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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

fabric and fiber

hmmm...what do we have here?
IKEA madness!
  • 4 yards of a cotton/linen blend, 17 1/2 inches wide, with both of the long edges already hemmed!
  • 2 1/2 yards of 54" wide dec weight white w/red plaid cotton.
  • 2 white dish towels with red edges, 49 cents each. 
Let the holiday sewing begin!

And, I forgot to tell you about the FABULOUS fiber art show Gretta and I checked out while in Vermont this past weekend. It's a collection of the BEST fiber artists in Vermont right now. Very different styles, but a very cohesive show, nicely curated. Showing at the T.W.Wood Gallery and Art Center in Montpelier, the show is cleverly called Good, Good, Good, Good Fibrations. 

Some of my faves, (Karen Henderson, Judith Reilly, and Carol MacDonald) have work hanging, and I discovered some new beauties as well. Cynthia Ross does lovely work in creamy canvass, Lauren Lacroix does gorgeous work with felted wool, and Karen Kamenetzky knocked my socks off with her fabulous color work. Elizabeth Billings works magic with pine needles, twigs, and fabric. Brian Goblik's work with twigs is stunning.

If you have a chance to see the show, DO IT! Otherwise, enjoy all the links!

Monday, November 29, 2010

GramElaine's macaroni and cheese

1 1/2 cups elbow pasta (multi grain pasta vs. white is an ongoing Reed family controversy)
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 pound cheddar (vermont, of course)
2 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups milk
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers

  • Cook elbows, according to directions on box. Drain, place in buttered casserole.
  • Heat butter in double boiler. Add flour, salt and pepper and blend.
  • Add milk slowly until sauce thickens.
  • Cut cheese into cubes, add to sauce.
  • Stir constantly until cheese has melted.
  • Pour cheese sauce over elbows and top with crushed crackers.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Gretta and I were driving home from VT today, and I asked her what she wanted for supper. I told her she could have anything, and she wanted this "comfort food". Then, I was talking with Lindsey on the phone, and when she heard that we were having mac and cheese for supper, she asked me for the recipe.
So, I thought I'd share it here. It's from my Mumsie's recipe file and just like my dad, we always eat it with ketchup.

Friday, November 26, 2010

sent with love and respect

click the photo to enlarge for detail.
the blue fabric is indigo shibori dyed cotton,
done in a class with jane.
i used polyurethane to preserve the birch twigs from 
our "bit of earth".
and i'm still fascinated with frayed edges,
using this lovely green linen again.
the crows are fused and cut from a commercial cotton print.
the text, written in permanent ink came to me while riding 
the train last weekend.
machine quilted with rayon thread.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

at doug and ra's

cranberry glass
cranberry orange relish
a walk around the cranberry bogs
between dinner and pies
a few miles away from where the
pilgrims landed in plymouth.

so grateful some of us were able to
gather together.

hope your day was filled with gratitude and blessings.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

tea towel fun

who will help with the washing up?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

filling you in on this and that...

tomorrow's project...

Taking a tea break to catch my breath and update you on a few of my recent posts...

HENRY had his teeth cleaned last week and while he was anesthetized, our vet took some tissue samples from under his chin (some for biopsies, some for culturing). He has four little sutures on his chin which must not be scratched, and thus the cone. He is moping a bit and I know we'll both be glad when the cone comes off next week. Thanks for all your questions and concerns. We appreciate your good thoughts, for sure.

THE CROWS are part of a piece I did for a swap, and I'll be happy to show the whole piece once it has reached its destination. I was stuck for a while, but had a flash of insight while riding home on the train from NYC the other night.  I think sometimes my wee brain just needs a little space to process ideas.

My friend Potts' comment on THE GRAINS reminded me of the poem I read at my dad's memorial service in 2003. You can read it here. There really is something magical and awesome and comforting about fields of grass.

Tonight, Batman will drive to La Guardia to fetch Gretta from her journey home for the holidays. May I just say that I am excited to share my new studio space with her, and get into some crafty mischief together?

Thinking of all of you this week, dear blog buddies. Grateful for the connections we've made near and far...

Monday, November 22, 2010

this week is for...

...amber waves of grain
and bringing in the sheaves
and our daily bread
and prairie wind
and the field of opportunity
and threshing floors 
and winnowing baskets
and harvesting gratitude...

i sink into the midst of it all.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

5:54 PM

the full moon and the weeping willow remind me that
much in life is way beyond my control.

(thank goodness!)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

a crow and a cat

detail of a work in progress
with a deadline
and i am stuck.
time for a break.
poor henry, who will be looking very
elizabethan for 14 days.
please send him good thoughts.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Paradise, for Zen, is accessible now and here,
for it is our everyday world,
but perceived with the awakened eye.
-Frederick Franck

Thursday, November 18, 2010

these two pieces have me smiling

(Does anyone know how to import a full screen YouTube?)

And check this out, too. (two of our young adult kids have tickets for a first screening).

Now, have a good day, OK?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

more ATC's

my mumsie made these fun ATC's for me.
she uses scrap paper and clippings from catalogs and magazines.
she made these fun little boxes to present the ATC's in.
and these two beauties were created by judy over at hartfelt fabric art.
check out yesterday's post to see the ATC's i brought along to trade.

have you swapped ATC's with friends?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

evolution of some ATC's

I've been at my Mumsie's for a few days, for another "artsy craftsy extravaganza". Here are the artist trading cards I made to take along.

Working off of this idea, I worked on these here.  And added more stitching here...
I used variegated rayon thread to do the free motion stitching for the trunks/grasses.

I also fused a "mountain range"...
and cut some yellow spirals from fused fabric...
then I sliced the mountains into the traditional ATC size and added the spirals, and did a bit of stitching with rayon thread.
I ended up with four ATC's that created a little panorama when lined up together. I had used this idea once before for a series of postcards that Gretta and I made together. (She finished off the left side, I did the right side of that series). 
Tomorrow, I'll post pictures of the cards that my Mumsie and my friend Judy made.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

watching the changes

henry, catnapping in the meat loaf position at "a bit of earth".

we are wearing our florescent orange scarves as we work outside,
because today is the first day of deer hunting season.
 pick up trucks dot the sides of our quiet road,
and we hear the crack of rifles echo down the valley.

the leaves are gone from the trees,
and all the bird and critter nests stand out against the sunny sky.
the drying seed pods create a tapestry of texture in the fields,
there are endless and gorgeous shades of brown.

"winter's closin' in..." -tom rush

the sky will be clear and cold tonight, 
so we'll bundle up and take the telescope out. 
rice and black beans from the freezer for supper.

what changes are you watching at your house? 

Friday, November 12, 2010

link love

more vermont windowsill critters
And happy birthday #65, Neil Young! May you be forever young!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

goat cheese

After posting about our visit to Trebin Farms BandB for a goat cheese making workshop, I have had a few comments and questions about the process. Since the workshop was introductory, and we learned to make chevre only, we really are mere novices.  I can walk you through the process, but I highly recommend that you do some of your own research if you are thinking of trying this on your own.

First, you must decide what kind of goat's milk you will use and where you will find it. Raw vs. pasteurized is a huge debate, with wisdom on both sides.  As you may guess, politics and regulations play as big a part in this controversy as medical opinions and farming practices. You will need to do your own homework on this issue.
someday, when we are living in vermont full time,
maybe gretta will come be our goatherd...
and we'll have our very own milking station.

Once you've procured your milk, heat one gallon til it reaches 86 degrees F. You will need a metal kitchen thermometer for liquids. This is a magic number, and you may need to finesse things with your pan and stove burner. (Some folks turn the heat off just before the milk reaches 86 degrees, knowing that it will continue to heat even once it's removed from the heat.) If the temp goes a bit above 86 degrees, let it cool a few minutes.

Add a packet of starter and swirl very gently.

Add the rennet, stirring gently to combine. (Rennet comes in several types, all available here, starter as well).

Cover and set aside at room temperature for 12 hours.  (As close to 72 degrees as you can manage. At our house in the winter, this will have to be near a heat source)!

Line a colander with fine muslin (finer than traditional cheesecloth). Carefully slice a sharp knife through the cheese, creating small cubes of curd. Gently ladle the curds out of the whey and into the colander. Tie up the four corners of the muslin, and hang the bag over the sink for 6-12 hours to drain, until the curds are as firm as you want them to be.

You may want to roll the cheese in a mixture of herbs before storing in a covered container in the fridge for up to one week. Goat cheese may also be frozen, but the texture does become a bit grainy when defrosted.

Have you made cheese (any variety) at home ? How did it turn out?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

playing with the moon and imagining...

many moons
starry moon
spiral moon

Thank you all for your studio love. As I've been working in here this afternoon, I've imagined each of climbing the back steps and knocking on the side door. Some of you I know and we hug as you tumble in out of the chilly November afternoon. With others, introductions are in order. We hang up coats and gather chairs from the dining room to expand the circle in here. The tea is brewing and the cranberry orange muffins are just about ready to come out of the oven. Some of us are knitting, some are doing hand sewing or quilting. Others have just come for the company. The sunshine is slanting in the windows in that gentle autumn way. Henry has just slunk in and is settling into his bed under the sewing machine table. There is a lot of laughter, maybe even some guffaws. We are sharing photos, stories, plans and aspirations. The hum quiets, there may even be a few sighs...then the chatter begins again. 

Wouldn't it be fun? 

Instead we'll settle for our long distance blog community, eh? Sending you all a cyber hug.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

grand tour of the studio

To see how this whole adventure began in April, look here.
To see a wee bit of before and mid stream, look here.
And here's how it looks today...
To read about what's on the shelves, look here.
These are the cupboards that hide all of...
Sewing, quilting, knitting and needlework books.
(To the left, a door into the rest of the house, 
to the right, a door to the outside.)
I'm thinking of putting up a bulletin board over my desk, 
to post scraps of inspiration...words and pictures and such.
The chair is from my Great Uncle Quinn's log cabin.
My Meyer lemon tree (right) is sporting a few small, green lemons.
Here's the fabulous storage/cutting island.
Plenty of room to spread out!
No matter what's going on in the rest of the house,
this space is filled with calm and peace and possibilities.
The lovely linens are from my cousin in Sweden.
The turquoise stool is from my GramMuriel's kitchen. 
Here's a picture taken from the balcony.
Our beat up old denim sofa wouldn't fit where it was headed, 
so it's staying put in this room.
I'm actually delighted, because it has become a favorite place for 
 Henry cat to join me in the morning sunshine. 
It's also a great place to have tea with friends,
to read and write and dream.

Want to come over?

Saturday, November 6, 2010


This is an all time Reed family fave. I have made it gazillion times over and it has become one of my signature dishes. I take my pot pies very seriously. You might say I am passionate about my pies.

I believe homemade pot pie is one way to put love and care onto the plates of your beloveds. Add candle light, hands held 'round the table, a heartfelt blessing and you will have heaven on earth. Making pot pie with the best ingredients you can afford, and taking the time it deserves can bring you into a state of kitchen bliss.

This is important! Making pot pie from scratch takes a good bit of time. Make sure you have a few hours set aside for the project. Be ready to juggle many tasks at the same time. Or find a kitchen  teammate! 

One of the fun parts of the process is that you decide what goes in it and in what ratios. Make it your very own.  When I was out at Earlham for board meetings a few weeks ago, Gus DaSilva, the Executive Chef, made a fabulous root veggie pot pie as a vegetarian main dish. I saw it on most of the plates at my table! we go. Sometimes a glass of wine to sip along the way is nice :-)

-Peel and steam veggies. I use potatoes and carrots (from the garden, if possible). Once they are tender, I remove them from the burner and I add frozen peas to the pot, allowing them to defrost over the steamed veggies.
-At the same time, cook your chicken. I take a few boneless breasts, shake them in a mixture of cornmeal, flour, salt and pepper, and parsley, and bake them in the oven until tender. Cool, cut into bite sized pieces.
-Meanwhile, make the crust. Consider your crust-to-filling ratio. If you like crust a lot, make enough to cover a rectangular, shallow baking pan. If you are all about the filling, just make enough crust to cover a
deep casserole dish. 

For a generous crust:
  • sift together 2 cups flour w/1 teaspoon salt
  • measure and combine 2/3 cup vegetable shortening (I know! not super healthy!) with 2 TBSP butter.
  • cut half the shortening into the flour mixture, until it starts to come together. cut the remaining half in until it starts to show pea sized lumps. do not overwork the dough! 
  • add up to 4 TBSP water to bring it into one ball of dough.
  • roll out the dough on a floured surface, keeping in mind the size of the pan you will use to bake the pie.
  • gently transfer the crust  to a baking sheet, poke a few holes in it with a fork and cook for 10 minutes at 450 degrees.

For plenty of sauce:
  • melt 4TBSP of butter in a saucepan over medium low heat.
  • blend in 4TBSP flour.
  • whisk together 3-4 minutes.
  • slowly pour in 2 cups of milk, in batches, waiting for the mixture to thicken as you add each batch. (i warm the milk first, to speed this up).
  • once the sauce has thickened over the medium low heat, add seasonings. i like to add a generous scraping of fresh nutmeg, some dried parsley, sometimes a splash of lemon juice, or fresh chopped chives, if i have them.
Now for the assembly!
  • mix the chicken, veggies, and sauce together (gently) in a generous bowl.
  • pour the mixture into your baking pan of choice.
  • gently cut the pre-cooked crust to fit the top of the baking pan, and slide it on top of the filling mixture.
  • nibble on the spare bits of the crust.
Bake at 350 degrees until the sauce bubbles (pipin' 'ot!)

Serve with cranberry sauce. Enjoy!

P.S. to the Reed there's enough leftovers for both lunch the next day and some for the freezer!

Friday, November 5, 2010

dusting myself off

thank you for all the kind comments on yesterday's post.
they helped.
come back tomorrow when i will share the wonders of POT PIE,
since i've had several inquiries about how to make it.
:-) you know who you are.

in the next few days i'll post a grand tour of the new studio,
and do a post about goat cheese.

i'm also thinking about doing a Q&A.
anything you're curious about that i haven't blogged about?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

loss and hope

early this morning i got word that 
my friend franny's youngest brother
lost his battle with leukemia.
he was a treasure of a guy,
funny, energetic, hugely lovable.
 (he once pulled me aside and told me with great care and love
something i needed to hear).
he made a difference.

the world is diminished by his leaving.

and so, i wandered into my studio,
looking for comfort.
i started a baby quilt for my cousin in sweden,
who in the spring will become the first grandparent
in our generation of the family.

i sit in the midst of loss and hope.
it's what being human is all about.