Saturday, August 29, 2009


Pauline and brilliance are interchangeable.  I have known many talented fiber artists, but Pauline rises head and shoulders above the rest.  She just does not know how to create anything except beauty.    She sent a parcel to me and in it - a lovely new embroidered tunic, some fat quarters and a pin cushion to crow about.  Don't you love those fat little strawberries?  Am I lucky, or what?  Thank you, Pauline!

Friday, August 28, 2009


My mother's people are gardeners.  That's a post for another day - maybe when we are knee deep in a good old fashioned nor'easter.  I made my living for quite a few years as a gardener - working on private estates, educational institutes, and small precious New England gardens.  During those years I would bring plants to my mother that struck my fancy.  She was always very gracious about my offerings and nothing was left unplanted.

I was wandering through her august garden this week and admiring her boxwood and european ginger - gifts that I had brought so many years ago, ones that have done so beautifully in her small manicured space.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


You've heard me refer to the Thread Magician, Linda Hibbert, aka SilverLiningsOriginals, (WHEN will I figure out how to link properly!!!)  She is a very special friend and the most extraordinary machine quilter.  A few years ago we began to talk about a project that would involve endangered species.  She, who has the energy of 15 women, started creating the patterns.  Unfortunately, her slug-like friend (me, the Giant Sloth)never had the same fire lit and the patterns sat untested.

All of that has changed.  I've been on a mission to complete my alarming stack of UFO's.  There is a package on the way to Colorado, as I write.  I hope that she will be pleased.  If I've learned anything this year, it is the painful lesson that time does indeed fly.

Monday, August 24, 2009


When your children up and leave the nest it can be a time of great discovery and infinite sadness.  I have been struggling with this issue since January and some days are better than others.  Making friends with uncertainty is a task.  It's hateful, like internal housework.  Technology allows me to talk or text her whenever I like, but it cannot take the place of her footstep in the hall or the sound of the shower running.  When your child is tucked in and asleep upstairs, a peace prevails.  The world feels safe and sealed in.  You know what I mean.
I've developed a ritual that helps to keep the blues at bay.  I try to send her a package each week, and in it, fun things that she likes or needs and always something handmade.  Since she is very conscious of her health and fitness, I made a yoga mat bag for easier toting to the gym.  The pattern was a hand out from my local fabric shop, and the flamingo was essential!

Sunday, August 23, 2009


We took the summer off from the gardens.  There was that chilling week back in April when my son crashed his motorcycle on a Thursday and my father had a seizure on Friday.  That was the beginning of the end of this year's gardening.  Rushing back and forth between two local hospitals left little time for anything as leisurely as planting the peas.  And to be honest, the gardens were the last thing on my mind after my dad was moved into a nursing facility and my son was recovering from surgery.
 The spring and early summer became a delicate balancing act of what to leave out and what to leave in.  The cannas and castor beans were just the beginning of the casualties.  I managed to plant the window boxes and weed and mulch the herb garden, but the vegetable garden became last year's memory.  I don't miss dragging the hoses or applying the loathsome 'Invisible Fence' after each rain.  I don't miss being eaten alive by ravenous mosquitos and I truly did not miss the advent of the shad fly in May!  This is the first year that I can ever remember not having to hide the half moon circles of grim that pass for my nails!  And what a joy to be able to knit lace without snagging that delicate fiber on my sunburnt and roughened garden paws.
Still, I miss the blush of tomatoes ripening in the July sun.  I miss the fragrance of the basil when I brush against it on my way to the pole beans.  The house seems undressed without the gumdrop colored zinnias that graced every tabletop and waded in jars on the bathroom sink.  In the evenings the ghostly glow of the white pumpkins and regal nicotiana are replaced by crickets singing in the dark weeds.  So I leave you with some pictures of last year's bounty and the hope that next year brings with it a new garden.  From my mouth to God's ears.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Middle aged women can have BFF's (best friends forever) and not feel silly.  I have been blessed this year.  I have connected with my friend Patty on so many different levels that we both believe we truly are twins, separated at birth.  And every day that we know one another, we are even more convinced that we have ALWAYS known the other!    

Patty is vibrant and funny and smart and beautiful and deeply committed to the promotion of knitting.  You walk into her shop with a chill in your heart and she warms you right up.  She's the self-appointed guardian of my knitting life, making certain that I know all about the latest trends in alpaca and the most righteous knitting accessories that are about to hit the retail market.  She lets me take things home to 'try out', even when she knows I won't bring them right back.   And be careful about raising your voice to me when she's in the room - you just don't want to do that.  In short, I am blessed.  So this morning, I started a new project (ssshhh)

Patty's oldest daughter will be delivering her fourth child in a few short months.  Word on the street is that she is having a little girl.  When I think of baby girls I cannot help but think of pink.  But my stash is sadly lacking in that department, so I turned to my Moda Layer Cake - the one that I have been hoarding.  For a very long time.  Magic.  It's all there.  Thank you Moda, and Carol Doak.  Stay tuned...

Monday, August 17, 2009


When I turned 36 I gave myself the gift of knitting lessons.  Prior to that, I had convinced myself that the quilting, sewing, needlepointing, gardening and painting (to name a few!) that I did was more than enough to occupy my spare moments, and that adding yet ANOTHER passion would be a mistake.  But I could not stop myself from walking into Nina and Nancy's little yarn shop in Rhinebeck, where I would run my hands across the enticing skeins of yarn, brightly announcing that I was "just looking"!!!!  Who DOES that?  The owners just smiled.  They knew that the yarn had me at the door.

I signed up for a class.  We jumped right in - no scarf for this beginner.  I remember that I chose a Rowan cardigan pattern.  It took me a very long time to make this choice because the yarn shop had so many patterns to choose from.  I determined right then and there that I would never duplicate a pattern - that I would ALWAYS create something new and uncharted!  And this worked, that is, until I met the famous FEBRUARY LADY, Pamela Wynn's brilliant interpretation of the EZ  Sweater on Two Needles.  Thanks, girls.  

It pains me to tell you how many times I have violated my own rule with this pattern.  I need both hands for the count.  And I've never been happier.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


My daughter moved south in January and took my four-legged 'grandson' with her - Bubbha.  I have an uncommon love for him and I miss him almost as much as I miss his mistress!  Mothers know that their children will leave the nest, it's the natural course of things.  But what I didn't expect was that I would miss Himself so much!  He is a dear gentle soul and the whitest boxer you've ever seen!  (I'm told that he has to have sunscreen applied because he is so fair.)  Bubbha, I miss your huffing and your prancing and the way you gaze at me so lovingly.  I miss how you stand and lean against me and wag your funny stump of a tail.  I hope that you are loving the warm weather and that your parents are taking you on many runs.  Until we meet again, I'm sending you hugs and kisses.  Many!  And I'm taking good care of your quilt until your momma says she has the right place to display it!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I always wanted to make a Log Cabin quilt in neutral colors - here is its debut!  It is called September Wedding as it was created for my nephew's fall wedding.  And someone else wanted to step into the blogging limelight - please say hello to my best friend - Mr. Harley Tucker!  This beauty boy actually 'owns' my son, but has been staying here with us in the country.   I think I'll keep him!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


We have had some of the craziest weather here in the northeast.  In years past, I have spent many hours dragging hoses and muttering to the rain Gods.  But this year is different - this year it seems to rain almost every single day.  Everyone at 'Cloudwalk' is happy, especially the weeds, which have their own zip codes!  This Passion Flower vine was planted several years ago and surprises us annually by returning - not your typical 'tropical' behavior in upstate New York!  And above her, my favorite daylily, 'Sunday Gloves'.  Oh, sorry, 'Bella Lugosi', I love you too!  (but you leave stains on my hands!)

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Sundays are even better when it rains.  One can admire the gardens while sitting on the front porch with a good knit/quilt.  The problem is always the same - WHICH to choose.  I'm so confused!  This is a piece that I am creating for a friend who intends to gift it to her friend.  It's going to live in Paris!  First, it has to travel to Colorado where the Thread Magician lives, Linda Hibbert of www.Silverliningsoriginals.  She will illustrate, with thread, the stuff that dreams are made of.  Just you wait and see!