Friday, July 30, 2010

At the end of July

I've been walking every morning.... early. It's the only way I've found in the last few weeks to get some time to myself, and get some exercise. At first, it seemed brutal to get dressed in the darkness of our quiet house. Now, I relish it. Each morning I am greeted by cool, grey mist and the singsong chatter of various birds. There is a mountain behind our house with neatly paved roads that I work my way up. It feels like a sense of accomplishment (which I'm not feeling as much in other areas of my life right now.)

It's been a difficult summer in both expected and unexpected ways. This is usually the time of season when I feel totally drained by the circus ride of providing an adventure camp for my children. It's amazing to spend so much quality time together, but the flip side of that is very little self care on my part. I also find that I am anxious about my mom and dad in ways that I have not experienced before. Suddenly, they both seem older and more frail. Maybe it is just my fears projected.

My mom is returning to outpatient radiology today for her second round of having her lung drained. Less than a week after the first procedure, her lung has filled again with an equal amount of fluid. (Last week they drained nearly two pounds.) So, today, is once more about letting go and sending good thoughts. My hope is to focus on the present, and enjoy this day without worrying endlessly about the future. No easy task for this girl, I tell you.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Here's what we made... I fashioned my own pattern after looking at some others.
Here's what a friend made... just cut up strips of old t-shirts. Brilliant.

Here's what we found on the internet, should you be inspired:

fabric covered headbands
Have fun!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Good eats from the garden

This is the time of year when the garden starts busting out bounty. Every afternoon we collect whatever it offers up. Now, I don't even have to beg the kids to save a few cherry tomatoes for dinner. There's always plenty.

Grilled radicchio has become my new favorite, thanks to introductions by my sister. Wash the leaves, pat dry. Coat each leaf lightly with olive oil and grill for a few minutes. (I use a grill basket.) Then bring it in and toss with fresh lemon juice and sea salt. I think it's AMAZING, but my husband and kids are a little less enthusiastic. It is this perfect blend of bitter, crunchy, tangy citrus, and salt. I could eat it all day. I bought radicchio seeds for the fall garden already. Guess they'll have to put up with my current obsession for a while.

This book was given to me last year by a friend. Absolute mind candy. The pictures are beautiful, and the recipes that I've tried are wonderful. I find myself dreaming about what to fix from the garden. There's a cherry tomato soup in there that I've got my eye on.
Lastly, a quick article of inspiration. I came across it this morning. It thrills me that these college students will be changing the state of the world through their ingenuity, and it wasn't a big market money driven endeavor. Go, girls, go.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sprucing up the place

I was antsy to get our home in order when I got back. That, and I wanted to nest, so the kids and I hung out for two days straight. It was like a little reunion, really. We didn't have a schedule. We played, crafted, read, cooked, sewed, and ate from the garden. I'm excited about the newest touches to our home. It's been lovely to slowly settle into this new space.

Some more cloth napkins. I was reminded of this print in my stash after attending a recent wedding. She had incorporated it beautifully in various parts of their reception. I couldn't wait to dig the fabric out, and I serged it up. (I definitely think I'll be selling napkins at our annual craft show in the fall. They are beautiful and environmentally sensitive gifts.)

A rocking chair and stool from my sister... before.
After.... an Anna Maria Horner fabric that I've had for a bit. Now I need to figure out how to recover that stool. Hmmmm. I started to tear it apart and it's not pretty.
Pillows using Joel Dewberry's Ginseng collection. I made a zip closure using Katie's wonderful tutorial. She is a fantastic quilter and an expert sewer. Go check it out. Easy peasy.

I feel this room is slowly coming together. It's been an organic process. Rather than filling it with clutter, I've waited to see what things the room needs. (Remember, we moved from a much smaller space and the new house is a tad empty in appearance.) Believe it or not, every single piece of furniture and lamp in this room was given to us or thrifted. We're getting there, and it feels like home.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

While she naps...

I'm back in my beloved mountains of North Carolina now and feeling grateful. My mom and dad are doing really well, and my mom is on her way to health. I got served breakfast in bed this morning by my husband. It was just so nice to have someone take care of me. I didn't know how much I needed that. I am enjoying being with the kids, walking around the garden, reacquainting myself with our home.

I am so thankful for all of the amazing friends that we have. It was as if the kids were on a mini summer camp; each day that I was gone was filled with special events and loving friends taking care of them. Meals rolled in the door too. Really, the last two weeks would not have been the same without so much support. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I got to do a little piecing when my mom was napping. I had intended to do something a little more off kilter, but found myself needing the stability of straight lines. I've been saving these fabrics for my son's four year old quilt. So I cut up strips and started putting them together however I felt. Therapy.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Honey, indeed!

Guess what?! We harvested our first round of honey for 2010. It is liquid gold; we finished off the first pint in a day. I suspect that each of us kept sneaking a spoonful here and there. No matter, there's plenty. It's just an extraordinary thing to put honey in your mouth knowing it's from the bees you've been watching. We spun the frames ourselves this time and got about 9 gallons. Can you believe it? The next harvest should be in another 3 or 4 weeks. If you're local and you want some, let me know 'cause we're selling this year baby!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Our Independance Day weekend....

... involved some much needed down time at our home just the four of us.
red, white, and blue.

My husband is calling it the bamboo forest. I spent an entire day in the garden staking tomatoes and weeding. I was desperate for some time in my garden after being gone.

Preparing for our evening together and keeping an eye out for the first lightening bugs to appear.

Celebrating with our campfire instead of fireworks, although we heard plenty.

Feeling grateful and content. Headed back to be with my parents tomorrow. My mom is home from the hospital and doing well, all things considered.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

An update

My mom did well in surgery yesterday. Her body and spirit were really strong. She had 5 bypasses, and is recovering in the ICU. The past 48 hours were grueling in many respects, but there were some amazing moments too. Being with my sisters, my cousin, and my dad while we waited was just wonderful. I also felt incredibly supported by my husband, friends, and other family members. So many people stepped up to the plate to care for our kids, and bring meals. It allowed me to drop everything and go. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I needed to be there. I truly believe that change is good, and positive things will be occurring.