Sunday, June 30, 2013

the Month of Festivities


It all happens in the month of June; Jake & Jim's birthdays and our wedding anniversary and, although he did his damnedest to NOT be on time, today is Colin's birthday.

He taught me how to do four things at once, badly. I learned the fine art of self-defense napping and seeing through baby eyes at the ripe old age of 30. We thank you son, for the love and the never ending challenges.

Friday, June 28, 2013

hand dyed threads

These colors were dashed off in a little haste last night but after a thorough rinse and a day drying in the sun, I just did a little stitching with this thread and I love the way it handles. I've tried Perle and didn't like it. This stuff is fun. Now to custom dye some colors for the things I am working on right now.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

glory days

I only got about a third of the new hand dyes ironed. It was just so hot at that task, but the results were making me dizzy.

The older damasks can look pretty frowsy fresh out of the dryer or off the line. Line dried, they are stiff and scratchy and you have to be careful with the iron lest you catch a fold in the point of your iron and rip it. The ones from the dryer remind me of a bad hair day- limp and fuzzy.  Once ironed, they become smooth, shiny and with some color combos, iridescent.

Yesterday I took The Creatives and two of the Karmas to Kinkys and made a series of new reprographs.

They are quite startling in person. An elderly Asian gentleman was standing by waiting on a woman who was busy feeding a pile of documents into the printer next to the one I was working.

 He stepped in to observe as the machine spit out the one I am holding in this picture and broke into a broad smile. He could see the edges of the back of the cloth lapping out from under the machines cover but he couldn't get what he was looking at until I took it out and turned it over to show him the original.

He was holding the print and said "You sell?"

I nodded "Yes."

He said "You keep cloth?"

I said "Yes" and smiled.

He threw back his head and cackled and said something in a foreign language to the scowling woman hard at work over her copies. She scowled harder  and I imagine his remark was something along my Goodman's joke about prostitution. "You got it, you sell it, you still got it!"

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the mailbox garden sprung me a surprise. The morning glory seeds I planted showed WHITE flowers on the package.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

We get by with a little help from our friends....

If you are a regular reader here, you may also be familiar with my friend Arlee Barr and her amazing work.

If not, you should know that she recently lost most of her raw materials and UFOs in the flooding that overwhelmed the city of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

If you can help get her art studio back on its "hoofies" in the smallest way, there is a link in the sidebar of her blog to donate...

Surprise! the LIMIT is the cost of one of those mocha-choke-a, latte, with a double dash of extra calorie coffees that y'all swear you should live without anyway!

One 5$ brick at a time, we'll lift her up.

color blizzard

There's been an orgy of color going on here. The Lawrenceville Frankenstein Dyedeck has been burning up with heat and awash with jewel tones, my favorite indulgence.

This is the time of year when I say "Cram it" to the misty, pastel, and delicate colors. Take a vacation, we are rocking the loud and lively. These are the colors that will sustain me through the drabness of winter.

I get the sense that the term jewel tones have fallen out of favor in some sets. There's a reason these colors are named after the never fails that if something is offered in different colorways, the jewels sell out first.

There's enough here to keep me busy for some time.

From the dramatic to the sublime. All I need is a rainy day for ironing 

Monday, June 24, 2013

my super moon

We live on the downside of a ridge and the moon didn't clear the trees until after 11pm just as a bank of light clouds drifted in.

I must have taken twenty or thirty shots with all the settings the little Coolpix had and this was among the best. More interesting, but un-photographical, were the thousands of fireflies doing their best moon imitations.

The pinpoints of light through the trees reminded me of the need for paying attention to the sizes of the stars in the Firmament to give the illusion of depth.

I took Karma's cast iron lantern down to the pool deck and armed it with what turned out to be a highly effective citronella candle. I was over an hour at the edge of the woods and next to the water and not one bite. Usually, anything that bites will take a piece of me before anyone else but not last night.

All these black and white patterns have me thinking about what to do with these.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Solstice Gifts

The first fruits of yesterday's dyefest were uninspiring. I put part of that down to my own frazzled lack of focus and some to the tired out dye stock that I was being flagrant with.

The offenders have been sent back into the sauce but I did get some new combinations mixed up today.

This gem is a section of one of Martha Stewarts finest which I used for wiping up the spills while making the new dyestock.

And while I was looking for something else, look who popped out of one of the cloth bins!

Soltice dyefest

I felt the need for a little textural excitement from the dye jars yesterday. The pantry yielded a very old box of pastina.  I didn't see any bugs in the box but they did the job nicely. Later this morning the experiment will continue.

I also plan on mixing some fresh dyestock this morning blending some of the new colors. Green has proven to be elusive this season and the bottles for the purples and curry have been rolling around the caddy empty  for a while now.

Might there be something special about colors born on the Solstice?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

pool water magic trick

We are coming off a spell of what feels like tropical weather; heat and humidity every day, capped off by violent thunderstorms with torrential rains.

The guy at the pool supply place said all the rain unbalanced the pH so some other chemical thing we do (which is not much) fails.
You can see my alter ego lurking in the algae laden water shown here.

He tested the water and gave me a recipe for adding soda ash and baking soda in the right proportions.

 In a matter of hours, the water was back to Caribbean blue, even bluer that you see here..magic.

not your regular workday

Wednesday is change up day around here.

I spent most of the afternoon with a friend at her neighbors fabulous swimming pool. She house sits for the mansion's owners when they travel, which is a lot. And boy, are we grateful! Sadly, the for sale sign went up yesterday.

I brought these two flowers home with me and by the time I got home I was dizzy with the combined fragrances of magnolia and gardenia. If I had gotten pulled over I would have been jailed for driving while stupefied by scent.

Jake, Colin and my nephew Jimmy

Based, in part, on this photo, my son Colin was called late last night to play a "russian mafia thug" for a few days in a movie being shot here in Atlanta.

So what does a RMT wear? Turns out he dresses like one most of the time so wardrobe (extras have to bring their own) was not a big problem.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


I was watching a video of a ladybug who appeared to be playing with some tiny sugar sprinkles. At first it looked like a one-bug soccer game. Then it occurred to me that the poor bug was probably trying to eat the things, inappropriate as they were.

While I was getting ready to back and face the Creatives 
I started imagining that they were bored and hungry so I pitched some food/toys into the story.

I can almost hear the growling and the squeals.

(too much "Madmen" I think)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Father's Day 2013

Bittersweet is the first Father's day without the man who loved you longest of all.

Jimmy and I  announced our engagement on  Christmas day in '76. I was 26 and Jimmy was only 20 and both of our families were mildly freaked out about it.

At some point during the day, my Dad asked me if I knew what the hell  I was doing.  I assured him that I did and he paused and then replied with a grin
"Jeez, I didn't think I'd ever get rid of you."  I laughed then and can laugh now. I did know - back into time and deep into the future.

My Men of Steel spent a fun day together while I dipped out for the day at a friend's house but got home in time to finally get a decent steak off the grill for us.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

one minute to next

I snipped those little test stars out of the base and set them in around the Creatives. They are now either food or toys. Looks like home; everyone is busy.

The summer rhythm is paying off.  I finished the top this morning but I want to face it with another piece of white cloth and then hand quilt it just to keep the layers in order, give it a little substance.

I am reading a couple of  "how-to" books about writing. Who am I to sneer or giggle at the thought of learning something from a book, even if the title is "This Year You Write Your Novel"  by Walter Mosley. More inspiration than instruction, I also return over and over to Anne Lamott and Stephen King. It helps to have your own personal rah-rah club when you are writing. Today I read one page, put it down and then wrote four pages of spectacle - spontaneous human combustion is rarely spontaneous. Four pages is a good day.

Friday, June 14, 2013

a peach

Last night the whole state suffered a rash of violent storms with trees downed and power outages everywhere. We here in the holler escaped with some ugly skies and a little rain. Today everyone reaped the reward of a perfect weather day, so rare in Georgia they should be named like hurricanes.

I did spend the entire morning in the studio but not a minute in the stitching chair. I was cutting up and packaging prints to send up to market in NY.

My dear Goodman (on his birthday yet) gave me an idea, the kind where you slap yourself on the forehead and realize that the rock in the path that  you've been tripping over every day is actually a big fat diamond. Time to get out the polishing cloth.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

summer patterns

The days fall into the comfortable rhythms of summer.

No matter how late I'm up, I try to get up early before it gets too hot out, and take advantage of the light in the studio for some hand stitching.

Some chores, some errands and then, it's pool time. I clean it, swim and then read until lunch, then I have to nap for an hour and then, the day job until one in the morning. There's lots of time for doing but precious little for thinking.

I had to forsake the studio this morning and spend two hours at the Honda dealership while they did something to the passenger side airbag so it wouldn't kill the passenger.

They  have a big fancy waiting room which was filled with people poking at and mesmerized by their devices or sitting stricken and slack jawed while the gizmos sucked juice from the outlets lining the walls.

I brought the river basket with me and starting working on the Creatives and, although the adults in the room eyeballed me like I was throwing the bones or some other form of voodoo, three little girls lined up very politely and quietly in front of me. No questions, just big eyes in faces full of wonder and giggles when I popped it out of the hoop to show them the whole thing. I have a nice project for this piece that I'm excited to move on asap.

There are lots of stars yet to be hung in the sky and the blue horse waits patiently.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

more critters

Sometimes the best things just fall from the sky, or in this case, the shelf.

Sweetie has decided that the back corner of my stash closet is a better option than under our bed for the duration of a thunderstorm.
She climbed up there and made herself some room by pushing a small, forgotten basket of snips out into space.  As I picked everything up, this half dollar sized piece of old cloth said "use me or suffer the consequences" and I had to drum up a body to go with it - in fact there are three new additions to the Creatives.

Another piece is probably in order.

Before I was a telecommuter I used to take stitching with me to the office where it was allowed as long as it didn't interfere with the business at hand. I used to use my cubicle wall as a design wall. I got a LOT of things done there but almost none since I started working from home even though  the work computer is in the studio. The light and ergonomics for hand work is all wrong but that will be remedied soon.

We will be giving the spare bedroom a makeover, boxing up a lot of CRAP and then moving the workstation in. With a few changes to the layout, I should be able to resume the nasty habit of doing three things at once while becoming the night shift neighborhood busybody and some clear purpose will be established in the studio.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

work on Firmament

I finally had to put the AC unit in the north window ousting Sweetie from her observation perch. She's migrated to the east facing window co-opting the right arm of my sewing chair.

There's room for both of us, I just have to remember to not put any needles or pins along the right side anymore.

So far, so good, but a long way and many stars to go - most of them half as small as these - to give some sense of scale and depth.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

blue horse changing


...and after.  I know it won't be this dark after it's been rinsed and dried but a big step in the right direction.

Friday, June 07, 2013

blue horse headway

Pictures first, words later. Right now some pool time before the skies reopen.

And open they did. There was just enough time to swamp out the tree fall trash and brush down the walls but we are going to need a bottle of Black Death (for algae). no sun and chills set in. 

This one has been alternately bothering me and languishing for some time and today it jumped out at me that the background of the lower two thirds is insipid to deadly boring. There will be paint or dye or something vigorous to balance the energy of the rest of it. I'll do some digital play before it gets too messy.

I took some to time to do a little goal setting today..interesting that entering shows and making deadlines did not get on the list. There may be a few but I think I'd rather gamble in a casino. Details as they firm up.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

the Legal Anniversary

I cleaned and restocked my project basket and am settling in to put the stars in the sky, one at a time.

This is the second day that Jimmy and I celebrate our anniversary. This is the date that's on the books. We had the wedding June 4, 1977 at our house in Mohegan Lake, NY and the judge arrived late.

 Just before the ceremony he took us aside and told us that, once he found the address, he realized he was out of his jurisdiction but would conduct the wedding "for show" but that we had to report to the town hall in Yorktown the next morning at eight for the real deal. He was a handsome  devil but none of the female guests could convince him to stay for the party.

After throwing out the last guests well past midnight, we got a few hours rest, redressed in our tired and rumpled wedding finery and met the judge at the courthouse. He was wearing a baseball uniform, cleats and all, gave us the thirty second version of the wedding ceremony, with a pause advised Jimmy that he could still change his mind and then pronounced us legally wed.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Happy Anniversary my darlin'

At our wedding, 36 years ago today, we handed out disposable cameras and cans of 35mm film to our guests. I imagine I still have not seen all the images from the day. Many of mine are on deteriorating Polaroids.

Given the camera angle, I think this one may have been taken by Jims little brother Chris or my nephew Jimmy, both of them about six at the time.

It's a bittersweet day -  I was brought up short by the memory that it's been a year today that Mom passed away. She liked my husband right from the start.

Monday, June 03, 2013

star testing

After the storms passed last night I settled in for the season opener of  AMC's
"The Killing" followed by the latest episode of "Madmen". Over three hours I split my attention but conjured up these ideas for the stars I will be placing in/on the Firmament

I worked these on a table mopper stained from the last dye session but I know that they will do just as well against the blue/green/lavender.

It's a good thing that I enjoy freeforming with snips and hand building complex thread.

Based on the planned size of the finished piece, the final "host" of the firmament  could number fifty or sixty which will be worked directly on it.

"The Killing" did not disappoint but there may just be a KILLING over the commercials!

 Yesterday I put off reading an article in the NY Times about the resurrection of the show -I didn't want to run into any spoilers and I won't print any here.  The article had tasty bits about the actual writing of the story. Much to think about for my own writing.

I've self-identified as what's called a "spontaneous" writer. A scene here, a character sketch there adding up to a whole pile of (very) loosely related fragments. Picture a cow shitting it's way across a broad pasture, wandering, circling and stepping in it's old crap. It's become frustrating, pointless and messy.

I won't call it a plot but I need to make a map for myself with the things I like about a good story, well told.  A Start, a Middle and a Resolution - with plenty of wandering, woolgathering and time shifts and character exploration worked in along the way - just respecting those time honored markers in the long run.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

play it again..

A Sunday tradition here at the House of Lacativa - Settling in with the  NY times and a Braves game on TV only to be awakened by the kind of thunder I call "high, wide and handsome" a moment the overcast became deep gloom and the skies split open.

I just had time to snatch the crop off the line on the upper deck. Everything just as I hoped it would to put on a pot of hot water for the spaghetti.

Colin went to Turner field last night to see the post game concert- Run DMC. The concert is held down on the field and he had the presence of mind to stop and pick up a handful of dirt from around third base.

 I brought the paper bowl of coarse grains upstairs to the studio and before I could put them in safekeeping, Sweetie stepped into the bowl as if it was her personal toilet. I caught her just in time...