Wednesday, June 30, 2021


I found a nearly ready-to-go sleeve for the new tablet tucked into the top shelf of the little wicker tower beside the stitching chair. I accidentally dyed a cousin of those two bridal envelopes, this one just a bit larger than the tablet. All it needs is a little fitting, some padding and lining, and maybe an embroidered spell or two. Low priority stuff.

Reluctant to start anything as I'm watching over Sweetie to see how breakfast is going to sit (or not) with her today. It's Colin's birthday and I have to wake him after only a few hours of sleep so he can hold Sweetie for a trip to the vet, her first in ten years, I think. 

Editor and mentor Grace tells me that the files for Prophets Tango are ready to go. I can pull the trigger any time to publish electronically. Something this slacker should have been up to speed on by now. It's waited this long, it can wait until after the vet visit when I can give the process the necessary attention. 

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Nuts and bolts. Nails and screws.


Thunderstorms are lurking outside. Perfect day for settling in and tackling the gritty details of getting the book ready to publish. My task is to review each page of both print and e-versions of all three books. 1600 pages, give or take, make notes on anything in the presentation that looks wrong or awkward. Triple check ISBNs, links, etc. NOT reading it because: 
A. I start wondering who wrote this (good and bad) and get caught up in it, or 
B. God forbid I find something I want to change. Again. That activity could go on forever, so just don't go there.

Simultaneously, I learn to use a Chromebook which folds to become a tablet with a touchscreen. And Kindle and Dropbox technology is exhausting. Thank Prime day and all the 'Zon competitors for making me a deal I couldn't refuse. 

I want to make a padded cloth sleeve for it, but that would be another couple of hours of procrastination that I can't afford. Maybe tomorrow when Charlie Monday resumes.

There was a great meeting with a good friend. For three hours we occupied a booth in an old favorite restaurant- an in-depth pandemic catch up. Talking about Prophets Tango and the other books waiting in the wings sparked something in me that's been on hold for a while. Writing with a purpose. But for now, this stuff. 

My main website needs to be torn down and rebuilt it with the focus being on the book. They say coding is like riding a horse, you don't forget how, but first I have to find the horse.

I also had a great conversation with a potential reader. This self-described Millenial was not who I was thinking about as a target audience, but she had some good news for me. They are rabid readers. "KU hoes" as one Book-tokker put it. Yes, I signed on with TikTok because this young woman advised me that the marketing potential of that app is enormous. People who do nothing but short videos reviewing new books have huge followings of book-hungry readers. 

The rest of TT is pretty repellent. I don't know what drives the content to me but for ten minutes this morning, I rolled through dozens of clips of unattractive people doing mean things for the sake of filming them. The general tone is ugly, mean-spirited, and cruel. 
Glad I don't have to be user to take advantage of it.  

Meanwhile, renovations at Casa Lacativa grind on. One day next week, the landscaping company will be here. I wish I could be elsewhere while it happens, but that's not what a good GC does. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

What Summer is for


We stayed up late. Ate popsicles. Slept in, then waited for the sun, who delivered in spades by noon.

I couldn't cut those vintage linen towels up so they are working for us. As intended.

For the Solstice


Monday, June 21, 2021

Studio cleanup


Valiant effort yesterday. I can even see the navy blue carpet and most of the work table. 

The trouble started when I open the closet and took out the river basket. The intention was to empty my little project bag into the river basket, but both were already overflowing. So I start started weeding both out putting a good portion of each into the basket that I pick Fat Baggies from.

Then I got crazy.

 I made up a bunch of scrap bags each with two random skeins of Dirty Thread. Each mystery bag is $35 including postage in the US. Email me.

All that heavy weight linen I have, acres of it? None of it went into the scrap basket because it's not hand stitch friendly. Even after dyeing. I tested two squares and just gave up hand hemming them into kitchen towels. 

It takes the dye well. Would make good tote bags. But the plan is to break out that heavy duty Singer 99k and make a big deck sail. After the trees that loom over the pool are gone next week, it will hopefully give us some shade. I won't waste dye on it. 

Saturday, June 19, 2021

storm season

 Tropical storm Claudette will be on us soon. A week of clouds and rain, some heavy they say. The plants and wildlife around here are grateful. 

From the stitching chair, there was a brief splash of sun before the cloud cover solidified.  I held this piece of cotton up to the light and did my best to capture what my eye was seeing.

Some times there are pieces that you cannot cut, use, give away, or sell. This is one. 

I was folding and putting away all the cloth that's come of the latest dye sessions. Taking some time to make some order here in the studio and life in general. 

The store will be closed for a summer vacation. 

Writing and family stuff taking precedence for a while. One thing I've learned, cloth and thread are patient.

Thursday, June 17, 2021


Things got 💙plum💙 out of hand on the dye deck yesterday. 

I remembered the unpredictable fun of discharging freshly dyed cloth. The great Put & Take.
Tomorrow is shipping day so if you ordered recently, some of this will be in the bag.

Meanwhile, Charlie has mastered the art of dragonfly taming. They love him.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Drifting through time


Killing time is a hideous expression. I've always thought about not having enough time. And the people who ran out of time when they thought they had more. 

 There was a bit of waiting for time to pass today, but I can't bear the thought of time passing without something coming of it -  something being done, made, created.

I've been sick for a solid week with an ornery cold that wanders between my head and chest depending on nothing. I have been cranky and anxious. But walking around stoned all day on a string of the most luxurious, cinematic dreams
compensating for the day-long sigh heaving.

While waiting for the medicine to kick in this morning, I mixed colors because it was easier than making coffee. Had two satisfactory appointments with contractors before 10. Landscaping and gutters scored. 

Transformed more  of that vintage cloth on the deck while waiting until it was time for my Covid test. Watched parts of that old movie waiting for the results (negative) and the dye to strike (positive). What else is there so easy to discover these days? And for free.

Just finished committing this latest piece to a canvas, every stroke telling me that I've made a mistake, but I know better. I also know what I'm procrastinating about, of course.

Saturday, June 12, 2021


Another 30 pound box of vintage cloth arrived yesterday. Our mail lady (who might weigh a hundred pounds) was grateful that Colin met her up at the street. It was pouring rain. He had all he could do to hold the package and an umbrella.

I used to think I had a pretty sharp eye when it came to cloth. Silly me. I spent too much time with my nose in the air only consorting with fine vintage damasks. 

I have little to no experience with what might be called "common" cloth. The everyday stuff that people used to make their own clothes and household linens with back before store-bought was anyone's first option. 

The yellow is an almost lawn weight, yarn dyed cotton. The yard I have is pristine and I'm told there is a rainbow and yards still to be had because I told my source "no colors". I'm so glad he didn't listen. I may go back into the Fling business, this cloth is so nice.

The creamy cloth at the bottom is so intriguing. My first impression was a silk noil, but not as nubby and more tightly woven. Loomed at only 28" wide, it's a service weight linen, possibly flax. I left the picture large, so zoom in and tell me what you think. I have maybe fifty yards of this cloth. I'm going to do a burn test later, just to see what I can learn. Then dye a square of it. See how it likes color. 

It's heavy enough that I can see people using it whole as a base. I'm thinking flags, banners, even waxed floor cloths. 

Meanwhile, almost all of the cloth in the previous post has gone into the scrap basket and is available. It's been some time since the basket has hosted such a vibrant and varied batch of cloth. Nothing takes dye like vintage fabrics. 

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

All Aces


Updated. Tomorrow is ship day. If you've ordered Fat Baggies of Scrap, some of this lot will be coming along for the ride!

10ish. Rain is bumping on the roof, the Night Jazz channel on the TV is murmuring, cats and a child snoring beside me. 

As this day started at dark o'clock, I'm done. Enjoy.

Monday, June 07, 2021

Wheels redux


One more time, Jake has revived Jim's pickup. A major engine rebuild this time. Here's hoping we can wring another 100k mile out of it. It still has to be driven a bit, then pass emissions, then update the registration. All doable tasks, one at a time. 

I'm sure the neighbors are glad to see it put back together instead of up on jacks with its guts strewn about the driveway.

There's nothing like getting drunk on fragrance with my morning coffee. 

And this valiant little sunflower popping up in the middle of the venerable mother lavender. Only three feet tall and grinning at us already.
                    My small flower beds are coming on strong and summer has just begun. 

Of course, the water is still too cold for these old bones and the pump is having a small fit for itself. Issues. I know I'm going to hate it after the landscapers scalp away all that greenery, but it has to happen. That's poison ivy hanging over the back edge of the water.  I went to the grocery store for apples and came home with pool noodles.

Friday, June 04, 2021

It was a grand day


Forty-five years ago we threw a party in the backyard, invited all our friends and family and a judge.

It was a day just like today and it still feels like yesterday.

Thursday, June 03, 2021

those cloth envelopes

It's going to take more digging. I was all on board with the idea that these were intended to protect silk stockings and other delicates, 
but, on closer examination, each has a different monogram. 

I can't even make out what the letters are, the font is so elaborate. Any guesses.

The camera has brightened reality. They are yellowed a bit. I'm sure never used for whatever intended purpose.

 The stitches that join the sides together are so very tiny.

She made the nuns proud, I'm sure.

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Aged and spiced


I got mine. Posed here on some of that Sicilian trousseau. The same dimensions as a modern business-sized envelope, I wonder what these pockets were intended for? Wedding cash?

There was a breeze in the night and this lot of loose loops was flipped off the table down to the dirt and detritus below the deck. I'm not the least bit pained.

But don't look for a repeat of this as a technique. I had to wash slug slime off the top one! God only knows what crawled over them or tasted them in the night.

I was looking for another set of stone and sand colors. Instead, I got dark deeds, old cemetery flowers, magic, and fading hope. 

The cousins are here.