Monday, October 30, 2023

The colors of stone


Hunter Moon by Colin


I went to the dye table with the colors of New England in my head. What I got turned out like carnival clown barf, except for these. 

This is Raven with a touch of Marigold and Deep Space for balance.

Some are darker, others lighter. I have about twenty skeins close cousins of these two and will post them for sale. The rest? 

Over-dyeing on the kitchen table eventually. 

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Queen of Swords for the day

I was up a lot in the night for no reason other than looking for the moon, window to window. I  should have slept in the car. 
At some point, I took my Tarot cards out and turned each one face up in the light.

So, come 7am this was the view from the foot of my bed. I took a few pictures and fell deeply asleep.
I managed to catch Jupiter peeking from behind a tree and the moon gone goofy with branches in the way. One more as the sunrise lit the moonset.

So what does a dyer do while waiting for the coffee to brew? Bring a wet bundle in and unwrap it right on the kitchen table. I doctored Raven just a bit. Love the results. I make quite a few of these. I got all the thread cleaned and laid out to dry, but the cloth will have to wait until tomorrow.

Cleaned up. shopped, cooked even. Cajun sausage baked with red potatoes. 

To frost the cake of this day, I invented a drink (if it has a name don't tell me) a fat ounce of bourbon, over a little ice. A hearty splash of lime and topped the big glass with apple cider. One was plenty.

I put on the movie, "The Two Popes", (I find it strangely compelling). 
Started a new heart made with this moonlight thread and caught a visit from a lap thug every half hour or so.

This Queen of Swords (today) is grateful for all of it. Purple right shoe and all. 

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Uncharted lands

 The temperature out on the deck did peak at 80, but the sun's angle was...elsewhere. I usually work much hotter than this, so I'm tempering my expectations. I haven't picked through the archives to confirm it, but this is the latest I've ever had a dyefest. 

There was little to no thought or prep. Just did it.

It's been years since I made liquid dye stock. Measurements? Are you mad? "Looks good" was the watchword. 

When I started throwing wads of wet cloth on the boards, I knew I was running out of steam.

The small, long bundles have six or eight skeins of thread inside. Those all had a brief soak in the magic sauce, and then I started slinging color. Dip, splash, pour, dash. Ruined one of my tan suede clogs. That was a poor choice.

The chemistry is over. The magic, the heart stuff, will come tonight when the full moon beats down on all of this mess and makes it special. 

Friday, October 27, 2023

Speaking of passions


Even though the first day was a little dreary, Fall in New England came through with color. I miss color.

The weather wizard wannabes are predicting 80 degrees over the weekend here in GA.

I'll believe because:
-there is some wonderful cloth
-there is undyed thread
-there is still plenty of dye.

Techniques will be new and experimental so results? 

The Good Luck gods have been very kind to me in all the small ways. What's one more go? 
A thank you to them.

Thursday, October 26, 2023



A gift from a dear friend. I carried it swaddled in newsprint in my purse on the flight home, much to the stink-eye of the TSA in White Plains. 

Mugs have gotten too gross of late. Drinking a mug of coffee could lead to heart palpitations. This little one might hold three or four ounces. The perfect size for sipping whiskey. I'll have to get some, being a writer and all.

T. and I go back to when we were both stay-at-home moms in Carmel, NY with four little boys between us. Remember the expression "dooryard neighbors"? Our lives spilled out into the common driveway and yard. There were always loving eyes on those kids from one window or another.
    I can't remember how or when we revealed that we both had a nearly secret passion for writing, likely over tea or wine depending on the time of day. She was the first to read and support the earliest stages of my novel. She still has a novel on the back burner, but in the past few years has discovered a passion for clay. 
        It was something special to sit across from her in the diner and watch her talk about her art and the joy it brings her every time she returns to it. I will keep this where I can see it with my favorite writing tools in it, I think, instead of whiskey.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

My familiars


We moved from a small town to the country when I was almost seven. As the oldest, I had free rein to wander at will. Stone walls were not boundaries but a measure of how far I had gone and guides to find my way home if the sun failed me. 

Kids have no appreciation for history, but I knew that these walls were old and served a purpose and an incredible amount of energy and skill went into building them. Enduring well past anything else manmade, they were like the pyramids to me. 

Not this time, but on a recent visit, I had the privilege of watching a crew building a wall mostly reusing an old, tumbled-down one, the senior man from South America. The delighted chatter when several stones were fit back together perfectly as they had a hundred or more years ago. That satisfying "granite kiss".

He could usually read someone at a few yards, especially in a quiet place when there was no one else around. He got nothing. Like she wasn’t there. Like the deep shade was another planet; he could see her, but that was it. His approach turned stealthy as if he was trying not to spook a wild animal, stopping and squatting down at a distance of respect.

 Anna was staring at the broken stone wall, not moving, quiet as the rocks scattered around her. The sky was a still, hot blue. The air breathless, trees asleep. Deep in those trees, one cicada raised a racket, but no others joined in. Jack didn’t want to startle her and was about to speak when, without turning around, she said,
 “Did you want something?”
He was the one who jumped. There was a small, leather box radio murmuring on the ground beside her, a bottle of wine heeled half over in the grass next to it.
 “What are you listening to?”
 “Mets game.” she sighed, “It’s almost over. Losers.”
 “So, what are you doing?”
 “Rebuilding this wall.” She still hadn’t turned to look at him.
 “You need some help?”
 “No. Thanks. I’m trying to put it back the way it was made. Like a puzzle. It takes time.”
 Jack moved to get a better look. 
She warned, “Don’t come any closer. Be very still. The bees are too interested in you. Hear them?” 
Jack could hear something, but he couldn’t tell where it was coming from. 
“There’s a nest in the wall about ten feet that way.” She nodded to the east. “And don’t turn around, he’s watching from the kitchen window.”
 Jack froze. Felt himself flash hot. Angry.
 “He’s like the bees. If you don’t provoke them, they’ll forget you’re around and ignore you. I do it all the time.”
 Just loud enough for her to hear him, Jack said, “Are you in any kind of danger here?”
 “Of course not.” She lied like she breathed.

 He watched her move slowly and deliberately down the wall to where wax and honey oozed out of a joint between the stones. The strong sun filtered through the fidgeting leaves, lighting her and the wall with orbs of light that wandered in slow ovals like the light from the mirror balls in the discos.

 Anna placed her hand on one of the smaller rocks and let it rest, marking time. The breeze sifted through the trees, then stilled. A minute. Two. Jack held his breath. She lifted the rock, a chunk of oozing honeycomb stuck to the grain of the granite. Bees wandered slowly over the rock, the prize, and her hand.
 She broke the comb away and gently refitted the rock back into the wall. The bees had already forgotten the invasion except one which turned in tight circles on her hand. It stung her and she cursed softly, brushed it away, and put her thumb in her mouth.

 Jack felt a pinpoint of fire on the back of his thumb and had trouble pulling his eyes away from her to see if he’d been stung too. There was nothing there. He brought his hand to his mouth and swore he tasted honey with a strange, salt-peppery tang under the sweetness.

 She said, “You should go.” She never turned around.
 He flexed the pain from his hand and got up from his crouch. “Only because you asked.”

excerpt from "Prophets Tango"


 Home to the family, friends and feel of New York.

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Picking up threads


Now I have to write the reading for this new Tarot spread. I suppose I could change the cards to suit the story, but I have to honor the cards.

Both stories, books, are flexing. 

Reaching: Kensico Dam, NYC water history, horses from Basque, WW2 timeline, history international ASL, coconut oil and (which?) herbs.

See how it can take you?

Shop Update 10/15

I'm packing to fly again, so if you order in the next few days, I'll get everything to the post office by Wednesday. After that, it might be a while.

The more I look at Liberace, the more I'm inclined to keep it, but, no. All I have to do is look in the thread box to know I've already been greedy this season.

Those hearts. Our hearts. Their hearts.

I've added another dozen sets scattered in both thread pages. 

Waiting for word that a packaging/shipping scheme might make overseas orders possible. I will post as soon as I hear.

In the meantime, new dirty thread sets: Here & Here.

I took the new vaccine yesterday. Zero side effects. Take care of yourself and your beloveds.

Saturday, October 14, 2023


I am so grateful to have had this week with him. 
Although we did our best, we were both a little brittle around the edges because of the war. His understanding is limited, but kids talk, and not many of them have any useful answers.
I had very few.
Can you imagine this through a child's eyes?
"What did I do?"

 I don't want to capitalize it or name it. I don't want it to take over our lives here the way 9/11 did. Everywhere I look - (even though I don't want to) I see desperate emotions boiling over. This is not Hollywood, people. That's real blood and flesh on that sidewalk.

So we talked about literature. The merits of a series over a serial. (Thanks, kid). Why spelling shouldn't matter. And for that matter, why learn to type when you can speak and the phone or tablet turns your words to text with very few typos.
We struggled with the mind-numbing rote of the multiplication tables. Uncovered my weaknesses. (I did not become confident with arithmetic and a little algebra until Jake learned it. Really. I can keep a checkbook, Amen.)
We emailed each other from opposite ends of the house.
We learned more about odds and more math playing poker and Scrabble. We got some air and sunshine. 
Cooked some wicked spaghetti and meatballs. 
We watched the Braves implode and my spirit animal fell off his perch. 

Things that kids everywhere would do. Goof off with Nana while she snuck in some education.

He could be Israeli.
He could be Palestinian.
He could be Ukrainian
He could be Russian,
He could be American.
All of them. Children.

He likes this one best. It's the Man of Mystery. 
Today, there are seventy-four years between us. We put the numbers on paper. He said, "That's not possible!"

Monday, October 09, 2023

Sweet duty


I'll be up here in the country with Charlie for a week. Since school started for him early in August, the district set a Fall break in October. Sensible. Year-round school would be really sensible, but goddess forgive the American school system should make any sense.

I pulled over to chat and take pictures of some of the neighbors. They were uninterested. The field they are in looks parched but the green grass has actually just been harvested. They are snacking on the leftovers. I'm fascinated with the gray cows and the herd of donkeys that run with this bunch. I'll try to get a better picture. Grace, I'm jealous of your Click to enlarge. 


 This took a bit of doing, but we figured it out.

I took him to the high school to ride his razor in a huge sloped parking lot and we did a little crime scene art before we left.

As I was finishing up a man pulled in to ask if we needed help. Nice of him!

Charlie needs math practice because there's no avoiding that math is everywhere. Especially when I'm driving.

Later, we played Scrabble. Keeping score is mathwork. 

In all my years of playing cards, I have never seen a hand like this and I was the dealer. Fortunately, he's not gotten a firm grip on raising. I told him in a cowboy saloon, this would be a dead man's hand!

On a serious note, he has a lot of questions about the conflict in the Middle East and I do not have enough answers. I have to do some reading. The situation is complicated and ugly on both sides.

What I do know is that Israel and I were born in the same year. 

In the Yom Kippur War of 1973, my husband Jim was an 18-year-old paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne. He said they were loaded onto a huge transport plane geared for battle. No one knew where they were going. They flew around in circles going nowhere for what seemed like days (they ate all their C rations) and then were brought back to base. Apparently, the US was poised to intercede in that war, most likely without any public notice.

 I wouldn't be surprised if something similar was happening right now. 

Thursday, October 05, 2023

My Dixie Mink ~updated


A tender heart will model one on someone else's sleeve. 

I despise those pictures people take - usually in a bathroom - holding the phone up so you can't see their faces. Why hide your face? We aren't looking at your ham tattoo or your hemline. We're looking at that scuzzy bathroom.

Enough of my grumpiness. Here's my traveling jacket all decked out for cooler weather. When it finally gets here.

Until then, we are warm and parched. I've been carrying water in gallon juice jugs out to the deck plants and the bird bath up in the grove. It's been several weeks since we've had any kind of rainfall. 

There was real writing, too. Writing a reading for a Tarot spread that I invented for the story is hard. 

"...snowflakes dying all around him." Dee, some of those same lines worked on my head the moment I put them down. They make it hard to make the next move. 
These two books (I've accepted that there are two happening at the same time.) have struggled, and continue to be struggling to be born. The least I can do is show up consistently.

I tuned in to see what further nonsense the House would perpetrate after voting McCarthy out. Gave half a moment worrying that they would try to get the Shitweasel to lead them after the sickening spectacle of him bloviating after court yesterday. 

And McCarthy's sub's first act?  Having Nancy Pelosi's office re-keyed while she was attending Diane Feinstein's memorial? 
That is some small-minded,  petty shit. What we have come to expect of Republicans. 


Sunday, October 01, 2023

sunset stitch


        If the day has gone well, I indulge myself with a little stitching while the sun slips down through the trees. Today I listened to the last Braves game of the regular season. It was a nail-biter. They lost but if I was playing for a team who just clinched a playoff spot, I'd be hard-pressed to be going all out. Still, it was an exciting game. Listening to a baseball game on AM radio. Imagine that. How many people do you know still do that? I do. It's like a portal to the past. 

This, from a birthday card I sent. He won't mind.

~~But sometimes I fear the challenges we faced when we were growing up are so different from what today's young people are dealing with, that we can't step into each others' worlds, unless we, who have been there and done it,  pass off our experience as something magical, even when we know better.  

The choices remain the same: Be hopeful. Build a ladder and reach down. Stay in touch with those closest. Do right by others. Believe in Love.

So those of us who make stuff from almost nothing but sweat and blood - writers, musicians, artists - get to spread our reach a little bit farther than those who don't. 

It's important work we'll all do until they touch a match to our pyre. 

Play the music that tells the tale of who we are and why. 

Happy Birthday, halfway between yours and mine,