Thursday, March 27, 2014

Window Blessings

Thus Lucy stayed put and made the best of her situation. The great height at which her basket sat, for instance, could be considered a blessing in that it did afford her a view out a front dormer window. She made it a daily habit to hop the spools and stretch her neck as much as a doll is able in order to catch a glimpse of the worldly activities down below.
In turn she would gaze skyward for a peek at the aerial activities of the bluebirds that nested themselves in the eaves along the roof. On occasion, one of these feathered friends would even sit upon the sill and serenade her with a song.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Christmas Chest

She imagined the ornaments within remained as bright and shiny as ever for
while quite delicate and prone to disaster when handled, she knew that stored away in the chest with depths of straw around them they were safe as could be. Opening the Christmas chest had, at one time, been a much anticipated event but now it seemed the excitement within had been forgotten by all but one small wooden doll.
When looking out beyond the chest Lucy’s eyes traveled across the expanse of the attic
 in ways she feared she herself never would. Maneuvering up and down a few
 spools of thread was one thing but throwing herself down from the height
of the Christmas chest something else all together. Even in the absence of human presence,
motion of any kind was difficult for Lucy as she was a doll without legs.
The little bit of her that was left had, out of necessity, been permanently attached
to a wooden base. It was an alteration that allowed her to stand up straight on her own,
but unlike dolls of the jointed variety her movements were limited to tiny hops.
To leap from the Christmas chest therefore would be to abandon her basket home forever,
for she knew it unreasonable to even imagine
she could just as easily hop back up.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Lucy's Days

Sad to say, Lucy’s days of taking journeys were long past. For many years now she had remained nestled in a woven basket along with an assortment of neglected sewing notions. Her company consisted of a small community of pins and a dwindled congregation of buttons. It should not be thought that she failed to appreciate her basket home, however, for it kept her quite safe and warm. She even had a small velvet cushion which, despite some balding here and there, made for a bed of much comfort, and in the winter she could pile snippets of fabric from the scrap bag on top of it and stay ever so cozy.

Lucy was most thankful, however, for the fact that her basket contained enough spools of thread that if stacked just right, she could perch upon them for a view beyond the brim. If she looked directly down, the enormous chest upon which her basket sat could be seen. It was a finely crafted piece of furniture and something for which she had both fondness and fear. Its contents were of no mystery to her although she could not remember the last time they had been put to task in the decking of a Christmas tree.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Little Bit of a Tale

 Let me just preface this with the fact that I'm not quite sure what I'm doing at this point. For one thing, watercolors and I have a history of being at odds with one another.  Unfortunately for me the "book I want to read" just so happens to be illustrated with watercolors.
And so I decided to give them another go, try to relax,
and hopefully have some fun. We'll see.... 
What about the ins and outs of organizing pages that can later be gathered into a tiny book?
I'm taking a wild guess and crossing my fingers a lot!
But bit by bit things are coming together enough
to tell a story and it starts like this...

 There once was a little bit of a doll named Lucy
who was very lonely indeed.

Her days were spent in the dim and drafty attic of a home whose family had long since moved
out into the world. The attic was large and yet filled to the brim with the dusty
 remnants of past times. Trunks stuffed with old fashioned clothing
and fine stitched quilts were tucked along the rafters, and furniture upon
which meals had been served, lessons had been taught, and dreams had been dreamt
now stood in ramshackle piles that created a series of
mazelike paths around and about them.

A journey down these pathways promised hours of adventure for all along the wayside
were secreted stashes of treasure to be discovered. Boxes of photos, bundles of letters,
and even a scattering of postcards held clues from which the history of
home and habitants could be chronicled. Larger and more obvious items had their
own stories to be told. A hanging birdcage, long ago party to numerous
conversations from friends both fine and feathered, now stood
an empty watch at the intersection of two paths and a large braided rug,
previously the foundation for childhood fantasy, kept its tales
rolled and bound up tight in storage.
to be continued...

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Book I Want to Read

 Ok, ready for my last Austin Kleon reference for quite a while (I promise!)
This time it has to do with his suggestion to "write the book you want to read."
And so I am.
Time has been spent working with words and layouts and storylines.

 It also involved making the doll I wanted to make. Of course she had to be wooden but also both tiny and sturdy enough to toss in your pocket. 
 Getting back to the "drawing table" was perhaps the scariest thing involved for me.

 Of all the projects I've ever taken on I have to say this has been the most enjoyable one ever and I highly suggest everyone do something special they want to do. You'll be so glad you did...I promise that too!
Over the next few days I will be sharing the pages of the first in a series of "Patchwork Tales" to be written throughout the days and months ahead.
Hope it brings you a bit of the fun I've had creating it.
Happy Reading Wishes!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Time Out

 Ready for a little more Austin Kleon love?
One of the tings he encourages is having side projects and hobbies. Something just for you.
I often think of sewing as my hobby but in truth very few of the things I make do I end up keeping for myself. So today I put away my secret project and found myself a portable basket.
 I filled it with some of the hexies I've been making up...
 ...and headed  to The Quilted Crow for and afternoon of fun, friends, and English Paper Piecing inspiration with the amazing Granny Gran Stitches.
 Plan A was to make a table runner just for me!
Plan B was to be very relaxed about it and simply stitch together whatever hexie
I happened to pick up, no matter what color or pattern.
What I discovered however is how extremely stressful it is to be "relaxed."
Just look at my luck of the draw! With a fair share of fun florals and vibrant colors in the mix I can not believe I picked one muted blah specimen after another. Are you kidding me?!!!  
And so now I have a Plan C on the table...get friendly with Mister Seam Ripper.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Stolen Treasures

 This weekend I had an Austin Kleon marathon. I purchased his new book Friday night but before I allowed myself to crack the pages even a teensy bit I did a thorough rereading of his first book,
It was my third reading of this book and it was pretty amazing but in a whole new way from my first two times around. This time I was finally able to see his concepts at play in my own work, especially this newest project I've got myself into.
 Chapter 1 is titled the same as the book, "Steal Like an Artist," and deals with the concept that nothing is an "original" piece of work. Rather, every creation that comes into being is a reworking of the numerous influences the creator has allowed into his or her life (a.k.a. stolen!) Upon completion, an honest critique of the work would be able to detect the history of influences from which it evolved and yet still find it to be unique in it's execution.  
If you think about it, such a reconfiguration is not that different from the process of making a patchwork quilt. A stash of fabrics is collected, bits and pieces are cut from them, and in the process of  assembling them together with needle and thread something new is created. It may contain snippets of the sweetest new print from MODA just as thousands of other quilts will. It may use an age old block pattern that many a pioneer woman treasured. And what about the motif of those quilting stitches...straight lines, cross hatching, feathers, in the ditch?
All been done before.  
never in the exact way you did!
 I've realized now how much of a patchwork of influences this new project of mine truly is.
From books and authors I love,
 to artists I admire.
 Sewing pastimes old and new.
 Bluebirds, baskets, and bits from the past.
 My wee wooden friends of course.
And last but not least, my own past work without which I never would have arrived
 where I am today.

Sunday, March 9, 2014


Patching some ideas together... more ways...

...than one.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Palette Play

 All this...
...for this! 


 A production line...
...of another sort.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Wordless Work...(well almost wordless!)

 at first,
 you don't succeed,
And always take notes of what you learned along the way!

Mum's the Word

 I've got a week of work ahead of me in more ways than one. Some exciting, some not so much. And in the mix of it all is my super secret something small every day project which has it's big reveal coming up.  I had originally planned the reveal to coincide with the release of Austin Kleon's new book release this Thursday. Time, however, says otherwise. Plus, it doesn't seem as if I'll even have his book in hand until the weekend.
And plan is to speed up the tracking progress throughout the week with a series of photos and very few words. I'm banking on the following equation-
Let's see what happens!
 A new muse.
An inspirational review.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

While You Waited...

 Seems it's been a week since I "Showed My Work" around these parts. Have no something small everyday is still very much in the works, it's just that "the works" at this point are not very photo friendly. In other words...quite boring. So I'll take a few minutes to share some of my other projects under way with a bit more visual appeal.
Bitty Blossom Pins are basically a perpetual project around these parts. This batch was exceptionally fun and cheery to work with and had me dreaming of springtime!
 And where there are Bitty Blossom Pins you can be sure to find some pincushions to go with them!
 A more elaborate pincushion creation involved this little dearie. She has been quite the long term project to say the least.
 I do believe she is the best outfitted Lily I have ever made!
 She has so many goodies in fact I thought it best to make her a little storage box to keep them tidy in.
 Another lucky little doll has some wardrobe fun coming her way as well.
Two little springy dresses......
 .....and an assortment of accessories.
 I tried to keep them all in a similar vain so a certain amount of mixing and matching could occur.
 My very favorite of them all was this reversible apron!
Let the fashion show begin!