This time last year…

Last year at this time we had no power for a week, a full 7 days and the storm before (or was it after?) we also lost power for another 7 days.  This latest storm (Sandy) we got lucky and only lost power for a couple of hours.  Last year we had lots of wood to keep a fire lit in the fireplace and thankfully there was snow on the ground that we scooped up and melted to fill the toilet tanks so we could flush.  That was for me the most difficult thing to deal with, no water.  Where we live there are wells, no city water.  So no power no water.

I took away two big lessons from this, the first is that there are other people who live this way all the time, no power, no water.  All the conveniences I had I took for granted.  So when I begin to find myself being put out by some minor issue I remember how lucky I am.

The second lesson was that I need very little to live a good life.  When you think about it, how much do we really need?

In between meals, gathering kindling  and scooping snow I would sit by the fire and while the sun was up I would knit or read or just sit and watch the fire with a cat (or 3).  When the sun went down we all pretty much hit the hay!  There’s suddenly a lot of time when  there’s no TV, iPhone and running around.  Time also has a different feel, the air isn’t filled with the white noise I had gotten so used to.  Focusing became quite easy.

Though we have a TV hanging over our fireplace we’ve decided not to get any kind of cable or dish.  We have Netflix and at night will watch a movie or whatever looks interesting.  No one misses regular network television at all, we get the Hartford Courant for news or listen to NPR.

I was thinking about all of this yesterday while making some ornaments.  I didn’t have any music on, the only sounds were the ones I was making while cutting little piles of paper.  If you want a very Zen project try making these.  I found the tutorial at The Hybrid Chick, very easy to follow and really enjoyable.  The result is beautiful!  I’m making my paper pinecones with vintage book pages and love how they are coming out.  Will post additional photos another day when I decide how I want to top them off.



  1. Jayne your post rings so true, we just lost power for 4 days from Sandy and I must says my 3 kids were so productive writing stories, making lego builds, reading and outdoor play. It truly made me long for an unplugged lifestyle however we’ve been out from school for 1 week and Monday does not look promising, I do need a little break! And I wish I could’ve been doing my hand quilting or cross stitch by the fireplace but alas with 3 littles I got about 10 minutes at a clip :)

    • I remember when my 3 sons were little! And I remember those 10 minute breaks to work on my stuff and then back to the boys… now my twins are 21 and my youngest is 18! Jaime, your work is so beautiful despite being a super busy (and I’m sure fabulous) mom :)

  2. An extended power outage certainly reminds us of what’s important in life, doesn’t it? We spent the aftermath of Alfred with my parents because they at least had a fireplace for heat (and later, they used an old kerosene heater). Talk about like the “old days”! A whole family coming together to help each other out. And it was quite pleasant.

    Those ornaments are adorable, BTW! Love that they’re made with book pages. :)

  3. Your post struck a chord. It is interesting to experience a less technology-enabled life. (of course I say that while typing away on an iPad curled up in a comfy chair)! Our tv went out the other day. We have 2, one in the family room and another in the guest bedroom which is primarily used by the boys to play video games. So now, we sit in the family room and talk, share the events of our day, something interesting we read, the pros and cons of the presidential candidates, or just sit together. We still have our gadgets but then we laugh and forward funny things to each other and wait for the other to let out a laugh. We’re not in a hurry to replace the tv.

    • Technology is great (as I type on my laptop!), but one of the problems is that it seems to isolate us from eachother and we are a social animal. And what is more fun than sitting and talking, joking, debating etc. Something else I’ve noticed about how traditionaly social times like getting together to share a pot of coffee have now become individual like the rise in popularity of the Keurig, it makes one cup at a time and people just love it…

  4. Just beautiful, Jayne – your writing and the ornaments.

  5. I love power outages that last for a few days. Once I have taken care of the food that is. I enjoy the quiet and like you sit by the window with needle work or a good book and enjoy the simple pleasure of feeling the sun shine on me.

    When my boys were younger (10 and 13), we had an afternoon without power. No problem in my house. their friends from the neighborhood showed up and soon everyone was having a good time. I had some kids sitting on the floor doing science experiments, a couple had pulled books off the shelf, some were at the kitchen table working on a jigsaw puzzle, and another group building with legos and making a city to travel through with the matchbox cars.

    the kids were having so much fun, I went around the house and made sure everything was turned off so they wouldn’t know when the power came on. Unfortunately, a mother showed up wondering why her boys hadn’t come home to play their video games once the power returned. That was it, the kids all scattered to go home and sit with a remote in their hands. I felt so sad about that and wished the mother had never stopped to tell the kids there was electricity again.

  6. Every night before going to sleep, I thank God that I have a warm and dry bed to sleep in. It sounds like such a basic thing and yet there are many people for whom a safe and comfortable sleeping arrangement does not exist. We are so very lucky and it’s nice to call that to mind on a regular basis. Weathering a storm is a very good way to be reminded of all the conveniences we take for granted on a daily basis.

    Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving your nice comment. I love your paper ornaments, too. They’ harken back to simpler days and are very beautiful.

  7. Those are BEAUTIFUL!!!

  8. Thank you so much for visiting! I’ve enjoyed visiting with you today. I am not ready for winter and am so glad we did not lose power. I love these pinecones and can’t wait to see how you top them off! Thanks for sharing the tutorial!
    Have a great day!

    • Hi Sandi!

      My husband just left to go up to MA for business, next time he goes I’m going with him. I will check out where your space is located, so I can shop :)

  9. Gorgeous ornament… thanks for the ink to the tutorial! I really appreciated your reflections on being without power. It’s so good to be reminded or the beauty and value of simplicity.

  10. Very beautiful!!!

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