running around like a chicken with it's...

hectic could easily describe my week. between last minute costume sewing (and not just mine. thanks brother dear!), starting a new job, fighting an eye infection, and getting the four-legged children used to a new schedule, i find myself without the usual amount of spare time. but, next week will be better, with fantastic photos, and sparkling narrative.


feats of gene selection

the fiber compendium; for the pursuit of education and knowledge (f.c.p.e.k.) is coming along nicely. there are some gaps, but with more time and searching i can hopefully fill them. i'm really glad i decided to collect samples of so many fibers.

it's really remarkable how many types of silk there are, the different ways it's spun, and how all parts are used (waste, stem, pupae). there's definitely a "waste not, want not" mindset when it comes to this fiber. it reminds me of the way some of the native americans viewed animals; that by not throwing away any part of it, the death was not meaningless and the animals' sacrifice was respected. the life of the silkworm isn't wasted by it's death; oftentimes they are a food source, and the fact that the entire amount of silk it spun is used in some form or other is a great testament to how the people doing sericulture view and respect the silkmoth. peduncle thread, spun from the stems of the tropical tasar cocoon, along with ghicha, spun from the waste silk of muga and eri cocoons, were some of the more interesting spun silks i came across.

one of the things i had thought before starting this project was that there weren't too many cellulose fibers used for spinning and weaving cloth; only ramie, hemp, linen, cotton, and washi. but, i have more cellulose samples than animal fibers; baste fibers can be found in many plants, and the resourcefulness of humans is really inspiring! people have gone to great lengths to create cloth, from the attusi (elm tree inner bark) clothing of the ainu people of northern japan, to nettle fiber which has been used throughout europe for centuries.

with the animal fiber i've collected i found the different hair types within one animals' coat to be interesting; coarse to downy soft, strongly pigmented to lighter pigmentation, with a variety of uses for each type. browns, fawns, and creamy whites are the dominant colors in protein fibers. the brown hues lend the animal warmth from the sun in cold environs, and hiding ability amongst grasses and trees, whereas the white coloring, which is perfect for dyeing, seems to be a trait humans breed for (as albinism in the wild isn't really a common or safe trait).

the unique characteristics of the many natural fibers lend themselves to a myriad of uses, and i question why humans need to invent synthetics, when what is already there is so functional. with some better husbandry, more effective natural resource use, and respect for the organism which creates the fiber, many of these natural fibers can be just as viable as synthetics. some synthetic fiber inventions such as neoprene, are impressive, and needed, but to create a synthetic which does the same as a natural fiber just seems wasteful (and, like any copy, is never as good as the real thing, imho).

interesting reads:
an article about silk varieties, and degumming
the book, fibre facts, by bette hochberg
ebook, dictionary of textiles, by louis harmuth
"peace" silk, or the mythical perfection postulation


fall's sudden snow

fields of milk weed,
half open, puffy faced,
seeds floating in the wind
as if mimicking the coming snow. 

a fond memory from my childhood. in my search for fibers which are spinable, i remember the down-like fluff of the milkweed. sadly, they don't seem to grow as far south as me. though, happily, velma sent me a pod along with stem. both can be used, the pod fiber blended with other fibers for a spattering of shimmer, and the baste fiber of the stem can be spun similar to ramie, linen, and hemp. i am enjoying the search for fibers, and learning so much along the way. 


little hiccups

well, turns out anastasiahandmade isn't available on etsy (even though 0 results showed up in the search). i didn't really know that until last night when i went to make the change over. so, looking to the thesaurus, i came across handcrafted. anastasiahandcrafted, that sounds even better! and luckily, was still available on etsy. i would have liked everything to be the same (less confusion), but the thought of getting another blog name, redoing the header, moving everything, and deleting this blog, makes my head hurt. bleh. would it be worth it, though?


another year bites the dust

i love birthdays; especially when it's my own. i think the major allure of celebrating birthdays is the dessert, and presents. mmm, cake. i'm good with cupcakes as well, or ice cream cake, or many other desserts for that matter.

last year i was in kyoto, japan, for my birthday. i miss japan. so, for my birthday this year i received various green teas (ocha) from ippodo. i actually ordered a tea from each category, rather without realizing it. from gyokuro, the karigane (stems) ocha, from sencha, hosen ocha (a very good one i've had before), from matcha, an autumnal tsukikage ocha, and in the bancha, wakayanagi ocha (typically, i drink genmaicha, but i decided to try this instead). i've tried other companies ocha, but i've found ippodo to be the highest quality, reasonably priced, and as i've visited uji (where much of the matcha is grown), i enjoy drinking tea from that region.


pinks are lovely

i've been working on a set of headers, link buttons, and icons for the big switch. it's amazing what can be done with photos and preview. i really like the pink and natural tones. the odd guy out is the purple hued flickr profile picture (not in the photo montage), but that's fine. i like the odd duck or two.



this would be the new blog. quite similar to the old, actually. perhaps a softer, earthier color palette; inspiration arising from my spinning. my dollhouse feels like the palette from birds in chandeliers. i love that palette.

off to do some research.
ah, what joy.


i'm thinking of changing something. i've begun to feel that i should move away from the title "birds in chandeliers", to a more definite title "*anastasia.handmade". it describes what i do better, and that it is myself which does these things. the "birds in chandeliers" is somewhat vague.

i was warned of this, of course; several years ago when i first started selling what i made. i was told to choose a name which represents me and my creations. own them, as it were. but, i wanted something fun, non-descriptive, non-confining.

the snafu to changing things is that the title is the address. what about bookmarks, past business cards, links, comments left to others? blah, a headache.

this has all been brought on because etsy is giving you the option of changing your store name, and if you choose to do so, they will change all the links within etsy and hearts to the new address.

i want to change my etsy store name, but then i started thinking i should change my blog name as well. so, what do you, my readers (thank you for that, by the way), think of this move? any advice for staging a technical switch gracefully?


not too shabby

i ventured over to the georgia national fair yesterday. the exhibition of art pieces was really nice! it was fun hunting down all 23 of my pieces, taking photos as i came across them. the tally is: 4 first place, 6 second place, 3 third place, and 2 honorable mentions. not too bad at all for my first competition!

next year i want to go after one of the giant rosette ribbons, so i have to start planning. as well, i would like to enter some things in the fine art competition. here's to a successful 2012!


just what was needed

yay! the bathroom is now finished (or as finished as any room ever is). i've installed the bidet and toilet, along with a toilet paper stand. the toilet paper stand is a reclaimed fireplace tool holder, painted chrome, and now holding a roll of tp.

the only adjustments i needed to make was paint the bidet and toilet a warmer white. now they match well with the sink and bathtub. i keep thinking the space feels a little big, but if the roof were in place, it would be quite snug, so i won't drive myself kooky thinking about it.

the day was coming to an end, the skies loosing the light of the sun, so the photos are not as crisp as i like. i will take new ones tomorrow.

an army of miniature servants would be nice

i've been having a few late night dollhouse redecorating moments lately. the halloween decorating was just the beginning. now i've finally gotten around to ordering a toilet and bidet for the bathroom (won't that be a relief!), added a wardrobe to the master bedroom, and have an idea to create a fortuny dress for the lady of the house.

sometimes pieces of furniture you've had for awhile finally "click", and make a room feel finished and at the same time help to create a more sensible layout. i've placed a grandfather clock in the living room, adding height and warmth to a bare corner. a wardrobe i bought maybe two years ago, but is quite large and really can't go too many places without dwarfing the space, finally found a place which suites it in the master bedroom.

or, perhaps, the piece was in the wrong area this whole time and just needed to be moved into another room. in the upstairs hallway, i moved a master bedroom night stand to just under the window, creating nesting tables with the one that was there already.

i went with a nonconventional dining area; using a bench and three cork stools as seating, around a baroque marble table. i love mixing things up, and anyways, this provides easily movable seating for when the dollhouse people have company.

one thing which happens when a dollhouse is left dormant for some time, is dust. which takes just as long to remove as a full size house because you have to be incredibly careful handling pieces, there are multiple nooks and crannies, and things need to be put back where they were without knocking over other things. i find masking tape works well to remove most dust from the floor without leaving remnants of paper towels behind and a simple swipe of a tissue works fine for the furniture. as long as i don't take it into my head to start rearranging things, this housekeeping generally doesn't take the entire day.