Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Starry Nights

starlightProbably more than ten years ago, textile artist Beth Nash gave me a bag of her scraps. I have rediscovered them and have been bonding small pieces (about 4 x 6 inches) to lightweight cardboard, then punching holes and sewing with white crochet thread. The needle and thread and comfortably hefty, and it feels very much like sewing on the “sewing cards” my mother used to let me practice on when I was very young.

I’m having fun. I have attached some of my little stitcheries to notecards, but am having even more fun photographing them and playing further with Photoshop, adding background textures, drop shadows, and feathering. Here’s the same design after some Photoshop play. Which one do you like best?


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Seems I hardly every get around to posting anymore, but here’s an image from a couple of weeks ago, when I was working (and playing) with 22 students from Heartwood Montessori School in Cary, NC. In preparation for a performance for their parents, the students learned to fold origami butterflies and folded 305 of them over the course of a few days. We attached them, with glue dots and tape, to fishing line and hung a “curtain” of butterflies as a backdrop for their performance.

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The Winter Day

A sort-of-poem in homage to one of my favorites.


The Winter Day


Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life? — Mary Oliver


In about ten months

I plan to vote.

It is my sacred privilege, as is

the right to keep my choice



Today, I choose to walk

on a snowy path

hushed but for the sounds

of birds conversing

in a language

I don’t understand.


Tomorrow, the same.

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First Day of Spring


So it seems that I am posting quarterly now, instead of daily or weekly. Today is March 20. (I thought the first day of spring was the 21st, but I keep hearing it’s today.) There was a solar eclipse I didn’t get to see, but I’m glad I took a walk up the carriage trail on this rainy day in Charleston. I wouldn’t have missed these rain-dappled beauties for anything. The last one is the first bloodroot popping out.


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One of the things I have always loved about Charleston, West Virginia is that it offers many beautiful places for taking a walk. Of all the walks I love, my favorite is the Sunrise Carriage Trail, a wooded path that leads from the base of the South Side Bridge up to the old Sunrise mansion (originally a former governor’s home, then an art museum, now a law firm).

A few months ago I contributed to a Kickstarter campaign that made so much sense to me: Walk Your City is a grass-roots group that uses technology to encourage more walking in cities. The reward for my donation was this dandy sign, along with instructions for putting it up. I’m so pleased that Charleston has joined the Walk Your City family.

And here’s what the Carriage Trail looks like this week:



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Here in Charleston, West Virginia, we are an official federal disaster area. A coal-cleaning chemical spill into the Elk River has contaminated the water supply for much of nine counties, including the state capital, where I live. We are warned not to drink, cook with, wash dishes with, do laundry with, or bathe in our tap water. All restaurants, coffee shops (yes, even Starbucks), and many other businesses are closed. It’s scary in a dreamlike way, as I suppose all real disasters are.

Like many people, I’m furious at the chemical company that let the toxic chemical leak into the river, the water company that stalled about reporting the contamination, and especially the politicians who have sold this state’s citizens out, year after dreary year, to big extractive industries, meanwhile complaining about the EPA and calling President Obama a “job-killer.”

Deadly pollution is nothing new in West Virginia. For years, some communities in strip-mining regions have experienced dramatically higher incidences of death due to cancer, birth defects, asthma, and other diseases. But big industry, with the blessing of our elected officials, has effectively silenced the friends and families of these murder victims by buying out legislators and threatening that jobs will be lost.

A supreme irony: This is happening in a place where the natural beauty, cultural resources, and hard-working people have the potential to support industries that do not pollute.

One can only hope that the scale of this disaster—300,000 people without clean water, with no estimate about how long this situation will last—may cause some of our elected officials to realize that Big Coal has not done us any favors. I’m not holding  my breath.

Considering how polluted the air may be, perhaps I should.

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Giving in to Temptation


It is the temptation to post pictures of cute cats online. These are two of a litter of four born a week ago on the farm of Vicki and Tom Zilke, who run a wonderful vegetable farm and farm stand in Milan, Michigan. (Take the Carpenter Road exit and go east about a quarter of a mile).

I promise I will not succumb to this temptation too often.


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Fun in the Snow



I am visiting friends in Batesville, VA and we are enjoying a spring snowstorm. It won’t last long, but it’s beautiful and fun while it’s here. We had a lovely walk, and then we built a snow-bunny. It fell over and smashed, but not before we took this photo. (The eyes are almond cookies.)



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What’s wrong with this picture? I took it more than a week ago. Snowdrops, of course, are among the earliest of spring flowers—but I have never seen them before February. But here’s yet another quiet little reminder that climate change is here, and now: this little baby bloomed on January 8.

It wasn’t the only plant who got the get-up-and-grow signal: the blades of daffodils are also pushing up, well ahead of schedule, along the carriage trail. I don’t know if they’ll make it through the likely cold snaps we will experience between now and March, when they usually bloom.

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Couture Compost


One of this year’s New Year’s resolutions is to appreciate simple pleasures. Here’s the first: my brand-new compost container, made from two separate thrift store finds that just happened to fit together beautifully. It’s the perfect size for a few days’ worth of banana peels and eggshells, easy to clean, and so, so elegant. It pleases me every time I toss in my coffee grounds.

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