31 December 2009

2009 in review

Here we are, 2010 is breathing down our necks. In a matter of a few hours 2009 will be over. So that means its time for me to look back and see what I managed to accomplish art wise during the year.

I always start out by trolling back through the blog since I tend to post completed items here. I never think that I did all that much but once I put the mosaics together, I begin to understand the reason why life always seems so full.

Mostly I look for completed projects, there are a lot of half or mostly completed items hanging around in the background that will get a "Made in 2010" stamp. Here are some of the things I squeezed in between the normal everyday activities of living.

I made things:

I stood on things:

I participated in and hung a couple exhibits:

I toted my camera around and snapped pictures of my surroundings:

It was a full year. I know everyone says it but I can't believe it will be 2010. That always seemed like so far away, that's the number that inspired the sci fi fiction writers to dream up robotic societies and advanced technologies.

To be honest, I'm glad we aren't there yet. I value the little quiet moments, the hand made things, the slow steady pace of just living. I've decided that art in 2010 will be given free reign. I'm not going to worry about what I produce, if its "serious", if its gallery worthy. I just want to feel the joy of making things.

Let the chips fall where they may.

Happy New Year, happy creating and I'll see you in 2010!

29 December 2009

because i am a glutton for punishment...

See that? See that up there? That is a hexagon. And its going to have a lot of friends. Why you ask?

Because apparently the Babette Blanket wasn't traumatic enough for me and I'm coming back for more. Now before you go hitching up the corner of your mouth so you can look at me sideways with the "mom" look, let me explain myself.

Winter is here and that's usually when I launch some insanely big yarn project. Its as regular as the season, I've decided to not fight it anymore. I've been spending time on Ravelry again (which is always dangerous) and found this project. Still not impressed? Check out the Flickr group for it, I dare you to not find it intriguing.

I've decided that this blanket will be nicer to me. Why? Let me outline the reasons:

1) Ends will be woven in or crocheted in as I go along. I will not call a hexagon complete until every end has been properly secured. I'm not sure I've ever really been so close to the edge of my sanity as I was when I had to weave in all those ends on Babette. I have not forgotten, I shall not return.

2) There is a tutorial for crocheting the blocks to each other as you go along. I'm not entirely sure that I understand it at the moment (I'm trusting that I will once I try it) but it gives me great hope that I won't have to sew every hexagon together (this makes me stupid happy.)

3) All the hexagons are the same size. No need to worry about layout.

4) I have lots of yarn left over from Babette. (Even more if you count the box of squares I haven't sewn together yet, they are in peril of being ravaged...) I should be able to make most of this blanket without having to buy a lot of yarn. (I'll have to buy some but I think it will be minimal. I had originally thought of doing this in 70's appliance colors - LOVE that! - but decided to use up what I have on hand.)

5) These have a certain squishiness that Babette doesn't:

6) I found a cool pink metallic (yes, I said pink) crochet hook. Don't have that color in the size for this yarn so it gave me an excuse to obtain it. (I am forever in search of colored metal crochet hooks. The store near me has limited colors, its like a treasure hunt.)

All these reasons combined have this blanket already faring better then Babette. I have hopes of redoing my bedroom in the next few months so it will be a nice addition to the feel I'm going for.

It also seems that I am no longer incapable of making just one of something. Behold, the fingerless mitt binge I have embarked on:

I know, I know. There are loose ends to weave in. In my defense I lost the darn needle again. I go through those yarn needles like they are going out of style. I have visions of one day finding a heap of them hidden somewhere behind a piece of furniture covered by a pile of Dooley toys (I wonder if he steals them so I'll have more time to pay attention to him...)

This binge was started by this pattern. The two pairs of white ones toward the top of the basket are going to be those. I did them the way the pattern called for but decided I didn't really like the ribbing on the cuff. Mom does, though, so those will be for her. So I did a second pair that is straight stockinette for me. I still have to do the crocheted medallion for the top. I'll make my medallion 70's appliance colors, mom's will be pink and froofy.

I decided that since these worked up so darn quick that I would try out some different yarns. Apparently I'm not so bright because I picked this yarn:

These are being knit on 2.25mm needles. The yarn is so freakin' small it makes my eyes tired to work on these for long. But they are mindless so that makes them good tv watching knitting.

I have several other mitt patterns in the queue (not sure if I should be thankful for Ravelry or if I should flip it off) so once I'm done with these, I'll give another style a try.

Someone slap me, please, the yarn has taken me over...

27 December 2009

Where I Stand Sunday

The calendar is near exhaustion, almost entirely used up. The past twelve months blur slowly into each other, melding into the mold of the past. I've walked across 2009 with firm footsteps, determined to leave an even print during the solid as well as the weak moments. The upcoming year is entirely undefined, something that I've not faced for some time. I plan to hold it lightly in my hand and watch, pushing softly around the edges for a simplicity that fulfills every need.

Where I Stand is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell. (The project is now in Year Three. Year Three will feature artwork inspired by that week's Where I Stand photo as well as the photo that inspired it. Year One and Year Two can be found here.)

INSPIRED BY ARTWORK TECHNIQUE: collage and rubber stamps

Original photo:

24 December 2009

happy holidays, my friends

I'm a big fan of Project Improv and their latest event, a Guerilla Handbell Strikeforce, seems like a lovely way to wish all of you a happy holiday. I'm so grateful you all come and visit me here, I enjoy it immensely. I hope you all have a lovely holiday full of family, friends and lots of food (especially cookies!) :)

23 December 2009

the finish line has been crossed...

...in fact, I stomped across that bad boy this afternoon and laughed maniacally with glee as I stood back and took stock of the gang:

Those are all the varieties of cookies I made (multiply each type by an obscene number). Take note of the lonely little springerle cookie on the far left. Not many survived and I don't feel the least bit bad about it.

These devils sucked up every single inch of my freezer. The snowflake sugar cookies have been stored in a tight container in the garage because for some reason I felt we needed sixteen thousand of them or Christmas just wouldn't be right this year. (Don't ask, I can't explain it...)

Because the freezer was overcrowded, I waited until today to make my personal favorite, the cranberry orange bread:

I got this recipe from a teacher back in grade school. I love it, can't get enough of it. Luckily these little loafs are about three inches long by two inches wide which makes them easy to freeze off and to let me consume them in little chunks at a time rather then big chunks at a time. Love it, love it, did I mention I love it? (I do, I love it...)

I'm hanging up my baking gloves for a bit. Its been quite the marathon. I've had fun, I've made the dog a nervous wreck (he wants to eat them all but I won't let him, something about not wanting a dog with an upset stomach doing bad things to my carpet that motivates me to not give in to his creative whining) and mom is looking forward to seeing the kitchen counter top again.

Tomorrow I celebrate Christmas with my extended family. We celebrate Wigilia, it'll be a nice evening. Then on Christmas Day I cook some Julia Child Beef Bourguignon in a slightly updated modern way. That should be interesting. Then I plan to lay on the couch like a slug and stare at television for a few days.

And eat some cranberry bread...(did I mention I love it?)

20 December 2009

Where I Stand Sunday

The snow paints a whitewash across every surface, throwing the silhouette of the trees into a black charcoal outline. Their branches stretch out in long spindly shadows across the unbroken surface of frozen rain, twisting lazily in a circle as the sun shifts from one point in the sky to the next. Its like a living etch-a-sketch, a succession of lines drawn lightly and erased with a soft flick of light and wind.

Where I Stand is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell. (The project is now in Year Three. Year Three will feature artwork inspired by that week's Where I Stand photo as well as the photo that inspired it. Year One and Year Two can be found here.)

INSPIRED BY ARTWORK TECHNIQUE: assemblage and decoupage

Original photo:

19 December 2009

springerle, oh, springerle...

Dear Springerle,

When I made the roster for the holiday baking binge this year, I admit that I put you toward the bottom of the list intentionally because your beauty and history intimidated me. You are, after all, widely loved and coveted.

But I have baked many difficult pastries and cakes and cookies and decided that we should be friends. I obtained a lovely folk art rolling pin and a poinsetta cookie mold in order to get to know you better, scoured the internet for recipes and did diligent research into the best way to make you.

I even found this video. The baker smiles and mixes and looks happy. Its how I imagined our time together. So when I wandered into the kitchen this morning feeling confident and cheerful, I toted her along with me, making room on the far counter for my laptop so she and I could make you together.

Everything went swimmingly. She whipped eggs, I whipped eggs. She gently added teaspoons of flavoring, I gently added teaspoons of flavoring. I breathed in the intoxicating perfume that only half a dozen eggs, a stick of unsalted butter, two pounds of powdered sugar and organic vanilla extract can produce.

Dooley sang his approval, I smiled lightly and turned up the Christmas music on the radio.

Then I added the flour. That, dear springerle, is when you decided to bitch slap me to the ground.

Apparently, my home use kitchen aid mixer (who I love dearly) is not strong enough to handle your dough once the flour is added. Under no circumstances is it acceptable to make it sound like a cat being skinned. Your cruelty forced me to finish adding the flour by hand, an activity that produced the first level of bitterness toward you.

You dried out in a flash (which a google search told me is common) so I dipped my fingers in water. You got sticky, I threw flicks of flour (and insults) at you, I attempted to roll you out and stood there and stared as you cracked and became largely unusable.

I pondered you for a moment. I could give up. The trash can would be most pleased to consume you. I began to understand what the superheros feel like in comic books when they first meet their arch enemies. You, my friend, are no match for a determined Virgo.

I set out with concrete resolution and managed to pry two trays of cookies out of your dried out carcass:

The impressions are not as deep as I would like but they are there and I laugh in your direction at the triumph this produces in me. You've left a trail of misery. The dog is upset, mom is worried about the cussing wafting from the kitchen and it took an extraordinary amount of time to clean and reassemble all the tools it took to make you.

After our battle was complete, I googled you obsessively to find out what could have possibly gone wrong. It appears you've been inflicting torment on innocent bakers for decades. (I even spent some time looking up German swear words so I could communicate with you properly.)

Tomorrow I bake you. Do not make the mistake of thinking that just because I wasted three hours of my life this afternoon producing a relatively low amount of cookies that I will be as patient tomorrow. I will have large amounts of heat on my side, keep that in mind should you decide to throw a temper tantrum. I am not above burning you just for spite.

Dooley sang to you as he sang to all the other (nicer and more cooperative) cookies I have made over the past couple of weeks. I didn't feel you deserved his admiration so you have been put in solitary confinement in the dining room while you dry out overnight. I hope you will spend the time thinking about your behavior.

Let's hope tomorrow is a better day.

Your Nemesis,


15 December 2009

the edible kind of art

Dooley has informed me that he plans to contact his union rep. He feels that all his hard work helping me bake over the past few days has been hugely unrewarded and he wants fair compensation for his cookie guarding skills. (Although he may look level with the cookies in the photo, I assure you he is no where near. He is stumpy, so he has to resort to whining and chirping at the cookies in the hope that they will spontaneously jump from their containers into his mouth. So far he has not perfected this method although he remains hopeful.)

I love to bake. I usually do a fair amount of it during the year and then a huge binge of the fancy variety at Christmas time (to eat and to give as gifts). I haven't had the chance to indulge that love for a few years but this year is different - I'm going forward full gusto.

I look at food as an art form as well, especially baking. Every time I see something in a magazine or a show, I have to give it a shot. I've got a few new recipes this year that are very labor intensive but I'm looking forward to giving them a go.

I'm doing springerle for the first time ever and I've fallen madly in love with the rolling pins and cookie stamps. I was gifted one of each from House on the Hill and I'm hoping I have good success with it. If I do, I plan to make the cookie stamps a standing birthday gift request so that I can build up a collection, those things are absolutely stunning. Add to that the fact that the stamps and springerle are rooted in deep tradition dating back hundreds of years and I'm totally smitten - I love everything antique with an interesting history behind it.

I've managed to knock off four cookies so far. The first being the potato chip cookies (I neglected to get a photo of those and they are in the freezer now so that will have to wait until they come back out to be devoured). Here are the others:

Peanut butter sandwich cookies with chocolate filling

Lemon dip cookies (these are mom's favorites)

Ginger molasses cookies

The ginger molasses ones are my favorite from that lot, I'm a sucker for a good ginger cookie.

And just to keep things interesting, the universe decided it would be great fun to murder the oven two days after I bought all the supplies for the baking extravaganza. You have to admire the tenacity of it all.

We decided to get a little countertop oven. The little sucker is working its heart out and baking the best cookies I have ever produced. It does slow things down a little bit but its worth it - every single thing is coming out perfect. The big oven will be fixed but the part won't be in until after Christmas and I doubted handing people a tin with a I.O.U. inside of it would be nearly as thrilling as actually getting cookies to eat.

So the blog will be consumed with baking photos for a little bit, hope you don't mind. I'm not sure what I'll make tomorrow (my back is a little crabby from this weather) but there are four more cookies I plan to make and then there is the cranberry bread. Oh my, the cranberry bread - that's my absolute favorite. Does it get any better??

13 December 2009

Where I Stand Sunday

The emptying of one season into the next is like the pages of a journal, an opportunity to deposit all the leftovers of thought and imagination. The transition to winter is late this calendar, taking its time, in no rush. As the cold wind whips across the surfaces brave enough to be in its way, the impatience grows into an irritated sigh, a strong want for one thing to be over and the next to begin.

Where I Stand is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell. (The project is now in Year Three. Year Three will feature artwork inspired by that week's Where I Stand photo as well as the photo that inspired it. Year One and Year Two can be found here.)


Original photo:

11 December 2009

well played, knitting goddess, WELL played

Gisela left this comment on this post: Oh no! You know, this one sentence, "There are 19 whole days after all, what could there possibly be to worry about?", will surely call down the wrath of the knitting gods...Make an offering and pray that they don't read blogs --

Well, apparently the crabby wench follows this blog because she slapped me squarely across the back of the head. I'm going to show what I was making, I just won't say who for (honestly, I don't think the person getting it reads this but I'll leave some mystery to it). Here's what I was working on (notice the use of the word "was"):

That there lovely is about fourteen inches from the point to the top. See the yarn ball? That's all the yarn I had left. (That's Ella Rae fingering weight, really posh stuff.)

Yeah, that's what I said when I laid it out and saw it.

Thing is, the recipient is not twelve-years-old. Therefore this would need to be significantly larger and that just simply wasn't going to happen with what I had left to work with. So in a fit of intense grumpiness, I frogged it. (What's always a bit depressing about the frogging is that it took me such a long time to get it to where it was and then no time at all to erase it from existence. *sigh*)

I dug around in the stash and found some yarn that promised to be nicer to me, cast on and after only a few hours, I'm here with it:

That's Cascade Ecowool. (Forgive the cluttered photo. In addition to fabric and knitting ADD, I tend to read umpteen million things at one time so books tend to follow me around just like fabric and yarn do.) I love this yarn. Not only because its about ten times bigger then fingering weight but because its extremely cushy and warm and I think its actually a better choice for the shawl. Has me thinking about making one for myself once this one is off the needles.

I know they look pretty much the same but the difference is that I'm barely halfway through the skein of yarn and its longer then where I was with the other (if I hadn't been cussing like a sailor I would have had the good sense to leave the original one alone so that I could compare the two) so I have supreme confidence that yarn yardage will no longer be an issue. (Said very very quietly and while simultaneously knocking on wood...)

So I guess the score is fairly even. Knitting Goddess: 1, Lynn: 1.

We'll see if the balance remains, I have a feeling she considers a tie the equivalent of loosing so I won't be surprised if I find myself heading out to Macy's two days before Christmas for a replacement gift.

In addition to tackling the cranky yarn/goddess situation, I've invaded the kitchen for my annual holiday baking. I'm a cookie addict, love to make the fancy ones. I've added a few newcomers to the roster this year and after mixing doughs today I'm thinking several will become permanent members of the line up.

The whole bottom shelf of the fridge is jammed pack with containers just waiting to go:

I'm making kolachky for the first time. My grandma used to make something similar but unfortunately I never really learned how to make it. So I found a recipe online and am giving it a go, hoping to establish my own tradition with that one.

I'll start baking these off over the next few days. But tomorrow is for Potato Chip Cookies, can't mix that one in advance. I see you making that scrunched up face, now don't go judging it just yet. I found it in a magazine a few years ago and I was skeptical too but I tell you, its become a standard favorite and I make it every year. Its like a shortbread that isn't as dry as sawdust because of the potato chips.

Here, I'll prove to you its good. Here's the recipe, give it a shot:

Potato Chip Cookies

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cups crushed potato chips (I found Better Made brand works best)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnut (these are optional, I've made it with and without and they are both good)

1) Beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.

2) Add flour, potato chips and nuts - mix well. Drop by teaspoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet.

3) Flatten each cookie top by pressing with bottom of a glass which has been greased (I just dip it in the dough to grease it) and dipped in sugar.

4) Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes

Makes about five dozen cookies.

Be brave, try 'em. I'm making a cookie this year that has bacon in it. Yes, bacon. Its either going to rock or be revolting, that's why we aren't doing a double batch of those.

I figure the next couple of weeks will alternate between the kitchen and the knitting. Not a bad existence really if you think about it. Dooley is intensely pleased with the kitchen activity. I accidentally dropped a chunk of butter and little man descended upon it like a vulture. Knowing that I couldn't possibly bend down and grab it before he sucked it up, I did the only other thing that was in my power: I stepped on it. While effective, it was rather messy so I don't really recommend it if you can avoid it.

So I guess you could say I'll be baking, knitting and stepping on butter for the next few weeks. Good times...

07 December 2009

win a pretty

My good friend Kate makes the most adorable little plushies. Her imagination is incredible and not only does she make these darlings, she often donates her work to charities. She also does toy drops where she randomly leaves a plushie in a public place for someone to find and take home and enjoy without ever knowing who left it there for them.

She recently opened an etsy store called Oma's Patch and she is giving away the little pretty shown above. All you have to do is visit Oma's Patch blog and leave a comment to get in the running.

Only a couple days left to get in the running so hurry over and check it out!

06 December 2009

only 19 days left...

...until Christmas, that is. Holy cow, when did that happen? Seems like the holiday season somehow managed to sneak up on me like a stealth ninja. Leann made the comment that it tends to do that when snow is late arriving and I think she has a point. I've started giving the calendar dirty looks. Everything seems to be zipping by at the speed of light now so you get another list:

1) Leann and I went to Sidney's opening reception for her show at Little Monsters in Lake Orion on Friday night. Cool artwork (it is Sid after all):

and incredibly cool store. (Be sure to check out Leann's blog, she posted a really flattering picture of me.) I picked up these little guys for future Everything is Better with Bacon shrines that I make for Mixed Bag Designs:

Oh sure, they're smiling now but just wait until the forks come out...

2) Saturday night was the holiday party for Running with Scissors. We decided to hold it in a restaurant this year. Dooley was sad but it was a good time:

Sandy gifted me something unique:

That's a pink glow-in-the-dark skull. Haven't tried out the glow part yet but I do have to say that my stance on the devil color is beginning to waver a bit. I rather like the skully so if that isn't proof that I'm giving in, I don't know what is.

3) I decorated the Christmas tree:

Looks crooked to me. (And no, its not because of the way I was holding the camera.) I keep pacing around it, grumbling at its crookedness. Mom has forbidden me to try to fix it. *sigh* Doesn't it look crooked to you? Its not straight. Right? Totally crooked...

4) Did you know that there is such a thing as online grocery shopping? Me either but I am totally in luuuuuuvvvvv...my back injury often prevents me from grocery shopping on a regular basis. Busch's has come to the rescue. You make the list online, they shop for you (for a fee of $6.95) and then load it into your car. All hail Busch's. I am now fully stocked for the baking extravaganza to begin:

Of course, the oven needs to be fixed now. Well done, Murphy, well done.

5) The movie production is back in town. My geeky self keeps driving by the house they are filming at hoping to see someone of the famous variety. So far, this is the extent of my thrill:

The arrow is pointing to a camera or light or some other contraption that they keep using. So sue me, not every day we have movie stars in my backyard. The movie is called Trust and although it doesn't sound like something I would normally go see, I'll have to now since my hometown is in it.

6) I am knitting for Christmas. Just one thing. Dooley despises the knitting, it takes away every single free second I have (which translates into less attention for him). The reasonable part of my brain says this will be a close finish but the creative side is kicking back with a beer. There are 19 whole days after all, what could there possibly be to worry about? I guess we'll see who is right come December 24. Here's a little look, I don't think the recipient reads the blog but you can just never tell:

I'm going Christmas gift shopping tomorrow and running a ton of other errands. I'm hoping its the last time I have to go near a store for the holiday season (with the exception of quick little jaunts for necessities).

The launch of my etsy store has provoked another reorg of my studio. Nothing major this time, just a little tune up. Yes, you may mock me now. Girl needs a hobby, right?

Where I Stand Sunday

The determined glow of the lights struggle to stake their claim against the moodiness of the night. It is a stark contrast to the sharp prickly wind, offering a glow that draws the eye and the mind in search of warmth. It is a quiet signal that the year is quietly shutting its door, its hinges creaking sleepily after several months of hard work.

Where I Stand is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell. (The project is now in Year Three. Year Three will feature artwork inspired by that week's Where I Stand photo as well as the photo that inspired it. Year One and Year Two can be found here.)

INSPIRED BY ARTWORK TECHNIQUE: stencil cut out with colored underlay

Original photo:

04 December 2009

Mixed Bag Designs etsy shop up and running

I'm really happy to announce that I've got the first of two etsy shops up and running today.

I'm pleased to present to you Mixed Bag Designs.

Like everyone else, I can't limit myself to just one thing. Fiber art is my first love but I'm unfaithful on a regular basis, wandering off into plushies and knitting and whatever else strikes my fancy. So I decided to split the two activities and the crafty side of me has been dubbed Mixed Bag Designs.

I've got more items to list in the shop and I plan to run contests and giveaways and interviews with fellow crafters and all kinds of fun stuff.

feel good felt ornament giveaway - go here for details

But I plan to do it on its own blog. It really is its own entity and wants to run amok whenever it pleases so I figured I better give it its own place to play. I just announced a giveaway and one of the shop promotion programs so I encourage you to go take a look.

I'll give you noodges from time to time to go check out the blog or the shop but 90% of the promo for it will go on outside of this blog. I am planning on selling artwork through my Fibra Artysta etsy shop but I've not uploaded the work yet so that announcement will be coming in the future (most likely January).

So here's the deal: I'll promo both shops here on this blog. But I will keep it to a reasonable amount. If you want to know about all things Mixed Bag Designs then you can become a follower of that blog or subscribe to that there (and I hope you will, I plan to have fun over there so I'd love it if you'd join me.)

I can't say that I'll not advertise either shop because really, what's the point of selling stuff if you don't let people know about it?

I'm super excited to have the ball rolling - hope you'll join me! :)

03 December 2009

12 Connected

As part of my committment to focus more on creating art, I have joined a group of artists for a two year challenge. We are called 12 Connected - twelve art quilters doing twelve challenges.

Every two months, a new challenge will be announced. The first one just went up on the group's blog. The theme is Sanctuary and I'm really looking forward to exploring the word, I've already got a couple of ideas kicking around.

We are creating 11" x 17" art quilts. I like this format, its a size I've not worked in before but I think it will offer some interesting opportunities. I won't be able to post in progress shots but I can talk about inspiration and process. You'll have to wait until the next challenge is announced to see the results of the first.

I do hope that you will consider following us on this journey. We're just getting started and its going to be an exciting group, full of talent and lots of diversity.

30 November 2009

the big day

This past Saturday I took the plunge into selling my work. Sidney organized an art bazaar for the fiber art group we belong to, Running with Scissors, and she did a most awesome job of pulling us all together.

All the stock I've been working on for the past couple of months finally got to come out and play:

I've decided to split my work into two shops - Fibra Artysta and Mixed Bag Designs. I'll talk more about that later, still trying to get things organized in both camps, should be set to go by the end of the week.

One of the most exciting things about doing this is that every single table reflected the artist's personalities and showed how diverse our group is.

Check it out (click on the pictures to make them bigger):

Top to bottom: Kate of Oma's Patch, Leann of Wicadoo and Mary of Turtle Creek Quilts

top to bottom: Deb of Life in Stitches, Janice and Kat of Stitchnut

top to bottom: Barb, Carol and Cynthia

Because I am a total dork in every single way humanly possible, I neglected to get photos of Stephanie's and Sidney's tables. *sigh* The two people who did a large portion of the work and I put off taking pictures of them until, well, the day ran out. Visit their links so that you may admire them, they are completely admire-worthy.

The turnout for the show was really good, especially considering this was our first run. In addition to the tables and the shoppers, we were lucky to enjoy a performance from the Oakland Choral Society:

It was a really nice addition to the day and some very talented singers.

All in all, the experience was great. I sold nearly all my stock for Mixed Bag Designs. What I do have left will get tossed up into the etsy store by the end of the week and then I'll do a little talky talk here about how I'm going to play this out. I don't want to turn this blog into one big commercial so that's why there is a separate one set up for it. But I'll babble more about that later, still trying to recover from all the hubbub.

Not to mention the fact that my house looks like a cyclone hit it and its time to start digging out from underneath it. I swear, there has to be something like a cleaning fairy somewhere in existence, need to trap some of those little buggers and put them to work...

29 November 2009

Where I Stand Sunday

The list of excuses has dwindled down to a single sentence, one that is not strong enough to hold weight. The needle slides through the fabric, creating a familiar rhythm of meditation. The small works are placed out like a peace offering, new and unsure and full of hope. My mind wraps around them in a single strand of pride, knowing that they are the best they can be.

Where I Stand is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell. (The project is now in Year Three. Year Three will feature artwork inspired by that week's Where I Stand photo as well as the photo that inspired it. Year One and Year Two can be found here.)

INSPIRED BY ARTWORK TECHNIQUE: Leann's graffiti stencil technique as shown in her article "Letter Imperfect" in the May/June 2007 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine

Original photo:

26 November 2009

happy thanksgiving

I hope you all have a wonderful thanksgiving holiday, full of family and friends and lots of good food and warm fuzzies.

Thanks for hanging out with me here!

25 November 2009

pass the zanex please

I've been happily humming away making stock for the bazaar this Saturday. I can say that now without hyperventilating - the "this Saturday" part.

The detail that threw me into a frenzy this morning was realizing that I neglected to figure out how I wanted to display things. Three things ran through my mind:

1) My mother always told me if you're going to do it, do it right. (Couple that with the fact that I'm a Virgo and you can imagine the obsessive attention to detail that inspired.)

2) My store taught me that quality product is step #1 and presentation is step #2. Gotta make it look pretty.

3) It has to be light enough that I can move it around on my own when my back is at its worst. (I plan for the bad days so that I don't have to stress about needing help.)

I admit that I considered just placing things on the table and standing next to it while doing a Vanna White style presentation as people walked by. But really, I'm not all that interesting to look at so I sucked it up and figured out a plan.

I must have paced back and forth through Joann's at least ten times. I think I made the staff nervous. I wouldn't be surprised if they had security stalking me. I hemmed and hawed and generally drove myself nuts. As much as I detest the stores this time of year, I was thankful for the crazy sales today.

I came home and cobbled this together:

Forgive the lousy photo (pay no attention to the box of Christmas tree ornaments in the background.) I've no time to stage things properly - I'll get better snaps at the show. Several of the items I've made hang. Including these wall art pieces. The little pieces are a new series I've become addicted to - its called the Zen Pebbles series and has felted pebbles, hand dyed cheesecloth and fabric. I only intended to make a few but once I got going, I couldn't stop.

I scrounged through my studio and came up with two displays for the bird's nest necklaces and the other hanging items and my heart rate has finally returned to normal. After I'm done with this post I have to make tags and an inventory list and oh yeah, there's this turkey thing going on tomorrow that I need to make something for.

I really need to get moving on that. I'll leave you with a photo of freshly groomed little man lounging on his westie blanket (what? Your dog doesn't have a blanket with a picture of him/her on it?):

Oh, and by the way...I had to enable comment moderation on the blog. Not something I really wanted to do but the spam robots seem to have discovered me. I've been having to go into old posts and delete comments linking to ads that are, frankly, obscene. Its mostly been the older posts but one popped up on a recent one the other day and I figured that it was not likely to end any time soon. I'll leave moderation up for a while and hope that they'll get bored and move on to torture someone else. So nothing personal, I obsessively check my email a few times a day so I'll see any comments left fairly quickly. Stupid spammers...

23 November 2009

can you guess what it is? winners

A couple days ago I posted this entry and got some rather interesting guesses. Wasn't expecting eyeballs and ovaries but hey, I love the imagination behind it all.

They are bird's nest necklaces.

Only two people got it exactly right (part of the requirement to be in the running for one) but since it seems that I didn't give good enough hints and there weren't more correct answers, I'm going to go ahead and give one to each of the commenters who got it right.

So congrats Mary and Stephanie, you'll each be getting one of these. You have a choice of a brown or grey nest and either a black or a brown necklace cord. Just drop me an email and let me know what your preference is.

These are one of the items I'll be selling at the bazaar this Saturday (holy cow, better get crackin', lots to get done!). After Saturday they'll be going up into one of my new etsy stores for $12. There will be a big announcement here when the store is up and running!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a million things to finish sewing by Saturday in addition to the turkey thing in between. Busy week!

22 November 2009

batik and chicken feet

I gave batik a whirl for the first time today. And I figured what better way to give it a shot then to take a class with Rayna Gillman?

But before I could start with the fabric and the wax, I actually had to make it to the class. Which proved to be a little bit of an adventure in and of itself. Woke up to this today:

Which is actually a little bit deceiving because in reality, the fog was waaaayyy thicker then this. I ended up taking the highway rather then the back roads hoping they would feel less like driving underwater but it didn't. Nothing starts a day on the right note like having to drive at 45mph on the highway in order to feel comfortable with the whole twenty feet of visibility you have.

But, I made it there in one piece and drug all my stuff into class and plopped down at a table. Rayna was hosted by the Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild and I only knew a couple of people there. So it was fun to meet some new fellow fiber addicts.

Rayna dove right in with a demo:

And then set us loose to reek havoc on our fabric. We applied soy wax and then painted with textile paints. This is the very first one I did:

I'm not digging this one so much. Usually I just let whatever surface design I'm applying do its own thing but I felt like the batik needed some closer attention. (This sort of made me twitch, I'm not too much about being precise. Of course, the desire to be neater was my own weird thing, not Rayna's instruction. I'm still not sure where that really came from.)

One of the issues I was having was that I brought my wood letter press blocks to print with. Lately I've been fascinated with using letters and numbers to create pattern and thought this would be a great chance to use these. Yeah well....that's about where the thinking ended.

I usually print with the wood blocks by sponging on paint and then stamping them on fabric. Know what paint is? (You probably do, you're all pretty smart.) Yeah, you're right - a resist. One that also apparently works efficiently on wax. I couldn't get the buggers to print good at all.

Which sort of meant I was seriously lacking in objects-for-printing category. (Sort of embarrassing considering I'm usually so prepared.) Luckily, my table mates were incredibly prepared and incredibly generous with sharing their supplies.

Particularly Linda, also known as the chicken-feet-lady.

Here's why:

I think its a masher. I called him cool. He's standing in my wax pot in that shot. His little wire orange feet made awesome prints. Here's one piece I did after he walked all over it and I gave it a wash of paint:

I like it better then the first one. (I stamped some X's in black paint over top. Not sure if that was a brilliant idea or not since the white spots are still wax, haven't ironed them out yet. Only one way to know if it works - pray for my iron.)

After I painted the second piece I realized two things: (1) paint is wet and I didn't feel like hauling wet fabric home and (2) I wasn't feeling the love on the colors. Luckily this occurred to me in the morning and I decided to just print wax on fabric for the remainder of the afternoon. (Plus Linda and Karen were printing machines and I was feeling a little jealous of the incredible piles of fabric they had. I decided to shamelessly copy them. I don't think they minded.)

Linda also brought this guy:

I considered smuggling him home but I made too much of a fuss over how much I coveted him so I figured she would be able to figure out who the thief was. (Plus she was super nice to let me use all her stuff so that would have been impolite.) I fell in love not only with the fact that he had rolly googly eyes that swirled around every time I swung him toward the melting pot but also because his mashing butt end produced some very nice graphic images. I was so smitten by the image that I printed six fat quarters with him. I have an idea for a series. I'll have to find me my very own googly-eyed-potato-masher. Oh, and a chicken feet too. Liked that one a lot.

Lest you think I only mooched off Linda, you would be wrong. June was also kind enough to lend me her deep-frier-thingy (that's its technical name) and I printed this:

Feels a little bit like it has an asian flair to it.

I could go on showing you the rest of the fabric I printed but its all white with wax stamps on it. Picture twelve more just like the one above but with different objects I borrowed. So let me show you some fabric other people did. Here is Linda (aka chicken-feet-lady) merrily covering up the pink in a pink piece of fabric:

Turns out she is not a fan of the devil color either. Yet another reason to like her.

Here is Eunice's fabric (another lovely lady I shared a space with):

She got into painting the wax on wit a brush rather then stamping it. I love the movement in this one, feels windy.

I missed getting a shot of Karen's fabric (the other table mate). Know that it was all brilliant and she conquered her dislike of red.

Another couple shots. Here is Connie's piece, totally love this:

And Kaye's fabric. She wasn't sure she liked it but it was so my colors:

I've got a pile of white fabric full of wax to paint. And then I have to iron all the wax out. I'm not sure that batik is my calling but I'll see the pieces through that I've started. I'm hoping I'll be happy with the end result.

Unfortunately, it will most likely need to wait until after I'm done with the holiday bazaar next weekend. Have quite a bit to do to finish up items for that.

All in all a rather nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon. More soon...