...to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free....

15 January, 2012

with a little help from my friends

Five elephants, nine monkeys, two circus tents, two alligators,
vines, flowers and leaves.

We have always had real fireplaces and wood stoves--
necessary warmers for our Maine winters.
Our new home's gas fireplace seems fake sometimes.
But I love that there is no wood splitting,
stacking, bringing inside and re-stacking in the barn,
hauling into the house, and ash cleanup.
I love that I can sit in my chair and, holding a remote, 
turn it on and turn it off with a finger.

But because it is gas fired, and has a pilot light,
there is no damper to the chimney.
Cold air such as we have today
creeps in, and down, and shivers me
when I am sitting in my favorite chair
and the fire is not going.

I purchased this fabric a year ago.  My idea was
to make a fabric 'screen' for our gas fireplace--
with insulation on the back side.
A series of difficulties explains the year
the fabric lived in a bag in my studio.
Acquiring a custom stretcher frame, 
availability of Warm Window fabric--
waiting time, other preoccupations.
To be honest, though, the greatest impediment
was my fear.

I have never put together a stretcher frame.
Does one glue it together,
nail it, staple it?
How does one make sure the angle is "right"?
How can one person simultaneously stretch, hold and staple
when that person only has two arms?
Most fearsome--"what if I screw it up?"

Enter my friend Deb.
I have known Deb since Junior high.  We were
close buddies in high school and through college,
and, although there can be months 
or sometimes years in between our visits,
it always seems we pick up
like it was yesterday that we last got together.

She is a woman of enormous humor,
great common sense,
and a heart full of gold.
These days, she can put life and light
into my husband's eyes like nobody else can.
And that is a huge gift--to both of us.

Well, I asked Deb if she could help me.
And she said yes.
And we talked about it, and suggested methods,
then she told me, "Just start."
And she coached and helped me to
actualize my vision of a super screen for the fireplace.

Thank you, Deb.
For all the laughs in high school and college.
For introducing me to Cape Cod, your heart's home.
For your loyalty and friendship for over fifty years.
For your great sense of fun, spontaneity and humor.
For the love that is always in your heart.
And for your magic ways with my dear ailing husband.

I love my little fireplace screen.
I love the monkeys and elephants and circus tents.
Each time I sit before it,
I will first remember Deb's dear friendship. 



  1. sounds like you have all the warmth you could ever need pouring off that screen, even without the fireplace...

    1. That was so sweet, Theresa. And, as well, so very true! Thanks for your comment!

  2. Wonderful! You described a relationship I have with one of my girlfriends down to a tee! I can feel how dear your friend is to you too. It IS a little biting outside lately, isn't it?! ~Lili

    1. Don't you just know it, Lili! Minus 5 this morning, the oil delivery person told my friend. Brr. So glad you have a relationship like mine and Deb's. Thanks for your visit and your thoughts.

  3. Mike, true friends are a treasure indeed! I have only a couple, but that's all I need!
    I love your fireplace screen!

    1. Nothing is more precious, is it, Robin? Glad that you agree with me that my new elephants, monkeys, circus tents and alligators make for a fine screen. ;o)

  4. Love your fireplace blanket. We also love having a gas stove after years of ashes and dust.

    1. We cut, split hauled, etc. for at least 30 years--both of us, probably. Enough is enough, yes? Glad you like my new creation, Barbara. I love this new 'reply' feature. Thank you, Blogspot!