Corner View: Spring!

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Though we escaped another big snowstorm, yesterday and today have been chilly here on the front range. But the weather forecast calls for steadily rising temperatures over the next few days, a push toward spring which, given the timing, I fully expect to set of the first of the April bloom. In that spirit, and in anticipation of the season to come, I thought I'd post this glorious set of photos which I somehow failed to post when we took them last summer, during the height of our rose hedge bloom.
No photoshop was used here....this bush is such a neon fuscia in bloom that it very nearly blows out my camera settings.
It also blooms in such profusion that it's difficult to stay on top of the deadheading.
So Q and I spent a day or two gathering blooms into bowls, which would perfume our livingroom for days to come.
Oh, yeah! Bring it on.

Here's to the change of seasons!


Farm day

On a recent balmy day in our usual spring pattern of sun/snow/sun/snow, we decided to set out to White Fence Farm for an early spring farm dinner.

Q wearing her shades on her head "like a mommy".
Sometimes you have to see the Q in motion sequence. A great part of her beauty is in her motion, and since I have not been able to bring myself to figure out editing and uploading video, this will have to do!

What would earliest spring be...
...without a baby lamb. This one was SO brand new that it had to lie down and take a nap every two minutes like clockwork.
Mommy loves to feed the sheep. It's mommy's favorite thing. Q thinks they're tickle-y.

A lovely day on the farm. Now I'm looking forward to picking season so we can visit the berry and produce farms on the outskirts of town!




Corner View: local architecture

Tucked away in a corner of old North Denver, overlooking downtown from the hill above, is a small and special row of houses known as Stonecutter's Row. At least, that's the colloquial designation. It was introduced to me by my husband (a Denver native) when we first moved down from the mountains, and I was enchanted.
The color of this stone is very typical of Denver, and so beautiful. Seen more often in the local brickwork, which glows in the sun the way more tradition, oxblood-colored brick does not, this color is one of my favorite things about old Denver architecture. You can see it in the redrock cliffs just west of the Vail Valley, our old home, and of course in the redrock deserts of Utah where we love to camp. So this color is very western to me.
These houses are distinguished by the hand-hewn and often elaborate stonework, and some of the details are amazing. Unfortunately they have been for some time in a state of disrepair. The renovation process seems to be slow, and ongoing. I love to see the tools of the actual stonecutters laid out and ready for work - though I imagine stonecutters with this level of craft are few and far between.
It was a sunny day in the mid 60s (Farenheit) when Q and I set out to take the photos for this post, so we were dressed for spring (although since then another blizzard has moved through, leaving a foot or more of heavy spring snow on the ground, and shutting down most businesses and schools).

She's that Marimekko smock that I wore as a toddler, and which has survied good as new, still soft and supple, to grace the next generation. Now that's quality in clothing! Last summer it fit her as a dress, and I was thrilled to find that it fits perfectly as a top this year! Style and craftsmanship. That's what distinguishes a classic like Marimekko.
It seems that these incredible row houses are currently being used largely for student housing, as many of the students were out on the sidewalks this day, enjoying the sun and fiddling in their yards.
Here you can see the marks of the stonecutter's tools in the soft redrock.
The previous blizzard (these are intermittent in a typical Colorado spring) had left puddles of snow in the shady parts, in spite of the balmy weather, and one of the student residents had had the idea to fill a mail tub with snowballs and head down to the confluence park in search of a spring snowball fight. Coming across the tub, Q was amazed and delighted, and decided to make a few of her own (since I forbid her to confiscate his stash).
I told her to aim for the street, not the houses, to which her response was to turn and peg me in the stomach with one of her trademark fastballs. The kid has an arm like a cannon on her! I really have to remember not to underestimate her aim ;) She's a regular Bad News Bear.
After this, we went for icecream. Of course. What else to do of a lovely spring afternoon?

For more Corner Views from around the world, stop by Jane's place! You won't be disappointed.



Since first she joined up with us in life, Q has learned to be at ease in front of the camera. I realize that I'm a bit obsessive with my cameras - I live with a lens pasted to my eye. But the good side of this is that Q has learned to think of the camera as an extension of mommy - a thing so natural a part of her environment that there is not the slightest twinge of self-consciousness in her when the lens is trained on her. So that what you see in photos is her in her natural state, exactly as she is.
She has always been strikingly beautiful, and she has always had a natural charisma. But as she grows and matures, she also grows into her sense of self. Lately I've noticed the power of that charisma growing as it settles into her. She knows it, and you can see it in her eyes.
Q has "it", that elusive thing that we all recognize when we see it, but that only a few possess. It's completely innate, like her affinity for basketball. It's hard-wired.
I was working at my desk yesterday, and she was busy with something behind me when I turned and noticed she had put on this tie and hat, which had been hanging on doorknobs in the hallway. Sometimes she gets edgy when I try to capture one of these moments on film. She really doesn't like to be told she's pretty (which people try to tell her all the time), and it makes her a little bit angry and a lot uncomfortable. Her own genuine pride is reserved for actual accomplishments, like learning to tie a knot or use a screwdriver, or sinking a toss on her mini basketball "court".
But on this occasion, for whatever reason, she let me run with it.
Five minutes later she was off on another adventure and I went back to work. But this moment of pure Q-ness turned into what is now my new favorite set of photos.

I've said it before and I'll say it again...I pity the fool who falls for this girl's charms. She is not to be trifled with.
My Jeanne paper doll was featured on MUMisGEEK today! Check it out.
(If you don't read French, a rough translation: "Coming soon in the online shop: a paper doll Jeanne, created by Maia Chavez Larkin, ready to dress in the VDJ spring and summer collection! A must have. Something tells us this will become a collectors item.")
It's officially spring!
And with the spring, the new collection is in the showroom at VDJ:
You will have seen Q in many a VDJ outfit, including the dress in our blog banner. We're big VDJ fans around here, and it's always exciting to find the new season's collection in the shop.
I love the spring/summer pieces this year, and Q is already wearing a few of them.
So it's with great excitement that I announce...
All photos above by VDJ

...that along with the spring collection, there will be a set of my illustrated paper dolls available in the VDJ shop soon!
This collection was created exclusively for Le Vestiaire de Jeanne, and will feature a doll of Jeanne, along with ten outfits from the spring/summer collection.

Hope you like! I'll be working hard over the next few days to get the sets ready for production.