Friday
Dec222006

Merry Christmas!


Christmas Eve 1975--Here I am (the tallest one) with several siblings. Note the identical huge smiles--Baby Matthew in particular cracks me up! I hope your holidays are filled with peace and joy. I'm not sure whether I'll be blogging for the next several days; we've got a lot going on here, and I'm sure you do, too. But I'll be back very soon; I hope you will join me then.

Wednesday
Dec202006

...the past three months, Part 4



Even living in sheet rock dust with a plywood kitchen, I was able to be somewhat creative in October. We shopped early for the pattern and material for Tess's mermaid costume; it came together pretty well (don't tell her that I sewed the cockleshell purse upside down). I also bottled some pickled spiced crabapples--mmm--can't wait to have them at dinner on Christmas Eve!

Way back in January, I agreed to create a Christmas card for sale through MAG. I'm glad I committed early, because the card was due in the fall, and without the commitment, it probably would not have happened. What an honor it was to be included in a catalog featuring talented artists like Ultra Violet, Valerie Atkisson, and others. I love being associated with this terrific group.

Wednesday
Dec202006

...the past three months, Part 3


Patrick, aka His Majesty, surprised me with a trip to Rome to celebrate my 40th birthday. Yes, indeed, his stock is very high (as if it were ever low). Here's the Quirinale in the light of the setting sun on my birthday. The art, the light, the food, the company--it was a dream of a trip.

Patrick had also arranged for Carmen to meet us there; we love to celebrate our birthdays together (we plan to go to Antarctica for my 5oth/her 49th), and this was definitely one to remember. On our way to the catacombs of San Callisto, we encountered a shepherd and his flock of sheep! This, of course, made our pilgrimage perfect.

Other travel: In October I went to a conference in Utah. While there, I was able to spend a goodly amount of time with my fab sister Stephanie and my adorable grandmother. I also visited an amazing doctor who specializes in stress management. Amazing results: I haven't had a tension headache or muscle spasms in my shoulders since.

Blog learning curve issue: why won't the photos load where I want them? Must research this.

Wednesday
Dec202006

...the past three months? Part 2




Here's a photo of Marvin working on the renovation of our kitchen/living room. It was taken at the end of October; the job is 98% done as I write. Hurray! I have the house of my dreams. More on this later.

Can you believe I was still gathering roses the week of Thanksgiving? So far, it's been a remarkably mild fall-into-winter. I'm doing everything I can to avert global climate change, but there is a silver lining to every cloud....I have ten David Austin English Rose bushes at last count. This is an addiction I have no intention of overcoming. These roses are hardy, repeat blooming, and disease-resistant; the flowers are fragrant, long-lasting, and gorgeous. Here they are arranged with some late cinnamon basil.

Knitting, knitting, knitting. Tess's teacher requested that all the kindergartners come to school with hats; I made this one a couple of weeks ago from a great knitty pattern ("Coronet") out of luscious Malabrigo wool (Molly colourway). Of course, Hope had to have one next; her colourway is appropriately entitled "Verde Esperanza."

Of course, where there is knitting (for me, anyway), there is ripping out. I designed an aran sweater to be knit in the round using Elizabeth Zimmerman's brilliant guidelines in The Opinionated Knitter. I used the gorgeous wool Carmen and Shauna brought me back from Ireland--a creamy oatmeal tweed--soft, yet crunchy enough for good pattern definition. I knit happily away until I got to the underarms. I then realized that my blackberries were going to be bobbling in strategically bad places. Out the whole thing came. I'll edit my design and start it over once I've finished what's on the needles now: a cropped turtleneck pullover using chunky plum wool bought at La Droguerie in Paris years ago. Down, stash, down!

Wednesday
Dec202006

What have I been doing for the past three months? Part 1


This collage inspires me as I work on The Holly Place, one of two novels I'm writing at the moment. The central image is a photo by Cali Gorevic, a genius who lives nearby.