Archive for March, 2014

Subtle Signs of Spring


Folks everywhere are posting photos of green shoots and blooming things.  It has been a long and strident winter after all and we are ready for color and warmth.  There are none of these signs in my neck of the woods.  Yet even though there is still two feet of snow on the ground and my driveway looks like this, I know Spring is on the way!  To the casual observer, it is still winter here in Vermont, especially when the weather folks are predicting yet another winter storm.

Here are six subtle clues that spring is on the way:

1. The sun is warm, even on a sub-freezing day.  I find that I’m opening my coat just a bit when the sun is full out and I’m basking in its life-giving light.

beech leaf beech seed pod

2. We are beginning to see beech leaves and empty seed pods scattered here and there on the snow.  Beech trees keep many of their leaves through the winter, only to be shed when the buds of new growth swell and expel the old.  New growth is coming and the trees are getting ready.

very early spring

3. The trees look softer.  I know this might not make sense since they are still sticks right now, but instead of looking hard and prickly, they somehow look softer and less defined.  When we look at the hillsides, the trees are looking more impressionistic and less delineated.

subtle spring color

4.  The trees are taking on subtle color changes.  The woods no longer look cold and gray; rather, there is a reddish brown blush to them, especially around the ends of the branches.


5. The willows are turning yellow.  Willows have a distinctive color in the spring before they sprout leaves.  While they may appear more yellowish than other trees through the winter, when spring is near, that yellow intensifies and you can’t miss it.  All of a sudden, they stand out from all the rest.


6. The chickadee is starting to sing his spring song.  We have these perky little fellows around all winter and are very accustomed to their “chicka-dee-dee-dee” songs.  But as spring draws closer we begin to hear their other song, a beautiful melodic interval.

So, you see, it’s coming.  We are ready!  Welcome Spring!




Another Rock Sweater

With Spring just around the corner (NOT – we are currently getting 15 more inches of snow), I thought I would make another rock sweater.  It is made of very fine thread (no. 12 perle cotton) with a size 10 hook, and the rock is about 2.5″x3″.  What a grand project for sitting in front of the crackling fire and watching the beauty accumulate outside.
rock sweater

Can Spring be all that far away?

The weatherman says Spring has come, meteorologically speaking: Officially, in the weather world, Spring arrived on March 1st.  And according to the astronomic calendar, Spring is less than three weeks away.  But somehow, the sub-zero temperatures and the snow cover here in Vermont do not indicate either of those scenarios are true.  Don’t get me wrong, we know better than to be drawn in.  Spring in Vermont is long in coming.  After all, we have sugaring season and mud season to go through yet.  The snow cover is good for sugaring and mud season is a necessary evil to thaw the ground.  Then we will have glorious Spring! because God is faithful.

fabric origami butterflyIn the meantime…  The other day I encountered a friend who was making origami butterflies to celebrate far-off Spring.  She was making a whole bunch of them for a window display, using beautifully patterned scrapbooking papers and I was captivated.  I asked her to show me how to make them – they were quick and easy – and I wondered aloud how they would look done in fabric.  After some discussion and encouragement, I headed home, taking my new little scrap paper butterfly with me.

fabric origami butterfliesIn the studio, I got out some fabric scraps and after a few less-than-satisfactory endeavors, I made one that I thought would work.  It was made from a piece of beautiful green hand-dyed sheeting.  You probably know the drill for me if you’ve read here for a while: one is never enough!  So I got out more hand-dyed fabric.  Then I decided I needed a better variety of colors to hang from my dining room chandelier once the snowflakes come down.  Looking through my resources I found a tiny scrap of dotted fabric.  How would that work up?  Lovely, it turns out.  So I took a picture of the whole lot and sent it to my daughter.  Her comment?  “You need to make more patterned ones!”

fabric origami butterflyUncle!  In all I made 18: ten for me, my prototype for a friend (it’s her favorite color), and seven for a stealth flight to Maryland (where spring actually comes on time according to the calendar).  18!  Until yesterday.  Then I had another thought:  Could I make one where the top and bottom wings were two different colors?  Yes, I could.  This one is for my origami-folding friend.

Maybe Spring is not so far away after all.  Take a deep breath…


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