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‘Mama, how do you spell ‘corporation’?’
That’s my weird, sweet Bee.

It’s been an interesting year. A loop-de-loop full of big and small changes and challenges. Many were good, most were not very good at all. Still, we have a lot to be thankful for – and this is why I’ve finally cleaned out the cobwebs in this little space. I miss this. There’s something to be said for writing for the sake of sharing, a reason to be mindful of the days that pass and make the time to create memories. We’ve been rushing through our days with no sense of enjoyment, just getting to tomorrow with nothing to look back on. That needs to change.

So, in an effort to live more deliberately and mindfully, I’m cranking up this old blog in hopes that it will give me that creative space that I crave desperately right now. There’s something about the passage from fall into winter that brings out the need to make, to do…to revel in the tangible acts of happiness like cooking and drawing and knitting and collecting leaves in the woods.

So here we are. Let’s do this, shall we?

Yes, it’s been a while. Forever, in fact! Sometimes you just need to dwell in the everyday mundane, I suppose. There hasn’t been much along the lines of blogworthy adventure around here lately – not a bad thing necessarily, but I missed my camera and the creative urge!

Fortunately, sometimes you get just the nudge you’re looking for. Today is the husband’s birthday, and I’ve begun an unfortunate tradition of going a little nutso with his cake. Two years ago I made an Xbox 360 controller, last year it was a bit of a lie, and this year I wanted to make something from Game of Thrones (ubiquitous plug for the husband’s Cast of Thrones podcast).

Thus, the direwolf sigil cake, symbol of House Stark in the series. If you don’t watch the show, then this is just a shiny dragon cake, which it more likely resembles anyway. That’s fine, too. It tastes good and that’s really the most important thing anyway.
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How lucky do I feel for having won this gorgeous book from a giveaway on Elsie Marley’s lovely blog. I’ve only dabbled in quilt-making, but the designs featured in the book are pretty jaw-droppingly fabulous.

I love poking about the fabric store and I’ve fallen in love with so many packs of fabric bits and strips but the idea of freehanding a quilt from them was daunting. The patterns here seem to cover a nice range of abilities and are modern and not at all fussy. I mean really – look at this rainbow quilt from the book:

Right? I wonder if I could adapt this into a doll quilt for the holidays. Hmn…

To say she is expressive is a bit of an understatement.

I’ve been doing a lot of dreaming lately.
Our current house is lovely, but a 70s tract home and a bit plain and without character. As our family has grown quite a bit in the few years we’ve been here, the square footage just isn’t going as far as it used to.
I became accustomed to moving every couple of years growing up, so I’ve been feeling a bit of restless curiosity about what else was available in the area (and poring over real estate listings is one of my favorite hobbies). Thus, we wandered into a local open house a couple of weekends ago. It was a home in the village, much bigger than ours, and around the same price we could fetch if we sold. While the house itself wasn’t the right place, it got us thinking more tangibly about a ‘next’ place.

I’ve always been a modernist. My ideal would be a midcentury gem, all windows and light and restrained architectural detail. To find one here in upstate New York is like finding a Neutra in an actual haystack – close to impossible. Now, interiors are changing. There’s a distinct shift toward tradition in unexpected ways – Eames in the farmhouse – that beckons with the best of both worlds. Clearly, this has gotten me thinking. And dreaming.

So anyway, about the house above: it’s an 1835 charmer. The former mayor’s house! I’ve admired it along the main road into our adorable village for years. It’s been listed for quite a while and hasn’t sold, likely because of the main-road location and proximity to the school. The fact that the house next door keeps chickens might be a turn off (I may have been the only potential buyer to look out the upstairs window and say, ‘Awesome! Chickens!’ but I’m funny that way). The glaring negatives weren’t negatives to me at all – a main road in the village is still quieter than Brooklyn any day. I can walk the kids to school through the backyard every morning! And the location means we could walk almost anywhere we needed to go. That’s pretty amazing. Tack on over a half acre of flat land with a shed (hello, vegetables…fruit trees), seven (SEVEN) bedrooms, and a window-studded hardwood historical space at that price is pretty unheard of. So why aren’t we taking it?

It’s just not the right house for the right time. Maybe if we were more flush with cash and could complete one of the bigger projects before move-in. Maybe the bedrooms just aren’t quiiiite right. Maybe if it’s still on the market in the spring we’d see it differently. But it came close. Very close. And it’s fun to dream.

Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.

This beautiful video of a murmuration of starlings in Ireland is pretty darn amazing.

As the last of the leaves drifted away this week The Bee and I had a wonderful walk in the woods with a preschool friend and her mama. We hand-fed chickadees, met some rescued owls and birds of prey, and took some much-needed time to appreciate the natural world. At one point the girls spontaneously burst into a chorus of Frere Jacques, leaves crunching beneath their boots and marching on, and my heart sang. It was a good day.
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I can’t tell you the relief I felt when Owen chose a Halloween costume that:

a) Wasn’t available in stores; thus forcing me to be creative and pull out the sewing machine,
b) Wasn’t an obscure character from an indie video game that only dudes at Gamestop would recognize, and
c) Was generally human-shaped and did not defy the laws of physics.

I was able to alter a shirt from Goodwill, sew a fur vest and cuffs, re-purpose my own leather obi wrap belt, and conveniently buy a Viking helmet for the look. Oh, and I made him a treat tote bag with a printable iron-on that really served as a costume hint, just in case.

If you still don’t recognize him, click through to see the reference… (more…)

Some silly little sprite I know is quite fond of saying she misses Paris and wants to go back.
‘It’s time to go to ballet class’, I’ll say.
‘No, I don’t want to go to ballet class today. I want to go to Paris.’
So when it came to deciding what do do about her 3rd birthday decor, I decided to give her a little bit of Paris.
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