Tuesday, October 20, 2020

A sea change

 the River basket and tools will be in the closet for a while. My left thumb is acting the fool and I'm right-handed. Keyboarding is slow, pens are no problem

I've been having trouble getting the next book out of the gate. It would be easy to blame it on circumstances, but that's bullshit. There's been quite enough of that around, so, no, I know the truth of it. 

It feels like I've been herding rabbits with rabies. Every time I turn around, there are more of them, all sweaty and wild-eyed. The real problem--I didn't know where I was leading them. 

The first book, a romance, never gave me this kind of trouble because every good romance must have a Happily Ever After. Readers demand it. Prophets Tango delivers.

This time, the story is not primarily a romance and I haven't been able to see from here to the imaginary there. The story didn't know what it was living for. Until yesterday. 

After spending hours with acres of notes, I stared at the spiral of scenes, then into the void. Who owns that little voice inside my head? I didn't recognize it. 

Came the voice, "How does it end?"

The question immediately reminded me of some lines from my favorite movie, "Shakespeare in Love". (Yes, Will could have had me for a scrap of paper with his ink on it.) 

Lord Wessex: "How is this to end?"

Queen Elizabeth: "As stories must when love's denied. With tears and a journey."

There will be tears and a journey, but I have no intention of denying love anything it wants.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

A birthday

 Celebrated in a private, solitary way. At first, I thought I'd just ignore it, but then I thought about those who didn't get this little personal milestone, another year in this beautiful life.

 And so, I acknowledged it with something new and different and something old and strong. 

Went ahead with my decision to take the Firmament apart. 

As I looked for places to cut, I found this. A little digging in the archives  revealed when and why I stopped hanging stars in the sky.  I'll be happy to take them out of history and into another story.

Then I saddled up and drove south to inspect, approve, and buy a machine I'd never heard of before I saw it listed in the FB marketplace.
Truth it was the beautiful bentwood case that caught my attention. And why was it still listed after a week? 
The Singer 99k seems to be a very well-kept secret. Plainer then a fancy Featherweight. Heavier and twice the motor.  A warhorse!

It's been well maintained, but never allowed to languish. The owner was a smoker and loved her candy. I can see her bent over the machine, her head wreathed in smoke. A little bowl of jelly beans opposite a tin ashtray. There was old nicotine and stickiness at all touchpoints. 
A bit of time, some soft rags, mineral spirits and good machine oil and it's ready. 

Now, to go back into my clothes closet with the scissors and harvest some of that cloth hanging around doing nothing. I feel a Hectic quilt coming on. 

And from all the way around the globe, a package. A gift. More magic -in-waiting. Thank you! 

And most importantly, I voted.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020


That broad expanse of teal with the pale whisps is "Bonnie Blue" a Prochem color that's been discontinued. I've tried mixing it on my own. All the failures have been beautiful, but never even close.

There is a lot of history in this piece. I'll dig around for the original posts. Without research, nothing much is going on. Until you get close. What I intended as stars have come to life.

For all their swarming, something else has to happen with this piece. There are scissors in the future.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

The Bruised Heart


...beats like thunder.
Sparks, pearls, and distant thunder.

The fringes of hurricane Delta are reaching us here, so it will be days before I can get a decent picture.

Done, finished except for a backing.

That's going to have to be enough stitch for a while.  

Dee, I think that's Hope and Sam on the staircase.

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

And pearls


The characters have started talking to each other. So far, I'm only an eavesdropper. A note-taker. One has demanded a name change. "Some dignity," he said. Okay.  It's name day. Boone is an old eight. 

I'm letting the imagery in the cloth, the things that slip out of the shadows into the light, lead me back to the words. The solid ones and the ones still waiting. I'm happy about what's *finished* excited about the things still spinning out of the ether.

Sparks and Pearls are part of the same cloth.

This scene part of a much larger story. (explicit material advisory)

Sunday, October 04, 2020



the ragged shift

 The change of seasons -- not much more than a dip in night temperatures here--has tripped me up this year. I feel like I've been in a maze that constantly dead-ends. Not frustrated because railing at being lost is a waste of energy. It's just that I'm on low battery. 

I used to drive around with a friend who would get very agitated about being lost. I said, "We are somewhere between the Hudson River and the Atlantic Ocean. Relax." About now, I wish for a map. A paper one that crinkles and folds and has coffee stains. Maybe some red ball-point routes marked out. 

It's more than enough to deal with the real. Weeds.

Finding out that the gardenia still had few things to say about summer despite being overwhelmed by a pushy vine that I allowed to take over because I've been neglectful. 

It's teaching my co-pirate the insanity and majesty of language perhaps a little early. Teaching him that not all games are blood sports and how nobody wants to play with a sore loser. He's taken to jotting down Good words. High dollar words, even as I explain about positioning and strategy. Yesterday we agreed to do away with the running tally of who's winning. Word by word, we will build stories rather than empires.

We will save learning poker for later.

It's fishing around in the closet for one UFO and finding a flock of them, all reminding me of the UFO of words nipping at my dreams, sulking in the corners of my imagination. Hiding. 

Their shit (and mine) as scattered as these stars.

And speaking of stars.


Throughout this national turmoil, I have refrained from standing on a chair and screaming vile curses to the four winds because this face reminds me what a gorgeous, stalwart thing Karma is.

 In truth, our Karma rarely gave us the time of day she was so self-contained in her feline beauty. But this face, this look she gave me one day. 

              Karma will always have her due. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

the Bruised Heart

I wasn't going to start a new piece so soon. But I just needed something to hold. Something else to focus on. Think about. Something to have a little control over. 

Hours rummaging through the River basket and boxes in the closet yielded a half dozen false starts that are now rolled up and pinned shut, back in the closet. 

This one made the cut. Grabbed my attention like nothing else has for a while.
The base is a little tea towel. A very thin, light damask that came out a bit blah. While I was so focused on composing the elements on one side I didn't notice that there were gorgeous patches of colors on the backside that looked like storm clouds or oil on water. 

I saved them for another time.


The stitching has been effortless. It's as if the thread and cloth don't dare challenge me.

Lines, shapes, and masses telling the story.
I don't know the language or what the story is yet, but it will come.

All the elements, the characters are present. Waiting.

Sunday, September 27, 2020



One moment we are here, the next we are where? Snipped from this life, I like to think, to the place and in the company of our heart's desires. Refreshing in the recall of the sweetest moments of our time here. Then, in whatever time it takes to be renewed, move on to begin again.

As Jude put it so well, somehow I knew the moment she remarked on Michelle's absence from the internet. 

RBG's passing hit her very hard at a time when her reserves of hope and strength were low and falling.

Michelle and I often chatted via web late into the night, while I worked and she dealt with the kind of sleeplessness that comes of long afternoon naps- one of the few remaining good things on Facebook.

A few years older than myself, we both attended the School of Visual Arts in the mid and late 60s, only blocks from where she lived. We had a cultural commonality few virtual friends can claim. Times and places shared.

It's a comfort to know she'd been to her spiritual font, her Zendo, if only virtually, in the days before she passed. 

Rest, dear one. Renew, then fly on.

Michelle Slater of 
From her last post, however long these things, this stuff of dreams, lasts.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Last, best chance

 To win Blue Wave.   

details here:

I'll have a drawing for the winner tomorrow afternoon. Post the video about 7pm est.

They get under your skin


It was cool enough to wrap up in something but by the time I got to the post office, I was hot and left it in the front seat of the car. The cloth is a viscose scarf.  You all probably have a least one. Impossible soft, a bit on the fragile side, as thin as it is, it heats up when next to the skin. This natural fiber loves MX dyes madly. Large 31x72, it's more shawl than scarf with a sofy, hair fring all the way around. It was the stark whiteness, ivory really, that caught my attention.  
One it proved out, I dashed back online and bought another ten that I will dye and be selling. 
It's supposed to get to 75 degrees today. If the clouds hold off,  I'll use some black plastic bags to amp up the heat and dye a few more of these. I just have to restrain the wild color demon a bit. Maybe

Some catching up: Last Thursday night, in the last rainy throes of Hurricane Sally, cat Baily rushed in on our dinner with a screaming creature in his mouth. He dropped it on the floor, unsure of what came next. It was a baby squirrel. Wet, cold, eyes and ears still shut tight. Miraculously unharmed. 

Colin tucked it in a cloth and shopping bag with the heating pad under it while I did the research. "Warming and rehydration" were critical. Off to the store for Pedialyte and puppy formula. Thus began my week of waking three times a night for warming and giving bottles. 

What else to do but fall in love with a scrap of life that only wants to snuggle, feed, and snuggle some more. But the cruel logic of a three-cat household and further research made it clear that finding a wildlife rehabilitator was crucial. 

After a few "full house" turn-downs, we found an experienced rehabber nearby, one with other baby squirrels. Ours would get that tribal learning essential to survival. "Winnie" joined with her own kind yesterday. 

Meanwhile, I look and cloth and am a loss as to what comes next. I have four or five small projects rolled up and tucked away while I try to get back to the keyboard, the stories.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Grand Rêver

I've moved this to the gallery.

  "Grand Rêver"    29X27       2012       

The biggest and last of the series. Some history here, here, and here.


some details:


Saturday, September 19, 2020

The Style of Dignity

 Human dignity was her compass.

Silly, but I'm fascinated by this garment. There was something so unique about her style. I have a feeling that she made these very personal choices for herself. 

I'm listening to Rachel Maddow interviewing Hilary Clinton about RBG while I live in a state where one of the GOP representatives all but cheered at her passing. It was disgusting and infuriating that his sole concern was overturning Roe V. Wade and taking away a woman's choice over her very life, for it will come to that. 

What am I doing? 100% of any thread, cloth or art purchases from today until the election will be donated equally between the Jon Ossoff and Biden/Harris campaigns.

Her passing gives new meaning to the word "ruthless".  Makes me want to sharpen my machete.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020



This was so beautiful to see this morning. Grace's Hill and the plant people, still standing. Knowing she and the herd are safe.

We are under the cloud shield dancing out ahead of hurricane Sally. Coolish but far from sweater time. For now, just a damp grayness, still for the most part. Every now and then the trees shiver a bit, not quite tossing. It will be like this for a week or more. Remains to be seen how much wind and rain we'll actually get this far inland.

Just cleaned and refilled the hummingbird feeder. I've caught them eyeing the minuscule flowers on the Spanish Flag vines, barely a sip there. 

I want to sit and build a storm flag, but Sweetie has the sewing chair at the moment. In her old age, I refuse to deny her any small comfort. Could be she knows what I'm supposed to be doing.


Sunday, September 13, 2020

Are you in? Are you ALL in?

"Blue Wave 2020"     12x34    

I'm raffling off this piece to benefit the BIDEN/HARRIS presidential campaign. Here are the rules:

 I know the whole world is watching and we appreciate the support, but I'll have to restrict entries to the US only because of shipping, taxes, customs - all that bureaucratic bs.

Email me - deborah at lacativa dot com -  any receipt for your donation to the BIDEN/HARRIS campaign dating from to 9/1 up to the deadline of 9/24. Put BLUEWAVE in the subject line.

 I only want to see your name, the date, and the amount. Black out anything else.

There will be ONE entry for every TEN dollars donated to the BIDEN/HARRIS presidential campaign. I will round up by fives. If you gave 25, you'll get three chances.

There will be a video of the drawing on Thursday, September 24. Good luck!

Are you in?  Questions? Email me.

some detail shots

A sea change

 the River basket and tools will be in the closet for a while. My left thumb is acting the fool and I'm right-handed. Keyboarding is slo...

Play it again Sam.