A skirt with a secret

A beautiful, vintage checked skirt came in the mail. Thank you, Mo! It’s very cool.  It’s machine stitched with a ruffle at the lower edge and features a draw string waist, with no additional closure.

The lower edge is reinforced with a blue and white ticking. I love the two prints together. I also adore the hand darned repairs.

Finally, there is a secret pocket underneath the ruffle.

Since it’s too shallow for a gun and not secure enough for a set of keys, I’m guessing it was used for money. A tube of lipstick, perhaps? What do you think?

The sense of a life lived, with all its secrets and tribulations, duties and flourishes, comes through this garment. I’m imagining a small resourceful woman in command of her manse — a woman equipped with a fierce will and a few tricks up her sleeve (and money in her hem!)

I’m not sure I’ll be able to stand to cut it up. But, eventually? You know me — the scissors often win out.


A wet, windy, and need I say? — brief — walk.

But compare how Finn looks when there’s a slice of cheese held up to the phone.

The beech trunk is dark with rain. Heat wooshes from the grate (temps are in the 30’s) and waggles a cloth pinned to the back door. I have a zero point lunch planned (some of you will know what that means) and the heating pad set up near the laptop.

I’m so glad K isn’t going anywhere this week!

The best surprises

Imagine my surprise when last weekend at Open Studios this young man introduced himself as “Nancy Erisman’s son”. I yelped. It was ever so brief but such a lovely meeting — almost as good as I imagine meeting Nancy herself would be. He bought a little window cloth for his mother and requested that I stay mum for a least a week while he arranged delivery of the gift. It was tough!

Well — quiet no more! Happy belated birthday Nancy! Maybe next time, it WILL be you.

This finger points to a face in the sky, courtesy of Michelle. I love the doodle and keep it near my calendar.

Also a while back, one of Saskia’s exquisite pillows arrived in the mail. ‘Pillow’ seems the wrong word because it’s a work of art, really.

Over a period of a year, I had squirreled away a number of miniatures along with a blue jay skull that I had buried with the intention of sending to her. They were objects that seemed to belong in her Dwelling, but I only half believed I’d ever actually ship them to Holland. When I finally did, that was reward enough. I didn’t expect to receive such a beautiful gift back.

ALSo! I have just received one more incredible gift (from Australia this time). I haven’t photographed it yet, however, so it’ll have to remain a mystery for a little longer.

K is muttering through the last of our taxes. It’s been snowing off and on all day, much to our dismay. It doesn’t look like the weather will be all that great for the Boston Marathon tomorrow.

If it’d been warmer, I might have bought pansies this afternoon. Instead, I took K out to lunch. We sat next to the open kitchen, so I could look over at the fires. As I gazed at the flames, or more specifically, at the prism created by the flames in the beveled edge of the glass partition, one of the long answers to a Globe crossword puzzle clue came to me (it had to do with prisms and rainbows). I love it when that happens.

And now to build what I hope will be the last fire of the season.


They’re calling for temps in the 50’s for later.

Despite the cold yesterday, I raked three areas out front. Filled the bird feeders. How good that felt! I had no energy for anything else.*

Did you wake up and check your phone to see who might have been fired since you last looked? I did.

* did also manage to research, buy, and arrange delivery of a fridge for my sister. Thankfully, brother B will be paying for it!

Little by little

Before setting out to Salem yesterday, thanks to some misdirected saliva, I had a choking fit. Throat clamping shut. Air not coming in. It’s one of those experiences that is equal parts ordinary and terrifying. There I was wheezing and wheezing, Finn looking on with concern. A little later, coming out of Dunkin Donuts to an asphalt landscape under dreary skies, I thought, “this, too, is beautiful.”

About two hours later, my sister and I ventured forth into Kane’s greenhouse, which was heavenly with its moist heat and riot of color. Look at the glorious geraniums!

Her new wide windowsills will house these splashes of life perfectly. She’s good with geraniums.

Little by little.

Applies to moving. Applies to quilting.

Applies to writing.

Who gets named: Ida B. Wells

Women We Overlooked aired on The New York Times podcast about a month ago. It features an interview with a New York Times obituary writer/researcher and went on to discuss the life of journalist and activist, Ida B. Wells.*

I learned on Sunday’s 60 Minutes feature about the Alabama memorial that there’s a special part of The National Memorial for Peace and Justice dedicated to Wells.

My #unreadshelfproject includes relevant history in: “News for All the People, The Epic Story of Race and the American Media” by Juan Gonzalez and Joseph Torres.

“When she took over as editor of the Memphis “Free Speech” in 1889, Ida B. Wells had already made something of a name for herself challenging racial bigotry.” In 1892, Wells wrote a stunning editorial following the lynching of eight men, after which the offices of the paper were burned down and her life threatened. Wells happened to be out of town that day and subsequently moved to Chicago. From there she “launched a systematic investigation of the hated practice [of lynching] around the country” and wrote about her findings in a series of newspaper articles and a book called “Southern Horrors” … Wells was also active as a teacher, feminist and civil rights leader.

Amy Goodman’s podcast, Democracy Now, interviewed the authors of “News for All People”, here.

Finn was just picked up and I’m off to Salem. Time to order a fridge and hire movers. If time, we will jaunt over to Kane’s — the greenhouse over by Trader Joe’s. My sister’s new place has wide windowsills, perfect for some potted geraniums.


This post is a placeholder, containing some homework for myself — I hope you don’t mind. Wanted to capture these things while they’re still fresh. 

*  If you don’t know about The Daily — you’re in for a treat. Each episode is only 20 minutes long and yet manages to do interesting and in-depth reporting. They’re an essential part of my news fare these days.

These and others

Once again, sales would dictate: make MORE REPRESENTATIONAL quilts. People consistently respond to them more enthusiastically than they do to geometric/abstract quilts.

As Son #1 might say: “Meh.” But I will probably consider it going forward. And anyway, for a long time I’ve wondered: must my houses be so perpetually empty of creatures?

The air continues on the chilly side. Walked the dog wearing:

  • a down vest,
  • long sleeve shirt,
  • flannel shirt,
  • cashmere sweater

and was still cold!

Even die-hard New Englanders are getting fed up.

Everything is put away (quilts, dolls, staging crates, money box, pricing materials, extra tables) or put back (rugs, chairs and hassock, dog crate, pictures on the wall, lamps and plants). YES!

Normally, I take a lax approach to show breakdown, ensuring weeks of disorientation as one item after another is retrieved out of some drawer or closet. I wasn’t having it this time. Nope. Unfortunately, my style might’ve been a little too task-oriented (some might say, “militaristic”). Maybe lingering mess and resentment are better? It would’ve be so easy to wave co-presenter home with a casual, “don’t worry about it!”

And then there’s the essentially unanswerable question: was it worth it? Even decent sales leaves one unsure: the disruption, the intense, blind effort for a couple of weeks, and most of all, the unwelcome confrontation with a sickeningly low dollar to time ratio. I just don’t know.

These pieces below sold and a few others. I cleared a drawer or two out and made enough money to treat myself to some bodywork and have dinner out with K. Yeah!

Oh, and this also came out of the second day: a possible trip down to Montgomery with two friends to see the National Memorial for Peace and Justice (honoring lynching victims). Did you catch the feature on 60 Minutes last night? Oprah interviewed Bryan Stevenson (the force behind the memorial) and toured the site. It opens April 26.

Found in my FB feed this morning: Presidential ticket — “Oprah and Stevenson”. I suggested Kamala Harris for Secretary of State.

I just heard that the FBI have raided Michael Cohen’s office. Gotta go!