Saturday, May 29, 2021


 I'm so honored to have my raw materials used by Liz in honor of Eric Carle and Lois Ehlert. 

Her little caterpillar makes my heart ache.

water life


He makes it So.

Friday, May 28, 2021

A smooth and gentle Friday


One of these days I'll have a phone that will see what I see in the dark. The moon was setting through the trees and the sky was still dark. A shift in temperature had caused all the night speakers to go quiet. I was off to get Charlie. 

It was a big day for House Lacativa. 
A lawyer came to the house and I put my pawprint on a lot of paper to finalize the refinance of the mortgage. Imagine a closing taking all of ten minutes! The interest rate is half of what I was paying before and I took some equity out for some much-needed and long delayed repairs. Now to start lining up legit contractors for the stuff Colin can't do himself. 

Charlie wanted to know why the Businessman (he had a briefcase) did not wear a black robe. A long conversation ensued about judges, courts, etc. It's always word domino with him and I love it. 

No school and no organized daycare this week, but that's okay. As of next week, we'll keep company only on Wednesdays. Perhaps more as things shift for me, workwise.

A fan of Waffle (Awful) House, he gave in to my suggestion of someplace a step up to celebrate the end of school. We both struggled to get the word "croissant" out of our mouths with the proper accent, but he had no problem fitting one into his mouth.

For those who have been enjoying the Briscoe Field sunsets that Colin shoots almost nightly, this will be among the last for a while. His shift is changing to the overnight, so we'll see what magic he works with sunrises in the days ahead.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

The shocking passage of time


It's been four or five years since I bought this gardenia. It was an Easter leftover and marked down for Death when I rescued it from the grocery store.  It was only two feet tall and half of that pot.

The peonies had finished their annual show and I put it in the ground between them, a foot or so behind the mailbox. Gave it a good watering and told it "Good Luck." Last year it was July before it surprised me with a couple flowers. 

We haven't had a drop of rain in over three weeks and for the first time, the gardenia is covered with buds. Colin has been carrying five-gallon jugs of water up there for me. I'm afraid if I don't give it and the struggling butterfly bush water, the buds will just fall off. 

It's time to invest in a few hoses. 

The back deck garden is taking off. Not wasting my time on peppers or tomatoes this year. Something took bites out of everything that grew last year. Flowers and herbs are enough. 

Here's that rascal Petaluma, portulaca, proscuitto, pontificator............PURSLANE and her potmate Lanata, discussing the eggshells and coffee grounds that I was too lazy to spade under the dirt. 

Caving in to bad judgement, I'm working on a new piece of witchery, I mean, stitchery. If nothing else crosses my mind for an hour these days, I consider myself fortunate. 

Somewhere I read about a Bring Sleep mantra used by soldiers who must sleep when they can, no time to waste. Slow your breathing and think "Don't think....don't think......don't think." It works for me.

The first batch of cloth from the Sicilian Trousseau batch of cloth has already gone into the scrap mix.

If you ordered anything in the last ten days, I went to the post office yesterday. The two-foot-long receipt listed Saturday as arrival for all of the packages no matter where they were headed. Thank you all for supporting my madness.

Today is the last day of first grade. Celebrated yesterday with a summer haircut.

Sunday, May 23, 2021


 Even though summer just kicked in. 

Never mind all the juicy wet pictures. We know better.

Less fierce, of course, but still gorgeous. I dried everything on the line in the sun and even the stiffest lines have relaxed.

Most of this is now in the Fat Baggy scrap basket. I left some of the pieces of linen pretty large, 10"x10", give or take. They will make nice bases. There are a lot of fringes from the linen tea towels, some embroidery, and cut-work, all fanciful with color.

I'm done with the dye deck until I can get my assistant to put up the canopy, but first, the pool clean up. Finally.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Saturday on the dye deck

 I'm not doing any marathons anymore. A full day of dyeing just kicks my ass to the point where I'm useless the next day. This much is manageable. And because I have to work tonight, there will be no sneak peeks. These panels are going to cook out there the 85 degree Heat until tomorrow. Supreme batching.

This lot is mostly plain cotton. There were several yards of varying weights of muslin. A few more of those linen tea towels (there must be two dozen of them) and a cotton nightgown with a fancy cutwork  yoke and shoulder straps. I may wind up keeping that for myself.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

just a toe in the water


a small sample of nearly fifty pounds of vintage cloth.
Not that I had any doubts, but all of this cloth will take whatever color I give it - voraciously.

Most of these things are linen of varying weights and weaves. Yardage. Hand towels, table drapes, decorative things all oddly unused. I'm still thinking much of it was a bridal trousseau for a bride who may have been left at the altar.

This dark piece is a very odd apron, made to pin at the shoulders rather than tie. 
These pieces have been in clean, dry storage for thirty or forty years. Maybe more. When I opened the boxes, the fragrance (I'm being nice here) reminded me instantly of several of my Italian aunts. Dusty, sweet and cloying. The fragrance "Maja" comes to mind. I was on a mission to expunge the odor. 

Machine washing in Synthrapol, Dawn, and baking soda almost did it. 24 hours in the sunshine and fresh air did more.
A long dye batching overnight on the deck, then another hot and frothy machine wash. Another 24 hours on the line finished the job. If you think I'm ironing this stuff, you're crazy. It's as tough and wrinkly as my Italian aunties were.
Going forward, I'm just going to spew this stuff around the deck and leave the heavy lifting to the weather. 

Saturday, May 15, 2021

catching a break, a breath, and a wave


Cold, cold this morning. I left the heat shut down because of the Mold Men monkey business in the room below mine. They get to wear hazmat suits. I get to tape up all the vents and electrical outlets and worry myself baldheaded over where each cat is and what's that smell? 
They came to retest, took back their nifty hepa filter machines, and swore we'd pass. The appraiser was here, took some more pictures with a trainee in tow.

It's all out of my control now, but my real worry for the day was Charlie getting major dental work done that needed anesthesia. What's a Nana to do about that but fret.

He was FINE. Mom and Dad by his side and came by today to show me all his silver choppers. He's FINE.

Early this morning I found this piece in the project bag. It had a big maybe on it when I tucked it away. After minimal fiddling, this morning I gave it the green light and basted it while listening to some music with (almost) no thoughts in my head. As if.

A secondary character gets called up to The Show. (It turns out that Lady Gray, isn't a lady at all and we are told it's none of our damned business what is under her dress. Smack.) ---this is what writers do.

These are the last shreds of damask in my stash. I'm so hoping the new arrivals will be suitable for the tricks I want to teach them.
There are a few new colors that hitchhiked here along with some soy wax from Dharmatrading. There will be resisting!

This freckled cloth is so delicate and soft. It feels like baby skin. 

Strange business today. After Jake and Charlie left, Sweetie and I tucked ourselves in for the mandatory siesta (I work until 12:15am).  Twenty minutes into my allotted hour, a solid thump on the front step woke me. I'm expecting two big boxes of cloth from NY so I staggered downstairs to thank the delivery person. Opened the door. Nothing. Hmm. I went back upstairs to see if the truck was still in the driveway. Nothing. A second thump from below. Again, nothing on the doorstep. Assuming my ears were failing to report properly, I walked around the house looking for the source of the sound.  My imagination? Why would anticipation wake me from a much-needed nap.

A call to my source for tracking numbers assured me that the boxes were still on the camels plodding their way here, ETA Monday evening. 

The sounds? To be continued. I really want the parrot. You know the one.

Good night all.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

not quite ennui


I feel like this sunset. Unsettled. The ongoing mortgage refinancing saga is exhausting. I hate it. It all reminds me of how completely spoiled I was when Jim handled this kind of thing. Remodeling, replacing appliances, anything like that. I was sent away - the beach, a friend's place, hotel, didn't matter. I came home when the last of the sawdust was swept up, my only job was to enjoy the end results and praise the GC, of course. 

Our weather here doesn't know whether to shit or go blind. I put off planting seeds until this past weekend. I hope the indigos are hardy. I still don't know what I plan to do with it if it survives living in a 20-gallon fiber tub. 

Tomorrow I'm going looking for more of these, #$%@&!  
Have you ever had a word that simply skitters out of your brain like a drop of water on a hot skillet?? PURSLANE! It's purslane. I'm tempted to get a lovely wristlet tattooed on with purslane clutched in the dragon's claws, the flowers around his neck. 

I ran out in the dark and rain Monday night to cut these and bring them in before they got knocked flat. I forgot about the ants. A small troop of them were marching around on the kitchen table all going "WTF?" as I trimmed leaves and arranged the stems. I just let them be. The window was open. Ants are smart. I also forgot about the heavy perfume. Whew, these gals are redolent. 

I don't think the darker pinks have set any buds this year. The garden needs a bunch of TLC and a few bags of Black Cow. 

We were hoping to get the truck up and running. It cranked and ran, beautifully and smoothly, but today, Jake found something leaking wrongly. Something that may be a bigger pain in the ass than we anticipated. At what fine delicate point do I stop throwing good money after bad? 
I spent some time making some much-needed changes to the manuscript while the nuts and bolts of self-publishing continue to reveal themselves as pesky, complicated, but not unsolvable. I'm just not in the damn mood. One at a time, questions will be answered.

In the meantime, we live life.

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.