Sunday, December 26, 2010


The week after Thanksgiving, which I spent most of Thanksgiving week on the couch recovering from a bad hip injury, I had the wonderful experience of my daughter and parents coming to work with me. Being one who loves solitude and works very well alone it was a lovely surprise having my family being all industrious around me. My dad took over the pot holders cutting table while I worked on the sewing machine and my mom and Chloe worked together reupholstering Chloe’s dinning room set.

Christmas Day 2010

The morning started very late with freshly baked Anadama apple coffee cake, eggs scrambled with caramelized onions and bits of sausage, coffee and clementines. After a long walk around town we made mushroom croustades to have with wine. Mushrooms croustades is how, after all, I bribed Chloe to come for Christmas dinner in the first place. Then for dinner we made pot-roasted poussins agro dolce with mashed potatoes, and steamed kale and finished with pear clafouti (custard tart).

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Frayed Pouch

A padded pouch experiment that probably will not go into production.


Working out the kinks of a new bag design. I love this color combination. The flap is a great vintage curtain fabric.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Making Invites for my Open Studio

I bailed on a gardening job this am and made invites for my upcoming Open Studio instead. Not a fiscally wise move but I really really needed a change up in the schedule.
I, myself, have found a grammar accident already, so I am sure my dear editor Jerry will have regrets that I forged on ahead. Sometimes I just forget that these things are so important to some people. Well maybe most people. I think they turned out beautifully all the same and the sewing was a last minute coup.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

new office curtains

! love these "new' vintage curtains for my office which gets lots of hot southwestern sun.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pot Holder production

This stack is about half the potholder I made this week to get a jump on the Christmas season. That out of the way, next week I start a new embroidery piece.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

What's happening to the city trees?

At N. Delaware and Brunswick street in the Old Lutheran Cemetery we have a beautifully spectacular, old Sycamore tree, perhaps two hundred years old, that has been gloriously disregarding the neglect that has allowed it to fill with English Ivy, that leaves its dead branches for storms to prune, and its calls for help, by sending out suckers, ignored. This should be an honored and protected tree in our community.

Instead, sometime in the last week, this Sycamore sustained something far worse than neglect: it was actually butchered and maimed by our Public Works. It’s hard to say what prompted this; there was one dead branch removed and many healthy ones. The work showed absolutely no knowledge of proper tree pruning techniques, no aesthetic judgment and little understanding of proper maintance for public safety. Every single branch was cut in a way that cannot heal, leaving many open wounds susceptible to disease and decay which weakens existing branches, creates weak structure for new growth and can eventually kill the tree. Healthy branches were removed some 30 feet up, far above the height of safe passage for vehicles. The shape of the tree, viewed from B Street and N. Delaware has been badly damaged. Tree pruning is as much an Art as it is a Science. The ability to turn on a chainsaw does not an arborist make. This is a valuable and irreplaceable treasure and this level of workmanship had no business going near it. This is unacceptable.

Click image to enlarge.

As we spend valuable time and money, whether it comes from grants or not, planting hundreds of new trees, we also need to plan for how to responsibly and skillfully take care of them because it does matter to their heath, safety and beauty. If we cannot take care of what we already have and continue to destroy valuable existing trees and cultivars on purpose (think B Street Cemetery) or by neglect (think inkberry hollies in Rail Road Square) without understanding their value – in dollar terms, in quality of life terms, in environmental terms – one has to question why are we even bothering to plant at all?

I cannot help but think, how on earth can a town that is so willing to display its ignorance, its poverty of judgment and its short-sightedness, have any hope of attracting employers or investors? How a community looks is an expression of who lives here; and if we are willing to live with this level of skill, what does that say about us?

Also, this last week, all the small trees on the steep embankment along 2nd Ave. at D Street were cut down to the ground. What do you think is holding up the embankment? For free! The tree roots are. A little farther down the road you can see where this is going: it took a lot of $$$ to build the concrete retaining wall to hold up a similarly steep slope. Why was this done? Wasting time and energy on projects that will end up causing huge corrective expense down the line is not cost effective. Understanding erosion control is necessary in this town, not optional, and I don’t think the grant money was designed to plant trees so we could take them down elsewhere.

All the trees along the corner of 5th and H Street have also been brutally and irresponsibly hacked, for what purpose? They will not look better or be safer after this. Is this some kind of anger management therapy?

On the plus side, recently, a volunteer pruned the Cherry trees in Square Corner Park. The winter storm damage was pruned and the branches were limbed up so they could be walked and mowed under. The volunteer did a beautiful and skilled job of pruning and shaping these trees, all the cuts will heal over, adding to their health and adding beauty and value to the park. Please, go take a look at these trees and compare the results of work done at 5th and H and on the Sycamore at N. Delaware and Brunswick Street. I am not suggesting skilled work should be voluntary, although that is much preferable to what is currently happening. The City needs a process by which horticultural issues are assessed and identified on city property, determining which need skilled care; it’s too late after it’s been chainsawed. The City grass-mowing is farmed out; why not critical horticultural work being farmed out to skilled people? Or, a citizen’s advisory board, utilizing skilled individuals, some of whom already voluntarily take care of city property, becoming more formalized. We cannot afford to continue neglecting and abusing our community landscape in the name of saving money, because it’s not.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Skate Boarding

I love this! And by the way, something to consider when designing public spaces.

Poverty of Spirit

As the race for council seats in Brunswick MD gets underway and citizens are thinking about what they would like to change or improve in our City, I would like to explore an aspect of the larger problem of the relationship of City Hall to the community that I have been thinking about for some time.

How the City maintains and manages city property, the spaces that are open to all citizens and the public, that are often welcoming signs to visitors and which serve as strong visual clues to the spirit of a place, are in a state of poverty and neglect. There is an utter lack of consciousness and care in our public landscapes.

Square Corner Park is a good place to start, arguably the most cared for and most visible of the Downtown public properties. While it almost always comes down to a retort of lack of funding, the following cost nothing to improve other than someone caring about a job well done. I am 110% behind recycling containers in the park. Six of them are overkill causing excessive visual clutter and physically inhibiting the proper function of other facilities, for no particular reason other than thoughtlessness. If they must be stored in the park, there are less obtrusive place to put them than in the welcoming viewshed. Does a port-a-potty really need to be feet away from the drinking fountain, and so up front in the park? And no, these photos are not taken the morning after an event; these are taken today, 2 ½ weeks after July’s first Friday.

What is the point of having beautiful new benches if this is how they are treated?

Bike racks are at a premium downtown, is this really the best use of space?

On a positive note, a very skilled volunteer recently pruned the winter storm damage and low hanging branches of the established Cherry trees. Thank you, Mr. Olson.

Stay tuned, more to follow…

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Gardening for a living

While I am home recovering this week from eye surgery, thought I’d catch up with things. I’ve been doing a lot of garden maintenance, my newest plan B career. A, being my art career, which I have been ignoring in favor of B. This is the first time in my life I’ve done work and simply gotten paid for it at an agreed upon price. I have always worked on speculation, whether for tips or making things to sell. Just getting paid is sooo easy. Who would have known? And I love going to work; I’ve never enjoyed leaving the house as much. Going to work to make art is in a different category since I am not “going out into the world” physically, so the two experiences are not comparable in my mind.

Anyways, I am taking care of 10 gardens, 2 are actually getting very little care, but I check in from time to time for the essentials, they are both old and don’t require much attention. In a state of grace you might say. The garden I spend the most time in is always running way ahead, I will be lucky to cover all the areas before Thanksgiving and it already needs me to go back and redo what’s been done, everything lively and boisterous and jumping around. But this garden will be splendid one day. One garden just stays finely tuned all the time. Wonderful Jerry helps me out from time to time in various gardens and I am counting among these our garden, which we both work in for free, of course, sorting out the coexsistanance of our different styles and tastes. Several others are volunteer efforts, the Police Station’s perennial garden, with tomatoes plants added, right around the corner from us. The Pocket Park which I am determined to make into a lovely little public place in time and my Guerrilla Garden where we have saved several very old, very big Yews, one from grape vine suffocation and on from weed tree invasion. But the next job there is hard and nasty, separating gavel from dirt to resurrect perennial beds. Maybe in the fall, when it’s cooler?

New Eye

I can see again! I had cataract surgery on my left eye yesterday and it’s now an unbelievably beautiful new world out there. I’ve had increasing cloudiness in that eye for years but of late I’ve seen nothing but a white cloud. Note: very challenging condition for making left-handed turns on a bicycle in traffic… The really surprising thing however, beyond being able to see with two eyes again, is the brilliant colors, the heightened contrast and the shininess of things. Perhaps this is because my pupil is still wide open? I was quite used to a slightly flat, dull view with skewed depth perception. But now I am living in a Technicolor 3D viewfinder.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Wall

Jerry's spring project the wall, or the face of the wall at least, is complete! It's beautiful.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cleaning up the Neighborhood

Some wonderful angel picked up the first huge pile we created as we bit by bit take out the trees growing up inside the biggest of the 4 old Yews on this property. This day we took two loads to recycling with the help of some local kids who, out enjoying the day, stopped to help us load the truck.

I finished pulling out the last of the wild grapevine that had completely engulfed Yew #3, making a little tiny pile.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Commission Bag

Finished this, very over due, bag commission today; it's going to live in Tucson. The River is going down now, here in Maryland, but over the weekend it was right at the edge of the towpath and filling the canal, making it possible to walk this narrow strip of land surrounded by flood. We can see the water, safely, from our living room when it is this high and there are no leaves on the trees. All weekend there was a steady little stream of cars driving over the train tacks to pay homage the power of water. I find this grayness kind of comforting, especially when I am not feeling particularly cold. There were quiet a few days in a row of that perfect grayness and yesterday’s sunshine was kind of a disorienting intrusion. Today’s sun is making the first bursts of magenta on the magnolia buds, so all is forgiven.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Pocket Park

This is a little Pocket Park on the walk between my house and studio that I have adopted as a restoration and problem-solving project. This is what the shrubs, I don’t know what they are, looked like in the snow. Needless to say there was a lot of damage, when the snow melted. So yesterday, armed with new pruning knowledge (Master Gardener training), Jerry and I removed 100 or so suckers and all the damaged branches, leaving surprisingly elegant results. I wish I had taken my camera with me because the transformation was a little astounding.
We also removed the mulch volcanoes, as mulch volcano kill, suffocating the plant, harboring diseases and as we found in evidence, the roots grow out of the soil into the mulch where they eventually dry out and starve to death. I don't know which happens first?
The inkberry, which didn’t look all that great to start with, got clobbered. I cut out the broken parts and will wait to see what happens to them next.

Storm Damage

These are the 3 main breaks in my Saucer Magnolia tree. Not only is it on it’s northern most bounders here in Maryland, making it quite the event if it’s fantastic blooms make it through the spring frosts without becoming brown, limp tissue, I am always thrill when it hits peck bloom before getting zapped, but apparently it’s wood is not that strong either. It was really surprising cleaning up the branch, they’re incredibly bouncy and weighty, perhaps from being jam packed with buds.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Absent Garden

I finished this piece last night as the last of the snowmelts away leaving random piles everywhere. I am intrigued by the sense of falling, which I did not see until I was almost done, and the recurring lapping of curves and points. It has a deep quiet like the snow before people came out, but there are other things going on as well. See it here without the wall paper.

Today, these tiny blue flowers are blooming in the cold wind and bright sun.