September 29, 2009

Measuring Up

Pretty sure I need this lovely felt yardstick. think of all the curved circumferences I could measure in a snap, and with such style. The clincher for me, beyond its lovely simple design and function -- is that little red rubber band. Felt & Wire shop, you are quite lovely, see?

September 28, 2009

Lovely Surprises

Autumn has showered me with many sweet gifts, and though the first few weeks of this semester were hard won, it has been a pleasure to have those weeks unfold into return.

I had the privilege of holding down the fort whilst my Director and Board President went on an Artist Residency Exchange to Dresden Germany. For three weeks. They returned moments over a week ago, to my great rejoicing.

I really love what I do, and that is such a pleasure that I
struggle to constantly and conscientiously appreciate. I don't want to forget. A single day. And I hope if nothing else, that I can pass this down to the Craunlets. To chase after what is in their hearts; what is written within them; what they have been created for. And at the same time, to be faithful to what is in their hands. To work with what they are given joyfully, and to never be so content as to be stilled, but always moving forward in the direction of their dreams. I hope they live so loud that it is unavoidable to know who they are. To be drawn to what they love. That it will resound so clearly from their being.

My Director came home with a small gesture of goodness for me, a little present pile of thanks. And I was teary over how simple it was put together and presented. And how in such a little way those gifts were hugely about me. My love of bags, and simple fabrics like linen. My many lives kept in order. Clean design and simple finishes. Handmade. How I enjoy both cooking and eating tremendously. The Feasting. The Fellowship. The time investment. Art making. The elusive bits and fragments of who we are all, and what makes us each such unique individuals that remain to have so much in common. And the souvenirs of a place that I too have also been, they truly warmed my heart. And helped me to remember. And appreciate.

My Board President also came bearing small gifts. A blank ruled notebook, full of quotes, and little pockets for gathering, collecting, saving. A little inventory of precious small things to be tucked within pages of the future. My love of language, of written record and remarks. Collecting, sorting, and saving. Something to remember. And dear heaven, the darkest of chocolate.

These two colleagues and friends, that once afforded me this adventure, what seems like many moons ago, and their sweet kisses of friendship. The ultimate return; these built relationships that continue to deepen, and extend to enrich both my life and work. And also bring me pleasure and lovely surprises.

September 27, 2009

Weekend Moment, Autumn Feasting

This weekend we found ourselves with many commitments, and all of them food-oriented and fall-flavored. Above is a detail of a nutmeg cappuccino that I enjoyed at the start of the weekend, and my favorite pumpkin chiffon pie with a gingersnap crust that put a sweet close on our rainy cool Saturday. Tonight for dinner, we noshed on grilled acorn squash packed full of brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, cloves + sunflower seeds. I love the feasting and flavors of Autumn.

September 25, 2009

Hello Autumn

The lawn is littered with gold this morning. The grand splendor of the season is beginning to unfold and cover our little bit of world with color. Welcome, Autumn. We look forward to what you will hold for us.

September 23, 2009

Picture Pages

We've updated our picture pages. Check out what we have been up to as we ring out the last of our summer temp days, right here.

Savoring some Recent Sweets

It was only a few weekends ago that we hosted an intimate gathering to kick off a long awaited printing project. Two friends, a small feast, much sweets and some precious presents. I so enjoy the opportunity to invite others into our home. To welcome our friends to get to know us. To make space for new + deepening relationships. I feel like it grows our house. It stretches out to cover and include our community and becomes a collective ours, if that makes any sense. I love attending to all of the details that make our home comfortable, and am constantly on the look out for improvements in that department. Less stuff, and more space. Space for co-ownership, ideas, play, rest. Space to breathe. Space to live.

Friend one brought an amazing savory appetizer tray that included an artful spread of cheese, olive and bread. Friend two arrives bearing host[ess] gifts -- truly a lost art. Presents for the Craunlets that perfectly match their interests and personalities. And this lovely elegant floral piece for the table. The simple beauty of thought. I am overwhelmed.

How beautiful life can be on this side of eternity. In this tired, broken and worn-out world; the one that grinds relentlessly through the days in succession. There is pause. There is solace. There is rest. There is space. There are real relationships. Ones forged on foundations of thought, beauty, honesty, conversation. Time. Space.

We finished our meal and art + life conversations with another piece of sweet. A decadent slice of Chocolate Mousse Cake, accompanied by delightful indulgent truffles.

And since this occasion I have been further inundated with more life sweets [stories to come] and have been savoring the precious bits we are given in this life.

September 22, 2009

Harvest Lust

Over the last couple weeks, Dave and I have been pouring our extra energies into building these raised garden beds for next season. Their timely finish coincides with my full on harvest lust. It seems like all of our friends and family members suddenly have too much of everything they are growing. The good news is that we have been on the receiving end of a lot of the abundance, and we are ever so appreciative to have freshly picked and locally grown goods to work into our meal planning. But we are in want of more, and we'd really like to attempt growing it ourselves.

We are starting out with five small beds, all lined up in the sunniest spot of our back yard. And now, to ring in the Autumnal Equinox we are beginning to plan out what we will attempt to grow in our first year of gardening. Local readers, gardeners specifically, what have you had the best success growing? The least? And what have you learned in your garden? How has your eating changed? Let us we are green at this, and could use all the help, advice and tips that you have to offer.

September 21, 2009

Worth all the Time in the Kitchen

What are you making; it smells delicious?

Luckiest mom ever.

What is she smelling? A garden vegetable + asiago chicken sausage browning, some basmati and wild rice steaming, and a homemade tomato sauce bubbling away for tonight's stuffed sweet bell peppers.

Weekend Moment, Imaginary Vacation

Trying to play more, and work less. This weekend was the official jump start/test run. And though we got a ton of outdoor chores done together as a team, I'd say I had a pretty great measure of success. Dave captured the shot below of a moment of pretend vacating on the patio of where he works.

Three and a half floors up from the ground, overlooking shaker square, whilst the kids ran around contained by walls but still exploring the plantings and small stones, and the husband clicks print on a couple drawings before we all head out for a little breakfast for dinner. A somehow magical and restful balance of work and play.

September 18, 2009

Yeah. Friday, finally.

Thank God it's Friday. At long last the final weekday to this unbelievably long week has arrived, and I am most welcome. I have been welling up with gratitude all day. And though it is great to be thankful, and appreciative. I'm a little embarrassed. Sad, also, that I didn't make a lot of space to savor the sweet of last 5 everyday's.

Looking back on the blurry prior two weeks, I see so many gems, so many treats I took for granted, and even worried over and grumbled for...until I completely exhausted myself of any opportunity to have some perspective. To have some hope. Some joy. To breathe in and out purposely. To remember what I am made for.

So, this afternoon, I am going to roll off a quick list of what I am thankful for this very moment. The big and the smalls of it. The many things I overlooked this week are already percolating into great stories that I will develop here further over the next week. Because I neglected them, and nearly let them shrivel up unnoticed and under-appreciated. Commiserating with them, that I knew how they felt. Though it was all doing no good. Not a measure.

So. Here is some good. My top-10 of the moment:

I have a husband who cares about my needs, and my happiness. And he goes out of his way to make sure that this takes priority of everything on his to-do list. Even when I am being crummy.

Bella looks amazing precious in a bun, leotard, dance tights, and teeny tiny leather slippers. And the first thing she does when the class is over, is to thank her teacher in that small quiet voice, in front of her mommy. And the very next thing she does with her huge smile, is to throw her arms around my neck + hug me.

Nate is in LOVE with books. And he is reading all day long. Any book he can get his hands on. His appetite for literacy is insatiable. And his attention for long stories sets me beside myself.

Fresh Bread. All the time.

The cool Autumn air, and the glorious windows that pull an amazing breeze through my old and oh-so-comfortable home.

Gardens. Not extravagant or grand by any measure. But filled with plants and flowers that thrive, grow exponentially and continue to bloom every year. That is amazing.

Sticker charts. With ice cream rewards.

I have jobs. Plural. And they are ones that I LOVE. I mean, really LOVE, even when they exhaust me. Entirely. Like this week. And last.

And whilst I am at my jobs that require my attendance, I have amazing dear friends that LOVE my children, in my home. And I love how big that makes our home. Holding us all somehow.

I make art nearly every day. Be it minutes or hours. And WOW. I mean, really. Like Bella puts it best: My job is making art.

September 16, 2009

Running Out

Having a house of little ones, I am always soberly aware of our food inventory, and lulled through the multi-meal days by a constant nervous that we will run out. Whatever that looks like. Tonight is grocery night, if we don't get there I have no clue what the few odds and ends we have left in the fridge + pantry could assemble...

Last night's fabulously fast meal was a variety of fresh vegetables, cleaned and cut. And some basmati rice cooked in vegetable bouillon, with some basil + parsley stir ins.

Loving a good meal around here, the bare shelves start to send me into panic. And yet, evenings like last night can happen, and I wonder what's all this fuss about food really about? I am so anxious over our food budget, and dread the full cart's cost every time we shop, but know that we must eat. And we certainly must feed the voraciously hungry and wildly growing ones.

Conversely, we are running out a lot more often in this season. And generally getting better about using up that last drop. And there is a bit of a thrill in being more aware of our food habits. From planning, spending, consuming, wasting, etc. And I am seeing, ever so slowly, a shift...and wanted to push a stake into the ground today, so I can see what these seeds grow into with a little more time and tending.

We [mostly meaning Dave] built a set of five amazing raised garden beds this season, and have been turning the compost, preparing the soil, and fencing them off with hardware cloth. We are committed to growing a good measure of our produce next year, and I look out of the kitchen window--every time I am preparing a meal--at the hope that they hold for the near future. longingly. Wanting more to change. Wanting to grow. So aware of food, and the patterns in which we understand, prepare and consume it.

And yesterday, by my friend Sarah, I was linked to this lovely telling and visual article on what weekly grocery spending looks like. Portraits of families with their week's amount of food, all piled up + photographed like a Sandy Skoglund installation, and the dollars and cents it all adds up to...what do we eat in a week? check it out here.

In coping down the running-away-from-us long list for what we need to buy tonight, I can't help but mull over this question: what do we eat in a week? And I am longing for the fruits of our gardens.

September 14, 2009

Weekend Moment, We Play all Day

This weekend we spent the majority of our hours outdoors, and finally finished building + preparing the soil for our raised garden beds for next season. The Craunlets played like good friends the majority of the time, and it is such a sweet thing to see their relationship continue to grow. To watch big sister and little brother. Together. Playing. Singing. Holding Hands. Simply being a good friends to one another. It is such a breath of life.

We also spent a good chunk of time processing our recent photographs, and updating our picture pages. See how we are putting a close on our summer adventures, here.

September 11, 2009

Be Still My Heart

My first baby started ballet today. Every moment of this morning was a sweet precious I only wish that I could some how bottle. The intoxicating song that Bella sings as she floats around the house.

This Isabella. This one who is set apart; consecrated for her God. And as with all things she attempts, she did so with a confident eagerness, and an overflowing of immense joy.

More of bella on her first day of ballet, here.

September 10, 2009

Definitely a Christmas Baby

We are working through a set of Brain Quest Flash cards with Nate. Tonight, when we stumbled upon the quaint image of a little house with a chimney, I read the prescribed question...and was quite amused by his answer, sure and quick.

Mom: What comes out of a chimney?

Nate: Santa!

September 9, 2009

Book by Book

Nate has recently developed an insatiable hunger for books. He consumes them in piles, turning the pages gently, making up stories from memory and imagination. These mile-high piles accumulate within a single day, as we make various trips up and down the stairs for more books.

We enrolled in a few too many reading programs this summer through various local libraries and organizations, and the buzzing activity of all the magic inside the too-many books seems to have caught Nate's attention. He is reading like its his job, his very favorite thing to do, as he put it the other day.

With Autumn fast approaching, I can't think of a better way to spend more of our hours indoors than cuddling up on the couch with piles of good reads.

September 7, 2009

Weekend Moment, Adios Amigos

In a whirlwind of awesome conversation and merry feasting, we soaked up hours of fun whilst connecting with dear friends and extended family this weekend. Hands down the sweetest moment of the weekend, occurred in a blink, on the playground where our family reunion was being held in Pennsylvania some time late in the afternoon on Sunday.

Adios Amigos
Goodbye my Friends
Hasta la Vista
Until we meet again
The Craunlets, nearly in unison, sung a sweet song to one another on the sound tubes. Dave and I were sitting side by side on the wooden park bench, just a couple feet away, watching our babies being dear friends.

September 4, 2009

A Bright Note Amidst the Chaos of Change

Wow, I've been pretty quiet this week. Sorry about the silence. However, using that hushed language is actually quite a bit misleading. It has been pretty loud around here really. And hectic. This whole back-to-school stuff, and the balancing of new schedules, partnered with the brilliantly sunny cool temperatures has me entirely at a loss for what day it is. This crazy week nearly swallowed me up whole.

On the brighter side, this mini rose bush that we have tried to relocate in our various garden beds, annually since we purchased this home, continues to bloom prolifically. I think to defy us. And sell us on the fact that we should keep it around, even if we are still not sure where it fits best.

September 1, 2009

The Desk that Nate Wants

Having to constantly keep up with his sister, Nate has been insisting that he is ready for a desk of his own. For quite a while now, he has been placated by pushing one of our living room tables up to Bella's desk, and sitting on her play kit as a seat. This desk has been brilliant perfect for Bella. It is generously toddler sized, holds all of her most prized art supplies, and various other stashes, and further, it snaps together to close away entirely. Protecting her treasures from any potential harm. Holding all of her secrets in tight. And it is a bit of a trick to open, which she enjoys. Her brother, having entirely less patience would likely self-destruct trying to maneuver the seat and desk pieces apart from one another.

So I have been wracking my brain the last couple of weeks, for which desk might suit him, and also hold up to years of art making, pretend play, and homework. And after satisfying the basic needs, further look great and be some reasonable compliment to his sister's work station. Needless to say, nothing seemed to measure up to how well Bella's desk has held up to and even exceeded our expectations and daily usage. And Nate has already decided that he will get one for his birthday. That and an umbrella. Keeping in perfect stride with Bella's requests of last year. So, I finally broke down and looked again at P'Kolino's offerings.

And hello lovely solution.

I didn't realize that the non-contained desk that they make, is also capable of holding a play kit, detailed here, which is pretty much either desks only portion of storage.

No frustration of moving furniture, but ample storage, and mess concealed. Now, if I could just get Nate's bedroom painted, and move his furnishings across the hall, I could get that playroom started. I suppose my hard deadline is Nate's birthday.


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