Sunday, February 27, 2011

Home. Home? Home.

Yesterday we helped our best friends move. They are moving from an adorable cottage in the high Foothills to an adorable cottage in the small downtown area. We came by to pick up their oven (yes, the stove saga continues) and stayed to help with box moving and for moral support. As the movers slowly cleared the house and basement of its contents we talked and had a beer and lugged tote boxes into waiting piles. The boys played quietly in the newly vacant rooms and corners and it made me realize we likely never be inside this home again. No more warm dinners in her red kitchen, I would never pee in the odd corner bathroom with its original wall radiator, no late nights on the patio, sipping wine and talking in the fresh almost mountain air.
SM Home

In the past I have lived in an old tenement apartment in NY, a Victorian home that was once a brothel in Portland, an old adobe home built in the 20's.
Home Past
They all had odd angles and old features and many previous residents. I slept in those homes, sheltered and warm, made meals for friends and spent days and days of my life calling them Home with a capital H. Yesterday was a reminder of the transience of Home, a realization that there is very likely other warm bodies eating and sleeping where I once did, living there right now today.

We have decided to spend the next 10 months tinkering with this home we now have. We will shed and tweak and paint and add new trim and molding and a deck and and and. We planned on doing all of these things before we thought we might move but it is nice to have a push. The often discussed wine cabinet is on its way, the paint colors picked.

I shudder a little when I think of the sheer amount of stuff our friends had to box and move yesterday and I know when we do move my frustration with the sheer amount of stuff we have will mirror hers. It made me resolve to try to do a monthly clean and purge so that down the line when the day does come, the pain of collecting and relocating might be just a bit less.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the logistics of what we wish to do; sell, relocate, buy. It seems impossible; to leave this home, to find the right place and buy it before another, to make it work. Dreaming is scary.

I explained it like this to my Momma the other day :: There is nothing terribly wrong with where we live now; it has beautiful mountains and our home makes me happy and our wonderful friends live here. But we found where we, Tim and I, want to grow old. We found the place that speaks to Us and it happens to be hundreds of miles closer to my siblings and at the base of the most beautiful mountain lake in the world and a place where we can afford land. And that makes Dreaming good.

So for now it is just a step by step process. Baby steps to the painted walls, baby steps to the new front doors, baby steps. I will just have to have faith in that. And the friend that moved? Well, now I can visit her in her new cottage home miles closer to us and we can scheme together just how to make this move North work because they have decided they are coming with us.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Thought I would share a few fun things as I try to get back on the blogging horse.

Patchwork. I started this a long time ago, called it my Summertime Pretty Patchwork quilt to be. All those squares became a little overwelming so I put it away. After finishing the boys' quilt, all of a sudden, it seemed doable. So out it came. Happy to say the quilt top is almost there and I have a great thrifted vintage sheet for the backing so a nice Summer time quilt may actually be on the bed by Spring.

365. It continues to make me happy. Happy happy happy. I forgot how great it is to takes pictures. I also realize I see the world in saturated technicolor. No matter what, I can't seem to edit the color that seeps into almost every frame.
365 :: 52

Painting. The house is getting a makeover slowly but surely. I spent a few days with pots of sample paint, swatching over every wall and hall and surface. The paint is mixed and wall prep is on its way and now we just have to remain vigilant and watch the ruffians. Today I found they had lugged a gallon into the house, had my fine new Purdy brush out and were in the process of puzzling out how to use the paint key that the folks at Home Depot gave them for being such great fellows at the paint counter. (Not all the colors are going on the wall, just the grey and red and the rest of the place will stay in the Navajo white color scheme).
Painting Time

Favorite new app ever. ToonPaint. Take any photo and convert it into comic greatness. This is perfect for two little boys obsessed with Superman, Batman and Spidey.
Comic world
Comic world
Comic world
(FYI : I don't think Mace is intentionally giving us the finger, he prefers his middle digit for pointing and such. Certainly makes him look too cool for school though.)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Finished Quilt

Last week I picked up a patient that lives in the old historical home section of our town. The home is all beautiful old moulding and detailed finishing and as I walked back to his bedroom I peeked (as I always do) through doorways and around corners. The first spare bedroom held a high bed covered in a huge wedding ring quilt, crisp and colorful in the window light. Another room held more quilts and he himself was covered by a crocheted granny square blanket, the pattern one of black borders with bright centers. It made me happy to be there despite the fact that I was there to see a sick person.

Last week I also finished my first real quilt. In the past I have dabbled, a small child quilt here, some blocks that never came to be a quilt top there. But this one was special. I started it in Tahoe, alone in a quiet condo sewing away at the blocks that became a top that became a sandwich and finally ran in long lines through my little machine .... and became a quilt.
Quilt :: Done

There is something so very satisfying about seeing it. It is big, enough to cover their queen bed. It is a little wonky and when I washed it, it shrunk quite a bit more than I realized.
Quilt :: Detail
It is simply pieced and simply quilted. I was nervous as I ran it through the machine, the long lines of stitching wavering at times, my arms wrestling and tired by the end.

I pieced the binding and watched some new favorite shows as I hand sewed the back. And then at last I laid it on their bed and waiting for some window light to capture the end result.
Quilt :: Bound

But the best part was the way my boys received it. Aware that it was made for them, looking at the littlest detail because there are wheels and stop lights involved. Hiding and peeking and jumping and pulling on it until I was laughing harder than they.

365 :: 51
Quilt :: Love
Quilt :: Play

I asked the wife of my patient about the quilt. It was a gift to them 37 years ago. Someone pieced and stitched it together for them and it followed them through their long lives, cherished and as beautiful as the day it was given.

That is why I make things. To find a way to express a moment made timeless, to place love, to give it a feel and a location. To remember that we are designed to create, that it fills more than just the maker.

And now that I have unlocked this newest way to make, somewhat secure int he knowledge that I can actually quilt a queen size on my little cheap machine, well, it feels like the sky is the limit.
Now, back to those 400 or so 3.5 inch squares I have been trying to transform.

Happy making, friends, however it is that you do so in your days.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

LOVE :: Making Valentines

Always a wrench to be thrown into the works .. now we are dealing with a fevered ear-aching really sad little boy (with another one on his heels, I am quite sure). Ah, sick season. I should learn not to declare anything any more. But I can still muster up a little LOVE.


A few months ago I was sucked into the vortex that is Pinterest. If you are not there yet, I do apologize for enabling you. It is super good but a super time suck so I have tried to limit my time there. The best thing about it is the sheer amount of wonderful and doable stuff that crops up among my group of people. I found a simple Valentine idea a few months ago and because I could see the visual 'pin', I actually went back and did them.
365 :: 39

The project is a felt fortune cookie packed with little goodies. We had all the needed bits on hand :: felt, glue gun, ribbon and floral wire.
Valentine :: Be Mine

The idea came from the always spot on Martha Stewart website and took no more than an hour. It was fun because the boys were able to help quite a bit, they cut out sticker treats, wrote on the tags and helped quite a bit with the tootsie roll placement (and consumption).
Valentine making
And I enjoyed it which is an important component when crafting with kids. If you are looking for a handmade Valentine for the littles (or even for a few of your most special friends) I recommend this one.

365 699
You still have a day or two to git her done. Happy crafting, friends.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Long Weekend of LOVE

Last year I actually pulled off 7 days about things that I LOVE. This time around I am aiming for the long weekend (little stomach virus messing around with our innards and other distractions being what they are).

Thought I would start off with a set of things, my Thing 1 and Thing 2 (Cat in the Hat has been Mace's book of choice for over a week now).
365 :: 41
They had a Vday party at school today and we sent them all decked out, shirts and valentines and hair combed into place (gasp).

They are total hams when it comes to camera time but I think I like that. Also I have noted Owen is the hugger and Mace is usually the huggee, with the occasional stranglehold result.

I plan on sharing the homemade Valentine's tomorrow, easy peasy and fun to make.
Then we'll just have to keep finding things to LOVE for a few more days. One thing I know is that we do NOT love the stomach virus. (Yuck).

Monday, February 07, 2011

Shift :: Perspective

I think I have made the resurgence of love for photography abundantly clear round these parts. I am still finding great joy in picking up the 'real' camera on a daily basis because I love what it does to my mind and its eye.

The interesting thing about this month past was the way taking a picture a day changed my perspective about living in general. I find photos such a conduit into the seeing of the day, looking through the lens has a way of literally reframing the hours and there is so much power and joy in it.
100 mm

But. Because there is always a but, right? (Which makes me immediately think about Mace and his absolute obsession with potty matters and pee and poo. He was instructed recently by my Mom to go into the bathroom if he aboslutely must say things about pee and poo because the bathroom is for potty matters, and oh the relish with which he goes into the bathroom now ... but I digress)...

So the but of the matter is the equipment because people that love taking photos also really love the stuff that takes the photos. Right now we have a fixed 24mm 1.4 lens which rocks the world in all ways a really nice fixed wide angle lens can, but (there it is again), I have looked through that lens for many many a day. I broke our 50mm last year and the 24 is the only thing we have for the Canon DSLR body. I took it upon myself to look into other lovely lenses from Canon because who doesn't like to dream. In my lookings I found a few reviews on the 100 mm macro 2.8 L series lens. Oh, macro. Oh, pretty pretty L series. Oh, Samy's camera Pasadena that will rent a 2K lens for 20 bucks for the weekend.

365 :: 36
Succulents :: macro style
We picked it up on Friday and I spent more time photographing flowers than I have in a long time.

What a huge perspective shift. With the 24 mm we get up in the faces of every subject, sometimes mere inches. With the 100 mm I have to stand across the room if not the house to frame out a person shot.

The macro. Oh, swoon, the macro.
100 mm Macro
It is an awesome and totally impractical lens. it weighs a hefty bit and the barrel it terribly conspicuous. But (I really should head off to the bathroom myself) the speed and the clarity and the macro, did I mention the macro yet?

It was a good lesson in shifting. In letting the lens speak to me and force me back, out of the picture, far enough away to catch moments that might fade because of the intrusion of a google-y eyed wide angle lens. If I had the cash, I would drop it right here, on this lens, weight and length be damned.

But, (heehee) we do not. Next to join is the nifty 50, and this beautiful baby will head back into the rental bins at Samy's, tucked back into its shelf until the next time the mood strikes to pull back and focus forward.
365 :: 37
Toy :: macro

And as a little PSA, always remember to look into your local photo shop and find out if they have rentals. It is such an awesome way to play with equipment that is out of daily reach due to outrageously high price tags.

I made up a Flickr set here for the 100 mm weekend if you'd like to see more. Happy shooting, folks.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Simple Gift

There has been an onslaught of children's birthdays in our lives and that means the need for something to bring to the birthday parties. I have really wanted to stay true to the idea that we need to give less and use what is on hand ... plus I am obsessed with chalk lately which led to a really great birthday gift idea.
Bday Gift

This is really just a piece of plywood that Tim cut down to placemat size and rounded off the edges, then I primed it and coated it with three layers of chalkboard paint. The end product is a cute child-sized board ready for any little person's hands. They were a huge hit with the boys and the adults, people scribbling away on them daily. I made extra and was glad for it when the party rounds hit.
O Art

They are easy to give with a box of chalk taped to the board (super cute washi tape, I think it is called). There is no need for wrapping or a card as you can write the message directly on the present. The only thing I would change next time is to add a little block with felt for erasing. Otherwise, good to go.
Bday Gift

I love that it is home made and holds to the ideas and ideals we are trying to keep present. It is impossible to show up to a party with nothing, that just seems too rude, but I hesitate to go out and contribute to the ever growing pile of discarded toys. This is such a nice way to say 'We love you, now go write something down'.

Speaking of chalkboards, I finally went and finished the wing wall in our kitchen, sanded it down smooth after my magnet paint debacle of over a year ago, then coated it with more chalkboard paint.
Chalk Wall
I love it and have been using it heavily for daily quote inspiration, list making and boy scribbling. Yay for finally completed projects. More to come.

My fave quote so far ""If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend 6 sharpening my axe."
Abe Lincoln