Monday, June 29, 2009

The trouble with crafty kids

is that they take your best, tiny, sharpest scissors and don't put them away when they are done.

Apparently, my favorite buzzy bee sharps have not been seen since the day when the boys constructed these tiny paper houses for these plastic cat things. What with our trip away, and the constant moisture (yes, ten MORE days of rain are forecast), I am hoping fervently that they are not mossing over in some hidden corner of our house.
Are you digging the fire upon which a marshmallow is being toasted?
Tiny bluebird in the bird bath, outside Sylvan's creature's home. Inexplicably, it's called Hippopotame, French for Hippopotamus.

I picked up my sewing machine from the Guru today! She's running so smooth right now...And also picked up a refurbished Singer Buttonholer for $13 that happens to work just fine with my non-Singer machine, AND a zipper foot. Do you just love this case?
It feels so vintage and hip, and I can't wait to use it.
And here is a peek at something I am trying awfully hard to get finished by tomorrow, someone's special day. I'm hoping she'll be too busy taking care of the garden and making cheese at a workshop to visit the blog before her day!

This is an un-prettified picture of my workspace. Having had this weeklong-plus break from my sewing machine, somehow I misplaced the right buttons, and my seam-ripper, and other important items. Can you see why it might be easy to misplace things, with this messy workspace? I had to take a break and straighten things up a bit, because I was verging on and fro-ing between my art/fabric wardrobe and my sewing table, like "did I put the buttons here on the top shelf of the wardrobe? no wait, maybe they're on the table under something...or maybe I should check again in the wardrobe...did I check UNDER the table???" Turned out they were actually still in the bag from the fabric store.

My talented friend Carrie has a similar problem, but somehow manages to create works of wearable art that blow my mind each time I see a new one.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

nautical vacation

the little touches matter,
like these peonies from Annie's garden
Very rarely do we get to actually vacation together as a family. And how nice to take a vacation in our own Vacationland playground! But we had that luxury these past few days aboard the schooner J & E Riggin, with our hosts Captains Annie and John, sailing in Penobscot Bay---it's a terrific way to experience Maine. You may remember Annie, who catered my graduation party? She also is a captain and the chef on the schooner all summer, cooking meals for 20+ people using a wood-fired cookstove. Yes, the whole she-bang!
This stove is the animal that cooked us pork loin, peach cobblers, sticky buns, fresh bread (see it, up above in the corner?), soups, and homemade tortillas, to name a few. I'm a little bit in awe of that.
the schooner Heritage (?) rounding the point into the harbor
Yes, it was foggy, but we did have some sun too.
Some of us swam in the 55 degree water. That wasn't me. Check out the death grip to get back up the ladder.
We worked for the boat. Two little helpers also found work in the galley each morning.
hauling up the anchor in the morning,
using my core, because it was seriously heavy
(OK, WTF blogger, why can't I get rid of the underline?!)
furling the sails at day's end
We worked with our hands.
will have more pics of this little number in a few days,
when it arrives at its intended recipient,
who was born yesterday

I made two lanyards for the window pegs in the galley
We laughed and played games.
This is me, spying through the galley windows at an in-process game of Spoons (the rules seem crazy, though I haven't played it yet). The light was too delicious to pass by.
So relaxing, so fun, so much laughter. I wish I had taken some photos of our amazing meals, but the galley is quite cozy, and I never had my camera with me down there. Also, Annie has hand-made all of the quilts on the bunks, yet another photo op missed. I'll just have to get on board again for the photos I missed. The crew of this vessel is a good bunch (both on the boat and on shore...Hi, Elizabeth!), led with kindness and humor by their captains. We're so glad we got to sail with them again!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

ten years ago

we were married in the house that has belonged to Jake's family for generations, in Wellfleet, on Cape Cod (it's that little arm that pokes out from Massachusetts), with our little 6 month-old Jonas, and some close friends and family, in a beautiful pine grove on their property that felt like a church.
you can't see it,
but he's wearing my favorite gingham shirt
So we decided to celebrate with an evening out (thanks, Dad and Susan) at Primo, which is primo on so many levels. Remember our date this spring, when we went to Fore Street? We may not get to have many dates, but when we do we like excellent food and good company as the criteria.

The special cocktail of the night was a strawberry mojito with lemon balm. We said: yes, please.
This tiny little puff of cheesy pastry and crab with tiny baby greens was our amuse bouche...
Do you love these knives with the bees on the handle?!
We got to have adult conversation and some great eavesdropping and people watching. The hit of the night, which I am sorry was not so photogenic, was the wild mushroom soup with crostini and wild mushrooms served atop with a few truffle shaves. I mean, we are talking about light (creamy without being overly dairy-laden), completely smooth-textured, rich with morel and other mushroom-y flavors, and basically what I would choose to eat in heaven. We both had it, and I am so glad we opted NOT to share. It would have been too difficult.
my entree:
halibut with farro and wild mushrooms
Jake's dessert of the night has now beaten out my fresh blueberry pie from last summer as his best of all time dessert, below. Apple tart on the left; buttermilk vanilla ice cream with a sliver/crisp of apple, middle; hazelnut tart at right. And get this: the accent was (ready?!) Candied Bacon.
they squiggled Happy on my plate
and Anniversary on his
two chile truffles and a smile of candied orange
(we had already consumed the sour peach gellies)

And today was father's day. Two dads were busy replacing a rotten porch on our outbuilding.
Two crafty dads....
Jake and my dad
(who made the rocket ship)
My new favorite song, yes go listen and watch right now. My spouse of ten years may be pushed over the edge to divorce (or maybe just leaving the room) by my propensity to play a song on repeat when I really like it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

On a beautiful day in the garden

Once there was a little girl who knew her own mind. Really, she was a little old lady in the guise of a small blonde-headed girl. She was never easily swayed, often bossy, never cajoled, and she could make quite a tough face that would stop would-be cheek-pinchers in their tracks. She was clever and artistic, immensely creative in her thinking, smart and funny. But I imagine she was not always a dream to parent.

Sylvan PJ pants in-waiting
You may have guessed that small girl was me. I tell you this because one of my boys is all of those things also. This is why I will never, ever homeschool him.
"these are not alligator shoes, these are alligator FEET!"
Jonas PJ pants in-waiting
So this morning, the two boys and I spent two hours (*two*, yes, that's epic in kid-time) in the garden, working together to mulch with newspaper and straw against the weeds. What was really special was that the aforementioned boy was incredibly helpful and dedicated and hard-working, creating a structure for our peas to climb, patiently laying newspaper between the garlic plants (which were planted annoyingly close together), encouraging us to work together and get more than half of the garden done. 
He is often resistant to demands on his time away from reading, particularly when these demands come from Jake. What was different today? I guess I went into it a little more like a river and less like a rock, making a true request that he could engage with if he was willing, and here is the key: without judgment about his decision. (Do I sometimes wish I could just ask for help straight up and get a completely cooperative boy?--Yes, but that's not him.) And first, requesting that he help me figure out if we had enough pea netting from last year and to come up some way to hold it up---I think this appealed to both his sense of independence and his creative problem-solving nature. 
PJ pants in-waiting for E.
So right away, we were collaborators while we listened to the birds and watched the other brother make a fishing net out of the leftover pea netting and some baling twine. It is the first sunny day I have not been working in over a week, and my sewing machine is with our local Guru after developing some squiggly bottom-thread issue (and me getting frustrated and breaking a needle...), so the garden truly benefited. It felt like our inner work matched the beauty of the day.
But OK, check this out. I bought my first pattern for a skirt! Amy Butler Barcelona Skirts  and this lovely summery blue print fabric to make the skirt on the cover of the pattern, sort of a tiered skirt. I have measured myself and it looks like I am between two sizes. But I may get a chance to try on a skirt (from the same pattern packet!) that a friend made in---get this---gnome fabric, because her estimation is that I am not the size I think I am. Huh. Will let you know. Right now the pattern and the fabric are kind of like My Precious.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

some creative endeavors

Tamarack flowers/cones
Maybe you have made a visit to my new project already, but if not, I sure hope you'll stop by. Unfurling Ferns is a new little creative venue for my friend Kate and me. Kate is a new friend, the fiancee of a dear friend, and isn't it grand when your friends pick out great partners and you love them practically on sight? So one of the things I loved right away about Kate was her great photos. And after being inspired by A Year of Mornings by Vettese and Barnes, I decided maybe it would be fun to have a photographic conversation with Kate. 
Sewing books
scored for $4 at a booksale
We decided, since we also share a tendency towards verbosity, that we would keep words to a minimum. So how it works is that we each take turns posting a photo, giving the post a title, and saving it as a draft to wait for a reply. Then, the person who replies goes ahead and publishes the post to the blog. It's fun to share something like this with someone who I am still getting to know. Getting to know Wordpress is completely annoying, but it has some cool features which makes its user-unfriendliness ultimately worth it.
the bird fabric
on its way to being curtains for my bedroom
So how about this gorgeous puppet? The work of Joanie, of Primrose Puppets, when we had a publicity photo shoot for some local performances coming up this summer. The word on the street is: she takes special orders for any puppet you might have in mind. She dyes her own silks, has a propensity towards perfectionism, and has made some truly remarkable creatures and personalities (large and small). Keep this artisan in mind...

If we had TV
Sylvan may not have discovered yet another 
low cost amusement:
Marble in the Wok Lid

Thursday, June 11, 2009

then he threw the flowers on the lawn

(they were dying anyway)

::because there was only one adult lap to sit in after dinner. So I suggested that his brother might have a turn. And picture Rumpelstiltskin when he realizes his name has been guessed: that's what the transformation was like. Hopping and red-faced with rage.
With my supersonic mother radar, I saw his eyes flick to the vase of lupines (which were given to him in honor of his Bridge Crossing, from the sweet, tiny Z.). In his state of supreme dissatisfaction, he informed me that he was going to throw them on the floor in
 *three* *two*...*one!* 
Jonas and I played Scrabble and he won
because he is a master of strategy,
if not yet spelling

I said: That will make a big mess, and I can't let you spill water on the violin that is right on the floor. But you can throw the flowers on the lawn if you want.
quilt in the making for Sylvan's new Hedgehog

So he picked up the vase, opened the door, stepped onto the front porch and hurled them, vase and all (thankfully, the vase is made of metal).
newest Buttercup bag
for a July 1st birthday girl

There was still a mess. Lupine leavings, dried and shed on the floor of the dining room. I got the broom and the dust pan. And we swept up together.

The storm wasn't over. Some of us had smiled a little at one point in this charade, and it wasn't forgotten or forgiven easily.
the Rocket Ship ("rocketchip" was how I said it) Returns!
my crafty dad made it for me when I was little;
today it came down from the attic,
was thoroughly dusted,
so the Hedgehog could blast off

Did it matter to the sibling who was given his turn in my lap? Honestly, no. But for him it was the principle: no one should be able to have a raging fit and be rewarded with what he wants. I get it. But it was certainly a derailment of our otherwise calm evening.