Friday, September 28, 2007

The Chosen One

Yea! I was one of the vendors selected to participate in The Handmade Market, a bi-annual showcase and sale of wares from local and national artists and craftspeople. Vendor submissions are juried in and so I didn't figure I stood much of a chance, but who knew?

It will be held in Raleigh on November 3rd. Since nearly everything I make is made-to-order I have next to no inventory. It's been one big scramble since I found out to craft, craft, craft. I'll be selling my baby cloths, the banners, and lots of fabulous crocheted beauties.

Up again all night at a fabulous delivery, so I'm writing once again from a birth-induced stupor. Oh, FYI - things are looking good on the professional front. Thanks for all of your words of support...I'll fill you in as things become a bit more concrete.

Enjoy your weekend, friends...


Wednesday, September 26, 2007


The quilt is finally pieced! I finished it up late last night and am so pleased with it. Every time I quilt I am hyper-critical and panicked up until the very last second, then all of a sudden, magically, it seems to come together. I will post a picture of it when it is quilted and bound. Thank you to all of you who had such fabulous ideas for the center square - they made me want to attempt them all! It was Johanna, however, whose idea ended up in the final beautifully captured the sentiment I wanted to communicate. Thanks, Johanna.

I have been on a domestic bender lately. This weekend I cleaned out my pantry to prepare for the high holy days, Baking Season. I made sure my foodstuffs were stocked and organized, took inventory of my spices, and purchased all the staples necessary to whip up fall deliciousness. In an act of rare kitchen meticulousness I even took my baking sheets into the back yard, saturated them with oven-cleaner and scrubbed them down to their original silver complexion.

Monday night I made Martha's polenta with mushrooms, but I didn't plan far enough in advance so we ended up having the mushrooms over soft polenta - I highly recommend it. Last night I made Sara Foster's salad of roasted butternut squash with black-eyed peas and goat cheese. We about licked our plates. And pear crisp. How lucky is Peter?

Does anyone else start to feel a little itchy this time of year? Galadriel is so right about September - I'm always glad to see it come and always glad to see it go, so I can get down to the real business of fall. I've also been doing a little investigating into finding some part-time work. I think it's time - I've really sensed lately that Andrew would benefit from some time out of the house, and even more than that - I would too.

I graduated from midwifery school in May of 2005 and then had Andrew in December, so I never got to really practice. Now as I'm looking for clinic work I often feel a little insecure - partly because I don't have tons of experience, and partly because I've been out of the 'force for a while. What's worse than feeling insecure is feeling desperate. I feel kinda' desperate. Like right now I'm waiting to hear about a position at an STD clinic (don't laugh - I would love the job) and it's making me a little bit of a nervous wreck.

I think when you're not out there, it's hard to have a grasp on the big professional picture. Every suitable job presents itself to me as a singular treasure - it's now or never. But of course that isn't true. I have found, though, that while doing the work of mothering, society's thankless job, I am much more vulnerable to any kind of perceived derision of my professional value. I think that's because on my lowest days of mothering, when I question every judgment, every feeling I'm having, somewhere in the back of my mind I know what I am good at. I know this because, daggumit, NYU told me so! It even gave me honors in it! So when I'm not interviewed, or told that I'm not a great fit for a position, my core competencies - that small reserve of certainty - feel threatened.

My friend Stephanie maintains that it doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing thing; most mothers are just looking for balance. I feel this really acutely much of the reminds me of that old commercial where people walked through their day completely tilted toward one side.

But until I'm balanced in that way, I'm moving forward, finding peace in my home.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


When Pete and I moved to North Carolina I was 36 weeks pregnant and I had exactly one weekend (by myself) to find a home for us and our new family. I chose one on the outskirts of Durham against my better judgment. Now I wish I hadn't been such a little snob.

Durham is a really lovely town - kinda gritty, kinda highbrow - qualities I love in both cities and friends. We went to the farmer's market on Saturday and ran into some birth center friends (and babies!) and got lots of yummy finds. Check out the purple pepper!

Pete made a pizza to celebrate the weekend. Man, it was good.

I worked most of the night at the birth center last night so that's why this post probably doesn't make much sense. For some reason I had a hard time falling asleep this morning so I went to Trader Joe's by myself and it was lovely. Sometimes after I've assisted with a birth and I do something really ordinary like go to the grocery store I think, " I wonder if anyone else in here saw a birth this morning?". Probably not.

I'd never bought fresh figs before and something told me to get them while I could. I don't know what I was prepared for, but I had always thought that the skin of a fig was tough and bitter. Wrong. It's tender and yielding and fragile. And the inside of a wonder it's associated with fertility.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend. I really need to get some food and sleep, but until next time, here's a flower for you:

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Lots of sewing around these parts.

I wanted to share with you some more of the banners I've been making. I've come up with a construction that's working really well: 1/8" Pellon interfacing between the layers of fabric. The interfacing makes them stiff but not too rigid. I've also been trying my hand at machine applique and have been tickled with the results.

This first picture is of a banner that a friend asked me to make for a baby shower. The rest of the nursery had come from this cute set at Target, and she wanted something that would match (apparently the mom is very matchy-matchy). I photoshopped the banner into the Target product pic.

This one I was asked to make for a little guy in the neighborhood, Mr. Jack, who arrived 6 weeks early to a half-decorated pirate-themed room. The end pieces on these were especially cute.

Ah, so many projects, so little nap-time for Andrew...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Rose City By Any Other Name

Hello again, friends!! Have you missed me?

When my dear friend Bo told me last year that he was thinking about moving from NYC to Portland, OR, I thought he was a bit full of it, since up until a few months before we'd never lived more than a few miles from each other. But daggum if he didn't do it.

So after a few months of planning, I flew out to Oregon, all alone (!) to visit with my sweet friend and see what all the hub-bub was about. So I have to admit: aaahhhhhhhh. Portland is incredible. Did y'all know this?

He took me all around town, to Saint Honore Boulangerie, which I'd first read about on Alicia's blog, and then of course to the Rose Garden, where those sweet little flowers had waited on me before deciding to give up for the season.

We rented a car (Which is an another blog entry in itself. Let's just say we drove something like 15 hrs without a CD player or a tape deck, and the only stations that ever came in completely clear were Contemporary Christian. Those stations must stream straight from God, because they never lost strength, even in the most rural of Oregon back-country. There's a metaphor in there somewhere.) and drove I-5 down to Grant's Pass and then up 17 of the most curvy-hairpin roads I've even been on. And I'm from WV. If you were on this road that day you may have seen us: We were the ones in the electric-blue compact, a cute guy at the wheel and his travel companion leaning her head out the side window, trying not to vomit.

What awaited for us was lovely and worth it, The Chateau at the Oregon Caves, or as Bo calls it, The Ewok Village. As good little tourists should, we hauled it through a tour through the caves and then on a little hike over the mountain.

Driving away, we repeated the same sad scene on the way down the mountain and then headed over toward the coast on a road that remains nameless. Not for confidentiality, just truly nameless. After winding our way through a one-lane path for about 15 miles, we came to this:

Lovely. We took it pretty well.

So up the coast via another route, to the coup de grace: The Oregon Dunes, undoubtedly the highlight of our journey. To get to the beach, you must hike first down the grand dunes and then through a bit of a dense trail. I told Bo I though we should reenact that heartbreaking scene from The English Patient where Ralph Fiennes carries Kristin Scott Thomas's limp body out of the cave and down the dunes. Surprisingly, he declined.

It's funny: ever since Bo moved clear across the country I have been desperate to have him back east. I hate the time difference and knowing that our visits are so infrequent after over 10 yrs of being joined at the proverbial hip. But seeing Oregon, I just fell in love with it too. It's like when your best friend tells you she's dating the most wonderful man and you will just love him and won't mind that he's moving her to some place like Provo and you are just sooo ready not to like him. But then you meet him, and of course you do just love him, and see how happy she is and instead of saying, "Nope - not worth it - just come back to me," you end up saying, "You are a lucky duck - have fun in Provo!!!".

That's how I feel.

On another note, thank you for all of your quilt suggestions. I didn't give much detail about the situation with this quilt in an earlier post because I didn't want my friend to see it, but since I am almost positive that she doesn't read this thing, I will give you a little more info. My friend is Beth and has been one of my best friends since I was about 9 yrs old. Her lovely mother died very suddenly of cancer when we were 14. At 25 yrs old, married for less than a year, she was faced with a heartbreaking decision: her brother had a daughter from a relationship years ago. The mother of her niece had subsequently had another daughter with another man. All parents involved became unable to care for the girls and they were going to be placed in foster care. So, overnight, she and her amazing husband decided to take the girls, then aged 8 and 5. They since have fought for, and won, permanent custody. Now, 5 yrs later, she and her husband are expecting another girl in December.

I can hardly write her story without sobbing, and I want the quilt to really honor all of the women in her life: the one who left her so early, and the three who she is now mothering. Really, she should probably get some sort of show in her honor from Oprah, but for now the quilt will have to do. It means alot to me that your kind and thoughtful suggestions are now part of the spirit of my gift to her.

I woke up this morning to the best 'welcome home' present ever - cool weather. Between that and my trip, my spirits are soaring. Grease the popover pan - fall's finally here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Call for Submissions

Without getting into too much detail, I have a question for my talented readers:

I am making a quilt for a baby and would love for the center medallion to reflect the lineage of women in her family. Any suggestions? Thank you, thank you, thank you.

This thing has to be made soon. Oh, dear.

A Sorta' Fairytale

Once upon a time there was a lovely princess, who lived in a beautiful bungalow in the great kingdom of North Carolina.

This princess was loved by everyone. She was so gentle and kind it was hard to hate her for having rock-hard postpartum abs.

When company would come from far and wide to visit her kingdom and royal family she and Prince PM would prepare lavish meals for a feast in the countryside.

Like chilled blueberry soup.

And proper tea sandwiches.

As a treat to the fair ladies, she would take them to Royal Fabric Palace, where you could acquire things like this:

and this:

Upon returning to her magical cottage, great banquets would appear and guests would immediately be stuffed with delicious food and fine wine.

Little nymphs would be present for entertainment.

And there in her enchanted manor, the princess and her family lived happily ever after.

The end.

Friday, September 7, 2007


There is positively no indication around these parts that we are now well into September, as the temperature continues to hover in the 90s. However, I know that The Most Fabulous Day of The Year, Halloween, is on the way when I start seeing little ones wearing their costumes at the grocery store. I just love that. I remember being a child and being so excited about my get-up, aching to wear it every day, sad that it was the annual version of a wedding dress: much ado about a few hours.

I remain a huge fan of playing dress-up. I bought some fantastic clothes this week for an upcoming trip and spent the entire evening trying them on with nearly everything else in my closet, bugging Pete every 15 minutes to Look At Me!!! How cute am I??

My sister Suzanne and I grew up in a small town in WV and we were kinda obsessed with New York City (where, sure enough, we would both end up living). When Suzanne was in high school she scored a copy of Kevin Aucoin's Making Faces and we would spend hour upon hour at our matching vanities, trying to replicate his magic. We have a great-aunt who used to live in NYC in the forties because she was married to a war-correspondent from the NY Times. They never had children, he died ages ago, and when she moved out of her home into assisted-care (she's in her 90s), her belongings were divvied up between family members. Suzanne and I nearly lost our minds as we were given carte blanche access to swanky vintage gowns, bags, scarves and gloves - which we both still wear.

my pretty sister

I don't think this love of "gettin' gussied" has ever left either one of us. To this day, when Suzanne walks in a room you notice. Sadly, these days What I Wear is simply What Isn't Very Dirty. But on those rare occasions when I dress-up, I feel her inside of me...that 6-yr-old who never wanted to take off her Wonder Woman costume, the armor of power and beauty.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


thank you. Your incredible words of advice put me into a different perspective, well-needed and appreciated by all.

You ladies are fantastic and wise.

xoxo to you.


21 Months

Andrew turns 21 months old today. So I am laying myself at the feet of you more experienced mothers and pleading: Does it get any easier?

Some days he is a sweet as spring rain, and others (many others) he behaves as the Angel of Death.

I feel like my bag of tricks is empty, and my patience is in critical condition.

Did anyone else want to dotate their 21-month-old gypsies on occasion?? No one seems to talk about it. So far, this post from Dooce is my only consolation.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


I'm not much of a clothing shopper. I tend to let my wardrobe reach desperate stages before I buy new clothes, partly because I hate to try stuff on my post-partum body, and partly because I hate to spend the money.

Yesterday, in an uncharacteristic spurt of retail-induced energy, I browsed our local mall and ended up in J. Crew. I like J. Crew all right, it's just never really been love. Until now. When I locked eyes upon these beauties my heart skipped a beat, my mouth went dry and my knees weak. I had to have them.

But, alas, at nearly $200 a pop, I would have to love from afar.

It's like seeing the most beautiful boy at school, all to discover he dates the head cheerleader.

Damn cheerleaders.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

To Market, To Market

I always need to remind myself that if I want to enjoy a day but am uncertain what to do, I should proceed directly to the Farmer's Market.

I ate a whole pound of cherry tomatoes, dirt and all, while selecting other produce.

We made a dinner from our finds and ate it outside in this gorgeous weather.

This is the sweetest little peach I saw all day, though:

Popover Morning

Popovers are the magical breakfast food.

Such humble beginnings, such triumphant results.

Popover Recipe

makes 6, adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook:

Preheat oven to 425. Grease popover pan with butter.

Whisk together 3/4 c. whole milk, 3 eggs.

Add 3/4 c. flour and a good pinch of salt. Maybe some sugar too.

Whisk until smooth, pour into popover pan and bake for 25-30 min.

No peeking!

While popovers are still in the pan, poke them with a skewer to let steam escape.

Serve them hot, hot, hot with good soft butter and jam.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Sweet Souls

I can imagine that most people who write blogs started doing so primarily for themselves. Started simple, no particular audience, just a desire to experience the subtle psychic change that comes about when you decide to document your life. At least, that's why I did it. So I could not have imagined, in just a few short months, the incredible community of readers and bloggers with whom I am now involved.

Your lovely, tender, thoughtful comments were just what I needed at the end of last week. Little buoys of hope and connection, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart - the vulnerable, dark, insecure place now illuminated by your radiance.

I love being a part of your lives, and treasure this gentle exchange of little mercies.