Beautiful Weather and A Look at Old Sketchbook Bindings

I am looking in the studio to see what to part with in the “unnecessary stuff” category. There are so many bindings that I used to stitch pages together for usable sketchbooks, so I am going to post some here in this blog as a way to take another and maybe last look.

You remember when you just learned how to do coptic binding so you did a bunch to fit into a wooden box? And it was so necessary to put marbled papers on the inside covers? Right. I never wrote or drew in these because whatever appeal they had did not last. They are still in this old tools box waiting for me to do something!

And when I thought it was a cool idea just because I had a loom, to weave the covers with collected Nature bits and make pages for drawing/painting to attach inside the covers. And then of course to stitch the books together. How dumb was that!

And one of many covered in fabrics that I just wanted to own a half yard of…coptic again.

And the sensible field journal of soft thick leather. You just wanted to use this book because of how it felt in the hand.

And a patched together kangaroo and cane toad hide book that probably is an all time favorite of the many made to use on Australian adventures.

A very appealing cover of mixed papers and bags from Australia became another favorite.

A large book made for a Penland auction with a section for watercolors made from there housed inside.

A sketchbook for nothing but Eucalyptus drawings with a cover made using layered book board that has been carved into to get the image after having a thin paper covering that is pressed into the recesses. Small cork paper leaves fill the spine so when it is handles you can hear the sound of wind in the Eucalyptus. Images so far are all silver point drawings. I will get back to it.

A favorite wrapped journal with removable signatures and housing local pigment watercolors.

Filling in the concertina pages of contact prints with watercolors of wildflowers. I need to just finish it and not be so critical of how bad the contact printing is on a poor choice of paper.

And some of the watercolors of wildflowers in the six way book. Hundreds of pages to fill in this one.

Final image is of folios done five years ago with the news of Lee’s dementia. Drawing my feelings on these small pages and then stitching was soothing in a way back then.

More later……

Four Days Later!

Our front yard is looking better and better. The pond man comes next week and hopefully will stir up the so far unseen fish. If they all perished since last fall then that is the way things go. I am picking where my sadness goes these days.

Lee and I walked the trail the other morning. It was lovely.

Then back up near the house.

Our friend, Marla, comes tomorrow to stay for a bit to help me sort things out. One of her first jobs on Wednesday will be to come with me to a memory care home about an hour away from here. They were very kind and understanding on the phone and came recommended by two of our caregivers. Lee is more set than ever that he is going “back home”.  He is angry at the “man” who told him to get ready and now he can’t go. I want each of our kids to see him in his house here before I make a decision as to when would be best to put him someplace else. It is getting difficult and I am not a nurse. Last night I found him just sitting in the living room at 1:00 am. I have no idea how long he was there. But he needs to be busy so now has collected more rocks only to smash them into smaller pieces. We are filling the black bamboo bed with rocks and he used to be able to just do that on his own but loses track of what to do if I or a caregiver are not with him constantly.

The good thing is he is easily distracted and loves his cats.

He needs more help getting dressed and we have given up on button down shirts. Next I will order him some pull-on jeans. I will ask at the care home what is best to have in the way of clothes for him. I will ask a lot of questions to make this easier for both of us.

So back to the little drawing I have time to do…..the Marks book is finished with the bamboo bed we now fill with rocks.

Now I am stitching small scraps together and drawing in the next book. Here is page 1.

This book will take more time but it is just what I need right now. Something I have control over with marks of what I used to do.  Once I get control over the “way too much stuff” problem more will get easier.

What I think about now is the cleared spaces in my next place. I am hoping for tall walls for the large pieces I won’t leave behind and the long table to draw, paint, stitch, etc below the artworks going to the high ceiling. A kitchen area, deck outside facing trees, bedroom for me and the very old lady’s bedroom set of two dressers and a double bed. She was a neighbor of Lee’s when he was growing up and we always kept the furniture given us from her children when she passed as guest room furniture. I get to be my own guest soon. Maybe another bedroom with a simple bed and my much loved Migun bed to relieve pain in the back, neck, legs. The walls will be pale beige-ish grey and mostly bare except the Aboriginal art that hangs over my long work table. I will have vegetables that I may or may not cook. And every afternoon right at 4:15 I will pour a scotch that takes an hour to drink…not because it is a large glass but because I will take slow spaced out sips and remember my fellow scotch drinkers and smile. Yes, 4:15 will be my memory hour and I will be able to smile my way through it.

I watched borer bees yesterday. How they have some sort of mechanism to drill body sized holes into wood and then go into that private space and stay there until they want to come out, sip some nectar from a beautiful flower and then go back in, turning their fuzzy little butts to the world outside until hungers of various kinds make them back out to check their options.

It may be a while before I get back to Sara and her blues…but I will get there. Just not this week. I need to put my own obsessions into boxes and move them along.

Til later.



Finally A Day In The Apartment!

Today a very nice caregiver came early and now she and Lee are sorting and placing rocks. I am over here with the windows open to this nice sunny day.

The yardman may appear sometime today with more trees and bushes to plant. Two days ago he mowed, cut down tall weeds, pulled some short ones, used some weed killer and blew off the trail, walks and driveway. Lee and I watched from the porch.

We went to the store the other day. Lee stayed in the car while I picked up groceries and then we both went into the garden center to pick up six ferns for the porch. And today we found the Nasturtium Lady at a town market and bought six to stick in the pots on the deck. Nasturtiums are such a happy plant.

The ferns influenced the drawings in the marks book. So did filling hummingbird feeders.

And yesterday I took some time when Lee was dozing to pin together some small swatches of cloth for my next book. I will stitch the pieces all together and then stitch them onto blank pages in the book to inspire words or drawings…probably back to my mechanical pencil for this one.

I just reread the beginning 539 words of my next short story. I don’t think I will edit much, a word here and there maybe but I like what I have so far.  And today Sara and I finally have time to talk.

Next week a friend comes to stay here in the apartment and spend days with Lee and me mostly helping me make decisions of what to start packing up. The next month our daughter and her partner come down and will also take some things home with them. In June maybe our son can bring his truck and a trailer to take more. Once the totally unnecessary is gone I can decide what will stay until I move elsewhere when Lee is not living with me. It will be a while but I do not want to face it all at once if things happen suddenly.

I am thinking Asheville area would be nice. Some place where there is help if I need it, and plenty of privacy. I don’t want to be put in a home with Crystals and Tiffanys stopping in every day. And yes, I am aware that there are places where the Hazels and Hildegards don’t really care for the Sandys. It is a delicate balance, our comfort zones.

My dinner parties are over so the kids will get even more wine glasses and dishes than they took last time. When I can I plan on going to a real restaurant with fussed over food and good wines. That will definitely be when I am alone as Lee has a hard time managing food on and off his plate.

The other day when the cleaning lady was here I practiced sorting and throwing. The bowl of ten year old Christmas cards also held two sketchbooks, two whisk brooms, a bird nest and three balsam airplanes. The sketchbooks, whisk brooms and bird nest went back in the bowl. The trash bag of cards, etc. made its way over to the book shelves and were joined by travel brochures and maps and other not needed bits. But the coup de gras was dumping all of those 19 Crimes wine corks that filled the large wooden bowl in the dining room. In with them went the Eucalyptus leaves plucked from stems bought at the florist and not used for contact printing. Also into the bag went dried stems gathered by a friend from the yard to put on the table the last Thanksgiving dinner they came here for. At least five years ago, maybe more. Why do we save stuff like that!

I think I must have thought that it would be the final goodbye to toss things out. Like the tossing would take the memory with it. Well it doesn’t! I still remember them, the dinner, and her contribution of countless shredded wheat rolls from an old family recipe. I still remember how much Lee did not like the rolls especially after my serving them up day after day long after the company left.

When I get to Asheville one day I will take them out to dinner. She and I will sketch while we wait for our food and talk about Thanksgiving dinners here. It will happen even though I finally threw out her dried weed centerpiece.

And I will still drink 19 Crimes wine. Some even today while visiting with Sara and looking over her blue collection.

And Sadie because she poses so well.

Til later…

Hanging In There

The full moon morning of last week was so peaceful. Things change. Our doctor spent a few hours with Lee and sees the paranoia creeping in. Lee thinks people are taking things, he is easily saddened and just wants to go home. Today he has a rather low energy caregiver while I am downstairs writing this and hoping to get back to the sewing I abandoned Friday to send the caregiver home after Lee became upset. I hope the one today can be cheerful and help him arrange rocks outside, but as usual I trust nothing to go as planned.

Keeping up with my marks book. Easter!

chocolate rabbit bits and black jelly beans.

I love the intricacy of a dandelion. Very hard to draw…maybe next year. I am hoping to tour an assisted living home for Lee this week but now want to see how this caregiver works out before being gone three hours..

I also photographed some other things in the house I will need to take care of before selling the house in the not so distant future. My collection of foundry molds. I love them!

I like this one that looks like a dog around the corner from a fire hydrant mold. There are several more tucked around the house. I will take them with me.

Okay. Update. I just released the caregiver 40 minutes in. I called her employer and asked if they could send people who can talk, walk and at the very least listen to Lee and smile. Of course she was on the schedule twice more this week and I said that was not going to work. And also of course, they may not be able to find anyone to fill in. So like I say, trust nothing…especially if you are counting on some time of your own. He is now napping in his chair with cop shows in the background.

He and I will work on rocks later.

The good news is a friend from Michigan has completed her shots and two week wait so will be coming down next week to spend time helping me cope with all the things that need packing up here. The following month our daughter and partner will be able to get here with our son arriving with a trailer the month after that.

Not sure when I will be able to get to the assisted living home and Friday’s person is only good for three hours. Seems many are vacationing the week after Easter.

This is the second Covid Coping book and has enough pages for the labels of all of us until the stop date of the 20th of this month….the last of the shots and wait times.

So that is about it for now.  I think I am beginning to sound like the old poet’s duck in Louise Penny’s Gamache series….all it says is *uck, *uck, *uck!

But it is still a beautiful day. The yard guys come again Wednesday. Our Tuesday friend will hopefully show up tomorrow for lunch. I have sedatives now for Lee if he sinks into hidden fears. And at least three bottles of scotch in the cupboard. Close to a state of “high cotton.”

Til later….