February 26, 2011

Muted Nostalgia

I'm linking again even though I wrote this post a few days ago...

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Last night Evan's science fair project was selected as one of the top projects in Jordan School District. He's kind of cracking me up about the whole thing. He's played it really cool, but I found out he slept with his blue ribbon last night. Sorry boy - it was something that had to be shared...

He really is excited, but he's driving me crazy! Everytime he's been asked to do something this morning, he has replied,
But I won the science fair!
Like that's reason to be king for a day or something. I had to escape his highness so I retreated to my sewing room. I have a few UFO's and felt the need to wrap something up. Success!

I quilted and bound a small topper (calling it Muted Nostalgia). I also 3/4 completed quilting a twin topper, but I ran out of thread and must stop by the LQS or fabric store when I venture out today.

And here she is in her new abode:

I love this little guy. I found him on Etsy. He's a little felted gnome. He fits right in to this incomplete cloche scene. It's missing something, but I just can't figure out what else to add. Suggestions?

February 20, 2011

Back in the swing

I finally got my sewing machine moved out of the family room and up to my office. I spent Friday in a conundrum over how my once open space is now wall to wall STUFF. I still need to move the futon out, and that will help immensely, but without a clear plan of what to do with that dang thing, it won't get moved anywhere.

Yesterday I decided that I just didn't care what the state of the rest of the room was - I wanted to sew. Took me most of the day (and I "missed" going to see Tron 3D at the $1 movie with Jon and the boys), but this is what happened...

Of course the photo just doesn't capture the color. It's got a lot more yellow than what I see here.

Nope not much better.

Anyway - I need to add some blocks to the sides, but I used up all of the sashing so I'll have to venture out and hopefully get more of it.  Let me just tell you that putting this together without a pattern was a bit frustrating. I don't know how much fabric I wasted tyring to get it the way I wanted, but I'm thrilled with the way she turned out.

It was a very blaw weather day yesterday, and this was the perfect project to chase the bleeriness away.

She's hanging on the door right now, and I've discovered that my new room arrangement has a perfect spot for a flannel design wall - right above my machine... I know what I'll be googling this morning.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

February 16, 2011

Anybody Out There?

Haven't seen much traffic since I switched the address... So let's see what we can do about that.

Linking to Welcome Wednesday!

February 14, 2011

Mon Couer - In 3 Parts

American Gothic
Grant Wood

Today we find ourselves visiting American Gothic.  I don't think Jon and I are quite of an age as this charming couple, but I think they say a lot about us. They are a stark respresentation of what's worth standing for. Imagine the end of that pitchfork was solidly tapped into the soil while they contemplate: 
  • This is us!
  • We are here!
  • We're in it together!
  • Things have not been, are not and will not be easy!
  • We'll stay side by side using the tools God gave us to do what needs to be done!
Jon and I have been together longer than some and shorter than others. We've lost close friends and family, and we've gained a plethora of siblings-in-law, nieces, nephews, and step-family. We've had friends move away. We've moved away from friends. We've been able to make new ones. Some day soon we will have to put down a beloved animal. We've been on 25 hour road trips, and we've driven just a few minutes to spend time with the people we love. We've encouraged each other in school and work. We need to encourage each other through weight loss. We argue; we make up; we compromise; we laugh; we love.

April Fools 1943
Norman Rockwell
We really enjoy games and laughter at our place. See Rockwell's Mr. smiling as Mrs. contemplates clocking him with that wrench? Such a fascinating depiction of the way Jon and I play board games. Ever tried Monopoly with him? You'll want to clock him too - I promise. But really - Jon reminds me to smile and enjoy the humor. He knows how to work hard, but sometimes more importantly he knows how to play. One of my fondest wishes is that he continues to play with me for a very long time.

Sweet Responsibility
James Christensen
Our last feature of the tour is a piece titled Sweet Responsibility.I sigh at this bald gent gently handing over a single bloom to the curly haired, slipper-wearing beauty.

 Jon's not big on giving flowers. I think the only kind he's ever bought have been straight from the grocer's refrigerated floral section. They've been precut and prevased. But on summer evenings he brings me single miniature rose blooms from our front yard.

I love those. I love how they show up on my bathroom counter or nightstand months later when I move a clock or book or jewelry box and discover these little treasures that either fell behind something, were hidden for me to find later, or were at one time propped up where I could see them. They've lost their fragrance and the suppleness of their petals, but they remind me that once upon a time I was given a token by a boy because he loved me. This thought brings me a smile on a cold winter day and blustery spring-ish mornings. 

I'm the luckiest girl in the world.

I love you Jon.

February 10, 2011

Mon Couer II

The Shape of Things to Come
Jack Vettriano
Next we move on to Jack Vettriano's The Shape of Things to Come. I love this painting - I love Vettriano's style - very raw, gangster meets glam. Seriously - check out Amateur Philosophers, The Billy BoysDance Me to the End of Love, The Road to Nowhere, or The Singing Butler. Just don't do too much perusing of his site - he's fairly risque - even blatant. Believe me.

Anyway - I love this one because of the chivalry. Her hair's set, and for some reason they've found themselves barefoot on a rainy seascape with the boys looking on. Still the man drops what he's doing and goes to her aid.

Know how this reminds me of Jon? He does thoughtful things like this for me quite often. I'll share two stories with you.

First - after Griff was born I had post-partum depression. Didn't take much to persuade me to stay inside and dread everything. Jon came home from bishopric one night and handed me a pink cookie. You know the kind - the fluffy sugar cookies with about an inch of pink, preservative-laden, lard-filled frosting. Simple act really - he probably stopped to get a soda and grabbed something that was on the counter. but you know what? He knew that my miserable self needed some sugary goodness. He knew I needed him to pull me out of mire - for a few minutes.

Second - I've had 3 boys with the man. I've had fairly easy labor & deliveries (7 hours for Carson, 5 hours for Evan, and a mere 3 hours for G), and I'm a firm believer in drugs making things much better and relatively pain free.

I didn't really know what to expect with my first. I had no idea what it was like so I was wondering how bad it could really be wanted to feel a bit before it got really hot & heavy. I quickly had enough of that and my rescuer/pain reliever stopped by my room at just the right time. He was on his way to a C section and wanted to see if I needed him to start the epidural before he wouldn't be able to do it for a couple of hours. No question on my part. NOW!

 I was sitting on the edge of the bed, trying to wrap my arms under my knees to curve my back (which isn't an easy task with a basketball in between your ribs and pelvis). The anesthesiologist was prepping my back and the needle, etc. A contraction hit, and it absolutely took my breath away. I panicked! Jon jumped up from the rocking chair in the corner, knelt in front of me, touched both of my knees, looked me right in the eye, smiled, and gently but firmly said,
You have to breathe.
The epidural must have kicked in about then because I remember squeezing his hands and feeling an amazing calm come over me. From then on he was right there with me, pointing out when my contractions were starting on the monitor, getting me ice, not touching me because he'd already figured out (or perhaps not so nicely been told) that it drove me crazy to be touched/rubbed through a contraction. Then when I thought we'd both had enough, his son was placed on my stomach, and I watched him smile as his hand ran over the top of Carson's head for the very first time.

I gave that gift to him... And I loved him for the way he received it.

February 06, 2011

Mon Couer Day 1

Your Place or Mine
James Christensen

 The Jon and Staci romance began on October 9, 1992. We sealed the deal on July 9, 1993 (that's 9 months to the day for those of you counting fingers). February 14 was the big day that led to the deal being sealed. 

To commemorate this romantic occassion I'm guiding you on an artistic tour not just of the past but also where I sincerely hope we're headed. I won't drag you through the flourish all at once. You'll get 3 chances to be swept away.

First off is James Christensen's Your Place or Mine. I love the saucy maid and her halibut. What else would ensnare such a fine sir?

I knew that I had Jon ensnared when I called him 3 days after our first date (which was to Rocky Point haunted house - plenty of screaming, protecting, and body grabbing going on there - and not just all by Jon... ;-)) to come over and change my roommate's flat tire. Jon was watching a video at ANOTHER WOMAN's place and made me swear that it really was flat. What?! Did he think I was making up excuses to get him to come over? Insert eye roll here. 
  • He showed up (I don't remember how timely he was in this - I guess that doesn't matter now anyway).
  • He saw the flat.
  • He changed the flat.
  • He left. (So maybe he hadn't finished the "movie").
But he smiled at me as he got back in his car... Perhaps it was me that was ensnared...

February 01, 2011

Inviting Romance and Using Lots of French Words

The Painter's Honeymoon
Lord Frederic Leighton - 1864
Romeo and Juliet
Frank Dicksee - 1884
If you've read me or known me for any length of time you know that I am a true romantic. I am passionate about frills, beautiful fabrics, heart palpitations, decadently luxurious scents, strong alpha-males (and equally strong females), and bling. The problem with this is that I live with 4 very male males. (How better to be a renaissance woman than to raise healthy, lusty, active boys?! I promise their wives will one day thank me.)

When Jon and I bought our house 5 years ago I fell in love with the potential it held in its niches/dust collectors. There are 4 of them. One in our entry hall, one in Carson & Evan's bedroom, one in my office, and one in Jon and my bedroom. It took me a while to fill these spaces. They are high enough that it isn't an easy space to access, and I knew that changing vignettes was not going to occur very frequently ever.

la Belle Dame sans Merci
Frank Dicksee - 1893

Il Bacio
Francesco Hayez - 1859

 Pierre-Auguste Cot - 1873

I was laying in bed one night and realized that while I'd left the space in our bedroom open so that I could ponder the design components, Jon seized it as storage - for his guns and bow. I cannot even tell you how quickly I jumped out of bed. NO WAY WAS OUR BEDROOM GOING TO BE A DEFENSE ARSENAL. Well, it really was too high for me to do anything about that night, but I was startled into the immediate requirement to fill this space - they way I wanted it filled.

At one time my bedroom was the catch all for household flotsam. Who am I kidding, it still is... I started my search for a private, restorative, romantic space by ridding our room of some of these items. Laundry still manages to find it's way, but there are no nerf guns, StarWars guys, or video games in my boudoir.

First of all I found the perfect scent. For me it's Scentsy's Frech Kiss.
Sweet fig tenderly caressed by coconut pulp, exotic cedar, and caramel.
Um - hello? caress? fig? exotic? caramel?! Be still my heart. I love this stuff.

S H J - vinyl cutouts placed on wallpaper sample
Next I fell in <3 with monograms. I also got very wrapped up in whose name appears on the left side of the last name initial. Which side does a queen sit on? Which is the bride's side of a wedding party? See where I'm going?

This is what I came up with. You have to excuse the dust. Remember when I said it was difficult to get to? Anything toward the back of the vignette is nearly impossible to reach - even with those extendable feather dusters... And if you missed the allusion there, then I just don't know what to tell you...

While I was cutting vinyl I also wanted to cut a saying for the wall beneath the niche. I'd found a round metal thing that worked for me, but I wanted something to push the scene just a bit more. Here were my 2nd and 3rd place choices:

I love you, not only for what you are, But for what I am when I am with you.

If you love me only in my dreams, let me be asleep forever.

But the one that captured the essence of my relationship with Jon was...
Ralph Waldo Emerson - who knew transcendentalism applied to romance?
Finally - there is a  pièce de résistance... I found this gem at a store with one of the worst names I've ever heard: Way Cool Dirt Cheap. (It isn't in SL Valley anymore and I kind of miss it. They had some funky stuff in their showroom that was easy for me to repeatedly visit and imagine it in my home) After purchasing my pièce I found very similar items online titled "The Kiss" - I'm sure that's based on Rodin's captivating work. 

Rodin's The Kiss
from a different angle
  Without further adieu:
There it is. I love the simplicity, the curve, the flow, the hollows and angles, the symbiosis. It sat on my dresser until I had everything ready for the niche. Jon's first response was absolute perfection:
I think that's the most romantic thing I've ever seen.

One more picture - this time of the entire scene:
There are other things I do to inspire romance, but with this awaiting me I'm off to a great start even before I transcend the stairs.

And now I'm off to ponder my love of romanticism and its reaction to the Industrial Revolution... I know - I'm so wierd. 
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