Winner of The Common Thread Give-a-way

December 4th, 2014
Peaceable Kingdom Note Cards by Jon Katz

Peaceable Kingdom Note Cards by Jon Katz

Congratulations Sarah Garza!  You’re the winner of the Jon’s “Peaceable Kingdom” Notecards.

For everyone else, if you’d like to buy a pack of Jon’s Notecards  just have a look below at the  different ones we have available.  They all have 4 – 5×7 signed notecards and are $20 each + $5 shipping for 1-2 and $7 shipping for 3 or more.   (shipping is a bit more outside the US) I take checks or you can use the paypal button below.  Just don’t forget to let me know which pack(s) you want.

Saving Simon Notecards

Saving Simon Notecards – 4 cards all the same image of Simon

Lamb Notecards

Lamb Notecards


And next month you can win one of Jane McMillen’s fabulous felted creations.  You might want to check out her site Little House Home Arts to do some of your Christmas shopping.  It’s not just pincushions!

Jane's Shop

Jane McMillen’s Shop

Stringing a Chair: December

December 3rd, 2014

stringing a chair


Anything But Soft And Subtle

December 3rd, 2014

todays potholdersI went into my studio this morning with the intention of making some soft and subtle potholders.  And this is what happened!

I can’t explain it, but soft and subtle just wasn’t happening.  Every time I tried, I’d find myself picking up some bright wildly patterned piece of fabric instead.  So I went with it.  I’ll hand these off to Kim tomorrow and sell them next week.   Maybe they’ll brighten up these short and dreary December days.

A Mix of Potholders For Sale

December 2nd, 2014
Star Tree Potholder

Star Tree Potholder SOLD

I have some potholders for sale. If you see any that you’re interested in you can email me here at  I take checks or I can email you a paypal invoice, just let me know what works best for you.

Star Tree Potholder is from my Tree Series.  It is stitched on a tea-stained Vintage Hankie.  Star Tree Potholder is SOLD $20 + $5  shipping.


Angel Potholder SOLd

The rest of the Potholders I have for sale are  Patchwork Potholders they are $15 each + $5 shipping for 1 or 2 and $7 shipping for 3 or more.  Shipping is slightly more outside the US.  Again, if you see any you like, just email me at  Here they are:

Flowers and Leaves

Flowers and Leaves Sold


Flowers Sold

Girl with Kite

Girl with Kite SOLD

I made these Vintage Patchwork Potholders from an old patchwork pillow sham.  Take a close look at the small squares, it’s the kind of fabric you just don’t see anymore.

Old Patchwork Pillow Sham Potholders

Vintage Patchwork Pillow Sham Potholders I All Sold

Old Patchwork Pillow Sham Potholders II

Vintage Patchwork Pillow Sham Potholders II (Only 3 left)

Detail of some of the Vintage patchwork squares that I used in my potholders

Detail of some of the Vintage patchwork squares that I used in my potholders

Margaret Sanger, Wonder Woman and Me

December 1st, 2014


I just finished reading the new book about The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore.  What a wild ride that was.  I have a hard time reading non-fiction books that don’t have a story line, but this one did and it kept me captivated.  I never read Wonder Woman comics, didn’t really have an interest in her.  I always thought she was some sexist mans idea of a female superhero, just because of the way she was dressed I guess.  Was I wrong.  Wonder Woman was a feminist, conceived by a man  who believed that someday women would run the world and it would be a better place because of it.

There’s a fascinating story behind Wonder Woman, and reading this book I got a crash course in the history of feminism.  But the part I related to most was learning about Margaret Sanger, her book  Women and the New Race (which was the template for the Wonder Woman Comic) and her life long struggle to gain freedom for women through contraception.

Sanger lived in a world (early 20th century America) where contraception was not only unavailable, but illegal.  And she believed that if women could choose how many children to have or not to have children at all, they would be free to pursue the life they chose.   And not be restricted by societies idea of  what a wife was, which at the time meant mother and homemaker.

This is where I come in.  Because even thought I grew up in the height of the 1970’s wave of feminism, 50 years after Margaret and her sister Ethel Bryne were arrested for educating women about birth control, in my family it was believed that a girl was supposed to graduate high school, become a secretary, then get married and have  kids.  Having children and taking care of them and your husband, full time, was what a woman did.  So in a way, the family  I grew up in was the same world Margaret Sanger lived in.

Of course, one big difference was that  Margaret Sanger helped create Planned Parenthood.  And although it ultimately was not the organization she envisioned, because of it, I have been able to live the life that she dreamed women would have the freedom to live.   A life shaped by my choice not to have children.

Although I’ve never regretted not having children, I’ve often wondered about my decision.  I’ve sometimes felt that maybe there was something wrong with me for not wanting children.  I’ve known many women who said they never wanted children, then at age 35 or 28 or 41, they suddenly have a biological urge to have kids or at least one kid.  I’ve never had that urge.

The closest I’ve come is early in my relationship with Jon when I understood for the first time why two people in love would want to have a child together.  Not that I can explain it, just that it felt like the most natural thing to do.  So my choice not to have children, probably comes partly from not having been married to a person I wanted to be my child’s father.   But also, I felt that my childhood was so difficult, I didn’t want to have to have another human being go through something like that.  And I certainly didn’t want to be the one responsible for doing that to another human being.

Some people feel just the opposite and want to have children to, “do it right”.  Somehow, this thought never occurred to me.  I’ve also never really enjoyed taking care of kids.  I’m easily bored and frustrated being around kids.  I’d much rather be doing my work or reading a book.  My mother felt sorry for me when I told her I didn’t want to have children, my brother called me crazy.  In my family it was just what you did.

But when I read about Margaret Sanger, and her life long fight to legalize and distribute contraceptives so that women can chose not to have children, I suddenly felt I had found my tribe.  And it is an ancient tribe, as Sanger explains in her book Women and The New Race.  As long as we humans have been writing down our stories, they tell of women trying to gain some kind of control over reproduction.

After reading about Margaret Sanger,  I feel like a direct descendent of her life’s work.  I feel legitimate.  As if my choice is one some women have craved since the beginning of time.  And I’m lucky enough to live in a time and a place where it’s possible to make that choice.   Suddenly I see my place in history.  And if it wasn’t for author Jill Lepore and that feminist Wonder Woman, I might never have known what good company I’m in.

Common Thread Give-a-way, Win A Pack of Jon Katz Note Cards

December 1st, 2014
Peaceable Kingdom Note Cards by Jon Katz

Peaceable Kingdom Note Cards by Jon Katz

This month, in the Common Thread Give-a-way, you can win a pack of Jon’s Peaceable Kingdom Notecards.  Featuring: Simon, Fanny, Red, Zelda and the hens.  All you have to do to enter,  is leave a comment on my blog.  That’s right, since Jon doesn’t have a place for comments on his blog, I’ll be running this contest.  So leave a comment on my blog and on Thursday I’ll announce the winner, who will be chosen at random.

There are five of us Common Thread artists who give something away the first Monday of each month.  And next year  (in January, that is)  Jane McMillen will be giving one of her creations away.  Then we’ll have some guest artists along with our other regulars, Kim Gifford and Rachel Barlow.  So don’t forget to come back the first Monday of every month and see what you can win.


November 30th, 2014


The hens are laying.  Today we got three eggs!  I don’t think we’ve ever gotten so many eggs.   It’s because of the light.  We put a light in the coop and now the hens are obviously getting the right amount of light each day to make them lay eggs.

I had given up on having eggs this time of year.  Actually when the hens stopped laying their one egg a day at the end of the summer, I gave up on eggs altogether.  But then Jon wanted to put a light in the chicken coop for the winter to help warm the coop up.   Last year it got so cold for so long and the hens were stuck in the coop, because of the snow, and I had those waking nightmares about them getting cabin fever and turning into Zombie Hens.  Well, Jon wasn’t worried about Zombie Hens, he’s just a softie and didn’t want them to have to suffer through another cold winter.   So we agreed on getting a light, but couldn’t agree on the type of bulb.  First we had one of those small red heat lamp bulbs, but then thought it might be better to have a regular light bulb.  So I put in a  100 watt bulb (because I had an extra one in the house) and it was bright!

The chicken coop isn’t that big, about the size of a dog house, and that coop was lit up like those hens had their very own sun.  So I stopped worrying about the hens being warm or thinking about them laying eggs, and started worrying about them getting sleep.  I mean, sleep deprivation is a type of torture and here were the hens, snuggling in for a cozy nights sleep and…whammy!….it’s brighter than day time in the bedroom.  When I mentioned this to Jon, he suddenly lost all his chicken sensitivity and said that he didn’t think the hens knew the difference and with the 100 watt bulb, they might even lay and egg or two.

But, not matter what Jon said,  it bothered me.  I kept thinking how I would feel trying to sleep with those bright lights.  So no big deal, change the bulb, right?   The problem is I would see the bright light  when I closed up the coop at night, and by the time the next morning came, I would forget about it until it was nighttime again.  So this went on for a couple of weeks, until one of those very warm November days when I was feeding the animals and trying to come up with an excuse to stay outside a little longer, I thought of the bulb.  Well, I wasn’t about to go to the hardware store and get a 40 watt bulb, so I got the red heat bulb from the barn and made the switch.

And what happens, just a couple of days later?  Eggs.  And not just one egg, once in a while, but 2-3 eggs everyday.  And it would appear to be all because of my red bulb.  Which, I believe,  gives the hens, not only the right amount of light each day, but a warm and cozy environment to lay their eggs in.  And now I feel even better when I tuck them in for the night.  Not only will they be safe and comfortable, but we’ll have eggs for breakfast and egg salad for lunch.

Linen Napkin Notebook: “A Garden In My Heart”

November 29th, 2014
Garden in my heart

Garden in my heart

The other night, after I had the awful dream,  I was laying in bed and  heard…

There’s a garden
in my heart
grows away my tears. 

…then I thought and my loneliness and fears.  I didn’t have much time the next morning when I went into my studio, our plans had changed and we were leaving a day early for our Thanksgiving trip to Vermont.  I had just enough time to make the outline of the tree.  It’s what I felt like drawing, it made me feel better.

I didn’t have a chance to get back to my studio till this morning.  I usually don’t work on Saturdays, but I had a great urge to finish this piece.    I had seen the pattern for the sun in a tablecloth during dinner at the Inn where we stayed.  Once I saw the pattern, I knew where the sun would go and I couldn’t wait to stitch it there. For once, the sun came out just as I imagined it.   I finished off the leaves and other details on the tree and changed the word tears to fears. Because that’s what this piece is really about.

Garden In My Heart”  is for sale. It’s about 18″x19″ and is stitched on a Linen Napkin.   It’s Sold $100 + $8 shipping.  If you have a garden in your heart and would like to buy this piece, just let me know.  You can email me here.


Attic Dream

November 28th, 2014
Attic Dream

Attic Dream

The night before we left on our trip I had two dreams.  One was so disturbing, I woke in a panic that stayed with me for the rest of the day.  What I dreamed after that was the antidote to the first dream.

In the second dream, I was riding up on an outdoor wooden escalator that took me high above a dark city.  I looked to one side and saw the interior of an attic space, the front wall of the building was missing so I could see inside, like a doll house.   The low attic roof made a triangle and the interior glowed a warm and comforting orange.  Inside, there was a woman sewing at a green sewing machine and the space was filled with fabrics hanging from the ceiling and walls.   Then the woman stood up from the sewing  machine and waved at me.  I saw it was Lisa Carrino, owner (with her husband Scott) of the Round House Bakery and Cafe.

Lisa is an artist, her art is baking.  She’s a creative and nurturing person, generous and warm.   That attic space in my dream, with her in it,  felt like the safest place in the world to me.

In the drawing above I tried to capture what I felt in the dream.   And although it’s not literally what I saw, it holds the same feeling for me.

The day before Thanksgiving

November 26th, 2014