making it (but mostly faking it)…and some 52 for good measure


I envy you, kid.

That’s what I’ve got for the 52 Project this week.

It feels like enough after a fortnight with little opportunity for adequate sleep, and zero opportunity for kickin’ around with comics and a cat. Can I get a do-over on adulthood? I’m pretty sure I’m doing it wrong.

Really, the only part I’m faking is the appearance of maintaining sanity during this time of one step forward, two steps back that we seem to be treading water in. Somehow, I think even that is an illusion, and really there is some forward movement if I watch the replay in slow motion.

But, I don’t have time to watch the replay today, so…

Oh! There was this thing that happened:


A lovely group of students for some 80s-inspired spinning was the highlight of the blur that may have been March 2014. Denver next month will be awesome, and the EARLY BIRD special ends tomorrow!!!

Oh! And I have re-opened my Big Cartel shop! Etsy is still there, but I’m going to be putting more and more on the new and less and less on the old. Etsy will eventually be exclusively for de-stash and OOAK items, and the BC for repeatable colorways and fiber clubs. I haven’t updated the sidebar yet (one thing at a time, but if you click on the banner here, it’ll take you to my new-ish home on BC:


Stay tuned for a Hey-I’m-Traveling-Soon-And-Need-Lunch-Money sale! There has been some spinning thrown into the daily life-chaos. Where there’s a will, and all that.

Enough! Happy Monday!



…there it went.

A week or so.

And, also:


Our Greenhouse. RIP.


Clockey, the best rooster we’ve ever known. RIP.


Li’l, the Littlest Axolotl. RIP.

Harsh climate + farm life = constant lessons in the art of Letting Go. Somehow, it just doesn’t stick and we have to learn it over and over and over again and it’s harder every time.

In more pleasant news, I’ve been around the Sparkle blog here


and here


and updating my shop here.


It’s not to late for the holidays, btw. Free upgrade to Priority Mail between now and Saturday, December 21st, and of course, there are always clubs and gift certificates, too:


Whew. Well, back to regularly scheduled programming henceforth.

on a roll…

…or maybe I finally have some actual inventory to share.

Also, it’s the Cozy Season now, and all I want to do is touch fiber and turn it into things.

What it all boils down to is this: I’ve added more yarns to the shop. Twice in the same week!

A few of my favorites:



Pear Tree:




I’ve also been continuing to post every Wednesday on the sister-blog to my baby, Luminous Traces (currently on hiatus until Winter Solstice), Literary Traces. My serial poem, Autumn, has a new installment today. This weeks topic is: Gather. Enjoy.

Day 2, and Don’t Bite on Stuff from the Duck House (isn’t that a Cramps song?)

Firstly, thank you all so much for your thoughtful responses to my previous post. Your talk of baked pumpkins, applesauce, and knitting projects has me feeling dreamy and ready to cast on a sweater.

I had hoped to bring you this second installment of my Squam experience sooner, but the curve balls, lately…they are flying at me from all directions. This weekend was completely absorbed by caring for creatures great and small, stacking an unexpected delivery of wood before the rain, coming into free tomatoes and getting them put up (still not done), while shuttling my husband to and fro the hospital, late nights for the boy (with the bonus of snuggles when Papa was at the ER), and bleary, sleepless nights for me. Said husband contracted salmonella. Ugh. Please, whatever you do, don’t get salmonella. It’s awful. Terrible. There’s nothing you can do except ride it out, but C was in so much pain and so dehydrated, that I finally just brought him down to the ER so they could get some liquid back into him and bring his blood pressure up. It was a good move. I should note that, in this case, the infection did not come from food. It was a daring, early-morning (as in, all synapses not yet firing), duck rescue involving using teeth to release said duck from a tangle of twine.

(and I know the song is Don’t Eat Stuff Off the Sidewalk, but I think it applies, yeah?)

Sometimes, I feel like I’m in some sort of tragi-comic graphic novel. The author is pushing the line of just how much this little family can take. This is one of the least-desirable weeks for C to miss several more days of work. We were also taking care of our neighbor’s goats, some of them needing to be milked. I had never milked a goat. I did try, though. What a disaster. All I succeeded in doing was pissing off the goat and getting head-butted. I still have not milked a goat.

During a particularly off moment, O and I will press the Do Over button. I wish I could press the Do Over button on my entire week. Right now, I would probably give a kidney to be right back here:


Just for a moment. To breathe. To bathe my fatigue in the lake. To laugh with Miranda, who posted a picture of my backside. And to pretend, for just a moment, that I feel I am master of my own fate instead of a helpless character in someone else’s hilarious story.


Sit on the edge of the dock with me here, and everything else will melt away. This little piece of the planet is yours to inhale and exhale.

It was a really intense and fantastic day, my second day at the Taproot Gathering. I took a class called The Map Home, tenderly guided by Julia Shipley. I signed up for the class because I knew it would involve prompted writing and sharing, which would be a huge challenge for me, and also because my sense of home has been a blurred and messy place in my heart for the last decade.

This class stirred me up, and Julia created a space that made each one of us feel safe in our vulnerability and held as we explored the idea of home and our sense of place in past, present, and future. There were tears and revelations, laughter and moments of silence. All of it was perfect.


During our mid-day break, I explored a little around “home”base, and came upon spontaneous artful arrangements of woodsy litter.


And delighted in the beauty of the organic forms all around me. When I saw this mushroom, I wished I were a 1/4″ tall.

During the second half of class, I wrote a piece (well, I should say that it’s the beginning of something) that I was encouraged to share during Lodge Night that evening. There was a fashion show of sewn pieces, and then a few of us willing to read our own words. Into a microphone.


I thought I would throw up, but I made it through, even with laryngitis and pitifully shaking hands. I’m glad I was encouraged, and I even thought about Next Time once I sat down.


It was unedited, written in a 20-minute period, which is how I usually write.

Oh, and then Stephanie Pearl-McPhee took the stage and she was funny and charming and hey, guess what? She’s a very lovely person and I’m glad to have met her.


Once I relaxed, the evening festivities were exactly the right way to end a day of perfection and open up connections beyond my class and housemates. I felt inspired in so many ways by so many people and words and visions that I’m still processing my experiences.

There’s more, but here:

PicMonkey Collage

I brought some things home with me. For you.

Click the collage to get to my shop. Enjoy.


Oh, and the Taproot/yarn giveaway? Random Number Generator says Kelly gets it! She wrote: “The children love collecting, so when we gather all of our nature-gifts and start putting together an acorn or leaf garland really tells them it’s time for autumn. And the wool socks… putting on those wool socks is a sure sign that the barefoot season is coming to a quick end.”

Congrats, Kelly!

in which 35 is the new 29…and so I have a sale

Two posts in one day? Yeah, well, it’s my birthday so I can do whatever I want.


I’ve decided that 35 is the new 29, so I give you 29% off anything and everything in the shop for TODAY ONLY using the coupon code: BIRTHDAYBABY



I hope to get back to updating regularly as C regains mobility. In the meanwhile, please feel free to help clear it out for newness!

Come Into My Garden: 1

I’ve been laying low this week, but I have been around…I spent some time here, waxing poetic, and then some time here, exploring Roots. I also started a summer internship I’ll tell you more about later, so there’s been a bit of a reshuffling of routine, but I think I’m settling in now (just in time for school to let out, of course).

There has also been the mad rush of Spring gardening, and I realize I should be recording more than just a few quick notes on the calendar.


And yes, I really should have started this earlier, but better late than never and all that. Before-and-after would have been nice, too, since we’ve broken much in the way of new ground this season. There’s still a long way to go, though, even beds still to be created for this year, so lots more to share in the weeks to come, I hope!


This is our new friend, the Bean Teepee. How we’ve lived here for three summers already without a bean teepee, I have no idea. A rainbow pole bean mix has been planted, 6 bean seeds per pole.


Also new this year is the way we planted the potatoes. Last year, we put them in raised beds, but didn’t have enough organic matter around to add to the bed throughout the season. 10 pounds of seed yielded enough harvested potatoes to last us until February, but we can do better. This year, trenches were dug, layered with compost and seed potatoes, then covered in straw. 4 varieties totaling 12 pounds.


These pickling cucumbers are coming up where there was a mess of blackberry bushes and milkweed last year. The hillside still needs a lot of work, but is mostly clear for the squash that will go in this week.


Garlic, I love you. Easy and beautiful. I check every day for signs of scapes, but probably have a few weeks to wait. We are quite a bit behind some of our local farmers, because we don’t get as much sun up here on the hill in the woods.


This…well, this is the tomato and pepper patch, can’t you tell? At least, it will be by the end of this weekend, if the weather cooperates. Consider this a Before


We grew some glorious starts to put into the After; I must say I’m quite proud of these. They are opalka paste tomatoes, of which we have several flats awaiting their new home…


…along with these bazillion other friends who are wishing we didn’t have anything else we needed to do besides create the spaces to get them planted out. Yes, the squash and melons are beginning to yellow for want of nutrients…just give us one. more. week.


Aaaaaand…yarn update today! Here’s a little something special I spun up while visiting Dayna at Madison Wool last weekend. It’s up for grabs along with a few traditional plied yarns. Enjoy!


Ideas! Plans! Wine!
Not presented in that order!


Here it is, and here it will be for the next three months before bottling. So, don’t hold your breath for the next Dandelion Wine report.

And here are the things I have planned for the summer:

The Yarnival
…not to vend or teach at, just to enjoy and elbow-rub.

Twist: Festival de la Fibre…to TEACH! My new photography workshop geared towards shooting better photos for your online sales or portfolio. I’m really excited about this one and will also be working on an online version of the class to be released in July.

And here is the thing happening very soon: Trunk Show at Madison Wool in Madison, CT on Sunday, June 2nd from 11am-2pm. Come celebrate Dayna’s 2nd anniversary with MadWool and bring your spinning wheel! I’ll have lots of new dyed fibers for sale and handspun yarn and wearables, too!

And then there’s the right now, right this second stuff: the shop has been updated with new handspun yarn, hand dyed yarn, and art rolags. I want you to enjoy 20% off everything in the shop, including fiber and yarn clubs! Use the code: LONGWEEKEND to receive your discount at check out. Yeah!



And since I seem to be working somewhat backwards in time in my announcements, I was over at Luminous Traces the other day. Embracing lilacs.

That was all very business-like, but long overdue. The ideas, I’ll let percolate a little while longer because I’ve shared enough Monkey biz for one day.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend. If you need me, I’ll be in the garden prepping (but not planting). Frost warning tonight…aaaaaaahhh, New England. At least we avoided the potential snow in last night’s forecast.



Every night, while C has been reading bedtime story aloud, I snuggle in with the boy-creature and stitch. The current project was a holiday gift to myself, something new to try, to rest my hands from all the usual fine motor movements they make. There is one little frame to fill in each month, a few minutes each night with which to execute the task. It’s meditative and apparently, mesmerizing. Last night, O’s face was practically resting on the fabric, he was watching so closely the motions of my needle.

The project would most definitely fall under the category of “Cute” and anyone who knows me well would know that Cute is not typically my genre, but for some reason I was drawn to it. I haven’t filled in any of the Cute parts yet, though. I’m obsessed with stitching the frames, one after the other. It is suggested, of course, that one completes all the frames ahead of time, so it’s easy to just plug in each newly released pattern as they come down the pike throughout the year. I’m not doing anything unusual as far as these things go, but there’s something about the frames. I think about them a lot. Their emptiness. When I complete a frame there is a new empty space. A void…waiting to be filled. A need. A want. A nothing waiting for a something.


It was supposed to just be another needlecraft to add to my Austenian skill set. Something to do when my fingers ached from knitting on the socks with the tiny yarn, because I can only stand having idle hands when I’m sleeping. But the frames are eating away at my brain like a microscopic parasite. This project is meeting me right where I’m at, I guess. On the linen, they are laid out, side by side. When I think about them, though, they are stacked against a wall in my psyche, like a flea market find…all these empty frames. My life is full of them. Voids that need to be filled.

We have had struggles as of late, mainly financial. It’s amazing how it cannot be contained, how that one very specific problem seems to ooze into every other aspect of life and taint it. We question everything. Our dreams, our worth. All that seemed possible only a few months ago now seems totally unattainable. Nothing can be discussed without that shadow looming over, driving it all away. All the pretty pictures we painted during the winter are reduced to a pile of empty frames. Maybe it sounds dramatic, but even when you know you’re vulnerable (just getting by, unable to save), you hope that things will only get better instead of the rug being pulled out from under.


I need to say this. I have tried everything I can to keep The Spun Monkey alive as a business. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, I hosted workshops with spectacular teachers, started dyeing yarns as well as fiber, began to wholesale my work. I did more fiber-specific shows, enjoyed an incredible amount of positive feedback and met a lot of wonderful people. However, I have only debt to show for my efforts. Important pieces of my “old” life were shelved so that I could pour all of myself into TSM. Lately, my dedication is not paying off in a way that serves my family’s needs, but I hesitate to close the shop entirely.

So, I have wiped clean the canvas and now have an empty frame for TSM. I’m not sure what a new picture of it will look like. I have empty frames for writing, editing and photography (my first loves, my schooling, my degree) and am wildly desperate to paint my fantasies there. There is a frame for our farm, for O’s schooling, for our friendships, our family, for service to others, for self-care.

Why does it feel like the paint is just out of my reach? 

Here is a first offering: a liquidation of my shop in its current state. I have about six new yarn listings going up tonight, so stay tuned for that later on tonight, but it ALL needs to be cleared out. If it’s to be kept alive, TSM will need to go in an entirely new direction and I need to clear out the cobwebs. It will work like this: Buy one item, receive 10% off, two = 20% off, three = 30% off, four up to ten = 40% off, ten items or more = WHOLESALE DISCOUNT (50%). I want it all gone so that I have room in my mind and studio to create the newness that is the only hope for resurrecting the Monkey.

The Woodland Sampler seemed like such an innocent project. Sheesh.


Is this thing on?

Oh…hello there!

I needed a summer, I guess.

A short, very wet, magical and tragical sort of summer. It was challenging and inspiring, but I am ready for it to be over. There was just a little too much of everything. Especially the water.

Most of the magical bits about summer were the result of intense tragedy. Here I sit in my kitchen, filled with herbs drying…the ones that I frantically picked the day before Irene devastated Windham County. This kitchen is also filled with my gratitude…for our house on the hill, for the safety of my loved ones and friends, for the sunflowers that still bloom even though they were pelted to the ground along with the corn. I am so much more aware, so much more completely in love with the blessings in my life…and just as much anguished for those of my friends and in my community whose homes and businesses did not fare as well and who face long roads of recovery ahead.*

I have a hard time with the idea of saying anything more about it. There is so much and yet there is nothing. It is all very raw, and all very personal. How about a tour of some of the good things? I like distractions.

This is Augoostus. He is a good thing.

These are fairy watermelons. Also a good thing. They might really be sour gherkins, all pickled up and pretty, but I know the fairies bring them to all their summer parties.

All the pre-flood green things. The tomatoes eventually ripened and became sauce. I have since experienced my first fried green tomatoes and now I will never let tomatoes ripen again, if I can help it.

My boy, in the setting sun. A very, very good thing.

We are looking forward to autumn sunsets and stars out before bedtime, stews bubbling on the woodstove and hot apple pie in the oven in our tummies, digging up the last potatoes and planting garlic, kissing summer goodbye and welcoming the crisp breezes and acorns under foot.

What are you looking forward to?

* btw, shop updates are coming tomorrow thru the weekend. A portion of profits will be donated to flood relief in VT.