Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mossy Green Dream Sofa

So this weekend while my brother Jonathan and sister-in-law Robyn were visiting, we found this couch on craigslist -- not only is this THE PERFECT (i.e. utterly fits the picture in my head) couch for my downstairs (unrealized) art/sewing studio BUT it is a sleeper sofa -- which is exactly what we need in there for the room to double as a guest room. AND the owners were only asking $150 -- can you even believe it?????!!!!! Then I emailed them and, as often happens, they had just sold it. I am trying to solace myself with the gladness that this perfect thing even exists -- somewhere "out there" and that I probably shouldn't have begged Brad for it anyway. Still...I had to show you guys. Oh how I love it.

Slipped my hand into his...

Yours Truly Presents: The Morning Benders "Excuses" from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

This is such a lovely layering of instruments and voices! -- It makes me feel like spring sunshine smiling on my skin as I walk my familiar neighborhood sidewalks. And it makes me think of Brad -- he loves voices in harmony so much.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sweetie Dietrich

Fabric that Makes my Heart Sing

So this year I found a fabric line I adore designed by Anna Marie Horner. The colors and beautiful. I was happy to find that Mrs. Horner is about my age, the mother of 6 children, and a devout Greek Orthodox. I check in with her blog from time to time:

There I found that she is a fan of Natalie Chanin and her Alabama Chanin group of textile artists. She met up with Ms. Chanin to share a sewing project and look at her amazing knits. Here's about her design group:

Alabama Chanin is a lifestyle company that focuses on creating an array of products through focusing on slow design and sustainability. We craft limited-edition products for the individual and the home. Our products are made-by-hand using a combination of new, organic and recycled materials. Each piece is constructed with care by talented artisans who live and work in communities in and around Florence, Alabama. Our products come numbered in one-of-a-kind or limited edition series and signed by the artisan that made it. We dedicate ourselves to producing quality products that become a part of daily life in this generation and beyond. From farmer to fiber to artisan to home, our products are “grown-to-sewn” in USA.

Some of Anna Marie Horner's fabrics...
especially her new cotton voile line

Natalie Chanin and Anna Marie Horner hand sewing together.

Natalie Chanin's beautiful hand-sewn applique techniques...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

He Survived His First Year!

Today on St.Patrick's Day 2010 Lincoln Carver Johannsen is one year old. He survived this perilous first year with much neglect on his parents' part and much love and violence on his brothers'. Lincoln is sweet and affectionate and fascinated with cabinets, books, balls, throwing anything, his brothers, and bathroom toilets. I have been and am so very busy with gestating this fourth child and keeping the children alive and clothed and clearing spaces through our house so that we can move about in some fashion that I can barely process the passage of Lincoln's first year of life. One year. Last night my cousin Marie Ackland died of cancer. She is not that much older than my parents. She lived in the farm less than a mile north of the farm I grew up on. She was as much a part of our day-in, day-out lives as my grandmother (also passed away) and the farming seasons. And yet today I realize I have not seen her in 2 or 3 years. I live so very much in the present and future -- meeting the needs of right now and plans and projects and projections of "what's next"...I have a very spotty and unreliable memory of all things past. Sometimes this is good -- I rarely keep grudges -- and sometimes this is sad -- I just can't keep past memories vivid or accurate. One life, well-lived -- faithful, steady, consistent -- has ended. One life has just begun. I can't help but think of Ecclesiastes call to eat my sandwich with a merry heart and rejoice in the midst of a mysterious "economy" of God which is an irreconcilably mingled sorrow and joy.

I leave for my son this prayer -- "The Lorica (Breastplate) of Saint Patrick":

I bind unto you today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to you for ever.
By power of faith, Christ's incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spic├Ęd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;*
I bind unto you today.

I bind unto you the power
Of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet 'well done' in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors' faith, Apostles' word,
The Patriarchs' prayers, the Prophets' scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto you today

The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun's life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto you today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to your need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give you speech,
His heavenly host to be your guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar your course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to you these holy powers.

Against all Satan's spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart's idolatry,
Against the wizard's evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect Lincoln, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with him, Christ within him,
Christ behind him, Christ before him,
Christ beside him, Christ to win him,
Christ to comfort and restore him.
Christ beneath him, Christ above him,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love him,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto him the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Cage Fighting for Preschoolers

The boys came up with this game on their own. They had been playing hard for 45 minutes before Brad pulled out the camera -- and it is still hilarious, though slowed down quite a bit. I liked that the laundry baskets protected them quite a bit -- much better than the way they usually play this -- just slamming into each other with no protective gear.

Grandma Nancy Goes to Sewing Camp

Grandma Nancy came by to visit on her way up and back from a quilting retreat with our aunt Linda Van Arkel's quilt shop up in Grand Rapids, MN. Atticus was so excited that his grandma took him to school Tuesday morning to meet his teachers.

Treehouse Extraordinaire

See a photo tour of this amazing Wilkison house designed by the architect Robert Harvey Oshatz here.

Come on Down!

Wouldn't it be cool to have a slide-staircase like this in your house?!

Art from Atticus & Dietrich

This is Atticus' drawing of his little sister (we don't know for sure yet...but Atticus is sure she's a sister).

Atticus drawing: "When I was a Very Little Boy"

This is Atticus drawing of our house's roof -- the top square is our chimney and the bottom is an aerial view of the rest of the roof -- isn't the perspective fascinating?

Atticus drawing: "Daddy as a Monster"

By Atticus: I didn't get a photo of this before Dietrich found it and added the blue scribbles but if you can look under that, this is a great Quentin Blake-ish drawing of "Brad with Stubble".

A paper collage of a sandwich -- Atticus made this on his own completely unsupervised and unprompted.

Dietrich's painting...

Dietrich's cut-out drawing -- I think it looks like a G-clef this direction or a "Madonna" flipped 180 degrees.

February Ends...

Things to do with a play kitchen when you are tired of being inside after a long long winter...

The boys pretending to play video games...(the TV is not on and they do not have any video games...that is how bored and imaginative they are...)