Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Space-Themed Quilt WIP

I have been MIA for a while, but wanted to post a quick pic of my latest project, which is a quilt for my son. These are most of the fabrics I'm using to make a quilt for him, now that he's officially graduated to the "big boy bed". I've made quilts before, but I didn't know what I was doing. I just cut a bunch of squares, sewed them together, and added batting and some backing fabric. This time, I bought a book, have a pattern for a throw-sized quilt that I'm using for a guideline, and am armed with a rotary cutter, ruler, and cutting mat. I'll post more photos of my progress, which will hopefully not be too painful...

Monday, November 09, 2009

Needle Felted Kitty

My latest needle felted project was a little espresso cat for my mom's sister. It's not perfect, but I'm happy with it for my first try at an animal. I remembered to take work-in-progress photos, too, so you can see how I started out with a pipe-cleaner armature, then wrapped wool around that, so the cat is partially poseable. Besides adding enough wool to fill out the shape of the body, all that was left were little bits of pink for the ears and nose and some green for the eyes. It's amazing how the projects that look the simplest, though, are often the most difficult to finish. Making objects like a cupcake or a cheeseburger doesn't require attention to anatomy and proportion, which is something I haven't worked on in 3-D since my college sculpture classes...

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Bath Before & After

One of the first projects we tackled was the downstairs bathroom. My husband claimed that it made the most sense, because it would be quick and easy. We started in the spring, and we intended to be finished in enough time to spend the rest of the summer working on the kitchen (which we have still not even begun, two years later). The plan was to strip the wallpaper, paint, and install a new toilet, countertop, sink, faucet, and light fixtures. Unfortunately, I started pulling down the wallpaper behind the tub, and the entire wall was water-damaged from a leak in the roof. The water was running down the back side of the wall when it rained and the wallpaper was hiding the staining, so we and the previous owners had no idea. So, all of the tile around the tub had to come down, then the wall behind that, and part of the ceiling. We also had to get the roof repaired. After the repairs were completed, my husband re-tiled the tub surround, put in new bath fixtures, and replaced the 1970's yellow formica with a new granite counter and a porcelain sink from Home Depot (free shipping to our porch!). Of course, the standard-size countertop was too big for the built-in oak cabinet, so he made it work by cutting into the wall and sliding the entire thing back into the wall, then installing the backsplash against the walls where it should be, and it worked out.

I found some old trim in the attic that I cleaned with our air compressor and spray painted white, which we then added as a crown molding after I had painted the walls an icy aqua. I bought a chrome shower curtain rod designed for a clawfoot tub, and we hung that so the shower could be used. I found the shower curtain and the rug in Anthropologie's sale section and bought the fixtures on eBay. It was hard to get good photos in such a small space, but I think you get the gist. And I still can't figure out why someone thought this tiny bathroom needed two doors...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cupcake Party

This weekend, one of my childhood friends had a cupcake-themed party for her daughter's 1st birthday. I was in Chicago for a Stella & Dot workshop and had to miss it, which was too bad, because my husband and son said the food was amazing: sweet cupcakes of all kinds, meatloaf cupcakes with piped mashed potato "icing", and macaroni and cheese cupcakes. Heavenly!

For her gift, I bought the sweet birthday girl a hoodie from Gymboree with cupcake pockets and made her a little needle-felted cupcake for her tea set. I started with a sort of ball-shape from my all-purpose undyed white wool, then flattened the bottom and sides, trying to make the bottom a little smaller than the top, for that cupcake shape. Next was a layer of bubblegum pink over the sides of the cupcake (where the paper liner would be), and a thin layer of my toast-colored wool over that, so it would look like it had been baked. I then got to work felting vertical lines all the way around the sides to form the ridges of the "paper liner". This is tedious and I really had to pay attention to make the lines somewhat straight, but it was necessary for the look I was going for. After that was finished, I took tufts of fuchsia wool and laid them out on my foam pad, felted them together, and folded over the edges to make a flattened "blob" shape. This was draped over the rounded top of the cupcake and felted into place to make the icing.

The little rose was constructed the same way I made Flapjack's scarf - a few layers of wool felted together in a long, rectangular shape. I rolled this piece tightly and attached it to the top of the cupcake. Then, two small leaves were easily made and felted next to the flower. If you were making a cupcake for an older child, it would be adorable to also add beads to the top for sprinkles.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Things I Gave Up for You

A list for my son:

1. Going to the bathroom alone.
2. Days spent at the salon.
3. Long afternoons at the bookstore.
4. Sleeping in.
5. My career.
6. Watching movies on opening weekend.
7. Not having to share everything I eat or drink.
8. Smudge-free windows, doors, and mirrors.
9. Wearing 3-inch heels every day.
10. Discomfort about bodily fluids and feces.
11. Needing an alarm clock.
12. Generalized selfishness.
13. A limited capacity for love.
14. Doubt about my purpose in life.
15. Associating a paycheck with self-worth.
16. Looking at the world with jaded eyes.
17. Everything I thought was important, and nothing that truly was.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Felted Flapjack

My son loves (okay, and my husband and I do, too) "The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack" on the Cartoon Network. Flapjack is a cherubic little boy whose best friend is a cranky old sailor named Captain K'nuckles. Flapjack sleeps in the mouth of his adopted mother, a whale named Bubbie. The gist of the show is that Flapjack & K'nuckles spend most of their time trying to find and eat candy and searching for the elusive "Candied Island".

For the felted Flapjack, I started with a snowball-sized bunch of white wool and formed it into a hard ball. I then flattened it a little here and there, making more of a head shape for Flapjack. Then I felted a short cylinder and attached to it 4 thinner cylinders to make the arms and legs. I covered the body in pinky-tan wool (it's actually the toast color I bought to make hamburger buns). That part was very difficult to do over the arms and legs, especially the fingers. Next time I make a doll, I'll go ahead and construct the arms and legs from the wool I'm using for the skin color, rather than trying to cover the white wool on such small areas. I use the white wool as a core for construction because it costs less than the dyed wools. For the eyes, I made white discs and attached them to the head, and a small ball and two half-circles from the tan wool for the nose and ears. I had some wavy yellow wool, so the hair was just a matter of placing the curls where I wanted them and attaching them to the head. I made the hat with a flattened circle and a ball with a divot, and the scarf was felted in a long thin shape, then tied around his neck. I finished the details by choosing the colors I needed, cutting the fibers to size and arranging them where I wanted them, then felting to attach. Another thing I wish I'd done differently is give him a pipe cleaner endoskeleton so he could be posed more easily. A wire armature would have also given the legs more strength to support a massive head like Flapjack's. It works okay as-is, but if anyone is thinking of making his/her own Flapjack, I would recommend using the pipe cleaners.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Hello, Gorgeous!

After we moved from Miami to Michigan, I assumed that I would be giving up one of my loves: big, sexy tropical flowers. I planted a little hibiscus tree that grew tall and continuously bloomed outside my kitchen window in Florida, and it was one of my favorite things in the garden. My plan for after the move was to console myself with armfuls of fragrant lilacs and visions of bushes full of hydrangeas.

However, each spring, a strange looking plant snakes out of the ground and slowly winds its way upward, growing taller the entire summer. Then, in late August, I am greeted by the sight of eight gigantic, crimson hibiscus flowers, peeking at me from behind the other, traditionally Midwestern plants and flowers. This is one of my favorite things about living in an old house - the continuous surprises, like gifts from a person who lived here before me.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton

This summer, my son and I found some vintage books at a garage sale. One of them was The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton from 1942, which won the Caldecott Medal that year. I love how old children's books have pages made from really thick paper and the way the illustrations seem so much richer. My two-year-old really enjoys the story of the little pink house, which starts out in an idyllic country setting, then suffers as the years go by and urban sprawl consumes "the field of daisies and the apple trees dancing in the moonlight". Burton's depiction of the city is dirty and dreary, and while that's not my memory of living in the city - a part of my life I loved - it's a sweet reminder of the beauty of a rural setting: watching the light change as the sun makes its daily progression across the sky, the leaves turning brilliant hues in autumn, being able to see so many stars at night, and yes, our apple trees swaying in the wind.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Felted Pear

My family and I met my friend, her husband, and their baby daughter for sushi recently. All was going smoothly until I went to remove my son from his car seat and realized that the blanket he'd had wrapped around him was hiding his bare feet (!). Luckily, there was a Shoe Carnival nearby, so we bought the only shoes they had in his size, which happened to be a nerdy little pair of boat shoes that my husband loved. I always joke that if it looks like something Charlie Brown would wear, then my husband will want it in his wardrobe.

This was the same friend for whom I had made the needle-felted pear that I mentioned a few posts ago. She graciously brought along the pear, and I took a photo of it next to one of their sushi orders. Then my son pulled off the stem, so I owe my friend some repair work next time I see her. If only everything he broke were so easy to fix...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Athena's Burger

A friend in Canada asked for a needle-felted cheeseburger for her daughter, Athena. I didn't have any more of the cheddar colored wool and instead felted a little slice of Swiss. A tomato was also requested for the menu, so Athena will have lots of options when she assembles a burger. As you can see, it's comically tall when it's put all together, but that's not something children worry about. I love the kid concoctions that happen when friends and family come over and play with my son's kitchen. For example, my nephew will attach the halves of a carrot and a pear and make a "pearrot".

Saturday, August 08, 2009

A Rainy Saturday...

My son will always find ways to amuse himself on a rainy day, whether it's chasing the dogs in circles around the dining room table or driving Matchbox cars around the ring of dirt in our potted palm tree. Today, he is wearing a Yo Gabba t-shirt, socks, and a plastic Viking helmet while eating a frozen Hot Pocket that he took from the freezer and refused to let me cook (we have one of those easy-toddler-access bottom drawers), and occasionally yelling, "Raaaargh! I a VIKING!".


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Little Bird Book

Two of our closest friends, who live in San Francisco, sent my son the sweetest little book of photographs about an abandoned bird named "Pepito". There is very little text in the book, only a page of introduction and four words on the second-to-last page. The photographs are beautiful and show the story of Pepito as he gets bigger and stronger. My son and I look at the photos and talk about what is happening in each one, and it's such fun to hear the narrative from a child's perspective. I like the idea of very little (or no) text, too, because it's a book that can be shared with anyone, regardless of language barriers.

Pepito by Eduardo Soler at's bookstore

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Needle Felted Flower & Bird

I made a pincushion for my friend's birthday that looked like a little yellow pear, but I am very forgetful and never remember to photograph things before I give them away. In lieu of photos of the pear, I'm posting pics of some older pieces I finished. The first one is a large pink flower that can be a brooch or attached to a handbag or knit cap. The second is a robin sitting on three eggs in a nest, the purpose of which apparently is for my son to carry around the house, then leave on the floor somewhere for his puppy to chew on. It's been repaired a few times since this photo was taken, but it still looks pretty good.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

And It's Only Tuesday

This morning went along like a typical day with my son, involving messes like orange juice in the button divots of the ottoman and an entire foam-rubber alphabet plus the numbers 0 through 9 displayed on the living room floor. The ultimate adrenalin-rush happened when I found him dangling by his fingertips from the top of the large metal birdcage in our sunroom, and unable to reach him in time, watched the entire thing tip forward in the direction of a large, glass-fronted cabinet. It was atypical of him, but he fell clear of the entire thing, and received for his efforts only a small scratch on his knee, and there is a minor scrape on the bottom of the cabinet. A few inches either way, and there'd have been broken glass or little toddler legs cut by sharp metal or both. The scratch on my son is in good company with the six bruises, twelve scabs, and three other scrapes currently decorating his legs.

I decided we'd spend the second half of the day outside, and it went something like a Calvin and Hobbes sandbox strip. It'll be okay if my husband doesn't ask me what happened to all of the water in his goldfish pond...


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Secret Language of Toddlers

I seem to be the only person who can understand my son. This morning, when he said, "Mama, I uh show you the bih pie-yer!", I knew that he said, "Mama, I'm going to show you the big spider!". Luckily for me, he thinks that the smallest of bugs is a "giant pie-yer!". Last night, he had a phone conversation with my dad that went something like this:

Grampa! I uh die-yo-sore! He angwy! Roooaaaarrrr! He sweeping now. Grampa! I rye my Grator outside! I pih the ticks and uh to the Holy Mokes! And the carry backfire! Goo-nite! I wuv you.

Loosely translated:

Grandpa! I have a dinosaur! He's angry! Roooaaaarrrr! [wraps up the plastic dinosaur in a damp dishtowel] He's sleeping now. Grandpa! I ride my Gator outside. I pick up sticks and take them to the Holy Smokes (the fire pit)! And there was scary backfire*! Good night! I love you.

*a miles-away neighbor was target practicing with a shotgun


Monday, July 13, 2009

Bedroom Before & After

When we decided my son was old enough, we moved him across the hall from the nursery to his "big boy room". This room was another series of stripping wallpaper, removing carpet, and floor refinishing. I found a ufo graphic online that I liked, and sketched it out on the wall with chalk, then filled it in with grey paint. The alien and the robot are outlines of an Uglydoll and a robot softie that my son sleeps with. He also has a little ghost/goblin named "Blah!" that he asked me to paint, so I plan to add that and another, smaller ufo.

The rocker was a vintage find from my mother, and I plan to rewire the old metal Saturn lamp. We'll swap out the crib for a farmhouse-style twin bed soon, but the toddler rail made the transition to the new room easier for my son. And it's not pictured, but I inherited from a friend a 1960's "flying saucer" glass pendant lamp and hard-wired it where there was a ceiling fixture. Kids' rooms are so much fun to do, and they're the only rooms in the house where I don't mind having a bit of a theme.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Baked Apples

I think we've already established that I'm not much of a cook, so it should be no surprise that two of my three baked apples split in half. I bought these cute little dishes from one of the women who grew up in our home (and whose daughter babysits our son - small town!), and she said her mother made baked apples in them. They're signed and dated '73 on the bottom - her mother was a painter, so I'm guessing they were from a ceramist friend. I love all things 70's, and I also like the history of happiness that small objects can carry. When my son asked me about the dishes, I told him that the children who lived here before him ate baked apples from them. He said, "Oh!" in that sweet way toddlers do.

I do not own an apple corer, so I stabbed a knife around the core and popped them out (which is probably why two of them broke). Then I stuffed some raisins in the center and sprinkled brown sugar and a little cinnamon on top. I didn't have any apple juice to pour in the bottoms of the dishes (to keep the apples from drying), so I used orange juice. As per my vintage Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, I peeled the skins from the tops and baked them at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. My son , squeezed between my husband and me on our small wicker sofa in the sun room, devoured his with some vanilla ice cream. My husband complained that I left the skins on, but I thought mine was delicious, with the skin just a little tart from the orange juice.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Bicycle Trail

I used to ride my bike a lot when I lived in Miami - to the pharmacy drive-through, around the neighborhood with friends, to the Post Office (back in the olden days, before Click-N-Ship), and to buy barbeque sandwiches and watermelon soda from the guy who worked a bbq stand from his pickup truck. In the summer, it was way too hot to ride during the day, so we'd go in the evenings, when it was a cool 85 degrees or so. If we wanted to ride on a trail, there was a flat, baking-hot loop of concrete that went through Shark Valley in the Everglades National Park - if you wanted the off-road experience, I guess you could try riding over one of the many alligators that sun themselves along the path.

During Michigan summers, it's rarely too hot for me to ride my bike, and there's definitely a shorter season for it, but there are some really pretty trails, with trees, rivers, and hills. We leave the truck at one of the parks, ride the trail around into the downtown area, get ice cream or visit with friends, then ride through town back to the park. I would say it's perfect if the summer in Michigan lasted longer and I weren't wearing an undershirt, long-sleeved shirt, and cardigan as I type this. In July.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Greek Potato Salad

I readily admit to not being very talented in the kitchen. When I try, I really really try, and the results are usually tasty, but not always pretty. When I don't try, it's frozen ravioli baked in the oven with some shredded cheese melted on top. However, I do like good food, and my mother-in-law made this salad when she was here last month. I thought it was a fantastic alternative to the mayo-heavy traditional fare we usually eat in the Midwest. She called this "potato salad" (only she said it in Greek, of course) and it was especially refreshing on a hot day.


Some boiled potatoes, peeled and quartered
Olive oil
White vinegar
Chopped raw onions (fresh tomato is nice, too)

Start with the potatoes and onions (or tomatoes) in a bowl. Add olive oil and vinegar to coat, toss in a little salt and pepper, and enjoy!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

(extra)Ordinary Summer Days

It helps, when I am missing my former life and career, to remember that on an ordinary Thursday at 2:00, I would be glaring at the little clock on my computer and wishing it were 6:00 already. I would not, for example, be lying on a beach chair next to my son's pool, sipping sweet tea and reading a book, while my boy, laughing and naked, chases our dog on the lawn.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sandbox Driver

My husband built our son a sandbox that's designed to look like a car. He used scrap wood he found in our barn and a couple of new boards from the local lumber store. He added a few coats of orange opaque stain, and I painted some headlights, taillights, and tires to finish the look. It reminds me a bit of a vintage Land Cruiser. We parked it off to the side of the garage in the shade of a gigantic spruce. The kid is so happy with it that he woke up this morning asking for the sandbox, so I'm either going to have a big problem or a wonderful diversion on my hands. Knowing my boy, it'll be a healthy dose of both.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Weekend in June

Over the weekend, we traveled north for my cousin's Open House. My aunt and uncle's home is a picturesque farmhouse with a pond, cute animals, and lots of room to play. My son had his first real horse ride, and he was ecstatic! He has this loud, delighted laugh that sounds like one of David Bowie's goblins from the Labyrinth, and I find it adorable (or annoying if he's laughing at me trying to get him dressed). Someone even brought along a baby raccoon that had been abandoned, and my niece was allowed to feed it from a dropper. I wish I'd thought to take a photo of it; its little hands were so sweet.

During the drive home, my husband and I talked about how the day reminded us why we'd moved to Michigan: to be near family and to give my son the kind of day when the smile never leaves his face, even after his sleepy eyes droop closed before we've even left the driveway.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

June in Michigan has been unseasonably cold and it's not really felt much like summer. Also, we've had too much rain and now most of the peonies are lying on the grass like drunken debutantes.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Needle Felted Bracelet

I'm currently working on painting a ufo, an alien, and a robot on the walls of my son's new bedroom, so I don't yet have photos to share of that room. The best time to work on it is when the kid is napping, but since he sleeps in his bedroom, that doesn't really work out....

In the meantime, I'm posting pics of a few needle felted objects I've done. This was my first attempt at a bracelet. I'm working on another one that's supposed to be a gift for my girlfriend, but it looks like a big cupcake right now (too many candy colors), so I'm not sure if I should just start over or keep working at it. It has coral wool yarn, aqua dyed wool, and coral glass beads on it, which may be why it's looking more like a confection than jewelry. For the one pictured, I kept it simple by adding strands of dyed wool to the band.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Play Room Before and After

This is actually the third room that I restyled, but the bathroom is not fit to be photographed, so I'm skipping it for now. This room is an upstairs bedroom that was originally part of the second-level attic (there is also a third level attic) and was converted in the 70's to create a fourth bedroom to accommodate the previous owners' four children. Since it wasn't part of the original living space, there was no plank flooring under the pea-soup carpet, just plywood subfloor. I wanted to lay hardwood, but carpet was less expensive and easier to install, and as my husband pointed out, cozier for on-the-floor playing (for the kids, not us).

This wasn't a high-priority room, so I did my best to use furnishings we already owned. The old slate chalkboard was in the upstairs landing, along with the vintage desk, and a schoolhouse light fixture that I convinced my crabby electrician brother to move into the play room. There's also a huge bookcase that was in the room we use as a master bedroom, which we screwed into the wall and filled with toys and books.

The curtains were made from fabric that a friend bought for me
years ago from the Ikea in New York when I was living in Miami and had never heard of Ikea. For wall art, I opened boxes that we'd never unpacked and found prints and a vintage linen childrens book and put them in inexpensive frames. I also used some self-adhesive racing stripes that I found at Lowes for a few bucks. Add jalepeno paint, one excited kid, and his Plan City, and we now have a Play Room.

Monday, June 08, 2009

A Peony from Our Garden

This is a peony that my son picked. When I told him that he hurt the flower, he asked it, "Are you alright?" Then said to me, "He's alright, Mama." Then when I put it in water, he said again, "See, he's alright." Can't argue with that logic.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Nursery Before and After

We bought our 1870's farmhouse two years ago, loving all of the details: the beautiful crown molding in the living room, the carved oak leaves on the fireplace in the library (a library!), and the fountains in the yard. So much so that I was able to delude myself into thinking it would be no problem to deal with the acres of wallpaper that cover every wall surface, including the insides of the closets, or the circa 1973 carpeting that hid the pine plank flooring upstairs.

The first room I tackled was the nursery. The wallpaper was extremely difficult to remove, and I spent weeks soaking the walls and scraping off the paper, piece by piece. I left the carpet on the floor while I worked, and after I had painted the room pear green, my husband and I tore out the carpeting, he sanded the floors lightly with a rented orbital sander, and I applied several layers of glossy polyurethane.

Gloss because it's easy to clean, wears longer than satin, and because I like the brightness of the light reflecting off the floor. Light dies in matte surfaces, which is one of the (many) reasons I dislike wall-to-wall carpet. That, and the chocolate-milky water you get after you shampoo it, even if it looks clean.

I'm happy with the room now, which is bright and cheerful. Also, the color is easy enough to work with when we decide to change the room for another use.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Needle Felted Cheeseburger

My son has a great love for cheeseburgers and ketchup (also fruit, cheese, yoghurt, and most foods in general). He has a wooden toy kitchen with a slippery wood burger that would always slide out of his hands and hit the floor. I needle felted a burger for him, and since the wool is "sticky", he can cook, reassemble, and pretend to eat it without howling in frustration. My husband calls it "The McRoyal".

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Day At the Farm

My son and I spent the afternoon at a farm. It's the childhood home of my best friend from elementary school; she and I fell in love over My Little Ponies in third grade at Catholic School. In the barn, there is the sweetest little black calf named Henry, who was abandoned by his mother and is being fed by bottle. We were able to give him his 1:00 feeding, and my son was thrilled! Hands-down the cutest thing I've seen in a long time - my happy little boy feeding a fuzzy baby cow a bottle of milk.

In the pasture, there's a pond where we used to swim with the horses on hot days when we were young. The kids splashed and caught tadpoles and filled their boots with water, while the dogs dove after a rubber ball. There is also a box full of kittens tucked into the hay in the barn and a foal that we watched nurse from his mother. Later, while I watched him climb on a tractor, play
in the sandbox, and savor a grape popsicle, I knew I would be dragging a reluctant toddler to the car when it was time to leave. Just a very simple, storybook kind of day. :)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Three Things That Happened Tonight

And I only liked one of them.

  1. My son kissed me and smeared grape juice all over my face.
  2. I wondered why my printer tray was closed, and when I opened it, found it stuffed with Tonka truck puzzle pieces.
  3. Our puppy peed on the tire of my kid's plastic ride-on dune buggy, which is a toss-up between hilarious and infuriating. Mostly infuriating.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Day Flea Market

There is a fun flea market filled with antiques, plants, flowers, and dusty junk at Burley Park in Western Michigan. My mother and I went together on Memorial Day, and I stuffed myself with carnival food: elephant ears, corndogs, and gigantic paper cups of watery soda. My magpie mother immediately ditched me and bought a little ceramic cat and a brown enamel pitcher with mushrooms on it. I found a cute side chair with aviary print fabric for $8.00 and filled a bag with vintage Fisher Price Little People toys for my son. I think I spent more on the food than I did on my finds...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Oakdale Farm.

Looking out my bedroom window tonight, I'm enormously grateful that we chose to live here. The wind is blowing through the branches, rippling the water in our ponds and my son's new inflatable pool, and I can feel the breeze on my bare feet through the gaps between the wide pine plank flooring. Our barn looks romantic through the wavy glass of the window, charming with the slight sag in the center of the roof and the sign that reads, "Oakdale Farm.", as though the name is by itself a complete sentence. For me, I suppose it is. :)

I walk down the stairs with every third step creaking my descent, and see my son still playing in the backyard, driving his small cars in the dirt where I filled in a hole that his puppy dug so deep that I had to use dried leaves and grass clippings to help fill it in. My husband asks if he should bring him inside, it's way past his bedtime, and I look at my boy, so happy in the waning light, with
the fifty-year-old white hydrangea swaying behind him and the almost-hatched peonies near his face, and I say, no, let him play.