inhale...exhale...relax your shoulders...repeat as often as needed

Monday, June 29, 2009

to gaze or to sew, that is the question...

Here's my sewing set up,
hampered only by the ongoing mist and rain.
I had a beloved chambray dress that I finally retired.
I cut the skirt into squares and stitched them together, 
alternating with squares cut from 
a stack of flannel fat quarters.
see top photo 
By tomorrow it will be a quilt top.
And I have sketches to "upcycle" the bodice into a tunic, 
via the addition of other fabrics from my stash back in CT.
(a fall project).


Sunday, June 28, 2009

a pair of pears...

...surprised us when we got home from errands on friday.
our four kids, with the help of our friend ellen (who did the legwork)
gifted us with a pair of pear trees
 in celebration of our 30th wedding anniversary.
we'll plant them down in front of the barn
near the apple trees and blueberry bushes.
the dreams keep coming true.
you kids are a bunch of sweetie pies.
and thanks especially to ellen, the co-conspirator! 
storms have been a' brewin'...
in the evenings.
and mornings are mystical.

peter celebrated a birthday yesterday
with a gift of fly fishing equipment and lunch at sarducci's!

it was two years ago that we first saw our 
"bit of earth".

have them.
but work hard, too.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

almost there

back in CT for a few days...
this is how the floor of my studio looks.
supplies for at least a dozen summer projects, ready to go...
can't wait.
i'm feeling a bit like a labrador, 
just hopping out of the car at the beach.
waiting to be unleashed...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

stitched memorial


Derwent Gifts


My Dad


I made this series of five while taking the Art Quilt 101 class
with Jane Davila and Elin Waterston at
The Country Quilter. It was 2003.
When the Art Quilt Workbook was a humble bunch of pages
collected in a loose leaf notebook.
I had never worked in a series before.
I had recently lost my Dad to Alzheimer's
 and was still processing my grief.
I decided to do the series in his memory. 

(August 8, 1929-February 19, 2003)

Thank you for helping me see the sacred in 
the color of dappled leaves, the texture of moss,
 birdsong, the slant of light at the end of the day.
I miss walking with you in the church in the woods most of all.
Still missing you, Dad...

do me a favor....

go outside
plant your feet on the ground
spread your arms, stretching upwards, outwards
take a few deep breaths
look up
can you feel it?
you are radiant!
happy solstice!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

in the field of opportunity...'s plowin' time again (-Neil Young). 

And so my transition to summertime rural living begins! Gretta and I are headed to VT today. I will drop her at camp (where she will be working this summer) tomorrow morning. Peter takes Hannah to La Guardia early tomorrow morning to head back to Earlham, where she'll be working for the next three weeks. Batman and I will be doing a bit of coming and going in the next week or so. But Henry and I will settle into a "bit of earth" in Vermont on the 25th for a good long spell. Batman will be up on weekends.

There is no TV reception, cell phone service or internet connection up in our neighborhood.  I have been posting daily since I started this blog in January, and now my postings will be more in tune with my rural life. I am looking forward to stepping out of the 24/7 loop of technology for a bit. When I come down off the mountain, I will have laptop in hand, so you'll still hear from me now and then.

I am packing my yoga mat, sewing machine, a STACK of books...I have discernment to do, projects to sew, places to visit, gardening to do and transitions to craft. I am so blessed to have the time and space to do this work. Visiting friends and family will fill up the weekends with laughter and fun.

May you all have summer dreams and opportunities to follow them!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

last night and today

Last night, the driveway was full of cars, the porch was full of recent high school grads, the buffet line yielded very few leftovers, then Monty Python was wafting from the family room, then sounds of a movie, then quiet conversation. A snapshot.

This morning, I am going to sew name tags into all the clothes in the basket (above). Then down to church for Speaking of Faith, and on to teach a dear friend to knit, and get her started on a simple project. One last family supper tonight before our chickadees go their seperate ways once again. 

And some of us in New England are wondering what that bright, shining thing in the sky is!

The sweet June days are come again;
once more the glad earth yields its golden wealth of ripening grain,
and breath of clover fields,
and deepening shade of summer woods,
and glow of summer air,
and winging thoughts and happy moods
and love and joy and praise.

The sweet June days are come again;
the birds are on the wing;
bright anthems, in their merry strain,
unconsciously they sing.
Oh, how our cup o'erbrims with good
these happy summer days;
for the joys of field and wood 
we lift our song of praise.

 (words-Samuel Longfellow)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

revisiting 2 projects

Remember the quilt I made for the auction at Gretta's school? I heard a rumor that the Head of the Upper School really liked it, but did not win it. I made this pillow with the scraps from the quilt and laminated the words "gentle, generous, truthful, kind and brave" and made them into flash cardy kinds of things, which fit neatly into a pocket on the pillow. Left it on the doorknob of her office this morning... 
Here's the words out of the pocket.
And this is the back. Hope she smiles when she finds it. That's the whole idea.
I just received permission from Michelle Surrena to post a photo of the charm I got from her in the Cloth Paper Scissors charm swap. I LOVE the way she drilled a hole in this bottle cap and fished a spiraled piece of wire through it, to attach the jump ring!
I just made another batch of fortune charms...Gretta asked me to make this one for her, "Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly". 

And check this out! What a wild coincidence. I received the neat heart in hand charm from Laura Stephens. When she saw my post with the picture of my fortune charms, she sent me this picture of some of the charms she made and sent out...fortunes with tiny silver fortune cookie charms attached. Fun, fun.
And Jennifer Mason (of the musical note and bead charm fame) posted pics of the charms she received from others, click here to view.

OK I think that's everything for today!

Monday, June 15, 2009

The best things in life aren't things... unless you're packing!

Another guest post from the newly minted high school grad...Ms Gretta!

So I know that the best things in life aren't things. And usually I don't pay a ton of attention to them. But as I pack to go off to my job at camp and then on to Knox, I have to think about what things I actually need/want/enjoy having around me. I've been culling through all the stuff in my room, including getting rid of math tests from freshman year that I thought might be helpful in the future (they weren't) or 10th biology notes I thought I might use to study during senior AP Bio (I didn't). But here are a few of the things that I've found I can't part with.

The beet is from an etsy shop called GreenLeafandOwl. Now the whole world can see my love for beets!
The fern is from a shop in Woodstock, VT called Arjuna. It's filled with fun stuff, and when I saw this, I knew I couldn't live without it!
The peapod was spotted in Northhampton, MA. My mom and I saw it, and I couldn't get it out of my mind for like 3 years! So I was ever so pleased when for my 18th birthday I got a card saying it was on its way! It is designed by Michael Michaud for Silver Seasons.
This cute little clutch is a vintage piece. My sister Lindsey found it somewhere and loved it throughout college. She has ever so graciously passed it on to me, so it continues to be loved. I think it's great that something that is well made can be passed down.
I absolutely could not live without my Vermont Bee Balm. They sell it at the Hunger Mountain Co-op, and it is by far the best lip balm I have ever used! I love my chapstick, so I hardly ever leave the house without it.
And then there are the pins. I can't resist a cute pin, and they tend to be cheap, too, so I've accumulated a ton. This is about half my collection. You can add them to a bag, or if you're going to a political event, you can canvas all your opinions, right there on your shirt! :) For example, you can see a pin sticking out that is a rainbow Connecticut. It says "Come Get Married". I bought it at the True Colors Conference this spring, shortly after Connecticut deemed a ban on gay marriage uncontitutional.
This belt is my most recent addition. Hannah gets a lot of hand-me-downs from a woman she babysits for, and offered me this! It's Lucky Brand, which I would probably never buy from, but I love it! It's pre-loved, quality, and beautiful!

So, if you are going to have stuff, I guess it's pretty important to love what you have. I'm beginning to mature a little in my fashion sense, and I'm beginning to invest in quality things that I really love. In my opinion, trends are a waste of time and resources. I'd rather buy things that are responsible and are hopefully eco-friendly and local. I love getting things that are handmade (like the beet), things that are pre-loved (the bag and the belt), and things that are ME (all of it!). If you genuinely LOVE something, and aren't buying it because everyone will think you're so stylish, you'll end up keeping it longer and taking better care of it.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


You do not create abundance.
You do not go out and get abundance.
Abundance simply is.
-Martia Nelson

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Last night, after work, Lindsey drove down from Boston.
Two guitars and the harmony of three sister voices
 filled the late night kitchen.
Then there was giggling behind closed doors.
It was a day of so many "lasts".
Such high spirits and hope.
Godspeed to the Great Class of 2009.
And the light that Gretta is taking out into the world is burning,
 oh so brightly.
Graduation lunch.
Big brother Stewart just called from Oregon.
To congratulate Gretta and wish Lindsey a happy 25th birthday.
Chard pie for birthday dinner
and cake and ice cream.

Thank you, thank you, thank you
I say to the great wonder of life.

Friday, June 12, 2009

shenanigans at breakfast

Peter took today off.
He got up and made homemade waffles.
Please notice the industrial size maple syrup jug.
Maple syrup is one of the basic food groups at our house.
Breakfast was silly and fun and animated.
Gretta did "Mr Napkinhead" from The Holiday.
We talked about the dogs we will have someday, and their names.
And about how some of her friends call Gretta
 the Chuck Norris of organic gardening.
Then Henry joined us at the end of the table, 
looking for skritchy scratches.

Later today we head up to school for Class Day
 and tomorrow is graduation.
We are all a little bit giddy.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

feeling the shifting...

The hardest of a parent's task is
to know when the task is done.
-Diana L. Paxson

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

charm swap

Remember my friend Elin's article in Cloth Paper Scissors magazine? The magazine sponsored a charm swap and I decided to join in. The fortune cookie charms above were my submission to the fun. I glued fortunes onto floral origami paper, trimmed them, used a laminating kit to seal them, top stitched around the edges, punched a hole and added a jump ring. Popped them in the mail and just last week an envelope from Cloth Paper Scissors arrived containing five different charms. I asked each artist for their permission to post their charms here on my blog. I heard back from three, and here they are. Aren't they FABULOUS? 
a sweet heart in hand, done by Laura Stephens
a musical note from Jenn Mason
this beauty from Carol Stocker

What a fun swap this was! I'd like to make some more, with new ideas and fill a whole charm cool would that be? Add that to my summer "To Do" list!

And thank you to the artists for granting me permission to share with you!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

celebrating 30 years!

Karen, Peter, may you weave out of love a greater strength to aid
and comfort one another and all those you know.

Let the stranger find welcome at the door of your home and friends 
be at ease in the warmth of your love.

May the work that one does and the work that you share bring wholeness
to each and fulfillment to both.

May love and blessing from this gathering of friends rest upon, abide
with and assist you in this new venture.

May the union that we celebrate here this day be worthy of continued
celebration tomorrow and forever.

-The blessing given by the Rev. Ken Phifer at our wedding on June 9th, 1979.

I think Ken was on to something...

Batman, I love you as high as the sky and as deep as the ocean. Looking forward to the next adventure...

Monday, June 8, 2009

back in CT

I am home again, with Hannah safely delivered, too. Henry and I had our own quiet time this morning, in the sunshine. Batman, Gretta, Hannah and I are looking forward to having supper together tonight, out on the porch. Lots of catching up to do.

Today I've written thank you notes, started laundry, a grocery list, unloaded the car, scrubbed the cooler, sorted know the drill.

And I found two treats in the pile of mail. 
  • Two books in a box. Linen Wool Cotton, by Akiko Mano (how many times have I picked it up, looked at it and put it back on the shelf???) and The Creative Entrepreneur, by Lisa Sonora Beam (thanks, Deb, for the tip).
  • A package from Cloth Paper Scissors, with the five charms from the swap! Fun, fun, fun! I will post pictures as soon as I get permission from the artists. And I'll post a pic of the charms I made and sent off.
I hope to carve out some time to get back into my studio today! My studio away from home is pretty pathetic...lots of doodles in the margins of my board of trustees notebook.

I guess today I am basically catching my breath, eh?

Much more to do today, and tomorrow is a special day here at our check back.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

along the edges, at 70 mph

ancient layers
waves of grain
going around it
drifts of daisies
(and in other places, queen anne's lace, wild mustard, 
red clover, black eyed susans...)

and now we are safely home.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

headed back east

My board meetings finished up around 3 and Hannah and I hopped into the car and headed out to the interstate. Hannah challenged me to live "on the edge" by waiting until we crossed the state line to fill the gas tank where the gas would be cheaper. Even though the fuel light had come on.We did just fine. Good thing, 'cause Hannah would have had to walk if we had run out of gas! 

We drove about 5 hours before we stopped for the night. Hannah took this picture of the sunset. Now we are hunkering in to watch Sense and Sensibility on my laptop. We hope to get home tomorrow in plenty of time for supper with Batman.  G will be out and about tomorrow night with her senior class... 

Whew! what a whirlwind week.

Friday, June 5, 2009

a june evening

This is the quilt I made for Hannah to take to college.
Before I owned a digital camera.
And now I have one, so here's a picture of the quilt in her dorm room.
That's "Buddy" on the right.
I spent the day in meetings, working with such good people.
On institutional challenges.
Stewardship in rough times.
It is bringing out the best in us.
It is good work to be doing.

We just had dinner, al fresco, on the patio behind the Meetinghouse.
The weather was perfect, the mood so peaceful and genuine. 
With gratitude to three folks finishing up their nine years on the board.
Affirming and celebratory and a little bit sad.

Now I am SO sleepy.
And we gather again tomorrow at 8 AM...