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"

Jan 31, 2008

Back from the City (lots of links no photos)

So here is a teaser post about the trip. It's only a teaser since I have to wait until the wonderful people at the Etsy Labs mail me back my camera and journal that I left at their open craft night.

General Outline of trip:

Miss intended train because we miscalculated how far the station was.

Take train an hour later.

Great trip, lots of journaling and thinking about life from a larger perspective.

Sleep at parents house in warm room in a bed by myself (these are treats).

Lazy breakfast with parents by window.

Disappointing visit to the New Museum, their exhibit Unmonumental was exactly that not worth seeing. Too much I am an artist so what ever statement I make is profound, it doesn't actually need to be, .

Great lunch at little restaurant in Lower East Side. However the lower East side is something different than I remember. Growing up it was the place to go on Sundays to get your clothing, sheets, or towels. Now Orchard street is blocked off for a few shops but none of the necessities were there.

Wander around Soho and Greenwich Village, stopping at Cafe Angelique for cappuccino and chocolate ganache cheese cake (yum!).

Spending an uninterrupted hour choosing a book at the Biography Bookstore. Ended up with the Windup Bird Chronicles.

Stay up late reading book.

Wake up early and read some.

Head to the Garment District for supply gathering. While I enjoyed the orgasmic choices at B and J Fabrics (imagine being to able to actually see all that Japanese fabric you swoon for online) some of the most interesting, and best price stuff was at the little side street shops. (separate entry with this story).

Lunch at Ben's Delicatessen, pastrami, new pickles and a black cherry soda of course.

Lug an incredibly heavy amount of fabric home on subway to Da's house.


Head to Williamsburg Brooklyn to hang out in coffee shops and wander until my cousin gets off work.

Find myself at a table in the Blackbird Parlour eerily similar to St. Marks in Denver, talking to a guy who homeschools his son with his wife who is studying to be an acupuncturist.

Meet up with cousin and head to the Etsy Labs open craft studio night. Interview staff and get tour for a Travels article. Make something. End up leaving camera and journal on table as we are shooed out at the end of the night.

Yummy Thai food and conversation.

Head to Irish pub with an acoustic band playing, however mainly there for conversation.

Long subway ride home.


8am Train Ride home, beautiful ride along the Hudson river the entire way. I saw 2 bald eagles, tons of ducks, some hawks, and something that looked like a loon although that's probably wrong.

Now I am back and rejuvenated. Back to inventory I'll write about the fabric shop experience later.

Jan 28, 2008

quick post from New York to share love

I'll write about the trip when I get home but I had to share some love I just received. Trish over at C'est Bon has been busy and I feel really amazed that her attentions are going to our shop. Now if I just could get her and that man of hers to come out and visit. Trish we love you, and we have a guest room.

Jan 26, 2008

bonus entry New Article published

Heading to the desert is a craving for me, as the sun begins to return but the days are still filled with snow I start to crave the feel of sandstone under my fingers and the smell of new sage. This want for land that is both scrubbed clean and busy with life has been with me always, but until I met the desert I did not know what it was. . .

Read the rest at Travels in Paradise.

heading to New York, with a new bag

So I'm off to New York after work today for a few solo days in the city to relax and do some work. Given work means I have to go to a few museums and fabric stores as well as lots of other stores for gathering ideas. I assume that there will be many coffee stops along the way (New York can be really cold in the winter).

I think I have caught the bag bug, I needed a new bag to go to New York with so I spent a lot of time this week trying to design and make one. I'm not going to share some of the earlier versions yet. They were perfectly good bags, but not for me.

So this is what I came up with:

By the way thank you all for your suggestions about lining the bags. I tried some interfacing and fusible fleece and finally went with Amy Karol's idea from Bend the Rules Sewing to add a layer of flannel between the outer fabric and the lining. There are a few things I am going to change on the next one of these bags but I love mine.

Jan 25, 2008

Even the boats had icicles

Even the boats had icicles
Originally uploaded by Ink Spots

My Mountains

My Mountains
Originally uploaded by Ink Spots
This is the first time I have seen the Adirondacks in over ten years. Next diverging adventure we are going to go up there so Kevin can see what I have been talking about for all these years.


Originally uploaded by Ink Spots

Winter Sun

Winter Sun
Originally uploaded by Ink Spots
Does anyone know how to blog multiple pictures from Flickr to one entry?

Jan 22, 2008

On a Cold and Blustery Day

It is cold and windy out today. I'm in the shop doing inventory and talking to the occasional customer, I can't blame anyone for not wanting to be out today. The UPS man came with a box for me with these fabric in it.

There was also a little button trolling in a box of old buttons from across the street. These are a few of them that haven't made it home yet.
Back to work.

Jan 19, 2008

A Week of Making

Zig-zag light wool scarf. This is probably my favorite piece I have ever made, the fabric is so soft and light that I wanted to find a use that would let you see that, so I sewed two sides together so that it would seem somewhat hollow, I added the zig-zag so it would lay flat without completely loosing the hollowness. Now I need to find more of this fabric (it was in a sale bin at a store hours from here).

Just a wool tote with a pocket made from fun Japanese fabric, it's lined in flannel with another pocket on the inside as well.

I got a little creative here, this bag is made of two pieces of wool each that have part of the handle so that they attach at an angle. Because of that the outside material is frayed because there isn't a neat way to hem it without twisting it (not a design I am happy with). The pocket was late night embroidery without a drawing, meaning it's a little strange, the flowers look a little like palm trees.

So that's what I've been up to with those nightly creativity sessions. I have a few more things in the starting phase, as well as a trip to New York a week from now solo (as in two days and three nights of Mama by herself, leaving Alder for the first time). I need a break and I'm going to wander around to shops similar to ours and get ideas, and yes there are a few fabric stores in my plans...possibly a museum as well. But that's week from now.

Jan 18, 2008

Inspiring and Living Well

I've been busy at nights making things for the spring. When the tourists return, they are like the birds. Every night I finish one project, the last few nights it has been tote bags, each one different and slowly I am learning to create the objects that I imagine. It has taken a while to pull myself away from the temptations of imitation only. I now feel comfortable knowing that I work with inspiration from others.

There is a lot in this world to be inspired by, places and people, nature itself and others projects (yes almost every word in this sentence is a link). I am realizing that I am very lucky to spend so much time creating and being around things that others have created with their own hands.

Every night as I sing Alder to sleep in the big bed with his head burrowed into my neck I realize how lucky I am. Each night I sing the same songs, I add some over time take away ones I am tired of but there are a few that always remain. We start with Twinkle Twinkle (*see alternate verses below) and then The Riddle Song, then Michael Row Your Boat. We end with Dance With Me with is a song I made up for Alder about a mother holding her child and dancing down from the mountains to the ocean, it's lyrics are changeable and the song never turns out quite the same except the chorus "Dance with me, dance with me down to the ocean. Dance with me down to the Sea."

Once he is asleep or drifting off I go to my studio and have uninterrupted time for working on projects. We may not be wealthy, I know we are far from rich, but I have time to myself everyday to be creative, that is worth millions of dollars.

*Alternative Twinkle Twinkle Verses

Are you a squid or are you an octopus,
Do you hide in the darkness,
Or do you hide in a space so small,
It's only the size of your eye ball,

Are you a squid or are you an octopus,
Do you have eight legs or are you enormous?

Jan 17, 2008

Somedays you just need to get in the car and go

I should really be doing inventory right now but I just thought I would pause for a moment. We sort of took this morning off unannounced, town is dead right now and we needed a little relationship repair, not to mention specific cat food for Bancha. So we took a little trip to the "big city" (Albany) since that's the closest place that has his particular food. It ended up being a great trip, no arguments or stress-outs on either of our parts.

We have this habit of imagining moving places anytime we are stressed. It's a game we play 'well if this doesn't work in Bennington I can imagine moving to..." It can be a dangerous game but helpful as well, it puts things in our life into perspective, what is important to us and what we are missing from where we have lived in the past. Of course the logical outcome would to be disappointed when we come back to reality except with us it motivates us to work harder to do well here so that if we do realize five years from now this isn't where we want to be we have the freedom to think about other options.

But it is all a game, a way of talking about our life without talking about our life.

Poor Alder was dragged along on this trip, he doesn't seem to enjoy the driving as much as I do. I suppose it will just be one of those things he half remembers "you guys used to take me on these long random trips for things and talk about weird stuff." Of course he might just hate us for putting him in this outfit, yes I know the spinning wheel theme is more for girls but I couldn't pass them up for two dollars at the thriftstore.

Jan 16, 2008

on having guests

We've had aunt Amanda here for the last few days which has meant that I haven't really gotten to the computer in two days. It was cold and snowy so there really was only one thing to do with our day: head to our favorite bookstore.

Alder has an order to what he wants to do when we are there. We start with eating then go up stairs to the children's section to play in the toddler area for a while. Then it is over to the puppets for a while and then the balls. After the balls it's time to go up and down the ramp to the travel section and sit in the big chairs (this can only be done if we ignore him and he can pretend that he is alone), a few taps on the gong and then it is down the big stair to the adult section. Down there it's a pretty quick run through remembering to go through every isle in the music section and then down the short stairs to where the door mats made out of flip-flops are. These get another half hour of time building and stacking with them. Even with Amanda there we did the same things, but this meant I could talk a little with people a little more and not have to be watching him.

Well, Aunt Amanda is gone and I have a few minutes of quiet at work to write this and start planning when I am going to work on all my projects (one advantage to her visit is that I cleaned up my studio just in case we went in there).

Jan 12, 2008

What Really Should Be Doing Is....

So my last entry was about doing nothing I figured I'd follow it with an entry about all the things I should be doing, to hold myself to them. Things like inventory, or designing the other three t-shirts to print (we're printing them next week), or making more embroidered Valentine's Day cards, or writing next weeks article. If I was really smart I would bring down my cutting board and fabric and cut out and pin bags and pillows. Okay now that I've made the list I'm going to try to show here a little bit of progress on those things in the next few weeks.

It isn't as if I've been completely useless lately. I did get all the stuff to create Alder's room (bedding, paint, ideas, ...). And I've worked all week on a bag for myself (there were some serious brain farts on my part, like forgetting handles). I'm not totally happy with it, it's big enough but it just looks like a pillow case. I think I'm going to start over and use a wool outside with a layer of flannel inside, but I need to use the same out side pieces because the owl fabric is from one place mat I found at a thrift shop. If you think my plans won't work or have any better ideas tell me.

Jan 10, 2008

bonus entry due to lack of customers

I am bored. No one has come in the shop all day. This happens here, there are just days that no one even walks by the shop. Supposedly come May we won't be able to keep our shelves stocked but until then there are a lot of days where the internet is my friend. I really need to bring some sort of project down here with me to keep me from just aimlessly wandering the cyber world. I can't even report of anything interesting that I read. The only moderately appealing thing that I found was that my local library actually has a few of the books I want to read.

Maybe I can start another bit of fiction before work tomorrow to occupy myself during the day, or I could work on our Valentine's products... an up coming post, or I could work on my article for next week, or ...okay you get the point there are really better things for me to be doing than pricing camera's I can't afford and reading recipes that I want to make. I guess I could use the rest of my time to draw up some ideas.

What we've been up to

We've been having a bit of a heat wave here in Vermont. Last week it was all subzero and snow this week it's been in the fifties and sixties for the last few days. While I love the cold and the snow we did take advantage of the weather for some hiking on our favorite rail trail.
Things have been changing a lot around here, Kevin is starting to see patients which means there is more time that Alder's in the shop (we're still figuring out what to do thats quiet). It also seems that suddenly Alder is understanding tons of things. While he isn't saying a lot he can do almost anything you asked him to. He has gotten in the habit of handing us his boots and jacket when he want to go out and he can find things that he put down the day before. Oh yeah he's beginning to really enjoy looking through books (this being the boy who used to think that books were just skinny blocks to build with).

Jan 7, 2008

...and the winner is

My lovely assistant Kevin took time out from stir fry to draw the name and......
Christy of Farm Dreams is the winner!!! Christy we need to connect so you can tell me which you want and your address. Umm not sure how since both of us are blogger and it doesn't give emails

Jan 6, 2008

Fiction Happens

Fiction Happens
Originally uploaded by Ink Spots

I had two whole hours of writing time at the coffee shop this morning. I forgot how much writing is like breathing to me. I use one of those books filled with subject ideas to start from since I have no real on going story. I'm back in my old habit of writing four or five pages and then summarizing where the piece would go if it was a full length novel (ha). Then I keep the idea in a fold with the others, then I can go back to it if the ideas stick with me over time.

The process of writing amuses me, at least my own. While it is very creative and free I find that I work best in a consistent environment, coffee shop, yellow lined pad, blue pen (preferably my mother's fountain pen). Of course the more time the better and if I can remember to bring this CD with me all the better.

Then I start writing, the words flow out with no plan, I am surprised often by where they take me. I can feel my breath change, become slower and more even. I loose myself in the worlds I create, I can see what my characters see down to the dirt in the corner of the room. When I pause or stop the world around me is sharper, more vivid. The present becomes written to me, I walk for a while in narrative.

Jan 4, 2008

The New Years Post

It seems like New Years is a good time to take stock of my life. Family has all left and we have entered the lull of winter where the sun is returning but the ground has months to thaw. It is the time of year when coyote stories can be told and favors asked of the moon. For now I'll just look back and look forward.


Started Writing for Travels in Paradise
Kevin Graduated from Grad School
Moved to Vermont
Started a Seven Mountain
Started Blogging
Learned to really use a sewing machine


I know myself well enough that listing my hopes for the next year will lead to disappointment instead I will share my resolutions for the up coming year, and the story behind them.

1) To make our house more of a home, giving Alder his own room with a bed, keeping the house much neater, not letting my projects migrate around the house as much.

2) To bring story telling back into my life.

I don't know how you come up with your resolutions. Growing up we actually made them for each other not for ourselves, but Kevin doesn't like that practice so I have had to create my own over the last eight years. So this year I thought about what might be something that will help make my busy life happier, and having a home that I want to spend time in topped the list. We shared them as we went to bed on New Year's Eve (yes we were asleep before 11). That night I had a dream, not one that I can remember what happened during it but I know that the point of the dream was that I need to bring storytelling back into my life.

Before Alder was born I wrote a lot, every morning before work I would write for an hour or two. When we first moved to Denver and I still didn't have a job I took a two month break from hunting to finish a novel, which no one has ever read. It was an eight hour a day job and I cried when it was done because I was lonely for the characters that I had gotten so used to spending every day with. But since our lives have gotten busy with Alder and moving and business my writing has been limited to the blog and my biweekly articles. I don't even get to read a lots of novels any more.

But this dream I had made it clear that my second New Years Resolution would be to bring storytelling back into my life. When I told this to Kevin he agreed, he is even willing to help me find time during the week when I can got write away from the house. I have my stack of yellow pads and fountain pen waiting for me and I can't wait to begin.