Sunday, October 9, 2011

I Swoon for... Artful Stuffed Toys

I love toys, especially stuffed toys. I really love all the beautiful work being made by the newest generation of toy artists such as Abigail Glassenberg, Jantze Tullett, and Violetta Testacalda. Below are a few outstanding examples of artful stuffed toys taken from one of my Pinterest boards.

the happy couple by fogandswell

Little Doe by Pentip

flies by s'mockery dolls

pretty pleated bird by crystal A suh on Flickr

unicorn by zooguu

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I Swoon for... Contemporary Jewelry Design

I love contemporary jewelry. My art background is almost entirely self-taught via trial and error with the exception of music and studio ceramics. I have no formal background in design and therefor no real vocabulary to discuss this kind of art, but I absolutely love it. This morning's Pinterest login brought an especially swoon-worthy collection of pieces by some of my favorite designers. All three of the artists below make gorgeous work with great textures and judicious color use. I pinned and re-pinned a lot more than these, but you will have to go to my Pinterest board to see for yourself.

Ramón Puig Cuyàs - Brooch

Enric Majoral - "Sand Jewels" Ring

Mari Ishikawa - Brooch "Blooming"

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sand and Starfish Super Sale!

Octopus applique from Sand and Starfish on Etsy

Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! I forgot about it last night, but there is a pretty awesome sale going on over at the Sand and Starfish Etsy shop right now. Last night I purchased several appliques I have been eyeing for a while, including the brightly colored octopus above. I have really been dragging my feet the last few months about pretty much everything, including making stuff for my new niece, Rachel, and a couple of other adorable little ones with whom I have not spent nearly enough time. I chose 2 sting rays, 2 seahorses, 1 octopus, 1 jellyfish, and a small constellation of mini starfish. I plan to use these appliques on an ocean-themed playmat for Rachel; something akin to this, but with a larger mat and more overall portability.

Stephanie also has a wonderful blog I have been subscribed to since almost the beginning of Sand and Starfish. She's a terrific person and her posts are often inspiring, are always something I can relate to, and are usually filled with color (just like everything in her shop).Sand and Starfish is also on Facebook and there are sometimes posts there about shop happenings before they are broadcast into blogland, so if you like her stuff and are already on Facebook I say you should consider going and liking the fanpage. Stephanie makes a lot more than just appliques and I really like her bags and purses and the fabric choices are phenomenally pretty. The prices are great to begin with and right now there is a 50% off coupon code available for use so go check it out!

Mini starfish appliques from Sand and Starfish on Etsy

I Heart Clay

Various polymer clay gauged earrings and plugs arranged on a baking pan awaiting a final baking session so set the acrylic finish.
I've been doing some claying. It's just polymer clay, but still clay nonetheless. These went in the oven earlier this evening; some for shop orders, some for fun.  I'm trying to get back some normalcy after this extended hiatus and all of the stuff in the last post. This is mostly working, I think. Being back babysitting again and getting shop orders so money is coming in is helping immensely as are the comments and emails I have received since the last post. Thank you all for the kind words and supportive messages. I am ok, just struggling on multiple fronts and not sure how to overcome all of these things that seem like separate entities but are actually closely related. What I am sure of is that doing so will involve some form of artistic endeavor as part and parcel of how I process information and ideas.

I have considered removing the last post but decided that, even in all of its erratic, unedited, unabashed messiness, it should stay. It is a record of exactly what was going on in my world at the time and I refuse to apologize for it or edit it for palatability. I want to write in more detail about some of the things covered in that post including why I am so staunchly pro-choice, politics of reproductive health, gender, fat, mental health, my own struggles with self acceptance and self love, and why just being me is so fucking radical and political sometimes that I can't stand it. My last large project took almost two years to complete and was spurred by my younger sister's wedding. It involved family and what it means to me and how I relate to the concept. It also had a lot to do with a sort of slow cloth process, hand work and its relation to my family history. I have no idea right now what form the next large project will take, but I am willing to bet that it will have to do with the things I mentioned earlier in this paragraph as those are the topics I an grappling with so much right now.

I am going to continue to post here exclusively. However, there are going to be posts some people may not enjoy reading and that may very well challenge some people to examine or confront aspects of themselves they may not like or that they may not even know exist. Some of these posts may contain information and language that is not safe for work or that could be triggering for certain individuals depending upon their own life histories. These posts will contain notification of such via the acronyms "NSFW" and/or "TW: (insert topic here)." I hope to resume regular posting soon including Mosaic Mondays, Link Love posts, notification of giveaways I have entered and think are really great,  Recipe Fridays, etc. In the mean time, below I have listed a few links I have found particularly informative or entertaining recently.

Grilling Season: How to Pit Fire Pottery Using a Good Old-Fashioned Charcoal Grill by Sumi von Dassow from Ceramic Arts Daily

Artist and blogger Jenni Horne is a little bird maker

There are loads of really awesome tutorials over at Michele Made Me

Claire Maunsell does absolutely gorgeous, amazing polyclay work and her blog has had some really nice tutorials lately about packaging and achieving the kinds of textures (I really love rough, craggy, aged textures) I've been wondering how to make in polyclay.

Even with the published corrections, I found some of the instructions for this crocheted halter top unnecessarily vague. I think I figured it out well enough that I got a wearable item, though. We'll see what happens after I wash it and block it.

I'm dreaming about what outfits I could put together from my wardrobe to show off something like these leg warmers. I haven't done the measurements or math, but I don't think the pattern will fit me as published so I'll probably have to do some hooking improv to make them work for me.

The sudden, renewed interest in crochet has been instigated by a charity yarning challenge over at Startled Octopus in which I have decided to take part. (please note before exploring the site that some of Startled's posts contain trigger warnings and are possibly not safe for work)

I found this article pretty interesting reading even if the site format screams 1990s: A Natural Age of Weaning by Katherine Dettwyler, PhD Department of Anthropology, Texas A and M University

Glass Attic has a metric beiberload of awesomely helpful and interesting tips, tutorials, and information in general about polymer clay. If you're at all interested in polyclay you should go check it out and bookmark it. 

Monday, June 6, 2011


the best 55 seconds available on YouTube right now.

Also, I will be having some self-imposed little-to-no internets time for a while. Probably a couple of weeks, maybe longer; don't really know yet. I will be around, just need to eliminate a time-sink or two and get some stuff done. Any posts, if they happen at all, will be sporadic at best.

Also, also, I can't find the camera and that has been a primary reason for no recent posts. Yes, again, sorry. I am confident it is here somewhere. Precisely where, though, is the question and the process of cleaning/organizing/purging hasn't yet been completed so location is anyone's guess.

So. There's that. Have a nice life for now while I try to get stuff sorted out and gain some grounding.
Until later,

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May 2011 FNSI

This month's Friday Night Sew-In is in two days. Click on the button below to go to the sign-up form. Don't know what the sew-in is about? Check out this post by FNSI founder Heidi.

Handmade by Heidi

It doesn't feel like it's been an entire month since April's sew-in, but I guess busybusy makes the time fly by. Though busybusy with what exactly I'm not entirely sure as it seems like all I've really gotten done lately is a lot of housework and some mending. I don't know how people with kids do it, I seem to require a lot of quiet, sitting outside, me-time lately. I have been doing some reading lately, though, and while it isn't visible accomplishment it is something I need to start doing a lot more of again. I currently have three books in process: Jean M. Auel's The Clan of the Cave Bear, Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel and Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire. Three because I'm notorious for losing books part way through reading them and right now the only one I can readily locate is Desert Solitaire. I also picked u a copy of Gabriel García Márquez's Love in the Time of Cholera at the public library's book sale recently and I'm looking forward to starting that soon because I was pretty well blown away by 100 Years of Solitude. The library also has a copy of Gabriel García Márquez's Memorias de mis Putas Tristes that I keep meaning to check out, but then I get distracted by all the neat sewing, quilting and crafting books available on the second floor, like this one and this one. Oops.

Wordless Wednesday: Nashville Trip Edition

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday Love Links

Cool and interesting things found around the net this week.

Bowl of beads by Penny Berens from Tanglewood Threads

Rainbow cake in a jar from The Family Kitchen

Pretty cake sprinkle 'embroidery' (pattern from Polka and Bloom) and yummy looking raspberry cake details over at Clockwork Lemon

Beth Terry learned about replacing laptop screens and has some information and suggestions about what to do with the old screen over at My Plastic-free Life (formerly Fake Plastic Fish)

lotion tutorial from Life with Monkey

Win a One-Month Subscription to Green Kid Crafts from Crafting a Green World

Please don't hate me, but Nyan Cat was just too ridiculous!

Productive Monday, Oh Ya!

29th birthday fun times. I bought myself a set of glow-in-the-dark practice poi and the guys gave me a bag full of gummy candies and wax mustaches.

Today was one of those days that makes me feel like a real life, responsible adult. One of the ones when you get up and you go places and do things and get shit done. In addition to the items detailed below, I also got four loads of laundry washed and hung on the line to dry (1/2 of which was dry before sunset), cooked lunch, spent a bit of time with Corey and Zombie, and reloaded the dishwasher after putting up the clean stuff. Of course, this all means tomorrow will probably be a wash, but whatever. I'm going to briefly revel in my productive day before I get back to sewing up cute baby things. Cute baby things because I'm an aunt now and I've put off making things to find out if I was going to be getting a niece* or a nephew and also because I haven't much felt like sewing for a while aside from hand stitching. I'm also listening to Episode 21 of Stitching-n-Junk. I <3 just about everything about the podcast and Bridget's laugh kills me with its cuteness and frequency.

So I bought a half dozen new bobbins from the local sewing center for my sewing machine this morning. I've been looking for new bobbins ever since I got the machine and every package I find says specifically on the back not to use in any Bernina. Crap. I totally love my machine, but this bobbin situation has been killing me. It came with four of them, but that just isn't enough. At least it isn't for me, anyway. I toted my machine (which still needs to be named, now that I think of it) into the shop and it turns out, they're just regular old class 66 plastic bobbins despite what the back side of all of those bobbin packages claim. At 50¢ each at the sewing center, problem solved for just $3 and some change. Huzzah! And now I don't have to reload bobbins all the time, something I hate doing; such a waste of both time and thread.

Since the bobbin situation was so easily and cheaply rectified, I decided to check out a nearby thrift store that seemed to pop up out of nowhere a few weeks ago. This thrift store boasts 99¢ Mondays wherein all white tagged merchandise (or maybe the tag color changes from week to week, not sure, didn't ask) is 99¢ if under $19.99 or 50% off if over. I didn't really expect to find much since every other thrift store I have been to here has been really pricey or has had virtually nothing to offer for fat people. All of my jeans are either completely worn out, in desperate need of mending (blast you, cheap, faulty zipper!), or rather ill-fitting The few dress pants I have left are in basically the same condition. My dress clothes collection has been dwindling a lot since I quit the box office back in STL and that's kinda horrible since it was never a huge collection in the first place and dress clothes are kind of required for job interviews and sometimes for just running around town doing everyday errands. I went in the store with a vague idea that I'd look around to see if I could find some pants or dress shirts and a rough spending limit of $15. I didn't really stick to that limit, though, because I found so much great stuff. I totally made out like a bandit, y'all!

*Two pair of great-fitting blue jeans, long enough for my height, with a wide enough cut to the legs that they don't strangle my calves, cute stitching details, nice thick material and almost no signs of wear; less than $9 combined. The jeans were most of my total spent, but good jeans are hard to come by no matter who you're asking, let alone someone with 56" hips and a longer-than-average-but-not-quite-tall-yet inseam.

*Two pair of awesome dress slacks, one solid grey (I really love me some grey dress slacks) and one black with tiny red pinstripes; 99¢ each.

*One pair of ridiculously comfortable, long, flowy-legged, black dress pants; less than $2.

*One 70s-inspired sunset-meets-circles-and-geometrics black/white/red print short-sleeved dress shirt that looks great with the pinstriped pants; less than $3.

*One pinafore-style, tweedy brown dress in need of some reconstruction work as it doesn't really look great on me at all in its current condition but does fit and should look pretty cute when I'm done with it; 99¢. I had thought about getting this one a few weeks ago when we first went into the store just to see what they had to offer, but the original tag for $4.98 was too much for something in need of recon-ing and I need more sewing/crafting projects like I need a battery-powered spin-the-bottle game. For 99¢, though, 'tis worth it to me.

*One sleeveless, short vest in the perfect style for which I have been searching for a pattern for ages; less than $3. One caveat, however; It doesn't quite fit. It is so close to fitting, though, that it really is ridiculous. I will let it out a bit, tuck in the little pointy-down-y bits under the bust, and copy a pattern from it.

*One pair stretchy, white tricot, size 6x bloomers with lacy edges; under $2. I am nowhere near a size 6x, but with some new elastic added to the waist these will be a summer staple under skirts and dresses. Added bonus: they're large enough that I can trace a pattern from them and the resulting pattern pieces cut from non-stretchy fabric will make bloomers that will still fit well, but without any weird crotch-al gusseting like in previous attempts at making my own bloomers.

I spent a lot of time in the dressing rooms today, but it was worth it to get some cheap, new clothes that fit. Overall, it's a pretty neat little thrift shop, similar in feel to my beloved Value Village back in STL. They're also accepting applications for employment so of course, I snagged one to fill out and turn in tomorrow. Crossin' my hoofies that I get an interview opportunity and can get a regular job so I can feel like a real life, responsible adult more often by being able to get some student loan bills paid regularly. I'm also heavily considering going through the medical transcription course from here figuring that even once I do get a job, it would still be pretty nice to be able to do that to bring in some extra income. I'm no firecracker typist, but I'm not slow, either, so it shouldn't be tortuous. Any of you know anything about or have any experiences with Career Step or any other similar school/program? I'd like to hear about it if so, whether positive, negative or neutral.

New niece is named Rachel and is, contrary to all of my past experiences/opinions regarding babies, adorable, with a huge head (14.2" holy cats!) and super chubby cheeks, looking every bit her father's child in facial structure.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mosaic Monday: Favorite Contemporary Fabric Designers

1. fabric: June Song Birds design by Nicole de Leon for Alexander Henry Fabrics
apron: Boojiboo on Etsy
2. fabric: Under the Sea (or Nautical Sea Life) from Isso Ecco fabric collection by Lecien (I can't find a designer's name for any of this collection despite hours spent on Google searches over the last few weeks, sorry. I think the entire collection is great, though.)
tissue box cover: Head To Toe on Etsy
3. fabric: Millefiore by Kaffe Fassett
child's dress: il filo logico on Etsy
4. fabric: Splashy Rose in persimmon design by Sandi Henderson (Meadowsweet 2 Collection) from Michael Miller Fabrics
knitting bag: erin.lane bags and more on Etsy
5. fabric: Golly Bard Woodland Collection by Holly Ward Bimba, available from Spoonflower (she also blogs here and has an Etsy shop here.  Go check them out, her art is gorgeous!)
6. Full Moon in Ivory from Gypsy Collection by Felicity Miller for Free Spirit Fabrics

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Vintage Dishware Sale

 I am having a sale on all dishware in my Etsy shop. Shipping prices are a little higher than other shops, but I package my dishware orders very well, with insurance and delivery confirmation. Listings all expire in 3-4 days.  After that, I will probably be keeping a lot of them for myself. So if there's something you like, be sure to grab it soon!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday Love Links

More fun and awesome from around the net.

Homemade Cheez-Its from Instructables user kazmataz

HUGE cosmetic giveaway at Blushing Noir

Toolgrrl on Etsy has some terrific, pretty art dresses including this one called Pneuma

I  LOVE this DIY glass travel mug with steel straw from Carissa's Creativity Space Awesome way to implement the 3 R's

Julia deVille -Bird shoulder piece - Starling, Gold Leaf, Sapphires, Leather

Julia deVilleClaw With Lilies brooch 
 Taxidermy jewelry with Julia deVille , a Melbourne based jeweller. Both via Bijou Contemporain Jewelry

Your argument is invalid, here is Teddy Roosevelt riding a moose. via Wikimedia Commons

Phelan has a great post about corn over at A Homesteading Neophyte (Hint: It isn't always the evil it's made out to be)

Sew Mama Sew is gearing up for their next Giveaway Day. Check out this post for more info and sign-up guidelines.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mason Bees, Our Native Pollinators

Western Blue Orchard Bee, photo from Crown Bees

It's a little late here the south central US to start on housing for mason bees, but it's about the right time in the more northern US states and Canada. And it's really as easy as drilling holes in boards.
Mason bee is a common name for species of bees in the genus Osmia, of the family Megachilidae. They are named from their habit of making compartments of mud in their nests, which are made in hollow reeds or holes in wood made by wood boring insects.
Species of the genus include the orchard mason bee,Osmia lignaria, the blueberry bee, O. ribifloris, and the hornfaced bee, O. cornifrons. The former two are native to the Americas and the latter to Japan, although O. lignaria and O. cornifrons have been moved from their native ranges for commercial purposes. The Red mason bee, Osmia rufa, is found across the European continent. There are over 130 species of mason bees in North America that are active from spring through late summer.
Spring mason bees (blue orchard and hornfaced) are increasingly cultivated to improve pollination for early spring fruit flowers. They are used sometimes as an alternative, but more often as an augmentation forEuropean honey bees
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia;

Encouraging mason bees in your yard can purportedly be a great alternative to keeping honey bees, especially in an urban environment ass they are even less likely to sting than honey bees. some day I will have honey bee hives, but I think I will still get a mason bee house going this spring and see what happens. The boards I have out back are 2x4s and not very well suited to making a mason bee house and I never got to the hardware store to see about getting something larger so I never got a house made. Subsequently, I have missed the chance this year to get some orchard mason bees because they only have one generation per year, but since there are varieties active throughout the summer I may still have a chance to get my own 'hive' going. For more information on mason bees and making housing for them, check out this pdf from University of Arizona. Interesting fact: Mason bees are being cultivated in the southwestern US to help combat invasions of Africanized honey bees because the honey bees cannot live in the same type of housing.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tuesday Love Links

Time for this week's round of fun and interesting things I've found around the interwebs.

<3 this print by Etsy seller Gayana

Gussy Sews and Little Alouette Giveaway - enter at both Amy Turn Sharp and Gussy Sews

Louise Bourgeois, Ode à l’oubli, Fabric book with hand-embroidery and lithographed cover, 2002 via MoMa

Cigarette Card Elephant pseudo-tutorial and pattern from Cami's Art/Life World

The Project Gutenberg eBook, Jacobean Embroidery, by Ada Wentworth Fitzwilliam and A. F. Morris Hands

Alice at FutureGirl Craft Blog has some handy info for sewing vinyl or plastic

I love contemporary jewelry and I think the use of the cocoons here is really neat. Efharis Alepedis - Necklace, 2010 - red patent leather, silk cocoons, epoxy resin, silver  - Charon Kransen Arts  via Bijou Contemporain Jewelry

Free Pots for Plants Mexico Style from Gardening with Mo Gilmer

Mosaic Monday (on Tuesday)

I've been plotting how to fix an organizational issue in our bathroom using only what I have immediately available. Thing is, it requires some sort of framework or box and I don't seem to have much around that would work for that and not look really cheap, tacky, trashy even. Except maybe sticks. I can gather a lot of sticks in fairly short order taking a walk around the neighborhood, especially after all the stormy weather the last couple of weeks. And depending upon how I secure them to one another they could look pretty sweet as a semi-permanent shelf or hamper I think. Looking around Pinterest got me more than enough inspiration for using sticks and branches to give me the necessary motivation to give it a try. Now I just need the weather to cooperate long enough to gather enough sticks and branches of requisite lengths to get the job done.

Kinda late today. Oops. All images found via Pinterest this week, credit listed when available. If credit is not listed and you know who to credit, please let me know and I will update accordingly!

1. Live Wire Farm Hooks via Remodelista
2. Ginette Lapalme via Poppytalk
3. stick drive, unknown via weyoume tumblr
4. my colors; kirstievn
5. Starburst Twig Wreath; Kristine at The Painted Hive
6. branch decoration; Linda at Itsy Bits and Pieces
7. branch weaving; Linda at Natural Suburbia
8. tree branch curtain rod; Keith Scott Morton via Country Living House of the Year 09

Friday, April 29, 2011

Happy Friday

No photos this time, sorry. I'm currently watching the kid and using tiny laptop at his house. Forgot to bring my camera with me, but I do need to do a photo dump from there some time very soon.

I'm happy to be having sunshine again. Nobody around here has basements to speak of. Some houses have crawl spaces and I think I've seen maybe external two storm shelters in the last year we've been here, but there is an overall shortage of what my grandfather would have referred to as 'hidey holes.' Staying up all night watching the weather warnings for the last week has left me really, really tired but thankful that what we got here was nothing compared to what they got further south in Alabama. We had some power outages, downed trees and the like; oh, and the rivers got to flood stage this time around, but unlike last year the people managing the rivers around here were aware of how much rain was coming and started shutting down dams further upriver starting almost a week in advance so th3ere was no flooding to speak of.

I will be contacting giveaway entrants within the next week about shipping info. There ended up only being three people interested, but if you are interested and missed the original post I can still make up a couple more packages. Just let me know by leaving a comment here or on the original post.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday Love Links

Here are a few cool, interesting, fun things I have found over the last week.

Faux Leather Sketchbook tutorial from Keepsake Crafts

Really awesome tutorials from Maggie Makes

Origami paper box tutorial from Pinecone Camp

Sewing book giveaway from Lark Crafts (open until 9pm EST May 3rd)

Rad scrap projects from Burda Style (I love the little birdie wings and needlebooks)

I am totally loving this hanging book shelf and can see it being very useful for sewing and crafting supplies and projects.
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