All Bluster and Bustle and Sweet Anticipation

March has been busy blowing herself right out of our lives the past couple days. I imagine April close behind, pushing, nudging, maybe sighing as she tries to take her place in the spotlight, March digging in her heels and leaving scuff marks on the stage. No one in the Midwest is sad to see the end of March, and we delight to greet April, that understated, delicate being who always remembers to bring flowers with her. March was still a lion yesterday, gusting and raining and snowing all at once. Perhaps April is our lamb.

I find myself wondering if it is too late to start seeds inside. I’m thrilled to pieces that the leaves are already off the garden and that there is so little to do in the yard now in the early spring. I used to get this manic feeling this time of year, writing up lists of all the things I needed to get done outside before it got too late in the spring. But now, everything’s done. I’m excited to see how my expanded shade garden fills in this year. I anxiously await the first opening buds on my baby redbud tree, hoping it has weathered the very cold winter. I don’t know how many more summers we will have in this house, so I intend to consciously enjoy this one. That will likely translate to lots of pictures of the gardens, so I hope you’ll indulge me when I share them here.

At this moment my yard is swiftly switching between bright and dim, the long shadows cast by tall maple trees and dead ash trees blinking on and off as air currents far above send the clouds skittering across the sky. Across the ground, last year’s crispy brown leaves take a similar trip, bouncing and swirling about like scattering rabbits. There’s hardly a thing out there worth a photo. But there is rain and some warmth in the forecast — just what those dormant roots in the garden have been waiting for.

Spring Fabric Swap and a Sunny Yellow Table

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis weekend I had seven ladies over to go through each other’s unwanted fabric. It was a fun take on spring cleaning. We chatted, had gallons of coffee and snacks, and pawed through a ton (literally? figuratively? who can say?) of fabric that was just taking up room in one person’s closet or attic but could be used by someone else. Now, granted, some of it will just be spending more time in a Rubbermaid bin, just in a different house. But ideally we will use some of the new stuff we’ve taken home.

I scored a few apparel fabrics (including a radical vintage 1980s splashed paint-looking knit that will become PJs for my son), far too much quilting cotton, and and a really striking Amish (or Amish style — I’m not entirely sure of the origin) quilt top in a lap quilt or wall hanging size. I’ll post about some specific pieces and projects in the future.

Of course, not all of the fabric was claimed. Luckily a woman I work with has told me she will take everything that is left. (Yes, everything.) I wonder if she knows what she’s gotten herself into.

Also of course, I forgot to take pictures. I did take a picture of my table once I put it back together and dressed it for spring. Oh, to have fresh flowers in the house and not worry about where to put them out of reach of a cat. It’s been a long time.

 

Me on the Radio

I finally got up the courage to listen to a radio show that I was on back in…oh, was it last year? Yes. Yes it was. I was sure I sounded like kind of an idiot, but as it turns out, I don’t. I shared this interview time with Alyssa Alexander, a Lansing area author and a fellow member of the Capital City Writers Association. Alyssa also does not sound like an idiot (so kudos to the both of us).

So if you want to hear more about me, what I do for a living as a publishing professional, and a bit about why I still read and prefer printed books to ebooks, please give it a listen.

 

Green Aurora Borealis on St. Patrick’s Day

The luck of the Irish must have been with me. I finally got to see and photograph the Northern Lights last night.

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I’m so grateful for this as I’ve been aching to see it. It’s far brighter in a photo where the shutter was open for 60 seconds than it was in real life. Most of the time it just looked like a hazy cloud on the horizon with a few brief little curtains. I wish I’d figured out the right settings on the camera sooner and caught those, but I am happy with what I have at the moment. There will be more opportunities later in life to catch more.

To Sew or Not to Sew?

I’m debating this year whether I should make a new dress for Easter. I have this great border fabric I bought probably two or maybe even three years ago with a gift certificate from a friend that would be perfect, but I keep holding off because I don’t want to make the wrong pattern choice and then regret cutting it up.

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I’m also not wild about my current shape, another reason to hold off (though, that reason can last for years when you don’t do anything about it). I don’t know. I’m ambivalent at the moment. One thing I am sure of is that at the end of the month I’m hosting a fabric swap at my house for a bunch of ladies who sew. Hoping to get rid of stuff that’s been hanging around with no purpose and maybe get a few new pieces with possibilities.

Partly in anticipation of the fabric swap and partly due to a sudden inability to take the mess anymore, I’ve been cleaning up my sewing area. I was shamed into mending half a dozen pairs of pants my husband had asked me to fix over the course of the past, oh, let’s say five years. It took all of half an hour. After that I realized that there wasn’t too much more to put away. So I did.

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As I was searching for extra buttons to fix Zach’s pants, I realized my button organization (or lack thereof) was untenable. So I found some jars and organized them by color. I put up an extra thread rack that had been lying around for months (I don’t even remember where it came from) and organized all my thread by color.

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It feels good to be so orderly, to look at colors other than white and gray. And now that I can see what I have, I realize I have a few big projects — recovering a chair, recovering an old comforter, recovering a cushion — to attend to. Perhaps I’ll find that they, like the pants needing mending, will be fairly simple and painless.

Pet Practicalities

birdsMy 15-year-old shepherd mix Sasha is back on prednisone for a cough and on some pain med to see if it helps her mobility with her weakening back legs. As we think about the fact that this will probably be her last year, my husband and I have been discussing whether or not to get perhaps a parakeet or cockatiel so we will not be left petless when the time comes, now that our cat has gone on to another home.

Beyond the obvious benefit to my allergic son, not having a cat in the house has made more than a few things much better. Mainly, I can now lay out fabric on my sewing table and not have it become encased in a layer of fine cat fur when it is mistaken as a good place to take a nap. A close second this time of year is the fact that I will be able to start vegetable seeds in the house and will not come into the sunroom one day to find that all of my baby plants have been beheaded, half-digested, and then regurgitated in a yellow puddle on the floor. I’m also anticipating the possibilities of cut flowers all summer long.

A contained, non-furry pet who could be brought to a friend’s house when we’re out of town is far preferable to us at this point in life than another dog, even if it were smaller and less sheddy. Non-free-ranging animals are easier in some ways.

What do you think? Anyone had a bird as a pet before? What was your favorite (or least favorite) pet?

Spring Thaw

cardinal05I feel as though I’ve broken with tradition by not posting about the first day of March on the first day of March, which always feels like such a momentous achievement (getting to March, not posting about it). But this year February seemed to go by so quickly and March began with days just as cold as February and I was in no mood to post.

Now, finally, we are experiencing temps above freezing and hearing the meltwater in the gutters and spattering on sidewalks. It’s been sunny and lovely and dry sidewalk has been reported. My bird feeders are full and every day we hear the wooing melodies of songbirds. Male cardinals are chasing each other off. We anticipate the return of the robins soon — and, with somewhat less enthusiasm, the emergence of the dog poop.

It’s been in the 40s the past few days and it should be in the FIFTIES (I can hardly believe I’m writing that) the rest of the week starting tomorrow. Phenomenal.