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

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

leaping into march

A perfect storm of odd karma swallowed me up in February. I lost my way, I lost my voice and I was a bit quiet here at sew and sow life. I would like to leave the details behind, along with the February days crossed off my calendar. I know from reading some of my favorite blogs that I have not been alone in this February funk.

Today is an extra day, and with snow falling gently here in Connecticut, it feels like a gift. Batman is in Mexico on business, so Henry and I are hunkered in. It feels like a good day to dust myself off, take a few deep breaths and turn toward a new month and a fresh outlook.  

Leap with me?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

winter, at last

at our "bit of earth" in vermont,
with good people, good food and good fun.

gracias a la vida.

Friday, February 24, 2012


This gorgeous amaryllis is blooming on the cutting table 
in my sewing studio. 
This week's prompt over at Illustration Friday:

Mr. Edison was quite a genius.
Imagine a world where we did all
the things we are capable of. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

you'll be glad you did

a home grown, local meyer lemon.
(in new england, in february!)
daffodils, blooming in a pot in our dining room.

a most exquisite TEDtalk has been making the rounds of places i visit.
(thanks to my brother doug, who reminded me of it this afternoon).

create, find, borrow or steal just 10 minutes to

Sunday, February 19, 2012

beech therapy

sometimes the very best thing you can do for a february funk
is put on the hiking boots and walk it off.
through the woods and around the pond...
the sun played off the beeches every which way,
and the air was fresh and full of the irresistible scent of dirt.
we found a whole neighborhood of these,
blooming in the shelter of some ancient stone walls.

free attitude adjustment.

Friday, February 17, 2012

accountability results

On Monday, I invited folks to join me on another accountability project. Here's the challenge/project I went with: Pick one material possession that you love and represent it in a new way--ink, paint, pencil, paper, fabric, whatever. Tell a little bit of its story. I have been thinking about my version all week, and fumbled around with it a good bit. I finally got started on it yesterday. Here is one of my favorite possessions...
around the rim, "love&kisses"
Years ago, Batman brought me this lovely Emma Bridgewater mug. He wrapped it carefully, tucked it into his luggage and brought it back with him from a business trip to London. 

As I began to think of how to represent it in a new way, I thought of the times when I most often drink tea. 
  1. I drink tea, often as part of a morning meditation, while watching birds at the feeder.
  2. I drink tea while reading...magazines, poetry, books, letters, newspapers...snuggled up in the "comfy chair", sitting on the porch or curled up in bed.
  3. I drink tea while walking around the yard, most often in Vermont, gazing at the view, dreaming about and planning for the future. I often end up in the garden, too.
So, I began making some tea bags, one for each kind of tea drinking...
  • birdseed
  • text that reads "Poetry, Books, Magazines, Letters and Newspapers"
  • a fortune cookie slip that reads, "Keep in mind your most cherished dreams of the future", a bit of birchbark and a few tiny birch branches from trees at  our "bit of earth".
I wondered what to do next...certainly a challenge like this deserves more bang for the buck. But when I shared this photo with Lindsey, she liked the tea bags and what they represented. I decided that after a long week, and self-imposed expectations, the Buddha says....this is enough. 

How about you? Did you make progress on your project? Please share a link to your blog if you have one!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

paring down my computer time

Simplicity implies clarity, calm, and focus, rather than distractions, stress, and excess. Lacking simplicity, our lives begin to lack integrity, and we become "not a self, but a committee of selves", pulled in many different directions by so many needs and wants and desires.
-this is an older version of what can be found here.

There is SO much out there in the world. We can find it and share it so easily these days. Once in a while I realize I need to step back and readjust my filter. 

In an effort to regain some balance, and after reading this thoughtful and well-written post, and this one, too, I have deleted my Pinterest account. And I felt an odd sense of relief. Now, isn't that interesting?

Is there any such thing as too much inspiration? Can we loose own own voices in the din? 

How about you? Have you found a recipe for a healthy relationship with the computer screen?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


spread it around.
our world needs it!

Monday, February 13, 2012

another accountability week, anyone?

  • I am back from my board meetings in the mid-west, and am taking a day to catch my breath. My  CRV is in the shop for some work on its trusty self, so Henry and I are at home enjoying the sunshine in my studio.
  • While I was away, Henry and Batman went to Vermont. Henry took care of things at our "bit of earth" while Batman attended the winter NOFA-VT conference in Burlington. Batman has promised to do a guest post this week about the workshops he attended...on growing figs, and about enhancing blueberry production.
  • Having recently run out of creative steam, I've asked a few people for prompts to help move me along. Here's one my daughter Lindsey sent...Pick one material possession that you love and represent it in a new way--ink, paint, pencil, paper, fabric, whatever. Tell a little bit of its story. I look forward to taking on this challenge, and promise here and now to DO IT by this Friday. 
Will you join me? Is there a project (large or small) you've been wanting to undertake or simply finish, but it just hasn't happened yet? Why not join me in naming it and DOING it? Some of us had fun with this idea a few weeks ago. Check it out here and here

I invite you to make a note of your project here in the comments (or shoot me an e-mail if you'd rather). We can compare notes on Friday, and share what we've accomplished.

Are you in?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

the observatory

One of my favorite buildings on campus.
Built in 1861.

Isn't college all about bringing things into focus,
gaining access to things you thought were beyond your reach,
and exploring the possibilities in life?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

kind of amazed...

...that i can be folding laundry and scrubbing out the cat dish
in connecticut in the morning.
...and that at mid-day, i can climb onto an airplane,
fly above manhattan and land two hours later in the midwest.
...and be eating dinner that same night in indiana with fascinating and
wonderful people, gathered for a common good.

you just never know where it will take you.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

deep breaths

sometimes all i can do
is keep my eye on the prize.

especially when i'm not there.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012


This morning I watered plants, clipped dead leaves, dusted, ran errands, mailed valentines and an Etsy order (thanks, Deb!), and worked my way through a stack of paperwork.
I've been enjoying some tea while I  read my "board book" in preparation for upcoming  meetings.
I'm taking a welcome break to introduce you to a fun family project we've jumped into. Check out our family Etsy shop at TallReedDesigns. Stewart (in Oregon) teaches high school US History, Economics and Government. He's been stocking the shop with both vintage cards and his own photo cards. Gretta, our college girl (in Illinois) has listed lots of crazy/fun critters she's made from recycled clothing and buttons. She's also made little notebooks from recycled bits and pieces. (She is also feeling much better, after a nasty bout with mono.) Lindsey (in Boston) is loving her new job in a not-for-profit organization that serves low-income high school students, and has been sketching ideas for the shop while commuting on the T. And Hannah (in Ohio) and Batman have ideas! I've listed just one item so up-cycled grocery bag, made from bird seed bags and an old sheet.
Our shop is definitely a work in progress, but it's a great project to connect us over the miles and miles that are between us. It reminds me of the days when crafting supplies were spread out all over a table up on the third floor of our house outside of Chicago. There were theatre productions up there, the kids played school together and sometimes the model train chugged around the tracks in the glow of the street light outside. There was so much space up there that Lego villages could be left out and the kids could "skate" with their socks on the hardwood floors. Well, now I've gotten myself off topic. I invite you to pop on over to the pressure, just for fun! 

Sunday, February 5, 2012


O Great Spirit,
help me always...
to remember the
peace that may be
found in silence.

-Cherokee prayer

Saturday, February 4, 2012

snowdrops (6 weeks early)

little ones...
i worry
you are
early  and 
in your 
that is 
your message.
dare we?

Friday, February 3, 2012

for the love of women

this sweetheart idea came from maya*made, here.

today and every day.
(thanks to sharon for the reminder).

and if you are a woman,
or love a woman/women 
please consider
 joining me (via mommy, hungry!) in signing this.
(despite what is happening in our nation,
politics do not belong in the midst 
of access to healthcare.)

****exciting UPDATE****


Thursday, February 2, 2012

sketch and stitch

Germanic root, birka.
Proto-Indo-European root, bhereg. 
White, bright; to shine.
Beech, balsam, oak, gingko, aspen, birch...what is it about trees that is so fascinating?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

february hath 29 days

there are so many color neighborhoods to wander in,
but it's always back to blue and white for me.
potholders inspired by martha.
odd pieces of batting were zig-zagged together
and inserted in two layers for the insulation.
do you see the pillow ticking left over from the apron?
thrifty :-)
waxing gibbous moon, mid-afternoon.
eerily warm air temperatures.

do you have a leap year wish?