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

Friday, February 28, 2014

good bye february

Because I do not think winter is done with us just yet, I am casting on a new hat. I'm using two Vermont wools. The lighter is from the sheep at Shelburne Farms (a Christmas gift from our Gretta). The darker is from Sheep and Pickle Farm, just down the road from Fat Toad Farm. I bought it last summer, when we stopped by to visit during an Open Farmhouse Weekend. It feels good to have such lovely, natural colors working between my hands...another version of meditation.

I've also cut out another felt bunny, this time she will be a soft grey.  

Late February often inspires me to re-dedicate myself to healthier eating and as it turns out, March is National Nutrition Month. I am following along with purelyelizabeth's March Makeover, filled with simple, daily tasks to support better health. If you are feeling a little sluggish these days, too, check it out. Looks like some fine recipes will be posted there as well.

I am nearly done with 28 pieces of snail mail for February! It was fun to drop those envelopes into the mail slot, and find a few pieces in my own mailbox at the bottom of the driveway. Did you send snail mail in February? (Sometimes it felt a little Jane Austen-ish).

Bright blue skies today, with mountains of snow along the edges of every road and driveway. Cold, cold, cold, so no sign of melting soon. Because Batman is an astronomer, he believes that spring begins on March 1st and he is already fired up for garden planning. Maybe he can jump into the deep end of that on Monday when the next snowstorm will swoop through and Mother Nature will have her way with us.

What are you up to on this last day of February, dear friends?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sunday, February 23, 2014

the 23rd of february

I do love Krista Tippet's On Being. I find such nourishing pieces there. This morning I found this wonderful 4 1/2 minute video with Renate Hiller, about the impact that handcrafting has on the human soul.

This piece is a lovely read, written by Emma M. Churchman, an alum of the Earlham School of Religion. You do not have to be a religious person to be touched by her words.

Batman and Henry had a boy's weekend in Vermont. I have stayed here to keep things just right.

Hyacinths and paper whites scent the air in the house here. The sun shines off the white snow and reflects its cheer into the house. There are drips from the eaves and rivulets in the driveway. More snow is forecast for midweek and so the shovels stand at the ready by the garage doors. This is the way of February. I am happy to have the company of Ted Kooser's words as we slide down the back side of winter.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

back here

oh me, oh my.
i have dodged two snowstorms and 
gotten myself to the midwest and back
since i last checked in with you here.
and now it is snowing again.
i do love snow.
i do love winter.
but i could not resist these lovely pussy willows
when i saw them at the store.

today is a domestic, catching up on everything day.
(especially snail mail)!

there is so much swirling around in my head...
days of meetings, deep conversations, challenges.
sometimes falling into chores and work can provide 
the white space for processing everything 
that goes on in our busy brains.

i welcome you mop, sponge and broom.
today you are my partners.
let's see what we can do together.

Monday, February 10, 2014

honoring needles

my broken, bent and burred pins and needles.
stored safely in an old film canister until full
and ready for disposal.

oh, i do like this way much better...

(the photos are so beautiful)
february 8th
in Wakamiya hachimansha Shrine.
(via the inspiring sonya philip)

the art of pulling a thread through fabric.
gracious, timeless, simple and sacred, 
if only we pay attention.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

guest post from lindsey::duvet cover

Hello Sew & Sow readers! Mom and I have been been trying to be more crafty these days, and helping hold each other accountable. I have found that most of my projects that actually get done have some utilitarian value around the house. Lately I was noticing that my duvet cover (along with the duvet itself, a very generous gift from Mom and Dad when I moved to Boston 5 1/2 years ago) was getting a little faded and worn out, but I wasn't feeling very ready to buy a new one. Around the same time I fell in love with some fabric at Ikea which, as luck would have it, was exactly the lower limit of yardage for the top of a duvet cover!

This is definitely the most "advanced" project I have taken on at the sewing machine lately, and I learned a lot (french seams! twill snap tape!). Thanks to this tutorial, some customization (I made mine reversible for variety, and I'd suggest adding twill tape on the inside corners to hold the duvet in place), and a couple phone calls to Mom, within a day I had gone from buying fabric to sleeping under my new duvet cover! Here are a few of the steps (below) 
tutorial on the laptop, project on the table,
(roommates were good sports).
french seams
snap twill tape
twill tape to fasten duvet at inside corners
reversible to gray
I'd say the biggest challenges were managing that much fabric as I was sewing, and maintaining patience during the hours of pinning and ironing seams. The reward is really sweet and warm, though :) Thanks for your help, Mom!

(Heck, did all the work, I just reminded you to breathe!
Thanks so much for sharing this fabulous project with us!)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

a quick pillow

oh me, oh my.
life can be full and busy, can't it?
that's why even half an hour in my sewing studio
is worth celebrating.
especially when i get to hang out with

Monday, February 3, 2014

begin again

It is snowing a gentle, soft bit here today. There is much to do, but the quiet hum of the washing machine and a pot of jasmine tea invite me to pause. 

I am one month deep into my word for 2014, integrity. It's funny how sometimes when we become deliberate and mindful, opportunities float our way.

A few weeks ago, I began a five week workshop on meditation. A dear friend is leading it, and I had been wanting to rededicate myself to improving my practice. We are using Sharon Salzberg's book Real Happiness, The Power of Meditation to support our exploration. After two weeks of sitting nearly daily, these are some things I have been grateful for...

As I sit down to meditate and the chatter in my mind takes a long time to settle down, Sharon's words remind me that with every breath we can begin again. I have embraced this compassionate message. When our meditating minds wander, we can begin again, with the very next breath. We can, actually, begin again whenever we need to, even when we are not sitting to meditate. Whenever I find myself flustered or challenged or stressed, I try to remember to take three deep breaths and begin again. This simple practice makes life so much easier!  Beginning again is such a compassionate way to treat ourselves. No judgement, no shame, no regret...just begin again.

And this sentence, from the first chapter in Sharon's book jumped off the page and has been my mantra ever since. Distractions waste our energy; concentration restores it to us. Oh, yes, yes, yes please! Let me continue to work on this one! It is OK to do lots of things in a day...just let's concentrate on one*thing*at*a*time, shall we?

Our group meets once a week to discuss the chapter, to check in on our progress and to do a bit of meditating as a group. I like the accountability and support I have found with this group of strangers, who are becoming friends as we practice together. 
If you have a practice of meditating, how does it help you live a saner life? If you don't have a practice now and if you might like to try meditating, I recommend Sharon's book to you. If you follow the link, you will find sample audio sessions there that you might like to try.


P.S. Suz, I thought of your blog title as I wrote this post. xo

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Month of Letters

I do love snail mail, both sending it and receiving it. I used to be much better about old fashioned correspondence, so when I read about Mary Robinette Kowal's February challenge I knew I wanted to join her. She is articulate and inspiring in her message. Read all the details here.
Yesterday, I bought some new postage stamps, so that I am well supplied for the month.
I checked on my stash of handmade envelopes and found these pretties, ready for addresses. 

Because I think of my Mumsie as the Queen of Correspondence, I am kicking off the month with a letter to her (but of course, her envelope will need to be turquoise).

Friends, are you in?