Monday Miracle.

At last -- the working part of the studio is ready for . . . WORKING!  There are still plenty of piles in the other half, but I can't afford the lovely little sofa I want for that part yet anyway, so I'll just take my time working on putting the rest of it away.  My biggest problem continues to be that I can't remember where I've put things, even though this space is going to be so utterly convenient, I can't believe it.

Nearly everything within arm's reach!


And such a big table!

This is definitely the cleanest this table will ever be.  Once the threads start flying, further photo shoots are unlikely.  The rug under my desk is one of my favorite possessions -- it was in my brother's room growing up, and I've never had a place to enjoy it in this house.  Hello again, old friend!  I've also filled the walls with many of the things I love. 

My family's work (Lindsay's on the left, for instance, from way back in high school) hangs next to my earlier work everywhere I look.  Eclectic, but happy.

And there's even a counter-height table!  (which you can't see a picture of quite yet for . . . ahem . . . messy reasons.) Does this mean the end of kitchen closures for framing week?  Theoretically (but we'll see).

Several family members have expressed the idea (with some concern) that now that Mom's settled here, WE'RE NEVER MOVING.  I say, make me an offer. . . . I can think of a few places I'd happily move.  But this is definitely the most kickin' space I've ever had, and I'm giddy with excitement and gratitude.

Hannah has a corner for her work table as well:

It's tucked neatly beside the fireplace and will be a nice little reminder of her when she's away at school.

And now it's time to hit it, and HARD, because I've got to be ready for the ACC San Francisco show in August.  I wasn't sure I was going to be able to do it, but my trusty booth hand has cleared the books in his incredibly busy life and is going to load up the truck and drive me across the country.  I don't pay him enough.

So if you're in the San Francisco area, I hope you'll clear the books as well August 13-15.  I've never done a west coast show, and am eager to introduce my little friends to that part of the world (and seeing some friendly faces would sure put us at ease!)

And if you're closer to my neck of the woods, 
come on over and break in the studio!
Just step over the piles
(. . . my desk is over HERE, remember?)

Happy Memorial Day Monday!



Friday Frippery . . .



She has walked away

her shoes, carelessly

left to trip

others and someone

must sweep up

the dirt tracked in

polish and put them

away behind her, but

where is she now and what

will be done

about her bare feet?


This poem is a Magpie Tale.  
Please write your own and add it 
to the collection!

Happy Weekend!


If beans can be comedy, can vegetables be art? . . . Thursday's Terrific Tidbit Number Five.

I read something in the paper a week or so ago 
that really made me laugh:

"One of the world's longest running TV comedy shows, according to an April Reuters story from South Korea, is the weekly North Korean production 'It's So Funny,' with its undynamic format of a man and a woman in military uniforms talking to each other."

Already I'm thinking that Americans obviously try much too hard -- television could be so much simpler!  Then I kept reading . . . 

"The latest episode 'extolled the virtue of beans, while avoiding any flatulence humor.'

'If we soldiers see beans, we become happy,' said the man, leading both hosts to laugh.  The two talk about how bean-fed North Korean soldiers were able to fight off U.S. imperialist troops during the Korean War."

What?  Great comedy with no flatulence humor?  (Definitely not American.)

Who knew that all you had to do was discuss beans to have the audience glued to their sets?

Of course, the competition might kill the show, if there were competition.  But what if everyone agreed to just stop trying so hard?  Then we could all kick back, vacation in New Mexico all the time and laugh about things like beans.

A day or two after I saw that article,
I came across this picture from a 1950's mag:


Why yes, Susan, 
it looks just exactly like every bird 
you've ever stitched!  

Same charming pose, same upturned beak suggestive of cheerful song.  And all I really needed to do was stick a few pieces of carrot on a squash.  Probably faster than all that annoying stitching, don't you think?

I've named the image SQUASH TWEET

(which I love, although/because it sounds like something icky involving a baby bird on the sidewalk)

and I am putting it on my bulletin board 
to remind myself to keep it simple. 

Now if I could just
get a couple of 
North Korean soldiers 
to stand in my booth 
and talk about my work . . .




Blow out my candles, that is. I'm back from Santa Fe -- another year older and about 5 pounds heavier.  Well worth it, on both counts.  (I wouldn't have it any other way.)

I hope you all behaved yourself while I was away. 

I wanted to bring pictures to share with the class,
and even had some specific pictures I had planned to take, BUT . . . 


Yes, it's true -- this is the hazard of moving everything you own to a different location -- nothing is where you're used to seeing it and therefore you do really dumb things like forget your camera on your trip to Santa Fe when you're a blogger.  Rats.

I wanted to take a picture of the place we stayed, for one thing, which is one of the most picturesque spots in the state of New Mexico, Santa Fe's El Rey Inn.  (We'll have to settle for website photos.)

Our room was
right across from
this stairway . . .

Which leads up to
THIS room (that will
be my next goal!)

We've always wanted
to stay at
The El Rey
but there's
never a vacancy.
I guess they
heard it was my birthday . . .

And then Russ wanted me to lay my head down on the table so that he could snap a shot that would give you an idea of the scale of the dish of green chile mac-n-cheese I was eating . . . . yes, it was ACTUALLY CONSIDERABLY BIGGER THAN MY HEAD.  But he never judges. Mmmmm.

But alas, none of that is to be in today's post.  
Instead, I'll show you the presents I got for myself:

This is a lovely little painting that is on quite a deep cradled masonite board with a thick glaze over it.  The man who painted it was so delightful and gave me a copy of the poem he had written that the words on the painting belong to.  A poet who creates art and puts his words on it?  How could I help myself?

It's going to hang near this lovely little ceramic piece I picked up -- they  look absolutely dreamy as a pair.  Two wonderful birthday treats that taste great together.

And Hannah picked out a 
polka-dot cake for me, which is only fitting.  
It looks delicious.  
Why don't you all come over for a piece?
(Oh . . . and bring a fire extinguisher, just in case. Let's try to keep this birthday happy!)



Thursday's Terrific Tidbit Number Four.

If you're a blacksmith and you live in Santa Fe, 

Tom Joyce Portrait, from Hand & Home, The Homes of American Craftsmen

you get to have a living room that looks like Tom Joyce's in which you make things like the chandelier. (Not to mention an incredibly cool forge on your property where you go to work every day!)

But more importantly, you get to have things like handrails on your stairs that look like this:

Now THAT'S cool, and it definitely didn't come from Home Depot.  We talk about doing wonderful things to our house all the time (although they never materialize) but I really wish I had the skills to transform my house with my own hands.

Is that it?!
Was that really today's Terrific Tidbit?

(It wasn't?  Good.)

What's this?


Now that IS a terrific tidbit! 

I'm a really fast packer.  When do we leave?

At about 3:00 this afternoon? . . . . THIS AFTERNOON??

Okay, kids, looks like I'm going on a little birthday trip.
(Gotta' get a green chile fix -- fortification for surviving another candle on my cake!)

Small Works will return just in time 
to celebrate my actual birthday on Tuesday,

so please have cake ready 
(and feed Cooper while we're gone.)  

Wish I could take you all,
but it costs an awful lot 
to check a bag these days, so . . . .

Gotta fly!

(please visit Small Works Happy Thought while I'm gone -- no vacations allowed!)


Terrific Tidbit Number Three.

Just when you thought there wasn't a thing left on Amazon that you needed to buy . . . along comes a new book courtesy of the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania:


The book was published in conjunction with a new exhibit of her art and her personal stuff (or what she calls "many tables of many things") and is a fascinating retrospective accompanied by essays from a variety of scholars about different aspects of her work.

 Sunny Day at Park, 2004, Maira Kalman

One of the essays I loved was accompanied by more pictures of her embroidery than I had previously seen.

Goethe: An Embroidery in Four Parts (parts 1 & 2), 2005, Maira Kalman

Maira does embroideries on vintage and found linens of all kinds,

 Pink Dress, 2005, Maira Kalman

and is an appreciator of the domestic needlework tradition as well as a collector.

Don't Cry Over Spilt Milk, 2005, Maira Kalman

She explains, "I collect white fabric from around the world, and spend many happy hours ironing and folding and looking at these things."

Which brings me to the part that filled me with delight from top to bottom:

"One afternoon during her first exhibition at the Julie Saul Gallery in New York, visitors were invited to stop by and 'have a button sewn on any article of clothing.'  In the background, there was ironing."


Of course I love old buttons, yet I had never thought of their re-attachment, nor of ironing, as art-gallery-ART (although I have personally raised not-ironing to an art form).

The quirkiness of the scene described made me wish I'd:

a) thought of it first

b) been cool enough to pull it off

c) ever had a show at the Julie Saul Gallery in New York.

Yet another reason for my continued worship and admiration of all that is Maira Kalman, 

 Annual Misery Day Parade, 2001, Maira Kalman

and perhaps a reason to reconsider the activities going on my own booth with a fresh eye when I prepare for my next show . . .




And now . . . an explanation (and a Tuesday Tidbit)

If you read yesterday's post, you know that it was a little different.

I didn't intend to write that poem,
but when my eyes popped open in the morning -- there it was!
So I scribbled in the margins of my bedside crossword
and then ran to the computer,
hoping to capture the moment.

And I knew it was just the thing to introduce a new series on Small Works:

Small Works' Delectable Selections

I know, it sounds like a line of gourmet cat food, but it is actually:

a smashing array of stuff so spectacular,
I just gotta' share it!

If you prefer, we can just call it 
"Little Things I Like A Lot" 
or to be shorter still,

Terrific Tidbits.

And I'm not referring to my own poem of course, but rather to the website that inspired it:

Magpie Tales,
which I came across while enjoying
a delicious post on one of my favorite blogs,
Textilosophy Oz. 

The idea just delighted me -- 
A random prompt about which anyone and everyone may write a piece of their choosing.

A week-long poetry slam!  
Every week!  

Daily proof that a world full of strangers
is still capable of producing goodness and tremendous beauty.

I've just come across several things lately that tickled me down to my toes
and so I thought I'd spend a few days sharing them with you.

Things that speak volumes, while often saying very little.

Or details easily missed.

The understory.

Background beauty.

Coming across a thing I love feels like such a gift --

a bright coin on my path, a quick glint in the sun, 
unclaimed and waiting to be pocketed. 
I simply must pick it up.

And what about you?  Don't you have any Terrific Tidbits rattling around in your pockets that you should be sharing with the group?  Are you hoarding your treats?  Because Small Works is all about sharing!  So everybody, empty your pockets on the table and let us take a look.

Here's mine for today,
courtesy of Mimi Kirchner.

She shared one of her personal mantras with us the other day
that seems to be just the tagline for my Terrific Tidbits:

You never know 
what will happen 
when you leave 
the house . . .

 (so get out and look around -- yes, it's a homework assignment.)

Ta-ta for Tuesday!

(tomorrow, a new bit of brilliance from Maira Kalman.)



And now for something COMPLETELY different.

Blue Willow

Something hidden.

I want to lick off drips

of gravy, love

ladled on brown

and thick, an ooze

around my meat

and the potatoes

crisp skinned

creamy fleshed and white,

a deep pair

of pockets ready to hold

whatever comes.

As I eat your pattern

is revealed --

a lovely memory

full and so satisfying.


This poem is 
click on the link now
if you'd like to create 
your own entry. 

And why is there such a poem
about Blue Willow china 
on Small Works today?

There's a good reason, 
and if you 
come back tomorrow, 
I'll explain.

a Monday Mystery . . . 



A delightful time was had by all.

Sorry I missed our usual Friday blog date . . . 
I was actually busy at a  


It happens so infrequently, I had to pinch myself to be sure it was real.  

But Hannah and I were kindly invited to a blog get-together by my new friend Kristin over at Kleas, where I also met another local stitcher, Erica from Fox and Owl.

The get together was in honor of a Minneapolis visit
from one of my heroes-of-the-needle, Mimi Kirchner.  

(I felt like a 
terrible dork gushing over her
the way I did, 
and unfortunately I was
too afraid I'd look extra stupid 
by taking my camera 
so I sadly left it home.  

Everyone else had theirs, so I won't make that mistake again.

Luckily our hostess was kind enough to take a picture and send it to me!
And it gets even dorkier . . . I actually squealed  because I
TOUCHED a piece of wool that had been touched 
by Salley Mavor, who gave it to Mimi . . . EEK!)   

If you don't know Mimi's work, you should click away immediately and visit her blog, Doll, where you will also find a link to her Etsy shop.  (Be sure to watch Etsy's video interview of her to see her in action.) There's also a free pattern for one of her dolls available on Purl's website, if you have itchy fingers.

Mimi brought generous gifts, including note cards and magnets.  These are my magnets -- yippee!

Mimi's designs just make me happy, and I visit her sites often to see what bit of brilliance she's producing on any given day.  Someday, I'll own one of her dolls.  But which one??!!

It's only the second time I've met blogger buddies, 
but I have learned one thing . . .

blogger friends are EASY. 
Even for a shy studio rat such as myself. 

It's like instant-friend-mix -- just add water . . . (or tea, diet coke, guacamole -- whatever the occasion warrants) and stir.

In fact, I wish you'd all stop by for a visit. . . 

I made cupcakes!

(mine are actually white with white frosting, my favorite . . . just wanted to be truthful)

  And I've got a new studio!



I'm not quite ready for an unveiling yet. . .

but significant progress has been made!  My new space is really starting to feel like home, and I'm getting excited to have a different place to go every morning (even if it's only DOWNSTAIRS instead of UPSTAIRS.  It doesn't take much to excite me.)

Hannah refers to it as a "Creative Suite" rather than a studio, which may be an apt name since she's my roommate here for the summer and we plan to have some significant creativity going on across a broad spectrum of media.

Right now we're mostly just fighting over the TV remote.
Seems she doesn't share my undying love of Bonanza . . . I'll let you know how that battle goes.

But in the meantime, let's visit another spectacular space from the book 
Hand & Home -- The Homes of American Craftsmen  (see previous post),
the home of one of my favorite artists:

Thomas Mann.  (yes, it's a link)

If you're not familiar with his jewelry, what's wrong with you?  Get busy!  I've loved his work for years, and one of the things I love about his house is that it looks just like his work.

I'm absolutely delighted when I encounter someone's personal space that is like a fluid, 3 dimensional portrait.

In the living room, many of the accessories and some of the furniture pieces are made by craftsmen Tom knows.  He made the glass-topped steel table and the chair in the foreground, as well as the sculptures in back. The mixture of natural materials and metal with the black-and-white punctuation remind me a great deal of some of his jewelry designs, and provide a perfect example of the elements of his work that I find so appealing.

In the dining room, Tom made the table and chairs.  He also made the standing light in the corner.  The zigzag light going up the center of the chimney piece is neon tubing.  The painting is by a friend.

In this view, you can see the top of the table, which consists of glass atop a bed of pea gravel on which he has arranged railroad scrap salvaged around local tracks.

In this view, you can see what is perhaps my favorite feature of the room:  the pasteboard cutouts on the hearth.  The baby, dog and cat make up what Tom refers to as his "low-maintenance family."  Tee hee!

  Tom found the piece hanging on the wall, an accidental sculpture that fell off a New Orleans bus entitled "908".

The kitchen provides perhaps the best example of my favorite decorating rule:

If you like it, 
it will all look good together.  

The confluence of vintage and modern creates a wonderful mishmash that would provide plenty for my eyes and mind to explore while waiting for my cookies to finish baking . . .

That's all for today -- 
I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!  

Hmmm . . . Now that I'm looking around, my own space looks rather p-l-a-i-n.
Good thing I still have plenty of stuff to brighten it up.
Now where did I leave that hammer . . . ?

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