Thursday, August 31, 2006


I am going to explode.

For the last four months I have been dreaming of purchasing a new SLR digital camera. I finally saved up the money and was ready to make the purchase six weeks ago. This process has been hell since that point.

I originally ordered the Nikon D50 from one online company five and a half weeks ago. Twenty-four hours after confirming the order, I recieved an email from shipping that it was backordered. So, I called to find out how long. Three weeks. Okay, I can be patient. Three weeks. At three weeks, I called ago. Now it was three-six weeks. So I called again the next week. No release date has been given. After five weeks with no known release date, I cancelled.

Yesterday, I placed another order with a different company for the Canon Digital Rebel. I called today to confirm the order-per request, and learned that what I had agreed to purchase was a oversees model, and it wouldn't work here. But, for $199 I could get the US model! I checked, it says this no where on the site. So, I canceled.

I tried another online company and decided to forgo the package (which I was only purchasing b/c it didn't change the price). This place was at least straight forward. I called to place the order and get this...the first thing they did? They checked to see if they had it! Go figure. Unfortuantely, they did not. And they won't again until late September at the soonest. I said, "thanks anyway," and hung up.

I'm frustrated beyond explanation. I have a total of six different reasons I need this camera in the next two weeks. (1) a wedding, (2) a pregnant belly, (3) Pgh bridges--before the city turns winter, (4) Pgh churches--again, before winter, (5) a birth, (6) pictures of all of our house renovations. I want to scream. I don't know if I can pay as much as the walk-in-the-door retailers are asking. I may not have a choice. I may have to let it go or find a way to pull together some more money.

This has been very very frustrating.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Amish for an Hour

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Every year at Christmas, my extended family does a name exchange centered around a theme. Several years ago, the theme was "yellow" and we really lucked out. My aunt had found a yellow dresser on the side of the road and it became Nick's Christmas present. We really liked the dresser and knew that someday , we'd strip the old paint off and expose the oak beneath.

Yesterday, we finished the refinishing! Here is a picture of the chest now. I really thought I had a before picture at well, which would make this much more interesting, but this will have to do. For those of you who knew the chest as yellow, you have the comparison.

Monday, August 28, 2006


As a sophomore in college, I participated in study-service semester in Indonesia. It was a fabulous experience.

For the last two months of our visit, we lived with Indonesian families. My family was very well-to-do and not very strict. I had three host-siblings and we lived in a three-story home. There were balconies off every floor, some that even had grass. There was kitchen help, tutors, a nanny, marble floors, pets, a large fish tank, indoor fountains, and individual bathrooms for all. It was strange to be in Indonesia and technically be living a wealthier lifestyle than at home. It is all relative, but still.

My family was very pleasant and we had very little conflict. Or so I thought. My host parents had a meeting with the group leaders half-way through our stay. It was at this time that I learned of the things that I did that offended them. One was visiting with a friend on the front porch until too late of a time. The other was standing with my hands on my hips. It was comfortable and meant nothing to me...but culturally, it translated as an aggressive stance. I was pretty humiliated that they had received that message from me, but also a bit angry that they would not tell me this on their own.

However, last night (9 years later) I found my hands on my hips as I stood and talked with friends before a meal. As my neighbor began to say grace, I felt very uncomfortable with my hands-on-hips posture and dropped them behind my back. It did feel aggressive for some reason. Not so different from folded arms suggesting a certain level of being unopen to the situation.

It was strange to realize that after all these years, I either hold on to what they said OR I now believe it myself.

Friday, August 25, 2006


I awakened this morning to a lovely email. It is obviously scam or spam or something. But, does "she" want money or is a virus? I marked it as junk and deleted it...but not before copying the body to share with you. I mean, who falls for this?

"Greetings to you in the name of God Almighty,
I am Madam Rose Pallasigui. A citizen of Gambia, widow to the late former minister of finance in Philippine who died on 15th of May 2005. My husband fell sick and he was flown to France for treatment but later died of ulcer and he has been buried.
I inherited a total sum of ( 4.5 million dollars) from my late husband, this money which is concealed in a metallic trunk box is deposited with a security and finance company here in Philippine. Due to the instruction I laid down before I deposited the box that I needed maximum security/safety of my consignment and no body nor government organization can trace the where about of the box until I am ready and prepare to claim it. for this reason the security company used their diplomatic means to send the box out of Philippines to Abidjan- Cote d'Ivoire where they have their underground secrete vault. This deposit was coded under a secret arrangement as a family treasure. This means that the security company does not know the content of this trunk box that was sent from the Philippine to Abidjan- Cote d'Ivoire under a diplomatic coverage for safe keeping.
My main purpose of sending you this mail is because of the way I found you and perhaps trustworthy to give you this priority of shipping the box of money to any address that you think is very secure and save in your country with your percentage of which we shall chat on soon.In fact, since the death of my husband, his brothers has been seriously chasing me around with constant treats, trying to suppress me so that they might have the documents of his landed properties and confiscate them. They have successfully collected all his properties, yet they never stopped there, they told me to surrender all bank account of my late husband, which I did, but I never disclose to them this deposit with the security company in Abidjan- Côte d’Ivoire, because this is where my future and destiny lies upon.
The family of my late husband never aware of the secret existence of this deposit which I made with the security company and they can never be aware of it. Out of fear of my late husbands family, and when the situation becomes uncontrollable because of pressure on me from the Government of the Philippines, I decide to look for a trustworthy person who could assist me retrieve this box of money from the security company for onward lodgement into his account for the purpose of future investment. Consider my situation as a widow and come to my rescue. There is need for urgent action because I'm paying $30 dollars per day as a demurrage to the security company for safe keeping this consignment.. I will send you the Authorization Certificate to call them in my next mail which is the Certificate of deposit informations that they gave me on the very day when the box of money was deposited under their company. I will like you to get back to me on my private email id on --------."

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Greek Variation

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Canning Salsa

This morning I decided that it was time to dice up the three bags of tomatoes and peppers sitting on the counter and make some salsa. I have known all summer that I want to do some canning this year, but once it was time seasonally, I continued to put it off. Thanks to seconds from friends, I really couldn't anymore.

It has been about six years since I last made a salsa. And, if I am going to be honest, it was damn good. I received tons of compliments on it and scribbled down the list of what I threw and tucked it away. But, where? I can't remember anything that I put into it other than the obvious and although I haven't tasted it yet, I'm already disappointed. To top it off, my hands smell like tomatoes....a smell that doesn't really do much for me.

While I haven't made a big batch of salsa in about six years, I haven't actually canned ever. So, today is a first for me. And I hope the instructions mom gave me that I scribbled in my journal translate to a successful "pop!"

Worst case scenario? If the flavor is flat, we'll doctor up the flavor when we open the jars. Or, if it doesn't seal, we'll hand them out to all of our friends and encourage them to eat it soon. Either way, we've got 12 quarts of salsa on the stove.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Glorious Routine

For the last couple of weeks, my morning goes as such:

6:30-7:30 Wake up and get out of bed (well rested from the new extra firm mattress!)
7:30 Go downstairs have coffee and breakfast with Nick before he goes to work
8:30 Email, Garden, Etc.
9:30 Exercise
10:30 Shower and head into the studio (or take the studio supplies and head to the third floor where there is a couch, computer and A/C)

It has been nice and I can honestly say that every morning when I wake up, I look forward to the time that falls between washing my face and exercising. It is the most peacefully perfect part of each day. It is wonderful to start each day knowing that my favorite part begins as soon as I get up.

Monday, August 21, 2006


Finally, I feel myself believing that this is "my time".

For the last seven months, even though I have not been working full-time, I have continued to feel very protective of my time. I found the nagging anxiety on Sundays to be obnoxious given that Monday morning was mine. My body still did not believe it.

During the first six months of this transition, I stayed busy. I was literally out of Pittsburgh one week each month, and consulting or volunteering several days a week when I was here. In addition, Nick was traveling a lot for work, and when he was gone, it was difficult to find a routine and feel relaxed in the space I had.

This month has been different. We have both been in Pittsburgh all month, and I have not consulted or volunteered at all. I have finally found a rhythm of creating daily and always having time to myself. Finally the days blend together, and the beauty of the weekend is having Nick around. The beauty of Monday is having my own space again to finish up projects, run errands, clean, etc....knowing that a busy Monday does not mean a lost week.

Today is a day full of errands. Right up there on my list of things to put off. However, I know that after I get home I'll have several hours to work on my own things and tomorrow I may not have to go anywhere at all. (I'm trying to ignore the fact that the house needs to be cleaned.)

In this space, I can finally imagine myself wanting to work away from home again some day. In some ways, that is really reassuring. On the other hand, I didn't say now.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Frick Park

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Caterpillar

The Caterpillar is taught in the Keith Smith book I got a few weeks ago, and so I decided to try it. This is a binding I've admired for a while, and so I knew that at some point I would bind at least one caterpillar. For better (when I'm sick of a specific color) or worse (the cost) it takes a lot of waxed linen to bind. It is one of the most complicated of bindings when you start, but like most bindings, after a few attempts, it is easy to catch on to the rhythm. I think the most difficult part is just keeping track of which thread should be where and when. Most two-needle bindings are that way. It took me about 4 1/2 hours to bind the entire book.

Since each of the six caterpillars (stations) were bound separately, I practiced enough to know what I would do to prepare the book differently next time as well as how to spot mistakes during the sewing. While it looks like a heavy duty binding, it feels like you are binding the linen to itself instead of to the book, and so the book doesn't feel as strong as a regular coptic binding. However, without my mistakes, that may not be the case. I'll try it again and see what happens. Mistakes or not, the binding seems to be fairly forgiving in appearance.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Baker's Dozen

Thursday, August 17, 2006


I am a scrap keeper. Seriously, I might be able to make something with that. And I do. Here is a perfect example:

This week I am working on 12 soft cover books. They are about 7.5" X 5.5 " in size. As I was cutting the paper, I had scraps that were too small to be used for another book at that size, so I used all of the scraps to make smaller books.

These 6 books are made with all scraps from other books and are approximately 3.5" square:

I don't not know what I am going to do with these mini-books. And I don't find any of them particularly interesting. (As a side note-- I'm not a big fan of the blues. I think from now on I'll stick with earthier colors for the soft cover books.)

Nick's response is, "How much material cost is in each book? How long did it take you to make it?" After I answer that time wise it doesn't take any longer to make the larger book, he responds with, "Then why would you make it when you'd price it cheaper than a book that technically takes the same amount to make?" Hmm. Good question. And it comes back to scraps.

This summer I have been working hard to determine whether or not there is actual value in the scraps that are left from the books I am making. I even have gone as far as to keep a bag of paper recycling next to my studio table. And it is nearly full. I've done a decent job at determining the value of saving them. But these were significant scraps...I could make entire books. Entire mini-books for which I have no specific use and don't particularly like.

I have only thought of one place that these may have my Mom's church. Each of the kids has an activity bag that they can take into the service to quietly occupy them. These would be the perfect size books for the kids who are beginning to write. The problem is, this plan is also flawed. They have about a zillion kids at that church these days and the chances of only six being the age that would get these is very low. And if it is important that all or none receive them, then I end up moving past scraps and having to now buy materials to make these mini-books.

Perhaps I should be harsher in my worthy scrap judgments. However, let’s be real, it doesn’t matter how harsh I am, these scraps would not have been tossed. At the least, I would have used my padding compound to make mini-notepads.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Sugar & Olive Oil

This morning, in Real Simple, I read about a beauty practice that sounded interesting:

1:1 Olive Oil & Sugar Body Scrub. (Mix 1/4 cup of each)

I tried it, and it liked it. My skin feels freshly exfoliated and moisturized. Thought I'd pass it on.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


"Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is a drug once prescribed during pregnancy to prevent miscarriages or premature deliveries. In the U.S. an estimated 5 to 10 million persons were exposed to DES from 1938 to 1971, including pregnant women prescribed DES and their children. In 1971, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised physicians to stop prescribing DES because it was linked to a rare vaginal cancer." (

Fifty-three years ago, my grandmother was one of the women who took DES to avoid miscarriage. Following several miscarriages, her doctor was very cautious during her pregnancy with my mother. "Do not gain weight," he told her. (She gained a total of 9 lbs with a 10 lbs baby!) "If she would stoop she could lose the baby," he told my grandfather. Given the wide use of DES in 1953, it is not surprising that she was prescribed to use this along with the other precautions.

I have known for years that my grandmother took this drug and that it did in fact effect my mother. After her first miscarriage she learned that she had an incompetent cervix. For both me and my brother, she had a stitch put in her cervix early on to prevent a miscarriage. Before getting pregnant, she had other gynecological issues...maybe they were tied to the DES as well.

Last year when I was dealing with the brunt of fibroids, I was reading a good deal about what it meant. Afterall, everyone was telling me that I was way too young for the severity of my fibroids. Nick's Mom gave me my greatest resource, " Fibroids: The Complete Guide to Taking Charge of Your Physical, Emotional, and Sexual Well-Being." A small blurb in the middle of the book links fibroids and DES:

"Almost 30 years after it was banned, new research is showing that DES can increase the risk of tumors [fibroids] in the girls-now women- who were exposed. More chilling, the daughters of those women may be affected as well, possibly because the drub damaged the DNA passed down from one generation to another." (page 149)

Many people do not believe that DES can effect the third generation. But, given that the third (my) generation is only now coming in our twenties and thirties its hard to say what they know. It took 30 years for them to see some of the links in the second generation.

Obviously, with all of this information, I've been aware of the possibility that DES has potentially effected me as well. I've always known that as soon as I do get pregnant that obnoxious or not, I was going to make my doctors pay attention to my cervix. Perhaps women who were prescribed more of the drug are more likely to have granddaughters who also suffer the effects. Who knows.

Recently, I learned of another DES-granddaughter. After struggling to get pregnant, she saw an Endocrinologist. DES is considered an endocrine disrupter. After seeing the Endocrinologist, she got pregnant in two months only to lose the baby six months later because of an incompetent cervix. She was stitched for the next two pregnancies.

DES-granddaughter. That's me. And I don't know what that means. I am half tempted to volunteer for a study. DES was a synthetic estrogen. It makes you think twice about what you take now...especially when you're pregnant. Which I am not, after about a year of trying. Maybe it is a factor. Maybe it isn't. It could be the fibroids, DES, Nick, the UAE or nothing at all.

But say that it is DES, who am I going to be mad at? My mother, who is also a victim? No. My grandmother who took the drug? No. Her doctor that prescribed a popular drug 12 years after it was on the market? No. There are DES lawyers out there. Even now, 35 years after they stopped prescribing it, when I google DES, DES lawyers is one of the first to pop up. I can't really understand the value of that approach.

Guess we'll just wait and see (and continue talking with my doctor and researching the topic.) I often wonder, if this is my fate, what am I going to do with it? One thing that I know is that if it has happened to me, it is likely happening to someone else as well. My experience and knowledge may be helpful. I do know that my UAE experience changed the UAE conversation in this area a bit. Maybe my DES-granddaughter experience will as well.

Made up Bindings

Monday, August 14, 2006

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Work Day

Today is Saturday. And for the first time in weeks, it is beautiful. The last several Saturday have been stifling hot and the idea of working outside has resigned us both to wanting to sit in the A/C and watch TV. But, today feels more like the first warm weekend of spring. Everyone is out and working on the house. People are happy. The general conversation moves away from just, "It's hot." It's nice. And so today is a work day. (And yes, I am inside taking a break.) Nick however is outside putting steps on our front slope before mulching. Always the hard worker.

Since we live in a city row-house, our outside space is already limited. Given that we also live on a terrace, our space is a bit awkward at times. However, we've made the most of what we've got, and if I may say so myself, it is really starting to look good.

Earlier today, we worked on the back patio. Our first summer here, we put in some walls and a compost bin on our back hill. (The neighbor kids thought it was where we kept our killer rabbits.) We landscaped, and it was nice. This year, we've done nothing until today. We built another small bed and plan to plant some mums. (The garden guy at Home Depot swore they'd do fine in the shade.) The one thing that is really different this summer is the amount of spiders and webs. Other neighbors have noticed too. And these are really really ugly spiders.

Thanks to Real Simple magazine, I found a website ( to do some research. Although I didn't find an exact match, it seems like they're some kind of Orb Weaver. The website showed Golden Orb Weavers, and another unidentified brown one, but not the black and white version we have out back. However, the body seems to be about the same shape. I have found at least 4 of them with extensive webs on our miniscule patio.

Here are some pictures of the back and one of a spider and web. Don't know if you can make it out or not.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Raised Supports

The whole house smells like clean laundry. This morning I went to the laundromat and finally washed two rugs that have been waiting for the trip for the better part of a year (or more). After an hour in the super-dryers, I brought the damp rugs home and draped them across our furniture to dry in front of fans. It's nice to have items like this scratched from the to-do list. To reward myself (and pass the time), I allowed myself to get a fashion magazine. It's always nice to have an excuse.

So, this afternoon I continued to do what I've been doing for the last two weeks--books. I've attached two pictures of raised support bindings. Smith's book gave directions for working with a frame. But given my impatience with waiting for a frame, I let my fingers and waxed linen twist and knot in my attempts to get it started. Once underway, it was much easier...until I got to the adding covers part. My supports were too short and I'm unsure about the strength of the covers. Luckily, since I don't use a lot of the books I make-which is an issue in itself-it shouldn't be a problem.

The first (and somewhat finished) book was the struggle I mentioned above.

The second is still in progress. I'm not sure how I'm going to use my longer supports to create a stronger cover. But I will.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

New Bindings

On Monday I thought to myself, I must finish preparing all of these books for binding before my new Keith Smith book arrives. And as I folded my last piece of paper on the last book, the door bell rang. It was the mailman and he had my book. Perfect timing!

Here are pictures of the first four books I've made using new bindings that I learned from Smith's vol. III. Whenever I learn a new binding, I always do it by the book the first time and then do it at least once more immediately to solidify it in my mind. However, the second time, I often bind with variations from the original instructions.

These first two books are a simple 1-needle coptic variation 1. The one on the left was the first that I did and it alternates a kettle stitch and link stitch (I think). On the second, I changed the pattern and did not follow the every other method shown in the book.

This is the Greek Sewing. The book on the right was my first try. Smith indicated that it could only be done with a minimum of 20 sections. (Who needs a book that large???) After completing the first, I was unsure of how that was true and so I bound a 10 section book instead. I can understand how doing less than eight may not work, but otherwise, it seems pretty much the same to me.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Five years ago when I moved to Pittsburgh, I was not alone. Earlier in the year Brooke and Erin made the move and earlier in the week, Deb had too. While we had all gone to college together, I, for one, had lost track of them all until I found myself checking out Pittsburgh. However, we all found ourselves here for varying reasons and found the friendships to be the support we needed in our individual transitions. Every Tuesday evening Circle met.

Brooke was the first to move to Pittsburgh in January '01. She had been living in Maryland and after several lonely months decided to come to Pittsburgh to be closer to her boyfriend. She got a job at a tile company for the first year before changing jobs and working at a nursing home.

Erin came to Pittsburgh in February '01. Having no solid plans, she ran into Brooke who convinced her to also make a move to Pittsburgh as well. Both Erin and Brooke lived at the Spinning Plates. Erin participated in musicals, dance classes and my favorite, the show choir. She worked data entry for a while before scoring a job at the PPC.

Deb and I both moved here at the beginning of September '01. Deb lived with another friend and I believe moved in part because of her boyfriend as well. She worked at Pitt in a medical lab. I, too, moved here because of a boyfriend, but also in part because of running into Erin who was ready to break lease and have a roommate. After two months, I began working at MCG as a photo tech.

It's a bit crazy to look back at how far we've come. Brooke spent a year at MCG with me, and has since ventured on her own as a studio artist. She is incredibly talented, working in glass, painting, drawing, collage, large and small. Erin moved quickly up the ladder at PPC before making a change and going to work at the church instead. She is now working as Development Director at LMCC. Deb began medical school and took a year off after her third year. She and her husband moved to Africa where Deb worked in a hospital delivering 180 babies! I had five jobs in 4.25 years at MCG before leaving my position as Coordinator of School Day Programs. After several years of significant health issues, it was time to take a break nurturing myself instead of a career.

We are all married. The three of us who came in part for boyfriends have found them to also be wonderful husbands. Deb is seven months pregnant and beginning her final year of med school, having returned from Africa last week. We have yet to see what the future will bring as we consider new jobs, grad school, medical residency, families, dreams and more.

Over the years, and through our many transitions, the relationships have grown and changed over and over again. We've all found meaningful friendships outside the boundaries of Circle, and yet still consider the others to be an important part of our Pittsburgh community. Last night we were all together for the first time in a year. It was Deb's birthday, and somehow we were all miraculously together. Five years after we all arrived, our lives have found grounding and our networks have grown. While we do not often find a time and space to all be together, it always feels good when we do.

With out being specific, you all know that I love you dearly and that the base of your friendship was very significant to my start in Pittsburgh. As these changes happen and we find ourselves in transition that may move us farther apart, I hope we can remain close. Even when months go by, I feel that my spirit knows each of you and does not hesitate to connect again.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Frick Greenhouse

Monday, August 07, 2006

Nebby in the City

One of the stranger things about living in the city is how much you know about your neighbors just by living next door.

Since moving to a row house on a dead end street, I've really become aware (and sometimes self-conscious) of what my neighbors know that I will never tell them. Some examples are:
(1) How late you get home
(2) How often you leave town
(3) How often you go grocery shopping or shopping in general
(4) Who you invite to dinner--which neighbors you invite to dinner
(5) Who sleeps over
(6) If you have a fight with your spouse

There are many more things that are obvious to nearby neighbors. And since living here I've learned to argue differently, consider shopping less and many other little things that are wrapped up mostly in what the neighbors will think. (Sometimes this can be a good thing-like learning new ways to argue.)

Pittsburgh has a word for this. Nebby. I never heard this word before moving here and now it is part of the vocabulary. I don't even know if I spell it correctly. However, nebby means nosy and in the city, it is really hard to escape nebbiness, either as giver or receiver.

With all of that said...

This morning at 6am, an ambulance and fire truck arrived for our immediate neighbors. This has happened many times since we moved in three years ago. The oldest boy has severe seizures and every so often he is taken to the hospital. This morning I worried as I considered that he most likely woke up with a seizure and that it must have been loud enough for someone else to hear and wake up as well. (But not so loud that we could hear the commotion.)

Trying not to be a nebby neighbor, I abandoned my post and went to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, washed my face, got dressed. When they left, I was unsure if he had be taken along or not. But when they arrived again around 11am today, I knew he did not go to the hospital earlier this morning. He went the second time.

It's hard to know what to do. And I am sure that many of the Mennonites reading this are thinking, "you could take them a meal." And I could. But it is still hard to know what to do. This is something that this family has dealt with for years now. In July, he spent a week in the hospital having his meds readjusted and then monitored. Does this mean they are not working? Who knows. I just hope that he is okay.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Van Hurst Family Trio

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Mona Bella

Friday, August 04, 2006


Nick's parents are visiting this weekend from eastern PA. It is rare that they make it out for a visit between kids, mom-mom, and the family business. However, they are coming for three days this time. It should be a lot of fun.

Nick's Mom runs the gift shop where I sell some of my earrings. (Okay, the only place I sell my earrings.) Last time we were in town, I noticed that about half had sold, in just a few weeks, and so I thought I should make some more for her to take back with her.

I decided 12 pairs would be enough. (Also, if I did anymore than that I'd have to cut more of the small boards that each pair is displayed on.)

My dozen:

Exposed Bindings

For months-or possibly the entire last year-I had inside paper and covers cut for about 12 different books. And they sat. I really enjoy making books and love decorative papers, but had a hard time getting around to using the decorative papers to finish these books. This is the week.

I spent the first couple of days covering the books and inside pages and then began some binding a few days ago. All but two of the books were designed to have exposed bindings, and while I have learned several, I only remember one fully--the one-needle coptic stitch. So, I ordered a Keith Smith book: Volume III Non-Adhesive Binding: Exposed Spine Sewings. And then I improvised.

About three years ago, I did this:

The one thing I do remember is that it was a two-needle binding. And now I am unable to find the instructions anywhere, so I tried three different variations to see what would happen. None of them were sewn using two needles. I am so impatient.

Here are the made-up variations:

I'll share some of the better directed bindings once the book arrives and I have the opportunity to try them. In the meantime, I have a few more books to put together sans sewing, and a studio to clean.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

When it's this hot, the only thing I want to do (other than sit in A/C and read) is remember why I love the summer. The sun. The plants and flowers. The long days.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


In about two weeks, my Aunt Marilyn will be headed to Penland for a class. I just checked out a link of the teacher she'll be working with--Aimee Joyaux--and the work is exciting.

I can't wait to hear about her time there. And someday, I too will take a class at Penland.

(If someone can tell me how to link addresses in blogger, please drop me a comment!)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Blueberry Pickin'

During the first couple years of high school, I spent a decent amount of time in the summer visiting my friends Cindy and Sandy in North Carolina. We spent days walking the lane, swimming in the lake-neighbor's pool-or cousin's hot-tub, and mostly making up stories. I am not sure why, but for some reason, we LOVED using our wildest imagination to come up with stories of how our life would become--often more silly than prophetic. In fact, I believe we even had our one friends marrying a classmate that we all disliked, after he lost both arms.

One of our responsibilities was always to help pick vegetables and fruit from the garden for dinner. We always found a way to turn everything into a game. And on this particular day, we were sitting on the hillside picking blueberries. We stuck blueberries up our noses making one another laugh and one of the twins started yelling, "Ding Dong Hot Dog Becky!" every so often. This (unfortunately) stuck and was repeated at different times over the course of the summer. Eventually, it was shortened to "beckarecka ding dong" which finally made its way to just being "beckarecka". It became so common place, that even their cousins called me this. Which explains where the name of my blog originates.

I did not pick blue berries again until this past month, while visiting my cousins, not far from where Cindy and Sandy grew up. It was fun, but certainly not full of the same unabashed silliness and imagination of that summer years ago. However, here are a few pictures from my recent pickin' experience.