Wednesday, November 19, 2014

cranberry glass
a bit from each grandmother and a little pitcher i bought years ago.
thanksgiving cactus
right on cue, even as they were confused by the move 
from CT to VT.

counting the days till my very favorite holiday.
pure, unadulterated gratitude.

(*in response to chartreuse's comment below,
take a look here. i only learned this recently myself!)

Monday, November 17, 2014

our own version of "say yes to the dress"

it is hard to imagine on this snowy november day 
that there will be a wedding under these special birch trees next summer.
our sweet gretta and her beloved ben will be married at our
bit of earth.
she has asked me to make her dress and 
she has some very special ideas about it already.
the day will be filled with homegrown loveliness.
a tent.
a small group of family and friends.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The highest form of spiritual practice is
self-observation without judgement.
-Swami Kripalu

It was still dark on Friday morning as I finished packing. Thanks to the generous encouragement of my beloved Batman, I was headed back to Kripalu for a weekend workshop on meditation with Tara Brach. I went a bit early and met my dear friend Frances for lunch. When we headed off to our room to unpack and settle in I discovered that when packing in the dark, I had grabbed a left and right sandal from two different pair! My heart sank. Would I have to wear my hiking boots all weekend? That would not work very well as shoes are not allowed in all the workshop venues and I would be tying and untying all weekend long. Then I realized there really was no problem. These mismatched sandals would work just fine. In fact, it would be a good exercise for mitchy matchy me to just let it go. 

And so the weekend unfolded...we were stunned, and if I am to be honest, a bit put off, to find that the program had 250 attendees. I wondered how that would work. But I overheard a woman remark that she thought it was wonderful so many people wanted to explore meditation. Hello attitude shift! Let the judgement go, Karen...

There were hours and hours of Tara's story telling, guided meditation, small group exercises and deep quiet in a room full of 250 people. By Sunday morning we had all been through a lot together. The work of deep meditation is not easy. But the energy, love and compassion in that room had grown exponentially over those five sessions. It was really remarkable. Hard to describe. But it filled me with hope. Hope that cannot be found in any other way than in deep stillness and with intention and being fully present. Without judgement.

Tara's website is filled with resources. You can find sample meditations there and other lovely inspiration. I invite you to explore all she has to offer. Perhaps as we work to find hope and peace within ourselves, we can bring hope and peace into this world we live in.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

my new sewing space

My sewing studio here in Vermont is a fraction of the size of my old space, but how about that view? No complaints here! Despite being tucked into the basement, the windows down here let in plenty of natural light.
The cutting table fits snugly in one corner of the room.  Henry loves to sit on the window ledge, as it gives him a ground level view of the local chipmunks. A few weeks ago I found him chattering at a fuzzy caterpillar that was roaming the dried leaves under the pine trees, just inches from his nose.
I miss the shelves I had in CT over my Bernina, but I have found places to store those things just fine.
There is plenty of wall space for inspiring gallery arrangements like this one. The late afternoon sunshine slants into the room in a most extraordinary way. As the winter closes in, I'm guessing this will be a lovely sanctuary, where I can make progress on the many projects I have been yearning to take into hand.

A very comfy chair sits in another corner, waiting for you, dear friends. Bring your hand sewing, knitting or reading. I've got a plenty of tea and if you let me know you're coming, I'll have biscuits on hand, too.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

stick season, stitching and home

Stick season comes to Vermont after the foliage has faded and before winter really moves in. It is when the gorgeous and muted colors of tree trunks, rock outcroppings and dried grasses and ferns meld together into somber harmony. This past weekend there was an early dusting of snow that frosted the view. It didn't last, but it marked the turning fires in the wood stove, root veggies for dinner and flannel sheets on the bed.
I finally made time to get my Constellation Quilt from Haptic Lab organized. It will be my portable project for this late fall season. You can find the pattern here.
As the stitching progresses out from the center, the paper pattern can be ripped away to reveal the night skies in the Northern Hemisphere. The piece will measure about a yard square when it's done, the perfect size for a wall hanging. My Batman is an enthusiastic amateur astronomer, so I think it will find a special place here at our "bit of earth".

We voted this morning at our quintessentially New England town hall, our first time voting as full time Vermonters. We will listen to Vermont Public Radio into the night to hear election results. With each passing marker on the calendar we are feeling more and more at home.

The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.

Friday, October 31, 2014

My friend Cathleen, or TQOE (The Queen of Everything) is a huge Kaffe Fassett fan. She pulled these fabrics from her stash and asked me to make her a purse with them for her birthday. IN MAY. Yes, well, life has been full and my sewing studio was non-existent and I've let it slide for far too long. Now that my sewing studio is beginning to take shape, I decided to get this put together for her and send it for her half birthday... So, Cathleen, keep an eye out for Rudy the mail carrier sometime next week, OK?

I've made a few of these before, to see another one, take a peek here. The pattern can be found here.

Now I am off to light the Jack-o-lanterns. Halloween was my dad's very favorite holiday, so I will invite his spirit to join me on the porch, matches in hand and we'll see what mischief we can get up to. Sending you best wishes for a happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

a sew and sow check in much of our little house here in Vermont is higelty pigelty right now, waiting for the big rehab in the spring. I have lived for 6 months without a designated sewing space and I have felt adrift. This past weekend Batman and I spent a few hours moving things around and I nearly have a sweet studio once again. An explosion of creative projects is about to happen. Pictures to follow later next week.

SOWING...still in the ground--chard, leeks, a few herbs. Newly planted--next year's garlic, snug under a bed of straw and a sugar maple sapling (thanks to our thoughtful friend Gary). Recently harvested--our very first onions. On the stove in the kitchen? Potato leek soup, make with leeks plucked from the garden 15 minutes ago.

I will be traveling to the Midwest for board meetings in the next few days...such good work to do with such good people. Batman and Henry will keep an eye on things here at our "bit of earth".

The autumn just keeps on glowing, even in the midst of a few gray and gloomy days. But winter is not far off in these parts. There were flurries in the air on Saturday and...
...the road crew installed these snow plow markers on our road last week. (Please notice the very high tech nature of the markers, Vermont style.)
The corn fields down the road were harvested yesterday, the cobs will be stored for winter feed for the cows in the neighborhood.

Listen here for one of my favorite autumn tunes (and please ignore the obnoxious ad that precedes it). Do you have a favorite autumn tune?