“Let’s get a pedicure,” Jon said. And I immediately started thinking about what color nail polish I’d choose.
This is a very different reaction for me since the first time Jon suggested we get pedicures. Then I was, well, horrified at the thought. But something has changed in me since that day about eight months ago.
We had one more pedicure after that first one, then Jon had all the trouble with his toe and there were plenty of time when he couldn’t even get his foot wet. But now that’s all in the past and in keeping with trying to slow down this week, I was actually looking forward to today’s pedicure. It also felt like a celebration of Jon’s foot finally being healed.
I chose a deep pink with sparkles and Jon went with a dark red with Maria written in white on his big toe. They had to spread my name over the two toes, but it still worked.
I had forgotten how good it feels to get a pedicure with all the extra foot care. It definitely slowed me down. So much I almost fell asleep.
But then I remembered when Theodor painted Eleanor’s toes red in Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.
“I hate having things done to me”…. “I don’t like to feel helpless”, Eleanor tells Theodore. Then she says that’s it wicked to have her toes painted, that it makes her feel like a fool.
Theodore replies that she has wickedness and foolishness mixed up.
As I write this I think it’s crazy to have so many feelings, especially negative ones, tied to having my toenails painted. And yet once again, Eleanors words rang true for me. The first time Jon and I had a pedicure and I had my toenails painted red, I looked down at my feet and knew they were not the kind of feet that had painted toes.
Did I think them wicked, foolish, or just ugly?
Now I don’t know. I do know I was taught that women who wore makeup and painted their nails, were wicked (aka sluts) But at this point in my life, I like the idea of being a wicked woman.
I think in those eight months between pedicures, like the snakes in the woodshed, I shed some useless old skin. And that’s why now, when I Iook down at my bright pink sparkly toe nails, I smile.
They look good, I said to Jon about my toes. And I told him the red he chose suits his toes. You’d think that Jon would have had a harder time having his toenails painted than me. But it was his idea in the first place.
Bless him for suggesting it and bringing me along. It’s another step in the right direction for me. One more old useless belief slushed off. I feel lighter already.
In the summer the winterberry bush in the back pasture almost got lost in all the other green around it. It was, of course, al the bright red berries that got my attention.
But the flowers in the garden were blooming, I had so many red dahlia’s, I could fill the house with them. The Winterberry bush was lush, but so was everything around it. When I looked it up to see if there were any purposes for it beside being beautiful, I found that the berries were food for the birds, but no other uses for us humans.
I thought of the winterberry again this morning as I put the last little bouquet of marigolds that I had in the bathroom in the compost. I kept them even as they drooped, not wanting to give up on them.
But this morning their color had faded to the point where they just looked like dead flowers.
So after feeding the animals, I took a walk to the back pasture and found the winterberry bush. The leaves were all gone and many of the berries too. I found a couple branches just the right size for the little glass inkwell that holds the flowers in the bathroom. I also picked a small sprig of Rosa Multiflora and white pine.
Now, thanks the the trees and bushes that grow around the farm, I have my winter bouquet in the bathroom.
I don’t remember who sent me the linen towel with the dogs on it. I stashed it away waiting for the right time to use it.
The right time came on Friday. I can’t say why it was the right time, only that it was. There’s so many ways to deal with these dog images, and it took me while to figure out how to work with them in a way that spoke to me.
So I searched my fabric, as I do, and when I came across the quilt pieces that I cut off of one of the quilt tops that I put together for Bishop Maginn, I knew I found what I was looking for.
Except for the first potholder I made, everyone of the 20 dog potholders is made with the fabric from this wonderful quilt top from the 1960’s
Since it’s getting colder, Minnie and Flo have been spending time in the barn. And the hens have been too. I saw either Kitty or Anne, (I couldn’t tell which) hanging out on top of the hay bales by herself yesterday.
Today I found an egg in a little nest on top of the hay bales. From now on I’ll be checking the nest for eggs along with looking in the chicken coop.
“Warm and woodsy is what comes to mind” I wrote the other day when Suzy described the colors she was using in her new shawl.
Yesterday she sent me a picture of that shawl all done and I thought I was right. It feels to me like walking in the winter woods.
Take a close look and you’ll see the subtle shift of color in the natural variations of browns and grays above the snowy white. Then there’s the thin strip of green, like the lacy ferns that pop up though the early snow. Or it’s the moss that stays green all winter long, clinging to the bark of a tree.
It’s a Woods Woman’s shawl. A way to wrap yourself in nature, no matter where you are.
Suzy hand spins and knits her shawls from the wool of her mohair goats Lucy, Ruth,April, Alice and Larry. She’s dedicated to detail, and also uses wool that she buys throughout the year from other farmer’s. The light gray locks spun into the white mohair of Woodland Shawl, come from a Wensleydale lamb.
Suzy’s washes each shawl in a natural solution so it’s as soft and warm as it looks.
Woodland Shawl is 59″x19″ and is $150 + $10 shipping. You can buy it in my Etsy Shop, just click here. Or you can email me here at [email protected]. I take checks, PayPal and Venmo.
Suzy’s goats are pretty popular on YouTube with over a thousand views. See where move of her wool comes from….
Friday night when I left my studio, the moon was rising over the barn. And around it was a rainbow.
My photo, which looks more like a painting, doesn’t capture exactly what I saw. The colors were more intense, less diffused, hugging the moon. But I think my photo captures the wonder I felt when I saw the moon and her rainbow.
When I came out of the house a few minutes later, the sky was cloudless and the rainbow gone. The full moon drowned out the light of the stars around her and appeared alone in the black sky.
It was more of a feeling than a thought. It came as was fluffing the hay for the donkeys, looking past the feeder to Vermont’s Green Mountains in the distance.
This is a slow week. I could feel it in my body. But I also remember that during these days before Thanksgiving, I don’t sell much work and I get less traffic on my blog.
I remember it from last year, the first time I think that I was truly able to embrace the feeling. I know for many this is a week of planing and cooking, of traveling and preparing.
But for me, it’s my winding down week. A week of embracing the darkness. A transition from the warm weather and long days to accepting the reality of winter which is so close I can smell it.
It’s also the beginning of hunting season. So at least for this first week and on the weekends after I won’t be walking in the woods. The dogs and I will take to the road, peering in to the woods from the outside, knowing that when we can walk there again freely, the ticks will be gone and it may even be transformed by a dusting of snow.
This time of year, that focuses so much on the coming holidays, has always been a difficult one for me. But I feel like I’m finally beginning to understand it’s true meaning for me. It finally makes sense why in the past I always felt so alone and out of place.
Because, back then, I was fighting instead of embracing the rhythms of nature. Denying the darkness and ignoring my instincts to withdraw by joining in family dinners and holiday parties instead. But I’ve moved away from that and come to a place that feels right for me.
I can already feel the quiet filtering into me. Settling in my body, calming my mind.
These four Collage Potholders come directly out of my friendship with Emily Gold. They use shapes in a way I rarely have before and it’s in seeing Emily’s collages and making some of my own that these potholders came from. I hope to be able to use what I’ve learned from making them in more of my work.
My Collage Potholders are for sale in my Etsy shop along with two other sets of potholders, Winter Bluebirdsand Pines and some more Scrap Bin Potholders.
And as I’m sure you all know by now, each one is unique and original. That’s what happens since I don’t use a pattern and work intuitively. And I imagine some of you will recognize some of the fabric I’ve used in them, both contemporary and vintage.
All of my potholders are $20 each + $5 shipping for one or more. You can see them all up close and buy them in my Etsy Shop, just click here.