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

Sunday, January 31, 2010

cozy socks!

while taking a sock knitting class in the fall,
i finished one sock, and the ribbed cuff of its partner.

this past week i was determined to finish the pair.
on thursday afternoon i turned the heel,
on friday afternoon i knit the gusset,
and yesterday, by the fire, with henry's "help",
i finished them up.
(grafting the toe has to be the hardest part.)
there are some funny spots, 
where perhaps i knit when i should have purled.
but they are cozy and warm and homemade.
and finished!

when finishing something feels this good, 
why don't i do it more often?

how are you at finishing things?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

(an aside...) yeah, neil!

illinois fields, august 2009 (prairie wind)

congratulations to my very favorite rocker,
neil young,
on being celebrated last night,

neil young sang me through my teenaged years,
rocked me through college,
and he's been part of my life's soundtrack ever since.

he's done so much truth telling with his music,
so many good things for the environment, the anti war movement
 and kids who live with challenges...

and his music gets me in the gut.

for a mellow winter evening watch
heart of gold.

long may you run, neil.


thursday's paper skrippy scraps turned into 
friday's fabric skrippy scraps.
these notecards, stitched with fabric scraps, and stamped monograms
were made for quilting buddies, cathleen and juana.
 wrapped them up in simple waxed paper sandwich bags
and tied them with string and added a plain tag.

i am so happy to have my sewing machine back from its tune up!

we are about to set off on errands in the cold, projects this afternoon
and dinner with friends.
how about you?

Friday, January 29, 2010


Om is the Goddess herself as sound.
-Heinrich Zimmer

Thursday, January 28, 2010


skrippy scraps.
that's what we call tiny pieces of things
that we can't quite put in the trash.
like snippets of origami paper, a flour bag,
beautiful flowers from magazines,
candy wrappers (that's the heart of gold),
canson paper scraps, photos of skirt fabric from catalogs...

now they have become HENRY LOVE!

little hearts, strung with button thread from
my grandmother's sewing caddy.

valentine's day is coming soon...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


There are two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.

-Albert Einstein

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

my clever mumsie

On Sunday, on my way home to CT, I stopped in to go to church, have lunch and visit with my Mumsie. She has always been fascinated with miniatures, and has built many fun little houses in her day. This one, put together in an old medicine cabinet, hangs in the kitchen I grew up in. I propped a spoon up in the mini studio, so you can get a sense of scale. She makes a lot of her own furniture and many of the accessories. She clips pictures from catalogs for wall art, uses beads for pencil holders and pin heads for drawer pulls. If you look carefully, you can see a tiny print of a painting my Dad did of our family's church.
She has also made some lovely, all natural pieces, using twigs, seeds, acorns and bark.

Sometimes, while waiting for the tea kettle to come to a boil, you can get lost in her little worlds...

Monday, January 25, 2010

embracing the wildness of the day

more pots have come up from the garage.

the forecast was accurate.
i went out into the world to do a few errands
and drove on flooded roads, dodged fallen trees
and got drenched through, despite sturdy rain gear.
it was kind of fun. (and, oh, the wind!)
i am a wee bit concerned about the stream
than runs under our driveway.

this afternoon will be devoted to hot tea,
some board reading, some time in my studio,
a bit of snail mail correspondence
and trying a new recipe for dinner.
cream of parsnip soup, from NOURISH, indulgently healthy cuisine.

the hyacinth and narcissus help cheer an afternoon like this.
what cheers you?
don't be shy...leave a comment or send an email!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


To be in harmony is to be in a conscious and loving relationship
with what is.
-Jean-Yves LeLoup

Saturday, January 23, 2010

another fun day...

Last night my breath was taken away when we walked into Lindsey's friend Sara's studio.
Her work is AMAZING.
Her website is under construction, but worth a peek.
A few weeks ago Sara spied a pair of muttons I had knit for Lindsey
and she proposed a swap...
a pair of muttons for a wee painting.
(I knit two pair, 'cause I was so impressed with Sara's work).
We've been corresponding via e-mail,
it was fun to meet her and get to know her at dinner last night.
(At Emma's, in Kendall Square).
And I can't wait to see what Sara comes up with for me.
(She sparkles).

This morning, after a yummy b-fast, Lindsey and I popped into
Christina's Homemade Ice Cream, Spice and Specialty Foods
in Cambridge.

I found beluga lentils, dried canellini beans,
star anise and lemon grass.
The place smelled mmmm, so good.

There were teas, dried mushrooms, dried chillies,
oils, grains, sauces, stone ground chocolate...

More adventures ensued and finally, we ended up at
where we met Dave, a close friend of Lindsey's
and an honorary member of the extended family.

And now, we have set Lindsey up with her sewing machine from Santa,
trying stitches, winding bobbins and organizing her supplies.

(If it seems like I have eaten my way through the weekend, I have.
And it's been dang fun!)

Tomorrow, it's out to the suburbs to visit with my Mumsie...

Friday, January 22, 2010

oh, what a fun day...

i started out at diesel cafe, in davis square, where i met
the delightful and gracious mimi for coffee and conversation.
i've loved mimi's blog and whimsical dolls for ages.
i'm so grateful she made time for a "meet up" with an out of town fan!
check out her etsy shop and classes.

then on to meet lindsey for lunch and a free afternoon for exploring.
i remember going to the windsor button shop with my mumsie
 when i was just a little girl.
then, as teens, my cousins and i would go there to buy fun trims
to sew onto the hems of our bellbottoms
(we were so tall, we needed to lengthen them).

the shop has changed locations and added yarn (!) to their inventory,
but the button wall is still amazing!

then on to clear flour bakery in brookline,
near the packard square T-stop.

i had read about this place on a blog
(sorry i can't remember which one).
it was worth the trip.
very beautiful artisan breads and goodies.
the BEST molasses cookies,
poppy seed, sesame seed and plain challah,
tarts, was all a bit overwhelming.
and inspiring.

i have loved walking and taking the T to get around.
and tonight we are off to the studio of one of lindsey's friends
for an art swap and then dinner.

hoping you all are headed into a fun weekend, too!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

thursday ramblings

we got home last night from watching avatar in 3-d
and batman propped his glasses on papa george.
still thinking about that movie.
too much violence, but so, so much loveliness.
remarkable film.
hannah told me there's lots of inspiration for quilts lurking in those colors and forms.
she's right!

fresh squeezed grapefruit juice for breakfast, for good energy.
at noontime i am off to boston,
dressed up for a function at the public library.
then i'll meet lindsey...we have a fun weekend planned.
check back here for a peek at what we'll be up to!

i have left my faithful and devoted bernina 1080 to be tuned up.
i am always anxious when i leave her.
we have been together for a long time.

last night i delivered cream of broccoli soup and corn muffins
to my friend, paul, who just had his second knee replaced.
he is doing great.
and now we belong to the same club.

i have been saddened by the results of the elections in massachusetts.
my home state.
gone a little nuts.
hope and change take time.
and look what he stepped into.
give the man a break and some support,
not fear, disguised as backlash.

i listen to good music as an antidote
to the occasional madness in this world.
alela diane is a new fave.

and i've been meaning to thank you all
for your comments and e-mails on the occasion of the one year
of sewandsowlife.
(my mumsie's and catherine d's
i appreciate your kindness.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

it's been such a long time...

...since i made my own clothes.
this was so easy and fun.
indygo junction's perfect pullover IJ773.

made with plain linen,
 a lovely batik
and a very gorgeous fabric from moda,
called "a morris garden" by barbara brackman.
i bought a yard of it a few years ago at bolt,
a fun fabric shop in portland, OR.
(my daughter in law, dawn, thought i might like the shop, clever girl!)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

happy birthday to sewandsowlife

sew and


(even in the middle of the winter)

with deep gratitude to the many wonderful, warm, funny, creative folks
who have left comments and sent e-mails...
kindred spirits all.

it's been delightful to make your acquaintance.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Unarmed love is the most powerful force in the world.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010

away again

a quiet get-away weekend at "a bit of earth",
where the wild creatures have roamed while we've been away.
batman and i will go on a tracking walk
after lunch to see who's been here.

and today, my "bad dog, no biscuit" award goes to pat robertson.
shameful man.

Friday, January 15, 2010

craft hope for haiti

The compassion of creative women strikes again! Check this out.

yeastie beasties

I used to make bread from scratch a lot. In the midst of raising four kids and volunteering many hours a week, the ritual of baking my own bread centered me. Then I drifted away from the practice. Then I used a bread machine once in a while.
Last night, Peter said he would like pizza for supper. He rarely has an opinion about supper, and is happy to eat whatever shows up on his plate. But my heart sank a bit, 'cause I am no fan of take out pizza. Then I's an opportunity to switch it up, bake from scratch, feed a wish!
I pulled out my battered copy of Vegetarian Cooking, by the editors of Sunset Books (which I bought at the Stanford Bookstore in October 1984...I write in my books) and turned to their recipe for whole wheat pizza crust.
Once the ingredients had a few minutes to sit together, I began to knead the dough. And the magical sensation came back to me. Those little yeasties are alive and they all start working together just because that's what they like to do! Then the dough had to sit for 45 minutes, waiting for the chance to rise.
I felt a simple delight,  knowing that I was in the middle of the ageless tradition of puttering in a kitchen, with dough rising close by.
I made a very simple and easy tomato sauce, and we sprinkled Kalamata olives and cheeses on top, too. Springy, chewy crust that's full of whole wheat goodness, and yummy toppings to add to the fun..yum!

Today I thought of all the other kinds of yeastie goodness we have in our lives. Quotes from wise thinkers that remind us of truths, all sorts of ideas that percolate (like the yeast) until they become actual and tangible projects, good friends who both challenge us and comfort us, difficult situations that we have to find our way through,  good fortune that inspires I am just rambling.

Ray Bradbury wrote,"Creativity is a continual surprise".

Here's hoping your day is full of yeastie surprises, be they real or figurative!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

quiet and subdued

the sturdy roof over our heads,
clean, running water at the sink,
abundant food in the cupboards and fridge,
knowing where our loved ones are.
 and so much more.

 these are things we are not taking for granted.
especially right now.

to help...
the american red cross.

and here is another link from our friend, dolo,
 who has a personal connection with the group.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

these early evenings in january

this afternoon, i just had to take control of the situation!

(they are LED lights)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

more handmade gifts

here's hope in a flower pot!

this morning i got sick of looking at the old, crackling plastic
sewing machine cover.
so i used it as a template and made this new one.
much better!

this is a "nerd kit" that i made for gretta this morning.
this afternoon, i'll make one for lindsey, too.

i used the pencil roll and needle roll technique to put it together.

it holds a bunch of goodies...
-a "rite in rain" spiral notebook
-a pocket magnifier
-a clear storage box
(all ordered from acorn naturalists)
-a sharpie pen
-a pencil
this is especially designed for the reed sisters,
who take a wee bit of pride in being nerdy, outdoorswomen.
easy to tuck into daypacks for
fun ramblings in the fields and woods!

here's lindsey's version, that i finished later this afternoon.

Monday, January 11, 2010

paying attention

Waking up this morning, I smile.
Twenty-four brand new hours are before me.
I vow to live fully in each moment and to look
at all beings with eyes of compassion.
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Sunday, January 10, 2010

blog gifties

on thursday, a package arrived addressed to
"henry snickerdoodle reed".
inside was a very sweet, handmade card from
sylvie, louie, fuzzy and gingy and their mom.
there was a lavender sachet for me (how nice to be included!)

and a very fun little quilt for henry.
which he warmed up to after he...

sniffed it, wrestled with it and decided it must have come from friends.

and just before christmas, this very beautiful card came
from judy hartman.
i love judy's work and have met her in the real world.
she had posted a photo of this card on her blog.
i left a comment about how much i loved it,
and a bit later i found it in my mailbox.

thank you judy.
and thank you to my buddies over at quiltcat's musings...
both human and feline.
i appreciate your thoughtfulness and generosity of spirit!