Holiday Listings

After a fairly long time away from posting I am back and am planning on a more regular post...at least once a week. I have been thinking up some topics, including easy ways to embellish fabric, at least my favorite easy ways. That means no trips to the craft store for big bottles of liquids you may use only once. That is always what stops me from trying the more complicated embellishments.>

I love Christmas and I have been busy making holiday ornaments and gifts. I just posted them on my etsy site, so go here to check them out. You'll find some tiny santas, penguins, hearts and pincushions. The pincushion are embellished with vintage buttons from my grandma's button box. Anything from either of my grandmother's stash comes with good sewing karma, so put a pincushion next to your sewing chair and see if it works for you!



Class Notes

On Sunday I taught a class on making this embroidered face. Nine really great women took the class and I think everyone had a good time, at least I did! I was inspired by the willingness of these women to play with my design, make it their own and forge ahead. Here are some pictures of the class as well as their partially completed faces. Note, Pat, in the wheel chair, had recently broken her leg, but came in pain to play with her fellow doll makers. Thanks for making the really hard extra effort Pat!



Embroidered Face Class

On Sunday I will be teaching a class at Quilting Adventures in Richmond, VA on embroidered faces for dolls. It will cover the basic materials, how to transfer designs, basic stitches and how to vary the face pattern. I have come up with a new design, which is pretty basic but will be great for learning. It is similar to the one shown in this photo but simplified. I have eight people signed up for the class which is great. It should be fun. The face will be a perfect addition to the class I will be teaching at the end of the month on designing dolls around a theme.


Box Doll

It has been way too long since I have posted, but in the meantime I have started a new blog called Threads of Wonder which is my appreciation blog. I try, and I emphasize try, to post daily something that I am gratful for. Check it out and share one of your daily moments of gratitude.

Back to textiles.

This is a doll I made awhile ago. I was exploring what I could do with small wooden boxes that seemed to be collecting in my studio. The box became her torso which holds a small collage/collection of items and she sits rather than hangs on a wall or stands. I really like her boots, which are made of leather and has bead eyelets to guide the laces. One thing that remained is an embroidered face...I'm pretty committed to embroidering faces, I think of them as my trademark.

Actually, I will be teaching a class in October at Quilting Adventures in Richmond, VA on embroidering faces. If you are interested in more information leave me a note and I'll contact you.


Birds and Berries

I concieved of this little sculpture last winter after my fiber arts group (still nameless) met for the first time. I was so juiced by all of the ideas flowing in and among the women that met that on the way home my head was just bursting with ideas.

I had made many little birds before but usually as a companion for a doll. This trio got to be in the spotlight with no human figures to distract from their presence!

I love the bare tree with the berries on it. It reminds me a bit of a persimmon tree (except the berries aren't orange) after the leaves fall off and the persimmons are left hanging.



I was in Wisconsin visiting my family for much of June...hence no posts. Because they are so much behind us in weather I got to have two springs. I photographed these gorgeous poppies in my brothers yard. I love the shape of the seed head.


Cool Abberation Round Robin

For the last seven weeks I have been working on a new doll for a round robin that was started through a Wild Art Dolls, a yahoo group. Each person starts a doll and then sends it on to the next person in the group who then adds something to it and mails it on again. This continues until everyone in the group has added onto everyone elses doll. They return to their original owner in about a year.

Gail, the organizer of the round robin was intending to write something about a colaberation but instead wrote cool abberation, which stuck and seemed appropriate. There are two groups of 8 people each with many in the U.S. but also members in Japan, Australia, UK and Sweden. It is a year long international journey for these little beings.

My doll is called Beatrice Angelique Coming, but she had a fortuitious meeting with the poet e.e. cummings and they played around with her name and morphed it into be(a)coming. She also has a little bird friend Lawrence who is quite a mischeif maker.

I just sent be(a)coming and Lawrence off to Gail in North Carolina this morning and soon will be working on Gloria's creation named Collette. I'll post pics as things come and go.


Keeper of the Honey House Update

Just a quick up date...Keeper of the Honey House has been spoken for, so she is no longer listed on my etsy site. Thanks Julia!


Keeper of the Honey House

This baby's name is Keeper of the Honey House. Several years ago I was working in my studio listening to a book on tape, A Country Year: Living the Questions by Sue Hubbell. As I was happily listening and stitching along I heard the phrase 'keeper of the honey house.' It stuck with me and I wrote it down in my sketchbook. Awhile later when I didn't know what to work on I was perusing my sketchbooks and saw this phrase and ideas came flooding into my head. She truly became a guardian of those productive, buzzing insects because they started appearing in my studio. Fortunately, they left me alone.

Her skirt is made using a basketry technique called coiling. I used several golden shades of wool and linen yarns and wrapped them around a thicker cord and created a bee skep shape. The flowers on her skirt are needle lace around wire, so they can be shaped and the stems are green telephone wire that weaves in and out of her skirt. The small bees that dot her body are hand-embroidery and stumpwork wings embroidered on organza are attached.

Her torso and head are made of hand-dyed cotton and the torso has a honeycomb pattern embroidered onto it. Her face is one of my favorite techniques, full coverage embroidery. Her hair is a fabulously tall bee hive doo!!! She also has some small bees circling her head like a honey bee halo.

She is a well travelled woman. She was selected to be in the Embroidery Guild of America's http://www.egausa.org/ two year travelling show, so she has seen the country but is now back to me. However, she is waiting to find a good home, maybe someone with true beekeeping habits. I have listed her on my etsy shop, so check her out here. http://www.threadsofinspiration.etsy.com/


Telephone Closeness

I belong to a fiber arts group (we are trying to come up with a name, but for now we're going with versions of fiber arts group) and we decided to do some challenges to get our brains in gear. We spent a good part of a meeting trying to figure out how to choose an idea. Then Kate blew in late with tons of energy and just whipped us all into making a decision. We wrote words on slips of paper and put them in a hat. We drew out two and had our theme....telephone closeness.

I was in a pragmatic mood so decided to make a cell phone case.
I had Susan Gorman http://www.dandelionfactory.blogspot.com/ take a photo of me holding an old fashioned telephone. I then photoshopped it. I closely cropped the image and then played with the color. I ended up with a blue face with peach highlights. I then printed it out on fabric, which is one of my favorite things to do...it feels like a miracle to have an image come out on fabric.

I pulled out all of my fabric and played around with it until I found somepieces I was happy with. I constructed it and then stitched the blazes out of it. I took a quilting class from Susan Shie http://www.turtlemoon.com/ a few years ago so used techniques she taught. I ended up with a pretty cool piece that will keep my telephone close!


Grandma's Color Kit

Several months ago I was rummaging around in my stuff and found this little embroidery thread holder that my grandma had made. The idea of it was to put skeins of embroidery floss under the black thread that runs down the middle of the fabric and it would hold it in place. I didn't have a blog at that time and didn't take a photo of it before I decided to do anything to it but, the black thread was torn and frayed and there were acetate ribbons on each end that were also frayed.

I took out the black thread and re-sewed it with new and completely removed the acetate ribbons. Then I created a new inside which has a place to hold scissors with a ribbon to attach them. (I didn't have any grosgrain ribbon at the time but I think I will replace the ribbon I used because it is really wrinkly and looks bad) I also added pockets for holding cards of embroidery floss and some felt pieces to put needles and pins.

The red fabric that I used for edging and the scissors holder was perfect in shade and style...when I bought it I surprised myself at how attracted I was to it because it is not the sort of thing I usually buy. Maybe grandma was giving me an angelic nudge!


Fun Doll

This baby is one of my favorite creations. Strangely I have not named her, except to call her bird girl. Her face is shaped, which is different than my other pieces and I embroidered right onto the stuffed fabric.

Her hat is beaded and quilted with an edging of telephone wire.

Her skirt/birdcage was made from basketry reed which I wrapped in strips of quilt batting and then strips of fabric. The little bird nest holds three shiny bead eggs that the bird is watching carefully.

I had a lot of fun creating her although there was a lot of problem solving...which, of course, is a huge part of creation.


The Best Place to Work

This is my first post and I feel pretty happy I've gotten this far and my dolls are having a party. I have spent a fair amount of time playing with options, making and re-making a banner. I've recently taken a four week photoshop class so I can make my pictures look much better than they had been looking. So, hopefully when you come here to see what is going on it will look great!

Ever since I was a little kid I have been bent over a sewing machine, crochet hook and yarn or some embroidery. Over the years I've added dyeing, spinning, weaving, beading and doll making to my repretiore. I've laid down a few of those tools but still have fun playing with a wide range of materials and techniques.

I have a great studio space that I work in which is just five minutes from my house. It is located in an old school that has been turned into a community center. It is in need of some renovation, but tons of stuff goes on there and I really love it. I share my space with another woman named Susan who makes handbags and accessories and some great sock monsters. Visit her blog here http://www.dandelionfactory.blogspot.com/

Our studio is airy and spacious and has some great windows. We also set up a cozy little corner where we do handwork as well as eat lunch and have people in to chat.

As you can see, it is not the neatest place, but who can create when it's neat! I also took some photos of a small portion of my stash...I'm not a minimalist.

A good friend of mine gave me tons of embroidery floss, so I dont think I'll ever run out...but sometimes just the right color is missing.

I also make these funny dolls and while they have been professionally photographed I think they are having much more fun in these candids.