Be joyful even though you have considered all the facts...practice resurrection. -Wendell Berry

Thursday, December 31, 2009

magic

batman took this beautiful picture of the moonrise last night.
nearly full, at "a bit of earth".

sending you best wishes for a 
happy new year.
whatever your plans are for tonight,
please, please, please,
be safe.

x0x0x0x0x0

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

frosty evening

three have left "a bit of earth"to return to their regular lives.
even as our numbers diminish, the magic remains.
we found this wonderful book under the tree.
last night, hannah whipped up a batch of
cabot cheddar mashed potatoes.
even when she reduced the butter by half, they were, amazing.
our sweet henry keeps an eye on the night kitchen.

this morning it was minus 3 degrees in the breezeway.
and we watched our shy neighborhood fox scamper 
across the meadow, into the balsams,
and back across the meadow in the other direction.
glad he has such a lovely fur coat!

what are you up to this week,
in between the old and the new?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

gifts from clever children

from lindsey
a gift certificate for a vermont farm tour
(a very cool fledgling company run by a friend from camp days)
and some lovely lino print notecards that lindsey made.

from hannah
a cd of her college singing group, "the new measures", 
and some fun, sentimental photo note cards she printed out.

from gretta
the hand printed bag i hinted about, some crafty earrings
(and she screen printed tee shirts for the whole family)! 
from stewart and dawn
this gorgeous lantern,
handcrafted by one of their favorite
portland saturday market artists,

all i have to say is, pottery barn, hallmark and the gap...eat your heart out!



Sunday, December 27, 2009

comfort and joy


winter magic, two mornings in a row.
trudging back up the hill after a wild toboggan run.
the tree lights, reflecting in the window.
henry, watching the commotion.
these did not last long...

fa-la-la-la-la,la-la-la-la...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

keeping secrets

batman and i had this planned since thanksgiving.
this morning, all seven of us had scones and fruit salad for breakfast, 
bundled up and drove a bit north.
i wish you could have heard the squeals of surprise and delight 
when we pulled into the farm yard and saw these beauties
hitched up to a sleigh.  
we had such a fun ride!
season's greetings from all of us at "a bit of earth"!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

being present

No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place.
-Zen proverb

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

december 23rd

sweeping
dusting
scrubbing
binding off
hemming
sewing
listening
hoping
remembering
snowing (!)
baking 
stirring
wrapping
unfolding
tucking
smoothing
reading
breathing

waiting...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

holiday pawsing

henry, in the late afternoon sunshine.
a welcome on the front porch.
the inside of the front door (vs. the outside).
ornaments for the window.
from the yard.

wishing you peace and joy at this festive time of year.

Monday, December 21, 2009

honoring the solstice at "a bit of earth"

the snow ghosts danced and swirled across the road
 and disappeared into the dark woods.
the wind howled up the hill, slammed against the house, 
careened around the corner
and dissolved into sighs as it flew through the 
boughs in the great pine. 
the snow and the birches glowed faintly in the evening.
the branches snapped and cracked in the cold and
the stars twinkled.
We are put on earth for a little space that
we may learn to bear the beams of love.
-William Blake

Love is the only thing in the world of
which one cannot give too much.
-Ashley Montagu

Sunday, December 20, 2009

the deepest, darkest times

Our friend Erin left this world on Friday afternoon. 

Mary's email said simply, "Erin is at peace. 4:40PM"

Our world has been diminished by Erin's passing. And what to do now, while so many of us try to get used to the world without Erin's smile, her determination, her loving spirit and her fierce courage? It is one of the deep mysteries I have absolutely no answer for. 

And yet, this season invites us, over and over again to turn toward the light...to love more, hope more, in spite of the darkness...

So simple, but so, so hard.

"There is a land of the living and a land of the dead, and the bridge is love."
-Thornton Wilder

Peace and love to you, Mary, Dave, Chris, Sarah and Matthew. We are right next to you in spirit, despite the many miles between us.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

do it!

shower the people you love with love,
show them the way that you feel...
-James Taylor

Friday, December 18, 2009

midwinter calm, at my house...

jack frost on the mantel
breakfast (hannah got home last night)
the hope of the solstice,
just blooming on the windowsill
missing candles...
but still a gentle reminder of when they were little...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

an invitation


  • brew a cup/mug of tea/coffee
  • sit down
  • if you are chilly, wrap your hands around the mug 
  • take a few deep breaths
  • relax your shoulders
  • watch to steam rise from the mug
  • close your eyes
  • smell the tea/coffee
  • take a sip, notice the flavor, and the heat slip down your throat
  • notice the quality of the light around you, listen for sounds close by
  • thank your feet for getting you through the week so far
  • take another sip
  • just breathe
you can come back to your mug/cup anytime you decide to make a few minutes for relaxing. it's very simple and it's very good for you. and it's a little counter-culture this time of year.   :-)

cranberry orange bread

Sift together:
2 cups sifted flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
Mix in thoroughly:
2 Tbs shortening (I use butter)
grated rind and juice of one orange plus fresh or frozen orange juice to make 3/4 cup
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I like pecans)
Fold in 1 cup cranberries, cut in half
Bake in 350 degree oven for one hour.

Recipe from my best friend's Mom, Dot. Who I still miss after all these years.

This is especially yummy toasted, with a smidge of cream cheese.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

these shorter, darker days...

I cannot cause light; the most I can do is
try to put myself in the path of its beam.
- Annie Dillard

today i am wishing you a lightness of spirit...

(glow, reflection, pathways, revelation, discernment, 
transcendence, clarity, holiness, illumination, breath,
abundance, peace, radiance, inspiration, sparkle, hope,
meditation, insight, possibilities, transformation...)



Tuesday, December 15, 2009

OUT of the fog

and back at the sewing machine and knitting needles.
bliss!
 i've started an archive of pictures to share with you
  after the gifts are given.

and remember, especially at this time of year...

Rest and laughter are the most 
spiritual and subversive acts of all.
Laugh, rest, slow down.
-Anne Lamott

Monday, December 14, 2009

across the miles

Love, the magician, knows this little trick 
whereby two people walk in different directions
 yet always remain side by side.
-Hugh Prather

xoxooxox

Sunday, December 13, 2009

patience

a spanish proverb:
Have patience and the mulberry leaf will become silk.

well i sure as heck hope so.
we are hoping that our patience formula 
(hydrate, rest, eat clean foods)
works SOON and we can get on to the silk portion of the season!

one of the symptoms of this germ fog is what we call
fuzzy thinking
(read that, stay away from rotary cutters and moving needles!).
another is exhaustion and inertia.
so there has been very little accomplished around here.

but i did finally dig into this great new book
and make a list of things to sew when i get my zing back!

one-yard wonders is a gem, 
complete with patterns, templates and great photos.
and i love the coil binding, 
so it will stay open and flat on your work surface.
perfect for last minute homemade projects.
i recommend it to you!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

more fog...

Today is our third annual "friends and family" cut-your-own-tree party up at our "bit of earth" in Vermont.
And tomorrow we host a modest tree cutting fundraiser for the Vermont Land Trust.

But woe is me!
This germ fog that Gretta and I have been lost in these last few days is very thick.
We cannot find our way out.
We are housebound in Connecticut.
Batman and Lindsey (who are healthy and in Vermont), report that there is fresh snow and a sunny, crisp day, perfect for sledding and sawing.
Gretta and I have created our own "bit of earth" here in Connecticut, with Santa serving carrots to the forest critters... 

Sometimes the devil fools with the best laid plans, eh?

So, for heaven's sake, people...hydrate, get enough sleep, and eat healthy, OK?  

And HAPPY HANNUKAH, to anyone lighting candles on a Menorah!

Friday, December 11, 2009

coming out of my fog

recipe for recovery:
  • camomile tea
  • dry toast
  • sleep
  • henry's 24/7 vigil
repeat as needed.

funny how sometimes you have to take a break from life whether it's on your "to do" list or not.

i get it, mother nature. OK? 

++++++++++++++++++++++++
P.S. totally unrelated,
but if both my friend chris and my daughter lindsey send me the same youtube link, it's gotta be sweet. check it out here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

my best friend

some minutia of my morning:
  • mad, crazy road construction traffic.
  • waiting in line at the post office (what was i thinking?)
  • confusion about a dry cleaning order (we rarely go there).
  • dropping the dry cleaning in the parking lot (you know, the slippery plastic?)
i started to feel my shoulders creep up towards my neck.
i started to feel snarly (yuck!) and my jaw tighten.

you know the feeling, right?

so, i needed my very best friend.
luckily, she is with me day and night, yet sometimes i forget her nearness.
she comes through for me time and time again.
i depend on her like no one else.

her name is goddess of the deep breath.
i love, love, love her.

and i'm happy to share her with you,
especially this time of year.


Monday, December 7, 2009

giveaway winner

there were 264 comment and 2 email entrants!
the winner is...
heidi. 
check out her fun blog here.
congratulations, heidi!

thanks to all of you for sharing your wide ranging ideas 
for what to do with the stack of fabrics.
what a crafty and clever group you are!


Saturday, December 5, 2009

snowfall

Keep thyself first in peace,
and then thou wilt be able to bring others to peace.
-Thomas A Kempis

Friday, December 4, 2009

dear readers...

last night i just had to sit down, take some deep breaths,
and calm myself.
sometimes even keeping lists, managing my time and 
readjusting my expectations
doesn't keep the "how can i get it all done monster" at bay.

honestly people,
it doesn't all get done.

i may be a heretic, but i think that's o.k. 

+++++++++++++

yesterday was my 300th post.
whew!

lurkers, followers, regular commenters...
please tell me what you would like to see more of here
at sew and sow life.
what is it that you come here looking for?

i am so interested to see what you have to say.
many thanks.

and don't forget to BREATHE!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

this morning

the blustery, wild winds last night pushed in a mild and sunny day. 
it doesn't feel like early december...
henry snickerdoodle has taken up one of his
favorite winter spots anyway. 
gretta and i will have leftovers from moosewood for lunch...
giving me plenty more time to work on gifts.
this one using up precious vintage scraps...
this had faded to nothing,
but a rest in the dark coolness of the garage and a bit
of fertilizer brought it back.
it was a gift from a friend years ago, and it travelled
all the way from illinois when we moved east,
so i'm glad it came back.

and i found the perfect words this morning, 
for a very tough situation.

He prayed as he breathed, forming no words
and making no specific requests,
only holding in his heart, 
like broken birds in cupped hands,
all those people who were in stress or grief.
-Ellis Peters