Saturday, June 26, 2021

One Block Among Many


If you've read here before, you know how much and how long I've been letting go of a wide variety of personal belongings that are no longer needed/wanted. No matter how much I've let go of (including the wild purge during the Big Move), there always seems to be more that I'm okay with letting go.  A bit ago it was my old records and sewing machine that I was considering. The tub of records is still under consideration, but the sewing machine is gone. After being turned down by three local Sewing & Vacuum shops uninterested in buying a vintage 1955(ish) New Home machine. Then things fell into place when I heard the story of the

Covid Memorial Quilt

I added the creators of the Covid Memorial Quilt and Project Linus (who I donated quite a bit of fabric to during the move & knew they also took sewing machines) to my list of prospective places for an old machine to go.  I emailed the Covid Memorial Quilt folks first, as I was so impressed with this project and its timeliness. 



This project was started by a young girl, with a huge heart and great support team.

As Madeleine said, in her own words in her simple, yet powerful Mission Statement:

"They're not numbers. They're people who died and they deserve to be remembered." -Madeleine Fugate, 13, student.

This was one of my rants to J. for months, People not Numbers.

Therefore, what a perfect cause to donate my machine to!

So, we emailed back and forth a few times and then Madeleine's mother and teacher, who are working on this project with her, came out to pick up my machine and my big 4X4 cutting mat. We chatted for some time out front and I felt like I'd found kindred spirits. The teacher even lives on the street my childhood best friend lived on! How's that for connection?!

I had packed up the machine, the fabrics I planned to use (to show them) and a small gift for Madeleine and wheeled it all out front. What a lovely chat we had! How happily I danced about the house after saying goodbye to these ladies as they drove off with my donated sewing machine!  




Tagan's obituary spoke of her age, family, school, favorite toys...the story of her 5 short years.

For, yes she was five.

That's what I kept thinking about. It was one reason I chose Tagan to represent on a Covid Memorial Quilt block. When I first heard her story in the NEWS, back in November, I couldn't get the various images of her out of my mind. She was so young, with such a twinkle in her eye. You could see her spirit shining through as she smiled at the camera. She was five.           As I listened to her parents telling her story, their story my heart broke for them. Their voices held so much pain, so much pain from an unbearable loss. You can read her father's heartbreaking words here.


This one was a long, slow process. For whatever reason, I just could not get going on it.           I couldn't settle on an idea, besides the broadest thoughts of fabric choice (which was super easy and decided upon well before I stitched on stitch) and the symbol I'd use, the heart, which was again, an obvious choice and seemingly one of my trademarks. I spent time considering how to use the fabric color choices, using one, some or all of the different colors. What color would, should the heart be? How big should that heart be? And what of the stitches, what color would I use to stitch? How much stitch should I add? Finally, which direction should the colors orientate? I believe my slow start stemmed from my idea that I would do a cloth weaving base. No matter how I designed it in my mind, it felt too busy with a woven base. When I finally let go of that idea, things started to fall into place.


So, what came to be, reads like this.

I used my much loved finger paint fabrics because this is often a first art experience for young children. It is often a favorite way for young children to explore and create. Yet, even though it can be a universal mode of expression, each mark made is unique to the maker.

She was five



In the end, I used almost all of the colors of the finger paint fabric in bold stripes, like crayons laying in a row.  The brown, a bit wider than the others to represent the fact that Tagan is a child of color and so many more people of color had contracted Covid and been so much sicker, dying more frequently.  The colors held meaning. 

Yellow-Orange = sun, sand

Green = growth, life

Brown = earth, people

Blue-Purple/black = sky, deep water

 The red was placed across all of the other colors, holding the colors, as we hold one another. The red for love, heart, community, family. The red, the life's blood, which holds it all together.

 She was five



All of the edges were left raw, ragged, ripped ~ to exclaim the brokenness at the loss of a child.

The light tan/blue colored heart, sewn on with a blanket stitch (yep, another trademark for me) to show the love her family and community had for show the love she gave back and to show the love the world felt upon hearing of her loss...for wouldn't we all wrap her in that love, that blanket and protect her for all time, if only we could.

 She was five




Between each step of the process, a day or two passed by. I moved slowly, gathering my thoughts, considering what would come next and how I would do that next step. A pause to meditate on a young girl, who was once so full of life.

She was five


To show respect to her family, I chose to embroider her full given name. I used a rich brown. I used a lovely green to show her growing years, birth - death dates.

I left most of the colors bold, stitch-free (only the glue stitch) and added a light, swirling touch of stitches to the band of love in the air, which can be seen and felt.

She was five



 Last step for me is always my "NAE '21" (or whatever year the making took place). Here it is on the back of the heart. Connection.

Every step, every mark, and every stitch ~ a part of the story. Each phase photographed, documented...rested with.

She was five




 It felt important to me to honor this child with symbolism that was meaningful, not trite.

I hope I did that.

It felt important to honor this child with colors that could hold a deeper meaning.

I hope I did that too.

It felt important to honor this child.

I know my heart did that.

She was five


Photographs by NAE ©2021

Friday, June 25, 2021

Growth & Change

Growth & change

plants and people

turning pages, pushing soil aside 

pushing up, looking within

Growth, change

One side greenish, the other side bright red
Today I attended a retirement party and visited with some long time friends.

Growth and change were topics of her 30 year career, of the children's center where we had shared our days, and in each of our lives. Growth & Change.

J. planted an avocado seed, first rooted in water. Every day it grows a visible amount.

It has 5 little shoots reaching for the sky. I've never seen more than one before.

I haven't done this with an avocado for years and it's fun to watch him, watching the growth.

My latest read is another oldie and another book I wasn't sure that I'd like. But, I do. The writing is beautiful, but I expected that after reading the very long intro biography on the author, Stephen Crane by Max J. Herzberg ~ President of the Stephen Crane Association. My mom's name is in the front right of the book and the one above, my birth-father's is in front left. A signature I know so well, though I never knew the man.

I'm about half way through now. The passage above (page 64) really stood out to me. As I read it, the news videos of January 6th were running through my head, even though I knew this spoke of a time long ago. Strange.

Growth, decide.

May you grow & change in the best ways for you.


Photographs by NAE ©2021

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Reading - Walking (sort of) & Some New Stitches

I finished "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry", for maybe the third (?) time. Every time I read it (or any book read more than once), I can easily return to the images I've created in my mind...the locations, characters all look the same to me. But, also each time I read, I get something new, something different. I love that about a good book.

Now I'm off to England again, to the story behind my beloved Winnie-the-Pooh childhood experience. This book belonged to my mom and as often the case, it is pristine, except for the yellowing in the front cover. This because my mom had the habit of cutting out the L.A. Times book review and tucking it inside. So, I started with that. I wasn't sure I would like this book...I thought I may want to leave my childhood experience to itself. But, I decided to give it a try and I am enjoying it. Last night's read included a tour of the property, including the 500 Acre Wood and the Pooh Sticks bridge.

Both books have a map. Yay! Both books have a lot of walking. So, of course last night my dreams were filled with walking...miles and miles of walking! I was lost (which may or may not be true) and then I sort of found my way. But, the walking...I woke up tired! I can't speak as much for the Christopher Milne book, as I've just started it, but I do highly recommend the Harold Fry book. Plus, this time around while reading the interview conversation with Rachel Joyce in the back of the book, a few of the ideas about the art of writing really stood out. That was fun.

I read over my mom's bookplate a few times.
It rang true for who she was.
She lived a good life.
Well, I've finally got a start on my block for the Covid Memorial Quilt. Boy, it has been a super slow start, but I've got ideas and taken stitches. Don't those pin heads pop?! I started with Jude's 'glue stitch'. I always start this way. It has become a very calming, centering way to begin. I may have put way more glue stitches than needed, but I like a piece to be ready for secure handling. Besides, it's pretty soothing. More on this piece to come.

 May you stitch, read and wander...
May you also rest well.
Photographs by NAE ©2021  

Sunday, June 13, 2021


 38 years ago a little gal wore these. They will pass on to another little girl at the years end. Isn't that lovely? Raggedy Ann will go too. She's ready. There will be a Christmas Stocking and...?

Where do the years go we wonder.

Does anyone else remember how JC Penney's infant clothing started with size 1/2? I loved that, tiny sizing for tiny folks! Clothing back then was so simple. Lots of things seem simpler when you're looking back.

I always go for the feel of clothing. These are super soft! Perfect for a new baby. It's hard to believe the 38 year old could ever fit in these, especially knowing that they will probably be big on the 2021 gal!

Raggedy Ann, ready for her second go around! She came to me when I was a young child, from a birth-father who sent gifts in the mail. She's hung around for a long time now! She has new elastic in pants and dress. All of it is a tad loose, but much better than the stuff that was over 50 years old. There I go with the years thing again! It's amazing to think I've had her so many years. She has a pocket made from a vintage child's pillowcase (even older!) and one patch on her knee made from an old 1980's canning jar cover. Do you see her holding up her dress to show you? I had other thoughts during the planning, but then during the actual sewing, this became enough. Enough. I sure hope the new little gal has fun with her.

May you find new within the old

May you live with that as you need to

May you treasure both 


Photographs by NAE ©2021 

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Just This

Some music on a Saturday night...watching "Great Performances: Mick Fleetwood & Friends: Celebrating the Music of Peter Green".

So good. You can get more information here if you want to watch too. 

I'll be back another time with more, with other stuff.



Monday, June 7, 2021

Small Slice & Bigger Slice

 I saw this sky out of the corner of my eye the other night. What a glorious sunset!

Today, for the first time in a long time, a Ritchie (squirrel) was out on the wall. A new behavior was noticed...Ritchie jumped from wall to new tree and back to the wall. From the best I could tell, those new trees must have some kind of berry or something, because Ritchie was sure enjoying a snack, one by one!

We also saw a hummingbird feeding (?) on the top reddish part of the cactus. There are still tons of Bills (lizards)....sunning, chasing, running full speed. Little brown-headed birds have taken to sitting on the parking roof next door. And the Debbies (wasps) are back too. Yikes!

So, this is our green ~ our little slice of life, of nature. Our jungle table, growing like crazy.  It's a small slice, but it's amazing how much we can see. There are the many, loud crows, little songbirds and even circling hawks can be seen if I jump up and run out there! I often do. It was a cool 60 degrees today, with what is called (around here anyway) June Gloom. It's nice for a change.

As for the bigger slice, or two...this weekend our older grandson graduated from High School!! We could not be any more proud of this guy!! And slice number two...our little grandson turn one years old today!! One year old...already!! Unbelievable. One boy taking new steps into an unknown future and the other taking his first steps period.

May your slices be just right and fill you up!


Photographs by NAE ©2021

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Ball of Yarn

Here we are, another new month. Time marching along, yet a blur of sameness. Anyway, here is June, a month of daughter's, my little grandson's, my best friend's daughter (AKA my 3rd kid)...along with other friends too. So, here they are to start off the month, little grandson on top and big grandson on the bottom (with my mom). My mom has been in my dreams most nights, so I thought this a fitting photo for this month.
Raggedy Ann (not photographed) has new elastic in her clothing and has been waiting for more finishing touches. I've still been reading away. These three books, plus two more started and set aside temporarily. I finished the Anne Frank book yesterday and am almost done with The Curve of Time. The small book of poetry, Songs of Love, Moon & Wind has moved from an every morning read (I'm really cruddy at sustaining an every day practice), to a now and then, when needed or desired read. Each poetic entry a tug at deep emotions.


So, I had the beginnings of this post being written in my head, when earlier in the afternoon, my asthma became triggered (more of an unusual event these days). I went to local news to check for air quality, when I came upon the latest (as of this very moment) tragedy. A shooting and house fire involving firefighters in an area about 20+ minutes from me, an area near where we recently hiked in Vasquez Rocks. You can read some more here.

It is hard to begin to imagine how those who trust each other with their lives as they work to serve and protect our do they heal and trust in one another again? During the news conference, one of the LAFD representatives referred to the beacons of hope, these individual fire stations as their 'safe house'. How can they begin to feel safe again?

What has happened to our world? So much hatred. But, that was to be the point of this post...that spiral, circular - history repeating itself again and again and again. It's like a giant, huge ball of multi-colored, variegated yarn, stretching through the eons of humanity...and becoming a big repetitive blur by now. Reading the Anne Frank book...war then - wars now...see that rusty red color, or some other 'color of war', reappearing over and over? Man, fighting man...anti-semitism then - yellow stars confronting others about vaccine status now. I read Liz's memorial day post and felt rather wordless. The longings of a young girl, in much the same as the ancient Chinese poets of the small book, for how much does the heart of man really change? Reading The Curve of Time, after reading The Egg and I recently & remembering I Heard the Owl Call My Name, read last summer. Books in the Pacific Northwest/Canada, books on the water, books commenting on the local "Indians" the story of the 215 children's bodies discovered in Canada. Pull that thread, that lumpy, uneven strand of natural many times do the colors of the indigenous peoples show up? Then of course there are the current events, repeating over and over. Shootings non-stop, the100th anniversary of another massacre, more brown bodies killed by a mob of white men then and police now. I could go on with more and more examples of 'history repeating itself'...or at least of being thickly connected to the present, but I'm pretty sure you don't want to read more dire, anymore than I want to think & write about it.

Along with all of this heartbreak, I'm pretty sure I'll be back with more books, projects and hikes...there will be more birds and blue skies...moons and magic and I will really try to believe young Anne when she wrote:

"In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart"


May you too hold onto something you can believe in

May you be held by those that believe in you

May you believe in others and help them be well & shine


Photographs by NAE ©2021