Woods Hole: porches

I live on Cape Cod, near the village of Woods Hole, where I grew up. With several scientific institutions clustered on a tiny peninsula, Woods Hole is much more than a tourist town or the gateway to Martha’s Vineyard. My biologist grandfather began coming here about 100 years ago to set up a summer laboratory. Later, my father stayed to work in oceanographic research and our family lived in the village year round.

Lately, I’ve been riding my bicycle around the familiar streets, taking pictures of sights I find interesting and memorable, like this series of porches.

School St.

Middle St.

Quissett Ave.

Woods Hole Yacht Club, Bar Neck Rd.

Pocketful of Borders: Pussy Cat, where have you been?

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be showing pictures I took this past summer. They will show the process of adding borders to the original illustrations from my book Pocketful of Posies. All of the originals are currently on display in Falmouth, Mass. until Oct. 31st, 2010 and then they’ll move to the Boston area for the rest of the year. See the traveling exhibit schedule with future locations on this page. All are welcome to my guided tour of the artwork at Highfield Hall in Falmouth on Tuesday, Oct. 12th at 10:30 am. This is the illustration for the rhyme Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?  The original was made at 90%, so it was enlarged just a little for the book. I don’t know why, but some characters and designs are easier for me to make on a smaller scale. Since I’m aiming for the work to be reproduced, it can be blown up to the necessary size, as long as the proportions are correct. I picked out an orange upholstery fabric for the back ground and some lavender felt for the border. I then blanket stitched around the border pieces with variegated pima cotton. The bottom corners were chain stitched with the date and my initials, while the top corners had doodles. The corners need warming up, so I outlined the edge with some golden wool crewel yarn. I added some loopy chain stitching to the side pieces… and sewed it all together. To see a closeup of the cat, see this post. To see other posts in the Pocketful of Borders series, click here.

Doll Collection: small wooden folk dolls

This set of standing wooden folk dolls are a mystery to me. I found them in a box of other miscellaneous stuff, while cleaning out my parents’ house. They are small, about 2″ tall and would make fun cake decorations. Helen, a fellow blogger (here) who knows a lot about souvenir dolls, thinks they may be Hungarian or Polish because of the red boots and dark hair.

Since Helen pointed out the red boots, I’ve been flooded with memories of seeing Hungarian dance performances as a child. Besides wearing eye-catching red boots, the dancers’ costumes had full puffy petticoats under their skirts. I also remember seeing the women’s long braids flying out as they twirled. My parents were avid international folk dancers and would bring us to watch and participate in folk dance events. I don’t remember seeing these dolls as a child, but their red boots triggered a memory.

Eight Cousins bookstore & more wee folk centerpiece

Carol Chittenden from Eight Cousins bookstore asked me to come in and sign another box of books. She sold out of the copies of Pocketful of Posies I signed last week, so I was more than happy to sign some more. To order autographed copies call Eight Cousins at (508) 548-5548. Judy Richardson and I went by this morning after our dance aerobics class at the Rec center. 19 years ago, Judy and I celebrated the publication of  our book, The Way Home. Read about the making of our book on earlier posts starting here. We gathered in the back room at Eight Cousins.  

Carol Chittenden, Judy Richardson and Salley

 I signed a book for Judy’s relatives, a family with a boy and twin girls.


Out front, my book was in good company, next to a card board display of David Wiesner’s new book, Art and Max. David and I were both illustration majors at RISD, class of ’78. He was quiet and serious, but had a bold, determined side. I remember a mural he painted on the wall in the house he shared with some friends of mine. It was a huge copy of one of Henri Rouseau’s fantasy jungle scenes. I saw David at a RISD reunion a few years ago and was happy to see that he was still as kind and friendly as he’s used to be.  

In the recent post about my book release party at Highfield Hall (see here), I said that I hadn’t taken any pictures of the wee folk centerpiece. Well, Carol from Eight Cousins was thinking clearly enough to take some, so here are her photos of the me setting up refreshments in the dining room. 


Bike path: Pokeweed

This time of year, pokeweed are all along the bike path calling out for attention with their bright pink stems and deep purple berries. They are like 60’s fashion models in lime green dresses and hot pink tights, with bead jewelry to match.

Indians used the pokeweed berry juices for staining feathers, arrowshafts and garments. The plant’s roots and berries are regarded as poisonous when eaten by humans, but Indians and early American settlers used the root in poultices and remedies for skin diseases and rheumatism.