"Here's the true secret of life: We mostly do everything over and over. In the morning, we let the dogs out, make coffee, read the paper, help whoever is around get ready for the day. We do our work. In the afternoon, if we have left, we come home, put down our keys and satchels, let the dogs out, take off constrictive clothing, make a drink or put water on for tea, toast the leftover bit of scone. I love ritual and repetition. Without them, I would be a balloon with a slow leak.

"The newly sewn curtain was fabulous, and crazy. Whereas before it had been logical and tranquil, with a lot of fabric art above, dropping to the quiet bottom half, now it was one wild lake of designs. Once it was two torn-up curtains, and now it was a whole, although a whole with issues. It was all oval white stained-glass applique with a lumpy tummy. The seams were straight, with overlaps and shadows. It looked like a tumbling trick instead of a delicate Madonna in repose, a Cirque du Soleil finale instead of the Pieta. I love it.

"Beauty is a miracle of things going together imperfectly. Now when I look at the curtain, many times a day, I always remember that a large berserk dog had been trapped in the once gauzy bottom. I know there's solace in making do with what you've got, making things a little bit better. What might have been thrown out went from tattered scraps to something majestic and goofy and honest that holds together, that keeps people's eyes off me and my family, yet lets in the light and sun, like a poem or a song.

"You have to keep taking the next necessary stitch, and the next one, and the next.

"Without stitches, you just have rags.
And we are not rags."