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

Thursday, January 28, 2016

scout tee #3

Today I stitched up another Scout Tee, using Grainline Studio's pattern, available here. See earlier versions here and here. A few of my nearest and dearest stitchers and I invented "sew/knit fest challenge 2016", in reaction to being fed up with conventional clothing...sloppy seams, questionable shop practices, high prices, shoddy fabric and general disappointment with overall quality of purchased garments. We have each pledged to sew and/or knit a garment or accessory each month, either for ourselves or as a gift. 

I think I got my stitching done just under the deadline for January!

Now I am off to pop Pride and Prejudice into the DVD player. The book was published 203 years ago today, and I do believe I will celebrate with a cup of tea.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

falling into place

I have been thinking about planting a dye garden for a few years now. It was a dream, and then I said it out loud a few times, and then I started doing some serious reading about it. Taking some deep inhalations of courage, this past Friday and Saturday I participated in a two day workshop at Vermont Technical College,  just a quick drive down the road from us. Part of VTC's effort to engage more folks in ongoing education, they have developed an "Institute for Applied Agriculture and Food Systems". The workshop I signed up for, "Art and Science of Natural Dyeing" was taught by Jane Woodhouse.

The workshop centered on dyeing wool, and the classroom was filled with an intergenerational group of women involved in knitting, weaving, animal keeping, crafting, gardening and dyeing. There was so much warmth, cooperation, good cheer and creativity in that room! And I am now quite sure that I can translate many of the things I learned from all of them into dyeing fabric.

The first day started off in the most wonderful way. I was sharing a dye pot with two women, Vee and Tammy. As we were getting to know one another, Tammy and I figured out that we had a friend in common, who turned out to be Gretta's new mother-in-law.  When Tammy said, "Oh, you're Gretta's mom!", my face lit up and we hugged. 

Tammy is the magical force behind Wing and a Prayer Farm in Shaftsbury, VT. She took many wonderful photos and created two fabulous blog posts, filled with details about the workshop. If you check them out here and here, you will discover what a delightful person she is. And you may want to go stay in her neck of the woods soon. Tammy is hosting some fine workshops of her own this year.

It may be cold and snowy here in Vermont, but I am now thinking concretely about planting a garden filled with plants that will enable me to take my next steps into my sew and sow life.


Saturday, January 23, 2016

another day in the dye pot

class samples. such excitement. much more tomorrow. i promise.

Friday, January 22, 2016

moving forward

with another dream...more tomorrow. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

my mumsie's handmade coloring pages

My Mumsie has been up to something these past few weeks. She has caught on to the adult coloring book frenzy and created a dozen pages with her own hand. She has sent copies out to some of us lucky recipients. Here you see her Honeybee, perched on a patchwork quilt. My Mumsie has left the patches blank, so that we can color in our own patchwork fabrics.
Some of you may remember that my Mumsie is fascinated with miniatures. She has crafted many tiny houses, filled with tiny things. You can see pictures of my favorite right here.  This coloring page shows the details of a wee Christmas house she made, filled with sweet mice. Here the Mama is tending her baby in half a walnut shell.
This is where things get very sentimental. She sketched this page from a photo of Stewart's bed and stuffed animals (Bun Bun and Snoopy). Stewart is now 34 years old. I actually still have the quilt I made for Stew's bed and I was able to find it (miraculously, as so many of our things are still in storage). 
That's "high school me", with Misty in my lap and Si by my side (I come from a long line of cat people). The drawing in the upper right is based on a poster my Mumsie created for a kindergarten classroom. The drawing in the lower right is of my Mumsie as a toddler, with her Daddy, holding toys that were handmade by her grandmother, Nameen.  

I think I will make copies of these before I pull out my colored pencils, so that fresh copies can be made for future use.

A lucky handful of us were so very pleased to find these sweet pages, shipped via snail mail, waiting for us in our mailboxes. My Mumsie has been making handmade things for as long as I can remember, and I am so grateful for her influence in my life.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

lotta bracelet

This afternoon I made a bracelet from fabric scraps following directions in Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style. The book is filled with simple, easy projects, inspired by Lotta's Scandanavian esthetic. Pretty sure this is the first of many handmade projects from this nifty resource. Check your library for a copy!

(I made the "handmade" banner in my new header from 2015 calendar pages. #recycle)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

on the counter

just a few little bits of paper stashed in the wee basket, sitting on the counter in the upstairs bathroom. feel free to peek, take one for yourself, or tuck it into your pocket and share it later.
what would you add?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

triptych 26

appleblossom amaryllis 2016

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

sleep sweet

There are so many sentiments wrapped up in this project. There is this gorgeous Pendleton blanket (from their American Indian College Fund Collection), tucked away for this special time of nesting in our new space...its purchase here in Vermont, inspired by my brother Nelson's thoughtfulness a few years ago in Manzanitas, OR.  There are long held dreams of a cozy guest room with a slanting ceiling. And there are memories of our dear, dear friend Carl, lost to Parkinson's disease years ago.

Carl and Franny adopted our young and growing family when we lived in Chicagoland, far from our own families of origin. We were swept up in their generous love and devotion early the point where our now grown kids still call Franny their "fairy godmother". Fran and Carl were often at our house for supper and bedtime. Our kids would come downstairs in their jammies before storytime to say goodnight to Fran and Carl. Carl had the sweetest benediction as they went back upstairs. He would simply say, "sleep sweet" in the kindest and most soothing voice you can imagine.

A few days ago, when Batman and I were walking through our new house, as we often do, just marveling at everything, I noticed the space above the bed in the guest room and thought it would be a perfect spot for a special little something. And just then, I kid you not, a wave of emotion swept over me...the lump-in-one's-throat variety. And on a quiet whisper of a recollection I heard Carl's voice say, "sleep sweet". 

So here it is. Handmade with so much love.

sleep sweet.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

simple start

sometimes a voice from the past brings inspiration and delight into the future...
a wee quilted piece to hang over the bed in the guest room is under construction. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016


2016 will be all about


and sharing it with you. xo