Category Archives: In the Company of Cloth

notes from a quilter, collage artist, fabric collector

Can’t see

I can’t see “the answer”. Somehow that is fitting. But in the small domain of a textile piece, it cannot stand. Off to writing class. Finn’s got his bone stuffed with sweet potato, chicken, and peanut butter. I have my chapter listing, notebook, and a flank muscle sore from raking.

** See, It’s Crow Time (side bar) for more on this collaborative fiber project (aka magic). Attributions to follow. Gotta go!


This one hangs on the inside of the studio/cellar door. It’s done? I am beginning to look around (from the side of my mind) with a view toward 2018. 

It’s very cold here. Temps are supposed to drop into the teens tonight. If you are subject to this icy air sweeping down from the arctic — stay warm!

I include a couple of pictures of cypress knees from South Carolina because of how much they resemble the figure in the top quilt’s foreground — hooded and slightly bent, like a monastic order of the swamps. 

Turning seasons

It’s cold and gonna get colder. Going from flip flops to draft stoppers makes for a strange contrast. Meanwhile, leaves, leaves, and more leaves fall, including the giant ones from our two catalpa trees. I’ve saved up some of their knobby fallen branches for the mantle. What do you think — spray them silver or gold? Leave them natural?

Too much to process every week. One hundred and four texts with son number two yesterday. Fortunately NOT about his trip to the ER earlier in the week (strep has blossomed into scarlet fever. BTW, did you know that no one gets rheumatic fever anymore and no one really knows why? When I was eight, I was ordered on bed rest because of a rheumatic fever scare. I remember my mother carrying me to the bathroom and being pissed that I was missing the games noisily unfolding in the back yard). He is okay by the way.

A dinner with my Indivisible group. Heartening elections. Legs that hurt for no reason. A relative who was in her car in Manhattan when the terrorist yelling out to Allah ran right in front of her. And the recent church slayings? Nothing. I am numb.

Meanwhile my allegiance to cuteness becomes necessary. This little critter needs arms and a name.

She has her eye on Thanksgiving and models casual flair. With a starchy, perfectly pressed apron and a smile, she will somehow manage (without a moment of hand-wringing) to get a good-enough meal on the table. 

Unhinged but not broken

The Big Wind blew our wisteria off the brick facade. I was so relieved to see that the vine was intact — unhinged but not broken.

And then I had to laugh. Metaphors are a way of life, aren’t they? It took my husband awhile to get this about me (he’s an engineer — it took me a while to get this about him). I, too, am unhinged but not broken.

Perhaps “off the wall” is a bit better, though?

Sunday soup

It’s Sunday and I made “garbage soup” — you know, one of those concoctions that thriftily uses up items in the fridge no longer up for a starring role? Every version is necessarily different. Today’s batch included: slightly rubbery celery, tired lettuce, the ends of four sliced-open heads of garlic (above), a few small potatoes, one shallot, and excellent chicken stock. (Honestly, with good chicken stock, you could probably boil up strips of newspaper and find them edible).

Once blended and topped with parsley, this batch tasted pretty much like cream of celery soup. Yum! Especially considering there isn’t an ounce of dairy in it. Wonderful for an off-again-on-again rainy day. We enjoyed it after a quick visit to a Pottery Barn down the road. Because college tuition ended rather sooner than expected, we might replace some of our more awful or out-of-scale pieces of furniture. A smaller coffee table would be nice. The one we have is nice but a little too big and it blocks the fireplace.

We also looked at headboards to get ideas (we will make our own). I lusted after floral linen shams, faux fur bathrobes (so soft!), candle hurricanes, and darling reindeer ornaments. Seems like plaid is a thing this year. Maybe a few will be left come January.

Had fun taking B&W pix  — I’ve been tagged on Facebook. You probably know the drill.

Lastly, I went to the Tenth Annual Boston Book Festival yesterday. Went with my friend and writing teacher. We ate hot dogs, wandered inside the Boston Public Library and attended a great panel discussion between two fiction writers (Claire Messud and Jacqueline Woodson). If it doesn’t turn into what feels like a homework assignment, will share more.

Umm sugar

I can be an unabashed braggart when it comes to food — moaning my approval before anyone else at the table has a chance to comment, for instance. But, you know what? Every now and then I just hit it out of the park! These sugar cookies sailed right over the Green Monster* into my happy, happy mouth (*for those who don’t know, that’s a Fenway Park reference).

The recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen: The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook.

I don’t bother with their laborious flour concocting and instead use whatever gluten free flour is to hand. These cookies feature almond meal — always a boon for this nut-lover’s palette — and cream cheese, which probably accounts for the confections’ creamy softness. I happened to be out of vanilla (what? –  I know!), so I subbed a smaller amount of almond extract. Pow — these cookies are to die for. And that’s saying something for gluten free!

It’s Friday and it finally stopped raining. I’m reading Michael W. Twitty‘s food memoir and just got to the part about his conversion to Judaism and the parallels between Jewish and African American culinary traditions. Left me with a hankering for pastrami (I must trust my dear readers to be openly lusting for sugar and red meat in the same post!). There may be a run to Zaftig’s in my near future. There happens to be one near my favorite Christmas Tree Shop in Natick (please stop, Dee — too many confessions for one post).

I’ll end on a loftier note. Here’s the start of my contribution to a wonderful collaborative art/magic project that Mo is dreaming up (I Dream of a World Where Love is the Answer — It’s Crow Time). More to come.


From the research files, happed upon earlier while cleaning up, this Scottish saying: Be happy, child, for you’re a long time dead. 

It sounds like something my father might’ve said. Is there an Irish corollary, I wonder?