Good morning.  Last night we got some much-needed rain- everything is green and lush this morning under still-grey and heavy skies.  The humidity in the air makes everything feel slightly tropical-I can almost imagine that I'm in New Orleans, sitting in old metal lawn furniture with a cold drink, waiting for a breeze to stir the air that sits heavy on your skin, like velvet.  Some people find the humidity oppressive, but I've always loved how it is almost tactile and soft.

Over the past few weeks I've been spending more time on projects around the house than in the studio- I have a rescued butler's pantry (literally rescued, I found it on trash day on someone's curb) that I've been stripping years of paint and grime off it.  It's nearly ready to paint.  I made new covers for the cushions on the porch.  The house got a deep clean (it's dog-shedding season- the vacuum comes out more frequently), and just yesterday we installed some new (to us, also repurposed items) huge planter boxes (4x2, almost 2' deep, and we have them set up so that they're waist-high) along the driveway in the back yard (our house is ca. 1922- the drive goes all the way to the back, where there was originally a small garage and now there's a carport w/ attached storage building that houses my kiln and glazing supplies) for more planting space.  My strawberries have almost taken over half of my little kitchen garden plot and need to be moved, and I discovered that last year's tuberose bulbs tripled!  I'm considering new window treatments for the den- I took down our old valances this winter and have yet to replace them- still thinking on that, but that little lift will be coming soon.
So, lots of house love, and last weekend we had quite a bit of company, including a special visitor and her two sweet kids.  We spent most of her visit outside underneath our fig tree, enjoying the shade, our children playing in the tree house, and pleasant company.  The combination of visitors, loving on our house, and resuming my morning runs through the neighborhood has had me really thinking about my home and my old neighborhood.  Rachel's post resonates with me.  I feel lucky to be where we are, in an old, established, modest neighborhood.  One where people (mostly) love their homes but no one is ostentatious or trying to outdo.  One where I can have a bottle tree in the front yard and no one gets bent out of shape by the enormous bamboo tomato cage sharing space with too-abundant flowerbeds- my neighbors laughed at that instead of being upset.  Not to mention my chicken yard, clothesline, and rain barrels.  I'm grateful for that (and realizing that more and more, I may be slightly on the fringe.  I'm ok with that). 
The last six months have been difficult- the economy has been rough on everyone.  I'm taking a big break from feeling oppressed and worried to be grateful for our blessings and the small things that keep us going.  I'm grateful for the big things, too, but sometimes it's the smaller things that add up to help me see the big ones I've been oblivious to.

And I'm working in the studio again.  I've made several more "Beurre" butter crocks, honey pots that say both "honey" and "miel", lidded salt cellars, berry bowls, and bud vases, because these eight were among the last that I had.  I made another dozen last night.  I'll be at the farmers market on Saturday, out in the "T", from 7-1.  If you're in town, I hope to see you there.

Have a lovely weekend, friends.