Just in Time for the Wedding

I’m very nearly done with my hand-stitched quilt, just in time to gift it to the intended family member that I’m not going to name at present just in case they are reading this…  My quilting class is a happy memory at this point because my present-moment brain space has been thoroughly absconded by the final weeks of wedding planning.  But we were a lovely group, don’t you think?

Photo from my co-quilter’s great craft blog

I’m finding that the last week or two of planning the wedding (happening near you- if you’re in the Twin Cities- this Saturday!) have been less stressful than the month or so before that.  Maybe because we’re now past the big decision making and all that’s left is relatively simple things (at least in the decision making camp, probably not so much in the labor requirement camp) like purchasing candles, finding daisies for my hair, and making sure we have enough cupcakes for everyone.

Certain large-ish pieces have waited until the last minute, such as collecting everyone’s readings for the ceremony and, er, the final language for Benjamin and my vows.  At times I’m almost tempted to do it impromptu style, because all of the words and feeling are there, and are expressed to each other so often in our daily life.  But I suppose for the sake of our wonderful friends and family that will be in attendance it would only be fair to actually collect said words and feelings beforehand so that our declaration makes sense to someone other than Benjamin and me.

Please think sunny thoughts for this weekend!

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Beautiful things: February edition

February is almost over.  A month that in past years distressed me to no end (see  Valentines Day and the agonizingly long winter) and this year February redeemed through the magic of Vitamin D and varying weather that, dare I say, was almost pleasant.  Between continuing to create, the slow return of spring, and a singularly adorable cat, it’s been quite a lovely month.

The return of the chives!  I had though them dead for certain, but lo and behold the green stalks have begun to emerge through the remnants of last year to make delicious seasoning for my morning eggs of the future.
Recent record purchases and the ensuing well soundtracked project time has given my days off a new feel.  Now I can spend my time quilting, blogging and reading to the tune of Brothers and Sisters by the Allman Brothers!  Or the epic that is 2112!  ::commence geek out on orchestral and Southern classic rock::  Even though vinyl isn’t sustainable persay, I figure used vinyl has a smaller footprint than new cds, hence the inclusion of a record player on the wedding gift registry 🙂

Handquilting!  I’m taking a class at Glad Creations Quilts and feel like I’ve discovered the perfect project in many ways.  It’s useful, it’s portable, and it starts loads of great conversations with strangers.  The project for the class is a sampler quilt wall hanging, but I hope to make a full bed sized quilt using one particular block pattern and all recycled/reused fabric in the not too distant future.

This little cat has squirmed her way deep into my heart.  Su-Su (or Sioux-Sioux as I spell it in my head) looks like a kitten, occasionally acts like a dog, and is maybe the best example I’ve ever encountered of a cat that could melt that heart of any supposed cat hater.  There’s a great quote on a mural on the animal hospital I pass by frequently that says something along the lines of “Until one has loved an animal, one’s heart is not fully opened”.  Su-Su is living proof of that.
Transition Towns and sustainability/community building work have been particularly inspiring this month.  I plan to write a more comprehensive post on this in the future, but for now suffice to say that parties and potlucks and canning and backyard chickens make any impending apocalypse due to climate change seem that much less terrifying and that much more an opportunity to truly know your neighbors, live lightly on the earth, and build authentic community.

What have you been loving this month?

The many projects of a deep Minnesota winter.

Between the coldest 24 hours we’ve had since 1996, and enough snow already to fill a normal winter’s quota, there has been ample time for projects thus far this season.  I’m still out biking and walking and adventuring to be sure, but much of my time off as of late has been spent creating indoors.  Here’s what I’ve been up to.

Birds!  I have proclaimed my love for them countless times, and finally started making them out of beer and cereal boxes.  Seen here finished are chickadees, cardinals, white breasted nuthatches, and blue jays.  The tannish blobs on the top right will be cedar waxwings.  I’m planning to make little tags to hang off of each bird with the bird’s name on one side and some lovely quote about birds/flying/freedom on the other.  If anyone has suggestions, please do share.  Ultimately I’ll probably put one of each kind together in a mobile of some sort, and might make little ornaments from the rest to leave on strangers’ bikes.

At long last I am progressing on my t-shirt quilt that’s been in the works for years.  The adorable pouch on top with eyes is my sewing kit, a birthday present from Benjamin that originally held my bicycle spoke engagement ring.

Yesterday Benjamin and I embarked on a massive veggie chopping adventure to come up with this delicious veggie hash.  It has carrots, potatoes, squash, turnips, onions and hot peppers, along with thyme, salt and pepper.  So tasty (and healthy!) along with…

bread, which no one can ever have enough of.  This particular loaf is a bit of wheat and rye flour (though mostly white to help with rising) with sunflower and flax seeds.  I’ve done breads all over the board though- a favorite had garlic chunks and fresh thyme in it, and a staple is 1/3 cornmeal rather than white flour.  It is amazing to know precisely what is in my food.

It is amazing how quickly time passes while I’m painting/cooking/sewing, especially if I have a record on (lately it’s been Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Ravi Shankar, and Bruteheart) and can completely meditate on the project at hand.  Being a homesteader/artist full time would be absolutely amazing; I very much enjoy my jobs, but many of my moments of true contentment and joy come when I’m lost in a project.

~Lauren

I am resolved…

to do many things, but on this particular day, said resolutions are inspired by The Rejectionist’s yearly testing of next year’s resolution for the month of December.  I will still call them ‘Practices to Enact’, I think, because that has a nicer ring to it.  Regardless, here’s how things will go down:

*Eat less pastries/cookies/sweets in general.  I failed miserably at the attempt in November (I blame it on my birthday.  And getting engaged) but hope to have more peer pressure this time and actually succeed.  That and I need to take it easy before the sugar-fest of holiday time.

*Write every freaking day.  Either in this here blog, or in my personal journal, or in the lovely little Greenway notebook that was my goodbye present from Laura K upon ending my LVC year at the Coalition, or poetry in the snow.  Whatever.  Write write write write.

*Start budgeting.  Like really think about the things I spend $$ on now, the things Benjamin and I will want/need to spend $$ on in the future, and map it out.  At this precise moment in time I am not living paycheck to paycheck by any means, but with bike adventures/possible house/a plethora of awesome community activities in the future, it would be enormously helpful to actually track my spending and have a real reason to save for lovely things in the future.  Maybe I’ll make an art project out of it…

*Keep my Facebook-note promise to write at least one letter to a friend at least once a week.  Thus far I have only done this once, which is unacceptable.  This could also help with PtE #2, come to think of it.

*Make progress on growing mushrooms and my t-shirt quilt.  I’ve been working on the latter for years, and thinking about the former for months, and have been in stasis.  But on Tuesday I bought batting and thread for the quilt (and also decided I should sign up for the beginning handquilting class at the quilt shop in February/March taught by a 90 year old lady), so it’s going to happen this time.

December, commence!  Now I expect all of you wonderful people to ask me how these things are going so that I’m held accountable 🙂