Chestnut Oak

may 30


A leaf from the tree at the center of the drop-off circle at the middle school. I'm pretty sure it is a chestnut oak. I should find a leaf from a tree at the high school, marking the end of Aerin's era there, but there aren't any very distinctive trees in the way this one is.

There was an awards ceremony at the high school tonight – over 160 awards given to over 100 kids for everything from skill at sports to skill at music, or math, or intent to be in medicine, to "nice guy" awards. There was a vocal crowd of guys at the back, cheering on their friends. My hands are sore from clapping. Aerin won something to do with band, and something for caring about academics.

The camera remains unworking. I am grateful to have a back-up on my incredibly smart phone.

may 29

may 29


On the plus side for today: I dropped Alice off at school and popped down the road to see my dad. He's using less painkillers, is sturdier, more himself, and managed to galvanize the entire place yesterday by letting himself out the front door and stomping around the building for exercise.

Then I rode a horse. Then I found kids at school, and after some scrimmage got them correctly distributed.

On the minus side: My camera is working but won't open the lens cover, so the pictures are only a sideways slit. It is really hot, which is making Alice and me miserable.

But: I can take reasonable pictures with my phone, and a bank of thunderstorms is rolling through making big noises and cooling the place down.

On the whole, more pluses than minuses.

This leave is from a Very Large Sumac, it is nearly a tree, and I am embarrassed to say I am running out of trees I recognize.

spring pond process

spring pond process


This was what I worked on All Day today. Except for the part where I did a ton of laundry, packed for Family Camp, fetched and carried Aeirn and visited my dad, and finally realized it wouldn't get done in time and took the others to the Grow Gallery in Shelburne Falls.

OK, just reciting all that makes me tired.

So I have no circle, but I do have a nearly done spring pond piece. And I have four works hanging in a real live gallery, which is doing better business than the owner expected. Which is awesome in all kinds of ways.

may 23

may 23

A hand stitched circle from yesterday. This is a Linden leaf from the tree outside the rehab where my Dad was in Maine. I stayed one more day so I could drive him home today.

He's in a new rehab two minutes past Alice's school, so I can check in on him more easily. the trip was easier than I'd hoped; good drugs and smooth little car. He has fractures in two vertebrae from a fall two days before they moved here, so he's been recuperating there until we could move him. Which happened today.

a rose is a rose

may 21

but this is a rose leaf! I'm afraid I don't search very far for leaves when it is raining. This is rose bush I planted for Alice Rose on one of her birthdays. I love the way the veining branches at at the edges of the leaf, and I am very pleased with myself for getting the stitching under the organza on one side and over on the other. It makes me feel clever.

may 20

may 20

I am slightly embarrassed about the backwards "s" in the tree name, but that is what happens when I overthink things and go too slow! Stitching letters is a slower process than other work I do.

I rode a dressage test in a schooling show today. Kaboose did well, I did well, I laughed with pleasure as we turned up the center line for the final halt. The scores weren't what I'd hoped, but it was better than 50%. Anything over 50% and you get ice cream to celebrate. Anything under 50% and you get ice cream to console yourself. Riding in shows requires a surprising amount of rewards.

A friend and I agreed we'd try to tie eachother's scores, at 62.5% We both thought it was great that we were within a point of eachother, at 58.9 (her) and 59.3 (me). I told her she didn't have to go off course next time, and I'd take the lower score.

We think we're funny…

catalpa leaf

may 19

Alice's party was today: five extra girls, we took them to the airport and flew in little planes, and then came home and played games all afternoon. It was lovely.

This is a leaf from the catalpa tree around the corner.

I always forget that I get better results from simpler materials. This is purple Crayola fabric crayon, available anywhere. I also like the Pentel dye crayons, softer and squishier than the Crayola fabric crayons. The paint sticks smell nice, and are beautifully smooth, but they don't work for me the way I expect.

ginkgo for memory

may 18

I love the texture of ginkgo leaves – the way the veins are long and hardly branch, the way it looks very basic and very old. I emulated the texture entirely with thread, using very long stitches. While I am delighted with this side, I think I like the back even better. Which tells me that I shouldn't have used the variegated thread when I wanted the thread texture to carry the piece.

Here's the back:

may 18 back

You can see how the energy of the thread is more visible without the varied color to distract the eye.

I also had a minor epiphany this morning. I wanted different greens than I had in either of a pair of  variegated green threads. One was too dark, with black that I didn't need. The other had a grass green in it that was not at all what I had in mind for pine trees. Alice was home today, keeping me company, sorting the markers into rainbow order when I borrowed two dark greens and started coloring the spool of thread. It worked beautifully!! The marker subdued the bright green and gave more depth and texture to the middle colors. It only soaked into the top layer on the spool, so once I've used that up I have the original color back.

It makes me wonder if I should just start with white thread and color it as I go… Except I like all the threads I have. So probably not.