Treasures and Counterpoint


Thrift store shopping yesterday!

I greatly respect those who work with their hands, make something of very little,

and in sweet detail.  So, I could not resist the tiny slippers, all made by Chinese hands.

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I imagine the playful, colorful shoes on the child’s feet, soft, delicate, and full of life.

 On the shoes above are little ladybugs with swastika symbol on their wings.

I didn’t notice that detail until I came home.

Surely, the maker had no idea of the 20th century connotation.

Instead, it is the symbol of life, good luck and prosperity, meant to protect the child.

It’s time to reclaim the symbol, remove the grip of evil from this ancient symbol.

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Another pair, even smaller.

  The bottoms made less slippery with tiny stitches.

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A third and different pair.

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This pair reminds me of an old song!


The score, introduced in “The Yankee Girl,” and interestingly enough, my handle on http://www.ancestry.com   (YankeeGirl210)

I bought two wonderful pieces of copper, which I plan to make into a sunflower seed feeder for the Stellar’s Jays and little squirrel who visit home.

I love the verdigris on copper pieces!

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One cup teapots are small, fun to collect.  When I get tired of them, I’ll sell the lot.

Out with the old and in with more old!!

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The child below and her sister called to me, their eyes speak.

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Excuse the bad photo, please?

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There is surely something more to this photo, it’s very emotive,

and the sisters are not only posing, but thinking.

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Unfortunately, the girls are not identified on the reverse.

For years, I’ve collected photos of children blowing bubbles, finding the activity a precious, innocent and joyful thing that children and even adults do.  The magic in making a bubble!

Occasionally, I enjoy a photo of a child with a precious toy, bicycle.

Two favorites are of a little boy with his rubber boots on,

splashing in a puddle, and a tiny girl, sitting on ‘the pot.’

I purchased the sisters above, because I could not leave them there.

Of course, I hunted down some high quality cotton sweaters for raveling.

Where’s the counterpoint?  Conflict?

Some couples have ugly disagreements, and sadly, it’s a waste of life and energy.

I feel deeply about hearing this sort of thing, hurting inside, so I spent some hours alone.

 I’ve had enough hurts in life, and peace is my mantra.  Always the diplomat, I tried to diffuse and soothe.  I don’t know if anyone ‘heard’ me.

Regardless, I’m comfortable alone, and am reading good books, thinking good thoughts.

I purchased Jeannette Walls second book, Half Broke Horses.

When I began reading her first book, The Glass Castle, I found it difficult, even ridiculous – the claim to have such vivid recall at age three of being burned at the front of the stove. I continued, and with skepticism, waited for the next claim,

to which I found none other so easy to disbelieve.

I enjoy her writing style, and if I may be so bold, similar to my own, ultimately.

So with all my treasures and all the counterpoint, I know.

Today’s a new day! I’m happy in it.




Free Green Paint


Several months ago, I promised to blog about using things in unusual way, especially things that folks normally throw away or don’t consider useful.

I got a gallon of green paint, free.  Usually, I like green and there’s hardly a wall in this house that doesn’t have some green on it somewhere.  No problem, right?  It’s my favorite color.  The natural world is full of it.

This green forces me to test myself, to see if I can make the free paint fit in with some of the special junk I’ve been hauling around for years.  I always seem to have ideas in my head, using junk most people would throw away.

I’m sure Mark would prefer not to haul my junk around the world.

So, to my husband’s chagrin and a bit of my own,  my daughter and I painted the lower half of the bathroom this green.

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So, what do you think of the





Actually, I’d wear this green, but on the bathroom wall, I really had to work it.

We painted the upper part of the wall white (it was a pale orange) and I decided to make a border of shells I’d picked up on the beach.  With my trusty glue gun, a couple of glue sticks and my manual dexterity, I went to work.

Why should I buy anything when shells work perfectly here?

2013-03-02 12.17.34  Another month or so and these olive shells will be washing ashore by the thousands and I’ll complete the walls.

Looking at plain white walls isn’t my thing, so I painted these old wrought aluminum panels from a 50’s screen door and hung them on the wall.

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Here’s a close up. I’ve been saving these for about ten years.  No shell border yet.

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Now I had another white wall over the toilet.  I had my excuse to go to the thrift store to see if I could spot something suitable.  I found a fantastic oil painting for a whole $7.00!

It was hidden behind all kinds of not so nice stuff, and when I asked the clerk if it was there to hide a hole in the wall, we went over to take a look.

He reached for it, it fell to the floor behind the desk and he thought that was too bad, he couldn’t see it, aw, that’s too bad.  Not too bad for me!

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 I got on my hands and knees and pulled it out from in back of the desk.  Score!!

I like oil paintings without frames, especially the older ones.  However, I thought I might try putting some of my super sized barnacles around the corners of the frame.

What do you think?

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That didn’t seem quite enough, so I remembered the vintage swizzle sticks in the shape of fish and glued them over the painting!

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With that done, I hung a vintage wood shelf with wrought iron scrolled accents, below the painting, just above the toilet tank.

On the shelf, I placed one of my funky paper art pieces, just for fun.

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That’s as far as I’ve been able to go so far, with the

Free Green Paint.


I write, I think, I say, I do, I write, I think, I say, I do


I write, I think.

I say I do.

I think I want

to write to you.

I do, I say.

I write.  I do.

I think some more

and write more, too.

To write and say

is right and true.

Perhaps I write

to me, not you,

which by itself

seems so untrue.

Am I real?  Or is it you?

I write, I think, then say and do.


The Quilt – of measure and song


Boott Cotton Mills

Boott Cotton Mills (Photo credit: kittell)

I never stopped thinking of the little spinning wheel I lost as a child. Spinning was so far out of my reach I began to wonder if I could be  part of the quilting revival during the 1970’s. I knew no one who made quilts and books available then, scarce. Think…

I lived near a ‘working’ cotton mill on the Merrimac River in Lowell, Massachusetts.  The now Museum featured a quilting and textile exhibit.  Smitten and intimidated by the skill necessary to create such works of art, the distance between me, and these creative women seemed insurmountable. As a young mother, the highly detailed, skillfully crafted quilts were out of my league.

Why? I couldn’t sew – oh, I THOUGHT I couldn’t sew! My Mother, skilled enough to sew some of our clothes and household articles when I was a kid. I’m the kind of gal who says, “If she can do it, I’m sure I can do it!”  In this instance, my confidence waned.

I admired quilts and considered a comforter, which is a tied, layered blanket, sans quilting.  Comforters were functional, frugal and prudent articles for everyday use.

Much later in my adult life, I became a children’s entertainer. I realized the cost of costumes; I had to learn to sew and sew I did. Here’s one of the costumes I made for Doodah. (alter-ego)  I chose all vintage fabrics for this early costume, which I later sold to a professional costumer.  I sewed a themed costume for every occasion, and finally, I realized that I could quilt.

Doodah in one of her first custom costumes, 1990’s

My first two quilts were made with damaged antique or old tops, which contained unsuitable or inappropriate fabrics, poor designs, mismatched or puckered seams. With all the work that went into them originally, the greatest honor I could give the quilt maker, was to bring them to life.

The first quilt I made, I traded for a miniature horse. It was a LeMoyne Star in red, black and whites and contained many ‘mourning’ fabrics.  I didn’t photograph it, unfortunately, but I still own the second, a nine patch.  Here’s the finished quilt, a large lap sized quilt, and a picture of my most favorite piece of fabric in the quilt.

antique cattail fabric. LOVE.

Second quilt, containing cattail fabric

The next quilt, I hand quilted and is a wall piece,some fabrics from old tops, and some from antique half square blocks, Many of the fabrics were nearly shattered, and I supported them in this small project with interfacing.  In keeping with the frugal nature of the early quilt makers, I allowed a red cotton eyelet in the lower left, and used a fragile piece, which shattered in the last wash.

Overall piece of mostly antique fabrics. Leymoyne Star pattern with alternating blocks.

Closer, showing the eyelet red piece, which my youngest daughter chose, from several odd pieces, to add in.

One block, showing detail of antique fabrics.

I believe that I’m honoring the woman, and can feel the spirit of her within the warp and weft of the old fabrics and threads.  I’ve reworked many quilts, salvaged tops with holes and found amazing surprises within damaged quilts.
With I have an extensive collection of antique and vintage fabrics, and my next “old” quilt project will be all triangles.

I’ve given away most of my quilts, and for them, I use new fabrics. New fabrics are a pleasure to sew on and the variety endless.  Here’s the last quilt I made for a family member – her request was pink and black –

Yolanda’s quilt.

I like to make the back of the quilts somewhat interesting, making them reversible.  I don’t measure, I just find the scraps or pieces, sew them together, iron and put the quilt sandwich all together – then cut the backing as needed.

pieced back making Yolanda’s quilt reversible.

close up of the back and quilting, with hearts

I used a black binding for her quilt, and here’s a close up of one of the corners.

corner of Yolanda’s quilt

My husband is 6’4″ tall, and I wanted to make a big quilt for our bed.  I chose a very old pattern, Flying Swallows.  The flying swallows is usually hand pieced, but I found a way, through Harriet Hargrave’s book, to machine piece the blocks.  I threw out at least twenty blocks before I got it right. The quilt ended up as a medallion type, with borders upon borders, bringing it to king size. I’d had enough of that block…

Flying Swallows block, using Asian themed fabrics

all together

To date fabrics, Ellen Trestain has one or two good reference books with photos, so you can put what you have against her pictures.  It’s well worth having if you’re studying textiles and fabrics.

Coming or Going – Mad?


Nez Perce Indians with Appaloosa horse, around...

Nez Perce Indians with Appaloosa horse, around 1895 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s an early morning for me today.  My girl started work at 5 a.m. and though she tries to be quiet as a mouse, I heard her.  That, and other noises, prevented me from falling back to sleep.

Usually, I feel more alive and cheerful in the early morning hours.  I’ve heard that most folks take time to wake up to the world.  When I wake, I’m awake.  Early morning and late evening can bring lots of zany thoughts as well as deep, contemplative ones.  I’m guessing dreams may have something to do with the way things go.

I’ve fed my horses early.  I found Amadeaus, the young gelding, lying down, Starlight resting, wishing I wasn’t there, as when I tried to stroke her nose, she let me know what she thought by expressing her opinion with a squeal, and promptly turning away. She’s interestingly vocal.  And my Appaloosa, standing in the stalls toward the back, looking the distance to see me.  There are horses on the other side of the fence and they hang together there, even though they can’t see one another. It’s as close as they can get without being in the same place.

It’s important for horses to be part of a herd.  I’m sure the  three equine next door believe that they, and mine are all part of the same herd.  As long as a horse can smell, hear, or see another horse, there’s a healthier state of mind.

If I open the gates and let them all out, they’d quickly leave the humans, and gallop, tails high.  They’d join one another, as if they’d been a family always.  Most every horse would rather be with other horses, than humans. I understand.

My neighbor’s horses have escaped several times.  Perhaps a gate latch was loose or one found a weak spot in the fence. We’ve been here to herd them home, luckily.  When mine got loose, it was my fault, I’d left the gate to the  narrow pathway where I come in with feed, open.  I’d plan to go back through, to put the feed buckets away or something, and didn’t go out that way after all, the gate remained unlatched. Eventually, one of the horses notice.

The last time my three escaped, it was a beautiful thing.  They were prancing, galloping through my neighbors back yard, making deep impressions with their hooves in the soft earth. Starlight snorted and as usual, resisted being controlled.  We were here to herd them back.  I shudder to think of them running down to one of the main roads, and about one mile or so, the 101 Freeway.  They could cover that area faster than I could get the halters, lead lines, keys, people and truck, to go after them.

I don’t panic.  I approach gently, slowly, allow each to settle and graze.  Being prey animals, the worst thing is to make chase.  Brandy’s about 15 or 16 now, has separation issues.  Halter the two younger ones and she’ll follow.

My horses and rabbits (cat and guinea pig, too)  depend on me to care for them.  Most are here because no one else wanted them.  My husband and I could have more freedom and money if we didn’t have the animals.   We’re at our limit in terms of space and finances.  Choices.

I’m going mad, having opened this “dream” of writing –  I’ve opened Pandora’s Box.  If I’d never started writing again, then I’d never consider being published and never have to see that everyone can publish, good or bad.  Bad writers can have good fortune.  I search WP and the internet for content sometimes and I’m as far from trends as anyone can be.  Is being trendy what’s necessary for success in becoming an author?   I’ll never appeal to thousands of readers that seem to come to some writers. I read, and many times, I don’t understand the appeal.

I’m not in tune with the times and I’m singing old songs.  I’m me, authentic, honest, real.  I think thoughts. I care.  I’m a relic from the past. It’s maddening to think that too much time has passed, and with that passage, my opportunity.

If I’d never opened the box, I’d see fog hanging low in our redwoods, watch my roses grow, pick the thimble berries for breakfast without thinking about what avenue to take to get noticed, how to make it work, what should I write about, what genre do I stick with, am I capable of writing from my heart, anything that people would take the time to read in a book?  How do I ignore the naysayers who insist I need a Mac or I must follow the trends?  If I’m following trends, and everyone else is following trends, doesn’t that flatten out what’s being written, leveling the surface?  I wouldn’t know how to be trendy if I got paid for it.

Who am I writing for?  I like reading my writing. Perhaps I AM writing for myself and hoping enough of you will want to come along, which in turn will encourage me to write my memoirs and children’s literature.  I want to write what children would be interested in reading and not focus on all the cogs, wheels, springs, bolts, nuts, screws that others tell me I have add in.

This post has no wish to diminish all the great and good writers in the past, present and future. I know there are good writers.  I read books.

Fog’s lifting some.  It’s still quiet here.  One of the rabbits is snoring, others are grooming themselves, or resting after their breakfast of a tiny carrot, and some greens.  Boyo has his eyes on me, and just yawned deeply.  They’re innocent, safe.

I’m at the end of my rope.  Must I tie a knot and hang on? Am I dreaming?  Or is this my choice?  Am I coming into the world – or going mad?

If anyone is still reading, or has read this entire post, are you compelled to comment, good or bad?  If, as my research indicates on trends in blogging, folks read blog posts by scanning, in an “F” shaped pattern.  If that’s true, then you’ll never get → here.

My cat just moved near Boyo.  He’s afraid of her.  All the bunnies scatter, taking cues from one another.  Poor dears.  So delicate.

Dipsy, my only cat

Weekly Photo Challenge – Purple


Here’s something completely different!

Paper Sculpture #1

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Turn of Events – Bunny Love #1

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