why don’t we write long blog posts anymore?

I started blogging in 2003, intensely personal and set to completely private. I thought that was what blogging was for: an online journal, diary, lists of daily experiences, woe-is-me’s, and small joys. I don’t remember being able to add photos or links, it was literally just an online personal notebook. In 2004 i discovered there were PUBLIC blogs–and WHOA, there were artists, there were TEXTILE artists out there who like me, wanted to record their journeys, their tests, their revelations, how to’s and failures, and their art, for everyone to see.

I would spend hours every day clicking on links–in those days we shared that, shared the work of people we admired, with no thought of jealousy or snark, long lists of blogs we each visited, links to strange things we liked. One of my favourites was “Corpses for Sale“, an artist who yes, made life like (death like??) corpses from latex and hardware supplies. (That was part of my body fascination in art phase πŸ™‚ ) TheΒ  site is pretty slick now and i guess disturbed people enough that a warning was posted on it: “WARNING: Displaying a corpse in public may break some County laws.”Β  HA.

I digress………

We posted samples of how we worked, we wrote actual tutorials, we traded art, we wrote long posts and added lots of pictures, bared our guts, and laughed at ourselves a lot. I remember being excited so often by what i saw, what people made, how they discovered things, how their artistic exploits evolved and expanded. We formed groups by dint of actual MAIL, real letters and packages, we created round robins and exchanges, we made art collaboratively and entered shows specifically for that, we solved problems for each other, we communicated almost every time we “visited”. Our best “communal platform” was Flickr, a Flickr that was a lot more user friendly in those days. We were interactive, wrote long “in response” posts of our own, did even more sharing of links and how to’s, and left thoughtful comments that were more than a “like” (or a troll response!).

So what happened? With few exceptions, most of us don’t do, act, think, or respond any more, do not inhabit our blogs the way we used to. (Guilty.) They’re drop shipping ports now: “Go to my Etsy, Facebook, Instagram, flavouroftheday platform”. (Guilty.) Or they are “monetized” now, supported by suppliers, links to quote affiliates unquote and advertising for spuriously related products. (By the way, any ads you see at the bottom of MY posts are completely out of my control, as i use WordPress’ free platform. They get put there automatically and i don’t even know what they are!)Β  Islands in the vast galactic sized ocean the net has become, with no other land in sight it feels. Some of us disappeared by choice, or sadly, died, some just faded away with no reaction or reason from themselves or their followers, some did abrupt turns and we left them behind because they no longer interested us. (Guilty.) Attention spans shortened drastically, “yeah but’s” appeared, “one up man ship” started distorting responses. (Guilty.)

So. Almost 17 years later (cause that calendar page is gonna flip again in 20 days and everything will be MAGIC again…), i want to go back to 2004 in a sense, and BE here. I may miss things, may not appeal, may flounder, flop and fail, but i’m going to try. Are you?




studio time finally, and a shop update

This past week i have said to hell with unpacking boxes, shuffling furniture around and organizing things in our new home. I finally got down into the studio and had fun!

Digging through the silk velvet scraps for the elf mentioned in a previous post, had me wondering what to do with all the dinky teeny itsy bits. If you love velvet and other luxe fabrics, you get that–no small left behind! πŸ™‚ And when they’re naturally dyed, they are even more precious!

And yes, they DO come as PAIRS πŸ™‚ Hmm, might be cute Christmas ornaments as well!

This weekend however, the two of us will be descending to the depths, and getting laundry appliances moved around, a laundry sink and water filter hooked up, tools settled into shelves, and the last of my studio stuff IN the studio, out of boxes, bags and piles. Once that is done, i plan on settingΒ  myself a schedule of sorts to get work done, the serious stuff (Samara, poor Samara!), and some more fun things as well.


elves? hell YEAH

My Mojo has been a Nogo for awhile. If you’re read previous posts lately, you’ll know why! I’ve diddled about with bits and pieces, but nothing really exciting, or terribly productive happened, small projects that will get done, but not honestly that i feel terribly interested in.

This morning i buckled down. I’ve wanted to do elves again for the last four years or so; i say “again” as they were a bread and butter item i made in the 90’s. All were very glitzy, and had green “skin”, so a late friend i miss still had dubbed them the “Yule Ghouls”. I made and sold probably 4 or 5 dozen of them, named Ruby, Amethyst, Sapphire, Emerald, etc etc etc all depending on the main shiny fabric i used (ha, i LOVED the glitz synthetics in those days) but alas along the way, i lost the original pattern. I have a few lousy photos of them, but they’re so lousy i won’t dig them out.

Of course, me being me, i thought i could immediately jump in and start pumping them out. No pattern though. Sooooooooooooo, brushing off basic skills again, i made a mockup in some cheap cotton, made some notes, adapted my pattern and started the first prototype.

It took 4 and a half hours from first pattern and the cotton test subject (right in photo below) to the first prototype (left). Still needs arms and legs, and the embellishments, but i’d say my Mojo is now a Gogo πŸ™‚

He’s a little shy at the moment. “Mockup says my ears are too big, my nose looks like a squashed potato, and how am i going to get anywhere with no arms or legs?” (Note: snarky Mockup has only one of each so he can only go in circles, i guess.)

“He’s just jealous ’cause Mom loves me better, even if he was here first.”

Arms, legs and facial features are coming up next, beading, hand embroidery etc–though i will keep it simple. The velvets, silk and lace i used are of course naturally dyed with quebracho rojo, madder and sandalwood. I was fortunate too that late MIL had bags and bags of stuffing, gawdz knows why though as she did nothing “crafty”. Finished size will be approximately 15″ head to toe.


I have so many velvet scraps in different colours that i’m quite excited to give some personality to them!

in praise of scraps

Tomorrow is the LAST day of this messy, chaotic, stressful move, the last bits and pieces of 10 years in an old house (and almost 16 years together of collecting..) that honestly made it easy to “accumulate” things. Funny though, the new place is bigger, has better storage and is more organized in layout, but we want less Stuff now… Another dump run, another donation run and the last bits and pieces from odd corners is by midnight’s goal……

The studio is slowly slowly taking shape, though one thing that is needed is MORE LIGHT. I discovered how bad it is down there when i realized the white thread i was using was actually a soft yellow……..

I’ve been itching to do *something* down there that doesn’t involve going through every bin and box, and then strewing things around because i get sidetracked. Found a bag of velvet scraps–they still got strewed πŸ™‚Β  —and spent some time digging through and fondlesorting, ending up with this gorgeous indigo piece. Close by also was the box of jewellry findings, so:

I made a Thing! A second Thing will join it, and maybe they will be worn at a company christmas party.

But oh to get back to the projects, especially Samara! And i need to find a new canvas for her—the one delegated disappeared on one of the truck runs……..

do something ya haven’t done in awhile

I used to support myself and my young son with my wearable art business, through the 90’s and early 2000’s. I haven’t done any serious sewing clothing wise in a long time, beyond the also long ago SCA garb (15 years?) , and the occasional pair of boxers for the Greyman. I had bought a Tina Givens pattern in May of last year and it has been sitting on my worktable, waiting for the perfect fabric toΒ  make it in.

I found it. This beautiful, soft pure white swiss dotted cotton is semi sheer, but since it will be worn over a fitted top of some sort and some tights, that’s okay. But it won’t be white when i’m done with it.

The madder dyed pieces of silk, silk velvet and vintage lace have me planning on dyeing with either madder or quebracho rojo (or combining) or tansy with madder to get a medium coral shade. Since i had planned on a Summer Madder Project Project πŸ™‚ last year as a wearable, well, good things come to those who wait!

PS That gorgeous lace is a piece sent by the ever generous Mo, a “present” from the end of the “Love is the Answer” project.


tears and tears, accepting the imperfect

Well, i admit i have never been able to sew or draw a perfectly straight line, but HOW THE HECK DO PEOPLE DO THIS ALL THE TIME????????

I will NEVER be a “Modern Quilter”.

This one sort of worked, except i didn’t cut enough pieces:

This was the plan:

(Never mind the lettering: i forgot the yellow on the first attempt, and then forgot the red on the second……..) Looks easy. Except when you are seaming. I kept flipping edges to see what it would look like. HA. i didn’t flip correctly on some. Then i just hit a point where i started stitching edges together.

There were angry tears. There were tears (rips πŸ™‚ ) when i pulled on seams to undo. I re-sewed three times. I ended up with an obvious rip, crooked lines, imperfect point matching and the pieces going the wrong way. I cut either too many pieces, or not enough. I blame the template i used πŸ™‚ I swear the marks for the cutting line were off *just* enough on two edges to **** up cutting and seaming. Maybe my blood sugar was low. Maybe i needed another coffee. Perhaps i have too much on my mind. And yes, i used a god-damn blue thread to stitch with because i don’t give a rat’s ass about matching.

Does this even REMOTELY look like the plan??????

Go ahead. Laugh. I can hear you from here.

**** it. I’m not taking it apart again to re-seam it. In fact, i just sewed the *almost” perfect red sample to the left edge of the above.

To hell with the pursuit of perfection. Let’s embrace the organic, the mistakes, the imperfect, the woogles and borgles and blips. Considering i’ve taken mistakes before and made something i’m proud of, i’m just going to let it be what it wants to be. Just wait and see: it WILL be if not “beautiful” when done, it will be defiantly/definitely my work.

Please also refrain from telling me how to do it correctly πŸ™‚





rabbit holes (some of the drawer stuff, sort of part 3)

The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice arlee had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.

Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly, for she had plenty of time as she went down to look about her and to wonder what was going to happen next.

Clearing out the stuff crap stuff crap has surfaced some Stuff i’d forgotten about.

Machine embroidery piece, apple core, maybe new inspiration, pinned up on the design wall now.

To combine with this:

I have in mind a “rotten apple” piece πŸ™‚


And these from around 2005 (6? 7?), when Angelina was all the craze.

Found a wad of the stuff unused too:

But, you know what? There’s NO reason this stuff can’t be combined with the natural dyes! The colours fit together, and i’ve been slowly adding a bit of bling anyways, so why not?

And this from my “fabric paper” phase πŸ™‚ Bling was paramount then: look at all the shiny threads, beads, inclusions πŸ™‚

I’ll probably cut this up, and make something else from it, with some commercially dyed threads. I have to use them somewhere!

I’ve already started cannabalizing old unfinished bits!

Above, never finished piece that was chopped in two–half was partly embroidered with lurid loud commercial colours, the other (this side) earthier tones, but that i lost interest in as a whole.

The cut out left side top corner became this:

Bravely too, i actually threw some of the old unfinished projects in the garbage, and immediately put the bin out for collection. Can’t rummage to rescue, because they are now GONE. (And yes, i would have put them in the recycles, but alas, Calgary while having a very good recycling program with plastics, paper and compostables, does not have the facilities for textile products.)

I have also discovered that my finished pieces are literally everywhere on studio surfaces! While smaller pieces from the last two years are in a proper storage box, there are others much larger that slip, slide and slither everytime i go near that area. Digging under them for other stuff is getting ridiculous, so i may have to bring home a big flower box to properly store them in.

Getting close to the daylight at the end of the tunnel!