Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Gifting

So...I haven't been able to show you much of what I have made lately, because it was intended for Christmas gifting, but as a couple of the recipients are in transit and out of range of the possibility of Internet corruption, I can reveal a few of the goodies I put together, but only a few:

I whipped up some felted soaps for stocking stuffers:

I made a gift box of 20 handmade cards for my mother to send. I thought that this would be a nice gift. They tend to be cute, as does she....

....but a few trend to the artsy...

The other goodies I can't show yet! I plead for patience!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Punk hair for babies...cause they don't have any...

I have been busy lately making Christmas stuff and not stuff so much for Etsy. Thus, if I posted photos of the things I have been making I would be giving away the secrets of Christmas gifts. I did, however make a prototype gift of a baby hat with a Mohawk, for all my post-punk parent friends. Unfortunately, I truly screwed up the measurements and the thing fits me. Soooooo, I now have a Mohawk hat, and I still have to make half a dozen of these before the Holiday arrives. This one was supposed to be for a friend's 3 month old boy.


If I had known I was making it for myself, I would have given it a longer crest, and the crest would have been pink. DAMN.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Raw Bones: Felted necklace

This is the "Raw Bones" felted necklace. When I finished the snake, treated it with the acrylic, and cut it, I thought that it looked like uncooked bones....which is kind of creepy to me, being a vegetarian. However, with the little rose quartz spacers and the touch of red coral, it turned out to be quite the engaging necklace. The upward facing side of the cut beads really does frame the face.

Even if it is a little...morbid?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Felt Heirloom Roses

So...I am off the Peonies for a little bit and on to Heirloom Roses. I consider this little guy to be an heirloom rose, cause he is so open. Aren't those the roses we always remember as smelling the best and lasting the longest, even if they were not the most showy in the garden?
This 4 inch wet felted and hand beaded beauty with needle felted details would dress up any ensemble, from a simple black turtleneck, to a blushing pink evening gown. It also looks spectacular in a chignon, and that is why it is convertible from a hair fork mounting to a traditional corsage pin.

I love making these, and I made the flat felt for this over the summer, and had it sitting about for a while waiting for it tell me what it wanted to be. Last night it whispered to me...so I helped it along.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

How I love my Newsday!

So tomorrow I am in Newsday again! Yippeee!!!

They are publishing their Handmade Shopping Guide, and I get a picture and a blurb.

The link to the web version is above....psssst I'm #5.


Guess I am going to need to make more flowers this weekend!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Winter White Majesty Necklace

This is the Winter Majesty Necklace. It is a blend of cream and white merino and corriedale rovings that were wet felted and then sculpted. It is embellished with freshwater pearls and some very tiny sweet pearly seed beads. I simply adore the sculptural nature of this piece, and think that it is one of the most visually interesting and inspired things I have made in some time.

I can imagine the White Witch of you-know-where wearing this to a garden party before she drinks some sweet pale wine. It would look amazing with a simply cut evening dress....or a black V-neck T-shirt. It would be divine for a winter wedding! It weighs hardly a thing for being so substantial.

The process of building it was really organic, in that I started with the curly-cues and then went out from there, adding elements and sculpting parts as the necklace called for them. The part that is slightly redolent of a marriage between an open egg and a bird's nest dusted with spun sugar was actually felted around a small stone from my garden, which I then freed from it's woolly captivity. The tiny felt and pearl "cameo" on the opposite side is the doorway through which the stone made it's exit.

I'm almost too much in love with it to let it go....almost, but not quite. It could be yours...just go to Etsy.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Blue felt necklace

I just completed this blue felt necklace...somewhere between making the mushroom galette and the vegetable broth. I had to to take a break from the cooking and so THIS was my thanksgiving. It is made from a rope of wool felt which was layered in different colors before felting. After I wet felted it and it was dry, I soaked it in a liquid acrylic polymer so that it could be cut and it would keep it's sharp edges. I cut it and strung it today. The necklace is just shy of 15 inches long, so it lays ever so elegantly against the collar bone. The beads are glass and the clasp is silverplated and magnetic (so it goes on SOOOOOO easily). I love it, because it gives a great pop of color around the face and is a real statement peice. It is for sale on Etsy as we speak.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Wet Felting Flower Seminar with Carol Cypher

So, I said that it would be coming and here it is. The complete rundown on the Carol Huber Cypher workshop that I went to last weekend. If you can imagine that lovely wooley smell that is slightly redolent of wet dog, then you can feel like you were actually there.

We arrived and were greeted with a long table covered in luscious wool. It was full of little bags filled with roving in stunning color combinations. We each chose our seats and our bags, fully geared up for a full day of felting and fulling. ( Could I use the word "full" there a few more times?)

Then it was time to design our flowers for our lariats. Mine started out looking like the love child of Cousin It and Man Ray. They were puffy and lovely and tempting to pet, but always remember and never forget: Don't pet the felt!

The water came out and it was time to start felting....and rubbing and felting and rubbing some more...with intermittent peeks to check on the progress of the flowers.

Next we moved on to the fulling and shaping of the flowers. Folks went wild here, some ended up with multi-petaled rose/violet hybrids that exist no where but in the imagination. My flower called out to be a trumpet shape, like the Angel Trumpet Flower, so I did my best to give it what it wanted.

Next we made our lariats. This involved essentially laying wisps of roving down over a long length of roving, building up thicknesses where we wanted to cut leaves later, and adding in colors for interest. We then felted these as a rope, and tried not to entangle each other's fibers at the same time.

Below is some great video of Carol explaining how to cut the rope part of the lariat to sculpt it!

Then it was time to bead and assemble. Carol was insanely generous in sharing her impressive bead stash with us. I was immediately drawn to some lavender fringe beads that seemed to be just the thing for my lariat. I didn't want to overdo the beadwork, but I still wanted it to have some pop. I also added a little pekoe stitch beading around the edge of one of the petals for some textural interest.

Here are some photos of the finished product. I really love how it turned out. The image on the left is before it was quite done (hence the hanging thread)...the one on the right is pretty much fully realized. One thing that I did that I love is that I split open the "bump" that I had sculpted into the "pod" end of the lariat and sewed in a lava bead. It looks like a primeval seed.

My husband says that they whole thing looks like it is about to assimilate me , like a Triffid. He couldn't be right....could he?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Parting with Art...

So I just sent off two of my little paintings and an acrylic felt flower to new homes today. I decided that the flower needed a special little send off, so I made this gift box for my customer to find it in.

Hopefully, it will be a bit of cheer in this week of dreary weather. (And a bit of an added surprise for her, unless she reads my blog of course!)

The paintings were a long awaited commission for a lovely customer who already owned one of my "Angry Flower" encaustic paintings. These two will turn her previously lonely singlet into a fulfilled trio.

It has been a while since I have done any encaustics and it felt good to get back in the studio and get some paint on my hands and wax on the palette.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Carol Huber Cypher: Felting Recharge!

So I got to go to two felting workshops this weekend that were a total creative recharge for me! They were both held at Rumpelstiltskin Yarns, in Sayville NY, and they were taught by the felter and teacher extraordinaire, Carol Huber Cypher. She is truly amazing. She was so patient, kind, generous, and knowledgable. I could have done an entire year of workshops with her and still had more questions to ask...but that is just me. On Saturday we made felt beads all day. Now this is something that I know how to do, but WOW! Working with Carol I really got to go back to the basics and refine my technique. Being self taught, you don't often know when you are doing something wrong, or could be doing something better. This was a perfect time to learn!

We made some wet felted beads (the bi-cone, the burgundy and gold disk, the briolette, the coil, and the "mille fleur" cut) ...then in the afternoon we needle felted.

The green and white knobbly bead is needle felted and covered in silk tussah and is meant to emulate a baroque pearl. I also needle felted the grey white and green bead, the tubular white red and blue beaded bead, and the pair of lungs which will get mounted on a pin backing and worn to classes at school (always the bio-teacher doncha know!)
Next post I will show the Felted Flower Lariat that we made on Sunday...Delicious!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Requiem for a Black Squirrel

There is a small odd enclave of genetic mutant squirrels that live in my town. In fact, they have often taken refuge on my property. They are like normal squirrels in every way but for their color. They are a dusky, rich, sooty black. I love the black melanistic squirrels. I always imagine that they get picked on by their grey brethren, and perhaps they are less suited for survival, as their coloration makes them an easier target for local predators.

There was a particular dark and frisky little guy that had taken up residence in our neighbor's old maple tree, and sometimes sought refuge in one of our sheds (Shed # 3 of shanty town, for those of you in the know). I would watch him scamper up and down the trees and across the yard, gathering acorns and nuts and fruits from the local gardens. He was always easy to spot.

Today my husband was putting the hoses away for the season in the third shed. He pulled an old wooden wine box out from the shed that was full of leaves and paper. It was a squirrel nest. This intrepid rodent had constructed his nest from both leaves and vintage Rolling Stone magazines from the 60's and 70's, thus making himself the hippest bushy tail on the block. I took a stick and stirred up the nest a bit, to see if I could discern his preferences, John Lennon or ACDC, and to my horror, saw a puff of black fur. It was a tail...that was attached to a rather stiff and flat and definitively dark squirrel body.

My beloved melanin enriched nut-eater was no more....

So here is to you, my kindred genetic mutant, at least you died in a comfy nest of musical coolness, protected from the cold and wet, and long of tooth.

Here is to you.... I pour out some tea by the fig tree for my tiny melanistic homie.

(PS: I will admit that for a very brief moment after his discovery, as I stood there with the poking stick in my hand, I was trying to figure out if I could somehow work him into an assemblage, but then decided better of it...)

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Etsy Blogger: Project Felt

I want you to check her out: http://projectfelt.blogspot.com/ . She felts, writes about felt, ecology, the need to reduce and recycle both in art and in life, and lists some pretty darn cool stuff on Etsy. I feel a kindred spirit coming on....I am totally adding her to my blog roll.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Last week: Met a new artist Sharon Henson

Well, she is not so new, but I did meet her at a festival last weekend. She does daily paintings and puts them up on her blog so they can meet the world. I really like her tiny paintings of food, but that might be because I like to eat all the time.

I talked to Sharon for a while and tried to convince her to come and check out Etsy as a platform for selling her work. She had never really looked at it before. Check out her blog and tell her how groovy she is! http://dailypetitepaintings.blogspot.com/

Headed to the Coffee Shop

I'm headed over to Starbucks to fill them in about the wrap thing yesterday. My main concern is if this happened to someone with a food allergy, it could be REALLY bad, not just icky like for me.

I'll fill you in on what happens!


I went to the Starbucks, explained what happened in a very calm way. They filled out an incident report and brought me a free coffee as we talked (the assistant manager and I). They didn't have to do that vis a vis the coffee, BTW. She said the report would be sent to Seattle headquarters and that they would get back to me.

She asked if there was anything they could do to make things right or to restore my confidence in the shop. I told her that I didn't want anything, that simply listening and filing the report so that it would not happen again was enough. I told her that I come in almost every Saturday for my coffee and that would not change. I simply wanted to let them know what happened.

I honestly think that she was taken aback when I didn't ask for anything. I got the feeling that she didn't know what to do next. Asking for someone to "pay" for a mistake just isn't my style. However, I get the sense that most folks do expect financial retribution or merchandise.

Hopefully, they will either eventually make the wraps open on one end so you see what you get, or label them more clearly so the barissta's won't make such an obvious mistake again.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Starbucks Mishap

I was just poisoned by Starbucks:

I went there during my usual Saturday morning town stroll, and decided that in addition to my standard Grande Hazelnut Latte, that I would try one of their new breakfast sandwiches, as it might be a nice change from the egg on English muffin that I normally get at the bagel place.

Well, I ordered the Spinach and Feta with Roasted Tomato Wrap, as that is the only item in the category that is meatless. You see, I have been a Vegetarian since I was 14, so that makes me totally meat free for over 21 years now.

They gave me my sandwich and drink, after messing up my order a little bit on the drink (evidently the H was misinterpreted as an A so they made an almond latte the first time around), and I headed home, as it had started to rain.

I got home, settled in with the mail and opened the bag with my sandwich and happily started to chomp away. Something wasn't right....it tasted kind of funny.

I took another bite, figuring it was just in my head. It still tasted very strange. I looked down into the wrap and saw that there was something pink inside, and it wasn't a tomato. It was bacon. I had been given an avocado, egg, and turkey bacon wrap instead.

I spit out what was in my mouth, drank a bunch of water, and am now sitting here with the wrap in its bag, my hands shaking and some terribly awesome stomach cramps.

What would you do next?

Do I take it back and complain? Do I just chalk it up to experience and never eat anything that I can't see the insides of again? What do I do?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Parade Day

I love this costume.
The idea of disguising a dog as another type of dog...

I was roaming the town festival today and took many awesome shots of our annual Halloween parade...which is a bit more like a disorganized stroll, but who is checking on these things, really.

I thought that I would post a few up, in particular the ones that didn't look so stalker-ish. Nothing says weirdo like standing on the side of the street, taking pictures of other people's kids.

Tiny Jack Sparrow and Tiny Policeman, hand in hand.

Who says there can't be peace in the middle east?

Seriously Dude.

This is bull....ballerina bull.

I had MANY more pictures, but for privacy reasons, didn't want to put them up for the world to see. If you were at the parade or walking in it and can describe your costume or your child's costume I shall happily go through the pictures I took today and email any that might be of your family to you! I feel so luck to live in a town where we still do such lovely fun little things like this...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Time Travelling again...

Sew, Saturday was a day for making things historic and Sunday was a day for wearing them. For a long time now I have volunteered with a local historical society to teach and demonstrate some of the finer points (or not so fine points) of colonial living. This means demonstrating things that were chores, not pretty foofy things...so I don't wear pretty foofy things.

Sunday was meant to be chilly up here in New York, so I wanted to make a warm jacket that I could wear with my colonial get-up. I have four petticoats and thick stockings already, so keeping my lower half warm wasn't an issue, but I often only wore my chemise and leather jumps on my upper half, and that could be cold.

I dug out a historically correct pattern that I had ordered ages ago for a Carraco Jacket and some variations thereof, and rendered it in a fine red wool herringbone tweed. I didn't have time to finish the sleeve edges, as the pattern called for a winged sleeve, but with all the activity I do while wearing it, I am afraid that it would rip, so I think I will just hem them later.

This is what I ended up with. The back looks a little lumpy, but that is because you are seeing some of my corset lacing through the back, and I just drove home. (That tend to wrinkle things a bit). I really should steam the thing and take another photo.

I would also like to make one that is open fronted with a stomacher in a lovely cotton or silk brocade so I finally do have something "pretty"....not that the Historical Society will ever put me in a position to wear it. I shall never be the lady of the house, always the scullery maid and fish wife.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Figs aren't just for wearing any more


You can only eat so many in a day...or else one suffers the consequences, which I shall not detail here. The question then becomes, what do you do with the multitudes of figgy delights which are rapidly ripening outside your door? Fig Jam of course! So last weekend (not this one, which was the weekend of pneumonia) was the fig jam extravaganza, as well as the day of canned figs....for a proper figgy pudding at christmas.

Here are some photos of Fig-i-licious-ness:

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Other Writing: Books and the Reviews of them

BTW: I don't just write here...I sometimes write reviews for a site called Metapsychology.

My newest review for them, of "The Consciousness Plague", is currently on their front page. Check it out. You can also do a search for my other reviews, if you are interested.


Down for the count...

OK folks...I'm not teaching today. I'm down for the count as the millions of bacteria currently inhabiting my lungage have decided to have a party and use my alveoli for punch bowls. "I gots the pneumonia", as my sainted Grans would have said. So, I'm not planning on spreading it to the kiddies and my fellow teachers today. I shall leave that till tomorrow.

I am glad that I got to the doctor quite quickly on this one, as it came on as suddenly as a firestorm in a toothpick factory. Went to bed feeling a tiny bit under the weather; woke up yesterday with a hacking wet cough. I worked out my teaching day and then immediately sought Hippocratic relief. She called it "Community Bourne Pneumonia" which is just a fancy way of saying that I caught it directly from someone, instead of the bugs setting up house after weeks of suffering with a cold and then a cough.

It's no fun either way, although this way does have it's benefits:
1. No runny nose to get red and raw
2. The cough sounds REALLY impressive
3. I can do a fabu warthog impersonation
4. My fever, when graphed, could be used for rollercoaster design
5. I got an inhaler prescribed so I can pretend to be Urkle
6. The antibiotics make me so nauseous that I will probably lose 10 pounds
7. Cause I'm not sneezing, I can play with glitter if I want.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

As per suggestions

Wow...a week since I posted, I think that I am going through blog withdrawl, but the grading and teaching has to come first!

Ok...I took many of your suggestions into account, and here is my once change purse, masquerading as:

An apple cosy

A vase cosy

A junk receptical

What do you think?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Tag..you are it.

Ok...I got tagged a couple days ago ...but I didn't post my tag list so here it is:

I am tagging:

Albina Rose

Ok gals...tell us 6 random facts about you and sent on the tag to six others!

(I have seen this as 8 things on other's blogs...but my directions said 6 when I got them...so 6 is what I'm doin.)

Oh...and please go down to Wednesday's post and make me feel like SOMETHING I revealed to you was interesting enough to garner comment! Please! I feel so boring!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Jelly, jelly, jelly for my belly

All I have managed to make this week is JELLY...lots and lots of grape jelly. But, it is the best darned concord grape jelly to ever pass the lips of man or beast. No Welch's for us here. All our jelly is made from the fruit of our 75 year old vines that grow on the arbor at our Long Island home.

Since I describe the process for everything else, why not this?

We picked over 30 pounds of washed and sorted grapes (so the actual picked amount before culling was probably more like 70 lbs). We have to sort them and pick over them carefully, because we find little guys like this:
Isn't he cute? We named him and all his tiny snail brethren George and set them free in the compost pile.

We then squashed them and boiled them into juice. The boiled mash gets filtered twice. The juice then has to sit in a tall container for at least 12-24 hours so that the sediment and the tartaric acid crystals settle out of the liquid and fall to the bottom, otherwise you get crunchy and cloudy jelly.

We then made two batches (with one more to follow today) of jelly by pulling 8 cups of juice (per batch) and mixing it with 6 cups of sugar, boiling it, boiling it and boiling it some more while carefully monitoring the temperature and constantly testing it for reaching the "jelly point".

My husband claims that I have Jelly Performance Anxiety, as I am always convinced at some point in the process that our grapes didn't have enough natural pectin and that they will NEVER become jelly. This is in fact a VERY good gauge of when the jelly will happen, because about 3 minutes after my declaration that the batch is HOPELESS AND WILL NEVER SET UP....it does. Every time.

SO now we have jelly...for us, for our neighbors' children, for my friends at work, for family. We also still have about 200 lbs of grapes on the vine, which would probably be enough to do 40 more half pints of jelly, but there is only so much jelly one woman can make. Any winemakers out there? Wanna come pick some grapes? Please?

Cause next week we make Fig Jam....