Friday, January 31, 2020

catching up the week

Shocked? Don't be. I won't have a gun in the house for a lot of reasons, but it's good to know that I can use this tool should the situation arise. The bullets were expensive and look like jewelry. Crows would steal them.

This was my first time firing a real handgun and it was pretty much as I expected. Noisy, even with ear protection, and pretty quickly, boring. You can't see it in this image, but I got him in the carrot. That is a dead snowman. I have half a box of bullets left over.

I asked for a .45, which is rather large, but I have big hands, and this was the gun I used in a scene in my book. I also needed to know if it could accidentally discharge if dropped and had that confirmed by a very knowledgeable person.

I think I know why fake gangstas hold their guns sideways. They have no intention of shooting anyone, just making a lot of noise.

This morning I was reminded of the magic of making reprographs of finished work. Maybe a trip to Fedex/Kinkos over the weekend to make some prints from new work.

Note to self - do not forget masking tape for removal of cat hair, etc. This method is SO unforgiving of the messy life of a studio.

And (drum roll, please) my editor finished reading my manuscript and I couldn't be more encouraged to go forward as a self-publisher.

There is still so much to do. I have to convince myself that production and marketing are as absorbing and interesting as writing.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

stitching here and thinking elsewhere

 This piece is evolving around the theme of secret messages. Evolving because I am winging every bit of it. Even the basted substrate cloth has been cut away and shifted as I stitch.
To let you in on those secret messages, all of this stitch activity is, for me, a very useful misdirection of brain activity. Others may meditate while stitching, but while my hands and eyes are busy making second by second choices at the warp and weft level, my mind is gathering up the threads of a book I'm working on.
One of the devices in the story is a young child who has been taught embroidery to keep her busy and out of the adult's hair. There are strong paranormal and magical elements in the story; irascible ghosts, talking animals, demons walking around in everyday bodies, people possessed by evil. Evil itself writ large and loud, a pillar of his community.
The child takes it upon herself to help the afflicted by stitching hidden messages in clothing stolen from clotheslines by her familiar, a cigar-smoking Barbary Ape named Ace.
The messages? Simple, childish directives like "sleep good" or "be nicer" go unnoticed until she steps up her game to stronger messages and bigger magic comes into play.  The working title is "The Monkeytown Murders".

It's tough switching between editing one book and writing the next one. Needle and thread are helping me find the way.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Monday derailed

There was no school for MLK day, so Charlie and I made plans.

Plans that were quickly derailed when I heard a funny noise as we pulled away from McD's with breakfast. Fortunately, the flat tire found us in the parking lot and not whizzing down the highway.

Clear and cold outside, I felt full of myself and decided I could still change a tire. What did I tell you, Grace? Get them to manually tighten the lug nuts? Did I follow my own advice? NOT. 
With all of my might, I could not crack any of them. We called Jake, he came and rescued us, and Charlie got a lesson from the guy who matters most.

While we waited for his dad to arrive, Charlie worked on his backseat journal, asking me how to spell this and that. FACTORY.  He printed the letters, frowned, and said, "That can't be right. Are you sure?"

wheels work

And so today, I presented Jumping Jack Flash at Discount tire. Made myself comfy in their immaculate waiting area. Sunlight streaming in. I was ready for a long wait. Blessed silence! For once a public waiting area with no TV.

Several men wandering around, too engrossed in their phones to sit. They looked at what I was doing like it was somehow suspect, not approaching, but obliquely curious. Time flew and the work was done.  I was off to an oil change, then shopping. By the time I got home, all I wanted was a solid nap.

Someone else decided that twenty minutes was plenty.

Friday, January 17, 2020

I love Fridays

It's been a day of lessons and indulgence.

I don't have to work tonight. After a busy morning and a solid nap, I came back to the sewing seat in the studio, turned on the task lamp and the music and stitched until full dark. It was a really nice piece of time.

In case you wonder about the mismatched socks, my feet are blind. It's a small part of my lifelong quest to Not Give a Flying Fuck about a lot of things that other people seem to go nuts over. Matching socks.

After weeks of freakish warmth, it's going to get cold again. I don't know how these will fare. This display strikes me as desperate with no pollinators around. I have to assume plants know what they are doing so I'm not going to cut them and bring them just in because they please my eyes.

Once the blooms die back and it warms up, I'm going to be thinning this bed. If anyone in the US wants some iris tubers, that originally came to me from NM, let me know.

These will serve that purpose. Someone else disconnected them from the earth. I'll pay for the privilege of just looking on their dying days.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Stitching stories

One book written, but a long way from done.

The second book in bits and pieces, scraps and dreams, but the seeds are planted.

Magic and miracles in the highest branches. Down in the grass, it's cloth, stitch, mayhem, and justice.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020


Look what the mailperson brought! Derwent watercolor pencils. And with no card or note from the giver.

Did someone think I needed another media to procrastinate with? As if stitch wasn't enough.

Monday, January 13, 2020


It's after nine in the morning and so dark and dreary I'd go back to bed except that I've already had a solid six or seven hours. Too much lying abed and my back sends me nastygrams "Get up, you lazy bitch!"

So I'm here in the studio, with not enough light coming in the east window to stitch by. The rain has quit for the moment, but the forecast says, "Jammies will do today."

2019  Night Gardener  36x24 

Yesterday, I took the long-put off step of correcting the top line of "Night Gardener". I can't even remember what I was thinking about when I did this. Not good design, for sure.

It's been annoying me from the wall for months now and it was time. I posted a few detail posts to two new FB groups I joined just to see what was out there these days. I've gotten a bit disconnected from the stitch community.

Those detail shots garnered a lot of attention, then someone asked for an image of the full piece and I realized how botheringly quirky it is, so...

I fiddlefucked with the stitch ripper on invisible nylon machine stitching sunk deep between the backing - thick, cushy something that's cotton twill with a dose of something synthetic that has a good bit of stretch to it and took the dye in a smoky wonderful way AND

the base of the piece which is a yard of 100% wool suiting that is, at minimum, over fifty years old. I knew the owner and she never bought cheap goods.

The weave has dried a bit with age and once cut, unravels alarmingly fast. I need to set up the sewing machine and get this nailed back together properly soon, or I'm going to piecing in a repair. The wool is black as midnight in a mine and will be hard to replicate.

Sunday, January 05, 2020

the threads

Here's my stash of Dirty Thread and the few tools it takes.

Thanks to everyone who bought sets over the weekend. I'll be off to the post office tomorrow.
If the light is right when I get back, I'll make up a few new sets with what's left of the inventory and post them.

Yes, new sets are up.

It's only January. Four months before I can make any more. I may take up the banjo. Or Portuguese. Clean out my closet so I can list it with Air BnB? Dispose of the hoarded crap that has taken over a fourth of our living space? Train the cats to do dishes and laundry?

Or publish one book and get the next one underway?
 Let me know if you'd like to be notified when Prophets Tango goes live. I promise to hoard your email like the rest of my stuff.

It could all happen, but guess which has priority.

Sunday catch-up

I've just logged into the day job for the first time since forever. I've only worked Christmas and New Years' days in the past two weeks.

Saving up vacation time to coincide with the school calendar is something I'm out of practice with, but was delighted to do. I don't see nearly as much of him as I'd like now that he's in school and we had a great time. There hasn't been much time for stitching and that was fine.

Charlie got to meet and interact with the new cats but played favorites with Sweetie who remains dubious but patient with short people.

He didn't know it but on one sleepover, there were five of us in the bed - three growling or purring, one snoring, and me not getting much sleep that night.