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

Sunday, September 30, 2012

well done, friends!

the foliage in our CT neighborhood is rather dull this year.

A lot of projects got finished up this week! It was such fun to read all of your comments on the last post, and now I'm off to peek at your links. (Thanks, too, for all the sweet compliments on Gretta's traveling quilt)!

Stewart proposed a six month accountability project...let's give that some thought and check in later this week to see if you're game.

I'm going to be very busy for the month of October. I think I'll use this little blogging space to help me keep my center. I'll be posting shorter, more in the moment posts. I hope you'll join me as we savor the season.

Be sure to go outside tonight and look up at the Harvest Moon! And catch my fave Harvest Moon here.
Throw your head back and give a little howl while you're out there?

Friday, September 28, 2012

accountability week (and the journey of a quilt)

On Monday, I invited readers to join me in an accountability a project that you will finish by Friday. It's Friday, so let's check in! 
I promised to sew the binding on a quilt stitched by my daughter Gretta. DONE! Please leave a comment (and a link, if you have one) to let us all know how you fared this week. I extend a warm welcome to Kathy(small world!) and Gail, both new commenters here. I'm delighted to see those of you who have done an accountability week with me before and are back for more. To those of you who are trying it for the first time, good on'ya!

Here's the story of Gretta's lovely quilt. Last fall, Gretta spent a semester studying in Australia (via a wonderful SIT program). One of the requirements of the program was participation in an internship. Gretta took herself to Melbourne and worked with the savvy young women at Ink and Spindle, a yummy fabric printing business. You can read about Gretta's design process here. You can read about her experience at Ink and Spindle here

That beauty of a quilt top was carefully rolled up in Gretta's backpack in Australia and loaded onto a plane where it sailed over land and sea for a whole day. Gretta unrolled it here in CT and we "oohed and aahed" over it. Then it sat, waiting patiently, for months. 

In May, we pulled it out and spread it on the basting tables. To see the basting work, take a peek here. In June, it got rolled up again and trundled off to our place in Vermont.  Gretta spent the summer as a camp counselor, and enjoyed her days off with us at our bit of earth, where she spent many happy hours quilting her way through the gates of Melbourne. At the end of the summer, I offered to put on the binding, so home it came with me, back to CT. And this week, I finally DID it.

It's official now, Gretta will be graduating from college in November, a bit earlier than planned. She's already sent resumes out into the world, and depending on what happens, her quilt could go with her to...who knows where!

Please be sure to leave a comment...let us know how your project turned out (or not). ;-)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

gretta's birch tree wallhanging

When I was a kid at summer camp in Vermont, I once had the pleasure (and the stress) of being a quilt head for our huge end of summer fair celebration. Every year, we make a quilt and raffle it off to raise money for camper scholarships. We patched together this quilt with appliqued birches.

Years later while on staff at the same camp, one of my coworkers found out I had been the person behind the quilt and told me how it had been her favorite quilt!

Flash forward to this summer, when that same coworker got married to the love of her life. I knew I didn't have the time or energy to make a full sized quilt, so I made them this wall hanging. Hand appliqued, beaded, and quilted.
They loved it! In their words "We absolutely love the beautiful wall hanging. Thank you so much for putting so much time and love into our present. It means the world to us."
Here's to homemade gifts with meaning, and sharing handmade love!
(Gretta is a senior in college...majoring in environmental studies 
and minoring in economics. She embraces study break craftiness!) 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


is the glass half full
or is the glass half empty?

i need to remember that i can choose which way to see it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

accountability project

Join me this week in an accountability project?

Do you have a closet to clean out, an unfinished sewing project, a stack of paperwork to sort, a report to write, etc, etc, etc?

I have a binding to sew onto Gretta's quilt (yes, she quilted it this summer and left it here with me to sew on the binding). I need a bit of meditative hand work this week, to center me amidst all the different directions I need to be going in. I cut and ironed the binding and machine sewed it this I need to turn it and hand sew it onto the backing. I will finish this by Friday morning, and show you the final results.

How about YOU? Are you game? If you leave a promise in the comments below, we'll all be looking for your progress come Friday morning. Embrace a little peer pressure!

Jump in!

Friday, September 21, 2012

winnowing down some more

Sorting and de-cluttering once again, today I collected all my baskets, rinsed them and set them outdoors to dry. I think I'll pull about half of them and offer them to the four kids via a basket raffle. I just love that three out of four of them are living out in the world and sometimes welcome a hand-me-down or two.  (We also have a little stash in a corner here for Gretta, who might need it sooner than we thought...)

This summer we enjoyed this movie, about a guy, his wife and toddler, living in NYC, trying to have no impact on the environment for a year. A little provocative and a lot inspiring.

Here's a very thoughtful blog post about things being future proof, from one of our favorite artists.

And this post, from another favorite blogger, is all about winnowing.

We're on a roll. The weekend "to do" list is long...but autumn officially begins in less than 24 hours. Renewed energy galore! Woot!

Start thinking about projects you'd like to work on...Monday I'll host another accountability week.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

the best days

Today I tried a new granola recipe. When it finished baking, I left the oven door open to cool. The heat drifted into the kitchen and I actually welcomed it.

I reached into the back of our closet and retrieved my cozy slippers.

I wore a sweatshirt when I went out to hang the laundry.
The sunflowers from our VT gardens are sitting on our CT windowsill. They are dropping their pollen as I wash the dishes.

Stuffed acorn squash will be served up tomorrow night (or maybe Saturday). We had zucchini muffins for breakfast this week, and there's cider in the fridge.

Sweet, sweet autumn may be waiting for the calendar, but I know she's moved into the neighborhood already.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

practical stitching

Here are Hannah's new curtains,
made with fabric and hardware from IKEA.
These were so, so easy to stitch up, 
and the nifty little clips made hanging them a breeze.
(artwork on the wall is by Nikki McClure, a Reed family favorite)
During the day a lovely tree screens her view to the neighbors,
but in a few short weeks, when the leaves fall,
those same neighbors will be up close and personal.
The nifty curtain ring/clip mechanism will make it easy to keep
the curtains open or closed, according to need.

Any of you who quilt may recognize 
leftover binding strips stuffed into my basket.
And call me crazy, but I save used bags 
from onions, citrus and potato purchases.
Before returning to college a few weeks ago,
 Gretta asked me about making some produce bags.
(We are trying to bring as little plastic into 
our homes as we can these days.)
  I used some of the leftover binding strips to create
 a sturdy closure for the bottom of a newly made bag.
I also stitched some co-ordinating strips to use as tie closures
for the bags, to keep things from tumbling out at the 
checkout counter.
Some of the bags were already pretty sturdy,
so I just added tie strips.
I hope Gretta will remember to toss them into her 
backpack when she heads off to the store on her sweet bike.

The more sew-it-yourself,
projects I can manage,
the better I feel.

I am so grateful to have my trusty sewing machine
and a long line of creative, seam-stressy women who came before me. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

my laptop is back from her trip to the spa...

(image taken at this years' Tunbridge World's Fair,
you may remember the banner from here)

The busyness of the end of summer got caught up in a bit of mayhem with the Reed family. There were new beginnings, health challenges, academic surprises and new clarity about the way forward. Let's just say that sometimes being patient and flexible and innovative is the way to go. We are all intact, rededicated to our goals and ready for some progress. Thus, speed the plough!

My laptop and I are ready to get back to blogging. See you tomorrow for some sewing show and tell.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one...
...imagine all the people living life in peace.

-John Lennon

Friday, September 7, 2012

Time out

My lap top Is enjoying a few days at the spa (thank goodness I renewed my Apple Care membership!
Will be back next week with curtains, recycled veggie bags and more simplifying. Be well.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

thread therapy

Gretta wore out her old bag.
This is the new bag that will go into the mail tomorrow.
She pilfered these fabrics from my stash.
(She's back at school for her senior year in college!)
Instead of using interfacing,
I used lightweight cotton batting and did some machine quilting
to hold the layers together.
If the babushkas look familiar,
it's because I used them here.

I'll be heading to Hannah's apartment tonight
to hang the new curtains.
(Will take pictures).

The end of my summer in Vermont has evaporated.
As I often do, I am working out some of the re-entry kinks...
crafting things in my sewing studio.

It's nice to be back here at sewandsowlife.

Monday, September 3, 2012

artful geographic

Hello Sew and Sow Folks, it's Stewart, Karen's nerdy history teacher son. I just launched a new blog and I'm hoping to reach a larger audience, so here I am to try to coax you over to Artful Geographic to take a look.
About a year ago I picked up some postcards at a garage sale, and soon realized that they are a treasure trove of interesting glimpses into history and the ordinary and extraordinary lives of Americans. I started a small side business on Ebay selling some of my finds, but mostly Artful Geographic is a fun way to share the history that I uncovered through postcards, photos, Victorian trade cards and more.
I want my blog to make history accessible to people who are looking for a casual glimpse into America's past. In the future, I hope to have a wide variety of posts that I hope will be engaging and entertaining. I invite you to come check it out, and I hope to see you there! -Stew