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November 29, 2010

Birthday Girl

Louisa May Alcott
Favorite author, Louisa May Alcott's 
birthday. Born 178 years ago in Germantown, 
PA. Not far from center city Philadelphia.

My well worn copy of Little Women
I still read Little Women, sometimes from start
to finish, other times certain chapters.
Always totally identified with Jo March, 
although I am the oldest in my family and Jo 
is the next oldest. Awkward, passionate, dramatic,
creative and brave. Always getting into scrapes as she
forges ahead. Far from perfect, but so sincere in her efforts.
Thought everyone who read the book identified with Jo.
My English friend, Rosalind and I were discussing the 
book over a cuppa and slice of one of her excellent cakes in 
her suburban London home, one day.
Meg and John Brooke, illustration by Louis Jambor, 

Little Women, Grosset and Dunlap 
It surprised me to learn that Ros identified with Meg, 
the eldest. Soon realized that she really WAS very Meg. 
A nurse, a woman who practices her strong faith every 
day in her dealings with everyone she meets. Mother 
of two, now grandmother of three, married to Rob, 
one of the nicest guys ever, very John Brooke!

My friend Rosalind
(Some day I'll tell the story of meeting Rob for the first time.)
Ros is my reward for having stopped smoking over 
30 years ago. Returning from a London trip with a couple of 
friends sitting back in smoking section, me alone up front.
Just before the plane door closed, a tall handsome woman 
strode in and sat next to me (in non-smoking) in the aisle 
bulk head seat. 
Exchanged "hellos" and haven't stopped chatting since. 
That was 32 or so years ago. 
A medical nurse, Ros introduced me, at first highly skeptical, 
to Homeopathy as well. Soothing aches and pains and 
"airplane flu" with remedies from her Homeopathic cabinet 
when hot tea alone didn't work. Lovely expeditions to Liberty's,
Canterbury, Seven Oaks and Bath. Would never have known
about Katharine Swynford and John of Gaunt without Ros.
A big sister I never had. Meg to my Jo for all these years.

November 24, 2010

What's The Natter?

No idea what this Squirrel was on about.
Nattering loudly as I passed by late last 
Saturday afternoon.

Nattering Gray Squirrel in Washington Square 
Park November 20, 2010

(click on image to enlarge)

November 22, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Story of the Pilgrims (New Edition), Katharine Ross, 
ill. Carolyn Croll, Random House 2010

November 21, 2010

Remembering Jane

This week Jane Flory Friedman, 
my old friend and mentor has been 
gone five years,


Wall Hanging, Jane Flory Friedman, 1999
For the 40+ years that we were 
friends, along with raising a family, 
caring for a disabled husband, 
running the Evening Division at 
what is now the University of the Arts 
and writing and illustrating her books, 
Jane was working on needlepoint or 
pieced and appliqued quilts. Rugs, 
wall hangings, large bed quilts, quilted 
throws and my special favorites, doll house 
size quilts and rugs. Here are just two 
examples of her many colorful joyous pieces.
Doll house size bed quilt, 4"X4", Jane Flory Friedman

More to come in future

CATching Up With The Times

What is Tizzy reading? Click on image to enlarge.

November 16, 2010

A Really Good Yarn.

Erika Flory's, Calypso Hat

(click on images to enlarge)

My friend Erika Flory is a knitting virtuoso.
She knits for pleasure. As for business she is 
Knitwear Designer for her own KidKnits© label 
for over 20+ years of the 45+ years she has 
been knitting.

Erika is also the youngest daughter of my old
dear friend and mentor, Jane Flory.
(see my 11/25/2008 post) 

Erika Flory wearing her own Sunset stole
What began as a hobby grew into a business.
Starting with her hand knit sweaters and hats
for babies and toddlers which Erika sold at
crafts shows, KidKnits© has grown to include
its own website where
kits and patterns of Erika's marvelous designs
are available.

Yellow Cardigan, KidKnits

Baby Kimono, KidKnits

Sweet toddler dress

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, these small socks

For knitters on your holiday lists consider Erika Flory's books, 
Head To Toe Knits with 23 designs to knit for babies. Or maybe 
A Baker's Dozen, a collection of that number of lovely hats for babies.
And now Erika Flory's gorgeous knitwear is available 
at KidKnits as patterns and kits. Took me hours to 
choose several samples to post here, they are so
Shrug, KidKnits

Bec's BBQ, KidKnits

Along with running her business and with her Architect 
husband, Michael Hauptman, taking care of her family
Erika leads a group of volunteers teaching knitting and
crochet to the blind and vision impaired.

You an learn more about Erika Flory and her beautiful
work at:
(type kidknits in the search box)
And her blog:

November 8, 2010

Claw And Bawl Feet

Phone rings.
Startled cat levitates.
Leaps away.
Engraving traction marks
across my abdomen.
Claw trimming time.
Round up cats.
First Freddie. 
Wriggling and strong.
Clip, clip. 
One fine stiletto at time.
Wining and twisting.
Ten toes forward, eight aft.
Springs forward. 
Landing inches away.
Purposefully grooming offended paws.
Careless Tizzy standing next to me. 
Transfixed by Fred's ordeal. 

=^,,^=  =^,,^=

November 2, 2010

Joyeaux Anniversaire, Marie Antoinette at 255

(click on images to enlarge)

                           My illustration of Marie Antoinette from 
                           REDOUTE, The Man Who Painted Flowers
November 2, 1775 Empress Maria
Teresa, wife of Emperor Francis I
of Austria gave birth to her last 
baby. A little princess named Maria
Antonia Josepha Joanna.
At 14 the girl married the heir to
the King of France. The French
called her Marie Antoinette.
Her husband became King Louis 
XVI five years later. 
Queen Marie Antoinette was not
yet 20.
         Queen Marie Antoinette, by Elisabeth Vigee LeBrun
Beginning the illustrations
for my picture book, REDOUTÈ, 
The Man Who Painted Flowers.
I needed to know among other things 
what Redoutè and the people in his life 
looked like. What they wore. What the
objects they used and their surroundings
looked like.
( see more on this in my April 23, 2010
and June 23, 2010 posts)
                              Elisabeth Vigee LeBrun, self portrait
I was helped greatly by the beautiful
portraits of Elisabeth Vigee LeBrun.
Marie Antoinette's favorite portrait
The Queen and her Painter were the
the same age. They shared interests in
their children and pretty clothes among
other things.
I imagine them gossiping and laughing.
The Queen trying to sit still while the
Artist painted.
Marie Antoinette and her children, by Elisabeth Vigee LeBrun
Madame LeBrun painted her younger 
brother an artist as well. In his coat 
and tricorn hat. Leather bag strap 
across his chest. Long hair tied back 
with a soft curl over his ear. Carrying 
artist's tools and his portfolio. The 
Redoutè brothers would have dressed
the same.
Elisabeth Vigee LeBrun's brother, by E. V. LeBrun
I traveled to Belgium, France and England
wanting to see for myself the places Pierre
Joseph Redoutè knew. Some sites no longer
exist, like the Temple Prison, where the
Royal Family were jailed.
detail from an engraving of Paris, France, by Kaspar Merian
Serendipitously, in a left bank 
bookstall in Paris, a book of prints of old
Paris. Included, a detail of the ancient
One night, revolutionary guards brought 
Redoutè to the prison. Ordered to bring his
paints, he was terrified.
There was the Queen, asking him to paint a 
special cactus (Night Blooming Cereus) in
her cell, that bloomed just one night. 
Why her jailers permitted her request, 
no one knows.
But it was the last time Pierre Joseph Redoutè
saw the doomed Queen.

Though so closely associated with the Queen, 
each artist managed to survive the Terror. 
Redoutè because people knew his head was
full of flowers not politics. 
Madame Vigee LeBrun and her daughter escaped
to Italy, Austria and Russia. She continued to
paint exquisite portraits of nobles and aristocrats,
including the Grand Daughters of Catharine the 
Great. (The old Empress died before she could sit
for her Vigee LeBrun portrait).
But that's another story.

If you would like to read more, I strongly recommend
Elisabeth Vigee LeBrun's autobiography,

Elisabeth-Louise Vigee-Lebrun and Lionel Strachey
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