Bit Early for Wine….But Could Use a Glass

I went to the grocery store this morning, after laundry and vacuuming, and found the perfect red wine for a new neighbor moving in today. She is an artist who prefers Cabernet Sauvignon. This seemed perfect for the tangling up of trying to fit it all in before thinking maybe some of it should never have been moved. I will take it over when the dust clears and her helpers have gone home.

It is getting lighter in the mornings going to the gym.

A new bamboo has been added to my little pond. My yard man and his helper came over to clean up here…clean pond and pull weeds. I had them also move two pots from the garage to out front so I could plant them with shade loving ferns, etc., and place smooth stones around them.

And these past few days have been the basket conference in Tasmania. They posted pictures and I found Jude’s hands working on her coiled neckpieces. So I had to add them to the pages I was working on.

I have been adjusting and sizing the images from the Fairy Book. I do not want to try and make a story of all those fairies but think an introduction page would be fun to write before turning all the pages to find them hidden in the leaves. I like all the figuring that goes into fitting everything just so for a book.

Last night I went to a concert of the Mountain Chorus. Lots of singers in a large church that could handle the crowd and the musicians. I loved the cello player who made my eyes water with his solo. I don’t think I have been to one of these since high school. Music and church were not a part of my upbringing. But it was lovely and we treated ourselves to a margarita, chips and salsa afterwards. A very kind neighbor to ask me to tag along.

There is not much else new going on. Soon my yardman will be tackling the pergola and screen door. I have turned it over to him now.

That glass of wine is waiting.

Til later….

Spring Thoughts

Entry to my place…

Walk over to the gym. It is getting very green.

I did not like the crisp whiteness of the Lethe Book, so gave it some aging with stitch and coffee stains. Then put in some drawings. Seems more inviting now and there is so much latitude granted with murky pages. The feel is better too. Each page after having the coffee mostly washed out, has its own identity and direction it wants to bend in.  I like that I have to force it closed to get it to calm down.

And I added another Philosophical Consideration to the book.

I worked on writing this past week…finished a short story…the one about the reclusive librarian. Another piece of poetry while having my Manhattan and pizza. That bit of solitude at the bar may have to stop until cold weather returns. Too many people out wandering about the area now that the town is filled with flowering trees, pleasant weather and a desire to come out and be sociable. I will retreat to my studio at that time with a single malt and pretzels.

Yesterday a friend took me to see the senior art show at the local college. I loved seeing the use of earth pigments in some of the work, visiting with students and some faculty. An old member of my art group just happened in at the same time and told me she just purchased another of my Earth Pigments books for a class she will be teaching soon. I told her if she was taking students on a hunt to gather, not to overlook the soot gathered in blacksmith vents. Some rich blacks there. Funny how I really don’t miss the processes I went through to get the colors of place. I am so glad that all that equipment from my studio went to a young artist/teacher to be properly used with my gathered grounds from far and near. All things have a season and I have such lovely colors and memories all turned into watercolors easily accessed.  I am using a bit from the France and Italy collection in the Philosophical Considerations book. These pans of color will last forever with the small scale illustrations I use them for.

Hot sun is heating up the back side of the house. So I was thinking of adding an attached awning. Then I did not like how that would look after I received the builder’s images. Not right for my place. The good thing was that the man my builder called to get ideas from turned out to be the fellow who put on the lovely porch we had at our last place. He and I even went on a hike together. Anyway it was very nice to have a chat with him on the phone and getting ideas. It has been a few years and good to know he is still in business and does the porches for my builder.

Here is what I am thinking instead. It will fit across the three living room windows and extend out ten feet. I like the look of it for my aesthetic here behind the house.

I like that it has an electric outlet attachment. It will require footings and labor in the assembly. I have asked my yardman if he could possibly do this. We will have the discussion next week when he returns to do work in the neighborhood and check on my yard.

I am trying very hard not to go to a nursery and buy ferns and potting soil. Not sure how long my resistance will hold out. Everyone warns of the possibility of another frost coming…..but still….

Not much more news…I might start putting the fairy book in order to see how many poems are needed to fill the blank pages to keep double paged images together.

Til later….

Gatherings in Thoughts and Words

For the Tasmanian Basket Gathering ending this weekend.

I bought this small stitched textile, yellow with three Easter-colored bands, to use in the Gathering Book. And since they were meeting this weekend, i pulled it forward and tried to work on it. The colors put me off, my graphite drawing of plant materials they could be using put me off, my stitching put me off, but I added it anyway. I like being with them in spirit when they gather to make baskets and stitch.

Then earlier this week another philosophical consideration occurred to me. It made me snort with its truthfulness.

Anyway with the stitching of cloth and paper, I realized how much I miss doing work like these in another book…..

And speaking of stitching, this is the poem I took to the Poetry reading this week.


End of a Long Thread          S. Webster


One end of a long thread struggles its way

through my needle and is dragged down

past its own tail to have a spit-filled knot

tied at the bottom.


Holding together two pieces of cloth,

or both sides of a tear, I pierce them

coming up from behind.

Then back down and through

a short distance away.


In the up and down, out and in,

I find a rhythm, let my mind wander

to all the tears I never mended,

and pieces I should have held together.


Yesterday while looking for something else, I found this unfinished little journal that I taught in Australia several years ago. It had to do with marking our personal explorations on the pages and on a complex fold map. The map had sixteen spaces on each side and folded down to fit in the back of the leather journal. I miss the kind of self-exploration that my students were willing to dig into. I miss my own, but think it is more in the writing of poems and short stories now. But this book does call to be handled and drawn into.

As you turn each page over, there is a type of code to remind you of what used to be. All that is left is the fragment that may or may not let you recall. Like the waters that were drunk from the River Lethe in Greek mythology, time causes forgetfulness. And I really like this book. To mark the pages in some way and then fold it over to be wrapped and tied and held makes us think about the comfort taken in just those actions.

There are so many blank pages left to fill and I don’t think it should be left that way….so I am going to thread a needle today and get on with what needs to be remembered.

Til later…..

A Good Week for Talking

This is a paper bowl that a friend, Mary Crehan made several years ago. I keep her tag on it and it sits in a drawer to my right with a couple of rusty bits from Australia tucked inside. We became fast friends when we met several years ago and I picked her (an unknown) to room with on a trip to Lake Mungo. I liked that she came from England and no one knew anything about her. She could have been a much less fun person to room with, but was so much fun to be around. We laughed and talked about anything and everything.  Mary came back over to Australia other times to have more adventures with me and a couple that made sure we had transport to good times in Queensland, New Zealand and beyond. So much laughing. So many good memories. When we were getting on separate planes to head home from New Zealand, we could not bring ourselves to say goodbye. She simply said, “Sandy, our problem is we did not meet soon enough.” She was eighty years old at the time. Here is a piece I keep framed in my den of her and my adventures at Lake Mungo. It was made from a hunk of cardboard that was at a sand hill for people to slide down to the bottom. What a simple pleasure in the middle of the Outback.

Well, we did exchange emails and Christmas cards, and over time that stopped. I assumed she was much older now and maybe infirmed or worse, so clung harder to the memories and the pieces I saved because of her. Then the other day out of the blue she sends me a short email wondering what I have been up to because she is now teaching a papermaking class at Ipswitch Institute. She’s 88 and still cracks me up. Naturally, I had to write back all that I was doing at just short of 80. Mary is now, as she was before, my inspiration to stay upright and busy and most of all, happy. I wish everyone a Mary in their lives.

I finally finished fussing in the front entry. While glancing up in my closet on a trek that gives me 250 steps total if I walk into every room and return to the starting point, I saw these twin kantha-stitched bed spreads that I bought at an import store in Asheville. I just could not part with them because they seemed so useful for someday. So I moved the black bench from the porch to opposite the other bench at the front entry, undid the mud cloth to put back where I found it, and ended up with this. I am now through with it and as soon as warmer weather comes will be having wine with neighbors walking by.

Spring is trying to get a foothold here. My back yard is now filled in with mulch and a lovely new red bud tree that has branches spreading out on opposite sides. Perfect for blocking a bit of the view into a neighbor’s porch.

My dogwood is also just starting to bloom.

And lastly, yesterday was my day to sit on a panel and discuss self-publishing. Each of the three of us had totally different approaches. A retired minister showed his books that took  a long time in writing and finding the right fit to get them published. Then myself showing and talking about my books from hand done editions to using KDP from Amazon to make sure I was leaving my words behind and available to friends and family. Then a very good self-publishing, family owned business, presenting the various ways they can help authors. I loved chatting with enthusiastic writers from such varied backgrounds….a man who has restaurants in Sicely and New York where the Mafia eats. He wanted to know what I thought of his book’s cover. I said it was a bit disconcerting…a woman’s head with three bare legs curved around it. He educated me by letting me know they were Sicilian symbols. I liked watching him, black suit just a bit snug around the middle, black patent leather loafers that tapered down to the floor and an old-fashioned briefcase with heavy metal latches. Another writer was enrolling herself into a watercolor class so she could do her own illustrations like I do. Her children’s book is already written and waiting. Others were concerned about lawsuits if unpleasant relatives recognized themselves in autobiographies. And if an author can use a picture of themselves on the back cover when someone else took the picture. The answer there is, no, not without permission in writing from the one who took the photo.

Anyway, I enjoyed the four hours of presenting and answering questions.

My laundry and grocery shopping are finished. Now for a bit of lunch and then getting stuck into a book on loan from a neighbor.

Til later…..