We can attempt to teach the things that one might imagine the earth would teach us: silence, humility, holiness, connectedness, courtesy, beauty, celebration, giving, restoration, obligation and wildness.
David Orr from "Earth in Mind"

Dec 31, 2007

Give-away extended until Friday

It was pointed out to me that I might want to extend my giveaway since so many people are out of town and busy because of New Years so I am extending it until Friday and I will announce the winner on Monday. Sign up here

Have a good New Years.

Dec 29, 2007

Dec 28, 2007

One Year, (thoughts and yes a giveaway)

I started this blog a year ago with the idea that it would be a place for my friends and relatives to see pictures of Alder and hear about what was going on in our lives. It started with Snow, and it did a lot of that last year in Denver. It would snow and I would bake, it would clear for a few days and we would go walking around the city, until the next snow, when more baking would happen. Then in the evening I would blog.

Of course this is how most blog stories start and like the rest of them I also started to look and see what other sorts of people were out there blogging. That's when I stumbled upon an entire world of people who, for what ever reason want to share pieces of their lives with others. Some days I wonder how my children will look on this practice of blogging, is it a form of journal with staying power or is it a fad?

Mainly I am amazed by all the people I have met who's lives have some moments of intersection enough that I like reading about their days and ideas. I've learned from people who have children older than Alder as well as other artists and writers. And I've made friends, all from sharing a little bit about our days with each other. Especially with moving across the country it has been nice to have a community that has stayed constant.

Since the trend has been to have a little give away on the anniversary I thought I would create one, this is a little different than the ones I've seen before. Basically I have two different prizes I have to offer and who ever is chosen can decide which one they want. The other one will wait until I'm inspired to do another one of these. To note all of the parts to these are things that I have around the house nothing is being bought for this, other than stamps.

Giveaway #1 The stuff for making things, this is a tote I've made with all the pieces for making your own Japanese stab bound book, including the paper, waxed linen thread, a few different pieces of cover paper and some decorative paper, and directions. There is also some paper ephemera from old books.

Giveaway 2# This is about seeing things differently. This includes a copy of Keeping a Nature Journal (for some reason I have multiples), a set of colored pencils and a handmade journal (by me) to start journaling with.

Leave a comment to have your name in the drawing, I will draw a name on Monday night and post the winner here on Tuesday morning.

Thank you for making this year have some consistency in the midst of chaos.

Dec 24, 2007

Article Published

I have a new article at Travels in Paradise.

Enjoy your holidays....

Dec 23, 2007

Solstice Mail

Arriving on Friday just in time for the Solstice Alder's Godmama's package.

Wonderful books (from the thrift store).

A homemade friend.

And a learning tool for later (right now the rain gage makes a perfect pretend trumpet).

In a separate package from a used book seller was this book, I wanted to take it from the library in Denver but I didn't (I know I know). Since we are starting make Alder a real room of his own.

(The fabric behind it was a blanket given to me when I was born by a Chinese friend of my fathers).

Dec 21, 2007

Solstice Greetings

Tonight starts the second bout of celebrations of this month. It's going to be two weeks of feasts and friends, family and sledding. There may be some post over the next week or there may not be. I hope all of you have a holiday season of fun and peace.

Dec 19, 2007

A Good Read

Rare two in one day post but I have to share about the book I am reading. More that I need to share about the author Gary Paul Nahban. The first book of his I read was The Geography of Childhood, a book of essays that he and Stephen Trimble wrote about children in place. It was a cold solitary winter when we were living outside of Mancos. This was years before we were even married or thinking about having children. But the book effected me deeply, it was in part how I became interested in the concept of place, and the importance of rootedness in a person's life. Since that book I have found authors like David Orr, Wendell Berry, Ron Miller and Mary Sojourner.

Then the other day while I was looking for a book online, Coming Home to Eat popped in to my view. It's he take on the importance of local eating and the process of eating within 250 miles of his home in Arizona. Sounds a lot like the Kingsolver book Animal Vegetable Miracle, actually they lived in the same region or years, but his came out in 2002. The point is that as with all his writing I was completely drawn in, and I can't wait until I have a few minutes to pick it up again.

Yarns of Yarn

We drove up to Barton VT yesterday to get yarn from the distributor. It was overwhelming going through the rows of yard (about the size of a small supermarket). Now I'm back at the shop setting it all out in our temporary display.

Dec 17, 2007

Before, During, After the Storm

Kevin decorating the Solstice Tree with Alder's toys and a garland I made from scrap fabric (in theory this is only temporary decoration).
In the early morning we lost power the wind was 30mph with gusts of 60. There was a lull in the storm, long enough for us to go out for coffee, actually the coffee shop closed when we left.

The storm wasn't so much snow as the wind but it was still dead out, this was the most action the counter saw all day.

The wind picked up last night and was really battering our house. In the morning we found pieces of siding and fascia in the yard.

Dec 15, 2007

New Favorite

After a long wordy post yesterday I thought I would just pass on my new favorite website. It's called Pandora Radio, you put in an artist name or a song and they create a radio station of similar music.

Happy Saturday,

Dec 14, 2007

How I Do Mama

I've been thinking a lot about parenting lately. Probably because with all of the chaos of open in the store I haven't really been able to have any rhythm to the time that I spend with Alder. Since Kevin isn't practicing acupuncture yet I'm in the store solo four days a week, he takes the other three. The time this gives me to think is wonderful but now I wish I could be doing rather than just thinking.

Amanda, wrote this wonderful meditation on why she likes making toys, specifically toys for her son. But it really is more about how we parent and interact with our children, or any other person for that matter.

As Alder grows and changes I find that there is more time spent together doing things. These simple *games* that he invents are a big part of his day. Lately it has been the rediscovery of a bunch of large plastic chains that used to hang on his stroller and off of the baby bjorn for him to play with. Now he brings them to me and puts them on my finger, once he can not fit anymore on I then stick them on his wrist as bracelets until they reach almost his elbow, at which point I am supposed to take them all off and throw them onto a near by chair. Once they are in the chair the game starts over again.

It is a simple process and at some moments I find myself getting annoyed that we are doing it yet again, but I try to remember that this game is important work for him, in his learning and understanding of how the world works. I think back to the drop the spoon on the floor game which also seem to last for ever. But now he understands that it will always fall down and mama or papa will probably pick it up the first few times so it is not a game that needs to be repeated except to humor him. (Dave Albert writes about this in And Skylarks Sing With Me). These games that he plays at this age are about understanding the world around him they are process he must go through.

In general he prefers real world objects to toys, why play with a toy plastic cup when there are yogurt containers that Mama and Papa use? The only two sorts of toys that he likes are the ones that don't translate to things the world that he can find around to house. He loves blocks and things with wheels. He will spend twenty minutes by himself stacking blocks in tall towers and knocking them down, only to rebuild. the wheeled toys don't hold his attention as long but he still has an ecstatic look on his face as he pushes his wagon around the house.

The pile of stuffed animals carefully chosen for him by friends and family go untouched except for the random cozy moment when he lies down on them. The least interesting to him are the toys that mimic adult object but are made silly with colors and plastic, I handed him a plastic hammer the other day and he dropped it and went and picked up my hammer, which I had forgotten was in the room. It makes sense to me, if he is trying to figure out this world why would he want an imitation of it?

As he is changing and learning how to be in this world I am learning to be in this role of parent. Some days I wonder how I could possibly remember all the important things to do when I am with him. I read other blogs where days seem to go so planned and full of activities, while we seem to spend our alone time on errands. But then when I look back at those days objectively I can see what we really do. While the other day felt like errands to me there was also a long walk around downtown Manchester, a two hour playtime with our Tuesdays friends (on Wednesday) and time spent at the bookstore with the cool door mats to play with. I could spend my time wondering why I haven't been to the read-aloud at the library or I could realize that I am giving Alder my time and love.

Dec 13, 2007

That Mailing Thing

You'd figure with how much the mail has been running my life lately that I would remember that I have to get things in the mail early to get to our niece and nephew. It dawned on me yesterday. So there was a long night of making and thinking. Oh there was also some emergency knitting, how can someone who knits so many hats not have one for herself? Now I do. I decided to make my nieces bag with one big padded shoulder strap so she can wear it easily and a giant pocket for pencils and such since she loves to do art. Making the bag was a little sentimental, I used the last of the fabric that was part of my first sewing project. I still have some of the birds left but the solid color is gone.

I hate taking pictures of myself but I wanted to record that I am actually able to make a hat that is long enough without having to flip it around at the end and knit it back the wrong way to cover ears. I haven't taken it off since I finished it last night, it's so soft made from Malabrigo hand spun yarn.

Dec 12, 2007

We Made the Shopping Guide!

We've made the shopping guide this year! Note, even though there is an advertisement for us next to it I did not know they were going to write about us as well!. We must be doing something right!!

Dec 11, 2007


With the holidays rushing by (one down two to go) I've spent too much time on the shop and not enough on people I love. So last night I worked on some holiday gifts and other goodies.
Bag on left for a family friend who loves needle point, bag on right for my nephew, to be filled with a fairy tale book and an egg shaker.

Once I got those done I worked on a special order jacket. It started out an 80's fair isle sweater.

Dec 9, 2007

Hopes and Dreams

I sat at work today and had lots of ideas about what I wanted to say here. It was a cold day and not a lot of people were out on the street so there was a lot of time to think and do things like sort through another tin of buttons and knit half a hat. But walking home I realized that most of what I wanted to do was complain, except for one thought. So I decided that I want to share with you my secret dream for my future.

This is not necessarily a pragmatic dream but it is where I want to be five or six years from now. It is also something that I have wanted to do in some form for years. I want to live on a small farm where part of the facility is a retreat center. Where we can host health wellness and creativity retreats. I don't mean that we would be constantly assaulted with groups but maybe six weekends a year there could be a group staying with us who would focus on one of those areas. Nothing too new age-y just good for you pauses in life that people don't get very often.

Part of this plan will happen sooner when we open an online version of Seven Mountain (not the acupuncture part). The idea is that we might be making enough money between the three parts of the business that we could afford to hire someone to be at the shop five days a week, leaving me to do the online orders and be with Alder at home on this someday farm.

A lot of this is rooted back in the reasons that I started CITY (creative independent teaching for youth) back in Denver. I don't want to be a teacher, but I want to help connected people, and kids especially, with creativity in a non school setting. I would never want to host classes from city schools or anything like that but I would love to have families from these same schools come together for these weekends.

Of course when Kevin and I talk about this we joke that we would end up renting space out for weddings by default (no I do not want to have destination weddings in my back yard, unless they are willing to get married on the compost pile). But when we talk about our future there is always an aspect of being integrated in the community. I could see renting out the space for very reasonable rates for local groups to use and to donate the space for nonprofits to use.

This is all integrated into our whole life dream that includes educating Alder ourselves in a very rich environment. Rather than searching out bits and pieces of the community of learners I would rather start cultivating it now. Of course it would be nice if I could have a moments rest where I could sit down and introduce him to play-dough (that's on the table for tomorrow).

All of these dreams are starting though, we are going to use some of the walls at Seven Mountain as a gallery sometimes and we are having our first artists show in January, Patti Williams and her 50 paintings. Like a garden this dream needs a lot of gentle tending.

I hope you all out there have your own dreams to nurture.


Dec 8, 2007

When you are two days past due on shopping what do you eat?

We are in desperate need of food shopping, the only thing in our fridge other than condiments is a five pound bag of carrots and some goat cheese. Not exactly the makings for a great dinner. Luckily our freezer always has some long forgotten-gotten on sale-because who doesn't need an extra pound-of something. And our pantry is well stocked with grains and beans, both dried and canned. With some creativity, and a glass of wine, I managed to fake an Indian-French fusion dinner (okay the fusion thing is pushing it but we thought it was funny).

So here I offer you our hearty dinner. The meal isn't vegetarian but it could easily be tweaked to work that way.

You'll need:
1 cup short brown rice
1 cup yellow lentils (they are the orange ones)
2 sausages (yes it's nice they make chicken ones but for cooking pork is the only way to go)
1/2 cup of raisins
salt, to taste,
teaspoon of salt
olive oil

1. Saute three cloves of garlic in olive oil until you can smell them.
2. Add sausage and let sizzle until they brown.
3. Meanwhile, put the brown rice with 2 1/2 cups of water in a pot (you made need to add more depending on the pot), cook on medium high.
4. Add lentils to sausage and garlic and saute for a few minutes.

5. Add a cup of water and the raisins, and stir the pot occasionally when the water boils down add more until the lentils are falling apart.
6. When you add the second cup of water to the lentils add the salt and the rosemary.

When you take the lentils off they should look like this.


Dec 6, 2007

Settling into the Shop

We are all still trying to learn how life with a shop is going to be like. Alder has about three or four hours in him that he's okay there if we give him attention and food. Hopefully over the next month we can figure out how to make a space for him at the store so that it feels homey.

Here he is modeling one of Dream Child Studio's Felt Crowns

This outfit is 100% thrift store, I'm still not sure why people buy new clothing unless it's handmade goodness.

By the way my banner was tweaked for me by Erin, it looks so much better now.

Dec 4, 2007

Bringing Light Out of Darkness

Hanukkah began tonight with little to do. I have a hard time trying to stuff the Christmas Frenzy into a holiday that's not actually a major holiday with in the Jewish religion. I have been reading lots of other blogs where people are all having a wonderful time with Advent. At first I thought we might try to use Hanukkah to do some of that but it felt insincere. Instead we're going to light the candles, go to the temple party on Friday night and Alder will get a few books on winter. Next year I'll bring out my dreidels that I have had since I was a child, and get some gelt (chocolate money) and I'll show Alder how to play that ancient betting game (the only time all year we ever bet). You can look here for other ideas about Hanukkah that talk about it in it's own right rather than a stand in for christmas.

The reality of living in a predominantly christain country our extend family shares gifts on Christmas day because it is a time when we are all guaranteed to have off. As children we used to have a Christmas tree because my mother and aunt always wanted one as children, as we have grown up we have scaled back, first to a Christmas log and now we just put the presents in the spot where there used to be a tree.

We may have a tree some year here. Kevin's family was big into Christmas and we probably aren't going to make it back there very often for the holiday (children and airplanes and holidays...no). Personally having grown up with one I have no qualms with them, they come from a pagan ritual and while it has little to do with a temple being rebuilt and the miracle of oil, they are enjoyable and smell good.

As a family we will do our celebrating on the Solstice. There we can be free of religious connotations and revel in the darkness on last time before the light returns. That night we will feast and share it with friends and read poems, there will be wine and the spirit of the each other and the earth. It's her rhythm that we are tied to before all others.

Tomorrow we're off after work for a night at the cabin by the fireplace and sledding on the hill Thursday morning.

hmm...all this has gotten me thinking. There will most likely be more on Hanukkah and the Festival of Lights.

Dec 3, 2007

A Winter's Morn

Ahh cold weather and real winter darkness, I've missed it so much. I'm not being sarcastic I really love the weather right now, it's snowing outside the window and it looks cold cold cold. In Colorado snow was always followed by insanely bright sun and no real feeling of winter (there were a few winters where I didn't wear gloves except when I was playing in the snow). Also the light here really does change over the year a lot more, Colorado is much further south than one would think. I'm happy with the nestling down under the covers and drinking hot coco feeling I'm having today.

Part of the day will be spent at the shop, not that many people are going out today. So it'll be me and Alder playing and making things. And a trip to the post office to mail out somethings.

Dec 2, 2007

The Shop

Here are some pictures of the shop and the beautiful work that people have done for it.

The Market Girls in the suitcase are made by Miguette. The balls are by Kwan. The Owls are by Lorigamai. Amanda made the crowns, which are selling fast. The little pouches in the front are kits that I made 'Two on an Adventure' they come with two clothes pins, scrap fabric for clothes, yarn for hair and a little journal to record the adventure that the two go on, I'm going to put some of these on sale in my etsy shop as well as some of the other pieces I've made since the weather doesn't look go for shoppers on the street.

These wonderful pins and hair clips are made by Julie.

These are a few totes that I made,as well as a pillow.

The light doesn't show how cool these little outfits are that Erin made.

Well that's some of the shop right now. There is more stuff coming in every day and an entire yarn section that hasn't even been ordered yet.

Dec 1, 2007

Opening Day

I'm tired. The day went well as could be expected since it was a frigid 14 degrees. Hardly anyone was walking around, only a few dedicated souls. But some did come and they did buy things, so I guess we have a shop. We also met some great people who *just stopped by to support us* both friends and others.

Only thing I realized when we opened is that we need more product in the shop. So if any of you has a favorite crafter or etsy shop to suggest that would be great.

We have a website too www.sevenmountainvt.com it's pretty rudimentary but it's a start. I'll post pictures on Monday.