something is happening at the zoo

Today I discovered the internet has decided I am a gay, Russian man with erectile dysfunction so I guess I should go figure out a spam system for my site. <sigh> Unfortunately, this is type of work is too close to what people actually pay me for to do on a Sunday – so next week maybe. In the mean time, if I accidentally delete your comments, let me know. This is only if you comment directly on the site; Facebook should be fine

I started a new quilt, based on animals. This has extra meaning for me because my grandmother used to make quilts where she would take coloring book pages of animals and trace them.  I have some unfinished blocks she started and have used them in previous quilts like the ducky quilt on the back and in the cow in Paul’s quilt.

Anyway, I use my own technique. She traced them on the fabric with ball point pen and zigzagged around them. I put two layers of fabric over a piece of paper with the image on it. I draw over the image from the back with free motion on the sewing machine.  Here is my first camel attempt:

Steve and Paul loved it. However, when I told Steve about the next step, trimming it and zigzagging the edges, he didn’t think it would work out because of the color of thread I had used, He thought it would disappear into the background.  So here is Camel number 2:

I used a reddish brown thread for the base drawing then the lighter thread for detailing. Not sure what I will do with the first one yet.



rug finish

I have been working on this rug for several years and just finished it yesterday.  It is made out of selvages and other strips of fabric that were pretty much unusable:


If you examine it closely it is like the rings on a tree, but of various quilts.  The center is selvages from the back of Paul’s quilt which I finished in 2012. Next time I will create “yarn” balls with the different colors to make it more orderly. Also, it is not a flat as I would like, I may reduce as I get out into the outer areas.

In other news, I did my first craft show with some small purses:


They were fun to make- but a little out there for sure, and perhaps suited to girls. We also made quite a few cards:


Half are mine and half are Steve’s:


We didn’t sell anything. For that, I blame Trump. Seriously, though, I likely overpriced my items. Since it was such a small show, I didn’t have much variety in my prices.That being said, I had a good time, and I consider it a success because Steve and I were able to create body of work. If we choose to do it again, we will have a head start on stock.


Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage book review

I listened to this book on the way to North Dakota and if you saw a somewhat hormonal middle age woman weeping while driving on I-94, it is the reason why.  Well, that and construction.

Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert is a follow up memoir to Eat, Pray, Love.  In Committed, Elizabeth and her lover are forced to marry if they wish to live in the United States. Although they are in love and had even made a private commitment to each other, both had bad divorces and so neither wanted to marry. The book documents the period they were waiting for the paperwork to clear so they could return to the United States and marry.  She thinks about marriage and researches the subject on several levels, culturally and historically. Ironically, in the past few days, Gilbert has announced that she and the man from this book have separated.

I was visiting North Dakota to celebrate my aunt and uncle’s anniversary, so the book was particularly poignant.  While I was enjoying their celebration, I also reflected on my parents’ marriage – both are notable in their longevity – and how they move through space in an lovely synchronous way. I also watched my sister and her husband in the frantic chaos of child raising – the part of marriage where every decision has to be balanced against the welfare of children.

My husband and I fall somewhere between: in the transition of our nest emptying and all the mixed feelings that emerges. This transition is causing us to renegotiate our marriage contract in a different way.  For that reason, I love this section of the book where she says: “I started thinking about my parents’ garden- which is as good a metaphor as any for how two married people must learn to adapt to each other and to sometimes simply clear out of each other’s path in order to avoid conflict…they have divided their garden in order to keep some civility.. In fact, they have divided the garden in such a complicated matter that, by this point in its history, you would practically need a United Nations peacekeeping force to understand my parents’ carefully partitioned spheres of horticultural influence.” My husband and I agree on 85 per cent of the course of our lives, we have 10 per cent in tentative agreement and another 5 in active renegotiation. As our children become adults we spend less time focused on them, we are turning more and more to each other and thinking about the future of our life together.  Now everything is up for renegotiation, as the relationships and needs of our children shrink, our needs can take center stage again.

Gilbert writes about her grandmother’s marriage in Minnesota and the trade offs her grandmother had made to her personal freedom. Her grandmother is contemporary of my grandmother. I still love the story my grandfather told me of how he met my grandmother.  He was a soldier in World War 2, patrolling the beaches of California.  He saw her on the beach in her swimsuit and thought she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. This is still one of the most romantic stories I have ever heard. My grandfather was from North Dakota, and when he brought her home, I am sure it was a shock for her, between the weather and the landscape.

If you want to spend some time contemplating marriage, I recommend this book. Whatever stage you are in, you will find some wisdom.  Even though it didn’t work out for Gilbert, her thoughts on marriage are still poignant and true.


I never meant to cause you any sorrow. I never meant to cause you any pain.  -Prince, Purple Rain

You did cause sorrow- with your purple passing. This one death hit me very hard, and I am not sure why. After all, I never met Prince, never even went to a Prince concert. We thought we saw him on Lake Street once, but more likely it was someone dressed up like him- his presence was so pervasive in Minneapolis.  I hadn’t really been a hard core fan. If you asked me what his most recent album was,I couldn’t tell you. Even though he is gone, I can still listen to his music the same way as I always have.

The beautiful ones
U always seem 2 lose   – Prince, Beautiful Ones

Yet, I am sad. Why?
Prince really embodies the 1980s for me, and his passing has felt like a closure of my youth- not that I have been really young for a while. I am steadfastly,flat-footed middle-aged. But it sure feels like a door closing on my youth with his passing.

So what did Prince mean to me?

His wonderful, overt sexuality was attractive to me.  Of course, for me, I was 16 years old when Purple Rain come out; full of curiosity about anything sexual, without any understanding of the actuality. Prince tapped into my budding sexuality. Besides that, he sang about love and he is the perfect lover full of intensity and devotion.

On another level, he really embodied the idea of a gender spectrum before it was really even a thing. There were men who dressed like him, but they were mostly gay, not straight. There were men who were overtly sexual , but didn’t look like him.

They say two thousand zero, zero
Party over
Oops, out of time  – Prince, 1999

He wrote about the end of the world, which every generation since Christ’s has been anticipating as just on the horizon. Of course, my generation grew up under the shadow of not God; but man’s ability to end the world. With the constant tension from USSR, it felt very possible. Yet he took that anxiety and made it into a party anthem.

You may say lots of artists were doing similar things and you would be correct. Boy George and Micheal Jackson overtly and covertly played with gender identity. Sting and Nena wrote songs (much sadder) about nuclear annihilation. Madonna pushed overt sexuality into a powerful woman’s genre. But none of them took these elements and bundled them up into one package- that is what makes Prince so much more complex and multifaceted.

I leave you with a piece I made several years ago, which I have called the “Tiny Angel” quilt. The background was my visual representation of Purple Rain. Now the piece seems even more appropriate:


Goodnight, sweet Prince!


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