Category Archives: blog


I got stuck on Facebook the other day. Went on for my evening thirty minute window – to update and post my scheduled engagements and was blindsided by so much and so many. Every post was another distraction and none of it could wait.
90 minutes later I found myself in tears having read a beautiful, eloquent, thoughtful, viral letter a rape victim from Stanford CA had written. As tears streamed down my face it became clear that stepping away from that arena to evaluate my experience was paramount.

90 minutes of time – my most fleeting commodity.

While pondering the vortex that sucked all of my attention for an extended time-frame, my thoughts were the following:

The news that makes it to Facebook is horrific and shocking. Events are presented in an over sensationalized manner to be sure to get our notice. It worked! It happened to me. I read all about the swimmer sentenced to 3 months in county jail for a horrible rape for which he could have served up to 14 years in the state penitentiary. Then I read that letter – so thoughtful, well worded and POWERFUL.

Without an iota of desire to diminish the beauty of the victim’s response to an unimaginable experience, I really don’t need or want to know about the world’s atrocities.

Feeling compassion and heartbreak for this victim (as an example) takes energy. For me it requires a lot of energy. On Facebook there are no many things that grab and beg for my energy and attention I feel drained yet compelled to keep on reading and clicking. Commenting, donating and sharing.

What happened to our middle of the road, thoughtful, and thought provoking news sources? You know, the ones where journalism thrived and expanded. Where research and opposing sides were presented for equal consideration?

Allowing my tears to guide me away from the all-consuming distraction was super relieving.   My change in focus was quickly followed by the realization that I can choose not to make myself aware of events far beyond my circle of affect.

The desire to want this relief – of not knowing – was followed by a feeling of heartlessness.

Oh and to be heartless!

It is so far from what is me. I care, maybe too deeply, about humanity. The idea of choosing to not know, and not show support for, what is right and good left me feeling super sad and empty. Maybe even more sad and empty that the crime I read about made me feel.

Feeling super sad, heartless, and empty pushes me in the direction of self-judgment, self-doubt and even depression. These negative feelings of despair make me want a distraction (‘better check my social media’) and the cycle flows – in an ever-deepening downward spiral.

I’m hopping off the carousel. It’d be nice to be able to step on for an occasional spin to check in with the people and places that nourish and lead and let the world know what I am up to. Maybe one day soon I will master that – a clear, focused and undistracted visit to the land of too much information and compelled empathy.

This social experiment I call Limited Access is opening my eyes to so many lessons.IMG_3115


You know what totally ‘rocks my world’? I absolutely LOVE turning garbage into treasure, using discarded things as materials to be creative. The most empowering part of my making process, is to ascertain textile (and sometimes other) waste and find creative reuse for that discarded material. Today, most of the raw materials used in my making process come from local thrift stores and kind donations from friends and strangers. (Keep an eye out for my next Clothing Drive.)

The idea of creating with new material  overwhelms me. It is hard to imagine what would be worthy to add to the plethora of stuff in a world so full. Utilitarian recycling works for me.

Mountain of Textile Waste in Bangaladesh

My life has come to include teaching, speaking, and creating goods made one by one with discarded clothing and scrap fabric as my raw material and inspiration. As my Limited Access social experiment continues, I work to establish the most productive use of my online time, which amounts to the best way to nurture and build my business.


This online journal is fulfilling, and the focus helpful. It is a tool for selling my wares, spreading the word about my classes, events, and engagements.  A sounding board for my wildest goals and grand efforts to change the way the world sees waste.  May my work encourage all sorts of people to support hand-makers, creatively-reuse, and teach and inspire by example. It is my hope that together we can have a shared impact great enough to be noticed.

Anyone remember my post from last summer about spending a year in Ireland? Initially we were thinking of leaving in time for the girls to start school over there in the fall. I was super resistant to my hubby’s voice of reason suggesting that we stay stateside till the end of the year and bank as much as we can in those last three months of 2016. The more I have thought about it, the clearer it has become that this timing makes a whole lot more sense. My only worry is missing my sweet Auntie Ellie who will celebrate her 98th birthday this year. I’m hoping to get a visit in with her before we all go in time for Winter Solstice.

We will be based in our family cottage in Kinvara on the edge of The Burren about 15 miles south of the City of Galway. My mom and dad spent their summers there at the end of their teaching years and on into retirement. It is a humble and comfortable tiny three bedroom stone home with all the charm of an old-school Irish cottage. I’ll work in my dad’s studio and teach a couple workshops nearby. Stay tuned for that schedule as things fall into place.

Now to get our ducks in a row for making all of that happen. I’ll visit the Irish consulate in Boston in the next few weeks and figure out where to start.

I wonder if there is a run on exit visas and passports as Donald Trump marches ever closer to presidency? Yikes!

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On Saturday I embarked on a social experiment, that I am calling Limited Access.  The idea is to limit the time I spend online to two 30 minute blocks a day – morning and night.  In addition one day a week will be spent working online.  The first two days were challenging.  By Monday I was not using the second block of time at all and had decided that on Wednesdays I would spend my workday online.

Today is Wednesday.  I am happy finishing a blanket in my sewing room and have pushed my ‘online’ day to Friday.  This blog entry is eating up both of today’s blocks.  Plans are coming together for doing most of my posting work off line – you know, write it down in a notebook with a pen!

Stepping back from my online presence has prompted an unexpected clarity to step further away from the light.  (In rereading this it seems as though my online presence is not being abandoned, but rather enhanced with intention.)  To that end, my intention is to reintroduce the role of mother, wife, friend into my weeks.  I am loving and really excited about my new-found sense of presence. Really jazzed about the idea of having a day off as fruit of my increased productivity with the time saved from building awareness of my online use.

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The idea of a focus nourishes me too ~

More on that in the days to come.

Yesterday I noticed a big fat bubble bee checking out our 100 year old lilac in the end-of-day sunshine and thought about how it must be to stick your head into that bloom in all its glory. How would it be to be that bee?



Intoxicating Fragrance


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Today is my first full day of mindful internet and illuminated rectangle use. Yesterday I decided to work toward 30 minutes twice a day, a morning session and an evening session plus one full day a week of internet work.

What fun it is to really pay attention to my habits. I noticed being drawn to the drivel and opted for more meaningful enrichment. What a lovely day it was!


Spent three minutes reading news this morning while still horizontal and signed off until now.

Responded to texts from friends and initiated a couple to plan my summer schedule.

Checked my Analytics and saw that my Limited Access post blew up! It inspires me to imagine my path inspiring others to consume this commodity in a thoughtful and mindful manner.

Realized that 30 minute sessions morning and night might not be most productive for me.

Working on clarifying my plan for the rest of my week long social experiment

Most notably

My sense of relief stands – it excites me to have found lost time!

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I made amazing sugar free, dairy free chocolate. Some of you may know that I became macrobiotic in September 2014 due to an Ulcerative Colitis diagnosis several years earlier. More on that another time, for now just know that today’s batch was most notable to date!

Recipe coming soon.

We started the patio we have been dreaming up for the last couple years. Its going to be amazing! The door hearthstone we put in place today is the one my hubby grew up with – so cool.

Cleaned, Folded a mountain of laundry, sewed for a couple hours and generally felt super great not even thinking about anything happening online.

Day two of my social experiment to leave the interwebs behind for most of my day was a success. Looking forward to another wholesome day of creativity tomorrow.

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Today is May 21, 2016

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My 10 year old daughter won a tablet raising money for The American Heart Association. Her big brother has a cardio-myopathy so she is super motivated.

This device is the first for her. I was thinking about her screen-use and wondering about how best to limit it and I had an epiphany. I, like so many around me, am completely distracted from the here and now by the damn illuminated rectangle in my hand – it became clear that in order for me to feel right about limiting Lucy’s tablet use I needed to limit my own.

It started immediately.


The relief was immediate.


So here goes!

30 minutes twice a day on the illuminated screen, plus one day a week for work/sales.

It’s a social experiment I’ll be undertaking this week, I am calling it Limited Access:

So far I have spent a few focused intervals wondering how best to spend this super limited timeframe. What is most important to me?

Spent time writing in my journal with pen and ink, my favorite new drawing tool a Quill pen and india ink.  Fun to write with too cause you gotta keep dipping –  slowing  –   Thank you kindly for that inspiration Dan Blakeslee!

Dan playing at BINGO! Gallery earlier this year with some of his amazing artwork on the wall.
Dan playing at BINGO! Gallery earlier this year with some of his amazing artwork on the wall.

Enjoying the moment, spending more time with my kids and hubby – like really WITH them.  And checking OUT of all the spinning whirling craziness happening out there in cyber land.  Upon initial contemplation what I came up with as ‘most important’ is accountability.  So I’ll be using this platform keep myself accountable and to post my findings.

Stay tuned.

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Realizing there’s no need to reinvent myself in warm weather. Continuing with wool/cashmere combinations in blankets, A Bride’s Sweater (that groom needs one too!) and setting up the rug loom after a wonderful workshop at Snow Farm earlier this month. Check my EVENTS page for my teaching schedule. Make a plan and come visit!!

This weekend – WOWSERS! There is a whole lot going on and I’m super excited about all of it!

06.07.14 Potholder Rugs7
  1. Snow Farm over in Williamsburg MA (feels like driving to Grandmother’s house – ie: over the river and through the woods) is hosting a Potholder Rug weaving workshop where I will submerge myself and a sunny studio full of students, in the simply magical process of cutting up used clothing and making amazing rugs. This is a giant step in my mission to reduce my footprint in the Makerspace at Shire City Sanctuary. Lots of materials will be loading into my trusty wagon later today to be used up in a super productive manner.



2. Before that happens Ben, my awesome 23 year old son, and I will load the car with all of my latest work and head down to Basilica Hudson for the Farm and Flea show there this weekend. The show organized by the amazing marketing and production mavens from Hudson River Exchange. It looks like a fantastic mix of amazing makers, vintage treasure purveyors, and artisanal food producers – not to be missed. This is Ben’s debut in the booth without me. If you are in the Hudson area – go visit him. Booth 118 Saturday 10-6pm and Sunday 11-5 at Basilical Hudson 110 S. Front St Hudson, NY 12534


05.02.15 Food Truck Rodeo

3. On Saturday (as in tomorrow) Shire City Sanctuary is hosting the third annual Foodtruck Rodeo and 350 Massachusetts’ event called Live the Change. The Foodtruck Rodeo 11-5pm, is a benefit for The Giving Garden – a community garden that supplies our local food pantries to help our hungry neighbors. There will be live music, lots of food options, and micro brews, outside, while inside, 350 MA has put together a climate action and sustainability fair for 12 hours! Starts at 11am and ends with a dance party with beats by DJ BFG wrapping up at 11pm. During the day, speakers, vendors, and activities for adults and children are planned. We are so happy to collaborate with our like-minded organizations. Three cheers to all those who made this happen! If you are Berkshire bound this weekend, please do stop by Shire City Sanctuary 40 Melville Street in Pittsfield.