Saturday, October 04, 2008

Once Upon a Time...

Far, far away, beyond the flower fields and big box stores, sits a country cottage nestled in a stand of tall pines and flower beds. Look for it behind the big white gates, a quiet hollow, where on starry nights friends gather and fill the gardens and rooms with laughter and creativity.

And during the day the quilts are hanging in the sun and all are welcome to come and shop and visit, share ideas and walk in the gardens.

Now that Autumn is here, the Starry Night Hollow is putting on a festival for fall. Right there in the cozy cottage are all the makings of a fun celebration... crafts, food, decorations, a pumpkin patch and cloth crows, and lots and lots of fabrics, patterns and notions.

Time for a little story. A tale so silly and unexpected, it may perk your ears or make you grin. It seems that Starry Night Hollow is a rather legendary place. People travel from faraway to see the amazing quilts and all of the lovely bolts of fabrics. They come for the many colors of thread, for the variety of buttons and for those amazing and original patterns dreamt up by the proprietress, Kim. And when they arrive they are greeted not only by friendly shoppers and residents, but also by shady spots where they can sit and admire the flowers, listen to the birds, and sip some tea.

As you know, legends cannot remain secret... word gets out, and at this time of year some of the most unlikely visitors may show up... there have been princesses and Teddy bears, stuffed puppy dogs that sing, scarecrows, even children, and of course quilters, artists, crafters and fabric stashers! All welcome!

Kim sat Maria on her knee and shared some of the secrets and delights of the Hollow and filled her head with happy thoughts and clever ideas. And then she told her about certain late night visitors that no one had expected at all...

Late last night, when we were putting the finishing touches on our festival booths, when the lights were dimmed and the cookies safely stored, we heard a great commotion in the pumpkin patch. A whole party of witches were circling the garden . They rode on brooms. Their hats were frayed and battered, and it seems they had heard that all month long in October there would be hat sewing lessons at the Hollow. Imagine their delight! Imagine their exuberance! For there is little else that witches love more than a beautiful new hat!

Kim is a warm and thoughtful hostess and she could not think of turning away these zany ladies, so she invited them in, told them all about the sale and stayed up very late cutting and stitching and showing those witches how to make tall and lovely hats, with nice broad brims and fanciful trims.

Those witches were a wild bunch, so full of high spirits and merriment. They really understood the whole creative scene of the Hollow. When they were through they swept their scraps in to a tub, and then hopped on their brooms. And Kim said, Maria, you should have seen how happy and excited they were, riding into the fog with their pretty new hats.

But you have to be very careful riding brooms late at night, in the fog. You have to be careful when beautiful fabrics and terrific savings make you dizzy with delight... because accidents do happen... nothing too tragic, mind you... just a bit embarrassing... slightly alarming!

And Kim assured Maria, The witch is truly alright. You can see from her grin, when she fell from her flight, she was quite overcome by the sheer delight of shopping and playing and sewing all night!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Octobercited: adjective
1. profound giddiness over seasonal prospects, associated with the month of October
2. strong emotional response to appropriate stimuli; including, but not exclusively: leaves, owls, sunflowers, shorter days, cooler nights, pumpkins, bats, crows, pie, Dutch ovens, whole grains, flights of fancy, festivals, cider, apple orchards, caramel apples, and anticipating November and December.
3. increased activity associated with the month of October and Autumn in general

I think my calendar year commences in October. It feels like the beginning, even though, arguably, it is the waning and slowing down time of year. Time to bring in the harvest and put the fields and gardens to bed. Time to return to home and hearth and prepare for the celebrations and holidays of home. Home may have a lot to do with why I feel like this is the first of the year. We begin at home, literally and symbolically. I have all kinds of deep thoughts and stirrings in my soul, and I find it quite inexpressible... it's as though we are on the brink of all kinds of goodness and fun.

It's hot today. It was hot yesterday. Do you know why? I suspect it is because I bought some wood to burn in our fireplace! October is rarely ever as cold in So Cal as I wish it could be. We won't have a first frost, or rainy days, not likely. If I sleep with all the windows open, I can justify adding one more sheet to the bed, but it's much too soon for our quilt. I have noticed a change in the light. It seems to come in softer; bright, but not glaring. The sun travels ever so slightly southward in the sky, a pleasant difference.

I filled a jar with caramels, dusted the piano, perched our crow, and this weekend we are meeting cousins at a pumpkin patch. Someday this month we'll make caramel apples, and we will definitely roast pumpkin seeds. Max hopes we'll have a Halloween party... pumpkin carving with friends and eating pie is what he envisions. Alex wants an "Ironman" party, which entails movie watching and eating either pizza or turkey burgers and cheering madly for his favorite superhero. There's lots of talk about costumes and treats, baking, and playing, about Tutu coming home in 18 days.

Octobercited is not limited to Halloween and the end of Daylight Savings... which will be November 2nd this year. Octobercited marks the commencement of me having even more wistful thoughts about Thanksgiving, Maria's 4th derpday, Christmas, cranberry sauce, children home for Winter break, stockings hung by the chimney with care, music and candlelight. I'm getting ahead of myself. I know. I'm just so excited. This is just such a homey, creative, spiritual time of year.

Speaking of Maria's birthday, my Mom sent a princess package for her granddaughter. Oh. my. goodness. Maria gasped, then the word "Yes," streamed from her lips like honey with cream... so sweet.
Dear Mom, you are amazing, talented and generous. We cannot thank you enough for the beautiful jewels you made for us.

A princess needs color colors, and so when Maria is not feeling golden and pearly, she can don her lilac gems and sparkle in a new hue.

This is the pretty set Maria is wearing today. I don't know which one she will choose to wear on her actual birthday, which is still a ways off, but I know she will feel like a real life princess.

It is the first day of October. I think we will make a special calendar and mark the days with our plans and wishes. I think we will anticipate good things and look for any reason at all to celebrate and feel giddy. I think we will promise Geoff that we won't let a single pumpkin go wasted, so that next Easter we aren't scooping pumpkin guts from the porch... hey, if this is my New Year, then I have a clean slate and I can hope to do better, right?

Speaking of doing better, I've been doing some housework. Don't laugh, or look puzzled... we've been in a slump. It happens. So, in a cleaner house, nice things are uncovered and discovered, things like Alex's sketch. I call it the Teapot House. I love this drawing, the concept. Are those 'copter blades? Does this house fly? Oh, how dear! I would love to hang curtains in the windows and toast tamales in the fireplace, and then I could fly over to your house and we could talk about October plans and princess parties.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

In Remembrance, With Aloha

"Begin doing what you want to do now.
We are not living in eternity.
We have only this moment,
sparkling like a star in our hand
and melting like a snowflake...

Francis Bacon, Sr.

No Wonder!

In yesterday's post I was being a complete goofball... ahem, I am frequently being a complete goofball... The spider of course did not steal my pen, but she might have because, as Em kindly pointed out, these are writing spiders!!!
So cool. So funny.
This coincidence is going to amuse me for days and days.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Itsy-Bitsy The Hunky-Chunky Spider

Yeah, this post has BIG spiders, and I apologize if you get the heebie-jeebies about this sort of thing. And I apologize if I misspelled heebie-jeebies or if it's some archaic racial slur or hurtful putdown, 'cause you never know. Anyway, I have spider pictures and I may not be able to write anything relevant about them, but still, I am compelled to share.

Cue creepy, crawly music:

Oh, mamacita were these spiders large. The largest (non-tarantula) spiders I have ever seen. So large I have to over use italics even more than usual. Do you need something to compare them with?

She actually jumped on this pen and stole it. I can't write checks without my pen.

This spider already had something to eat, otherwise I would not have put my camera so close to those fast hands.

So, what do you want to talk about? Seen any good movies? Anything interesting in the news? If the economy and world markets aren't your thing, you may be heartened to learn that video gamers are surprisingly fit. Cool, huh? Also, this just in: It's snowing on Mars!