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

Saturday, November 28, 2015

dearest readers...

Here's a picture of the house with the lights on upstairs for the very first time!

As we cruise in to the very darkest time of year I feel my energy here at sewandsowlife flagging.  I'll be taking a break from this space until the new year. I hope to be back-- filled with new projects, inspiration and things to share with you then.

As I slow down here at sewandsowlife, our house project will be picking up speed...hardwood floors are scheduled to be installed upstairs this week and the kitchen cupboards on Thursday. I will certainly keep you posted on the progress over at our reno blog.

I wish all of you a holiday season filled with hope, joy and peace. Keep your lights shining in the darkness, dear ones.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Giving thanks.

Friday, November 20, 2015

"All Set" jacket

"All Set" kids pattern by Anna Maria Horner. Made for a special little girl born in September. Maybe this will fit her in the spring or summer? It still needs buttons. So glad I managed to finish this in the midst of my chaotic life.

For home reno progress look here.

Monday, November 16, 2015

thinking of you...

Veteran's Day and Paris. 
Do you feel the fatigue too?

Last week, in response to one of my posts, my friend Nan sent me the loveliest e-mail with this link...her dad was featured in an interview in honor of Veteran's Day on wnpr in CT. I brewed a cup of tea and settled down with my knitting and listened to his story. It is about half an hour long and has the loveliest of twists. You may need a tissue. To be sure, the story will make your heart swell with love and hope. I thank Nan for sharing this with me. I hope it brings you some comfort, too.

Another light-filled bit of internet loveliness can be found over here, at "resurrection fern", where Margie has been absent for a while.  (her instagram feed is gorgeous!)

Marie's post was also quite poignant.

And my own two cents...

It's that simple.
Spread it around as far as you can reach.
If that's all we can do, "well done", I say.

Friday, November 13, 2015

glacier lake yarn

This is the third time I have gotten serious about this sweater, which I am embarrassed to admit I started way back in 2011. Here is the very beginning of this lovely sweater. Today's windy, dull and grey reality invites tea and yarn. A pause. A few moments of texture, color and intention. 

The latest house reno info is here. Take a peek?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thursday, November 5, 2015

still here, just quiet

The tent platform sits waiting for camping season 2016.

The Vermont landscape has transitioned from foliage season to stick season.

I love this time of year, snugged up against Halloween and All Souls Day,
when the light takes on a bittersweet slant and hearts are filled with memories.

For a peek at what's been happening with the house reno,
take a look here.
Slow and steady.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Eyes on the Land

Oil on linen panel, "Visual Journal:Johnson Farm," by Susan Abbott
Collage suspended in front of a quilt, by Bonnie Acker
Detail of Bonnie Acker's piece.

On Sunday evening, Batman and I drove through snow squalls to Shelburne Museum for the Vermont Land Trust's Annual Celebration.  A collaboration between the museum, the land trust, some of the folks who have actually conserved their land and a handful of talented local artists, The Eyes on the Land exhibit was filled with gorgeous work inspired by a sense of place. We were lucky to have time after the land trust's annual meeting to wander the gallery filled with rural gems. 

Still fully entrenched in our house reno project, I long for days when we can enjoy the fruits of all this labor. Days when mugs of hot tea and scraps of fabric and paper are scattered across my cutting table and I have uninterrupted time to get back to projects, one or two inspired by this beautiful exhibit in Shelburne.

As the siding goes up the creative days I long for are feeling closer. Patience. Patience.

(Latest home reno update here).

Saturday, October 17, 2015

"flurries in the higher elevations"

These photos were taken in the span of fifteen minutes, while the sunshine and snow squalls flirted with one another. The last of the wedding wildflowers and the foliage are taking turns knocking my socks off. 

There has been much hard work this week...more and more soul satisfying sweat equity, sore muscles and deep sleep.

The foliage season was dry and slow to start, but after some rain it exploded with color. I needed to take some time today to walk with my camera. To see the melancholy magic of the season. There is no richer time of year for me, deep with sentiment, memories and a turning inward.

I love Vermont. She and I are made for each other.

Monday, October 12, 2015

pressing cider and painting planks, lots of planks

We are in the midst of a very productive three day weekend. We're continuing site cleanup, yard work and painting countless 12 foot planks of siding. On Saturday, we headed to our neighbors down the road for a late afternoon work break. Laura and Nora are the proud owners of a brand new barn where they will shelter...GOATS! It is a absolutely beautiful post and beam building.
They built the sweet hay bale house themselves, which you can see over Batman's shoulder in this picture. Laura and Nora host an annual neighborhood cider pressing party and this was the first year we managed to join them. Folks from all over the neighborhood bring apples from their trees and take turns at the press. The little motor was added to a vintage chopper and the pressing is done with the hand crank.
Here you can see Batman rocking the chopper...without chopping his fingers! Fabulous potluck food and lots of friendly chatting finished out the afternoon. 
And this is the gorgeous, fresh pressed cider we came home with. Someone had made fun labels, "Rural Revolution Farm", for all the jugs, jars and bottles that left the homestead.

If you haven't seen the latest house reno blogpost, pop on over to see what color we chose for the exterior! Speaking of which, I'm off to paint the next batch of planks. Meanwhile, the spray foam insulation guys finally arrived.

The leaves are turning with enthusiasm up here in rural Vermont, though not yet peak. What's been going on at your place? 

Friday, October 9, 2015

triptych 25

  • casting on with "earth and snow" worsted from Blue Heron Farm Wool.
  • a bit of vintage flooring that turned up in the demo. 
  • today's lovely, gentle, rainy vista.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival, a bit of gardening, some priming/painting of siding and a 35th graduate school reunion for Batman filled our weekend. It's hard not to hear a whooshing sound in my ears as the days slip by in this golden light. 

It's all so temporary, so fleeting.

So precious.

Friday, October 2, 2015

"Love is the strongest force the world possesses."
-Mahatma Gandhi

Happy birthday to one of the princes of peace.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

this evening...

Oh, October, you are my very favorite.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

encouragement for today

We are finally getting some much needed rain here in Vermont. I hope it has come in time to rescue the foliage season, or at least jazz it up a bit.

The gloom and chill seem a bit oppressive after days and days of sunshine, so I thought I'd share two encouraging links here.
  • The 2015 MacArthur Fellows were announced yesterday. You can read about them here. I love to see philanthropy and great ideas collide. If only these folks were in the headline news every day, instead of the steady stream of gloom and doom that mainstream media chucks at us!
  • This wonderful piece by Parker Palmer is also worth a read. He quotes Gregory Ellison ll, "You can't change the world, but at every moment, you can change what's happening within three feet of you". In this commentary, Parker offers us a list of 5 ways we can "heal a wounded body politic".
What would you add? Do you have a little something encouraging to add here? Every little bit helps. :-)

Monday, September 28, 2015

triptych 24

  • Sweet texture. Bag by Bookhou, library basket by my buddy Franny.
  • Onion blossom bouquet from the garden.
  • Three birch sisters and their wee balsam cousins.

Friday, September 25, 2015

it's all coming together, this dream of ours

Last night I climbed the ladder and took a peek into the second story. This is a shot taken through one of the guest room windows, looking to the northwest, up the valley. As I write, the windows are being unloaded in the driveway. I can barely contain my excitement. (eeeeeek!)

There's another update over on our reno blog.
We are working with a local cabinetmaker (his quote was more affordable than the stock cabinets offered by the local lumberyard our contractor works with). Glen is from Scotland and learned his trade through the apprenticeship program. His workshop looks like a museum. He has helped us source local wood for the cupboards. We've chosen red BIRCH for the cupboards and I had my eye on soapstone for the counters. After budget crunching, research on different options and lots of compromise, we decided to go with a manufactured solid surface. We both fell in love with this grey/black/speckled sample and when we turned it over to find the name we gasped. It's called "meteor shower".  SOLD! 
One of our young pear trees had a lovely bunch of fruit this year. One day I went out to check on the pears and they were gone. Every one. I think it may have been the black bear who swiped them. Not wanting to leave anything to chance, last night Batman picked these Liberties and Honeycrisps. 

Life has been so, so busy these days that I only took a few minutes to notice that we are now in the midst of my favorite season. This bowl of apples is a reminder to me to stop and soak in the delights of autumn. It's been so dry here in Vermont for the last month or so that many leaves are drying up before they turn bright with color. It may be a disappointing foliage season here this year...but the slanting and rich sunlight, the rustle of leaves underfoot and the annual turning inward will happen anyway. 

Here is a terrific listen if you have a spare two and a half minutes. I heard it on the radio yesterday while I was puttering in my makeshift kitchen.  I thought of all of you, dear readers, when I heard it, and of how we all need respite from the world now and then. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

triptych 23

At the Tunbridge World's Fair on Sunday

  • dill in the harvest exhibition hall.
  • antique tractor pull, where (according to a bystander) this badass young lady bested her boyfriend's pull.
  • senator sanders scarecrow, honored with a very showy ribbon. (his crochet-haired opponent won a special mention for "scariest")

Friday, September 18, 2015

dreams really can come true

yesterday may have been one of the top ten best days of my life. 

welcome to our new kitchen/living/dining room.

for details,
pop on over to our reno blog.

Monday, September 14, 2015

life's fullness

  • beets...steamed, marinated and ready for salads.
  • beets...both golden and red, and carrots, set into builder's buckets, filled with play sand and put away in the root cellar for later on.
  • leeks, onions and squash, still waiting in the garden, for harvest soon.
  • a series of amazing sunsets, one of the few perks of a hot and humid week.
  • just a bit more demo (the pros arrived this morning, it's getting serious around here...there is panelling flying out of windows upstairs!!!)
  • cherry tomatoes, slowly roasted with fresh herbs and put away in the freezer.
  • keeping an eye out for the handsome black bear that I saw loping across the road not far from our house.
  • an evening with the capitol steps.
  • breakfast at king arthur flour and then some time at the norwich farmer's market and on to concord, nh to shop for faucets and sinks and such.
  • another fun mqg gathering at nido in burlington.
  • a friend just had a baby girl last week, i'm stitching a wee jacket for her. the little one is lucky to have two big brothers at home. 
  • a fine shift in temperature, which makes everything even better! it's finally feeling like FALL.
how about you, what have you been up to these days? stitching? gardening? dreaming? reading? working?   painting?

Friday, September 11, 2015

remembering and being reminded...

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. 
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

scattering kindness

Every year we plant sunflowers in our garden here in Vermont. We plant them in celebration of the life of Erin Elizabeth Potts. Sunflowers have become a reflection and symbol of the radiance of Erin's life.

You may read about why the memory of this dear girl is so important to us here.

It is no coincidence that our sunflowers tower over the rest of our crops in the month of September, for it is Childhood Cancer awareness Month. 

I have just sent a donation to Scatter Kindness, a memorial fund set up to honor Erin's life, to help ease the challenges of those battling cancer. 

It is one thing I can do to help make some small difference in this world.