Frieda and the Hens

November 10th, 2014
Frieda and the hens

Frieda and the hens

The two young hens have taken to walking around the dog run.  None of the hens have ever done this before.  The first time I saw them fly over the fence and Frieda was in the yard,  I was a bit nervous, wondering what she would do.   But it seems Frieda has either accepted that the hens live here and so she should leave them alone, or she just doesn’t care anymore.  Whatever it is, Frieda now shares the dog run with the hens on a regular basis.   They’re not the least bit afraid of her and she doesn’t seems to pay too much attention to them either.

Bewitched By A Cat

November 9th, 2014
Flo and Minnie on the back porch

Flo and Minnie on the back porch

Minnie and Flo have taken over.  The barn, the porch and now the house.  The dogs defer to them and Jon complains he has no place to sit. (They have him charmed and confused.  He fusses over them, lacking the confidence he shows with all the other animals).

In the summer they live outside, but this time of year every time you open the door, they magically appear either inside or out.  Where ever they weren’t the moment before.   Minnie hobbles around the sleeping dogs, making her way to the couch.  She’ll snuggle with Lenore, licking her ears and sometimes, Lenore nuzzles her back (you catch more flies with honey). But Flo, the smallest animal on the farm, is Queen (off with their heads).  She swats at Minnie and hisses at Lenore.  Even Frieda keeps her distance, afraid to get too close.

How is it that these creatures have taken over the house so completely.  I can only guess we’ve been bewitched.  Cats are known to be familiars to witches, helpers with their magic.  But these cats have evolved. They work for no one but themselves.  Still we all seem to benefit somehow, just by their presence.  By their snuggles and their purrs. How else to explain why we invite them in.  Like vampires at the window, we can’t resist.

A Bit of Bear

November 9th, 2014


The cold weather and coming winter makes me want to hibernate.  I must have some bear in me.

“Saving Simon” and a Few Other Potholders for Sale

November 7th, 2014
Saving Simon Potholders

Saving Simon Potholders SOLD

I have a few potholders for sale that I made last week and just got back from Kim.  So here’s what I have, 3 Saving Simon Potholers, a Spirit Tree Potholder, and I have one Superman Potholder, (which I made from Red’s bandana, that he wore home from the groomer.)   He and Lenore were  there again today and Eileen, the groomer, said she loved that I recycled the bandanas.  I told her it works our well for me too.  This time Lenore got a push pin bandana.  That will be fun to work with.

The Saving Simon  Potholders and Spirit Tree  are $20 + $5 shipping.  The Superman Potholder is $15 + $5 shipping.

Someone on facebook said she wouldn’t want that man in red underpants in her kitchen, which I thought was really funny, but if you feel differently, or are interested in any of the other potholders, just email me at  I take checks and Paypal.


Spirit Tree

Spirit Tree SOLD




What it Takes to Make a Book Tour

November 6th, 2014
Jon doing the heavy work at Battenkill Books while Connie supervises

Jon and Connie at Battenkill Books

When I first started driving Jon around on his book tours, I was getting him tea and buying him special pens to sign his name with. But since Jon left Random House, and they gave up on his book Saving Simon Book Tour, it’s become more homey.

We’re driving out to Petersburg NY tonight where Jon will speak at the Library.  I hear it’s the towns community center and well loved,  so I’m sure it will be a lovely evening.   I always enjoyed traveling around with Jon on the book tours and especially getting room service in the hotels.  But not this book tour.  Today Jon’s hauling his books from Battenkill Books and we’ll deliver them to Petersburg Library where they’ll sell them at the reading tonight.

I remember one of the first  book tours  I went on with Jon where one night he spoke to a  full theater of over two hundred people and the next day went to a bookstore at noon where only four people showed up.  He didn’t bat an eye.  He had those four people pull their chairs into a circle and had a conversation about his book.  He handled it with grace and humility and I was impressed.

This is how much Jon believes in and cares about his work and his audience.  And he still impresses me. Every time he takes a beautiful photo or writes a meaningful post on his blog or publishes another book.   Every time he reinvents himself.   And when he pulls himself out of a dark place and creates a book tour, even if  his publisher won’t, and even if he has to deliver his own books.

Winner of the Common Thread Give-a-way

November 6th, 2014
Home for the Holidays Note Cards by Kim Gifford

Home for the Holidays Note Cards by Kim Gifford

If you want to see if you’re the winner of this month’s Common Thread Give-A-Way, just click here to  get to Kim’s website Pugs n Pics.

And don’t forget to come back in December when we just may be introducing a new artist into the Common Thread Give-a-way…..

Girl and Tree Scarf II

November 6th, 2014
Girl and Tree Scarf II

Girl and Tree Scarf II

I decided on a different quilt for the backing on Girl and Tree Scarf II.  Claudia gave sent me this Quilt top and it’s colors were perfect for the tea stained hankies and the colors in the stitchings.  And I’m thinking of another design, for some reason, Weeping Willow Girl keeps coming into my head.   I may do a few more of these, ( I like making them and want to keep working with the stabilizer to see what else I might do)  if there’s any interest.   This one is already sold.

Another Girl and Tree Scarf with Water Soluble Stabilizer

November 5th, 2014


I used my water soluble stabilizer today, and I must say, it’s opened up a whole new world for me.  I did a practice run, stitched the Tree Dancer above on a linen napkin, using the stabilizer, which is just  like a thin piece of interfacing.  And oh my it worked.  Different than stitching on batting, in the way it feels, but has a similar result.  Although, the stitching shows up better. Then I cut off the excess stabilizer and ran the whole thing under warm water.  I started to peel the stuff away, but before I could do much, it just dissolved.  It was that easy.  I could hardly believe it.

So I hung my dancer to dry and moved on to my tea stained hankies…

tree n girl scarf II

The color in my photo is off, the hankies look white, but they’re really light beige.  The exciting part is that I can make these (and other) scarves the way I imagined them, and well…who knows where else it will lead me.  I still have to put a backing on this scarf  (it was another warm afternoon and I took advantage of it to skirt more wool, only Liam and Ma left to do)  I can’t wait to see how it looks all done….

Poems, Quilts and Wool

November 4th, 2014
Something Golden and Slow

“Something Golden and Slow”

When I went into my studio this morning, I noticed how warm and cozy it felt, but I was surprised that it sounded different too. It was quieter, softer.

The first thing I did was sit on the new rug with a cup of tea and Mary Kellogg’s new poems.  I put them in the order that I thought they should go in the book a few days ago.  Now I was reading them all to see if it worked.  I didn’t think about it too much when I was choosing which poem went where.  I picked the first poem and the last then mixed the other up according to subject, feeling and what they looked like on the page.  Some seemed to want to go next to each other and I tried to keep the flow of the book moving.  Next Jon will read it over then Mary.  Once we get a photo for the cover we can send it for typesetting then to the printer.

After that,  I backed and tacked my quilt Something Golden and Slow.  I used the last piece of flannel sunflower fabric I had.   It felt warm and summery for this dark time of year.  It’s already sold, so I’ll get it ready for the mail tomorrow.

The back of "Something Golden and Slow."

The back of “Something Golden and Slow.”

And as comfortable as I was in my studio, when I went outside around 3pm to feed the animals, I was delighted at how warm it was, even though it was overcast and gray.  So for the next couple of hours, I started skirting the wool from the sheep.(this means picking out the big pieces of plant matter that gets stuck in the wool while the sheep graze)  I started with Deb’s, which was a mess.  It was dirty and filled with burdock seeds.   I quickly learned to pull the wool from the seeds instead of trying to pull the seeds from the wool.  (If you’re unfamiliar with burdock seeds they’re like little balls of velcro.  They stick to anything and everything, ugh!)  I was thrilled when I pulled our Suzy’s wool next and it had much less burdock in it.  I thought about how Ma always has all kinds of stuff stuck in her wool and realized that Deb must take after her.  Pumpkin’s wool was cleaner too, but I still vowed  that I’d go around next year cutting down all the burdock in the pasture.

I would have done more, but it was dark by 4:45 so I quit for the day. If it were the summer, I’d still be out there working.  But this time of year when it gets  dark and cold so early, I want to end my days early too. It takes me  while to get used to the shorter days, and just when I do, they thankfully start to get longer again.

Winterizing My Studio

November 3rd, 2014
New carpet in my studio

New carpet in my studio

I winterized my studio today.  I got this idea to get a carpet remnant for my studio floor for the winter.  The floor isn’t insulated and it can get really, really cold.  I wear slippers, but sometimes, when the temperatures are below freezing, my feet still get cold.  A carpet for the winter, which I can take up in the spring, seemed the perfect solution.

So, last week Jon and I went to a carpet store.  I was thinking they’d have some left over carpet pieces rolled up in a big box, just the right size and color waiting for me.  But they didn’t seem to have anything like that in this gigantic carpet warehouse.  The man helping us gave me a  carpet quote of $500 including binding, padding, and delivery.  Not exactly what I had in mind.

Since I made the Girl and Tree Scarf two weeks ago, I’ve been meaning  to go to Jo-Ann fabric for some water soluble stabilizer.  I’d rather be in my studio than  shopping, so I’ve been putting it off.  But today I caved and on my way to the fabric store  I stopped at Loews to see what they had in remnants.  I found three pieces of 6×8 indoor/outdoor carpet made from recycled bottles (now that should keep the cold out).  A good neutral gray so I can lay my quilts out on it.  They didn’t need any padding and I could fit them into my Toyota Yaris and all for sixty bucks!

I installed my new carpet when I got home, using some carpet tape and a few carpet tacks to keep it from sliding.  Then since I was at it, and it was a warm and sunny day, I decided to put my wooden storm windows up.

Between the windows and the carpet, I think I’m ready for winter.  Even though it was a warm day, my studio felt cozier with the new rug.  It’s not as pretty as the wood floor, but it’s going to make going to my studio on those cold winter day a little easier.


Self portrait in storm window