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

Monday, August 31, 2015

triptych 22

Sometimes I need only to stand where
I am to be blessed.
-Mary Oliver

Friday, August 28, 2015

just now

friday afternoon snacking (a rare cheese treat) on my great-grandmother's sewing table (do you see the yardstick measurements?)

For the first time since I was 13 years old, I am not involved in volunteer work.  For the first time ever, ever,  I do not have a pet under my care. (I picked up Henry's ashes yesterday). My four children are long gone from our home. I find myself in this very odd, disconnected place.

Recently,  Batman and I have put most of our possessions into storage and we have moved downstairs to two rooms (back bedroom and sewing studio) in our finished basement and utility room. After this weekend, we will be cooking outdoors or on a one burner hot plate. Our bathroom sink will also be where we wash vegetables from our gardens and dishes, of course.

We half jokingly call this our "monastic phase". What we are really doing is manifesting a dream. Our dream of creating a snug and cozy home where we can welcome friends and family, process the bounty from our gardens and launch ourselves into the next chapter of our lives. 

Right now, in our side yard, our new second floor has been build. In a few weeks, our roof will be torn off, and the second story will be lifted by crane and set gently on top of this funky little cabin. The interior walls of the main floor will be torn down, creating our long-dreamed of  living/dining/ kitchen space...all melting into one another...because that is how we love to live. Oh, and the new windows will invite our gorgeous view right into our home. Can you imagine?

I already have ideas about where to put my volunteer energies, how to jump into the next chapter of my creative life and how to open our home to others.

But for right now, as my brother Nelson says, I will just "be". And that will be enough. 

Happy weekend, friends. xo

Monday, August 24, 2015

The weekend

Hot, humid sweat equity. Old insulation, the rural trademark mouse debris, ancient panelling and aching muscles. This is what dreams are made of. Waiting for the dumpster, like it's Christmas morning. ❤️

Saturday, August 22, 2015


a fave quilt and a bit of rainbow chard migrating from the garden to the kitchen. my sewandsowlife is in high gear. 

i have so appreciated all of your sweet comments these past few blurry weeks. 


Thursday, August 20, 2015

more pictures from the birch wedding

The bride's dear friend Meghan
did some lovely hairstyling.
Here is the bride's.
The bride and groom and officiant, sam.
The groom's mama made the quilt, draped on the arch that we built.
The bride's sisters, Lindsey and Hannah,
sang Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes
The groom's sister  Eliza and the bride,
with James Taylor's
"You Can Close Your Eyes".

The groom's mama read Wendell Berry's
"Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front".

Kaitlyn, a college friend of the bride 
read an edited version of Andrea Gibson's
"Say Yes".
The cutest hug ever.
One of the carefree flower girls
is a birch swinger.
The traditional first dance...
The bride took the very first nap of her life 
on her fairy godmother Franny's shoulder.
Here's Franny, the bride, me and Lindsey 
having a little fun.
The groom baked the cake with real Vermont maple syrup.
There was not a crumb left at the end of the day.
The newest member of our family.
We like to see it growing.

With many, many thanks to Meghan Doherty,
for taking so many fun photos all day long.
That woman is a gem.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Life is moving along at an amazing pace. Hop on over to our reno blog for a bunch of new posts. Utility work, "before" pictures and today's delivery.

My head is spinning. In a good way.

Friday, August 14, 2015

the birch wedding (in candids)

the bachelorette party.
goat's milk caramel fondue and cider tasting.
and, of course, time with the goats.
(kate, the bride, hannah and lindsey).
friday night's "nearest and dearest" gathering for 30.
grilled pizzas crafted by my brother doug, sister-in-law ra 
and gretta's fairy god mother, franny.
(15 pies...fresh fig, bbq chicken, olive and spinach...
every one of them was different and fabulous!)
bounteous cookies baked by hannah and lindsey.
we borrowed yard sale flatware from my friend ellen
(thank you!).
a gathering of chatty and fine women 
tied 100 bundles on saturday morning.
12 vases of wildflowers gathered by the bride and her sisters.
each table was covered in brown paper and 
set with a bottle of bubbles, a pack of crayons and these lovely blooms.
on sunday morning the bride and groom 
cut out and saved the drawings and
best wishes that their guests had doodled.

the groom baked the maple cake himself.
there were hand cranked maple creemees.
the maple red ale came from bent hill brewery,
(which we can see from our house.)
i'd call that local.
there was also woodchuck cider and wine and lemonade.
in the tradition of quaker wedding certificates,
my mumsie and our lindsey collaborated on this beauty.
guests signed their names and it will be framed 
to hang in the newlyweds' home.
(batman and i have ours hanging here in vermont).
the groom's mama stitched the couple a lovely little quilt.
it was draped over the birch arch, which was twined with
black eyed susan blossoms.

the wedding itself was filled with singing,
amazing poetry, a time of deep silence and very special vows.
folks came from all over the country.
we were so blessed by their gathering.
badminton, corn hole and lots of chatting followed the ceremony.
then the catered taco bar.
later, there were fireworks and s'mores over a campfire.
lots of folks pitched tents in the yard
and joined us for lindsey's fresh baked scones
on sunday morning.
and mother nature outdid herself for us.

gretta and ben had an extraordinarily magical day.

(with many thanks to the bride's sisters, hannah and lindsey
for all of these fun photos).

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

marking the hem

  (a bit wrinkled, it looked much nicer after a proper pressing!)

When marking a hem, I use the old fashioned method of having the person step up onto a chair, while I sit on the floor and hold a yardstick to measure the distance from the floor to hemline. I use straight pins to mark the hem.  

Our funky little house has very low ceilings, so we ended up in the woodshed to accomplish the task. It's sloping shed roof allowed plenty of room for our tall bride. Since the skirt of the dress was made of eyelet, we sewed in a lining as well, so there were two hems to manage at the same time.
The bodice was stitched of white Kona cotton, and the lining was as well. Perfect for a warm August day. We bought the eyelet in April in the garment district of NYC, and it looked gorgeous in the summer sun. We used Simplicity pattern #1800, with modifications. Gretta loved the pockets, but in the end, we thought the lines would take away from the eyelet, so we opted out of those. I also added the skirt lining on my own.

The groom wore a snappy vest made a dear friend. Both the bride and the groom walked down the aisle barefoot in the grass.

We are still waiting for more pics. xo

...and now our yard is muddy and torn up, there are big men and machinery crawling all over the place, we are packing up furniture and other possessions (once again) and I really hope we don't have an early winter!!! Whew! 

Monday, August 10, 2015

wedding bookends

from setting up the arch to the fireworks and s'mores
it was a magical day.
i am waiting for photos from others of everything in between.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Sunny, breezy and filled with love

The bride and her sisters are in the meadow gathering flowers for the tables and bouquets. Last night Uncle Doug and Aunt Ra outdid themseleves by grilling up an extraordinary variety of hand crafted pizzas...

It's going to be an amazing day. See you on the flip side, friends!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

how can i keep from singing?

stewart, gretta, lindsey and hannah

When our kids were growing up, they loved to play and sing together. Now they live in far flung places. In honor of our gathering this week, Batman rented a few hours at an off the grid recording studio, with many thanks to Kristina for her skills and patience. The place was filled with nostalgia, love and beautiful sibling harmonies.  xo

Monday, August 3, 2015

the gang's all here

Oh, look! A wedding bunting stitched of white tie between the birches at the top of the driveway. 

Late last night there was a guitar and singing voices and love all around, and pie. This morning, the ultimate "wedding to do" list was generated and then the kids went off to tube on the river and have sibling time. We will all work together on that list later this week. 

Bruce and Ernie came by and took down two more trees, in preparation for the renovations which begin the week after the wedding. (ARE WE NUTS???) 

Batman has finally convinced me that everything will be OK. I've known the man since 1974, so I guess I'll trust him on this.

Something very, very special is happening tomorrow...

Sunday, August 2, 2015

a heart can break and mend...

This morning, I will drive up the old and winding CCC road to Shrewsbury to fetch Gretta, the bride. Hannah will drive up to our "bit of earth" sometime this afternoon. Stewart will board an airplane in Oregon and fly to Boston. Lindsey and her beau Scott will pick him up and they will head north, too. When the last one tumbles into the house late tonight, we will celebrate by eating a pie baked with blueberries picked in the yard yesterday. It has been waaaaay too long since we were all under the same roof. And then my Henry-broken-heartedness can begin to mend. (Thank you for the love, dear readers).

Tomorrow morning, when we all wake up, we will gather around the table for a family breakfast and we will officially launch WEDDING WEEK!