Friday, July 29, 2011


I am a dreamer. I dream up projects. Sometimes they become reality. Often they just stay tucked away in my brain. The jump from clearly doable in my head to actually done is, more often than not, one of those inexplicably unbridgeable gaps. The fear of my most recent pet project-in-utero ending in defeat is often enough to keep me from even attempting to move an idea into reality.

One such idea that has been kicking around in my head for months now is that of making shoes. My disenchantment with available shoes for my kids lately has made me think I ought to be able to just make them some shoes. Simple as that. Or at least it's as simple as that if it stays tucked safely away in my idea drawer.

But I have this incredibly talented friend who doesn't have as hard a time making the jump from idea to finished product. (Probably because she's not afraid to go through several incarnations before she ends up with the result she's looking for.) My friend, also fascinated by the idea of making shoes, is trying to help me not flake out on this idea. She has encouraged me to start by taking apart some shoes in order to see how they are constructed. And so I did.

These were the results of an evening of hacking away at the shoes with scissors and a butter knife. Not too pretty. But I have high hopes for what I'll learn in the process.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

on and off the needles

Remember those socks that I started last winter? Well this past week I finally finished them. Socks, it turns out, really aren't as complicated or time consuming as I had anticipated. Sure, they took eight months to finish, but not eight full months. More like eight months of half an hour a week. Altogether, not too overwhelming at all.

Of course, the child whose feet they were fitted for eight months ago insisted on continuing to grow. Alas. Fortunately there is another child coming up the line with such long stringy feet that these socks should be in heavy use by this winter.

In celebration of one project off the needles, I immediately (enjoyed some dark chocolate and then) cast on another. We're still hovering in the high 90's these days, which means I should have plenty of time to get this sweater done for the baby before he grows beyond its limits.

And just in case it takes eight months, I am making it extra big.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

wednesday's ode

To beautiful surroundings.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


When I was at the height of my knitting fascination, I used to daydream of knitting versions of most every article of clothing for myself: a dress, pants, a skirt... Why? Comfort, or perhaps just for the novelty. After a few drawn out adult-sized projects, I decided knits for my children would be a more attainable goal.

And so when I slip these pants on my baby, I enjoy by proxy how comfortable and cozy they are. And, it must be admitted, knitted pants look a lot more becoming on this soft, chubby baby than they ever could on me.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Walking, I am continuously discovering, is unbelievably therapeutic. I know this is not new news for many people. I have a friend in Indiana who manages to walk all winter. In the snow and ice. With the kids in tow. I have always been in awe of that, mainly because the effort to get myself from couch to sidewalk with preschoolers in negative degree weather not only seemed insurmountable but slightly heroic. But now that we live in the City of Trails, with scenery that can drag me out of just about any chair, I am learning how wise she is.

We have been out on afternoons and evenings, winter and summer. We walk by the lake and up in the hills and downtown. And I will admit, I am thoroughly converted. There is something about sun and clouds and air and dirt that always manages to clear up and expand my vision. To calm me down. I breathe deeper, my fingers start to tingle. What is it about motion that gets the insides churning? Even my maternal-memory-loss seems to abate slightly while I'm looking down the trail at my string of sassy little blond kids. I bet I could even come up with all of their names and respective birthdays right off the top of my head in such a setting.

The five year-old likes to talk about our Hiking Family, as in "We haven't been on a hike since saturday, and we're a hiking family!" Or "You seem a little grumpy mom. so this hiking family should go on a hike." Sometimes I'm busy or tired and I resist. But she's always wins out in the end.

And in the end, she's always right.

A Hiking Family it is.

Amen, little girl.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

wednesday's ode

To beautiful surroundings.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

versatility confirmed

I had suspected for awhile that this design might be versatile enough to fit her older sister as well, but hadn't confirmed it until this morning.
 With my last baby being a boy, I'm hoping to utilize the clothing I make for Olive to the fullest extent possible. She'll fit into this adorable jumper/shirt for a few years yet. Hooray for versatile clothing!

Monday, July 18, 2011

cool shirts [of the quick and easy variety]

I slept in on saturday. I mean waaayyyyyy in, rolling out of bed around 10am. I know I should feel sheepish about this, but it had been a hard week with low doses of sleep, and all I have been able to feel is refreshed and incredibly grateful.

But the house was awfully quiet when I finally emerged. I thought everyone must have gone on a ride or a walk or a hike up the hill. But no, I found them all in the garage.

After making breakfast, my husband had sent the kids off to get a plain shirt and scavenge cool shapes -- leaves, grass, rocks, sprockets (can you tell which one is my bike-obsessed boy?) -- while he mixed a spray bottle with 50/50 water and bleach.

And then they laid out the shirts, spread objects over them, and spritzed. Seriously, that's it. After the shirts dried they were given a quick run through a cold wash and voila -- new digs.

Can you believe how well they turned out?

And can you believe I got to sleep through the whole thing?!?

Friday, July 15, 2011

mosaic beginnings

During my recent trip home I started another mosaic, this time in the bathroom. I have high hopes for this one, though it is only in the very beginning stages.
The bad news? My parents' bathroom has been rendered unusable until the next time I visit.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

high desert: midsummer bloom

Ahhhh, Colorado. All these little surprises hidden in the cracks and dirt and barren looking oasis.

Midsummer has hit this higher altitude, and it's been a long time since I got to watch the high desert bloom. This isn't the intense lushness of our Indiana town, and it's not the landscape extravaganza of much of the west. We don't live in Vail or Aspen, and we haven't spent much time in the swanky southern redrock regions. No, we live in working man's Colorado, where the foothills and paths and scrub brush and cactus all kind of seep into your bones rather than knocking you down flat. Subtlety instead of spectacle; clear hues and a thousand shades of brown. In some respects the effect is even more intense, like a good long marriage or a pair of worn jeans. Every day I fall deeper in love.

One of these days I've got to pick up a guide to Colorado wildflowers. And my paints and a brush. It's time we got to know one another a little better.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

wednesday's ode

To beautiful surroundings.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

art from before

I have never been one to hang on to the past. In fact, perhaps I cast it aside all too easily, eager to forget the painful phases of learning and growing I've gone through. I prefer to think of myself as always having been at the level of competence and accomplishment in which I find myself most recently. My mom, however, treasures artifacts from her children's youth: photos of me as an awkward child hang on the walls; some of the silly nicknacks I used to collect, rescued from the trash by my mom, now reside on shelves about the house; my children play with my old stuffed animals; and my art from age twelve and on is in most every room.

While I was still uncomfortably close to my teenage and young adult years, these things were a bit embarrassing to encounter. But as an adult, comfortable in my own skin, I don't mind these earlier incarnations of my artistic interests. During our recent trip to my parents' house, I snapped some photos of them.
I am currently in the process of scanning every drawing my older daughter has ever created. What fun, how satisfying it is to see her progress. These creations are parts of her and will help to document who she is, even in 25 years.

Monday, July 11, 2011

coming home [and a request]

My goodness, it's been a long couple of weeks. The kids and I were out of town (or in town, for those of you we got to be with -- goodbye the second time around is no fun either), and after so long away it has been heaven (and its opposite) to return. Heaven to be back to the husband and 12 year-old we left behind, back to a comfortable cleanable home with internet access, back to the mountains.

But it has also been somewhat overwhelming to be back to the everyday tasks with so many little people looking to be entertained.

Which brings us here: halfway into summer and half a week home, finally trying to get into our groove.

Tomorrow we start our very patchy version of The Schedule. I'm hoping it helps keep us sane and relaxed, rather than just serve to ratchet up the intensity that has been ricocheting off the walls. I'm planning to include putting on clothes and eating food at various points in the day, along with a whopping fifteen minute job and daily outings to the lake or the canyon or the park. But there is one item on the agenda that is going to cause me some trouble: Reading Time.

While most of our kids are book-o-holics, but one of them is very much not. As in "I hate reading more than anything in the entire world" not. I've tried just about every book I liked as a kid but to no avail.

But maybe this is the magic summer.

So I'm sending out a request to any and all: Do you have any book suggestions for a 10 year-old girly girl? In particular one who adores babies, Taylor Swift, architecture, and the mall. All ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

wednesday's ode

To beautiful surroundings.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

shapes and colors at the beach

 a fence next to the boardwalk
a rainbow of beach houses
dotting the sandscape are teepees and miniature fences,
formed from the sea of driftwood
a forgotten swimsuit resulted in sisters sharing clothes
in the most literal sense - half on one daughter, half on the other

Friday, July 1, 2011

a nod to Ireland

My parents are currently vacationing in Ireland. My daughter keeps mentioning the Irish money that they have promised to bring back for her. If it were her little sister talking, she'd be fixating on the Irish "bunnies" that she'd soon have. I'm not sure if she's attempting to say money or penny. No matter how much she calls it that, I'm still thrown every time she asks where her "bunny" is.

This is a scene I painted from my trip to Ireland (specifically the Cliffs of Moher) ten years ago. This is how I remember Ireland - rolling hills and a leisurely stroll through life.
Mom and Dad, make sure you enjoy the slow pace of Ireland. But don't forget the Irish bunnies.