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Never Without a Map to Navigate

keeping it mellow tonight

We're keeping it mellow tonight...

There is a passage from the Bhagavad Gita that is very dear to me, it was committed to memory a long, long time ago. Tonight I spent a little time looking around my blog archives wondering if I've ever shared it here before. It doesn't seem to have been written here yet, though I did come across this post.

Never without a map to navigate.

Right on.


That post and this photo brought tears immediately, so easy to do these days. There should be some kind of automated warning Typepad issues when it senses a blogger sifting through their archives on the most nostalgic of evenings, some kind of a proceed with caution alert.

I truly miss my beloved in house yoga studio, with all of it's open space and nag champa and no shoes allowed sacredness. Indeed, I do. Currently it is my sewing studio. It has also served as a homeschool room... but looking at this photo brought up so much for me, I think I really need this space cleared and held sacred again. I can sew in the basement, I've done it before. Anyway, lot's to ponder... this could be a very good thing. So, those words I mentioned...

The man who sees me in everything

and everything within me

will not be lost to me, nor

will I ever be lost to him .

He who is rooted in oneness

realizes that I am

in every being; wherever

he goes; he remains in me.

When he sees all beings as equal

in suffering or in joy

because they are like himself,

that man has grown perfect in yoga.

~ Bhagavad Gita [6.30-32]

A Few Notes from my Kitchen... and a Little Yoga

in the kitchen


I imagine at some point over the next few days I'll write a New Year's post. Part of me feels like skipping over the whole thing so not to repeat putting it all out there like I did last New Years. But then again, it's good to take stock, reflect on the past and move toward new beginnings. I just feel sort of vulnerable these days, we'll see.

The yoga studio that I worked/practiced/became a teacher at is having an incredible evening of yoga, chanting, meditation and reflection this New Year's Eve. I won't be able to be there which I'm so bummed about as there is little more that I crave these days than deep, soul shaking yoga. I miss practicing in a 90 degree room (though this night won't be heated), surrounded by other yogis, traveling and breathing down the same path of healing, strength and light. Practicing in a class setting isn't so much a communal experience as it is a collective of energy swirling about wildly, landing where it may and enhancing individual practices around the room. I love everything about it. There is never a time I feel more alive and like myself than about 45 minutes into a hatha yoga practice, preferably heated, the room filled with bodies, mat to mat. As important as a home practice is - for me, this type of experiential yoga is hard to duplicate in my bedroom, try as I might. Plus, I learn a great deal from my teachers, I miss them so very much.  

Well... when I sat down to write I had no intention of going there... I guess it's the time of year.

 photo by Emily

 This is one of the things I sat down to write about, homemade crackers! I mentioned them the other day and wrote up the recipe for you. It's a combination of a few different recipes, I hope you like it. What an incredible way to save a few bucks each week and crazy amounts of trash each year.

Rosemary Garlic Crackers
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp dried rosemary - or use chopped fresh if you have it (sooo good!), just a little less.
1 rounded tsp granulated garlic (the dried powdery stuff)
3/4 tsp fine sea salt (we like the pink kind)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper, optional
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt crystals, optional
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. In a bowl or food processor, mix together the flours, nutritional yeast flakes, baking powder, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper. Add the water and oil, stirring until dough comes together. If dough is too dry to mix, add another tablespoon of water or as needed. Divide dough in half.
3. Roll the dough out very thin, cracker thin. They will puff and rise a bit while baking, but not a lot. Roll them thin. Transfer the dough to a Silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet. I use a pizza cutter to cut the crackers into squarish shapes, a pastry wheel is great too. If desired, sprinkle a little salt over the tops (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) of the crackers and lightly press into dough with the rolling pin. Repeat with second piece of dough.
4. Bake crackers in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden and crackers look crisp. Check them at 12 minutes! They will crisp up a bit as they cool. If crackers are still soft after cooling, place back in oven and bake for another couple of minutes, they'll crisp up just fine.

I hope you try these crackers, maybe for your New Years snack spread! I hope you have a festive evening, and a peaceful, hopeful start to 2009. See you then!

Central Park Quilt


Hey there - I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the holidays. It seems quiet out here amongst the blogs, which is sort of nice. I imagine everyone nestled in at home, giving their typing fingers a rest.

Emily is home for almost two weeks so we have been sleeping in, staying up late watching movies, making chai and miso (she would prefer to do without the miso), battling a headache that is on it's third day (me not her, thankfully), we are drinking lemon ginger tea, feeling giddy and inspired by new yarn and fabric, and kind of wishing we'd get another snow storm soon. Snowstorms on Christmas vacation are hard to beat.

We are also painting Emily's room this week which I'm nervous about because it is currently my favorite room to photograph in. Her room is the clearest, prettiest blue, and with it's southeastern exposure it makes me very happy to click away in. These photos were taken on a gray and rainy day, not the best light - but I can still make it work on darker days, usually.

Her new color choice? Brown. Wish me luck.

There are a few handmades to share from the holidays, but today I thought I'd show a gift made for my cousin and his bride, they were married on Nantucket. It was beautiful as to be expected (I think you could have a Nantucket wedding in a back alley and it would be divine, as long as it was somewhere on that beautiful island). Their wedding was quite a long time ago, I'm sorry to say. Let'e just say their one year anniversary has passed and they are expecting their first baby in four months. I was finally able to give them their gift on Christmas Day. One checked off the list...
Now I have to connect with another friend who has a similar gift coming to her. For her bridal shower. Which also was ages ago. My friend was actually the inspiration behind this idea. I'm calling it The Central Park Quilt, based on a memory I have of going to Central Park with her years ago to see a concert - Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch,  and Buddy Miller. The park was a landscape of quilts and baskets filled with tasty treats, the perfect accoutrements for good times and making memories. The day held special meaning for many reasons, a story for another time. It was a magical experience of questions answered and spirit witnessed. I will never forget that day.



On that summer evening years ago, I started to fall in love with the idea of a special quilt to be used outside of the home. This is approximately a full size quilt, with low loft cotton batting. It could be kept in the car (or by the door if you walk or bike), and brought to parks, concerts, and picnics - collecting memories and having a presence in family photos as the years pass.

Of course it needed a coordinating bag to be carried in. This bag is made of 100% linen, it is lined with the same fabric that backs the quilt, and the pocket is matchy too. It's a great size with plenty of room for a few other things to be tossed in there as well. I'm thinking a bottle of red, some Vermont smoked maple cheddar, and homemade rosemary garlic crackers... which I made for the first time yesterday. I will never again spend $4.00 on what is basically a few handfuls of crackers surrounded by tons of packaging. I'll share more soon.
Hope you are staying warm and cozy!



Today we interrupt the holiday festivities - and celebrate instead, the birthday of a very special girl.

Eleven. Imagine that.

Emily - You always ask me to tell you stories about Mema, who you never had the grand adventure of knowing. So here is a tiny little story (advice really) that I don't think I've ever told you before. Mema always told my mother that you know your doing a good job as a mom if you can look at your own children as they grow older and say "You know, I really like them." She wasn't talking about whether you love your children, of course a mother loves her children. But that you actually like them... as people, this was important to her. Well sweetie, I can say that I do, I honestly do. Sometimes I look at you and think how unaware you are of your own brilliance and goodness, I wonder where on earth the time has gone. And I treasure you - my god, do I treasure you. Happy Birthday.

I think I'll be signing off for a bit. I hope your days ahead are filled with peace and festive times with loved ones. And if you are still holding on to the hope of getting it all done, making it perfect and complete - take a breath, let it go, and settle in.

Busy, but Really Loving all this Snow!


Well that was just about the prettiest winter weekend (Happy Solstice!) I've seen in my lifetime. The snow started late afternoon on Friday, continued overnight, then... it just kept going. All day Saturday snow fell, not hard - but just enough to keep it white and pretty. Overnight on Saturday it picked up again, we woke to more snow falling Sunday morning, and it continued through the entire day. There was a brief period of freezing rain in the afternoon, then back to snow in the evening. It was the kind of snow that just piled up on branches and trees then stayed there, like a heavy winter blanket. This kind of snow makes my garden happy, especially the sage with it's woody, vulnerable branches. I hope there are many more weekends like this to come.

Emily had a great rhythm going throughout the last couple of days. It consisted of playing outside for a couple of hours, coming in to watch a movie while she knitted gifts, sipped hot cocoa, and her snow clothes dried. Then, when the movie was over she'd put her knitting down, bundle up in dry snow pants and mittens... and repeat - over and over and over. I think my girl could be a professional weekender too. 


I've been a busy elf over here... how many hours do I have left? I never seem to acquire my full on holiday craft mojo until the week before Christmas. Every year. It's rather inconvenient, and each year as deadlines approach I look ahead in my mind to the wide open summer months, planning laid back afternoons of iced tea and gift making for the holidays. But let's be realistic, I'll be right back here next December 22nd writing about how there's six more things I really want to make... and likely only three of those will get done... and the season will go on regardless, it always does. Thankfully, this year looks like it will be remembered as a White Christmas... which is wonderful because that, is the very first thing on Emily's little wish list.

Snowed In ~ Baking Cookies ~ Feeling Content


Too much snow, we stayed home. Our sitter (grandma) couldn't come to us, and we couldn't get to her... two towns away. Well, Adam would have gladly driven, he'll drive in any amount of snow. I suppose that's to be expected when your drivers ed experience takes place in the north woods of Vermont. But I'm kind of a wimp and my girl is irreplaceable and there are way too many people around here who did not learn to drive in the snowy hills and mountains of Vermont. They would be out on the roads too. We stayed home, my call. It's okay, I actually felt really badly for my friend. So much work and expense goes into that kind of entertaining... I hope many people (who had less driving involved in their evening) were able to go.

We spent the night walking around the neighborhood... watched Christmas in Connecticut... and worked on some remaining gifts that need finishing. Today, a little more of the same. More snow arrives tonight as well. I'm a big believer in if it's going to be winter, let it be white. So this is fine by me, it feels right for the cookie making that is about to take place this afternoon too. I've got two planned for today, one is new. The other, Chocolate Peanut Butter Bark, I've made for a few years now. I've said it before, Cheryl's recipes are always excellent.

What are your top two or three cookies for the holidays? Would you mind giving us a little list in the comments... links to recipes would be great too, if you have them. A sort of virtual cookie swap, fabulous!

I hope the comments work for you today, many of you have emailed and said that you couldn't leave comments here over the last few days.  I'm so sorry ( and I miss your messages!), it is a Typepad issue and they are working on it...?

How will you fill your holiday cookie jar?

I Should Bring My Camera Along More Often


I'm not one of those bloggers who has their camera with them everywhere they go. I'd love to be, but my camera is not a high performer, and it has at times been responsible for putting me in a frustrated tizzy when I am out and about trying to enjoy life and it isn't capable of capturing the shot with it's 5.1 mega pixels and it's 3x optical zoom. Of course it is with me often, many pictures do wind up here afterall. It's just not automatic for me, and frankly, sometimes it's best if I leave the camera and the tantrum at home. Recently I've tried to get in the swing of flickr and have been enjoying the editing features they offer. It has helped to jazz things up a little, and in turn has bought me a bit of satisfaction until the day an SLR enters my life.

Yesterday we went to a Holiday Light Parade down by the shore. My mom's friend recently opened a candy shop right along the parade route, so we headed down to see Melinda's adorable, sugary shop, and to take in a really festive parade. I decided to bring my camera, and indeed there were moments of frustration, but there were a few really good moments too... I'm glad I brought it along.

Here is a little scrapbook of the day.


See, ten minutes out of our little city, driving through the country... we stumble upon a jolly old man in a warm red suit. See him at the back of the tractor... driving down the road? Complete with hay bales, and the smell of diesel in the air. We actually used to live in this town, right here on this green. There is a great deal of Revolutionary War history here, a battle was fought on the field you are looking at. George Washington slept in a house just to the right of this shot. Now part of the green is flooded in the winter by the local fire department for a very safe four inch thick pond hockey surface. Makes this mama not worry so much.016

Then we picked up my dad (mom was already down there) and as the guys hung out in the front talking about hunting and drywall and blah blah blah...019 018

Emily and I had a little photobooth-ish fun in the backseat. 037 

Then we arrived to Melinda's store, Gumdrop's and Lollipop's. She had it all sparkly and dressed for the occasion. 025

A little corner inside the store.032

A beautiful view behind the store. Doesn't it make you want to beg for a summer job? This would be a pretty sweet spot for a lunch break.107

Then it was time for the parade. There were firetrucks...070

And gingerbread houses...078

And girls who danced in twirly skirts...

And there was this... before you click on it, maybe you should read below.

It was a really lovely time, so many local dance companies, churches, and other groups put in a lot of work dressing floats up with twinkly lights and Christmas music. But there was one float that left me pretty amazed. It's hard to get your mind around the idea that this is the local auto parts store and not some major commercial endeavor. I remembered last minute that my camera could take video, I hope you enjoy it. I know it's not the same as being there. But imagine being at your local parade and everything is lovely, creative and at times homespun which is wonderful. Then this rolls down the street, stopping every hundred feet or so to perform it's little number, seriously incredible. The creative energy that went into such a project was huge and felt by everyone. I wasn't able to capture too well the pirate ship and flag that rose out of the top, or the smoke guns that went off. Yes,a pirate ship.

I hope to be around this week, but I'm not sure how realistic that is. Things are getting rather busy around here. How about you? Are you checking things off you list? I think it's time to break out the clipboard, that always helps me stay focused and organised.

ps - There is a new post I wrote at Simple Green Frugal Co-op, stop on over!

Made Especially For You


I will not die an unlived life

I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire

I choose to inhabit my days to allow my living to open me

to make me less afraid

more accessible

to loosen my heart

until it becomes a wing 

a torch, a promise

I choose to risk my significance

to live so that which came to me as seed

goes to the next as blossom

and that which came to me as blossom

goes on as fruit

~ dana faulds ~

 015 005 019 030 004 018

Here they are, lots of blank, colorful slates, asking for a little wisdom to be added. I can't speak from anyones heart but my own... the words that have found their way onto these little quilts to this point have been special to me. They are my prayers, my chants, my mantras. Many of you connected with them also, which is wonderful, but not surprising because we are all so obviously connected. But what if we could take it further. What if I were able to stitch and meditate an afternoon away just for you? What would appear?


surrender ~ peace ~ notice ~ namaste ~ be the change ~ simplify ~ solitude ~ live love laugh ~ faith ~ blessed ~ be still ~ listen ~ step into your power ~ don't be small ~ trust ~ quiet your mind ~ allow ~ breathe ~ by thy grace ~ walk slowly, bow often ~ prana ~ exhale ~ be here now ~ where are you now ~ wisdom ~ find your center ~ truth ~ the guru is in you ~

Or... a special child's name to hang in their room. That would be beautiful.

Maybe something entirely different, I'd love to know. And... I'd love to go to work for you. All of the details (I'm afraid I got rather wordy, I didn't want to miss anything!) can be found in the shop under any of the custom mantra quilt listings.

You will basically just type what you'd like embroidered in the 'notes to seller' section of your transaction. Easy! I am able to offer up to eight characters (spaces included) for the current price. If you would like something beyond that, there will be an additional $1 per letter/space. (Don't worry about how to do that... I will adjust the invoice for you, further details are in the listing description.) 

I did tuck some Christmas shipping information in there but I will say it here as well. I will be able to get some quilts out by Wednesday (priority mail) if they are ordered in the next day or so, and a few more for Friday. Please convo me if you need to fit in to that time frame, I will let you know what I am able to do for you.

For now, my fingers are tired. I've been typing and editing photos for what feels like days. I think I'll head upstairs with my family, a huge mug of peppermint tea, and we'll curl up under piles of quilts to watch Christmas in Connecticut.

Enjoy your Saturday evening, thank you for spending a little of it with me!

Running On...


With all of the rainy, icy, gray weather we've been having I haven't been able to get the best photos to post about the custom mantra quilts. It's all set to go, just waiting on a little sunshine! If you have a minute over the weekend, stop back in and have a look. The set up for ordering one will be smooth and very user friendly which was really important to me. Sometimes if things like this are too complicated for the customer and require too much communication it can be hard for folks to find the time or patience to make it happen. This will be a breeze.

You all had some great info to share in the comments yesterday, be sure to check it out if you haven't read yesterday's post yet. I love it when the comments section becomes interactive and ideas other than my own are shared in this space... makes everything feel connected, so thanks for helping with that. 

Take care, I'll be back as soon as the sun is shining!

Still Putting Up Those Apples


It never fails to surprise me how little sauce results from pounds and pounds of apples. Every time I make applesauce there's a "no way, that's it?" moment. Never fails. But this is it, the very last of the apples (picked in the fall) have been put up to get us through until next apple season. Those apples in the basket don't count, they are from a friend... for snacking. Total  apple-y goodness tallies for the season are:

6 quarts applesauce (freezer)
8 1/2 pints applesauce (canned)
12 apple pie fillings (freezer)
12 1/2 pints apple butter (canned)

And you know what? Crazy as it sounds, I bet it won't be enough. But it will make such a huge difference. Dare I say 200 pounds are in order for next year?

I wanted to take a moment and say thank you for your considerable support and generosity in my little shop lately. It has truly meant more than I can really convey at this time, but I am incredibly grateful, thank you. I do have an idea that I hope to share on Friday... hint... custom mantra quilts. Your mantra, maybe your child's name, you decide the word(s) then choose from 5 fabric combination options. I design and ship it out to you. Awesome! I suppose that was way more than a hint... if you think that might interest you, look for the details on Friday.

Now, how about some things I'm loving...

Holiday cards from blog friends.

Boho baby's arrival

Cathleen's knitted dishcloths. (oops... I just nabbed some. don't worry, there's more. and such a bargain!)

Rhonda Jean's latest post at Simple Green Frugal Co-op.

Rubarbsky- I love Carrie, she is so funny and always has rockstar recipes. I wish she lived closer.

And, what's a link list without a you tube contribution... my favorite Graham Parson's song, She, performed by Norah Jones, so pretty.  

Hope you are enjoying holiday preparations and are making it top priority to keep it mellow and stress free. I am pretty deep into gift crafting myself, which explains why I am blogging about apples in December - can't show much else here right now! I love being a busy elf...