Monday, April 27, 2009


"One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do."

- Henry Ford

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Little Quilts

I am not very good at "playing around" as an artist. Maybe it's the time of my life––work, husband, kids, house, exercise––I'm torn in different directions. When I do create something, I want it to amount to something.

I am aware, however, that always planning out a project directs me away from the "happy accident." And that, of course, is where artists grow (and have the most fun!).

Today I gave myself some "play" time. I've been wanting to sew on paper. These are on Strathmore card stock (4 x 6). It only took a few scraps of fabric.

Sewing on paper was trickier than I expected. The fabric flowed over the stiff paper making tension work differently. The needle made a funny snapping noise on the paper. I had to be aware of not overworking areas and making holes.

This would be fun to try with kids or anyone with little sewing experience.
I want to do more with layering.

This one (above) may be my favorite.
This looks like the larger quilt I've got on the back burner.
Even a simple design can have a lot of energy.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Summer in a Day

There's a short film based on Ray Bradbury's story "All Summer in a Day" that was done in the early 80s. In the story, children who live on a rainy, essentially sunless planet experience the sun for a few remarkable minutes.

I think of this film every year when spring turns warm. Everyone seizes the first sunny day as if there will never be another day like it. People pour out of houses into yards or parks or hop onto bikes or motorcycles. It's inevitably noisy with power tools and vehicle motors. Shouting children. Sizzling grills. There is a smell of grass. The sun is wide. Kites are flown for the first time.

Today was abundant in that way. After breakfast, the kids and I went full force in the garden. Weeding, planting, surveying. There was sunscreen and shorts. Sam-the-Dog (happy to have lived to another spring) stayed in the shade. We hoisted out the deck umbrella. Terra cotta pots. Swept. Arranged. I straightened up my plants like lining children up for a photo. Welcoming summer into our backyard is a tradition for me and my family.

Lunch was chicken sandwiches, pickles, chips and cookies on the deck. We moved to the front yard. The kids rode their bikes. Drew chalky figures on the driveway.

On a day like this nothing can keep me inside. We tried some downtime but after supper rode our bikes on a trail and then ate dipped cones before it turned dark. Driving back I noticed Matt's skin was multicolored: brown (both dirt and chocolate), green (grass stain), red (blood from a first summer skinned knee), as well as a variety of pastels (chalk). 

To many more days of summer.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What's New

What's new? What have we been doing? Let's see...

A visit from in-laws. A visit from Mom. A piano recital (and a duet with Sarah). A visit to a dairy farm. Solitary cycling on country roads (many more farms). Reading every single one of the American Girl period books with Sarah. A flight, a funeral. A fish dinner. Warm walks with Sam. New running shoes. A first sleep-over. Dozens of tulips in the front yard (I love seeing the light through the color of the petals). A choral concert. Spring cleaning. A day walking in nature with kids. Crazy busy weeks...then a breather. Reading every word of A Death in the Family (James Agee) as slowly as possible. Picking up my Japanese quilt again. Rain, sleet, sun, warmth, wind, cold (and sometimes all in one day). Freelance design work in Chinese (both Simplified and Traditional). Taking the houseplants outside to visit the sun. Obsessed with a crossword or two. Obsessed with New York Magazine. Chocolate-chocolate oatmeal chip cookies. Emails from old friends. Seeing old friends in person. Seeing old places in person. Traction on a new portfolio website (stay tuned). Watching Season One of All Creatures Great and Small as a family. A much-thumbed stack of landscaping books (new plans for the backyard). Removing the slipcovers on a couch and chair after ten years. Summer planning. Two birthdays. A new fire station. Getting things done. Keeping things simple.