if - what can be saved. Hopefully I wont be too long away but, until things get sorted out, I am hoping you all have a joyful time till our next little chat.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Red and White

The colors of my winter. I'm slowly making festive the little cottage. Arranging and re-arranging...and then arranging again.



The hook and I are steady companions. You will be happy to know that I have finally moved on (for now) from going in circles. You will have to wait and see what shapes I am obsessed with now.



Nothing is complete, it's all in various stages of making but, I am pottering along well enough.

This week things may be a little spotty around here. Grandma is in town which has been quite the treat. Parent teacher conference is scheduled. Sundry appointments need to be kept. So, if all is quiet here, it means I'm out and about doing the daily.

I wish you all a happy Monday!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Have you seen my sparkle?

Tis the season for sparkle.
Right.
I had plans to make with the festive, really... I intended to break out my sparkle and wow you with a big "Ta Da!" I have to wonder now, if my best intentions were truly my best. Perhaps they were merely good intentions; possibly even average, oh dear. I know for certain that I meant well.

Things simply ran amok, wrenches were thrown into the works, cold weather and cricks in the neck; the death of a gold fish and gas leaks at the school; impending guests that I was unaware of until my husband said "Oh, by the way..."; the dawning of understanding that two weeks from today I will be turning 41 and am feeling painfully human; it has all wrecked havoc. Not to mention, the walls are all the wrong color. To the point... the big "Ta Da," turned into a big "Ta Don't," and "quick hide it away before anyone sees!"

...and now that I have peaked your curiosity...I am going to shamelessly change the subject and bring you the saga of Troublesome Dutch Girl and the Lumberjack.

Whilst readying my mantle for some sparkle, I discovered a drama taking place.


The Lumberjack has taken notice of the Troublesome Dutch Girl, finds her irresistible and waves a greeting.

He tries to entice her with a ride in his giant pineapple boat.

She is not impressed and walks away.

Broken hearted, the Lumberjack wallows in his own misery.
I could have told him that it would not end well.

I'm off (oh yes that is obvious), I am going in search of my sparkle and I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Show and Tell

When we arrived home from our holiday, I was greeted by a mailbox stuffed to the gills with small parcels. Really, is there anything better than spying those envelopes and boxes in the post? Well, after unloading and putting away, I sat down with my bounty and began tearing into the parcels.
The first was from California and intended for Little Miss Ringlet, from my mother. A sweet little purse in bright colors.


The second envelope had winged it's way from France. Not too long ago, I had made a comment to the lovely Floss on her blog, about how I wished I could find some second hand issues of the British Country Living magazine. She replied that she had an extra copy from summer and did I want it? She also sent along some sweet summery buttons that I will use in a special project. I am touched that she went to the time and expense to send this to me. If you haven't seen her blog, head on over.
Edited to add: Floss has also set up an amazing vintage shop here! I just looked and she has some gorgeous vintage buttons I am quite tempted by, so pretty!

The final parcel came from across the country from June At Noon. Gretchen has been a supportive blog friend and has a wonderful blog and a new Etsy Shop. She makes gorgeous hand embroidered items and carries original embroidery designs in her shop. I happened to win a give away from her! So exciting! A beautiful hand embroidered pin cushion, a couple pieces of yummy fabric, and two full spools of ribbon. Yay! She also sent me one of her patterns that I am hoping to get to before too long.


I am indeed a lucky duck! A big thank you to the most generous folks of blogland, you are ace!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Holiday


Just back from our holiday at the coast. This was our second year renting the big house at the beach for Thanksgiving. Ten big people and three little ones, friends and family arrived in cars laden with ridiculously delicious food and drink, musical instruments, and cozy slippers.

There is nothing between this wall of windows and the ocean, but for a small strip of road. The view tremendous and awe inspiring.

The house sits just the other side of the small coastal village of Yachats, an artistic community with a small population. It remains less tourist filled than other nearby towns and it's coast line is rough and dramatic.

We feasted, walked on wind swept beaches, played games, watched movies, played music and generally had a lovely time. Now it's back to real world and the post holiday clean up and catch up. We are ever so thankful for this time with good folks and family in such a beautiful place. So blessed are we.



I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanks


Just a quick post before I take a little break to spend time with family. I wanted to simply say thank you to you. That's right, you!
You have been the loveliest bunch of readers a gal could ever hope for. All of your comments and support mean the world to me. Whether you have been a long time friend or a new friend, you make this blog a joy and a wonder! With out you, I would simply be muttering to myself in the hallway (which I still do from time to time mind you). You have given me so much inspiration and I treasure your words and insights.

If you are just stopping by from Apartment Therapy, thank you too!

I hope that all of you have a wonderful holiday, or a lovely few days, however you roll. I will be back come Monday with more mutterings and what not.

Thanks a lot!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

On a Lark



Lark - A carefree or spirited adventure.

Last week, The Lovely Miss K emailed me a listing from a soon to open fabric store in a neighborhood just a short ride away from my home. They were looking for sewing instructors of all levels to teach classes. At first, I was simply excited to know that a new fabric store was on it's way. I told The Engineer about the listing and he simply said "Go for it!" No, I couldn't really, or could I? On a lark, I emailed a response, they emailed back and an interview was set up at a local coffee shop for this morning. Now, it looks as though I will be teaching a couple of classes next year! This is going to be a whole new adventure!

Not surprisingly, today I am a woman pressed for time. I had a whole list of other things I was going to prattle on about but, turns out this is going to be one of those short and sweet posts.

The only other odd bit I have to tell you is that I am a woman under the influence. It is inspirational all the clever folks out there, and I find myself being influenced by the very creative loveliness I encounter when I go poking around. I see echos of it in my work too, sometimes not realizing it until after the work is completed and I stand back and look at it. This weekend I put together another one of Lola's journals for the shop

a sweet little deer under the moon to tell your secrets to, he wont tell a soul, but he may whisper it to the moon.

As I was taking the photos, it occurred to me that something was familiar about it. The color scheme, the woodland creature...then it dawned on me. It reminded a bit of this photo by the very imaginative Dottie Angel.

So, here is to all of you lovely and inspiring folks out there, I hope you don't mind if some of your cleverness sneaks into my brain and leads me to new discoveries.

Friday, November 20, 2009

First

Yesterday was a day of "Firsts" 'round here. Very exciting stuff I tell you.
After waiting, and waiting, the ladies finally delivered. We found our first egg in the hen house!!!

This made for quite a lot of excitement, more than may seem reasonable to some still, we hopped around and exclaimed joyfully, even did a little jig.

It was also the night little Miss Ringlet had her very first sleepover! Oh my she is getting so very grown up.


...and if that wasn't enough...
I got to play music and sing on stage for the first time in almost a year. My dear friend Little Sue, invited me to sing at a benefit with a whole mess of incredibly talented musicians.

Photo of Little Sue

I had such a good time! Made even better by being able to sing along with The Engineer on banjo and his cousin on cello. We enjoyed so much wonderful music and company, it was a hoot!

Quite a day to be sure...and a very late night for me. I stayed up way past my bedtime and woke before the morning light so, tired I am. I am off to make that 2nd cup of coffee now. I shall return on Monday much rested and with a tale of a lark.

Wonderful weekend sweets!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hapless - my creative space


Daily Meditations for the Hapless

Yes, I know that My Creative Space is supposed to be on Thursday, but honestly, I don't know what kind of shape I'm going to be in by then. So, here you have it, a day early.

Now, settle in if you have a minute. I do believe I will be taking the long road home.

As some of you may be aware, I have been going in circles. I am speaking specifically about circles of the crochet kind. There has been a hint of 'granny circle' obsession going on for days at The Cottage. The Bearded One...ok I feel a bit of an off track moment coming on, so bear with me...

I am growing weary of calling the Mr. - The Bearded One, so henceforth, from this moment on (until I tire of it as well), I will be referring to him as The Engineer.


Soooo...The Engineer was starting to worry some. He was concerned that so much going 'round and 'round with hook and yarn would lead to trouble, and perhaps there was some merit in that concern. You can decide for yourself.
When I began, I only intended to see whether I could conquer a small circle. After two, I thought they might make sweet handmade ornaments. Then, I had a vague notion of a garland (seeing as the whole world has gone garland happy - and why not? They are after all happy things.) One day, just finishing my 5th little circle of joy, I spied an aesthetically displeasing thumbtack in the wall. It was serving an important purpose to be sure but, it was none too pretty. I walked over and plopped one of the crocheted circles over the thumbtack, stood back for a gander and felt a silly grin creep upon my lips.


So there I was, standing in the hallway giggling to myself, thinking - This is it! I am going to be the maker of crocheted thumbtack covers! Why, just a short while ago I was having one of those 'let's chuck the whole crafty thing and become a professional belly dancer' moments, imagine! Lo' and behold, I have had my breakthrough - hazzah! By now, the giggle has become a real laugh, which ends in a big sigh.


To embrace this silliness, in the midst of a rather hapless week, I decided to create a small theme, a vignette if you will. An ode to crocheted thumbtack covers, a celebration of the happy garland, and a few words of inspiration.
Thus, Daily Meditations for the Hapless came to be.

The word Hapless has been one of my favorites ever since I came across this book in my late teens. And while the definition is quite dire, I have thought of it as oddly endearing. Of course, I have a bit of a dark humor.

This little spot of color now sits prettily on the wall above my desk. There to remind me not to take myself too seriously.



my creative space has been brought to you by the creative folks over here.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Circle Game


I woke early this morning with heart pounding and head spinning with all the things needing to get done today which are compounded by all the things that did not get done yesterday. Add this to a skipped dinner last night and an empty fridge this morning and I find myself a bit dizzy. Me thinks that after dropping off miss ringlet at school, I should get myself to a bakery, grab something splurge worthy to fuel the activity that must take place in the hour and a half before I head back out for school pick up.

Oh dear, I've just now received the phone call informing me that school is canceled. Our lovely teacher Joyce is out ill. Well, this puts a new spin on things.

No need to worry though, it will all sort itself out in time I'm sure. The shop update I intended to post today is looking like a stalled car on the cyber highway. Real life bumping up against my 'best intentions'. Sometimes it can't be helped. The only thing for it, is to don one's 'make way for whimsy' hat...

...pack up the gal, and head tout suite to the bakery for a treat. I am of the mind that layers of flaky butter pastry make everything better.

I'd best bid you adieu as I am getting a bit loopy and the room is beginning to twirl. I shall return with news of progress or at least a full stomach. Until next time my lovelies.
Happy Monday!

Edited to add: I had just enough time for a mini update in the shop, have a look! There will be more coming.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

More Happy


Holy mackerel, it's a Saturday post! Just thought I would pop in and wish you all a lovely weekend. That and a little shameless self promotion. Lola Nova's Summer Wallet Tutorial has been featured on Sew Mama Sew for the 3rd annual Handmade Holidays! If you haven't been over to check it out, you really should. For the month of November they will be featuring some of the cleverest and cutest tutorials and how tos from blogland. All to help you make it a handmade holiday for you and yours. There is still plenty of time to whip up some of the beauties found on their site. Very cool.

Another happy thing, or should I say 'the latest obsession', has been keeping me going in circles. The Bearded One is beginning to worry. I still have not sorted it all out yet, so I am going to keep it under my hat a while longer. There is a little hint in the picture above though.

Well, now that I have indulged in the rare Saturday post, I'm off to scrounge a proper breakfast from the kitchen's contents. Wish me luck!