Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Above and Below

Hi friends
Sometimes all I know is that which is above my head and below my feet. 
Today is interesting.  Tomorrow is still an idea and Yesterday is gone and done.

Times are a changing... and I am hopeful for good.  The space between now and August has been long and short-- mostly winding, full of seeking and learning.

I am still learning... and seeking.  You too?  I hope so.

Here are some places to see what I have been making and doing:
Winter Stitch (The love mitts on pg 2 of the table of contents)
Holiday Fat Quarterly (Issue 11-- Art quiver!)

I am so pleased to be counted in such talented company. So many great projects for your holiday crafting!  Happy.

See you round- sooner rather than later.  I am sure of it.


Thursday, August 09, 2012

Just images... and a few thoughts

I have written posts in my head so many times the past few weeks.  But then I am moving through the day, the beautiful summer day with my tribe... and it seems like the movement is what is important to all of us right now.  So I must just go with that, no?

We are all growing and changing so much right now.  My two year old little Mango will be three at the beginning of next month.  And she already seems to be three (maybe 7?) in deeds right now.  There is so much to share with her brothers, her father, and I.  It seems as if she has always been with us... but she is only two!

I have been noticing the space that we each hold in our tribe, our place, our role.  Sister, Brother, Mother, Father, Daughter, Son, Wife, Husband, Partner, Clown, Audience, Rock, Mess, Talker, Listener, Planner, Leader, Follower.  Noticing that sometimes these spaces need to be adjusted and swapped, allowed to be more fluid as they fit us or discarded if they no longer work.

It is a space for movement that allows each of us to feel most comfortable in our skins and in our family.  When I was younger I never understood the danger of rigidity, inflexibility, and how it can lead to injury so easily. Like trying to stretch in to a forward bend in Yoga-- and it just isn't going to happen by force. Rigidness seemed like a valid notion, a decent framework to hang a life on.  There are definites there, boundaries.  But rigidity gets so stale and dated, even before you know it, and can become unuseful.  Then what are you left with? Something that isn't working and isn't able to change.

With movement, we adjust to things in life that might surprise us, enchant us, or derail us. Flexibility insures that we stay intact as individuals and as a whole no matter what life throws our way.  Maybe we don't touch our toes the first Yoga class, but with movement by the third class we can grasp that big toe and it feels SO good.  Isn't that what family is?  An entity to itself, a whole that needs care and space to change as seasons march ever forward, kids grow, jobs shift, and directions adjust.

This summer has been about taking that breath, sometimes it is more of a controlled shudder (but breath is the goal.) I am breathing, looking at my tribe, being with them, moving through this time, and being patient about what I am going to grow in to, and what we are going to grow in to, together.


Friday, July 20, 2012


The Promise- Tracy Chapman
If you wait for me
then I'll come for you
Although I've traveled far
I always hold a place for you in my heart

If you think of me
If you miss me, once in a while
Then I'll return to you
I'll return and fill that space in your heart

Your touch
Your kiss
Your warm embrace
I'll find my way back to you
If you'll be waiting

If you dream of me
Like I dream of you
In a place that's warm and dark
In a place where I can feel the beating of your heart

Your touch
Your kiss
Your warm embrace
I'll find my way back to you
If you'll be waiting

I've longed for you
And I have desired
To see your face your smile
To be with you wherever you are

Your touch
Your kiss
Your warm embrace
I'll find my way back to you
Please say you'll be waiting

Together again
It would feel so good to be
In your arms
Where all my journeys end
If you can make a promise
If it's one that you can keep
I vow to come for you
If you wait for me

And say you'll hold
A place for me
In your heart.

Sometimes what was relevant in the beginning is even more so after many years. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sometimes life with minimal filtering is quite beautiful...

The last time I took a photo of a delicate Anemone was this past fall in my mother's hospital room.

They bloom again.

Much is different and much is familiar.
Fragile looking, but also strong on that long thin stalk.

and now this early Anemone

Seasonal reminders of time passing,


I didn't know we were here yet.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

And then it was finished... Jubilee Crush

Quilting as Clare tweeted about the Jubilee Boat Parade... it almost didn't get finished that day.  I love the Queen and the pictures of the colorful boats on that grey, grey water.  It was all so inspiring.  I had to keep sewing.
I am so glad to have this one out of the studio and out in to the world.  I have spent many nights already snuggled underneath,3 sewing and playing Scramble with friends.
Almost the most satisfying part was using these crazy golds in in the back-- made palatable by that AWESOME IKEA number print.  Feels so good to finish something and to use some of my favorite fabrics.  Hoard no more! (if I say it enough, it might happen.)


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

6 sides, stripes, and a surprise

I miss this space.
There has been much time spent studying the 6 sides of this shape.  And then not even studying it, but just sewing.  Just being in the moment and moving through it.  If I am lucky moving through it means there is a folded basket of laundry or, even better, a finished block-- or, the best, a finished quilt.

the big dreams are still percolating
confidence is building
directions are getting firmer

but there is much of the just moving through the moment to be done still.

finding a balance point with all the change
that is what my libra spirit craves
but we are not there yet.

someday soon

i hope


Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The Jubilee Crush

I am working, hopefully there will a rain break today and I can take full pictures of these last two finishes.  It is so good to finish.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Journey...

I have been thinking a lot lately about the journey that we take to get from one point to another.  It is not linear, and I had thought myself a linear-type of person.  It is not about the destination or the product, and I had always thought that I was a destination type of gal too.  What I am seeing about motherhood, daughterhood, sisterhood, personhood is that there is so much to be learned at each step... if I will just let myself slow down and figure it out.  There is so much to be seen, and taken in if I will just remember that "it is supposed to be fun." There is also fellowship and enough room for all of us, if only I remember that our journeys take different paths at times.

I am still working on the things that need to be culled and purged from this path I am on now.  I am feeling the sweetness of carrying around less (20+lbs thanks goodness), but also that illuminates other things that were formerly precious and that I can be rid of.  I feel keenly that I need to get on with being myself, but that there is a process to it that can't be rushed.

There is anticipation, dreaminess,  and nervous optimism for the future.

I am busy Dreaming Bigger.
Nice to see you here.


Sunday, May 06, 2012

Guest house

This being human is a guest-house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture.
Still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


--I don't think that it was this poem I found while cleaning my mom's house... but my mom loved Rumi's poetry and this fits her so well.  What a Woman!  I am so grateful be her daughter.


Friday, May 04, 2012

On the beach at night alone...

On the beach at night alone,
As the old mother sways her to and fro singing her husky song,
As I watch the bright stars shining, I think a thought of the clef of the universes and of the future.
A vast similitude interlocks all,
All spheres, grown, ungrown, small, large, suns, moons, planets,
All distances of place however wide,
All distances of time, all inanimate forms,
All souls, all living bodies though they be ever so different, or in different worlds,
All gaseous, watery, vegetable, mineral processes, the fishes, the brutes,
All nations, colors, barbarisms, civilizations, languages,
All identities that have existed or may exist on this globe, or any globe,
All lives and deaths, all of the past, present, future,
This vast similitude spans them, and always has spann'd,
And shall forever span them and compactly hold and enclose them.

-Walt Whitman

Friday, April 27, 2012

Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other's welcome
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you have ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Derek Walcott

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sleepy Friends?!

Hi all--

Why have I been posting poetry?!

There are animals in my studio!!  They have now made their way over to Fat Quarterly!  Maybe I can finally get some work done!!

(Issue 9 of Fat Quarterly is available here on MONDAY April 30!! You can also make the plunge and get a subscription-- I do not think you will be sorry.  This ezine is always bursting with awesome content and the staff are great people to swap with-- and there are great sponsor deals too!)

If you want to chat, I am busy cleaning up my most recent mess-- learning the "ins and outs" of twitter (@craftypickle -- YO!) printing some COOL stuff, digging the weeds out while the sun shines, and basically embracing the crazy around here.  Times they are a changing!!


Monday, April 23, 2012


Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.

This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again
until now.
Until now

-David Whyte

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-- the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

-Mary Oliver

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Ah, could I lay me down in this long grass
And close my eyes, and let the quiet wind
Blow over me—I am so tired, so tired
Of passing pleasant places! All my life,
Following Care along the dusty road,
Have I looked back at loveliness and sighed;
Yet at my hand an unrelenting hand
Tugged ever, and I passed. All my life long
Over my shoulder have I looked at peace;
And now I fain would lie in this long grass
And close my eyes.
Yet onward!
Cat birds call
Through the long afternoon, and creeks at dusk
Are guttural. Whip-poor-wills wake and cry,
Drawing the twilight close about their throats.
Only my heart makes answer. Eager vines
Go up the rocks and wait; flushed apple-trees
Pause in their dance and break the ring for me;
And bayberry, that through sweet bevies thread
Of round-faced roses, pink and petulant,
Look back and beckon ere they disappear.
Only my heart, only my heart responds.
Yet, ah, my path is sweet on either side
All through the dragging day,—sharp underfoot
And hot, and like dead mist the dry dust hangs—
But far, oh, far as passionate eye can reach,
And long, ah, long as rapturous eye can cling,
The world is mine: blue hill, still silver lake,
Broad field, bright flower, and the long white road
A gateless garden, and an open path:
My feet to follow, and my heart to hold.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Where the Sidewalk Ends

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

 --Shel Silverstein

Monday, April 16, 2012

A step in the right direction...

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

--Mary Oliver

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Why! who makes much of a miracle?
As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach, just in the edge of the
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love--or sleep in the bed at night with
any one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with my mother,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive, of a summer forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds--or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sun-down--or of stars shining so quiet
and bright,
Or the exquisite, delicate, thin curve of the new moon in spring;
Or whether I go among those I like best, and that like me best--
mechanics, boatmen, farmers,
Or among the savans--or to the soiree--or to the opera,
Or stand a long while looking at the movements of machinery,
Or behold children at their sports,
Or the admirable sight of the perfect old man, or the perfect old
Or the sick in hospitals, or the dead carried to burial,
Or my own eyes and figure in the glass;
These, with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring--yet each distinct, and in its place.

To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same;
Every spear of grass--the frames, limbs, organs, of men and women,
and all that concerns them,
All these to me are unspeakably perfect miracles.

To me the sea is a continual miracle;
The fishes that swim--the rocks--the motion of the waves--the ships,
with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?

-Walt Whitman

Thanks Mr. DeWitt! 2 for 2!


Friday, April 13, 2012

Welcome Spring!

Do you ever just feel a little shift?  Like you are a tiny bit more yourself? You may not know who that is, but you feel more at home in your skin.  It is happening in me.  It is Spring.

One of my favorites from High School English class with Mr. DeWitt--

A Blessing
by James Wright

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl's wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

We could be in for some good things in this new season!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

And we begin again!

And we start the learning again.... I think I am the oldest in the class, but that is OK because I am comfortable with my age and I am going to PRINT!

I love how messy it is.

I love how you can't QUITE tell how it will turn out-- but then it does!


Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spring Break-- it looks a little like winter!

In between 2 weeks of travel, I was able to convince Big Daddy to take us over the mountains for a little break.  I wanted to go to see this quilt show.  Kristin is such an amazing quilter.  We met SO very long ago in one of Tonya's quilt alongs. (I am betting that Kristin finished her quilt and mine is still hanging out in the craft room somewhere.) Last summer all three of us were able to hang out in Sisters during the Quilter's Affair.  FUN FUN FUN to meet cool people online and then find that they are cool in person as well.--- more on this show on another post.

We were able to find a cute little house (isn't my brood cute?!) (Brownie and his rocker hair-do!) a block from the park and just a short walk downtown.  Sometimes the best trips come together at the last minute, just how I like it!

We went to the sno-play park for the first time!!!  Yes, I have lived here for over 20 years and this is my first "serious" sledding excursion.  It was GREAT!!  Everyone had a wonderful time.  Did I forget to mention earlier that another reason we went away for a few days was to mark Blondie's BIRTHDAY!  He is now 6 years old!!!  He was so at home in the snow.  Since he was in-utero I have thought that he was going to grow up to be an extreme sports enthusiast.  His antics on the sledding hill told me that we need to get that boy a HELMET!  On one trip up the hill to meet me, he "accidentally" dropped the sled and had to retrieve it 3 times... endless energy.  What a little bundle of love!
At one point I looked up the  (Big, BIG) hill and saw Big Daddy getting ready to slide Mango down the hill on her snowsuit.  Of course I gave that the big "NO" frown, only to find that it was all "little" Mango's idea.  She saw a big boy going down on his snow pants and she thought that she should too.  The only thing that I can come up with is that we get these kids A LOT of supervised snow experience while they are young so that they can be somewhat savvy when they get older and Mom is not around.  I am going to have totally white hair by 40!
No trip to the high desert would be complete without a tortoise shot?  A man brought a tortoise out for a walk to the park.  It was just really funny.  Weird, but funny.

The joke of the whole trip was my never ending knitting project.  I have finally realized that I like the knitting almost more than I like the finished project.  I also am a HORRIBLE gauge swatch knitter.  I am just always off and not too consistent.... blah blah blah.  A few birthdays ago I bought this BEAUTIFUL yarn for myself.  I finally knit is up in to a simple cowl, wore it sledding, and decided that it was too wide.  My husband was kind of shocked when, on the way back from the mountain, I unraveled the cowl and began to re-knit it in a smaller width.  I think that if I could just keep knitting that yarn for every project I would be a happy girl. (I should just buy another skein or two and be done with it!)
Brother Jon's served us some mighty fine grub and their sentiment is sweet and direct!  A new motto for me!
In the meantime I have been working on some patterns and tutorials... you know, just trying to figure out my way in the world.  March was my month in the EMQG bee so I came up with this to make an "X" block.  I always like to find a way to "liberate" another quilter!

I am a little reluctant to say it, don't want to jinx it-- but I feel like I am more accepting of this "new normal".  The normal without my mom daily in my life.  I finished the session of grief classes that I talked about a few months back.  I made myself go to the first three (it felt REALLY awful), but then I continued for the next four.  It was really nice to have a place that was really safe to express how sad I am about losing my mom.  A place where I am not worried about scaring my kids with my grief.  It was so nice to hear from other "eldest" children about how responsible they feel for all the little details of their parents affairs.  It was comforting to learn about how other people are struggling with their own "new normal" and to just not feel crazy.  My class was through hospice care at the local hospital.  I am going to continue when it starts up again in May.  I would really recommend trying it at least three times.

So many times the past few months I have thought of these lyrics by Mat Kearney-

... fear is an anchor
time is a stranger
love isn't borrowed
we aren't promised tomorrow

we'll never be ready if we keep waiting
for the perfect time to come