Almost springtime always makes me feel like almost cleaning. You know - the move that futon here, install some new shelves, paint a stool, sort my buttons by color kind of cleaning. Definitely not the dusting, mopping, scrub the grout with a toothbrush kind of cleaning. Between all of our almost cleaning, birthday celebrations, and our endless colds and whatnot, I have been full to the brim with activities and caring for the little ones.
I have been spending some of my free time working on some sketches and drawings for new spring projects. The best part about this is that Chick and I can spend part of our afternoon together time drawing. The other day, we were sitting across from each other at the kitchen table both of us with drawing pads and a pile of crayons and colored pencils in the center. It was messy and the table was a little sticky from honey and oranges. Green tea on my side, white grape juice on hers and we were immersed in our work. The afternoon was saturated with color and lines and ideas....and my little girl. How did I get so lucky?
a coastal day
twice we pass
by that "wedding cake house"
pasted with Rococo froth.
my warm soda is leaving sap
of sugar on my gums.
too much. can we go?
no time for
grainy snapshots from your
twenty five cents hunk of
gray camera. i can't breathe with
thick steady streams of heat,
this sauna. this car
too fast. my eyes thirsty
for a swallow of Sunday.
reflections of surf breaking on
the existence of day.
no longer last night
hiding my face in the
blanket of protection. my
sneakers on the dashboard in sync
with the music. with
you. it's still light so
let's go park
at the edge of the world
where boys with black tarred
on suits ride the waves and plunge in
the seaweed green tangled
We made heart strings for Valentine's Day. It all began with Trader Joe's paper bags that had pretty red designs on the back and my love for sewing things that are not fabric. I cut the paper bags so they were flat, mixed up some pink, purple, and red paints, and set Chick to work painting. Her tendency to blend and swirl and glob worked out well because, the way I see it, the more swirly the heart, the more lovely the heart. I cut the dried painted bag into strips.
Then, the strips became piles and piles of hearts of all sizes and shapes. Narrow, puffy, pointy, mini, and lopsided. All hearts were created equal in this project (although I would be lying if I said that I didn't favor a few hearts that had butterflies and bottles of wine on the back from the Trader Joe's bag graphics). There was an element of surprise because as I was cutting hearts I wasn't paying attention to the back of the bag, which meant that the painted hearts had surprise graphics on the back. Some weren't so fun like, "www.trader" or "®, " but the forks, the hunk of cheese, bottles of wine, train, and old fashioned children with very high stockings were totally perfect.
I placed my little hearts in a tin, revved up the sewing machine, and made heart strings. I threaded both the bobbin and top thread with happy colors (not the poopish color that Chick likes to refer to), and I took it slow. Begin by slowly sewing nothing (leave some length in the beginning for hanging) and then casually slip a heart under the needle, then slowly sew more nothing (this gives space between hearts), then slip another heart under the needle. Repeat this until you have heart strings as long as you would like, and sew nothing for a little bit longer at the end so you have some length for hanging. You want to be holding the tails of your string with a little tension (pulling them a tiny bit) while you are sewing nothing - this helps to avoid jamming.
I let Chick push the foot petal for this sewing project since there was no pressure to be precise. The only problem is that she would sometimes make it go a little too fast, which often made the thread get jammed below. Without "help" the sewing part took all of three minutes per string. With a little "help" it took five.
Look how fancy our doorway looks.
I made some long strings for hanging and lots of smaller ones for giving away as valentines.
I have been in total planning mode the past few days, which is why I haven't posted as much as I have wanted to.
1. recovering two thrifted chairs (I will have before and after shots)
2. sturdying an old stool and repainting with red milk paint (I will have before and after shots)
3. planning to do some mixed media work with fabric and paint on canvas
4. planning for Chick's birthday
5. thinking about valentine making
Oh, and we also bought a table on craigslist.com. I am such a stick-with-my-decision kind of person, especially when it comes to something that is so not a big deal - like a table. I promise! But, upon arrival, this table was so much bigger than expected and, really, it is so room filling and enormous. This is all relevant because I have been really busy coming up with big table jokes. Like about how I can't find my seat because I didn't mapquest it and "Okay, everyone, squeeze in so I can have room." Within hours of bringing it home, I was on craigslist re-listing it so someone else can smoosh it into their kitchen.
As of today, I am realizing that maybe the reason I re-listed so quickly has more to do with the fact that it is replacing my small round table than with its ridiculously big size. This morning, for the first time, I recognized that maybe I am a teensie bit sentimental about our old kitchen table. After all, I ate all of my meals on it from the time I was wee. It is one of the few material possessions that has been schlepped during all of my moves and squeezed into cars and moving vans (thanks Chris & Tracy). I played cards and dominoes and whatever else around it in my first apartment, I fed both of my babies off of it, and now a HUMONGOUS intruder is trying to take its place. This new table is really big. And, rectanglish. And, when I touch it, I'm a little lost. I think I really do need a map.
So, this morning, a few new super lovely friends came over for breakfast. We sat around (can you say that with a rectangle table?) it, and for the first time I felt myself willing to begin mapping it out. There was discussion, laughter, joining of ideas, and learning. And, biscuits with jam. At one point, my friend noticed that Miss Mouse's head fits just underneath - that her hair grazes it when she breezes under. This was its first reference point. It was the beginning of the map - the beginning of creating a new kind of permanence. Isn't that what change is all about? In the meantime, I have stopped being so snarky, and decided that maybe it can stay for a little while longer. You know, until I am ready to decide if it is right for our family or until Chick takes the old one to college . Whichever comes first.
Cornmeal Biscuits (served on my new table)
2 cups white flour
2 cups wheat flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
1 T baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
7 T chilled butter (in tiny pieces)
2 cups low fat buttermilk
1 egg white
2 t poppy seeds
2 t sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 450˚. Mix flours, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in large bowl and stir. Cut in butter with pastry blender (or 2 knives). Turn dough out onto floured surface and roll out until 3/4 inch thick (be sure it isn't too thin). Cut biscuits with a 2 1/2 inch cutter. Place biscuits on a lightly oiled pan, brush with egg white, and sprinkle seeds on top. Bake for 9 minutes or until golden. You will end up with 24 (sometimes 25) biscuits. I usually spread jam on them and eat them for breakfast, but, really, they are the perfect snack for anytime.