Tiny Stories, Tiny Tales

I ran over to the hardware store to get a new furnace filter (husband help) but decided to indulge myself by stepping into the quilt shop. Now quilt shops aren’t really my thing because I suck at fractions. Quilts ARE fractions and measuring and cutting.  I find when the moment comes to get  out my fractions and then measure and cut…well, the caring just goes out of me. Not caring shows up majorly in a quilt. or an unfinished one, I might add.

but quilt stores aren’t just a mecca for quilters, they’re a mecca for lovers of COTTON PRINTS. which I am. I picked up two pieces. The first is for an apron I’ve been meaning to embark on for a few years now (ahem). This print I’m not entirely sold on. Is it grandma? is it spring? is it feminine? could it be retro if I wanted it to be?  I wasn’t going for grandmas but the upbeat of it all.

what would you say? too grandma-y or just right?

The second piece I was got…well, it threw me for a loop when I saw it. I would never think to like such a print but holy crap, it pushes my happy buttons. I think it’s got this whole Tasha Tudor sort of thing going on. Yes, it’s that. And…I don’t think this shows up in the photo but it’s discolored in spots. I love that. I seem to discolor everything accidentally and to have it done for me…that’s discoloration without the guilt!

also…jeff and I met on the fourth and well…it’s a fourth of july sort of cloth. I know I can do Something with it.

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Life Lessons from a Cardinal

Outdoor living is coming in fits and starts now that it’s June. Last week it was in the 90’s (30C) and today it is gentle and cool with thunderstorms passing by north and south, bringing coolness in the wake of their stormy skirts. The sun shines but the thunder rumbles nearby and my cats retreat farther indoors to snooze on chairs instead of near windows.

It is tempting to join them. The heat break means that deep good sleep is possible again. Even with air conditioning, I sleep poorly when it’s hot. I sleep best when it rains.

And it has been raining at night but in great torrid thunderstorms where the house shakes and the windows rattle. Sometimes I lie in bed as the thunderstorms march by and wonder at the fate of all the creatures and people living outside.

It is summer and I have no arguments with it. It’s too hard to argue with the seasons. On the beautiful days, I sip my breakfast tea outdoors and watch the birds and squirrels to start my day. There’s always a drama playing out in the backyard. My favorite is the cardinal who walks along the deck rail, casting his bright black eye here and there and then breaks into song until a robin kicks him out. When the coast is clear, he returns and does the same thing all over again. Despite my nearness, he doesn’t mind me at all and I adore his bright red plumage and courageous laughing heart. His song cheers my soul and I’ve come to recognize his particular song. It falls under the same lines as all cardinals but it has a bit of improvised trill at the end. I think he’s been hanging out with song sparrows and got Ideas.

He’s a hard individual to photograph (all flash and movement) but I’ve shared a photo of a cardinal from National Geographic so you can get the idea. He’s hard to ignore and is a permanent on the robins’ blacklist. I aspire to such a level of happy insouciance.

How to Get Through a Big Book

How to get through a Big Book and have a little fun too.

  1. Make and eat food mentioned in the book (big books always include food, usually in meticulous detail).
  2. Read a little bit each day.
  3. Make a soundtrack.
  4. Dress like a character from the book for a day. Or a week. Or a month if it really grabs you.
  5. Ten minutes to kill? Daydream about the landscape or what the characters are seeing as they move through their day.
  6. Read passages you enjoy out loud. If you’re in the right mood, record yourself reading passages and share it (Instagram is great for this). Include illustrations if you like (thank you, Shirin).
  7. Whip out a highlighter or some sticky tabs for those great parts.
  8. Pace yourself and remember, reading gigantic books isn’t a race. It’s about the journey. Might as well bring along snacks, good drinks, great lighting, and enjoy the ride.