Wednesday, February 28, 2024



Apologies up front to songwriter Amanda Mcbroom and Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

I don't know if stitching words on a pillow that will never leave your home means you owe someone something. 

How close is it to singing in the shower?

So here, as visual, only fractions of the whole. It's my font and stitch that I'm keeping my fingers on. Remembering to loosen up a bit. 
On cloth and on paper.

This project is taking on a life of its own.

Monday, February 26, 2024

New and Old

We scoured the yard for windfall sticks until I ran out of gas (pretty quickly). The wind was kicking up and I mentioned that it was good kite-flying weather. Charlie quickly produced a kite that had to be hatched out of its packaging and assembled. It flew! We got about fifteen minutes of launching and flying before the wind decided enough was enough. 

I wanted to stay outside and absorb a little more vitamin D so Charlie went inside for tools and quickly taught me how to lose at tic tac toe. Who knew the Corner Strategy?

I responded with my favorite, trapped at a desk time waster, the Knight's Move number maze. I drew him a ten by ten grid, explained the rules,  and he was off to the races with a vengeance! I can't remember seeing him so focused. 

Later the same day, he broke out his tablet and headphones and dove into his first audiobook. He was trying to work the puzzle at the same time as he was listening to Diary of a Wimpy Kid. It was a toss up, but you could have set his hair on fire and he might not have noticed. It was wonderful to behold so much focus on something that was not hand-held and full of batteries.

 An old friend reached out and we spent our quarterly hour and change on the phone catching up. She reminded me about a piece that she once admired. I knew exactly where to put my hands on it for a change. Dug it out of a pile of mostly finished what-nots and made sure it was worthy and ready. It is.

Also yesterday, the family in NY gathered to celebrate our Dad's birthday. Pop worked and drank at the Blazer Pub where he is still fondly remembered. I wish I could have been there.  

Again yesterday, an old friend let it be known that her husband had passed away. We had lost touch over the years. Just a click away, yet....

Connections. I think the ease of digital communication is overated. Too tenuous. 

Thursday, February 22, 2024

fine focus



Carving out the internal shapes with color is intoxicating. The base is 40's era service weight linen. My name for it. Loomed at 27 inches wide. The thread count is tight. Mistakes will slap the eye so best to slow down and place the needle rather than stab with it. It's hard to resist the "punk, punk, punk". 

A drawing from my ancient history. In the inside cover of one of those little pink and black test prep books. Copied to tracing and graph paper and enlarged many times. Kept all these years and many iterations. 
It had to be my third year taking the course. The was something on the board, a bunch of lines and arrows. I was listening intently. My flare pen was on autopilot. 

 I believe the 66 I got on the final was a mercy grade. 

How have I not watched Vanilla Sky before now?

Wednesday, February 21, 2024


I finished this today. All the lines anyway. Still thinking about what could or should be happening in the interior spaces. 

Or not. To keep up the point of the line, there may be some text. 

There is a disturbance in my force. Yesterday, three different shows or movies featured people in extremely tight spaces. Each time I had to look away within seconds and change the channel. Somehow I bit my tongue. 

Probably spared myself a lot of nonsense. Instead, I rewatched the Deadwood movie and got a masterclass in applying flashbacks. The Usual Suspects instructed pacing and dialogue. 

And rereading one of my own early chapters reminded me to Let It Fly. 

I'm really disappointed with True North. 

There is springtime cattitude around here.


Monday, February 19, 2024

Tides turn

It had to happen because I do it every year. When the thread inventory goes dormant, I have a little ritual called Rescuing the Mutts. 

I've come to realize that the images of the hanks of thread are not as visually appealing as those hanks wound onto the cardboard bobbins. Even I prefer looking at those little squared-off bobbins, but the final wind-off was time-consuming, physically detrimental, and very expensive. 

So, to everyone who didn't take an immediate shine to these Leftover Souls, these stash thanks you!

And THIS COLOR is haunting me. 

A deep teal blue trying to sneak up on navy when no one is looking. Even this one is a shade too cool. But I have been seeing a version of it popping off the screen for a while now. Maybe it's my eyes?

In the recent remake of Perry Mason, set in LA during the Depression, it's in almost every frame. The vestments of a quack faith healer, hats, earrings, tiny little details everywhere. In The Kings Garden (Alan Rickman's last film) it was the Royal color, never mentioned always visible. 

Look for it. You'll see what I'm talking about. There is some kind of psychological hook in play here. 


As I wound these I was thinking about the course I'm planning. Teaching the Dirty Thread Boogie. 

Why did I call them "dirty" in the first place? Mostly because I work outside on the same wooden table where I do my houseplant cleanup and repotting, with very little of the cleanup factor. 

The deck is uncovered, opened to the sky, the woods, and runoff from the roof. Tree trash is delivered daily, free of charge. All my tools are out there as well. Moldy and mossy. And when I'm slinging dyes things get dirty. 

In the first picture up top, that flash of green in the red and gold? Dirty gloves.
This pinch of brown and lavender? I don't change gloves when I'm flipping the skeins over. Color transfer is inevitable. Desirable even.

The Circle Casting project is on a brief hold while I wait for transfer paper to be delivered. 

In the meantime, another piece of ancient art history was unearthed and slated to be stitched in full color. The original was done inside the back cover of Introduction to Geometry which I failed three times. Small wonder. This version is 8x24 inches.


Thursday, February 15, 2024

memories wash up daily


No writing, no stitching, but I was creeped by a handsome Creeper. We ate dreck (thanks, Uncle Josh), watched Pinky Malinky, and renamed the funny bone "The Brutal Bone".

I love how this Hail Mary selfie captured Charlie's attempt to appear menacing despite the giggling. 

Low rails of process


Of course, I had a list- never numbered.
First I had to improvise an ironing board. I can't remember ever owning one. Long ago I bought two yards of padded heat-resistant stuff and stapled it to the top of an old dresser. Long gone now. 

Then to select a supporting cloth for the dyed contemporary linen which is lightweight. I still have yards of that 1940's vintage mid-weight linen my brother rescued from a real estate clean out. Perfect support. Weighty, stable yet easy to needle through both. The last image is some test stitching I did right after typing that wishful thinking. Wishes came true. It's a pleasure to stitch.

I really dallied over the ironing. It was emotionally evocative. The same grandmother who gave me the maple embroidery hoops and taught me to cross stitch also taught me to iron. For her, it was a living and a task taken seriously. 

I polished both sides of each cloth, then married them together with steam and pressure. There was much (mostly unnecessary) pinning and basting before measuring and basting on guidelines.
All of this a commitment to an outcome. 

Spell casting takes work. 

Then came the fun part. I lost myself and my carers for hours sketching the letterforms. The ampersands will be the death of me, but not the project. 

When the words "and the" wouldn't fit, I couldn't remember what a proper ampersand looked like and had to google some examples. 

I'm still not sure I want to deviate from the original. That would mean starting over with an adjustment to scale and placement. 

Slow and thoughtful steps will keep me from abandoning the whole thing.

This sketch was done on a large drawing pad. What I really needed I knew to be buried deep in the bedroom closet. Tracing paper and the T-square I bought in art school tucked away in the dusty portfolio. 

Not in the same portfolio was an 18"x24" painting I was hoping to find. Nothing more than a large section of type (Times New Roman, if memory serves) meticulously reproduced in acrylics with what I remember as a watercolor brush with about ten hairs. Sable. Black letters on a dark teal background. THE lettering about two inches high. I'm sorry it's gone as it was strangely beautiful.
I also wonder why the actual text had zero significance.

Other things from a typical 60s art portfolio. Some hard-earned psychedelia, the drawing assignment "Don't lift your pen from the page" and a surprisingly effective dab at watercolor - something I love looking at but never studied. 

And yes, the two layers of linen needle very nicely, otherwise I might just take the cloth out in the yard and hang it in the crepe myrtle grove and watch it slip back into nature.

The circle IS cast. 

Sunday, February 11, 2024


Woke up from a false dawn dream. Usually, these are the best, but this one was complex, cinematic, and disorienting. A nightmare in disguise. 

I couldn't open my eyes. I stretched out my left hand and found Bailey's paw as an anchor. His solid, furred head then covered the back of my hand, and he heaved a sigh. 

A calm moved through me. Brought me back to the safety of the here and now. I don't wonder whether or not they know how their gestures affect us. I'm just glad of it.

I've struggled to find the right fabric to cobble into a few summer shifts. The last two were made from scraps of this cotton marked "Provence" on the selvage edges. 

Before the two long gowns, I made this 80x80 bedspread from the same cloth and backed it with one layer of muslin. Soft and warm enough for any AC-induced chill. 

When I moved back into the master suite, I went from a king-sized bed to a queen (a choice I still regret) and had to buy new bed linen. 

I was appalled at the cost of 100% cotton sheet sets so I bit the bullet and bought two sets advertised as "bamboo" for less than half the price of cotton. 

After a year, I've come around to preferring them to cotton. The fabric is soft, light, cool to the touch, and has held up to wear and laundering.  

The plan is to go back to the big box store, pick out a new set, and cut them up for making some skin flings. Knee length this time. 


Friday, February 09, 2024

Not spring

On second thought, I keep forgetting where I am and that the seasons aren't what I grew up with.

 The grove is filled with robins, bluejays, a flicker, a host of little brown I-don't-know-whats, and a couple of crows who look like battleships compared to the others. I don't bother with pictures because my phone/camera isn't up to the distance and, no giraffes in sight.

I'll put out the last bag of feed on my way to the country in a bit.

Dee called this Insta description a poem. I guess. For all I know about poetry.

We swell, break, and still.
Are cursed, given, or stolen.
Sworn on, pine, and leap.
Race and burn, full.
Holding you. Keeping time.

Tuesday, February 06, 2024

one more wandering heart


The last for a while.

My thread stash is uninspiring. I'll work this one in the stone colors that I have left.

The rest are here on sale for that heart holiday.

This is also the last bit of linen chopped from a favorite blouse that accidentally became part of a dyefest. 

Summer seems far away, but we have clear blue skies today so I'll get out as it warms up and gather some vitamin D and perhaps, some inspiration.