Heavy dew this week makes for magic mornings. The apple blossoms are just starting to open on the north side by the henhouse. Violets and dandelions sprinkle the lawns, along with fallen branches from winter winds and snow—now just a memory.
12 May 2013 7 Comments
17 Apr 2013 20 Comments
I’ve been traveling for work over the last two weeks, and am reeling from the sad news in Boston. Boston is a three hour drive from here and I’ve been there twice in the last two weeks to fly out of Logan airport. Boston is in our New England neighborhood. We return there tomorrow to fly to Ireland.
Then we woke this morning to find our beloved lamb, Ivan, was attacked and killed in the night. We called Ivan our sheep dog. He was so dog-like in his friendliness and devotion to us. I still have that ache in the pit of my stomach from the sight of him, and it builds on the ache I feel since the attacks in Boston.
And so, I say farewell for the next ten days as we prepare for this long anticipated trip. I leave our hill with a heavy heart and the hope to return uplifted after days of walking the windy hills along the sea in County Cork. Strong tea, thick brown bread and pints of stout usually give me comfort.
I wish you all some comfort in these days when we realize the fragility of our world, but recognize the great amount of kindness and goodwill that live within it too.
30 Mar 2013 6 Comments
in Art Portfolios, Artists, Creativity, Design, Holidays, Spring, Vermont Tags: covet garden, Easter, easter spirit, Masako Kubo, montreal, nature, Rabbit, Spring, spring weather, Terrain, vintage birdcage
A tiny touch of spring weather is in the air for Easter weekend here (this means sunny and a high of 48 F, with possible high 50s for tomorrow). The snow is receding. The farmyard is muddy. The sugarhouses will be boiling today.
I came across this rabbit artwork by Masako Kubo on the Covet Garden blog. A tea towel of the art is available at Terrain. I was smitten with its simplicity and it, along with the sunshine, are putting me in the Easter spirit. Masako’s illustration is so clean and fresh. I like her simplified palettes and use of words and emblems. Her rabbit may just inspire us to decorate some eggs today.
Yesterday I perused my photo libraries from spring in the last few years. All the blooming crocus, daffodils and tulips don’t show up until the April 20s of later, so I’m going to have to be patient. Tiny tips of green are popping up on the south side of the house where the snow is gone. And in three weeks we’ll be in Ireland where there will be plenty of green and spring flowers.
I leave you with two photographs I took in Montreal last May. A vintage birdcage that I plan to paint in a loose style on canvas (I’ll share if it’s worthy), and a cheery display from a favorite fleuriste.
27 Mar 2013 6 Comments
in Creativity, Design, handmade, In the Studio, Sewing, Shop News Tags: Belarus, creativity, design, field of flax, ilo collective, linen, Linen apron, linen pillow, sewing, textiles, unbleached linen
Today’s package came all the way from Belarus. Yards and yards of unbleached natural linen, and several yards of an irresistible micro stripe. Ever since I purchased my linen apron in November I’ve been intrigued by the linen of Russia and eastern Europe. And now I have my hands on some.
This linen smells like a field of flax. I sniffed it and felt waist deep in grasses and flowers.
Denise sourced it for ilo collective and ordered a sample yard or two. We got together and made an initial group of household items from that first batch. The pillow has an outer case of linen and inner case of ticking. Wandering hand-stitches complement the raw edge. A version with a magenta linen insert is also on the shop. Then Denise made a gorgeous apron, and several zippered bags with color accents. All on the shop too.
Who knows where else this linen will lead us.
26 Mar 2013 18 Comments
in color, Creativity, Design, handmade, In the Studio, Sewing, Shop News Tags: arts, bird, clothing, composition book covers, creativity, design, handmade, henhouse fibers, illustration, ilocollective, journals, making, norwich vermont, sewing, studio, style, teapot, upcycled materials
A blue and green flowered skirt, a blue lace shift and a deep orange shirt were among the garments Denise and I scissored up to make four fabric covers for composition books last Friday. Here are the results of our two hour book fest in the studio. We took these to Zuzu’s in Norwich, Vermont. More new items are appearing on the henhouse and ilo shop this week.
I’m pretty fond of the orange and pear. Do you have a favorite?
There will be more.
19 Mar 2013 7 Comments
in Artisanal Living, Creativity, Design, Housewares, Interior Design, Scandinavia Tags: Archipelago, Gudrun Sjoden, Islands, nature, Rickie Lee Jones, Sailer's Call, Scandinavia, Sweden, The Albatross
Gudrun Sjõdén opened a shop in Soho the week after we were in New York. I was sorry to miss the grand opening. Her spring and summer collection is full of color and pattern—as I’ve come to expect—but she continues to create settings that are visually poetic and inviting.
In this collection we are welcomed to “the outer edge of the archipelago.” I can barely think of another word that I like more at this very moment. ‘Archipelago’ is the very definition of edges and nuance, isn’t it? And the photos of some obscure Swedish landscape further suggest water and thin curving spits of land reaching out, allowing a view in either direction to the other islands in the chain.
As I write I am humming The Albatross (lyrics here) by Rickie Lee Jones, a song I’ve known and loved for over 20 years, with its repeated use of the word archipelago and its maritime suggestions of a boat’s mast over the garden wall, a family living by the sea, sailor’s calls and echoes.
11 Mar 2013 26 Comments
Inspired as I am by Danish modern art and design, I tried my hand at it last spring and made several peacock illustrations for Wild Apple. The art was picked up by several home furnishing companies, among them Manual Weavers and Woodworkers. These production samples arrived at the office this week and I’m tickled by my quirky birds, all puffed up and cheery.
These are indoor outdoor pillows, and will appear in their spring offerings to their clients. Fingers crossed that they’ll end up in retail down the line.
08 Mar 2013 9 Comments
Yesterday I discovered a paper bag with four paperwhite bulbs—forgotten and sprouting exuberantly. I tucked them in among the spent paperwhite bulbs I planted in December.
All our outdoor bulbs remain under a thick blanket of snow. The Irish daffodils are appearing in our markets and were irresistible.Their scent fills the house and nips at the tails of the woodsmoke. They increase my anticipation for a trip to Ireland only six weeks away. Travel and spring. Both worth waiting for, I think.
24 Feb 2013 6 Comments
Nine days after I brought forsythia branches indoors I found the first three flowers opening. By today—day eleven—the whole arrangement is showing off. Through the yellow tinged branches I can see a red cardinal flitting around in the falling snow. Two thirds of the primary color group is making an appearance on a late February day.
21 Feb 2013 10 Comments
How funny, then, to wake up to winter paradise the next morning. It’s like Mother Nature overheard us and decided to win us back. Well done, Mother Nature. I am in love with you again. At least until the next blustery night when the windows rattle and clumps of heavy snow fall intermittently from the roof.
Winter self preservation: a bouquet of tulips and a bowl of green pears. The last one asked to be photographed and I obliged.