Lookin' pretty tasty there, Sports Fans!

If you're anything like me, you've already given a great deal of thought (and hours of hot slaving) to your menu for Sunday's Big Game.

We actually went to the Super Bowl a few years ago, and it's something that everyone should do once in their life (if invited and paid for by someone else). I can remember perfectly who played: Earth Wind & Fire and Paul McCartney. Awesome!

Oh . . . you want to know who played?

I actually had to ask Russ for that bit of info because I honestly had no memory of that. Patriots vs. Eagles. And I saw John McCain there, which was kind of cool because it was way back in the years when I was kind of intrigued by John McCain because he seemed like . . . well . . . a bit of a maverick.

But watching at home is much much better because you can pay no attention except during the commercials, easily access a bathroom as needed, have a less-close-up view of the cheerleaders, and if neither Paul McCartney nor Earth Wind & Fire is playing, your spouse can provide half-time entertainment!

Oh yes . . . you can also eat whatever you want! So on the off-chance that your menu is still up in the air, I've gathered a few suggestions for you.

If you're lucky enough to live somewhere south of the north pole, perhaps you should consider a barbecue. Here are

that are sure to impress your friends and make your party memorable, long after everyone has forgotten who played in the actual game:

Fill canned peaches with ketchup and put them on the grill . . . . ?
(FYI -- The actual title of this dish was "Patio Spectacular!")

Make a side dish that involves lemon jello (with salt and vinegar added) and potato salad. Garnish with pimiento . . . ?

Concoct anything that involves
"Can 'o Beef" and "Sack 'o Barbecue Sauce".

I especially like how appetizing the "Sack 'o Barbecue Sauce" looks when you open the can and it's stuck in there on top of the meat-product.

If you don't like any of those ideas, pour some canned gravy over your hotdogs. You can add a tsp. prepared mustard as suggested to dress it up a little.

Because Hinckleyville is up north, we're going to have to import our sunny fun. I'm delighted to report that the centerpiece of our Super Bowl party has arrived (by a hail-Mary mail delivery -- just this afternoon!) in the nick of time. We'll be eating this:

Now pay attention to what I'm telling you. I know, I blab about a lot of things but this is something YOU'LL WANT TO KNOW ABOUT. . . AND REMEMBER! And if you have any sense at all, you'll order some for yourself from the little shop in Tesuque, NM here.

However, we'll need more than just chips and salsa, so perhaps some guacamole.

And my other favorite food, cheeseburgers?

But should it be Oliveburger Specials, or Relishburgers, or Hamburger Layer Cakes, or Crowned Hamburgers, or Grilled Cheeseburgers with . . . whatever those green things are on top (I think they look like unnaturally green little frogs).

How to choose?

Which would go best with that lemon jello thingy?


Hey, Senorita . . . that's astute -- Let's get together and call ourselves an institute. . .

Really, you don't have to be a genius to figure some things out.

But I'm a little slow and still pretty new to this internet thing, so I just figured out the other day that if you click on the items in someone's profile, it will let you browse other bloggers who have the same interest.


Well of course I clicked through some of my own immediately, just to see if there were any kindred spirits out there.

Running? Of course -- there were 69,600 other bloggers with an interest in running.

Skating? 7,100.

Sunshine? 3,300.

And there were, as I was sure there would be, plenty of other crossword puzzlers out there -- 2,500 of them, in fact.

But the disturbing thing is that most of the things on my list just came up a big zero. So either people are lying in their profiles or I'm really weird.

And they don't just tell you, "zero," they show you the only profile that matches (1 of 1) --
your own.

It's like you're standing alone at a dance staring at yourself.

Then this popped out of the fortune cookie at lunch:

Wow. Thanks?

But come on --

Who isn't interested in eating Guacamole in New Mexico?

Re-reading Nancy Drew?

Yelling at the stupid letters people write in the op-ed pages?

Watching Perry Mason?

Talking about dieting but not doing anything about it?

Ear and eye candy of every ilk?

Oh yeah, and mouth candy too?

Thankfully there were 3 of us in the world who were interested in fountain Diet Coke. So I could potentially be president of some club.

It all reminded me of an experience I had about 25 years ago when I was called to be in a focus group and really needed the $25.00, so I went. It turned out to be a group about the designs on Kleenex boxes.

They had a whole roomful of Kleenex boxes in all sorts of swell designs to coordinate with any decor, and they asked us a bunch of questions about them. Then came the disturbing part:
They had us make a list of our top 20 choices. Then they had us make a list of our top 5. We all submitted the lists. When they tallied everything up,


And I was excused to go home.

This does not bode well for someone hoping to sell their art. It did, however, explain a lot about my social status in Jr. High and High School.

And why I still can't find a Kleenex box I'm excited about incorporating in my home decor.

It's just that everybody else had an absolute lack of good taste!

On the news last night, there was a story about how scientists have now proven that popularity may be genetic. Well now let's see . . . my mom was Miss American Fork, Homecoming Queen, School Historian, Head Cheerleader . . . "it" titles from here to infinity . . .

I guess that can only mean one thing.

Thanks for the genes, Dad.


Every Girl Should Have One.

An Aunt Lillie, I mean. I was thinking about mine because it was her birthday last week and in Minnesota in January sometimes our minds go wandering in search of interesting and cheery things to think about.

Even though my Aunt Lillie's been gone for some time now, I still think of her fondly almost every day, partly because of this picture of her I keep on the bookcase in my studio.

Lillie and me on a walk in Massachusetts, 1964

And I was reminded of her in a little more detail recently because while Hannah was home over the holidays, I got to spend some time observing her with our new granddaughter Aysia, who is 6, and who followed Hannah around like a puppy dog for a week solid. Seriously.

And why wouldn't she? For Hannah there is no dress-up too silly, no tea party too elaborate, no Barbie outfit too difficult to put on. With Aysia's cheap watercolors and a stiff plastic paintbrush, Hannah whipped out a perfect likeness of "Sleeping Beauty" on demand, fit for framing, all the while directing Aysia in the correct use of jewels, feathers, sequins and glue when crafting.

Hannah drew this picture for Aysia to take home and hang in her room of the two of them in a teacup with Cooper sailing away to some wonderful imaginary place. And the first thing I thought was "everyone should have an Aunt Hannah," and then I realized that of course I did only she was much older and her name was Lillie.

This is Lillie long before I knew her -- I found this little envelope of pictures (about 30!)

among some other things and quite literally stole them from my mother a few years ago, about which I am completely unapologetic because they are just so wonderful I couldn't believe it.

There have been so many times in my life that I wished Lillie and I could spend the day together being the same age, just shopping or baking or making stuff or any of the things that we both loved to do, but without that pesky distance of her being 60-some-odd years older than I am.

Lillie and I spent a good deal of time drawing paper dolls together, among other things, and I have an old junk-mail envelope that contains some of them but wish I knew where the others have all gone to live.

Lillie remained unmarried but had a long-term boyfriend who dropped by to "chew the fat," deliver produce from his garden or quarrel frequently. My mother always said that when it came to marriage, "one of them was too afraid and the other didn't dare." When he died, he simply said, "Lillie was my girl." I guess that was enough for her.

But this was only one of the things that fascinated me as a child. In addition, Lillie:

wore men's pajamas,

had little use for bras or foundation garments of any kind,

loved to read magazines like this one late into the night,

never drove a car and never explained why,

owned a store for over 50 years at which she let a kid like me spend as much time as I liked doing whatever I liked,

made change at her store from an actual cigar box,

drank Coke from little green bottles (which I was not allowed to have),

had to move out of her bedroom and into the room next door because she never threw anything away, and therefore could no longer find the bed,

(I will present this as exhibit A -- an envelope on which she recorded the first day I came to the store to spend the day with her. I'm delighted to report that she lived long enough for me to bring my oldest daughter to the store for a visit),

cried (real tears!) if someone inadvertently put mayo on her sandwich,

never left the house without a head scarf tied firmly and cotton in both ears,

never met a cat she didn't want to save table scraps for,

and on and on and on.

There are a thousand and one things that made her Lillie and I love and miss them all.

She once gave me dating advice when I was a teen, to "never let them get your jewels." Sound advice. I think she held on to hers pretty tightly.

But she shared everything else.
There was no gossip too trivial, no Barbie outfit too difficult to sew, no spider too terrifying to kill, no miracle vitamin cure too unbelievable to try, no made-up card game too ridiculous to attempt, no hair too straight to pin-curl, no scrap too small to save and most importantly to use to make something later.

To her I owe my extensive vintage fabric collection, a vast array of cotton rick-rack, lace and bias tapes in marvelous colors not seen in well over 50 years,

the seeds of my vintage magazine collection,

boxes and tins of wonderful old cards and ephemera,

my devotion to all-things-Mother-Goose,

and most important of all, a love of creating, and more specifically,
hand sewing.

A little school sampler by Lillie, probably about 100 years old -- I'm pleased to see the teacher gave her a "98"

But perhaps the most remarkable thing about my great-aunt Lillie is that although I didn't appear on her radar until she was well past 60, she was a first-rate friend who always made me feel like I was so important she'd just been hanging around waiting until I got there. And I know my older sister felt the same way. And probably my mother and her sisters before us.

It is extraordinary (and a little daunting) to me that I might still have some task ahead of me as important as the impact Lillie had on my life was. Something -- or someone -- I don't even know about yet.

Happy Birthday, Dear Friend. I can't wait until we meet again (I'm old enough now to bring you a Coke and a Diet Coke for myself).

We'll sit down at the little oilcloth-covered table in your shop (the one I use in my booth at art shows now, can you believe it?)

for a nice chat that begins with you saying, "tell me what you know . . . "


It's more than just what you'd find in a fruit bowl.

PRODUCE. Depending on how you pronounce it, it's either a blueberry or the creative output of an art studio. As in, "let's see what you've been stitching. C'mon. Produce the art." So I suppose I should give you a glimpse of what's been produced lately.

Sometimes I guess I forget what this blog is supposed to be about. There are just so many other interesting things to talk about. I'm suffering from a little January A.D.D. -- for instance, I'll just be stitching along and then something will catch my eye and for no reason I spend the next hour sorting through a box of vintage valentines. It's difficult to stay on task, which makes my desk/studio a terrible mess, which makes it difficult to stay on task. Anyway.

I'm working on several things at present. The one that's consumed most of my work hours this week is this, which I've been having a great time with:

I couldn't resist jumping on the owl bandwagon -- it's always really fun for me to stitch something I've never stitched before. You can't see it very well, but the patch on his chest is done the same way the pineapple was done in the piece above, which is one of my favorite little tidbits ever, so I was delighted to get a chance to use it again. The question on everyone's mind is: What are the eyes going to look like?

Good question. While I think more about that, I'll show you this:

There's obviously a real green vibe going on in the studio right now -- could have something to do with the utter lack of it in my Minnesota world. One of the paper pads Hannah gave me for Christmas had this great drawing on it:

which I loved, especially in combination with these awesome word strips I found recently:

I figured that surely these elements must combine somehow to create something green and wonderful. So first I announced to Hannah that I was going to plagiarize her drawing (to which she consented graciously -- thanks, Hannah!), then I did my own working sketch:

and cut out the pieces:

They were supposed to be stitched down yesterday, but due to things like vintage valentines, two swell "Saturday Evening Post" magazines ca. 1950's that I found this week, January laziness and keeping Cooper entertained while Russ has been basking in the CA sunshine (oh, and seething with jealousy because he's been in CA and I haven't . . .) I'm running a little behind on my stitching goals.

I also realized that I have no "flower-pot-head" ladies in my inventory at all, and that will surely have to be rectified before Baltimore. So I guess I've got my work cut out for me!

By the way, blogging is the new baking cookies in my world. For years I've baked cookies when I wanted to avoid what I was supposed to be doing, and I've gotten pretty good at it from so much practice. In fact, if I weren't a stitcher, I could be a cookie baker. I'm sure there's more money in it.

Now I write blog posts. Better for my weight, but perhaps even worse for my productivity. And no cookies in the house! Rats.

Now that I've written this, I'm going to go see if that package of chocolate chips is still floating around in the pantry. And later I'll cut out a flower-pot-head lady. And maybe stitch something. And I'm going to Kinko's to copy those vintage valentines I've been sorting.

Anybody have ideas for owl eyes?


Small Works is brought to you today by four (okay, three) letters:

Looks may not be everything,

But what about Look-ing?

Jules Verne said, "Look with all your eyes. Look."

If we're not looking with our eyes,

what are we doing with them?

(Besides using them as an excuse to sport swell glasses . . .)

For instance, what was I doing leaving that pile of papers in my studio that I had to vacuum the dust off of before I could even get close enough to sort them? There were things in that pile that should have been thrown away in 2005.

In Two-Thousand-Five (2005)!

It's not like my eyes don't spend every day in that room.

I'm just glad I finally noticed. Could it be because I got new glasses this week? I don't think so, although it's nice to be threading needles on the first try again.

Oh yes . . . it's because I had to move the pile to get to something else I needed.

So it seems that perhaps looking around isn't enough.

That's right -- we've got to strive for Full Fidelity Sight. I don't pretend to know what Full Fidelity Sight might have meant in this ad (1960's HD, perhaps?) but it's a great idea so let's just make our own definition.

Albert Einstein said, "Small is the number of people who see with their eyes and think with their minds."

Full Fidelity Sight:

Looking + Thinking = Seeing

Here's something I found in that pile of papers. I kept this illustration because I loved that the first time I looked at it, I didn't really see.

Once I really saw what it was, of course I felt quite silly and wondered how I didn't notice the baby the first time I looked. Perhaps you're all just more observant than I am.

All I know is, the longer you look, the more you will see.

And if you look until you start to think?

Let the wonders begin.

I jotted down a line on a scrap of paper at my desk several years ago. I have no idea what it was from, but that little scrap continues to float around my desk, so it must be important. It says:

Sightless Among Miracles.

Yup. That's me.

with all your eyes,

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