A Bit of a Break

Our son came down to spend time with Lee. They stay in the shop or at Lowes Hardware store getting things to use in the shop. Lee loves it because they can get back to making glasses out of wine bottles.

After the glass is cut and polished Patrick will put a food grade epoxy in the stem and turn some exotic woods for the bases. Sometimes they will put some frosted design on them.

Patrick will go home tomorrow and Lee and I will get back to doing nothing in the shop because I am so afraid he will turn on a power tool. But he will spend a few days vacuuming any dust up and asking when Patrick will return.

Last night I had the fixings for spring rolls laid out for our dinner. This is easy and I will do it more often because Lee likes it and it is easy!

I did get away for an overnight in Asheville. Some shopping, a lunch out and good views and visits. I leave long before my friend gets up so I can take in Trader Joe’s on the way home. I decided to buy several frozen meals there to make dinners easier for me. By dinner time my energy is pretty much depleted. And because their red and orange peppers were only a dollar each, I bought several to make meat stuffed peppers for Lee and a vegetarian version for myself….all now in the freezer.

This morning when I went out to get a shovel to bury the forgotten piece from funeral the other day I found this little fellow in an over weed-filled  garden.

There is no way to keep up with the weeds so I have let them go. The deer have chomped down some azaleas in the front yard and later this fall I will just pull them up.  A lady who wandered into the driveway a week or so ago told me of a friend who bought a house here in the area because she just loves it here…..and then turned around and sold it because there is no one willing or able to do work whether it is in the gardens, yards or house repairs. I understand but need to keep Lee in the place he is used to for as long as I can.

Winter will come and then everything will die off….the ultimate weed control.

But I did bury the last little thing this morning and covered the place with the last of my collected soils for watercolors and laid out all the sweetgrass on top of that.

I like this picture and may use it for the cover of a book of notes on letting go.

And in the meantime I will finish the framing of the textile/prints pieces and then what? Not sure. Maybe start to do something made up of lots of small stitched parts….a quilt of sorts with paper and cloth and threads.

This one is a wood engraving I did with antique Japanese cloth patches stitched on.

And a woodcut of an owl I did years ago with textiles.

I am hoping to find a shop that will take them.

Anyway that is enough for now.

Til later.

Final Resting Place – Finally!


Today the grave digger came. He brought a worker to help with the clearing and luckily for me carried all the pieces and assisted with the laying in.

For a while in my artist imagination I thought I might dress in black, carry an umbrella, lean over the hole with sadness…..maybe even have a fellow artist help me with the placement. But no, this was better. I took the helper aside and said, “Listen, you have to do this in a certain order. It matters.”

His response, “Yes, Miss Sandy.”

How perfect was that!

Here he is laying down the cloth in the fresh dug hole.

Then the houses are placed. Tony, the helper does all the carrying down a slippery slope and hands the work to Steve who dug the hole.

Then all those patriarchs….so glad to be laid to rest by men they would have appreciated.

Lovingly collected earth pigments mixed together and tossed over.

The war works get laid next and I tell the boys to be careful as these represent the suffering…lay them down softly.

Then the Expedition to Elsewhere pieces go down.

I toss the collection of Artist Group Meeting notebooks into the center of the pile.

Once the boat gets laid on top with all the specimens inside, they cover it with the banners.

My final view. And then the dirt goes back.

Pack it all down.

And then it is done.

I turn and find a small piece from the Expedition to Elsewhere….it was just a small basket made to fill wall space in the exhibit. I will bury it with the rest while the dirt is still soft enough to get it underground. And I will scatter the rest of the soils on top of that and cover it all with the sweetgrass. Just not today. It is hot and humid out there.

My outside studio space is empty again. I can’t remember when there was not a pile of things out there waiting for something to happen.

I will go read a book….another good book.

I tried to not read too quickly the book by Paul Howarth titled, Only Killers and Thieves, but yesterday it wouldn’t leave me alone. Like a Cormac McCarthy the writing draws you in with the writing of place, descriptions of people….but like McCarthy, not for the faint of heart. I have to say I loved it and hope that he writes a sequel. It reminded me in no small part of McCarthy’s first of the Border Trilogy, All the Pretty Horses.

So now I have dug out a book that a friend in Australia gave me to read on the plane coming back home. I saved it to read when I had just finished another Australian story and was not quite ready to say goodbye.

Then I am sure it will be back to some other mystery from the Brits to get lost in.

And just a couple more remarks about Australians. I miss them. I miss that I am not on the roster to teach this coming year. We mostly keep in touch and they will let me know who the lucky tutor is that will have them in a workshop. They are the best students ever and will push themselves to get the most from whatever is on offer.

And you know what else. They will call each other, “gorgeous”. I love that they use that to compliment each other and no one checks to see if that person really is “gorgeous”. I miss being called gorgeous, but last week I came close.

The Hispanic waitress at the diner looked me right in the eye and said, “You are very beautiful.” And all I did was order my usual pecan waffle. The word “beautiful” is lovely in a Spanish accent. Made me feel gorgeous just hearing her say it.

Til later.






It Just Takes One Thing

I picked up the long (51″) stitched piece this week and hung it where I wanted it….over the small couch where I stitch upstairs.

I sat under it and looked across at the TV with all the NZ flax baskets hung around it. Where to put them all where the cats won’t get to them…..the only cat who jumped up here to race across the cupboard tops was Spooky….now gone. Patches and Sadie can’t even show an interest.

Next fill the now empty wall with all the pictures, well almost all the pictures.

Prints by Lucious DuBois hang together on a side wall…..these here are mostly egg temperas that wrap the corner to the right and hung with watercolors to the left.

And the cow painting from 1984 ended up here. Lee always loved the cow.

Just one thing added to a room and everything else looks “off”. Now it is loads tidier.

I bought this book because I could not resist the premise of it. Losing words in dictionaries that have to make room for others that have nothing to do with Nature.

Irresistible illustrations and thoughtful words by Jackie Morris and Robert MacFarlane respectively.

I love these big sweeping pictures that know no bounds….they just run out of paper.

Here is what is left of the lotus in the kitchen window.

It still seems to be making an effort so can stay another day before I find something to do with its remains.

And a follow up on going to the framers to have mats cut for the pile of stitched prints. Did you know that it costs $7 per cut for a mat plus the cost of the mat board? Then the cost of frames! So my framer encouraged me to return home and frame them up myself the way I always have. Three hundred dollars later all the sizes of frames I need will be here by the end of the week…..and that is buying mostly in bulk.

Some I will paint with the lovely gritty grey that Home Depot quit carrying a few years ago but would order it for me if I bought a case…..I have several cans left.

Now I will cut the size mats to mount each print on and order the glass when the frames come in.

My framer was right….costs have gone up! And she has twenty-eight orders to fill.

Now all I need is a place to sell the framed prints so I can recover some cost and keep on going.

For now I will carve some more wood blocks and stitch more slowly on the resulting prints. The stitching part is closely watched by my couch friend, Patches.

I just started a new book….unfortunately on my kindle and not in page form to mark up margins. I read the first page to Lee….read aloud it is even better. The author is Paul Howarth and the name of the book is , Only Killers and Thieves. It is set in 1880s Australia.

Howarth writes like a poet would…..like Cormac McCarthy or Peter Matthiessen.  The descriptions put you right there waiting to breathe in the next sentence.

Like my stitching, I am going to read it slowly, very slowly.

And one final thing….the book makes me want to write so today I may be able to take a bit of time from watching Lee to do just that.

Til later.

Old Cloth Old Prints Old Blooms

This is my only bloom so far in the pond. The lotus flowers are so large and they are perched on long stems that wave around. The rain took this one over to the side so I brought it inside.

Within a few days the petals dropped off and left this.

Even though it is in a wine bottle full of water I don’t think the pod will grow bigger.  But I love the way it looks….those tiny little seed holes and the brown color emerging through the canary yellow, and those creepy little extensions gripping the base. It will stay in the water until it finishes whatever it is doing.

I will say one thing. As soon as the petals dropped the pod turned upward. It must have gone to that effort for some reason. In the meantime we keep checking the pond to see if another appears.

Yesterday Lee asked if he could help me do some yard work. I now do the weeder eating as he has trouble figuring out how to hold the tool. Anyway before I go off to cut down weeds in the wilder sections of the yard I show him a weed that is popping up every so often in the pine needles in the front yard. I said, “Pull these all up.”

He did in one section and while I was dragging down branches to cut off of the paper birch he was dutifully pulling up the ground covers. So I said I would take care of that and he could drag all the branches I had cut down away to drop off the bank. Because he was focused on putting his “weeds” into a bucket, he then started to strip the branches of leaves to put in the bucket with them.

So I said, “Let’s just do this job together.”

Today I wanted to make him his favorite German potato salad for dinner tonight. He wanted to help. So I asked him to chop the onion and the celery. I learned months ago that you have to cut a sample of what he is to do first and set it in plain sight. But I had to stop him from mincing them into oblivion. Some things stick and some things don’t. I do notice that the things that stick have a limited time and then something else takes over….older memories of how to do something kicks in and the bottom line is, just keep constant watch.

I got away down here to the office to write this because I turn on a cop/crime show that he will watch for a bit and then because it is after lunch, he will likely take a nap in his chair.

But he can’t nap too long because then he awakes at 2:30 in the morning ready to get the day started. It’s a delicate balance.

Today while walking the dam we followed an elderly gentleman with a cane. His partner had country gospel music playing on her Iphone to help them both keep up a pace of ambling.

I am hoping we are not headed that way. I can’t do the gospel bit….Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen would be better.

And speaking of gospel, every morning before I head off to the gym and have laid out his underwear for after his shower, I change the channel from what was crime stories the night before but in early morning turns into those preachers asking for $1000 “seed money”. Do people really give them money? I like one in particular. He is the one with the dyed brown hair, some facial hair and a lascivious grin that really appeals to the blondes in the audience. Is the “seed money” to keep those women grinning back at him?

Another topic.

After sewing on the patches of cloth to prints I decided to check out the drawers of prints that did not sell or were artist proofs. I selected five and brought them upstairs to work on. Within two afternoons I had them all stitched up.

Here are the first two.

When I go to the framers this week to pick up my long stitched Australian piece I will ask her to cut mats for all the ones I have finished so far….then decide whether to buy frames for them or not.

It feels good to be working on something. I just need to make more prints or stitch several together to make a “quilt”. Once that needle is threaded, I just keep going, and going, and going.

Enough for now.

Til later.