Sunday, May 26, 2013

Blooms in the Barn

The flowers called to me today - they glowed with light and beauty in the sunlight today and looked beautiful as the twilight came - the magenta peonies were alive with light and dimension. White peonies like summer snow. So beautiful and delicate. I dread the heat that will follow and take away their  cool weather beauty.

I found myself taking picture after picture in the twilight hours. They called me and beckoned  new photos with the dwindling light, the glowed brighter until the evening enveloped them.

Beautiful spring bouquet glowing in the twilight. 

Evening glow in the barn 

Memorial Day has gone to the chickens

Memorial Day weekend has brought about an odd ball mix of weather, but we dawned today with beautiful blue skies, breezy, low humidity day with bright intense sunshine. I love it... give me cool temps and bright sun any day.

Today, the chickens were treated to their FIRST ear of corn. They never forgot their love of corn from last year and immediately went to town on their juicy ear.

I love my chickens - they require little - and yet give a lot.  The girls have been reluctant to part with any eggs lately and the white "chicken" is really a rooster disguised as a chicken. Surprise for us..

So here they are enjoying the low humidity and cool breezes, pecking away at their first ear.

Penny, Paul and Paris - first corn of the summer 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Spring and the garden

Well... the garden is pitiful this year with weeks winning the battle. Weeds 1 Cate 0.

I have made a vow to spend at least 1 hour per day beating back the weeks. I have the most beautiful garden and it is as if nature has conspired with rain and mild temperatures to grow the weeds faster than the flowers.

Beautiful roses are blooming... swooning in the twilight, just electric. Evening is the magical time to take pictures of flowers, they glow. The purples glow deeply and the pinks are neon. BUT only for a shortwhile till twilight overtakes their beauty and puts them to bed.

How simple their lives are, but how fraught with danger from insects intent on eating them and mother nature in the last years wanting to cook them in its heat.

I love early spring/late summer, but I loathe high summer when you bake, sweat and yearn for a breeze.

So for now let me enjoy my beautiful peaceful garden until the tides turn, the sun beats hard and the insects  find them.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


I would like to think of myself as unbreakable - unbreakable, determined and committed to those values that inspire me and propel me forward.... advocating for my son with autism has been life changing and life altering and unending.

To be able to give a voice to his needs is an honor. The reality is that although I cherish my son and all that he stands for there are times when unbreakable is not how I feel. I feel highly breakable and fragile since the boulder that I push uphill for him is on a trail that is uncharted, unknown and unexplored.

He is 18. He is nonverbal. He is vulnerable on one hand and fiercely independent on the other.

It can take him 30 minutes to walk from the house to the barn studio where he works because it is "one of those OCD days that require 1 step forward, 15 back, 2 forward and 2 back."  I cannot know what this must feel like for him and to see him conquer this limitation, fight for himself to get through it, is inspiring to me.

When I created this business for him, no one believed we would sell one single thing (except me of course with an optimistic spirit), and here we are 500 sales later. It has taken me time to get here, blood, sweat tears, blisters, and hard work, but we now have our own little studio carved out of our 1800's barn and it is both my refuge and my isolation.

Running a successful business takes dedication and an eye and ear toward customer satisfaction. I have learned despite my best efforts not everyone will love everything, but I hope that they know all of the products are made with a true love of the process from creation to completion and that for Andrew it is a lifesaving skill and occupation. It is the difference between a vacuum of a life and a purpose filled life.

We have one side of the barn completed which is already chock full of stuff and hope to renovate the "working side " of the barn in the next 6 months...


labeling is a favorite task

He uses baskets to set up his work. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Making ribbon - a joint effort

We have tried to the best of our ability as a family to turn the 'deficits' of autism into benefits - and so it went that when Andrew desired to rip and shred (clothing, books, sheets, blankets) etc - we looked to see how we could turn this destructive habit into a wonderfully helpful and appropriate habit.

It must feel good to hear the sensation of rip rip rip since he engages in this behavior quite often. Many a jacket has met its fate at his hands, tossed aside only to move onto the next.

So it began that muslin ribbons were born in this shop. Cotton is "rippable" and wonderfully earth friendly, sustainable and renewable and simple... very simple.

The shredding became a job and a job he enjoys. The shredding now provides us with our ribbons, multi colored and shabby - hand dyed and ready for anything.

Today was violet and teal day at the shop and Andrew's cotton had found a new life as packaging and jewelry making material.

Andrew's shredded cotton looks quite  happy in its new purpose.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Late spring - renewal

Wandering through the garden today (much in need of weeding), I found peonies had sprouted, and were bursting. I almost missed them with the business of the everyday pressure.

So there they were waiting to be admired, my relief that I did not miss their brief appearance.

Captured for the blog so beautiful and simple. I hope you enjoy this sharing.

beautiful peonies welcome spring and mother's day

Friday, May 10, 2013


I thought it apt to talk about juggling.

This has been a month of juggling.

Wearing an advocate's hat for the sake of fighting the good fight for a young man with many difficulties, and doing it well, and juggling a fledgling business, hoping I am making people happy with my products and hoping that I can "get it right."

I know all will never be satisfied so I hope for the best and prepare for the worst.  It's difficult selling products that you hope that people will love - they come from the heart and from the work of your hands, and they are your "babies" sent out into the world to hopefully create some cheer.

This last month flowers have been up front and center with Mother's Day and a big show in Hoboken... Very busy, almost too busy I cannot believe I am saying that! but my head has been spinning.. juggling...

Some pictures to post to the blog are long overdue...

Making flowers one piece at a time. 

spring peonies