Thursday, January 29, 2009

As I quickly jot this down, Ezra is in his snowsuit on the front porch (door wide open for fresh air), spilling nutritional yeast all down the front of his jacket. He is also sharing his popcorn with the famished birds. I will make this quick, I have tried all morning to tear Ez away from his trains to get outside again, although he and his dad took a walk this morning. Also, I sliced two of my fingers on an enormous sheet of ice so my already pathetic typing skills are even more compromised.

These are the prints for Henry's birthday quilt. I have not purchased fabric in many months and I was excited to do so today. Henry requested a blanket. I promise that I did not even ask him to ask me for one. He is a boy after my own heart and has always taken a keen interest in crafting things. He requested "mostly green, with red, blue, orange and purple". That was mind blowing for me since I am so fickle with fabrics and the more color involved, the more confused I get. So I stuck with some of the colors he chose. Maybe I will make him a "rainbow" tote to make up for it. I plan to make a strip quilt with these prints and some coordinating solids. Pretty exciting, I think....

M.A.S.H time or Meme time

The Constant Catastrophizer obligingly sent me a meme. I had not heard or even read the word"meme", until Tina had mentioned it. But I know what they are and I agree that they are fun.  Original meme post at Going Country.

If you'd like to play too...

The Rules:
1. Leave me a comment saying,"interview me."
2. I will email you 5 questions.
3. You will update your blog with answers to the questions. Be sure to link back to the original post.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to interviewed, you will ask them 5 questions.

Here we go...
1. What's your favorite thing you have made this year (last 365 days, not since January).
I am going to channel Ray and admit that it's..."hard to say." I think that whatever I am currently working on is my favorite, which would be my little felted wool wallet. For me, the process is where it's at. Especially since so much of what I make is a little bit rushed at times ( two young children, husband in grad school, teaching job) and ends up being a bit sloppy. I am trying harder to slow down.  
2. Why painting rather than any other artistic medium? There is something about the tactile experience of painting that I find at once soothing and invigorating. Maybe that doesn't make sense. Even pushing paint around on a chair is fun for me. I miss my college days of enormous messy oil painting, I will return to it someday. 
3. What's the best parenting advice you ever got (or wish you had). Tough question. Two things come to mind. One, chill out. Relax. Most of the things you get worked up about (esp. as a first time parent) are not as enormously important as they feel in the moment. Two, and this could be a long story but I will spare you. Don't tell your children how they feel. If your little (baby, toddler, whatever age) is crying, don't say, "you're fine". Most parents say this and it always bothered me and then, after an ordeal that involved some opinionated friends and an opinionated husband and a screaming baby (little Hen), I found out from (a friend who asked her therapist) that the best way to protect your child from  molestation is to teach them to trust their own feelings. As a parent, respect that when they are upset they, are upset and they know their own feelings. If they are told repeatedly  by adults that they are "ok" when they don't feel "ok", it is confusing and they might feel that the adults around them know more than they do about how they should feel. So, when my kids are upset about a little scrape and I think it is probably not a big deal, I calmly wait for them to come to me and I give them a hug and let them express themselves.   
4. One book recommendation and why?  I am glad you are not asking for my favorite book, that would be impossible. I almost feel like I might be hurting the feelings of the books I don't recommend.  My first thought was The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy, surprising because it is not a Victorian novel (which must be my favorite genre). The hero of this swashbuckling historical adventure is a heroine, Marguerite Blakeney.   The story takes place during the French revolution. The Scarlet Pimpernel, a mysterious figure, is rescuing aristocrats from Madame De Guillotine and bringing them to the shores of England.  Marguerite is unknowingly married to the Pimpernel, whose alter ego is a great fop, Sir Percy. Suspense, intrigue, politics, loyalty and romance all wrapped up in a  fast paced adventurous novel. It is great fun and I have to read it every 2-3 years. 
5 . What do you most hope for your boys? or What are you excited about planting in your garden this year? The answer to the first question could be very simple or quite complicated and it is too early in the morning for me to decide which way to answer. I hope for so many things for them. Mostly, I just want them to be good people, and happy. As, to my garden? I am trying to decide whether to rig up my indoor lights and grow my own tomato seedlings again. I will definitely be growing Purple De Milpa tomatillos again (I love salsa Verde). And this variety of tomatillo is the most beautiful with a large husk and a deep purple cast to it (they look like lanterns).  I hope to grow lots of heirloom tomatoes, 3-4 varieties of cherries/grape tomatoes for the boys. So I answered both of those questions. Oops.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

snow day again

I am not sure what to do when my photos get published backwards. It seems they get published in a completely random order. 

This is my morning coffee. I am waiting for the whole wheat apple bread to finish baking (no recipe, it's from a mix). I am hoping to finish...

a project that may use one of my circa fifties gold buttons.
I used a piece of felted wool and the largest of my Denyse Schmidt scraps (Flea Market Fancy and Katie Jump Rope) to make this little clutch/wallet. I have many tiny scraps that I don't know what to do with. I love them so much.  
Here are the scraps before I started sewing.
I wrote Denyse Schmidt a fan letter. I felt a little silly but thought she might appreciate knowing how much I love her designs. Obviously, she knows people love her fabrics, they usually sell out. Bu I thought she might enjoy getting a personal note, I know I would.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

my little soap box hero

Henry came home today so excited that he did not miss the whole innaguration. His school gathered in the auditorium to watch Obama's speech. I missed the speech, I was at work sans t.v, but Henry seemed to remember something about how the whole country can help Obama. Maybe this is something his teacher mentioned, I don't know. But Henry had some pretty firm ideas about what we could all do to help President Obama and "Advice"  President Biden. 

1. when our car dies, we can get an electric car.
2. we can ask everyone all over the world to stop making war.
3. we can ask everyone to stop building smokestacks.
4. we can use less water. 

Pretty good for a six year old boy. 

P.S in other news... Masterpiece Theatre's new Wuthering Heights is riveting. It is not too late to watch the first installment online and the sequel is this Sunday at 9. 

Monday, January 19, 2009


Good Things

My mom's circa 70s crewel work hanging in my bedroom.

Martha Stewart's chicken, leek and mushroom casserole for dinner tonight (I'll let you know how it is, any recipe with leek and mushroom in it sucks me in)

A new mix from an old friend, introducing me to some amazing artists: A.A Bondy, Todd Snyder and Blind Pilot, to name a few... 

Thick drifts of fluffy white snow and experiencing it with friends from Columbia who have never seen the stuff before.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Marcello's Biscotti

Reasons not to like Biscotti
They are not chocolate chip cookies
Have half the butter of chocolate chip cookies 
disdainful of anything Italian
can be dry
don't like tea or coffee
not sweet enough
don't have enough chocolate
have only tasted prepackaged biscotti
have only had biscotti in Firenze in the company of Marcello

Let me change your mind. This biscotti has chocolate chips, probably too many for some.
This biscotti contains candied ginger, dried cranberries, raisins, dried apricots and pumpkin. 
I adapted a recipe from my Once Upon a Tart cookbook. True, I burned it during the first baking, but I cut off the bottom of the loaf and it was fine. The deliciousness of it is almost making up for the fact that due to the negative temp. outside I can't go for my 3 mile morning jaunt to town. By myself. Out of this house. Without children or husband, dishes, laundry, noise or mess.  I am feeding my children this biscotti, grapes and milk for breakfast. Yes, I am that kind of go with the flow, relaxed mom. I give my children sweets for breakfast. I am so relaxed and chill, I never have breakdowns at my in-law's during the holidays. 

What's that? You want the recipe for this biscotti? Really? You want to try it? Even though Marcello is nowhere to be found and probably has a gorgeous skinny wife who still smokes cigarettes and somehow gave birth to cinque children running around a yard contained by cypress trees and draped with grapevines? Even though it only contains one stick of melted butter and not two? Even though you can accidentally mix a bit of yolk in the white and it won't be ruined because your three yr. old just has to help? Even if your oven is the size of a bread basket and burns nearly everything ever put inside it?

I believe it is now obvious that I have nearly finished my tea cup of Espresso.

Recipe for Marcello's Biscotti
4.5 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. clove
3 large eggs, seperated, room temp.
1 1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 tsp. vanilla
only 1 stick of butter, melted
about 2 cups of dried fruit, nuts and or choc. chips ( candied ginger, cranberries, raisins, choc. chips etc)

350 degree oven, lined baking sheet
whisk dry ing.
beat egg yolks with half sugar until lt. yellow and frothy add pumpkin and vanilla and stir
beat egg whites till stiff
beat in remaining sugar
fold whites into yolks
stir in butter and dried fruits etc.
combine dry and wet. form log (will be sticky, flour hands)
bake log about 50 min.
slice, can be touching on pan
bake again 12 minutes or until golden
let cool. voila.

Friday, January 16, 2009


I am knitting panel two of my "five year blanket" which is basically a series of panels, each panel composed of different colors.  I really love this color combo, it is fun to gaze a while I mindlessly knit away.

Here is what I was painting today while my children ran around screaming (too cold to play outside), while Matt hitched a ride to the mechanics with AAA to get a new ignition component installed and while I burned the darn pumpkin/ginger/chocolate chip biscotti which is by no means a decent stand -in for chocolate chip cookies (especially when burned). Bummer. 
They are sisters with wonky eyes.

This is my favorite sister. We shall call her Martha. I admire her because she has balls enough to wear mustard, which I wish I could get away with. She is oft overlooked by gentlemen callers because her younger sister (Edwina) has a better figure, even though she is much duller. The older sister loves to read novels. She has a bit of a lumpy face but a sharp wit.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


ON a lighter note...

Matt's beloved orchid is blooming. 


Henry came home from school the other day concerned for his buddy Rasha's dad, who returned to Palestine in early December. He had some vague idea of the war going on over there. I saw my neighbor the other day and while I did not have the courage to ask her whether Mohammed was in the Gaza strip, I assumed he  was safe because she seemed okay. I probably should not assume anything and plan to say something to her when I see her next. The nytimes has a good Op. Ed piece on the Gaza conflict and Matty alerted me to this piece from the Huff. Post, which is also illuminating.


Friday, January 9, 2009


Rose passed away a year ago yesterday. 
Because I was supposed to see her on the 18th of January I always think of that date as her last day on earth. I went through my busy day yesterday not really thinking of her. 

I just reread the last letter she wrote to me. I keep it in my underwear drawer with Henry's teeth, and other random, important things.   This has been my first intimate case of mourning in my life. I wish I had something wise to say. In some ways the deep sadness is just as sharp and tender as it was a year ago. Little details of life bring on waves of tears and a lump in my throat. 

Listening to Graceland on our way home from Christmas I couldn't stop crying. I remembered singing that one song that begins..." Joseph's face was black as night..." with Rose in college. We had decided to sing it a cappella for a talent show. I was so stricken with stage fright that we looked into each other's eyes the whole time and held hands. 

I still talk to her in my head, walking down the sidewalk. 

Rose's voice is strong in her last letter to me. In it she wishes that my life "will be exactly what you make of it and that you have the clarity to see the soft or violent but always subtle beauty in whatever your life becomes; to see the truth of what you have been given and the strength to, in the face of those gifts, continue to make an active choice." The last sentence in the letter is "After a while crocodile. " Always the jokester.

Into the Swing

News from N. Village...
A sunny morning off and my favorite mug (made by bro-in-law Gerard) with coffee in it, a beautiful sight. 
My healthy lunch with dressing made avec superior balsamic (thanks Amy).
Ezra's lunch, he somehow managed to eat the wrap without most of the veg., at least I have one son who eats like a mother's dream.

Henry learned to finger knit and is very proud of his new bracelet made of very scratchy wool!

I am easing back into blogging...more next time.


Related Posts with Thumbnails