Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bike Ride

If you fall out the back of my subdivision, you land, give or take a few feet, in cornfields. I don't normally run the country rides because the 60-mile-hour cars make me nervous. On a bike I feel bolder. The last two days I've felt especially bold, on one of Erik's bikes and, on a closed road. Movement has always made me feel free.Gravel is great fun with fat tires.
Go on, ride like a Girl.
I rode down the gravel road, close to the silos, but turned around. The road was a little secluded for me...

Another reminder I'm in Indiana.
Corn is beautiful, and not just visually. If you close your eyes, the swishing leaves sound like water.

The road ahead. Despite a very sore rump, I think I'll go farther tomorrow.

Black and White

Yesterday I watched the American Masters episode on Annie Leibovitz and was really affected by it. If you haven't seen it, the documentary covers Leibovitz' creative vision, within the context of her personal journey. The program was written, directed and produced by her sister which created an art in and of itself, raw and real, like Annie's photos. 

"A lot can be told from what happens between the main moments..." - AL

"This is truth...right here." - AL

Small Thing of the Day

Saturday, August 30, 2008

New Moon

It is a new season for me. Starting Tuesday, both my children will be in school more than they ever have been. Work/home balance has been vital to me and, in the last three years, I have limited work opportunities to make home work (so to speak). I have loved being with my children. But I am passionate about web strategy and entrepreneurial spirit. After twelve years, creating a web site is still thrilling. Now I have the chance to really grow my business again (not just fan the flames of something that was). I am excited. Scared.

On Tuesday, literally in the first hour of this new phase in my life, I have an interview to discuss an interesting opportunity. The big question is this--should I wear?! I have essentially been wearing the same suit for years (and I fear it shows). The rest of my wardrobe? Do "Life is Good" tee shirts count?

So this morning Erik shooed me out of the house. Without kids I could've run all the way to Circle Centre. At Nordstrom, I was a movie star. I even let a saleswoman help me find new looks. I got three tops (my favorite is below). For a girl on a budget, it's a start.

Wish me luck.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Je Voudrais Un Croissant

This is so funny I had to watch it twice. I have tears...

[I must be in a French mode. I watched The Diving Bell and the Butterfly last night––no comparison between the two, though! Diving Bell was sublime, pure art. The cinematography was staggering. I'll probably be the only person alive to compare it to Amelie, my favorite movie, but both approach memory and imagination in similar ways.]

Thursday, August 28, 2008

That Squealing Sound in the Neighbor's Yard

Running this morning I saw a woman walking a pig around her yard. I heard the squealing first. It didn't like being collared and on a leash. Indiana never ceases to surprise me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Poacher

At the same time my home-grown tomatoes are ripening, we have learned Sam has an insatiable desire for them. He smacks his lips when I slice them at dinner. He taps around after me around when I pick them. And––he sucks them straight off the vine. I'd be mad at the furry poacher except that he's the only one in the house who shares my August obsession. We've always understood each other well, that dog. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Common Craft

Technology flourishes exponentially, driving huge distances between those who choose to use the digital gadgetry and those who don't. There are many who want to learn but this fast-moving world of tools and terms isn't always kind. How to jump in and understand in a flash? As a designer, I think a lot about simple and powerful communication. So I was delighted to read about Common Craft, a small firm whose mission is to create easy-to-understand videos covering technical topics. The hand drawings were delightful; I enjoyed the Twitter and Social Bookmarking videos. I will definitely keep visiting their site for more.

Finished Koto Bag

I finished the Koto-fabric bag a few days ago. I haven't posted it on etsy and really want to keep it for myself. The bag is roomy, with lots of pocket space inside. The fabric is soft; it's the kind of bag that will only get more comfortable with time. Okay, it's MINE! I just need somewhere to travel now. Time to start another one for etsy, I guess.

Just finished baking this pumpkin-cranberry cake. It's a longtime favorite of mine. I've had a bit of the malaise lately and am hoping the taste of Fall (plus all the B vitamins) will be  a lift.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bag in the Works

I'm working on a weekender-sized bag. After making loads of these, this one was going to be mine (I still have no such bag). But sewing for one's self can feel like cooking for one's self––it just doesn't taste as good. Besides, it's more fun when I can share the prettiness with someone else (and I love the thrill of selling something I've created). Time permitting, this one should be completed in the next couple of days. The fabric is Alexander Henry's "Koto," one that has been in my stash entirely too long.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Squash-Rice Casserole

This was a scrumptious way to eat some of my zucchini stash. I should've taken a picture but we gobbled it down right away. Half the recipe for a family of four. The recipe is vintage Cooking Light.

8 cups sliced zucchini (about 2 1/2 pounds)
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 cups cooked rice
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine first 3 ingredients in a Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until tender. Drain; partially mash with a potato masher.

Combine zucchini mixture, rice, cheddar cheese, sour cream, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and eggs in a bowl; stir gently. Spoon mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Preheat broiler. Broil 1 minute or until lightly browned. Yield 8 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Tomato Haiku

Ripe red tomato
my first, waits for me on deck
eaten––by my dog

Friday, August 15, 2008

Another New Bag

It's so hard to stop sewing sometimes. Every girl should have a great stash for when the mood arises (in this case, at 10 pm, minutes after finishing another bag). Got to get the shop full before holiday shopping begins.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

New Bag

I started this bag ages ago and was happy to complete it today. I'd forgotten what a great pattern it is. It's a perfect size to carry lots without feeling like you are. The Amy Butler fabric is a good print to take you from summer to fall. [I had to post it quickly on etsy so I wouldn't claim it as my own.]

Rainy Afternoon

If it's hailing, you must be in Indiana. Now I can cross "water garden" off my list. Glad to see some rain. Hope my tomatoes are okay. I see my surprise lilies all bent over.
"Guess a walk is out of the question now. " - Sam

Can you tell it's a slow day here?

Surprise! Lilies

I wasn't sure if these would bloom this year or not. An older woman gave me the bulbs earlier this summer; she was thinning out her garden because it had become overgrown and her health no longer gave her the freedom to work in it as she pleased. The lilies stand straight up without any leaves on the stems, like they're about to burst from the ground.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


My treat for the week has been reading Granta: "Mothers" (issue 88). A lot of writing out there is clever or thought provoking or even "well-written." Every story in this issue was absolutely masterful, far and above the average. The issue also includes a story from Paul Theroux, who's been a long-time favorite of mine. Granta is new to me (apparently it started as Cambridge U's student rag before evolving into a magazine for new writing). I want more and am rabidly searching for back issues through inter-library loan and ebay.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

First Day of School

Kid One got on the bus for school this morning. See Kid Two in the window? It'll be his turn tomorrow. I thought it would get easier, each year, letting them go. But it doesn't.


My mother-in-law brought some of her homemade pickles when she visited this weekend. They are green. EMERALD green. Is it the norm to add food coloring to pickles?! So much? She and Sarah attended a two-day woodworking class together.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Things That Fall Off Trucks

One day last week I was out running and saw a jumbled pile of rocks by the road. They had obviously fallen off a truck as they were strung all over by the side the country road and down into the ditch. Four days later, when I ran that way again, they were still there so I drove back to get them.

The funny thing is that all summer I have really wanted some large rocks for the garden. Just like these. But all summer I have thought, "want, not need" and tried not to obsess about the whole thing. I mean, rocks in the backyard are a pretty low priority (we don't eat rocks). So--here were free rocks, just for me to enjoy.

Erik thinks the whole thing is funny, too. Especially the part that they "fell off a truck." He's made up a story about how I brazenly got the rocks out of someone's yard (obviously it's funnier if he told it). But it's not true.

I could've gone out and purchased rocks this summer and I would've enjoyed them. But there is something cool about finding them. Especially after I waited patiently.

Walking Stick

You never know who you'll find in the garden. Sarah: "Let's put the walking stick on the blog so he'll be FAMOUS!"

Friday, August 8, 2008

Growing in the Garden

Despite trying, I've never had any luck growing tomatoes. So this year I've been astounded with the dozens of little baby fruit-heads. The vines themselves are out of control––at least 7 feet and growing daily (thank goodness we got those stakes into the ground, Mom). Nothing for me to eat yet but they are on their way. Do I pick them before they're ripe-red and let them ripen in the sun? I'll be waiting at the kitchen table, with salt and pepper in each hand.
And, each year I try growing plants from seed without a single sprout. Moonflowers? Sunflowers? Wildflowers? Herbs? Not a single sprout. Until this year––I have quite a pumpkin patch. Two varieties even, white and orange. I had to cut down perennials to make way for them. I think the blossoms are beautiful although I have an urge to squeeze them!
I love the curly-q vines. 
This guy wants to explore next door, too. Hours after taking the picture, I noticed my neighbor tucked him back into my flower bed.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

New Block

I got my wish and got a start on the big quilt. It's a small step but I was happy for any sewing time. Using all Amy Butler fabric seems like cheating (I always have a feeling that I should be weaving or printing my own) but I love this colorway and know I'll enjoy it in our bedroom. My plan is to do 42 variations of this block for the entire quilt. [Cami, I did use my sewing machine! Chalk me up to be a modern woman. I do love my Bernina.]

Small Thing of the Day

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

St. T Treasures

All my creative energies are tied up with design projects right now but I can't resist posting pics of the Japanese fabric I got at St. Theresa's on Friday. It was 40% off which is nearly as wonderful as the prints themselves. What's more, I know exactly what I'm going to do with it. First on my list, however, is to get started on the bedroom quilt. I've created the block pattern for it (thanks to Adobe Illustrator) and started some cutting. With the work on my desk, I'll be happy to get a single block done this week but that will make me very happy.
The origami cranes got me started...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Cincy Trip

We've spent the last two days in Cincinnati, visiting both the Newport Aquarium and the Cincy Zoo. Erik and the kids had a great time. Aside from feeling like I've been on a conveyor, viewing every animal species known to man, I had a great time, too.

Each of us had our favorite moments. Erik liked seeing the city, especially the Levee area. He thoroughly enjoyed his La Rosa's pizza. Sarah liked everything but staying in a hotel for a night was pretty special. I was unpopular for making the kids leave the hotel pool before drowning of exhaustion from our busy first day. Matt liked everything, too. He loved being able to walk free at the attractions and we decided he'd never had so much exercise. He did well walking and talked to us lots about what we saw which was a treat.

My favorite things were being with my family and, this will come as no surprise, visiting
St. Theresa's Textile Trove for the second time. Two and a half years ago, I became obsessed with African fabric and played hooky one day to visit the store I saw mentioned in a book about African quilts. Since that time, the store has closed and reopened in another location. Much has happened to my little hobby, as well––I now have a sewing machine and know much more about sewing than I did then.

St. Theresa's was quiet on a Friday afternoon. It's not a "quilt-fabric" store. It feels more like someplace in New Orleans, where someone in the back might tell your fortune. Maybe it's because it's dark with old wood cabinets and sells items from places that have voodoo and house gods. The store carries products from all over the world––Mexico, Bali, Africa, India, Japan. There is much more than fabric––buttons, beads, metal trinkets. You want to touch everything and know its history.

I had only a few moments (it was nearly dinner and the family was starving) but it was better than nothing. And, they had a sale (believe it or not, this had nothing to do with our trip planning!). It only took a few minutes before I found some Japanese lovelies. Oh, and lovely they were. I did much drooling and fondling: the store carried Etsuko Furuya's Echino fabric and other Japanese patterns with a toothy texture. I'm too tired tonight for pictures of my prizes but maybe tomorrow. Just look at these buttons (there was a whole wall and I didn't have a chance to finger a one).

What I like about a store like St. Theresa's (besides being edgy and extraordinarily unique) is that it reminds me to appreciate fiber beauty, in all its forms. It reminds me of the history of cloth and of the similarities we have with our sisters around the world. I am also reminded that I can sew any way I want, in any style. And, like I found when I did my African quilt, that creativity means I can try something and then try something else entirely different. And that I should.