ALL the pips!!

I have finished all of them! I am mighty! Also my fingers hurt from arguing with sewing with wire.

With the pips done, and five of twenty-two major arcana done, I am past the half-way mark. I was mistaken about how repetitious the pips would be, so I did them early on while I was enthused about the whole project. Now I get to do “face” cards for the minor arcana, and the rest of the major arcana. Good times!

they’re called pips


Above you can see II – X of Feathers and Shells. The number cards of each suit are called the pips. I have three quarters of them done, as of this moment. The last suit is Stones. I figured out how to attach actual beach stones to the cards, and I am deeply pleased with myself. Except, after decades of collecting pocket stones, I can’t find all the places I have hidden them on myself. It is a family trait – one of my treasured objects from my grandmother’s collection of things is an owl shaped box with a handful of stones in it collected from her various trips around the world with the Audubon Society. My mother has several handfuls of tiny wonderfully smooth stones. I have several collections, hidden in various spots, and both children have copped to similar collections of their own. Once I find even one handful, I should be all set.

tarot and tarot and tarot

II to X of bones

Bones (wands) from II to X – I wanted the backgrounds to feel related, and I got a box of bone beads that really spoke to me. For me the bones represent the hot center of the structure that holds us up. I am thinking of warm blooded mammal bones here, even though there are many kinds of vertebrates.

The bone beads are stitched down, but the extra pieces to finish each card, the dark circles and some beads, still need attaching.

rowing, and tarot

After a hugely successful and very emotional launch, I took two days to regroup, and have started a new long term project.

The long term project is illustrated above – I’m working on a set of tarot cards. I like the way looking at the cards encourages me to think in more creative ways about what I am doing. I also love that the iconography is so flexible and so powerful that it can translate into so many different decks, and accommodate so many different artists’ interpretations.

And a new short term (or until the weather is too cold) project.

I am taking my (beautiful, fast) boat out by myself. Part of the reason I built the boat was so I could go rowing on the river without scrounging up seven friends and a coxswain. On Monday this week I took the boat back to the D.A.R. State Forest to see how hard launching and retrieving by myself was going to be. And it wasn’t bad. Admittedly I cannot yet back up the trailer, but on the positive side, it is light enough to use as a dolly to get the boat closer to the water. I got on and off the pond in pretty good order, and decided I could try the river next. Which I did this afternoon.

That is Mt Holyoke behind me, and a persistent tree with a lot of riverbank washed out from under it.

So when the weather is nice, I will row. And when the weather is less nice, I will be in my studio.


I’m not sure you can see how hugely I am smiling in any of these. It was a very good day. Many lovely people came to see Ursa Minor take to the sea pond. After having her bow splashed with ginger beer, she was floated off her trailer by a crowd. She floated like a feather on the pond. I rowed many people out and about, and brought them back. Other people also rowed out and about and back.

She is a lovely little vessel – easy to move about on the water, comfortable in her motion, and (crucial for a land locked boat) easy to trailer as well. And I built her. While I can certainly see all the places my concentration or determination wavered during construction, I am still deeply pleased with myself for getting this far. I am anticipating rowing adventures now.

name: Ursa Minor
launch date: September 17, 2017, D.A.R. State Park, Goshen, MA
who is invited: Everyone!!!
capabilities: two stations for rowing, sailing gear still in process

hours to date: 127
hours remaining: 40?
bugs attached to resin and varnish: 43
random attached to resin: 1 fern, 1 feather, 2 pieces of origami, two fabric polar bears and a pair of gold leafed stars
tools located in shop (not purchased after all): 20 clamps, random orbital sander
new tools required: shopvac, tiny plane, 20 additional clamps, router+2 round-over bits

people who’ve helped: Alice, Molly, Al
people with very useful advice: Matt and Orin
people who’ve kibbitzed: JT, Al, Aerin, Jared, postal delivery individuals, UPS truck people (2 of them), lawn mowing guy, guy who owns the lawn mowing service, across the hedge neighbor, across the street neighbor, two straggly lines of local pre-schoolers who walked over, my brother

most drawn out process so far: building the rudder assembly (more parts than the hull!!)
most un-nerving moment so far: cutting a hole in the bottom of a perfectly good boat
far easier than expected: using a router, building the trailer
poetry committed: 1