Sunday, November 22, 2009

Studio Transition

Last spring I moved both self and studio from a country location in Charlotte, Vermont to an urban setting in Burlington, Vermont.
The space is great, with enormous ceilings and so much light; but getting things set up in a workable manner in a new space has been very challenging. It has slowed down my actual craft work a lot. But I am beginning to sense what hasn't worked comfortably in the set up and over the next few weeks can make some revisions.

The building is an historic renovated Bus Barn, where the Vermont Transit buses used to spend the night, and is just a fabulous space! My newly rescued cocker spaniel, Miki, loves spending time in the window (particularly watching for me if I go out and leave her).

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Apron Garden

Thanks to daughter/artist Becca, who scolded me for not keeping my blog more up to date...Well, THAT is another story. But she just took the most beautiful photos of some of my aprons in her garden, enjoy!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

First Snowfall

This week has been unseasonably warm, and it lures one into complacency.
Last week, two days before Halloween, we woke up to our first snowfall. My heart had fallen the day before when I received my alert for "winter driving conditions".
The snow fell only on those of us in higher elevations, though, and when I drove into Burlington with snow still remaining on the roof of my car I was greeted as a novelty. My grandson's came to the window to see their grandmother's snow covered car, and a neighbor asked if she might "borrow" some to make snowballs.
It WAS lovely, but I admit I'd just as soon not see it again for a month or so.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting Day

I had expected to awake with anxiety this morning. It is a big day, and I'm one of those who has been following this election for two years.
I find instead an unusual warmth outside for a Vermont November, more typical of early October when summer resigns itself to fall. When I look west to the lake there is a haze over it, but it is haze mixed with soft sunlight and particularly beautiful. I hear that many parts of the country will be oddly warm Chicago they are expecting the temperature to reach 70.
I voted on Friday. I like the sense of community that comes from going to the polls, but I was anxious that something might come up so I quelled my anxiety by voting on Halloween. I remember now that it was a Halloween over 40 years ago that I first moved to Vermont.
My pregnant California daughter wanted to vote on Saturday but the early voting line was so long, and the rain so intimidating, she will go to the polls on tired feet after a long day at work. She will not be the only tired person there, I am sure. Tired feet have changed this country before...remember Rosa Parks.
I am so impressed by the television pictures of the long lines at polling places across the country. My local daughter tells me of the enthusiasm and dedication to vote by absentee of the patients in the hospice where she works. Surely the massive interest in this election, the enormous numbers of people voting, are going to cause polling place problems in some locations.
What stuns me about this as I think about it this morning is that we as a nation have "earned the right" to be cynical, to be disengaged. For the 50 somethings of my generation we have gone through the Cold War, Vietnam, Watergate, and 2000...and yet we think, whatever our political stripes, it can and will be different. We have been disappointed by Clinton and by Bush, but we think it will be different, or at least we think it CAN be different. As a child I was deeply impressed by the photos in Life Magazine of the civil rights struggle and the voting rights struggle. I read Betty Friedan, Germaine Greer and watched women burn their bras.
While our society and our political process are full of imperfections, I am profoundly impressed this morning by the changes I have seen in my lifetime. And I am even more impressed by the "audacious hope" of the American people to stand in line, on tired feet, to exercise a right which has, in my lifetime, become almost universal in this country.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

3 Kitchen Tips I Learned in Girl Scouts, Plus 1 More

The other day I was baking some cookies - yes, baking cookies, something I thought I'd put behind me years ago, but Becca and her boys are such an appreciative audience I've begun to do it again - when I realized I had carefully put aside the wrappers from the sticks of butter to use in greasing the cookie sheet. It occured to me that is a tip I'd learned as a Girl Scout so many years ago, in Winnetka, Illinois. I realized also that my habit of wiping the top of a can with a dishtowel before opening it also was something I'd learned in Girl Scouts. Jane Strong, who seemed to have an extended career as our girl scout leader, always wiped the top of a can before she opened it...we used to tease her she was afraid of "Jewel dust" - "Jewel" or the Jewel Tea Company being the name of the area supermarket chain. So, while we teased her about "Jewel dust", I've carried on that habit nearly 50 years.

From our day camping experiences to the Skokie Lagoons came the recipe for "Campfire Stew", or "Camper's Stew", or "Girl Scout Stew" which was a staple in our household when my girls were growing up, and which every so often I still have a hankering for today:
In a skillet, heat a little oil and then lightly saute a chopped onion. Add about a pound of ground beef and brown, then add a can of Campell's Vegetarian Vegetable soup (the "alphabet" soup). I'm pretty sure we served in on hamburger buns then, but now I prefer it on buttered egg noodles.
Now for a kitchen tip I learned recently, when you have brown sugar hardened in the box - it works for white sugar as well - pat a little water on the outside of the box and stick in the microwave for about 10 seconds. The moisture released breaks up the sugar clumps.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Market Transitions

Not all market changes are in the stock market, here in Vermont our farmers' markets are transitioning too. Last Saturday was the last day of the Shelburne Farmers' Market for this season. Since from June through October for two years I've spent my Saturdays between Shelburne Farm's stand and Palmer's Maple Syrup, I'll miss it this winter. I'll miss my weekly chocolate chip from Vermont Cookie Love (though they will be opening a shop in nearby North Ferrisburg around Thanksgiving), and my occasional jar of Sonia's Salsa (available also at the Shelburne Supermarket). Most of all I'll miss my regulars, who stop by every week or two to see what is new, and my out of state customers who are now returning on their vacations a second year.
This weekend I'll close out Richmond Farmers' Market's season, and make an appearence at the Middlebury Farmers' Market. Soon, I'll be starting the new Winter Farmers' Market seasons. At the Burlington Winter Farmers' Market I'll see Tasha and Annie from Shelburne Farms and Beth Whiting from Maple Wind Farms.
Here are a few of my favorite new items I'll be vending at farmers' markets this weekend, which are also available at I'm crazy about the little clothespin apron in vintage clothesline fabric. I've added a "farmers' market bib" and a great bunny print one. New aprons include some fabulous Asian and Provence prints.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cedar Waxwings

I ran across a bush full of cedar waxwings in the yard today, and as usual, they stopped me in my tracks.
Not only are cedar waxwings lovely birds, worthy of a long look, but they bring back a visceral memory...of late winter seven years ago, standing outside the Vermont Respite House with my good friend Susan Hartman, as my mother lived one of her last days inside. That day the a tree was full of cedar waxwings and we paused at it a long, long time. It is a bittersweet memory, of life and of death, but as is in most things the message of life comes through the strongest.