Saturday, December 28, 2019

Something new.

The words are stuck.

A few actions will unstick them: driving, walking, or stitching. Somehow the last one seems out of place, but it's the only practical thing at the moment.

Until I get my back issues sorted out, driving or walking for any duration or distance, are not options. But I think I just challenged myself there.

In the meantime, there's a basket of talent waiting to be discovered. Glyphs are planned. Alien poetry waiting in the wings.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

the weekend

While running like Sonic the Hedgehog, Charlie tripped and did a face plant in the gravel at aftercare. His glasses probably saved his eye from worse injury, but they didn't survive.

When I asked him if it hurt, he said, "Only when people look at me like it does." So I gave him my biggest sunglasses for when we went into Publix and told him to say "NOT a barfight."

After shopping for all manner of snacks, we sat at the kitchen table and sorted through a large tub of Legos I've hung on to since Jake and Colin were kids. There was a lot of trash in the tub and everything we saved had to be sanitized.

He told me all about the other happy holidays all going on at the same time. Kwanza, Hanukka, and Santa Lucia which I learned (from a five-year-old) is a Swedish holiday. I explained Solstice. We feasted and had a lovely visit while Jake installed a replacement interior in Jim's old pickup, seats, flooring, seatbelts and all. I wish we'd taken some 'before' pictures. Its a miracle.

Since that last sampler, I've been avoiding the stitching chair in the morning. Too many other things need attention like those spider webs that are somehow between the screen and the glass. The lights are up year-round.

Once I get all my holiday packages shipped, I kind of collapse when it comes to decorating. There's a sweet little tree downstairs waiting for its decorations. In good time.

The new family members continue to find their place in our routines. Sweetie has been very tolerant of both of them. There's more contention between the newcomers than I realized. Bailey is full of teenaged energy and mischief. Salem is a lady and not please with his rambunctiousness and will disappear at the slightest disturbance.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

done here

but truly, for the pure pleasure of Stitching.

Insane, I'm told, I freehand the lettering directly to the cloth with a silver quilt marking pencil that traveled with Noah on the Ark, its so old.

Quite in love with my made-up font, there will most certainly be more, but for now, this one helped me clarify a scene that needed to die and crystallized the one that will take its place. Imagine a bad carnival ride replaced with a crystal ball.

The only thought that went into selecting colors was to choose lighter colors for 'fade' and 'away'. I was going to do some organic white on white shadowing some of the more prominent motifs in the damask, but my effort paled beside the real thing so I picked it out. A rinse and press should help call this finished. Eventually.

Sunday, December 15, 2019


 Has decided she'll grace us with her presence.
At some point in the evening, all three of them were in the bedroom. Peacefully.

No one has expressed any further interest in cloth, or thread.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

last shopkeeping of 2019

I guess I can thank Mr. Bad Boy Bailey for this. Also grateful that he didn't decide to sleep on them!

There was just enough good, natural light in the studio to get most of the way through the alphabet: selecting sets, photographing and naming them on the fly. Don't read too much into the names. I was listening to music, snatching words out thin air.

Antic through Scandal are live at Dirty Threads.

Bailey doing his best to look innocent.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

taking a break, but...

...not really. I just needed to remind myself about the peace of the flowing needle and thread.

The full sentiment will read "For the pure pleasure of words on a page that will not fade away." More properly subtitled, "Draft in haste and repent in the Hell of everlasting editing"

I've gone back to page one of (yikes) 800+ pages to dig out the ticks and cooties. Sometimes I think, "Who wrote this shit?" and sometimes I say it in wonder and delight, "Who wrote this marvelous shit!"

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

a shakeup

NOW I'm in for some fun. I keep the dirty thread on covered plastic trays on a high shelf, out of reach of five-year-old fingers and feline paws.

I thought.

Last night, Baily, aka Mr.Big, managed to pull them down onto the work table into this stew of color.

Rather than try putting them back into the old collections, I'm going to first put together some rainbows (thanks for the idea, Liz) and post those.

It's gray and rainy here. First sunny day - Sunday, I think I read- I start taking good photos and posting them to the store.

Guilty as charged.

Sunday, December 08, 2019


Nothing lasts forever.

Many things try. This little bear had already been around awhile when I put it on the stem of the rearview mirror of the year-old Civic I bought in 2002. Its owner was in the Navy Reserve and was unexpectedly called to active duty and needed to sell it quickly, made me great deal.

The beads were a gift from a boy I liked in 1969 when I spent time on Cape Cod. Who strings beads on thread? Boys in love, I guess.

Little Bear saw every one of the 300k+ miles put on that car between myself and my son. It still runs, just passed inspection, but I doubt it will serve as transportation again. The next owner is most likely to part it out. It served us well.

These came in the mail yesterday. I have no way to know how old they are. Twenty? Fifty years. Come dye season, they'll be born again, this time in service to art.

And yesterday, after five years, give or take, I typed ~fin~  on Prophets Tango.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

notes from an armed camp

I wish I had something else to post, but it's been a long time since we've welcomed family members into the household. Sweetie should be more gracious as she was the last to join the tribe, but truly, she never got along with Karma or Voodoo. There was always the possibility of a scrape, but the house is big enough for everyone to have their territory. Eventually.

Bailey is young, a teenager. Won't be two until sometime late next April. A bottle baby. He seeks to insinuate himself everywhere.

Salem, the black and white female, is more elusive, but beginning to show herself for moments at a time. That business of her climbing onto my bed...I think she might have forgotten where she was. Do cats sleepwalk? She hasn't appeared upstairs since.

Sweetie continues to moan and sulk.

I am absorbed by the impeachment hearings on TV. I would much prefer the earth open a firey mouth and just swallow him up, but I'll settle for the law taking him down, lawfully.

I'd really love comments from some of my international readers regarding this.

Saturday, November 30, 2019


It was enjoyable. I was too busy to bother taking any pictures. Taught Jake how to make stuffing over the phone and it was perfect, as was the turkey. I got there in time to demonstrate how to wring rich, brown gravy from whatever comes out of the oven. Missy's broccoli casserole stole the show, in my opinion. Charlie declared saying Grace to be little heathen, but really, he'd already led a spirited discussion on what to be grateful for. He understands the concept.

The Strange and wonderful: Just before dinner, Missy got a message from a local friend. Immediate help was needed for some beings who were about to lose their lifelong home and family.

I didn't think about it. I said 'yes'.

Better pictures once they both come out from hiding, but this guy, Bailey, is personable and sweet. 
Sweetie disapproves highly, but I will spoil her extra until she re-finds the rhythm of living in the company of her kind.

ps. Look who just strolled in and climbed onto the bed. Her name is Salem.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Saturday rescued

5th Ave at Twilight 1910  LB Harrison
November is the month that Georgia weather can't make up its mind.

Thursday afternoon, I gathered with friends on the clubhouse patio for a small birthday party. Mid-sixties, bright sunshine. We kept looking around going "Wow."

Saturday morning was as rainy, dark and dreary as they come. Days like this always bring back the day Jim died. All too easy to slip into sorrow unless plans are afoot and they were.

Charlie showed up and we spent the morning in the kitchen listening to music, doing Lego, making Rice Krispy treats, working in his scrapbook. He talked. I listened.

Jake arrived midday to collect him and brought in a wet package the postman left on the doorstep. A large box. My sister sent my mother's vast collection of costume jewelry and what-nots. In the box, a small American flag.

Jake unfolded it and held it up and Charlie said, "Oh. I have to do the Pledge!" Jake doffed his cap and I sat, wide-eyed. In a very quiet, solemn voice, Charlie recited the Pledge of Allegiance without a flaw. "...with Liberty and Justice for all."

It was so touching. We applauded and with pride, his father said, "My little American!"

 Please, America. Get your shit together for the sake of these children.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

My Goodman

Couldn't let this day slip away without acknowledging that it's been six years since we lost Jimmy.

He was a wonderful father and husband. My very best friend and we all miss him every minute of the day.

What I've missed most about him today was his boundless sense of good humor. I've needed a good laugh and going through the many wonderful photos I have of him was tonic. Nobody made me laugh the way Jimmy did.
Interrogating the baby shower gift.

"This child just loaded his diaper in my ear."

Mugging with Atlanta's Ambassador of Mirth, Baton Bob.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

boy with bubble wrap

Saturdays will be ours, now.

Looks like a classic ballet move, right? The camera will fool us all.

This was a post dash across the room, mid-dervish twirl. He spun around in a circle a few times and I howled that he was going to make me throw up! He dashed into the bathroom and came out with a worried look on his face and the trash can.

I made that hat many years ago from sari silk yarn. Just a crocheted cap, but I'd never worked with that fiber before. In its raw state, it's awful. Coarse, tough almost like jute.

 I washed it for some reason and it came out all stretched and soft. I braided and beaded a dozen braids into the crown so they hang down like dreads.

The hem is tight, inflexible and never fit me. A hat without a home has found one nearly thirteen years later.

here's a better look at the headwear. makes me want to buy more of that yarn.

Friday, November 15, 2019

They persist.

They've been up there since All Souls. Something tried to eat some of the carnations but changed their minds.

This morning I realized that I have been sick since then. Some upper respiratory monkey business that is not pneumonia, per the doctor.

She gave me two prescriptions to take "if I felt like it." Nothing indicated the need for antibiotics so those are in the medicine cabinet. After another night of coughing my self awake, I started the methylprednisolone series. Strange shit, but I recalled that when Jim was taking chemo, the doctor said that the prednisone portion of the cocktail would give him a lift. For him, a false sense of well-being that we both basked in as long as it lasted. For me, it feels like rocket fuel when all I want is to get some real rest. I'm committed now, hoping this particular side effect will fade as the dose diminishes.

I'm spending another day with one astonished ear on the impeachment hearings. Ambassador Yovanovitch is a rock wrapped in velvet. She's been asked several times how she feels about the president's attacks on her character and reputation. I keep hoping she'll say, "Consider the source."

And work gets done, too.

"Where are you, babe? The silence that hung between them made him think of how he felt after he prayed—lost, empty and on his own. In the greenish glow of the monitor tracking her inner tides, a tear gathered in the corner of her eye and slipped into her hair. Giving grief its minute, he put his head down beside her open hand and cried, emptying out his heart, making room for fury."

Wednesday, November 13, 2019


Cold temps fell on us here in the south like a rock. My poor purslane, so hardy through the long drought, was hanging over the side of the big pot like a batch of boiled spinach.

I sat with the river basket while I listened to the impeachment hearings. Taylor's testimony was so compelling. It was hard to keep my attention on the cloth. I gave up and just rolled pieces together.

Cleaned all my favorite needles, dragging them through the little strawberry on the tomato like I was sharpening knives.

Monday, November 11, 2019

back in the saddle.

Sometime back in early summer I was asked to be the keynote speaker at the Writer Unboxed UNconference in Salem, MA on Nov. 4.  How could I say no?

Of course, I dragged ass about writing the thing all summer, trying to NOT think about the fact that I've never stood at a podium or spoken into a microphone. And the biggie - to say something that mattered. To put a little wind in the sails of the participants. The last time we all gathered here, we woke up to the horror show of the election results. It was hard, but I made and kept a promise to the organizer, Therese Walsh, that I would not utter one political word.

It went well. I didn't die of stage fright. Although I'd brought a case of bronchitis with me, I didn't cough! (Four days prior, I had no voice at all!) After weeks of worrying over how others would take my words, my thoughts, the "what to wear" and "what the hair"? it's finally over.

I was a little sorry I couldn't stay for the conference - a whole week steeped in the nuts and bolts of writing. But there was a very big upside. I got to meet a long-time online friend in real life. How often does that turn out well?

Turns out my hostess is gracious and generous, exactly who she is online, a warm and thoughtful human being.

Instead of a week of hotel rooms, scrounging the town for cheap food on foot, and varying levels of social unease,  I was made welcome, comfortable, and catered to by Dee Mallon, her husband K., and good dog, Finn. My stay a Casa Mallon was the very best part of the trip.

Again, Dee, thanks for the marvelous hospitality. When will your Bed & Breakfast open?

Sunday, November 10, 2019

dipping a toe in. slowly.

I was only "away" away for four days, but the away from here feels like a chasm that I don't have the strength to bridge right now. I will back into where I was, why and how great it was in a few posts.

I stayed with Charlie last night so his Mom & Dad could go out for dinner and whatever. A late anniversary celebration. About 830 he started twisting his forelock with both hands - a clear signal since babyhood that he is tired. He said I was wrong about that so I said, "let's test my theory." Once bundled under covers I found the music playlist on my phone that I started compiling around the time he was born. First up, randomly, was Johnny Mathis singing "Chances Are" followed closely by "Ride Across the River" by Dire Straits (released the year Jake was born!) 

He was asleep before the second song ended.

In an effort to collect my thoughts and decide what I will and won't accomplish in the next 12 hours, I'm doing little stitching first thing in the morning, but gift things that I don't want to reveal here for a while.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Halloween 2019

I drove to the town park to try and stretch everything a little. It was very dark, cloudy, trees jostling one another. Very Halloween weather. Humid.

Not fifty yards down the trail rain started to patter. I snatched these up from the path and hobbled back to the car just before the weather got serious.

My project is well underway. Some pruning, polishing and practicing still to come.

I had the AC on around lunch because it was so muggy. Now it's in the 40's. Colin helped me bring all the plants in from the deck. They are probably full of hitchhikers so I will sleep with the sheet pulled over my head tonight.

The house is darkened. It's just me and the cat. Happy Halloween. 

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Sweet Sunday

I had company that brought breakfast! We listened to an old radio program. Jazz even. He built some Lego things, we laughed and talked while his Dad worked on his truck out in the driveway.

A good morning given that I've felt like homemade shit all week. The dry cough and the wheezy noises culminated in a night of fever. All of that resolved except the voice. It won't hurt to keep my mouth shut for twenty-four hours. They'll manage without me at work tonight.

It was so gorgeous out today. I spent the afternoon repotting some plants on the deck. That's Louie in the foreground and his parents right behind him. I'm going to need a little dolly for that one.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

coming at it sideways

I'm supposed to be doing something else. Doing one thing while thinking about another seems to be my way. This morning, some marketing, mostly because I've been fidgety and things are piling up around here.

I've never liked the word "reticule". As I suspected it had been sometimes perverted to "ridicule" as if the things we carried couldn't possibly be of any importance. In opposition to that notion, I've decided to call these "Take Me!"

 Take Me #1 and Take Me #2 are available.  Each is crocheted from soft cotton yarn, the same that I've been using to make cusspots for years. I just like the way it handles, turns out and even dyes. (more on that soon).

These are stuffed with cloth and thread. Add your own needles and snips. Sometimes, that's all you need.

Better pictures when the sun comes around.

Monday, October 21, 2019

rainy day roses

Some of the grocery store rescue roses were a bit ripe. I had to assure Sweetie that it was not her fault.

Friday, October 18, 2019

oatmeal cooties

Cleaning out old stuff from the pantry, I found an ancient box of oatmeal that had a lovely colony of cooties living in it. Do you know anyone else who gets excited over buggy oatmeal? I didn't think so.

A large seven-gore skirt and a short sleeve blouse, both white linen, were just waiting in the wings for such an opportunity. I'll see how they look as garments before dismembering them. One of my favorite cotton shirts was born this way.