Friday, January 30, 2009

Looking Down

  • The garden Gate of the Baggaraggs enclosed a Kitchen garden in summer, that any cook would have relished. Now in the time between Autumn and Winter, there were the remains of some hardy Vegetables and herbs. The hands of the Tansy leaves curled under as if crippled with arthritus while their blooms rose straight and true, ochre in the brown landscape. The dill was gone to seed, as was the last of the lettuces, but the cabbages were as yet uncut and remained upon their stems like giant green bowling balls. There was also the Kohlrabi, yet to be harvested, sphere-like , their leaves shot up from what looked like alien space ships that had spouted from the fertile soil. Ahead was a gate, made by Grace herself, fashioned from oak branches, and bound together with heavy twine.
    Above the gate rose a homemade arbor of oak branches covered with the with the dried remains of the morning glories, wrapped as tightly as the twine that Grace had used on the gate. It was a somber scene, and would with any likelihood, be covered in snow in the coming weeks.

    Grace bent and plucked a leaf from a cabbage and placed it epaulet style on her shoulder for Maybell. She paused at the Garden gate and spoke to Tisdale the Snail who was on duty, as guard.

    "Tisdale, you and your kind folk may need to flee. I don't know what is coming. There may be an attack here of some sort, some Pie-rats headed up from the Loch. Let the others know that they need to seek shelter. I will not have anyone at risk. Go now and warn the others. Get your Family to safety. Without waiting for his reply and as it is known that snails are somewhat slow to do anything, she stepped out onto the lawn, with Maybell seated on her collar, nibbling furiously at her cabbage leaf, and Her Faithful Murray at her side.

    Grace headed through the yard towards the cedars, and looking back she saw the smoke rising in a curl from the chimney, its smell a comfort to her, as she entered the woods. It was late in the afternoon, and the darkness would come early. She would have to hurry.

    Her mind was full of questions about what do to, and how to protect her Home from a bunch of Rats. Wondering about the possibility of any real threat.

    Murray spoke, his voice a rumble, "These Pie-rats, how many of them are many rats can there be to have sailed up this Loch to our Home, Maybell?" His giant paws crunched through the leafy debris that had been the fall. He turned his massive head to look at her with eyes that were deeply brown, and intelligent. He thought about what was to come, and was on his guard. Sniffing the ground periodically for rodent smells. There were none.

    He was ready for a fight, and dared anything, any creature to harm a graying hair on the head of Grace Tenderstitch.

Maybell stopped chewing, and with her mouth full of cabbage said, "I don't know exactly, I think maybe a hundred? Windslow counted many rafts."

Grace considered this as she walked through the woods. The trees were naked mostly. Here and there a scarlet leaf hung on defiantly to the tip of a branch. All was quiet except the sounds of their footsteps crunching along. Grace remembered again what her Mother had told her growing up,"Watch your feet, watch where you put your feet, mind you don't step on a snake." So it was with this old habit that Grace always walked through the woods, being mindful of where she placed her feet, watching for the Puff Adder, watching for the Copperhead. Even though at this time of the year, they were away, sleeping in their dens. And it was this way that they made their way through the woods, looking down at their feet, to the crest that overlooked the Loch. There are times when a person should pause to look up, to see the sky, to see the fingers of the trees above as they scratched the belly of the lazy wind, and to see the Pie-rats as they traversed the canopy of naked branches far above their heads, back to the the Baggaraggs.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


OK. First time for me to offer a drawing for my little Valentines Day Snail. Her name is Fancy. If you want in post your Name on the comments and I will compile all the names on February 8th for the BIG DRAWING. I will notify you via whatever Link you leave me, and mail it to you in time for Valentines Day. EXCITING...I HOPE YOU LIKE HER.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

This is Tisdale the Snail. I like his Philosophy: move slowly, leave a trail, and eat the green things available to you on the way. He will soon be available for sale on my Christmas shop.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Grace Tenderstitch looked through her spectacles at the Tiny mouse before her, who was shouting loudly. She nursed her thumb and between her lips came muffled "Yes, I can hear you clearly...I am not deaf, so stop your shouting."

Maybell sat down abruptly. Removed her hat and held it tightly crunched in her hand as she spoke to Mrs. Tenderstitch. "I am Maybell. My Mother was your friend Marvel, she told me so much about you and the Baggaraggs. I had to come. I had to warn you, had to tell you about the Pie-rats." This she finished breathlessly.

Grace Tenderstitch frowned. Her thumb throbbed and now her head joined in. "What is this now? What are you saying to me? What Pie-rats?"

"They are coming up the Loch, in rafts. They have probably landed by now. I know what they are going to do Mrs. Tenderstitch...they are coming to steal your Thread pusher. They are coming to take the Brother...your Thread Machine," she gestured now to the sewing machine that was off to the left of the drawing table. "They mean to have it."

Grace Tenderstitch looked at Maybell. Her dress which may have been her best, was soiled, as was her Lacey apron. Her little hat was scrunched up in a wad, now being wound into a knot by the nervous hands of Maybell.

"How do you know all this Maybell? How did you come to learn about this Invasion?'

Maybell paused. The story that she was about to share seemed a little far fetched. "I am the friend of an Osprey that lives down near the loch. His name is Windslow. He rides the thermals and watches the water high above for Fish. He is a great Fisherman. He has a beautiful black stripe above his eyes. He has a very sharp beak, and could tear me to pieces in a second, instead he invites me to fly with him. I went once. It was ....frightening, and lovely at the same time." She stopped for a few seconds and seemed to be enjoying the memory of the flight all over again. Her eyes closed and she swayed slightly. Her eyes were still dreamy when she began again. "In winter, I knit him a scarf for his flies out behind him like a flag in the wind, he wears my colors. We are friends," she blushed...and continued. "Yesterday Windslow saw them coming, sailing their underdrawer-sails up the Loch. He perched high in a tree and heard them talking about their plan to steal the Brother Thread Pusher. I came to warn you, Grace Tenderstitch."

Grace glanced around the studio and thought for a second. "Pie-rats?," she thought to herself. "Here in Baggaraggs?"

The Ernest look upon the mouse's face convinced her that a trip to the Loch was in order. She donned her jacket over her work apron, and called Murray. The old Bouvier started up from sleep, and got to his feet, stiff and disheveled. "Come on Maybell, come on Murray, we are talking a little walk."

Maybell scrambled onto the shoulder of Grace Tenderstitch and held onto her collar, and they went out into the late Autumn day.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Big Punzee

Big Punzee is now for sale on my Christmas shop. I am still trying to work out the kinks but this would be the way there check me out and leave me some feedback.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


It is difficult at times to link a story together when there are many characters. It is easier to sew a thread over silk then to bind together a slippery story like this, but I will try. Maybell Mouse finds herself at this very moment climbing up the table leg to talk to Grace Tenderstitch at last. She has followed Swain through the maze of smells and curious things in the Tenderstitch home, to the Studio where Grace sat before her drawing Table, working. Maybell reached the summit of this surface and heaved herself over the side. For a moment she stopped to catch her breath and to study the woman herself. Grace Tenderstitch was a large woman. Her jaw had melted into a little more than middle years, and puddinged softly into her neck. The skin about her eyes could have used a bit of starch and a good ironing. Her hair was dusted with white hairs, that streaked down next to brown. Some stood out, yelling like wires full of rebellion. She had still had freckles, and now some age spots. Her mouth, which was now drawn downward in concentration, had seen some smiles and some sadness, evinced by the deep lines around it, drawn like giant "C's".
Maybell cleared her throat. "Mrs. Tenderstitch," she said. Nothing. No response.
"I don't think she can hear you," spoke the Threader. The Threader was a muslin head that sat upon a wooden spool. His nose was long and stitched in a pinched row of fabric down his narrow painted face. He was a creation of Grace Tenderstitch and could not be found outside the Land of Baggaraggs. He liked to wear different objects on his head, and now sported a clay chicken on the top of his moss covered dome.
Maybell could not believe he had spoken, but she was a mouse with Manners after all, so she introduced herself. After these pleasantries were exchanged, Maybell inquired, "Why can't she hear me? Everyone knows that Grace Tenderstitch has the Ear. She can talk to any animal...any animal at all. Why, my Mother was her friend for several years and the tales she told me..."
"She may be loosing the Ear, my dear," said the Threader sadly. It happens when someone has what is called by Humans "the Doubt." "Her mind has become full of this uncertainty, and that is the big enemy of all creativity and of course, The Ear."
"She comes in and out of it...some days are better than others...last week she seemed like her old self, making all kinds of things...talking to everyone. Now she is very quiet. She has torn up collage after collage. I tried to stop her but she won't listen."
"Listening is so important," Maybell acknowlegded. Maybell watched the movements of Grace's hand applying paper and glue and paint to the page. She wondered what a tiny mouse like herself might do in this situation and felt frustrated and a little fearful of the outcome for the Baggaraggs. She had come along way and bore a very important message. She adjusted her hat, and spied a pincushion filled with giant Ouchers. Their metal pointy spears filled the pincushion to porcupine porportions. On an impulse, Maybell grabbed the largest Oucher between her little paws and thrust it with all her frustrated might into the thumb of Grace Tenderstitch.
"Ouch!," cried Grace Tenderstitch, jerking her thumb reflexively backward, and up to lips. "Geez!"
Grace looked down at the diminutive creature that was eyeing her anxiously. Maybell spoke again, and like the child who speaks at the end of a tincan with a string between the two to talk, she said loudly "CAN YOU HEAR ME?"

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Big Punzee

Here is a picture of Big Punzee, the Chieftess for the Pie-rat gang and the do-er for Peg-leg. I think she will have to have a ladder and some rope as well as a Pie-rat hat . Tell me what you think....

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Way to the Loch

It was a long walk to the Loch. Grace Tenderstitch did not go there frequently. The way there lead through a place of Cedars that gently brushed the faces of passersby with fragrant fingers. The ground beneath your feet would crunch with the remains of many past seasons, the skeletons of many verdant springs and many blazing Autumns. The deepest part of the forest lay ahead. Poplars, and Maples mostly, and some pines. All with a deep bed of leafy compost underfoot, that left the trespasser slightly unbalanced as if walking on a sponge. There was no path. In summer there were ferns about and always in the moist areas that were darkly shaded, a Jack in the Pulpit. There were birds about. Goldfinch, Catbird, Starling, Redbird, Juncos. There were wrens that flipped their tails, and Brown thrashers that flipped through the leafy compost searching for dinner. As if to lead the way deeper into this place, the Crow's foot grew trailing its vining way along the ground. There were mosses here, grown on the spines of jagged rock, thrust through the leafy floor. Their fine green hairs were a lovely place to rest your face. A place for Fairies to have their secret tea parties. The fabric of this Forest changed its color with the seasons, but the light that slanted dappled through the branches added its own variations and added Magic. This was the Forest that Grace Tenderstitch Loved.
As the trees grew closer, there was at first a gentle sloping of the Forest, down to the edge of the Loch. That was the only warning before the slope fell off quite precipitiously to the side of a thickly wooden Hill that was deceptively difficult to navigate.There were vines and stones and tripping places that were so well hidden...that the uninitiated traveler could easily pitch forward and tumble end over teacup into the Loch below. The Loch was large and greenish black, and upon its oily shore were landed a troop of little rafts, masted with little sails, sailed by large Pie-Rats.
They scrambled, even now, upon the narrow shore, collecting and waiting for orders from their Mistress, whose name was Peg. She was a Pie-Rat. She had come for something...and it lay a distance up over that steep hillside and through that wood in a place called the Baggaraggs. Her people needed it, and she meant to take it. Meant to have it. That it did not belong to her made no difference to Peg. She would steal for her people, had stolen for her people. Winter was coming and they needed clothes, warm jackets and underdrawers. Peg meant to take the Thread Pusher called Brother. And she had a Plan.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Swain, the Cat

Swain the cat had a sense of humor. With newcomers, he like to pretend that he could not speak and plainly had no language. He twitched his whiskers and eyed Maybell while licking his lips with relish. Maybell who had been frozen to the spot, felt a surge of anger go through her like an electric shock. She had realized with some sense of indignity, that Enough was Enough. This adventure had already turned into an ordeal. She barely had time to process the thought that she was going to be eaten, before she acted. "You Filthy Animal," she cried and leapt upon his nose. Her little yellowing incisors sank into the triangle of grey velvet that marked the top of Swain's nares. If she was going to be eaten, she would not be consumed by a cat with No Language without a fight.
Swain had dealt with a number of mice in his day. His position of intimidation over rodents had been something that he had secretly enjoyed, although he would have denied it if questioned. When he delivered them to Mrs. Tenderstitch, they had a tendenacy to arrive in shock...trembling and past fear.
Her behavior was therefore unanticipated.
His reaction to her attack was worthy of comment. "God's Teeth!" he cried out loud, and leaped backward into the air with Maybell's jaw clamped down in a rottweiler grip. "YOUCH!" he yelled and flailed Maybell back and forth like a tiny rodent flag, shaking his head while she waved about, in danger of loosing her hat and her drawers. "Get off! Turn Loose you crazy MOuse!"
Hearing his voice at last over the adrenaline surge that now pounded blood into her ears and a lightness in her chest, Maybell released her grip upon his nose and sprang, with a last dig for leverage of her hindclaws into his bottom lip, to the floor.
" You, you cad!," she cried. " You're not a cat, but a CAD!, " she repeated with an indignant snort. She felt the urge to bite him again surge through her little veins.
Recognizing that he was again in danger, Swain did something he had never done before in the presence of a Mouse, but seemed
wise under these circumstances. He took a step Back. TThere were several beads of blood that popped up on the grey velvet triangleabove his nostrils. He gingerly acknowledged his injury by twitching his nose. It throbbed. He wondered what kind of recent innoculation he had recieved that would protect him from rabit animals.....................................................................................
"Well, Welcome Madam, to the Baggaraggs!" This was all he could think of to say.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Peg-Leg the Pie Rat

This is Peg-Leg the Pie rat. She has just come out of the oven...and still is a little crusty with a dusting of allspice. Peg-Leg sails upon a raft that has a pair of underdrawers for a sail. I guess I need to make these creatures before I can get on with the story. I kinda like her.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009

Grace Tenderstitch

Meanwhile, Mrs. Tenderstitch sat in front of the Thread Pusher named Brother, and sewed. The Threader assisted her when the thread needed changing, and the bobbins needed winding. His eyes could see into the places that her eyes strained to see. The Spool Bearer helped as well, bringing the different colored spools at Mrs. Tenderstitch's direction. Flying up to the spool rack with her angel wings, and back again while Grace Tenderstitch waited. At feet was her constant companion, a dog , and not just any dog, but a Bouvier des Flanders. His name was Murray.
He was black and gray, and woolly and large and beautiful. She loved him pure and simple. Around and about them all was a small mountain of fabric, lace and Fiberfill batting. You could barely glimpse the top of her graying head, as she sat in her favorite wooden chair.
As the Holiday sewing was over, and with it the terrible rush of the Making, Grace Tenderstitch fell to making some things for herself. She needed a new Studio apron and trousers. Most of her things including her new Pajamas were spattered with paint. She wore these garments anyway, and if the paint was a badge of Honor for her artistic endeavors then so be would most likely be the only honors she was likely to receive. These were only a few of the negative thoughts that plagued her. Grace was unfortunately given to ruminating, thinking and rethinking. She was unaware of the Tiny visitor that confronted her cat, Swain, at the Baseboard entrance to her home in the Baggaraggs. She was unaware of the Message of danger that Maybell was to deliver, or the changes that were to take place in the Baggaraggs. She was unaware that right this very moment, the Loch that bordered the lands of Over the Hill was being invaded by a band of Blood thirsty PIE-Rats!

The Door to the Baggaraggs

Here is the Door to the Baggaraggs. I thought you might like to see it. Many friends have entered here, and dwell peacefully in its confines. It sits leaning against the Brother Threader Pusher. It has a vintage Button for a doorknob, and several old spools for hinges that have been attached to it with wool thread (in magenta...i so love that word MAGENTA) It has been made of Muslin, stuffed with fiberfill, painted, sewn upon and collaged with paper, and finished in Modge Podge. I frankly couldn't think of another thing to do to it. It has a painted cross made from a schefellera stick. It may soon be for sale on my Etsy site or in my Christmas shop called the Small Asylum. I haven't decided...who ever buys it will gain entrance to the Baggaraggs...

Maybell Waits

Maybell Mouse waits patiently at the Door to the Baggaraggs for the Story to continue. The Narrator has been busy in the Studio, Pushing some Threads through the Fabrics, and wet coloring some things with the hairy ends of sticks. Please stay tuned...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Meeting Myron

One great fear about being in a dark and enclosed place is the thought that you will not get out.That you will simply wander until your mind runs off with your senses and leaves your body to itself. The other is that something will get you. Some horrible creature will consume you with great big teeth and slimy long fingers...This second fear materialized in the form of a paw on Maybell's arm. She shrieked and jumped backward. Her heart jumped into her throat, and she was about to flee in terror when she heard the voice of Myron Mole offering this in the darkness; "Its okay, you be alright, I ain't going to hurt you...take my paw...this way. I is the Mole, the leader-in. The greeter-in, Myron, I is Myron." Myron waited patiently for her to speak, knowing she had suffered a jolt, some other creatures had run off, dropped the Thread and fled screaming when he had touched them in this total darkness. He grinned to himself with the memory of one Warrior Mouse who had run all the way back to the very door of the Baggaraggs in terror. Maybell could not speak for a moment. She had a sudden impulse to smack the Mole in the snout for frightening her. She gave it some serious consideration. She felt she may have swallowed her tongue in fright. Her under drawers were damp, for goodness sake.
Maybell stated with some recovered composure,"You could've warned me that you were there."
Myron replied, "Don't make no difference Miss, you'd have peed yourself any old way. Happens most bain't be the first to act thatda way. Come on now. No harm...I take ya on in to the houst." " I spect you'd wanna speak to Mrs. Tenderstitch."
Maybell nodded in the dark. She followed him along, tempted to grab him by his stubby tail and give it a good yank.
There were noises up ahead and a bright light. VERY BRIGHT. Blinding.
Myron said,"There ya go Miss. Far as I go."
Maybell had to shield her eyes from the sunlight that streamed into the room. She was standing in a small opening in a baseboard under a kitchen cabinet. Her hat was askew, and draped with a cobweb. Her drawers were wet. Her belly was empty. Her dress was certainly soiled and she felt sure that she had transported a spider on her shoulder when she crawled through that wretched tunnel. As she collected these wrongs, listing them indignantly in her mind for telling later ( to whom she did not know, but she felt certain that she was due a little sympathy), she realized that she was looking into the eyes of a large grey cat.