Wednesday, October 9, 2013


It has been nearly a month since I made my way to the Taproot Gathering at Squam.

I have tried to find the words- many, many times- since I've been back to describe my days on that lake but they just seem to swirl in front of me and dissipate so quickly I can't grasp them.

For years, as I read about the experiences of those who attended Squam, the one word that appeared almost every single time was magic. Well, it felt very much like magic pulling me to that lake and the lovely people gathering there and it was definitely magic I went in search of.

I think that is why I haven't been able to find words, because the magic I found was so needed, so vital to me, that I didn't want to look too closely, or analyze it, or drop it. I felt almost like this new found magic would dissolve or disappear just like the words I tried to find to describe it.

I do want to form words around that enchanted retreat in the woods. And I'm sure I will, but right now I think I'll hold it close a little longer while I learn to trust and nurture the magic that I found there.

In the meantime, a few clear thoughts do stand out to me:

How much I miss the loons. I went to sleep each night to their haunting, other worldly call. That beautiful call that sounds like a reminder that we're not alone in this world.

The sage words of women who are no longer strangers, a few of whom I didn't believe had the years behind them to be as wise as they are. I am humbled and thrilled to be proven wrong about that.

Realizing that I was able to live in precisely the moment I was inhabiting. Not the past, not what is yet to be but the precise moment, lying right there on the dock, with my feet in the water and and the sun on my face and not a care in the world. It sounds simple, it is simple, but up until that very moment I had found it unbelievably impossible.

The connections, friendships, conversations, and classes with lovely, charming, talented people. I left feeling inspired and awed by their creativity. Not to mention, more than one sincere, heart warming moment spent with gentle souls who probably have no idea what their kindness meant to me.

How "at home" I felt within minutes of arriving in those woods in New Hampshire (something in me just needs to live in New England, I think). That was validation to me that, yes, home is a place you intuitively recognize. Strangely, that made the counterintuitive return to a place that just doesn't feel like home, at all, that much easier. That, and the magnetic pull of this little family of mine. How I missed these babies. The pure joy of seeing a sweet little man, all of six years old, run and dart through the airport so he could be the first to hug me or the indescribable love of his little sister, waking up next to me, saying "Mama, you're here". Somehow being away...and coming back to them...helped shift my perspective just enough to find myself a little more at peace here.

That is magic, indeed.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Every morning these little birds come to this window, my favorite window. Sometimes it's just one or two, sometimes it's more than I can count. They fill the rose bushes, hop on the window sill and then take off collectively as I tip-toe closer. I've come to expect them now. 

This is such a simple thing, these little morning visits. They make me smile. They make me remember the roses still need pruning. They make me realize that no matter what else is going on, there are always- always- moments like this to savor. 

It also doesn't hurt that I just have to sing Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds" after these morning visits. 

That song can fix just about anything. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

here & now...

My big girl sits in a tree, a little gray dog waits for her at the bottom. She is searching, from her perch, for a tortoise that wandered into our yard yesterday. He seems to have moved on but that won't stop her from spending most of the day there, hoping he'll return. Just like she spent most of the day before, in a storm, "protecting" him. 

She is more at home here than I will ever be. That realization comforts me, eases my worries, lets me exhale when I didn't even know I was holding my breath. She's alright. They all are. 

So I am, too. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013


I made this little dress for her second birthday...a year and a half ago...with a pattern cut from a shirt in her closet, scraps of linen and silk and a desire for her to have something mama-made that day. I realized recently that I somehow don't have any pictures of her wearing it. How is that possible?

Just in time, before she outgrows it, a year and a half later- her birthday dress.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


I stood there in the kitchen, slicing strawberries for a sweet boy who insisted they taste better that way. Fighting the urge to insist back that they taste exactly the same either way because I knew that wasn't what he meant. That the image he'll keep of me taking the time to do that was far more important than whatever it was I thought I was in a hurry to do.

Bright, early day sunlight, fresh strawberries, already so hot we don't even consider venturing out, the most handsome little face standing eagerly beside me with a bowl. That is our day before Summer Solstice.

The early light, coming in through windows facing both north and south, was in a startling instant, gone. So startling that it took a moment before I could even process where the light had gone. A storm so sudden and fierce and dark, that sent birds flying from trees, that blocked the light that had just been there, and was over so quickly I went to the window to prove to myself that the ground was, indeed, wet.

Two years here and I am still so surprised and confused by the weather. I find myself counting raindrops like they are coins...hoping I can save them. Wishing I could spend them when the green starts to fade.

The ground seemed to dry almost as fast as the storm appeared. But a few drops lingered on roses that need pruned, on new leaves that are most assuredly as grateful for the rain as I am.

Proof that I didn't dream this.

Monday, June 17, 2013


Since creating this space of my own, this small blog that feels so much like chatting with a friend over coffee, I've noticed that sometimes I go silent, and for longer than I'd like. There was a time, much much closer than I'd like to admit, that I would have found this quite distressing, or at the very least, annoying.

I would have over analyzed it, I would have worried about it, I would have felt like something tangible was slipping away.

But over the last week or so, as this space called to me, none of those old reactions surfaced. This time I just gently said "not yet" and carried on. Carried on with a life that is working itself out, all the while thinking, mulling, absorbing so much behind the scenes.

This may not seem life altering but let me tell you, this is HUGE. This, my friends, is the tiniest beginning of self-acceptance. Of realizing that it is just who I am and how I work. Of actually appreciating and living in the moment. Of recognizing that, at times, silence and hanging back are just what I need and embracing that realization. Accepting that introspection and introversion do not make me invisible.

I may be quiet at times, I might even disappear for a bit, but I'm still here.

Right where I need to be.

Friday, June 7, 2013


Early mornings here are usually spent with a first cup of coffee and a few favorite blogs. A quiet and slow start to a day that will most definitely get a bit chaotic later... almost always a good chaos but it's that quiet start I cherish. 

This morning, with coffee in hand, I sat reading The Purl Bee and knew I had to make the Heirloom Needle Case from today's post. Linen, wool felt, scraps of twill from a little man's birthday banner....I had everything I needed. I love projects that use what I already have. It is so gratifying to have a new something finished an hour after inspiration strikes. 

This little case came together quickly, easily and is just so sweet. Another has already been promised because ten-year-olds need their own apparently (of course, they do!) and I think I will use two pieces of twill so it can be tied with a bow.

Crafty mornings....what could be better?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Little hands, leaving blooms to be found later. Running in and out, leaving the door open or slamming it behind them. Thinking they're so secretive and quiet. Giggling. Fighting over which ones mama will like best.

Me, pretending not to see or hear. Smiling. Gushing, kissing sun-warmed heads that take my breath away.

Oh, be still my heart.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


I have a stash of fabric I've carried from house to house for the last thirteen years. Most of it gathered in that first stash-building burst of shopping when I discovered quilting during my newlywed days in California. There was a drug store in Oakland that carried inexpensive fabric that was visited often, plus a favorite shop in Berkeley and a lovely shop in Tahoe. 

The problem is that most of this fabric isn't my aesthetic. It never really was but it's what was available. The modern quilting movement of the last few years has helped align what is available with my taste and that is exciting indeed. 

Somehow though, as minimalist as I am, I've held onto this fabric all these years. It never got donated or given away. Sometimes I can be a bit too sentimental for my own good.

I still remember buying these particular fabrics, reminiscent of Civil War era prints, because they reminded my of my mother. I don't know why they would exactly but they do. I remember standing at a counter with a bundle of fat quarters in my arms, thinking of her, even then trying to pinpoint why I was making that connection. 

Whatever the connection, it is there and with how much she has been on my mind lately, it just felt like time to make something with them. I've settled on a simple strip quilt. 

It feels good to finally pull these fabrics out, it feels good to relish a connection to my mother...however obscure...and as always, it feels good to be in front of my sewing machine. 

I have a feeling this one will stick around, maybe not always in use, but here nonetheless. 

I told you...too sentimental. 

Friday, May 24, 2013


It rained twice in the last month, the second time was almost two weeks ago now, and the effect of that rain on the world around me is nothing short of remarkable. It's green!  A vibrant, rich, saturated green and oh, wow, what a welcome sight that is to me.

Today, everything and everyone just seemed out of sorts, though...for no reason. Nothing at all wrong, so much right actually, but still everything just seemed off. Isn't that a guilt inducing kind of feeling? And the guilt of feeling out of sorts when I should be feeling nothing but gratitude has the effect of making a person that much more out of sorts. Yeah, that kind of day.

And then I put my finger on it. The green is fading. Just slightly so far but it is and that panicky "I don't belong here" feeling started creeping in. The green had such a way of making the heat tolerable...less noticeable some how. It felt right and familiar and comforting. But today reminded me that the rain was really a fluke and the green was never here to stay and maybe I've been a little bit unrealistic lately.

But, "here" is what it is and it has nothing to do with me. I am what I am, too, and I'm tired of feeling like I've failed at something because I can't seem to embrace life here. I'll probably never thrive here, or even like it here very much, to be honest. But I will make it and I will do my best. And I'll stay open to what this turn of events has to offer.

I really do wish it would rain, though.

Monday, May 13, 2013


There is a stack of books always close by, the ones that never seem to find their way back to the shelf, and this one is usually close to the top. It has lovely words, beautiful artwork and it gets read quite a bit lately. No matter how many times I read it though, I am always struck by the last page...the last line.

Something about that line resonates with the very core of this mama's heart. I could sit here all night and try to explain why but I don't think the words would come. This simple, lyrical sentence captures who I am, what I do here, my place in this little family of mine better than I seem to be able to. 

"Magic" and "home" will overlap for me again one day...but until then, I know that I am what make these words overlap for my children. Here and now. And when I forget that I only need to pull a sweet little three-year-old into my lap and read this book to her.

There is a lot going on in my head...and heart...this Mother's Day. About the kind of mother I want to be, about a mother gone that leaves me feeling broken, about how to carry all of that around in a place that still won't whisper the word "home" to me.  

But there might just be some magic in there, too.

 I hope so. 

Friday, May 10, 2013


I am just now coming to fully understand something I've intuitively felt my entire life. Making things, touching fabric, having something in my hands...all of this is vital for me. So grounding, centering and just...crucial. 

I have, at times, felt like my "hobbies" were expendable. Until now. Feeling so out of place and out of sorts here has certainly cleared up that misconception. I look back over this time and find it dotted with moments of peace as I sew something, knit something...create anything.

Lately, when inspiration and energy seem to be in such short supply, I've still tried to make time to just pull some fabric and see what happens.

This time I made these. So easy and the perfect use for the scraps of linen I used as the lining. Lots of little toys find their way to this space and these fabric buckets are just right for collecting them all. 

For the longest time I've tried to find peace...for now I've found a little corner of it right here. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Taking a moment to appreciate what is unique and lovely around me. The beauty in the broken, the strength in what is scarred but standing, the texture of the practical. Trying to find the balance between being so misplaced and still seeing what is beautiful during these days. Making sense of the right now and seeing what lessons it has to offer. 

Such a quiet, internal busyness going on around here.