Mrs. Pam’s Bag of Scraps

September 3rd, 2014
Mrs Pam's scraps piled on my table.

Mrs Pam’s fabric scraps piled on my table.

Mrs. Pam has been teaching Preschool for 50 years.   She sews clothes for girls in Nicaragua and makes catnip toys for her local Stray Rescue.  But she could use only so many scraps from all those jumpers for those catnip toys, so she sent the rest to me.

When I dumped the bag of scraps onto my table, I could imagine the little girls dressed in their new pink, blue, purple, green and yellow Jumpers.  Butterflies, and flowers, peace signs and paisley.  I hadn’t seen so many bright and cheerful fabrics since I made Olivia’s Quilt, from her little girl dresses.

I started by making potholders.  I added some of the fabric that Kenna sent me.  Similar colors but simpler or solid to juxtapose all the patterns.

potholdersThen today, I was going to make even more potholders (they were so much fun yesterday) but instead I found myself using some of the bigger scarps to start a quilt.


I added fabrics from my shelves, some more from Kenna, some from Laura Israel and some that I don’t remember where it came from.  Each time I added the right piece of fabric my heart would beat quickly, my eyes grow wide, I all but licked my lips.  I worked on it all day, and it came together as easily as the potholders.  I think I need one more strip of fabric on the right, but I’ll know for sure tomorrow.

So thank you Mrs Pam.  Your scarps are so inspiring to me.  Maybe because they have the joy of little girls in them and the energy of your good deeds.

Lamb Calls

September 3rd, 2014
Liam and Suzy

Liam and Suzy

I can hear the Pumpkin calling out for his mother Socks, as I write this.    It surprises me, because I guess I thought all the lambs would sound the same, but I can tell them apart from their baa’s.  Pumpkin has a wobble to his and they come quickly, one after another as if he’s in a panic.  Socks takes a long time to answer, but when she does, she goes running to him, as if she just heard him for the first time.

Deb’s calls are  what you’d expect.  Generally two or three baa’s spaced far apart as if she’s saying , “Hey Ma, where are ya?”.   Soon there’s Ma’s answer, like a long drawn out burp.   They come together and move apart easily.

Liam is the only lamb whose baa’s I don’t recognize.  Because I never hear him call out for Suzy.  The only easy birth, Suzy is super mom.  I don’t think Liam is ever out of her sight, so there’s never any  reason for him to call out to her.

I’m imagine at some point the lambs will stop calling out to their moms.  I wonder if I’ll notice, or if I just forget they ever did.


Pillowcase Quilt

September 2nd, 2014
Pillowcase Quilt

Pillowcase Quilt

Sometime last year I decided I would no longer take commissions.  I wanted the freedom to do the work I wanted to do and to see where it would take me.  But I still had some commisssions that I  promised to people and wanted to do them if I could.  One of those pieces was to make a quilt from a bunch of embroidered pillowcases and a few hankies that Kay sent me.

It took me almost a year to do, but I did finish it.  Today I titled, dated and signed it.  And this quilt is one of the things that I really love about doing commissions.  Something I’ll might miss, although I guess I won’t know what I’m missing.  But figuring out how to make a quilt from the pillowcases that Kay sent was a completely enjoyable and expansive experience.  All those months that those pillow cases sat in the shoe box upstairs in my office/guest room, I couldn’t imagine how I would fit them  together into a quilt.  But once I took the out of the box, and with a little inspiration from my Gee’s Bend book, I knew just what to do.  Because all the pillowcases weren’t the same white as I remembered them.  There were actually many pillowcases in  three different colors and three different fabrics. All I had to do was cut them up and piece them together.  Making for a soft and subtle quilt.  And I had so much fun making this quilt I wouldn’t be surprised if it inspired me to make another one using the same idea.  Maybe not pillowcases, but perhaps linens and doilies.

So thanks Kay, for sending the pillowcases and being patient.

Title, date  and signature on my Pillowcase Quilt

Title, date and signature on my Pillowcase Quilt

Born in a Bottle

September 1st, 2014
Born in a bottle

Born in a Bottle

Born in a bottle
my world a lie
I reached for the tree tops
the leaves my guide.

"Born in a Bottle" Detail

“Born in a Bottle” Detail


“Born in a Bottle” (from my Linen Napkin Notebook Series)  is Sold for sale.  It is $100.  + $10 shipping.  You can email me here at if you’re interested in it.


Common Thread Give-a-way: Win Veronica Hallissey’s Poetry Book “Kiss the Moon”

September 1st, 2014
Poet and artist Veronica Hallissey

Poet and artist Veronica Hallissey

“Do not chop me up
  in little pieces.
  I hate the sight of what I see
  when I see me through your eyes.

Veronica Hallissey

When you have a friend who is a poet, you get the most wonderful emails from them.  Last week, in response to some writing I did about identity, Veronica emailed me her poem which begins, “Do not chop me up…”  Such a powerful group of words, I feel like a superhero when I say them out-loud.

Luckily for all of us, Veronica has a whole book of her poetry that we can read anytime we want. It holds the wisdom of her 80 plus years of life.   It’s called Kiss the Moon and is this month’s Common Thread Give-a-way.

If you’d like to be able to win a copy of Veronica Hallissey’s Poetry Book Kiss The Moon, just click here and leave a comment on Veronica’s blog From an Upper Floor.  The randomly picked winner will be announced on Thursday. Good Luck and check out Veronica’s blog to see her writing as well as her art.


Vintage Hankie Scarves For Sale

August 31st, 2014
Orange Rose Scarf

Orange Rose Scarf

I’m still getting hankies in the mail.  Boxes full, or one or two neatly folded in an envelope.  Always with a sweet note of encouragement and/or thanks.   For the past year or so I always have a box of hankies waiting on the dining room table to be washed then brought to my studio to be made into…..something.

Last week  I washed and sorted a bunch of those hankie.  I designed seven scarves then passed them onto Kim to sew together.

Now they are for sale.  They are $45 each + $7 shipping.  I take checks or can email you a paypal invoice.

If you see one you like, just email me here or at

Black Butterfly Scarf

Black Butterfly Scarf

Turquoise Scarf

Turquoise Scarf

White and Lacey Scarf

White and Lacey Scarf (Sold)

blue/pink/tan Scarf

blue/pink/tan Scarf

Green and yellow Butterfly Scarf

Green and yellow Butterfly Scarf

Louisiana Dogwood Scarf (this one has a hankie with a map of Louisiana and one with dogwood flowers.)

Louisiana Dogwood Scarf (Sold)

Talking in Pictures

August 29th, 2014


A while back I wrote about wanting to make some drawings that were simpler than the ones I have been doing.  Drawings where not every surface of the paper was filled in. I wrote  about the idea of Horror Vacui,  “the fear of empty spaces”.   I thought about my need to cover the surface of a piece of paper or a piece of fabric with images and words.  And realized that, when I first started drawing with my  sewing machine and on paper,  for me it was somewhat about hiding.  I was hiding my images, within images.  Detracting from what I was trying to say, hiding my mistakes.

Then, when I became more confident about my drawings and putting my words and feeling and thoughts out into the world, my pieces became more direct.  The words easier to read.  But still I filled in every space, out of habit or aesthetic or the  idea that it’s “just what I do”.

After writing about making simpler pictures, we had the Open House then Jon had his surgery and I didn’t think about it again,  until I made this piece “Patience”.  And when I looked at it I realized it was the simpler drawing that I thought about making months ago.  But there was something about it that made me uncomfortable.  It seemed too simple, revealing,  like standing naked in front of a crowd.  And even though I have more confidence in my words and images to stand on their own and I don’t have to hide so much anymore,  I still had the belief that without all the embellishment, my  simple images weren’t  enough.  That they didn’t have value if they were too simple.  That by filling up the page I was proving that I was working hard at what I was doing giving it value.   As if  time and volume, dictated  worth.

Which, of course, translates to how I feel about my own self-worth.    My beliefs that I’m not good enough, not doing enough, not earning enough, not giving enough, not kind enough, not tolerant enough, just, all around,  not enough.

And the reason these stitched drawings make me feel like I’m standing naked in front of a crowd is because of what they reveal about the way I think.  Something else I was hiding, although I’m not sure why.  I think in images not words.   My thoughts come as pictures and then I have to try to find the words to describe what I’m seeing.  And it’s sometimes difficult to translate into words because the pictures are often symbols not a narrative.  So what I’m doing in these new pieces is letting the pictures do the talking.  I’m going from my picture thoughts directly  to paper (or fabric)  forgoing the words.

I’m not sure how it happened or why I now see that these pieces  as enough  in their simplicity.  I imagine it has something to do with my own feelings of self-worth.  That something inside of me has shifted and I now see that who I am and what I do has value.  So I no longer have to hide in a jumble of images and embellishment.   The work is direct, naked.   It is enough.


“Knowing” (Sold)

“Patience” and “Knowing” are both for sale.  They are stitched drawings on linen napkins.  They measure about 19″ x 21″.  They are $100 each + $10 shipping.  If you’re interested in either of them, just email me here at  I take checks and paypal.





I’m A Believer in Cardiac Rehabilitation

August 28th, 2014
Jon feeding he donkeys corn husks this afternoon

Jon feeding the donkeys corn husks, a sign of lunch in the making.

The nurse said it was helpful if the spouse went to the Cardiac Rehabilitation Orientation with the client.  So, on Tuesday, I happily went with Jon to his Orientation.     I got the feeling they wanted to see what kind of support Jon was getting at home.  I imagine it helps them get to know their clients a little better.  I have to admit I zoned out a bit on the part where the coordinator, Patty, was giving her standard speech about what to expect, but otherwise we had as good a time as can be expected.  And in addition to my learning what Jon would be doing for one hour, three times a week at Cardiac Rehabilitation, I got to express my opinions about how I felt about it.   That is, I had the opportunity to let Patty know that I believed it was an important part of Jon’s healing (important for him of course, this isn’t about me)  that he could start cooking again.

I mean, sure I miss  the days when Jon used to kick me out of the kitchen.  And it was really nice when I got out of the shower in the morning and all I had to do was make myself a cup of tea to accompany the already made breakfast. And I fondly remember the tinkle of Jon’s text messages while I was working,  alerting me that lunch was ready.    And who wouldn’t miss coming in from the studio, after a full day of work,  at tasty and healthy dinner already on my plate ready to eaten,  just at I was beginning to feel faint from hunger.

But really, I wasn’t thinking about me when I made this suggestion to Patty.  I was thinking how good it would be for Jon, how much better it would make him feel,  to really start getting back to normal.  Doing those things he really loves to do….like cook.

And I must admit that Jon has been easing back into it, a dinner here a lunch there.  And it wasn’t really good for him to be lifting the big pot filled with water to cook the corn.  But ultimately,  I’m thinking of old normal, not new normal when it comes to cooking.    The kind of normal where Jon cooks all the meals (not some or few)  and I wash the dishes afterwards.

Now I understand this is going to take time, I guess I just want to make sure we don’t just fall into some new habits (like me cooking) and forget how things used to be.  So, in ten years, I’m not saying things like “When we first got married……..”

So you can imagine how thrilled I was today when I heard Simon braying and looked out my studio window and there was Jon, shucking corn (something he was not allowed to do a few weeks ago) and feeding the husks to the donkeys.  Because this could only mean one thing.  Jon was making lunch. Which makes me a believer in Cardiac Rehabilitation and the idea that dreams really do come true.

Toad Needs A Name

August 28th, 2014


I almost stepped on him when I went out to close up the chicken coop a few nights ago.  Then, this morning, he’s in the watering can on the back porch.  Toad lives in the garden but lately he’s been coming up on the porch.  He’s obviously too big for the chickens and cats to lunch on and is making himself at home.

Now that Jon and I are realizing toad is here to stay, as a permanent resident at Bedlam Farm, he or she, (I can’t tell the difference when it comes to toads)  will need a name.  Jon was thinking George, but I’m partial to Eleanor.   Actually this is one of those things that we could use some help with.  So if you have a good name for our new toad, let us know.  (  click here for a picture of him in his natural habitat)

Dance With Me

August 27th, 2014
Self portrait in lions mouth

Self portrait in lions mouth, NYC.  Next time I’m in New York, I’m going to roar back.

There are two flights of gray  wooden stairs leading up to Athena’s Music Sanctuary.  They are old and creaky.  The building itself is a Victorian era factory, now  mostly inhabited by artists and healers and  other self-employed locals.  Other than the stairs, it’s usually very quiet.  But today I was greeted by the sound of Athena’s music when I stepped through the front door.  I followed it through the hallways, louder with each step.  She told me she turned the volume down before I got there, but I her smile said she was happy to have her music heard throughout the building.  So was I.

It’s Wednesday, the day Mandy and Athena and I meet for lunch and meditating or dancing before that.  Mandy had a last-minute appointment and Athena banged up her knee in a bicycle accident so I assumed we wouldn’t be dancing.  But Athena had another idea.  “I’ll play piano” she said “and you can dance”.    A year ago I couldn’t have done it.  A part of me wanted to tell her not to watch me, but I didn’t.  I actually just loved the idea too much.

So Athena played and I danced.  Maybe moved is a better way to put it.   Her music was rich and full of emotion, her vocals not words, but sounds.  I could feel what she was playing and my body responded.  Sometimes I felt like I was swimming under water, fluid, the space around me tangible with sound.  A dance partner that  molded to my movements.  Giving up my feelings of self-consciousness, knowing I was in a safe place, I danced until Athena stopped playing.   And I knew something special happened in that old factory building in my small Upstate NY town.    A new level of trust and creativity sprouted between friends.  And then we talked about spreading the joy and  imagined a room full of people dancing around Athena’s music.  Not professional dancers, but people who want to move their bodies in a form of self-expression. People who want to toss away their self-consciousness in a safe and healing environment.  People who want to dance.