Wednesday, April 01, 2020

magic safety net

 When I need to feel better, I make patchwork.
Attaching nine-patches to each other creates a kind of safety net.
When people ask me what I'm doing, I tell them I am sewing magic squares.
This quilt top has been in the works since 2014.  Now it's done.
It was with me during the broken leg.
It helped me get me through 10 days of this still rampant global pandemic.
The ice has started to go out on the bay in front of our house.
I sat for a while yesterday and listened to the ice cracking
and found a heart-shaped rock.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

amulets and recipes

Sarah's first amulet with red thread protection
An amulet is a device, the purpose of which is to protect by magical means.
Amulets in the form of triangles are ubiquitous.
Their power is boosted with the addition of coins or embroidered patterns.
Triangle amulets can hang from a belt or purse or be pinned to a blouse.
They can be carried in a pocket.
Sarah's amulet embroidered with the Ukranian symbol for stamina and health, the branch of a fir tree
Triangular amulets for protection of lone travelers are made from plain fabric, crudely stitched.  (Gold or silver triangular earrings are also amulets).
quilt back hand stitched by April
There are many aspects of textiles, not just pattern that are protective, such as thread itself.
stripes and diamonds by April
The following motifs are in themselves amulets.
Star, tree of life, cross, hand, labyrinth, eye, and magic square.
triangles and nine patches by zoe
Confusion is an effective weapon against whatever the demon is.
Pockets out of alignment or false, small irregular details, complicated dense patterning,
all these serve to perplex.
hand stitched crosses by Sarah
Embroidery on edgings or seams of garments,
embroidery around pockets and over breasts are all used
to prevent disease-carrying spirits from reaching the body.
chocoolate chip cookies by Emily
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cream until fluffy 1 cup butter, 1 cup white sugar, 1 cup brown sugar
Add 1 egg and 1 tsp vanilla and continue to beat until fluffy
Fold in  2 cup flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt
Fold in 1 or 2 cup chocolate chips
Drop on ungreased cooke sheet by teaspoon and bake 350 degree oven 12 minutes or so
Slightly under-bake - when removing from oven slam the cookie sheet on counter or stove top
Dough can be refrigerated.
yellow cake by moi
Scratch Yellow Cake
pre-heat oven to 375 degree and prepare cake pan (9"square) with butter and dust of flour
Sift 2 1/4 cup cake flour with 3 tsp baking powder into mixing bowl, add 1 cup sugar and 1 tsp salt
Cut 1/2 cup soft butter into the flour, then add 2/3 cup of milk and beat for 2 minutes with electric mixer.  Scrape bowl often with rubber spatula.
Add 2 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla and 1/3 cup more milk.  Beat 2 more minutes.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.
star web by April
Solar motifs of circles and stars are powerful.
hand stitched amulets by sarah, stars and each stuffed with salt
Cut two triangle shapes from cloth you have on hand.
Sew the sides together but leave a small opening so that you can add garlic, salt or a written prayer.
However, the triangle by itself is powerful enough.  It has sharp points.
The text in this post is paraphrased from
Sheila Paine's book Amulets: Sacred Charms of Power and Protection

The images of sewing and cookies were sent to me by young women who are staying home this week.

Take care of yourselves dear ones.
(the recipe for chocolate icing is in the comments)

Sunday, March 15, 2020

like a star in my sky

 What a time we are living through.
At the end of February Ned and I went to Mexico.
I started a new little quilt because I wanted something to do in my swim suit lap.
I wanted to make something small that I could pick up and work on without thinking
but all quilts are acts of mindfulness.
I used red thread and circluar shapes and slowly found that path to my inner self.
It always works.
The weather was often windy or chilly while we were there.
Still beautiful though, to hear the waves.
My little quilt is made of light weight wool and the warmth it gave was perfect.
I couldn't stop working on it.
I continued to stitch in the plane and also in the car as we drove north towards home.

The world is in the middle of a pandemic crises.
My quilt continues to hold me safe.
Doing it helps me.
We're in self isolation now and still I continue and continue.
Continuing to stitch this little quilt.
A red star in my sky, a mothering star. 
 I sit by the window, and the birds watch me stitch.
Here I am.
This is the proof.

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Thursday, February 20, 2020

practice slow

Margaret drew a circle around her world and let nothing in or out.

Here Leonard Cohen's tears made the seasons change.
He is crying for poetry because it goes away from us.
Poetry needs time and love and we are nervous about both.


She said to her love: "you are made of clouds"
She said that their differences were that he believed in whales though he had never seen them.
Her life was made of what she could have.
friendship, promises, secrets, love, marriage, children and time
She met each with the grace and good posture of her era
The world is made of work
Everything will happen
She can't wait.
When Margaret listens to Bob Dylan she becomes clairvoyant
She sees clearly that her romantic heroes are fiercely independent
that they have ruled her heart and left it
 Margaret's heart is full scream.
Poetry makes a shape to fit into a sound to fill the hollows
Margaret opens her mouth and her body screams fifteen years of longing and loss and love
She said:  We are a failed star.

Isn't that elegant?
All text by  Elisabeth Beliiveau  2010
All images are circles by moi. xo

Friday, February 07, 2020

working through the winter

So far this winter, I have been blessed with a beautiful rhythm in my work.
Nearly every afternoon I've gone into my town studio and have just about
finished the huge piece I've been working on for nearly 5 years.   (see pinwall)
At home,  I've been designing and starting new pieces in a rush.
Pieces that I did not think about.  (see pinwall)
I just started them, and they're great.  (see pinwall)

In other words, I've been lost in my work,
although it feels more as if I've been found.
I completed the quilting on a large piece I've worked on for more than a year
during the evening Netflix date with Ned
 and it's ready for the adjusting and finishing.   (see pinwall history)
 'Just do your work' Kiki Smith says

"Just do your work and if the world needs your work,  
it will come and get you.
And if it doesn't, do your work anyway."  Kiki Smith