Canada, clutter, and prompts

Passport. CHECK. Mouth guard and meds. CHECK (but didn’t have to carefully tuck them in carry on bag in case suitcase gets lost). Sewing, reading, and writing notebooks. CHECK (you’d think I’d have an elegant handmade etui to hand, but I don’t. I just stick needles and pins in whatever swatch of fabric is handy).

Our lovely house sitter will be taking GQ-level photos of Finn again no doubt. I can’t tell you how comforted I was to learn that she’d held a piece of cheese to her forehead for some of her darling shots from last trip.

Painting by Ginny Mallon

I consolidated heaps of fabric and windexed here and there. The difference was relieving, noticeable. K said, “I’d live here,” which tells you something about his dry wit. What it perhaps doesn’t reveal as readily is how forbearing he is of my clutter.

Question to crafters: are works-in-progress demeaned by the label “clutter”?

Never mind that. What would be really hilarious if it weren’t so hypocritical is that I dare to ask him to please put his shoes away!

I spy two Jude Hill indigo moons

Traffic on 128 is bad. The trees are green. I will report back as we travel north. We may be in for some pretty foliage.

I’m excited to be going to Quebec City. Our older son went to McGill, so we’ve made many trips to Montreal in recent history, but I haven’t been to Quebec City since my French class traveled there in 1975.

WRITING PROMPT: Begin with “she said” and keep going. Whenever you get stuck, write it again, “she said.” Courtesy of Natalie Goldberg.

TWO MORE WRITING PROMPTS: Begin with “she could not get comfortable” or “so much depended on.” Both courtesy of Kathleen Olesky.

Paris Collage Collective from this week
PCC prompt
Used PicFrame to collect prompt

Lastly, I am reminded that people go through stuff and we don’t necessarily know about it. That’s as good a reason to be kind as any.

Rainy Monday

It’s raining again so I’m glad I got in a couple of walks this weekend, including one around Mount Auburn Cemetery. The fall plantings at the cemetery were full of both color and texture. Just gorgeous.

On our local loop, we came across another dead flicker. It’s upsetting. What is going on?

I also made progress (I think?) on about four or five small quilts. Located one more of the infamous tulle-covered “potholders,” so was able to cut out two more rows of houses. More on that tomorrow.

Fish tank

Paris Collage Collective — visual prompt the peaches

Can I just tell you it’s swampy here? Even when the dew point drops to a tolerable level, the soggy atmosphere and landscape are, well, noticeable.

It’s like living in a fish tank. The sky darkens for the third time today to deliver more rain.

Paris Collage Collective digital collage

I’m not complaining really I’m not. Not when Greece is under water, Libyans search for the dead after two dams burst, and the Atlas Mountains will soon snow on entire communities recently made homeless by an earthquake.

Death and wisdom

Owls, traditionally associated with Athena, symbolize both wisdom and death. My sister loved them. It made buying her little mementos from my travels easy because somehow owls are everywhere — on mugs, placemats, statues, and puzzles. Picking up these trinkets was one of the few things I did to accommodate her neediness that I didn’t mind.

Now those owls live here. They’re all over the place.

Last week a scrap of paper sandwiched between two sheets of contact paper appeared on the hall rug upstairs. The Virgin and Child. Huh?

At first I thought it was of the many prayer cards that I brought home from Assisi. They have a way of turning up at odd times and in odd places too.

But no. The back revealed a newspaper article which told me this was made by my sister. Cutting pictures out of magazines and newspapers was her only real creative practice in the end. I remember thinking it weird, as in deficient, that she never DID anything with her cut outs. Lately, however, I’ve begun to see the scouting and collecting as a kind of art form in itself.

I know I’ve shared other times my sister’s made “visitations” — the shattered blue Pyrex dish, her large painting falling like a guillotine. How narrow the evasion of harm! With the appearance of Mary and the Christ Child, can I assume we’ve entered a new, softer phase, perhaps one rife with atonement?

But whose, you ask — whose atonement?

Peabody Essex Museum maritime exhibit

Being in Salem this weekend allowed me to notice a change. How memory is fading. The relief of that. There was a time not too long ago when just driving by her exit, never mind sitting down and having lunch at the end of her street, would have tightened my chest and filled me with dread. I’d feel hints of the weary exhaustion that went hand in hand with our visits. Every visit.

That seems to be muted now.

Patchwork love

The patchwork I was piecing as a base for a village quilt was supposed to be incidental, more frame than subject. But I liked it too much. So I let it get bigger. Stand on its own.

From this
To this

Meanwhile, here is the appliquéd rectangle both before and after cutting.

I may opt for machine stitching in the construction of these small compositions. Between the felt backing and the inclusion of batiks and upholstery fabrics, I’m not sure my fingers are up for the needlework.

Me at the Peabody Essex Museum yesterday

That clever mask: made by

But look at that hair! Ugh. I always wear it up so what’s the point of having it long really? I may just bite the bullet and go short again. My aversion to the idea has generally been that a short do requires maintenance. Not more maintenance, but any maintenance. I used to flinch at the cost too but that is less of an issue now.

It continues to be muggy here, though temps have fallen. We notice Finn slowing down on days like these and maybe in general. He turned NINE this summer which is hard to believe.

Child’s chair repaired. K is really good at this kind of thing. Problem though? When I tried it out, I was simply checking for proportions and it turns out that a lack of padding makes it pretty uncomfortable. So we’ll see.