Category Archives: family

The Space In Between in Vermont


Snow finally in VT

Snow finally in VT

I love my Vermont week in between Christmas and New Year’s. For the past 12 years, we load our tired Christmas bodies, winter gear and all kinds of books and movies into the car and drive for 13 hours to our second home in VT. This happens the day after Christmas. As the kids have gotten older, it comes with lots of grumbling and complaining as to all that they are leaving behind and activities they are missing out on. Especially this year when the snow forecast was non-existent, the grumbling reached epic proportions.

I have to admit I was kind of apprehensive of what would happen without snow. I am the non-skier who stays nice and warm and sews. And sews. I typically bring the biggest bag of sewing projects and lots of books. They ski and I make dinner and sew all day while they ski. And I take long, thinking walks in the woods. It’s a win-win situation. What would they do without skiing? Selfishly, would I be able to sew?

But so far, they sleep in epic proportions and read by the fire. The days are broken up by playing games, reading and eating. No worries without snow. We are all relaxing. And I was able to sew. My sewing space is much simpler here and I really love that.  It has made it very clear I need to purge in my large sewing studio in Michigan!

My simple sewing space

My simple sewing space

After working on 2 exhibits for the past 2 years, I am loving this state of being-relaxed and planning for the next year. I forgot what it felt like.  It is pure bliss. I appreciate the week between the holidays with newfound appreciation. I will plan for next year. But not right now. I need to find my spot by the fire and my people in the week between.

All Things Summer

I have been in VT for 16 days already and you haven’t heard a peep from me!!! So I owe you a quick re-cap. Marc, I and dogs arrived on May 31st which is the earliest I have ever come for the summer. Marc and I came to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary with out kiddos. However, i promptly came down with a tremendous cold…so good thing he still loves me.

Lilacs in June

Lilacs in June

It was beautiful here and I have never seen this lilac bloom in the whole ten years we have owned the house. I did a really hard prune of it about 4 years ago and Iam amazed that it has re-grown so quickly.

DSC_7219Yes, the cows are just across the street.

We had the house painted this spring and I have to admit, it has never look this pretty so I will share it with you. Off to the left you can see my chairs where I watch the sunset and have glass of wine. Come anytime  and join me!

Vermont home

Vermont home


My sewing room is in the right front corner and I can hear those cows as I sew.


Lucy enjoying VT

Lucy enjoying VT

The barn is in the back and to the right and that’s Lucy, my sweet one. The Lab, Mandie,  is obsessed with the woodchuck and has pushed the word obsession to a new level. She is not in the picture because she can’t stop pacing… The dogs love it here as much as we do.

Crazy girl

Crazy girl

Marc left after a few days and my daughter Hope joined me. I knew when I saw her get off the plane that she was really sick. An ER visit diagnosed the very sick kid with mono. She wasn’ t happy though as all her plans of milking cows and working as a deli were on hold. as were my plans of working away. But I was so grateful that she was home from college and not sick 11 hours away. Best case scenario if you have mono: Be with mom so she can take care of you. I am not sure she quite thinks so.

Nice neutrals in the bunch

Nice neutrals in the bunch

I have been working hard. I started dyeing fabrics with my new dye knowledge. However, I had less than successful results with my colors turning out much lighter than the color swatches. I suspect old dyes and cold temps. I have replaced some of the older dyes and will see if my theory is right.

Lighter than expected-too cold and dyes old?

Lighter than expected-too cold and dyes old?

I am also machine quilting my Artprize piece. I did get accepted into Artprize 2014 this year and really look forward to it again.

Rooflines #15 under the machine

Rooflines #15 under the machine

I try to take a walk each day and this is one of my favorite spots on the Stowe Recreation Path.

Stowe Community Church

Stowe Community Church

And I always watch the sunsets here.

My nighttime view

My nighttime view

Hope you are sinking into those long summer days. What are you working on?

All Things May: Family Snippets

Life had picked up speed with the end of the school year. I feel squished at this point trying to keep up, enjoy life and yet still get all my art in before the summer time hits. It is all very, very good.


dye samples for my class notebook


I missed my friends who were still at the Barn in week #2 of the Master Class and week #2 of Carol Soderlund’s dye class!

Artwork at the Barn

Artwork at the Barn

But I really didn’t want to miss any more of his games. I love watching him play. Mostly , I love the fierce determination he has to perform to his best.

State Cup play offs

State Cup play offs

Now on to the semifinals next weekend

Now on to the semifinals next weekend

We have travelled to 2 different states so far this week for games.

And the weekend has involved meeting her new boyfriend. He flew in to see her …she might have a long summer without him.

home from college with a boyfriend visiting for the weekend

home from college with a boyfriend visiting for the weekend

A trip to the beach to feel the warm sand, the sun and see the water. Water temp was 45 degrees. No one cared and we soaked up the warm sun on our faces walking on the beach.

Beach in May

Beach in May

And a trip to the Muskegon Museum of Art for the All State exhibition opening which was crowded and busy. I loved seeing so many enjoying art!

My piece at the All State exhibit...

My piece at the All State exhibit…

It’s been a really great and busy week and I wouldn’t trade the last week in May with my family.

All Things Winter


Lake Michigan shoreline

The last few weeks have been a bit of a struggle. I am slogging through this historical winter we are having here in Michigan. I can’t quite remember shoveling this much snow before and I admit the dreariness is getting to me. So my husband and I planned an impromptu trip to Florida for four days to visit long time friends and I was super excited to exit MIchigan for a brief glimpse of warmth.

And the morning that we were going to leave my son woke up sick. My daughter’s car was very sick and ended up in the shop. And the refrigerator/freezer which was fully stocked went out.  All of those things are easily fixed but not in the four hours prior to leaving so we cancelled.  Yup, I missed the sunshine and warmth and  decided  instead to join the winter. My husband and I took a trip to Lake Michigan to see how frozen it is which is at unprecedented levels of freezing. It was beautiful and we walked out on the pier which was really a weird feeling this time of year.

Ignore the sign and walk on the pier:)

Ignore the sign and walk on the pier:)

Many others walking on Lake Michigan

Many others walking on Lake Michigan


This past weekend we went to Vermont for our annual President”s week ski trip. I sew, snowshoe and they ski.  The first day here it rained buckets and skiing was impossible. The next day I was so antsy, that the minute I saw the sun, I strapped on my snowshoes.  I didn’t even think of the temps in the 40’s and all the rain we had the day before.

As I trudged across the meadow to the top of our hill, I almost gave up. My snowshoes were sinking up to about my knees so it was as if I was on an elliptical machine. I laughed as it was such a touristy thing to do and I really do know better. Snowshoes sink in soft snow. But winter had made me crazy and I was going to walk on the trails no matter what.





And after lots of sweat and effort, I made it up the hill to the cross country trails which made for a little easier walking.













Nothing better than walk in the woods in February at my Vermont home.  Winter is good as long as the sky is blue every once in awhile! We don’t have that in Michigan with all the lake effect clouds from Lake Michigan.




I was very happy to take the snowshoes off and walk past my neighbors home up the hill. She is 91 and still mows her lawn and has a garden. I hope I can be like her at that age.




After my walks, I went back to work on another Rooflines piece.


Peace in the woods and peace while piecing.


A Good Week

     We traveled last Friday and Saturday to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. When the kids were younger, it was our annual vacation spot and the kids have been begging for many years to return. We figured it might be one of our last times together as a family as they go off to college and jobs.  We finally did it and loved every minute of it.

Hilton Head lighthouse

dock at the lighthouse

love those leaves

Marc and the girls after dinner

 love the kids who went with me to the Gregg Russell concert 

Love the clouds behind the lighthouse 

Love their smiles 

Great memories of a treasured vacation and we are sad to go tomorrow as we all truly “loved” it.

Now back to VT where I will finish a baby quilt, a graduation quilt and do some more fabric dyeing. After we drive for 20 hours to get back there!

A Wordless May?

Not much to say ….

     ….other than I love my kids and I am enjoying the season. One graduation done and two more to occur in the next two weeks.

      I have definitely kept up with my art but telling you about what I have been doing there- will  have to wait!

A Shout Out and a Catch Up

      Just wanted to shout out about the wonderful Elizabeth Brandt who had a piece at .Fiber Art International 2013.  Congrats Elizabeth for making it in to this prestigious event.  I can’t wait to hear about the opening.

     This will also be a catch up post as I keep meaning to tell you about these things:

1. I am about 75 percent done on my large piece that I am free motion quilting. It is getting easier     although I still bribe myself to work on it. I guess that’s why they call it work.

2. I took an online class at the beginning of the year called “Setting Goals” given by Lisa Call. It was a great class and I haven’t taken the time to blog about it. One of my goals was to blog more consistently and I am finding , that if I don’t meet the mark on a goal , I just feel more and more guilty so I do nothing about it. Oops-time to correct that. Upcoming post on that class this week.

3. Because of that class, I have had my head down working on a piece for the upcoming Artprize exhibition in September. It is where it needs to be to apply , but not yet quilted. Again, I’ll share once I get my artist profile up.

4. The house in Vermont has not sold so at this point, we will go there this summer with the kids. I will wait and do the majority of the fabric dyeing there.

5. Historic flooding here in Grand Rapids. I am going to try to take pictures tomorrow when it peaks.

6.  3 kids graduating in May: 8th grade, high school and college.

I hate the phrase “I am so busy”.  Everybody is busy. So, I am saying instead that I am using my time wisely and keeping my head down.. 🙂

3 Days

      I gave myself an ultimatum: In three days, get this off the design wall so you can move on to a large piece for the Rooflines series. I had sixteen pieces to finish but only made it to eleven before I left.

in process….

I underestimated the amount of design work I had left to do.

Love taking black and white photos to see where I am missing contrast.

I was sidelined by a twelve hour college trip with my senior daughter -one way the is to the far reaches of Iowa. This was my scenery for the majority of the trip.

Very white and wintery and flat. Farmland. Hours and hours of driving through farmland. Hours.

She was in cow heaven and I am traumatized as I think I have lost one to a college which is very far away. I hit me this weekend that she is really a senior and will move on to the next phase of her life. I just want to sit and cry for awhile but that really isn’t at all helpful, is it?

I came home and finished my piece. I will photograph it in daylight tomorrow and be able to move on to the next one. Woohoo!

Dear Little Home

Dear little home in Vermont,

     I knew from the first time I stepped foot in your doors, that you had good “bones”. The kind of bones that would wrap your arms around my family and just love us to death. From your drafty windows and even the river running through the dirt floor basement 8 years ago, I still knew you should be ours. And you miraculously were.

      I always walked in after a long trip  to get there and just felt more at home there than I did in any of the other homes that I came from. You have lovely, amazing sunsets for us. The radiator heat is just what we love on a cold February morning and you worked even after the dog pulled part of you off the wall. And I love all the country noises from cows across the street to the peepers in the pond in the spring. And your barn is just the best thing-truly.

     Please do not be offended but I need to tell you that you will have a for sale sign in your front yard soon.  You have to know that I have I have cried puddles of unexpected tears about this decision.  Just rivers of tears and I feel as if I am losing one of my best friends. But you are just so far away. It is getting so hard to actually spend time there. I am logically thinking and knowing this is a good thing that you might have someone who can be there more than us. But my heart is breaking and I have really had a rough time for the past few weeks being home. I wish I was closer but I am not. That’s the cold hard facts my friend. One thousand miles is just a long ways away.

    Forgive me – you have been really good to us and I will miss you. I hope that another family will buy you and know how special you have been too. You have been around for for 130 years so I am sure you  have lots to tell them.