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

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

inspired by ted kooser's walks...

A few early mornings ago I watched as Orion perched himself on the spine of the mountains across the valley. Since then, the view has shape shifted itself through fog and snow and freezing rain and woodsmoke. The colors of "stick season" in Vermont are made all the richer by the dull skies. Gold, burnt umber, sienna, rust, evergreen, sumac red...the colors that wind down our calendar year with such grace. 

The house is clean, the pies are under construction and we await the safe arrival of a few more. The soft white tablecloth has been pulled out of its special drawer and the beeswax candles and gravy boat are sitting on the buffet. 

Wishing each of you a day of peace, comfort and gratitude.

"Gratitude is heaven itself" -William Blake

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

morning, noon and night

fairy lights inside and flurries outside...
a corner in our bedroom this morning.
"our" dirt road.
mixed greens, grated raw beets, chopped orange bell pepper,
scallions, sliced tangerine, fruit juice sweetened cranberries,
chopped walnuts, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
it was our contribution to a crafter's lunch, complemented by
fabulous chili, red hen bread and chocolate chip cookies.
and tea. lots of tea. 
birch hearts, linen hearts, embroidered dala horses and
a sweet bird (kristen's beautiful stitches!)
 are just some of the things we four worked on today in ellen's kitchen.
(it is so good to have gretta back with us, even for just a little bit).

to pick up our humanely raised turkey bird.  

fingers are crossed for safe travel conditions
for our special few (and for everyone else's beloveds)!

more kooser tomorrow...

Thursday, November 21, 2013


in the beauty of late autumn.
on our beloved land.

such a deep sense of place...
of grounding,
of home.

Monday, November 18, 2013

stitching with red

Here's a sneak peek...
I'm lending a hand to some friends on a little holiday project...
a Festival of Trees to benefit 
the Landscape and Horticulture Scholarship
at Vermont Technical College.

We are having fun--sometimes stitching together 
at Ellen's dining room table in VT
and sometimes stitching on our own, wherever we are. 
Next week, Gretta will join the group 
and there will be more hands busy with needle and thread.

I can't wait to see how it all comes together...
(how can it already be time for holiday prep?)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

techie tidbit bag

all of this...
fits into this.
(which i wrote about the first month i started this blog.
it's stood up well over the years!)
it's a grab-and-go bag for all my techie tidbits...
ready to go to a board meeting in indiana,
a quick trip to vermont, or just an afternoon at the library.
everything all in one place.
no searching all over the house for this charger or that.

one of my favorite people
 visited recently and left some of her own techie tidbits behind...
requiring a trip on my part to the post office for their 
safe return to said visitor. 
so, here's a newer version of the grab-and-go bag,
made with wool felt and an old scrap of liberty of london fabric.
it was a snap to make, with no lining or 
fussiness when putting the zipper in.
 it will arrive in a certain mailbox sometime today...
you know who you are.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

snow and frost...inside and outside

Nov 9. The sky hangs thin and wet on its clothesline.

Nov12. ...I sometimes take hold of the cold porcelain knob of the moon, and turn it...

Nov 13. A curled, brown leaf lies on its back, lifting its undistinguished edges into the glory of frost.

-All from Winter Morning Walks: one hundred postcards to Jim Harrison, by Ted Kooser

Some of us are reading along with the dated poems in this lovely work. Maybe these snippets will draw you in to join us. I love Kooser's words so much that I have to keep myself from reading ahead. Instead, I reread and savor each one several times a day.
a few stitches
It seems very fitting that the dated poems in Kooser's book began around the same time as our first snowfall here in CT. Serendipity. I like that.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Guest post by Lindsey...Fiddle Hell!

Group play-through of "Common Tunes" (a list of 52)
Scout Meetinghouse
Irish Jam, Scout Meetinghouse

Hello readers! And thanks to Mom for asking me to guest blog!

This past weekend (Friday-Sunday) I participated in Fiddle Hell, a huge get-together for fiddlers from all over the country (and farther) to teach, learn, jam, and enjoy each other's company in Concord, MA. I went in a little apprehensive and came out completely overflowing with tunes in my head!

A little history - when I was a small kid I was completely in love with classical violin, and Mom and Dad did an amazing job fostering my love of music and indulging my daily practicing. From fourth grade through high school, I participated in my school orchestra during the school year and my summer camp's "String Band" during the summers. But after I finished college, it was about ten years until I played again.

Here in Boston, there are great musicians all over the place, and I was longing for an instrument that was more "social" (my primary instrument has always been solo piano). I already had a violin, I was crushing on the old-time and folk music scene, and so last fall I gave myself the gift of lessons. I found a teacher who I had seen perform at Berklee and with her help (and accountability!) I have been taking fiddle lessons for a year now.

So back to the present - at Fiddle Hell this weekend, I got to hear and play with fiddlers from all traditions. Turns out there are a lot of different styles! From 9:30am til midnight, each 1.5 hours was a different workshop - from learning tunes, learning technique, to jamming on common tunes. I took workshops that focused on Irish jigs, Irish ornamentation, French-Canadian tunes, Swedish polkas, Oldtime tunes, and more.  It was amazing to see so many different teaching techniques, hear so many different individual playing styles, and overhear some really, really talented people all weekend. I felt completely saturated in a world I've only skirted the corners of - and now I want in!

Having the opportunity to be there exposed me to some really amazing musicians and helped me remember that people of all ages and of all experience levels (including none) can take on something new. Maybe someday Mom and I will be jamming together on the front porch in VT, eh?!

Here are a few photos of the wonderful people there this weekend. Let me know if you have questions - I'd recommend this experience to anyone!
Fiddle Concert, Saturday night
Scout Meetinghouse
Oldtime Jam, Colonial Inn

Saturday, November 9, 2013


I "met" Jamie through Margie, a mutual friend soon after I started writing this blog (years ago).  Jamie posts over at Mommy Hungry . I have loved reading about her life with her sweet family. Jamie muses about a full range of things...history, food, spirituality, field trips, relatives, raising twins...

As I struggled recently with postponing our dreams of moving to Vermont full time, you, dear readers, softened the blow with your kind comments. Each one of you helped me feel supported at a time when I was feeling pretty glum.

Jamie's comment was simple and brought tears to my eyes. She made a gesture that I will always remember. Sweet and simple, she wrote:

"Hugs . . . can I take you to lunch at Bloodroot as a condolence? Perhaps in November? :)" 

Yesterday, we met up at Bloodroot, for lunch and conversation. (Did we converse! For several hours!) I so enjoyed getting to know Jamie in person. 

Before I left the house to meet Jamie, I stitched this little sachet for her, filled with dried balsam needles from the trees at our bit of earth in Vermont. I wanted to make a gesture...of appreciation, of respect, of friendship.

These little gestures connect us one to the other, and make a difference in our lives and in the world we create every day.

Namaste Margie and Jamie and you, too, dear readers.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

bright colors on a rainy day


If you are a Facebook user, might you consider supporting  Summer Search Boston by casting a vote for them in the Lincoln's Legacy Awards?  From the website--"The Lincoln's Legacy Award will recognize and invest in nonprofit organizations whose principles and programs advance Abraham Lincoln's legacy of freedom and opportunity through education. The $50,000 award will be presented each year through 2015."

Someone I know and love puts her heart and soul into working with her students at Summer Search, and I know how much a grant of that amount can do for this outstanding organization. 

It will only take a few minutes, and your vote can change lives. Many thanks.

Monday, November 4, 2013

a mobius inspired scarf

I found this beautiful Bird's Eye (Naomi Ito, Nani Iro) fabric at NIDO, a sweet fabric and yarn shop on the second floor at 209 College Street in Burlington, VT. I bought half a yard with sewing a scarf in mind. (Phiona, the lovely shopkeeper, recommended pre-washing and drying the fabric, as it tends to shrink a bit.)
Once out of the dryer, I pressed it carefully and trimmed both of the long edges, making sure I was left with a perfect rectangle. Then I folded the fabric in half the long way, right sides together and pinned and stitched them with a quarter of an inch seam allowance.  I turned the piece inside out, and ended up with a long tube, with both short ends open. 
I laid the tube out flat on the ironing board and took the right side end in my hand and gently flipped it over, creating the long fold you see here in this picture.
Taking the right side end of the tube in my right hand again, I folded it over in half at the middle and matched the two short ends together. (The two short, raw ends are now matched together on the left, and the fold is on the right).
Here's where the fussy part begins...I pinned the two short ends together, right sides together, as far as I could. Pinning "in the round" takes patience, and at some point, you just have to stop, in order to leave a place to remove the pins and stitch the last little bit closed by hand.
By stitching this seam slowly you may take the time to be sure you are not catching other bits of the scarf into the seam.  Keep the pinned seam under your presser foot, and use your left hand to guide the other fabric that may be trying to bunch up away from the presser foot. 
Once you have sewn as far as you dare/can, spread the scarf out on a flat surface and turn the remaining seam allowance (the "gap" in the photo above) under and pin it closed.
Be careful not to pin the seam all the way through both layers of the scarf. You are simply pinning the "gap" closed, leaving the part you stitched by machine free. This step requires some patience as well.
Being careful not to pick up fabric from the other side of the scarf, use a small hand stitch to close up the two sides of the remaining gap that you have pinned.
I decided early on not to trim the selvedges from the fabric, so that I would end up with a "do-it-yourself" designer logo at the seam.  
This is not the greatest photo, but here's the scarf, ready to wear. Now I am thinking of gift making possibilities...

Read about the science behind a Mobius band here. I love the idea of a surface with no end...


Friday, November 1, 2013

the veil

Oh, I hear you in the wind that wraps around the house and thumps against the door.
I see you in the mist and rain that hangs in the tree branches.
Your shadow, dancing in the candlelight, brings me comfort.
I feel you, caught in the shiver of memory.

Beloveds all, I am missing you today, and sending you love across the fluttering veil that separates us from one another.