Sunday, December 31, 2023

New pov

Before any wayfinding, the starting place ~ gratitude.

This instant? Grateful that this ancient Win7 Acer booted up and gave me access to the only graphics program I ever spent any time learning. PSP5 still gets my banners done! 

But a warning to me to not allow skills to rust. Stay busy with a wider array of tools and objectives.

Do you think that banner is a sunset or a sunrise?

Thursday, December 28, 2023

the need for change

We pulled over when we saw them on the hill.
 I  rolled down the window and honked out a passable donkey "Howdy!  They left off snacking and trotted right up to the fence. No reply but, the swiveling ears. I dub them Colorado and Maine.

The first week of winter break behind us, I'll have a long weekend at home and in the studio, then back to the county.

Change is in the air. I'd make a list, but that's the kiss of death. The things I've been thinking will come to life. 

Meanwhile, I'm spending this evening with Stanley Tucci looking for Italy in all the damned kitchens and restaurants. In Umbria, a squadra of women hunt boars.


Thursday, December 21, 2023

A deep dive


I watched "Maestro". I'll wait a while before I comment on the film.

    We spoke once. 
     How many of you can recall how rich and immediate a human voice could be on the phone? Real phones connected by webs and switches of copper presided over by women. The Operators.
It was a dark early winter evening. Somewhere in Manhattan I connected a call. Three rings and a woman answered with a curt "Yes?" I sensed a secretary annoyed at having to work late. 
    "I have a person to person call for Leonard Bernstein." I pronounced it exactly like the caller had. 
   The woman said, "Who's calling?"

   That was none of her business because she wasn't Leonard Bernstein and this expensive service would not start earning for Ma Bell until the man himself was on the phone, but I had to be business like about it. 
    "Is Mr. Bernstein available?"
She got the message and clunked the handset down.
   I knew who he was to a point. In 1969 I had little musical interests beyond Led Zeppelin, Santana or the Stones. I had never heard his voice.
   "You got me out of the bath. This better be good." Wet or not, he lit a cigarette. His voice was thick and sexy.
    I go pro. "Mr. Bernstein?" 
 "Yes, my dear, put them on but I'd rather talk to you."
  How full of snappy comebacks do you think I was at twenty? Zip.
   As trained, I evaporated. Closed the switch, wrote down the time to the second, slotted the punch card, and took the next call. Smiling. 

Monday, December 18, 2023

holiday shopping - not


I went to the post office yesterday. Madness! You'd think they were giving away gold bricks instead of making you wait an hour to cough one up! I might go back in a day or two when people give up the illusion of stuff getting where it's going in time for Christmas.

As of today, you won't get any from me in time for Christmas gifting, especially this one which just might slither out of the inventory basket into my own stash. Devil, get behind me.

There are plenty more here and here.

😎And just now, something new. Fancy Bags until they are all gone.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Peace for a moment

It was too cold to go meteor-watching last night, but this was worth the chill. I read that the full moon falls on Christmas this year. There will be better shots.

Jude is a 'fluencer. 
Feathers are everywhere.

When I got home, I settled in to see the last season of the Crown. There was a lot of weeping, while I faked away at these feathers. 

Years ago I pulled swan feathers out of my imagination. This time I came up with feathers from some rough customer. A Harpy Eagle, maybe. 

Thursday, December 14, 2023


Liz very kindly intuited that this piece was needed at home and I'm very grateful. It's hard to put a finger on all that has changed since I made this one. Much and little.

The part that interests me is that I never loved this piece until it was gone. My mantra during most of the construction was, "Now what the fuck?" Large pieces will get out of hand in a heartbeat if you let technique have its head. Constant control over the design is exhausting when all you want to do is fall into exuberant color beats, make warp and weft go organic, and cover the thing with stitches. 

I have a very large starting point and cast of character rolled up in the closet. Large enough that I'm considering building it with the machine rather than by hand. Either way, I'll be clearing off the design wall soon. Get it underway. 
I can't swear at something until it gets real.

 I wonder if anyone noticed that I cannibalized the unresolved "Firmament" for this one. I lost my way with that one. Summer of 2013. 


I had all good intentions of getting outside for a few steps, but when this old throw (fresh from the washer & dryer) came out from under Bailey, I noticed it was coming apart around the edges. And Lo! I happen to have a cone of thread that was very close. 

l'audace? I was listening to a foreign movie last night when I fell asleep. It's been a long time since I dreamed in French. Tonight, I'll find an Italian film. 

There was a haircut. Really. Chunks all over the carpet. 
I just didn't go far enough, YouTube videos only show DIY haircuts by young things with stick-straight hair. I had to improvise. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

As dealt

 Choice, chance, and/or change. 

 Maybe I haven't been around enough to know if this is an original layout. If anyone recognizes it, please clue me. 

Regarding no particular question. (Great way to wiggle out a story, isn't it?) All you need is the gift of gab, a Master of Bullshit, with minors in Woo-woo and Sociology. A quick read:

A loss or setback is easier to take if you're not the victim but the instigator of the change. Be open to anything and everything, but guard against overindulging physically and emotionally. That hollow feeling the day after the party only gets harder to shake. 

finding the horizon

I've known for a while that, as one ages, injuries take longer to heal. Illnesses, even nonsense like a cold, take longer to get over. 

This also seems to hold true with emotional doldrums, upsets, or other internalized grievances be they real or drummed up. There is no easy fix. 

I know all the steps and I'm taking them. These days the steps are necessarily shorter, so results seem further into the future than I care to look. 

So, I do what I have always done my whole life. Watch my steps. When I was a teen there were several injuries. I raised hell poorly.  The nurse who gave me bad advice on how to use crutches was adamant. "Watch your feet."  

Good advice was hard to come by once you were out of the ER with everything mostly intact. The follow-up with physical therapy should have included, "Now that you are healed, watch where you are going." There wasn't any PT. I didn't learn to keep my eyes on the horizon until I was driving (legally) many years later. I wish I could remember who said that. I owe them.

As of this moment, I'm looking ahead. Baby steps. No retreat.
To quote our friend, "Just Going".

The eye candy? I bought the marble maze off of FB marketplace. With a little discernment, a great way to score cool stuff and help your neighbors out of their hoarding. I love playing with this as much as Charlie. He has his at home. This set stays with me.

His love of and initiation into good music continues. At a mere nine, he doesn't seem to have the pre-Christmas frenzy that some kids fall into. He hasn't asked me for anything in particular so I will have to come up with something. Be creative.

I broke my featherweight out of the closet to dust and take better pictures. Of course, I threaded it up and test-drove it a bit. The stitching as smooth and dependable as ever. 

I read somewhere that some quilters can look at a quilt and tell that it was done on a Singer Featherweight. I believe it.

I went as far as dipping into the cloth closet to see if there was anything that called me to complete it. There were several. Two machine-pieced tops ready to be sandwiched, backed, and quilted. A big tub full of bits and pieces of commercial prints that I used to work with before I took up dyeing. Yes, that long ago. But nothing grabbed me by the hair, so I'll stay with the plan to sell it. Email me if you want details or more pictures. 

Hearts are flexible if you meet them halfway with a little care and attention.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

As promised

 There was no rest for the wicked today, but there'll be a party tonight! 

Among many other useful things accomplished today, the Wandering Hearts are in the Gallery. 

And our outdoor Christmas lights are up! The ones I never took off the mailbox garden last Spring when my elderly neighbor said they lift her heart last thing before she goes to bed at night. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Treading time

Clear to me now. These are some desperate procrastination. Busting out the art when I'm not handling the grown-up details. 
Ain't it the way?
-book four and another are resting like dough. (How long can one get away with that dough thing?)
-There's a shitpot of cloth and thread standing by. 
-A flying wedge of Wandering Hearts.
So much art that needs to be looked at again, hard. If it's held up, there needs to be some serious marketing.
-There are three books waiting to be combed for cooties once again and then resubmitted to KDP, a scary process these days.
-that will and TOD-likely spendy.
-Bite the tax bullet. Not my first  IRS rodeo.
A tarot practice waiting for its moment. tapping its toe.

What did I do? Finish this one with another episode of Stanley Tucci-Searching for Italy on MAX. It's been a long time since anything on TV was that entertaining. Springsteen on Broadway or Hamilton-level entertaining.

I'll take an item from that list over coffee tomorrow. Oh, here's an action item!
 I have a Singer Centennial Featherweight hoping to get some action. Languishing in my closet is just wrong. Email me for the price and details if you have a yen for a sweet running, tiny machine. Case and attachments included.


Sunday, November 26, 2023

Shifting shades


Madame Salem is one of those cats who has a lot of opinions but uses only one sound to express them. Her clipped, breathy "mew" can be annoyed, reproachful, warning...the less said, the better.

I'm in a listening mode myself lately. Less likely to cut someone with my tongue.

It's a winter thing, listening for snow that doesn't fall. Remembering laughter and smiling at the joke. Harkening for those herald angels and the sound of the town plows after midnight.

Or maybe, it's just a turkey hangover. 

Thanks, ds, for reminding me that the Wandering Hearts page needs updating. 

And this thread! Like a summer vacation.  I recently used the last foot of it. Now to dream about how it came to be. I think Deep Space, Pagoda, and Sun Gold in a three-way stretch over some kosher salt. My kitchen is in for some kind of mess in the coming weeks.


 Jake and Missy were fabulous hosts for their first Thanksgiving in their new home. Twenty? Twenty-five friends and family,  not counting kids? I lost track. 

 Do you remember this when a gathering got too large? As the eldest of four with a handful of younger cousins, I was always irked with being the head of the kid's table. All I could hope for was that they would eat quickly, not spill their milk, and leave the table. 

With our parents gone ten years now, my sibs, each in their own way, are still working on establishing new traditions and bemoaning the loss of others. My mother's handwritten stuffing recipe got flashed around the internet while I instructed Jake on it firsthand. It was delicious. 

I distinctly remember that my first Thanksgiving at the grownup table was the year of Kennedy's assassination. I think I earned my seat when I  was watching live TV with my dad, uncle, and grandfather and witnessed Lee Harvey Oswald get removed from the equation. 

 I wouldn't call the Thanksgiving table discussion politics exactly. The adult men had somber opinions and hypotheses, but all the women did was try to steer the conversation away from world affairs to local gossip and pop culture. I watched and listened.

This was the first year that I really felt like an Elder. I remember how my grandmother would disappear at midday for a nap at holiday gatherings. I wanted to, but I didn't. I don't want to miss a thing.

I left Danielsville just after sunset and drove home alone arriving well after dark. I fed and coddled the cat crew and conked out early. This devil moon woke me up around two am. 

The clouds parted just long enough for me to grab a few quick and dirty shots and to recognize that I really needed to clean the glass, inside and out.

And speaking of devils, I watched this little heartbreaker flirting shamelessly with a young cousin who, at 20, giggled that he thought she was a teenager. He smoothly performed the "Coin From Your Ear" magic trick for her. Look out world.

Monday, November 20, 2023


 This is how the river keeps rolling.

 I found this working CD player in Jim's desk. We had an extensive vinyl collection at one time. One by one, the favorites were replaced by CDs. Many of those are deteriorating with age or rough handling, but I had some gems squirreled away. Charlie is charmed by yet another piece of ancient technology.

Friday, November 17, 2023

A decade

 Proof to me that time is not linear. Jim's been gone ten years now. For me, ever-present. Sometimes, I still feel he's just gone to the store and should be home soon. 

Although he was almost always smiling or clowning around, this is a good look at a smart, serious guy staring down some big picture. Making a plan and a backup. He took care and let me be a goofy butterfly. 

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Treading time


Thinking ahead to the holidays, but I have to work harder at it these days. The festivities, that is. Gratitude comes easier.

I've just come off a three-day struggle with one scene. The one that strikes the match to much of what comes after. I closed the laptop on it well after midnight and have not yet reread it. 
But I will. Words are much more forgiving than cloth or stitch. 

Two completely different stories are coming into focus at the same time...I need a walk. 

    I moved the story excerpt here

Tuesday, November 14, 2023


There's a conspiracy brewing out on the Island. It got away from me early this year. All the perennial seeds I tossed around so casually didn't stand much of a chance against the unchecked weeds. A few brave zinnias, cosmos, and marigolds made statements here and there. For the most part, it's a jungle. Still, there was a lot of flowering stuff that attracted pollinators so I didn't do anything drastic. Like, set it all on fire. 

For now, the rotting pumpkins, some squishy potatoes, sprouted onions, and garlic will languish until I call a pro to plow it all under so I can start fresh in the spring. The gardenias up in the mailbox garden continue to bloom. I'll pick some more today and cut the mildewed peony leaves and butterfly bush back down to the ground. Easy pickin's.

Saturday, November 11, 2023


 Charlie was delighted with the idea of comics being tucked in with each piece of gum. 

After I commiserated with him (he can't have gum due to some fancy dental work) I showed him the real fun of bubble gum. So glad I kept the camera on him.

Thursday, November 09, 2023


 ... Ghosts. Souls. 
    There are a lot more names for the Others in English alone. More beautiful names in other languages. Fantasma, esprit, iwin. Every culture in the world acknowledges the existence of the energy that animates us. Shadows that ripple, the scent of magnolias in December, and the feeling that you are not alone when you are the only one in the room. Figures in the cloth. 
Animals know. Why struggle to explain? They just are. 

I've been struggling for a little while with the new story. Not writer's block, but a lack of "why". An internet rabbit hole took me to a British police procedural from 2015 titled "River" starring Stellan Skarsgard. He's a police detective trying to solve the brutal murder of his female partner. 

Her ghost and others will not give him a break. I don't usually binge on TV but the timing was right and I absorbed all six episodes. The writers seemed hell bent on making River seem or feel that he was broken. All of the spirits had various coy axes to grind. 

Would it ever occur to anyone that displaced souls might be mostly clueless as to their purpose? Still and all, I gave the show a solid A. Did not want to sue anyone to recover my afternoon/evening. 

Here I was critiquing an old TV show when I remembered that my two main characters do not have to advance the story all on their own. I had forgotten about the ghosts! I felt like someone just handed over the large handful of pieces that were missing from a thousand piece jigsaw. 
Now to put them to work and, maybe, finally wise them up.