(Ok, I'm not really a witch, but I probably would have been burned at the stake in 17th century Salem.
I am a big fan of midwifery, pirates, and eating a peck of dirt before you die.)

Monday, November 16, 2009

My Day

Amy over at Park City Girl asked for a peek into our daily lives. I love this curiousness. We are remarkable in our individual ways, seeking out and making beauty.

I will keep it short, as the minute details often don't tell the big story.

I get up when I have to. Some mornings it is at 6 when the 10 yr old boy needs assistance getting out the door. Sometimes it's 7 am when the 6 year old girl needs it and the boy has gone off with the husband. Sometimes, when I am very lucky, it is when my body wakes, because I am working late nights and the husband knows how it can be to work until midnight and need to sleep it off till 9-ish, say.

We are professional actors, theater actors, and have ridiculous, erratic schedules based upon actor union timetables and traditional night-time hours.

My latest craziness, the annual Panto, which takes too much time to explain here, but suffice it to say, requires as many hours as we are allowed by Actors' Equity to get up and rolling. We open Saturday.

I look at these production shots and it is impossible to tell how exhausting this work is. But it is huge and when the audience finally shows up tomorrow night we'll be even more whupped.

I get home from work late, usually 11 or midnight. I get up (see above) and usually first attend to the house. Why can't boys do this simple task? I swear it is ingrained in us ladies to make sure the house is clean/presentable/not disgusting before doing ANYTHING else. Boys are perfectly happy to go about their business without wiping counters, emptying dishwashers, or putting away clothes. Or even noticing that any of that needs doing.

I drive a lot. Usually an hour to work and back. And often another 10-15 miles picking up/dropping off kids, or soing shopping. I spend a lot of time in my car. I wish I had a picture to share right here. My transport is a 1998 Honda CRV with lots of bumper stickers on it declaring my bleeding heart liberalism. A friend once called it the PolemicMobile. It is true.

My time quilting comes in fits and starts. This past week, while we've been in tech, and therefore called all the time but not used all the time, I've had my machine and a project or two with me at the theatre, at my place in the dressing room. It makes for good time-filler (I am such a shark and cannot be still and must always be moving/working with my hands) and even better conversation starter. The musical director of this show is a knitter. We share inspirations. She loves when I bring in the new fabrics I've received. I love hearing about how she hand-dyed wool with Kool-Aid.

Monday is my day off. I spend as much time as I can in my Studio.
This was actually a shot taken to impress my husband with my leaf-raking skills (there is a giant sugar maple right next to studio that had recently dumped itself inches thick on the "lawn"). The prayer flags draw life energy into the little white shack that is my studio.
It may not look like much, but this little transformed garage has saved my creativity, my marriage, and my heart. I love spending a whole day out here, listening to NPR, drinking coffee/tea/wine (in the evenings) and losing myself in my latest project/s. Often I take a break and sit out on the wee deck and watch the wildflowers in the park that abuts our yard. It's amazing how they change every day.

Of course, there are the kid-lets. They know how important my Studio is to me, they come in and out, I keep plenty of toys and crafts in there so they love to "work" alongside me, or Griff (the 10 yr old boy) might spend time making "improvements" to his tree-house (see above, the yellow thing).

Every day for me is a new day. I can't illustrate it in a schedule, or grid, but it is always full, and usually fun. And lately, since finding my quilty-community, full of inspiration.

Carpe Diem.

Post Script: for a hilarious and honest description of my blog-mate Meg's day, see earlier post "Life As Rollercoaster" October 4, 2009.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I have to say right here and now that I am so grateful to my blogmate, Meg, for opening my eyes to the whole quilters'/crafters' blogosphere. I am so inspired and joyful when I stumble across a new blog or website, and I know I have barely scratched the surface. A friend told me that one of the very first communities formed when the Internet was born were the quilters. This doesn't surprise me. We love being a part of a community, sharing ideas, insights, and beauty.

That's just a little shout-out to my new muses, lately Amandajean at crazy mom quilts. Her "ticker-tape" inspired me for the quilt I made last month for my new niece, Cora. Amandajean was also working on this sweet wee house quilt. So I thought I'd give it a shot for my new nephew who was born just a week later!

Some "in progress shots":

I had so much fun making these itty bitty houses, each about 2 x 3 inches, and then the free motion quilting was a blast. When was the last time we were able to say that?

This is the perfect preciousness of humanity that this humble quilt is for.
Welcome, Sir Oscar Lewis Johannsen. You bring great promise to our troubled world.

And, in contrast, my very own, very grown-up brothers are due a little quilty-lovin' from their little sistah. Here's some fabric I found for that very purpose from down shadow lane and Hawthorn fabrics. I Heart Etsy.

This will be a Male Quilt (two, I hope, for both my bros), again inspired by friends I've made online. this time, Ashley at film in the fridge.

I also have to give a Sammy Sosa-like heart-kiss salute to Erica at Craftyblossom. She's my latest muse. Instant love.

I urge you to Reach out. Feel your community. Talk back. We all have beauty to share. It's all good.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Odds and Ends

I'm embarrassed to have let almost an entire month go by without a single post. But we've been busy. and I have to remind myself, blogging about my hobby is not my job. Working, and mothering, and paying bills (etc) is my job. This is just a tether to my heart. Hmmm... maybe that's why my heart has felt floppy lately...

Anyway, here's what I've been up to.

Remember those scraps I had plans for? Inspired by CrazyMomQuilts Tickertape Quilt? Well, I made my own. (Thank you so much, Amandajean, it was such a fun quilt to make!) And the baby who I was making it for did me the great favor of being a week late (Welcome to this crazy world, Cora Simone!) and I finished it just as she was being born.

Maybe it looks tedious to you, but I found it so satisfying. I think part of every quilter is an OCD sufferer. This project goes straight to that itch.

And I continued to have fun with the backing. I totally heart Ikea fabric and sheets for quilting materials!
And after I washed it it got all nubbly and perfect for a wee baby's curious fingers.

I'm sorry to see this treasure go. But I know it is going somewhere very, very special.

Happy Birthday, Cora!

I also wanted to post about the flannel quilt I made last year. This is the first autumn season I've pulled it out since making it, and it totally warmed my heart. It took me a whole year to finally finish it, probably because I knew it was for me and me alone, so it always took a back burner to the other projects for babies born, auctions, and commissions.


I had so much fun with a new kind of free motion quilting, jaggedy instead of swirly. It's not perfect, but it goes with the pattern. I cannot tell you how snuggly this quilt is. I'm already making another flannel quilt for my son. It's a great "guy quilt" option. I think new quilts for my brothers are on the list...

I've also started working on the next baby quilt for the next baby, due in a couple of weeks. I fell in love with this other project of AmandaJean's, Happy Little Community,
which she found here
and I just couldn't help myself.
I've actually gotten a lot further along now, and will post more pics soon. It is really so sweet, and although I am a little nervous about the quilting, since so much white will highlight the quilting, I have faith in the loveliness of these little houses, and the ideas in Mindful Meandering, the free-motion quilting book that has been my bible lately. Link to that to come.

And last, but not least, I promised a pic of the top I made after I made dresses for my daughter and her friend. Here 'tis, and I look forward to wearing it again when I'm not rehearsing and sweating so much.

It's hanging off an old vine I helped clear out of the park that abuts our yard, another reason I love where I live.
it is so important to find peace in creativity, in sunlight, in nature, and in the everyday beauty right in front of us.

this is not new thinking.

just a gentle reminder.

blessings. peace. simplicity.

embrace it.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

a well earned nap, and a skirt to boot!

Remember those linens I found at (sotto voce) JoAnn's?

Actually, I only went to find something that might go with the pale green linen I already had (former very wide-legged pants that had lost its elastic and made me look huge anyway), but when I found that awesome print, the skirt project veered in a whole other direction.

anyway... after a couple of setbacks (never try to follow a pattern late at night), sleeping on it, waking multiple times with ideas on how to fix it,

and then toiling away in the sunny studio (note coffee AND tea mugs),

I finally got a finished product:

It goes nicely with the autumn, don't you think?

The sun today is giving me multiple lighting options.

Sometime when I'm less tired I want to write about making clothes from patterns. This experience tested me. And I've had plenty of pattern experience, but every one seems to be written in a slightly different language, and that will be the thesis for my rant.

So, now, a nap (hopefully) before wearing new skirt on a date with my husband while the kids are off with their Tanti. She's teaching them how to be more helpful around the house:

Love something that is linen today. the weather is ripe for it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Scrap Pile...

...of Life.

I'm warning you right now this post is metaphorical.

So, here are a few scraps I'm working on during this one week of unemployment

1. Finishing Erin and Aaron's wedding quilt.

I should mention they got married over 15 months ago.

Prayer Flags offer Peace for a happy marriage.

You know the first cat to jump on a quilt means good luck?

Of course, Lucy Blue wears her own natural quilt.

2. I picked up some linen today at Joann's Fabrics (don't judge me). I am making a skirt. I'm working backwards: I've been inspired by the pattern first, then the fabrics. That's how the scraps of Life work sometimes. Intention first, then Impulse. Imagine that?

Yum Yum.

I would just drape them willy-nilly all over me and call it a day but I would embarrass my kids, I'm sure.

So that is one skirt, two quilts (still binding the auction quilt-god help me and let be over already) oh! and the quilt that inspired this post, and, well, so many other things...

3. My Inspiration today comes from Crazy Mom Quilts blog, her quilt called "ticker tape". I'm not blog-savvy enough to insert here a link to this quilt. (Meg is--link inserted!)


ok, I don't know what that will do, but that is the link to this quilt I. Will. Make. I've already started gathering the scraps.
There are two babies being born in my extended family this month. I may be sorry for embarking on such a labor intensive quilt for a baby that could be here today, but, remember, I am inspired.

By Scraps.

I've noticed that the scraps of Life can be just as beautiful as the scraps in my bin. Sometimes the scraps add up to something way beyond the sum of their parts, something unexpected, inspirational. Sometimes the scraps are just beautiful on their own, and may never add up to anything else than their own individual, teeny, tiny beauty. I need not elaborate here.

We shall see what these scraps of mine bring. Meanwhile, never overlook your own scraps. They may lead to something remarkable.

Then again, they may not. No worries.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I can't help it. It is Primal. So deep in the fiber of my being. This spit of land jutting out into the sea is my soul. It is the only god I know.

I just spent three days here on Cape Cod, where I was born and raised. Most of my time this week was spent alone, in glorious fall weather, clear, cool and fresh.

I know it bothers some people who are close to me when I call this "Home", because I've actually lived in the Philadelphia area longer than I lived (full-time) in Chatham. But this is the water and the sand and the sky of my youth, my learning, and I'm going to take this new-fangled blogging opportunity to display a pictorial collage of my home, my gut, my self.

This is what one might expect of a mother who is trying to encourage the love of this place to her kids.

And it working, I dare say.

But this is the beauty that sends me reeling, touches someplace so simple, yet so profound.The Green, green ivy in the clear, clear sun.The Hydrangeas, draining their color into the last stroke of the autumn fall.
The Last Fall teeny tiny Rose The walkway my mother laid 40 years ago. What a cool-shaped leaf.

And then, of course, there is the Lake.
The water of my youth. There is probably more of that lake water flowing through my veins than anything else.

Today I found some surprise raspberries. I love raspberries, finding them on the vine. The feel of one coming cleanly off it little nipple. The look of them in a bowl. I planted these raspberry vines about 7 years ago for my dad. He really loved raspberries. He had no idea how to take care of them, and for years they produced a slight handful at best. This weenie 1/4 pint of raspberries I found made me do crazy things, like take portraits of them in unlikely places.Surprise!This way to the berries
straight and roundthey go together, somehow.

Perhaps I will never be able to explain it. Maybe that is my Lesson in Life. What touches me and inspires me about my home turf is my story, one that belongs to me only, and the more I let it feed me and make me smile on the inside, and the less I try to explain it away or teach it or promote it, the Better.

A few parting shots.

Summer leftover

It was a good one.

October fishing. Why not?

This is not a cat. It is a Cat Stump.
In honor of all the crazy and lovely cats who roamed this sandy little corner of Indian Hill Road. May you walk with the natives now.

Go out and really look at the nature of your homeland. We will all be much closer then.