Saturday, January 30, 2016

Moving the Office, Finding a Mirror

Yesterday was moving day at the law firm--we left the old-school downtown space (with unheatable high ceilings and windows only in the front) for a new spot three blocks down. Since I'm rarely there, this won't affect my daily life very much, but Clara, Daisy and I went first thing in the morning to start loading boxes and files into the van.

After a lot of hard and dusty work* with all the others--ten lawyers, an extra husband, and two college students--we had the office empty, we thought. Until Clara asked if anyone had started on the attic.

In fact, they had not. We set up a bucket brigade on the ancient narrow wooden stairs and handed down a roomful of junk. Mostly out-of-date Federal Digests, but also this beautiful mirror, which I brought home. Carved corners, glass all a mess just like I like it, and carefully written on the back, "Resilvered January 1954."

* The question arose as we made a spectacle of ourselves on the street: How many lawyers does it take to move a conference table? The answer was eight, since the table (handmade by my brother from trees he had felled himself) weighed several hundred pounds.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Mountain Hare for the Forest

Here you can see a little bit of the process--the blue marks to outline the hare's form will disappear with a damp cloth. Clara just finished this, and started the Great Horned Owl sitting in one of the trees.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Winter Salad: Radicchio Slaw with Celery and Fennel

Finely sliced radicchio, celery, fennel, and a spoonful of raisins. Dressed very lightly with vinaigrette (and would have been good tossed with a little mayonnaise).

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Log Cabin Quilt: Purple Pansy

This is a tiny quilt, just right for tucking over a baby in a car seat, or laying a little down on with a soft toy. I made it out of a bunch of purple, brown, pink, and gray scraps I had left, and backed it with  seriously soft cream-colored Alabama Chanin, then hand-quilted it.

It will go in the shop in a day or two, or if you're really antsy you can email me ($50 including shipping). Proceeds will go to orphan care.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Today a reader asked for some inspiration to help her through the demanding years when it's you and a bunch of little people trying to make it through the day. The struggle is real.

Please, if you need help, good sense, and a wise and witty woman to help you through those years, I want you to start reading this blog. Every day.

Read the archives, read the links. Every single time I read Leila on parenting, I'm nodding along. To my mind, she gets things exactly right. It's everything I would have written out if I'd been thinking.

Now go and read.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

New Alabama Chanin Patterns: The Maggie Wrap Top

Alabama Chanin is releasing four new patterns this year, and the Maggie Wrap Dress, Tunic, and Top was the first (there's a new one each quarter).

I tested it out in a shirt-length. There's no shaping to it as it's presented--the under-bust ties are meant to pull it in. It already has center front and center back seams, though, so if you want to do, say, a swayback adjustment it's very easy. I also dropped the neckline some.

While simple to make, this pattern does require *miles* of binding--and I was working with the shortest edges. I can't even imagine how long the dress would take to bind!

In other green garment news, my hooverette of yore is back on the market as its buyer has decided not to keep it. Hooverette lovers, this is your second chance.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Log Cabin Quilt: Cabin in the Clouds

This may be the last cabin for some time to come. I'm feeling the love elsewhere at the moment.

This is a very large quilt, made out of 56 squares. Lots of pale neutral linens, and the pale blue center windows.

The back is mostly pale blue sateen, but then I ran out and had to fill in with the leftover blue-gray linen. I always laugh at the academic works on quilts that talk about subversiveness, hidden feminism, and the like--just because the quilter has added an odd strip to the back or a mismatched block to the front. Anyone who has made quilts knows this is simple expediency, and not a political statement. Though I will say that artistically, it's generally all to the good.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Woodland World in the City

The Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden combines three of my favorite things: nature, art deco conservatories, and G scale model trains.

The scale replicas of New York City buildings were jewels nestled into the hothouse plants. A truly enchanting afternoon.

Our Man on the Ground

I'm pleased to introduce you to a new contributor here at the Schoolhouse: Our Man on the Ground in New York, Giles. He'll be providing us with photos and stories from NYC, as he runs into interesting things and takes beautiful pictures.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Hey, It's an Apple Green Smock!

I think the title says it all. Look for it in my etsy shop.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Small Cottage Crafts

Let me show you a brand-new etsy shop just opened by a friend. She has *beautiful* knits for children.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Giles and Tia Head Out

Well, we had a really special weekend with all our kids home, and our extended set of kids as well :)

Giles and Tia said goodbye at noon to head back to New York. She went for a run with me this morning--the day before we all went on a big hike--and the day before that everyone went on a long walk that ended with a stiff climb up our mountain. She remarked that she's feeling really healthy now!

Sigh. The house is a lot quieter now that we've lost five young adults. However, the groceries should last a lot longer.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Scenes from a Winter Weekend

Friday, January 15, 2016

Beautiful Big Times

Everyone is home for the weekend for a very particular reason. 
Time to meet Giles' girlfriend: Tia.

Such a smile, such a beauty! We've been looking forward to this!!
More pictures to come, I'm quite sure. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Purple Shamrock in the Back Hall

Purple shamrock in a milk glass container. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

. . . And Then a Bear Walked into the Forest

Clara is taking our Boreal Forest quilt to the next level.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

I've Been Painting Florals, and a Piece of Fruit

Peach roses.


Crimson roses.

Yellow mums.

Stargazer lilies.

Monday, January 11, 2016

My New Kitchen Window

This is kind of glorious--my dad has given me this salvaged stained-glass window he had in his attic. It originally came from my grandmother's CMA church which was torn down in the 80's. 

It's going in the big west window behind the kitchen sink. There's still plenty of space to look out and see the woods and sky. It's going to be beautiful!

The Composer hasn't hung it yet and it's sitting on two paint cans so we can see if we like the placement. Daisy's friend Josie was over visiting. "Is that window always going to be sitting on those cans of paint?' she asked. "No," we said, "that's just for now." Thoughtful pause. "What cans of paint *will* it sit on?"

Friday, January 08, 2016

Winter Salad: Pears and Hazelnuts

Purple lettuce from that box you can get with four little special heads of lettuce in it, and half a fresh pear and some chopped hazelnuts.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Boreal Forest Quilt Top

A new quilt top . . . and it's not a log cabin! I've suddenly begun working with triangles. In the land of Making Things, you never know what's over the next ridge.

Green thrift store shirts, and a little apple-green linen from a generous reader. White Kona cotton from the fabric store. 

Boreal Forest.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Planning a Month, and the Weeks Inside It

Once I have planned the month it's time to make all those things happen by plugging them into actual weeks and days. 

Some things are easy--special events, trips, etc. go right on the calendar. Animal chores happen on certain days of the month too.

Next I look for easy match-ups. This month, for instance, all my special monthly cleaning is in the kitchen. And Tuesdays are days when I clean the kitchen sort of thoroughly. So I take my list of special cleaning tasks and add a few to each Tuesday of the month.

Shopping tasks I put on my usual errand days--Friday. I schedule haircuts and such for Thursday afternoons when Daisy is at co-op.

If I have a bigger goal--say to bill 60 work hours--I break that up into weeks, and then days, and note that I need to bill three hours each workday of the month to get there, so "bill 3 hours" will be an entry on each weekday.

If I've got special reading planned I put the books by the bathtub--that's where it happens. If I've got a handwork project planned it comes out into a basket in the living room.

If I want to get the kitchen baseboards painted (and I do) I look for a Thursday or Friday (least busy days) and block in a couple of hours for that project.

If I want to complete four speed workouts this month I block one in on each Wednesday.  Eight arm-strength workouts can go in on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

And so on. The calendar fills up, but you know, the days are going to fill up anyway, and this way I at least am aware of where I am aiming, even if I don't get to every last thing. I get a lot of satisfaction from getting my things done, and the days and weeks turn into months well-spent.

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