Sunday, December 31, 2023

The Weight of Emptiness

 Look closely...there is something there.  Just a weathered shell now, but once it was full.  Full of joy and life and, yes, at times sorrow but, nonetheless, full.
There was a time when no one could imagine that it would be abandoned and forgotten...empty.
 Forever empty. 

This strange and wretched year has left me numb and empty.
In the space of less than 13 months, I have known more death than I care to: My beloved Snowdog, my precious mother, an uncle, two aunts, a cousin, a friend, as well as my sister-in-law's brother and my sister's sister-in-law.  

And, a month ago, my husband of 35 years passed away.

Things had not been well with us for some time, but the circumstances of his passing were horrific and something I still cannot bring myself to speak of.

Each and every one of the passings took a piece of me...especially Mason's and my mother's.
But this one...this one cut me to the quick.

Perhaps it was the culmination of it all...perhaps it was the circumstances.
Or maybe it was what was left unsaid and undone...and what was said and done in equal measure.

In any event, I am not the person I was, nor are there enough pieces left to pick up to put me back together.

I cannot put into words the emptiness it left me with.  It was like a cold, dark, shroud enveloped me.

The utter nothingness is overwhelming and has challenged everything I have believed.  It is a different kind of grief.

I never knew that emptiness could weigh so heavily.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Lie Light

I've always had an affinity for tombstone angels (truthfully? ...tombstones of any sort) and the moment I saw this design I knew I had to stitch it.

It is called "Lie Light" from CozyEgg Designs, The Nocturne Collection.
What drew me to it was the fact that the verse is an adaptation of a poem that Mark Twain had engraved on his (favorite) daughter's (Susy Clemens') tombstone when she died in 1896. 
The original poem, by Robert Richardson, is entitled "Annette" and appeared in a book called Willow and Wattle published in 1893.

I stitched it on the called-for linen (40ct "Eastwick" by Needle & Flax which was gifted to me by a kind blogger friend...thank you Edgar!) with the called-for floss (Fisherman's Wharf by Gentle Arts.)

This is a photograph of Susy's gravestone:

In other news, a few of you have asked for updates on little Mia.  
I've forgotten to whom I've responded so will just update here.
She is doing well and seems to be thriving.
She was not feeling well on Halloween so her first Halloween outing to Gigi's house was canceled, but she made the cutest little bat despite not feeling well.

And because her hair cracks me up, here's another photo:

That's it folks... There's other news, but nothing fun so not talking about it...hoping that by not giving it breath it will go away.

Oh...and Cathy (Acorn Hollow Blogspot), this one's for you:
I see you your moose and raise you a lamb??  😂

Monday, October 30, 2023

All Hallow's Eve Eve

{"All Hallow's Eve" - design by Dulaney Woods Treasures}

Once again, it's been too long between posts.
My back and neck issues are generally managed (by oral medications and bi-weekly injections, physical therapy and chiropractic care) to a nagging, aching, level with only occasional bouts of stabbing debilitating pain.  In the past month or so, the state of pain has been inverted and the nagging, aching, level would be welcome.  At least I would get a few hours sleep from time to time.
Add to the pain and sleep deprivation a garage that has decided to start collapsing, and on-going stressors I prefer not to breathe life into by reducing to writing, I am struggling.

But, all that said, it's the eve before Halloween and I promised myself I would get a post done to wish those who have brought so much joy and comfort to my world a bewitching Halloween-tide.

I haven't much in the way of news...and my days are even more mundane than typical.

Each day starts the same...with my special "brew:"


And if I've managed to bake, a treat...

{Butter pecan scone with penuche glaze}

The colors in the above photo (taken less than a week ago) are long gone.
Last week we received more rain than I ever recall getting.  In one 36-hr period, we had over 6" and I've heard the totals for the week were somewhere around 11-12."  This, of course, did not help my roof situation. 
Now, it's turned cold.  
It has snowed once, but did not stick.  Tomorrow, however, we are to get several inches...of the staying variety.  My gardens have not been cleaned but there's not much to do for it now.

Stitching has all but slowed to a halt, but I am trying to keep up with the weekly "assignments" for the Grace Bridges stitch-along.

{"Grace Bridges Sampler" by Stacy Nash}

It is a quirky piece: duplicated letters, missing letters, spacing with no rhyme or reason.  Despite my love of "wonky," I seriously battled my OCD in the second and third alphabets and my OCD mostly won out with many corrections. (It's technically not a reproduction so I felt at liberty to make changes.)
The upside: I know my math skills are not completely dormant.
The downside: It is very time-consuming and makes spacing in subsequent lines difficult.
So, I tucked my OCD neatly (very neatly) back in its box and am trying to embrace the quirkiness of little Grace...who I am convinced was a wild child more enamored of roaming the meadows searching for wildflowers and toads than learning her stitches.

And, yes, I continue to read. This is the book I just finished:

Most of you know my affinity to research regarding the Salem witch trials of 1692.  I have a complete library dedicated to books - both fiction and nonfiction - on the subject.  This, however, is one of the most readable sources I've come across.  Yes, there are footnotes (but not too many) and tons of endnotes/sourcenotes in the bibliography, but it still reads almost like a novel.

That's about it.
One would think that, after so many weeks of silence, I'd have something more to write about.
One would think.

Anyways, wishing you all a magical night of bewitchment ahead.

Sunday, October 8, 2023

Stitches and Shadows

Wherever there is light, look for the shadow.
The shadow is me.  Anais Nin

The days have grown short here in Nod, and darkness and dreariness accompany them.  They are like those people who cast shadows even though there is no sun.

The sky is as moody as I am, and my bones are slow to let go of the chill that settles in them.  I try to commit the glorious colors and earthy smells to memory for another year but the winds and rains are so very quick to dull and mute them just as time is quick these days to dull and mute my memories.

Another month, and another death - that makes 8 in less than a year, including my beloved mum and Snowdog.  I am running out of people to lose.

My thoughts and attentions have once again turned inward, and I bury myself in books and handwork.  My hooking mojo is still on an extended walkabout, but I continue to manage to put a few stitches in.
My latest finish is "Shadows in the Night," a design by Theresa Meloon of Dulaney Woods Treasure. 

{Stitched on 36ct "Straw" linen from Weeks Dye Works, 1 over 2, with some limited 1 over 1.}

{Left side motif}

{Right side motif}

The poor lighting made for poor photos again today - the linen color is much "richer," than than it is showing. The little pumpkin on top is make of velvet.

After taking the photos yesterday, I really noticed how wonky the "X's" on the top of the drum were.  I ripped them out today and redid them. They're much better, but the light has gone and I am not re-doing the photos.  You'll have to take my word for it.

Speaking of fading light, it's time I get back to my stitches...and shadows.


Wishing all my Canadian friends a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Olde Witche Mary

{ is washed out a's been very dreary here these last several days.}

This pattern has been in my "gotta-stitch" stash for many years now.  I finally pulled it out and stitched it...and even managed to fully finish it.

The design is called "Olde Witche Mary" by Lori Breclin of Notforgotten Farm.  It is stitched on 40 ct "Legacy" by Picture this Plus with Gentle Arts "Raven" floss.

The pattern, of course, brought to mind my grandmother (7x removed) who was hanged as a witch in Salem 331 years and 3 days ago, Mary Eastey (also spelled "Esty" or "Easty").

After I finished stitching it, however, I thought of a variation to the verse that would have been more fitting for her, but it was too late to turn back.

The past 3 days the skies have opened and released all the rain it withheld from us the entire summer. We had over 3" in a day and a half and it is continuing just as heavily today.
Even our parched clay soil cannot absorb it all.

In between the deluges, though, the magic of autumn shines through.

~Happy Autumn~

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Salem Hill and a Gift from Blighty

September greetings...

Somehow the days are whirling past me as quickly, and as without purpose, as the autumn leaves.

It seems as though this entire past year has been out of focus.
Little gets accomplished...I start one thing, get distracted by another, find my way back to where I thought I was only to have forgotten my original intention.

My plan to fully finish some of the things I had finished stitching or hooking before starting new projects went the way of the scattering leaves.
But I did manage one finish: "Salem Hill Sampler" by The Scarlett Letter. 

My talented sister-in-law finished into this beautiful trinket box.

I stitched this last year on 40 count "Salem" linen by Fiberlicious Yummy Fibers, 1 over 2 (some limited 1 over 1) with the called-for overdyed floss and some (unintentional) color changes in the pumpkins.

{It looks a bit wonky in these photos, but that is due to the wonky skills of the photographer - it is actually straight as it should be.}

The only other bright spot in my mostly otherwise dull days was the arrival of a wonderful gift from a dear blog buddy (Jean from Shrimpton and Perfect) from across the great pond in England - a/k/a "Blighty."

It arrived wrapped so charmingly, and with the most beautiful card. I had to pause and savor the fact that it had traveled so many miles.

And nothing could be dearer to my soul than an old book.

"Silas Marner" by George Eliot (the pen name of the Victorian era author, Mary Ann Evans).
This is a treasure to me.  I have just started it and I am already smitten. I feel like I have dropped into a different time, in a country I don't know but which is instantly, uncannily, and eerily familiar to me.
Thank you my friend. You know me well even though we will likely never ever meet.

I do believe that joy finds us when we most need it.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

In Retrograde


It really does explain quite a bit.  If you are not familiar with it, retrograde is the apparent motion of a planet in a direction opposite to that of other bodies in its system.  In other words, it appears that a planet is moving backwards from our view here on earth.

Although retrograde is actually only an optical illusion, many believe the effects when it occurs are not unlike the behavioral changes caused by the changes in the gravitational pull during full moons.  
For example, some claim that, during periods of retrograde, it is easier to become unfocused and irritable, more likely to misunderstand or have conflicts, and even to cause anxiety and depression.  It has also been known to cause glitches in technology and communication.

Useless point of trivia: Between now and the end of September, 7 different planets will be in retrograde at the same time.  😳  In my book, that's like having 7 full moons in a month...but not nearly as enchanting.
Anyways, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.


Since my last post, I have settled back into my hermitage.
Summer has slipped through my fingers like the white sand on a beach.
I heard on the weather today that today will be 2 minutes and 56 seconds shorter than yesterday, and tomorrow will be 2 minutes and 57 seconds shorter than today.  So, in two days, we will have essentially lost 6 minutes of daylight.

Rather than blather on about more useless info, I will share photos of what is left of summer here in Nod. 

{Morning Glories}

{Four of my five varieties of Hibiscus are blooming...still waiting on the reds as they are always the last.}

And while Summer revels in her last hurrah, Autumn is quietly slipping in.

The bittersweet berries are turning:

Critters are stockpiling and fattening up:

...and the trees are turning and losing their leaves.

 When has the onset of my favorite season become so bittersweet?
Must be the retrograde, eh?