Well, I decided to dive in to the Etsy experience recently. I have a few doll/sculpture items posted at the moment, and plan to add more vintage stuff and some of the brooches I've made from old buttons and buckles. I have no idea if I am pricing correctly. The boudoir dolls were very time-consuming, so I don't want to undervalue them, but still... I want them to sell. Do you think they are too pricey?


New artwork update

Yes, I am still here, just haven't had lots of time to work lately.

Johanna suggested the striped fabric on the dark-haired boy's shirt was too bold, so I swapped it out for a more subtle design. I am pretty happy with how the faces are turning out. They aren't exactly like the photo, but they still look life-like to me. These kids definitely have some personality!

So now I am moving on to the background. This should be a challenge, as the trees, etc are kind of blurred. I need to attempt to achieve a sense of distance and depth, which will be difficult using fabric. But still, I am not as worried about those issues as I was about the faces.

Any thoughts?


Latest WIP

I promised more pictures, so here they are. I am going to do the background before the faces, and more shading in general.

Also, I need to come up with a good title, so any suggestions?

The photo has "Summer, 1941" penciled on the back, so I could go with that, but kind of boring... Whaddya think?


New artwork in progress.

I am well into a new fabric collage right now, and wanted to share. It's based on a photo of three kids eating popsicles from the summer of 1941. The faces were too great to resist, and it just evokes childhood to me. I will update my progress as I go.


Goodbye, good friend.

Well, today has been a sad day at our house. Seger, our twelve year old Kuvasz, had to be euthanized this morning. He was in serious pain from a spine problem, and even though we gave the pain meds and anti-inflammatories a decent chance to work he was going downhill. I took these pictures last night to help us say goodbye. He was a great dog and a great friend, and we will miss him terribly.

Many thanks to Lynn Brady and Connie Townsend of Szumeria Kuvasz for giving us the opportunity to enjoy eleven years with our boy. (If you go to the above link, choose "Our Puppies" then "Szumeria's Puppies", scroll down and you can see a baby picture of Seger. His show name is "Szumeria's Mr. Rock N' Roll")


Alumni show

Just wanted to share about how the opening reception for the U of M School of Art and Design alumni show went tonight. My piece sold, and I got a People's Choice Award! I am so excited, as this is the first show I have ever sold anything at. I got lots of nice comments from folks about how much they liked the piece, and was complimented by the dean.

Now, on to the next one.


Spin me!!!

I never did say how the spinner's guild meeting went. Well, I ended up buying an Ashford Kiwi on my second visit, and started spinning! Once you get the hang of it it is SO MUCH FUN! I need to take some pictures of the yarn I've made, but for now here's a picture of the wheel I bought. It's a good wheel for beginners, with a double treadle for easy starting. This is a truly relaxing and mediative craft, but only when you get past the "I really suck at this" part. It doesn't take too long if you have a good teacher, and the Spinner's Flock is full of those.


My friend, the amazing painter!

I wanted to give a nod to a great friend of mine from college, Kit Gentry. He was visiting his family in Michigan so he stopped over for a visit recently, and we had a fun time catching up. Kit lives in Hawaii, and has been an amazing artist ever since we met freshman year at the U of M School of Art. I want you to check out his website, and see how incredible a painter he is.

He didn't know I was mentioning him here, so I don't want to post one of his paintings without his permission. The image is a quick sketch he did of me in class, in about 1988.

Doing my bit...

Today, I successfully managed a trip to the local food co-op, on foot, with my toddler in a wagon. Other than my daughter deciding to open a container of yogurt in the store, we left with 3 bags (paper that we brought with us) of groceries for the next few days. So I feel good because I saved gas, I got exercise, and I shopped. I think this will easily fit in to my routine, and I was overjoyed to find out that Maddie loved to sit in the wagon. This is better than the stroller because I can bring back more groceries in the wagon.

My next task is to make some really cool shopping totes that fold up into portable sizes. I believe there is something like that in either this or that book on my shelf.


Alex Anderson!!!!

My big thrill this last week was to attend an event with Alex Anderson, formerly of Simply Quilts on HGTV. I got to have an entire day with Johanna, fabric shopping, no kids, and met Alex on top of it all! She signed a copy of her book Neutral Essentials for me, and was just as sweet and lovely in person as I always thought she was on TV. She did a really enjoyable slide lecture on her life, how she got into quilting, her TV show, and her life now as a spokesperson for Bernina. Most importantly, she is now the co-host of an internet television program called The Quilt Show, which I would encourage you to check out. Alex's passion is encouraging beginning quilters, so if you are new to the medium this is a really helpful resource. Her husband was at the event, and was so incredibly nice and we had a fun little discussion about art quilts and mixed media. All in all it was a great day!


Check out my big score!

Being a closet trash picker/dumpster diver/freegan, I am not opposed to stopping the car when I spot a decent looking piece of furniture on the side of the road. I saw this in the midst of a pile of trash in front of someone's house and just had to look. Turns out, it wasn't an end table but a 1941 Singer sewing cabinet WITH a nearly pristine machine and parts INTACT!!! As Johanna says, Jesus led me to this item... True that, as I hadn't planned to head outside at all today. This is so pretty, even if I never actually sew with it I am happy to have it.


Ta Daaaa!!!!!

The Summer We Were Sisters is officially done! Yay! Working with fabric was really fun and rewarding, so I am definitely going to do more pieces like this. Johanna convinced me to do hand embroidery and I'm glad she did. I wasn't sure I could manage it in the time I had left but it went pretty quickly and added just enough texture and interest. (Gold star to me for not overdoing it this time...) I'd love to hear your feedback.


Pressure makes diamonds.

If you've been waiting for me to post again (yeah right....) here's what I've been up to. I managed to overwork and pretty much ruin the thing I was working on in the last post. After I sent in the entry form for the alumni show. With 3 weeks left before I have to drop off the work to the gallery. So, I decided to re-do the piece, and happily it's better than before. I am really enjoying the way I decided to work this time, and plan to do more pieces like it.

The photo I am including in this post shows the piece unfinished, but I don't have very much more to do. Yes, the ladies will have faces, but I am saving that for last. The piece is titled "The Summer We Were Sisters", and is a combination of fused fabric and paper, with hand embroidery.


Preview of coming attractions...

I promised to post a couple of images of the mixed media piece I am working on, and here they are. These are details only - I will post the whole thing when I am finished.


I Got Me Some Creativity!

I don't have a pic to post yet, but I have a new work in progress! Yay! I am gearing up for my next alumni art show entry with a mixed media piece. I don't want to give TMI about it, as it may dilute my enthusiasm, but I was inspired by this great book. Suffice it to say it involves fabric applique, couching with embroidery thread, paper, ephemera, and more!

Also, I am really excited about my upcoming visit to the Spinner's Flock to try my hand at spinning my own yarn. I have been really into knitting lately and my husband told me he thought spinning seemed like it would really suit me. Although Bryan is very encouraging of my artistic pursuits, he rarely gives me that much direct advice so I figured I would take it seriously.


It's not much, but it's progress...

I've had a lot of life-busyness happening since my last post, so I haven't had much time to knit. But I have made a bit on progress on the tam, as you can see. My only complaint about working with many colors is that picking up dropped stitches is SO much more fiddly than it would otherwise be. The "carried-along" yarn on the wrong side sometimes masquerades as the yarn you need to pull through, which gets confusing. Plus, the needle size is a 3, which puts a bit more strain on the fingers and eyes. I've dropped 2 stitches so far, and have been placing a stitch marker on the dropped stitch and fixing it when I knit back around to that spot. No big deal, and I am not really complaining about it, as I consider this project a learning experience.

Hope all your cool projects are making you happy!


Bring on the color!

I am trying my hand at knitting the gorgeous "December Lights Tam" from Interweave Knits Holiday 2007 Gifts magazine. This is my first attempt at using multiple colors, and so far it's not difficult at all. Of course, I haven't gotten past the sideband yet, but I've already used 5 colors out of 8, so I feel that it's do-able. I am using sock-weight wool by Grignasco, Reynolds Soft Sea Wool, Wash Day Wool by Reynolds Kids, and Jo Sharp Alpaca. One of the biggest challenges was finding all the colors I wanted to use in the same weight.

A huge help for me in improving my knitting has been Debbie Stoller's Stitch and Bitch. If you haven't checked it out, or have been put off by the title, you need to take a look at it. Her instructions and tips make knitting seem so much easier than it looks, and she puts a fun twist on a traditional domestic art.


All vintage, all the time.

I just love my collection of vintage tins, and I do use them for storing tea, candy, cookie cutters, catnip, etc... The graphics are so great, and the colors are yummy and inspirational. I found the set of green canisters with the gardening woman at the Ann Arbor Antiques Market (one of the best antique shows around if you've never been) and found a matching bread box on a separate trip. That particular green color (fiesta green?) is all over my kitchen. Just felt like sharing.


Quinn the cat loves my bed!

It's not a resolution, really more of a habit I am trying to instill, but I am trying to keep the bedroom neat and the bed made. It's been a challenge, because we haven't had a real comforter or quilt on the bed in a while. I have been holding off buying/making one because the style of the bed is so strong, being a Harvey Ellis-style Stickley frame with inlays, that I wanted something that would not work against the style. I recently pulled this yo-yo quilt out of my blanket chest, and was really happy with how it looked. My husband even likes it! It's a vintage one that was unfinished when my mother-in-law gave it to me, and Johanna finished it beautifully. I didn't use it for the longest time, because it's so fragile, but I am committed to keeping it nice on a well-made bed every morning. I have to say, it puts my mind into the right place every morning when I straighten up the covers.

If you, like me, have "neatness issues", I have a couple of inspirational suggestions. Check out Flylady for a primer on becoming neat and organized. She uses baby steps to get the organizationally-challenged on the right track, and you can sign up for email reminders. The other thing that has really motivated me is watching episodes of How Clean Is Your House on BBC America. My home isn't anywhere close to the hovels some of these folks live in (setting the studio aside, of course) but it's a great show to watch to get enthused about creating sparkly surfaces.