Tuesday, April 29, 2014

it has been one of those perfect gloomy days.  rainy and windy and not a bit of brightness in the sky,  but the studio was warm and busy and full of the hum of the sewing machine, the steamy rush of the iron.  and i turned a mountain of squares into 84 colourful, double-sided and double seamed napkins.  they aren't quite finished, but they're well on their way.  i could have stayed at the studio longer, but i wanted to come home and make crackers for our dinner. 
when i was little, my grandmother lived with us.  and it seemed like she never stopped bustling around the kitchen.  she loved to invent new and oddly healthy dishes from leftovers and her strange health food store ingredients.  she baked bread in v8 cans, so the sandwiches i took to school were often round.  and she always made delicious crackers.  
lately i've been experimenting with making crackers from organic and/or gluten free flours.  and i think of my little gramma's knuckley hands every time i'm pressing the dough into the bottom of the pan.  i'm sure i use more oil and salt and flavorful herbs than she did.  tonight was brown rice flour and spelt flour, garlic olive oil, sea salt and greek seasoning.  topped with dill.  and some wonderfully garlic-y fresh guacamole.  my version of my little gramma's crackers.  

Monday, April 28, 2014

lately i've been driving out to the farm to take ezra for romps through the spring fields.  the farm is my parents farm.  and my childhood home.  for forty years it's been the background, the soft cushion, to my life.  and this spring,  the lake isn't pulling me out for walks, like the farm is.  ezra loves the endless fields and the ridge of giant evergreen trees.  the swampy quarry that is now guarded with overgrown thorny bushes.  the 200 year old barns.  the apple orchard tucked to the east of the house, where the deer always appear from.  the west fields that twist and turn along with tree dividers and ancient rail fences.  ezra bounds along after exciting scents and i'm reminded of countless childhood adventures.  like driving the family jeep through the fields and the long driveway when i was but 8 years old.  choosing just the right time to leap from my galloping horse without being trampled after the saddle loosened and i was dangling under his belly at 11.  and the tamer memories of picking wild strawberries and catching snakes and raising a little nest of baby rabbits after their mother was killed.  trudging up the long 1/4 mile driveway to catch the school bus on winter mornings.  the smell of sweet dusty hay.  
so we tramp through the fields, ezra and i and sometimes tom.  the perfect destination walk.  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Ellsworth snuck through Tom's legs last night as he was taking Ezra outside before bed.  Our big clumsy cat, out into the night.  I always worry when he's out all night, so this morning,  when I faintly heard his cry above the crush of pre-dawn birdsong, I slipped downstairs to find him.  He'd pushed his way into the front porch and was peeking in the front door, eager to be let in for breakfast and a soft spot to sleep away the morning.  5.30 a.m. in late April is a dynamic hour.  The sounds of birds and squirrels are quite overpowering in the stillness.  There is a rush of energy.  So I didn't head back up to bed.  I never do, really.  I love the early hours, looking forward to the flow of the day.
The studio has been a steady pull lately.  No shortage of projects to fly between.   I like that.  Preparing for a couple of spring shows.  Working on custom pieces.  And in the swirl of work comes new ideas and fresh perspectives on what I do.  Always moving forward.  I've been making single fabric quilts lately.  Two beautiful fabrics, quilted with cotton batting.  They are lightweight and simple with  an air of ease.  Years ago Tom's mother gave us a quilt, hand stitched by his great-great-grandmother.  Yet this quilt is not pieces and patches of scraps of cotton stitched into a whole.  It is two whole pieces of fabric, hand quilted together early in the last century, to make a blanket.   There is an easy simplicity about this quilt that always catches my eye and my heart.  And so I've been setting aside my favorite pieces of fabric to make similar blankets.  And I love them.  I have a few in the shop, and more on the way.   

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

the sun swept through the studio today, whipping up little glittery storms of dust and lint.  it was a lovely day.  i worked on a quilt top that is full of the sunniness.  and it's chock full of gingham which is always steeped in sun for me.  gingham means picnics and lemonade.  and cool grass creating that tangled little relief sculpture on the palm of your hand from leaning back and gazing at the day.  that is what this quilt is full of.  
around lunchtime my parents and my aunt brought me a roll of cotton batting for my quilts.  they had been on a little morning trip across the border, across the bridges, across the st. lawrence and back again.  all to pick up my cotton quilting batting and deliver it to me.  they are just awesome like that.  my dad and my aunt settled onto the couch with ezra and my mother curled in a patch of sun like a cat, reading 'tess of the d'urbervilles'.  i worked away sewing pieces of my quilt together.  
we had sushi for lunch.  a first for my 85 year old aunt.  she loved it, although she didn't attempt chopsticks.   it was my third time this week having sushi for lunch.  (and, yes, it's wednesday.  i'm in a bit of a sushi phase right now)  
a few weeks ago i found an old mini tape recorder, the sort used for dictation back in the day.  surprisingly the batteries hadn't corroded and when i pressed 'play' i discovered a 40 minute conversation i'd had with my grandfather when he was 99. (he lived to be a couple months shy of 105).  so after our sushi lunch, i dug out the little tape recorder and played the conversation for my parents and my aunt.  in the streams of sun.  with our full bellies.  snuggling with a warm contented dog.  we all marvelled at how much my grandfather remembered and what great stories he was telling and how nice to have it all on tape.  
so this is the background for today's quilt.  it is soaked in sun and happiness and love and family memories.  it's a good quilt.