long week

Wednesday I fell off the red mare, and landed hard on my butt.

Thursday the Dr. who'd pronounced me sound was over-ruled by someone with a different interpretation of the x-ray, and I was warned I'd probably broken my ankle. From falling on my butt. I think it has something to do with the stirrup, but I dunno. Plus, I can stand and walk on it?

Friday I got an air cast, got an earfull for walking around and got ready for the first of two set building Saturdays at the high school, except –

Saturday both Al and I had either a very fast virus or food poisoning. I won't go into details, but we basically slept or prowled around the house all day. Mostly slept. I handed off the plans, lists and lists of lists to somebody else, and was grateful there was someone around to pick up some slack.

Today I realized the month had changed while I was …out of it, and I need a new idea for February.

So for February I intend to make a new rubber stamp every day. I like carving stamps, and I have all the tools I'll need for it, including a couple dozen erasers. This should be fun, putting little pieces of design into practice. And then in March, I can try to make larger patterns with them, as part of the process I'm thinking about for teaching myself fabric design.

I'll post all the pictures tomorrow, from the end of January to the first couple of stamps of February.

snow and more snow

jan 19

Sunday the snow from the night before was still stuck on the branches and telephone wires – it didn't start to fall off until the wind picked up. Or until the squirrel galloped across the phone wire, that brought a lump of snow onto my head when I was not expecting it. This is white paint pen (from Sharpie) sketching in the snow on the trees.


jan 20

This one is an attempt to show how the weather came in from the west, high and fine at first, and then lower and gray.

A friend and I clipped some of the winter coat off the red mare, so she wouldn't get so hot exercising. One of the other women in the barn asked what kind of meany clipped a horse before the temperature plummetted? While we were working, the wind picked up and the snow started. I left her wearing her thick blanket, and I probably have to go find a midweight one so she doesn't get too cold…




Today I braved the cold, which wasn't as bad as yesterday's cold, and went to ride the red horse. The day was shiny and sunny and bright, and all the rain that fell all Monday and froze up yesterday was reflecting light.

I'm getting whiplash from the weather changes: 45F on Monday, and 0F on Tuesday, and back into the low 30s by the end of the week.

my morning commute


The driving this morning was stunningly lovely and very, very, very foggy. Today's page is an interactive exhibit on the wavering depth of field as the fog rolled around and the rain came pelting down. It took five pieces of silk organza to emulate the thickness of the fog, but it kept shifting and lifting. I left one edge of all the organza pieces free to indicate the variability of the fog.

I was so glad Kaboose is at a barn with an indoor ring today. The footing was sloppy and slippery, the driveway a skating rink, school was delayed two hours to let the ice melt some.

comparisons are illuminating

At least, I hope they are illuminating. Because I wanted to clarify for myself how differently the light-fabric and dark-fabric transfers worked, I printed the same image on each kind of transfer sheet. And then I realized I had failed to reverse the printing on the light-fabric sheet, so it would be backwards. (* headdesk *) This is the side by side comparison, on light and dark fabric, of the two different transfer sheets:



Okay – from here on I am calling them opaque and transparent transfer sheets. On the left page, the left side is opaque, the right side transparent. You can see how the white fabric shows through the snowy parts of the image (it is mirrored around the center line) so it looks snowy. On the right page, the left side is transparent, and you can see how the image is nearly invisible against the dark purple page, while the opaque side still shows lights and darks, although they are muted a bit because the opaque sheets kind of melt into the fabric when you iron them.

My experience with this experiment seems to be that all transfers work better on light colored or white fabric. I imagine printing things onto tea or coffee stained fabric would yield interesting aged looks.

In other news, I rode two horses today, the first was the red mare, and we went out in the woods with a friend and had a great time. This is a picture of us afterwards, taken by Elaine who obviously loves us both:

Photo 2

And then I rode Brooks' beloved, ancient gray horse Nuada. We went out in the field, because it is lovely now, but the rain is supposed to come tonight and make the lovely snow vile and wet and then freeze solid so that walking becomes deeply hazardous and un-fun. So: canter cincles in snow = deep happiness.

foggy woods

march 21

While the afternoons have been bright and sunny and hot, the mornings have been close and mysterious and foggy. Not quite so foggy I feel I should install a foghorn on my van, but enough that I go carefully. This morning I rode Nuada out into the foggy woods. I felt like a phantom, gray horse, gray day, slipping through the trees and fog.


march 20

The pussy willows are out in force and going from their soft silver to spikier yellow gold and green.

Google says it is the first day of spring. Going by our weather today, and the forecast for the week, it feels more like summer. Fistfuls of horse hair are shedding off all the horses at the barn, and with the ground unfrozen and good for rolling they are all looking their most disreputable. Even the very fancy horse we call the George Clooney horse (because he is such a superstar) is dusty, shedding and itchy.

copper beech tree

march 18

Beech trees always look like elephant legs to me; thick and gray and sturdy and wrinkly.Tree bark, I've noticed, is very seldom brown. It is shades of gray, and wildly variegated textures, and thus perfect for the March circles. So I am reassured that even with the snow gone, I can sitll find monochrome things to depict.

Kaboose and I went out for a long trail ride today with a younger, more worried horse and his older, more worried rider. She did very well stomping along being reassuring. It didn't warm up until we got back, and then Red Kate dragged me out for a walk which was lovely. It feels like summer. It feels (says a gloomy New Englander) like we're getting away with something.

two circles and a rosette

feb 27

For todays circle I was thinking about the beautiful curl inside your ears where you actually hear things. Where secrets go. Where music goes. All the other noises go too, like jackhammers and farting buses, but I was trying to be poetical. 

I was at an awards dinner last night, which was raucous fun. It was the end-of-year awards for Xenophon Farm, and as well as the high point scorers for various levels of dressage, there were also essays on why the author should get an award even though they didn't ride in three shows and/or get decent scores.

To my astonishment, I won the high point award for Training level Seniors. That was fun. But cheering for the people who were talking about having to halt because the screws in their broken leg were coming unscrewed was better. Or the bold kid who is getting used to a new pony and their scores are dreadful, but they keep on working. 

So I did finish this circle yesterday, but then I had to bolt to get to dinner on time. I was thinking about red blood cells, carrying oxygen around so we can move and think, but more of them look like roses than blood cells.  I don't know why all these ideas about cells in my body turn into roses. There must be a metaphor in there somewhere. Or a joke. 

feb 26

leaf redux

feb 5

So I made the background from a dramatically different set of colors, both darker and farther away from the pinks of the leaf on the color wheel. The leaf is also a deeper color, but that isn't so noticable. I am very pleased with this one!

I like working with wool, a great deal. It takes steam, flattens when necessary, stitches easily, and has a nice hand. 

Kaboose and I went out today with a big gray mare who fidgets and worries. We walked everywhere the sun was shining, avoided the shadows because they were icy, and turned around any time the footing was vile. We were out for almost an hour, wandering around. The gray horse finally settled down, Kaboose was fine; we had a nice time.