About Rio

I am a painter, sculptor, dishwasher, caregiver, cancer survivor, clown, quilter and bike rider! Oh and now a nannygranny! I was also a Zen Student, for many years, but now I just sit zazen once daily and I try to write.

Sometimes I make dice bags for friends

I really liked this one. You can’t see how soft the faux suede is but it is. I know it will be lucky for Amanda’s dice and inspire lots of “natural 20’s” while gaming.

Look at me talking all D&D!  *is happy*

The Twins Weren’t Born Yesterday!

But I have almost finished the quilt! I had a few good excuses for why I haven’t finished it. The most recent was that I didn’t buy enough bias tape and then we had the biggest storm in fifty years with streets flooded etc. AND then I couldn’t find my transit pass. Anyway, the twins are here, drastically impacting the family dynamic but really, nothing like trying to finish a quilt right?

I can’t remember where I got the idea for this. My brain is flooded with pictures on a continuous basis as I now follow so many people on Instagram so that it is almost like a sort of possession. Am I being creative or just channeling visions from the ether?

I think it will make a good checkers board when they get older…


I used a lot of material from Sandy’s stash. Sandy, the other grandma died last Xmas of breast cancer, but I there is a little bit of her in this. I certainly have thought of her often while making it.20190717_163433

What Quilting Means

My daughter saw the checker board pattern and said, “You know you could have just bought a fabric with this pattern instead of sewing all these tiny squares!”

Well that wouldn’t use up all these left over bits of black and white would it? Plus I am feeling the financial pinch this year and fabric stores are dangerous places for me!

It might also be a bit of the Swedish Death Cleaning mind-set that has me trying to use what I have. My friend, my only friend who shared my love of making quilts died this year and now her children are giving me all her bits and pieces: fabric and magazines and books about quilting. The random and unexpected illness that took her so quickly is still a shock. It reminds me to clean up all my junk. But I can use some of her fabric in this baby quilt which will go to the twin grandbabies she will never get to meet, so it feels like a kind of closing of a circle.

Without getting too boring or pedantic, I want to say that what I love about quilts is thinking about the anonymity of all those who have thread their lives, industry, and economy into their art. I love imagining the stories they shared, heads bowed over needle, the hopes and secrets, surviving in the fibers, if we can only listen.

No quilt can be reproduced, not really, because it has time sewn into it.

There is an obsession with permanence and naming things that comes with Empires, stamping coins and art and contracts, (all with men’s names, never with the names of women or slaves which sometimes women were by law). But we never run out of the proof that there was always art that was made to gladden the heart, to ease the pain, to connect with hopeful birth and to commemorate loss.

And in a way these proofs that artists were there survive better than the art that is dependant on Dynasties or Holy Empires, because they borrow from each generation, each carefully cherished item and thread a different history, one that includes women and slaves and reaches out to a future undaunted by circumstance, for joy. 

Because Empires fall and art becomes fatuous.

But quilts become stories.

This Holiday Season was Brutal!

Seriously Clowning Around

Some years I manage all sorts of crafty things for decorations and gifts. This year I had hoped to finish one little dress for one little granddaughter but illness, loss and general malaise knocked the stuffing out of me.

Nothing lasts forever, not even illness so thanks to the wonderful anti-biotics that addressed a bronchial infection and the joy of spending time with children and poetry lovers and artists I have rallied and finished the wee dress.  The good news is she is getting longer, not wider so this will fit her for a while!

mjdress The fabric is linen and the pattern was Burda 9772

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