Sunday, March 31, 2013

all manner of celebrations

It's been an interesting weekend.  Discussions with a young and successful commercial artist (the great Bamboota!) has led me to new paths of thought regarding specialization and niche marketing. This article about the death of art galleries and the games played out there was a brain expander as well.

detail from current wip

Throw in an orgy of unaccustomed physical activity (that pot garden) and few thousand alien calories and I feel like the day after certain illicit activities back in the late sixties with some new grooves in my brain and some old ones paved over.

As an unaffiliated and unshriven heathen I'm always interested in the religious and secular festivities of other groups. Neighbors up the street have roasted something large on a spit and are now soccering loudly. Folks were rioting for chocolate bunnies in the stores around noon today and a local hardware store was giving away bunches of nearly dead flowers. I took some of course.

So I left TB with my holiday lunch (chalupas and lime spritzer) and crossed the street to a decommissioned church and sat in the car listening to jazz and waiting out the sudden downpour. When the rain stopped I could see that I had backed my car right up to the edge of the abandoned cemetery and so, left my raggedy but hopeful and highly redolent purple hyacinths planted over Mrs. L. E. Paris, dead of the grippe in 1888. Once home, I sat through most of my favorite vaguely religious cartoon - "the Prince of Egypt" . Happy Easter y'all.

 Now it's time to settle in for a nice stitch fit.  I dreamed my way through several approaches and have decided that I'm going to spend a good long time embroidering this one.

You can see why the look of this animation appeals to my magpie brain.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Now it's Spring..

I used chunks of broken cast iron and some good sized pebbles to keep the drainage clear and built a base of bricks to get pot up off the ground. This tub is nearly three feet across and tall, a real beast.

Bless Colin for all the heavy lifting and shoveling. I got the fun part, setting the plants and watering.

Our first garden visitor of the season looks like royalty.
I really like this....

Friday, March 29, 2013

Happy Friday everybody!

There is nothing like having company to shake up a lax household. Since my Goodman has gone on the road for his job this place has become rather like Animal House without the liquor and the orgies...just the Sloth, thank you.

But because one of Colin's friends is here for a short visit I was out the door at 8 to get the makings for breakfast and a spaghetti dinner. Bathrooms were sanitized, and the whole place generally deloused before the arrival. I may take up offering the living room couch once a month on AirBnB just for the incentive.

I don't think I've cooked a decent meal since Jim was last home and that didn't turn out all that great. The other night I even let Colin talk me into having TB for dinner. I do not want to know what is in a Baja Chalupa or the Apple Carmel Empanada, I just know they were delicious.  If left to my own devices I would be eating bread, butter and sugar sandwiches, turkey pot pies and Nestles Quik stirred into water and the occasional roll of raw cookie dough . Yes, that bad.

While I was out shopping I was waylaid by the displays of annuals banked up in front of every place with a cash register and did my bit to support the economy of Plant City, FL.

I started pulling the old dead stuff out of the giant planter by the front walk only to find that just under the surface  the pot was filled with water. I was able to get it turned on its side to drain but the whole gardening thing will be on hold until I can  clean it out and start from scratch.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Can it be? Actual fun in the studio? Had myself a good start on my own kind of  Holi day  most of yesterday and before noon today..I don't know what's being celebrated but I'm having a good time.

I know design rules are being violated up, down and sideways but at this stage of  why be a spoiler?  It's early and wiser eyes will settle in along the way.

the little things

While I was shooting something else, I rediscovered this tiny detail sewn into one of the corners of the backside of "Spooky Stories".

I remember carrying this tiny shred of damask around in a shirt pocket for the longest time. It got washed inside there several times.

Just two inches on the long side, I just didn't want to see it dissolve into nothingness.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

sunny day color play

Just having a little quick and dirty color  play in celebration of  a sunny day over fifty degrees, the full moon and a day off from the whine mine.

Time for a little basting before he comes back for round two.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

auditioning and wraps-ups

I started the morning with all good intentions - the only way to a fresh start is with fresh materials - so I pulled a couple of the "mine" bins from the shelf and began eyeballing things. Too many things, as it turned out.

Unfortunately, I also came across FOUR nearly finished small things and my Yankee frugality kicked in and derailed my boho-creative side for practical matters at hand. Git 'er done.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

story telling and true truths

What to do on a rainy Sunday afternoon when the muse is awol but to surrender to our resident film critic and watch a film he's been insisting I would enjoy. He was right.

Cloud Atlas was visually compelling, revelatory and inspiring. You have to wonder about why certain films don't make it out to a wider audience. It's nice to know that  True truths have a way of getting out there.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


While artists all over the world are exploring "white" with Jude, I unearthed this little 12" square that I did some time ago. I do recall being mostly unsatisfied with it because nothing I could do compared with the beautiful scrap of Mountmellick embroidery (that very white, deeply embroidered flower) that I had the nerve to incorporate and stitch all helter-skelter around.  

Somehow that doesn't bother me much anymore and I have an idea of how I want to finish it.

Friday, March 22, 2013

voodoo in repose

Voodoo making the best of a damp, chilly Friday afternoon.  
Pops "Spooky Stories" has become the favorite cuddle in the studio.


Enough! I've turned the room upside down and can't find them. I need a chirper for my cutlery. Must speak to M about that.

I've convinced myself they were getting dull and had been disappointing me. As soon as I buy a new pair (yay 50% off coupons!) they will turn up and I will grovel, apologize and love them.

Nothing wrong with two or three or four good scissors..

churning, hunting

Aimless rooting around in the studio still looking for my black scissors. Once I find them (and I will) I will probably not recall why. In the meantime,  I've unearthed a few small things that will I'll put into the store for a short while before I ship them  off to NY.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Come on Spring.

But's still too chilly and damp out for dyeing. Those blacks were more than forgettable, btw, but the cloth is sturdy  despite its age and will hold up to discharge and over dyeing.

My spring banner keeps growing (that grid paper has one inch squares) but it's very unstable comprised mostly of vintage linen and damask pieces joined edge to edge.

Mission accomplished...added a few elements, layered it over a strong but lightweight base - formerly a kitchen curtain, I left the trim peeking out of the bottom. Nothing left but to set a good sleeve and send it off. But wait...what about some beads and buttons....

Monday, March 18, 2013

banner and new blacks

My spring flag has grown into a banner as I cast about for a starting place on the Next Big Thing..

As warm and beautiful as it was yesterday, the weather has turned raw and damp here with violent thunderstorms coming this afternoon.

Flying in the face of this nasty business, I ripped into that Persian cotton and have two pieces steeping with the new Procion blacks, 628 & 629, just sprinkled on straight from the packets they sent me. I'll leave them overnight because I have to work tonight. Updates and pictures in the morning.....

pillaging the westside

 Booty is the only way to describe it!  JR and I braved the drunken hordes and hit the road yesterday and found three (or was it four?) new reuse/recycle locations in the Marietta/Buckhead neighborhoods of Atlanta.

All I can say is blessings on the  people who buy stuff, never use it and then give it away. And bless too,  the reformed hoarders who finally break down and give up the stuff they've been sitting on for forty or fifty years.

For a song and a smile I got yards of heavy, cream colored cotton sheeting loomed in "Persia" which dates this cloth from sometime before 1935. It came out of the washer and dryer soft and fresh and ready for the dye. There was a square yard of vintage, fine woven flour sacking, and this hooked rug pattern printed on burlap.

I've written to the company to see if they can date it for me and perhaps give some guidance about what materials and colors to use, should I decide to commit which I doubt I will..burlap really puts me off. For a dollar I couldn't leave it behind.

We couldn't help but cackle gleefully as we roamed the aisles. And bless JR who kept me from buying a pair of used men's golden Nike Hi-tops.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

spring flag

Just a little flag for Spring.

I find myself thinking about other things entirely while I stitch on this one. Gardens, beaches, warmth, sunshine, sleep, peace I don't know what will become of it. For now just some warm-up pitching.

(and yet I took hours to decide where that "eye" should go)

I used my Goodman's new little Coolpix in a reckless point and shoot mode for this picture and I am seriously covetous! Click in for some wicked detail...

Friday, March 15, 2013

very happy friday

Two pieces of cloth uncovered in the churn. The top one I'm working out how to incorporate into a larger whole. I may have to dye some cloth to do it.

The one below, I just can see ever cutting it apart so I'm just going to hang it up and be entertained.

We have a house guest and I am so happy.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

cold sun, fresh starts

 I spent some time yesterday churning the scraps looking for some inspiration.

While I was in NY I cut the tip of my index finger (cardboard is worse than paper!) and this morning was the first time I could do any stitching without pain but more importantly, without getting blood on things. My fingerprint is permanently altered.

It's nice to find my way back to color after all that black and white. The first dye fest of the season will be on me before I know.

This mostly finished piece turned up in the churn. I think it's ready to finish and let  fly.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

back in service

I brought Spooky Stories back home with me from NY.

I wanted  Dad to use it but made the mistake of telling him that it had been on display at a museum briefly. After that, it stayed folded and draped over the back of the chair by his bed.

It's one of my favorite "crossover" pieces. Fully utilitarian, (I even used  Silamide thread for the beading) I built it to be used, dirtied, then machine washed and dried.

I remember that it was fun to make, each foot square block composed independently. I do recall selecting all the fabrics and sequestering them in a project feeble attempt at limiting my palette.

Once the top was complete, it was layered over W&N cotton and backed with two beautiful Timeless Treasures  prints and then hand quilted with doubled 12wt. Sulky cotton.

Monday, March 11, 2013


my Goodman, '76?
I got home from NY late last night and was received by the grateful hairy horde. My son appears to have been dating Martha Stewart in my absence because  windows were washed, the microwave scrubbed and carpets vacuumed.  I'll just be thankful and not wait for the other shoe to drop.

Some dear old friends who came to the viewing brought some photos that I had never seen and, earlier,  I was tasked with going through my family's heaps, boxed and books of photos to make two collage boards for my Dad's wake.
moi in mouton

My sister Kitty looks exactly like my Mom. 
This poor photo had mold and blue crayon marks photoshop skills are basic but I think I'll have a print made of this one.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Spring Snow

The TV says this area (Goldens Bridge, NY)  will have a foot of snow before it stops.

All the preparations for company are done. It remains to be seen how many will  be able to get here for Dad's wake today but then again, this is the northeast and more people are accustomed to and equipped for driving in this kind of weather. Back in Georgia this would be Armageddon.

Now there time for some quite stitching.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013


A very large box of the most exquisite treasures has arrived from New York.

Here is a heavy cotton damask tablecloth that I could probably cover my car with, four or five yards of the blackest fine, wool gabardine and three vintage woven towels. There is also an expanse of cream colored raw silk and at least a dozen other assorted damask tablecloths, all from the 20's or 30's, like my pop who was born in '26 or '24 depending on who you talk to.

It also occurred to me that I packed this box myself back in January on my last trip home when Dad and I had good, meaningful conversations and said our goodbyes.  I'll be taking a hiatus from this space for the duration of the memorials and celebrations and take inspiration from all these glorious pieces of pure potential. He's like that.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

the aforementioned Bon Vivant

Word came this morning that my Dad died at home after a short illness and a long wonderful life. Bless my brother and sisters and all the friends who have been there to help him.

Charles Henry Useted 
1926(maybe- 2013

(Like many young men of his time, Poppy fudged his age by a few years to be eligible to join the navy in WWII.
 He never would never divulge his real dob. Rest in peace Old fox.)

Saturday, March 02, 2013

for my Bon Vivant

I've not been able to focus on any creative stuff for a while. My Dad appears to be slowly but surely wrapping up his earthly business. My sisters and brother are by his side at home and I get reports long distance. It's hard for everyone, there and here.

Later, there will be stories to tell dressed with tears and laughter.
To distract myself, I've decided to light up the shop with a party of vibrant color.
Three views of the same pile.....

From this steaming heap of exuberant damasks, linen and cottons I'll be making up a bunch of Party Burritos. More over at the store