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

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


i had plans for march.
i tried hard to make them work.
i'm getting there,
but they will have to spill on over to april for a bit.
and that's o.k.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

tuesday afternoon

+this morning, i made this pillow for my friend, juana's birthday.
+this is the back, with another upcycled blouse button placket, used as the closure.
+and here's a peek at my (new) label, folded over and sewn into a seam. 

+our friend, "a", is safely out of afganistan, after serving two years, plus with the aga khan foundation.
thank goodness she is safe, and we stand in awe of her courage and spunk. we can't wait to give her a hug when we see her in VT this summer!

+gretta is very excited that she will hear vandana shiva speak tonight. (i hope she will blog about it tomorrow)!

+it is still raining here in southwestern connecticut.  it has been a remarkable two weeks of wetness, but the weekend forecast looks spectacular...

+and despite some scary stuff in the news these last few days, i choose hope and keep steering away from the fear.
how about you?

Monday, March 29, 2010

the essence

of being present.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

maple sugaring

batman and i headed to our "bit of earth" 
for an r&r weekend.
this morning, we drove over to turkey hill farm
with our friend ellen for maple open house weekend.
this is the huge evaporator.
and here is the sap turning into the magical syrup.
to learn all about the process click here.

we met some really wonderful people...
turns out, the whole process is a very social time.
the fire needs to be stoked,
 the temperature of the syrup needs to be monitored
and it's a 24/7 undertaking.
neighbors stop by to chat and there's lots of good food around.

we have lots of maples at a "bit of earth",
so maybe someday...

Friday, March 26, 2010

earth hour 2010, tomorrow at 8:30PM

Won't you join us?

Thursday, March 25, 2010


the early morning light and birdsong.

good food plans for 3 meals, already under way.
errands to run 
and a committee meeting full of good work to be done.
time in my studio later today,
 and a walk in the late afternoon sunshine. 
it's going to be a good day.

may yours be as well.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

shaker exhibit

today, my friend liz and i went to the
new britain museum of american art.
we went to see
 "inspired innovations, a celebration of shaker ingenuity"
photos were not allowed in the exhibit,
so this picture of boxes, sold in the gift shop will have to do.

i have long admired the shaker legacy...
the simple beauty and practicality of the lives they led.

have you ever visited hancock shaker village in western massachusetts?
(where you can get a real sense of how
intentional and co-operative their communities really were.)

From the introduction to the exhibit's catalog,
It is the major goal of "Inspired Innovations:A Celebration of Shaker Ingenuity," to amply demonstrate that innovation is and has always been central to their way of life. The Shakers are consummate problem solvers. This legacy of finding or creating ingenious solutions to everyday challenges has, to a large extent, defined them as a successful social and economic experiment. However, a vital subtext of any conversation about Shakerism is the understanding that they are, above all else, believers--that every aspect of their lives is guided by religious principle. Ingenuity aside, the essence of Shakerism is a profound and all-encompassing spirituality. - M. Stephen Miller

two quotes, stenciled on the walls of the exhibit caught my eye.

The pleasure of doing good is the only pleasure that never wears out.
-Elizaette Sutton
The lamp of genius burns as it is supplied by the oil of enthusiasm.
Martha J. Anderson

every once in a while,  i just want to rest in the oasis 
of shaker simplicity

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

spring bunnies

i'm working on another pillow.
we almost always create a spring tree, 
bringing a branch into the house,
putting it in a vase filled with water,
encouraging it to leaf out a wee bit early.
this one, potted in a dedham ware vase,
holds eggs made by the kids years ago.
here you can see some of the leaves budding.
the glass bunny dish came from my gram's.
the mini tea cup is dedham ware as well,
and the pitcher came from the lake district in england.
if you are in need of a lovely, sweet movie,
(beatrix, the gifted illustrator was also a visionary conservationist).

and here's a tutorial for some very clever bunny finger puppets.
(thank goodness they are sold out!).

the past two days have been wet, windy and grey.
i needed some spring i thought bunnies.
how about you?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

stone barns

yesterday was a beautiful, warm (72 degrees!) sunny day.
gretta and i wandered around 
gathering inspiration and ideas.
this is an entrance to 
blue hill at stone barns,
the very posh and famous restaurant,
where all the food that is served comes form
 the gardens and fields at stone barns.
maybe someday if we win the lottery, we'll check it out. :-)
we found this little still life on a bench in the cook's garden.
lovely and vintage and better than new.
22,000 square feet...a full half acre greenhouse!
a sign reads,
"every inch of space, every seedling, every clump of soil
is intensely managed here 365 days a year".
poc choy and chard
not sure what this is, but it's gorgeous.
one of the working dogs.
a sweetheart of a pooch.

the place was crawling with young families,
with children who were delighted to be out in the sunshine,
running, climbing, squealing.
i think we were all taking in the wonder of the day,
and the beauty of the place.
hope springs eternal.

and today deserves some Keats.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

hope springs eternal

(card made by my mom, december 2009)

today and every day, i extend my gratitude to the peacemakers.

The war to end all war will not be fought with guns.
-Lowell H.  Coate
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = 
yesterday, gretta joined some of us in remembering erin,
by getting an "e" tattooed on her wrist.
mine is on the top, gretta's is below.
we continue to hope and work for a cure for the beast of cancer.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
we are headed off to stone barns today,
to be outdoors, and to enjoy an agricultural vision.
to be in the midst of the renewal and hope of a working farm.


Friday, March 19, 2010


Last night, Gretta and I went with our friend, Liz, to hear Elaine F. Weiss speak about her book, Fruits of Victory, The Women's Land Army of America in the Great WarElaine's fascinating slide show, filled with images from archives all over the country, showed the story of the amazing women, or "farmerettes" who worked on the rural homefront during WW1. The question and answer period afterward had folks wondering aloud about how this history might inform the current enthusiasm for the local food movement. I would be intrigued to consider its possibilities in peace time. This book is in my stack of spring reads!

Liz gifted me with this book earlier in the week, The Town That Food Saved, How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food, by Ben Hewitt. The story of Hardwick, VT is inspiring. Batman and I have heard a bunch of the folks who envisioned this collaboration, speak at NOFA-VT conferences and the Vermont Land Trust Annual Celebration last fall. Their vision, passion and dedication is amazing. I am delighted that their story has been told in a book! A bookmark is already holding my place in this one.

This morning, Gretta and I are baking up a batch of muffins and we'll head over to our local CSA, so that Gretta can catch up with all her old buddies. The sun is shining, the temperature may flirt with 70 degrees and Mother Nature is calling us outside. This is my kind of Friday.

Hope you can get outside for a bit!

P.S. If you are a Henry fan, or a fan of the ginger cats in Wales, check this out and this, too. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

easy, five minute meditation

  • sniff the fruit
  • notice the texture of the rind
  • watch the lemon juice swirl into the water
  • close your eyes
  • take a sip
  • take a swig
  • taste it
  • set down the glass
  • relax your shoulders
  • breathe deeply a few times
  • close your eyes
  • feel the air. is there a breeze? is the air cool, warm, hot?
  • what do you smell?
  • what do you hear?
  • open your eyes
  • do you need to stretch?
  • do you need to take a few more deep breaths?
  • finish up your glass of water


(FYI -necessity is the mother of invention...i needed to do this myself this afternoon...)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

this and that

i've been playing in my studio
with textures and colors.

some fun places to wander today...
  • a lovely blessing
  • and a toast (my copy of the thimble garden just "sewandsow" don't you think?)
  • today's poem.
  • and another good one.
  • a surprise in the mail from my son, stewart. he's a keeper, that one.
and gretta is home for a few days. for appointments, visiting, tech support for her marmie and some adventures. can you sense my smile? :-)

we have quite the spring gurgling up in our yard, and streaming down the banking. i'm guessing it's because the water table is so very high after all the rain we got this weekend. a very magical spot for little kids to play with sticks and wee boats...but we don't have any of those anymore...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

in the midst of our nor'easter...

"Everything in nature is resurrection."
-William Butler Yeats

Sunday, March 14, 2010


i have done a 24 hour up and back trip to
  my brother doug and sister-in-law, ra's 
in massachusetts.
bad driving in huge rain and wind.
classic rock on the radio.
(riders on the storm by the doors).
dinner with a handful of relatives in honor of my cousin margda,
who lives in sweden with her wonderful family.
mardga was in the states delivering a paper at a conference,
and we were lucky to have an evening with her.

and this morning, doug made crepes, filled with vanilla yogurt
and sliced bananas for breakfast.

have i mentioned lately how i truly believe
that one of the most sacred and holy places in this world
is at a table surrounded by friends and family?

well, i do.

Friday, March 12, 2010

growing things

Last fall, I read about growing "local citrus" over at The Simple Green Frugal Co-op. I loved the idea so much that I went online to order a Meyer lemon tree, then learned that it's just not a great idea to ship citrus trees in the winter (duh!).  A few weekends ago, I thought I'd try again, and this beauty arrived yesterday. Thank you so much, Thomas, for expanding my idea of "local"!             
These little beauties, printed on repurposed balsa wood, came from petitleaf etsy . I love them! Hop on over to check out Elizabeth's shop. Elizabeth was our daughter Lindsey's college roommate, and she's a very crafty girl. The two of them do paper art swaps through the mail.

Batman and I became a bit giddy last week, when our package from High Mowing Seeds arrived. We opened it up and yearned for all the goodies that will be coming out of the gardens up at "a bit of earth" this summer. This seems to be a symptom many of us are suffering as we gaze out at the snow piles yet to melt on the north side of our houses!

I even have grass seed, planted in a rectangular, flat pan, germinating on a sunny windowsill. I've been doing this for years, and I know it's a little loony. I seem to need freshly growing green things just about now.

(And the light and love I had for breakfast yesterday followed me through the day....)

Happy Friday, friends!

Thursday, March 11, 2010


my early morning was so full
of hope, grief, longing and missing people.
but mostly love.
i lit a candle.
love and light
to start my day.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

good ghosts in the kitchen

this sweet platter came from my gram's kitchen and the rolling pin belonged to my best friend, nancy's, mom.

i've got three of these cooling racks that came from my gram's.
i remember shelling fresh peas into this enamelware bowl 
and the crockery bowl came from 
her kitchen, too.

this colander is a workhorse in my kitchen, and the masher uses no electricity. mmm...remembering sunday pot roast dinners at gram's house, down the driveway from ours.

when we went to duxbury beach with my grandparents,
i remember these coming out of the big metal cooler, 
filled with raw carrot sticks, black olives and pickles. 
each held tightly closed with a rubber band. 
my grandpy would walk down the beach with us to
buy icy cold orange fantas. a huge treat. 
and i remember sand between our toes
as we got back into the car to head home.

i love having these treasures in my kitchen. they connect me to those who came before me, and I love that they help me cook in the present day, carrying on the love...

do you have any treasures that you use everyday?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


in my bread bowl.

Monday, March 8, 2010

love makes a family

when i heard last week that partners brad and julian
 are expecting a baby girl in a few weeks,
i couldn't get to my fabric stash fast enough!

i found these cute elephants and knew they would make a great border.
then i found this great backing fabric at a local shop.
wish i had bought yards and yards of this treasure when i found it
years ago. i am using bits of it every now and then.
very sparingly.

so, guys, every stitch in this crib quilt is filled with love.
for you and for the lucky little baby girl who
will arrive in the warm embrace of your family.