"I do believe in an everyday sort of magic...the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we're alone." Charles de Lint

Sunday, July 31, 2016

What's in a Name?

I got some interesting feedback this morning from someone who stumbled across my blog. She seemed to like what she saw, but was troubled by the name...and the "ugly" word "puttering." She wanted to know what my title meant....and it got me thinking.

Webster's definition of putter is "to move or act aimlessly or idly, to work at random"...and I guess that has a negative connotation. But to me puttering is not an ugly word.  It's finding time in my day to do exactly what I want...often flipping from one thing to another. Puttering is almost an attitude...a way of just being present with whatever I'm doing whether it's a project or a chore...it doesn't even matter if I finish it.  I'm doing it because I want to.

To the onlooker my "puttering" may seem random...and my husband would probably agree...but he's used to it by now. To me it's being delightfully distracted by things that bring me joy....collecting photos of brightly colored doors, connecting with someone I met on a walk, or starting to create something new when there are already 10 things in the works. And yes, even cleaning sometimes...especially when I do it with a "puttering attitude."

But I have to be totally honest here. When my niece Clarke helped me start this blog...we tried and tried to find a name that wasn't already taken on blogspot....and it was really hard.  I made a list of words that I liked and we just kept trying combinations until we landed on "Joyful Puttering." A little random? Maybe. But I do believe it's a perfect fit.

New York Magazine took on the question of why women love to putter in their article called "To Putter, Divine....Time Wasted Wisely."  The author, Lisa Miller, describes puttering as "respite from the relentless obligations of life."  She quotes Ellen Galinsky who said "It's the abandonment of our forever to-do list. I'm so happy when I have time to just putter. I might look at the flowers and decide they need watering.  I might think about calling my sister. I might think about calling my college roommate. And then I might half-do-something entirely different, before meandering to the next diversion."  Click here to read the full article.

Alexandra Stoddard says "puttering is really a time to be alone, to dream and get in touch with yourself....to putter is to discover. It helps us to become aware of what's still important to us, what continues to have meaning. This quiet, private act can....bring aspects of life into sharp focus....and identify your needs."

So there you have it.  I'm a joyful putterer and I'm Ok with that!  Thanks Juliana for nudging me to ponder what my title really means.

You can read about a puttering connection here....it runs in the family.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Summer at Folly

I delivered the matches I posted about few days ago....here's the turquoise, blue, and red at Folly 101...I missed photographing the gray section.

If you're in Portland...it's worth a visit at 101 Exchange Street....it's a beautiful store all decked out for summer.

Astrid uses a lot of vintage pieces for her displays....and this is one of my favorites: an old feeding trough filled with little bottles.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Planner #8

Connie is a month into planner #8. I make a new one for her every six months and you can see the rest of them here.

I used crazy colorful fabric for the cover on this one. You can read about the process of putting one together here

making the fabric cover

I smartened up and put some of her standing appointments right into the template. And rather than printing pictures on the pages ahead of time like I have in the past....we added photo stickers that were given to her by her daughter of her family, her rug hooking, and her art.  It will be a fun way for her to enjoy the stickers....there's a different sticker each week from July through October.  Andi ordered them on Snapfish and you can see some samples here

Thursday, July 28, 2016

More Matches

I spent several hours this morning filing a match order for Folly 101 in Portland. Astrid requests colors and I cover the match boxes in simple stripes and dots.....72 this time in gray, blue, turquoise and red. I will be delivering them this weekend and it's always fun going into the store to see what's new.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Little Joy

"We do not live an equal life, but one of contrasts and patchwork; now a little joy, then a sorrow, now a sin, then a generous or brave action."  Ralph Waldo Emerson

While I was in Wisconsin.....Becky gave me "a little joy" and Tracie gave me this sweet speckled Lake Superior rock. They actually go very nicely together...Becky and Tracie have always made a good team.
They may migrate around my house...but for now they live in a bowl in the corner of my kitchen counter where I see them every day. We all can use a little joy in our patchwork lives.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Overlooking Portland Harbor with the
Casco Bay Bridge in the background
Chicory grows wild along the roadside and I have always loved the color...but is it blue....or is it purple? I think it's both...it's periwinkle.

While I was in Wisconsin Becky and her son Johnny and I painted a room which is going to become her project/craft room. We've been talking about it for a few years....and it was time.

Per usual....when someone is stumped about what color to paint I recommend they gather inspiration from things they love: fabric, photos, artwork, greeting cards...find a scheme that speaks to them.

Becky first identified the porcelain berries I posted about a while back as a color scheme she loves. So...for a while now Becky and I have been been passing back and forth images of soothing blues, purples, greens....and of course periwinkle.


When I got to her house a few weeks ago...she had a stack of paint chips and a pile of gathered inspiration. We spread it all out on the floor and and started mulling it over.  We talked about a neutral like a soft taupe or gray....but in the end we decided it needed to be a color. Unlike a bedroom with quilts and bed covers...this room was going to be work surfaces and shelving so it needed color on the walls. We landed on periwinkle....but it needed to be soft and soothing....not too "Easter eggish" and not too dark.


A page Becky colored with her scheme.

A gazing ball in her garden with her scheme.

We finally picked a color....a periwinkle that was more on the purple side. But once we got to Home Depot...we found Glidden Frosted Blueberry that was a little more on the blue side....but still periwinkle.  When you held it next to blue it looked purple...and when you held it next to purple it looked blue.  Perfect.  We liked that it was muted and soothing....a little grayed. This was it. Phew!

And because we both like Behr paint...they color matched it and we were on our way.
After some serious prepping we got the room painted...and we love the way Laura Meddaugh's artwork looks against it. The flooring needs to be replaced...so the room is still a work in progress....but there is progress.

Maybe some day I can post a picture of the finished room.  Right Becky?

Monday, July 25, 2016


My succulent pot on the deck in Maine is doing well....and one of the plants has a giant stalk of buds about to pop.  It looks like it's going to be pink...and I'm hoping it's a showstopper.

I love the ruffly pink edges of this one....the one that is about to bloom.

And...I continue to be quite fond of my yellow Baptisia...which is in full bloom in the rock garden.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Bike Ride Away

While in Maine...I'm lucky enough to be just a bike ride away
from the beach...a great way to spend a morning.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A Splash of Color

They sky was incredible tonight along Portland Harbor....quite a splash of color!

Fusing Leaves

Our "Focus on Fusing" assignment this week is to experiment with leaf shapes....so that's how I spent part of my afternoon.  It was hot and steamy so I was grateful to be inside in the air conditioning.

Melody is offering this class free of charge and she posts the new lesson each Friday and a blog. If you are interested click on the link above for the leaf lesson. (and all the previous lessons)

First I made sure I had a variety of green fused fabric.  Then because I am liking the stripes so much I started with striped veining.

By overlapping just a bit I fused it to another green and cut the leaf shape....then added a blue stem.

I used up all the vein scraps and also made a few others.....some are kind of whacky. I think I was marginally successful....but right now it's just about experimenting. It will be helpful to actually be working on an art quilt where I would be using them so I have a little more of a direction. 

Then of course I had to play around with some color....I like these!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Bridges and Boats

Yesterday was a cool, dry morning in Maine so Paul and I decided to walk across the Casco Bay Bridge into Portland for breakfast at Becky's Diner.  I drive over the bridge all the time...but I had never walked it.

And equally exciting....last evening we went for a sail ON Casco Bay with our good friends Jay and Janice. We had perfect weather and wind...and even better company.

Life is good.

Here's a little tour of our day....over and on the bay....
our day of bridges and boats.

The area around the bridge is industrial catering to fishing and shipping. The Casco Bay Bridge is a draw bridge so quite often oil tankers and cargo ships pass though forcing the cars, bikers and walkers to pause...which is not a bad thing in our fast paced lives. When I'm heading to an appointment...I always allow a little extra time....just in case the bridge is up...but I don't mind. The area around the bridge may not be the most picturesque part of Portland Harbor....but it's beautiful in it's own way.

Here's where the walk began.

As you get to the end of the bridge you get a view of Commercial Street. Again..this end is more industrial with working wharves and industrial businesses. As you go down Commercial towards downtown Portland you find more shops and restaurants....in the heart of the "Old Port."

Becky's Diner, which was featured on the TV show "Diners, Drive-in's, and Dives," is at this working end...catering to the fishermen. Susan Sarandon recently ate here while she was campaigning for Bernie Sanders.

On our way home...

There is a little park under the bridge.  I've never been down there when the bridge is up with a big ship has coming through..but it's a goal.

There was time for a little puttering and a nap in the middle of day....then a whole world away from the working waterfront of Portland is the Portland Yacht Club.  It was time for a sail.

Captain Jay...and his first mate Janice....picture courtesy of a sail a few years ago.  Thanks guys!