Thursday, May 06, 2021

1st dibs


I only kept three this time and I hid them away. For now.

The rest are in the store



I wasted a lot of time looking for words yesterday. Words I couldn't put my fingers on. I have to write a short bio for the back of my book and I'm starting to consider cooking up some high, handsome bullshit.

Who am I and why should it matter to readers? I've been sharing bits and pieces of myself on the web for years. If a reader is interested, they won't have much trouble finding out more about me if they can remember how to spell my last name.

Some time in the future, I'll be restricting access to this blog - some kind of subscription thing, I don't know what yet. I'll make it as painless as possible so I can go on being me, here. (Oh, the hubris!)

Lost glasses found!  Where else, but in the toy basket in the back seat of my car. We had a fine afternoon complete with gas station pretzels and blue Gatorade. Dear boy picked all the salt off a bit of pretzel "So your feet won't explode."

 Soon, he will be able to read to me as easily as I read to him. 

No PT today.  I was going to cancel because bad, lazy reasons when I received a message that my instructor has had a death in the family. Another beloved, distant elder cut down by COVID. 

Too many empty chairs in the world. 

Saturday, May 01, 2021

second chances


Making Dirty Threads is not science. There are so many variables. Forget one thing and you get some epic fails. 

Too muddy, splotchy, pale. Bad color choices. Dyes (the way I use them) are a lot like pottery glazes. What you see in the container is rarely what you get once things are rinsed and dried.

So I set aside the Uglies and when the spirit moves me, I give them another run. The new process is working out well, especially for do-overs.

This bunch was a minute of my frazzled patience away from being cut off the cards. One vicious swipe down the center with the big shears into a pile of two inch strings to go into the trash. 

I took the time to save them and I'm glad I did. They'll be up in the store shortly. 

But today is for other things. Family and home. Balm and bane. 

It's a beautiful day. Nothing will grow here but grass, there's so little sun. The mailbox garden will be exploding with color within the week, fingers crossed.

Thursday, April 29, 2021


 That's the title of the piece in the header. I have to dig it up and take a closer look. Try to recapture a little of the ease, the relaxed-ness of it.  

This week had the potential stress level of burning me bald-headed, but I've managed to hold the line against imaginary bullshit and future projections. Deal with stuff moment to moment. 

After missing last week, yesterday's aqua therapy session left me jelly-legged and tomorrow promises more of the same. Focusing on the exercises -not just going through the motions- will be worth the work. It's all about the Core.

The last thing I stitched was so tight, so overwrought it makes my hands and head hurt just to look at it. There are flames in its future. A ritual cleansing. I can't start anything new until then.
There is a raft, a caravan, of vintage cloth in my future. The provenance connected to my history. A strange circle of time and ownership and a reminder of the futility of holding Things precious. More when I have something to hold.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

the dirty thread trade... heating up.  Not too many sets left, but take heart. Georgia weather is heating up too.

Although a lot of backyard gardeners are mourning the loss of a round of seedlings thanks to a near freeze, all my seeds are still in their paper packets. Smart? No, just no time to get things done.

After the success of last year's herbal horticultural intensive, I'm ready to try something new and have seeds for both Japanese and Ossabow Island indigo.

This Wednesday the weather bug is showing mid-80s with partial sun, so you know where I will be - out on the burning dye deck. 

I'm trying out some new production processes that, so far, are a lot more ergonomically friendly for me. Time will tell.

    Now that I've gotten the blurbs where I want them, I'm reckoning with a much-needed epilogue for Prophets Tango. Something tasty that will sew up a few minor loose ends and offer a taste of the sequel to be conjured up like a  Demon's Dance. 

This is the fun stuff!

Friday, April 23, 2021



I had a hard time photographing this one when it was dry. There's a green glow that the camera just doesn't pick up. Maybe it's my eyes.

I'll dig around for its provenance and original title, then repost pictures of it dry. 

It was on the floor in the closet. Seemed to be asking for action, so I tossed it in the washer. Warm water, a little detergent, gentle cycle. 

My only concern is that the gold had a trace of metallic in it but acrylic paint will outlive cockroaches. I'll know more when it's dry.

Found these pictures taken prior to shipping. My old Canon A95 was a gem when it came to getting colors right.  My cell phone, not so much, and I hate fiddling with filters. It feels like cheating.

Update. Seems like "Spill"  (56x43 2011), has done a little traveling. I should have kept better track of this stuff.

August 11 - September 10, 2011

An exhibition of the finest art quilts in Canada and the United States. This year the theme is "The Sea".

Opening Reception: Saturday, August 13, 3 - 5 pm, during the Lowell Quilt Festival.

Juror: Gerald Roy, Member, Executive Board, National Quilt Museum, Paducah, KY; Chair, Acquisitions Committee; Member, of National Advisory Board, Administrator, Quilt Appraisal Certification Program - American Quilters Society, Paducah, KY; Acquisitions Board: New England Quilt Museum, Lowell, MA.

Today, quilts are finally overcoming their old-fashioned reputation. Once perceived as blocklike, follow-the-rules fabric sandwiches, contemporary art quilts — with the emphasis on art — break the conventional code.

The quilt artist seeks to innovate by applying art principles and art experience from other areas like drawing, painting, and sculpting as well as working with the tactile richness of fabric and adding the textures of quilting stitches.

As defined by The Art Quilt Association, "The contemporary art quilt is an original exploration of a concept rather than a traditional pattern. It experiments with textile manipulation, color, texture, and a diversity of mixed media." 

The concept for this year's Art Quilts Lowell at the Brush Gallery in Lowell is The Sea and there is a remarkable breadth of interpretation and media by 31 artists from all over the US and Canada.


This Year's Artists

Betty Busby - NM
Victoria Carr - MA
Gerrie Congdon - OR
Lisa M. Corson - CT
Nancy Crasco - MA
Grace Errea - CA
Diane Franklin - MA
Sandy Gregg - MA
Carol Anne Grotrian - MA
Beverly Hertler - NJ
Rosemary Hoffenberg - MA
Lauren Horowitz - NY
Janice Jones - MA
Deborah Lacativa - GA
Susan Lenz - SC

Ingrid Lincoln - Manitoba
Valerie Maser-Flanagan - MA
Jeanelle McCall - TX
Lorie McCown - VA
Penny Prudden Myles - MA
Suzanne R. Neusner - NY
Gay Ousley - TX
Gladys A. Perkins - MA
Wen Redmond - NH
Susan M. Rouleau - SD
Norma Schlager - CT
Carolyn Spiegel - NY
Pamela A Stanton - MA
Carol Ann Waugh - CO
Diane Wright - CT

Thursday, April 22, 2021


Charlie and I both had sore throats over the weekend. His was bad enough to stay home from school and have a doctor verify that it was not strep. "Just something viral going around" is not the comfort that it was back in the day.  Still, with coddling and cartoons, he's bounced back. Me, a step behind him.

In the midst of this, I was trying to finish up the three blurbs I need for the book, one for each Season. Imagine trying to sum up 300 pages in under 200 words. Advertising - that's all it is - is a mind game that will make you crazy. Now I know what Don Draper's problem really was.               

I stared at a blank page for four days just trying to come up with one or two sentences. When I gave up looking, the solution crept into a dream. I scribble a few words on the back of my voided stimulus check. I think I've got it. 

Then my laptop went belly up! Refusing to succumb to planned obsolescence, I dug in my heels, protected my files, and turned that balky bitch inside out. Delete this, copy that, and download a WTF while I'm at it. The damn thing actually reverted to Windows 7 from 10. Devils inside?  I fixed it, but I'll never trust it again. As soon as I have a real hour, I'm getting after the restoration of that Remington Model 1. 

Let's add a little more drama. We have MOLD downstairs. No shit! Doesn't everyone in Georgia have mold somewhere? The Mold Men will be here to suck it up on Monday. All this mess in service of an attempt at a mortgage refinance. Fun and games with numbers on paper. I'd rather eat dirt.

Today I managed to get a few more sets of thread up in the store and Fat Baggies are back.


Monday, April 19, 2021

sky watching

 For those of you who don't waste time on FB, I post these most evenings. Colin works at a small airport nearby with the best views of the sky. These were taken minutes apart. 

One of these nights, I'm going up there with a camp chair and just sit out on the ramp and watch. Wait for the moon to rise and the stars to come out. 

Saturday, April 17, 2021



A pause. Hopefully one that refreshes and restores.

Priorities reordered.

Back in a few.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021


 Just basted the parts I wanted to see again. Not fit to handle scissors.

What I thought would be a routine trip to the dentist turned into a marathon. I won't bore you with the details. Lots and lots of novocaine and whatever else they give you left me not in charge. Driving through Lalaland on autopilot with the music up loud will get you lost. It was a beautiful day for tooling around wondering wtf I was. Hungry but knowing there was no way I could eat anything. 

Once I finally got home, I sat with the cloth and rooted through my stash for a few hours. It's a mess in there now. I'll clean up sober.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Pool day

Not quite ready for. Close-up, Mr. Demille.

Cleanout is going to be some crusty business this year. I'm just happy to see the water level holding.

I had my first aquatherapy session at a swank fitness club today.

Muscles I haven't used in years are aggravated. 

This technical side trip worked out well.

Later, best part of the day. We have Four-leaf clover.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

gardening madness


Here was my big excitement for the weekend. The garden place. I'm admiring my own restraint. No fooling around with any vegetables this year.  Only came away with a Carolina Jasmine and some moonflower seeds for the upcoming arbor. I'm thinking about some kind of mosquito netting and proper seating so I can spend more time out there. More about that in future posts.

I lost half an hour looking for a photo from the film "The Postman" - I'm a sucker for Kevin Costner - but couldn't find the one I wanted, where he comes riding by to snatch a letter out of a little boys hand.

 I would be only too happy to stand at the top of my driveway to hand off my letters and packages to someone trampling by on horseback. Tomorrow it will be me going to the post office. 

Thursday, April 08, 2021

On the runway


The first. *Not* typical of the rest, just first readied because there was some special handling. 

I know I'm going to need more along these lines.

Sets of six are up here.

 What are you looking for? Eclectic? Close cousins? 

Regrets. International customers, 

The LOSS rate of small packages both in and out of the US is still staggering. The bottleneck seems to be US customs. I'm still doing research, but it may be a bit longer before I'm comfortable shipping overseas. 

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Conjuring Dirty Thread- the Pixies


That's right! It's finally TIME!  The first 2021 dyefest on the Lawrenceville  Frankenstein Burning Dyedeck is underway.
(Not this lot. These are long gone. But you get the picture.) 

The blanks are in the magic sauce. There are 2 yards of fairy weight linen on the work table and that Ralph Lauren top sheet waiting to receive them as they get their Blessings.

If you have a color in mind, let me know. The colors won't fly until the sun grins over the yardarm. 

This batch of Dirty Threads named in honor of yet another unsung woman, Pamela Colman-Smith, also known as Pixie. She is responsible for the artwork on the Tarot that most are familiar with, my home deck, the Rider-Waite. 

Pixie may well find her way into my next novel.

Down in the kitchen making Walt & Jesse proud.

Monday, April 05, 2021

summer soon


Good things from small packages. The cat crew helped me find my missing address book by barfing in the small traveling stitching bag and knocking another basket over in the process. 

The mail brought small, tender wonders. 

There is so much going on right now that if I let it, my head would spin. Instead, I fix my eyes on the near future. Hyacinth vines and flowers overhead shivering with honeybees.

Years ago, Jim turned a 10x10 slab of concrete into a haven by building an arbor. These vines and others covered it, the blossoms hanging down. Roses climbed up the outside. All I had to do was give water and enjoy. 

I'll build a new one, sit under it, stitch and write. Like George Washington and his figs. 

Saturday, April 03, 2021

Friday, April 02, 2021

And the winner

My copirate will be here tomorrow for a bit and we will be drawing the winner of the giveaway around noon. 

If you haven't already entered, just drop your email in that loud turquoise box over there on the right. You get one shot at some Dirty Threads and no spam, only a heads up for when Prophets Tango is available.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

mummification, day 2


All the tools and materials responded just as I remembered except I couldn't get the lid off the jar of liquid matte medium so I gouged a nice little hole in it, poured what I needed, and plugged it with tape when I was finished. No studio should be without a roll of duct tape.

The heavy matte gel is as thick as library paste. The kind that was so tasty in elementary school. I only needed it for the edges and in places where the cloth was three or four layers deep.  It's easy to thin to whatever consistency is called for.

I stayed away from the bright white stitching. The stitch lines stayed crisp.
The damasks soaked the medium up like kitty litter.

I was even able to convince that uneven edge that closer to a right angle would be more pleasing to the eye.

This piece will be ready for its photoshoot tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

the process

"The Bruised Heart" will be my first guinea pig. Finished back in the Fall, it's my favorite from the year. October, when the country seemed to be eating itself like the Ouroboros. We were all wound up pretty tight, especially here in Georgia.

I still haven't settled on the orientation for this one. My perennial problem, deciding which end is up.

This is the easy part. I've left the edges of the finished piece loose so I can fiddle the edges into line when I start working the gel medium into the cloth. 
I'll keep going back to the tutorial so I won't forget all the little nuances that I worked with and around all those years ago.

Being mindful of how the next step can darken the cloth. 

Slowly. slowly.

I have a lot of detail shots of this piece to document how it will change. See just how much I can control. And how much the cloth will do what it will.

Kill your darlings, they tell all writers. The scene that inspired this piece lives on. Dark and dangerous. A switch tripped for the main characters. Everyone right at the place of no return. 


Sunday, March 28, 2021

so, anyway...


Before anything else, Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell has totally sucked me in.  

Late last night I finished reading a scene that went on for three pages before I realized I was reading a love scene. When it was over, I clapped the book shut in despair. That's how I should have written it. Damn, it was delicious and she never even took off her boots.

Yesterday's post all full of bluster about what would go on today? Such hubris to have written it. The piece I wanted to work with is much larger than any of the canvases I have on hand. I need to go back to Goodwill to score something large enough to carry it. 

On a side note, I went there for the first time in a year. Scored a Ralph Lauren flat sheet that will become the first tablemopper of the new dye season when the sun finally graces these parts. 

Instead, I spent a little time prepping this one. It needed a piece of light batting to keep the finished piece off the canvas. Give it a little dimensionality. That was cut, fit, and stitched into place in no time.

Know your tools.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Light a Fire


I've been walking in some pretty tight circles lately. It's time to shake things up, day by day. As the interview said, "Someday is here."

There is nothing more aggravating to me than having all the materials for a project on hand and not even coming up with an excuse for not getting on with it, so, tomorrow I'm going to get this one mounted on canvas, fiber mummy style.

Has it really been eleven years since I first tried this? I have a half dozen pieces in the closet that turned out great that never got the marketing they deserve.
Something else to be remedied because it's coming up on time that I need to get that shit rolling.

But first, the work.