Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Biting bullets


Now that the deadline is safely passed, I spent the morning locating all the necessary paperwork for doing taxes going back to Covid. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. Putting hands on everything, and printing it all out is huge. 

The lid is off this basket of snakes and I remember that I don't mind them, taken one at a time. Have actually had them as pets. Fed the one devil whole eggs because I couldn't deal with the idea of giving it live prey. One week of snake parenting was enough. 

I'll get through this just like I did the last time - one arithmetic function after the next. 
Moving a mountain with a teaspoon, one spoonful at a time. 
It feels good, to wield this power. 

I may still enlist a professional. What's one more write-off, eh?

Digging the work table out from under everything was rewarding: space to work on bigger things appeared. Important stuff was shuffled in with memorabilia, junk mail, and wonderful gifts that I shouldn't been more careful of in the first place. But it's planting time so, good timing.

~this gift of indigo seeds 
~a vehicle title
~ school transcripts
~some Lego
~a death certificate
~crayon drawings of crab monsters
~that missing spool of gold metallic thread
~staples, pens, other office stuff 

She dashed through the front yard alone today. Somehow she gave the slip to her two yearlings, all grown up now. Later I heard her hard feet on the back deck. She was munching weeds in the side yard when I opened the slider to get a picture. The arrogance!

No fear or alarm, just strolled off into the woods stopping long enough to pose, showing off her belly. She's getting old. I hope she tucks the babies in the front garden again this year.

Hopefully, we'll be draining the pool soon. It's a happy biome that needs relocating to the creek just behind where she is standing. 

Monday, April 29, 2024


I've let the Must Nap ritual go now that I don't have a work schedule to adhere to. At the end of August it will be two years since I quit the day job, but my whole working life, the Schedule ruled everything. 

When I worked for Ma Bell and later for AT&T clocking in late was just not an option. I lived in terror of losing those jobs and planned my days around getting there on time with a little breathing room as a priority. And opting for late or night shifts made getting a nap crucial. 

I still have to remind myself that if I want to stay up until I fall over I can. But a cloudy, cool Sunday afternoon is made for a quick nap. Mostly, I lay there to reorganize my vertebrae, wait for the Ibuprofen to kick in, and brush out my knots. 

Lately, one or more of the cat posse has decided I need an assistant. 

At first, he stretched and his foot was soft and warm. I closed my eyes and drifted off. Next thing I know, he's kicking me in his sleep like I'm encroaching on his space. Never mind I was here first.

With the Stitching chair back in place, the morning stitch has resumed but I'm afraid my freestyle font Ampersand has devolved into a treble clef and now I get to do them all over. How glad am I that I changed colors for each so none are connected on the backside to any of the words? I may opt for a medieval plus sign. There are five of them. What do you think?

Saturday, April 27, 2024

what you know

I've been admiring people sharing their skills, knowledge, and experience online. The only word I have to describe it is "grace". The giving and the receiving of it.

 It doesn't matter what medium or technique, someone, somewhere is sharing what they know. Oh, I know some people make a living at it. And well they should. And some people are just talking through their hat and it's up to the viewer to sort it all out. Another layer of life.

I've found myself in a textile rut that I need to work at smoothing out. There will be more sharing as that proceeds. I might take a stab at making videos, but I'm not sure I can stand the sound of my own voice. We discussed this very thing over tea this morning. 
    C: I don't like the way my voice sounds. It's so different from inside my head. 
    N: Everybody says that. To me, you sound like You. I think I sound like a witch.
    C: I thought you were a witch.
    N: Yeah. There's that. 
We watched a video on how to make calzones. We both said, "What's the big deal?" Next Friday, we'll find out. 

I'm not much of a gardener. I have my specialties. But I come from the black dirt Hudson Valley. You do not have to break a sweat or fool with chemicals to grow anything there. Here in Georgia, not so much. 
This red clay really needs help if you want any serious veggie production, and so, this lazy bones has always focused on small flower gardens. Stuff climbing deck trellises. I'm very good at herbs. I'm good with stuff that doesn't need much help, especially if it's in a container. 

This is a two-year-old hollyhock that I've been raising indoors. Every time I get one this far, and then put it out in the garden, it dies from some kind of rusty mildew. I also have a half dozen peonies in containers that I have no room for on the grounds.  So, I'm going to haul them up to Jake's next weekend to see where they want to put some perennials. 

Charlie stabbed a pencil in the dirt for almost an hour, getting some nasturtiums and morning glory seeds going. Easy stuff is good for beginners. I'll teach him what little I know and point him to wider resources should the interest take hold. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Chair again

Madame Salem is extremely happy about things returning to normal.

Not that I could tell, but the grey chair had been visited by large dogs. The cats knew and disapproved.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

connected somehow

*While I was looking for something else* should be a book title...

 I came across a pale pencil outline in the sketchbook and I remembered what it was about and why I had started it. I was stalling going to sleep, but I broke out my little set of Inktense pencils and started layering on color that I couldn't even see correctly, the reading lamp was too dim, but the pencils were factory sharp. 

I was listening to the fabulous dialogue of Deadwood, and thinking about why salamanders in the Tarot are considered creatures of fire. Most likely by someone who had never held one in their hand. 

They were under every damp log where I grew up and they were cold and wet and never happy to be handled. 

I'm afraid to take a wet brush to this image. As much as I like blending these with water, somehow, this one will get screwed up and then I'll have to burn it. 

This book has been unraveling me in necessary ways. Each time I start reading, the trajectory of the story I'm working on is yanked hard in another correction. 

The biggest issue is I do not know the end of the story yet which makes getting from now to there impossible without a lot of aimless wandering. Lots of darlings to kill eventually. 

The Birthday Chair is back in place. Gave it a deep vacuuming, added some padding to the seat cushion, and added a lumbar cushion. If I keep holy with the thirty-minute timer, all should be well.

There's a full moon tonight. If there are no breezes, I'm going outside and light the firepit. 

I've added another handful of sets to the inventory, but there's a serious shortage of blues. I'll be having another dyefest in May.

Monday, April 22, 2024

Fresh starts


The new chair is not ever going to be ass/back-friendly and I'm a little sad about it. On the very first test sit there was a statement. I leaned down and left to retrieve something from the floor and a cheaply mounted legs slowly folded under the chair. Glad to have not been spilled out with the embroidery scissors in my lap. 

So, for now, no more entire mornings given over to stitching or reading in the first light of day. The Birthday chair is downstairs and I'm going to give it a close look to see if there is something to be done to restore it. 

On the upside, I'm sitting in the old office chair typing this. Words will flow. Necessary admin stuff will happen. 

Thursday, April 18, 2024

One word at a time...

 ...is how the story gets told.

Loose. Easy.
Slow and focused. 

These damask shreds will be a part of it.

Satisfaction guaranteed.



"There Goes My Heart" by the Mavericks

For the very first time  I have a desk dedicated to writing. That sounds so odd. The old work chair still knows my ass. I need a cool lamp. Something lurking in a thrift shop somewhere. Dragons and brass. It'll turn up. Maybe a riser to keep the laptop cool. A desk calendar. 

What is this about? Wanting this change. 


 Deliberately. The beloved stitching chair has served well past its retirement. Or maybe my spine has just thrown another facet.

Likely, a sad combination of the two. I haven't been able to sit there for much more than a half hour without pain that stays even when I get up. It's down in the living room now serving as a spare. 

 The replacement has come, free, from a corporate reshuffle. Firm, upright, tight and gray, a recliner that never will. THAT lack of personality will be addressed soon. 

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Show me your Dirty Threads...

 ...and I'll show everyone what great taste you have. Send me pictures of your stash and I'll add them to this post.

                        I've given this post its own page - Thread Nests

Lori's Dirty Threads need their own zip code.

Jennifer's dirty threads

My monster lunchbox stash 

Hazel's horde of Dirty Threads 

Dee's Dirty Threads 

Tina's Dirty Threads nesting

Liz's so tidy Dirty Thread stash

Nancy's threads sneaking out.

Catherine's thread nest

Jude's thread nest

the Dirty Thread nest of Grace of the West

Here is Joann's disgustingly orderly hoard of Dirty Threads. 

Saturday, April 13, 2024

A worky Saturday


The scrap basket is chock full!

The trouble is each time I dip into it, I sneak another piece of cloth into my stash. 

Charlie has discovered the funny pages and he is fascinated. Some of the strips are a bit obtuse for a nine-year-old but we read every single one. Talked about religions, meaning, sarcasm, and the sad fact that there were only six pages of funnies. 

Oddly, he particularly liked the ones that were part of a serial even though we came in on the middle of the story.  To be continued. I'm sure.

Friday, April 12, 2024

A wild leap


Remember this from last September

I set the cloth aside because I was engrossed with Dee's book, "The Weight of Cloth".

The new threads put a fire under the ongoing stitched Spell project but I'm still not happy with the thread colors so I'm parking that one for a while. There was a serious shortage of blues. It took me all morning to decide which side of the cloth to use and which end up. Now I'm committed.

For this one, I'm using the same text, and still digging things out of my thread stash.

BUT (and it's a big one, folks) I'm not laying out the lettering. With nothing more than base guidelines that I first ironed in and then basted, I'm winging the lettering a word at a time. It feels like too much control is wrong for a spell of any kind. 

It's going to call for the kind of focus I have lost recently from spending too much time escaping life into the glowing screens. Writing requires the same focus and I've been groping in the dark on that account lately, too. An electronic fast is in order. 

Tuesday, April 09, 2024



I could not ask for a more perfect coda to a dyefest than an all-day rain. Lightning just flashed and thunder rolled in from far off. The light is pinking up.

 I was exhausted by the time I finished the last of the threads. The break for watching the eclipse was enough to get me through basic cleanup. 

By evening the certainty of today's rain pushed me to spend the early evening finishing the threads in the kitchen while I listened to a ballgame on the radio. I'm grateful that I did. The cloth I left for the rain to handle.

Speaking of gratitude, this post set the tone for my day. Thanks, Dee. 

As intended, there's a delicacy, an understatement to the color of this lot of thread. Some of the subtly was intentional, some not. The blues lost some ground because it was just not hot enough for them even in the sun. Time has proven that turquoise and his cousins need 80 degrees to come through strong.

It's going to be a few days before I start posting these for sale.

image by Diana Taylor. "All Night Rain" by the Atlanta Rhythm Section

Monday, April 08, 2024

Dyfest eclipsed

 Did I mention the magic ingredient is sweat? All the thread has been washed,rinsed,and laid out to dry. Tomorrow we'll see what gives. I worked slowly. Being methodical, correcting colors at the halfway mark. Broadening my willingness to accept a color made me a little cranky. Maybe it was the time constraint of the eclipse. I wrapped up about fifteen minutes before the peak dark. Sat out front with the cats and observed with my cardboard glasses.

I shot this over my shoulder without looking. The fur people were unfazed. They noticed, but seemed to be underwhelmed.

Start Your Engines!

 The weather is cooperating albeit a little chilly right now, but by noon the sun will be over the yardarm and I'll have the heat the process needs, fingers crossed. I hope to have everything done and dusted by the time the eclipse starts. My most distinct memory of the last eclipse is how weird colors looked as the moon and sun did their dance. Not trusting one's eyes was disorienting.

Here's where any help or instructions I have to offer will fall short because, during the color mixing process, words fail and instinct takes over. I have eleven of these little shakers left. One went AWOL somewhere under the deck where it's now king of spiders and slugs, forever. I sometimes wonder what color was in it, but not enough to crawl down there and find out. Eleven is a good number. 


I started with the notion of three sets of primaries with each set having a warm, neutral, and cool. But things went sideways quickly when I remembered that I also wanted some complimentary blends or browns. 

I've also started something new. That stainless steel shaker has a little bit of everything with a hot dose of Raven. A dollar well spent at GW.

None of these hopefuls will prove out until the dye hits the cloth and thread. That might be the most exciting part of the process. I don't measure anything so every color created at the kitchen table is unique, a true one-of-a-kind. 

When I get outside, I find myself saying "Yay" or "Yuck" and yucks can be amended quickly by adding color in whatever direction I think it needs. 

Winding, measuring, and tying off the skeins is something that happens while I'm half-watching TV reruns.  
                           Vroom vroom!