Tis the Season

Friday night, Brad and I wheeled our low-tech, rusty mountain bikes to the head of the Wasatch Crest Trail (a classic) and pedaled and twisted and turned from the high point of Guardsman's Pass down into Big Cottonwood Canyon. It's an easy ride with one short climb and few technical sections, so it's perfect for us--anymore, we mountain bike about once a year, though we both used to be bikers, so getting out and pedaling reminds us (well, at least, me) of being young and fit and unstoppable.

The best part of the ride was the summer’s-end temperature--it was almost COLD; it was dreamy. When we finished, I immediately pulled on a long-sleeved woolie, which made me smile so big my face hurt by the time I went to bed.

Fall and spring jockey for position as my favorite season; both seem like the best thing ever when, after the longest winter/summer in history, they finally arrive. And just as spring heralds sundresses and shell jewelry and flip-flops and beachy dreams, fall, too, has a wardrobe, made up of wool and felt and corduroy and aubergine and saffron.

I’m grateful that it’s time to bid summer adieu—it seems like it’s just getting harder and harder for me, each year feeling hotter and more stifling than the last. I’m quick to blame depression, medicine, work, body image…a thousand things that may or may not relate. More than anything, though, it’s probably just the weather.

So, with the promise of fall in the air, I’m shifting my focus from the exhaustion of summer to the excitement of fall. My blogger friends and favorite websites are on board, too, showcasing autumnal wares and creative ideas.

Some of the highlights?

These lovely embroidered pillows a la Apartment Therapy.

These websites:
Film in the Fridge
Indie Fixx
Do You Mind if I Knit?
Attic 24

Have you detected the theme of the season?

Yes. Textiles.

I just added a crochet class to the three sewing classes already on the docket. To remain logical about these hobbies, though, I’ve put a moratorium on buying any new supplies or fabrics until I actually make something from the myriad choices already crowding my craft room (that’s right, I’ve appropriated the guest bedroom. If you were thinking of coming for a visit, you might want to think again). Last night, as I sifted through piles of embroidery floss looking for branch-brown, I realized that I need some storage in that room, or it’s going to implode on me.

Because I’m cheap and loathe mass-produced baskets, I asked my friend the Internet if it had any ideas for creative, repurposed storage.

You’re welcome:
Fabric scrap baskets from the Sometimes Crafter.

Recycled magazine baskets from How About Orange.


After years of searching

I've finally identified what I should be doing with my life, and it's this:

Yes. Working on the set of the "Air Bud" Movie franchise, which includes Space Buddies and Air Buddies.

And readers? I'm only a little bit kidding right now.

When renting a movie, Brad and I always point to whatever "Bud" movie is in the RedBox, and joke that it's the only movie I'd actually be able to watch, so sensitive am I to scenes of violence, death, fighting, sadness.

So tonight, my very sweet husband brought Space Buddies home in an effort to make me smile.

Of course it's completely ridiculous, but it does make me happy. My favorite part is imagining what the off-screen people are doing to affect the puppies' on-screen faces and reactions. If it were Arnie in the movie, for example, all we'd have to do is say, "Hel-lo! Hellooo! HelLO! Hello!" and Arnie would smile and wag his tail and raise his paws.

Yep, Space Buddies. I can't help it--it makes me smile. And this is probably the only post I'll ever write about that.


A Menagerie

It felt almost felt like fall today, blustery with golden light--a lovely day. I did some embroidery, went for a run, had brunch and saw Julie and Julia with my friend, Amber (Hi Ber!), then made an awesome dinner of sausage and peppers and bread, but rather than serving it as the traditional Italian meal, we mixed it up with roasted hatch chiles and sundried tomatoes. Awesome.

Back to Julie and Julia. As a blogger, I feel obligated to report on it somehow, as blogging was such a theme--even in Julia's correspondence with Avis, which I thought was very sweet. I loved so many elements of the movie, Meryl Streep was deLIGHTful, Stanley Tucci a total charmer--I adored him. And as for Amy Adams? She was imminently relatable, which was, I suppose, why I loved elements of the movie, but not the whole thing: She was too relatable.

I understood all too well writing but not completing a novel, seldom finishing what one starts, feeling like one is married to too good a person. It's no secret that I've long felt like I'm spinning my wheels--taking life as it comes instead of making my dreams come true--so Julie's strife hit a little too close to home.

It was a very cute movie, though--it's so nice to be entertained by huge images of antique-strewn apartments and Parisian food markets. There's something so calming about a pleasing aesthetic. I can look for hours at sites like Design Sponge and , Apartment Therapy. Bolts of fabrics and spools of ribbon make me happy. Ironic cross stitch samplers? Please--they're my happy place.

Oh, I've learned to cross stitch since last we've spoken. I'm tangled in floss and there are dull needle pokes in each of my fingers from my efforts, but I love it. I fall asleep at night to dreams of Hungarian flower borders and embroidered textiles.

So anyway, my apologies for this slapdash, haphazard post; I'm distracted by the motocross video (not my own) filling my ears and distracting my voice (if I through a "rad!" or a "sick!" into this post, I trust you'll forgive).

Oh, and my style file? It's just that: a folder on my computer with images that move me somehow--pictures that make me think beyond the now to a place in the future, to a place as calm and colorful and cheerful as the images...

See, I like to know what’s coming. Sometimes, just to be sure a book has a happy ending, I read the last couple pages first. That way, I can either relax and enjoy the lovely story or return the bloody thing to the library before it makes me sad.

In the same way, I collect pictures of design elements I love, as much for inspiration as to comfort myself with scenes from my future--even though it's not so much the future as the idea of change that tends to make me happy....

I’ve seen lots of such images lately, and, because I know I owe you more than the frenetic contents of my distracted mind, I'll leave you with some eye-candy.

I love the "Lovely" pillow, and plan to make similar cushions for my bed. See? All my cross stitch work won't have the f-word in it.

Oh, there's that coveted card catalog cabinet again. I'll find one someday...

These next two photos feature word art, which I love. I'm always collecting favorite poems and quotes to emblazon on my walls. "For, Like, Ever," while ubiquitous, is endearing. And the words on the painting at the top of the stairs in the second photo come from Romeo and Juliet...what a sweet idea.

And finally, these pillows. I love the pieced together bolster in the first picture (and I happen to know that the needlepoint loveliness to the left of hails from IKEA), and the Suzani-like square in the second. So sweet. And, I think, easy to recreate...


Yes, please.

I’ll take a nook like that*, tucked away and tiny, filled with interesting souvenirs and keepsakes.

I’d like to have this spot for writing, thinking, researching ideas, getting inspired.

I’d probably lose the leopard pelt and beehive, but I’d keep all those bookshelves, and oh, definitely those card catalog cabinets (I’ve been prowling eBay and Craig’s List for one of those for months—if you happen to know where I could get my hands on one, please let me know).

I’d need to add a doggie bed under the desk so Arnold and Red could join me in there. I love writing when they’re around, with their deep sighs and their paws scurrying in their dreams.

A Room of One’s Own. Not a new concept of course, but so much has changed since Ms. Virginia Woolf wrote, in 1929, about Shakespeare’s Sister and the opportunities denied her…I wonder if, now, our men don’t need that room more than we do.

It’s not that our house is overly feminine or crammed with pictures of unicorns, but I definitely take elements of the home far more seriously than my husband; I prefer to eat frozen pizza off a plate rather than the cardboard round it came on…see how fancy I am?

And I certainly put my foot down when, before our wedding, Brad said, “We don’t need to register. Look, we have two forks, two spoons, and three knives. Actually, we can get rid of one of these knives….”

So yes, the room of my own is perhaps the entire domicile. But, on second thought, the garage is his domain (there are mice and bats in there. I mean, please.), and he did build the house, so the layout and design are all him. The walls, too, are Brad’s choice—white—despite the cans of Baby Boy Blue and Night Sky and Red Delicious and Canary Song teetering in my closet.

Ah, my closet….

I’ve seen several articles recently about turning a pantry or walk-in closet into a small home office. Granted, these articles were in magazines like “Real Simple” and "Martha Stewart Living,” with instructions as “simple” as "craft your desk from a single Oak tree you felled yourself with a handsaw and the help of a family of woodchucks."

Despite that, though, my closet would be a perfect little writing nook. There’s no natural light, but I prefer the warm glow of lamplight to glare on my computer screen. And it’s always the coolest room in the house, long and narrow, with floor to ceiling shelves on three sides. I could easily turn a shelf along the back wall into a desk. And I bet I could consolidate all my clothes and shoes into one area, and cover it with a pretty curtain.

One of the adorable new Joel Dewberry fabrics above would make a great curtain. This is his Deer Valley collection, which is fitting, because Deer Valley is one of my favorite places in the world. I know it seems shishi and celeb-focused, but I tell you, the skiing is surprisingly steep, and the summer activities (running, mountain biking, lawn concerts) are incredible. Plus, it’s dog friendly…Arnie’s been there many times, and as my home office-mate, I’m sure he’d concur with a curtain made from Dewberry Deer Valley fabric.

Yes, this just might do.

And honestly, after getting some heartbreaking news this morning, news that—had it gone the other way—would have signaled a fantastic change in my lifestyle, I need a project, something to pour my heart into, something pretty and cozy and nurturing and all mine.

So, because I’m trying hard to use my time deliberately, to actively make positive changes in my life rather than just let life happen, I signed up for a sewing class (that way, this curtain will be more than a hank of fabric with frayed edges).

Certainly, this nook wouldn’t be a panacea for my inability to just sit down and write already, it will be something…a step toward the goal.

*I blatantly stole the nook photo from www.ApartmentTherapy.com


Love is the Answer

Heavy stuff in the news this morning. A gunman in Pittsburgh opened fire on an aerobics class, killing three (and himself) and wounding nine or ten. According to the police, the guy “couldn’t have been stopped” because he had been planning this, because he was so intent. But that’s just it—he’d been planning it. His blog detailed his plan. It even contained entries about failed attempts, about times when he’d taken the loaded guns to the gym but “chickened out.”


I don’t know if his blog was public, but if it was, why did no one catch this? Apparently he had few friends, seldom talked to his neighbors or socialized. Maybe no one knew he was a blogger, but even so, if his writing was in the public domain, why did no google search ever pick it up? No one ever typed, “guns, fitness, Pittsburgh” into a search engine? I know, it seems like a weird combination, but millions of people search the Internet everyday…surely his blog came up on one of those searches, surely someone noticed it, surely someone could have stopped it?

He was the licensed owner of at least one of the two guns he used to fire 50 rounds in an enclosed 20x20 foot space. Let’s imagine for a minute how things might be different this morning if he hadn’t had access to firearms. Yes, he might have stormed into the aerobics studio with a knife, but he couldn’t have caused as much harm with it, and it would likely have been easier to disarm him. He could have blown the place up, but often, when people stock on materials to manufacture explosives, they’re red-flagged and stopped. Sadly, the same is not true when outwardly normal looking white guys try to by guns. Especially in Pennsylvania, where hunting is seen as a right.

I know what my husband would say—that this is exactly why we need well-meaning vigilantes to carry concealed weapons. This is why we need to uphold our second amendment rights. But tell me, who runs on a treadmill or shoots hoops with a piece strapped to his thigh? Who could have been there in time to stop last night’s shooting? The whole ordeal took seconds—a minute at the most. No one would have had time to figure out what was going on, get to his or her weapon (likely in a locker room or, at the closest, in a nearby gym bag), and get to the aerobics room in time to get a clear shot at the shooter. Remember, there were, like, 40 women in that class, most of them running amok, trying to get the hell out of that room.

My husband has numerous friends who earn their livings as soldiers and security consultants. These are the kind of people I feel safe with in Tijauna, in grizzly country, anywhere. Having limited survival skills myself (I come undone when the air conditioner in my car is on the fritz), I can’t deny that I am grateful for their competence when I feel endangered. Still, though, I question whether arming up is the direction we’re supposed to be taking.

I know I sound na├»ve, and my husband’s friends—who know little about me other than that I’m a over-educated suburban liberal—think I oppose violence because I’ve never faced it, because I’ve never done battle, because I don’t know what it’s like on the front lines.

I’m not a soldier—that’s true. But I looked evil in the face and made the conscious decision not to fight, but to reason. And it worked.

What if someone had reasoned with last night’s shooter? They’d have probably been shot, so far gone that man’s sense of right and wrong. But what if he’d never had access to that gun? What if a firearm was never an option for him? How different would his ultimate explosion have been if it didn’t have gunpowder behind it? How much less devastating? How much more stoppable?


Just this once...

I will break my rule of No Disney Movies Ever.

I will break it for this:

I cannot wait!