Sunday, January 31, 2010

Guideposts - Week Four

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.
 
--His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

A co-worker of my sweetie's died in an avalanche last week.  (Death seems to be a recurring theme for us in the past two months.) Younger than us, possessed of a megawatt smile and personality, owner of a dog-clone of our late aussie shepherd, avid skier.  My heart goes out to his family left behind.  

There was a lot of public comment on that very experienced group "recklessly" skiing when the avalanche danger was high.    It's easy to judge whether you do or don't know all the facts.  Sadly, most of the comments were negative and unkind, calling it suicidal, complaining about what the rescue must have cost the taxpayers, at best remarking on stupid choices people make.  None of those people knew Ricardo.  None cared that their rants might would cause the survivors heartache.

I had thought of choosing a new quote about kindness for this week's guidepost, but I realized that compassion alone should have tempered the remarks aired in the public forum.  Rather than anger or sorrow, I feel compassion for those individuals who obviously lack it.  None of us get out of life alive.  And few of us choose to believe that.  What we have between birth and death is the ability to love and live and make the world a little better than we found it.  Some of us die at 5, at 15, at 51, at 105...our age doesn't matter.  What matters are the memories we've created.  

Ricardo brightened up his corner of the universe before he departed to a different existence.  Requiem in pacem.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Simple Gifts

I meant to post this mid-month, but didn't have the photos ready to go. These two items are still delighting me on my kitchen windowsill.

Birthdays are wonderful in a couple of ways--I feel like I get to do whatever makes me happy and I'm grateful every single year that the MLK holiday treats me to a three-day weekend near/on my special day.  You can bet I enjoyed my extended weekend this year!

In the choosing my fun category,  I treated myself to a walk with Kharma in the afternoon. We investigated the new field mouse tunnels exposed by melting snow as we circumnavigated the pasture and evaluated cow flops as free sources of manure if I (gardener!) could figure out how to collect them and get them back home. Kharma (dog!) was all for hauling back as many cowpies as I could handle.

In twenty-two years on the west end of town, I'd never ventured onto the remnants of country road that ran through the ranch until suburbia and four lanes sprang up and made it redundant. I thought I'd grab a birthday rock souvenir so we headed that way through some unexpected mud to find a river rock to add to the pond area.  We chose a nicely rounded rock but as I walked towards it I discovered this yummy aqua insulator floating up through the frost-heave.  And on the way out we came across this pristine white goose feather calmly sitting there waiting for us to pick it up.

I feel like the universe was wishing me a happy birthday!

Friday, January 29, 2010

I'm Currently Enjoying...

  • Google Reader.  Where have you been all my life?!  I've subscribed to all my favorite blogs (even those of you who haven't posted anything for nearly two years--you know who you are).  I'm saving sooooo much time now that I don't need to click on your URL only to find out that there's nothing new that I have time for posting on my own blog.  You know you were wondering where I find the time...
  • Netflix.  Through the mail DVDs or Watch Instantly.  I've never seen so many movies in such a short time in my whole entire life (including high school when we'd watch anything, remember?)--blockbusters, foreign language, Pixar, TV series, classics, tearjerkers, adventure.  The best ones recently:  Julie and Julia (Meryl Streep is amazing in anything!), and a little one titled Outsourced.  I can never predict what I'll merely like, what I'll enjoy and what I'll absolutely love.
  • Ironing new fabric--with a Netflix movie (Watch Instantly) on in the background.  I had no idea that Lord Byron was such a bad boy!
  • Longer days.  All the clouds and rain are more reminiscent of a northern California February replete with green hills and newborn lambs than a wintery northern Nevada January.  We have no verdure and no lambie pies, alas, but it smells like spring.
  • A three day week, thanks to the flu. On the other hand...
  • Being healthy and going to work.  It sure beats aches and lethargy.
  • A January devoted to as many arts and crafts as I can jam in.  I'm leaving no room for any post-holiday letdown or depression.
  • Creamy white paint warm enough to use.
  • A first coat on my cottage sign.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-D

On this bright and sunny afternoon, just after Kharma and I took a short jaunt to the pasture to practice our heeling skills and to chase the flock of Canada geese (giving them a little much-needed exercise), I grabbed my trusty hand sander and successfully sanded the finish off my maple sign.  I also dug out my can of creamy white paint in the garage and wondered yet again who named it Sleepy Eyes and why.

The sign is ready for a basecoat but the refrigerated paint has to warm up in the powder room.  Tomorrow I'm hoping to paint if the nice weather sticks around just a tad longer.

I did outline the arched area on paper and discovered that if I held it right up in front of the computer screen I could get an idea what the prospective fonts look like.  I'm going to have to stretch the winner waaaaay out almost two extra inches to fill the space.  So I'll be investigating what program will digitally stretch the calligraphy without losing the stylish feel of it. ( I hope it won't be a steep learning curve.)

I'm getting excited--it's going to look so good!  Keep those votes and comments coming on the best font--and if you find another that might work, pass it on to me.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Whaddaya Think?

I'm dithering pondering thoughtfully as usual and I could use your help.

I found the cabinet door carved sign of my dreams and I'm looking for the perfect "Meadowsweet Cottage" font to paint on it. You know--the one that stylishly says smiles, clematis blossoms, apple green paint, kitchen aprons, homemade soup, crocheted lace, and daffodil yellow walls.  The font that hints of Belgian chocolate and dog kisses and ruffles while kindly ignoring dirty fingernails.

I think the arch will showcase an oval with a little painted flower, then our cottage name beneath.  The maple stain isn't staying--I think creamy white will look nice against our tan walls.

The choices thus far,  in alphabetical order:
Brock


Chopin



Grenoble Outline (but it would be filled in, just saving ink here)


Handscript 
I just love the way Blogger wouldn't upload the word files, so I had to photograph the computer screen. 




Liffey


I like'em all and can't decide.  Help me narrow them down! Pretty please? With peanut-butter chunk ice cream on it?




Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Here, Chickchickchick

Warning: Cuteness ahead...

Silver Laced Wyandotte baby chicks. Are there any two words cuter than "baby chick"? Can't you just feel their sweet little fluff right now?

Barred Plymouth Rocks...be still my heart!


My evil plan:  raise them at the Queen Mother's house and steal occasionally accept some extra eggs. She'll have to deal with all the chickenpoop the added advantage of onsite high-quality manure. She has the space and free lumber from her fence replacement.  It's the perfect match.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Drip Drip Drip

Is it raining?  I can't see any actual raindrops.  It doesn't matter--welcome to headache day three.  I decided to call it the flu--lots of aches and a day of HGTV.  At least it isn't a migraine.


When I regain the use of my life I'm heading out to buy the napkin fabric in natural brown linen/cotton.  The Pottery Barn sunflower pillow has inspired me--what about a fuchsia pillow?...or a gloriosa daisy pillow?

...or a hummingbird pillow?..or a tigerlily pillow?

...or a cosmos pillow?

If I can paint just one pillow and love it...the others will follow.  I can see them so clearly in my mind and browsing my garden photos is a joy in itself on a wintery day.

I can also see the brown fabric, which has so much body to it, as a great faux-French market bag.  Maybe with white lining and a stencilled "Paris" on the front in a great script font.  Yum!

While lying in bed, aching, I'm also promising myself that I'll also stop at the Habitat ReStore conveniently located close by the fabric stash and look for a cabinet door that I can re-purpose  into a front porch sign for Meadowsweet Cottage.  Something with an arch shape that I can paint Apple Green (because that colorbug hasn't departed yet). 

Ahhhh, the joys of dreaming.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Guideposts - Week Three

You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.   ~C.S. Lewis

Friday, January 22, 2010

Long

A year ago exactly the company downsized fifteen thousand employees worldwide, one of whom was my sweetie. It's been a long year. It's not really the kind of anniversary anyone likes.

On the positive side, we've become homebodies. There's been lots of hobbies and crafts and baking. Lots of free and low-cost entertainment.

Would I like to be contributing to an economic recovery by upgrading another bathroom vanity to granite, replacing our windows with double-paned fiberglass beauties, and refinishing our oak floors? You bet!

Meanwhile I can dream. I'm assembling a portfolio of ideas and researching products. I browse lighting and plumbing websites and visit eBay regularly. I can hold internal debates about the merits of paint versus stain and vinyl flooring versus grouted tile and windows with mullions versus windows without. When the time comes and we're no longer living on a teacher's aide salary augmented liberally with cashed-in investments, I'm going to be ready!

I'm grateful for a backload of unfinished crafts and sewing projects to keep me busy. I'm happy that so many people throw out great furniture on trash day. I'm overjoyed that my walking partners tolerate my prediliction for dumpster diving. I bless my sewing machine for her uncomplaining work ethic. I have a job I enjoy, friends and family that light up our lives, books to inspire, dogs that still think we're the best friends any canine ever had, a roof overhead and delicious food on the table. We're blessed with health, love and happiness.

I've never been happier that I'm a glass-half-full person!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Just A Snowbird At Heart

Either I'm three weeks behind or else I'm eleven months ahead, 'cause every project I've worked on for the last week is either a holiday present to be (because, if recent history is any indicator, unless I start the gift making now, I likely won't have it done in time for Christmas Twenty-Ten) or it's something that I've been dying to make for myself (but refrained from finishing while I made things for other people).

So...presenting Pogonip's Winter Collection:

The beginnings of the snowflake apron. Currently unfinished while I decide what the lining will be. Do I search for a soft wintery blue print? Do I line it with the same blue? What about a white-on-white back? I'm leaning towards the white-on-white option, providing I can find one I like. I have another yard and a half of the deep blue in the workroom just in case. I couldn't resist getting more--the "hand" of this fabric is unbelievable--silky soft, quilters' quality and less than four bucks a yard. What a delight to sew on!

This tablerunner is for me! Huge grin. I don't know how long it's taken to finish. I fused the appliques ten years ago, then left them in the fabric store (!) while I was trying to find a coordinating fabric. That froze my molasses. I recovered eventually and fused a new set of poinsettias, gradually began assembling the ivory/tan/white background squares and somehow managed to almost finish blanket-stitching them (so close) before the Christmas sweatshop workshop opened for business.
If you thought the green border looked a whole lot like the blue snowflakes, you're entirely right. Another chance to work with that scrumptious fabric!

Before the border--amazing difference. Good detail of my blanket-stitching too.

More and more of our presents are getting "wrapped" in bags. They're a great way to go Green and lighten up my stash. They're also a fine excuse to buy more fabric since these Victorian Santas (who've been cluttering my workbasket for years) didn't match anything I already had. So we now possess three more bags.
This concludes my red-and-green January. I've moved on to thinking about handpainted flowers on linen pillows a la Pottery Barn.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Inspired

If you're a blogger, you've probably gotten "those" looks from friends who don't blog.  "Why," the look clearly says, "would you put that much time and effort into writing when you can...cook, play with the kids, clean the house, watch reality TV,  take a long hot bath, or sit and twiddle your thumbs instead?"

Why, indeed?  I've wondered myself about my compulsion to chronicle the small joys of life.  I've lain awake plotting tomorrow's post when I really should be falling asleep.  I've drifted into consciousness at three a.m. with an idea for a post insistently interrupting much needed R.E.M. sleep.  I've postponed projects just so I can grab my camera and snap the perfect photo.  There's no doubt about it--blogging takes time and energy.

History major that I was, in a long-ago era, I lamented the lack of source material that could have breathed color into the beige chronicles of wars and dynasties that were assigned reading.  History isn't facts and dates.  History is Story.  The story of mistakes and heroism and gambles,  of common footsoldier as well as general, of a peasant wife as well as queen.

So much of the story is lost because no one wrote it down.  My grandmother immigrated from Alsace when she was a young adult.  All by herself, she voyaged to a country where she didn't speak the language and knew almost no one.  My mind just explodes with questions.  Why her and not one of her brothers or sisters?  Was she scared?  How did she learn English? What happened on the trip?  What did she think when she saw the Statue of Liberty?  What was Ellis Island like?  How did she adjust to California?  Did she miss her mother when she birthed twin daughters while she had a fifteen-month-old son running around?  She's not around to answer those questions, so the answers are lost.

So I began to journal in fits and starts over the years--camping trips and vacation experiences and the stories of my sons' birth days.  Vague memories of growing up in a simpler safer environment, among a zillion cousins and various ranches.  I'm more than a name and the dates of the most important days of my life.  My gardening passion and love for my dogs, my cross-stitched ornaments and my quilted wallhangings, my collections of sheep and bunnies and birds, my favorite authors and the books I've read and re-read, my yellow walls and homemade bread--those small details are the brushstrokes that complete the portrait.

My off-and-on journalling evolved into blog format--easy, relatively fast, flexible, illustrated and still sporadic.  Perfect.  Eventually I began writing for more than myself and my family as I shared the Dollhouse Remodel, the Fence Rebuild, Constructing the Pond and Gardening Triumphs.  My little blog has been visited by readers from every corner of the world--from Thailand to Slovenia, from Canada to Brazil.

I wasn't the only one sharing tips and DIY experiences.  The Mommy Bloggers reached out for help and offered support to others.  Decorating blogs sprung up.  Sewing blogs.  Dog training blogs.  I know there are many more categories, but those are my favorites.  And I realized today that we blog not only to document and share, but also to inspire (even if we don't know it).

Because today I visited 525,600 Minutes, the blog of a twenty-two year old volunteering at an orphanage in Haiti for last seven months and I was inspired.  Molly Mackenzie Hightower accomplished more in her brief years than some people will in seven decades.  She wrote occasionally about the future she'll never see and made plans that she's not here to finalize.  But mostly she wrote about the children she worked with, helped, loved and was loved by.  I imagine she began her blog to keep in touch with her family and friends back in the Pacific Northwest, but she ended up leaving us words that celebrate her spirit and comfort the ones left behind.  I don't know why she died, but I know she left a legacy.  We all die.  We don't all make a difference though.  She did.

I couldn't hope to compare to her as I move through my calm and ordinary life and it would be hubris of the worst kind to imagine my teeny corner of the Blogosphere has inspired anyone to do more than cook soup.   As I log on and read through my bloglist and admire the fortitude or creativity or kindness of my blogfriends, I suspect that they don't know how much they are inspiring me.  They've made me more tolerant.  They've helped me be kinder to myself and my family.  They've helped me make my home a nicer place to live.  Little things.  But little things add up. Simple things.  But foundations are built on simple materials.

Thanks, bloggers, for taking the time to build a better world one post at a time.  And if you stuck with me through the whole philosophical rant and you're not ROTFLYAO at me, double thanks! 

Back to our usual trivia tomorrow:  my most recent crafts.  With yummy photos.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Guideposts Week Two




Sleep not, dream not; 
this bright day will not, cannot last for aye.
                                                                                                       --Emily Bronte

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Busy Bee Saturday


Kharma modeling the finished vinyl dogwash apron.

The linen/cotton napkins were finished well before dinnertime. I lovelovelove the plates that Santa brought me.

This is one time when the flash improved the photo by showing the true blue color of the napkins. They feel divinely crisp and heavy. I became a cloth napkin convert a long time ago and can't stand the feel of paper napkins now! We'll see how they hold up in the laundry--if they impress me I'll be going back for a neutral in the same fabric.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Carpe Diem Friday

Which translates to something like:  It's a early release day at school and all the streets are driveable so go shopping!

J.C. Penney outlet store: alas, nada.

Mill End Fabrics: 
  • linen/cotton blend--napkins,
  • floral vinyl--dog-bath apron, 
  • indigo snowflakes--Christmas apron, 
  • green cotton--border and backing for table runner.
(Because I don't already have enough unfinished projects.)  In my own defense I have to say that I'm ready to start sewing on both the napkins and apron and I've subjected the cottons to hot water and will iron them as soon as they come out of the dryer.  I'm on a mission.  Three day weekend!

Photos to follow.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chirp Chirp


Tuesday afternoon:  the creek began running again as the ice thawed. Is there any better sound than flowing water?


Wednesday morning after the rainstorm:  the creek is wider and muddy (and I didn't have my camera). Showers kissed by sun (thank you, weather gods!) bred rainbows over Peavine Peak.
 
Thursday morning hike: an entire covey of mourning doves (fifty or more) flushed as I approached.  I was surprised that there were that many in one place, but more astonished that they flew before I was really anywhere near.  Then I saw a kestrel cruising the area.  I always root for the raptors rather than the songbirds.  Why is that?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Consistently Country

New year, new decade, fresh slate--this is the perfect time for those of us who are style-challenged to receive some first-class advice to help us make our nest more us.  

This is a quick and easy questionnaire and, although I'm usually skeptical about how true the results are, I took this quiz last year and again today with the Same. Exact. Result.  So it must be true!  (Or at least in the ballpark.)  And Home Goods hasn't added me to their email list or contacted me in any way so there's no commitment or privacy issues here. 


This is as close to a personal decorator as I'll ever get so I copied the result into Word.  I thought it was good solid advice I can use when I'm dithering over choices.  Which is pretty much always.

I'm a Country Eclectic.  The "Country" part is no surprise.  I have no interest in formal rooms or anything trendy or avant-garde.  Give me florals, comfort, easy-breezy care and color and I'm happy.  The "Eclectic" isn't a shock either since I love the vintage hand-me-downs from family, the pieces we've chosen and the curbside freebies that've I've hauled home.  (I think eclectic is just a nicer name for dither, right?)

pogonip, you are a Country Eclectic:  you have wide-ranging interests and influences and therefore appreciate a mix of styles, periods and objects.  You love the breezy-layered look of wonderfully personal beach houses and the happy florals of English cottages. Bringing the outdoors in makes you happy:  a little chintz or ruffle or weathered furniture, urns filled with tennis rackets, colored glasses filled with cut flowers, vintage-looking, mixed teacups, and all things that give a sense of a happy, simple life.   You value comfort.  Your home is a warm and open friendly place, and you feel happiest when everyone is cared for and relaxed in your space.  Elements like pillows, throws and overstuffed furniture set the mood.

 

I totally do the colored glass and flowers, love my teacups, florals and ruffles. The urns of tennis rackets...well, I have considered using our old wooden rackets as wall art but my urns will remain planted with summer color.

Your Design Challenge:  Unify!  The good news is, you probably have many things you love and have collected, and no one would ever say your home is boring!  You've done the hard part; now you just need to pull it all together.  If your furniture seems like a mish-mash, unify it though similar upholstery or slipcovers.



It's possible that the Home Goods decorators are aliens invading our brains, because slipcovers are high on the to-do list this year and how could they have known otherwise?  The thought is that if I use neutral palettes on the upholstery (and new furniture is NOT in the budget like, for example, food) then I can contemplate new wall color this summer.  

The colors that they selected as my Happy Home favorites are all vanilla and honey and butter tones.  I love living in warm sunny colors:  I describe my favorite wall color as either melted vanilla ice cream  or banana eggnog depending on my mood.


Your Happy Place:  Think of your outdoor space, no matter how small, as rooms, an create distinct areas.  A pair of chaises flanking a little side table makes a living room.  A lantern hanging from a tree or pergola over a table and chairs makes a dining room.  A cluster of potted plants on a patio can create a cozy nook, and a single urn or bench placed at the far end can draw your eye, making a space seem longer.

I'd love my garden to be liveable space--this advice, my admiration for The Enchanted Garden (this summer I'll have to post about this incredible yard, just around the corner from us--if I don't, feel free to remind me), the Queen Mother's pond and grass dying during the fence rebuild spurred me to make many of the changes in the past two summers.  I'm still eyeing the patio edge and musing about blueberry bush hedges for the future.

All in all, fun and worthwhile.
 



If you take the quiz, let me know.  I'd love to know what decorating style you are and what you thought! 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Possibilities


Dear Wind and Rain,

Thanks for dropping by this morning.  You woke me up a little earlier than I would have liked, but I was happy to see that you brought Blue Sky and Rainbow with you. What a thoughtful hostess gift!  I hope you enjoyed your visit to the Truckee Meadows.  I understand that your sister, Snow, might visit soon?  Tell her she's welcome here anytime.

Sincerely yours,

ms. pogonip

Not to diss Oregon, which is fine for those with webbed feet, but the dogs and I all prefer fluffy snow and morning sun.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Grey Gray Gris

Dear Clouds and Fog,

Thank you for dropping by. You didn't say, so I thought I'd ask if this is just a short visit or do you plan an extended stay.

Have you seen my friend, Sunshine? If you do, please let her know I hope to see her soon.

Sincerely,

ms. pogonip

If I wanted to live in the Pacific Northwest, I'd move to Oregon. Just saying.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Guideposts - Week 1


Human felicity is produced not so much by great pieces of good fortune...as by little advantages that occur every day.  --Ben Franklin

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Vanishing Act

Remember homework? How it took endless hours to finish after school when you'd rather be playing outside and then somehow only took two minutes to correct it in class? Similarly, dinners take an hour or so to cook and get scarfed up in less than fifteen minutes. And don't even get me started on holiday dinners which are all-too-fresh in my brain cells! One day to bake pies and veggie casseroles. One day to bake our traditional egg bread and to set the table. And then an entire morning fussing (with love, but still fussing) over everything else. And how long does it take to disappear? Yeah, it evaporates pretty quickly after all that time and effort.

Christmas decorations are kinda the same way, only in reverse. It took me a mere day to deck the halls and the fireplace and the bookcases and the china cabinet and the...well, you know. (Because less is not more at our cottage. My philosophy is that if a Little is Good, then More must be Wonderful. And if More is Wonderful, then Lots will be Magical!) So, if it only took a day to put up, why does it take a whole entire week to take it all down? A week of sofas cradling sorted collections of tree ornaments, Santas, snowmen, and holiday mugs. Seven days of snowflakes, tinsel garlands and nativity sets on the dining table. The cottage looked like a flea market exploded indoors. My brain wanted to set sail for Cancun and leave it all behind for elves to tidy up.

The debut of the weekend lent me a desperate inspired burst of energy. All the Christmas goodies have disappeared into their crates and are OUT of the house. The carpet is free of tinsel and every surface is dust-free and polished. My songbird collection is cheering up my kitchen windowsill and little terra cotta angels have emerged. Paintings banished to make room for holiday wallhangings glow in their new locations.

I'll drag the dog crate away from the stairway closet tomorrow and bring out red and pink tulips (silk--it's only January after all). Meanwhile the snow and ice are melting ounce by ounce and actual plants with actual leaves are showing themselves. Today I was thrilled to notice the mini-daffodil leaves pushing their way towards sunlight along the front path...thoughts of springtime and seed catalogs have invaded my daydreams...it's so nice to stitch on flowery projects...the cherry buds are starting to swell ever so little.

The warmth and love of Christmas are lingering happily while the clutter has vanished.

In The Way

Work certainly gets in the way of life sometimes. I never got my Twelfth Day Of Christmas in. I was napping. Every day. Because kindergartners can be exhausting after two weeks away from them.

But it's the weekend and I'm back!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Eleven Ladies Dancing

Probably they ate way too much chocolate fudge, drank a couple extra cups of hot cocoa and indulged in a few too many desserts throughout December. Then they stepped onto a scale and screamed in agony at the red zone number which appeared. And decided that dance was the least painful way to remove some of the jiggle.

Which brings us to the subject of today's post. The one that should have appeared yesterday but got sidetracked by a sinus headache, that one. Anyway, resolutions. They're on everyone's mind, even those who don't make them find their thoughts wandering and pondering change and improvement. I don't have to make any resolutions this year. Not because the last decade's worth finally made me perfect but because my new apron came pre-equipped with good suggestions.

I'll apologize in advance for the fuzzy photos. I'm choosing to go with what I have instead of pursuing photographic perfection.
I'm reminded that I need to nurture my family's spirit as well as their tummies at dinnertime and I'm making an effort to promote conversation nightly.



I'm always available for a looooong phone conversation. But too often my friends are the ones who have to pick up the phone. I need to initiate contact more. I remember birthdays but am unprepared with a card or gift. Planning ahead would help. Like maybe getting things NOW TODAY instead of wishing I had something five seconds after the birthday ends. Any present is better than the perfect present that doesn't happen.


We only get one shot at life. No use pouting and moaning. Instead of blaming others, I've recognized that my attitude is controlled totally by me and I can choose how I react. Meet the more cheerful and less stressed me.

No need to elaborate here.


A good idea even if you've been married as long as I have--decades, centuries, eons. Anyway, long time and I need to keep those sweet feelings circulating.


One of us is still jobless, but cultivating gratitude for the many blessings I enjoy will keep me smiling with the happy side effect of not creating any frowny wrinkles.


Gardeners get this one.


It's nice to recognized, isn't it?!

Pretty cool that I get inspired every time I put on my apron or even walk through the kitchen where it's hung up. I'm expecting to be fabulous by 2011!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Ten Drummers Drumming

The first complete project of the New Year:That would be moi in my new apron.
Rotten light though.

Let's turn on the flash...The front.

The back.Finally I found an apron pattern that I love, love, love!

My favorite thing might be this pocket. I adapted the plain square uninspired pocket into something cuter. Would a bit of lace finish it off? Yes or no?

Now that I think of it, there's something I like even better than the pocket. But you'll have to wait until tomorrow...I'm off to watch Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince right now before it gets too late. Suspense--I'm evil that way.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Nine Pipers Piping

They sound great, but oh my gosh! Are they actually wearing kilts?

My heart is in Arizona tonight. It's attending a wedding for me. Regrettably, it's winter and my money tree is dormant and leafless in my backyard. And Southwest Air didn't tuck a free ticket into my stocking on Christmas morning. I think I'm fairly angelic, but I'm missing fluffy feathery wings so I can't migrate south like I want. Phooey! or words to that effect.

One of my favorite kids is all grown up and getting married right about now. (He was the three-year-old who told the bucket story in preschool many many years ago.) I can't believe we aren't there tonight to celebrate. I want to meet his wife, I want to hug his parents, I want to laugh with his brothers and sister and their spouses, I want to marvel at how much the kidlets have grown since last January.

A year ago we were doing exactly that at his brother's wedding. Then the job world came crashing down and we weren't able to attend the beach wedding in May either. My wonderful friend Kacee is amazing to not only survive, ,but to flourish, with all three of her sons getting married in the last 366 days. I can almost hear her fabulous laugh from here!

Am I happy for digital photos and the Net? You'd better believe it! I can't wait to see how the guys looked in their kilts and how Bucket Boy's already-gorgeous wife looked in her gown. I hope there's a photo of them looking at each other with a lifetime of love shining in their eyes. I love weddings!

Eight Maids

and they wouldn't be milking either, not at our cottage with holiday remnants needing to be taken down, packed carefully away and stored for another eleven months.

Twenty-ten! Doesn't that sound amazing? And wasn't it yesterday that we were toasting Y2K in a lovely Alsatian white that son Pierre brought back from his bike trip through Europe (including the accidental detour into Holland).

Dear two thousand and nine, I'm sorry but I won't miss you at all. I didn't really need the CE credits in family, love, friends, thriftiness and simplicity. Please, God, let twenty-ten be a good year. A year with jobs for everyone who wants one. A year free from life-changing loss. A year with security and appreciation.

Happy New Year!