Summer snap.

Dear friends,

summer

Summer has snapped ’round my house.

How do I know? Every change of season and arriving holiday announces itself via the mirror above my buffet. The latest bedecking involves twinkly lights (but of course), some printed burlap ribbon, a red-white-and-blue wreath, a handful of mini-flags, and a pennant banner I made a few weeks ago.  The opening day of Memorial Day weekend seemed like the perfect time for a little redecorating. I’ve got a big supper planned for tonight — beef brisket, coleslaw and baked beans — and I thought we needed to mark the official start of our summer fun with seasonal decor.

By the way, the phrase “summer fun” is used carefully around our house. When Kate and Parker were in grade school — back when their Grannie was still their nanny — I got the notion they were frittering away their summers like lazybugs. So one May I spent hours developing a summer curriculum that involved trips to the library, book reports, chores, and all sorts of forced, Mom-approved activity. I created a tabbed binder with to-do lists, charts and progress reports and insisted my mother, Grannie, implement my regimen. I labeled my big binder of instructions”Kate and Parker’s Summer Fun Plan.”  You can imagine the look on their faces when I unveiled my creation.

You can also imagine how well it went over, with both the kids and their reluctant drill sergeant. Let’s just say no trace remains of the binder and I rarely utter the word “fun” right after the word “summer” lest I be ridiculed out of the room. Ever since then, my approach to summer with my children has been decidedly laissez-faire.

Speaking of laissez, here’s where I plan to do most of it this summer:

deck

This is the easternmost corner of our deck, and it’s the view you see from our living room sofa. Our deck is giant and wraps two sides of our home. We grill near the kitchen door, eat and recline near the dining room windows, and have our coffee here, right outside the living room. Though you can’t see it in this photo, just to the left of this spot is my cutting garden. Since I plant from seed every year (because I’m too lazy and too cheap to buy seedlings), there are no blooms yet. But in another couple of weeks, I’m sure there will be a riot of color to gaze upon from this spot. I can’t wait.

Here’s a shot from last year to tide us over:

newflower

With gratitude {for a long weekend and the urge to enjoy it with nothing more than good food and good company},

Joan, who figures if spring sprung, then summer snapped, although she has no idea why she thinks so, and is generally confused by things like past participles and probably should have avoided  this train of thought

Because why not get a head start?

Dear friends,

summercu

I know spring just sprung and all, but I spent Saturday feeling all summery.

It was sunny and 70 degrees. Mr. Mom and I went for a long drive near the Big Piney with our sunroof open and our windows down. We stopped after an hour and ate two big platefuls of pan fried chicken at a truck-stop diner, then found an antiques store where we whiled away another hour. It was the best Saturday afternoon I’ve had in a very long time (and I’ve got two gorgeous, pink china plates to prove it). Lordy, lordy my soul needed the sunshine and the quiet time with my favorite companion.

You know what other summery thing I did? Before we hit the road, I made an adorable red-white-and-blue pennant banner. It will be Memorial Day before you know it and I’ll be itching to remake my Easter-decked buffet.

Here’s what my newest banner looks like in full.

summerfull

It was super-simple, thanks to this tutorial from my new favorite fabric source. I modified the instructions a bit, opting for a rod pocket instead of muslin ties on my flags,  and I machine stitched everything rather than hand stitching. The pennants were easy enough to figure out on my own. I simply cut out hand-drawn triangles, stitched around the edges (so I could fringe them), stitched ric-rac across the tops (leaving room for a fold-over pocket to hang them by), stitched the pockets, then glued on fabric letters that I traced and cut out. (Before cutting out the letters, I ironed fusible interfacing on the backs to give them a little more stiffness.) From start to finish, I made the entire banner in about three hours.

All in all, it was a great way to spend a day, a pretend-summer day in April.

With gratitude {for adventures on the road and at the sewing machine},

Joan, who’s insistent on getting her money’s worth out of her new sewing machine

Love.

Dear friends,

mirror_Snapseed

You know what I love in January?

I love a national holiday that gives me a Monday off.

I love easy craft projects like Valentine’s pennant banners strung with heart-shaped twinkly lights.

I love afternoon naps under wool blankets when it’s 20 degrees outside.

I love being home all day with my boys.

I love chicken thighs cooked in wine and butter and then braised for several hours with mushrooms and leeks and brussel sprouts for supper.

And, I love a workweek that’s 20% complete before it ever begins.

With gratitude {for all of these things on a bright January day},

Joan, who can’t seem to reconcile her love for homespun pennant banners with her modern house and has given up trying

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