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

Friday, July 31, 2020

nothing of consequence, just a diversion

 picking up where i left off on my tula tuesday project.
quilting time!
 purchased in 1999, (21 years ago!) while visiting santa fe,
this rayon sleeveless tank is one of my
most beloved pieces of clothing.
 faded over the years, the neck facing finally began to fray,
so i patched it and now i love it even more.
flax. (in case you are curious).
 my "snail mail ministry" continues...
to stay in touch with dear ones,
and to support our beleaguered postal system.
 listening, taking notes, stitching.

i caught bits of john lewis' 
memorial service yesterday...
did you read his letter in the new york times?
and this poem by ross gay is worth a listen.
batman installed a gutter and downspout under our 
three season porch roof, to fill our rain barrel.
gravity fed water for the hoop house! hooray!
(it's been way too dry here in vermont, 
and we are keeping an eye our well).

yesterday i went down the road for some goat therapy
and to pick up a dozen eggs.

those tweets from you-know-who really did me in!

our neighbor across the road is haying and the scent is intoxicating.

another neighbor, about half a mile away as the crow flies,
 is having a barn built with post and beams and we can hear
the thud, thud of the wooden pegs being knocked into the beams.

batman is forking potatoes out of the garden
and we'll pull the garlic tomorrow.
the black eyed susans are blooming in the meadow.

none of this stuff here is of consequence,
but i've heard from some of you that it
provides a welcome diversion from other things.
so, i'll keep showing up here.
love your emails,
keep 'em coming.
and drop a comment if you can.


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

shutting out some of the din

"Look closely at the present you are constructing.
It should look like the future you are dreaming of."
Alice Walker

Where are we spending our time?
What are we watching, listening to, scrolling through?

We have choices.

If, like me, you are feeling weary and overwhelmed, I invite you to:

Shift priorities.

I offer two beautiful listens:
-Vincent Hardy, "Is America Possible?", via On Being. Original air date, February 24, 2011.
-"A Freedom Singer Shares Music of The Movement", via NPR, here. Original air date February 11, 2010.

And a treasure trove of hope:
The Veterans of Hope Project, founded in 1997 by Vincent and Rosemarie Freeney Harding.
"We are a community-based educational initiative on religion, culture and participatory democracy. We encourage a healing-centered approach to community-building that recognizes the interconnectedness of spirit, creativity and citizenship. Our materials and programs are designed to support reconciliation, nonviolent social justice organizing and an appreciation for the value of indigenous and folk wisdom for contemporary times."

Do what you can.
Know that I am with you in spirit.


Sunday, July 26, 2020

"deep in my heart"

Our Vermont Modern Quilt Guild issued a challenge recently, inviting us to "create a project that is inspired by a song, represented through lettering, collage, images, abstract, or whatever else speaks to you".

I had been going “deep in my heart” to recommit to learning more about the many ways BIPOC and LGBTQIA people are oppressed. I set out to do slow stitching while I listened to podcasts, documentaries and interviews. The richness and depth of appreciation I have found in this listening is inspiring. Real change will happen when we fold the brilliance and wisdom of ALL people into our solutions. And now, I have a sense of urgency. I am increasingly unhappy when I hear the “someday” at the end of the beloved hymn We Shall Overcome. Honestly, change needs to happen sooner rather than later.

The letters were hand appliqu├ęd, with cotton I hand dyed with marigolds. Background, machine quilted on fabric I hand dyed with fresh indigo. The marigolds and indigo were grown here, on land once walked by Abenaki. 

I recently listened to Krista Tippet's interview with John Lewis, which first aired on March 23, 2013 and has been offered again as the civil rights icon is being remembered for all that he did in his fine lifetime. You can watch a YouTube of the conversation here.  I was reminded that this work does not happen quickly, it is in fact, a practice, an ongoing process that takes commitment and dedication. 

And so, I need to readjust my attitude. Set aside the urgency and unhappiness. Take a few deep breaths and remember to put my head down and lean into the work with more dedication than ever.

Have you seen the amazing photo of John Lewis, resting under some gorgeous quilts? Be sure to read the caption if you head over there.  I have no more words to add.


Friday, July 24, 2020

simple curtains and AOC

Oh my goodness friends! I've received the sweetest comments and emails this week. You all have been so generous in your appreciation of this antique little spot on the internet. Blogs seem to be a relic of the past, so I am encouraged by all of your loyalty to sewandsowlife. THANK YOU!

I've got a backlog of things to share with you, so I'll be popping in here a bit more often in the next bit. I also plan to take a sabbatical from Instagram for the month of August, so this will definitely be home base during that time.

Let's talk do-it-yourself-repurpose-recycle here.

Our west facing windows provide a lot of solar gain warmth in the chilly months here in Vermont...but...yikes! In the summertime all of that sunshine can really heat the place up! A few years ago I bought inexpensive drop clothes from the hardware store, put grommets in the corners and hung them from hooks on the window trim on especially hot days. This has been a very warm summer, so I decided to upgrade to curtains that can slide back and forth, according to when we may need them (or not). Also, ahem, I no longer need the step ladder.

Batman had found some copper piping out in the shed, left by the previous owner, and we decided it might make spiffy curtain rods. He cut them to length and we put them up with plumbing fittings. I used the same (very affordable) drop clothes from the hardware store. The priciest part of the project were the curtain rings with clippy hooks that I had to buy at a big box store (BOO, HISS).

I have avoided window treatments, because I thought they would clash with our Shaker aesthetic here, but these turned out to be very simple and unobtrusive. And on wicked sunny days, I pull them across the windows early in the morning, and they really help moderate the temperature in here!

And my, oh matter what your political leanings are, isn't Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a bright and shining light in America right now? Her response to Rep. Ted Yoho's outrageous comments was brilliant. In my COVID-19 induced isolation, I sometimes dream of being out in the big wide world (who doesn't?). I would love, love, love to sit with AOC, sip an iced latte with her and chat about the state of the world. Who's with me on this?

Monday, July 20, 2020


  • Reading Ross Gay's  Book of Delights.
  • Listening to Beautiful Chorus.
  • Stopping by The Nap Ministry. (The IG account is fabulous).
  • Reading about integrity in business, an anti-racist plan at Fancy Tiger Crafts.
  • Watching the comet, Jupiter and its moons, Saturn and its rings, and the Milky Way.
  • Popping over to My Giant Strawberry, Anne on slowing down.
  • Harvesting windowsill Meyer lemons.
  • Stretching on the deck in the early morning before the heat of the day sets in.
  • Spotting a Confederate flag about a mile down the road from us, we listened to this podcast of Brave Little State.  Don't kid yourselves friends, white supremacists are everywhere, and they are being emboldened by messages from the White House. And keep an eye on what's happening in Portland, OR. 
  • Listened to this conversation between artist friends Jen Hewitt and Lisa Congdon over at the Interracial Project. 
  • Enjoying poppies from our flower CSA at Suncatcher Farm.
  • Reading more about both John Lewis and Rev Cordy Tindell Vivian, a double loss when we are mired in a moral disaster in this country. "Can we resolve, like them, not to falter in despair?"
  • Just this.


Saturday, July 11, 2020

sentimental scissors

My Mumsie gifted these stork embroidery to me when I was still a girl. They've been treasured ever since.

Rumor has it that stork scissors have an interesting history involving midwives doing handwork while waiting with expectant mothers, and then later, using the scissors to cut the umbilical cord. Who knew?

I found the very affordable aqua snips at 168 Asian Market in Madison Heights MI last year while visiting Detroit. Lindsey, Hannah and I had such fun shopping together! I saw the snips and popped them into my basket along with some fabulous teas. I realized later that I probably could not take them on the plane, and so Lindsey kindly mailed them to me. I'm sure the postage was more than the price of the snips. But sometimes we do silly things. And I am so glad she did. Every time I use the snips I think of the fun we had that afternoon.

I rarely post selfies here, but in the spirit of celebrating happier times with my girls, I'll share this here... Hannah snapped us celebrating the abundance of tea options and posted it in her stories on Instagram.
I have scissors that belonged my paternal grandmother and I have scissors I bought at Gather Here. Each pair connects me to a person or time that brings me joy. How lucky am I?

I'm guessing you may have sentimental treasures tucked away in your sewing basket, or maybe in your kitchen drawers. Are you finding them to be especially dear to you as we continue to hunker in?
Let me know!

I'm looking forward to bringing you more distractions.
And interesting links.
And hope and ideas for action.


Sunday, July 5, 2020

the outlook from here

121 days until we go to the polls,
or vote by mail sooner.

Perhaps the language in my last post was off putting to some of you. Alas, sometimes that happens. We surprise one another with the fervor of our feelings and the stridency of our words. 

There is so much that is amiss in our country right now. No pretty views, fun sewing projects or friendly banter can cover it up. 

I continue to do hard work with my heart and soul. I continue to do volunteer work in my community. This is not the time to shrink, to dim our lights, to be "safe", to withdraw. Hope you are finding ways to process, learn, expand and act.

I'll be back with the usual stuff soon, 'cause we can all use distraction (just not coverup) in the midst of chaos.

Just wanted to clear that up. xo