Thursday, February 11, 2016

Sweet Olive

I had never seen sweet olive in real life--or smelled it, that's the main thing--until today. Clara and I stopped off at the biggest nursery in town to wander in the greenhouse. There were two bushes in bloom, and the fragrance was indescribable. We brought one home to enjoy indoors, and then plant outside in April.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Winter Salad: Broccoli with Sesame

A super-quick salad made from cold steamed broccoli left over from dinner, drizzled with tamari sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar, and sprinkled with some sesame seeds.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Norfolk Pine

This weekend my dad brought over a Norfolk pine--a houseplant--that he wanted to pass on. I believe I remember this very specimen from my childhood, when it was two feet tall and lived in a whiskey crock. Now it's eight feet tall and a little overwhelming. But it's history! I'm going to find a spot for it, maybe in the new library we are making out of the toy room under the eaves. It might--just barely--fit.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Pink Roses in the Kitchen

A day of mercy for me as my five-day back spasm subsided and now I can get up from a chair by myself. 

Also, at one point this afternoon I realized we were maxing out on Millennial employment--Nick from across the road was building bookshelves upstairs, Clara was working for the law firm in the living room, Daisy's clarinet teacher was giving her weekly lesson, and up in the studio the Composer was getting graphic design input from Giles' friend Alejandro. An economic hotspot, that's what.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Beautiful Little Lives

Sometimes it amazes me that we can have beautiful animals living their perfect little lives right under our feet, in our houses. Sister is tops.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Plenty of Jersey in the Shop

I have a new selection of jersey things in my shop. A couple of cardigans I made to sell, and several items that I realized really aren't my color--including this mesmerizing gold. Happy shopping--and don't forget that all these proceeds go straight to charity.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Painting Class: Bird's Nest

I painted this in one pass, from a real-life nest in the studio. The nest is actually lined in mud.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Valentine's Garland

These wool garlands are so fun and easy--I had several wool blazers from the thrift store I had felted by washing and drying multiple times.

I cut the circles out free-handed, then strung them on perle cotton. It's a fast, satisfying project that uses inexpensive supplies. Try it!

Or buy one from me--the proceeds go to orphan care.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Big Sister, Little Sister

Clara pretty much has Sister's number. Sister is powerless in her arms.

Also, Clara has a special secret hold where she gathers Sister's back paws and tail all in one bouquet of kitteny softness.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Moving the Office, Finding a Mirror

Yesterday was moving day at the law firm--we left the old-school downtown space (with unheatable high ceilings and windows only in the front) for a new spot three blocks down. Since I'm rarely there, this won't affect my daily life very much, but Clara, Daisy and I went first thing in the morning to start loading boxes and files into the van.

After a lot of hard and dusty work* with all the others--ten lawyers, an extra husband, and two college students--we had the office empty, we thought. Until Clara asked if anyone had started on the attic.

In fact, they had not. We set up a bucket brigade on the ancient narrow wooden stairs and handed down a roomful of junk. Mostly out-of-date Federal Digests, but also this beautiful mirror, which I brought home. Carved corners, glass all a mess just like I like it, and carefully written on the back, "Resilvered January 1954."

* The question arose as we made a spectacle of ourselves on the street: How many lawyers does it take to move a conference table? The answer was eight, since the table (handmade by my brother from trees he had felled himself) weighed several hundred pounds.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Mountain Hare for the Forest

Here you can see a little bit of the process--the blue marks to outline the hare's form will disappear with a damp cloth. Clara just finished this, and started the Great Horned Owl sitting in one of the trees.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Winter Salad: Radicchio Slaw with Celery and Fennel

Finely sliced radicchio, celery, fennel, and a spoonful of raisins. Dressed very lightly with vinaigrette (and would have been good tossed with a little mayonnaise).

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Log Cabin Quilt: Purple Pansy

This is a tiny quilt, just right for tucking over a baby in a car seat, or laying a little down on with a soft toy. I made it out of a bunch of purple, brown, pink, and gray scraps I had left, and backed it with  seriously soft cream-colored Alabama Chanin, then hand-quilted it.

It will go in the shop in a day or two, or if you're really antsy you can email me ($50 including shipping). Proceeds will go to orphan care.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Today a reader asked for some inspiration to help her through the demanding years when it's you and a bunch of little people trying to make it through the day. The struggle is real.

Please, if you need help, good sense, and a wise and witty woman to help you through those years, I want you to start reading this blog. Every day.

Read the archives, read the links. Every single time I read Leila on parenting, I'm nodding along. To my mind, she gets things exactly right. It's everything I would have written out if I'd been thinking.

Now go and read.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

New Alabama Chanin Patterns: The Maggie Wrap Top

Alabama Chanin is releasing four new patterns this year, and the Maggie Wrap Dress, Tunic, and Top was the first (there's a new one each quarter).

I tested it out in a shirt-length. There's no shaping to it as it's presented--the under-bust ties are meant to pull it in. It already has center front and center back seams, though, so if you want to do, say, a swayback adjustment it's very easy. I also dropped the neckline some.

While simple to make, this pattern does require *miles* of binding--and I was working with the shortest edges. I can't even imagine how long the dress would take to bind!

In other green garment news, my hooverette of yore is back on the market as its buyer has decided not to keep it. Hooverette lovers, this is your second chance.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Log Cabin Quilt: Cabin in the Clouds

This may be the last cabin for some time to come. I'm feeling the love elsewhere at the moment.

This is a very large quilt, made out of 56 squares. Lots of pale neutral linens, and the pale blue center windows.

The back is mostly pale blue sateen, but then I ran out and had to fill in with the leftover blue-gray linen. I always laugh at the academic works on quilts that talk about subversiveness, hidden feminism, and the like--just because the quilter has added an odd strip to the back or a mismatched block to the front. Anyone who has made quilts knows this is simple expediency, and not a political statement. Though I will say that artistically, it's generally all to the good.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Woodland World in the City

The Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden combines three of my favorite things: nature, art deco conservatories, and G scale model trains.

The scale replicas of New York City buildings were jewels nestled into the hothouse plants. A truly enchanting afternoon.

Our Man on the Ground

I'm pleased to introduce you to a new contributor here at the Schoolhouse: Our Man on the Ground in New York, Giles. He'll be providing us with photos and stories from NYC, as he runs into interesting things and takes beautiful pictures.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Hey, It's an Apple Green Smock!

I think the title says it all. Look for it in my etsy shop.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Small Cottage Crafts

Let me show you a brand-new etsy shop just opened by a friend. She has *beautiful* knits for children.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Giles and Tia Head Out

Well, we had a really special weekend with all our kids home, and our extended set of kids as well :)

Giles and Tia said goodbye at noon to head back to New York. She went for a run with me this morning--the day before we all went on a big hike--and the day before that everyone went on a long walk that ended with a stiff climb up our mountain. She remarked that she's feeling really healthy now!

Sigh. The house is a lot quieter now that we've lost five young adults. However, the groceries should last a lot longer.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Scenes from a Winter Weekend

Friday, January 15, 2016

Beautiful Big Times

Everyone is home for the weekend for a very particular reason. 
Time to meet Giles' girlfriend: Tia.

Such a smile, such a beauty! We've been looking forward to this!!
More pictures to come, I'm quite sure. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Purple Shamrock in the Back Hall

Purple shamrock in a milk glass container. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

. . . And Then a Bear Walked into the Forest

Clara is taking our Boreal Forest quilt to the next level.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

I've Been Painting Florals, and a Piece of Fruit

Peach roses.


Crimson roses.

Yellow mums.

Stargazer lilies.

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