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

Saturday, October 31, 2009


All Saint's Eve
Remembering my Dad, 
who loved this holiday more than any other. 


Friday, October 30, 2009

wondrous chance

 Our daughter Lindsey, 25, stopped in for a quick overnight visit on her way from Boston to a weekend in NYC. This morning, she walked me through a time management exercise, aligning my values, with goals and plans to achieve those goals. She is now my "accountability partner" (read that, role reversal!). I am so energized and excited to put my resolve into action. And I am grateful to my amazingly talented daughter for her support.

Then, I read in an email from my friend Jane, that there is this really cool challenge out in the cyber-world hosted by Leah Piken Kolidas, called  Art Every Day Month. Of course, the month of the challenge is November!

Is this perfect timing or what? So, I signed up. The guidelines are very generous, encouraging anyone to give it a try. How about YOU?

(I will have to set up a time budget for all the fun web browsing this project will lead me to!) 

Chance furnishes me with what I need.
I am like a man (woman) who stumbles along;
my foot strikes something,
I bend over and it is exactly what I want.
-James Joyce

Thursday, October 29, 2009

earlham davis scholars=hope

We viewed this short film at our board meeting last week. It's a peek into the heart and soul of Earlham College AND the generosity of the Davis family. If you could use a heavy dose of hope in your life, click here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

expanding my knitting skills...

There are many knitting projects in my past. Snug mittens, knit for friends in college. A lumpy, ill fitting sweater that I wore anyway. Many hats, muttons and scarves. Basically, I have stumbled through my knitting life, with mixed results.

With the encouragement of my friend M, I have decided to get things right and expand my knitting confidence, so I've been taking some classes with Cindy Zaref at Knitabilities. I took one class on learning to read patterns and charts, selecting supplies and materials, knitting a gauge swatch (ya, kind of crucial) and understanding abbreviations.

Then a two session class on moving from advanced beginner to intermediate knitter...all sorts of increases, decreases, picking up stitches and finishing. The photo above is my sample piece showing how to pick up stitches along the edge of a piece. WAY COOL!

Next week, M and I will venture into a three session class on knitting socks...something I never dreamed possible. Cindy is a wonderful teacher, and there's something invigorating about learning new things.

Have you been learning...or teaching, lately? 

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


sage, cut from the gardens at "a bit of earth"
drying in our CT kitchen

This morning, Maya posed the question on her blog, "What is your word for the day"?

With my calendar in hand, I calculate that I have been home here in CT only three days in the past eighteen! Don't get me wrong...I have been to good places and had lots of fun and done some good work... word for the day would have to be "nesting". I have laundry to do (!!!), grocery shopping to do, mail to catch up on, notes to write up and I can't wait to spend a little time in my studio/sewing room.  

Remember when I wrote about "creative tension"? Well, I sure feel some of that when I am immersed in one thing, yet missing another. I love having my various board and committee work-it's good exercise for my brain (and heart). But I also love my hand work, in many ways it's the creative stuff that emerges out of  some of that brain work. It's all a balance, dear readers, and sometimes it takes work to find the balance...

So today, I am using my time gently, to seek that balance in the midst of creative tension. And I am grateful to have this time to recharge my energies.

With credit to Maya, what is your word for the day?

Friday, October 23, 2009

10:05 PM

W. Main St.
Richmond, IN

Thursday, October 22, 2009

a fine day

This morning I had to trade in my usual jeans for a skirt and blouse and stockings and nice shoes. It always feels a little weird.

And tonight, I am weary, but in a good way. So many smart, big hearted people working together to move the mission of the school forward in the face of so many challenges. Retaining what has been special about the place since 1847, while embracing both the uncertainties and possibilities of the future. 

And this work goes hand in hand with one of my autumn insights.  CREATIVE TENSION....

-when difficulties can be imagined as opportunities.

-when what we fear can be transformed into what we can learn from.

-when what folks disagree about can become something shared.

-when one truth and another truth can become a fuller truth.

-when we have an inward struggle that opens us to growth and change...

What would you add?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

long legged girls, we are

Twenty two years ago I was carrying this girl around on my hip. Now she's a senior in college, reading on the bed next to me (breaking in her brand new muttons).

For so many reasons, I am glad to be back at Earlham.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

the light within and the autumn light

(last week, at "a bit of earth")

There they dance, arm in arm with the light...
you can hardly tell at last what in 
the dance is leaf and what is light.
-Henry David Thoreau

I have felt it coming for days...
the rare, amazing  flood of clarity I sometimes experience in the autumn.
from somewhere earthy and deep and reassuring. 

This morning I sat down with tea and a Moleskine
and wrote and wrote.

Now the question is, what will I do with these insights?
 Percolation, I think.

Does this ever happen to you? 

Monday, October 19, 2009

portable project

OK, OK, so I just couldn't resist the 30% off price.
I bought Knitting for Peace.
Just in time for a plea for baby hats
 from an Orange County, VT agency that helps new families.
And after all, I will be traveling this week
and sitting in meetings.
I will need a portable project, right?

And those muttons are for my Mumsie.
Yes, one is longer than the other.
I've done that before. 
They're homemade!

Have no fear of perfection-
you'll never reach it.
-Salvadore Dali

Happy Monday.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


safely back to ct. after a rainy drive down from vt.
lowered thermostat=very chilly house.
fire in the fireplace=a warm spot to catch up on blogs
and to do reading for upcoming 
BoT meetings at earlham later this week.

i live in the midst of abundance.
of friends and family,
of health,
of safety and comfort and healthy food,
of  good and meaningful work,
of dreams and aspirations.

 this time of year invites
 an ingathering of the spirit. 

"full" i would have to say.
and perched for what comes next.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

urgency in the air

Gary Gingko shed his golden leaves overnight, all at once. Poof!

A few days ago, we picked a handful of apples off our trees, came inside, washed, chopped and simmered them. Served the warm sauce beside some roast pork at dinnertime. That's local food. Dessert was figs, sliced in half, drizzled with olive oil, warmed under the broiler and served in a puddle of plain yogurt with a bit of honey (thanks for that one, Bill!). 
Last evening, Batman and I wandered down the road at sunset. We were surprised to see the plow flags installed along the road so soon...what does the road crew know about the upcoming snow season?
The late afternoon sunlight slants in a most gentle and peaceful way...
The neighborhood farmers have spent the last few days cutting the corn for silage. Tidying up in the fields. 

I counted twelve robins feasting under the crab apple trees. And a very plump chipmunk, too!

Batman and I are working hard at putting the yard to bed. The hammock and picnic table are snugged up in the garage. We continue to add to the woodshed, emptied the rain barrel, put up storm windows. You know how these lists are, they never seem to end. And each seasonal list has it's own pleasures and aches!

A pot of chili and cornbread with friends tonight...

Do you feel the season changing at your house?

Thursday, October 15, 2009


tuesday morning's view...required hot oatmeal for breakfast.
we headed to st johnsbury to the athenaeum
the ceiling on the second floor was beautifully stenciled.
wonderful art downstairs.

then on to the fairbanks museum

then to the dog chapel.

a pew.
and stained glass window.

the snow had melted by the time we got back.
we fired up the home comfort, and had a lovely evening.

yesterday, batman and robin went shopping for a chain saw.
the boys had a busy afternoon, adding fuel to the woodshed.
and last night...more wine, good food and splendid conversation.

it's hard to put into words how wonderful it was
to catch up with very dear, old friends.

i am...


Monday, October 12, 2009

viking day

snow is in the forecast (!!!).

the kitchen counter is covered with root vegetables.

back from his trip to knox, 
batman reports that gretta's quilt is on her bed.

and we are expecting our very good friends
 dolo and bill here in vt. tonight.
we met them when we all lived in old san juan 27 years ago.

bill's alias is robin, 
so you know there will be some raucous  fun
 at "a bit of earth" these next few days!

i'll be away from technology for a bit...
take care, friends.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

rustle... the good company of birches.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

a snapshot in time

Gary Gingko is looking quite festive this morning. Read his story here. The sky is overcast, damp and a bit threatening...but the trees are shining through with their magical colors. These bittersweet days of autumn take my breath away year after year. 

"Pay attention!", they say, "do not take anything for granted!" 

I am appreciating.

What are you noticing today?

Friday, October 9, 2009


I am posting this photo again, because this morning when I came downstairs to check in on the state of the world, I found the most delightful news. And the answer to the "WHEN" word is, this morning, as always, "NOW".

Congratulations to the Nobel Peace Committee for their clarity and conviction.

And congratulations to Barack Obama, Nobel Peace Prize winner!

In finding peace and recognizing the light in yourself, 
we say there's a hearth in your heart 
where the Creator has given you something very sacred,
a special gift, a special duty, an understanding.
And now is the time for us to clean out those hearths,
to let that inner light glow.
-Dhyani Ywahoo

My heart feels a bit more hopeful, inspired and companioned this morning. How about you?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

a day well spent

the tide was low, so ra and i went for a walk 
on the beach after breakfast.
the sand was etched by water and wind.
the sky was clear after yesterday's wild winds,
and the gulls were arguing over what had washed up in the night.
then we worked on splitting and stacking more firewood.
doug and ra have quite the andy goldsworthy look going here!
you might be able to see the flooded cranberry bogs in the background.
at harvest time, the bogs are flooded, 
causing the berries to float to the top of the water for easier picking.

here's some handsome machinery.
the berries and vines and leaves are separated, 
the berries go up this ladder like contraption, 
as the berries drop from the ladder-like belt, 
rotten and small ones fall into a bucket,
and the good berries end up on these belts 
for even more careful hand sorting. 

this variety is called the "christmas cranberry" and 
they will continue to ripen while in refrigerated storage.

i drove home to ct with a bag full of cranberries picked just yesterday.

and now i am weary.
but what a good visit i had with my mumsie 
and brother doug and sister-in-law, ra.

how much do you love cranberries?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

happy birthday mumsie!

this morning i got up early, hopped in my car 
and drove to my brother doug's in massachusetts.
today is our mumsie's birthday and she had no clue i was 
coming up to doug and ra's to surprise her.
 we had a lovely day, and aunt margretta and 
uncle david came for dinner and cake. 

driving in the car this morning i was trying to pick the 
 one thing i love best about my mom.

as long as i can remember, she told me that it doesn't
matter what you look like on the outside,
it's what's on the inside that really matters.

wash your face, comb your hair and go out into the world.

not very good news for the cosmetics industry,
but what a gift that was to a lanky, awkward girl.

happy birthday, mumsie.
thank you.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

ta da!

gretta's college quilt.
to keep her cozy and snug.

(i still need to hand quilt in each aqua corner block).

Monday, October 5, 2009

moving along


the needle on the bathroom scale has moved a wee bit for me
 and a wee bit more for batman.

i am in the home stretch on the binding on gretta's quilt.
a few spaces in our house are better organized.
appreciating the fall sunshine through the newly clean windows .

unnecessary books went off to the library book sale,
old magazines went off to the recycling center 
and the cord of firewood is stacked, mostly thanks to batman. 

sometimes i still wish i could get out of my own way...

i am working on creating a new rhythm to my days.
some days go better than others.

trying to balance/integrate the mundane with the inspired.
the best days are when i can't tell the difference.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

sunday breakfast

batman made cranberry scones for breakfast,
while henry and i continued to work on gretta's quilt.

do you ever feel like the pace of some projects
 pick up speed towards completion?

the sun is out, some windows are newly washed and sparkling.
we have a fun list of things to do this afternoon.

what are you up to?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

quilting for peace

I had read reviews of this little book and today it came home from the store with me. The subtitle, Make the World a Better Place One Stitch at a Time pretty much explains it all.

I have always loved the way quilts and causes go so well together.  Back in 1985, I made a panel for the Peace Ribbon. Panels depicting "what I cannot bear to think of as lost in a nuclear war" were wrapped around the Pentagon on Hiroshima Day. I've made a panel for the AIDS Quilt, and was a quilt monitor when it came to Chicago in 1988. My kids have made kid sized quilts for the Linus Project. I've sewn for smaller, local projects, too. Somehow, I am always changed for the better by the act of making something to send out into the world. 

From the book...
The patchwork quilt is really
the symbol of the world which must come:
one new design made out of many old designs.
We will stitch this world together yet.
Don't give up.
-Pete Seeger

How wonderful it is that
nobody need wait a single moment
before starting to improve the world.
-Anne Frank

This great little book offers, "more than 25 inspiring essays and 15 charity projects". It's a gem. I look forward to reading this neat book about "community quilting".

I think at least one reader has made art quilts for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative . If you have done any creative work for a cause, please let us know, and include links if you'd like!

Thank you.

Friday, October 2, 2009

color play

just goofing around a little bit
looking for rich, deep purple-y colors

happy weekend!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

is there any such thing as "too much fun"?

So this is how my crazy brain works sometimes, and why I enjoy blogging. Way back, last year, when I first started reading a handful of blogs, I enjoyed Sugar City Journal. It reminded me of the days when I was raising small children. A few weeks ago, I read this.

It reminded me of one of our favorite books, illustrated by one of my very favorite artists, Trina Schart Hyman. See our much loved copy, above. I do recall at least one Halloween red riding hood...

Then I saw this beautiful photo over on m. heart's blog.

And I've been wanting to try this tote trick over at Betz White's blog.

And because I am a bit obsessed with birch trees, I came up with my new Little Red Riding Hood tote. 
I had a weary canvas tote. I had already mended the bottom seam and replaced the handles. So, I tried Betz's tutorial and it was a snap! 

Here's a shout out to all the creative, thoughtful, inspirational folks I have found in this blog world!
And some of you wanted to know what was going on with the secret gift. My frog loving buddy Liz's birthday is today, so I made her these napkins and dish towels from some fun fabric I had in my stash.

Sometimes she lets me go over to her house when she's at work and play with her sweet pooch, Buddy. She may come home one day and find him missing. If I take him across state lines to VT, would that be considered a felony? :-)