handmade presents

for the past few christmas' i've been making gifts for close family instead of the conventional buying of gifts. i don't know, it makes it feel more like giving; taking the time to think of what each person would be charmed by, then spending time in the creation.

plus there's the added benefit of not worrying about returns, "i already have that", or spending lots of $. i know, completely selfish on my part, but giving gifts is not about me buying you something you want just because it's what this holiday has turned into. it's about giving you something from my heart as a way of saying "i care about you and am glad you're a part of my life and i'm choosing to show you this in a material way".

so, this year i needle felted a bird ornament for my mother; she collects them and it makes her happy as this is her favorite time of year.

for my brother i'm giving him a fiber wall piece that i had made earlier in the year when inspiration struck. it has a gold embroidered skeleton on it; charming, i know.

i painted a field of mushrooms with a sky blue cloudscape on brown paper framed in an antique glass frame for my sister. for her two children i crafted a 2-d spongebob out of paper for my nephew (who has an overwhelming obsession with all things spongebob), knitted a blanket and sewed three decorative pillows for my nieces' dollhouse, thankfully they're only 4 and five years of age.

the only member of my family that i break the handmade code for is my father. he received a 12 pack of beer. he's really bad about getting gifts, something along the line of "what do i need that for?" and "if i need something i'll go out and buy it for myself". ah, the joys of family.


feeling the twinge of regret

i've never really regretted getting the tattoo i have, until i stumbled upon the work of amanda wachob. her work is beyond anything i ever thought anyone could do; if i had even a glimpse of the possibilities or known anyone was even experimenting with a new way to do an old artform i would have waited.
i'm one of those weird people who like single things; one piercing, one tattoo, toes or hands painted but not both. i don't know, it's kind of like a balance thing; more than one and i feel unstable. weird, but there you have it.

i like tattoos, i think it's really enchanting how you can paint the body and it becomes part of you forever. it's like spice; okay without, but with, wow talk about fireworks!

a couple of years ago i got a tattoo of a dumpling-like kingyo. i really didn't want any black in it at all, but the tattoo artist wouldn't change their mind and so the black ink went in. eeh, too late now. but it kind of stings to see what could have been.

holiday entertainment

something i always like doing when i find myself with free time on the holidays is to watch movies; actually, it doesn't even have to be a holiday. my favorites for this particular holiday, christmas, are usually comedic, romantic, and/or classic. without further ado here's the list:

so what christmas movies are your favorites?


you'll never guess...

i finally saved enough and was able to order my very first computer; a laptop, and not just any laptop but a pretty white one with an apple on the front. i'm beyond excited! i've been playing around with it all day and it's definitely different from what i'm used to (a pc). i can hardly believe it's all mine, mine i say! no more sharing with at least two other people, no longer shall the desktop background be a photo of something we can all agree on, no more disorganized chaos in digital form, no more giant dark and brooding desktop. hip hip hooray!

the only thing between me and utter happiness is that i don't have photoshop for mac, so i just have to keep using the family pc to edit images as i save up for adobe photoshop cs4 (which probably cost as much as the computer). what a lovely new year's resolution! i resolve to always ask myself which is more important; getting photoshop or eating out, that new shirt, those yummy looking baking thingies, that too cute pen, etc., etc., etc.? and if i'm really good at this self delusion thing i'll loose some weight as the food and gas budget get smaller.

i wish you all have a merry, zany, and not too awkward holiday!


light as air

feathers are fascinating; the incredible things they can do by providing flight, maintaining warmth, making a mating ritual extravagant. upon closer inspection they are equally glorious, the color only seen at a distance is broken up into an array of multiple hues, with mica like shimmer.

feathers have been something i need to pick up when found on the ground; always searching for that one spectacular specimen. when i was younger and vacationing in the bahamas we went to a preserve where these lovely peacocks lived. there were so many blue feathers on the ground; tiny ones from the head and bigger downy grey ones with iridescent blue tips. i only wished that i was able to gather more.

not so long ago one of the feral cats in the neighborhood brought down a female cardinal and left bits of her plumage on our porch; it was sad, but an example of the hierarchy found in the natural world. i saved one of her brown red feathers.

when viewing historical garb and movies of glamorous eras i'm always drawn to the fantastic headgear comprised of luxurious feathers; ostrich, pheasant, peacock, exotic birds from the tropics and the rainforests. watching documentaries on the television about birds and wild things from our beautiful planet, at the ways they've suffered by our hands because of the finery they are made of, creates within me guilt over this feather fascination. should i continue to use them in my work, even if they are found objects and not bought? what message does it send? i guess these questions could be asked of any animal derived material, be it fur, leather, pigment, scale or feather.


being elsewhere

this last week i was visiting my great aunt, who is 98. she resides in las vegas in an apartment with views of the mountains and of a school. several of the days gave you a glimpse of snow covered peaks, and chilly fingers upon leaving the warmth of indoors.

when my great aunt was younger she traveled quite a bit. in the early 1940's on one excursion across the country she was taken to see the boulder dam. and for whatever reason hadn't seen it since; even with moving to las vegas six years ago. the weather was quite nice, i had a rental car, and we were feeling adventurous, so she and i went to see it as it's known now by the name hoover dam.

needless to say it's quite different from her first visit; no longer can you park right along it and get out to take photos, nor are people dressed up in their best for the occasion, you can't walk out onto the small promontories either. but a lot of things are the same; the beautiful mosaics covering the floors, the soaring statues and art deco architectural details, and the expansive view of water that should be let free to carve out stone, give life to fish and animals, clean the byways of canyons, and flow unheeded to mexico.


i survived the storm

and lived to create another day! i finished up my ode to inspiration cushion. it's very delightful, with the bright blues and cheery oranges. every time i work with natural linen i am amazed at the variety in hue that is available; from lightest tans to deep wheaten browns. the tiny bit of firmness linen gives to the shape of the cushions is very nice, not too stiff and not too slouchy.


where does inspiration come from?

sometimes just when you're leaving a room and something catches your eye; either a pattern, or a color combination that just didn't show itself to you before this point. i'm at work on a pillow that hopefully will be finished tomorrow. if the house doesn't blow away. storms with tornado warnings really scare me.


the loveliness of mold, and other wonders

i'm constantly being amazed at the talent on etsy, it's really wonderful actually. since shopping on it these last few months i've noticed a real lack of interest in myself of wanting to shop in the real world. i've this feeling when looking in stores that i could get a much nicer and more unique item on etsy.

if you asked me a year ago what i like to do for enjoyment i would have told you "shopping". just walking into stores, looking at things, trying clothes on, touching materials, is really fun. but lately i just seem so tired of it all. the need to purchase something so that a shopping excursion is deemed successful has just really disappeared. most times when i do go shopping i don't bring anything home. it's all rather odd.

but then i look at the things i've acquired from some really talented ladies on the web, and i feel good. these pieces make me happy when i look at them. it's incredible to know who made what, put a person to each piece. there are stories behind them, blogs you can visit, websites that let you know more about the artist; what drives them. i think this connection is what is missing from stores now. call it the mass production affect, but all these things that they stock just seem dead, so soulless in their anonymity.

i am a follower of the "handmade" movement; for reasons such as craftsmanship, preservation of historic skills, the creative eye, a fair wage, uniqueness. but i've come to realize that it's more than that, it's the ability to reach out and share something wonderful with someone else. i know that when i create, so much of myself is put into it. call it a piece of your spirit, your energy, or your fingerprint, but this whatever-it-is makes what you create alive. so the happiness is more than the acquisition of material things, it's the happiness derived from surrounding oneself with things that contain life.

i hope the handmade movement is here to stay; because if we lose this ability as humans, to create, to empathize with our surroundings, i don't think there's much brightness in our future.


so unexpected!

i was just checking my email, flickr, and etsy this morning around 10 am and lo! there my pin was on the front page! i was super excited, this is a first for me, and it was really stupendous how the view count jumped from 32 to 420 over the course of half an hour. i managed to grab a picture of this most excellent event:

hopefully this exposure will lead to my first sale! i'm still on my "being on the front page" high, so for the most part, i'm at a loss for words.

a pin for sunny days

it's grey like an approaching thunderstorm, so it's a good balance for those sunny days. this pin has some sparkle though, and that's awesome. i have quite a lot of grey in my wardrobe but don't really feel it when looking for accessories, so i tend to go for color.


to be surrounded by lovely things.

i've an art gallery of sorts. in my bathroom. i think it's a great place to have art; the walls are painted white, the light is bright but soft as it is filtered by the frosted glass of the window. the small space really allows you to display varying sizes without the fear of needing to fill a large area.

as long as i don't shut the door when showering, humidity isn't really an issue.


pretty polly

echo needed a new frock for the holidays. and as i have been neglecting the poor little sprite i felt it was time to make her one. i had some small scraps left of the nani iro coururiere fabric, even after these three projects i have still a tiny bit more.

drawing inspiration from the dress i spoke of yesterday, i went about cutting and sewing. there were some moments i had to pick up my seam ripper, but after some time a finished garment was made. luckily i was done minutes before i had to head out the door to work.

i love this color against her skin. it's really soft but bright; the salmon goes wonderfully with her skin and face tones, she really warms up as her current hair is like corn silk and makes her quite pale. all she needs is maybe a pretty bauble and she can be off to enjoy winter solstice.


a bon bon princess

awhile back i stopped in at the exhibit for the 2009 scad fashion show that the jepson center was having. i absolutely loved this hot pink chevron frock, and have had it as the wallpaper on my phone since; but can't for the life of me remember who created it. i would feel like such an incredibly girly girl if i wore it, and seeing as though that's not likely to happen, would like to immortalize it on my flash drive. if anyone seeing this happens to know who the designer is, i would be most grateful!


at liberty

i have started down the perilous road of collecting liberty tana lawn. at first i just sampled the fabric, not really being sure what it was like in person, acquiring small pieces that i could use in my patchwork projects. i was really drawn to these darker prints, something i do not have a lot of.

then, upon receiving these bits in the mail, i became enamored and needed larger widths and lengths. i turned to purl soho, which has quite a few from this years seasonal collection. i have been eying one print in particular, the pink grey haxby. so, i chose a quarter yard of this print, along with the pink caesar, and sarah's secret pastel garden. i haven't a clue what to do with these lovelies now that i have them. i really would like to make a quilt, mostly using a few white fabrics of natural fibers, so that these prints in the pink hues really stand out and shine.


a show i love

can i just say how much i'm enjoying the fifth season of bones? this series has been fantastic from the start, but the personal development of the main characters booth and brennan in the last few episodes really twangs the romantic fool in me. ah, concealed love and the tightening of the chest it creates upon viewing.

also, as an aside, in the latest episode, "the dwarf in the dirt", the waistcoat that booth was wearing later in the show was amazing; the fabric of a deep purple with a shimmer of blue that was used in the backing was really dapper. it's nice to see such details in menswear, as i find the absence of real personality in suits another reason to be glad i am not of the male persuasion.


pin it to me!

after this last month i've finally regained some of my creative equilibrium. i sat down and sewed two pins yesterday, and i have to say they're both lovely little wisps of fabric.

on the shores
is a pin reminiscent of cotton candy, and summer days spent among blossoming trees. i used a bit of the scraps from my party dress, the nani iro coururiere fabric, and one of my vintage pink rhinestone buttons for some bling.

melted jelly beans is a multi hued sparkly take on the piece of fabric i used in my strawberries from space pincushion. it's so yummy, that fabric; sadly i can't recall who made it or where i purchased it. with the print as inspiration this pin called for sequins and lots of them.

i've listed both pins on etsy, so if you're interested...

as to why it's looking a little bare bones on my etsy storefront, it's because some of my work is now available for purchase at shopscad in savannah.

queue hunting

since getting my membership for netflix i've been watching some really good movies, some "they eventually get better three quarters of the way into them" movies, and the occasional kinda awful movie. but, every now and then i pick a fantastic movie; the ones you want to purchase for your collection. camille definitely falls into the last category. i absolutely loved this movie, it was quirky, humorous, colorful, made me cry, and left a lasting scar on my psyche. and after all, isn't that what movies are supposed to be made to do, the really good ones?


candy, candy, candy, candy!

i love you halloween. it's not just because you're the best holiday ever created, and it's not for all of the sugary goodness that you celebrate. it's because you're a wonderful way to recapture the essence of make believe, a night when i can be anything and it's okay. i love you for the quirky movies made in your honor, i love you for the freedom you allow one to howl at the moon. so many scents and edible pleasures surround your passing, and for this i am grateful. i just needed you to know, in case you don't hear it enough.


my newest hoard

this was the third year that scad had their art materials trade show. initially i wasn't going to stop in at the vendors' tables; but when i took a gander at their list of vendors i quickly changed my mind. habu textiles was going to be there! i've never really bought any of their yarn before, thinking it was all rather odd, but i felt an overwhelming urge to go and see what they had to offer. if i remembered correctly they had a plethora of natural fibers and interesting materials. as i am currently enthralled with oddities and natural fibers i decided that i really needed to check them out.

i arrived a half hour early and snuck in to see where their table was located. i found it, took a quick look around and then was kicked out until the doors opened at eleven. luckily the table was located right in front of the entrance door.

oh wow! i would be in extreme trouble if i lived anywhere near to the new york city store. all the raw silks, linens, hemps, naturally dyed fibres; i was in heaven! it took about 45 minutes to gather two basketfuls of loveliness, but they were all so incredible. one oddity i picked up was a bag of golden silk worm cocoons from the curricula of indonesia, they are so beautiful and i can think of several ways to incorporate them into my work.

i learned that the next day the owner of habu textiles, takako ueki, would be giving a lecture about her wares. it was delightful! the information she had was interesting, plus she brought with her some amazing samples of cloth. with my newly acquired knowledge, i headed back to the table and picked up some more yarns including a paper yarn dyed with indigo.

i've decided that i am going to pick up weaving. i've done some research and am planning to save up for a schacht baby wolf loom. i really, really, wish that i could find a secondhand one, as they are quite pricey. maybe i'll stumble on one yet! but if anyone out there knows of one for sale please let me know!


make it work

i can never get a good photo of the dollhouse in its entirety; the angles get all wacky and you always lose one of the floors. so i made a collage combining nice shots of each room. it's a bit wonky and askew, but i like the results; it feels closer to how it is in reality.

hmm, if i added cobwebs, some bats in the attic, dark shadows, and toned down the colors a bit i could have a really cool haunted house for halloween. photoshop here i come!


almost halloween time? yipee!

my favorite month has to be october; my birthday, the real start of fall, halloween, pumpkin ice cream, candy apples. yes, a most excellent month.

for every holiday, i make a card for my great aunt who is 97 this year. so for halloween this is the card i've made, the great inspiration being candy (come on, we all know that's what it's about). i was planning on making a max costume, from where the wild things are, but time seems to have slipped away from me. i was a japanese lolita, the frills and ruffles type, last year and everyone thought i was little bo peep. well, there's still fourish weeks left.


if i had a pygmy hedgehog...

i would name her wilhelmina humperdink, and lola would be her pet name for when she was particularly cute and impish.

but for an absurd reason it is illegal to have one in georgia.


a dress for the party

well, in my convalescence i was able to finish the dress i started a month ago. i'm really very thrilled, a lot of it was hand stitching, with some machine stitching along the skirt and waist connection. i was inspired when i saw the above photo in vogue a couple of months ago. the print reminded me of the nani iro coururiere fabric, and i thought "i can do this...but not this short".

surprisingly, it turned out just as i had imagined when i started. the sash is a piece that i made during metals casting, i used the lost wax method; it's of an ammonite. the ribbon is in one of my favorite colors, chartreuse. overall it's a very bright dress, i love it. i have a wedding to go to next summer and i'll wear this, as well as my birthday next month.


hazardous duty

well, updates to etsy are going to be a little long in coming; hopefully by early next week. i've had a bit of a set back, physical in nature. i've seriously bruised my knee and may have broken my big toe. it figures that the first time in months that i've set foot in a mall something bad happens.

i had some unexpected free time yesterday and decided to look for moviestop, maybe get some $5 dvd's. i thought it would be by gamestop, and headed in that direction when one of those pesky kiosk people diverted my attention for one moment and i stepped in someones inconsiderately left liquid mess on the tile floor and crashed onto one knee severely twisting my big toe in the process.

i'm making it my fall resolution to never step foot inside a mall again, i hate malls, i never should have gone in the first place. plus, i'm getting a root canal and crown tomorrow morning. yea for local anesthesia! oh, and moviestop is in a strip next to the mall. blech.


my little display area

here are some photos of the display i had at @home. i like the tallness of everything. i'll be posting all of the pieces that didn't sell on my etsy store within the week; i just need to get pricing on shipping when the post office opens on monday.


looks like sorbet

i've started work on the dress that i bought the nani iro coururiere fabric for. the bodice is all pinned, i just need to pick up thread that matches the scrumptious salmon pink. it just so happens that i was also working on a cushion yesterday that could really use some of that fabric, so it kind of kick started my actions.

i made this one shorter, much more a long rectangle than the previous ones. this size is good, it's about 9.5" x 16". i'm really enjoying all of the linen material that i bought from variegated, the variety and differing thicknesses of the weave are incredibly nice.

the nani iro fabric is really very incredible, when you just have small sections of the greater piece all of the little details like the lace, dots, and hems are quite beautiful. the creative possibilities in this one print are numerous.


the influence of tv

over the summer i've been sporadically watching a show on tv called bones; it has quickly become one of my favorite programs. the lead characters are really wonderful to watch, the sexual tension between them is very nice to see unfurl over the course of seasons, all of the little changes and progressions. temperance bronner (aka bones) is amazing, i can completely connect with so many of her quirks. the other characters mesh so well into the whole storyline, creating a wonderfully complex and original show. it airs on thursday nights, which is good, as i needed a replacement for my name is earl, which was cancelled.

it's funny how watching a show or reading a book can start to influence your art. when i finished the front of my second wall panel i saw the back as a cross section of a city; with the bones of the dead below, hidden from all, and the living going about their lives in the buildings above.