Sunday, May 28, 2017

heaven scent

my grandmother's ewer
and some vermont lilacs.

Friday, May 26, 2017

still learning...

On Monday I attended the Vermont Ethics Network's spring gathering in Fairlee, VT. Perspectives at End-of-Life:Suffering, Consciousness and the Power of a Patient's Narrative included plenary sessions, an interfaith panel discussion and breakout sessions. 

Two of the speakers were outstanding.

Pulitzer Prizer Winner and Director of Narrative Medicine at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, Michael Vitez , had us spellbound with his passion for storytelling.

Koshin Paley Ellison, co-founder of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, the first Zen-based organization to offer fully accredited ACPE clinical chaplaincy training in America literally had me at hello. He transformed a room full of health care professionals (and at least one volunteer chaplain) into a quiet, pensive group of listeners. I have ordered his book, Awake at the Bedside, because I know I have much more to learn from this kind man.

One of Koshin Paley Ellison's questions to the gathering on Monday was, "Do you have 5 people in your life that you know would drop everything to be with you if you needed them?" 

And, "How do we practice kindness as a way of life?"

I'm still thinking about all that I heard and experienced on Monday...

How about you, dear readers...what are you "still learning" about?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

still catching up...

Early on Sunday my Mumsie and brother Doug arrived from Massachusetts for a quick, 24 hour visit. After thick slabs of coffee cake, Batman and Doug started work on the deck railings and my Mumsie and I headed out to buy some Japanese Indigo seedlings here. I made a little balsam sachet for Jennifer (I do love to make tokens of appreciation!) made from cloth I dyed with indigo plants I bought there last year. The new seedlings are planted here at our "bit of earth" and are being drenched (which they love) by a steady rain this afternoon. Safely railed, the deck feels ready for boisterous conversation, small supper gatherings, afternoon tea parties and quiet reflection. A few pots of flowers and we'll be good to go. Hauling old cedar siding out from under the crawl space, Doug whipped up an impromptu lattice screen to hide said crawl space. Later in the afternoon, we painted more coats on the walls in the three season porch and put up trim around the ceiling. Doug has just one speed and it's full steam ahead. I so appreciate that he has showered us with his skill and loving attention here at our "bit of earth".  And having my Mumsie on site, supervising the many projects was an added bonus. 

In the meantime, everything has popped into flower...the crab apples, the lilacs, the pear trees, the forget-me-nots, the grape hyacinths and the daffodils. The dandelions are having a banner year, with fields swathed in their cheerful yellow carpets.

Life is brimming and full...and there's so much more ahead...

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

a folkwear baby jacket

On Friday I hit the road early in the morning. I drove west, up and over both the Warren Mountain Road and the Lincoln Gap. Everything was sparkling with the raindrops that had fallen overnight, caught by the early morning sunlight. From both summits, the beautiful Green Mountains of Vermont spread out in front of me, dappled with shadows caused by the light clouds floating in the bluest of skies. I pulled over more than once to sigh. Contented sighs are the best, aren't they?

When I arrived at Basin Harbor Resort, an eight foot long table and chair was waiting for me. Our Vermont Modern Quilt Guild was in the midst of our four day spring retreat! (Batman and I try to reserve weekends for the wedding prep "to do" list, and so I was delighted that I was able to be a "day retreater"). 

How much fun is it to hang out with kindred spirits, sharing quilting and sewing tips, doing "show and tell" with projects and enjoying food we did not have to prepare or clean up??? Super fun!

I was able to get this little jacket nearly finished. Started almost a month ago, it has had soooo much love stitched into it, both by hand and by machine. 

I used up lots of scraps of both fabric and batting while sewing this project. I did purchase new fabric for the lining and the binding. The jacket is quite sturdy and thick...good for the chilly winters in Sweden. Sewn up in a size two, it will be something the new babe (due in June) will grow in to.

Patchwork, sewing and quilting.

After listening to the news, sometimes I feel like I am trying to stitch the whole world back together again. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

place holder

will post more tomorrow.
i promise.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

still here

the wedding countdown/"to do" list is getting a bit crazy!
priming some trim for the three season porch today.
a chore, yes, but that view...not too shabby.

up to my eyeballs in so many things. 
will update on tuesday.

how about you, dear readers?
what have you been up to in may?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


"Beauty will save the world"
-Feodor Dostoevski


Saturday, May 13, 2017

my annual mother's day post

Mother's Day Proclamation

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts,
whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!

Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by
irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking
with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be
taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach
them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another
country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From
the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says "Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance
of justice."

Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons
of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a
great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women,
to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the
means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each
bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a
general congress of women without limit of nationality may be
appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at
the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the
alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement
of international questions, the great and general interests of

Julia Ward Howe

(Written in response to the carnage of the Civil War. The original intention of Mother's Day, a call for peace)

Thursday, May 11, 2017


this week i've been measuring my time
by bobbins used and
steps taken. 


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

light from afar

from my beloved earlham college.
a baccalaureate address that brought me to tears.
brew some tea and look here.
The Labor of the Lost Cause.

the Light. 

always, the Light.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


flurries in these "higher elevations" for two days in a row.
i was chatting with a friend and told her this must be the rent we pay for our view!
and ugh. the sliminess in d.c. just gets slimier by the day.
what's a girl to do?
pull out a bag of last summer's pumpkin puree from the freezer,
bake a nice loaf of pumpkin bread and then close myself into my sewing studio with my best friend.
the wee jacket is coming along, bit by bit (the back, above).

escapism in the kitchen and the sewing studio.
who's with me?

Monday, May 8, 2017

tiny treasures

i just came in from a little ramble around the yard.
it looked like rain, so i hurried along.
i was wrong.
it's a snow squall that chased me in.
it swept across the valley and is swirling 
around the corners of the house.

scilla and hyacinth,
a bit of birch...
tucked gently into my pocket.

a fossil,
some small rocks...
from my treasure trove
of tiny things.

maybe i'm channeling the collectors of long ago,
like beatrix potter (did you know she was a botanist?)
and charles darwin
and some funky and quaint museums, too.

do you have treasures from the natural world
tucked into your home?

Saturday, May 6, 2017

three years

 our very own ramps.
a vermont delicacy.
read about foraging etiquette here.
 ferns down by the vernal stream...
bubbling over the stone wall.
 unfurling in the misty, wet, soggy conditions.
 trout lilies, budded but not yet blooming.
 tiny leaves and lichen.
 daffodils from opening day at the 
and the rainy, misty, foggy days on end.

celebrating three years as full time vermonters this week.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Monday, May 1, 2017

a month of stitching::day 30

so friends,
my month of stitching for at least an hour every
day and posting about it has come to an end.

and i'm just too tuckered out
(from more work on the to do list)! 
to reflect on it right now.

but i wanted to be sure to show you something
that has caught my eye.

the social justice sewing academy.


check them out 
(the link is working properly now).

Sunday, April 30, 2017

A month of stitching::day 29

more yard work this morning, but the hail chased me in! 
there was just enough time before lunch to get the other jacket 
front piece finished. and then we were busy in the three season porch. 
it will be sparkling and welcoming by the wedding.

time for a glass of water and a few deep stretches.

and on to the next thing.


Saturday, April 29, 2017

a month of stitching::day 28

Early this morning I made progress on the baby is one of the quilted and cut out front pieces. I'm wondering what I should do for the bias binding trim. Any ideas on colors? Solid or print?

Batman and I spent most of the day outdoors today, working hard in the gardens and the yard. We decided that we accomplished more today than Mr. Blusterpants has in his first 100 days in office. And that is actually a really good thing! (You can see the tansy plant coming back. She is destined for the dye pot later this summer).

The last few days have been exquisite up here on the ridge, with mostly sunny skies, and a blazing blue most of the time. Can you see the tiny green buds at the top of these branches? The temperature combined with the breeze/wind is just right for digging, raking and hauling.

Look at these birch catkins. I just read this morning that they can be used to create a natural dye. That won't happen this spring, but you can bet it's now on my bucket list!

And the marchers in the streets today...thank you from the bottom of my heart.

People's Climate March, two thumbs up.

Friday, April 28, 2017

a month of stitching::day 27::and the giveaway winner

 Do you remember Folkwear patterns?
 All the rage in the '70's, they are still available today.
You can see their website here.
 I made this little jacket for our daughter 
Lindsey in 1985, from pre-quilted fabric.
(She's almost 33 now!)
Today I'm creating my own pieced and quilted fabric 
to make a more modern version of the jacket
for a wee baby due in June 
in far away Sweden.

I love using a very old pattern, scraps of fabric from my stash
and pieced bits of batting leftovers.
Very satisfying.

There were four comments and several e-mailed
I randomly drew a name...

It will find it's way up and over the ridge here 
in Vermont to Katja
of Raven Hill Farm!
(be sure to read about their maple syrup!)

Congrats, Katja!
I know where to find you.

PS Special birthday wishes to our Stewart,
who turns 35 today.
I really don't know how that happened.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

a month of stitching::day 26

my neighbor down the road is burning brush and the woodsmoke scents the air. a light breeze floats my hair around my neck and face. i hear spring peepers in the pond below and birdsong fills the trees. i've put my sweater on and off several times in the last hour, because it's april in vermont. there are so many shades of green out here that i do not have the words to describe them all. 

an hour with the knitting needles and now i've remembered all the reasons we are here.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

a month of stitching::day 25

hello birch and lilac buds.
i've had my eye on you.
you've been so slow this year 
that your quiet touch of green seems
to have crept in. 

it was a full day.
time for some meditative knitting.


(there is still time to enter the giveaway here).

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

a month of stitching::day 24::another giveaway

another needle case.

this time
 and lined with my favorite birch fabric,
with needle pages of wool felt,
and a snap closure and shell button decor.

if you would like a chance at finding it in your mailbox
leave a note in the comments below
or send me an email at

good luck, dear readers!

(i'll pull a name at random on friday).
this giveaway is now closed.

Monday, April 24, 2017

a month of stitching::day 23

 During our deck building weekend I noticed that my brother Doug's
 fleece jacket had a (growing) hole on one arm.
 I invited him to leave it here in Vermont 
so that I could mend it and he did.
I used a reproduction calico from my stash
because I love the way the colors worked with the jacket.
 Once I had the patch stitched,
I used an iron on interfacing to protect the inside
of the sleeve from future fraying.
(I was very careful not to melt the jacket!!!)
 This mend is tidy and will extend the useful days of this
much loved jacket.
One of my favorite shirts developed a tear that was
getting bigger each time I laundered the shirt.
I decided to do some visible mending, 
which is all the rage these days. 
Inspired by traditional Japanese "boro" mending
I decided to use that technique here.

I've blogged about mending many times, (like here). I really do love mending...making something stronger, more resilient, and helping to keep it out of landfill.  

The Patagonia clothing company claims that REPAIR IS A RADICAL ACT, and this video makes me think that their company is "collaborating with the universe".   I think Elizabeth Gilbert's words are turning out to be quite an inspiration for me as I navigate these crazy days..."the universe is looking for collaborators".

Have you been mending lately friends? How have you been collaborating with the universe?