beauty in the mail

I received some WONDERFUL mail last week from my Shop, Swap, and Blog partner, April Hall. April is a paper artist who is committed to bringing joy to others with her handmade creations. Her work is super cool, well-constructed and just darling! Do yourself a favor and head over to her Etsy shop to pick up a few cards for yourself!



summer’s gone

summer's goneIMG_3082IMG_3018
I had planned to hang out at home in my “comfort zone” and spend the day in a secret sort of struggle about how hard it is to write and trying to capture everything while journalling, and my ongoing project of thinking about and discovering color….blah blah blah.
instead, my husband and daughter and I, along with 2 other families, headed out to Wetmore Pond, a nearby wilderness area where we had an adventure on a quaking bog, picking cranberries and getting fresh air; and where I happened to discover some amazing colors I had never seen before. This experience was fantastic and certainly pushed my limits of perception further.
This photo was taken while standing in the center of the quaking bog, in the middle of the valley bog wetland. The bog vegetation ( and sedge, tamarack, cranberries) forms a mat half a meter or so thick, floating over water and very wet peat. Walking on the surface causes it to move –in a very queasy way-– larger movements causes visible ripples of the surface. This was very squishy and it felt crazy to step onto a HUGE floating “land” mass. WOW.




I am bulding a kind empire. It is being lashed together so carefully with tiny little strands, giant hanks of sparkling beads that glitter in direct light. I am tying the sweetest of knots, each one a blessing, a  peck on the cheek, a soft breath blowing dandelion-seed wishes swirling out into the universe. I am making the strongest connections, hand-forged with faith and trust, with giant bolts and thick hemp ship’s rope. It’s made up of words, the only thing we really have to work with. Words both sublime and dangerous, lacy and speckled, powerful and divine. It’s meant to ride out the transition between frozen and wet, this slushy muddy time, this “dirty end of winter”.

We are spending the whole day outside again, in hats and sand, snow boots and tee shirts. With sap and fire and bricks and snow and blinding peaks of just born grasses.. With Sugar Camp Grilled Cheese on the menu and s’mores and hot smoky tea.

The winds are here. The storm will certainly rise and stretch its mean beak right at us. And we will be safe here in this nest of stones, fire, smoldering poetry, and kindness. Come on over and pull up a seat.

backlit cedar…



and birch-against-the-sky. thanks for asking.




prolific and fulfilled



a creative force to be reckoned with!



stamped message jewelry

a penny rug


wool needle case


knickers with foldover elastic

scissor case

draw birds and horses


braided rug


more hula hoops

sugar free ketchup


re-construct Etsy site

print 100 (40 more to go)tee shirts

play the banjo ukelele (in public)

move forward with graduate school

Do Daily:

be outside




express gratitude

Handmade sampler 2008


caption here.

So I don’t really make New Year’s resolutions–I make hefty, unreasonable and impossible to do lists on New Year’s Eve and check the items off one by one as I handcraft them all year long.My list for 2009 is not yet complete, but I will post it by midnight!

7 years gone.

7 years gone and my heart still aches for her. My sweetie, my hero, my best friend. I still wake up at night sometimes and have to remember all over again that she is gone; the diagnosis, the hospital, the hospice angels, the surrender, the hopelessness of cancer, her cries, her bravery, the morphine patches that did nothing in the end, the rituals of taking care of her, her exit bath, the room filled with the scent of lilacs and green tea lotion, her sweet sweet smile, and then the quiet and full nothing. The bottomless hole left in my life where once stood a great and beautiful woman. I will miss her forever, and I will carry her kindness with me always–right out in front.



Something profound about her smoky blue eyes and the way they played with the light of the world, the way they made the stars look dim and the sky look like it was doing an impression of something great. A little more about peace and great adventure and passionate longing and real truths and happily ever after and true love always. Yes please, a little more about that. Never cry about a Dixie cup, they are made of paper and they are quite nice. Try to trust your instincts and follow your heart when it comes to these matters. When these circumstances arise, realize what you have, what your dreams are. Don’t just complain and hurt others with negativity.
Something lovely about a dream Magic Fox Dances once had. It was of her grandmother who had passed. Magic Fox Dances saw her grandmother sitting on the edge of her very own bed in her nightgown, like Magic Fox Dances had seen her dozens of times before. Her grand mother had a sad loving true look on her face. Bella Donna Moon smiled with her eyes still staying sad. This is possible and you know it. It happens to people every day. Any way, her grandmother looked up at her and beckoned with one pretty hand. For some reason in the dream her grand mother could not speak and so Bella Donna Moon beckoned. Magic Fox Dances went over to the bed to sit next to her, half sitting with one leg straight and on the floor for balance. Magic Fox Dances noticed she was a little girl again, in that little girl body, though her mind was of now, of knowing and ages. Magic Fox Dances was clear in the dream, and grandmother was hazy, fogged at the edges in a beautiful picturesque antique way. Her grand mother took her hand and turned it palm up. Bella Donna Moon had been sorting her button box and now Bella Donna Moon was pulling buttons and the most beautiful charms out of it and placing them in her grand daughter’s upturned hand while she held the hand up with hers underneath it for support. At first, as Bella Donna Moon placed each button, it seemed like the girl could hear words and letters being said. Magic Fox Dances looked into her hand, still supported firmly, lovingly by her grandmother’s own frail sweet warm hand and Magic Fox Dances saw that each button was a word – all the words grandmother could not say right now. Grandmother “said”,
“I love you.” “A bushel and a peck!” “ I miss you so much” “ I wish I could hold you one last time, I wish I could always hold you” “dying was easier because you were there with me” “dying wasn’t so bad once I let go. I do wish that it would be easier for you, your living and your passing. I wish that for you like I wished for you, like baby stars and lambs and every sweetness.” “Always, ALWAYS keep wonder in your heart. It’s the only way to really be alive, to be excited about what is next, the future, and to not be bogged down in negativity and the past. “ Then as the words became sweeter and more real, more touching, they began to take form. The words became landscape pieces, little animals and beings, little songs and tiny sewing notions and all of wonder and goodness.
The granddaughter looked down into her hand and peered at the tiny universe that had begun to unravel in there. Magic Fox Dances saw a tiny unicorn prancing clumsily at first, then more steady on it’s hooves, it had a plum colored ribbon in it’s mouth and seemed to be dancing quite deliberately in a circle. Ah ha, Magic Fox Dances thought, here comes a lamb, fuzzy and warm, with a scarlet ribbon in her mouth, following the unicorn. Then more animals appear, swallows with olive green ribbons, a naughty little fox with a periwinkle ribbon, already torn to shreds though and dirty too; horses with mustard yellow ribbons, all joining in a circular parade until eventually it became a carousel right there in the palm of her hand, then the carousel became encapsulated in a snow globe filled with glitter, Magic Fox Dances shook it, the glitter changing colors from rose to silver to periwinkle to gold back to rose then lavender. The granddaughter continued to stare at the globe and the still parading animals, totally mystified and filled with wonder. Magic Fox Dances looked back up and met her grandmother’s gaze. They both yearned to kiss to hug and embrace for a good long time, but it was not possible. The little girl is a grown woman with a family and very little girl of her own, and The lovely Bella Donna is long gone now, her footprints in the glittery snow fallen all around the broken carousel lead far away back into the deep dark wood.


nano_08_winner_largenow that that’s done I can start blogging again!


The warm wind pushing off the cold for one more day.
Rubies and garnets and birth stones form past lives. Chalcedony and wire. Feldspar and tonic, dirt, moss, and citrine, all colors forever dovetailing perfections and tiny heartbeats.

The moon serpent was hanging halfway between the two birches, their papered bark rustling, it’s crescent slicing the air into heat and freeze, thick and scrawny, lonely and overwhelmed.

What will this day bring?

* Birds of all feathers, tropical and misty and north woods and calliope specked and striped bumble-birds. time canopies and swing daddi-os. Spiky headed peckers with doo dads in their hair.

* Sweaters! With flair and fanfare. With stitches and flowers and pockets full of glory and the real antidotes to boredom and sadness.
* Stars! Twinkling and dreamy and bright and dim and sharp and fine tuned like heaven’s headlights. Like a rose saddled and backwards riding out the dawn days into heaven’s headlights of mornings.
* Fever pitches of rosy cheeks and warm caresses. Sweet nothings and sweet every things and sweet every thing in between.

the rust creeps in

and digs out little holes in your bones / chips away at your perfection and knocks against your heart. It takes your breath away. The rust creeps in and steals the alive. It replaces it with oxidized hard chill and scratchy sinkholes that suck the light. It sneaks up, cloaked inside the winter’s howl. It sneaks in with the water droplets of spring rain. The rust creeps in and leaves behind beautiful sepia damage…

Harvest Day

Today we went out to harvest anything that was left in the garden, and to put it to bed for the winter. I dug up 5 pounds of beautiful Kennebek potatoes, and Miss Moon discovered the “fairy potatoes” featured above. Then we ran around in the leaves, hula-hooped, posed warmly in front of the birch trees, and soaked up the last golden bits of sun.

grace period

I’ve lived on a dirt road all my life…. Floating luminous, sparkly sunshine taking my breath away sudden and weightless, in a space with no pain and no worry and no past, only present to being so happy and full and blooming and buoyant. The beach here is an amazing place..fat girls rocking tube tops and tiny two piece suits, hanging out with skinny greaser mullet guys, and somehow this all occurs as sexy, maybe my brain has had too much sun today. Other people, twenty or fifteen of them standing waist high out in the lake, the cold water, playing frisbee and drinking beers. I love this crazy town.

Verbena had woken up very early this day and was determined to walk around her whole town taking photos of every one she met. It was something she had always wanted to do but never had given herself the permission before. Today seemed like the perfect day. The sky was glowing and luminous. There were some huge puffy clouds leaving glistening shimmering shadows on the sidewalks. The oak trees were whispering and gently clicking their leaves together. Verbena’s one wish for today was that fear of running into Four Car Joe would not surface. She would not have to create some sort of excuse to weasel out of so called “polite” conversation, some sort of reason for why she had kicked his little cement man in half, (because to tell the truth, Verbena did not have a good excuse for that. She honestly didn’t know why. It had just seemed like the thing to do at the time.) She hoped that this fear would not keep her in her house-that she would be able to leave and do the things she wanted to do. Her life up until this point had been a collection of many beautiful days all strung together. Skeletal barns dancing their slow lazy waltzes with the air and the sky the same color, that grey slow winter day. These days had wheat colored ditches, the ferns were all done for the year fiddle heads dried up and popped off. On these days there was often no joy to be found, but Verbena had enough joy stored up now that these were among her favorites and so it went well for her. Days of blue moons and reading nooks and warm saunas and friendly happy dogs, skeleton keys and camp trucks headed off to sauna parties up at big lake and fish frys. Whole days in the trees, way up, having climbed so happily. There were one hundred different descriptive words for snow, and a hundred words for sorrow too. Happiness had about fifty and lust had nine or ten at least. Verbena was determined to settle on a few more.

Presque Isle Fairies

We saw signs of them everywhere, dancing on sunbeams and glinting wings rushing through reeds.

Fall Hike

He wore his fall hat that matched all the trees. I mean every tree out there. And his beautiful grin that has lit me up for eleven years now, lit me up from 3,000 miles away, and now from across town, across this room. Lights my heart on fire and the warmth brims up into my chest and leaks out my eyes. Then I get all snotty. It is fantastic. There is nothing better than that.

She wore her favorite play dress and her shoes “JUST LIKE PAPA’S!!!”. And her love of hoarding sticks and pine cones, and her unwavering sense of wonder and magic. And her sweetness. There was so much love on this hike, it’s no wonder all the trees were turning red and orange, just to contain it.

A lot of my garden suffered this year due to a nine-week stretch without rain. However, a bumper crop of sunflowers, including an 8×8 sunflower house, managed to thrive in the finicky and rough Upper Peninsula weather. Let’s hear it for children’s gardens! Even when they are for mamas too!

Since there are so many of these sturdy lovelies, I decided to save about 20 of the heads for seeds for next year (7 varieties) and to leave the rest of the sunflowers (50ish) for the birds to enjoy. Tweet tweet!

fall colors

We drove out to Rumely today and picked apples at a friend’s place. It was a perfect crisp fall day, complete with blue skies, brilliantly orange trees, and still-green fields.

After I got them home, I realized that I have about 35 pounds of apples to deal with in the next couple of days. If anyone reading this has a good apple butter or fancy pie or crisp recipe, please do share it! Pictures of all recipes will follow in the next couple of days, and the person with the winning recipe will receive a prize from my Etsy shop.

The  Midwest. Home of the three-word sentence. Home of bad hair and good company; rummage sales and craft shops. Home of all things broken-down, busted up and stitched back together with equal parts INTENSITY AND LOVE. Home of the harsh and quiet (formerly shy now brazen) scrapbookers who are plump and decisive. Home of very sweet strong silent type men; the rowdiest strong silent types you’ll ever meet. The don’t put any ice in my beer, hey come over and help me paint some fire stripes on my van kind of guys. With X Ray Specs T-shirts though instead of just Carhaart.  Sparkling Clementine had recently come to a shocking realization; that she had bought into the whole yuppie time scam. Like that we should all hurry and faster infinitely until the pace of life becomes too much to cope with.

The North. Where the pine trees grow up tight and close knotted in around your heart. They never let go. Anybody raised here will attest to that. Where pickup trucks set sail into the luminous Friday night fish fry sky. Low cedars with bark all hung like suede and clustered like a bouquet. A walk in the park, with bright moon rising. With the lake that was deep enough to hold all life’s sorrows and bright hot joys. Deep enough to hold every chord you will ever learn without any spilling over. It’s visible from here and wide enough to fill your eyes with the yearning dreamer blues for years.

Peppermint tea and ginger brandy. With you. Inside your cozy winter house with sweet-scented steam on the windows. Fry bread and fine cheeses. Rajma and basmati rice. Cheap wine and good shoes. Bingo charms and bars aglow. A hometown love bender featuring the kind of emotion that will just take you out! Where neighbors who have nothing who go ahead and share despite that small fact. What was the music that we played that day? Ruby was one of them, that Paraffin song. And Helium. Neil Young for sure.

Nobody understands fancy things better than someone who can’t have them. Name brand things. Date underwear. Orange juice that arrives in the fridge already mixed. Velvet. Real velvet, not velour. Having nice glasses – not the year before the year before that but new ones. A brand new winter coat that flatters. And very good snacks. A postcard budget. Limitless, frivolous Polaroids. Lazy cab rides. An excellent haircut. Another round of coffee.

But Sparkling Clementine knows the difference. The distance between where she came from and who she is now.

It began with a beat-up idea about the best way to get around town. Now that can really get you going. Is it in a pickup truck with loads of kitsch and barn wood or the two-wheeled dream machine bike; rolling happily through night alleys and flowing social circumstances?  Out on a dumpster-diving date. Baskets of fruit and flowers or whatever you deem necessary for a date night. You bring it forth in growling, sparkling Schwinn Tiger two-wheeled glory. 

Fun with Zukes


well...now what?

well...now what?

My friend MaryJayne gave me some  zucchini she had grown at her organic farm. These had become lost under the leaves and had grown to an enormous size. The bottom one became three loaves of zucchini bread, a curry zucchini cake with Madras Curry and coconut flakes. The top one I took over to another friend’s house. I’m not sure of the specifics after we finished dressing it up in onesies and putting it in the bouncy seat, but I’m sure it was baked into some higher form of goodness.


it did not end  up in food! They are still dressing it up in various costumes and entertaining houseguests…..