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

Saturday, January 31, 2015


  • snow and sun...they are taking turns these days.
  • the afternoon sun lingers later and later each day.
  • batman has been splitting wood, baking cookies, planting pea shoots for the windowsill garden.
  • we've been meeting with our design/builder, done comparison shopping for appliances, thinking about flooring, siding, insulation.
  • we've ordered our vegetable seeds and wildflower seeds too, for the summer wedding.
  • as we transition from january to february, and see more cold weeks ahead, i am signing on for the month of letters again.  how about you? are you in? (i have a generous supply of batman stamps tucked in my desk)!
  • speaking of snail mail, there are valentines to make (it's not always about romance, there's room for friendship in there, too!)
What are you up to, friends, as we slide into a new month? 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

reading and stitching apples

-Sometime in the fall, Bear Pond Books hosted an author's evening with Rowan Jacobsen.  He read from Apples of Uncommon Character.  After hearing him speak, I knew this book needed to be in our library at "a bit of earth".

-We recently had a houseful of guests (gardeners all), and the book was passed around as we had tea by the fire.

-One friend went home and selected a few vintage farming books from her collection. Last week, I was delighted to find them in our mailbox! Included was The American Fruit Book; containing directions for Raising, Propagating, and Managing Fruit Trees, Shrubs, and Plants by S. W. Cole, published in 1849. Carolyn noted that the books just "belonged" in our library in Vermont. Such generosity!

-I could not resist making a little zip pouch, appliqued with some green apples for Carolyn. I used this tutorial over at Noodlehead. I will pop it in the mail after the snow clears around here.

(Thank you for your kind thoughts, friends. Vermont is not in the direct path of the blizzard, but there is enough snow swirling up here to keep us home. Daughters Hannah and Gretta dodged the huge storm, but our Lindsey, my Mumsie, brother Doug and many other family and friends in the Boston area are in the eye of the storm. May the beauty of the storm outweigh the inconveniences!)

Monday, January 26, 2015

such simple beauty in the midst of
a new england winter.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

tea and "on being"

I've been saving this hand screened fabric from Bookhou for ages. This morning as I sipped my Darjeeling and realized that the second cup would be lukewarm yet again, I decided today was the day to stitch up a wee cozy for my little tea pot. It holds just enough for the two cups that get me up from bed and to the breakfast table.  

I tried quilting with green thread up the stems, but decided I like using linen colored thread to stitch in the negative spaces better. I thought about trimming the bottom of the cozy with a few scraps of green linen, but decided against it, as I think it would have taken away from the delicate leaf pattern.

Best of all, I planned the project carefully and now still have some fabric left for yet another little project. I do love these bitter cold days in Vermont. After a brisk walk on the road, there is the lure of my cozy studio. As I worked, I listened to Krista Tippet's interview with the amazing John Lewis, a man who had me in tears as I listened. The Art and Discipline of Nonviolence. 

(The lovely tea cup is made by local potter Judy Jensen).

Monday, January 19, 2015


"The issue is injustice."
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

From "I've Been to the Mountaintop",
his last public speech, 1968.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

the only thing better than living here... sharing it with those we love.

laughing, sledding, walking, story telling, remembering, 
holding hands 'round the table before meals.

this is the good life.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

toddler toy totes

  • I used this tutorial over at Peek-a-boo patterns. 
  • To make two lined drawstring bags for our grand-nephew, Liam.
  • Using my brother-in-law Chris' own fabric line, released a few years ago.
These days in the chilly mountains of Vermont are very studio friendly, with time to stitch up my to-do list.

What have you been up to lately?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

indigo/shibori snow

inspiration everywhere.
even in the depths of winter.
-1 F when we woke up.

Monday, January 12, 2015

tiny project, big possibilities

There's a lovely little shop in Burlington, VT called nido, filled with a nicely curated collection of fabrics, books and yarns. I do love to pop in once in a while when I am in the "big city". Last summer, Phiona, the effervescent owner of nido asked me if I would be interested in joining a few other folks in starting up a chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild. It's a bit of a drive for me, but I thought once a month might be just right, creating an opportunity to find some kindred spirits.  After several meetings, we all agreed to join the national group in the new year. As of January first we are now an officially sanctioned group. Look here for the sparkling new website, with our wonderful logo designed by a member. 

Meetings are a mix of guild business, show and tell, a demo and some social time. I do love show and tell best, these women know how to quilt! Many of them are younger than I, with energy, careers and families that remind me of the days when my days were over-full.  I look forward to some of the community outreach and education we are committed to doing.

Our "homework" for this past meeting was to create a name tag to wear at meetings. Folks who have been long time readers of sewandsowlife will see that I recycled one of my brooch ideas to create this name tag. I used my own shibori/indigo dyed cotton, a scrap of green linen, some old canvas and some bits of birchbark from a downed branch. I wrote out my name with a purple temporary marker and stitched it in embroidery floss. There's a giant safety pin stitched on to the back.

Other members did beautiful paper piecing and embroidery. It was fun to see how different folks "captured" themselves with their creations. Next month one of our members will talk about her participation in the Spoonflower design challenges

Hooray for new connections and inspiration!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

mending, dreaming and hibernating

After much consideration, I have decided not to do a post-mortem on 2014. Let's just say that the best thing about 2014 was moving to Vermont full-time. And that deserves an Hallelujah chorus!

2015 is rolling in gently for me, and I am soaking in the deep winter that has settled on this little place.  The low this morning was -15F.  We have had the Home Comfort going full tilt during the daytime to keep the furnace at bay, and so we have been cooking on it too. Today we roasted the last two sugar pumpkins from the gardens in its oven and I pureed it and popped one cup portions into the freezer. Did you know it's National Pizza Week? We'll be enjoying a made-from-scratch wood fired pie tonight, with thanks to our ancient workhorse.

With a nod to our humble and practical wardrobes, I have rediscovered my love of mending. Batman's old canvas barn coat finally lost a button and so I patched the hole and sewed the button back on. Is there anything so satisfying as a good mend?

Fully retired from his corporate job at the end of October, Batman and I have fallen into a companionable routine, hibernating at home most days, with forays out into the "real" world now and again. This will not last forever, but for right now it is a blessing. There is so very much in store for us in 2015 that it seems like we are charging up our batteries for what comes next.

(After much searching, we have finally signed a contract with a design/build firm. Oh, the ideas...)

Saturday, January 3, 2015


like the bare patch of land under the trees,
i am still feeling a bit wind swept by 2014.
my days are not so tightly wound by the calendar these days,
and so 2015 is rolling in gently for me.

this is what we have worked for
and now it feels a bit counter cultural.
in the best*possible*way.