New Moon Madness

I think I am more sporadically busy at new moon times. Up early to capture the moon and a lone star at 6:15.

Five minutes and the star is lost.

And I toss corn and bird seed out to those waiting.

I have been taking pictures of flowers along my walks and using them to draw from.

The other day the most thoughtful card came from Tasmania. Suzi BJ saw that I loved this photograph by a Mr. Sikes as I remember of an old spool of thread and made this to send kind words all the way across the world.

They are so very clever down there. See how she stitched the two pieces together to look like the threads are coming out of the needle in the spool? See how she stitched her own envelope to recycle? So clever. So lovely to have someone who would think to make this for me. I love it Suzi. Thank you.

Speaking of stitching…..all the large wood blocks of man and his stages are finished. Here they are with their heart details. My fingers were so cramped by yesterday evening.

I am thinking of getting them framed individually to hang side by side. I would like them double matted with a thin blood/barn red edge peeping out from an off white mat inside simple black wood frames. It will be expensive but that is how I see them. Just need to find a framer now and that is not easy out here in the country.

I walked on the trail and saw signs of fall already.

And Lee’s basket continues to deteriorate and become more beautiful in the process.

He is always on my mind. Especially when I make my coffee in the morning and he is not here to share it with me. We found this old original Farberware Expresso/Cappuccino machine in a cupboard. It is perfect for my one cup per day and comes with the wooden tamper that Lee turned for it.

The fresh ground coffee beans last forever making coffee this way.

Today the landscaper who put our yard in five years ago is coming by to look at all the suffering going on out there. One dogwood just up and died. Bushes near it have died and all their roots are gone. Then looking across in a line you can see more bushes drying up and dying. All the Japanese maples are suffering way beyond the late frost damage. Yet other plants are thriving next to the dead ones. A mystery. May end up having to get the soil tested. It is always something! Makes condo living more attractive by the day.

Til later when I am not bouncing around so much. Blame it on the potent cup of coffee…..

Busy Few Days

I have spent most of the day fixing my laptop by slowly following instructions on how to get it running again. And then starting over and over. Microsoft issues with my latest update download. It took patience and so much time but I am so happy I could do it without calling in tech support from those who would rather not answer my call.

This morning….


The Cooper hawk juvenile all puffed up from trying to fight his reflection in the office window.

I carved a block for the heart of the men and mixed a barn red milk pint with a printing ink.

Tomorrow I will get back to stitching on them now that the facing has been added to the backs.

And details on the walks.

I love this old rose hanging on….

A blue painted rock that the Blue Collector from my short story would have brought home.

And more bergamot that has led to drawings in my journal….

Here are the last two days drawings…

Looking out the window at the ridge line….way too many trees to figure out. I prefer the details…

Drew even more bergamot this morning. Maybe the black eyed Susan will be next.

A dental appointment this afternoon, then a scotch I think. Lunch out tomorrow with the same two who are my only local social outlet. Glad they think to invite me along. Hope to find friends like these when I move.

More later…..

Things I Learned While Making

I was alone at the dam this morning because of a steady drizzle. It was nice to not care if I arrived at the grocery store soaking wet. Before Covid and dementia I would have returned home to change….not now.

Just now I started a new file under our home file for photos. Every picture I took of Lee is now in his own file. It has been painful to look past all the pictures of him to find the one of a mother turkey I took the other day. Now I know where to find him doing the things he used to do. Here is the turkey.

I did this drawing in my book with nothing to look at but an image in my head. It struck me that so many pictures I see of Australians’ rib constructed baskets leave all the filling in that needs to be done to the bottom of the basket. I learned early on that “packing” on the sides is better because in case holes appear where the ‘turn arounds’ are then your peas won’t fall out the bottom. It was therefore necessary to keep the rim of the basket an even distance yet to be woven all the way around to the other rim.

This was one of the hardest drawings I have done and just to illustrate a point. The packing or filling in alternates turning on ribs before going up to the rim to come back and do it again when necessary to keep the remaining space even.

Also I knew that if I had to add more ribs to strengthen the structure, that a single spoke addition would make the weave not shift to keep it ‘over and under’ in order. So I referred to my main ribs as ‘mothers’ and when necessary to strengthen the structure of the basket they had twins…one added to each side of the mother. I also wrapped the rim twice instead of just going over it once before going in the opposite direction. This kept the rim strong and again prevented unwanted gaps.

And here is something I learned in Australia about how to handle those wonderful threads bought in skeins.

Untwist the skein and cut the loop through where the ends are tied together. Slide the label back on to the middle of the now cut threads. Put all together and divide into three sections to braid. They are the perfect length for stitching when one loop from the label end is gently pilled free from the braid.

I learned in a workshop with Rene Breskin Adams in 1988 that you should never put a length of thread on your needle than your maximum reach with that arm. Sound advice from a stitcher of some renown. These cut skein threads are perfect.

And one more thing. I do not know why once I get an idea that I have to actually follow through with it only to see clearly it is not what I wanted and end up taking it all back to a sensible place in its construction.

I was stitching through the printed stitch marks on my men prints. It made sense.

So once that was done I decided to make smaller black stitches on the white space between the large print and the wood block of his center. Now I am on a roll and think this niggling feeling of ‘not rightness’ can be solved by adding yet another row of stitching in white outside and one quarter inch away from the larger stitches following along the printed stitch line. Only then did I bother to take it over to place with the other two unstitched prints and see it was all wrong! I spent the afternoon snipping all the white thread out and being grateful that the tai kozo was lined with an interfacing.

The following morning I brought the other two up to this same point and when more interfacing comes tomorrow I will cover the entire backs of the prints to add the same size black stitching just outside the entire large block.

Good grief, the printed stitch line is in the block!  I didn’t need to fill it in nor did I need to add another white stitch line around it. The small black stitched lines say even more about how we sometimes hold these men together by whatever means we have. I am also entertaining the idea of carving a very rough heart shape to fit into the open area of his core. I would like it that deep dark blackish red that is the only color in my large Bwa and Bedu masks on the walls. It could so easily cross over to ‘twee’ that I will practice on one of the cast off large prints. But the rawness appeals to me in these super large masks.

I won’t frame the three men until I settle on a new place but would like them hung under the 9 plus foot long Bwa mask with the four plus foot Bedu mask close by.

So that is all I have on this rainy day. Now I am going to do some stitching on two shirts that need either mending or distractions from spills down the front.

Til later….




Watching for Details

I am thinking that if I am going to spend time chewing over the rest of my life then I had better take small bites. Notice the details of what might come next and not the entire picture. So yesterday I zeroed in on the small bits…parts of something bigger.

And I found this reminder tucked into a tree…

I came home and drew in my journal…

I finished the short story The Blue Collector and posted it under short stories on my website. Now somebody else can come to me with all their words needing to spill out. As yet no idea who that might be…..

And this morning back at the dam I am looking at parts in bright angled light.

When I returned home from the walk and grocery store (getting mostly cat treats for the ‘missing Lee’ cats and a few more Corona for myself) I drew again.

Yesterday I also met friends for lunch and put on some jewelry for the occasion. We sat outside and chatted and laughed. I have not done that in awhile. It was good. I live in an area where trump ignorance has a bit of a hold on some and until more snap out of it and get vaccinated for themselves, their families and the safety of others, I am not anxious to eat inside restaurants.

Patches was back at the vet for the second time in six weeks with nasal congestion issues. More shots, x rays, some claw trimming and she came back home. I showed her the bill and the stack of soft cat treats and food that makes my stomach lurch when I open it. I told her she should be grateful and not claw me to bits when I need to put her in the carrier again. She just gave me that look that only cats are capable of.

Finally my long term care insurance checks have caught up with Lee’s care and will be deposited monthly. I don’t know what people do without it except to lose whatever assets they have to get the government to take over. We were talking yesterday that being prepared for the future is so ingrained in us at our age because our parents survived the great depression and made sure we knew the steps necessary to be prepared.

Now I am going to have a bit of lunch and head to the studio to start planning on how to tackle those three men who have been waiting for wood block prints to dry.

Til later…..