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

Friday, October 31, 2014

My friend Cathleen, or TQOE (The Queen of Everything) is a huge Kaffe Fassett fan. She pulled these fabrics from her stash and asked me to make her a purse with them for her birthday. IN MAY. Yes, well, life has been full and my sewing studio was non-existent and I've let it slide for far too long. Now that my sewing studio is beginning to take shape, I decided to get this put together for her and send it for her half birthday... So, Cathleen, keep an eye out for Rudy the mail carrier sometime next week, OK?

I've made a few of these before, to see another one, take a peek here. The pattern can be found here.

Now I am off to light the Jack-o-lanterns. Halloween was my dad's very favorite holiday, so I will invite his spirit to join me on the porch, matches in hand and we'll see what mischief we can get up to. Sending you best wishes for a happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

a sew and sow check in much of our little house here in Vermont is higelty pigelty right now, waiting for the big rehab in the spring. I have lived for 6 months without a designated sewing space and I have felt adrift. This past weekend Batman and I spent a few hours moving things around and I nearly have a sweet studio once again. An explosion of creative projects is about to happen. Pictures to follow later next week.

SOWING...still in the ground--chard, leeks, a few herbs. Newly planted--next year's garlic, snug under a bed of straw and a sugar maple sapling (thanks to our thoughtful friend Gary). Recently harvested--our very first onions. On the stove in the kitchen? Potato leek soup, make with leeks plucked from the garden 15 minutes ago.

I will be traveling to the Midwest for board meetings in the next few days...such good work to do with such good people. Batman and Henry will keep an eye on things here at our "bit of earth".

The autumn just keeps on glowing, even in the midst of a few gray and gloomy days. But winter is not far off in these parts. There were flurries in the air on Saturday and...
...the road crew installed these snow plow markers on our road last week. (Please notice the very high tech nature of the markers, Vermont style.)
The corn fields down the road were harvested yesterday, the cobs will be stored for winter feed for the cows in the neighborhood.

Listen here for one of my favorite autumn tunes (and please ignore the obnoxious ad that precedes it). Do you have a favorite autumn tune?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

autumn worship

from the left...
up and over...
and down to the right.
this morning.

I've tried, this week to capture the magic of this amazing season to share with you, dear readers. Words fail, photos pale. 

But this was happening as we woke up this morning, and as we've done other times when Mother Nature has blessed us with one of her spontaneous sermons, we hopped out of bed and ran outside to see her message. 

Our pews may be picnic benches, the homily may be silence, the hymns birdsong and the carpet a fresh layer of crunchy leaves...there is no other place I would rather worship.


Monday, October 13, 2014


Cadillac Mt, Acadia National Park, Mt Desert Island, ME.
Beaver lodge, Acadia National Park.
Sand Beach, Acadia National Park.
Thunder Hole, Acadia National Park.
Thuya Garden, Northeast Harbor, ME.

So much beauty, both natural and handmade.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

A grand day out

On Tuesday Franny and I went over to Northeast Harbor to catch the mail boat out to the Cranberry Islands.
The boat makes several runs out to the islands each day. A few bags of USPS mail are stowed in the cockpit, but the folks who live out on the islands have lots of other things delivered to them as well. Take for instance a couple of doors, above.
Or bags and bags of animal feed, stashed up on top of the cabin. Six green plastic Adirondack chairs were stacked on the deck of the boat, along with crates of groceries and the ever present canvas boat bags filled with who knows what. We climbed aboard with our cooler (full of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, carrot sticks, clementines and chocolate chip cookies) along with a handful of other tourists and set out across the water. We pulled into the docks at Little Cranberry Island and much of the cargo was off loaded, but other goods were brought onboard for the next stop. Franny and I hopped off the mail boat and got onto Franny's friend Stephanie's lobster boat. She was kind enough to take us out on a run. Here she is, hauling up a trap, using the winch to the left. 

Franny was kept very busy putting rubber bands on the claws of the lobsters as they were pulled out of the traps. Each lobster is measured and must be big enough to keep, otherwise it is tossed back in to grow bigger. Sometimes lobsters come out of the water with notches cut into their tails, showing that they had been caught at a previous time carrying eggs on their underbelly. They are tossed back in as well. 
Here's a picture of Franny putting elastic bands on a freshly caught lobster. The bucket full of bags of bait can be seen to her right. 
It was a gorgeous day to be out on the water. In the fullness of the summer season, Stephanie pulls about 300 traps a day. She says the work is lots harder when the fog rolls in and makes it very hard to navigate. As the waters cool down this time of year, the lobsters go further out to sea, and the season winds down.
Stephanie dropped us back on the dock and she took her catch over to the co-op. Her son's boat, The Lobstar was off loading his catch at the same time. Check out her dog grandbaby, he's part of the crew.

Working dogs are everywhere on the islands. The guys in the green boat were offering the guys in the white boat a tow. Too much fun.
Here's Stephanie, headed back out to finish up an afternoon of work. 

Franny and I took a walk around the island and sat in the sun and then hopped on the mailboat when it came back in on its next route. A tom turkey in a dog crate, who's fate was changed by chance was loaded on board. Produce from an island farm came on board and a cheerful bunch of school kids, all safely snug in their life jackets climbed aboard, after school snacks in hand. Imagine commuting to school on a boat every day! Their music teacher comes out to the island one day a week, their gym teacher another and their art teacher another.

Garden carts were parked in a cluster down by the docks...used to haul groceries and other supplies home to cottages tucked along the roads where the island speed limit is 15mph. The community center, a cedar shingled building, hosts pot luck suppers and concerts. A gallery, filled with beautiful artwork waits for wealthy tourists. Bountiful gardens, filled with flowers and vegetables and funky arbors fit between neighboring homes. And always overhead, the noise of both seagulls and crows. 

Finally, it was home to Franny's for knitting and wine and a fresh lobster dinner. It was quite a slice of life in coastal Maine!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

On Sunday, I made the long drive from Vermont to my other favorite place, Mt Desert Island, Maine. The foliage was gorgeous as the miles rolled along under the wheels, and there was plenty of time for quiet thinking.

I had not been to MDI since the summer of 2011, and I had that funny rush of homecoming as I drove over the causeway and onto the island. And then there was the warmth of hugging a dear and best friend who I haven't seen in ages, and all the catching up we had to do. Franny and I have been friends since the mid 1980's. All four of our kids grew up in the comfort of her love and to this day they call her their Fairy Godmother.

Within a few hours, Franny had helped me solve a long paralyzing knitting snafu and made me weep with laughter at the dinner table. (We know how to embrace the important things in life!).

Here are some pictures I took at Seawall yesterday, a favorite place to ramble on the rocks, breathe deeply and watch the boats sail in and out of Southwest Harbor.

We have so much to pack into the next few days...

Saturday, October 4, 2014

“I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” 
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Thursday, October 2, 2014

making a rose hip wreath

It's important to catch the ripening rose hips before the birds do!
I use protective gloves, because the branches are covered with
very sharp prickers.
We have many, many wild rose bushes,
so I do not worry about harvesting too many rose hips...

There is a stack of wreath frames out in Batman's workshop,
and I found wire and wire cutters out there, too.
I anchored some rose hip bunches securely at the top,
and then wound a few bunches at a time down one side of the wreath,
securing the last very tightly.
Starting at the top on the other side, 
I did the same on the right side of the 
wreath frame. I trimmed the branches at the bottom a bit,
and added some foliage where the two sides meet.

The foliage here in Vermont is peaking,
amidst overcast skies. 
We have been totally fogged in most
of these days up here on the ridge
and this project was a nice affirmation of
the muted fall beauty.

Sunshine promised for tomorrow.
It will be dazzling up here.