constants :: organizing

We’re going to a concert with the child tonight, so I’m spending the day organizing. It is a constant though… arranging this and that. I would imagine that is the case for most everyone. I enjoy it quite a lot, as long as it’s not an overwhelming task, which I can overcome if I remind myself to take it in small bits.

I’m working on yarns, flosses, and such today, especially trying to make the unattractive corner shelf tolerable.

afghan bits

binding and rick rack

various labels

crochet leftovers

unattractive shelf

the comfort of cats: kitty fort

the set-up

the slide

I once read somewhere that the quickest way to lose readers is to post photos of your cats. I guess that I like to live dangerously.

I set this up so that I would have some entertainment while crocheting this afternoon.

 

thanksgiving eve + day

[written on Wednesday]

I am hosting a simple Thanksgiving dinner this year. Since Grandma Anderson is coming over, and she is 88, I’m keeping the flavors mild and rather classic. I have had a schedule written out for days, covering what needs to be done at what time from Tuesday through Thursday at noon. I seem to live dangerously when it comes to these events, despite this timeline that I create for myself. I have everything worked out in my head, but I’ll sit looking out the window for too long or see something that I want to buy online, and then I’m suddenly six hours behind, yet the mania of it all makes everything come together beautifully.

I don’t know how that works; I just trust that it’ll all be lovely and I know that I will be thankful for that, as well as every little and big thing in my life.

Thank you, thank you.

 


 

[written on Thursday]

Dinner was perfect. I can even link to most of the recipes. (I don’t use one for deviled eggs… or corn.) I roasted a whole 8.26-lb breast with two legs, which were put into the bottom of the pan after one hour. I used the Martha Stewart brining instructions for the turkey, and then followed the turkey gravy recipe for cooking it. The cranberry relish was outstanding. I haven’t tried the pie yet. Grandma and Uncle Tim had pie waiting at home. It’s an easy schmeasy recipe, but I just wanted to have something onhand. The whole meal is simple in flavor and concept, but I wanted something familiar for Grandma.

Success.

Thank you, thank you.

Cranberry-Orange Sauce
Deviled Eggs
Corn
Dinner Rolls
Brined + Roasted Turkey Breast
Roasted Turkey Legs
Turkey Gravy + Dressing
Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Pumpkin Pie



 

[the table + cranberry-orange sauce; I guess that is what caught my eye the last two days.]

choosing dinnerware

thanksgiving eve

thanksgiving morn

cranberry-orange sauce

space and time

drip-dry bikes

Yesterday, we finally had snow and it was a good day to be hunkered down at home.

The autumn was so fair, so mild that it tricked our lazy brains into having even lazier bodies. All the bicycles were still on the porch. I could see the the water dripping off of them in the morning, and I envisioned icy chains and gears later. I put down towels in the dining room and brought the bikes inside to drip dry. Little Kin claimed space beneath them, like she was queen of this-is-as-close-as-any-of-us-get-to-being-outside-until-spring.

I feel so at home when the weather starts to turn and gets to a point where it can’t really go back.

I was recently asked to name some sources of inspiration and I found it hard to separate these three: the natural world, winter, and growing up in the wild, so to speak. I don’t know where one ends and the other begins. It is something that is always on my mind, but being questioned about it alongside cold gusts from the north fiercely drives out that primal part of me, the generations of Scandinavian tribes walking across the dark and frozen landscape.

In the end, the snow was no big thing, physically underwhelming. It really charged my mental batteries, though, and I am far away from anyone, stalking quietly in the woods, plaited hair with wool and fur, breath like smoke … and then I’m back here, in my studio, watching the fresh flakes fall.

 

something old, besides my bones

framed

I have been cleaning my studio, although that’s not exactly accurate. I am sorting through boxes and piles and stacks and bags and drawers. Most all of it has been stashed here mindlessly, although there is certainly a lot of optimistic and creative intent involved as well.

The word “studio”, to me, brings to mind an open and organized space, a big room. This is not big. However, organization is possible and this space has never really been what I know that it can be… productive.

In a past life, I sold vintage children’s books on the internet. I enjoyed it quite a lot. I closed that business about eight years ago. Naturally, I couldn’t part with the majority of the leftover stock because I mostly sold what I love, what drew a strong sense of nostalgia from within me. Others, I fell in love with because of unique illustrations and dynamic design. I hope to document more of my treasures soon as well as this room as a whole.

For now, it’s back putting things on their shelves, but maybe playing with them a bit before I do.

 

My grandma gave me this little print at some point. I don’t know where she got it, but on the back it says, “To Arnold, June 1938, from Mrs. Vogel.” While homeless in my studio, the glass was broken. That made me sad, but I now like it this way and I don’t really plan to replace it.

[I am logging my family heirlooms and thrifted finds. All items will be considered vintage by the 20-year standard.  You can find all of the entries under the category ‘something old‘.]

 

and after gathering

At this very moment, I don’t want to forget the cacophony of bird song pouring in through the open window of my studio and how the sky is the lightest shade of pure gray. I want to remember that a simple and small dose of gathered people can heal and brighten the darkest of ills. I want to share the peace that I feel in my heart. I sort of want to dance. I long to go to the woods today and I think that I will walk there.

I really wish, though, that I could share this impromptu mid-morning bird song.

One thing that I will be sharing more of is the everyday creative stuff that is going on all about me because I am participating in AEDM. I shall probably be like the birds, with impromptu updates this month about this ongoing and important part of my life.

crochet + kin

hopalicious

after gathering

little things :: october

 sweet potato biscuits

 

  • After starting to crochet a hat that seemed rather toddler-sized due to my tight stitches, I contemplated a few other patterns, then eventually decided to do a project that I’d purchased yarn for last year: the Marte Crocodile-Stitch Hood. I am really enjoying it so far, but I’m only a few rows in, so… we’ll see. I often think that a pattern is too difficult for me, yet I get bored if I do something easy, so challenging is definitely the best option. I’m going to keep track of the project on Ravelry.
  • For a few months, Kin has been napping on a book shelf. I eventually put a little afghan in there and it became a daily thing. Then, I thought that it would be cute if she lived on the second-story instead of the first. It took a few days for her to bite, but eventually… she did.
  • I was inspired by this version of chicken and biscuits, which used sweet potato biscuits, and I just had to give it a try. [I made a similar stew from scratch instead of using the one suggested.] It was all so delicious. I can’t wait to give the biscuits a try on their own. They are beautiful and moist.
  • We stopped at Straka Meats on Saturday to pick up some head cheese for my maternal grandmum. While there, we grabbed some landjaeger for ourselves.
  • The first week that we had the hutch, Kin was tormented by a ghost kitty. At some point, she noticed her reflection in the glass and she was absolutely obsessed. Eventually, to ensure a few nights of rest, I covered the glass so that she couldn’t see herself. Now, all is well. She occasionally sees the ghost cat, but isn’t so alarmed and is certainly not obsessed.
  • On the other hand, I am obsessed… with having a productive, balanced, and satisfying week. I love Mondays.

 

Chicken Stew with Sweet Potato Biscuits

hutch, little baby, don't say a word

midcentury modern danish-style china hutch + credenza

After ignoring a row of five hutches at my local thrift store for approximately two months, I finally let my eye wander to one last week, during my second trip to the shop in three days while on a desperate hunt for something to put a few lot of dishes in for my dining room.

At long last, I noticed a hutch that was a mighty bit smaller than the others. At six feet, it was a solid foot shorter than most and a up to few feet more narrow as well. I had forgotten my tape measure, but I had previously eyed up a Danish-style dresser like my own and I knew that it was 18″ deep. Too deep for the space, although I had considered it seriously 48 hours earlier. I went over and measured out that dresser with my forearm, and then I measured the depth of the hutch. At that moment, I decided to bet my whole world ($75) on that piece being 14″ deep.

If not, I’d probably be sleeping on it in the alley behind our house. [Note to self: It’s good to know the length of your forearm.]

[An aside, if anyone in the area is looking for a Danish-style, or possibly actually Danish, highboy and lowboy, there’s a beautiful set at the local shop for around $125. I would buy them, but the lowboy and nightstands that I already have belonged to my parents. It was their newlywed set so yada-yada sentimental value. Oh, so much furniture in this world, so little house!!!]

On Saturday, my man and his friend to whom I am dearly indebted, lugged this one-piece woozy home to me. Since then, I have spent most of my time oiling her dark body and Q-tipping her corners. It hurts me to admit that I have been unable to fully identify the model. Probably walnut. The hutch is quite like a Sculptra piece by Broyhill Premier, which was made from 1957 – 1965. However, it is not a Sculptra. The top casing, however, is nearly identical, especially in the fact that there is only one set of doors. (The knobs have clearly been replaced.) The outer panes of glass do not move. Most Broyhill Premier hutches were not solidly attached to the credenza, yet this is…

I’m stumped.

So, now it is time to begin filling the shelves and drawers and doors. I started out with my great-aunt Stella’s Table to Terrace dishes. She was so proud of her Mel-Mac settings. Like most things that were nice to her, she didn’t use them, but saved them. Oh, sweet Auntie, I miss you.

Anyhow, then I started to add various other pieces of china, trying them out in various situations, until I got sidetracked by doing this:

not yarn, not yarn

And, I did that until I got sidetracked by doing THIS.

P.S. Although I like the way that the yarn looks in there, my man will have me and the hutch sleeping in the alley if I put anything but dishes and various dining room clutter in it. Plus, I’d hate to go to the studio upstairs to get my dishes from an old yarn shelf.

futzing around

aunt stella's table-to-terrace dinnerware

sweet baby spiders

things that i like

Two combinations that I like include morning light on the stairway plus a basket of embroidery hoops and a sweet feline reenacting The Princess and The Pea with a pile of blankets.

morning light + embroidery hoops

princess + the pea

that subtle shift from summer to almost-autumn

bringing the spider plants inside

I have really been enjoying that subtle shift from summer to almost-autumn. The days have cooled so nicely that even the hot exceptions don’t stand apart from the rest. I don’t think that we get that every year.

All is beautiful.

At home and everywhere, this part of the seasonal change brings me a lot of comfort. I enjoy activities such as bringing the houseplants inside or preparing the entry area for more clothing. The kitchen is getting a good cleaning. I like tearing out all of the unnecessary plants in the garden and stuffing them into the compost bins. (I still need to do that.) The closet in our room has been shined to satisfaction. All of the extra bedding has been freshly washed. The kitties, snake, and pup are curling up in corners or finding patches of sunshine.

The studio-office will get a lot more traffic now. It is so stuffed and disorganized, but a bit better than this last winter when a guest described it as “frightening”. Since then, it has gone from being “the pile that wants to eat you” to being lots of mid-sized piles that aren’t so scary. Then again, that’s what Dieter Stark thought about the compies in The Lost World: Jurassic Park II.

I have a desire to pick apples. I want to make my own version of the apple-bacon-cheddar pie.

I don’t have to time my bicycle rides to avoid the hot midday sun; I can bike during any part of the day, well, except when classes begin or let out because I am one block away from an elementary school. The state parks are less busy, perfect for hikes. I am missing the extra light a bit and I hurry to fit things in before it gets dark, errands and photos and time outside and fussing about the house. I haven’t yet found my autumn-evening groove, the move from supper to tidying up from eating to evening fancies, like crocheting and embroidery, but finding my way is part of the good experience.

Gardening like hell for so many months always leads me to an August brain malfunction, of which I am now recovering, nicely, with coffee and fresh air and long sleeves.

my man's gloves in the entry area