Tuesday, January 27, 2015


We fed the latest sprouts to the chickens today. They made short work of them. Seems we all are eager for fresh green…..

daffodils nearly ready to see the light of day

freshly repotted amaryllis bulbs waking from their winter nap

and soon a treat for the felines of the family (maybe Mya will leave my houseplants alone)

The stack of garden catalogs is growing taller.
I feel a certain itch in my thumbs…

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


While at quilt retreat I fell in love with paper piecing all over again. It took a little while for my "little grey cells" to get the hang of it. It had been a few years since I'd learned how. And then I had used quite simple patterns with straight lines, enough challenge for the beginner. Then one day I spotted a bird in a magazine and had to try my hand at it.
I made the bird by copying the photo and drawing my own pattern on light weight interfacing. The original was less than 3 inches across.

I used it on a fabric postcard that I sent as part of an international postcard exchange. Since then I made a larger version, blowing up my drawing on my Epson. I sent that one to a dear friend.
I was sure I would make another for myself. A couple of years had passed, but I did it, at retreat.

In the way of things, the book with CD I had ordered didn't arrive until the day after I returned. That's ok, as it gave me more time to work on other projects. But now that I have it, I'm having a blast exploring what I can do with it.

The CD allows you to easily print the patterns, each in 4 sizes, right onto Carol Doak's foundation papers using my Epson printer.

It's a cozy day to be indoors working. It's snowing softly this afternoon, flakes falling gently in no hurry whatever. And without any fanfare a gift arrived from Rosemary…

may you also be blessed with art you love and unexpected graces.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

slipping past

Time was, January crept along so slowly winter seemed interminable. Not so 2015.
Late in the third week of the new year, today is sunny, above freezing, and the wild winds of the night have blown themselves out. On a day such as this, one can easily believe in spring…
Indoors, the bulbs put by in autumn are enjoying their places in the sun.

And I am reminded that my first snow drops, tucked into the garden bed along the brick walk last October, are preparing for their first appearance.

Our chickens are delighting in this bit of thaw and I am tickled by the sweet sounds of them exploring their nearly snow-less play yard. Phoebie has discovered that the soil beneath the chicken house is dry and dusty and refuses to emerge from her wallow even for mealworms. Clever girl… a dust bath in January is definitely more precious than a treat that can be had no matter the weather.
As a celebration, Friday night we ate at the local Chinese buffet in honor of Anne's recent good news. (I'm sure she'll share this soon.) It's always fun to read the fortune in your cookie, all the more so when you are able to reach into a bowl and choose your own rather than take one of a few included in your take out order.
This was mine…
There are several new things going on in my sewing room and at my desk. Having read or rather devoured Susan Branch's A Fine Romance, I quickly ordered a copy for myself and then searched my bookshelves for little books of a similar nature.

Under their influence I have begun a sketch book/journal of my own. I've never kept one before. I've often begun a written journal but have never allowed myself to KEEP one. For once I've decided to try keeping a different sort. Here are a couple of my recent inclusions…

Last weekend I attended a quilting retreat and while there spent time getting to know my new sewing machine. I had a blast trying out her built in stitches. These will go into the notebook where I'm logging my practices.

The circle of stitches is accomplished with the aid of a special attachment  The foot of the machine "draws" the stitches like the pencil of a compass. The radius is adjustable. I saw this demonstrated by Libby Lehman and just had to try it myself. Thanks, Mary, for lending me your attachment. No doubt I'll be getting one of my own soon.
I have had a love affair with paper my whole life. In the past couple years I've experimented with making boxes with papers of all kinds. Recently I discovered that Hobby Lobby was selling the very tool I had been looking for. It's made by We R Memory Keepers and makes self closing square boxes of various sizes.

Here you see two that I made with French General paper, which is double sided and presents beautifully. Look closely and you can see the tiny brads I used to secure them.

So these are the reasons why January refuses to move along as they say, "slow as molasses in January." Hope you're finding your days as full and enjoyable.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Sunny, but very cold here on our ridge meadow farm.
Christmas has been packed away, carefully, slowly, on the eve of Kings Day.
Shaking off darkness and unbelief, feeling undeniable, inexplicable grace of renewal and possibility, I've been taking a sort of inventory.

And gathering within reach the ingredients of the artful life I've lived too often in fits and starts.

Since turning over my old work space to Jerome for his office, I've carved out a corner at the top of the stairs on the second floor. There are sliding doors to the upstairs balcony to the south with a panorama I never tire of absorbing, and a single window to the west, overlooking the pond. There is no direct heat here, but on sunny days I'm quite cozy and the cats often come and nap in their beds near the sliding doors.

Down the hall is my "library" and at the end of the hall the tiniest bedroom, which is now our guest room but also my sewing space, which is upside down at the moment
I'm leaving tomorrow for a quilt retreat in Decorah, Iowa and have been gathering the projects I intend to work on while there. The retreat work space will be in the same hotel as our overnight accommodations and our breakfasts and dinners will also be served there. I am traveling and rooming with 3 ladies from my quilt guild, all marvelous quilters. The sponsor of the event has a beautiful shop just down the street. This is where I purchased my Bernina 750 QE in September and so help will be on sight should I need it.
All of a sudden I am giddy with anticipation.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Twelfth Night

remembering three travelers,
three gifts from our ridge meadow farm:

a gentle morning sun dog, a benediction on our humble silo

a fiery January moon eclipsed by my neighbor's silo

and a single perfect orb of another sort,

courtesy of LadyHawk.
Blessings at the close of the season.

Friday, January 2, 2015

9th day of Christmas

"Exhaust the little moment, 
soon it dies.
And be it gash or gold,
it will not come again in this disguise."
Gwendolyn Brooks

Thursday, January 1, 2015

welcome, 2015

With gratitude for 2014, and deep thanks to each of you,
a blessing of a new day, a new year,
with courage I remember...

"To begin, begin."