Writing:: 14/31 Bedside Table (nightstand)

This month, I’m participating in Ali Edwards “31 More Things” class over at her website.  The class is an exercise in writing something every day for 31 days using simple one word prompts.  I have not been so great at writing every day, but I am hoping to catch up this weekend and post here when they are complete!  The intent is to pair writing with one photo to tell a story and to include all the writing in an album.  I am still pondering how these are all going to end up, but I’m enjoying the writing process. *and, I am not going in order!

14/31  Bedside Table (nightstand)

We bought our bedside tables as part of our cherry Shaker bedroom set.   We had just bought our first house in 1996 and I was SO excited to have bedroom furniture that matched after years of us living with our miss-matched furniture we’d each brought with us from our childhood homes.  I still love our set, it’s held up pretty well and endured cats, dog and kids and us.  The top of my table has peeled up alittle from one time when  Fred the cat knocked my water glass over, whilst trying to drink out of it and the water got everywhere and sat there for a loooong time until I noticed it and cleaned it up.  Mostly the top is covered with books and stuff anyway so I don’t notice it.

On Top 

Lamp:  I love these lamps, they were a splurge from Pottery Barn at the time I felt very indulgent but we have had them for well over 10 years now, worth their weight.  I’ve had to switch to a higher wattage bulb in my bedside lamp over the years…. eyes getting older, truly depressing.

Clock radio:  Old school, doesn’t charge anything, radio stations don’t even come in well , it’s tuned to one of our local NPR stations so at 6am, I am awoken to whatever horror is at the top of the news cycle (note to self…maybe it’s time for a change?)

Books:  First and foremost, I am a reader.  My bedside table holds the latest books I’m reading, plus what’s on deck (Anna Karenina)  Lately, I have several going at once.  I also have a stack of books and magazines that I like to pick up and flip through, mostly design/sewing/quilting/knitting books, the overflow is in a big basket on the floor

Magazines:  Love magazines!  Usually I have a copy of the NYTimes Sunday Magazine on, under or next to my bedside table, Charlie passes them along when he’s done with the cross-word puzzle.

Water:  Usually a water glass or bottle, lately I’ve been putting a glass on the floor so it won’t get knocked over…Fred the cat used to drink out of our water glasses and knock them over, since he’s passed, I don’t have a kitty to stick his whole head in my glass…If I don’t have a glass next to my bed…guaranteed to wakeup in the the night coughing and needing a drink.

Kleenex:  A must have…right now it’s on the floor

Night guard:  Evidently, I clench my teeth when I sleep so now I have the dubious pleasure of wearing a night guard, so I keep the case next to my bed so it’s easy to remember to wear it.

In the Drawers

Truth be told….I almost never look in here except for hunting for my book-light if I’m traveling.  And seriously, I’m a little scared to look in here now….

Top Drawer:  Jewelry roll for traveling (empty), book light, eye shade (2), lint roller (4), lint brush (who knew I had this much lint?!), red sweater previously worn by little teddy until dog chewed little teddy up, empty boxes jewelry came in (2), tubes of hand or foot cream (5), flashlight, newest old eyeglasses, 15 pens, pencils and highlighters (mixed). light stick, case for old-iphone that Charlie gave me and is super cute, earplugs, sachets (2), sweet card from hubby, “mom” key chains made by my girls (2), post-it notes, random receipt, AGD glass box from convention…and THAT’s where my badge went! , random fluffy duck toy, medical report from Dr., bookmark, pencil sharpener, batteries, some weird fragrance thing, tea towel (?), leather coin case that was my grandma’s that is embossed with her initials “FMT”, instructions for clock radio. glasses cleaning cloth, red band from PT, post it’s

What went back in…. one lint roller & lint brush, some pens, little teddy’s sweater, jewelry roll, book light & batteries, card, post-its, flashlight, glasses, sleep mask (1), coin case, clock instructions, card, bookmark.  Glass AGD box went on my dresser.  Everything else re-assigned or trashed.

Bottom Drawer:  This is kind of the “memory” drawer….where I keep things I don’t know where to keep anywhere else and  that I do take out and look at from time to time…

Clutch bags – Vintage from my mom and grandmom…5… they probably need to be cleaned and preserved but I do love using them from time to time.  My favorite is a pink silk poi de soie that really needs to be cleaned.  Fancy evening bags, one beaded that was my mom’s, one I picked up in Hong Kong, Two night gowns from my wedding trousseau (do people even use that word anymore?!) to be relocated to pj drawer, jewelry bags (3) one I made for my mom years ago that I hand embroidered.  My mother’s nursing caps (3) in a plastic bag…direct from her nightstand, one with a bobby pin still attached, I think two are student and one RN, Sibley’s box with beautiful silk scarf I never saw my mother wear…ever, one box from “Mr. Foster’s Remembrance Shop” in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia holding bits of lace and handkerchiefs and notes to my grandmother Triggs, straight from her desk. Extra wallet and change purse, color swatches from having my colors “done” in the ’90’s (remember that?)  Vintage found linens and net gloves and handkerchiefs (some family, some I purchased), sachet (tossed), belt to old Girl Scout uniform (!)

what went back in…everything except the nightgowns and color swatches & vintage linens (went to studio),  taking my favorite bag to the cleaners to see if they can clean.

Well, that was good for a cleaning…and an organizing…It almost feels like the top is a look forward, the top drawer is a “right now” and the bottom drawer is a “look back”.




Writing:: 02/31 Home

This month, I’m participating in Ali Edwards “31 More Things” class over at her website.  The class is an exercise in writing something every day for 31 days using simple one word prompts.  I have not been so great at writing every day, but I am hoping to catch up this weekend and post here when they are complete!  The intent is to pair writing with one photo to tell a story and to include all the writing in an album.  I am still pondering how these are all going to end up, but I’m enjoying the writing process.

02/31  home

“Where we love is Home, Home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts, The chain may lengthen but it never parts”  o.w. holmes


This sampler hung in a hallway at my mother’s house for 30+ years, it was made by my Grandmother Mimi when she was a girl.  I used to stop and look at it every time I’d visit.  Now, it hangs in my home, alongside a similar sampler with a different home quote, which was made by my Great-Aunt Dot…

Home is

Home IS where the heart is.

Home is where we gather after a day of school and work and play.

Home is where we share joys and laughter and tears and frustrations.

Home is warm golden light and a roaring fire against the grey winter snow and cold

Home is dinner on the stove and faces at the table

Home is colored adirondack chairs gathered around our home-made outside coffee table on the side lawn, under the shady dogwood and mountain ash trees on a hot summer day.

Home is drinks with friends and neighbors on the screened in front porch, twinkle lights on and flag garlands moving in the breeze from the ceiling fan, clinks of glasses and creaks of wicker.

Home is where we lay your heads to read and sleep and dream at the end of the day

Home is where we all create with fiber and paper and wood and magic

Home is a pile of sleepover girls in the family room buried under quilts and pillows

Home is carpentry in the garage, making in the studio, girls drawing and coloring anywhere

Home is movie nights and show watching in the family room

Home is gathering friends and family from near and far

Home is where my people are

Home is where we belong



31/2 mornin’

Today I have for you another installment from the “31” class from Ali Edwards.  You can read more about the class at BPS here,  The class is “officially” over but I am still working through the writing prompts….a little busy with that stuff called every day life…

31/2  Morning


During the week, we start the day early around here (and most times on the weekends too, just not quite so early!).  I find it easier to start earlier in the day and have come to appreciate more the benefits of getting “up and out” early rather than late.  I used to be a far, far bigger night owl than I am now (although I should head to bed several hours earlier than I regularly do) I think that the years I worked in NYC and having to get up every day, sometimes far before dawn, to catch that commuter train into the City has changed my internal clock somewhat.

Like to think it’s that, not just getting older and getting up for the Farm Report like my Grandfather used to do.

So, most mornings alarms go off at 6 and on a good day, Charlie and I both get right up, about half the time there is a failing for the “sleep” button.  Charlie heads to the shower, I head in to get the girls up…we are trying to get them used to getting up with their alarms but Lily needs extra prodding even with her alarm on LOUD…it usually takes her 10+ minutes to get out of bed…with alot of “Lily, time to get up”  “Feet on the floor (which was my mother’s favorite, whereby I would just put my feet on the floor, the rest of me still in bed) “Rise and shine”  etc…  Gwen is much ,much better at getting up and some days is already up and getting ready when I come in to get her up.  The girls wash up and get dressed (usually forgetting something like a belt which means a mad dash back upstairs when they’re supposed to be walking out the door) and I take breakfast orders (bagel, cereal, eggo) and lunch order (sandwiches or leftovers) and I check to see if Charlie wants breakfast or (sometimes) his lunch packed…then I head downstairs.

If Charlie is traveling, I wash up a little and throw on some clothes before heading downstairs, because I have to take the girls to the bus stop.  If Charlie is driving them (which I think is great because it gives him a little more time to spend with them each day) I stay in my pj’s until after they leave.  Once downstairs, I turn on the lights and light the fire under my copper tea kettle to make tea for myself and Charlie.  He takes Twinings Earl Grey with a little sugar and his goes in a travel mug.  I take Twinings English Breakfast with more sugar, and mine goes in a regular mug.  I then start making lunches-I layout their lunchboxes on the counter the night before and, if I’m super organized, I’ve put in the “dry goods” the night before  (chips, treats, fruit cups) and only have to add in sandwiches or yogurts and a freezer pack.

There are usually multiple “urgings” sent upstairs (read yelling “hurry up, you won’t get breakfast!”  “you’ll miss the bus”  “downstairs now”  ) while I am making lunch and breakfast.  I start breakfast for the girls just before they are coming downstairs so it’s hot  for them.  They usually eat at our island table in the kitchen while I finish making lunches, review the schedules, make sure they have all their school things, discuss the day and mediate disputes.

I pack up the lunches and help the girls get them in their backpacks while they are finishing breakfast…todays lunches were:  Lily:  Peanut Butter on whole wheat, yogurt with cookie crumbles to add in, a banana, a container of fresh berries, shark-bites fruit snacks, a piece of home made brownie, ritz peanut butter cracker pack, and spicy nacho doritos and as a special treat, a little bottle of “sunny d”.   Gwen:  Nutella on white bread, cherry yogurt (encouraging her to go beyond key lime) a mandarin oranges & jello cup, a container of fresh berries, fruit rollup snack, a piece of home made brownie, ritz peanut butter cracker pack, smartfood and “sunny d”.  They also each take a big water bottle.  It all barely fits in their lunchbags and it seems like alot of food but they still get to have a morning snack and most days the bags come home empty and the girls are ravenous.  Since the school went “healthy” with their school lunches, the girls can’t stand them so they take lunch almost every day, and I’m fine with that.  The three sheets of lunch tickets I bought at the beginning of the year have not been used up yet, and it’s mid-May.

Charlie comes downstairs in the middle of the pandemonium and some days has an english muffin with peanut butter or butter or, a bowl of cereal and some red grapefruit juice.  He checks his backpack and organizes his stuff for the day while the girls get their backpacks collected, jackets, shoes etc…  if we are running late, it’s “breakfast to go” which is a waffle and syrup in a little cup in a rectangular take out container or, “breakfast in a bag” which is cereal or toast in a baggie.

Charlie gets a good-bye kiss, I walk everyone to the back gate and wave them good-bye and they are off!

The rest of my early morning is tidying up after breakfast, emptying the dishwasher, putting in a load of laundry, making myself something to eat and eating breakfast while I read the paper or check emails and plan my day.  There is almost always a list involved to keep myself organized and on track…I never really expect to get everything done but it’s a good guide and reminder and it’s so helpful to ‘brain dump’ so I don’t have to remember everything.

I find that the days that I get more sleep, my (our) mornings go more smoothly.  The more I can do the night before, and the earlier I get up, the better.  The days that I start in right away attacking my “to do” list I get far more accomplished and feel less guilty about working on a personal project later in the day.  Being home right now, I find it very easy to get off-track and have half the day slip by without feeling “accomplished”…but that is OK on some days, and some days I just need to get it done!  I like the rhythm of the weekdays and I also like the weekend mornings when everyone is home puttering around doing their things but all together in the same house…

…now, second cup of tea and off to vacuum and clean up this place!

31/1 jewelry

Last week I embarked upon yet another exercise in creative practice…Ali Edward’s “31” class.  You can read more about the class at BPS here, I think today is the last day to sign up.  Everyday there is a writing prompt and the opportunity to pair a photo with your writing.  We just finished day 6 in writing so I am late in posting….a little busy with that stuff called every day life…

31/1  Jewelry

I love jewelry, and it’s funny because I don’t wear that much normally, but I love to collect it and wear more of it on special occasions.

Every day I wear my wedding ring and my engagement ring on my left ring finger.  Charlie surprised me with my engagement ring…I knew nothing about it.  It’s yellow gold which is not always “in style” because platinum has become so ubiquitous but I like the warm color, and the diamond is a lovely pear shape.  My wedding band was cast from a beautiful rose gold antique ring…I really wanted the original ring but was afraid that the two golds were too different, and not in a good way.  When the store owner told me she could reproduce that ring in yellow gold,  I was sold.  I love my ring, it’s a combination of old (design) and new (metal)  The ring is very flat and the band is about 3/8” wide with tiny lines incised in the background and roses and flourishes carved around it.

Almost every day I wear a sterling silver band on my right ring finger that is inscribed with hieroglyphics that read “I love you” in ancient egyptian.  Charlie bought it for me years and years ago and I love it.  It’s cool and funky and not flashy and I think of him whenever I catch a glimpse of it.    I also have started wearing one of my “Swatch” watches again, Charlie brought it back from one of his NYC trips for me, it’s white with a bright floral print on the band and on the face.  Love it.  I find I’m going back to wearing a watch instead of looking at my phone all the time as that practice sucks me into other things.

I have a number of earrings that I wear when I remember, I have loads of bracelets that I usually only wear when I’m going out for something…too jangly for every day.  I have a number of necklaces too but most days if I’m hanging around at home, I don’t put them on.

I love love love antique jewelry, I have all sorts of super cool pieces from my mom, both of my grandmothers and some from my great grandmother… I’ve picked up jewelry at flea markets and second hand stores.  I definitely have more than I know what to do with and I need to find some ways to re-work some of the pieces so I can wear them more often.  All of the rings are too small for my 20th century fingers.

I keep most of my jewelry in a big jewelry box that used to belong to my mom.  I think she was surprised when I said I wanted it  (she put all her things into their own piece of furniture!)   but it’s a great size and has nice divided drawers for things and I think of her every time I  go hunting for something.