Tag Archive: "Get Stitched on the Farm" Classes

Fabulous Creative Retreat Part 2 – Ceramic Tile Painting

This year for my Creative Retreats I decided to change things up a bit and introduce some new types of art to the mix. I am lucky to have several students that have come back again and again to our farm. This does pose a problem in that I need to devel…

read more

Fabulous Creative Retreat – Part One

This past weekend six brave souls arrived at the farm bright and early Saturday morning. The subject of the day was Fabric Printing in the morning. The concept for the afternoon was to embellish the printed fabric with Crewel Embroidery. I taught this …

read more

Fabric Printing + Lampshade Creative Retreat Wrap-Up

I have finally recovered from my big week last week and weekend. Between the cleaning of the house and studio, the New England Weaver’s Seminar tour here at the farmhouse on Thursday (I didn’t realize I had chairs for 22 people) and the Creative Retrea…

read more

I Just Want to Make….

I was in the bowels of our ancient farmhouse today trying to sort out a bit of a water crisis with my terrific plumber over text message. I came upstairs to find these beautiful flowers on the kitchen island. Don’t know what they are or who brought them but I will enjoy them. 


Over a decade ago now, a young friend of ours named Jen came to visit. She was just getting out of college after studying merchandising. She was finding it hard to find a job and I was telling her about the career I had and giving her ideas for job hunting. I asked Jen what it was that she really wanted to do with her life. She looked at me and thought for a moment. Her response was

“I just want to make the world a beautiful place.”

When The Farmer came home from baling hay, I told him about Jen’s visit. She was the daughter of good friends of ours and he had known Jen since she was an infant. I told him what she said her career goal was and we both talked about how sweet the idea was. 

Ever since that conversation with Jen, I have thought about her comment. How do you make the world a beautiful place? And what is a beautiful place? What is beautiful for me may not be beautiful for you. Do you create beauty with things that you buy and decorate with? Do you create beauty with good deeds? Do you create beauty by working for world peace? Do you create beauty by planting seeds to grow into beautiful blue lupines like in the children’s book Miss Rumphius? Do you plant a beautiful garden to feed your neighbors? Do you create beauty by teaching people new things? Do you create beauty by seeing the beautiful in every little thing? Do you create beauty by sharing ideas and turning someone on to a new craft or technique that may change the course of their life? 

When Jen first spoke those words to me, I thought about how they could be mis-construed – to be thought of as superficial. I can remember my mom talking about beauty only being skin-deep. We were to know that it was what was inside the person which was the most important – not what is on the outside. That physical beauty was not important and should not be thought of as the end all of end all. 

The other day, we were talking about what makes people tick at dinner. We were talking about each of us and what was important to us in our individual lives – in fact it could be thought of as what we find beautiful. As I watch Julia grow into a young woman, I wonder what her path will be. Where will she find her inner passion and what she will find “beautiful”. For her Dad, his idea of beauty is the natural world, his remarkable sheep, their life cycle and how we are feeding our community, and the love of the world and landscape around us that he farms and looks after everyday. 

I’ve been thinking about what my “beauty” is. When am I the most fulfilled and happy? As I have been throwing pots the last couple weeks, I think about this as the wheel spins round and round, as I pull the clay up and form it into a cylinder, as I stretch the clay into a handle and attach it to the vessel. I think my definition of beauty is when I am deep into a project and have lost myself in it. When I am thinking about what I am making, planning on what it will look like, and then working it out. The thing could be a pot, a garden, a book, a painting, an embroidery, or a good meal. Often when the “thing” is done, the magic subsides and goes away. I still like the thing and find it pretty or useful but the real beauty for me is in the act of creation – the spark of my imagination and mind of what the thing will look like and then the intimate creation. I find it truly amazing that I can dream something up in my head and then make it happen with my hands. It doesn’t always come out the way I originally thought it up and that is the fun of it – to see where I am led by the materials and the process. 

I’ve been teaching classes here at our farm since 2009. Every year, I think about not doing them. Mostly I think about that because I don’t want to go through the agony of cleaning my house.  A couple years ago, I tried to let that go – the cleaning thing. It’s hard because I always think of my mom cleaning before her mom came to visit – stressing out that everything has to be just right. I realized that the women that come here to learn from me really could care less if there is some dust and clutter. They aren’t here to inspect my housekeeping skills (thank goodness). They are here to be inspired and to take away a little of the magic and beauty that I have made here at our farmhouse.  

So those are my thoughts for today. If you are wondering what happened to our friend Jen, she found a good job in merchandising with Anthropologie and she literally did make the world a more physically beautiful place. And now she has a couple beautiful kids too. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on beauty. Leave them in the comments. 

Here are some beautiful links for you to peruse today — at least I find them beautiful.

•My friend Lisa is teaching at The Rufus Porter Museum in Bridgton Maine this summer. Check out the classes here. Lots of beauty to make. 

• Good article on Barbara Cooney, the author of Miss R here.

• I’m still crazy over Josef Frank‘s textiles. I just found a page I tore from Arts and Antiques over twenty years ago – that must have been where I discovered him before the www. Good article from NYT here

p.s. There are still a few spots left in the July 15/16 Fabric Printing + Lampshade Painting Class. You can come for one or two days. Would love to see some of you here at the farm. Two days $360. One day $199. More info here

Here are the lampshades that the students painted last year.



Here is a photo of some of the lampshades I have made. 


read more

Life, Webs Podcast + Creative Retreats Spaces Available

Thanks everyone for the lovely messages you sent to Julia for her graduation on this post. We loved them all. You all have been so supportive of me and my family since I started this blog in 2006. Hard to believe I’ve been writing here since then! …….

read more

Loving Yellow and Some New Embroideries

I can’t get enough yellow. I love it in its many shades – sunflower yellow, canary yellow, turmeric yellow, yellow squash, lemon yellow, daffodil yellow, egg yolk yellow. It is so bright and sunny and makes me happy. I’ve been seeing it being featured …

read more

Printed Linen + Crewel Embroidery Project

This summer I am teaching 3 different weekend Creative Retreats here at our farm. You can read about the retreats here. This year I have made the option of coming for only one day – not two days – as an experiment. I already have several people signed …

read more

Upcoming Creative Retreats at Leyden Glen Farm with Kristin Nicholas

Last week, I announced my 2017 Creative Retreats to my newsletter readers.  It wasn’t the most opportune time to do it – 6:30 p.m. the day before the Easter holiday began but it is what I could do. This year I hemmed and hawed about classes to run…

read more

Fabric Printing + Embroidery Class Wrap Up – Day Two

Day Two of the Fabric Printing + Embroidery Retreat was all about embroidery. On Day One, the students had designed their base cloth. They printed their motifs on 100% linen fabric using motifs they designed. We spent the morning learning embroide…

read more

Fabric Printing + Embroidery Creative Retreat WrapUp – Day One

The second Creative Retreat here at Leyden Glen Farm was this past weekend. I had a small group of 4 students but we all had a fantastic couple of days together. Although I prefer a larger group for my income stream I actually do enjoy the dynamics of …

read more

This Week At The Farm + 18 – Oh Wow!

It’s been a busy week here at the farm. I don’t know where the days go. It has been incredibly hot here with no rain for at least 2 weeks. When you walk across the lawn or through the fields, you can hear the grass crunch under your feet. It is really …

read more

This Week At The Farm + 18 – Oh Wow!

It’s been a busy week here at the farm. I don’t know where the days go. It has been incredibly hot here with no rain for at least 2 weeks. When you walk across the lawn or through the fields, you can hear the grass crunch under your feet. It is really …

read more

Lampshade Painting/Fabric Printing Retreat 2016 – Day Two

Wow – the past weekend was certainly a whirlwind. Day One of the first Creative Retreat here at our farm went great. Day Two was Lampshade Painting Day. I had never taught this class so I wasn’t sure how it would go. The first time teaching any new sub…

read more

Fabric Printing Retreat 2016 – Day One

We had a great weekend here at the farm. I had a full house with 6 students. Three students were “returnees” which is very cool – so nice to see them again! The photos today are from Day One of the Creative Retreat which was Fabric Printing Day.On July…

read more

Looking Forward to the Weekend

I’m getting ready for the arrival of the first set of students for the 2016 Creative Retreat Series here at our farm this weekend. I have a full house of 6 students. They will be learning Fabric Printing and Lampshade Painting. It promises to be a crea…

read more

Looking Forward to the Weekend

I’m getting ready for the arrival of the first set of students for the 2016 Creative Retreat Series here at our farm this weekend. I have a full house of 6 students. They will be learning Fabric Printing and Lampshade Painting. It promises to be a crea…

read more

Pink – Green – Yellow + Last Day for Early Bird Pricing

The weather the past couple days has been so beautiful – warm but not too and not a drop of humidity. The leaves on the trees are pretty much fully leafed out but the color is still that bright and new green. It is all I can do to not be looking up all…

read more

Announcing 2016 Creative Retreats At Leyden Glen Farm

Oh my goodness – I am so psyched. Today I was on Marly BIrd’s Yarn Thing podcast and I announced that I would be listing the summer classes here at Leyden Glen Farm in western Massachusetts tomorrow. You can listen to the podcast here. And enter to win…

read more

Colorful Knitting Retreat Wrap-Up

We had a fantastic weekend here at the farm with four knitters who travelled from CT, NJ, AZ and VT. From the moment they walked in the french doors into the living room, I knew we were all going to get along and have a blast. We started the day o…

read more

Advanced Crewel Embroidery Farm Retreat Wrap-Up

Two weekends ago, I hosted a fantastic group of students for an Advanced Crewel Embroidery Retreat at our Leyden Glen Farm. It was a gorgeous weekend – we lucked out once again. Clear, sunny days with no humidity. What a treat. The group spent two days…

read more

Advanced Crewel Embroidery Farm Retreat Wrap-Up

Two weekends ago, I hosted a fantastic group of students for an Advanced Crewel Embroidery Retreat at our Leyden Glen Farm. It was a gorgeous weekend – we lucked out once again. Clear, sunny days with no humidity. What a treat. The group spent two days…

read more

Crewel Retreat This Weekend + Island Adventure

Tomorrow begins the first Crewel Embroidery Retreat of 2015. I’ve got 5 women coming and I can’t wait to meet them all. Four of them are “returnees.” That is pretty great because I know the students already and it will be less stressful. I’ve got some …

read more

You Can Still Come to The Crewel Embroidery Retreat – August 8/9

Just a quick note today to let you all know that I have a Crewel Embroidery Retreat coming up August 8 and 9. I still have three spaces available if you have the urge to attend or have just come into some $ and you have been dying to come to a class he…

read more

Fabric Printing Retreat – Wrap Up Part Two

On the second day of the retreat, we learned about block printing. Each student focused on a motif they liked. I demoed how to do a block print – how I design and then carve the rubbery pink pads I prefer with simple linocutting tools. Then it was…

read more

Weekend Fabric Printing Workshop – Wrap Up Part One

I have recovered after a very full two and a half weeks of a flurry of activity and travel to Detroit and teaching a two day workshop here at the farm in between hot and humid Tuesdays at the Northampton Farmers Market selling our lamb and peddling my …

read more

Brand New Things on the Farm + Fabric Printing Class at Our Farm July 18/19 + More

Guess what I picked up yesterday at the Bernardston Farmers Supply? A dozen day old Ameraucana chicks. So cute – aren’t they? Here’s a video I took of them chirping away. Make sure you have the volume up. Just a heads-up that last night I added a …

read more

Fabric Printing Retreat – Wrap Up Part Two

Busy week this week here at Leyden Glen Farm. It’s a few days late in coming but I wanted to show you all what the students did at the Fabric Printing Retreat here at our farm last weekend. Here is a group shot of everyone with their bags and printed f…

read more

Fabric Painting Weekend Wrap-Up – Part 1

Good morning everyone. I made it through the weekend. The old farmhouse was clean and shiny and my guests arrived on Saturday morning bright and early. The first 2015 “Getting Stitched On The Farm” Creative Retreat was a huge success. Funny thing was -…

read more

Sunflowers – In the Garden and In Crewel Embroidery Stitches – Preview 1

Last summer, I worked on crewel embroidery projects while at the Tuesday Farmer’s Market in Northampton. My stand is not very busy and I have to have something to work on or else I go bonkers. The first project I made was my Circles Sampler which I mad…

read more

Finished! Paisley Printed and Crewel Embroidered Pillow + Some Links

I have been sharing progress on my paisley printed and crewel embroidery project here on the blog and on Instagram. Thanks for all the lovely comments on the progress. As I said the other day, this was such a fun project to make. The other day I sewed …

read more
  • 1
  • 2