Friday Fiddlin' . . .

Hold on a minute, Missy . . .
Don't start getting any ideas!  

You're going to get stuffed all right, 
but that will be with FIBERFILL. 
Not with chocolate cake!

And you need your hair done 
before you take another step outside this studio!  
So back to the desk.  March!

I'm not sure it IS such a good idea,
but Lindsay told me yesterday (when we were talking about it)
that her philosophy is this:

If you can't decide whether it's the best idea in the world 
or the stupidest one, while you're working on it, 
you're probably on the right track.  

So we'll see . . . 

But now what if everyone starts demanding to be released from their pictures?

And ordering dessert??!!

Hmmm . . . not sure this idea is fully cooked yet.

Happy weekend!


Wednesday . . . What's next? (besides Thursday, of course.)

One of the things I like about doing shows is watching people interact with my work.  Depending on which pieces they respond to and how they respond, I can sometimes tell a lot about their personalities.  This past show I particularly enjoyed watching people encounter my latest incarnation of "cactus-head lady."  Some people think she's cute or funny, but some people think she's quite personal . . . it's as if she's somehow pricking them from the inside. 

Text:  She may seem a bit prickly but she has a great personality for a cactus and needs very little water. Low Maintenance, 2009

It takes one to know one, of course, so I understand completely.
Where do you think that character came from?

After reading the first post from my Small Works Secrets series, Russ immediately wanted to know what secret number two was.  I told him the name of the essay, but did not reveal the contents, and that made him doubly curious because he said it addresses a question he's wanted to know the answer to for some time.

So you see, some of my secrets must actually be secrets, which is amazing for someone who blabs about everything as constantly as I do.  Essay number two could have been written by cactus-head lady herself I suppose, so that's why I invited her to introduce it to you.

Small Works Secret #2:  

 The Desert.

D.H. Lawrence wrote:  "The moment I saw the brilliant, proud morning shine high up over the deserts of Santa Fe, something stood still in my soul, and I started to attend. . . . In the magnificent fierce morning of New Mexico one sprang awake, a new part of the soul woke up suddenly, and the old world gave way to a new."

When I first read those words, my own soul stood still for a moment and then said, "of course."  People often ask me about my crazy love of the desert.  About how a vista, barren on the surface, can feed and rejuvenate my soul with beauty.  I crave its company the way some people crave Paris or cigarettes.

My parents moved to the desert some years ago, and my mother began to talk of "thinking desert thoughts."  At the time, we all laughed, dismissing it as one of her eccentricities and thinking it would pass.

But eventually the desert started to pull me close as well, and after some time I realized why:  I felt at home there, plucked from my daily discomfort and dropped in a landscape that understands.  

Of course, this has led me to wonder about my mother --  
about how the secret places the desert has filled for me 
might also exist in her, yet remain hidden.

I love the desert because I am one -- 

thirsty and full of prickles, 
pocked with rocky outcroppings, 
shifty as sand.  

And tricky to get close to, because I don't make anything I do easy.

There's a desert perfection many may see but most don't need.  
You have to feel a connection with the search, I guess, to want to be there.  
You have to work for its kind of beauty. You have to really want it --
like the desert does, bursting with blooms after only a few drops of encouragement.  
Then retreating into itself again.

Few things take root but the ones that do are fierce, 
tenacious in their desire to thrive, or at least survive until the next rain.

Bloom and retreat.  
Bloom and retreat.  

That's a pattern that speaks to my rhythm.  My soul can rest there, because it's where I live.  No matter where my actual home may be.


Fortune cookie says: There are two clubs -- the people who have figured out how to make money and the people who haven't. Choose the first.

My children and their friends will tell you that if you're in Mrs. Hinckley's kitchen at a certain time of day, you may be lucky enough to get a homemade cookie, but you will almost certainly have your horoscope read to you out of the daily paper.  Just the way it is.  My children are now grown but I do continue to foist my horoscope readings upon whomever happens to be nearby whether they wish to participate or not.  Call it one of my endearing quirks.

Actually, I'd like to take over writing the horoscopes for our paper because I could almost certainly be as accurate and there's a good possibility I could be more entertaining.  Anyway.

I have collected fortune-cookie-fortunes for about 15 years, ever since we lived in Seattle and Chinese cuisine played a major role in our dining-out adventures.  I keep them in an envelope tacked to my bulletin board, and my friends sometimes save them for me as well.  For years I have threatened to create something with them, but that project has yet to be revealed (even to me).  But I love to read and re-read them.

I don't know what it is about the possibility 
of future predictions that so intrigues me.

Will I find love?  Already have.

Will I be wealthy?  Not looking likely, but I have exactly enough. And besides, define wealth.

Fame?  Getting a little late, and who wants it anyway?  All those cameras following you around.  When would I engage in my private donut eating?

But all of this is just a lengthy introduction as to why, when I was beginning the precursory poking through the rubble on my work table as a preparation to actually relocating the stuff to my NEW work table (which we bought this weekend -- it's happening!) I came across this, which my friend Flannery so kindly saved for me:

Not a fortune, exactly, but a helpful hint or creative tip or SOMETHING from Martha Stewart that you find when you unwrap your chocolatey treat to eat it.  So certainly a fortune-cookie cousin.

And Martha is most certainly making one.
A fortune, I mean.  And I spent enough years as the person behind the creations in the magazines to know that she doesn't spend a whole lot of time making the things that are making her rich.

But I'd like to meet several people in this particular scenario:

1) The person who sold this idea to the chocolate manufacturer.

2) The person who wrote the helpful tip, which is exactly as helpful as saying "use a pizza crust to make pizza" or "use a crochet hook to crochet."  Seriously.

3) Martha herself, for whom the planets continue to align in perfect obedience.  She has a bit of a reputation among some of the grunt-workers of the make-it-yourself industry, and I'll let you use your imaginations as to what type of reputation that is.

If I were an actual horoscope writer, 
I'd write one for her that said something like this:

You will have an army of talented people making wonderful things for which you will gladly take credit.  You will amass a fortune second only to that of Oprah.  You will go to prison, but it will only enhance your ability to sell crocheted ponchos to the world.

I know, I'm just jealous.
I wish a major corporation would pay me to do nothing. But to the people at Dove, I have to say, "You got the short end on that Martha Stewart deal."

The chocolate execs may not know what a "flower frog" is, but we do.  Duh.

So here's a little something creative to keep them confused:


Happy Earth (Fri)Day!

Yes, I know I'm posting this on Earth Day + one, but I wasn't quite ready on the actual day.  And anyway, every day should be earth day, shouldn't it?

Mary Engelbreit was a huge influence on my early work, so I like to invite her for a visit now and then.

If you're a loyal friend and true, you may remember that I got invited to participate in the Landfill Art Project awhile back and hoped to be able to unveil my creation on Earth Day.

Well . . . I can at least unveil my hubcap:

Unfortunately, it's still wearing a coat of black gesso.   


The important part is finished, and that's the part that will fit in the recessed circle in the middle, and I almost made it in time for Earth Day! 

Now all I have to do is paint the "frame" and my little addition to the show will be on its way.  It's just wonderful to think of 1000+ hubcaps hanging on walls instead of languishing in landfills, isn't it?  

Just a teeny tiny contribution to help
decrease the bad clutter in the world 
and increase the good!

Some day I hope to see the entire exhibit.  What could be more fun than giving 1000 artists the same unconventional canvas and seeing what they do with it?

I also composed a little poem in honor of the day, because Minnesota is such a glorious place this week that we can hardly stand it (and it's so rarely that we get those bragging rights!)

It's been a writing week for some reason -- three essays and one poem, plus Happy Thoughts!  But it's getting exhausting running from the shower or the bed to the desk to jot things down.  I guess I'd better start carrying a little notebook,

since the word-tap
seems to be stuck
in the "on" position.


spring poem day

a dancing kite of song

on a string, sent up

to see whether it will fly

it bucks and dives,

skimming blossom tops

of trees, blue sky

and new green, weaving

fragrance and breeze

with sunlight --

there are few such

kite days,

even in a year

of poetry.

Happy (Earth)Weekend!


And now . . . Small Works takes a more serious turn.

Just for a moment, so I hope you won't mind.  I've been working on a few little personal essays that need a place to speak -- and since I'm in charge, when they begged to be heard I agreed to let them.

We'll call this series

Small Works Secrets . . .

I'll spread them out a little over the next few weeks,
and I sincerely hope you'll feel inclined to share some of your thoughts as well.

Secrets.  We all have them.  They cause some of us to overeat, or to medicate ourselves in one way or another, or to sleep with a light on, or to read or watch things we shouldn't, or to not do things we should.

And I'm convinced we ought to be glad we don't know all of them.

But sometimes sharing them can be good, because we get glimpses into new places in others that help us to understand some of our own secrets, and it eases the burden of keeping them just a little.  So I'm going to take a leap and share a few of mine with you.

Small Works Secret Number 1:  The Happiness Factor

Robert Frost wrote:  "I have been one acquainted with the night."  What good are the words of a great poet if we cannot borrow them to express something better than we can express it ourselves?

If you asked the people who know me well for ten words that describe me, I don't think happy would be on the list.  You might get nice or smart, and probably cynical, but I'm simply not a bubbling font of happiness.  And that's not likely to change.

But by far the word I hear most often to describe my work is "happy." 

Perhaps the happiness in my work shines brighter because sometimes it's dark where I am -- not a situational darkness, but the inside kind where you would turn on the lights if you could just find the switch, but instead you grope around in the dark until the lights somehow come on by themselves.  Who knows how?

My daughter was helping at a show for a bit while I went to have lunch and she told me about a group of women who just kept raving that my work was so HAPPY.  After about the tenth time she'd heard that word, she wanted to shout, "If you could just HEAR the commentary that goes on while these things are being made . . . !"  But she didn't.  She kept my secret, as I keep hers.  We understand each other, because we are two links in a long chain of relatives who have struggled to find inner happiness.

We were born that way, a defect in our wiring that makes our happiness mostly unrelated to what's going on around us, and instead a function of what's going on within us.

There are ups and downs, of course, some good years and some inexplicably bad ones.  It's a ride we'd all like to get off, but we know we've been buckled in for life so we do what we can to make the most of the highs and minimize the lows -- things like creating art, for example.  And for some reason, my art remains optimistic, no matter where I sit on the hill.

There are cracks in my work sometimes, of course . . . a wry glance or a character's comment that if studied might provide the hint of something slightly menacing under the bright surface.  But that is what, for me, makes it true.

I suppose making happy art must be my attempt to commoditize happiness -- to wrap it in neat packages that I can present to others, even though I can't quite figure out how to open them myself.

And if that elusive happiness 

-- the shining thread that slips through my fingers 
but into my stitches --

feels real for other people . . . 

then I suppose that's the most 
reliable kind of happiness 
I will ever imagine.


Monday means . . . The Small Works Show Report!

Whew!  The whirlwind has settled and the piles of laundry and unopened mail are vying for attention with the empty refrigerator and the neglected dog.  It must mean that the show is over.
And, as always, I'm feeling a bit . . . *yawn . . . ready for a nap.

However, there's no time for napping because, before I forget everything I heard, I have to write

The Small Works Show Report!

It was a great experience, as always.  Ms. Fate felt compelled to bestow the SECOND cold of 2010 upon me just in time for opening day, which was a bit irritating (but hopefully she'll make it up to me by doing something unexpected and spectacular later in the year . . ?) and we definitely could have used more art-appreciators in the aisles on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, but all things considered, it was success.

The Booth . . . good ol' #502, St. Paul ACC Show 2010

You only have to do a show once to realize that artists may be the hardest working bunch of people on the planet.  There is no glamor, but there is plenty of grunt work.  First they pour all of their time, money and love into creating the work, then they schlep it all over the country in the smallest vehicle they can possibly wedge it into -- which they also sometimes sleep in!  (One artist I talked to, who made very large ceramic lamps -- with shades -- explained to me that he had brought all 73 of his lamps in his Honda Element, and wished he had made a you-tube video of the packing process, because it would surely have made him rich.)

They set up a booth that people may or may not come to look at.  Then they stand on a concrete floor for 3 or 4 days, hoping to make ANY connection that lets them know the way they're spending their lives is worthwhile. And at the end of the show they tear down until the wee hours of the morning, pack it all back into the vehicle, and drive home (sometimes for days)  hoping they have enough money to cover their VISA bill.

It's a grueling life, and I realize every moment I'm among them how very privileged I am not to be depending on my art to make my living. I create in the best of  all possible worlds. 

If you're a blogger who writes a feature called 
"Overheard at the Show" after each exhibit, 
then the best thing that can happen to you is this:  

You pick up your lunch tray and head to an empty table near the back of the room.  At the table behind you is a group of people and because the room isn't busy (since you've worked well past lunchtime) you can hear every word of the conversation that is going on.  And what is the group talking about ? . . . . YOUR WORK!

Yes, it was a strange twist but true -- I think the woman doing most of the talking would have died of embarrassment had she realized I was the other person in the room, but everything she said was so very kind and the consensus was that if they had the money, it would have been spent in my booth.  That's just about the best kind of "overheard" there is.  Rewarded for my ill-mannered eavesdropping!  It's fun to hear someone describing your work behind your back.  (I'm sure it's not ALWAYS fun, but in that particular instance it definitely was.)

But some of my other favorite "overheards" didn't have anything to do with my work.  I heard one emotional exchange in the aisle near my booth that made me laugh right out loud.  The woman said  (or rather yelled, and with clenched fists),

"Those DAMN raincoats!
Those DAMN raincoats! . . . 
DAMN those raincoats!
BUT I'M TELLING YOU --  I . . . WILL . . . NOT!"

(I wanted to suggest to her that her mental state might improve if she would just succumb to the darling but obviously evil coats and take one home, but instead I just tried not to fall off the stool I was perched on.)

Another favorite I heard was an observation from the somewhat curmudgeonly artist in the next booth, who explained to me that "If it has a stroller, it doesn't have money.  So I don't need it in my booth."  Ouch.  It was harsh but pretty funny, and you have to forgive the artists for sometimes getting a little cranky. (see paragraphs 3-4, above) 

And then there was the statement, "Who knew all of the world's chenille needs could be satisfied in just one room?"  (If you've been to a fine craft show lately, you'll know that the proliferation of boxy chenille jackets can be a bit overwhelming.  Although they are beautifully crafted.)
With the exception of the usual "Oh cute -- for kids!" comments that no show would be complete without, all the conversation in my booth this year was the kind that made me want to hurry back to my studio and keep stitching.  People were unbelievably supportive, and the smile after smile after smile that I observed warmed me to the tips of my toes.  I guess it was best summed up by the woman who turned to me while leaving my booth and said,

"These pieces make the world a better place.  
Thank you for making them." 

That's just about the nicest thing anyone can say to you on a Sunday afternoon, and I wanted to shout it out in turn to all of the hard-working artists who spread beauty as they traipse across the globe, often with very little reward for what they so freely offer.

To everyone who participated in the A.C.C. St. Paul show this weekend, thank you.  Surely a weekend spent surrounded by beautiful creations generously shared could only enrich the lives of all involved. 

And now, everybody back to work.


The calendar marches on, and before you know it : American Craft Council Show St. Paul . . . THIS WEEKEND!

The word strikes both excitement and dread in the artist's heart . . .

what if no one comes?
what if I don't sell anything? 

 what if I sell everything? 

But it's always so much fun to see old friends and get to talk about art with new ones.
Once I'm there and set up, there's no place I'd rather be.

The only thing that would make it better 
is if all of YOU were going to be there as well!  

Actually, I'm flying solo on Friday while my trusty booth-hand takes a quick jaunt to New Jersey (for ONE of his two other actual jobs, bless his heart!), so if any of you would like to booth-sit around lunch time . . .
there's a free ticket in it for you . . .

Or just bring me lunch.  Something along the lines of the lunches Aunt Bee used to bring to the Mayberry courthouse for Andy and Barney would be just swell (art shows require a lot of energy).  They usually contained fried chicken AND sandwiches, as well as her famous pickles (of course) and some homemade cake or pie.  Did women used to do anything besides cook and wash clothes?

Well, they certainly weren't gallivanting around doing ART SHOWS.

(At least, the nice ones weren't.) Lucky me!

New to the St. Paul show will be my "Sky Songs" collection, which debuted in Chicago but hasn't seen the light of day since.  I'm excited to see what they'll look like hung in the black booth, because I wasn't happy with the way they looked on Chicago's white walls.

"Stay-at-Home Mom #3" also hasn't been to St. Paul,
and graciously agreed to hang around long enough to put in an appearance!

And although they never made it to a real photo shoot, I have these three new pieces framed up and ready to go.  I'm very pleased with the way they turned out:

 Photosynthesis, Susan M. Hinckley, 2010

 Handy Advice, Susan M. Hinckley, 2010

Vocabulary Lesson #116, Susan M. Hinckley, 2010

No polka dots?!  I know!  I have no explanation.

I hope you'll stop by if you're anywhere near the neighborhood -- I'm in a new location this year, booth #502, which just sounds lucky, doesn't it?  Of course it does.

If you don't find yourself in St. Paul this weekend, please visit my Happy Thought blog to say "hello" (no time off, even on show days!), and be sure to come back Monday for the fabulous Small Works Show Report, where I will regale you with tales of drama, triumph, and pathos.  Or at least regale you with tales of the silly things people say at art shows.

See you soon!


A "Monday Maybe" for you to chew . . .

Several years ago, Hannah and I were visiting studios on an art walk in some converted warehouses in north Minneapolis when we came into a room and found an amazing sight -- there were 365 dolls hanging on one soaring wall, each in its own numbered square.

We looked at them for some time before approaching the artist to hear the story of  the ambitious project.  She told us that the dolls were a journal of sorts.  She had made the decision a year before to attempt to make a doll every day for a year.

Some were more detailed than others, of course, and there were dolls of all kinds.  The Christmas day doll, for instance, was very simple and made from candy wrappers left from Santa's goodies.  There were dolls made from pieces of trash that had been gathered on a walk, a doll made from dough, a napkin doll, dolls from sticks and other natural materials, and many stitched dolls.

The artist had just completed the project, and said it was exhausting and that she'd not fully anticipated how difficult it would be. But she obviously took great pride in it.

And it was indeed impressive to see.
We were riveted and looked for a long, long time,
imagining the day that might have given birth to each doll.

When I got started blogging and began perusing other blogs, I noticed this was a fairly common idea, and came across several artists who tried the "something every day" approach.  I also noticed that many gave up, or that the project morphed into something less ambitious as the days ticked by.

But I was intrigued by the idea of flexing my creative muscle every day for a year, and filed it away in the "things that would be good for me" section of my brain, where I also keep such things as "resume practicing the piano", "eat whole grains" and "take up gardening."

A few years ago I got close to beginning such an undertaking when I contemplated doing a drawing -- even just a doodle -- every day for a year.  But my drawing phobia got the better of me, and I decided I'd rather eat whole grains.  (I didn't do either.)

But then a few weeks ago I was whisked into sudden participation as a result of a sentence I heard.

It's almost as if my brain had been waiting for just the right thing -- something that it could really wrap itself around and chew on for an extended period.

Brain cud, so to speak.

And so I started my "Happy Thought" project.

Things are going well so far, although we haven't had Christmas, vacations, illness, computer problems, or any of the hundred other things that come up during the course of a year.  And of course the cud is still fresh. 

365 days of chewing could be asking a lot from any flavor of gum . . . but it's working well for me because it's based in words, and words are something I can turn over and over whether I'm in the shower, cooking, watching Bonanza, shoveling snow or trying to sleep.

Words are some of my oldest and dearest friends.  So I'm delighted to spend a year in close company with them.  And I think the every day discipline is a basic concept that could have a positive effect on my art, but also on my life in other areas.

And so I'm putting the challenge out there for you to think about.  Your own version, of course.  You may already be devoted to whole grains but wish that you could perform complicated yoga poses with a serene look on your face. Or paint pictures of what that might look like.

Lift up the world a little every day, 
by putting a tiny bit of something new in it.

And why not?  It's an act that encompasses 

growth and 

in a neat daily package.  Perfect.


Of Cake and Cacti . . .

No, it isn't a lesser-known sequel to "Of Mice and Men" . . .
but rather today's edition of Small Works' ever popular


And thank goodness, because my weekend hasn't even started yet
and already it could use some improving (one word -- FRAMING.)

So while I'm on break from painting polka dots for a moment, I thought I'd give you a few tidbits sure to improve your Friday, your Saturday, AND your Sunday, provided you have a very large cake pan.  (Because the cake referenced in the title is, of course, going to be gone by Sunday if you make it on Friday in the regular size.)

Some day I'm going to enter a contest of some kind with this recipe (and don't count me out for winning because I have a silly history of doing just that, which you can read about here if you care -- I'm just not as desperate for prize money as I was back then!) 

I developed this recipe because I was raised on the coffee cake from the Bisquick box and one Sunday morning I REALLY REALLY wanted coffee cake but the Bisquick box came up dry so it was an emergency and drastic measures had to be taken.  And I can honestly say I've never made another Bisquick coffee cake (not that I won't eat it gratefully if you make me one . . . but this cake is REALLY GOOD.)

Here's the recipe:

Susan's Oatmeal Coffee Cake

1 cup old fashioned oats
1-1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Topping:  1/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour, 3/4 tsp. cinnamon

Mix dry ingredients in large bowl.  Whisk eggs and brown sugar in another bowl.  When smooth, whisk in milk, butter and vanilla.  Pour over dry ingredients.  Fold in with rubber spatula, just until moistened. Pour batter into well-greased 9" cake pan or deep-dish pie plate.  Mix topping ingredients until crumbly -- sprinkle evenly over top of batter.  Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Most people write food blogs and illustrate them with beautiful pictures of the prepared recipe, but since anyone who reads this blog is well aware of the fact that I can't take a decent picture to save my life, I'm going to illustrate it with a little drawing instead:

Well . . . now that you mention it, it's true that I can't really draw either, but USE YOUR IMAGINATION.  (That's part of the point of Small Works, after all.)  For one thing, imagine a beautiful hand-made ceramic plate, which might account for the . . . ahem . . . organic shape.

I've tried to draw a true picture for you, which is why I've included a 32 oz. fountain Diet Coke -- because this is a picture of my third piece.  The first piece is just lovely with milk, of course, but by the time you get to the third, it's definitely time for something stronger.  And since I don't drink coffee, what else would I use to wash down my coffee-cake?

Once you've baked the cake and cut yourself a hefty piece, settle down at the computer (mind the crumbs near the keyboard!) and head over for a breathtaking spring tour (click here) of the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ. Graciously provided by that extraordinarily talented nature lover, LuAnne at Invisible Woman, these photos make my spirit sing.  And when I look at them with cake in my mouth?  Heaven on earth.

If anyone actually makes the cake, will you please bring me a piece this weekend?  Because the kitchen is closed for framing week . . . and I can't eat breakfast at McDonald's EVERY day. (Well, I'm sure I actually can and probably would, but even I must admit it would be ill-advised.)

I'll be here no matter what time you stop by . . . . . ANYONE? . . . . 

(happy weekend.)


The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

When my husband Russ 
would play with his cousins as a boy, 
he always made everyone pretend 
his name was "Ross".

For some reason,
he thought "Ross" was
an infinitely cooler name than "Russ".

We've laughed about that many times over the years, but I suppose that as a youngster I did many of the same kinds of silly things -- trying on different voices or hairstyles (thank goodness none of the ridiculous ones stuck!)

My sixth grade photo is quite unfortunate, for instance, as a result of the "shag" hairdo that I suppose was inspired by Carol Brady (although it looked a little more like Keith Partridge) . . .

And I remember quite well the day I bought my first blue eyeshadow, marched to the pharmacy by my blonde, several-years-older neighbor who knew all of life's secrets.  I was certain that eyeshadow was going to change EVERYTHING.

So it seems there is no truer adage 
than that of the grass always looking greener elsewhere.

At our house, it's actually more than an adage because we have the privilege of living next door to the master gardener of the neighborhood.  It's wonderful, because when I look out my kitchen window I have a beautiful yard to enjoy.  

 I could install a green kitchen floor to help me feel better about myself. . .

Or better yet, a green floor AND ceiling! 

It's awful, because when I drive up to my house, I have to drive by her house first.  And then mine is a real letdown.  But gardening just isn't my bag -- and let's be honest --

I'm not willing to work as hard at it as she does.

And there is the point of Robert Fulghum's words about grass.  
He said:

"The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence.  Fences have nothing to do with it.  The grass is greenest where it is watered.  When crossing over fences, carry water with you and tend the grass wherever you may be."

Hmmm.  Very wise indeed.

However, I fear that no amount of water dumped on my work would save me from what we'll dub the "grass effect" I experienced while devouring my two latest wonderful/awful book acquisitions:

(Both are by Lark Books, both were found at my local B&N.)

If you haven't seen these books, you should seek them out.  They are chock full of inspiration and unbelievable eye-candy.  Whether or not you're a quilter, the works in these books will get your attention.

There are plenty of quilts on these pages that make me say, "HOW ON EARTH DID SHE GET THAT LAWN?!  NOBODY'S LAWN CAN BE THAT GREEN!"  The answer, of course, is that she started with different seed.

Some people's parents name them "Ross" from the beginning, and that's just an obvious leg up on the competition.

The moral of this story is that, as is the case with my neighbor's yard, sometimes the grass on the other side of the fence actually IS greener.  And no amount of blue eye shadow is ever going to change that.  Which is okay.

Because the rest of us are going to sit 
on our side of the fence and just  
enjoy, enjoy, enjoy the view. . . 
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