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

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

fabric adventure

On the design wall at 
Gudrun Sjoden
in SoHo, NYC.
Trimmings at Mood Designer Fabrics
in the garment district, NYC.
Bolts of lovely cottons at Mood.
The happy bride to be, after we found just the
right pattern and fabric for her wedding dress.

Oh what a wonderful long weekend, when I packed more into four days than I thought humanly possible. The main mission was to meet our Gretta in the garment district in New York City on Saturday, and to find the ingredients for the PERFECT wedding dress. Mission accomplished!

My dear friend Liz and I met Gretta at Grand Central Station on Saturday morning. Liz has been an "other mother" to Gretta since she was in the second grade, and we required her impeccable taste on this quest! Gretta was our "cruise director" and had our day mapped out for us. We spent time at iconic Purl  SoHo and gorgeous Gudrun Sjoden , then had lunch with the groom.  Then we ladies found our way to famous Mood Designer Fabrics, host to many a frenzied episode of Project Runway. Merciful heavens...that place is huge! So many floors and bolts and bolts of fabric, trim, ribbon, name it, it's there! The store was filled with a Saturday's supply of interesting shoppers, from many walks of life.

We looked and looked for just the right fabric and as the store warmed up and got more crowded our optimism began to fade. Just then, Liz looked up and noticed a possibility. As Gretta and I lifted the pile of bolts and Liz dragged it our into view, all three of us "ooooooohed" and we knew we had found the magical fabric.

With the 4 yards tucked safely in a bag, we found our way to some refreshment and a spot to rest our weary legs. That's when I snapped the picture of Gretta, relaxed and happy to know that her vision of a casual, magical dress is closer to becoming a reality. 

Sorry friends, you will have to wait until August to see the dress. In the meantime, I must make a version in affordable cotton muslin, find my way back to Gretta for fittings, sew up the final version and cross our fingers for a sunny, breezy summer day!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


stewart, about 2 years old, 
just outside our front door in san juan, puerto rico.

Thank you, Stewart, for bringing us into the wonderful world of parenting 33 years ago today. 
Thank you for helping us to raise your three little sisters.
Thank you for growing into a fine adult, helping the young people in your classroom learn about history, economics, and justice. 
Thank you for coaching them, mentoring them and encouraging them to grow into thinking citizens of the world.


Friday, April 24, 2015

another scout tee

scout tee #2
fabric design by the multi-talented artist geninne 
read about cloud nine's 100% organic fabric here.
read about the pattern here.

this weekend i'm going on a fabric adventure.
i invite you to check back next week.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

april 22

Earth Day.
Every day.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


gardening boots,
ours and some spares.
a broom.
in the breezeway.

be still my heart.
be still my life.

Monday, April 20, 2015

fickle spring

Batman saved some of the apple branches when he pruned the trees in February. A handful are now sitting on the windowsill, just beginning to open, showing their tiny leaves. 

Spring has been fickle here in Vermont...swapping sunny and slightly milder days with colder, damp days, with a few more hours of snow just this morning.

This weekend was especially gorgeous, inspiring us to get out and rake up the swaths of gravel that the snow plow left on the lawn. Batman fertilized the lawn, anticipating the wedding carpet we're hoping for in August. Fall-planted garlic and perennial chives are up, spinach (thanks Sharon!) and lettuce seeds have been sowed.

Standing above the meadow, hands on hips, eyes gazing at the horizon...this has become our ritual of gratitude...noticing the maroon haze of  tree buds dappled among the evergreens. This is our first spring as full-time Vermonters and it is a gift to watch it move across the landscape, day by day.

Nearly a week of rain is in the forecast. Tea, reading, knitting and sewing will be the fun parts of my "to do" list. How about you, friends, how is your spring (or fall) rolling out? 

Friday, April 17, 2015

rain instead of snow

instead of snow.
and then sunshine and some clouds.

snail mail,
a walk just to breathe in the air.

housebound because the mud is so deep in the road.

today's poem over at the writer's almanac
"Looking for the Differences" by Tom Hennen
is just right for the day. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

birthday wishes

last night, batman put this little treat* down in front of me.
i inhaled a breath to blow out the candle
and a wave of emotion swept over me.

what i have wished for on every birthday 
for as long as i can remember


my eyes welled with tears and i looked 
across the table at batman.

i said,
"my wish has come true!"

and maybe his eyes glistened too.

what an astonishing thing,
to have a dream come true.

it is still hitting me,
nearly a year later.

i can't tell you what i wished for last night,
maybe it will come true, too.

*a treat from the bakery at King Arthur Flour. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


taken at Earlham College this weekend

In life I have been bullied, misunderstood, betrayed, heart-broken, appalled, disappointed and haunted. 

As well, I have been rescued, mentored, celebrated, healed, forgiven, inspired, lifted up, challenged and loved.

Oh, I have been loved.

All of this (isn't this the human condition?) has brought me to this very moment, where I take a deep breath, relax my shoulders and step into the very next moment. And the 59th year of my life. Filled with possibilities. Outstretched before me, just waiting for what comes next.

Come with me, dear readers? Everyday is a new beginning for each of us.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

my first "scout tee"

The Scout Tee from Grainline Studio has been all over the internet and has gotten rave reviews. The pattern's simplicity invites makers to play around with it, to embellish or adjust. The price for a hardcopy pattern is a bit steep, but I finally broke down and bought one at nido a few weeks ago. It comes nicely packaged, with a very clearly illustrated and written instruction booklet, and it has multiple size lines on the pattern, fitting sizes 0-18. To extend the life and flexibility of a multi-sized pattern, I trace the outline of the size I need onto a product called Pattern Easy. This leaves the original pattern intact and ready to use another time. It also leaves the option open for making another tee in a different size.
  (my hand traced pattern on the left, original Grainline pattern on right)

I cut out my first Scout Tee yesterday afternoon and got most of it stitched up by suppertime. This morning I sewed the sleeves on.  I found this gorgeous Carolyn Friedlander  fabric at Gather Here Stitch Lounge while shopping with our daughter Lindsey in Cambridge this weekend (we had such a fun time with a small group of family)! What I love about this pattern is that it makes a flattering and comfy tee shirt with a woven fabric, rather than a more traditional knit. Perhaps designer Jennifer Beeman has opened Pandora's box for many of us sewers! It went together easily and it's appropriate for a beginning sewer. I have some Liberty of London lawn and some fabric by Geninne set aside for more tee sewing next week.

Have you tried making a Scout Tee? If you have, how did it go?
We stayed at my Mumsie's house on Saturday night and I thought you all might like to see this bunny in very good company, on the back of Mumsie's sofa.

By the way, we got a couple more inches of snow overnight up here in Vermont. Please send spring thoughts our way. Thanks.

Friday, April 3, 2015

NPM #1 wendell

"practice resurrection"

Read the full text of
"Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front"
by Wendell Berry
(one of my all time favorite poems).

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

hello april

First things first. I wish I had enough notecards to send a package to each of you who entered the giveaway, but, alas, I do not. (Thank you all for your kind words). The winners, chosen at random, are...Simone and Jeanneke. Please send your snail mail address to  sewandsowlife(at)gmail(dot)com and I will get the cards into the mail as soon as I can.

Today is the first day of National Poetry Month! Read about the celebrations here. I love, love, love poetry and will share links to some of my favorite poets this month and I look forward to seeing who love, too.

For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry. Yes, indeed.
-from A Poetry Handbook, by Mary Oliver (I'll be looking for this book at our local library).

Were any of you fooled today?