Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Moving Day

I am moving this blog.  Please check in here if you would like to see the new and (I think) improved version--it's very similar, I just found a better name (I think!). This site will stay up through mid-March.

Thank you for reading along!

Sunday, February 8, 2015


 We had a beautiful and productive weekend. My firstborn and I had a date in the city (Cuban food, science program, thrift store, yes!). At the thrift store he chose a princess figurine for his little sister, a little ceramic mill figurine for himself, and I found little goodies like a tall clear glass vase, a bolster pillow--breaking my rules about buying upholstered items at the thrift store--and a couple of pieces of artwork. One piece, an original oil painting, was signed by the artist, whose name is the same as my son's piano teacher.  Interesting! I am eager to have it framed!  The other is a Mary Cassatt print; I usually don't buy prints, but captivated me with its cozy domestic scene and the child's gaze.

Young Mother Sewing
[image: the Metropolitan Museum of Art]

I painted the first coat of white paint on an old chair that needed it, and finally finished painting the mirror for our bathroom.  I hung it last night and it looks so pretty! One step closer....

We also cleaned out my car--my husband spearheaded this effort--which sorely needed some looking-after.  It wasn't *too* bad, but it was sort of amazing how much better it did look after we removed the blanket, the CDs, the random jackets and he thoroughly vacuumed it with the *real* vacuum cleaner (I usually just use the handheld cordless thing....)

We did the usual round of Sunday school and church this morning, and I was able to do a tiny bit of writing in the afternoon.  Then the weather was so gorgeous we got to sit for a while and watch the children swing on the swingset while the sun made an extravagant last hurrah to the west, and then we came inside to a warm supper and reading aloud on the sofa.  I think we're ready for a new week!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Synchronicity and Space

Right now I am working through Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way.  This week she asks is there any room in your home that you could make into a secret, private space for yourself?

Well, I thought, no.

Our house is small and all the space has a specific purpose.  This is not a home with nooks, corners and crannies.  This is not a home with extra rooms.  But I dutifully started to scroll through images just to dream a bit, and as so often happens when the stars align and creative synchronicity happens and God smiles on you, I had a flash of vision.

My laundry area! Perhaps not an inspiring spot for most people, but an antique sink and beadboard we had installed during our renovation two years ago make it a truly pretty place (just ignore the monstrous elliptical trainer--necessary for sanity). The single window looks out on the patio, flower bed, pastures, hills. The walls are mostly empty.  It would not be a secret, private space, per se, but it is not in the flow of traffic, either.  In a house this size, I think it would be private *enough.*

So I am doing a little dreaming.  We have a bathroom to finish and other projects to do, but I am thinking along these lines.....and it will only require finding the right desk.  Most of the other raw ingredients I have on hand.

One thing I have found to be true is that when I open myself up to possibilities, they land in my lap. Cameron calls this "synchronicity."  Things begin to happen, to snowball.  A friend tells me she had a dream that I was writing a novel; my husband gives me a dreamy trip as a Christmas gift; I find a darling shop in town full of light and a mercury glass bowl that asks me to buy it; my best friend sends me a CD with a song on it that makes me weep with its beauty and truth; visions flash.   I am thirsty for these things after a long, dry spell.  I am full of gratitude for everything I am getting.

I think of Mary Oliver's poem "Thirst": "...grant me, in your mercy,/a little more time. Love for the earth/and love for you are having such a long/conversation in my heart."

I am getting more time.  I am loving this long conversation.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Unexpected Wednesday Productivity

We are enjoying a heat wave here--today was the third day in a row that we spent several hours outside!  Monday we went to the park, yesterday I exercised outside while the children played, and today I got downright industrious and worked on clearing out the muddy flower bed in the back of the house.  I got my clippers and snipped all the dried dead hosta sticks down to the ground, pulled up browned wire grass, and raked.  I was just getting warmed up when the children got cold, so we went inside. But it felt so good to get a little wintry gardening done!

Once we were inside I spent an hour or so painting the bathroom, which was sorely neglected during the holiday season. I am finishing up beadboard painting--almost done!--and am painting the mirror and a little decorative table.  There's a wall left to paint and the ceiling to do.  Then the plumber can come wave his magic wand....and I can wash my hands in there again!

It's the little things, you know!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Once Upon a Hill

Several years ago, before our daughter was born, my husband and I checked out a beautiful old 1912 house that was for sale (a foreclosure).  The location was so gorgeous.  I was rather smitten with it from the outside.

The house had so much charm, 

wonderful details in the woodwork, transom doors, like a gingerbread house,

with lots of potential in the awful, but sun-filled, little kitchen,

...and it needed an extraordinary amount of work.  I have always longed to renovate an old home, but I knew after our tour that this was not the time in our lives for this house. Interestingly, only a couple of months later I was pregnant with our second child, so it turns out my gut instinct was right. 

I am happy to report that the house was purchased, renovated and now looks--at least from the outside--so beautiful. One day I may gather up the courage to do a little door-knocking and see if I can get a tour of the new, improved home!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Snippets of Charleston

Poking around this old city never gets old to me. 

Little bits of beauty everywhere.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A New Year

I love setting New Year's goals, resolutions, call-it-what-you-will.  I do it every year when we are in Charleston, South Carolina after Christmas, and keep the list in the back of my monthly planner calendar.

I often set goals related to exercise or sleep, like most people probably do, and I also try to expand my definition of resolutions. This year a couple of my quirkier ones are--

*learn to can something....anything!
*sew a garment that I am fully pleased with from start to finish, for myself (I sew frequently, but I'm often not pleased with *something*)
*keep fresh flowers on the table
*try to do FUN things with my children every single day, whether that means staying home and playing together for a while in the afternoon or going to the park or somewhere else....I want to enjoy them, have fun and be fully *present* with them.  These years are fleeting!
*write every day--journaling is good for me!

Now, in order to keep that sleeping resolution, I'd better get to bed....