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

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

pausing at the end of july

Goldenrod, Queen Anne's Lace and Black-eyed Susans have taken their place of honor in the meadow. Thunder rolls up and down the valley. Rain comes down in sheets sometimes, or in a gentle patter at other times. Coyotes howl at night, sending Wilma and Cora to the dark windowsills to look for them.  The garlic needs to be pulled, we had broccoli (from the hoop house) soup the other night and the indigo flourishes. We are at the eve of August and the days are hot and humid. 

Many things take us away from the hill these days. Life is not simple. But the sanctuary we find here when we return cannot be beat. The view is filled with sanctuary and respite. We pause and we give ourselves permission to turn away from the world for just a bit. 

May you find your own sanctuary friends, and do not be shy about spending time there. 

Sending love and comfort and hope across the miles.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

back on track

 sometimes when life gets more complicated than usual
a good dose of mother nature helps.
these gorgeous clouds rolled in after a wild storm
and caught the evening sunshine in such a reassuring way.  
 the blueberries are coming on strong
reminding me of the caldecott winning book
kaplink, kaplank, kaplunk.
sunday was cora's "gotcha day".
she has been with us for a year now, 
and we are so glad we all found one another.
batman started some madder plants from seed this spring.
we will have to wait three years for the roots to mature.
then i'll try them out in the dye pot.
a deep, rich, mellow red may be my reward.

there's sanctuary in small things.
here's hoping you are finding some in your neck of the woods.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019


Good grief.

I have been confounded for weeks about comments on blogs. I cannot seem to leave them on other people's blogs, nor can I respond to comments here.

And now I cannot download photos to my blog?

I am throwing up my hands in exasperation.

I'll check back tomorrow to see if this was simply a temporary glitch.

Maybe I need to change platforms...

Monday, July 15, 2019

stitches with a message

This is a photo of a photo taken in May 1985.

In the early 1980's, Justine Merritt envisioned a huge ribbon of peace that would remind world leaders of the horrors of nuclear war. As the 40th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima approached, a call was put out for people to respond to the question, "What I cannot bear to think of as lost in a nuclear war". Folks were invited to create 36"x18" fabric panels, complete with ties to connect one panel to the next. On the day of the anniversary 20,000 panels were tied together. It was 18 miles long and wrapped around the Pentagon and into Washington DC. Dubbed The Ribbon International, it later became a United Nations non Governmental Organization. You can read more about it on Wikipedia here. 

Our minister at the time invited us to sew panels and we sent a parcel full of beautiful handwork on behalf of our church. At the time, Batman and I had only two of our four children. I was a young mom and thought long and hard about what I would miss most. I kept coming back to Mother Nature and all the beauty she creates in the world, and the reliable circle of the seasons and the growth cycles that she supports. I ended up embroidering a panel that followed a seed from planting to decay, under the rays of the sun (shown above).

Since then, I've stitched all sorts of pieces for a cause. I sewed a panel for the NAMES project when I was in the thick of volunteering with PWA's (People with AIDS). I volunteered to be a docent when the quilt came to Navy Pier in Chicago, a day I will never forget.

Lately, with the current administration in the White House, I have been following several brave stitchers with great admiration.

Do you know about the Tiny Pricks Project? "The material record of Trump's presidency" is created and curated by Diana Weymar. Tweets taken directly from Trump's Twitter account are embroidered onto vintage hankies and other textiles. From the Tiny Pricks website, "desperate times, creative measures. Like so many others, I am trying to process this presidency in a way that doesn’t involve withdrawing from following politics. This project is about witnessing, recording, taking notes in thread, and paying attention. Paying attention to his words." To see more, check out the Instagram account here. 

Willemien de Villers lives in Cape Town and creates simply amazing embroidered work with old textiles. Here is a fascinating article about the artist and her work. Her stitching is provocative and beautiful at the same time.

Chawne Kimber, of "completely cauchy" is another woman whose stitches inspire me.

Here's a brief artist statement from her website:

"Through the cultivation of cotton in rural Alabama, some of my ancestors (unwillingly) participated in the building of the United States. Cotton has been central in the lives of the women of my family–from picking to ginning to sewing, with quilting emerging as the main mode of self-expression available. Patchwork was sewn from worn denim and calico clothing and layered with the discarded cottonseed and fluff from the gin houses for insulation to make quilts.

Inspired by these quilts made by these ancestors in the late 1800s, I interpret traditional forms in an improvisational style using vibrant modern colors of commercially available American-farmed, processed and woven cotton. Some of the designs are geometric romps that emphasize the complex forms of negative space that naturally arise, while others utilize unusually small scaling to exaggerate shapes and tonal sequences. Using the quilt medium to respond to current race-related social justice issues, I also make minimal two-tone appliqu├ęd self-portraits in a street art style."

I hope you will find some solace or inspiration or maybe even some provocation while visiting these links. Do you follow any activist stitchers, friends? Please do share here, in the comments below! Thanks!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

hello friends

the warm days of summer have finally come to vermont.
the indigo has woken up and is growing in earnest.
we're not sure who lives under our huge ash tree,
but there is quite the den...
the meadow is full of wildflowers.
the late, wet, chilly spring seems
to have given all these beauties a chance to thrive
once they had the courage to lift their stems.

we had maggie and gretta here with us for a lovely visit.
our days were built around the schedule of a 20 month old.
napping, playing, exploring the neighborhood (goats!),
visiting the montshire museum and king arthur flour
(she sat on the throne!).
we read books again and "again" and "again".
maggie and cora became fast friends.
we hosted a picnic on a gorgeous day,
with a bunch of gretta's vermont buddies.
flower crowns were made, cream was whipped by shaking it in a jar,
and just picked strawberries were scarfed down with abandon.

last night i hosted a smaller than usual book group,
we discussed barbara kingsolver's
some story!

these july days seem to roll on by.
hope you have caught some time to
savor fresh produce,
to listen to the birdsong
and to soak in the pleasure of these long evenings.