Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Little Tuffet Came a Callin'

So I arrived home with a truck load of dirt, see... when there on the porch was a package. Do you ever just know something special is at hand? One minute before what we had was an ordinary day and then... Oh My, looky here. Better than a box load of puppies is all I'm sayin'. Don't you think?

This is such a pretty tuffet. Even Talia thinks so and she' not easy to impress.

These beautiful vintage needlepoints are rescued by Sharon at C'est Chouette. With an abused or neglected needlepoint in her hot little hand, Sharon co-ordinates the perfect fabrics and trims. She measures and cuts and stitches till they are cushions anew. Once restored and refreshed, from her website, Sharon finds them new homes. A one-woman needlepoint rescue society. Ya know, more and more these pretty little tuffets do remind me of a box load of puppies -- but quieter and better behaved.

It seems someone dear to me conspired with Sharon to send this lovely tuffet. I'm not sure I should say who.... but it was such a nice gesture, a grand gesture... It occurs to me that if she and Sharon combined their efforts, stuffed the Scent from one's Cottage into the pillows of the other, they'd have the world's great biggest sachet.

I love this tuffet -- doesn't it look like the Painted Cabinet has been saving a spot for it?

Thank you both for your kindness, your generosity and for being my friends. Talia says "Thanks" too -- she especially likes her pretties.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Sink Full of Bailey

On a day like any other day, when all I want to do is brush my teeth and get on with it ... I encounter this... Bailey in the Sink. And I have to ask myself, "Is she there for a reason (the gods have conspired to put obstacles before me to keep me home and safe, to which I would be wise to listen) or is she just there?" For me it's a hard call, really.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Roots and Other Treasures

My wee froggy pond is going and growing, but oh-so slowly . It seems I encountered some nasty nasty roots. In my yard it is hard to not encounter nasty roots. My house and my postage-stamp sized lot, sits smack in the center of freakin' Sherwood Forest. There are trees to the right of me. There are trees to the left of me. Any trees that were actually mine have been mostly hacked down. I don;t have a problem with trees per se -- trees are nice... unless they are shading and shadowing my house, my garage, my deck, my everything that is mine, blocking out sunshine which warms and cleans and kills mold and moss spores.
And so, in revenge for hacking down six trees, each and every spade I dig into the earth is circumvented by roots. Roots, roots, roots. Like these:

They look like they could happily reach out and snatch me into the earth and keep me. But I will be brave and see what I can do to hack them out of what will be my frog pond. It's them or me.

So on a day when I have my work cut out for me, this lovely package has arrived from Dear Francie of The Scented Cottage!!! Boas and bells and beads, Oh My!!! This is from the private crafting stash of Francie and her late mother -- I am so honored that Francie shares with me. I do crafting classes at a couple of assisted living centers. Coming up with projects can be a challenge, but twice Francie has generously shared from her stash. As a result she has saved my crafting sanity. This box also includes ribbon roses, patterns a bit of piece work, crafting sticks, charms and stencils... Surely I can find something in here to craft with my "Little Old Ladies" , or I'm not Miss Jenny the Art Lady .

I knew this treasure was from Francie of The SCENTED Cottage before I even opened it, thanks to the wonderful aroma coming from within. Right on top, the lower right hand corner, is the loveliest scented sachet in the prettiest vintage morning glory packet. She has sachets and candles and sprays and melters... I'd be hard pressed to select a favorite... I love her candles -- the rich scent lasts and lasts even when they are not burning. These sachets I tuck here and there around my workroom for a nice scent wafting past my nose as I work -- that's really nice. But I'd say the most glorious luxury of all is linen spray. When my weary bones nestle into my bed at night, after a long day in the workshop or an afternoon wrestling roots, my cool scented sheets envelope me in a delicate lavendar scent and I am off to sweet dreams in minutes. A visit to Francie's scent shop and in no time your home will enjoy the most wonderful medley of soothing scents.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Picasso Blew Up

I thought I was on the right track, getting all my little projects done.
First this:
Then these:
Followed by these: Which made way for bigger projects, like this:
And this:

But it has all taken a toll and now my workroom looks like ... well, it looks like Picasso exploded in there... don't you think?

My choices are clear... I could clean it up... I could... or I could go take a peek at this little guy...

Hmm, what would you do, if it were up to you? Me too - See ya.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful Boy

Kai William
8 lbs.

Exquisite doesn't really cover it....

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Is It a Baby Yet?

Hello, hello -- I am off to the hospital with this wee bit of a tea cup bouquet for my dearest of all Dear Daughter-in-Law, Shanna. She is poised to produce my much awaited grandchild... Oh My...
UPDATE: According to folks who know about these things, this baby isn't making his appearance till after midnight -- likely after 1 a.m., way too late for this aging Nana. Photos to follow.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Luckiest Little Girl in the World

It is amazing how early the dye is cast. This little girl was a ruffian from the start, but tender too, easily bruised and very kind. Little has changed.

I recall the day this picture was taken as if it were yesterday. It was early, we'd come from Grandma's and I'd been "dressed up". A dress. Nice shoes. As we pulled in the driveway in that big tank of a car I became very excited. Boys were playing baseball in the makeshift ball diamond across the street.

"Oh, I wanna go, I wanna go, I wanna go."
"Not yet," Mom said. "You have to get your clothes changed."
"I wanna go, I wanna go, I wanna go."

I LOVED watching the boys play ball. I wanted to BE one of the boys playing ball. I didn't want to go in to eat. I didn't want to go in to sleep. I sure didn't want to go in to take a bath. I wanted to sit in the fine dust of the ball diamond dirt and watch the boys play ball.

And for this I needed wardrobe. That was the girl in me. The right clothes for the setting. I needed my hat, my glove, my bat. (To watch cowboy shows on Saturday mornings I needed my cowboy shirt, ironed, which is another story.)

We were in my room, Mom and me. It was summer, the casement windows were cranked open. In with the breeze that ruffled muslin curtains came the sounds of nearby play. The sharp crack of a hard bat meeting ball, whoops and cheers from boys thrilled at how far the ball had flown. The batter ran. Outfielders scrambled to scoop up the ball. The ball was thrown from hand to mit, from the outfielder to second baseman, thwop, to catcher, thwop. "Safe."More cheers. More whoops. And I was missing it as Mom pondered whether I should wear the blue chambray shorts or the yellow flowered skirt set. She had gotten only as far as my shoes. "Gotta go."

Her back turned, I grabbed my chance, along with my bat, hat and glove and darted out the door. I wasn't so much running away from real clothes as I was running toward the baseball game, my eye on the prize, as fast as my fat little legs could go. "Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go."

So little has changed, nothing is really different. I wear more appropriate clothes now is all.

Before I got very far somebody snatched me up. "Catch her," I heard Mom's voice trailing behind me. "No, don't catch me, I've got things to do." But somebody did catch me -- my legs still flying, two feet off the ground. It was Daddy, laughing, dodging my bat, ducking my hat, bending to pick up my dropped glove. "Hold on there." He carried me back, presumably for more clothes.

"Set her down there." Mom had thought to grab the camera. It must have been out. It must have been loaded. We were not the impromptu photo kind of family. I remember looking at her, camera in front of her face, and me thinking, "Can't you see I have things to do. Gotta go." She snapped the picture and the moment was saved. Me and my wardrobe. My altogether. This is who I was, who I am. Then the moment was gone and I was off.

It would be years till I knew girls were not allowed to play ball, years more till I knew girls couldn't be carpenters or veterinarians... and even more years till I understood what it meant that girls couldn't just walk into Harvard to take their own hard won seat. I didn't know any of this on that day. I was merely there in my underwear being my very best little happy self and nobody dared tell me the battles that would come. Maybe they didn't know... maybe they couldn't bare to think about it.

When I look at this picture it tells me everything I need to know about myself, about who I am, which is that I am very lucky. And I think that if you are very lucky you know you are not where you came from or where you went to school. You are not the number on a bank account, nor a gender or an outfit... you are who you are. For better or worse, whoever you are at two is essentially who you are -- that is who you have to work with. Lucky for me, I came mostly equipped.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

So Many Projects...

Perhaps it is a function of my age... there's just been so much time elapse, allowing for backed up projects. All I know is I turned around three times and my work room was buzzing as I was merely passing through...

It all seems to go along swimmingly. I have a plan. There's a baby gift, a graduation gift, a "You are My Friend gift"... on top of "I need to sell something so I can buy more supplies" projects. I have motivation... then somebody calls. Somebody needs me to babysit, somebody wants an Art Party... or most recently, somebody died (an uncle, my dad's last living brother -- I am more driver than mourner, either way, I've got to drop my work and go.)

Mmmmmmm, what to do, what to do? What I was thinking was... I could clone myself... Well, you didn't think my solution was to stop this "make it madness" and simply go "buy" gifts, did you? I'm not sure I would know how... Hmmmm, I'll visit that one a while. Have a Terrific Day; I gotta run.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Magical Frog Pond Dig Soiree

It is the sort of event you aren't sure is going to come off -- like a move. Is it going to happen? Is it going to be awful? Are my people who promised to come going to come?

The event was scheduled for Dining at 6, Digging to Commence Immediately After. Adrian has never been an especially enthusiastic physical laborer and I've never set down judgments about that, though I could, considering he is of a family of physical laborers... Is it a good thing? A bad thing? I don't know. But he agreed to come -- this Magical Froggy Pond is for HIS upcoming child after all.

While planning this event it seemed a lovely idea to set up a canopy. Dining outside, nice enough on it's own, also provides a lovely "nest" if you will for Shanna, the mother-to-be, to be. And so the canopy was raised, a nice cushioned wicker chair was settled in. Odd chairs from here and there were gathered round. Lucy the Cheerful Bichon, who is visiting, checked to make sure all the preparations were being placed correctly. She especially approved the sheer swag for it's
festive appeal. I was about to string lights inside the canopy when it began to rain buckets and vermin.

Oh no -- I was pretty sure I could get them to come to dig ... but would they come to dig if it were raining? Would they bulk... would they grumble? Well, yes, they would grumble, de rigeur for any work required event. The food was already prepared and with rain coming in torrents there was only so much fussing I could do with the tables and table settings. Then, just in time, it cleared. The rain ceased, the sun came out -- temperatures had dipped comfortably and the ground where the digging would take place was softer but not soaked. How good was this? Divine Providence.

And so they came... Well, Shanna, the Mother-to-Be, did not come and I was very sorry to not get to spend time with her -- she is very dear. She sent her regrets and it reminded me of when Adrian was very nearly here. I had a day when I felt, oddly, not quite right... and then nothing. For several days I was fine as fine, till one day, during which I felt like any other day, he came.

My workers were amazed that I set out all this for them. If not for them, then who? And as it was raining I didn't get to set up the lights or really fuss with the tables, but men do not notice. As it was they seemed pleased. Impressed. Hungry.

I love those little ceramic dishes -- they all have lids, so I can prepare all my foods, stack them in the fridge and yet they are nice enough to set on a table (I have issues with plastics as tableware. Seems lots of my issues involve the table... I eschew paper napkins... Oh, if only there were time enough to seek proper mental health.) What I opted to serve -- because we would be working afterward, and because my son and his wife are vegetarians, -- was veggie wraps. Filling enough that my workers wouldn't faint, healthy enough that they wouldn't stuff themselves into a useless stupor.

It worked and so did they. They dug... they cracked concrete. Adrian, as it turned out, was a really really good digger. And he was the one who helped me figure the shape. I can usually envision anything -- things that aren't there is a specialty of mine... But this Magical Frog Pond had me stumped. The white stuff is flour that we used as a sort of "chalk" line. They did such a nice job.
Once the big chunks of concrete were broken up and once the perimeter was dug my workers enjoyed a lovely dessert... strawberries, apples, raspberries with orange glace and whipped cream. We admired their work and then they left. It is now up to me to dig deep, to fuss, to get the fine points right.

This is what I will be doing for days -- but what I lack in speed, I make up for in sheer sticktoitiveness ... and so I go, back to dig. It will be done soon. It will be a Magical Frog Pond.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Visitors, Packages and Brainstorms

I do a lot of different kinds of work for a lot of different kinds of people and one of those tasks is more a labor of love -- I get to babysit Lucy. Lucy, as you can see, is entirely charming:

Maybe she looks only a little demonic -- well quite a lot actually, but I assure you, she really is a sweetie. Everyone thinks so... accept Talia:

Talia is not buying the "Happy Visitor" routine -- she believes down to her toes that Lucy is an evil invader and it isn't soon enough till Lucy goes home. Talia will sulk, Talia will pout... for about four days, at which time she will decide that maybe Lucy isn't so bad after all and so she will play nice and happy and cheery. They will cavort and leap and twirl for an entire day and a half. Then it will be time for Lucy to go home. And THEN Talia will sulk and pout and look bored and pitiful. Good grief

Today was not only a thrilling day thanks to the arrival of Lucy, but also my very brave mailman delivered the happiest package. (The dogs carry on so ferociously I am ever amazed the mailman bothers to approach my doorstep at all.)

My Package was from Teresa at MaggieGraceCreates and boy did she ever. This was for an ATC swap -- part of the swap is that the ATC be mounted or framed. Teresa is a quilter of the first order... so she quilted both the ATC AND the frame upon which it hangs!!! Isn't this the cleverest thing. One of Teresa's posts, while making this was JENNY, DON'T LOOK! It was so hard to not look, but I didn't want to spoil the surprise. Now I'll have to go back and look! I am endlessly impressed with quilters. All those perfect little blocks... all those tiny stitches. Looky here: And being very sweet, Teresa packed, and I mean packed this box with all manner of lovlies from her very own studio... there are charms and trims and papers, OhMy!

That's quite a lot, isn't it. Thanks Teresa!! I LOVE it.

And now, for the BRAINSTORM portion of our show -- because it is the weekend, which is when I get the bulk of work done on my ongoing Children's Garden project, it occured to me that what I needed was a hand! Or rather a a couple of hands attached to some strong and mighty muscles. (Leaves me out.)How to get muscles here? How?

What I want to do is dig a Magical Frog Pond -- because every Children's Garden needs one. And there is a sidewalk right in the way of where the Magical Frog Pond goes. I swung a sledgehammer rather effectively a time or two before it struck me that somebody younger or bigger should be doing this. And perhaps the path to getting them here is magical ... a party. I will have a Magical Frog Pond Digging Party. Invites have gone out and it will be held tomorrow. The revelers are mostly vegetarian, so I am serving very healthy veggie wraps along with fruit smoothies -- because if I serve them beer they will be too bloated and groggy to sling a sledgehammer or dig a very impressive frog pond hole. And for dessert (my daughter-in-law is a pastry chef, so I never bother with cake, that's her very impressive department) we are having fruit compote -- all my favorite fruits topped with orange glace, almond slivers and whipped cream.

I've never had a work party before, but it makes a lot of sense and to my sensibilities it sounds like a lot of fun -- I'll let you know how it works out.