Friday, February 26, 2010

Self Doubt ≠ Virtue

Chained under self doubt.
Struggling, feeling the shackles round my wrist,
digging in
as I writhe.

Not free to express
who I am,
who I long to create
myself to be.

There is a key,
that will undo these shackles.

Where is it?
What is it?
The key is buried within.

Do I have the strength,
the courage,
the patience,
to seek it?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Fascinations with Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter. 'Pencil study of Peter Rabbit'

I just began reading Linda Lear's biography, Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature and am loving it.  Beatrix Potter has always held a fascination for me beginning of course with The Tale of Peter Rabbit that I read as a little girl over and over again.  This book is deepening the allure of Beatrix Potter. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sampler Quilt: In Progress

I've slowly been building blocks for a small sampler quilt in my quilting class.  Last night I laid out all my blocks (including the one that's not actually pieced together yet), trying to get a feel for what order looks best.  Sashing, cornerstones, and border fabrics still all need to be picked out.  Any suggestions?  Right now I'm think of going with plain white for the sashing but have no idea what to do for the cornerstones or border. 

My plan is to embroider a branch for the little bird and those green leaves that are currently floating in space.  The unpieced "Spool" block is going to have some hand embroidery as well of some bird theme.  A Rainbow of Stitches is providing lots of inspiration.  If your interested in cross stitch or embroidery at all, you need to check out that book!

Below is some up-close looks at a few of the blocks.  I've also been playing around with some simple photo editing after reading this post on The Sometimes Crafter

"Rail Fence"

"Log Cabin"

"Country Farm"

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Domestic Engineer

I have been struggling for awhile to define what it is I "do" for people who ask that insufferable question upon first meeting: "So what do you do?" Now don't get me wrong I ask that question myself to those I first meet, it makes for an easy ice breaker, so I get why they ask it. The hard part is when you don't have a job (by choice) AND you don't have children.

My first initial responses to this question were, "I'm a housewife." But that felt wrong, what am I married to my house? I certainly hope not! Then I fell upon saying "homemaker." I actually really like this one because that is what I do. Every day I am blessed with making a house into a home. One that I can share and love with my hard-working husband. But sometimes "homemaker" feels dowdy especially in certain company. You know the ones where the women hold high powered jobs, or in a room full of stuffy men. In those situations you want to sound intelligent and hard-working. For those times I am going to cry out proudly, "domestic engineer!" Maybe that will leave them scratching their heads for a minute.

I finished this lovely book just this morning. Jane Brocket details her life of domesticity in short little essays categorized in sections such as "Comfort", "Luxury", "Nature", and "Patterns." This book is a bight colored mengaerie of everything domestic (minus the cleaning part. I'm guessing she's leaving that for Martha Stewart.) I am more of a soft blues, purples, and greens kind of girl so Brocket's hot pink and lime green cupcakes were a little much for me. However, the "Villandry Quilt" and the "Teenage Quilt" she highlights in the book were very beautiful and more to my palette.  Brocket's education and work experience in wine and Victorian art and literature enhance this book greatly.

Brocket shares not only the crafting life of quilting, crochet, knitting, and cake decorating but an array of fine art and literature that exemplify the joys of domestic life. This book introduced me to such beautiful paintings as Chatterboxes by Thomas Kennington and The Felixstowe to Ipswich Coach by Russell Sidney Reeve.

It was like taking an art history seminar curated to the homemaker! Brocket shares a wealth of resources on quilting, needlework, baking, etc. that I found to be especially helpful. I checked out Erika Knight's Simple Crochet from the library on her recommendation and am loving it.

She also introduced me to the crinoline ladies! I am in love with these lovelies and can't wait to get my hands on a pattern to embroider one myself. These are some amazing examples of crinoline ladies shared in Brocket's book.

Hopefully soon I can share some of the domestic engineering I've been up to recently. Don't worry I won't be showing any pictures of the sparkling clean toliet or anything! (Although it does look pretty nice.) There has been a lot of piecing going on for a sample quilt I am making for my quilting class, along with some stamp making, and a little crochet. Yep I've been kept busy at the old office!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Beatrix Potter Cross Stitch

(Image from: File etole de lin)
My good friend Tatiana just introduced me to this amazing blog.  Now if only I could read French!  (Learning French is on my ever growing bucket list.)  Those of you who know me know that I've dreamed of having a Beatrix Potter themed nursery if and when my husband and I have children. Wouldn't something like this be perfect?

Glitter in the Air

I did not watch the Grammy's on Sunday but came across this on Monday and was blown away. It is a simply breathtaking song, open, honest, and beautifully performed.

Note: I guess YouTube had to take the video down due to copyrights.  Check it out here instead.