last brown day

Nov 30
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

Then end of "coming to grips with brown" month. I asked Alice what to do, and she suggested a big brown spirally thing. She was right.

Great dinner with Andy (temporarily home from England) and a crowd of friends and relations. It felt like Thanksgiving again. He made me sit and watch the food prep, and visit. Watching people cook felt really different. Usually that is me stooging around in a greater or lesser swivet, getting things ready to eat, shouting at people to come and get clean and sit down. Instead I ate cheese and crackers and sipped a glass of wine and caught up with people I hadn’t seen for most of a year. Awesome. thank you, very much Andy.

New theme tomorrow.

awesome background

Nov 29
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

I started by sticking down random patches with a spiral stitch from my fancy sewing machine. I liked it, all loose and ruffly, but I thought it needed more stitching, so I stitched over the top with another fancy stitch and lighter thread. It pulled the top together, but it flattened it out more than I meant to, both physically sewing down the edges and visually with a layer of light thread, and instead of having a postcard I had a really nice background. humph. So I added the little flags, with another fancy stitch, and added a great little copper doodad at the end. And now it is a postcard again.



Nov 28
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

I started to trim the threads off this in between the small bright circles and the bigger darker circles, and I decided to leave them. I like that I can see the order I made the circles, and follow my own train of thought.  There are two different brown velvets. I like the way they play off each other, and show off the patchiness of the background.

In the old Threads magazines I read a piece from a woman who was chastised for putting a patch on a patch, on her jeans. A subsequent letter writer quoted her grandmother saying "patch by patch is neighborly, patch on patch is beggarly." The only reason I mention this is because I added two new patches to the knees of Alice’s jeans over the weekend.


There were two patches on each knee, and I added a Laurel Burch cat on each knee to hold down the older patches. Alice is delighted. She still fits the jeans (from two years ago – this child grows verrry slowly) and she was missing them. I think I am feeling defensive about it. The jeans are fine, except for the places her knobby knees have rent the fabric. I have made them work for her, to her delight, for another couple months. The knees will blow out again before she outgrows them, I’m sure… unless she has a sudden growth spurt. Isn’t patch on patch just careful? reusing? good for the earth? decorative even? just asking.

I’ve been working steadily on the new machine for the last couple days, and I owe Al some gratitude cake, or a pan full of brownies. It works like a champ, the applications are the ones I recognize and have the right reactions for, the sound works, the screen is big and lovely, and the keyboard is so cute I can hardly stand it. I might get smitten with mac-love later, but really at the moment I am happy to be able to do what I want and need. Like writing this, posting pictures and checking on email. While listening to Laurie Anderson sing. The house smells of brownies for the bake sale tomorrow. I am well fed. I have finally warmed up. I rode a new horse today. My life is very very good.

Nov 27

Nov 27
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

Patchy background, with silk chiffon on top, and copper coiled bits on top of that. And no broken needles stitching down the pretty wire.

Long, and strange day.

I closed down work at the old barn. The fun quotient wasn’t quite high enough, and the aggravation was too high. Plus I kept getting thwarted trying to get there – I mean three weeks of sick people who only get sick and need me on Tuesdays and Thursdays? After Alice, then me, then Aerin, I figure the universe is trying to tell me something.

So I came home and had a full on financial freakout. I wound up entering three months of household spending onto a spreadsheet trying to figure out where it all goes. I am three months wiser and carrying a good deal more tension around. I don’t think about money gracefully. 

I worked really really hard in circus, to try to burn off some of the stress. I wound up climbing to the top of the fabric 4.5 times. Once I came down and started up again without touching the ground, but that was where I only managed the 1/2. But I am stronger. I got the hip key faster, and did it on both sides. I am getting a very nice handstand near the wall. I can headstand without thinking too hard about it, and Bronwyn spotted me for crow to headstand which I did with a thump. That could get more graceful. Crow is such a strange position though – you rest your knees on your elbows and do a handstand… any transition from there is gonna be hard.

And then I had beer with supper when I got home. So I am relaxed and  cheerful and going to bed now. But man, the money thing? ugh. And I’m in it for pure knowledge, not desperation.

Nov 26

Nov 26
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

thinking about circles holding things down.

pelting rain. no riding. barn work though, because they smell nice and feel good. and besides they were in on account of the freezing rain, so they needed the cleaning.

Aerin has the bug now, but she thinks she is going to school tomorrow. I’m glad she feels better, we’ll see how she is tomorrow at 6:30 in the ak emma.

DNA samples

Nov 25
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

So here I am cataloging and leaving for posterity complete DNA samples from my family, at least as we understand it at the moment. I labeled it too, because I realized I wouldn’t remember whose was whose (except for Al’s) by the end of the week.

It started because I was struck by the similarity of the girls’ hair colors when they were sitting next to each other doing computer stuff yesterday, so I chased them around the house with scissors and got chunks of hair from them. I snipped off the end of my braid because it is all uneven anyhow, and I am on the verge of thinking I need it a lot shorter.

Al was the hardest – his hair is like spider silk, thin and fine and incredibly soft, and (sad but true) he’s losing it, although slowly. He said he once made a barber cry, asking him to cut it dry. It is impossible, it wifts and sifts and blows in the slightest breeze. I just snipped a tiny bit from the back, so it wouldn’t make him any more uneven than he already is.

brown and copper and magazines

Nov 24
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

I have been really drawn to copper over the last couple months. I found this paint at the local art supplies store, I have a roll of copper wire that I am experimenting with, and there were all those pennies the girls and I shined up for the August Journal page. I like the way the copper paint and thread glow in the velvet. The paint did a great job on just the tips of the velvet nap.

I continue with the removal of excess objects from the workroom. Alice’s Art school will either hate me or name a room in my honor, they have another two boxes of stuff headed their way. I have copies of Cloth Paper Scissors back to the first issue, if anyone is interested. Drop me an email, or leave a comment and I’ll get back to you. I listed three most recent ones on Book Mooch, and have promised those already, but the rest are up for grabs.

I like the idea of Book Mooch – list the excess books that someone else might want, and they find you and request them. And then you accrue karma in the form of points that can be applied to books you want. I like it better than Freecycle for books because people actually know what they are looking for, and you get some credit for it. Not that Freecycle doesn’t completely rock in the whole "vanishing the excess stuff off the porch" scene. I love them for that.

pointy bits

Nov 23
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

I have been re-reading my old Threads magazines. I have issues 1 – 60. I saved them. I am reading them before I send them away to their new home. I am surprised at how much weaving there is in the first couple years, as well as knitting, and tatting, and some crochet. A lot of the articles are very technical, and a lot of the letters are strongly worded responses to those articles agreeing or disagreeing.

I am struck by the extent that these arts were dying in the late 1980s. Fewer and fewer people were sewing, knitting, weaving, etc.-ing, and those that did were feeling a bewildered nostalgia for things that were not gone quite yet. Clearly I am pleased these various arts have not died (not dead yet!) but it does make me wonder how close they were.

The other thing that struck me about the old issues is how many had requests to help the writer find other practitioners of their particular vanishing art. It was a slow and cumbersome way of finding other people interested in what you do, but important as the people geographically close to you stopped doing similar things. Now, these people would probably have blogs, and Flickr accounts, and other ways of getting their work out there and finding others in their spheres. It makes me glad for the internets, and lucky to be doing this now.

In the next generation department, Alice requested help learning how to use my sewing machine, and havng mastered sewing along lines on paper constructed pants and shirt for the bunny. In a fit of brilliance I gave her stretch fabric to use, so that one’s first inclination (trace the body and sew the lines) worked nicely thank you.  We’ll explore sleeves and pant legs another time.


And then, I managed to get hair on her

after cough*12years*cough of baldness. Alice used to drag her about naked and bald, when she (Alice) was between 1 and 3 years old. I have always been happy to make things for Alice because she plays with them. Aerin told me, at age 4, "I have enough dolls mom, you can stop making them now" which was just odd. Alice has always begged for one more friend. And then played with the new friend like crazy as soon as it was handed over. Pretty gratifying.


I was choosing a knife from the rack yesterday and I realized I have a pattern for adopting new tools and using old ones.

It takes me a long time to adjust to a new tool. Al gave me a stand mixer for a birthday; an extravagance, a lovely and durable object, a classic – and I couldn’t figure out how to use it for a year. I already had a mixer, a little hand held object that worked fine. I could make bread using older technology, wooden spoons and big bowls rather than dough hooks and whatever. I would try it for a project, and feel cross threaded and grumpy because my instincts were not correct. Yet I got used to it, and when the little mixer flamed out (cold butter in a double batch of cookies) I could integrate the bigger mixer into my cooking life. And now I love it and can’t imagine life without it.

I realized I tend to have a few tools that do a lot. My knife rack has 3 identical knives at each size, rather than graduated sizes with specific purposes. I prefer a flexible tool that works well for me in a range of situations, and then get a lot of them. Because I need to have the single useful tool available all the time.

So when jude says she hasn’t decided how she feels about using a sewing machine, I have a lot of sympathy for her. This is all written on the new computer, which I am working on adopting. It will be great in a while, but right now I am still barking my knuckles on the differences.

more turkey day

Nov 22
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

I was curious what the stripes would look like torn into strips across. They are little blocks of blur, with the ripped edge surprisingly bendy. If the stripes were not symmetrical, you could do some interesting things with flipping the fabric and having the blocks of lines match and not match.

I like the little silk flags – they are not stitched down, and can flip in the breeze, or with fingers.