Vermont Harvest Folk Art by Doreen Frost
~Fine Needlework, Written Publications & Finished Goodes.~

Tucked in a valley, at the foot of Round Mountain, among the graceful Maples & Oaks you will find our Little Brown House. Smoke billows from the chimney seven or eight months out of the year, a river rambles nearby, sheep & cows graze in the meadows and turkey's forage along the olde stone walls.

"I myself am entirely made of flaws, stitched together with good intentions" ~ Augusten Burroughs.

"People aren't longing to be impressed; they're longing to feel like they're home. If you create a space full of love and character and creativity and soul, they'll take off their shoes and curl up with gratitude and rest, no matter how small, no matter how undone, no matter how odd." Shauna Niequist.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Mondays, Aging, Stitching & Baking


I woke early this morning, earlier than I have woken since November.  As I grow older I find (or perhaps finally realize) my body naturally moves with the earth's rhythm and this year, I listened to my body's wish demand for "wintering."  I use to force myself away from these natural rhythms, keeping the same schedule for work, life, eating, etc., all year round. However, one of the luxuries of growing older is the ability to listen to your body more...often out of necessity because, as you grow older, the refusal to listen to your body begins to have consequences. **Please excuse me for a moment, I must give my focaccia dough a stretch and fold/slap and shape**   Alright, my dough is now tucked into its proofing container for its bulk rise, on to today's post.... My mind and body are still working together, thank goodness, to let me know what is needed before everything goes awry. Those little hints and pushes have always occurred but when we are younger, we think we have forever to ignore them!  Now that I have reached an age where doing what is best for my overall health is no longer a luxury, I have started paying attention!!!    I go to bed when my body commands I do so, I eat healthier, lighter, and more seasonally, and I keep my body moving....  Eating seasonally has become an important thing for us...more on that in another post. I could go on forever but I actually did not have the intention of this post being about aging...insert eye roll here :) oh, well, I shall put it in the heading and proceed ;)

....I woke early this cold rain, a cozy fire burning (thank you husband) and the cold winds making the newly open leaves dance.    It may be necessary to burn the fire all day today, rather than simply lighting a morning fire to take the chill off! I also woke to my head swimming with creative ideas.  This always seems to happen during "gazette week" it my mind looking to distract me or the process of writing and creating the gazette that brings about new ideas?  I'm choosing it to be the latter. :)    Once the gazette has donned its traveling clothes (a first-class stamp) and is on its way to my subscribers (by the end of the day) I will be free to bring all of these creative ideas to life...but first, I must begin stitching my primitive stool topper, which is part of what set these bubbling creative ideas in motion! I am still playing around with penny placement but I will have that settled and be ready to stitch tomorrow.  

Before I go, I wanted to share a link to the wonderful focaccia recipe I am making.  Again, it is from my favorite sourdough book ~ Artisan Sourdough Made Simple by Emilie Raffa.  Emilie shares this recipe on her website and it is a FANTASTIC one. Here is the link;  
Beginner's Guide to Sourdough Focaccia Bread - The Clever Carrot.  

What does this week hold for you, my friends?  

 Until next time, be well, be happy creative :) Doreen

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Creating A Spark


Goode day dear reader.  I hope this note finds you in goode health and grand spirits.  This week has been gazette week for me ~ the week I take all of the ideas, recipes, writings, quotes, and images which have been forming in my head, for this particular issue, and create something solid with them.  I typically "disappear" during this time as it takes over my days, needing concentration & focus to take the jumble of what is in my head and make it into something worth reading, timely, creative, and enjoyable (all of which I hope to accomplish with each issue).  It also takes flexibility as often what I have in my head refuses to come together in the way in which I had in mind.  Art ~ it does have a mind of its own.   I create the gazette in a manner most would likely find quite old-fashioned.  Building it like a scrapbook page..I start with a blank piece of paper then write my articles; stories, quotes, and recipes then begin cutting and pasting these onto the blank page along with my chosen graphics.  Without a doubt, there are simpler, and more efficient ways of doing this but it works for me and I enjoy it.  It is building something from various materials, much like my other artistic endeavors.  This week a nasty spring cold has added to the  "disappearing into my work" mode as once I "leave the studio for the day" at six, I find myself showering, putting on my pajamas, and falling into bed.  At 6:00 the next morning, I force myself out of bed and find myself wanting to go back to bed while having my morning coffee.  Spring colds....why must you be such a bother!!!

"To make art is to tend the light.  To serve as a kind of lighthouse keeper, for ourselves certainly, but also others who may be lost in the darkness" Anne  Brones.  I love this quote ~ it gives such meaning to creativity.

 Today, while Oliver and I took our morning wander through the yard and woods, I stopped by to visit my returning green friends, running my fingers through their delicate stems and leaves; early spring chives, garlic, rhubarb, Bee Balm, and wild Juniper.  "Hello little Bee Balm, how wonderful you look," Oh, Garlic, you look fantastic"  Our world makes an effort to please and create a spark within us, does it not?  We often take this for granted without ever giving it a thought.  The Bee Balm sparks creativity in my work as I think of a way to sketch their beautiful flowers.  Garlic and chives create a culinary spark and the wild Juniper, creates a spark of wonder as suddenly, we have it in our yard and woods ~ for the first time ever.  Where did it come from???    

This is what I hope to do with my Art... Create a spark of creativity through my creativity. :)

Tis chilly this morning, freezing the water in my favorite little coppery bird bath and leaving glittering frost in shady places.  The sun is warm however and soon, all will be warm and flowing once again.  Today, I must put the final touches on the gazette so that tomorrow I can head to the printers.  Later today, a bit more time working on another new design, a primitive stool topper :).  I am loving the rustic simplicity of it.

Enjoy the day my friends.  Until next time, Be Well, Be Joyful. Doreen

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Tuesday, April 18, 2023 ~ Goode day friends

 Goode morning friends.  We wake to a gently falling rain here in Vermont.  The air is a little chilly as I sit by the fire, doing a little stitching and sipping my second cup of coffee.  A group of Robins scurry around the yard, plucking earthworms from the dirt, a job made much easier after yesterday's steady rain.  Mr. & Mrs. Bluebird (my word, the blue of their wings, when they fly by, is absolutely stunning) flutter back and forth as they move into their new home, a nesting box on our front porch, for the second year in a row.  I love watching them, they are shy but determined and seem to have gotten used to our routines and take care of their moving in & nest-building accordingly. :)

This morning, after tidying the house and planning tonight's dinner, I am working on the May issue of The Little Brown House Gazette.  This afternoon & evening, around dinner and yoga class, I will begin stitching a new design ~ a primitive stool topper made with some new hand dyed textures from Blackberry Primitives..they are gorgeous!  :).

What does this day hold for you?

Until next time my friends ~ be well, Doreen

Monday, April 17, 2023

New Wool Applique Pattern & accompanying Willard Inn Story :) HELLO FRIENDS!

The Willard Inn~ A Brutal Winter

By Doreen Frost 

Hannah woke in the middle of the night to the hush brought on by snow.  Graham lay next to her, a mere lump under the large pile of quilts.  He had only come to bed a short time ago but was already deep in sleep.  This winter had been the coldest they had ever experienced, and, for that reason, their routines had changed much!  Not wanting the fires to die down, as they typically would overnight, he was now staying up into the small hours to keep them going strong. Hannah lay there, feeling his warmth next to her, grateful he was getting some much needed rest. 

Though Graham had stoked the fires just recently, Hannah could still feel a deep cold seeping into the room.  Despite the many efforts they had made over the last two months of bitter, bitter cold, it still managed to force its way into their home through the olde windows and doors and anywhere else it could manage.  They, along with everyone else they knew, had rolled fabric and placed it beneath the doors, and hung quilts or blankets, if they could spare them, over each of their windows. 

Winters in New England could certainly be harsh but this one was particularly brutal.  Three feet of snow lay thickly over every surface, and though it presented challenges as far as getting around, it was welcome during this winter of brutality, as it helped to insulate the homes and barns.  Hannah and Graham spent these winter days like their neighbors, doing all they could to keep themselves and their animals warm and fed.  Everyone in the little New England village had suffered, some most desperately, but the town had come together and helped one another so that everyone was faring well now.  People with a little more shared with those who needed it; food, clothing, shelter, wood & encouragement.  Neighbor was helping neighbor in the most wonderful way making a very difficult time, a little easier to bear. 

Hannah, now fully awake, sat up and eased her way out from under the quilts and woolen blankets and lit the bedside lamp.  A warm glow encircled the room as she tucked the quilts more snuggly around Graham.  She put another pair of wool leggings on, under her flannel nightgown, slid her stockinged feet into her slippers, put on her robe, and wrapped her wool shawl around her shoulders.   Taking the lantern, she made her way down the stairs, through the quiet house, and into the warmth of the kitchen.  She put the kettle on for coffee, lit candles, and lanterns, and tended the wood stove in the main part of the house before returning to the kitchen to fill the cookstove and add wood to the great stone fireplace.

When the coffee was ready, she fixed herself a cup, spread butter and jam on a biscuit, and pulled her rocking chair closer to the hearth.  She laid a blanket across her lap and took her stitching from its basket.  She had been working on a new rug, this one made from small and medium circles cut from olde woolens that were no longer able to be made into anything else.  She had gathered the faded greens, reds, browns, and creams and stitched them together, placing smaller circles on top of larger ones, creating small stitched “stacks”.  Once the stacks were all stitched, she laid them out on the table and pinned the stacks in rows of different sizes, onto a burlap backing.  She took a sip of the hot coffee, and a bite of biscuit and laid the rug across her lap, and smiled contentedly to herself.  Her stitching is always a wonderful distraction during difficult times.

Far too quickly the warmth of the fire began to recede as the cold began to make its way across the kitchen floor, wrapping itself around Hannah’s ankles. She stood up, placed her stitching on the table, and made her way from fire to fire, this time filling each one heavily with wood.  After making sure the doors and windows were covered snugly, she returned to the kitchen, made herself another cup of coffee, and took up her stitching again. She would continue her fireside vigil for another hour, and then, as dawn approached, she would put a pot of beans on the fire, start a batch of hearth bread and put some bacon to fry.  The kitchen would be welcoming and snug when Graham awoke after another short night. ~ by Doreen Frost   

*This story appeared in the January/February issue of The Little Brown House Gazette ~ I thought it would be fun to share it here with all of you, as I incorporated this penny rug into the story  & included this story, in the pattern :).

IN THE MOSSY WOOD ~ a wool applique pattern, is now available on my website :).  

Greetings friends ~ It is GOOD to see you.  It has been far too long since my last blog post.  I have lots of updating to do and more blog posts to share with you ~ stay tuned.  Enjoy the day, Doreen