Sunday, May 31, 2009

Spellbound by

This is what happens. They breed! Even though I had any color I wanted at hand, these are the ones that were called for at the moment. Boston beanpots for elves? I've answered my own question. The making/doing is just what's needed at the moment, no more or less. Thank goodness the moment will shift or pass in time.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

small obsessions

Why does making a thing become obsessive? Why do people fall into patterns of focusing too intently on making or doing something that seems to have no point or purpose? Although it took only a few innings to crochet, I spent most of the morning dyeing and painting it. Once it was nearly dry I treated it with acrylic medium so now it's stiff. If you click on the picture you can see the metallic powder that was mixed into the glaze. Maybe I should take up pottery. You can't see it over the edge but there's a penny in there with maybe room for three more to cover the bottom of this vessel. But there's nothing like some freshly hatched color to bring me to my senses.

Friday, May 29, 2009

too early for doldrums

Anyone who knits or crochets probably has a favorite combination of yarn and needle(s) and a simple stitch. Something that just flows from your fingertips without any effort and little thought. That's how I feel about this cotton string and now I need more of it. This little basket has a square bottom and I left the tail on it on purpose. Baskets with tails. Legs and teeth. I didn't care for the pale colors so this has been stuck in a jar with one of these. Since I have to leave for work soon, they will get what's an extended batching around here, my house of impatience and rush.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

more Keepers

Speaking of Keepers, I just keep cranking out these cotton things between phone calls. The pink one is fresh from a very satisfactory dye test. The white one I made around my new cell phone last night in about 3 innings of baseball. For the moment, the shapes and sizes are all cute and utilitarian ( and will all be up for sale after they all get some color) but I can feel creatures wanting to take shape as I crochet. Working with this 100% cotton is like carving butter, effortless and fun. Time for a new cone soon. I'm still thinking and researching better ways to make a template for my batik experiments. Using one template and then picking it up and repositioning it again is not the answer.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I can see the path...

All I have to do now is follow it. I should not have attempted this on a day when I have to leave for work. All the lost definition on this piece is due to not keeping the soy wax hot enough to penetrate the fabric. Every single step was rushed. I'll try again on Saturday when I can give the whole day to whatever it takes. The table mopper below came out almost more interesting.

farming, suburban style

Here's part of what sucked up my day yesterday, although my only part was getting the plants into the ground. Within minutes of finishing, the skies opened up. This weather has been a farmer's dream. Now we'll see if a few rows of marigolds will repel invaders at I've heard they will. We also finished filling the pool and just now, getting the pump up and running. I can't believe I deleted the process photos that preceded this one! The foam templates worked just fine with the hot soy wax. No issues from the heat but after two applications I have to take a minute to flex off the wax buildup so the lines will remain crisp. I had to use the positive of this design because I neglected to connect the cut out hearts and ovals this time. Painting around the shape with a fat brush and hot wax took about an hour for a yard. Now it's stretched out on the worktable outside sprayed with dye + soda ash. I wish it were warmer and sunnier outside but this wonderful farmer's weather is supposed to stick around until the weekend.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Starting out

I canned these last night. The yellows are some find Kona (thanks Linda C.) and some 99 cent muslin from OHCO. The pink is a piece of that vintage feed sack cloth. Errands to attend to now while they are in the dryer. Wax when I get back. Maybe before midnight. Consumerizing ate up the day and when I got back, Farmer Jim was ready to start planting. We have a veggie plot now, ringed by marigolds which were all gotten into the freshly tilled and vastly improved, miserable Georgia clay between thunderstorms. Pictures tomorrow, maybe. Meanwhile the pool is nearly filled, the tree frogs are disapproving of the clean cold water and with any luck, tonight they will relocate back down to the creek.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

taking time

Thinking things through is an art that I have gotten out of touch with, if I ever had a grasp on it at all. Instead of more whining about needing a new, better digital camera, I am taking the time to sit with my A95 and, one by one, go through all it's functions, features and adjustments to find out what I've been missing. Lots, it seems. Of course the first thing I did when I got the camera was pitch the instruction manual in the "read someday" pile. Every gadget comes with a Quick Start one sheet that was enough to get me going. All these years later, it's like having a new camera! I started making templates for my batik experiment using sheets of craft foam. It's flexible, waterproof, cuts like butter but I wonder how it's going to like hot soy wax? Maybe I should test a piece before I waste any more time cutting out paper weirdies.

Friday, May 22, 2009

gen-U-wine batik

Thinking about what it's going to take to bring digital imaginings to the cloth, wax and dye. How many yards can I stand...and will I be satisfied when the vagaries and imperfections of the process manifest? Can I cultivate some discipline for a day and be glad with the results? Only one way to find out.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I've been spending about an hour each morning stitching on the latest of the big flags. I'm still not happy that for all the trouble stitching like this takes, the overall effect not what I hoped for. What that is remains to be seen. Tomorrow I'll start working this one over with the transparent Setacolor. Now that the lines are all in place, it will be like coloring in a big coloring book. All I have to do is get the crayons right. ...all.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Doodle Wednesday

I guess if doodling starts with line, then this little mandala qualifies. These two pieces of hand dye have been following me around in the studio for a while now and the other day at work I cut them into 3/4 inch ribbons and crocheted them into harmony. Look closer, be mesmerized. I had it hanging on the wall at eye level in my office cube and find myself staring at it and stepping onto a jungle's edge beach in my mind. My doctor has started me on some medication to even out mildly elevated blood pressure. She and the office lady warned me not to take it at night because I would not get any rest for trips to the bathroom but the label also warned of drowsiness. The label won out - I sleep deeply, restfully and untroubled. I dream about the ocean and have not yet peed the bed.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Thanks to Red Thread Studio I have a new image to obsess about. I was captivated by this image and then the name "Conquistador" - a Jack Lenor Larsen fabric at the Minneapolis Institute for the Arts from 1966. So much of his work feels fresh and wonderful. The shapes, the lines the colors (even the description of the colorways!) all made me want to drop everything and heat up the wax.I am already mentally mixing a batch of my secret "Monkeys Blood" dye. Until I have the time to devote a whole weekend to dyeing and waxing, here's a new fish under way for while I am at the office and limited to hand stitching.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Catching up

This one is going to take some time. As I'm drawing on the fabric with stitching, and going back to double the lines for emphasis, I can see that I'm going to have to go back in with paint to make the design sit up and holler the way I want it to. The way it needs to be on a piece this size. There's no room for insipid on these banners

Here's what I did with that fabric spaghetti that I won from Diane's blog. Jinx has claimed it for her own personal cat doily. I had to move her (again) just to get this shot.

Monday, May 11, 2009

back to work

It's good to get back to work on the big flags but it turns out that I'll have to take this one to the outdoor space to lay it out and sandwich the back and batting. As yet untitled, this one is as wide as my wingspan, that is 65" wide and 82" long. I had to wait to find batting big enough but it's altogether now and waiting for the fun to begin. Which stitch goes where and why.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Reasons for Being

We were always having a pretty good time. That's Jake on the left, and Colin. August, 1985. And here's my Dad and our newest cousin, Dallas. And heeeeerrres Dallas, and his big brothers Reno and Ryder (did I get that order right boys?)
Happy Mother's Day all you Mothers out there and you know who you are.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

we host the hordes

We had to let the swimming pool "go green" early last year when Jim was in the hospital and then we let it become a biosphere over the winter months. I hate putting the cover on the pool. With all the rain, we are about two weeks behind in cleaning and refilling it but the local tree frogs were right on schedule. The racket at night has been deafening. They put up the "Froggy Club Med" sign and have been doing what comes naturally in the spring and now we have about a million tadpoles in 4 inches of green water. I couldn't stand the notion of running the entire population through the sump pump so I got down in the slime with a net and bucket and rounded up about half of them and drove down the block to empty then into the stream. Hope the neighbors downstream enjoy the racket.

Friday, May 08, 2009


I was so tickled when this bundle of wonder arrived in my mailbox yesterday. Imagine winning something you really liked just for showing up and shouting! A long time ago I entered a drawing at the grand opening of a hardware store. I won a fake chandelier, retail value $49.95 but I was living at home at the time and my family's home was a ranch with 8 foot ceilings. I asked the manager if I could choose an alternate prize. He was quick to agree when I asked for a very untrendy bicycle that had probably been hanging on the back wall for ten years. That was so cool. This is just as cool and all the way from Hawaii. Thank you Diane.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Moon over Georgia

I used to spend time making animated gifs but gave it up mostly because they were unwieldy large for the dialup connections most people had to put up with. These days of highspeed internet have cheered me. This image started out over at Frank Ze's Scribbler . From there dropped into my antique (5.0) version of Jasc's Paint Shop Pro which has a built in Animation tool that has a great customizable "fade" tool. The little self movie and mood graphic in my sidebar were made with the same program.No magic, merely technology however archaic.

Hooked deep

My fish fixation continues.The dyed damasks have the same iridescent shimmer that's found in fish skins. What could be more alien than a creature who's environment would kill us in a few heartbeats without scuba gear? I've been watching River Monsters with horrid fascination thinking about all the times I blithely paddled about in strange waters, both fresh and salt, toes and fingers like so many tasty Twinkies. Years ago I lived in Provincetown MA for a summer. Some friends and I splashed about at night in the high summer tide alongside one of the town piers just to watch the bio luminescent microorganisms shimmer green fire ripples around us in the water. Minutes later as we sat dripping with our feet dangling off the seawall, a huge curved shape about six feet wide was outlined by the green glow as it swam in a great curving arc in from the depths to where we had stood moments before and then, without pausing, turn back to deep water leaving a trail of stars in it's wake. It was more than chilling.

It's all in the eyes

Monday, May 04, 2009

Fish eyes

I'm researching fish faces for a piece I'm working on. Ever take a close look at their eyes? I used to fish a lot when I was a kid just so I could get a good close look at them. Never knew anything but catch and release. If I wanted fish, Mom would make Gortons. Even though they are beautiful, when you gaze inside, there's just nobody home. When we lived on the other side of town Jake caught a strange fish from the stagnant little run-off pond in the community. He and JJ came running to me with it because it was scary. I knew everything that swam in fresh water in the Northeast but this fish was something else. Pointy face and a mouth full to overflowing with long, needle sharp teeth and orange eyes as big as nickles. No one has been able to tell me what it was besides a fright. They put it back in the pond, carefully.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

A touch of Teeth

Just a couple more tiny teeth, I promise. I've spent a quiet overcast weekend building some new small things to be stitched another time and thinking about possibilities. There's no end of willing helpers when the spools are brought out

Saturday, May 02, 2009


Everyone's entitled to go supernova from time to time. I've been working on this one between calls and one of my coworkers inquired with concern "Do you have kids?" I replied "They're grown now, you're too late" and chuckled. Lately I've been irked about not being able to afford the crap shoot of entering major shows but I finally committed to a local art fair this coming fall. I was flattered to be invited back to the Norcross Art Fest where I had a very successful weekend a few years back. Now I can relax and devote my spare minutes to making some market friendly pieces instead of fretting about missed (and imaginary) opportunities, I'm going to be making the best of this new one.