Till then ...


      You Have to Be Careful

  You have to be careful telling things.
  Some ears are tunnels.
  Your words will go in and get lost in the dark.
  Some ears are flat pans like the miners used
  looking for gold.
  What you say will be washed out with the stones.
  You look for a long time till you find the right ears.
  Till then, there are birds and lamps to be spoken to,
  a patient cloth rubbing shine in circles,
  and the slow, gradually growing possibility
  that when you find such ears
  they already know.

      ~ Naomi Shihab Nye

my very last
for 2012 ...

warmest wishes for a wonderful new year.


Not just another toe walker ...


... hanging eight,
he's speedier than the dickens.


Mission accomplished.
This might also be called, chickadee-as-Ferrari.

Fooling around with mirror images ~
must be all the gray days making me positively loopy,
playing tricks with my imagination.
I used to live in San Francisco. Several days a week
I drove across the Golden Gate Bridge for work.
Can I help it if I see
commuter chickadees zooming through the bridge girders?

Life in the fast lane
when you weigh two ounces. 

Gee, aren't you glad you stopped by here today  ;>]]

: : :

For a fascinating look at some other digitigrades (toe walkers), sole movers, and toenail travelers
click HERE.


Serendipity with a single keystroke


My thought was to compose a lovely, ethereal tree photo for a Christmas post ...

The roast was cooking, the dogs were fed, a bottle of red
opened, poured and  emptying  being enjoyed.  And then came some spare minutes to play with photos.
This always works best when I have no preconceived notions of an outcome ... 
it's so much better that way (giving up control)
but I have to say, this happy accident 
takes the cake.

With one mistaken keystroke  this  popped up ...

my mind FLEW!
What had I done???
Here was a quilt of my tree,
a  mosaic,  tree-ness broken into thousands of pieces;
I saw a  graphic map  for intricate stitching,
maybe a pattern  sketch  for weaving cloth,
some  boro pieces  on a faded ground.

It was all of these things
and I had no idea how I got here.

This was the tree I was working on.
Tentatively, I began to hit the "undo" button
and traced backwards to see where I'd come from.

Then I began to wonder ... what if I try to make this happen again  on purpose?

Just some used twine from dyeing bundles this summer,
wrapped now around a new idea.

May serendipity lead us all astray.





Baby, it's cold outside


Can't let a little bit of weather stop the training, so we
move inside for the winter ...
gotta keep your paws warm when you're workin' on the fancy turns.
Never know when you might need some of 'em ...
like in February,
when we might be competing in our first agility trial.

yup.  I really just said that.

Warm thanks to Bev Korse for her original photo:
altered with FX Photo Studio and Snapseed.




Night self ...


It is cold.
Dark early.

Searching for light becomes exceedingly important, but it can also lead
to looking hard ... 
intently ...
at things I might not otherwise make time for.

Slowing down.
Opening my eyes.

Time again for December views ... and the opportunity to join a  q.u.i.e.t.  get-together
with others who love to make images,
especially appealing considering the time of year ...
a photo challenge of the very best kind.

Many thanks to hippy urban girl for being a gracious hostess.
She writes, "The idea is to take away the stress of having just one more thing to do during
the holiday season and to sink in and be with what is in front of you, the beauty you see,
the lush imagery that seems to explode in the darkness of this time of year.  That said,
there are no rules and though the idea is to blog images every day, that is not the intention ~
rather the intention is to allow yourself to enjoy the quiet, to allow a month of no stress creativity
and to share a bit of your world with others in a completely different way than you usually do."

Although these days it's not unusual
to find a phone[camera] in my pocket,
nothing could be more unusual than for me to post a self-portrait.

All are welcome & you can join in anytime in December ...

See ya 'round?


Tongs for dyehards


When our merry band of natural dyers decided (wholeheartedly) to gather one last time
before winter sets in and puts the big kabosch on outdoor *cooking,*
it seemed only fitting that this enthusiastic group of 
should celebrate their past ~ and future! ~ successes
with a brand new pair of tongs ...

I think they liked them.

The November day was kind to us.  Plenty of sun, not a whisper of (normally biting) wind
and although we each worried a bit about the slimmer pickins of autumnal plant material,
we pulled it together with great exuberance
and generous sharing from each other's stash ...
including a bit of pilfering from S's hedgerow.

Somehow it  ALWAYS  works out.

We've been lucky that way.

Our brews:
1.  Carrot tops, peach leaves & wild blackberry leaves, with copper pipes in a stainless pot.
2.  Scraps of rusty metal in plain water (no vegetation) in a stainless pot.
3.  Red cabbage with sea salt & alum in an aluminum pot.

Wrapped inside my bundles:
cedar bark, onion skins, rusty washers, frozen blackberries, "ice flower" red scabiosas, 
purple elderberry leaves, madrone bark
and eucalyptus leaves ...
which flew in all the way from California.
(Mercy, THANK YOU!)

Just when I'd begun to think that I was finally achieving a small grasp on this whole dye thing
the eucalyptus has to come along and throw me a curve ball.
What? I thought eucalyptus was supposed to be fairly easy to "manage."
I was dead set certain these babies would leave gorgeous ORANGE-RED marks.
The onion skins did not fail me ... but pale  spring green  from these eucs???


Oh well.  Maybe it's the water.

In any case, I am ever so grateful to my dye pals for their fortitude, unbounded enthusiasm, 
rip roaring senses of humor and most importantly, their kindness & camaraderie.  It truly has been,
"the more, the merrier,"
and I can't wait to see where we'll be heading next spring ...


Texture Tuesday ... free & easy


Since it's the last edition of Texture Tuesday until 2013, I could not resist posting
a little send-off photo of someone who has no trouble
being 'free & easy.' 
You remember her, don't you, that furry one on the left ...
the one who doesn't like the camera in her face?

Pssst.  She can't see me very well when she's upside down.

Those curled paws are just the sweetest darn thing and lying head-to-head like that
with her beloved hedgie.
Two black olive noses pointing ceiling-ward ... 
just a typical moment in an ordinary day.

Dang, do I love this dawg.

This kind of devotion is no stranger to history ...
I am in delightful company.

Mrs. Walter Rathbone Bacon
~ by Anders Zorn, 1897

Ethel Smyth and Marco, 1891
by Ethel Smyth

I look at these pictures and if I may be so bold to say,
I know what these women were feeling.

Portrait of Elizabeth Jackson, Mrs. Morton Pleydell
~ by Thomas Gainsborough, ca. 1760

Miss Constance Collier

Miss Carter Mullikin, Holton-Arms School, & her Red Cross dog
~ Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative, ca. 1917

Portraits of a profound connection to another sentient being, not easy to describe with words.
So I won't try.

~ oil painting, by Jeanie Tomanek

But I know what it feels like ...
I know it in my bones.

: : :

Textures used in the top photo were Kim Klassen's shades of November
and autumn burst.  Linking up with Texture Tuesday over HERE.


Texture Tuesday ... dream


Do not wake me
for I have written the love letter
and tossed it into the sea ...
tis the only way I can remain with thee.

: : :

Techie mumbo-jumbo:
original photo shot with my iPhone
processed with two apps (but I can't remember which ones, sorry)
textured with Kim Klassen's 'sonnet magic reversed'
and French Kiss's 'Ambrotype' from the Glorious Grunge Collection.
Linking today with the 'Dream' eDition over at the Cafe ...


... passage to America


More often than not, I choose to sit in my jeep for the watery commute "to America"
(an expression used by the islanders when we refer to traveling to the mainland).
Some might call me anti-social
and that's ok in my books.
Most folks leave the car decks and head upstairs to the passenger area
to gab, or read ... maybe knit, work on the communal jigsaw puzzles, chug some coffee ...

I'm the weirdo who stays behind making photos on her phone.
I can't help myself.

Perhaps I'm an app-aholic?

good grief.

Where was I going with this post ... oh yes, to America ...
where I spied some scintillating rust at the shipyard

big pieces of steel marking the passage of time.
[ this one is for all my rust-nut friends ... you know who you are ]

We're all marking time ...
it's a big news night here in America.

These periodic supply runs off-island are nothing
if not exhausting, so what could be better fortification
than hot n' spicy organic soup ...

which again, I ate in my jeep ...

surely this comes as no surprise  [ grin ]?

These are only simple things, really ...
in comparison to decisions being made in the States this day, they are fluff.  As I write
it is early evening here on the west coast & we have
hours to go before we know.
I wonder where this country is going next?

At the toll booth the way was clear:  an arrow for  *go* and an X for *stop* ...

if only it were that easy.

See you on the other side, my friends ...
in the meantime, it may be time for another simple thing ~ a stiff brandy.

: : :

All photos were processed with Jazz


Texture Tuesday ... storm


For those of us who are not there
we watch the news,
we listen.
We try not to worry ... too much.

Many will write about this one in the days to come.
There will be expressions of this event that go far beyond what I am capable of here ...
why, the mere thought of all the animals
and my throat closes.
I have a very hard time thinking about them, their helplessness.
Where will they go ... how will they manage.

Like a gift, 
Maya Stein's poem, her weekly offering for 10-Line Tuesday,  arrived in my mailbox filled with balm.

: : :

the geese in the mudhole

We drove by them yesterday, three hours before the storm made landfall.
They were bobbing in a lopsided circle in the shallow water, like teens
at a square dance waiting for instructions. In the car, sleeping bags, flashlights,
and a mounting urgency to find elusive safety. The trees looked reckless,
power lines dripping and swaying like my uncle's heart rate the week
before he died. Two days ago, I watched a woman feed them from a bag
of ripped-up bread, and thought about the nuisance they were, mucking the park
with their wattle and filth. Now, I envy their animal certainty, this buoyant grace
that shrinks from me each passing hour as I bend a nervous ear to the news,
while they lilt and flutter with each wave, admiring the views.

: : :

Thank you to Kim Klassen for her texture, sonnet magic,
which I applied over an iPhone shot & altered with apps.
To view more images from the group, they're HERE.


Weaving a tideline


Today I constructed a makeshift loom
done the old way from things at  hand:
a basket ~ just the right size, long and narrow ~ and a warp of leftover jute
from the bean trellis.

I first wrote about this simple style of loom-making back HERE,
with gratitude for learning.

The next ingredient: castoffs from the scrap pile, stuffed in a holdall where every leftover bit 
from every project I've ever sewn resides in one big chaotic jumble.
Seams.  Refuse.  Hemlines.  Offcuts.  Selvage.  Lots and lots of fray.
Flotsam and jetsam of the textile variety.

I need to create a tideline for some completely ordinary stones
that are in the process of becoming
something else entirely.
You see, one thing led to another after my earlier  *choosing of the stones*  with dawg.
Stones came home with us.  They sat on the kitchen counter.  Then they sat on the bed.
And before you ask, no, they did not start to talk to me  ;>]
But something was brewing ...

an idea, another story on cloth,
carried by the weight of stones and the glint of thousands of tiny beads ...
somewhat autobiographical ... the only way I seem to be able to stitch a tale these days.

No matter how sidetracked I become (all the naturally dyed fabric I can't seem to stop churning out ... 
so beautiful in it's own right, but will it sit folded on a shelf for eternity?) I always come back to 
my one main truth ...
whether woven or boro-ed, appliqued, pieced or patched, 
textiles are the landscapes where my beadwork will live.

: : :

I'm inspired today by this video, sent by Barb from our merry band of dyers (thank you!)
It's for all us who haven't been satisfied with our creative work at one time or another ...
or now ...




Definition of tricolored ...

a.  of a dog: having a coat of black, tan and white.

b.  having, using, or marked with three colors.

First known use:  1795

... seen today by the shore, 2012.

: : :

Playing with the theme, 'from above,' in Beyond Layers,
Thanks to French Kiss for her fabulous textures in the Glorious Grunge Collection ...
and to my dear woofie for her patient paws.