Saturday, May 30, 2009

Japanese Quilt Piecing - DONE!

Here's the new quilt top. The Japanese fabric was a real treat––besides the vibrant color and subtle designs, the different prints have different weights and textures. Some are loose or nubby or striated. It seems to work for me to choose fabric in a hurry. I bought this grouping in Cincy in August on vacation with the kids (Erik will tell you we were in the store all day but in my memory it was more like 3 minutes!). The Bento Box pattern is so gratifying and flexible I can see why it's so popular. Mine is the wall size which was would be great for a gift although I'm not sure I can let go of this one.

Next I need to finish piecing the bed quilt. There's another quilt percolating and of course I need to quilt the Japanese quilt...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Chalk on the Walk

Our summer officially starts with Chalk on the Walk at the local library. We first gorge ourselves on reading material and then the kids draw madly on the sidewalk. And drink lemonade.

During check out, I was elated. I kept thinking, not even a $1000 Nordstrom gift certificate would make me this happy. All this reading––for free! And I can come back for more!

I'm in a reading phase right now and just finished Running After Antelope. I sucked it down in two days (witty, smart, dry humor, bizarre human portraits). Carrier is a long-time NPR and This American Life contributor. The book make me laugh out loud several times (this takes skill). Stay tuned for more book recommendations.

It's been a quieter week for me. Memorial Weekend was bliss––literally one day I gardened, one day I cycled in the country, and one day I sewed. Absolutely no computer, phones, lists, lines, driving, bill-paying, cleaning, work. I don't know the last YEAR I got to do something (let alone 3 things) for HOURS at a time without having to stop and switch to some sort of other task. I did finish the Japanese quilt top and love it but haven't yet photographed it. I also made traction on the other quilt in progress but as I'm not crazy about it and am considering using the blocks for bags to sell (it DOES look great in the bedroom, though).

My sugar-deprived children think the lemonade is divine!
Both kids were into drawing treehouses as we watched the Swiss Family Robinson last week.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Meet Alfonso

On ONE occasion, I told Matt a story about "Hugo the Frog." He was sitting on the toilet (Matt, not Hugo) and I was desperate to keep him there. Frankly I don't remember much about the life of Hugo but Matt has asked a hundred times since about Hugo's livelihood and current status.

Saturday we met Alfonso the Toad. Apparently he is Hugo's cousin. Alfonso has chosen a cool and discriminating location under our Henry Lauder Walking Stick tree. Aloof as he is, he allowed Sarah's squealing and stroking. He seemed to enjoy Matt's tickling him with a leaf. He felt soft through my gardening gloves (I had to repeatedly take him home as Sarah kept abducting him).

It felt fitting to finish up our Beatrix Potter Treasury tonight with the story of Jeremy Fisher. I hope you don't lose your galoshes, tonight, Mr. Alfonso.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What We're Reading...

Me: Where the Pavement Ends: One Woman's Bicycle Trip Through Mongolia, China & Vietnam (this is a good read, much living vicariously on my part)

E: Complete Book of Knots; Introduction to Paddling; Essentials of River Kayaking (do you see a trend? E is paddling across Missouri this summer)

Me + Kids: Welcome to Kaya's World, 1764: Growing up in a Native American Homeland (we've read all the others in the series and I cannot recommend them enough); James Herriot's Treasury for Children (we've been watching the tv series and reading the books...the kids have been playing "vet"); Giant Treasury of Peter Rabbit (Matt's eyes were wide as we read about Peter last night...Matt's been taking care of pretend rabbits lately and so it was good timing)

Saturday, May 9, 2009


The older I get, the more I hold dear objects I received from friends. The heavy white ceramic mixing bowl I received as a wedding present from my parents' neighbors, Dave and Beth. The teeny blue French medicine bottle from Amy. The fish plate from Marcia. The shapely blue vase from Suzanne. The thick afghan from Beckie. The kerosene candle from Claire. The Anne Sexton book from Maryfrances. The Debra Wald teacup from Jamie. I could make a long list... The objects are marked with a 13-year marriage of memories as well as memories with that friend.

I feel the same way about plants from friends. In Chicago, neighbors and I traded plants regularly. It doesn't seem to happen here very often. This morning I was delighted to see this iris open. It's from my friend Jen who shared some bulbs with me last year. I need to drive and see her flowers blooming, as well. 

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Big "Mini" (Go Daddy!)

Congrats to my husband who ran his first half marathon yesterday with an 8:43 average mile!

Hand Riding

This is the writing on the hand that gripped the handlebars of the bike going south then west bumping over train tracks and gliding by mansions, running streams, leafy woods, inky black cows chewing at the fence, lurching up hills, zipping past a family reunion taking a group photo in front of a red barn at a historic farm next to more farms and even more farmland down to a vineyard which was kinda close to a road (marked on the hand) that was supposed to turn into another road but didn't to end up by houses with POW flags and rusty grain elevators and shiny fire engines and a big man who shook his head (and probably rolled his eyes) and penciled directions leading east past the flea market and the old school and then north up to the pond with the boat and pulley where I knew where I was and sighed and decided to toss the directions and get lost again east past tractors and sodden fields under undecided grayness and flowing with juicy legs finishing the 26 miles at home with a peanut butter sandwich.