Trying to Focus Today

I did fix a somewhat decent meal for myself. It was just ugly plating.

Speaking of food, the Great British Baking Show has lost its appeal with the changing of two female hosts to two tiresome/annoying male hosts. Mary Berry appears to have left and another competent woman judge has taken her place. But the new season of contestants must have been selected for their incompetence. Not one could even bake a simple brownie. I think the show has become dumb and we have more than enough of dumb going on, especially in the US.

Still the walks.

And another inviting door into fairy land. This one with a latch.

After cutting out the bad piece from my strip of hemp I decided to fold over the cut edge, steam it in place and then stitch it down by crossing over the raw edge with a double row of stitches.

I noticed in the stitching that there is definitely a right and wrong side to the hemp. The wrong side where the hem is has loose ends and frays in the weave. The right side is much more finished and smooth.

In cleaning out my studio I noticed how many old wooden boxes I had been using to hold bits and pieces. Now I have quite a collection ready to be reused one way or another. These two long strips when stitched together end to end will give me over fifteen feet to stitch on. I will roll the strip like a scroll and place it into one of these boxes. It will keep my hands busy while my mind tries to focus on what will be happening next……. closing on the loan and start of the new house. And Lee’s continuing decline.

The sun is trying to get through this interminable fog. I meet a friend for lunch tomorrow and others next week for a good beer and dinner out. That part of sharing meals with friends seems like getting “back to normal”.

But there really is no more normal. Life with Covid has been a filter of so much that seems quite unnecessary and ridiculous when compared to the necessities of now.  At least one good friend, lovely walks, calls from family, a good book, some stitching, and a nice beer will be enough to get me through….more than enough actually.

Til later….


Beautiful October

I am doing nothing. It is a bit like Spring Fever. Once my early morning walks are done and I am back in the house, doing nothing seems the better option.

I tried sewing on my strip of hemp, not linen, but then cut out the section because I hated it and tossed it in the bin. It had too much color. It was too patchy. I even painted over the cloth patches and stitched some more. It was dumb looking. Good idea to pitch it. Start again another day.

And then with a new television and more options to waste time, I got hung up on The Great British Baking Show. I like how kind they are to each other. And one episode leads to another just to see what they will bake next. It has not inspired me to bake. I am even having to remind myself to eat lately, let alone cook. Last night it was a small plate of leftover rice from last week. Even the cats wouldn’t help me finish it off. Tonight I am promising myself to fix flounder with asparagus and cheesy grits. If I make enough for two meals then I won’t have to fix anything tomorrow. That seems appealing.

I am not even drawing. It is hard to be enthusiastic about anything here at the house. It is like I have left the place without going anywhere. Here there are mostly walls surrounding things that need to be packed up. I am ready to move. But for the next several months or more here is where I will be, sitting smack dab in the middle of memories that are fading as they brush past on their way to a safe place where they can wait for me to cherish them again.

My god, it is quiet in here! We should have been dog people. At least they make noise with their barking and begging. Our cats don’t even think of rousing from their slumbers unless they sense I am somewhere the treats cupboard.

Anyway here are some images from those perfect walks.

With the darker mornings and me having to feed the deer and birds before I set off for my walks, I am later getting to these lovely places.

And the Riverwalk hasn’t got much in the way of drama. The river is very low and this fall is offering little color.

And this one that made me wish I was Alice and could grow small just to walk up to this door and give it a good knock.

I come back from these walks and wonder how to plan my day. Some days I throw myself into something like sorting and packing bits in the studio. The other day I made decisions and packed up papers I may use from both of those large flat files. That felt good, just thinking I might someday use them for something.

Lee’s birthday was last week. He is now 84 years old and needed to be put on a medication to calm down his abusive language toward those taking care of him. Unlike the last place he was in they are very used to handling this kind of behavior. It is not uncommon for some of their dementia patients to turn on bad language when they hardly ever used it before. The staff just have to call whenever there is a change in medications and assured me that he only talks this way to the ones trying to give him a bath or help with his eating. Most of the time he is content talking with one of their stuffed cats on his lap.

When the weather is this beautiful I will walk down to the mailbox and back up to the house…this quiet, quiet house.

It is now four-thirty and I will pour a glass of wine, maybe get back to writing my next short story,……

Til later.

Rainy Day Procrastinating

It is raining again this morning. It might be this way all week and I am missing the early walks. Maybe just put on a raincoat later today and go anyway.

Now I am down in the studio just playing around instead of packing up papers from a flat file. There is a wonder and a doubt as I look at the materials left in here whether I will ever get back to doing much with it. It is the “maybe” that makes the decision for me. I did love having friends working in here a few weeks ago and found it inspiring to get back to it. What to do with it all when it is finished is the problem. So….

This morning I cut an eight foot by one foot piece of linen in half lengthwise, giving me two strips only 6 inches by about 100 inches long. I wrapped them loosely and they are now sitting in a dye pot of just rust and a few leaves that had been left in there.

I found the linen textile while packing up some fabrics. There was this natural linen one that had a bit cut off and a full length grey one the same width. Remember when we just had to have those strips brought in by textile importers at the fiber conferences? These like all the others of this size and material came from Thailand. They were irresistible because of their “exoticness”, possibilities, and so easy to pack in a suitcase.

I boiled what was left in the dye pot from sampling on papers and cloth a few weeks ago. In the bottom is a rusted curved part of an old wood burning stove that I bought on one of my first teaching tours in Australia. It was a junk shop in Mittigong where a textile conference was being held.  Australians are the best to go to places where used things come up for sale. They call them Op Shops and the good ones anticipate the needs of artists and sort their goods accordingly. The man running this one wanted to know why I wanted not only this piece, but a couple of rusted drill bits and an old small wood handled garden shovel. “Don’t you have rusty bits back in the States?” I told him we did but it was simply not as good as the rusty things from Australia. From there I went to the post office to have it all sent back home and faced similar questions from my husband when it arrived several weeks later.

That day was only the start of buying whatever I could afford from that country. The thought that I may not get asked back made me think each trip was my last and the opportunities would come to a close. Now I am dealing with fourteen trips’ worth of those irresistible things that will go with me, not one left behind.

So when I take these two tied together strips from a cold pot, maybe tomorrow, I will dry them, stitch the two ends together and have what will look like an endless strip to stitch into. I miss the stitching since my last sketchbook was filled up.

To get ready I have dug out this very old sewing basket I made with the guidance of Grace Kabel, my basket teacher back in the eighties. The compartments were woven in place.

Like most baskets that were woven to hold sewing materials, sweet grass was added to the rim if not in the actual weave structure. You can still dampen the rims and get that wonderful smell. I found it being a catchall on a shelf in the den. So cleaned it out and found the scissors my grandmother gave me years ago, some scraps of cloth and buried deep down in were the two strawberries for holding needles and pins respectfully, and tied in place with a satin ribbon.

Now cleaned and packed appropriately it is ready to lift off the top of another basket to travel around the house with me whenever and wherever I want to do some stitching.

Isn’t that an inviting basket of bits and pieces?

Sometimes the sewing is simply not right. I did not like the bird stories book with the thread stitched in. So I pulled it all out slowly so as not to tear the pages. Then I did not like the rows of holes. the solution was to just add more holes!

And more sketching along with those holes.

The biggest problem with the stitching threads was not the maneuvering of the needle but the stitching pattern affected the opposite side of the page. After I get all the holes I want on these pages then I can use this book for drawing and pricking patterns only. I will still be able to close it because there is no added materials.

I still plan on adding watercolor to work into before drawing…that’s the plan anyway.

In the next hour I should have that flat file emptied with the good bits rolled into an upright carton that will be easier to move and fit easily into a closet at the new house. Whatever I don’t want will stay in the drawers for the new owner of the flat file or be given away to a friend who could use it.

So I will get to it.

Til later….

The Helpers Have Gone Home

Over 75 pounds off to be properly disposed of at the community shed on Friday. It was very exciting as I had never seen a shredder like this before. And the bank sponsoring this free of charge service served an assortment of sodas and water with bagged popcorn. Super relief to get this much out of the office and hauled away. Thanks Amy.

Ben pulled everything from top shelves so I could decide if it stayed or went away with them. Surprises like you would not believe shoved to the back! Lots of it went back with them this morning and the rest is waiting to go to someone else or stay with me.

Ben cooked his delicious squirrel and a Mallard duck that was not to my taste…chewy and a bit wild for me. But he did have time to hunt in Tennessee and is taking more squirrel home.

Friday morning I had a bit of time to spend by myself watching the funeral service for Margaret Perkins. It was so nice of the family to film the farewell and stories of those who knew her well. Hearing my words spoken aloud and being thanked from afar was particularly moving. Margaret, such a grand old girl and missed so much already.

We thought of going to the Women’s March in Sylva, NC on Saturday but time constraints and even more packing of boxes needed finishing. Three trips to the dump and one to the shredder!

We continued with the walks.

Found these strange little fellows on the riverwalk.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Phallus rubicundus is a species of fungus in the stinkhorn family. First described in 1811, it has a wide distribution in tropical regions. It has the typical stinkhorn structure consisting of a spongy stalk up to 15 cm (5.9 in) tall arising from a gelatinous “egg” up to 3 cm (1.2 in) in diameter. Atop the stalk is a pitted, conical cap that has a foul-smelling, gelatinous, green spore mass spread over it.
We did get some time to go to the local winery.
And now with rain coming down I am going to go watch some of that new big television.
Til later….