Saturday, June 30, 2012

past time to stop

I don't even want to know how hot it is. You just know it's time to stop when you start making messy mistakes. Oh, I know the red-headed devils always turn out to be my favorites but who needs a whole stable full of them?

Lots of mad scientist notions in play this morning - using up a bag of played out epsom salts  to carry dye powder. Mixing up pearl-ex gold and silver into binding solutions for some Pollock style homage. Several levels of bloody mud colorwise and a batch of silk prepped with wine vinegar because I had no white.

Some new approaches to finishing the fabrics too including decanting them from the mason jars and just letting them bake dry in the sun before any rinsing or washing.  Lazy labor saving devices for the most parts but dye batchers will call it wisdom. Time will tell and I am in no rush.

I found what might have been someone's hippy wedding dress in a bag back in the closet. A dimly recalled Goodwill purchase. Hastily deconstructed with scissors, now well represented in the jars. Lawn at it's best.

and now tea, plums and pooltime.

Friday, June 29, 2012

too hot to dye?

Not too hot for the dye or the cloth but too hot for humans. It's supposed to be 103 degrees out by midday so I spent the early morning just making preparations for tomorrows earliest hours (more triple digits are forecast) .

These are the wet samples that I hastily crammed into mason jars yesterday. The heavy markings are due to the lack of manipulation and a nice variable.

       All these are varying weights of linen and this cloth is FIERCE. My arms are tired from ripping. Most of the larger pieces have been put into the sauce and a few are in a soywax experiment. I'm trying to take advantage of the severe heat by settting a few pieces (with soywax chunks and crumbs folded in) out in the full sun in a black plastic garbage bag. Think it will get hot enough out there? Where are my crayons, now that I think about it....

Thursday, June 28, 2012

dyefest prelims

It's been a long time coming! I snatched off little pieces from the box of goodies that arrived yesterday, let them soak in the soda ash solution all morning and plunged in the colors by lunch. They will poach outside on the deck in this heat for the rest of the day. Tomorrow morning we will see what is what....

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

truing up

My sense of balance gets disturbed when I try to leave a piece "as is"-  whacked, as it was, out of the whole cloth in the first place. Like an animal skin.

 I was in Autozone the other day and actually pulled two hideously expensive genuine chamois out of their packaging to find the outlines of the critters they came from. Not satisfying shapes at all and the thought of needling them had me cramming them both back into their tiny plastic capsules.

So the edges of this one have been determined but
I'm still undecided about mummifying (or not) but that beige has got to go and will most likely be painted, or maybe paved over if I can find some more loosely woven linen.

 the answer to my quest just arrived from Texas! Thank you Barb!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

summers day off

I spent a few hours at the Honda dealership this morning. Seems like something in the airbag will kill you rather than save your life. Supposedly they fixed it while I stitched in the waiting room. A little girl about seven came to observe and, after a minute, asked me what I was doing as if she had never seen someone embroidering before. Sensing that she was asking just to be polite, I gave her the one word answer. She sniffed and sat down to poke at her device but kept an eye on the proceedings with no further questions. Maybe she looked it up.

 After a while, I ran out of white thread, packed up and wandered around the lot marveling at how most of the current models are so much bigger than my 01 Civic...and I still get better mileage than all but the hybrids.
From the opulent Crosstour, a fancy box of air, to the snappy little CRXsi which would surely land me in the pokey, they were all beautiful. I told the salesman that rather than choose between them, I would take them both when the first lottery check cleared. A man of faith, he gave me his card with a smile. 

And when I got home I spent the rest of the best part of the day drifting and dreaming here.

Monday, June 25, 2012

still on the wall


I'm kind of glad I didn't snatch this off the wall the instant it wasn't working. The blue part has something I want to pursue but don't know if I want it tussling with that gold piece.

"Consolation" is still in the hoops and I'm starting to be on guard for the stop signs.

It's brilliantly hot and bright outside, this late afternoon light bounces off the steep lawn and trees in the front different for the direct light in the morning.

I'm expecting some gift  cloth for dyeing sometime soon and am really looking forward to a dye day.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

L’Heure Bleue

  The sun is gone, the stars are holding their breath and one can reach back in time at will but I am hollow-eyed with introspection and melancholy. Blue? Why not. I'm told it's my best color.

I have been listening to Will Patton reading "Nightwoods" by Charles Frazier and it never ceases to amaze me how the emotions and revelations of good storytelling affect me.

A question about how we first came to stitchery was posed on the QuiltArt list and, in response, I dug back into a story of my own invention  and shared it  remarking that all fiction has it's roots in someone's history.

Writing with intent is emotionally exhausting and it's no surprise how many authors were seen as crazy to start with or wound up that way eventually.

A glass of Lazy Girl, cool sheets, and the pine needle sachet balanced over my third eye..all will be well in the morning.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

trying not doing

Nope..not happening. And I knew it wasn't happening when I first stuck that reconfigured chambray shirt up there when what I really want is another linen jacket to hack up. Wishful thinking won't get it done.
 I have recognized the difference between the work that  springs from a spontaneous confluence of mood, intent and materials, and the work that just tries too hard.

Looking back over stuff, I found perfect examples.
"Frida Brings Home the Bacon" literally fell out of the scrap jar when Jinx gave my glass fish bowl scrap jar a nudge and it smashed on the floor. I remember picking up the pieces one by one, shaking them over the trash basket for shards and laying them out on the table. 

I was really hooked on watching Frida and Diego on the Owl cam at the time, despite the tragedies,  I quickly wanted to follow up with another piece showing the chicks.  Contrived and studied is all I can see in the results, as cute as the little buggers are.

So the lesson for me today?  Fuhgeddaboudit trying to get from A directly to Z. Side trips, getting lost and stops along the way are mandatory.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

first day of summer

Really? It's seemed like summer here for a long time. A pool day for sure, I brought "Ocean Homes" outside to check the color of the water  and it's perfect. This one is going to be for sale as soon as I can get some good detail shots. If you want it for the wall, I'll make a sleeve for it. Right now, it's bedware.

Colin captured one of the first recruits at my dragonfly training camp. The Braves are busy loving the heat and humidity at Yankee Stadium and I am going to be missing my nap.
Oh well, there's always coffee.
I miss my lifeguard.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

lone find

When I went to Goodwill this morning I was looking for another linen blouse or jacket to dismember and reassemble as a base for my next piece. Instead, I found this dress. It's lightweight linen and flawless, as if never worn.

 I cackled gleefully when the clerk told me that it was 50% off today, $3.79 please! At that moment I still intended on taking it all apart, starting with picking off all the mother of pearl chips sewn to the bodice. She was appalled.

Once I got it home I made the mistake of putting it on.
 It's so Not Me that it might as well be a Chanel suit but looking at myself in the mirror wearing it was a surprise. I started imagining what I could do to make it right.

I have so few occassions to dress up that I need the yardage (and there are acres of it - it comes down to within inches of my ankles and all those pleats!) more than I need another dress. There are enormous shoulder pads tacked in that will be gone before the beads. I'll be taking that schoolmarm neckline to dizzying depths and maybe cutting out the tops of the sleeves. Those points on the bodice could be extended and the pleats stictched down to the hip maybe...I checked and linen will take the dye ...hmm, deep purple, teal, golden brown... What makes me think I'm a dressmaker? If it goes down in flames it can still be part of the Art.

Monday, June 18, 2012


I got a lot of stitching done on this one over the last few days. Despite the many layers of cloth, four or five in some places, this one is easy to needle.

The act of stitching itself has been a much needed mental place of refuge - the buzz rarely fails. I've learned to recognize the pitfalls of zoning out while stitching and have had only one or two episodes of having to pick out lengths of "stitching crazies".

 I'm still debating with myself about if and how this one is going to be shaped at the finish. The "skin" shaped linen is one option, with folding and stitching a rectangular shape around the skin and base is another.

I have to set it aside now, dress and get off to the post office. Heads up Felicity, El, Bea and Kara - your packages will be on the plane at Hartsfield by 4:00 pm today (or so they tell me).  The sale will continue until this Friday at midnight. Thanks to everyone who jumped on board early.

Grace, you are right. The usual shelves seem to be bare here as well. It must be my timing. I had no luck in the usual places the other day but have a special stop to make tomorrow.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day the co-author of my two finest creations. 

 and none of this would have been possible of course, without my Dad, here with my baby brother..

Friday, June 15, 2012

warming up

I haven't had the heart (or raw materials) for a dyefest since April and back then I ODed on pure, wicked color. I think I was trying to distract myself from weighty life matters at hand.

Now I'm feeling the need for some textural color and subtlety (don't call 911 - I'm really OK) but I have not got a speck of white cloth to work with. I've just wasted an hour trolling my usual web haunts so I'll be suiting up and checking into a couple of local shops where I've made finds in the past.

The dyedeck is a mess. A little bird has built a nest in a cardboard soda carton that was left on top of the cooler where I have a dozen bottles of dye stock just waiting. I'll have to keep it quiet out there so's not to disturb them.

In anticipation of fresh fruits from the dyedeck, let's have a sale at Random Acts of  Dyeness! How about "Buy One get another for 1/2 off!" and,  as always, shipping is included.

(lest ye think I'm cracked, this is an old picture..all are juicy oozy with color now)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

back to the stitch

I'm all caught up with most of the domestic necessities so I spent the early part of the morning stitching in the  studio..making those changes real with needle and thread. Sitting in the bright light sewing is like a good drug. The change of light as the time passes is my signal to stop, sparing my hands and eyes.

I got an email yesterday from a childhood friend offering condolences and memories. I volleyed back with a long letter and hope we can keep up the exchange. We were close friends and neighbors from the time I was 7 and it's interesting the memories that one has kept and the other has forgotten.

I don't want to rush this piece so I'll be picking up the trail with the one on the wall soon and another that's just inside my head. Hopefully working from one to the other will keep them all fresh and relevant. Things are getting bigger despite stitching by hand. I'm still loathe to chain myself to the sewing machine.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Only time for a few trial changes today..pins and time on the wall. time in my eye just to see where else it's trying to get off to.

It's my Goodman's birthday today so there were things to do, things cooking. First thing this morning I had to haul my work computer across town so it could be brought into the 21st century by our new IT guru. We shall see how that works out in a few minutes.

and TADA! I finally got into the pool today for the initial hands on scrub. There's just a hint of algae so one bottle of Black Death is called for. Pictures when it's perfect.

Monday, June 11, 2012

traveling companion

I brought this piece along with me on the trip but only had a few minutes where I was inclined to take it out and work on it. Of course, the TSA kept me from bringing pins and my little scissors. With the help of other eyes I made a few compositional changes to the "water" area were very satisfying - the kind of unexpected changes that give a piece new forward sparks. I can't wait to finish chores and settle in to consider further stitching/changes. Getting back to the new normal.


We are back from my mom's funeral in New York.

I'm still processing the loss of the person who knew and loved me longest apart from my Dad. A day before the ceremony I was asked to speak a few words at the service. My sisters and brother kept asking me "have you made any notes..what are you going to say?" but I couldn't bring myself to dwell on the task. To do so would have been acknowledging the reason we were gathered and I just didn't want to to do it before it was absolutely necessary.   I was quite overwhelmed with the great number of people who came to pay their respects at a beautiful ceremony, the details pulled together so very well with love by many caring and dedicated friends and family to whom I am so grateful.

We spent the time reconnecting with loved ones and friends,  the place we used to live, and mourning and celebrating Mom's life together. Family, friends, memories, food - doing, I guess, what people do all over the world when they gather on this solemn occasion. There were many tears and much loving laughter.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012


I'll be traveling to New York to be with family and celebrate Rosalie's life. No internet, no cell phones.
Time to be in the moment.
Back next week.

Thank you all for your thoughtful kindness and compassion.

Monday, June 04, 2012

time and distance

            My mother passed a little while ago. I wish I was with my family in NY. I feel unmoored.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

sunday sunlight work

The sun was strong in the studio early this morning and I stitched through CBS Sunday morning with a little extra attention during the segment on England's Royal School of Needlework .

I have a dozen or so new cloth burritos for the shop that have to be ironed, photographed and posted. There's a celebratory meal to put together - our 35th wedding anniversary is tomorrow!

And maybe the Braves will favor us with a win just for fun.!

Jake and Missy will be by later today on their way home from the Fabulous New York City vacation...there will be more pictures!

This one inspired me to tears and a resolve to go there.

Friday, June 01, 2012

the shuffle

this is how we begin...

dancing with the rags and pins,

bemusing onlookers to sleep.

Friday Eye Candy

I'm going to treat myself to some extended time in the studio this weekend. Time to reorder my priorities in here; take a hard look at things in progress, acknowledging failures and move on.  There's a trend going on that I want to encourage and I want to get some new pieces and raw materials into the shop.

In lieu of getting falling down Friday drunk, here's some fun stuff that's taking up about a cubic yard in the closet. I was thinking of leaving them in public places and taking pictures of people's reactions but I am fairly sure that some citizen will call the bomb squad and my 3D Uninformed Innards will be blown to smithereens by  a swat team robot and then I would be arrested for littering as the polyester stuffing creates a snowstorm.  Most of these are twice as big as an industrial meatloaf, quite the threat!   Any suggestions?