Sunday, February 28, 2010

Weekend Highs and Lows

Bear with me here, one of the lows is that I caught Dan's cold and my brain is very foggy. On the up side, etsy featured one of my mushroom gardens in the Spring Fever article in the Storque. That led to some interesting contacts and a couple of sales. Meanwhile I've been painting glass with a foggy brain and a huge headache which is not what I was planning on. Writing this blog is just too much right now but I don't want to break the habit. That's it. I'm gonna throw a couple of pictures up here and call this entry done.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Once again it is snowing. I shipped out an Amanita muscaria garden and a snowflake pin this morning before the snow really got going. People just love those red mushrooms! I'm still painting. Today's blog picture is a doll I've had waiting to be finished. I've been waiting for her to tell me the rest of her story and I was hoping that by posting her picture I'd have her in the back of my mind and some ideas would bubble up. Time to quit messing around on the computer and get to work!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


OK, on to the next!

Alien Chili Pepper

Today has a bit of a "Groundhog Day" feeling to it. It's still raining and I'm going to spend the day painting. The alien chili pepper is an end of day evening project made from the extra material I trimmed off the monster purse ears. I had two curving v-shaped pieces so I sewed them into a pod shape, trimmed the pod with a crocheted ruffle and mindlessly embroidered french knots while zoned out in front of the tv. The varrigated yarn is some that I dyed myself.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

So I was naughty yesterday and let myself get sucked into making the purse instead of painting. I should hide my wool stuff. Outta sight outta mind!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Works in Progress

It's a sloppy snowy/rainy gray day here. The word that popped into my head this morning was: boring. I'm bored of winter. Oh well. So here's what I'm working on now. The painting is an extreme close up of two canning jars against a blue background. It's 8" x 10", a warm up for some 11" x 14"'s and a study for a bigger version. I'd like to see this really big but with the market being what it is, smaller is what is selling. The painting is a bit beyond block in. It's painted in acrylic and has a bit of a dry look to it but it will look a lot richer after varnishing.
The monster purse is just a fun thing that I started last night while watching a Discovery program about King Tut. I think I'm going to make it into a handbag rather than a shoulder bag and it will probably end up in my etsy shop.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Twenty-first Century Luddite

So far I've done almost all my hat construction by hand. I have a preference for hand sewing because it gives me more control in the shaping and because I don't want to risk messing up my sewing machine, a vintage Spartan. When I was a kid I had no problem with sewing machines. I started sewing on my Mom's old Singer, then dragged my grandmother's treadle machine down from the attic and put it in my bedroom. I just don't remember either machine having a lot of problems. Years went by when I wasn't sewing very much and I decided to buy a new machine. What a hunk of junk! Before the darn thing was a month old it had gone out of balance and, no, not from sewing thick felted wool. Machines now are computerized with tons of stitch patterns I'll never use and plastic parts that are just waiting for an excuse to break. When I found my Spartan I could not believe my luck. It must have come right from the original owner who had to be someone who took great care of it. The problem is, I'm afraid to use it. I feel like Charlie Brown clutching a new kite, looking up at the kite eating tree. There must be a class on machine maintenance somewhere and I need to find it. If I really understood my old warhorse of a sewing machine, I could just get on with it.
Now the other issue complicating matters is that I am a natural born Luddite. If I'd been in France during the industrial revolution I'd have been throwing my sabots into the weaving machines. (My ancestors were actually weavers so maybe this is genetic.) I know I'm inconsistent. I sit here blogging on the net and can't stand the thought of not having that instant access to inspiration and information. But there is such an abundance of cheaply made crap cluttering the world!
This is not an internal war that I will settle anytime soon. For the time being I'm sticking with the tried and true, handwork and actual paint and brushes.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hot Colors Beret

Today's new hat is a hot color beret. Next up I need to get back to painting. Dan and I are working on one together and I have reference for more in the mason jar series I'm doing. Unfortunately, I lost track of time yesterday and stayed up way too late. I took forever to fall asleep, had a string of weird dreams and woke up discombobulated. I've felt wrong footed all day but if I can get some painting done I know that will help.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Scottish Beach Pottery

This is my stash of Scottish beach pottery from Rubycquins' shop on etsy. I have never found anything this cool on the beach here in Connecticut but then, we don't have a 300 year history of major pottery manufacturers in these parts. They aren't actually pieces from the china plates. They are broken stands used to stack the pottery in the kiln. At first glance they look like bones. Some will be made into jewelry, others into buttons and add ons for hats and mixed media pieces. I'm excited to use them and wishing that it was warm enough to go beach combing! The strangest thing I ever found was the forehead from a china doll. I also have three or four pieces of a brown victorian china pattern that were collected at different times and places, one of them on the Strand in Ireland. Must have been a popular pattern!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Zipper Hat

I've been seeing some wonderful things being made with creatively used zippers. (Check out Wooly Fabulous on Flickr so I went through my stash and found enough zippers to use them in place of my usual crocheted trim on a spiral hat. I'm very pleased with the finish on this hat. The spiral is lightly stuffed with fiberfil so it will hold its shape. The zippers did add a little weight though not enough that you'd notice it when wearing the hat. It's lined with very soft lambs wool. Feels like I crossed every t and dotted all the i's. Most of the materials were thrifted, the exceptions being a bit of interfacing and the green tapestry wool I used to finish the edge. I love tapestry wool! It comes in so many colors and can be felted too. It's always a happy day when I find a bag of it at a thrift store or tag sale. Sometimes I get in the mood to crochet and felt little patches with a single strand and a small hook. The possibility for color blending are awesome!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mushrooms for Morticia

It was so much fun making this piece! I've been working on a collection of these tabletop mushroom gardens and this story suddenly popped into my head. Cousin Ophelia has opened a floral shop - kept in business mainly by Gomez's frequent stops to purchase presents for his Cara Mia. These are Amanita amourica, poison love mushrooms. Eat them and experience ecstasy and possibly die. As Gomez would say,"Either way, what bliss!" I found the footed porcelain cup in a thrift shop years ago and it was just perfect for this project. The mushrooms are sewn from felted sweater wool and even the stuffing is from a bag of thrifted fiberfill. The only parts I bought new are the ribbon and the pipe cleaners in the stems. The mushrooms can be gently bent and arranged to suit one's fancy. I find it far more interesting to design with thrifted art and craft supplies rather than running out to Michael's to get new stuff. They'd never have a cup like that!