Saturday, February 27, 2010



"Know what I like about you?" Marlys asked me one afternoon.
"No, what?"
"You're an odd duck," she said. "And so am I."

Marlys  didn't like me because I was perfect. She liked me because I'm NOT.


Isn't it interesting that we try so hard to seek perfection, when the sweetest grins are the crooked ones, the most comfy shoes are almost worn out, the cosiest homes are just messy enough to be happy?

The hands that serve are the ones we treasure, loving every wrinkle and stain...

the places we long for are most are not palaces, but anywhere a loving heart waits...


I don't want to be perfect the way the world defines it because that seems so shallow to me.
I want to be the kindest neighbor, the most trustworthy confidante, the gentlest listener, the most supporting wife.

Let someone else be the pretty one, the rich one, the smart one.

I prefer friends who snort when they laugh.
Give me the dog someone abandoned on the side of the road.
Books with a crease to mark the best part.
A husband who laughs with me when I make mistakes.

Life's too short for anything but glorious imperfection.

Three cheers for those of us who believe there's no such thing as ordinary!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Gone to the goats

"Come play!" Anne's voice laughed over the phone. "We'll go out to the barn with the baby goats."
My mother was wonderful at remembering how to enjoy childlike pleasures.
She taught me to never outgrow the opportunity for play.


The invitation was irresistible, so down the road I went to Clear Lake. 


We played. Oh yes, we did. And played. And then played some more.

I never knew goats could be so hilarious, jumping this way and that, or so soft when they snuggle into your lap.
Today for the first time in my life I have played with goats. And loved it.

Thank you, Anne, it was completely refreshing. I can't wait for you to phone again and say, "Come play!"

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Luxuriously green

Do you have a favorite color?

Mine's green, especially that green tempered with yellow, the shades you see everywhere as spring wakes up the garden...

...the brilliant celery color of emerging leaves...
...the light olive of buds, tender pale sage that abuts woody stems that looked like dead sticks a few short weeks ago...
Of all the colors in the rainbow, the million hues of green are is my favorites.

Looking closely one spies tiny verdant wonders along our river. Do you love pussy willows as I do?

Our garden and the trails and lanes in the valley are bursting with greens. Crinkled pleats of blue-green, diminutive globes of frosty jade, emerald shades mixed with ruby.

Early spring lifts the heart and for me the best part of spring is the luxurious extravagance of that glorious color: green. Don't you agree?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

For the love of chickens

Remember my little chicklings, so fluffy and charming last spring?


My, how they've grown!

They're big, beautiful hens now, and laying lovely organic eggs, with bright yellow yolks perfect for simple feasts at the old oak table. 

Sipping cocoa and eating bread warm from the oven and fluffy omelets with friends...
We're making sweet memories.

The chickens give us more than eggs, though. They have us laughing at ourselves, looking ridiculous as we chase them out away from the tulips and out of the vegetable garden (which, by the way, they ruined last year with their endless hunt-and-peck scratching games!)

Nobody warns you how silly those hens look with their funny petticoats pointed skyward and their heads tipping to one side and the other to eyeball a slug or a juicy weed. They keep us amused.

They have been playing hide-and-seek, laying in odd spots in the garden. We're having fun exploring the yard in the chilly morning air, returning with a basket full of bounty.

Life is rich with simplicity here.

"You, my dear," someone told me yesterday with a laugh, "You live under a golden star!"

And I think she was right. I am very blessed. Even the chickens bring joy.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pink and blue


The sunshine, brilliant blue skies and early spring blooms this weekend were breathtaking.

We were so drunk on sunshine and bees in the fruit trees that we simply had to stop at Maillard's for the Montmorency cherry I've been coveting and an Italian prune plum tree. Mr. Wonderful and I shoveled our way through that lovely rich soil and dug them into the earth. 

Then we walked down the road together.
The pink blossoms and a blue sky afternoon were spectacular. We stood arm in arm enjoying the wonder of springtime. It was like a little peek at heaven.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

New fabric peeks!

Of all the fabric companies in the world, Clothworks Textiles has got to be the very best. 
These people are absolutely passionate about getting things just right, all the way down to the tiny details.
And this week - oh the joy! - they sent peeks at two more fabric collections shipping to stores soon.

Here's the Into the Woods collection.

Every summer my husband & I vanish into the woods, hiking and fishing the Eastern Sierras for two glorious weeks of refreshment. Thus it has ever been with both of our families, since way back when.

And that's when the Into the Woods fabric collection began... when we had gone back into the woods.

Just seeing the pictures like this I can practically smell the pine needles and campfire smoke. Oh boy. I can barely wait to have this fabric for a guest room quilt. I might just sneak in and nap under it whenever I feel the need to escape, even for a few moments, into the woods.

And then there's Christmas! 

All twelve days, in fact!

There are coordinates of all sorts...
Isn't this collection fun, too?
If you'd like to peek at the rest of their collections, including lovely fabrics designed by my dear friends Barb Tourtillotte (she of our shared traveling adventures!) Diane Knott, Sue Zipkin, Tony Fernandes and Ellen Crimi-Trent, here's a link:
There you will find wonderfully imaginative fabrics put out by the most detail-conscious and gifted team of textile manufacturers anywhere. And they are just plain nice, too! I am honored beyond belief to work with this fabulous company.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I went to buy two cherry trees...


Anne and I went back to the nursery today.
Anne had her list and I had mine.
Hers was long and took up half a sheet of paper. Mine was short and in my head.
Two cherry trees.

I never made it to the bare root section.
There were too many lovely blossoms calling my name. I ran out of time before I could run my fingers over the slim tree trunks and ponder the poetic names of the trees.

I was stuck amid the flowers.

Sweetly scented hydrangeas.
Viburnum just beginning to open, when mine are still just tightly closed buds.
Hothouse tulips.



Oh the gorgeous colors! The thousand petals unfurling at once...

Aren't they gorgeous?

Never have we enjoyed such an early spring, so there's plenty of time for dreaming of the garden.

Next week I will have another nursery outing and I promise myself I'll beeline for the bare root section. If I can get past the temptations blossoming in the front of the garden first!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

And the winner is... !

Dear Blog-friends,
A random drawing selected Diane as the winner of the cut paper piece! Congratulations, Diane. Your piece will be on its way.
I could not resist sending each of you a special gift from my heart this Valentine's Day. You will each be getting a packet of cards letterpress printed by moi on my wonderful old press. If you entered the giveaway, please send me your address and I'll mail you a packet right away... and as a special gift I'll tie up the packages with the most delightful silk ribbon, so soft it feels like a family heirloom (from Raffit Ribbon, of course!)

Send me your address right away, dear friends so I can pop your treasures in the mail. Email me at sharyn (the at symbol) sharynsowell (DOT) com. 

Sending you warm hugs, you are the sweetest blog friends a girl ever had! Won't you be my Valentine?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Common miracles at my doorstep

Sometimes just when you need it, there's the rainbow.

Even a common empty field is jammed with enough glory to lift your heart. A rickety fence. Leaves that somehow clung to branches through the winter storms.

And all the glories, today, of a rainbow.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

May I tuck this in your mailbox?

 I've been snipping out words like crazy lately. This one isn't even glued down yet.
But already I'm thinking I'd like to send it to one of my blog friends.

May I send it to you, along with a nice little stash of hand printed goodies from my press?

If you'd like to enter, here's how. Please enter by posting a comment... If you're a follower of my blog, you can enter once. If you share my blog with a friend who becomes a follower, enter again by mentioning your friend's name. If you mention my blog on yours or post a link, enter again.

I'll draw a name at random on Valentine's Day and tuck it into the mail the next day.

It's just a little thing, but it's the only way I can think of to say thank you for your friendship.
I so appreciate you!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Lusciously green

Every year when Valentine's day approaches I fall in love with green all over again.

Not that I have anything against red and pink, it's just that green is so lush and refreshing, so full of promise it makes a girl want to run her fingers over leaves and mosses more irresistible than a four year old boy with his first crew cut.

Nowhere is the green more drop-dead-gorgeous than here in the Pacific Northwest, where our rural valleys spring to life with mosses of all sorts.

Just down the road along the lane that holds barns and horses, right near the place where the black bunny has his secret nest, there's a fence with a gorgeous crop of moss on its back.
The hardware store is selling giant containers of MossOut, and I am so glad that nobody has thought to sprinkle it on my favorite old fence. And shhhhhh! Don't mention it to my husband but I've been nurturing a gorgeous little crop of Irish moss on the cement table in the gazebo. Not everyone loves a mossy picnic as much as I do!


I am in love with all things green. Of all the glorious colors in the rainbow, no wonder green is my all time favorite. What's yours?