Sunday, July 30, 2023

Dirty Threads - shops updated 7.31.23


If you've ordered anything in the past week, it will be shipped tomorrow. 

My personal stash is running low. Time to plan another dye fest. 

Wild hearts

Things to consider before pillaging another WIP for shapes of any kind:

How many layers of what type of cloth will I be working with?

Will cut lines of stitching unravel in time? 

Can it be faced or will it need to be bound?

Hand-bound or machine? 

This was originally built on a piece of heavy linen. Tough stitching and snipping. I will set up the Janome to put a fine satin stitch on the edge.

These are all things I didn't think about before starting because I was so focused on the design. 

In my writing, I've gotten too focused on the details and lost sight (did I ever have it?) of the design and the whole story.  

Packing for the last short week of summer with Charlie. Leaving stitching behind this time.

Friday, July 28, 2023


 Grrrr. After arriving on time and waiting 45 minutes only to hear  there were five patients ahead of me, I gave the receptionist a "fuck this shit" face and told her I was out. She commiserated silently - the waiting room was packed. I will call to reschedule. On with a quiet day.

All the wandering hearts may have been practice for this: ripping some hearts out of a UFO whose days were numbered. There are lots of those laying around.

 The same thing is likely for the story I've been wrangling. 

The heart has been obscured by plot wriggling. It may even be missing.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Summer winding down


I stitch or read. Think about writing. We play cards and listen to music. The most remarkable thing? The boy has taken a liking to Jazz. Old school jazz. Oscar Peterson, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins. Of course, he heard it all from the days when he was in the crook of my arm.

When the sun gets past the yardarm and there's some shade we enjoy a nearby pool. Just us. They go back to school next Friday.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Biding time... better than just waiting.

 She's tolerating it much better than I expected. At first, she walked as if she'd stepped in shit, picking her leg up and shaking it. We distracted her and she started moving around putting the bound leg down.  Only a half hour at a time, at first. Then gradually working up to eight hours a day. I know that she still has pain. Just hoping this gives her a little respite.

This morning she took a few halting steps after I removed the brace, but on her foot, almost normally.  Did I imagine it? Time will tell.

I was able to snag a doctor's visit today also. I wasn't expecting xrays and, without meaning to, the tech made me swear and cry. The PA who followed up with the new xrays and my recent MRI asked if I had done any rodeo.
 Good news - my hip bones are fine. Bad news - discs at L4-L5 and L5-S1 are bulging out and impinging on many nerves. She gathered up all my other symptoms and seemed confident that epidural injections in those places will take care of the worst of my symptoms. Whatever you say, doc. Bring it on.

I watered the deck farm when I got home, trying to make it rain. Maybe later tonight but the plant people were looking limp. The backyard has pretty much gone to wild hell. Then I leaned out over the railing and saw this. Now to figure out how to encourage them to take the joint over

While I wait for the wheels of insurance bureaucracy to grind, I started a chocolate heart. 

Last week, I was gifted a tiny box with four chocolate truffles in it. I ate one just before I went to sleep. Tucked the box closed and put it on the headboard. In the morning, the three truffles were gone. 
I ate them in my sleep!

Monday, July 17, 2023


Camilla's leg brace is supposed to come today. It remains to be seen if she will tolerate it. I'd love to see her out in the front yard chasing her tail and her shadow, but how to keep her from running off, if she can? If she won't tolerate it, will surgery fix it? Make it right?  The medication they gave her has finally worn off. I know she feels pain at the injury because she licks it after hobbling around. 

I'm waiting for a call back from the spine doctor. Can they dig? Will they? Is there a drug that won't erase who I am along with the pain? 

We wait. 
We keep each other company.
We dream. 


Friday, July 14, 2023

A gardener's heart

I miss gardening. It's hard work if done right. The digging, the hauling the planting, and watering. All of it is beyond me this season. And I admit that summers in Georgia will get to you. I take it in small sips. 

I don't mean growing roses or pansies, that I can manage within limits. I miss growing something you can harvest and use. Planting seeds and bringing something to the kitchen to serve and eat is a special kind of magic. If I lived in a state where it was legal, I would be in ganja glory. There is a weed that takes some coddling. 

My people on both sides grew or peddled produce. Victory gardens were not a wartime novelty. Mom's father sold fruit and vegetable from a cart in the streets of Providence - that's all I know about him. 

My father's family were tenant farmers in Connecticut and ran a roadside produce shed. As a very young child, I was left there in the care of my aunt or uncle. I played in the dirt with potatoes, eating all the freshly picked berries I could hold. I snapped beans and shelled peas with my grandmother before I was in kindergarten. A life in the dirt. 

Tomatoes and broccoli are really all I've ever gotten right. When I showed the boys the two fat stalks of broccoli I managed to wring out of the soil, they ran and hid. Both of them wildly averse to eating vegetables, I gave that struggle up when their pediatrician said, "If they eat some kind of fruit every day, that's good enough."

So I got the broccoli all to myself. Steamed it in a Pyrex bowl in the microwave. Butter, a little salt. Colin yelled, "What's that STINK!". I sat at the table and enjoyed it down to the last morsel. In the bottom of the bowl were three fat, well-poached worms, green as the broccoli had been. No extra charge for the protein.

I'm disappointed with the Wood Chip pile Chaos garden out front. My pumpkins accidentally got mowed, The watermelons died from lack of water. I forgot they were out there in the weeds. The balance between perennials and weeds is out of whack. The tall stuff is poke weed. Privet is popping up everywhere and there's plenty of poison ivy and some low creeping stuff that carpets the ground and sticks to you like burrs. The cats won't even hunt in there anymore. I'm tempted to call Jose and order another truckload of wood chips and just bury it all. 

Out back on the dye deck, the dumpster rescues flourish without any attention from me at all besides a good soak if we don't get rain on the fifth day. Lately, it's been every night.

I think this is Bougainvillea. I know it will die if I don't bring it back inside in the fall. Good luck.

This is Swedish ivy on the steroids of the heat and humidity of our summer. 

 My lone tomato plant. Those are about the size of a quarter and I will eat them as they ripen.  One by one.

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Dirty Threads


With a post title like that, I will likely haul in any number of people stumbling around looking for the Twitter replacement. If that's you, sorry. I won't be going there either. It's bad enough that I am contemplating fooling around with AI to generate an image that keeps popping up in dreams.

 I'm talking about hand-dyed, six-strand, cotton embroidery thread. 

These are waiting for their groupings and glamor shots, but I created a new page to handle more postings. 

It's likely to be August before another dye fest. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2023



I caught her up on my bed wrestling with the stuffed octopus. After about five minutes (while I staggered around the perimeter to make sure she didn't fall or jump off) she just snuggled up to it and fell asleep. No complaining, no whining, just doing the best she could under the circumstances.

I am taking lessons in pain management from a cat. 

Camilla and I are deeply grateful to distant friends. 

Monday, July 10, 2023

Hearts & Wheels


This one took a little longer, but I've had idle time on my hands keeping an eye on Camilla. Whatever the drug they gave her on Saturday, she's still under the influence. Wiggling and rolling around on the floor, looking for contact, but happy to draw blood in her clumsy exuberance. She may be happy now, but I'll be happy when the drug wears off and she returns to her quiet, mostly gentle ways. 

I'll never get good pictures, but the youth of the bluebird gang have been splashing around in the big clay dish I keep up in the grove. Yesterday it was a muddy mess and they were having a ball. I felt bad about the state of it, so I cleaned and refilled it. To spite me, they are keeping their distance so far. 

Hearts I have. Wheels, not. On the way home from the store yesterday Jumping Jack Flash spiked a sudden fever, but not so bad that I had to call AAA. Home safe. Jake and Missy arrived to pick up his truck and Jake diagnosed a cracked thermostat housing. Parts will be here on Wednesday. Till then, we chill.

Sunday, July 09, 2023

Big little lives


She'll be just fine, in time, according to the vet. 

Colin couldn't find her when he got home from work.  The little girl wasn't missing at all but locked out on the high deck because I didn't look twice and was hurrying to get out of Dodge. I feel terrible.

No one saw it happen but she had a compression fracture of her right wrist due to a fall and lousy landing. Bad landings are the only kind Camilla has, even from a chair to the floor, due to her rough start in life. I have never seen a clumsier cat.

The X-rays were straightforward. The same cluster of bones we break when we put out a hand to catch a fall was pretty jumbled up. He said with rest and inactivity they would mostly sort themselves out. To help the healing they administered a high-powered painkiller that will last up to a week. The little girl is stoned out of her gourd and getting a Masters degree in chilling out.

She's eating, drinking and using her sandbox - all good signs. 

Her buddies are concerned...

...but not so concerned about eating her food.

(The underneath of my new bed is cool, clean, dark, and clutter-free. I'd nap under there if I could fit.)

Friday, July 07, 2023

Every day is Sunday


When the fireworks go off every night for a week.
Four in the afternoon yesterday. This was the third thunderstorm of the day. It got so dark that the solar Christmas lights wrapped around the mailbox garden came on. Within the hour, the sun was back out and everything was steaming.

The girls love hanging out on the high deck in the sun. They know I'm not likely to come out there after them. In case I forget, they have a big pan of rain water.

 See my sunflowers on the dye deck? 
The fireflies and bats come out at night.

Inside, I've cleaned and replenished my stash. Now I have to wait for my right arm to rest and recover.

I'm adding new sets of threads to the store.


Monday, July 03, 2023

Time stands still

All and all, a very good save.

I'll be putting most of these up for sale in the store in the coming weeks.

I wish there was some way to show them one by one, but I really hate the shopkeeping that goes along with that.

Will she ever get over harping about those bloody blues?  Not any time soon.

Meanwhile, I'm staring at the color charts again.


We had an overnight and half a day that was a delight. There were no electronics and I discovered that he's never seen Harry and the Hendersons.

We drew up an impromptu family tree so he could understand the great-great thing.

He likes nothing better than making stories up on the fly. 
Three weeks before we meet again.

Camilla is going room to room looking for him.

Summer thunder rolls on.

Sunday, July 02, 2023

My boys of Summer


Do overs


As tasty as things looked yesterday, about half of the skeins were insipid at best. It was kind of disheartening sorting through them. That blue I'd been searching for fizzled badly. 

The Lesson: Don't buy more dyes than you can use in a season. They lose their potency, some colors more than others. I realized that most of my inventory is three years old, or more.

I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but I keep seeing this color as a theme in movies and TV.  First it was "A Little Chaos" with Alan Rickman and Kate Winslet. Dashes of it everywhere in the costumes drew my eye.
Then the remake of Perry Mason and most recently,  the Bear. 
It's a teal blue, on the dark side, that vibrates on the line between warm and cool the way some people's eyes will. 

I got close. 
(Somewhere between East and West below.)

Overdyeing is risky business especially when all you have to work with are other old colors. I resisted the "more is better" approach and made my choices. It has gone badly in the past. I have thrown away many skeins of pure mud. Today, I'm celebrating. I'm also off to ProChem to look at some new stock.