soaring above

I started this painting for a Seed & Sky design yesterday. I have a looooong list of paintings and images that I want to paint and a red-tailed hawk has been at the top of that list for a long time.

Here is how the beginning of this image came to be:
I went for a walk with the kids. It was a warm sunny day with a thick blue sky. Walking with kids is not a form of exercise because there is a pit stop every few feet or so. Sparkling mica in some sand, some dog poop to ponder, a stick to pick up, a bug, backwards 10 feet to jump off a rock, run 12 feet forward at the begging of Mom, trip and fall, tears for a minute, an airplane to stare at... you get the idea.  I was trying my best to enjoy them, the day, and not focus too much on our destination (the mailbox) down the road.
Meanwhile, a turkey vulture was flying high in the sky and at first glance I thought it was a hawk, which reminded me of an old friend who loves red-tailed hawks. Whenever I am with her she sees them. They pop out of the woodwork like waldo in a where's waldo book for her I swear. It is hard to know if she simply has a better eye for them than I do or if they appear more in her life than mine. It is hard to say. Anyhow, she loves them, and I love them because she loves them. And I am always hoping to see one.

Birds of prey have keen eyesight and a unique perspective about the world. With all of the emotions I am feeling this week I found myself longingly looking up at the bird in the sky feeling like my heart might feel different if I were soaring instead of plodding. Not that there is anything wrong with going slow or feeling overwhelmed with emotions~ on the contrary~ but to be up so high riding on the wind~ maybe I would see the bigger picture better. Make more sense of the world and of life and death.  You know?

So there you have it. My current project is in part dedicated to my friend Christine (and all of the other hawk lovers out there) and another part an homage to living in the moment and seeing the larger picture. 


vigil from afar.

Someone very very dear to me is in the process of passing on. There is so much that could be said... and yet my heart feels quiet, a little anxious, waiting... It has been very difficult to be so far away. 
Last night at dinner I asked that we take a moment and say a prayer for Benny. Lil spoke up saying she would like to say one. She made her hands form the shape of a heart, held them close to her body and she closed her eyes. After a few seconds she opened her eyes and said "Okay I'm done."

When we asked her what she just did she said "I said a little prayer in my head and it echoed in my mind and and then went down into the ground, and then up into the sky."

I was in awe of her intuitive and heartfelt prayer... It felt befitting of the beautiful soul it was meant for.


Sleet day

Alex braved the thick coat of sleet and freezing rain today to go finish up a small carpentry job down the road, and the kids and I had a lovely home-bound day.  I put on my apron and made a big mess of my kitchen, making black bean hummus and Smitten Kitchen's broccoli slaw.  The kids helped me make muffins, and we had a chicken bone broth going on top of our wood-stove which made the house smell delicious. There were some moments where everyone was stir crazy and I was losing my patience... but mostly it was an extra nice cozy day with my littles. 
 I wish I could pass you one of our muffins and a cup of tea via the internet! xxx


this morning

One step in our jewelry making process is taking our miniature art prints and and carefully gluing them into metal bezels. It is a delicate process and Alex never gets to do it because his fingers are too big! Luckily, I love this job (esp. accompanied by a hot cup of coffee!)


Upstairs peek

Looking toward the front of our upstairs, Lili's new bunk-bed/loft. This dresser was mine as a child, and my Aunt Sharon's before me. Inside that little door was my favorite place to hide in hide-and-seek when I was little, now that part of the dresser keeps the kid's dress-up clothes. 
 Looking toward the back of our upstairs. The little loft with the window is Alex and my new bedroom space. The door at the back leads to our bathroom and above that are boxes of storage.  Art supplies and our indoor laundry line as you head down the stairs (at the bottom right of the photo.)
 Little ladder stairs up to Alex and my bed & the play kitchen Alex built for the Lili a couple years ago. Somehow moving and shifting the toys around gives them a second life.  I have been eating a lot of wooden and felt food this week!
Lili's bed and her big wall bookcase for all of her treasures. 
 Seo's bed tucked in under Lili's. 
Featuring our one window with trim upstairs.
As much as living in a small space drives me crazy sometimes, most of the time I LOVE it. I love the challenge of finding a home for everything. I love the challenge of making it work. I love how quickly it cleans up (never mind about how quickly it gets messed up.) I love feeling like our family is close and cozy. I love that our family helped us build our home.  I love how imperfect it is~ allowing us to imagine new ways to shift our space. 


new painting

A new painting to share with you. Something light-hearted to honor these winter days. 

I made the big mistake of getting the kids (my) hopes up that it was going to snow tonight.
"Snow!!!" I said "We can play in the snow together tomorrow morning!!!"
I have been teased by too many NC winters and I should have known better. Instead of the original 3" predicted, the weather report now says we should expect more rain and possible slush... Not a winter wonderland. *sigh* The kids took the bad news much more gracefully than I have.

Update: not a single flake here and the stars are out. Oh well, at least it will be sunny skies tomorrow! 


our plaster wall

Okay, it's not really about our awesome plastered house wall... but it does make a nice backdrop... :)


fresh start

We have been slow to jump back into Seed & Sky after the holidays. Pre-holiday we were working almost 7 days a week, day and night~ and then a huge lull (and a big sigh of relief) when our vacation set in. It is such a treat to actually take a break. Even if it is something you love, it is nice to have some fresh air from it. Before we jumped back into Seed & Sky full time Alex decided to take a small carpentry job for a couple weeks and we have been shifting our upstairs space dramatically. Clearing out toys and things that we have outgrown, adding new organizers, and changing up our bedroom scene. Alex and I squished our bed into Lili's former loft bedroom (we had to saw away a bit of the wall so it would fit!) Despite my having an anxiety attack from feeling claustrophobic the first night in our new bedroom, it has been nice to have a little privacy. I am really starting to love it.
I was concerned to be stealing Lili's bedroom, but she was thrilled to trade up her toddler bed for a new twin sized bed, and the top bunk of a loft-bunk-bed that Alex built. When he built it he included a foot long bookcase that runs the length of the bed so she has room to keep all of her treasures, stuffed animals, and dolls.
Seo traded up the crib for Lili's old toddler bed. His little space is under Lili's loft and is packed in with their two dressers~ making it like a little cave for him. Feeling like he was getting the short end of the stick we made him a little nook behind the ladder for his special things.
All of this shifting allowed for a true play space for the kids upstairs which is nice because it gives a more defined work area for Seed & Sky at the other end of our upstairs. Our house always feels like an inspector gadget house with new spaces popping up to fit our needs as they arise.
more pictures soon!


wonderful news...

my niece's little newborn feet
On January 4th I had the huge honor of witnessing my sister give birth to her first baby. The baby's name is Marietta. She is wonderful, and she makes little newborn noises, and she has little curled up feet with long toes.

I am not going to lie, it was difficult to see my sister in so much pain. I wanted to comfort her, but by nature labor is intense and painful- not something you can hug away. So Dave and I were witnesses who held up her water cup for her, and we tried to be calm and supportive for her journey. She persevered through a relatively fast and un-medicated labor (just like she had hoped) like a champion.  Afterward, the midwife said she should teach birthing classes because she was so intuitive with her body. I was SO proud of her strength and courage. I am also not going to lie that it was waaaaaay more fun to be watching a baby being born than birthing one myself!

The beauty and freshness of a newborn baby is contagious and wonderful. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.


sad news

my favorite photo of Atty and Lili
I am very sad to let you know that we put our beloved great Pyrenees dog Atticus to sleep on Christmas Eve. A host of things were going on with him, but it was ultimately that the ligaments in his back legs gave out. It was a heart-wrenching decision, and we were blessed to have my family surrounding us with love that evening. My stepfather helped carry Atticus and accompanied Alex to the emergency vet. My father and Dave helped me dig a four foot grave by moonlight. Everyone helped keep our kids happy while we tried to figure out what to do. Lili and Seo went to sleep excited about Santa and unknowing of Atticus's death. After Atticus was buried, Alex and I filled our kids stockings and cried. The joy and sorrow was almost too much.

The Carmonas were in Utah for the holidays and it was very hard to not have the other half of Atticus's family here to say goodbye and share in the grief. I expect when they return home there will be a lot more tears shed and happy memories of our big sweet dog shared.