This Time With Heart

Looky, looky! I actually finished a quilt!

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I started this quilt last May as a graduation gift. Then I sort of stumbled over my own life and I couldn’t quite get it completed. Lots of hurdles and road blocks but I managed to plow through the first weekend in December and get it quilted, bound, and delivered before the end of the year. Actually six months isn’t so bad considering I have projects sitting around that are going on the six YEAR mark to be finished. Win.

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The problem is I put a lot of thought into handmade gifts, especially quilts. Overall design, how they will use it, colors, and words. This takes time.

To me, everyone has a color. When I think of a person, there is a color that goes along with what I see in my mind. It might not necessarily be their favorite color, but often it is. From this I choose a palette and then fabrics. Then I choose a pattern. Gentle and flowing or sharp and angular. Singular and graphic or repetitive and encompassing.

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Then the making can start. Cutting and sewing. With the stitches I make, I think about the person I am making the quilt for.  DSC_0422

I put my heart into every one of those stitches. Until my fingers are sore and my shoulders are stiff.

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Finally I give it last words. I label my quilts with lyrics, sayings, or quotes that best capture my thoughts or feelings for the intended.

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The quilts I create are my love made tangible. They are literally crafted with blood, sweat, and tears so I don’t make them on whims or without thought. If my heart isn’t in it, I have a hard time focusing. I’m trying to stop stumbling and get back to the road I know because my heart has a lot of love that needs to be let out through creating.

And there is a baby boy here who needs his own blanket of love to be wrapped in because it is cold out there.

Helena, Year Two

My littlest girl,

You are exasperation and wonder. You are toes in the water and the fizz of a firecracker. You are excitement and strong will. A twirl in the sunshine and a cuddle on the couch. Quick to giggle, a laugh that is so true and infectious. You are me too’s, I do it’s, and mine’s. You are might and love in the tiniest package. You are the smirk on my lips, the dance in my hips, and the song in my mind.

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(One Year Ago)

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You are my darling girl with a fire and sparkle that glows with every single one of your quick little steps.

Never let that dull.

Love,

Mama

Here’s To The New

It’s my birthday today.

This year has been one of my most difficult. I have grown and birthed a new little life. I have watched my children smile, laugh, and cry.  I have seen friendships grow, change, drift apart, and come together. I have felt so full and hollow at the same time. I’ve struggled with finding who I am. I have cried more than I ever have.

I’m done.

I’m done feeling like I need to apologize for the things I like, for my hobbies, and sense of humor. Done apologizing for wanting to take time for myself. Done apologizing for getting dressed and putting on makeup in the morning. Done apologizing for being skinny, because when I look in the mirror or my clothes don’t fit it only reminds me how I haven’t taken care of myself. I shouldn’t feel bad about being who I am and I’ve spent too many tears on this.

I’m done wondering if I said or did something wrong, over analyzing. Done wondering why I don’t get invited or included and feeling hurt. Done being someone else’s option. I’m through with wondering if people like me and instead I’ll wonder if I like them and if they are worth my time. I’m tired of putting others first and being put last. I expect more from people because it is what I would do for them. I’m done giving my all and only getting half in return. Maybe I don’t hold the same place in someone’s heart as they do in mine and that’s okay, I just need to let go. Those who want me in their lives will make a spot for me. I am worth knowing and loving. It shouldn’t feel like a struggle and I’ve spent too many tears on this.

I’m done feeling like today is just time that needs to be gotten through. I’m done holding on to what’s gone and not appreciating what remains. I’m done with not looking with glittering eyes for the magic of tomorrow because it isn’t just another day. I’m done wishing the day would end because I’ve missed so much this way and I’ve spent too many tears on this.

“You fall, you rise, you make mistakes, you live, you learn. You’re human, not perfect. You’ve been hurt, but you’re alive. Think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, and to be with people you love. Sometimes there is sadness in our journey, but there is also lots of beauty. We must keep putting one foot in front of the other even when we hurt, for we will never know what is waiting for us just around the bend…” And I’ll miss it if I’m focusing my energy into fighting the old instead of being open to the new.

So you see, tears are a currency I’m done using. I’m taking last year off of my shoulders, standing taller on the good things and leaving the bad behind. Now it is time to start paying for my life with laughter and smiles.

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All photos by Blue Dandelion Photography

 

This year will be beautiful.

 

A Vacation In a Loaf Pan

It’s cold and snowing here today. Really more snaining, which is worse than if it was just snowing. The kids have found all the toys that make the most noise and seem to be playing with them simultaneously. I need a vacation to some place warm and by an ocean as of yesterday but it’s not going to happen. This bread is about as good as I can do today. I may or may not be inhaling the bottle of coconut extract and sucking on limes as I type this.

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Disclaimer: This bread is NOT healthy. It has sugar and butter. Lots of it. And eggs. It is not gluten free, it doesn’t even have whole wheat flour. I suppose you could use half whole wheat flour and throw in some flaxseed or something, but for your mental health, please don’t. Enjoy with a drink that is heavy on the rum and pineapple while listening to Jimmy Buffett. Or this right here.

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Coconut Banana Bread

2 1/2 c flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2/3 c white sugar

1/3 c brown sugar

1 stick of butter, softened or melted

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp coconut extract

3 ripe bananas, mashed. About 1 c.

1 c coconut milk

1/2 c (4oz) cream of coconut

1 c sweetened flake coconut

 

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray your loaf pan with cooking spray.

Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together butter and sugars with a wooden spoon. Beat in eggs. Stir in vanilla and coconut extracts and cream of coconut. Mix in mashed banana and coconut milk.

Alternate mixing wet and dry ingredients just until combined. Stir in flaked coconut and pour into pan. Bake until done in the center. Let cool slightly and glaze.

 

Lime Glaze

1/2 c powdered sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp lime juice

zest of lime

 

 

 

 

Casting My Web

A better morning could not be had if I’m looking for perspective. The cold has crept into the air and settled into the once warm ground, bringing a fog that hangs tightly at all corners. The best weather for web spotting. The dew hangs on the delicate strands, adorning the bare twigs and branches with strands of diamonds. It illuminates the meanderings and hard work of the spiders that live all around my home, of which there are many thanks to the river and woods close by.

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The spider creates beauty just by being, just by going along it’s little way. If what it has made falls apart, which it inevitably will, it starts the process over because it is all it knows how to do.

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The means to gain happiness is to throw out from oneself, like a spider, in all directions, an adhesive web of love, and to catch in it all that comes.
-Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

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