September Morning

Lake September new

September morning on the lake brings calm water with reflections of the surrounding hills shimmering across the lake. I like to walk along the lake in the morning after breakfast, sometimes walking for a mile, sometimes walking two miles. Alone with my thoughts and the barely perceptible sound of my steady footsteps, I work things out on these walks. Solutions to challenges form in my mind during contemplation and immersing myself in my surroundings, often  before I get back home. I treasure my walks and greet the occasional person who passes by on their own walk or run.

Christmas cactus repotted

My Christmas Cactus had been pot-bound since last summer and needed a new home. I went to Paul’s and Sandy’s Too Garden Center this month and found a lovely new pot and a small package of potting soil. Sometimes things need tending and in our hurried, busy, and distracted lives we neglect them… a house or garden plant, a noise in the car, a broken cup, a friendship, our heart, our feelings. It is too easy to say “I will get to that tomorrow” and before you know it, a small thing becomes something larger.

Condo August

This is the path to my front door and it feels like home whenever I come back from being out somewhere. It is a little magical for me to live here and I don’t know why. My condo is nestled in a complex that seems like a little village. When I walk down to the lake it feels special to be here, almost as if there is magic in the trees and in the air. It is hard to explain. It is almost as if I expect to cross paths with Harry Potter or Hermione. And of course it is magical for me to step inside my front door and see all my special handmade things everywhere.

Book Barn

The Book Barn in Niantic is a truly magical place and I went there Labor Day weekend. I am not sure how many buildings filled with books are there, but it is an amazing place for book lovers. There is a whole building dedicated to poetry. There are paths between the buildings with gardens and little waterfalls and there are plenty of places to sit and read or contemplate. I found From May Sarton’s Well, a wonderful selection of writings by May Sarton paired with photographs by Edith Royce Schade. What a treasure! And I found a lovely illustrated edition of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, a Persian classic.

Collage strips study

I want to get back into art journaling again and have made some small beginnings along this path. This is a simple collage piece made from strips cut from a photograph in a magazine. I have a painted art journal spread in process down in the art studio and I am thinking about what to do next. For years I had a thriving art journaling practice and that has fallen by the wayside over the past couple of years. I am not sure what happened but I think it is because art journaling brings out your inner feelings and I was going through some difficult times and could not express myself. Everything is changing for me now and my world is opening up.

Improv quilt

I got the Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters for my birthday in July and went right to the advanced section near the end of the book as I was fascinated with the curves and arcs. I did not follow the rules and rotary cut with a ruler instead of freehand, as that suited my hands better. I don’t need any more stitches in my hand. I had so much fun with this, moving arcs around, adding to them, and I did some unsewing as the first arc I made looked too planned and not random. I got it all safety pinned down to white muslin and now I am hand appliqueing the arcs and inserting color bands in the gaps. This is a great book!

Scarf tiles purple

I have been quilting a lot this summer and I also like to knit. This tiling scarf will keep me warm this winter and it coordinates with the hat I made last winter.  I am not a great knitter and I make mistakes when I knit, but that’s OK. The enjoyment is in the doing. It’s not the end of the world if there’s a mistake in a handmade piece and it actually gives the piece character. If you don’t point out the mistake, chances are that no one will notice it. Life is like that too. We learn from our mistakes and we grow with them. A mistake can pave the way to great discoveries and lead us down a better path that we might not have otherwise taken.

Christmas in Connecticut

XMas Card

I spent the Christmas holidays with family members here at home in Connecticut over the course of the week… my children, their partners, extended family, my sisters… and I talked/ texted with family and friends who I was unable to see in person. It was a particularly memorable and heartwarming Christmas for me because of the special times that we had together. There were presents of course, but the most important part of the Christmas holiday was the feeling of love that surrounded me. There was a warm glow that enveloped me from the simple acts of sharing a meal and opening up in conversation.

Bevin tree

I actually have a small tree and that fits best in my condo. But I love Christmas trees and the tree photo above is from the Bevin House, a bed and breakfast here in town. I went there for a Writer’s Guild meeting which was great fun and we got a tour of the restored inn afterwards. It was lovely! This is the parlor as it would have appeared in the late 1800’s.

Bevin House parlor

My tree is small but it has a lot of room for my treasured ornaments which I have gathered over the years. One year my cat managed to knock the whole tree over, breaking a half dozen ornaments. Fortunately I was able to glue a few of the special ones back together. Tangerine was adopted from the Connecticut Humane Society, abandoned at age 7, but she lived a long life with me and is now passed. I will always remember the look on her face when I came into the living room from the kitchen after hearing the loud crash. Somewhere I have a photo of the fallen tree in my photo archives.

My tree 2017

Dolls Just Want to Have Fun

I seem to have gathered a doll collection since I moved to the condo and they all have fun living with me here. My dolls certainly put a smile on my face as they greet me when I come home. They never complain and they don’t make demands. They are just there in the moment with their happy little faces.

Dolls in living room

Each doll has a story and a few of them have gone off into the world and been given to others to begin a new life. I rescued Sara’s doll from a garage sale when Sara was 10 years old and her mother was downsizing for a move. I met Sara 10 years later in an advanced watercolor painting class and when we discovered the connection ( we were former neighbors) I gave Sara’s Raggedy Ann doll back to her. It was an emotional and happy reunion with a long lost and treasured childhood doll.

Sara's Raggedy Ann

I found little Raggedy Ann on a treasure hunting trip to the Red Barn in Hebron with my dear friend Kate. Kate is the kind of person who is there for you when you need support and she can tackle any task with efficiency and stamina. Kate helped me downsize the contents of my house in preparation for the move to my condo last year. It was a daunting task that was made much more manageable with her help.

Little Raggedy Ann

I gave away little Raggedy Ann during the downsizing operation. I had so many things that it was hard to decide what to keep for the move to a much smaller place. Although I know this doll made some little girl very happy, over time I grew to miss her. Recently I found a vintage pattern for the little doll on Etsy and decided to make a new one. My friend Leonora, who helped me find places to donate many of my things, found some of the fabric that I needed to make this doll. I plan to start on this project soon and it will be fun!

Raggedy Ann Supplies

I have more dolls upstairs who greet me in the morning and again in the evening. Some of them I have made, some of them belonged to my children, and there is a Raggedy Ann I found at the Durham Fair after I returned Sara’s doll to her. There is also a Hello Kitty doll and a bear that my children gave to me. Each one is special to me and brightens up my life.

Dolls upstairs