Lizards in the Leaves

Rustlings in the green....imagination, art, whimsy

Feb 28, 2009

RiverWools Winter Freeform Retreat Day

Finally, I'm getting around to posting a few pictures and words about the day. This took place on Saturday, Feb. 7. I took a few pictures beforehand, but was too nervous and busy with leading the workshop that I didn't take any during the event.

We had three tables set up for the sixteen adventurous participants, with goodie bags, a folder full of handouts and a special button I made for the day.

This is where I stood to teach. I brought in scrumbles, works-in-progress and some completed items to display.
I presented a Scrumbling 101 lesson, a lesson in the bullion stitch, and to end the day, we switched over to knitting random lace. The participants were primarily knitters and I think they were quite ready to pick up two needles by that time!
Here's Martha, owner of RiverWools, who I thank for believing I really could lead the workshop and giving me this wonderful opportunity. It was a lot of preparation work, but now I have the work done so I can teach future classes in these areas. I'm excited about that, it's a step or two out of my comfort zone and I think it's good for a person to take some of those steps every so often!

I learned a lot from doing this workshop, both during the preparation time and from the day itself. I think everyone had fun and learned some new techniques, or felt inspired. I know that I would do a few things differently and I wish that I had been able to spend more one-on-one time with people, but all-in-all I feel pretty good about how the day went.

In addition to the crochet and knitting, we had Stephanie throughout the day. Stephanie is a massage therapist who set up a chair massage area and brought each person back for a mini-massage. She also focused on the particular physical stresses that handwork can have on our bodies and gave tips on mitigating them. Our favorite:
"Knit for only 20 minutes at a time. Haha." (Yes, she said the Haha.)

"Freeform is a State of Mind" button.
I also made bullion rounds for everyone, so each person could have a sample of each of the two types. What, you didn't know there are two types? I didn't either. Until I started to try to figure out how best to teach the bullion stitch. Then, well, I became a wee bit detail-oriented and obsessive and decided that there are actually four variants. And that will be the subject of another post. Really.

Random Photo No. 2 (From the Mixed Up Files of Ms. Zann C. Carter)

I am not entirely sure, but am pretty sure that this is a photograph of my maternal great grandmother, Ella Harper Harbeson Peaslee, who died in 1905. The question is what is that fuzzy, furry thing on the bench beside her???

The interesting thing is that I was able to make this image from a negative I found in the Family Papers. There are many, many negatives and no prints of them.

I thought I'd have to buy a special scanner, but I didn't. I put the negative on a small light box, which cost me around $15, and photographed it with my digital camera. Here's one of my mother (the little one on the right) and her two sisters, Hootie (Suzanne) and Nell, circa 1925:

In Photoshop, there's this nifty image adjustment called "Invert" et voila!
It is a wonderfully magical process - it's like the negative is a secret that only hints at faces and details, and one magic word - Invert! - reveals them.

I'm looking forward to getting back to work on the Family Papers.

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Feb 15, 2009

Ahh, first complete poem of 2009

Today My Heart Leaped

from my chest
and raced

grabbing things

saying Mine Be Mine

it grabbed the cracks
in the street
where grass grows
in spring

and makes

i always try to read.

it grabbed
gray sky

one snowflake

a gum wrapper

and the small bird
in the leafless tree

and much

and when my heart

it was so full
i thought
it could never fit

in me.
it did.

it did.

--St. Valentine’s Day, 2009

Sarah Long Reading, Poetry at the Grounds, December 2008
On the subject of poetry, next week will be our Third Thursday Poetry at the Grounds, a monthly open poetry reading organized by Sarah Long and me. It's been a labor of love and has been amazingly rewarding - we have had readers sign up in advance and standing room only crowds and young and old, men and women, and some fine wordsmithing in a nice atmosphere of support. What more could a fledging reading series want?

We canceled in January due to my being a total weather wuss (hey, this Florida gal has LIMITS and they begin as soon as temperatures are prefixed with a minus sign. Okay, that's a lie - they begin when the temps are in the single digits. Farenheit.)

RANDOM PHOTO No. 1 (From the Mixed-Up Files of Ms. Zann C. Carter)

With this post, I'm going to start a habit of posting (at random) photos of which I have an abundance - ones that I took thinking I'd use them for a blog post, but never got around to it.

This is a small full-spectrum light by Verilux, sitting to my right in my work area. Amazon was having a great discount on them in the fall (oh, and it looks like they are offering $25 off until 02/28 here or two for the regular price of one here) and I've always wanted to try one so I ordered.

I don't get full-blown SAD, but when we have an inordinate number of consecutive gray days, I get sort of gray myself, feeling sort of damp and chilled in an inner space. I've been using it for 30 minutes or so first thing in the morning when I check email or write. I don't even put it on the brightest setting. And I do think it is quite helpful in keeping the grays from permeating my spirit as they used to.

Namaste and a happy birthday shout-out to my son Shaun, who missed being a Valentine baby by 11 hours and 27 minutes.

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Feb 14, 2009

My Broken Heart (Mended)

My Broken Heart (Mended), 2009
Wool roving, wool yarn, hand-dyed, crocheted, needlefelted, 5"

My Broken Heart (Mended), verso

This is one of the pieces I worked on this week. As I worked, it seemed to me that one side was for Patrick and one side for my mother. It was very healing to create this, to be holding the idea that I was making a visual representation of my hurt heart, and my healing journey.

A year ago today, Valentine's Day, my mother died.
I awoke this morning in the dark and felt wide-awake, thinking of Mom. I looked at the clock. It said 6:45. That was about the time she died. At 6:55, I was called by the nurse who said she had just died, and that she had been with my mother, had heard her last heartbeat.

The note below has been by my phone for at least two years now. I put it there to remind me how I wanted to act and be when my mother called. Dementia often made phone conversations and visits turn into horrible interactions that left me feeling small, frustrated and ashamed. This note helped me to prevent that many times. I haven't been able to bear to remove it, but I think that today might be an appropriate day to let it go...

Love. Love. Love.


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Feb 6, 2009

Freeform Retreat Tomorrow

My worktable, looking fairly neat.
I've been working hard there to create materials and interesting things to present at my very first workshop in freeform - scrumbles and scrumble pins and scrumble cuffs. Everything's done and all set up out at the retreat site, the Red Barn at Sycamore Farm, and I'm unwinding this evening.

Here's one of the cuffs I made, from a scrumble I did ages ago in Ty Dy cotton by Knit One, Crochet Two. There's a little bit of knitting (seed stitch) in with the crochet.

I really like the way the closure came out - two different sizes of pink plastic buttons, placed on different ends, so the cuff edges do this graceful curving together, echoed in the bullion half-circle.
This cuff feels very nice, too - soft!

Well, I'm off to have some tea and think about some of the things I'm going to say tomorrow. I hope I can help make it a wonderful retreat day for the 16 women who've signed up. My friend and massage therapist Stephanie (remember when she was my appendix doula??) will be talking about things knitters need to do stay well and mitigate repetitive stress and other health problems crafty people are prone to have. Best of all, she will be giving mini-massage sessions throughout the day.

wish me luck!!

Feb 5, 2009

Mom's Birthday Today

Today would have been Mom's 86th birthday...(this is indeed a tough time of year. Patrick's birthday, Mom's birthday a few days after...and Valentine's Day will be the first anniversary of her death, then March brings Patrick's death day. Difficult, and filled with memories and love, too.)

Today, just a little bit ago, I was looking in a box of pictures I've looked at dozens of times, looking for a picture of Molly I wanted. And there tucked in the back, I found pictures of Mom in 1994 that I forgot I had.

Mom in 1994. I had moved up here 3 years before and she was living alone in Miami. In another post, I wrote a bit about the ageism Mom experienced sometimes and in 1994, alone, she was really coming up against what elder women often experience, especially women of her generation. Her experience was of being overlooked, ignored, or the object of impatience when she was noticed. Heavy sighs in lines as she fumbled with change or writing a check, even direct rudeness because she wasn't fast enough or young and pretty enough to have her foibles tolerated.

I told Mom she ought to look up some of my friends - women friends who met at the full moon every month and honored older women. Well, my mother was nothing if not adventurous and game for new experience. She did get in touch with them and wound up getting croned - a wonderful time of having her wisdom and age treated with respect and valued.

I love this picture: (Mom's in the red blouse...)

Bright blessings to your dear soul today, Momma.
Always your daughter, your Susie-Q.

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Feb 2, 2009

4th Annual Brigid in the Blogosphere Poetry Slam

fire, Zann Carter


Dead Women

to brush
their hair.

They use our combs,
careful not to break
the teeth.

They borrow our brushes,
leaving a trace of hair
in the bristles.

They enter our beds
to feel the warmth of a man
they have almost forgotten,

but not forgotten.
They try on our gloves and soft

They try on our nightgowns
and turn slowly
in front of the mirror.

In the morning we wake,
smooth out the gowns and scarves
in the drawer, sit in front

of the mirror.
We raise our brush or comb to our heads,
stop, notice the hair,



There was a contest
for the best picture of a peach

in China.

Madame Ling
or was it Ching
sat in some yellow


carefully, again
she sat
a piece of white



For more poems posted today, check links in the comments of the original invitation at Branches Up, Roots Down blog, and in the comments of her own poetry post today. And maybe google Brigid poetry....

For a wonderful post about Brigid and this day, check out Hecate's post from yesterday. Oh, and her poem for today is swell, too.

Bright blessings,

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