Saturday, March 31, 2018

Spring Arrives--for The Day

I stitched all the remaining colored 1.5 inch squares together yesterday instead of reading.  I ran out of blue pretty quickly.  One row in from the left is the original nine patch with the rosy center.  This is another "page" size of 5 by 7 inches finished.

I think I'm done with this format now.  It doesn't have "meaning" for me.

Now this is the one I made before (5 blocks by 7 blocks).  Blue then white then tan and then more white.  It was okay but then it seemed to "need" story.  I had some very fragile indigo and white fabric from a shirt I bought at Goodwill and took apart.  The fabric just falls to bits.  I think the long rectangle that connects the dark blue square and the peach beige line--will stay. It's like a doorway into some other space.

 I am not sure about the three little crumbs stitched to the three white blocks.  Thought I do like the little "planet" in the center.  And the one on the right does give an impression of a moon.  Perhaps the little planet should be up next to the top row of the "castle"?  It's all invisible stitched--so easy enough to rearrange.  And the little "moon" could go up into the darker blue sky next to the castle ruins.

Well, there is a great deal more sunshine in the kitchen than I am used to and now I can see all the "dirt" so I think I will spend some time scrubbing and washing.  Spring Cleaning.  But first a quick visit to the grocery for milk, bread and other staple items.  Flowers?  Easter Candy for G.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Moon Light

The strange beam of light across this small 6 inch (when finished) block is actually the sun.  I lined up the beam and the white squares.  You can barely see that the center block is actually 4 small squares sewn together.

Where this block ends up....well, right now I have no plans for it.  The 35 one inch square "page" has an addition (audition) and time will tell if it will stay or go.  I like it, for now.

Rain.  Rain.  Rain.  Better than snow, for sure.  For some reason, I am feeling chilled.  Wrapped in my magic shawl.  Drinking tea.  Perhaps a small nap.

Riley was up all night, walking into our bedroom to wake G.  The Moon?  And now he is exhausted and sleeping very soundly.  Has his night and day mixed up.  He sleeps by the South facing window and the moonlight is bright on that side.  Perhaps shining on him and keeping him awake.  And this morning rain, which he does not like.  Worrying him regarding his daily walk in the woods.  So many things for  him to have deep worries about.

Well, I think I will go over to my work table and see about stitching the new scrap to the 35 patch "page" and then--keeping it or unsewing it.  I have been un-sewing almost everything this week.  Not able to make a choice and stick with it.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Coming Soon To My Back Yard

Hyacinths.  I have planted quite a few over the years near the outlet pipe for the septic system.  The warm water from showers and dish washing thaws  the soil in this area so it's where things bloom first.  There are crocus leaves coming also.  A few tips of daffodils--- the small petite ones.  Tete-tete. I can see brown dirt.

Sigh.  It begins.

The water in the birdbath is liquid instead of frozen.  Birds are everywhere.  The moon is almost full. when I switched off the lights and climbed into bed, I looked back to the western window and could see the moonlight trying to get in.  The Moon.

I am planning to get the iron plugged in and press flat the squares I have been hand sewing.  See if they look better or need some un-sewing and then re-sewing in order to be ORDERLY.  The compulsive need to create order.  Even if it's not an order seen in natural things.

The need to organize and be orderly is so strange in a personality that has never been able to follow any sort of "rules".  But it is who I am.  Do you all remember when there was an art quilt group here in Maine called the Renegades?  And I so wanted to be member ?  That was so long ago.  And, no, even after I met them, they never asked me to join.

I am going to try for a sixth day of not watching news on television.  And this might even be day  seven.  Since--now that I am "retired" I have lost track of what day it is.  I need to look to the top of this screen to see it's Thursday, March 29th.  I have no appointments.

I was asked if my retirement was made willfully or by force.  Those words.  They still perplex me.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Moon Light

Art Propelled

Each night I look out the window next to my bed and check on the Moon.  See how things are going. I can also see the shadows falling across the darkness of the garden.  Moon. Light.  Becomes. You. There is almost a face in this picture.

Today I started another big pot of vegetable soup.  This Time, I used up many of the ingredients.  I will need more celery.  More bacon.  More cabbage.  It smells so good.

Today I also ripped (not cut) more 2.5 inch squares but had to cut the 1.5 inch squares.  I can see why Jude (Spirit Cloth) rips.  The grain of the fabric.  Ripping is true.  It is also faster. I ripped new colors. I have some more "house" ideas.  And, of course, I can make some bases. I ripped blue for skies.  Golden yellow for suns.  The tiniest bit of green.

Saw a red cardinal on the way to get the newspaper at the end of our driveway.  Heard a very noisy woodpecker--very busy.  And saw the winged flight of many small silent birds.  Awakening. G reported heavy traffic on the wood paths--deer.  Large and heavy.  Riley was busy. He loves chasing deer.

Only Nicole Wallace on MSNBC yesterday.  Her "wall" of names of people Trump has said he hates--was quite wonderful--Nicole is on it in big letters. In fact, most of the panel members were checking for their names as well.  So it's now FIVE days of NO NEWS minus the one hour of Nicole Wallace yesterday.  Feeling quite serene.  How are you doing?

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

And What If.......I Hadn't Met You?

There are people in my Life right now.....assorted souls....who might never meet each other. It's hard to have a connected conversation.  There are days when I wish these people in my Life could connect, communicate thru me...with each other.  Here perhaps?

Yesterday was a "going outside the House day" for me.  A coffee date and long conversation.  The Post Office with the usual long line (strange but no one speaks to each other there)--- I did spark a smile when I asked the clerk if he had any "cute stamps".  He did not.  Then the grocery where I have almost all my spur of the moment conversations.  A neighbor and friend, who lives on my street, caught up on each others "doings".  Our street is long and the houses far back.  We don't SEE anyone.

She recounted a "bomb/gun threat" exercise with a kindergarten class.  All huddled together along the walls, arms over their heads, frightened.  She wondering what she would find possible to do to protect them.  We stood and just stared silently into each other's eyes. The unknowing of it.

Another friend--the one who encouraged me to start this blog--wrote an email and we exchanged words and lives for awhile.  It brought me great happiness.  We discussed family and art and work.  The ups and downs. Nothing is always perfect or the way you thought it might be.

So it was a full day.  I even purchased a sweet potato and made the ubiquitous "sweet potato tacos" for my mid day meal.  I roasted the peeled small squares of potato with oil and a sprinkle of packaged Taco seasoning powder.  I had corn tortillas to fry up, a red onion, avocado and lime juice.  It was a good, interesting meal.  I will add the remaining roasted sweet potato to my vegetable soup.  I didn't think I would like the tacos.  But I really did.

Today I have some sewing.  Borders of dancing penguins for the baby quilt.  Worked out that it only needs 7.5 inch borders all the way around to add up to 36 by 42.  I have been enjoying the making and sewing of these NICU baby quilts.  None of the people or babies or quilters will ever meet me but there is "knowing" in the making of and accepting of the quilts themselves.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Paris On My Mind-Another Kitchen

In this one I like the table on wheels and the bar chairs all around.  For eating, talking, puzzle making...anything at all.  Even ironing fabric squares.  My ceiling soars like this one.

Today is a Spring Day here in Maine.  Meaning it's cold and there is snow on the ground, but it's NOT AS cold and there isn't AS MUCH snow.  I still had on my winter coat. No boots. Sun is shining. Sky is a dazzling blue.

I have the door to the sunroom open to the kitchen.  I have the screen door to the deck open partway. I am exchanging stale air with fresh.  G and I vacuumed all the floors yesterday--we were very dusty.
Spring cleaning.  Next are all the curtains and windows.  We have energy now that we aren't watching the news.  Car needs washing as well--inside and out.

Well, I have work to do today.  That unsold fundraiser piece (yellow flowers) has now been sold and I need to add a binding to finish the edges.  I stitched the Moon Garden House to a light blue backing (turning the edges under a quarter inch) and it looks perfect.  I could have followed Jude's lead and made my house block the center block in another nine patch.  Maybe the next house.  There will be more.  And my penguin baby quilt needs to be finished.

Read Linda Howard's the Woman Left Behind and Karen Swan's Paris Secret.  Just loving these "dedicated reading glasses".  Life changing!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Patterns In Life

Especially rethinking pattern pieces from clothing.  Like this.  Layered with print and other items--like the clothing made for this pattern would have been thru years of wear.  Layered with experiences.

Goodwill today.  Perhaps a pattern will catch my eye?  Or I could just make one up.  Out of muslin. Yes, I think making one up would be the thing to do.  Darts are fun. (not!). Tabs are fun (yes).

The snow began late yesterday - 9 pm and fizzled out.  A bit of ice in patches this morning on the front steps so Riley and I went out for the Sunday paper thru the garage just in case. Neither of us likes to slip and fall.  No sun but still bright enough to chase away the Winter Blues. Oh, there is SUN!!  Just now.  Glorious Sun.

We haven't watched any news in two days.  Today will make three.  Nothing good comes out of watching.  I was impressed by the Reuters photos from the Marches Against Guns. Words on their open palms are powerful images.  Reminded me of the marches against the war in Vietnam.  Both very troubled times.  Both destroyed the man who was President.  Well, I am hopeful.

A Pattern.

Saturday, March 24, 2018


I've been reading over at Spirit Cloth for a few weeks--maybe even a few months.  Nine.  Nine pieces sewn together.  Nine Patch.  Here's my first success.  It may not be much, but it was hard earned.  So many failures before this.  Still, there are things I wish were different and I might unsew and correct until I am happy.

Some of the antique white.  Some tea dyed.  Some peach.  Everything else is second side up.  Fabric has two sides.  I'm using the second side.  Already faded, worn and softer.  This square is six inches  finished.  The path is made of three 1 inch squares finished.

My plan is to now make a five inch by seven inch "page" containing 35 squares hand sewn together.

But right this minute--I have a nine patch.  With a house.  With a square moon.  And a garden.  Perhaps it's a moon garden. Yes.  A Moon Garden House.

The nine patch means quite a bit to me.  Born in the 9th month.

Now I need to add another fabric to the back and "quilt" or sew this nine to another, larger nine.

I just wanted you to see it.

Egg Collection Memories

I was reminded that Easter is closer than I thought.  Daughter is working at the Chocolate Factory and they are making bunnies out of all kinds of chocolate and shipping to everywhere.

Here at my house--no bunnies of any kind.  Well, Riley has a bunny in his pile of toys. Bun Bun.

But I do have eggs.  Top left- Russian.  Middle left- German.  Lower left- Hungarian.   Top right- mine.  Inked in Germany.  Middle right- the library egg with dyes and wax.  Lower right- another German egg.  All purchased or made in their countries of origin.

When I lived in Germany, I volunteered to do many jobs for the American Women's Club.  I was even elected President to everyone's amazement (I wasn't one of the popular crowd).  But long before that, I was Chairwoman Of Activities.  Which covered a great deal of territory. In order to have some fun and raise a bit of cash for different underfunded activities, I organized a monthly raffle of sorts (with donated prizes) at our monthly luncheon.  One very popular raffle prize was two small  black baskets filled with tan packing fiber and three of the black, tan and white eggs I had drawn on and inked, nesting in the fiber.

The most amazing thing about the luncheon raffles (lunch was held at some VERY fine hotels) was that the wait staff asked to buy tickets.  And a few times they won prizes and were so thrilled it brought tears to my eyes.  I get emotional.  As I called out the winning ticket numbers - the holders then got to pick a prize from the table--any prize they wanted.  Anyway--the baskets of eggs were the first things to go.

It was nice to be reminded of those times so distant now.  And to give the eggs a nice wash and dry.

Friday, March 23, 2018


From Art Propelled.

There is a book somewhere in this house.  With little bits of things glued to other little bits of things.  Like this.  The image reminded me of my past.  Whenever I find those books...... I look and wonder who made them.  Was it me?  Really?  Why did I stop?

I am like an artistic version of a snake.  Shedding my skin.  Starting over.  Re-inventing myself.

I may just go backward again.  Stop trying forward.  Backward has so many things to offer.  And isn't that what happens as we grow older?  We look back.  But, of course, we can never actually go back.

It happens when I re-read my posts here.  Who is this Joanne from 10 years ago?  What happened to her?  Life happened, I guess.

The gardening and the greenhouse work sapped my energy.  I was too tired to do much of anything after taking a shower.  Well, now I have the Time, let's hope I have the Energy.

Today, I have way too many onion skins saved-so I will steam dye more yellow cloth.  And the used tea bags as well.  Tea stained  dirty beige cloth perhaps with some rusted items.  Circles.  Deb has sent me blue cloth.  I am so thankful to have found her.  Not just for the blue cloth but for the words she writes.  And then there is Grace.  And Jude.  And Connie.  And Gretchen.  And Sandra.

Enjoy the day.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Moon, The Moon

From Croatia by way of  Art Propelled

What is it that is so compelling for me?  I see this image of the Moon and I had to transfer it to my picture file.  Show it to you.  Stare at the Moon.  I think the Moon is in my House of Relationships right now.

It was snowing, wet flakes, while I drove to the dentist, had my teeth cleaned and then drove home. Now that I am isn't snowing.  Nothing is sticking.  It's too warm out there I think.

I am reading Christmas at Tiffany's "three cities, three seasons, one chance to find a life that fits". Has about three pages to do with Tiffany's.  I had read a second book by this author--The Paris Letter-- and wanted to see if she had written anything else.  Yes, and I am truly, deeply and happily reading her first book.  I am terribly sad to see it ending.  I have 20% to go.  And I think I will order and buy this book to read whenever I feel the need.

I would have passed the book by just with the title and the cover.  What were they thinking?

I made my second recipe card soup yesterday.  I followed the directions exactly and it's lovely.  Garden Vegetable Soup.  Bacon, onions, carrots, celery, potato, cabbage, tomatoes, red pepper flakes. And of course water.  I had three bowls yesterday.  And I cleaned out a lot of the veg in the produce drawer.  Long ago, I made it often and followed the recipe amounts and directions.  Then I started adding more of this and less of that and then, of course, the soup wasn't as delicious.  The card says you can add green beans.  I am crossing that edit off the card.  This recipe gets a nice sparkly stick on STAR.

Well, I wrote some things and deleted them.  Over sharing.  Till tomorrow.  Be good!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Winter Will Never End

This small piece is not blurry.  It's so wispy and fragile that just breathing on it moves the fabric.  For the very first time in my quilting, fabric art, etc history I am working with the very tender-ist of fabrics.  That blue sky bit is filmy, floating there.  The largest (ha) bit was in one of Deb Lacativa's packages of Dyeworks Goodness.  The piece in the middle edge of the left side is a bit of my own painted fabric.  I'm channeling a Fragile Spring.

I added squares to all four sides of the hands-on patchwork base.  I have been "hand-pressing" it to settle the seams but might think about the iron just to see what happens.  Right now it has that rumpled, just got out of bed look.

Tomb Raider is what we saw at the movies yesterday.  Not that good. Angelica was better.  I'm thinking special effects ruin these movies.  More effort spent on them than the story or characters. I saw nothing in the previews that interested me.  And nothing that is "Now Playing" that we wanted to see.  There is a "heist" movie with Sandra Bullock--very Ocean's Eleven and a StarWars--Solo movie coming in the months ahead.  By then I will probably forget.  All is video game movies and violence.

We watched two episodes of the new season of Jessica Jones on Netflix.  Ugh.  I remember really enjoying the first season.  Too comic book.

Snow starting today.  Melting tomorrow, I hope, as I have a dentist appointment at 10am.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Most Excellent Reading Glasses

Which can't help make things, like phone pictures, any clearer since I must move while pushing the button.  The long strips to the left are the new ones I have been stitching.  Now to decide if they go along the sides or the top and bottom.  And then to decide what goes on top of this 'base" cloth.  Or if anything goes on it.  That little blue piece (bottom right) is something I painted.  I like it with this.  But where?

I picked up my Dedicated Readers yesterday.  I gave them a test drive late in the afternoon.  Reading Jude Deveraux's As You Wish.  With no problems.  Holding the book 10 inches away.  I usually have the book at arms length.  I was told that is not correct.  And then at 9 pm, I switched to my regular glasses to watch the Alienist.  No problems.  Usually the switch causes smeary vision.  So--happy camper.

G wants to go to the movies today.  I can't remember what he wants to see.  He went to the movies with our daughter on Saturday to see "Red Sparrow".  She had read the book.  G didn't understand any of it.  I have agreed to go to the movies more often.  Hard to find movies that don't offend my sensibilities.  I cover my eyes a lot.  Senseless, violent brutality.  Terror.  Reminds me too much of being five years old and terrified of what was happening in my house.  Not that it was like in the movies--but to a five year old-- terror filled.

I am looking at my desk calendar and see that it is wishing me a happy valentine's day.  Time to move forward.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Winter Birds

Dominique Fortin-Art Propelled

Few if any birds flying today.  It's 12 degrees and sunshine.  And windy.

My cauliflower soup wasn't very good.  So I threw it and the recipe card away after G and I both had a bowl.  We didn't get terrible tummy trouble but I thought we might.

My One Dollar Goodwill Sunday netted me two Pendleton 100% wool skirts (to wear or to machine wash and use in fabric pieces) in lovely- found in Nature shades-- of green and brown.  I also got a puzzle by Vincent van Gogh-  farms and hayfields and blue skies.  $2.  1000 pieces to add cheer to Winter white days. Oh, and a lovely loose peasant-like blouse in a grey blue to wear when I get tired of all the white linen shirts this summer.

Our Dairy Queen opened.

Today is Library Day. G needs new books and I have some to return and pick up. And I just now got a call that my "for reading only" glasses are ready to be picked up.  Sparkle, sparkle.

Today is day three of my new eating plan.  Eat Food.  Not too Much.  Mostly Plants.  Michael Pollen.
In addition I have been doing most of my eating in the early part of the day and none at all past 5 or 6 pm.  Feels pretty natural.  I am making another soup today---one I know I like.  Full of vegetables.

I am working on three fabric pieces right now.  Two are looking promising.  The third is the one made up of the 2 inch squares.  I pieced the top and bottom "new additional strips" yesterday while watching television.  Now I have to stitch together the sides.  Then decide where I am going as this was intended to be a "base" for additions and stitchery.

I finally have the right fabrics and materials.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Write It On Your Heart

"Write it on your heart- that everyday is the best day in the year.  She is rich who owns the day and no one who owns the day, allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety"

"Finish every day and be done with it.  You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt, crept in.  Forget them as soon as you can...tomorrow is another day"

"Begin the next day, well and serenely, with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This new day is too dear, with it's hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays."

If anyone knows who wrote these wonder-filled words--please let me know.  I failed to write the author's name at the end.  But perhaps it wasn't there for me to see? I have this written on an index card.  Found it, again, this morning in the recipe box. I think I needed to find it--again.

I love the words "write it on your heart".

I am trying for a "clean sweep" of the old before I am open to the new. But already I am feeling free-er. I straightened out my work space (getting ready to work on projects left undone) and sorted thru those recipe cards for a soup made with cauliflower.  I happened to have a cauliflower in the fridge that has been waiting it's turn.  It's now simmering on the stove and I am anticipating the finished soup.

I also removed from the recipe box about 10 more soup recipes.  I like soup and I should be making it more often. Soup is a wonderful "vehicle" for vegetables and I love vegetables.  And soup can be complex or simple depending on what you want.  But always warm and comforting on cold Winter days.  Spring feels far away as I look outside and see only cold, frozen white.

I will be making the one with carrots as the lead character tomorrow.  I also have a great many carrots  in the fridge...... waiting.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Year Of This Dog Going Forward

Anna Noel on Art Propelled

This year......I intend to be more authentic.  True to my own self. Not see myself as others saw me.

It's a Road I always intended to travel but made so many excuses not to take.  Not to move forward.
To always be looking backward for the missed opportunities.  Not forward.  Always back.

My parents forced me to find a job at 15.  To babysit.  Taking care of someone's small children, sleeping on the couch till the early morning for 50 cents an hour.  Then at 16 to take long bus rides to the shopping center and work until 9 pm and still do well in school the next morning.  I had no value other than the work I could do for money.

Today was my last day at work for money.  Forever, I am hoping.  Now, I will work for myself.

Friday, March 16, 2018

New Fabrics To Add

While up in the Attic--not looking for fabric--I was looking for my plastic boxes of embroidery floss-I happened to find these two hand dyed pieces.  Peach and More Peach.  I also have tea dyed squares.
Now I need to clean off my cutting board and cut more squares.  I was going to cut 1.5 (1") inch squares to make a new base--finishing to one inch.  But decided to continue with  the 2.5 (2") inch squares.  The Peach fabrics aren't plant based dyes but they are named after a plant.

I did make a small quilt once with 1.5 (1") inch squares.  But I did the sewing on the machine.

I did find my embroidery floss boxes and used the floss on yesterday's piece. But I also found a large bag of unwound floss.  So day I purchased two new boxes and more paddles.  I'll wind while watching television tonight.

I'm excited to have a few new colors to add to this cloth.  And along with additional colors (tones) I can now think about patterns.

And I am reminded of needing Peach for that one unfinished work---perhaps a solid Peach would work?

Speaking of work--I am working at the greenhouse tomorrow.  All day.  And I am sure my eyes won't like the glare of the bright sun in the glass greenhouse.  I may need to borrow a baseball cap from G.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

What I Did On A Winter Day

I had made this piece for an Art Show Fundraiser and no one wanted to buy it.  Today I made it look like this with embroidery around the flowers--using Deb Lacativa's Magic Thread.

First a line around the outside edges to define the flower shapes.  They sort of got lost.  The flowers are my own hand painted fabric.  Carol, this is the pink I've used up.  In fact, all the colored fabric  but the green and black stripe is hand painted.  By me.

Then, while I watched television coverage of the walking bridge collapse in Miami, I stitched swirls around the flower centers.  Ebb and flow.  Imagining Spring.

I think it didn't sell because it just wasn't finished.  I added three button centers to the flowers (removing the French knots).  Antique buttons.  Faded and dull.  After taking this picture.

I went up into the Attic--but you guessed that!--and found a few little treasures.  This being one.  You'll see the other in the next post.

Snow Dog

When Life brings you snow--it's good to have a dog like Riley.

The light outdoors is very bright.  You could easily go "snow blind".  You can also easily SEE the DUST here in the house--so I think there will be some "housekeeping" today.  I have laundry to do. I have sorting to do.  I have a box to send to Connie.  I need a new coffee maker but am making do with my "fill it yourself" Keurig capsule.  Make do.  How I learned to live from my Grandmother.

Make do.  Use what you have.  Keep it all clean.  Starch all your house dresses and aprons. Make homemade donuts.  Fill Easter Baskets and hide them.  Wrap all presents in white tissue paper. Save everything: brown paper bags, string, cans, jars etc.  Crochet like a genius.  Grow roses.  Always have a vegetable garden.  Pickle any extra vegetables.  Grow peaches and plums.

I used to be a better "grandma" but I gave up the starch and iron a few years ago.  I just recently got two peach trees but gave up on the roses.  I do make a lot of pickles but have never made a homemade donut.  I find frying in oil to be wasteful.  You can't re-use it.  And I do-- save almost everything I think might have a second use.  My collection of Bonne Maman jelly jars is substantial as is the collection of Ball canning jars.  I stopped saving string when Santa brought me a tall cone of fresh new string.  I still fold used wrapping paper and try re-using it.  Especially the pretty papers.

Riley and I dug out the back stoop this morning after breakfast.  Heavy, deep wet snow.  Ugh!  I truly hope this is the end of it.  Open House at the Greenhouse this weekend and I agreed to work all day Saturday.  Last year I must have walked 10 miles.  I remember saying I would never do it again.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

I'll Go With Vincent Today

He may have been "mental" as my Boston friend says, but Vincent is and was magnificent.  The colors themselves are lifting my spirits on this "all white" day here in Maine.  It snowed for over 24 hours.  And it looks like it is still snowing.  We are completely house bound until G can get out there to start clearing the driveway.

I am learning to make coffee in the Keurig.  Packing coffee into the little plastic thingy and then doing 8 ounces and then 4 more to fill my big Polish Pottery mug.  No morning paper.  But the power is on.  My coffee maker gave up on me yesterday morning.  I guess it just lost the will to live. It happens with people, why not appliances?

We are watching "The Alienist".  I am lost.  I am really having trouble following the plot here.  Might have to read the book to figure it out.  Two more episodes.  It's wonderful to just look at though. Dirty and crowded and ugly but beautifully presented.

I spent yesterday traveling with Jude Hill on her Small Journey site.  85 posts with audio and video and all that.  Somewhere along -#60 or so, I reunited with the concept of Page.  I had seen it on a blog post and was quite taken with the concept of a book and pages made of sewn bits of cloth.

I found additional posts (I must have stopped reading her daily posts- or missed these) about "page" and found out what happened next.  I made many notes.  The original "page" was 5 squares by 7 squares.   And----the block I made out of my antique cotton and plant dyed experiments is five blocks by seven blocks.   A memory?  Had I stored that in my brain?

I was very conscious of "needing" to sew more blocks and add more strips and then knew to STOP when I had 5 by 7.  Jude's squares are one inch.  Mine are two inches. (so mine is actually a double wide page) And on her second "page" she stops using matching thread and starts using contrasting thread to sew the squares together.  I used green thread.  Not white.  From the start.  Perhaps I had also seen the second page.

But then I didn't know what to do.  Now I do.  I sent Jude a thank you note via email.

I don't know why I opened that particular file -Small Journeys- and I don't know why I continued to read every entry......for hours...but I am very very glad I did.  Now to cut one inch squares.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Nine Plus One Feather

I have this nine patch with circles up on the wall.  I walk past. I look.  And eventually am bothered by the "too nothing" look of this one circle.  So I added stitch to the outside edge.  Look at it for another week.  Decided on a feather floating.

My choice of color for the new embroidery was determined by the colors already present.  A new color might indicate a "disturbance in the Force".

And that would be one disturbance too many.  Already today my coffee maker decided to stop working.  Why not yesterday when we were out in the Spring weather and I could buy a new one? Why in a snowstorm which could become a blizzard.  And then there is the 2K replacement of the oil tank with the agent coming this morning to tell us that.  Plus, of course, the fees for disassembling the old one and removing it.  And the new tank will have to be in the garage-in plain sight. An unheated garage so it could also freeze in Winter.  I think--she says no.  She suggests kerosene.  A better fuel. And so much more expensive.

I was disagreeable.  Her visit was right after the coffee machine stopped working.  Nothing "sparkly" about me this morning.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Rolling Along

I was planning to make manicotti tomorrow during the snow storm.  We went shopping.  No fresh pasta sheets at the grocery.  They always have them but now they don't.  Not even an empty spot where they used to be.

So, I will be rolling my own.  I love my Atlas pasta roller.  We've been together for years and years. We even traveled to Europe together.  I think my husband bought it for me at Crate & Barrel in Chicago the first time we lived there.  I roll out pierogi dough for Christmas Eve dinner. Every year-no matter where we are living.

And, now so many years later, I'm going to roll pasta for manicotti.  Getting old is certainly interesting. What's next?  Ravioli?  Well, yes, I think I might--I do own a metal ravioli thingy you make them on and then roll something across the top and "hey presto" ravioli.

Snow is supposed to be coming and staying for a few days.  Things are already being cancelled.  I teach a class on Wednesday at the local library (where I used to work) and hopefully that takes place. Saturday is the Open House for the greenhouse where I work (occasionally, these days).  I hope the storm has passed so the Open House is a good one.

I stitched a feather on the cloth with the nine circles. One circle seemed to "need" a feather.  I will show you that tomorrow.

My husband purchased 10 (ten) Earth Boxes for my gardening this season (a surprise).  We took one out of the box and tried putting it together.  Not the Earth Box I am used to seeing at work.  Newer design. Slightly smaller. Perhaps better?  No place for wheels.  And he got me trellis set ups for 3.  So the tomatoes don't fall over.  It took get it put together correctly.  Nicely designed.  Sturdy. A test of how we work together.

I was taken to the eye glasses place to see if my glasses could be worked on to improve my vision.  We tried  a few things.  None of them worked.  Michael found me "amusing".  In the end, we put the frames back the way they were.  Ordered "dedicated" reading glasses.  So I cannot read thru the wrong trifocal lens.  Which is ---I guess, what I have been doing.  Making my eyes exhausted and blurry.  In about a week I should be able to give them a test drive.  They are sort of gold and sparkly.
And I am sort of "old" and sparkly.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Just Another Saturday

I was busy, yesterday, cleaning up the bookcase and doing some stitching to keep busy while the furnace man was here.  I had to be visible to the dog as he was "anxious" over the noises coming from the crawl space under the house.

During my "busy-ness" I noticed this little 6 inch piece pinned to the wall and very dusty and dirty. So this morning I washed it in the sink with some Dawn.  And it's now drying flat on the kitchen island. The baskets were sewn by machine but the handles were appliqu├ęd by hand.

I remembered making this while my husband and daughter were off skiing in Vermont--long ago. And I am reminded that the making took an entire day.  I think I intended to make more--but..... the process wasn't what I would recall as being "fun".  It could become a "center" for something in the next few weeks?

And here we have the in progress patchwork--all stitched by hand, but at a much faster rate (I must be getting better with this as I get older?)  In order to make the nine patch I had to UNSEW one patch and replace with another as the long strips were all the white fabric squares.  Then I stitched the three rows together.  I then had two sets of two rows each but they looked boring so I decided to unsew some white squares and add in blue ones.  Except it was trickier as the hole left by the unsewing was U shaped.  So three sides to stitch on each blue replacement.  But I managed.  Now I am planning to do the long seam on each to stitch them to the center.  The nine patch is the onion dyed fabric.  The blue was a tea bag and a tiny spot of blue craft paint.  So not plant based.  Though I do know now I can get a sort of blue with red cabbage and lemon juice.  Actually more of a violet.  But I am liking this small patch project.

I got my haircut yesterday.  I mentioned that I thought the previous cut was a bit too short.  And while looking at my hair-- the stylist reflected that it did indeed look like a few areas had been cut a bit too much.  "A few areas".   Now that made my day.

G brought home a cherry pie from Whole Foods in Portland.  They just never have any cherry when I shop there and G said this pie--here in my house--was the ONLY cherry pie.  I feel so amazingly happy about that.  Really.  People say I am so difficult to please.  Whole Foods Cherry Pie.  Easy.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Winter Storm = Soup

I have everything in this photo from Food52 to make a "Beans and Greens" soup.  I even have Parm rinds saved in the freezer.  Beans, greens, and some tomatoes.  I made G a big kettle of chicken soup yesterday.

At least the snow reflects light and makes everything look "brighter".  It had been so dark here for too many days.  Makes the three of us "sad". We've got at least 12 inches piled up over night an possibly more.  And it just now (1pm) stopped snowing.  Every single thing outside is coated in snow. Everything is WHITE.  Blinding.  No newspaper and no mail.

Read Jane Harper's second book "Force of Nature" straight thru yesterday.  Loved her first book "The Dry".  Same lead character.  Excellent author if you like a well written book.  Australian author. I selected a few books from the New Mystery section on my last visit to the library.  Not sure about them.  But I was judging by the cover..........

Stitching my antique fabric.  Finished squares are "about" 2 inches.  And the square part is also "about" as I am doing it all by hand and using the rather odd Jude Hill method of sewing one block to another.  The thread at the seam shows and we are supposed to stitch "imperfectly".  So the opposite of machine work.  I am really loving the look.  Soft and with personality.  I did cut some strips apart to add in some of the onion skin fabric in a nine patch design.  Looks very nice.  Or it could have been the tea bag fabric?  I don't quite recall.  I am going to see if I have any real thin old blue fabric anywhere (old shirt) so I can make some very pale blue squares. If not, then I will do something else.
This will be my "base" for working on for Spirit Cloth Beginning class I am following--solo.

Haircut tomorrow.  And the oil company is sending a guy to do the annual furnace cleaning tomorrow between 12 and 4.  Slow Living.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Continuing With Plant Based Dyes

Top is more of the dried onion skins.  Second is not plant based but is from vinegar and rusted nails and other things from G's workshop ( very India Flint), bottom row left is from the bag of spent geranium flowers-red ones.  On the right, hot pink spent geraniums. All got placed on wet cotton fabric, wrapped up in foil packets, pounded with a meat mallet and steamed for about 25 minutes in a steamer over simmer water.  The nails etc did not get pounded.  The reverse of the rusty things cloth is much darker.  This image is of the backside.  I thought it would photograph better--I was wrong.

None of the green things took any color.  And I haven't found anything blue yet.  The colors are a bit more intense but today we have cloud cover and no sun at all.  Storm coming.  Lots of snow and the "promise" of power outages.  More snow than the January storm which was awful.

And to make things more fun--the TiVo remote has decided it won't turn on the TV or adjust the volume.  G tried all the many "fixes" the service support (joke) at TiVo had for us.  The good news is that the sound level is perfectly okay with us.  And, as I told G, I don't mind unplugging the tv to "turn off" the tv.  The TiVo is working perfectly (knock wood) and recording things and being in contact with the Mother Ship via a cable connection and a phone connection.  I am thinking the problem may be Samsung.  The TV itself.  I don't know and, at this point, don't care.

I am going to make a big pot of chicken soup for G.  He'll be out snowblowing into the night tonight.
I'm thinking it might be time (his age) to think about hiring someone to plow the driveway.  G could still do the edges and walkways.  Next Winter.

I just keep repeating.......we need this snow to hydrate the Earth which has been short of water here in Maine for years now.  Once, not long ago, we had a vernal pool on the west side of the yard.  It filled (filled!!) with melted snow water each Spring and peepers bred and ducks would stop to swim and Riley (then a few years old) would jump into the pool and chase the ducks and then enjoy a swim.  It's been a long time since that has happened.

I stitched two more rows of seven squares while watching the Government and the White House self destruct.  So sad, as Trump would say.  Where are the grown ups?

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Experiments With that Old Fabric

I cut squares and then used what I had here in the house to make little "dye" packets.  The top one in a small dab of blue paint and a dry used tea bag.  Wrapped in foil.  Steamed.  The second row was layered with very dry onion skins.  I wet the squares (water) and then stacked them like an onion skin sandwich.  Wrapped in foil. Steamed.  Row three is wet squares and dry used tea bags.  Row four is wet squares and a small drop of pink paint.  The onion skins worked out very well.

I had asked G for rusty nails or wire.  Either he didn't have any or he didn't hear me.  So, rusty things will happen the next time.  There is a fifth packet but it's slow.  I smashed fern fronds trying for threads of yellow green on the squares.  It might still happen.

I have dry (used) coffee grounds (grinds) and I am going to try that.  Also more onion skin sandwiches because that yellow bronze color is quite lovely.  Everything has been pressed with steam iron.  I stitched the squares so the thread shows at the seams.  I used green thread.  I don't know what this will "be".  Right now it just "is".   I don't have a vision of anything as yet.  Could also clip seams and resew into more of a square.   I think I had intended to make a square but got lost along the way.

These are the plain squares I cut and stitched together.  The colors you see are the stains the fabric had from sitting for years and years.  The inside yardage is yellowed but not dark.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Still Life - Morning Sunshine

As I was waiting for the water for my tea to come to a boil, I noticed the light playing across the now empty cookie jars and my last orange.

I can see circles in the jar bottoms and the circle of the orange.  

I also see the reflection of the sun on the left side of the orange.

Such a simple arrangement but so many things to see.

I'm glad I decided to take this picture for you.  I would have missed out on the noticing so many facets to this still life if I didn't have a photo to remind me.

And... just by writing to you each day, I reflect on and think about things I may have left unexamined. The purpose of this many years ago, was as a journal. And this journal has become so much more than I had imagined it would be.  A life examined.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Lenten Rose & Space and Time

As winter gives over to Spring the Lenten Rose starts crawling out of the ground and sending up leaves and eventually flowers.  I have two plants over by the south western side of the house.  With a rock path nearby to catch even more warmth from the sun.  I can see the plants (when they emerge) from the French doors in my dining/family room.  The room with the new rug.

We (G, Riley and I) didn't see much of the recent storm.  No wind and no rain and no storm surge as we are too far inland.  But right now, at 11pm, snow is falling.  Winter clings.

G and I voted to NOT watch any news today.  News Free Day.  We may continue it into Monday.

We watched Netflix--The Voyager satellites sent up in the 70's and finally reaching and crossing out of the "bubble", as the science guys called it, of our solar system into the unknown. 40 plus years. It was sort of like writing a paper and then waiting 40 years or more to see if you got it right. We still don't know if it will make contact with who or what is out there. Still sending messages back to us.

As we watched, the film marking events as years passed and the Voyagers I and II  passed Jupiter, Saturn and Voyager II headed for Neptune and G and I recalled the events of our life together.  From first child to sitting on the couch together tonight.  I'm so happy we can still remember.

I found folded and yellowed and stained yardage of old cotton fabric (the attic) --from the years when the width was 48 inches but could be less.  I cut a section (small) off and washed it and it came out so soft with a incredible feel to it.  Perhaps overjoyed to have been found again?  It is antique white ;-) but...I went and got the rest and washed it.  Deserves to be seen, touched and used.

I don't know where it came from or how long I have had it up there.  I am reminded of two possible sources.  One a woman who collected odd fabrics and moved away from Maine and was selling her fabric.  She asked me over before she left and filled my car with what was left, unsold.  I think I got that old yardage there and an old cupboard (taken apart and stacked in the garage).  Over 25 years ago. Voyager hadn't reached Neptune yet.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Late On Saturday Evening

Reading Letters From Paris by Juliet Blackwell.

In a garden in the Latin Quarter under twinkly lights the American woman writing her story is having apero with the handsome but aloof French guy who has set the small table with chilled champagne, pate de champagne, water crackers and fat walnut halves seasoned with cinnamon and black pepper. be there.

My two classes (10 am and 2 pm) went very well.  Everyone was going home to get seeds started for their gardens.  The light in the greenhouse was nearly blinding.   I wished I had sun glasses. But it gives me some hope for warmer weather and Spring.

Too many hours of news tonight as I watch the White House fall to pieces.  Like a terrible soap opera with cheap and tawdry actors.  And how much did Mrs Trump get paid to hold her husband's hand getting off the plane in Florida????  96K for an overnight to Florida.

That's about it for tonight.

Friday, March 02, 2018

I Just Had To Post This

From Art Propelled--Basic Goodness by Judy Martin

Now this is a MOON!!!  This is what I wanted.  This is what I didn't have the fabric to make.  I know...a poor artist blames her materials.  If you can enlarge this image-- the entire surface of the MOON is covered in white stitch.  Just endless running stitch.  And then a thicker line along the outside edge.  Sigh.  And it was at the top of the art right now on Art Propelled so just posted.

Like Time and Space and the Atoms of the Internet wanted to let me know what was possible when you say : I want to make something about the MOON.


I stopped at work and had copies made of all the handouts I make for all my classes.  I WANT people to KNOW about the topics.  Go forth and be successful.  And there was birthday cake for Ted.  And a card to sign.  And they had re-opened the entire greenhouse.  Everything was fresh and neat and "perky".  Color-filled.  I said hello to all who have returned to work for the season. And then got in the car and drove away.

I just popped 4 pounds of pork (country rib) and a rub of garlic, cayenne, brown sugar and salt and pepper into the oven with 2 cups of cider vinegar.  In 2.5 to 3.5 hours it will be brown and tangy and delicious.  We're going to have food for dinner tonight.  Last night we didn't have any dinner. We were reading books until it was too late to make anything.

DianeN I just had to come back to this--we'll see if it can be often enough for you (and me).

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Marching Into Spring

I quilted this while watching Survivor.  It was a 2 hour episode.  We haven't watched Survivor in YEARS and the contestants haven't gotten any smarter.  Really bozo moves.

So- here is the circle nine patch  quilted over a "felt" thickness batting.  I like a flat batting--no poof.  And I pressed it with steam.  To get out any creased and puffy spots.  I quilted along the seam lines--quarter inch away and then around the circles and around the interior elements. While pressing I noticed one circle --the middle one in bottom row--that didn't get "around the circle" quilting so, that's what I will do as soon as I hit publish.

We have a second day of unseasonable WARM temps and sunshine.  Mainers are wearing flip flops and tee shirts.  It's in the 40's.  So 50 to 60 degrees warmer than December and January.

I don't think I will be posting everyday this month.  I have two classes scheduled in the next 2 weeks- so prep time etc.  It'll take up space on my daily calendar.  And, seeds to start for my garden.  And, books to read--a nice pile of four easy reading books.  Mostly book two of an author whose book one I enjoyed.  See how they progress as a writer.  I also have an unpublished book to read here on the computer as a beta reader.  And I am noticing tree limbs and branches that need to be removed.  Before leaves start hiding them.  Spring pruning is one of my favorite things to do.  Still too much snow on the ground--but soon......

I'll still be here to let you know what I am doing and thinking about and even making though that has been difficult for me lately.  Thank you to all who have checked in here everyday.  Really, really means a lot to me.