Friday, December 28, 2007

if only

every day could be like this. . .

pj's until late in the afternoon. leisurely walks. games and play and crafts, one after the other. imbibing in all finery. no reason to rush. cats curled up and content. movies. song. books. long stretches of time with my loves.

we've been enjoying our vacationing. how about you?

Monday, December 24, 2007

and to all a good night

wishing you all peace, warmth, inspiration and good health in the waxing light of the new year.

behold the tinker tree, inspired by noddyboom

Sunday, December 23, 2007


I call upon the blinking bright golden crepe
the open vocal channel
eye paint and paisley print
the prance of chance

I call upon singular insistence
a peaceful co-existence
the artful conjure of creative commons
a stripey stitched up knit of longings

I call upon the sealed up urn
the waft of pitch
the glittery spell
only an urn can tell

I call upon the health of years
the bright wet paint of sudden tears
spring, soil, flame, lyre
fanning plummage of all desires

outstretched limb
wooly bracken
trembling herb
haughty blossom

to seek to keen for splendor often

cakes and ale

last night i spent a fine evening with molly at beer run. for those that aren't yet in the know, beer run is a fine new establishment in belmont, that is not only a gourmet grocery store, wine cellar, cafe and pub, but an exceptional eating establishment. molly and i split two entrees and i'm telling you, i practically licked my plate clean, it was that good.

afterwards we drank a couple of beers, ate fudge & cookies, and played boggle. it was quite a nice lead into the darkest night.

when i got home i lit my floating candle.

today after an appointment, errands and some laundry, i went downtown and took my daily walk. so many lovely houses in the neighborhoods near the downtown mall, decked out in their holiday finery.

and then i saw the movie, i'm not there. i thought it was deliciously odd. awesome acting, music, cinematography and sets, not without some camp and humor. even though it was chock full of big hollywood names, it was very creative and off beat. i'm sure i missed a lot of the more subtle and esoteric connections to bob dylan's songs and life and myth, but i stayed mostly afloat and was carried by the sheer beauty of it all. i can't wait to see it again! cate blanchett and charlotte gainsbourg are worth the price alone. and you must stay through the credits damn it (i was the only one left in the theater after ten seconds of credits)!!! you musn't miss sonic youth's version of i'm not there nor antony and the johnson's version of knockin' on heaven's door. yes!!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

walking into the light

yeesh, i thought this would be a relaxing time but it's been pretty hectic. my doula world is keeping me busy with phone calls and appointments, which is a good thing.

on wednesday i had a follow-up appointment at the herbal clinic. i was told i need to make walking my life's work. i'm out of shape. my spleen is stagnant. and the fact that my legs were so sore after my last hike that i ended up in the ER, is a sign that i need to get into better shape. so yesterday i took a three mile walk. i left at sunset because i love sunset. i love how all the lights come on in the houses at that time so you can see into other people's worlds. and at this time of year there is all the christmas kitsch and color to appreciate as well. it was a very refreshing constitutional. i walked to the grocery store and bought a pint sized bottle of sierra nevada. hahaha. what a way to get in shape. i didn't drink it out of a paper bag while walking home or anything. in fact, i didn't drink it at all. i got so busy when i arrived home that i forgot about it. but still i thought it was funny that the goal of my power walk was to buy a bottle of beer at the grocery store.

i'm almost finished with the sewing basket for my special little someone. if she is reading my blog from wisconsin she must stop NOW. but i think she's too busy rolling in the snow with her dear cousins to be looking at her mom's blog. so here is a preview.

i'm not so sure about the fabric combo in my patchwork, but my fabric supply is rather limited. i haven't yet fallen into the habit of buying super amazing fabric online, because, well, it's often not cheap, and i don't yet have the confidence that i wouldn't destroy it. but soon, very soon. anyhow, i think tashi will be pleased with this. her favorite color is red, and i think the cows will make her laugh. all i have left to do is sew the button on and attach the lid with the leather cord. sure beats spending $40 and up for a manufactured sewing basket.

so is tonight the longest night, or tomorrow? this always throws me. solstice happens around 1:00 am on the 22nd, so is the night preceding it or following it the longest night? i just don't know. we usually light floating candles on the longest night, focusing on what might brighten our world as the days begin to grow longer. we also make orange clove pomanders; we talk about the year that has passed and the year to come while doing so. the smell of our memories and wishes fills our home for several weeks. i also usually clean out the frig, and throw all the old food outside for the hungering animals. books appear around the house; the fairies deliver them to tashi. solstice is a time for storytelling.

this year i'm alone on solstice. so some of this stuff will happen on christmas eve. and some of this stuff i'll do alone. which is fine. and i'm not entirely alone, because this evening molly and i are meeting for dinner and a beer (i swear, i don't have a drinking problem) at her partner's new place of business.

i also received the wonderful news that my dear friend laura had her baby girl at 4:46am this morning. i am thrilled beyond words.

i'm wishing you all a thoughtful, bright, peaceful solstice.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

a song to bring you home

i am all alone until christmas eve. i have a client who is due any day, so must stay in town. i was feeling pretty blue right before tashi and dan left for wisconsin, but am now sinking into the solitude, an old familiar friend. it will be a productive, restful time before christmas, and also a time to indulge:

they will be here before santa is, and until then, there are cookies to be baked, solstice to be contemplated, projects to be completed, movies to watch, naps to be had, and cats to cuddle.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

trying to remain cheerful

i'm feeling a little funky today. just one of those days. it didn't help to watch michael moore's sicko last night. i laughed i cried i yelled. sometimes i really don't know why we choose to remain in this country.

here are some cheerful visions to fuel my denial.

delicious banana bread from a co-worker, in one of these super cute lil' red pans.

two boxes of a variety of these vintage glass baubles for $2

two of these silly dancers for 20 cents

i don't know why, but i love these mini santa cups. they were 10 cents each and have a date of 1960 stamped on the bottom.

this peppermint stick fudge will blow your mind. and your teeth. and your waistline. tashi and i made it with this recipe.

i have never documented my christmas so wildly before. but the (temporary) joy of some sparkles and twinkles and treats is not to be denied.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

downtown holiday photo essay

turtle time

i made a wee soft turtle

it took hours for me to complete this. i had to start over once or twice because i seem to have a problem reading directions. making small stuffedies is a challenge.

i'm going to give it to my nephew tucker, who will be two in june. the pattern is from bend the rules sewing, a book that rocks the beginner sewer's world.

next, tashi's sewing basket, for which i am going to make a lid from this tutorial.

Friday, December 14, 2007

mat kins

it is a day that has started off well. fresh squeezed orange juice, granola, and the completion of a project. placemats & napkins:

this was the sort of poject i would crank on. and then put away for two weeks at a time. i had many frustrating moments trying to make a straight line. and my biggest problem was corners. the corners of the mats and napkins were several times thicker than any other part of the pieces and my sewing machine could not handle it. is it the machine? the needle? me? i don't know. but almost every corner of each placemat was an issue, and the napkins too. usually the fabric would stop moving through the machine when i got to the corners, so the needle would just make several stitches in one place. i worked with it but sloppiness resulted. sometimes the needle couldn't even penetrate the thick corners and in one instance the needle just broke.

here are some terribly sloppy corners, so that you can share in my beginner sewer woe:

there was cursing and frustration and some sadness too, but despite it all, it's still a gift made with love and determination. i hope the special someone likes it.

i found several yards of the colorful fabric at the thrift store. i was indifferent at first, but for $3 figured i should just go for it. it's called chestnut calico a screenprint by f. schumacher & co. it's a really nice weave, linen i'm pretty sure. i guess it's probably a reproduction of an antique. but i think it's good for things like place mats and napkins and maybe a soft tree. i made two more of those last night, in this mixy matchy fabric:

those ones are for a trade, along with a beadflake.

i have a few more projects to go. but i also took some off my list. i realized i felt a lot better about the holidays when i didn't have so many handmade projects ahead of me. i'm just not there yet with the efficiency and motivation. when i feel like sitting down at my sewing machine it is incredibly meditative and pleasing. especially when pandora is doing the right thing with the background music, like it is this morning. and the sunglight is passing through the windows in just such a way. but when i don't want to sit at the sewing machine, yet have to because of a deadline, the joy falls away. and i'm not ready for that yet.

some highlights from this morning's pandora: vetiver, iron & wine, elliot smith, antony and the johnsons, devendra banhart, cat power, beth orton, animal collective, the new pornographers, jose gonzalez, rufus wainwright, and a heartbreaking version of neil young's helpless by a group i've never before heard of called needle.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

makey a beaded flakey

here is a project that tashi and did tonight: beaded snow flakes!

you will need:
pipe cleaners
string, twine or fishing line

1) take three pipe cleaners and cut them in half, or use them whole if you want big flakes. we opted for the smaller versions, and they were pretty heavy as is.

2) bunch evenly together your three pipecleaners, or three smaller half-pipecleaners, and then twist them a couple of times at the center, so they hold together.

3) fan out their arms so they are like flakes, or stars.

4) now slide beads onto them. you can either completely cover each limb with beads, or, you can make a little twist in the pipecleaner after each bead, if you want some space between beads. tashi covered her limbs, mine had spaces.

5) leave a little space at the tip of each limb. you can loop the pipe cleaners at the tips so the beads don't slide off.

6) you can curve the limbs a bit, like tashi did, or leave them straight.

7) attach a string, or twine, or fishing line, and hang. in the window. on the tree. from the ceiling. they are so pretty!

dresser trunks

i forgot to tell you what tashi and i did last saturday. we went to the family art jam at the uva art museum. this is a great program the museum offers where you get to learn about and explore exhibits with your child, and then make a project based on an exhibit.

the featured exhibit of this art jam was the dresser trunk project. this was a really funky, 3-d exhibit that combined sculpture, found object, photography and language to show and tell stories about travel, history, black culture and segregation along the southern crescent rail route, from new york city to new orleans. it was very cool and i want to go back to peek into peep holes and pull out moving slabs.

the project was to decorate our own little dresser trunk, and base it on a place we've been, or would like to go. i did india, because, i am still obsessed with the place. tashi did cyprus. amongst the craft supplies there were wooden spools, glass beads, pom poms, felt squares, stickers, markers and lots of magazines.

we really didn't have enough time to complete our projects, but we brought our little dresser trunks home and hopefully they will continue to grow and fill with our visions and memories of these two wonderful places that we've traveled to and from.