Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sprucing Valentino

Why, yes, that's my little nest of happy colors and summertime napping bliss. Theoretically I write out there too.

In that. My own personal "trailer park" in the back yard. Otherwise known as "Mommy's Bahamas," or, more recently, "Valentino."

It's cute but a little beyond shabby in its chicness.

When we were a cute little family of three and four we camped in vintage 1954 Valentino, trucking down the road and garnering stares and waves from Harleys and Hummers alike.
But Valentino is outgrown by our cute bigger family of seven. We have a new(er) glamper (glamorous camper? anyone?) that sleeps everyone and boasts a bathroom to boot.

Valentino comes complete with vinyl upholstered 8-track shelf.

...that I have finally found the gumption to strip. I'm gonna put some geraniums and a stereo there.

Can you say ugh? Ick? Vinyl upholstery and nastiness combine on the dinette side of my little Valentino. That's where I will set up my laptop docking station and finish the probably not-so-great novel. (I hate to put pressure on myself.)

So I've started slapping on the primer. With my husband's blessing it's ALL getting the white paint and beadboard treatment. Yessirree, even the adorable honey-colored cabinetry. I am going to strip it down and build it back up on the cheap. With paint and fabric I have in the bottomless pit of a shop.
Willy nilly you might say. It's brighter already. It's happier. It's my own little trailer park of one. With a tiny deck and a striped awning, a new red and white exterior paint job and maybe even some chenille upholstery on the dinette seats... I'd love to welcome guests by this summer.
And a note: It's hard for me to share the before and during shots without some "after" inspiration. But I'm doing it anyway.
Do you have a getaway?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Aching for summer

Just a few weeks ago I was content with the season, happy for the cozy wintertime and quiet.
Today has me yearning for hot days, drooping blossoms, long evenings outdoors.

Wheelbarrows on the shady side of the house.

Joyous country picnics and neighborly cookouts.

Sunset at the barn, hot and dusty.
For today I'm sipping hot tea, sorting seeds and working on my quilt top all the while dreaming about summer. Which of course will come soon enough.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Quilt top at ninety percent

I didn't finish the top... it still needs borders... but all the piecing is done and considering that I stopped to nurse the baby approximately four thousand times I am pleased with the progress.

Even more pleased with the sense of camaraderie and friendship I have come to know and love at this annual retreat.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

RETREAT! Retreat. Retreat.

Retreat. Now there's a word that loses its meaning quickly upon repeat.

This weekend I am blessed to be among friends and fellow fabric hoarders at a once-yearly mystery quilting bonanza. I have chosen my fourteen (so not a typo) fabrics at the store and from my vast stash. I have wiped down various coffee spills from my sewing machine cover and I have assembled my seam ripper, that most important of portable quilting paraphernalia, and other ephemera necessary for cutting little bits of cloth and re-assembling them into something near art.
I am likely visiting quietly over and under and around the hum of a dozen sewing machines. At my table are moms and grandmoms and young career women and starving artists. We all have some things in common and it is not necessarily what you might think. Our color sense and our politics vary immensely. Our ages range from 25 to 80.
Our commonality, then? We are retreating. We are purposing, if you will allow that dubious verb, to give ourselves a weekend of beauty and productivity. We are breathing in and out and it is a meditation, this endless stitching while barely remembering to sip at a cup of tea.
In my preparations for the retreat I found myself frantic. Go figure. Instructions for the baby. Meal planning and preparation for the family. Last-minute laundering, mopping, swishing and swiping in (vain?) hope of returning to somewhere to sit, somewhere to lay my sewing machine down.
I even emailed my husband to say that the getting ready phase could be crazy, because I knew I'd be relaxed at some certain point. When we leave on vacation I'm usually similarly frantic with the packing and the pressure until we are seated, mocha in one hand and novel in another. Then comes the whoosh of relaxation, of ease. Nothing to be done! It's already done! I am without duties!
Not really sure where I'm going here? ME neither. It's just that, when I was getting ready for the quilting retreat, I kept hearing that Civil War movie cry of "RETREAT" in my head. There was a general chaos and sense of near-danger in the urgency of the moment. And yet now? I'm retreated. I'm out of the battle zone (yikes... not that my home is that!) and in another kind of zone.
Hope to show you some quilt squares, maybe a finished top, when I return. And I hope your weekend is restful. I hope you experience your own retreat, without, possibly, the frantic trampling out.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Eh. I dunno.

How's that for inspirational?

My baby's growing up.

He's doing gross-but-cute things such as sucking on his toes and laughing at his own spit bubbles.

He's fascinated with trucks and tractors and other big boy toys and, no, I didn't steer him toward these somewhat gender-specific activities.

I find myself in this time with a couple of writing projects stagnating, a couple of quilt tops to sandwich, and a couple of big things on my mind. These big things would not be along the lines of how to make my cell phone battery last longer nor would they be along the lines of democracy for Egypt.
But in this house of little people, the things I ponder seem big at the moment.
Again with the perspective.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Com'n over here and give me a big smooch!

Happy Valentine's Day.
I know I've been a bit scarce around these parts.

But I really, really think you're sweet.

And I hope your special day is lovely... and filled with love.