The big Maine Etsy team fair in Waterville was a grand success! Thank you Kim aka claypatties.etsy.com for organizing such a fab fair! I beaded these mitts up the night before with fancy glass beads, swavorski crystals and ttassels. They sold at the fair along with a pair of plainer unisex mitts and some very nice needlefelted ornaments. Mitts are all the rage this year.
This is what I posted on NEW ENGLAND"S goodwill thread:
How to Make Your Own Mitts!
Mitts are very easy to make . First I wash the sweater in very hot water. It has to be 100 percent wool (dry clean only) and some “wool” sweaters made abroad don’t seem to work (it is unclear why). Figure out how long you want them to be and cut the sleeve right before the elbow ( after the first wash). You want the original sleeve cuff to ride the hand around the first knuckle of your index finger so measure the distance between that and your thumbjoint and cut a hole big enough for your thumb to go through. Make sure to blanket stitch this cut and the end of the cuff ( I generally stitch with 100% non washable wool yarn). I also add beads sometimes and tassles near the elbow.
Embellish as you wish but some sort of finishing stitch with wool is a must at the thumb hole and near the elbow
Well Im fresh out of 100 percent wool sweaters so you know where I'll be today.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
The big Maine Etsy team fair in Waterville was a grand success! Thank you Kim aka claypatties.etsy.com for organizing such a fab fair! I beaded these mitts up the night before with fancy glass beads, swavorski crystals and ttassels. They sold at the fair along with a pair of plainer unisex mitts and some very nice needlefelted ornaments. Mitts are all the rage this year.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
We are all a bunch of busy elves getting ready for Christmas, Solstice and festivus as my friend Althe AKA Janine likes to say. Popular consensus says that this Elf 's name is Elvis. Okay Elvis Leonardo Mombish the 3rd, first to appear from the ministry of elves! Elvis a very busy elf, has penciled a consultation with Santa on Saturday at a craft show on 93 Maine St Waterville, Maine. They plan to have cocoa, get some new ideas from the Maine etsy team and update the naughty and nice list. So if you want to see this very fancy elf you can meet him there!
Monday, November 10, 2008
Well I stayed up for the election night returns on tv. What an exciting speech! Seems like what we need in these trying times a little inspiration and compassion.
Okay this where you have to bear with me.
I really didn't get a chance to bask in that hope for the nation, because my mother called me early Wednesday morning with the news that my brother, 48 had a heart attack a few days after hernia surgery. So then I was torn. I'd been torn before because ordinarily I would have gone down to see my brother when he had the surgery, but now this was more serious he had been air lifted to Boston and was on the cardiac care unit at Boston Medical Center a maze of buildings comprised of the old Boston City Hospital and University Hospital. I tearfully called Claire's son Tom who agreed that its hard to be two places at once and said that he a full day scheduled, I told him I would call hospice and see if I could get some respite. Then I called Lill, Claire's sister who comes by weekly, to tell her that Claire might be in the hospice house. Lill called me back to say that since Claire really did not want to be in hospice house she would come and spend a few days. The morning was divided by many phone calls, attending to Claire and trying to pack. Plus I had to take the dog out while the CNA was here. When Lill arrived, I was running around with a bag saying~ okay what do I need to put in this? Lill started cleaning and asked me what to with some letters on my kitchen table turntable. I said that she could just leave them there on the turntable so I could work on them later. They weren't bills for which I have a system but they needed my attention. Any way I decided before driving 2.45 hours I needed a nap and I took one.
I'm sure that it was very hard for Lill who comes by at least once a week to see Claire when she is usually awake and vibrant putting on her best face. Some thing that she can't pull of all day long. Not to mention Lill's dealing with my prioritized and limited housekeeping (laundry meals dishes) which allows time for crafting and Claire who is bedridden and needs a lot of attention. Also she is dying and I just want to be with here when she is awake because death is so near.
Lill told my mother that I was the most disorganized person she had ever met in her life. Handicapped by the disorderly array and frightened by Claire's decline. (Lill had thought just the week before that Claire could ride over an hour back and forth to her summer home by the lake for a cookout, just goes to show that Claire's theater class payed off and denial is a poerful force). Lill had to be beside herself.
While I was gone, Hospice called and said that the block of time I 'd requested for the workshop I am running next week ( see below)and a couple of other things, could not be covered unless I paid for them privately HA. Insurance company hoops. For weeks they had been telling me it was no problem having shown the coordinator and the nurse manager the plan. I think they are more used to medicaid and medicare. When Lill told me this I was in the parking lot of the Boston Medical Center and I said that's not right we have been over this many times. I have called the insurance company four times and reviewed this with hospice about the same amount of times. Lill graciously offered to call them. When she said that I would have to call hospice again I said that I couldn't at that point in time I didn't have all the numbers with me and I was making my way out of town in rush hour traffic.Lill graciously offered to call them. She was in the insurance business and is in her element sorting such things out, that knack of hers has been helpful over the past 14 months. She found out that they need an exact schedule written down for the entire month and then they might be able to put something together.Actually apon calling the hospice they said that wasn't correct I just needed to set some dates which I had already done and was all set for. I thought I had figured that all out already and I had.
Well satisfied that my brother was out of the woods, I made it back to Maine Friday around three thirty. Panicked, Lill who was not used to seeing Claire as sick as she really is and the substitute nurse had decided that it was Claire's time to go. They had asked her if she wanted to go to sleep and called all the relatives. So I never had a chance to deal with hospice and the insurance tangle. Lill said that Claire had said goodbye to her sons over the phone and that all her local brothers and sisters were coming over. 10 people. I told Lill that I believe that she is waiting to see her son Ray and that she won't go until he sees her one on one. Lill said that she didn't believe that people wait like that and that Claire had spoken with him over the phone and that was good enough. Claire has never been one to talk on the phone and many things can't be conveyed over the phone.
At any rate its Monday and Claire is still here. Lill left for Virginia and reminded me what I needed to do today when she stopped by to see Claire for one last time. Saying that couldn't do everything and that I need to get organized. I am thinking sheesh I put myself through College and grad school, worked for 25 years in social services, raised three kids spent 25 years in two long term relationships and bought two houses. I am going to be okay. To a type A personality perhaps it looks like my entire life is and has been falling apart but so far so good. In reality it works pretty well for me. I think that I can keep the house from going into foreclosure that will be tricky but I'm open to having roommates and when the administration changes there may be actually be work out there. I don't know about you but I am sickened by the way services have been slashed for those challenged by mental health issues in this country.The argument you often hear is their families can take care of them- just doesn't hold water in times when families are strapped. In the past 14 months I have seen how families take care of loved ones. There is a huge rant but I think I've covered that before. Lill is surprised that Claire is still with us and I reminded her that Claire is stubborn and will most likely try to wait for Ray.
Any way its Monday morning, I have been up since 3:30, my monitor woke me Claire needed medicine and adjustments. I have a moderate to do list and I haven't showed what I've been working on. In the middle of the turmoil I have felted a few things. I havent photographed them all but I am getting ready for a craft show in December.
I have also been invited to a craft night tommorrow as a new member of the Brunswick Artists Collaborative but I might put that off until next month. The acorn ornament above is stuffed with freshly harvested balsam from my woods in the back ground. The acorn a symbol of strength and hope. With Claire's passing and Obama's presidency life will start anew. I will probaly do one more memorial entry that will be the end of these intense personal journal type entries here. I hadn't intended this to be a personal journal, but life happens.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Usually I write about etsy and art but that is not all that's going on here in the tree house. For the past 14 months I have been the primary care taker for my partner Claire who was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer two Augusts ago. We were disappointed when we switched from regular medical home health to hospice care. One of the arguments for hospice care was Claire's falling and decrease in mobility which called for more care also after 14 months with marketing and art shows to attend to I was getting more stressed about being it 24/7.
Early in the month, I had gone to a wedding and Claire who was not left alone, her daughter in law came by for a few hours for the first time in ten months. My son Eric was here all day. None the less after her daughter in law left, Claire decided to try to do things on her own and took a bad spill, one of many recently. That really began a down hill slide. The idea of getting hospice was to free me up for work and a life outside care. Hospice talked about how family usually steps in Claire's siblings and one of her cousins have been quite helpful when they can. One sister stops by once a week and she lives over an hour away in the warmer months. She suggested getting hospice in because the family is really to busy to set up a regular schedule. Her sons have been unable to come over since Christmas though one calls weekly these days.My Mother who lives out of state has been very helpful coming up for weeks at a time.
This whole notion about more family care was brought up by hospice partly in response to our desire for blocks of time because they seemed to be understaffed and unable to offer this stopping in for 45 minutes here and there during the week really more disruptive than helpful in lots of ways. Its not that I don't want to care for my partner I need to get out, buy supplies, maintain some friendships, network and market and just breath. Well I can run into town cell phone in hand with my sons here Claire is more apt to not ask them for help.She will call me In town before she asks them for help.
After the 4th conversation with the service about our need for blocks of time and the third call to our private insurance. Because one of the excuses for not providing was insurance the other was our dog.
I called another agency and signed up. Now we have two sets of supplies here because the various agencies get supplies from different locations. Not a terribly client centered practise. So we are ironing out the new program.
It will all work out I'm sure.
In the meantime the guys were very sweet the other day the created a romantic bistro here. One cooked a fabulous meal and the other dressed up and waiting on us in style.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
My next needlefelting workshop will be on Wednesday November 12 from 6-8 at Blue Moose Emporium 52 Main St. Richmond Maine. The thirty dollar fee is a great deal generous amounts of roving two or three needles, foam resist, sachet herbs, jingles and fun instructions!The focus will be on Christmas Ornaments bring your ideas and we'll make them happen! Pictured are some samples.
I plan to offer a course a month at Blue Moose where amongst the many goodies you can find catnip cats and a pinata by yours truly.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75 year old rancher, whose hand was caught in the gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to Palin and her bid.
The old rancher said, "Well, ya know, Palin is a 'Post Turtle'".
Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a 'post turtle' was.
The old rancher said, "When you're driving down a country road you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a 'post turtle".
The old rancher saw the puzzled look on the doctor's face so he continued to explain. "You know she didn't get up there by herself, she doesn't belong up there, and she doesn't know what to do while she's up there, and you just wonder what kind of dummy put her up there to begin with".
Saturday, September 27, 2008
My son Eric says that steampunk evolved from goth and maybe emo movements. Rooted in the revival of the steam driven industrial revolution and the 19th century fiction of Jules Vernes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mary Shelley, Wikipedia adds Mark Twain to the mix and I like to consider Ambrose Beirce who wrote a small collection of mid 19th century sci fi and later there was L Frank Baum). It is seen in today role playing games, costumes, literature,film, fashion and accessories.
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S.S. Mathilda, originally uploaded by ClockworkCrow.
Clockworkcrow"s airship Mathilde
Mad Max aside, the artisanry that represents the movement is beautiful. Brass, copper recycled material. Indie steampunksmiths on etsy are many:
Clockwork Crow, whos work takes up my fantasy jewery box says: "I think steampunk culture did come in part from goth culture. More like a thinking person's goth. (I may be biased here)
A lot of fashion and culture is retro. In times of uncertainly we look to an imagined past for comfort. I think that, in part, is why the steampunk aesthetic coalesced in the last few years. The components have been there a long time. Love of Fiction and fantasy, an appreciation for technology, and of course dressing up. (cosplay)
I just heard of steampunk, perhaps 3 or 4 years ago. I looked at my decorating style (Sherlock Holmes meets a mad scientist and his exotic, eastern lover), and my closet (long skirts, corsets, and, yes an opera hat), and my books, and my tinkering, and I said Eureka! That is what I am doing! Her popular work is shiny and amazing. Please visit her store where each piece has a story to tell."
Etsier, slvrlily whose marvelous collection of photographs puts in mind a large arched hall festooned with delecate clockworks. I especially enjoy this but go to her shop for the full effect.
Fellow Mainer, http://www.sojourncuriosities.etsy.com one of the first people I met on etsy and from etsy in person, works with wired and found pieces. She explains the Steampunk allure thus:
"It fascinated me to discover steampunk! As a nostalgic magpie, personally and artistically, it was a natural avenue for me to explore with my jewelry work.
What really speaks to me about steampunk, as a style, is it's melding of Victorian softness with the practical, historic aspect of antique hardware. Another Maine jeweler, JunqueRevival specializes in recreating found objects into victorian fantasy masterpiecespieces. She grew up in the world of antique dealing and art seems to be a steampunker by nature.
Antoinette adds other etsy steam punk artists of note are:
In the 21st century, the basic steam driven mechanics and the romance of Victorian times is a marvelous escape. Its simple physics and stylish flow is something people can wrap there heads around easily. The tick tock of hand tooled springs and gears is accessable and certainly a symbol of off the grid empowerment... alternative energy if you will. The general public has the ability to run under their own steam so to speak. Steam punkers can bask in the comfort of having the ability to go back to the steam age, should they have to. The ideal of the movement is at once anarchistic and communal.
For further steampunk expeditions and research, Clockwork Crow recommends http://steampunkworkshop.com/ or conduct a search for the steamteam on etsy.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Arg me beauties!Here we have it-We be hoisting the Jolly Roger with Drumsticks at SuzeesJubileez ( Aye ye heard me right Fat Eddy the ragin' undead drummer be the winner by a whales tooth) Heres a picture of the lot of scurvy buccaneers that were feasting to his honor on talk like a pirates eve. Here be the drummer now sporting a captains hat. Ahoy there be a sunny lot of fancy fingered lassies who share in the booty!
Hector Charles was delighted to join the noted multi talented artist and free lance columnist, Martha Horman, partaking of the ultimate chocolate therapy- Queen of Sheba chocolate cake yesterday. Hector was amazed to find such a celebrity so far off the beaten track, but soon found that Martha is driven by a joi de vivre that manifests itself in day trips and adventures. Today she was foraging for vintage pieces at our own “Violet’s Magic Portal” and at "A and A Zapp's" purveyors of esoteric artifacts. No Doubt Martha has an exciting new project afoot. Martha runs several shops on etsy, CabArray where she has magnificent and very original jewelry, MarthaHorman where she sells her other other works of art as well as art by the late Jessie Fuchs and AuntMartha a vintage shop. Hector lost track of time as Martha told him about her projects and her experiences as an antique dealer and artist. Martha filled him in on her column and allow him to publish this bit about Mungo Mango’s Immortals (Mungo has ties to the area).
The gossip according to Martha Horman:“Fat Eddie will probably leave first. Let's face it, the man has talent and personality and, even though he may deny it, has been approached by several different people in the entertainment world. There were two movie directors who wanted him in films, although that might not come to much because of a fight they had over him one night at the local "in place to be". (It was not the place to be that night; it was crawling with cops and paparazzi. Fat Eddie had to sneak out the back door to avoid them.) The agent for another band has been trailing him around offering top billing and bucks and unlimited ladies of the evening. Then there's a certain well known enterprise, which shall go nameless here but has two theme parks, one in California and one in Orlando, has talked to him about developing a ride based on his special talents. If he accepted that he would have to travel to publicize the project and there would be tons of endorsements spinning off of that, not to mention the action toys. Rumors are going about that there is also a unknown lady in the background who wants him to quit show biz altogether. Fat Eddie refuses to confirm or deny that which leads me to believe that there is some truth to the rumors. Who she is is a mystery but one source says she is a red-head from Montana that Fat Eddie knew when he was a teenager. If that's true, she might be the gal who was accused, a few years back, of shooting a neighbor's goat when it trampled her zucchini garden. It is a fact that Fat Eddie stood by her and paid for her lawyer. No, I just can't see Fat Eddie sticking around with so many reasons to go.”
Through other sources, Hector learned that several etsy artisans had thought about the bands break up and they were ensured a 15% discount at SuzeesJubileez for sharing there theories over the past month and a half. Winners of the pool, as selected by a band of local pirates ( ARGH) were AdroitJewelers and Folkarttree who have yet to decide what they want. The pirates liked SageMoonstone and threebridgessewingco theories as well and insisted that they be mentioned this may garnish them an extra 5% off at SuzeesJubileez. The discounts are time limited. Suzee plans to applaud every one who participated in the contest by blogging them up more fully at a future date.
Monday, September 15, 2008
I found an old pine buffet and am converting it into Spicey Scarlett's. A popular restaurant and watering hole in Port Perwinkle. Some of Port Periwinkles most famous inhabitants Alphonso and Antoinette Zapp and their vivacious niece Ambrosia can be seen at the gathering.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Here is a picture of Edna getting ready for a garden karaoke party! Shea has been practising her rendition of I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. Edna is very out going as you may recall from the previous post. She is a wire armature doll with nifty lavender boots. She is bound to show up in my etsy store sooner rather than later.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
I make three different types of needle felted dolls. Dolls with out armatures are usually small like the little pup and dragon in my etsy shop. I also make dolls with wire armatures which are generally 7-12 inches tall like the dolls in the band, Pirate Tom, the Zapps and the Mermish Herald and sachet dolls which have a pouch full of herbs like my catnip cats, Henrick, Hildy and Dave and the lavender sachet fairies. Strictly speaking wire armature dolls take much longer to make than the sachet dolls. They are more flexible and more solid, but one should not flex them too much. Wire armature dolls are solid felt and will hold their form where as over time the herbal stuffing may settle some what in the sachets which may add to their charm.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
In September 2008, the brief collaboration of the Immor(T)als will be coming to a close. The individual band members will be seeking personal contracts via etsy. THEY WILL APPEAR ON ETSY INDIVIDUALLY FOR ONE MONTH then they will review their options.
Pictured individually above: Fat Eddy, the drummer, Stella Zine, the vocalist, Mungo Mango on lead guitar and Liz Ardine on bass. For more information on band members please reveiw archives of this blog.
Here's the contest: Comment on which band member you think should leave first and why. The top most expanded rationals will be put in an extra bonus drawing. Both drawings will take place September 19th. The prizes will be a choice of hand made and festive article such as a needle felted wand or sachet or a small pinata or a 25 % discount in my etsy shop . If you refer people to the contest have them drop your name and an extra name tag will be in the general pool for you, increasing your chances. Thanks for participating have fun and good luck!
Monday, August 11, 2008
It took three days to make this Santa needle felted on a wire armature
I am thinking I'd like to set him in a boat delivering a christmas tree along the coast of Maine. Should I buy a boat? Make one of paper mache? Needlefelting a boat seems tricky. I might be able to wet felt a boat.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
New needlefelted fun for your kitty cats from Suzees JubileeZ. This will preview in the summer craft fairs and go on line soon at etsy. What do you think? The inner pouch has a jingle bell which rattlesand the second layer is filled with catnip. And the texture will grab more catnip if the inner cat nip wears out. Whats not to love?!
Monday, July 28, 2008
This is Mungo Mango's first gig with the Immo(T)als unless they get another gig in the next couple of weeks, I'm selling my rock and roll band. I am not sure if I should split them up or not. What do you think?
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Here is a doll I have been playing around with for a couple of weeks off and on. She is a trapeze artist with the Cirkus Suzee. She is the perfect Spokewoman for my upcoming events.Currently Suzee's JubileeZ art dolls Including Alphonso Zapp, Beauticia Periwinkle, The rock and Roll Band Mungo Mango's Immor(T)als and the little lavender sachet set Sophie,Mathilde and their pup Pistachio can be veiwed at Blue Moose Emporium on Maine St. In Richmond Maine Where I will be offering a basic needlefelting class on August 20th with an overflow date if needed to be announced. Its a Crazy deal 30 bucks for 2 (nd probably longer) hours. This price includes supplies to make a needlefelted sachet. and will incorporate basic needlefelting techniques. I will be in the craft section of Woolwich days on August 2 and at the craft show/sale at the Topsham fairgrounds on August 8.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Sunday, July 6, 2008
These shots should give you a little insight into where I get my fun loving ways. Dressing as clowns and riding highwheelers has been our fourth of July family tradition for 43 years. It happens in Duxbury or Plymouth, Mass. in between Boston and Cape Cod. My dad Russell "Rah" Shirley and my brothers Russell, David ( later Jay and Scott) dressed as clowns and rode decorated High Wheelers in the Duxbury Days Parade for the first time in 1964. My dad rode his antique High wheeler and the boys rode bikes he created from cannibalized trikes, bikes and unicycles. This Shirley love of parades started when my dad was a boy and rode the high wheeler in the Duxbury Days parade and also for kicks on his paper route. He graduated from that to putting together "horribles" for the parade at his uncle's garage Herrick's ( horribles are junk cars that are graffitied and ketchuped and hacked in various unseemly ways with crazy costumed drivers and passengers and all manner of shoes cans effigees and what not dragging from them). Dad started his grease monkey years at an early age at that garage next door to his home, graduating to airplane mechanics and computer maintenance in his adult years. He loved to put together bicycles and we had an enviable fleet of one of a kind wheeled contraptions as kids in our garage on Chamberlain Ave. in Brunswick Maine .
We also filled out our family collection of High Wheelers with a couple of replicas and another antique High wheeler in the past decades. The clown costumes and the crepe paper ( now we use mylar which holds up better in humid weather) were really my mother Shirley's (Yup that would be Shirley Shirley) design. She is crazy about costumes and decorations. Even in her small apartment she still has closets of holiday decor.
Poor Mom, I had out grown doll buggy parades, which we also did during Duxbury days. One year she made me a crepe paper grass skirt and totally fringed and flowered my doll buggy with crepe paper and dressed my doll in a matching Hawaiian outfit for a prize winning Aloha themed entry. Another year Mr. Glass constructed a plywood boat on wagon wheels, bedecked with strings of lollipops. We dressed as saliors on the Good Ship Lollipop. My brother Russell and I pulled David and Jay. As you might imagine, Halloween which was also quite a spectacle at our house (there were four of us in a five year spread and this made for some terrific ensemble get ups). I inherited Mom's festive spirit, and had my own fun with my uncle's antique bicycle built for two and a few floats and walking units I put together over the years. I recruited my cousins and friends to go in on some Duxbury Days fourth of July spectacle or another.
This year two of my brothers Russell and Scott rode, my son Jake, a niece Kayla, a nephew Kyle and several of their friends. My sister Sandra who often rides was in Alaska this year. Jay declined for medical reasons and David sadly passed away in 2002
If I ever get a scanner I will post some of the older shots. If you have any pictures of horribles or shots of the old parade please feel free to add them or links to them thanks.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Alphonso presents Beauticia with long stemmed roses. Antoinette is anxious to get on with her Air ship expeditions but its clear that Beauticia will remain at home with her brother. Antoinette is hoping to find her mother Athena Zapp who she last saw with the Radical Woman's Discovery Society to Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Herland (1915) for a routine exploration. (Perkins also wrote the Yellow Wallpaper) Sadly, Athena and her fellow activists chose to stay there rather than sit through the post feminist movement and what Cassandra Grumbaugh (seer of the movement) predicted the hawkish Bushwhack regime with its false nods to womankind and the tragic dummying down of girls and boys into cannon fodder with its "no child left behind act." A public school program that frowns on original thought and supports rote learning and order taking amongst the less privileged families who can not afford prep school. This left Antoinette to fly The Zapp's airship back alone and her generation of women to fight this difficult battle with out the benefit of their foremothers at their sides.
On her last trip with her future sister in law she had a vision which she believed would lead her back to Herland. In the Morning Antoinette began a most magical steam punk adventure. The journal of her travels is catologued periodically in the Etsy treasuries as well as in Antoinette's journals.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Jack and Shorty are moving to a cat free, parrot friendly safe home in Corpus Christi. TX. At their farewell bash, Jack may have accidently gotten into the wrong herb in the catnip cat workshop. As the Jimi Hendrix Smash Hits disc whirled and Shorty danced with the guests upstairs, Jack produced a couple of psychedelic catnip cats as a last hurrah. He even named them which is a no no in the catnip cat workshop. Peter and Maxxine, fortunately he didn't tell Shorty this. Even though we suspect Jack may have been impaired the catnip cats he created are of the same quality as the "normal" catnip cats. Jack is always a fastidious worker.
Shorty was stunned but not surprised and helped Jack pack his bags, as Jack babbled on about Woodstock the concert, not the little bird that hangs out with Snoopy. Shorty thought, hm must be a flashback of a past life experience, because Jack isn't that old. In the process, Shorty lost his thinking cap so he won't be bringing it to Texas as he'd planned but he is sure that in his carefree life in the tropics he won't need it.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Alphonso Zapp, relaxes after a long session of tango lessons and paper work at Ms Periwinkle's Ball room. Beauticia Periwinkle is on her first Zapp expedition with Antoinette and Alphonso offered to go beyond his usual part time role as Latin dance instructor at the ballroom in addition to his responsibilities as the manager of A and A Zapps Purveyors of Esoteric Artifacts and the substitute teaching gig at the charter school for little wizards. Alphonso will really have his hands full when his niece Ambrosia arrives on the scene. Alphonso is the only Zapp who stays close to home and Ambrosia needs a little stability.
Monday, June 9, 2008
Shorty and Jack have been friends since Shorty hatched.
This a great thing since Shorty and Jack are working together to save themselves from cats. They are a very sturdy pair of catnip parrots about 3.5 inches tall and would face prolonged torture under feline paws. Shorty was working on his catnip parrot relief plan while Jack courageously dashed off to get poster making material for a rally. Jack believes that there are many catnip parrots at risk. While Jack was out Shorty flew into a panic but after a lot of aimless flying in circles he came up with a plan.
It started with building a relief fund to place catnip parrots in safe houses and evolved into a business. Jack thought it was just so crazy it might work and in fact, it might be a lot safer than a rally in the park.
Shorty thinks if they make 1 -2 inch cats filled with catnip not only will it make a statement but will keep the cats busy. It would also let the public know that violence against catnip parrots is a serious problem. Shorty has sketched out the packaging "Shorty and Jacks Catnip Cats" and called the health food store. Shorty is a great sales rep it turns out. Jack added that it should be noted on the packaging that this product is for the relief of parrots everywhere. Once they get their business off the ground in brick and mortar stores and on Etsy they hope to lay low in a cat free environment. Preferably together, but who knows what the future holds says Jack.
Shorty figures he will get the first run of catnip cats started next week. Jack plans to call the press.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
I had a genie in mind but this is how it turned out. Sometimes the medium be wool roving or marble says what it wants to be and who wants to mess with the spirit of a piece. Although I must admit a genie would sure come in handy these days. Greenie could be a big help afterall. He is kind of cute but he keeps losing his little hat and then he gets kind of sulky.
Today, I traded out a pinata at OooLaLa's my local pinata shop for a new one, made dinner and posted my helper elf. I did find some roving for the skeleton drummer and started on a new needle felted box. You'll probably see that on the side it will be in my etsy store.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Phew I have been busy with a crazy schedule. Between that and the tattoo shop work which is turning into a needle felting demo, I have been in a time crunch.
The Immor(T)als has quite a following for a needle felted band. As you can see Mungo finally got dressed and Stella Zine and Liz Ardine are ready to Rock and Roll. The first Gig is in July for the Art Walk.
Fat Eddy the skeleton Drummer is do to arrive any minute.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Mungo Mango is the lead guitarist for the Immor(T)als. This unflattering picture was taking before his yoga class. The rest of the Immor(T)als are still evolving and haven't gotten quite as far as Mungo Mango. There is LiZ Odd, Stella Zine, and the drummers so out of it he has forgotten his own name. In the meantime, Mungo is a man of patience and a true nudist. So slackin' about the tree house is cool with him while his costume artist comes up with the details and th rest of the band arrives. Eric sez its a web comic in the making about some kind of trollish death metal band. Mungo sez "No way!"
While you are waiting for the band to evolve try this out on the grill, its a big hit at summer parties:
Susan's Grilled Mango Chicken
I created this based on a ginger mango pork wrap from Federal Spice in Portland, Maine. I have used the sauce on pork chops and pork tender loin as well.
3 to 4 semi frozen boneless chicken breasts
about two cups mango chutney
(buy in the store or create by blending or chopping 3 or 4 mangos with 1 sweet pepper, ginger to taste, 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder, 1/4 cup white vineger and maybe a little tumeric and a bit of clove powder.)
about 1/2 cup of ginger ale
sweet green or red bell peppers 1 or 2
3 hard but ripe good size peaches
How I do it more or less:
Soak bamboo skewers or use stainless skewers
Chop chicken in slices while still semi frozen (I had to do this as a fluke one time and it seems to work out best). Cut peaches into healthy chunks- about 8. Cut peppers big enough to hug the peaches on the skewers. Skewer the meat, peaches and peppers...
I generally frame the slices of chicken with a slice of pepper hugging a chunk of peach then marinate in mango mixture for at least 1/2 hour- if frozen prep in the morning for an afternoon cookout. Grill until done. One of those fancy grilling pans with the holes are helpful if you have one.
Chill out and enjoy.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Richmond is an old Russian settlement on the Kennebec chaudierre with lots of interesting architecture and a revitalized arts and crafts movement sparking its light into the old mills and storefronts of this small town. A short hop from Bath, Brunswick and Hallowell, it is slightly off the beaten track, but as every one knows in the Maine tourist season it is good to grab a gazetteer and stray off coastal Route One in the summer. Just follow the river north on route 24 and when you get to waterfront park turn left up the hill.
Joselyn Walsh's Blue Moose Emporium is located on the main st in downtown Richmond nestled between a couple of other galleries and an ice cream shop. It is the brick and mortar component of Joselyn's etsy stores bluemoose and bluemoosearts. The store is guarded by a short suit of armor, brimming flower boxes and a large blue moose. The old cement steps have been tastefully mosaic- ed between the treads and risers- one of Joselyn's arts of choice. Once inside, I have difficulty leaving although Joselyn reports that people do come in unawares thinking that is a train station or drug store and do leave after glancing at a few displays.
The Blue Moose experience is synonymous with "Art is Life, Life is Art". Joselyn began her Blue Moose journey in Carbondale, Colorado on the western slopes of the Rockies 30 miles down valley from Aspen. The region was steeped in the spirit of the Ute indians and she used to ski down to the bus stop. Her mother and grandmother were very creative, always "painting pictures" or crocheting. The Aspen area had great art festivals. Engaged in varsity sports, she never had a lot of time for art, until she wrecked her knee and was forced to sit still for a bit. So she tried her hand at all kinds of arts and crafts and discovered its healing properties. This is where her dream to make a living as an artist began and to spread the joy of creativity to all who drop in her store. She has been inspired by other artists and has a wonderful sense of color and composition not to mention her fanciful sense of humor and big heart.
The Emporium has gone through some changes this year, there are permanent work tables now to the right of the door backed by shelves of supplies. Joselyn can be found working on mosaics and collages there most days. Towns people and tourists alike have been known to drop by, pay for supplies and put together a collage on the spot or just sit and chat for a bit. Her altered artist kits can be found in her etsy store and in the emporium, but she also offers classes in the evenings. She has had classes in mask making, mosaic work, collage and what ever she and/or her friends feel like teaching. Recently people joined her class for 10 dollars to make cards and tags poeple travel quite a ways to come to her classes. Aside from her work tables there is a little sitting area in the mosaic department. Whenever I visit the store people drop in to buy a card or journal or just sit a while and chat The Blue Moose Emporium is as much a community as it is a store/workshop /gallery. Joselyn always has news of all things creative in the little town of Richmond. As a matter of fact, it was Joselyn who turned me on to etsy.
The colorful little store is full of unusual one of a kind gifts made by Joselyn, local artists/crafts people and some folks she has met on etsy. There is a great selection of cards and magnets, wildly beaded and doo dadded mosaics, be dazzled hats, wind chimes and light catchers, beads, pins, needle work, paintings sculpture, pottery and stained glass. If you can't make it to Richmond visit Blue Moose on etsy.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
It was wonderful to see her, but after all the walking in central park my knee was acting up going up and down stairs. She seems to be very happy with her life in Philadelphia and has some fun roommates. We did a mini tour in the morning, saw city hall, but really didn't have enough time to see much else before we caught the train north.
Eric thought that I was bringing a Philly cheese steak sandwich to Claire but I just brought it for lunch on the train. We were delighted that we could see some of the Philadelphia zoo from the train as we left town. Eric was pleased with the trip and had a commitment to a rapper in western Maine to do the music for his next album. He said it isn't easy to write fast and creepy music but he pulled it off. His music can be found at Never Hundred. Here is the link to Eric's first album Absynthe
Trains are so delightfully spacious. I grabbed a coffee and tried to get my son into a a trivia review game with the rock and roll and trivia pursuit cards but he wasn't interested stating that he should have sat in the quiet car. Not an early riser by nature he was way out of his comfort zone. So he watched the scenery and I watched the scenery and reviewed the cards.
We arrived at Penn Station lugging bags and the Cinco de Mayo pinata and waited at the flower stand for Martha, fortunately I had her cell number because it was the wrong flower stand. I had thought of leaving our extra bags for our overnight stay in Philly in a locker but I am behind the times now a days one checks bags at a baggage check, owing to 9/11. After ridding ourselves of unnecessary weight, we embarked on our tour. Several people we passed were happy to see a brightly colored pinata which lost a few tissue paper flowers along the way. We found out where ABC studios were on the west side for the interview/test and then spent some time looking for a place Eric would agree to go to for lunch. Later I found out the lunch issue was related to a fear of public w.c.s on Eric's part but we finally settled on a restaurant and he ate french fries.
Then we were free to marvel at Olmsted's Central Park, noting trees and birds as we strolled. Martha took this picture of us at the fountain with her cell phone we both forgot our cameras. From our perch near the pond on a gorgeous day, tourists were rowing and brides were walking about with their entourages. A boat capsized and a young lady stood in the pond for a long time. We wondered why she seemed stuck there. There were several other row boats hovering and perhaps offering advise or assistance we don't know. We continued chatting and Martha regaled us with her marvelous stories, occasionally distracted by the red wing hawks. When we turned to look back the the woman was no longer standing in the pond. Eric later reported to his sister that he was disappointed in the placard bearing profit of doom we saw in central park, he wasn't near crazy enough.
That wasn't the only disappointment. After waiting up against the wall of ABC for a bit about 50-60 potential contestants went in to take the test, it seemed most of them were from NYC or NJ. If I had to guess there were maybe six batches of 50 to 60. It was a 30 question fill in the dot multiple choice and I think that I missed a couple of questions. There was a rap question and I know nothing about rap but I guessed and a couple of other questions I waffled on. Any way I didn't make it into the contestant pool. I met an older man from Wisconsin who had made a week of it in NYC, but didn't make it into the pool either. He figured that he would tryout just for fun while he was there.."Do you know what a maillot is?" he asked. He said that he was going to wait until they came to him. I think I will do the same but I might make a Cinco de Mayo tradition of going to NYC and trying out for the show. Next time I may spend more time. We went to the Empire State Building but it cost 20 bucks to go to the top and we weren't that flush so we skipped it and a slice of pizza instead. Then we caught the train to Philly.
30th St. Station in Philadelphia is quite stunning.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
At last! Meridith Vieira's Cinco de Mayo pinata is finished! I polished it off between the grocery shopping and the son carting. He drove for the first time in drivers ed today so there is hope that he may be carting himself at some point! I am leaving the tree house at 5 a.m. to catch a six o'clock bus to catch the train to NYC. I will report on my adventure in a few days when I return from NYC and Philly.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Currently I am working on a large green recycled bag with some hand knitted and felted pieces. It should be done in a couple of days. I also re-felted a small vibrant pouch bag and it came out fantastically! I formed it around a sturdy rectangular box and it is holding that shape well. I worked some in the garden digging up siberian iris, hosta and primroses. The magnolia is in bloom and the yard is filled with its sweet perfume.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
The propeller to my steam punk air ship remains illusive, but I plan to write "hot seat or bust" and "Feliz cinco de Mayo" on the streamers. For some reason this particular pinata has been a tricky one, for months taunting from its perch on a plant stand but I worked on it a lot today even shunning my garden which needs some springtime work. My application is looking pretty up beat and since Henry said I need to be over the top and I think he is right, I'm going full force with this pinata schtick. There are 7 questions. Heres a bit from the first draft if you have any thoughts please share them.
Quirks, rituals, superstitions…What makes you unique?
Often seen cheerfully bopping down Maine St. with brightly colored pinatas, I am known locally as "the pinata lady". I suppose this started in the seventies when I was studying in France on a scholarship. I has made a pinata for a little girl's birthday party and was invited to join the local crafters group. I have been known for my pinatas ever since. My basic philosophy is that I'm here for fun and I like to share that fun.
I don't have any superstitions, but I am generally a hopeful person I very much believe in magic and the power of positive thinking. One day many years ago, I was walking in Harvard Square thinking I need a watch and there it was laying in a puddle at my feet it served me well for a couple of years until I traded it for a bunch of oranges in Jamaica. Aside from this hopeful belief in providence, I'd say one of my more annoying quirks is my need to think out loud as I work on my projects. I am the original external processor.
Oh and I live in a tree house in a meadow in a meadow in Maine which is probably one of my more unique dreams come true.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Hot ginseng tea from
the rebel siege next door
and leftover chinese luncheon special
stacked on our stacked
From the Hilltop Queen Anne victorian
We peer northwest
rain streaks, mist
chinatown, gastown, downtown
bay and lion peaks.
This window,this view.
Our photo gray
demolition squad alarm clock
on the first floor will jar
us from our down and into
north and south.
The poem was published some time ago in The Cafe Review a lit mag out of Portland, Maine. It is based on a trip with a group of travelers I met in a hostel in Montreal in the long days of June many years ago.
I am retro-cycling into that more agreeable hippy like sphere once again after a responsible 22 year stint in the real world of social service agencies, as I raised my three children. I am making pinatas and other items that strike my fancy, reading cards at the best tattoo shop in town and working in my perennial gardens, right now. My youngest son is still in high school. My middlest one is struggling after a brief stint at college- writing music and sci-fi and drawing anime figures here in the tree house. My daughter the activist, is off in Philly stirring up the masses in her quietly charged way.
I did not merely quit my day job. The company I was working for spiraled and crashed after an ugly year. Allegedly, taking people's IRAs, definitely taking their mileage and vacation pay. I know for a fact they weren't even paying into unemployment insurance, because I ran into that stumbling block when I tried to collect some. It was a blend of poor management and another unseen casualty of war as have been so many social service agencies. Don't even get me started on no child left behind..... A system for creating cannon fodder.
Losing the job and the attached politics of the downward spiral was horrific, but ultimately good timing. My better half had just undergone a series of surgeries for a methosilioma like cancer just before it happened, I spent three weeks in the ICU with my love and I was needed at home for the long recovery process. The chemo is over and there is a tentative remission, but with this sort of cancer they can only do rudimentary scans as it is considered terminal and insurance won't cover PET scans.
I am still maintaining the vestiges of that more traditional life more specifically a mortgage to pay. So I am my tossing hat into the ring for at least a part time position. In the mean time, check out my wares at my little Etsy shop of the same name and while you are there, visit the other etsy shops : etsy Maine team, freethinkers shops and the pagans of etsy. They are a fun and talented bunch of artists and crafts people. Maybe to spice things up I'll introduce you to some of them along the way.
This blog will feature some of my works and I hope will be a positive reflection of my creativity as I try to stay on my quest for fun and color and keep the treehouse near Merrymeeting Bay in the family.