Just One Day

As I'm about to strip the Halloween ghouls and ghosts from the facade of our house, I find myself asking "Is it all worth it for just one day?" 

Ever since I was a wee girl, I've loved Halloween; it's up there with Christmas for me. As far back as I can remember I expended all my creative energy conjuring up fabulous costume ideas and spent even more hours bringing them to life. I never asked for help. In Scotland where I grew up, it wasn't a tradition to decorate houses. So you can imagine my delight when we bought our house in Harlem (after condo living in lower Manhattan), I could finally let my inner Halloween spirit, go nuts!

For the past two weeks I‘ve been sick with a horrible cold and had very low energy. And so this year on the run up to Halloween I was a little less spirited than usual.  I even thought about not participating.  It’s only one day for goodness sakes....

But alas I couldn't do that, so I mustered up as much energy as I could and with no dress rehearsals, I did manage to pull it all off.  I didn't do quite as much as I normally do, but I had a fabulous time anyway.  I'm particularly driven because I love Halloween and love to share that enthusiasm with my kids, but more so now because of my neighborhood.  

I have a friend who has lived in Harlem all her life, and she said when she grew up there was not a soul on the streets on Halloween; it was just way too dangerous. Over the past four years our block and four others has become quite the thing on Halloween.  We have trick or treaters coming from all over to our wee slice of Manhattan.  It makes me emotional every year to watch all these excited wee Harlemites climbing up our stoop, barely able to take their eyes off our freakish made up faces as they dip their terrified wee hands into our candy bowl for their treasure. What a treat it is for us. 

Ghouls and Ghosts on our house

Scary family
Scary family again...

So as we move forward into the season where life can get crazy, for one day in November and one day in December, I will remember the joy my creative efforts bring and be grateful.  But I will also remember like I did on Halloween “easy does itand only do what I can manage so that my delight doesn't get lost in the exhaustion of it all.

Much joy!


Easing In Gently

I don't know about you, but for me getting back into work after a vacation is excruciating. It's now well into the second week of being home and I'm struggling.

There's been lots of "stuff" to deal with as well as a long holiday weekend plopped in, but this is the second day I've come up to my studio with serious intent to put brush to paper and my skin is crawling.  I want to clean the fridge; sort the mail; have another snack only 10 minutes after the last one; check Facebook; watch the US Open; “check in” with my kids--anything, ANYTHING to prevent me from facing that terrifying blank page.

Yesterday, after enduring much heavy- handed judgment that just spouted into my head, that stern task master was finally overpowered by a wee voice that told me: I don't have to do this alone.  Relieved, I called a couple of amazing, loving, supportive friends; met another one for dinner and practiced some of the self care that I've come to know works and gives me faith.

Thank God I have such a gentle, loving, support system because I can be so unkind to myself.  After many years of creating art and design, I still get panicked by the blank page, especially after a long hiatus.  I've come to believe that creating is a spiritual experience, but unfortunately there are still many negative voices in my head that can run riot.  It's so easy to compare, or not feel good enough, or convince myself that I'll never come up with another great idea ever, ever again.   I need my support system to help me find that spiritual calm place to remind me again and again, in a gentle loving way that all I need to do it put one foot in front of the other and  have faith that all I'm asked to do is be myself and create what's inside of me.  Fear can dominate my whole being and paralyze me when I focus on the outcome so I need to be in the moment.  All I have to do is show up and take baby steps and eventually I'll hear what I need to do.

I'm sitting at my studio desk right now, so after I hit “publish” on this blog, I shall garner my faith and do all the steps I need to do that will create the space for me to hear what's next. And if I don't have any bright sparks unveiled to me or even fail to sit at my desk, then I can lovingly tell myself it's OK. Tomorrow is another day.

 Peace, love and gentleness to you all.


The Last Days of Spain

We're on the cusp of embracing our last week here in Spain.  As I sit here in my dark bedroom escaping the early evening heat streaming into our living room, I have sporadic surges of guilt running through my veins thinking of all the things I could be doing right now in Barcelona. Elliott and Eli are fulfilling their dream and at this moment basking in soccer heaven watching Barcelona demolish their opponents in their first game of the season at home. Jules being 10 years old, and knowing his limits, chose not to attend the soccer match and instead wanted to have "down time" with me at home.

This situation epitomizes our whole trip.  Traveling with kids is a completely different ball game.  If I were on my own, I'd be out and about, discovering and reveling in every new experience, knowing full well the limits of life and that this could well be my last visit to Catalonia, to Spain, to Europe....

I've had to make so many compromises on this trip and so have my husband and kids.  I've learned so much about myself and them:  I've learned that transitions are tough and we all need time to adjust to new surroundings; I've learned that we all need downtime and not just go, go, go; I've learned that no matter how much we love each other, we really need our own space too; I’ve learned that I greatly admire my kids' relationship with each other and how easy they move on and don't hold on to grudges with each other. I'm still trying to learn that we are all different and don't necessarily like the same things and to have patience with that; and I'm trying desperately to learn that fine line of where I do have control and where I need to let go -- the hardest lesson of all.

I’ve also learned that I've fallen madly in love with Spain and Catalonia.  When I was growing up in Scotland my opinions were tainted by the commercial brouhaha around places like Benidorm and Lloret de Mar.  This trip has been an education about the other side of Spain.  We have had the amazing opportunity to live like locals.  I love Madrid for its social spirit: the food, the people, the socializing that happens in the late evening in the amazing restaurants, bars and plazas.  I love the small Costa Brava towns and beaches for their raw natural beauty and history and I love Barcelona for its creativity, its independent spirit and for its art.  

Tomorrow Eli and Jules will attend another tennis camp for a week, giving Elliott and I the opportunity to work and sneak in a little extra Spanish culture, as we are fully aware that when their exhausted little bodies return to our apartment, they will no doubt prefer to have me cook barbecued chicken and watch a movie than go out to see a band play at the Festival Major de Gracia or discover another great Tapas restaurant.  So I will fully embrace these stolen moments, knowing that although my kids' preferences are not mine right now, that they are taking it all in and will be grateful one day for having been exposed to such an amazing country.

Enjoy your last days of summer...

Me and my boys, Monjuic Castle, Barcelona

Hola - From Spain

We just passed the halfway mark of our six-week trip to Spain -- time really does fly way too fast when you're having fun. And it has been fun! There have been a lot of challenges too, but like childbirth, hopefully as we look back, all we’ll remember is the amazing experience. 

The first fortnight of our trip was in Madrid and like most of the world those two weeks there was a heat wave and each day we dealt with 90 something degree weather.   Unlike New York, it's pretty cool in the mornings before the sun really gets going and after the sun says Adios in the evenings around 9:30 -- which is why Spanish culture is about socializing late at night. Restaurants, bars and every plaza is filled with young and old alike, gathering to hang out in the relief of the cool night air.
Everything is closed from 1-4pm, when Spaniards take long leisurely lunches and siestas.

This was our first big challenge because we were still on New York time and getting up around 11am. By the time we had breakfast and got our act together to get out the door, it was lunch and siesta time. Throughout our stay, it was easy to stay up late, but managing that middle part of the day was a conundrum.  We never totally figured it out as my kids haven't taken a nap since they were in diapers, so we just adapted and did the best we could.  

I feel like a broken record as I talk about how my life feels like one big balancing act at home; and here in Spain, it's exactly the same.  In Madrid we had to balance our collective agenda to adapt to five different people and three different generations: a high energy I don't like art galleries and museums 10-year-old boy; a sassy, moody, bored, excited, sarcastic, loving, hormonal teenager; a menopausal, hot flashing, trying to please everyone Mama; an exasperated Dad desperately trying to figure out how to work and party at the same time and a culture-seeking Grandma with more energy than us all.  

With all that said, between the five of us, we saw Flamenco, went to an amusement park, visited the ancient towns of Toledo and Segovia, explored the whole city of Madrid on foot (didn't take the subway once), spent a day visiting the beautiful Retiro Park, played tennis, visited the Royal Palace of Madrid, several museums, monuments and art galleries. Admittedly Grandma was the only one who managed to get to the Prado.  The kids had checked out at that point and a visit to a water park outside of Madrid was much needed for those young spirits.

Without a doubt the highlight of our trip was eating the most amazing food -- we basically ate our way through Madrid and it was the one thing we ALL loved doing together.  

Eli and Jules in Crystal Palace, Retiro Park
Playing Charades in Retiro Park

Flamenco shoes for all sizes
The amazing Aquaduct in Segovia
Another yummy meal

Beautiful, passionate, intense flamenco dancer

Beautiful old buildings in Segovia

Roasted Garlic and baked Camembert with rosemary - delicious

Very tired after a long hot day walking around Toledo

We're now in Figueres, a small city famous for being the birthplace of Salvador Dali. Our schedule has been turned upside down yet again since we’re now getting up at 7:30am to get the kids to tennis camp. Elliott and I are both working when they're gone which is not an easy task when we’re itching to plunge in the clear Mediterranean sea in the spectacular Costa Brava beaches down the road, visit the Dali museums and sites and meander around ancient hilltop towns nearby.  We just had our first weekend here and managed to do some of that, but more in my next blog, as time is ticking and my Spain tennis Mom duties are about to begin.

I hope you're all having a fabulous summer so far and managing to tolerate this intense heat.

Much love,


Summer travels.....creating great memories

In a little over a week, me and my boys will be flying out to spend 6 weeks in Spain.  After reading another school report card that showed a lot of struggle with Spanish, I had the bright idea of "Wouldn't it be a great experience for the kids (and us) to live in Spain for the summer."  Wanting to live like locals, and not to mention it being a lot cheaper, I arranged to exchange houses with some families in different parts of Spain.  When I made the plans 6 months ago it all sounded ever so fabulous, but now as my head is spinning with all the planning and prepping, I'm beginning to think what the heck was I thinking???

Over 25 years ago when I was in my second year at art college, my 3 girlfriends and I decided to live in France for 6 weeks during the summer semester.  At that time, packing up was dumping my few belongings at my Mum's house, throwing a couple of bikinis in a back pack and catching a train.  We didn't even know where we were heading, where we'd sleep, we had barely enough money to last a week and I was the designated interpretor, using my meager skills from 4 years of shirking my French vocabulary at school.  

All we cared about was getting away from the dreary UK climate and having fun. After a few days of traveling through France, we set up our temporary home in a tiny wee town in the Southern coast, where we somehow managed to buy a second hand tent and fell into some jobs.  There was no picking grapes or waitressing for me, I ended up earning my Francs as "La Femme Serpent" -  working with a couple of pythons in a traveling fairground that had set up in town for the summer.  So desperate was I to be a bronzed beach bum and not return home to yet another rainy Scottish summer, I deeply buried my terror of snakes (and drank quite a few glasses of the local vino on my first few nights on the job).  Naivety is a marvelous thing sometimes!

Me trying to be a very mysterious snake charmer
Wearing some of the earrings I made and
was selling on the beach
This was Frederic, one of the two pythons I worked with

Beach bums in our tent.  Yes that's me with the very big 80's hair
So as I find my head in a whirlwind, stressing about buying train tickets from one city to another, organizing tennis camps for my kids, who'll water my garden when I'm gone, how much sun block should I bring, the list goes on and on......, I want to remind myself of my summer in France.  I had the most fabulous time, met some amazing interesting people, my French truly did improve and we made a lot of mistakes too, but all in all it was a tremendous life experience.  Traveling is a great adventure, it's not as simple traveling now as it was for me then, but it has enriched my life in such a valuable way, as I hope it will my children.   So with all this in mind, I'm going to try and chill out as much as I can in this coming week and know that I don't have to plan everything perfectly.   I'm sure we'll make a lot of mistakes, but that's all part of the journey, and ultimately I know we'll create a lot of great memories, 

So stay tuned, I've got my instagram all set up and raring to go.

Happy Summer and happy travels to you all!


Here comes summer

One of the things I really look forward to in the summertime is barbecues and farmers markets.   I bought these gorgeous looking carrots for one of the two barbecues we hosted this weekend.  Not only were they delicious, (I'm having the left overs now for lunch as I type) but I thought they looked so beautiful, I used the green leaves of the carrots to mix with the flowers I picked from my garden for the dining room table.

Here's to many more barbecues and tasty farm fresh food ahead of us this summer!

Carrots from our local Farmers Market
Todays leftovers, barbecued carrots

Flowers from my garden and carrot greens

Imperfectly do it

When I was describing myself on the title of my blog, I had to add that everything I do is "all very imperfectly" because in all honesty, that's how I operate.  I’m very much a big picture person.  I love focusing on the vision and when it comes to details I’m often a hack. I love some details like decorating the small finishing touches on a cake or making my bed so perfectly that it looks like a staged page from Elle Décor.  On the flip side, my bed may look beautiful, but if you lift one of my homemade pillows you might find some imperfection residing.  

I’m the kind of person who makes curtains and ends up creating a border on them because of mistaken calculations.  Whether it’s building an IKEA bookshelf, creating the boards for my booth, recycling an old door or simply remembering a conversation, I always get the details mixed up.  Oftentimes my mistakes work out to be a happy accident and other times I just have to suck it up and live with the imperfections. Guaranteed that if you peek underneath any paintings or pictures on our walls, you'll find at least one, if not four or five little holes where I've guessed the center point to hang it.  (What can I say; it’s just how I roll).

Jules bedroom curtains with my Spider fabric from Henry Glass.  The border was not planned, thank goodness I had two colorways
This is our wall of school photos outside the playroom of our boys from Pre-K until now, you can guess how many holes in total are under these photos.....?
One of my living nightmares is reading instruction manuals, I’d rather endure root canal surgery than having to sit and read an instruction manual.  Thank God for Elliott, who happens to be the opposite because we’re a family of game players with a lot of new games and he is the designated manual reader.  

Sometimes I'd desperately like to be the kind of person who can accurately process instructions or measure the exact quantities of ingredients when cooking, but whether it's a lack of focus or patience, I'm just a toss it in there kind of gal.  I’m in awe of all these incredible quilters who have the patience to cut out hundreds of little shapes and then meticulously sew them together with such accuracy.  But alas, that’s not me

Fortunately I do have a knack for creating things, arranging trips and hosting dinner parties, and if I must say so myself, they usually work out pretty wonderful. 

When we bought our house, there wasn't a lot of original detail left, but I tried to recycle as much of it as possible, and donated what we couldn't use to "Build It Green" in Queens.  This old door in our bedroom had a lot of broken stain glass panels and the wood was in terrible condition, so I stripped it, replaced the broken glass with wood panels, painted it fire truck red and attached it to a barn door fixture.  

There are times when I have to push myself to be more disciplined with details and then there are other times when it’s just beyond my nature.  So I need to give myself permission to do things imperfectly; otherwise I just wouldn’t do anything. 

When I first started gardening and growing vegetables, I was gifted a whole library of gardening books.  Did I ever read one cover to cover?  Absolutely not, I went straight to the index, asked my gardener friends or relied on my new BFF Google and at this moment I’m thoroughly enjoying the “fruits” of my labor. (Please Scottish friends don’t judge me too harshly that after 22 years of living here, I've finally surrendered to spelling “labour” the American way.)

Having fresh flowers from my garden is one of my favorite things
Not to mention eating freshly picked Harlem grown vegetables
So I wholeheartedly encourage everyone to get out there and follow your heart’s desire and not to worry if you make a mess or fall flat on your face.  Whether you’re a manual type or intuitive type, just go for it.  And if ever you visit our home, I give you full permission to check out the linings of my curtains and look behind my pictures. Hopefully with just a slightly pinkish face, I’ll be able to laugh off the imperfections and just be proud of what I was able to accomplish.

Much love,


Feeling Grateful

This week gratitude is on my mind.  I love my life, and feel incredibly blessed and grateful for all that I have.  Sometimes it can be a challenge to sustain a grateful attitude amidst the hectic day-to-day schedules of family life: household chores, monitoring homework, having to go shopping yet again for new sweat pants for my rapidly growing teenager (who looks like his cat died), calling the fridge guy, taking the car in to get new road tax…and the list goes on and on.  (And did I mention the word teenager?)

I struggle with maintaining gratitude in April and May because I’m steeped in the hectic prepping schedule for the SURTEX show, but since 2010, it’s been particularly tough because it’s the anniversary of my Mum passing.   In the mornings I wake up with a heavy heart, and at night I crash into bed feeling overwhelmed because no matter how much I’ve accomplished, my “in box” is still overflowing. 

It’s now the last day of May, and I’m feeling grateful to be moving into summer, but before I bid farewell to the melancholy and stress of these past two months, I feel compelled to express my gratitude.  It was on this last beautiful day in May, sixteen years ago, that I said, “I do” to the love of my life.  Marrying Elliott was the first of the best three decisions I’ve ever made. Like all couples we have our highs and lows, but there’s no one else I’d rather sail my ship with and without hesitation, I’d marry him all over again.

Our beautiful wedding ceremony in Central Park
Between us, we now have a few more grey hairs, less hair and few more pounds, but we still manage to feel this joy.
On a day like today, it’s easy to feel gratitude and see that my glass is half full.  I’d love to hold on to this “attitude of gratitude” on the more stressful days.  As I’m about to get cross with my 10 year old for only completing forty of the fifty minutes of his reading homework, I can be grateful for what he did manage to read and for the bonus I get of snuggling and reading to him for the extra ten minutes at bedtime.   I can remind myself that my glass is certainly half full.
My three best decisions, snuggling in our tent on a camping trip in New Hampshire 

Happy Anniversary Elliott sweetheart, and happy last day of May to you all.

Much love,


Transforming my SURTEX booth

At this moment, the best word I can think of to describe how I feel is “stupefy” - yes, I’m immersed in the final Harry Potter book.

The past month has been pretty intense preparing for exhibiting at SURTEX, and today it’s all over.  This morning my brain is hyper stimulated (3 days of business meetings and socializing) and my body is completely exhausted.  Unfortunately my mind hasn’t quite caught up that it’s okay to slow down, so I’m finding myself agitated and wondering what I need to do next.

I don’t think it helped that I didn’t come up with the idea for my booth until the week before the show, which was very scary to say the least.  I had to muster up a truck full of faith and not panic and believe that the idea would come, and if not I’d figure something out.  Poor Elliott had the tough task of printing all the artwork last minute, but he did a great job and I’m thrilled with how the booth looked.

I had a great time at the show, catching up with clients, artist friends and showing my new work.  Who knows what the outcome will be, but I’m excited that the new direction I took with my work got a great response and I can't wait to get back into my studio and delve deeper…… well maybe I can wait a couple of days.

Have a beautiful, restful and long weekend…and keep the faith!


My booth when we first arrived

With backdrop
One board up, six to go

My amazing friend Julie, who is the best assistant a friend could ask for

Measuring the burlap for my table and Julie keeping us organized

The booth transformation

My amazing team 
First day of the show and my transformation

Taking Risks and Daring to be Different....

Throughout my childhood, my parents encouraged me to be different.  Don’t follow the pack.  Walk your own walk.  I love this message and encourage my own kids to do the same.  There were times though when I wanted to be just like my friends and yearned to be accepted, to be a part of the crowd.  At 12 years old, I remember desperately trying to persuade my Mum to buy me the blue anorak (jacket) that all my friends were getting from Mackay’s for the school trip to Inverness.  My Mum begrudgingly did relent, but bought me the brown one and not the blue.

Like most stumbling teenagers, I often doubted myself.  I remember being 17 and inconsolable when I came home from finishing my Higher Art exam.  I was convinced that because I chose to paint a still life instead of painting a portrait like everyone else, I was absolutely going to fail.  I’ll never forget how astounded I was when my amazing teacher Archie Forrest, pulled my work from the bottom of the pile, making it an example of excellence.

Many years later, I still have to go back to this story when those insecure pesky doubts start creeping in.
Finding my own “voice” in my life is ongoing.  Whether it’s with the art I create, the décor I choose or how I parent, I’m learning to trust my instincts, and to own my “voice.”

A few or my risky hairstyles over the years, not necessarily the most beautiful choices, but I sure was expressing myself:)  The peroxide blonde was a mohican hairstyle growing out, and the one on the right is a very bad dreadlock which I ended up shaving off......

I’ve now been licensing my art for 12 years.  Licensing is a balancing act. It’s a marriage between good art and good design.  You have to be aware of what companies are looking for, and ultimately what the consumer will buy, while at the same time create what feels right.

Over the years I’ve had many successful products out in the world, but I’ve also had many rejections.  I’ve been told I’m “too sophisticated,” “too European,” “too whimsical,” “not commercial enough,” “too wonky.”  At the same time, my work has been successful for those exact reasons. I’m blessed to have worked with Joan Serena, who was the Christmas trim buyer for Macy’s.  She fell in love with my work after buying one of my Caspari Christmas cards, and sought me out at SURTEX to create a collection of my “Wonky” stars and angels for Macy’s.  Finding the right partner is key. 

It’s important to get feedback, because we artists often work in a vacuum, but it can be tricky too.   There are things that can be changed, like the subject matter or colors, but I believe your core, your sensibility, can’t be changed, otherwise you’re in danger of losing the essence of who you are.

I found this piece of wood and thought it'd make a great clothes rack for our new guest bedroom, who needs a wardrobe when you have a beautiful piece of wood like this
I feel most passionate about my craft when creating is a cathartic experience. Recently I’ve felt the need to merge more of my personal design style with my work.  I’ve always loved recycling and bringing together opposing materials like fine gold patina with the rough natural look of burlap.  I think it’s my wee way of expressing my yearning for tolerance, to show that even the most opposing things can be harmonious and beautiful when mixed together.

A new illustration I'll be showing at SURTEX

It can be scary taking risks and going in a new direction, and on the other hand it’s unbelievably exhilarating when you feel such deep passion about what you’re doing.

So as I move towards exhibiting at SURTEX this year, I’m keeping in mind to embrace change, to celebrate my uniqueness and to have faith in myself and my process, knowing that I’ve followed my heart.  And to my fellow SURTEXERS and creative folks, I wish for you to celebrate your uniqueness and to have faith that you are following your own path, regardless of the results.

Come visit me at SURTEX, booth  641....
see you soon

Communication - is the Key to Harmony

Like most couples, my husband Elliott and I have our “issues,” and some polar opposite ways of doing things.  One of them is hoarding vs. purging.  Even though I keep a lot of things because I love to recycle, I love to purge.  I hate clutter.  I confess there have been times when I’ve kicked myself because I’ve gone looking for something that I thought I’d kept, only to find I’d thrown it away.  But in general, I’d rather make a few mistakes like that, than become a pack rat.

Nothing gives me more satisfaction though, than finding a way to reuse something – a trait I got from my Mom who grew up in poverty in Glasgow.  She was the queen of recycling way before recycling became cool.  Admittedly there were times I hid my face, mortified when she would ask for a doggie bag or reuse an old envelope by trying to transform one name into another, but whether it was last night’s leftovers or re-covering an old sofa, she had a unique gift of making so many somethings out of nothing. 

Elliott's "Native American" Blanket
We have a lot of friends and family stay with us, so recently we reshuffled some rooms in our house to create a new guest bedroom.  Excited to decorate it, and in my usual way, wanting to use what I have, I pulled out Elliott’s old “Native American” blanket that he bought when he set out as an 18 year old to furnish his first dorm room - Elliott is now an “established” fifty something (and a fabulous looking one at that), so you can do the math.  I had tried to hide this blanket (unsuccessfully) from being taken out from under the piles of other blankets in our linen closet, because it doesn’t exactly “fit” into my personal aesthetic, and it certainly had not become some fabulous 70’s vintage find.

I’ve had all this lovely fabric samples from the “Quilting Bee” line I designed for Henry Glass beckoning me to use it for the longest time, so I decided I was going to re-cover Elliott’s blanket with them, along with some old white sheets that we no longer use. Excited to get started and forgetting about one of the keys to our lovely marriage - communication - I was happily at work upstairs in my studio when Elliott came to see what I was up to.  On seeing my new creation in progress he got quite sad watching his blanket disappear under the new fabrics that would cover it forever.  He instantly told me he didn’t want me to continue using it, which of course made me angry.  But like we always do, we sat down to talk, and in the course of our discussion, he realized it was hard for him to let go of something that had been with him for so long.  My anger dissipated and I understood, and was willing to find something else to use. In the end though, just recognizing the feeling was enough and he wanted me to continue with my project, as he loved what I was making.  More than that though, I know how much Elliott loves me and he is always my biggest champion regarding my creativity, so I believe he made the sacrifice purely to make me happy.

The result of all this is that we now have this beautiful double-sided blanket (and curtains) made with the two color ways from my Henry Glass fabrics.  And even though Elliott may not see his blanket, he knows it’s still there warming all the visitors that we so love welcoming into our home.  If he gets homesick for his old blanket, he can always click on this blog and look at these pictures, and Elliott honey, thank you for your continued support of my creativity and for all the wee compromises you make that may not be as simple as they appear.

Red Side Up
Red Trim Curtains with Burlap
Blue Side Up

Blue Trim Curtains with Burlap