Wednesday, December 30, 2009


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!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

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


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.
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!