Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sunday past

Last Sunday seems very far off now, but still, I have a few pictures to share. These are from a walk we took on Sunday in some very pretty neighborhoods. I must have a thing for brick houses. Does anyone know what his vine is? I really have no idea. One last shot of this street. It is so, so pretty. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

GD: Saturday

I feel that I should clarify that the visiting Grandparents are not MY grandparents, but are my daughter's. However, for the same reason that my own parents  have evolved into Grammy and Papa, and my sister is Auntie Bethy, so shall our visitors henceforth be called Grama D and Grampa T. 
Grama D and Grampa T arrived with little fanfare, but many hugs. The snuggly bowls were given and properly appreciated by all. I promised Grampa T that the next yarny ;) gift would be a knitted cap for his cold head. 
Saturday came. Grama D and I snuck off for a day of shopping, just the two of us. What fun! We went to my favorite local shopping center, the Fifth Street Market, and spent  about 2 hours in the kitchen store alone. We oohed and adored just about every object in the place, admiring its color, its shape, and even at times its usefulness- as I think that only women can really do. D bought me the most wonderful kitchen soap. See above. 
Zucchini Blossom and Truffle. I have not taken my pig out lately for a good truffle sniff, but I have to say that I truly doubt that they smell anywhere near as amazing as this particular soap. I could be wrong, but I doubt it. 
By then as you can imagine, we were hungry, and for my part, desperately in need of caffine. 
Which was no problem.
I love this shopping center.
While we were feasting, a sparrow stopped at the cafe for a quick snack. 

He didn't stay long. 
Neither did we.
By this time we had both noticed the ribbon/button/embroidery smorgasbord next door. 
This is a really great little shop. It is full of color and beautiful ideas for all kinds of stitchery. But this is no time to stop and smell the buttons! We still had to make a trip to my favorite Local Yarn Store before the day was really and truly complete. I found some lustrous cotton yarn for some stripy pillows. The colors are perfect! A wonderful way to part with some un-birthday money. What a gorgeous day. We stuffed ourselves full of color, and sniffed out all of the very best sniffs. Lucky, lucky us. Sigh.
Next up: GD: Sunday

Monday, April 27, 2009

Grandparenty Days: Friday

Whew! What a lot! First there was the pre-visit scurry, and then the pleasant bustle of visiting, and then straight off to work again on Monday- Monday with its Mondayness, and more than its own fair share of work.
So now I get to sit down with my grown up (that means spiked) hot chocolate and relive the all of the fun.
We will start at the beginning, and when we get to the end, we'll stop. 
Friday was a hurry and jump about day, mostly because I had a last minute project to complete. For complete, read: wait several hours for project to dry in front of heater. 
Here they are before the felting.
 Here they are, all sweet, felted and dry. 
This project was a first for me. They were super easy, and after a few tries I could make them just the size I wanted. These are crochet, with double strands of wool worsted. As instructed, I tossed then in a hot washing machine to felt. They did not felt quite as well as I had expected, but the crochet gives them such a nice texture that I did not mind. 

All of that waiting gave me plenty of time to clean house, and really it there anything better than a clean house? Ok, If you run the numbers, there are many things that are actually better than a clean house.  There is stepping out of a hot shower into a clean house and having someone hand you a mug of coffee, a chocolate scone, and a good book; but we are living in the real world. So a clean house is pretty good, and when it is all clean I like to wander from room to room and bask in the coziness of it. Then I like to wander from room to room and enjoy the nothing-to-tidy-up feeling of it. Pretty good, right?

Next up Grandparenty Days: Saturday.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Words, words, words. Part 1?

I have never understood the compulsion to surf the net for hours upon hours. What could possibly be more fascinating than actual life? But then, a friend of mine started Stop Looking out my Window, and even though she lives too far for daily visits, I get to visit her daily. I get to see the comings, and goings and growing ups. There was a link in a list to Attic 24 , and Me too! I want to read about Lucy's lovely life in the UK with her colors, and her stripy crochet, and all of the crafty giddiness with which she brightens her world, and by sharing them, my world too. 
Then I spot that both my far away friend, and  lovely Lucy in the UK like to get Cozy with Posie. I know that both of these women have a particular sense of just what is special so I take a peek, to see what they see there. Her little blog world is full of craft and comfort, and Me too! I want to get cozy too! By now I am completely addicted. I click from Posie's Artists who Blog, and read Alicia Paulson tell about her experience with writing her blog. She managed to put into words much that I had been thinking or trying to think. 
 I want to be a part of this community of people with so much to share. Through their words and pictures I have realized that remembering, and taking the time to record the small pieces can make life; and it is the same life with its dishes and laundry, blown tires, and work-for-a-paycheck; somehow this can make it more. More beautiful, more interesting. Just More. The details don't seem so small anymore. They are the pieces that make each day more than the sum of its parts. 

I keep my friends bookmarked, and I visit them each day blissful in the knowledge that there are more kindred spirits out there than I used to think. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Time to Pay the Piper

Wednesday. Four beautiful days of sunniness, and now the clouds are creeping in. Those fat drops are going to come splashing down and destroy my tulips, and wash all of the sweet blossoms off the fruit trees until there is nothing left but bare trees and pink stains on the street. I just know it. But I suppose we don't get all of the gorgeous green for free. 

Wednesday is also one step closer to Thursday, and Thursday is one step closer to Friday. Not to hurry along our days in a taking-for-granted sort of way, but Friday we have company coming! Special grandparenty kind of company that is special in a way that only grandparenty visits can be. In the meantime there are projects to be done, and goodies to be prepared, but more on that later. 

Monday, April 20, 2009

New Yarn

I'll admit it. I have been just the teeniest bit nervous to really delve into my new yarn. When I finally got to start on my first crochet, I shied away from experimenting with "special" yarn and started instead on the back of the pillow with some stashed acrylic. Having finished that, I was actually quite excited to start on the front. 

I chose the fingering weight Risata in the first place for its vibrant colors, it delicate nubbly texture, and for those magic words "machine washable" and it is truly all that I had hoped. It is very delicate to work with and slightly stretchy like candy coated spiderweb.  I am hooked :) on this super fun yarn. Next comes stripes!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Sunny Day Journal

By late August, I have grown weary of the sunshine. The grass is dry, and flowers are mostly done. I am ready for sweater days and school supplies. Today is the opposite of that. Absolutely everything is lovely, and I can't decide whether to pull up the weeds that are currently bigger than I am, or just collapse on the grass. The first sunny days of Spring are unspeakable precious, and for such a day to fall on a Sunday... 
There are tulips, which should never be taken for granted. The bulbs that I plant with such care, the beautiful white ones with garish red strips last only one season. But the flowers in solid colors come in ones and twos, and always catch me by surprise as a flash of color in all the green, and I think, "How did that get there?"   The Euphorbia is one of those controversial plants that forever remain one of my favorites as a result of its sheer tenacity in the face of the driest heats, and the poorest soils. Most Euphorbia is meant to be pulled up before it can smother more tender plants, but there is a whole range of the special beauties that will reward you with legions of lime and purple stalks in gorgeous masses. They swarm with bees, they smell rather awful, and when you cut them back after that first gorgeous bloom they will cover your arms with smelly, sticky white sap. BUT! Soon after that one trim, they will come right back and make another bountiful bush that will last all season long- even into that August heat. 

So which will win, the weeds or the grassy sit? I think today is a day of the rare Happy Medium. There seems to be plenty of time for both. The weeds will never truly all be pulled, but neither will I spend the whole day pulling them.  Madison has a little friend to play with today, and they keep each other occupied in a restful and noisy sort of way. There is time for painting my toes in my favorite shade of brown, that sparkles in the sunlight like bowlfuls of diamonds. There is time to notice that the Wisteria has hundreds of buds as big as my daughters hand. In a few weeks they will droop all over the gnarly branches in purpley clusters. I can wait. Today there is time. 

Friday, April 17, 2009

Singing with a Hairbrush

I am so excited that I am practically giddy. Today I get to be home, and clean my cozy little house, and sit and finally put to use the crochet skills that I have been slowly learning in 10 minute intervals. I may even learn granny squares! There will be laundry, sure. But there will be books too, and yarn, and if that is not enough, there may be a walk in the rain. There is no sunshine yet today, but that is not stopping me. The drizzle is only making the inside an even more peacely place to be. 
My mother found this mug amidst some memorabilia and other clutter while she was partaking in one of our favorite pastimes: cleaning and organizing. To tell the truth, only organizing falls  into that category, but the two go together, so there you are. 
I can remember drinking my milk and turning the writing on the mug into a little tune. I wonder if I really sang it aloud, or if it was a song in my head alone. 
My Maddie would sing it aloud for sure. She would sing it while drinking her milk, and then she would turn it into a pop ballad, dress up, and sing it in the living room with a hairbrush in her hand, standing on the toy box, and looking in the mirror. She really knows how to live. 

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Thursday is a special day, because Thursday is my Friday and I get to stay at home with my little family which is one of my very favorite things. Tonight, as a reward for being so good all week (I am not sure how I was so good exactly, but I am sure that I deserve a reward) I am going to curl up in bed with my new book and have myself a good read until a fall asleep. I am reading The Little Giant of Aberdeen County.  Isn't the cover just fabulous? I would read it for the cover alone. A book with a cover like that simply cannot be bad. 
Reading in bed is a special treat. It rates right up there with chicken noodle as a cure all. Or a glass of wine with Oreo cookies, or so says a very good friend of mine. I have also heard that pizza and a movie can do the trick. What is your cure-all? 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Two Red Coats

Not always, but sometimes, and more often than you might think, it it all about a red coat.

Growing up

My Maddie and I came to an important agreement the other day. She felt that she needed more "grown up things" and she had a list. We narrowed the list down a bit and came up with two grown up things.
One: She gets to stay up until 8:00pm instead of 7:30. The catch is that she must be ready for bed all on her own with no reminding by 7:30. If she cannot handle this important responsibility then she forfeits the privilege of a late bedtime.  

Thus far this works out in my favor. I don't even have to say "Brush you teeth." That is part of the deal. I like it.

Two: She gets to pick out her own clothes for school, as long as they are weather appropriate. Few things bother me as much as little girls coming to school in shorts and flip flops in the snow. 

I have noticed that she wears the same t-shirt rather more often that I would choose, but the house is a bit more peaceful. She seems just a small bit happier, and maybe just a little more grown up.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Oregon Spring

Some days it isn't easy. Some days it is a little easier. Today it was a little easier than say, yesterday. Despite the fact that I am so tired that it has taken me 4 tries to write each of these sentences, I am still holding onto hope that I will have the chance to start on the stripy pillows that I have been looking forward to for 2 days. 
This morning we woke up to a light covering of snow all over the yard. Not enough for a joyous snow day, but quite enough for the gorgeous new coat I found at my favorite thrift shop. It is very hard to feel blue when you are wearing a red coat that comes down to your knees and has a hood just like something from a French film. There were also some red beets, though that happened later after the working, and the after snow had long since melted. 

Also, it is Magnolia tree time, and I do love Magnolias. There they are one minute bare branches, and the next they are covered with perfect blossoms like dozens of white handkerchiefs or a bouquet of gigantic tulips.

So you see I am trying very hard ignore the tired after-work feeling and enjoy the good home-from-work moments. 

There is also the thought that tonight I still might have time to learn to crochet round and round.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I Love the Weekend

I was SO productive this weekend. Not only did I finish both of my knitting projects, but I managed Easter at two houses as well. Easter was fine, but back to the knitting projects. The poncho is done, and very cute (see below) and the baby blanket is finally finished. Baby blankets are sweet, and soft, and they are special; but they do take a very  long time to knit. Now the baby blanket is done and ready to move on to its sweet, and as yet unborn new owner. I am ready to move on to a fun new project. I am thinking I might take up the hook, and go to work on some fun stripy pillows in babydoll and clementine Risata yarn for my Maddie. Anyone else ready for the weekend?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Still Life with a Ceramic bird

Happy Easter! This lovely scene has been sitting on my table begging for a picture. Isn't it delicious! Here's wishing you too many deviled eggs, and quite a few chocolate covered marshmallow bunnies. 

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Fine Arts

Being as we are, on a quest for the Idyllic. And declaring as we now have, our intention of drowning ourselves in domesticity. We are off to the park, where there is an Easter egg hunt organized by Someone Else. This Someone Else is important. It means that you do not have to do jack squat but show up and participate. It may be some people's joy in life to organize activities for other people to enjoy, I however believe that there is BIG FUN ( as my favorite SPQ would say) to be had in the fine art of doing jack squat. 

Times passes...
There are eggs. Many eggs. Of the colored plastic variety. There are children. Many children. Of the loud, crowded variety. They resemble nothing so much as locusts. There are no more eggs. 

BIG FUN has been overestimated. The Idyllic has been sought, but not yet found. 

I think that I will go knit something now.

A jaunty poncho recently knitted for my little Maddie. A splash of color to keep up the theme. 

Friday, April 10, 2009

Hue and Tint

I live in a house with two red doors and a black cat. There is a shiny black floor that took a week to plaster and paint after we ripped out the old carpet. The paint smelled like turpentine, and drove us out of the house for two days. In my daughter's room the floor is pink, with white checkers, and there are five mirrors in the living room. This by way of introduction. But really I think that the best way to do this is to get right to the stories.

I have been thinking a lot about color lately. Well, really I always think a lot about color. I design things for a living. I think a lot about fonts, layout, and correct spelling as well.
I made purple potatoes for dinner.

 If you have not had purple potatoes, you should. As soon as possible. They are literally ten times better than normal potatoes. Plus, they keep their color after you cook them, which is just fun.  I also made a version of coq au vin so the entire dinner was really quite purple. I say a "version" because I wikipediaed coq au vin, and I don't use old rooster. 

We also colored Easter eggs today. We like the old fashioned, no frills dye. Funny how it never gets old. The little pills dissolving in the vinegar, like so many circus bound Alka-seltzer, and the same sugary combinations of colors marked with little smudgy finger prints that you can never quite avoid. Hours of fun, and not really that much mess or clean up. My kind of art project. My 8 year old seemed to like it too.