Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter at Nana's

We were up for 8:30 Mass at St. Bede's and then over to Nana's for Easter Breakfast. She made waffles served with fresh strawberries and your choice of vanilla or chocolate ice cream (or both).

I love taking pictures at Nana's. Her house has so much depth - color, texture, detail, cozyiness. Awesome.
bungalow, j crew sweater, mary mulhare, mulhare interior design
breakfast at Nana's

Miss Piggy & Kermit date way back
Thumper. Nana claims that she bought him when she was 5 years old.
behind Thumper is the syrup (only Vermont real Maple will do) on
a platter engraved from Familia Mesa, friends from Badajoz in the 1980s
after breakfast the table is cleared for games
"Mexican Train" a Dominoes game

little guys playing with chess pieces, pink sundress by Whigs & Tories
Easter details 

kitchen details, interior design, mulhare interior design
the pie piece from my childhood

After games the children sent Nana on a hunt to find her Easter Basket which they had hidden in her house. They did a good job hiding it - took her a few minutes to find it! Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Easter Eggs & Pussy Willow

When we lived in Bitburg Germany my mother bought miniature wooden eggs from one of the markets she attended with friends and we decorated Pussy Willow boughs. Her mother used to purchase Pussy Willow in the spring - but I don't know that they decorated them. A few years ago I was at World Market and saw little wooden eggs. They are not as ornate as the ones my mother bought in Germany, but they triggered a nostalgic memory none the less and so I bought them.

whigs & tories, girl clothes, handmade clothes, spring
a bucket full of eggs and two smiling girls

they were laughing at me because I was struggling with the camera

Bitsy in her new Spring in Paris top. Love it!

I've often thought it would be nice to purchase a Pussy Willow plant. There is plenty of water in the back of my house, I bet we could grow one. I found a good link for them: French Pussy Willow Tree

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Surrendered by Chang-Rae Lee

I just finished the book last night.
It is interesting to read it just after Toni Morrison's Beloved.

Both about women.
Both about survival.
Both women defy the archetype of "woman" that permeates Western Art & Lit. Neither are good mothers or caretakers, but they are not sirens either. Aren't those the two predominate women in stories, good-giving-nurturing or evil-seductive-destructive?

No June, like Sethe, is a survivor.

June is a mother but not a caretaker. And as Hector asks her if she would care for him if their situations were reversed she states "I've never taken care of anybody."

Additionally June challenges Western stereotypes of Asian women. There is of course the Asian Fetish (which I've been told by an Asian Man exists regardless of gender.) And there is the submissive female: at home, cooking and cleaning and walking behind her man.

I feel funny trying to describe for anyone a book written by a Princeton Professor. But I'll say that it is very interesting to read. The descriptions of the Korean War and the orphanage coincide with what little I know about it, as well as what little I understand of Korean Culture, and add color and depth to my understanding. As the mother to Korean Adoptees this history of Americans adopting war orphans from Korea which leads to the current adoption culture between the two countries evokes a complicated response.

I am always frustrated by authors who flip through time, memories, now the present, a different person's memories, now the present. I like a linear story. That said, the characters are not ones I meet often. Nothing here feels done before or cliche and everything feels plotted out, indeed I wonder if I missed some of the story somewhere.

Should you read it? Well, I suppose so. It is a good book. It is well written, complicated and different.
Here is what Terrence Rafferty of the New York Times has to say about it:

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Lemon Project and The Cleo Parker Robinson Ensemble

There is something going on at the College of William & Mary called "The Lemon Project." I have only heard little bits and pieces about it. Link here: The Lemon Project the link appears to be old as it has news & symposium updates up to 2014 but nothing for 2015 & 2016. I happen to know that the project continues and that the 2016 symposium was kicked off Friday night by The Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble.

How do I know? Because one of the professors involved is Ms. Leah Glenn. Ms. Glenn happens to be the daughter of my neighbor, Frank Smith. On Wednesday evening we were just getting children into pjs when Mr. Smith knocked on my door. He said something about his daughter and dancers and that one of the young people was from Korea and he wanted me to bring my children over and introduce them. So we quickly threw on some acceptable clothing and went on over. Turns out he had Ms. Cleo Parker Robinson at his house - and her dance ensemble - and a whole lot of other people some of them I've met before. Ms. Cleo came over and introduced herself and I had no idea who she was. And them some of the dancers said hello and I helped the children get started with some conversations and Mr. Smith had whisked Bitsy off to meet YooJung Hahn who it turns out is from South Korea and was in New York for a year and is now with the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble and has been for a year.  Mrs. Smith comes out to say hello just as I notice Little Hawk (he is now 6) climbing up on to the table and reaching across her lovely white tablecloth to help himself to a piece of cake heavily frosted in chocolate icing. "Let me help you!" I manage to get out and then hover over him while he eats. Little Hawk's enthusiasm for the desert amuses Mrs. Smith's sisters and friends.
Bitsy passes by and asks if she can go sit by herself a minute and trots off to find someplace quiet. I am initially surprised as she is our most social of social divas. I wonder if she is simply overwhelmed or if it is the "you must come meet the Korean dancer" that has thrown her. I am watching her settle and still keeping an eye on Little Hawk as he attacks the next desert option and a few more dancers wander out into the dining room. I must look overwhelmed because one young man simply gives me a hug as he passes me and I'm both delighted and amused. It was if he was saying "it's okay lost white lady, we got you." And then I find myself and MLyons (my dancer) talked to Cedric Dewayne Hall who is gracious and enthusiastic. He tells us more about the dance company and the school in Denver and recruits MLyons to attend a summer session. The dancers are tired and on their way out. I notice Ralaya Goshea in a boot and ask her about her foot. In the conversation we talk about proper nutrition for healing sprains and I want to learn more. And then I'm rounding up my children and headed back to my house and getting them to bed and Googling Cleo Parker Robinson. Oh my. I had no idea.

Thursday I buy tickets at the Kimball Theater.

Friday I see one of MLyon's dance instructors and mention the experience and mangle Miss Cleo's name but he manages to put it all together. "Cleo Parker Robinson Company?" He asks me. "If that is who this is it is a very big deal." And he says he will see us at the performance. He does go and we do see him there.

The performance was amazing. I haven't seen this caliber of dancing in years. What a gift. I'm sitting in my chair smiling and teary eyed - dance does that to me - lost in the performance. Afterwards Cedric asks me my favorite piece. I don't have a good answer. Having had a few days to process I think my favorite was the excerpt from "Lush Life" which is a collaboration between Cleo Parker Robinson and Dr. Maya Angelou. Vibrant & Rich.

MLyons loved "Raindance" their signature piece.

I'm so grateful that this ensemble made their way to little ole Williamsburg to perform in a Theater that only holds 400. I'm so grateful that my neighbor came and said "you need to bring the children and meet these people." Such an amazing experience.

after the show, with Miss Cleo and Leah Glenn

after the show with YooJung Hahn

after the show with Ralaya Goshea on the left and Cedric Dewayne Hall
on the right and I'm not sure his name in the middle

Saturday, March 12, 2016

been sewing

A few weeks ago while I was skiing at Wintergreen a friend told me my husband had been involved in a ski lift accident at Timberline in West Virginia. He was in the hospital - hours away - and there wasn't anything I could do about it. So I went shopping for some fabric and got busy sewing- it is my happy place lately.

striped swallow designs, whigs & tories, gypsy, tunic, purple, batik, bohemian,
Purple Gypsy Tunic by Whigs & Tories
Pattern by Striped Swallow Designs
MLyons loves purple. She has also outgrown most of her clothes. As I wanted to give this pattern a trial run and see if I would be able to use it for Whigs & Tories - and as I needed to keep busy - I made this up for M. I love it! But I don't get to wear it and MLyons doesn't like how the stripes on the sleeves feel against her arm... So I'm tacking them flat by hand. Oh-joy!

striped swallow designs, whigs & tories, gypsy, tunic, purple, batik, bohemian,

sewing ribbon to the inset pieces in the sleeve
I am very pleased with it though. So I've gone ahead and started trying to make some for the etsy shop. So far I've got one complete - that Riley Blake fabric in Yellow Leaf. The tunic is a size 3T.

I'm quite happy with it. I did elastic at the wrist - and kept it all one color because sometimes simple is better. But I've got another one cut out - yellow dot at the yolk - yellow leaf for the body - blue floral for the sleeves... we'll see how it all turns out! find it here: 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

an Etsy Favorite: WulflundJewelry

Was browsing for a gift and came across this shop: Wulflund Jewelry. I love his pieces. All of them!