229: I shook it like a polaroid picture

Hey, I'm back.


Went to Providence for the weekend. I hung out with Madelyn and her friends Kath and Norma, danced in the streets (literally), bought some art supplies and thrifty stuff, ate yummy food.

Friday night, The Best Grilled Cheese of My Life was consumed at The Red Fez, a very hip, dimly lit restaurant  that was playing Nick Cave and Depeche Mode. After dinner, Maddie and I went to Whole Foods to get dessert. We decided on a giant peanut butter cupcake and a mini raspberry pie. But when we got home we were still too full from the crack-laced grilled cheese and french fries, that all we could do was lay on the couch and watch Flight of the Conchordes.

Saturday night, we partook  of the finale of  Providence Sound Session, a week-long music festival that culminates in a parade  from  Water Place Park to Westminster  (!)  Street, where there are a few different stages set up- music everywhere . It was awesome, as it was last year. My favorite part is the What Cheer? Brigade, a kooky  marching band (way more cool than it sounds). We joined in the parade behind them  I got a chance to bust out my shimmy, which was a treat. Live drumming always wakes up the shimmy. I didn't take pictures because I had to choose between blogging and dancing, and I really needed to dance. I haven't been getting enough exercise and I have been stressed, so the dancing was a great release. Plus, Maddie and I did our usual laughing like hyenas, and that was good medicine.

Toward the end of the night I leaned over and said, "Hey Maddie, you know what we're gonna do when we get home? We are going to wreck that cupcake from last night."


Sunday, we had waffles and mimosas in Kath's garden, which was just lovely.


St. Francis:


Kath's yard had some delicious textures:


I was really happy that I brought my camera.


mmmmm. nummy.

An old bike becomes a garden ornament:







Kath has chickens!


The front yard is incredible - all garden. Even the little strip of grass on the other side of the sidewalk:


I bet all the runners in her neighborhood look forward to passing by her house. I know I would!


Maddie gave me some prayer flags for my birthday. Seeing Kath's made me itch to put mine up!


Actually, now I am itching to make some. Spiritual Bunting.

I just love this with the blue sky:


And sunflowers!


Ahhhh. Isn't that, like, the essence of happiness?


After brunch, Kath, a lifelong seamstress,  let me forage for sewing supplies in her basement. (Thanks, Kath!) You will not even believe what I have to show you! I need a sunny day so I can take pictures. Prepare yourself.

I like Kath so much I told her that on my next visit, I want her hands all over my naked body.

She's a massage therapist.



227: and no jackee in sight

Top o' the mornin' to you, my friends.

Drinking my soymilk coffee.

Listening to Iron and Wine.

Tired. You know, as much as I loved going to Quilt Market in Portland, it really knocked me on my ass. I feel like I'm still recovering.

I'm going to Providence again this weekend. Good for me, bad for my poor neglected garden!


From Madelyn's:


Love that.


Madelyn and a friend of hers joined forces to create these ornamental trellises:


They are hard to photograph!


I want some.


Another collaboration:


Mmmmm, rust.

Oh, that reminds me: I bought a metal headboard for 5 bucks at a yard sale that I am going to use as a fence/trellis for my roses! I'll take pictures when I finally get around to doing it!


Great contrast of industrial and homey, don't you think?

I'm so jealous  of this curbside find:


So cute!

(((Looking at all of these pictures of Madelyn's place makes me think 'Oh, my poor garden.' I am being a bad  garden mama this year. Not watering, not weeding. I have to just let it go for now because it will make me crazy if I think about it. Gardener's guilt!)))

Maddie's bird sculpture:


Check out this awesome hanging planter:


And more on the porch:


Don't they look great all together like that?



I feel boring today, so I will leave you now.


xo, m

218: science fiction flower

I promised myself that I would document my garden this year and I am a bit behind!

A couple of weeks ago it was all irises all the time:



The dianthus had just popped:


Now the irises are pretty much done and the nepeta is in full bloom. The tigerlilies sent up their stems and the blooms will be open just in time for my birthday!
In the front yard, looking across the street to the cemetery:


The beautiful flower with the unfortunate name:


Columbine. Why don't we call it by it's latin name, aquilegia? There, that's better.

These flowers look like aliens:


They are crazy looking!


Maybe it should be called Science Fiction Flower. 


I can  never resist the perfection of clover leaves:


Any time I see a lush bunch of patch of these,  I must spend at least a minute looking four a four-leafed clover!
And anytime the sun comes out while it's raining or just after, I rush outside : Oooh! Maybe I'll see a rainbow!! 

In the back garden:


That is actually the vegetable garden, but I put flowers in the front and in some of the beds. Hey, I spend a lot of time out there, I want it to be pretty!


Painted daisies, in front of the desperately-in-need-of-painting house:


This, I love:


I showed that old garden fencing a while ago, rolled up. This part that I'm showing you is where someone had joined two pieces together- the rust is awesome.
I needed something to keep the (damn) dogs away from some annuals so I put it to use. 


Good boy. 

210: ahhh, much better


Oh, you guys.  

You are so awesome. Thank you for all of the hugs and good vibes. I love hugs and good vibes!

My last post seemed to resonate with a lot of you.
I know that many people struggle the way I do and I blog about it on purpose because I think it's good for all of us to be reminded that we are not alone. There is still a stigma around depression so I strive to  talk about it just as readily and openly as I would talk about having a great day.
Why shouldn't I?
I am not talking about wallowing  (although I do have my moments) but acknowledging it. Owning it. And yes, doing what I know I need to do to get through it. And maybe by being myself, I am providing a comfortable and safe place for you to talk about your own experience, to remind yourself what works for you, and to know that you are not alone, just as I am not. I hope so.

Thank you for taking the time to comment, to send me hugs or email or share about your day. I felt comforted and supported reading your words.  

I said I would report back on my feel-better-strategy, so here I am.
I did drink a bunch of water and ate lightly, which definitely was necessary.
I gardened all day and even took some pictures to show you:


I am in love with the colors of that iris on the right. 


I potted up a bunch of annuals:


It was hot! I love the heat. Heat and sun are good for this delicate hothouse flower. I am talking about me, in case you didn't catch that.


Sweating, working hard- I love it. It works out my physical stress and leaves me wrung out, in a good way. 


And working with flowers,  a living thing that  I am caring for- that's good for my heart, too. The colors, the beauty- food for my eyes.


Getting something done, that sense of accomplishment. Yes. Good.

I spent a few hours painting  in the evening, as I said I would. I didn't really work on  anything I loved, but I took pleasure in  the feeling of smooshing around the paint with the brush, of incising into a wet layer to reveal what was underneath. 

This morning, I started a new visual journal.
I spent a while messing around with some gouache:


See  my giant five-head?

Note to self:


I am the one who needs to  help myself out of the depths. I am the one who chooses what I eat, how much exercise I get, how I spend my time. 

I love playing in my journals,  freely doodling or writing or painting. It doesn't have to look good, but sometimes it does and that's a nice surprise. It's not about making something pretty or perfect, it's about expressing myself, allowing myself the freedom to experiment and enjoy the process. Sometimes it's a lot of writing to work something out. Sometimes it's writing reminders like the one above. Other times I write quotes or something I hear that strikes a chord. Sometimes I stick down receipts or magazine clippings or cool looking candy wrappers. It doesn't really matter what I do, just that I do it.

After spending an hour or so on my new journal this morning, without even realizing I felt any different, I came downstairs, headed into the front yard and did some cartwheels (ok, round-offs plus.  I still can't do cartwheels!), attempted some headstands, even trying a handstand for the first time ! (trying being the operative word) 

Out of nowhere, I just felt like doing those things- I didn't even have time to formulate it into a thought, like, "Hey, I think I'll ...."  I just walked out the door and started.  That was neat.

Then I needed a snack:


Mmmmm. Stilton, grannysmiths, craisins and ginger spread. Oh, yum. 

Then later, I headed off to a good friend's bridal shower, which I was actually looking forward to. See, with my circle of friends, it wouldn't be a regular bridal shower with endless opening of gifts. That kind of shower- I'm sorry-I dread. I  go to those and I  have fun, but I don't look forward to them.

Today's shower was more of a celebration of Jen. A kind of rite of passage to mark her transition into marriage. We are all so thrilled that at 46, Jen has finally found real love, safe love, true love.


We used face paints to paint her arms and legs and face.


There was an offering of joyful dance:


People shared poems they wrote for Jen ( the kind that bring tears to your eyes), some simple gifts, good food.

It was lovely.

I did say there was good food, so my eating lightly didn't last through the day! But I didn't overdo it.

And since I am feeling better, eating half a pint of Ben and Jerry's won't be overdoing either, which I am about to do... right...about....now. 

xo, m

205: honeysuckle neighborhood

Ahhhhh. Bare-armed + warm = happiness.


I finally spent some time gardening over the last couple of weekends. You should see my hilarious sunburn from today. On my upper back, I have a perfect triangle from where the straps of my overalls meet into a V. Kinda like a widow's peak. Widow's sunburn?

We used to have the ugliest lamp post. It was this matte black with a broken and corroded (not in a good way) lantern- just depressing. We found a copper-colored lantern for 10 bucks and spraypainted that and the pole a glossy white. Then my honey took a wooden dowel and painted that, stuck it through the hole and put  round wooden drawer pulls on the ends. And now look:


Isn't it cute? The hanging planter is by Madelyn Macedo


If you feel that you must have one, Maddie will be at the Boston Handmade Marketplace on Saturday, June 28th. And I may just be with her!

The birdbath is a couple of yard-saled items put together. Got the cement  top for $2 and I don't even know what that bottom thing is, but it was rusty and cheap so I had to have it. 

Here, you can see it better in this shot:


Got some annuals last week, as well as a bunch of veggies.


I usually have a hard time spending money on plants that are just for show and don't come back. I just buy the cheapie six packs, it's not like I get the 25$ hanging baskets. But still, it adds up. (Yeah, yeah, I could grow them from seed, but I am just not diligent enough to water the poor things everyday, which is sad for all concerned.)

This year, though, I've  been thinking of it a little differently.  For the holiday season, we buy a tree and lots of people buy wreaths and swags and holly. And that stuff is out for a month at best. Annuals will be making me happy with their flowering-like-mad ways for 5 months or so. Totally worth it!

Did I help you justify any recent purchases? I hope so. That's what I'm here for. You can count on me, baby.



You see this silver mound artemesia, on the right?:


Well, it started off last year as  just a piece that broke off of the main plant when my dogs were using my garden as a wrestling mat.  I am a scavenger and save everything, so I took the broken piece and stuck it in one of my  flower pots, just to give it a chance to survive if it wanted to. It did and now it is its own whole plant! I love that.  You can use a rooting hormone and be all fancy about it if you want, but usually I'm too busy with the task at hand, or you know, yelling at the dogs.


Mmmmm. I love it when the neighborhood is perfumed by flowering shrubs. The last few weeks have been violet, this week is honeysuckle, Yum!

But for me, the  winner of the Smell of Summer Award is privet, which I am looking forward to. My honey doesn't share my feelings about this.  He thinks privet smells like cat pee.

But then again, he doesn't like pie, so what does he know?

180: the cutting room thor and the vegetable pusher


I haven't been sewing, but I have been cutting. 


As always, no plan. Just randomly cutting fabric into strips  and squares for when I am ready to sit down at the machine.


I feel a quilt coming on. 


Spring! I love spring. It has been pretty much sunny for the last couple of weeks, which has helped my outlook immensely. I spent the afternoon in the garden on Saturday, for the first time this season. This is late for me!
I cleaned up a few of the beds in the vegetable garden, and most of the pathways between the beds. 

Need to get some peas in the ground this weekend. Maybe I'll grab some pansies at the nursery. I pledge to document my gardening this year!

Do you garden?  Vegetables or flowers or both?

If you lived nearby,  you would be so sick of me pushing  cucumbers and green beans on you every summer.

156: the promise of spring

Thank you for the kitchen love!

And no, we are not still thinking of doing a professional remodel. We didn't know how awesome it was going to come out; we just made it up as we went along!

I read all of the comments to my honey. He wouldn't admit it, but I think it made him feel good to receive so much positive feedback on the work he did.  The transformation was made even more fun and satisfying by sharing it with you.  Thanks, you guys! (More pics to come when we get the countertop.)

I took a few shots of some of the secondhand stuff in the kitchen that I hadn't featured before.

From a yard sale ( and now , the bird shelf ):


I love these little guys.


Their expressions.


The eggshell white, chalky blue, cornmeal.


The terra cotta revealed by the incised incised motif.


Feathery and leafy.

And this, oh man- I was psyched to find this ceramic lidded jar:


Stylized bees! You know how I love bee things. This is the stamp on the bottom:



Since I started gardening seven years ago, I have been wanting to keep a garden journal.
Well, consider this is my first entry:

After my discovery of  spring bulbs popping up around town,  I went meandering  in my  yard,  hoping to find some of my own.


There it is:

The promise of spring.

hey, pumpkin!


It's almost Halloween! 

Some of my pumpkins infiltrated the herb garden this year:


Finally harvested today.


Pale pumpkins, and a little watermelon, too!


Zeus helped:


I am so happy that it is beautifully sunny today. I got a chance to finally take pics of the goodies I got at the Creative Bazaar!  Stay tuned!

dead leaves and the dirty ground

 it is really fall now. i am in love with so many things about the autumn, but in my heart i am a summer girl. winter? no thank you! what am i doing living in the northeast?!


these little urns i got a few years ago at a flea market. at the time, they were actually pretty new looking, which made me almost pass them up!

in a weak moment, i paid more than i normally spend on anything secondhand: $15 for the pair. They are really nice and heavy.  I am so happy with how they have rusted and peeled.

I might have paid twenty for them if they looked like this when i bought them!


i don't know what it is with me and these looking-down-at-my-feet pictures!
this pot is still doing  well, even though I pretty much ignore it . monthly watering at best this summer and i maybe deadheaded once! i love these colors together. i especially love how they pop in that blue planter.


and this most perfect enamel bucket. marbleized!


i  keep it in the vegetable garden. that is where i throw the rocks and glass and rusted bits i find when i am planting. it has holes rusted into the bottom so when it rains, the water just drains out- that way it doesn't become mosquito soup!
oh, hey by the way, did you see that new martha stewart commercial with tim gunn?
I love tim gunn!
I can't wait for project runway to start again!

oh, yum.


Would you look at that? Those strawberries are from my garden! After I took this shot, I sat on the counter ( legs swinging) and talked  on the phone with my Best Friend  and ate half of them.  Yum.

That enamel colander came from a thrift store- it has little strawberries printed on the inside surface. I have a thing for enamel colanders. Enamel in general, I suppose!  How many more times can I say enamel in this paragraph? Enamel, enamel , enamel! Now it doesn't even look like a real word to me.

The linen hand towel has bees all over it and says " Busy As A Bee". Yard sale, of course! You may know already that I have a thing for bees.  The name Melissa  means  'honeybee'.  It's from A Greek story about a nymph named Melissa who taught man about  honey.  I feel like I already wrote about that- but I went back and looked and I couldn't find it. Forgive me if I am repeating myself already.

While we are on the topic of  Strawberries in Yummyland, let me tell you about this awesome salad my friend Cindy made for me about a month ago. I have been telling everyone.  Have a look-see:


Mesclun greens, tomato, strawberries and avocado! You won't believe how yummy. Tossed with an orange champagne vinaigrette.  Tangy and original.

Cindy rules. I'll tell you more about Cindy next time.  She is a great cook ,  a dear friend. 

Go make a salad!!