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"

Feb 28, 2008

Bancha Aug 2002 - Feb 2008

We had to put Bancha to sleep yesterday. Although he was only 6 1/2 years old, he had Feline Leukemia which means he lived incredibly long. Up until the last month he had been healthy, but something happened and they think that he had a tumor. He was my first pet and felt more like a member of the family.

He was a unique cat, or so I am told, with a sense of humor and the intuit ability to know when I needed comfort. He was so gentle with Alder even when A would try to drag him places by the tail. He was my talisman keeping me safe from my own fears when Kevin worked nights.

This is the cat that opened doors by pulling them and never once knocked over a wine glass when he would wander the table looking for snacks after late night dinner parties. He was king of his alley even when he could not leave our yard. And when he did, and was bitten by a fox, he survived to live another year and a half. This was the kitten that would run in circles on the couch and launch himself into the picture window and fall in a heap only to get up and do it again five more times.

This is the cat that not only drove across the country to come to our wedding, but then followed us a mile up the road to join us that first night after we were married. And then drove back out here again in the u-haul with Kevin, only to be walloped by a neighbor cat the first day while we were unpacking (have you ever tried to keep a cat in while you unpack a moving van?

Kevin and I have often joked that it was really Bancha who was in charge of this family. We have both cried over this and are finding ways to mourn him. I don't think we will be getting any new pets soon.

Feb 27, 2008

new article published

Having a Bite at the General Store

The Reemergence of the General Store in New England

By Stacey Bloomfield

I have this memory from about thirty years ago of going down the hill with my friend’s grandfather to pick up some milk at the Cummington store. I remember we wanted to go so we could get a Marathon bar. As usual the place was lit by bare bulbs and a bunch of men sat around a small wood stove in coveralls. read the rest here.

Feb 26, 2008

on being paralyzed

there are days when i have too much in my mind focus on any one of them. there are characters greeting asking for plots to inhabit, projects i want to add to my ever growing list, business plans that need implementing. the list goes on and i find as each appears in my mind it competes for attention until nothing really is clearly a thought just a series of ideas.

then there will be one word, or image or phrase that settles in my mind, one that needs to be turned into something. there it will stay until it is taken care of, not just in rough form but until it is a full formed something. some days these internal requests are simple or at least somewhat formed. Others, like today are persistent but with out hope of immediate creation.

i was greeted during a drive with the phrase you ambiguous little fuck, said by some character to another who are good friends of opposite sexes it is said in humor. but that is all i was given. i've spent the rest of the day beginning to create the world where this phrase was spoken. i need lots of time with paper and pen to see where this takes me.

in the mean time i feel as though everything else in my life needs pushing aside, something that is an impossibility, so now i will begin the process of stealing moments to see where this goes, meeting new characters to fallen in love with and to nurture. for me writing a story is like making a new friend, it is always exciting at first a manic crush of knowing and supposing. and like real people my characters surprise me with things about themselves and places they persuade me to go.

to describe this to someone not in the middle of these feelings it is like having a crush on someone new who wants to give you all the attention in the world. it has the wonder and excitement as well as the underlying discontented pain of insecurity. for the case of writing it is my own wonder if i an really the person who is supposed to be telling this story and in the end if anyone else would care to hear what i have written.

that being said i would add that while i am the writer i can not honestly claim that the stories are my own since they seem to just come to me as if i am being told them. often i stay up late because i want to know what is going to happen next.

of course i haven't felt thing way since before alder so i have no idea the logistics of doing this along with all the other things that are going on in our life. back in denver when we were just a vaguely married couple i could always find a spare six hours here and there to delve into these characters. happily i took advantage of it and do not look back in regret. so i'm off to be sucked into a new world... who knows i might even get to feel a first kiss again (being the thing i miss most about being monogamous)

Feb 22, 2008

Small is good.

One of the things that I love about our store is that with most of the crafters that we get our products from the relationship is at least a little more than just business. In the span of a day I received an email asking me how we were fairing in the depths of winter and this card.
It makes me cringe to think in how short a time that we have dismantled the small artisan and business owner based economic structure of the world. When I end up in a mall (as I was loathed to do earlier today) it makes me sad to see all these things on racks and shelves with no story, no connection to the maker and certainly no connection between the person who made them and the person who eventually purchases them.

My whole experience today proved this even more so. I was returning a pair of pants that I wore once and had the zipper break. The woman at the counter didn't even ask what was wrong, when I offered she said it was the first time that had happened. After returning them I went to find another pair and every pair I tried the zipper on did the exact same thing. The saddest part is that the brand's whole image is that people shouldn't have to spend a lot of money to get quality clothing.

After dragging Alder to this evil place I figured that he should have some run around time so we stopped at the anemic playground where he stood in a gaze for ten minutes before even doing anything. After another twenty minutes of me getting more and more depressed by the mall culture he didn't complain at all when I brought him his shoes.

I couldn't even bring myself to stop at the food co-op on the way home, all I wanted was to be back hereto watch the snow from my desk surrounded by pieces that people have put their care and love into making.

To make matters worse I stopped at a Dunkin Donuts on the way their this morning. I admit there is something in my memory about eating munchkins in the middle of the night with my parents on road trips, but when I tasted them this morning I really thought I had bitten into a piece of sugared play dough.

I know we live in a bubble, our news is NPR exclusively, we only own a TV for watching videos, we cook most of our own food from scratch and so do most of the people we know, both here and when we were in Denver. I just sort of hope every time I step outside of the bubble that the rest of the world really isn't that depressing. For now I'll stick to the donuts from the dinner downtown where they also serve turkey hash.

I dedicate this to everyone who makes things by hand, works for a small business and anyone who cooks their own food.

Feb 20, 2008

Recient Thrift Store Goodness... Alder style

I think I'm going to ban myself from the thrift stores for a while. We really don't need any more stuff but I always find things when I go.

Feb 18, 2008

A New Project and Why my husband is so cool

So I've decided that I need a project to work on while I'm at work, something creative but not too messy or consuming. So I picked up a bunch of mirrors and frames to paint. Below is the beginning of my first one. Right now it has a black frame to it but that will change soon. I've never painted with enamel before and it's sort of fun. I was inspired by Gra├ža.

And now for a little story about Kevin and the very nasty weather we have been having this week. It was cold and icy for much of the last week, then this weekend it kept vascilating between warm (above freezing) and raining and cold. So this side of New England became an ice skating rink.

The thing is that it had been fine going over to my cousin's house for dinner. But when we went to leave getting to the car was all icy. But that area is notorious for not being in the best shape. Which is why anyone without four wheel drive parks at the bottom of the hill (like say my cousin Dan). So we happily get in the car and start to go down the driveway. The thing is we're going down the driveway but we aren't driving. No in fact we are sliding and then it happens BUMP we tap Dan's car and we come to a slippery halt.

This means we ended up spending the night at their house. But how is Kevin so cool you ask? Well after we get the three of us back to the house he practically crawls back to the car to make sure it's not in the road and to get anything we might need from it. The next morning he makes his way back to the car and goes over to the cabin (except he has to park a half a mile away and walk on the icy roads) to get our bag and stuff. He did all of that with out me asking, he even changed some rather nasty diapers in the mix.

Did I mention he looked good the whole time, smiling and laughing about things, not getting grumpy or pissed off.

Now if we could only figure out what to do with the piece of the bumper that's dangling a little.

Feb 15, 2008

Evening Lights

It's 5:30 and it still is light out. I'm sitting alone in the shop finishing the weeks worth of redecorating and feeling really good about the direction things are going. Starting next week we are going to be open Wednesday nights 4 -9 for Open Craft Night. Even our house seems more hospitable lately.

I've been having lapses of newness lately. We've met a few people so far but really our social life revolves around the monthly long weekends when my family is at their cabins. I get shy around new people that I like, give me a stranger who I'm indifferent to or dislike I can talk their ear off. But if they are someone I think that I might like to know, really know, it takes a while to warm up to them.

Really since we've been here we've only met one couple who we spend a lot of time with, they are pretty different than us and I would have never thought we would have gotten on so well but we have fun with them and Alder is in love with their daughter. I was beginning to feel badly about how few people we can count as even casual friends, but then today Kevin invited another couple to dinner next week and then another couple came by the shop and invited us to Shabbat dinner tonight (they're both Rabbis) at their farm house. So the sun is returning and it is bringing new acquaintances with it.

So dear friends on that note I will wish you all good night so I can finish a little more cleaning before we head out for dinner.

Feb 13, 2008

Alder Update plus other stuff

When I started this blog I stopped keeping a baby book since I was putting so much about Alder in here. But lately my entries have been so disjointed and lacking... well any substance... so I thought I'd do another update on Alder and a few other things. [for those of you who are expecting photos this weekend none of these are clear enough, we will have a few for you]

He now says Mm-huh for yes, Moa for more, a version of no, ba, for both bottle and baby, cat, Maman for mama and occasionally up, on, down, tree, no, yep and there.

He is walking up the stairs (which is scary to watch)

He has gotten into an awful habit of wanting to fall asleep while watching a movie (he seems to prefer documentaries and foreign films and loves the Anne of Green Gables Series), I feel guilty but we have been letting him do this some lately otherwise he doesn't settle down until almost 9 pm.

He has been sleeping by himself in the guest room (we are working on finishing his room still)

He has discovered that if you drag chairs places then you can climb them and reach things, especially things that Mama puts up high on purpose.

He loves going for walks.

He likes playing with the camera (with my help)

He will tell you when he is ready to go outside by handing you his jacket and boots.

He is starting to bring us diapers when he wants to be changed.

Other stuff (not related to Alder).

I have two new bags that I am putting on etsy this afternoon.

This is the new fabric that I got while in New York.

Feb 12, 2008

New Article Published

See New York, Make Art

A Visit to Etsy Open Lab Night

By Stacey Bloomfield

It is a Monday evening in New York and I find myself on the subway heading to Brooklyn. The car is filled with young people with laptops and messenger bags heading home from work. They don’t look like they work in offices but the occasional building pass gives them away. At DeKalb Avenue I get off the train and walk over to Gold Street to the Clock Tower Building.

To read more go to here

Feb 9, 2008

The New York Pictures

After such a tough week life is looking better, camera and computer are home and Kevin is taking me (w/ Alder) to Lake Placid tomorrow for some winter fun. Here are some of the New York pictures.
Alder Helps Mama at the Train Station

The Restroom at the New Museum

Street Art


Purl Soho

Etsy Labs

Feb 6, 2008

Ever had one of those days?....months (a bit of a vent)

Somedays here in cold Vermont seem like they are just here to spite me. Not a nice comment but I've had a spate of bad days for a while now. Not everyday but a lot more than not it seems. I feel unprepaired for parenting a toddler who is so active and has so much on his mind but no way of expressing it. I feel overwhelmed and short on time while starting our business. Communication on all fronts seems to be a forgein language for me.

Then there are the stupid technical things like how first I lost my camera and then when the awesome people at etsy got it back to me (with some additional pictures on it) and I go in to tell about my trip to New York the computer is crashed and has been residing for the last few days at the shop. Which leaves me writing this on our old laptop who is as tempermental as I am lately.

I have so many ideas of things I want to be working on, projects on so many fronts but instead of doing any of them I have spent the last two nights ironing fabric and trying to find the floor of my studio (which is still missing). I have finished all the designs for our first run of tee shirts, I'm going to put some on etsy when they are done. But I can't start thinking about printing any of them until the table is cleared and the shirts, which have been sitting in baskets and boxes for months are also ironed.

So if anyone has some spare hours that they don't use and want to send them to me so I can have a few 36 hour days that would be splendid.

Feb 2, 2008

to make and set-up

Still no camera. The Garment District Story will be up at the beginning of next week.

Now for our news. We've decided to close the shop for the next week to get all those projects that we keep saying we need to do but are too tired after Alder is asleep. No one comes in during the week except for acupuncture in the weather anyway (acupuncture appointments are still happening).

The problem we're having with the shop is that we set it up for the amount of stuff that we had at the beginning and we have been growing ever since so the stuff looks awful.

So our list of things to do is:

Put in lighting
Add clothing racks
Add housewares section
Set up Alder's play room
Make Bag Display
Frames above the desk and mantle
Shelving for toys
Add a back to window display
Fix up our open easel and open signs
Organize craft and yarn area
Put a resource shelf behind desk for our work

Then there are the other projects:

Silk screen the t-shirts (we have three designs already)
Silk screen Valentine's cards and regular cards
Paint Alders room
Get a mattress for his bed.

So just have a little bit of stuff to do in the next week. But first we are going to head to the cabin for a little rest and play. Hopefully the camera will be back soon.