a crafty weekend

I put a piece of paper under my pillow, and when I could not sleep I wrote in the dark. -- Henry David Thoreau

Three moments of creative loveliness amidst a busy weekend...

* Got a chance to browse through this store again with my sisters. It never fails to get me excited... such gorgeous things!

* Then I spent quite some time on this lovely blog. Endless inspiration!! She is so creative: I wish I could borrow her brain!

* And so, after getting inspired, I made this:


(and inside...)

Kind of made it up as I went along! But I had knitted two panels up for a pillow... and suddenly fell out of love with the whole pillow concept. So I was staring at one of the panels and trying to come up with some pillow shape bizarre enough to be fun again, when Kristen leaned over.

"Looks like a clutch purse," she said. I blinked. It did look like a clutch purse. Several hours later... it was. The most perfect, yummiest summer purse ever.

A crafty weekend mysteriously gets me ready for another week amidst words and invisible characters. It maintains some kind of artistic balance that I can't quite understand: knitting helps me write? I don't know exactly how it works, but it makes artsy weekends like this a priority... and that's more than fine with me!


milk + sugar + ghosts

It was a pleasant cafe, warm and clean and friendly, and I hung my old waterproof on the coat rack to dry and put my worn and weathered felt hat on the rack above the bench and ordered a cafe au lait. The waiter brought it and I took out a notebook from the pocket of my coat and a pencil and started to write. -- Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

I had lunch at Kaldi's today, with my mom and my very pregnant sister. Conversation is always good, the paninis were lovely, and I'm a diehard fan of their Highlander Grogg coffee.

What was delightfully unexpected were the words on the wall. For the record: I love words on walls, doors, mugs, people... almost anywhere at all. And these words were the ones in the above quote by Hemingway.

Even better: when I looked at my coffee, I saw this:

And it just gets me thinking. Hemingway. Coffee. Writing in caf├ęs...

It's supposed to be killer hot this weekend, absolutely scorching temperatures, and I find myself wanting Paris. Paris and small tables and the rain. Trench coats and the smell of newspaper, pigeons and baguettes. Lamplight dancing in puddles, and all those bridges over the Seine. (I also would not turn down a Nutella crepe, thank you very much.)

I don't especially love Hemingway, but I do love the idea of him. I like the idea of pencils and Moleskine journals and his cafe au lait. I like seeing his words hovering in my coffee, because they goad me back to my desk, to the one thing that I can have in common with my Paris daydreams:

It's the words. Always the words.

The heat will try to wither us this weekend, and a St. Louis August is a far cry from a Parisian autumn. No rain, no pigeons, no Seine. (The Mississippi? Not a shred of romance in that muddy water, not for me.)

But it's the string of words that I have to keep weaving--that rope, that web, that net. I am still spinning my story, despite everything. It's probably the only thing I have in common with Hemingway, the thing that connects me back to expatriate dreaming.


Another day that I love and love and love being a writer. I'll take it.


eleven lovelinesses for now

Even the afternoon sunlight had a tender, sneezy scent that Molly would have known anywhere. -- Peter S. Beagle

1. My new Paperchase journal with vibrant robots on it... not a typical style move for me, but it makes me laugh every time I look at it.

2. Cilantro. Fresh. With limes. In rice.

3. Less than three weeks until I'm an aunt!!!

4. A new mystery to read, with a gorgeous cover. Perfect if our threatening sky decides to spill some rain...

5. An armful of enticing yarn to knit.

6. Rereading The Phantom Tollbooth out loud with my younger sister

7. ... and rereading Brat Farrar out loud with my older sister. (Okay. We like reading out loud. Try it sometime.)

8. Finding a wonderful new church in Saint Louis to revisit.

9. Considering a temporary change of scenery for my next draft... Perhaps carting my computer and blank notebooks north to Grand Rapids for a while? Maybe? We shall see, but the possibility is tantalizing at least...

10. My camera's full of pictures of roses from our recent jaunt to Missouri's Botanical Gardens.

... and water lilies, it would seem:

11. And on that note, I'm still smiling over memories of last week's family reunion with my dad's extended family. Such wonderful people! Summers are the best time to see those familiar faces, and hear everything that's happened since we last met.


oh, the joys of writing your own novel...

Any time your list of characters includes "assorted madpeople," you know you're on the right track.