Monday, May 14, 2012

Rainy Day Sewing

Ferns enjoying the rain

It has been rainy in Vermont lately. As gardeners, we relish the rain this time of year, especially after a dry winter. The garden bursts with life after a good rain. But for a nice rainy afternoon, inside, I relish the opportunity to finish a few sewing projects for the summer, and to take a break from outdoor work. 

I've been working on two darling Tasha Tudor-style bonnets for quite some time. I think this is the year they will be finished and wearable!

Tasha's illustration that accompanies the very loose pattern found in Tasha Tudor's Old-Fashioned Gifts, a lesser-known book of Tasha's. If you don't have this book, keep an eye on our Rare Book page or give me a call, as I occasionally have copies on our Rare Book shelf. There are lots of wonderful project ideas in this book illustrated by Tasha and longtime friend, Linda Allen.

The floral bonnet brim on the left was top-stitched using some fun embroidery stitches on my machine. The brown leaf fabric brim on the right was entirely hand-stitched with invisible top-stitching. Both are almost finished, they just need lots of button-holes by hand, a perfect project for a rainy spring day! 

And that pretty pink background fabric? It's a reproduction 1800s fabric I'm thinking I'll sew up into a
 new apron for the summer. Bright and cheerful, don't you agree?

While antiquing this weekend, I came across these stunning jacquard ribbons. You can't imagine my excitement, because I've been long envisioning creating a ribbon collection much like this, inspired by Tasha. To see similar ribbons come to life, created by a now-out-of-business New England mill, was so exciting I snapped them right up! Don't you think the reds are reminiscent of Turkey Red tablecloths, and the blues, of indigo? Would you like to see us produce similar ribbons, inspired by Tasha, for your own projects?

Oh! There might be a break in the rain! I do think I'll slip on my wellies and take a walk. 

Take joy!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Marjorie Tudor's Spring Garden

Oh what glorious sunshine! What beautiful blue skies!

A morning in Marjorie Tudor's garden is quite a lovely experience indeed.

Especially when she, like Tasha, shoo-s me out of the kitchen and into the garden while she creates breakfast. "The blender is noisy," she said, "Go enjoy the garden, and I'll bring it out to you." It so reminded me of Tasha, who used to do quite the same thing as she put the finishing touches on tea or a meal.

Of course, as I was thinking this, I found some Forget-me-nots tucked in the stonework. Forget-me-nots, indeed, Tasha, dear.

 Violets and Forget-me-nots

Then Marjorie ushered me to the beautiful wooden swing in the lower garden, on the edge of the sheep field, overlooking her pond and budding apple tree. She handed me this petite Blue Canton cup with a purple-hued liquid, and urged me to take a sip. Cautiously, I lifted the smooth rim to my mouth and sipped the drink, underlined with a hint of green and a slight bite. She watched my face. I nodded and we said, "Spinach," at the same time. We laughed, and then both proceeded to finish our refreshing morning drinks.

 I felt a deep gratefulness for this moment--my back on the warm wood of the swing, my hand cupped around a smooth china cup filled with a healthy tonic, my face soaking up the delicious rays of spring sun. I think Marjorie and I would have been quite content to stay there as the morning hours stretched into afternoon, alternating gentle conversation with pauses of inner contemplation. 

But, as they so often do, chores and art and the daily-ness of living called to us, so we rose, and parted ways. Content, inspired, uplifted--ready to face chores, art, and that daily-ness of living with renewed vigor. 

Take Joy!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Happy Spring from Tasha Tudor's Garden

Spring has sprung!

A gate for welcoming friends, and for welcoming Spring.

Unfortunately, it is a rainy, low-sky day here in Vermont this first week of May. I wandered through the garden last week, though, and captured these images to soothe us on just such a rainy day. 

The colors of green are so sharp to the eye used to winter's gray and brown. If you look closely at Tasha's garden watercolors, you can see her attention to detail and the different shades of green.

Red efts, fiddlehead ferns, violets, cowslips and frogs...signs of spring! 
Tasha Tudor Illustration from A Child's Garden of Verses

There is something so mysterious and touching about the textures of a rusting latch and the barn door. It speaks of time, memories, and of beauty-- three things that seem to speak directly to our lives, don't you think?

The daffodils were in full array last week, triumphant yellow blooms announcing everywhere you looked with great fanfare: Spring is here! They lined terraces like good little Spring soldiers, We're ready! We're ready! 

We invited Aran, James Beard award-nominated food writer, stylist, and photographer, along with her friend Nadia, who shares life on the "hill" (her beautiful piece of Vermont) at her blog. On a weekend poised for rain, we were blessed with a sunny, warm, inviting day for a stroll around the garden. Aran's darling little ones found the simple joys of the garden---water striders in the water barrel, throwing rocks into the pond, and carefully navigating the stone steps. The company was most enjoyable, and we could have talked all day. I think we might have to enjoy a picnic later in the summer, what do you think? 

We wish you all a wonderful May, filled with, "armfuls of delight," as Tasha says of May in Around the Year

Happy May!