June 30, 2008

Inspired Cobbling

Cool little gladiator sandals, right? They were the inspiration for this doll's footwear. Can you see how I got to this? I like my pair better -- there are stars on the doll's tip toes.

June 29, 2008

Dotee Doll #1

This is a birth prez for Masami. It's my first try from these instructions for a Dotee Doll. She turned out to be 8" tall. A new and fun embellishment was fabric glitter spray from a pump bottle. The gold glitter is very, very fine, so fine that even when the image is enlarged, it can't be seen. Now I want to try all seven colors. Stay tuned for another Dotee Doll in a couple of weeks.

Gosh, can you believe June is ending already? My next show is in mid-August.

June 28, 2008

Stuck in the 80s

Colors become outdated, just like everything else, and time often passes without notice. Going through my store of embroidery floss, the hues are strong but out of favor. I'm still attracted to colors I loved during the days of shoulder pads and leg warmers. To me, "old lady-ish" is created with former trends -- by my own definition I'm an Old Lady. While there isn't anything wrong with this, it can inadvertently place my output in a certain time period. Here is where borrowing from ads in current fashion magazines have a usefulness. I can tear out an inspiring page and match the colors. Final thought: selecting new embroidery floss is an inexpensive way to update my stash. How can I resist at 29 cents per skein? It satisfies the need to shop.

I seem to have committed myself to FOUR jobs: (1) artisan, (2) corporate office administrator, (3) secretary/admin and (4) temporary personal admin. Note that these titles are at separate entities -- not four hats worn in one organization. My creative output will likely be stifled for the next three weeks until the temporary job ends.

June 27, 2008

It's All About Me

Remember when I made plans to donate the chemo caps I knitted? Moore's Cancer Center at UCSD really knows how to roll out the red carpet and they were ever so grateful. Click on the article to read what they wrote for their in-house weekly newsletter. If every organization were as grateful as I felt they were, organizations might receive more. Hmm, sounds like I once had a bad experience, doesn't it?

June 26, 2008

My Bro-In-Law

Kuan and 1700+ other people became U.S. citizens today and we were witness to their oath ceremony. CONGRATULATIONS Kuanza!! When the MC called out "Singapore" we believe Kuan was the only person honored -- we didn't see any others rise from their chairs. As usual, the Mexicans brought the house down with extended happy cheers -- it was extra-joyous as the majority of the crowd stood up. The other country that got a big cheer was Iran. It's funny how I forget my own patriotism until I'm in a room with a few thousand others pledging allegiance to our flag and singing the national anthem, something I did every day as a school girl.

I had a job interview for a secondary part time job with an office at the beach -- how cush is that? When there is more to share, I will fill you in. This would supplement the recently reduced hours of my long-standing admin role. Wow, I'll have three jobs: artisan, office manager and legal admin.

June 24, 2008

Flowers, Plants and Baby Meridith

This density is much better, but I have a few more to attach. There are about 80 floss flowers altogether.

The sweet peas in peat pots are doing well, even through the heat wave. The temperature is cooler, phew! so I went outside to nail up a trellis.

While we were in France and Italy for three weeks, my succulents were neglected, but they're looking happy again. My favorite is from a cutting my sister Janine gave me during Thanksgiving -- it's the one in the blue pot.

This is Meridith Gwendolyn, the daughter of my cousin Cheryl. This very pretty baby was born 12 May 2008. I made the quilt for Cheryl's first born, Samuel, about eight years ago. The pink/blue flannel came from Great Aunt Amy and I hand quilted it. Samuel received 4 quilts when he was born. His baby sister hasn't received a quilt (yet!) and he generously passed this one on to her.

June 23, 2008

In Need of More Flowers

Like about 30 more, maybe. The remainder will be done in the two colors on the left. I might even remove the cornflower blue posies. Overall it's lookin' kinda sparse. Fifty flowers doesn't go as far as I hoped.

I started this shawl one week ago and the progress is from TV-time with Tien.

June 22, 2008


Forty-five flowers done; a few more to go.

June 21, 2008

Dinky Daisies

One of my fellow artists commented about my work, "You like to do the hard stuff." Well, yeah, but I don't think it's 'hard' -- just terribly time consuming. It seems more meaningful if I slave over it (my stupid logic). These 3/4" flowers are made from embroidery floss. I'll stop at 50, then see if that's enough for the skirt of this doll.

There are two varieties of sweet peas: little bush types that grow to 12" and leggy vines that grow to 6'. Although primarily Spring annuals, we can grow them all year long in San Diego. I tried once before and they did okay, but was not diligent at watering them. A few are wilted but they perked up after being moved to shade. Like much of California, we are having a heat wave.

June 20, 2008

Last of Yoruba Dolls

For the last unembellished Yoruba I gathered my seed beads and embroidery floss, then visited Needle Nook of La Jolla for more. It's a wonderful shop FULL of threads in various textures. The ladies are so nice and always happy to help. Lucky for me it's one block from my office; unlucky for me I only work two days per week right now... I scored the twisted hank of hand dyed yellow silk thread and the card wrapped with sheer sea foam green ribbon. I gasped with joy when I got home later -- the ribbon is tubular! I immediately threaded a yarn needle, cut a 3" length of the ribbon and pushed the need through the tube. Tying off the ends of the thread made the ribbon gather up into a blossom. Shrieks of all the possibilities! Just wait... you'll see.

I began at the hem of the gown where the selvedge edge has needle holes with dye marks. It took two hours to sew beads all the way around. More later!

June 19, 2008

Quilt Magnet

This itty bitty quilt has a magnet on the back -- I call it "refrigerator art" for my teacher Nancy Wang. It is 2" square and includes orange French knots, purple ones for bangs, and a few green beads in the upper left corner. Fast and fun to make, yes it was!

Ah, Torrey is FINALLY finished. I spent more than a week on the beading, which is several days longer than usual. I'm very happy with this one. Okay, who's next? One last Yoruba doll and the series will be complete.

Her necklace has a teardrop bead with a pearl finish and the scale worked out just right for this tiny person.

Creating footwear is exciting. Each shoe has three stars -- one is at the tip of her toes.

Thanks to costumer Patricia Fields, the Sex and the City character Carrie Bradshaw is often my inspiration. I watched the movie version with my pal Tzotsy. The movie was, what else? FABULOUS.

June 17, 2008

This Will Be Fun!

Visit stitchin fingers

I've joined online groups but never actually participated in anything. I signed up to take part in a Dotee Swap. I've already cut out my doll!

June 16, 2008

Seed Bead Snob

I'll admit it: I was a snob and refused to use glass seed beads in my work. Only semi-precious would do (precious stone beads are out of my price range). Regardless, I bought seed beads and a collection amassed. Now I have a full box and, lately, use them exclusively in my textiles. When shopping for more, it's difficult to remember what colors are lacking without my cheater cloth stitched with samples. I guess I'm still a seed bead snob, whichever way I look at it.

No more base layer painting. After flipping through a few years of Cloth Paper Scissors, I see there will be techniques to try right onto bag paper. Just luv this iridescence!

June 15, 2008

Hurling Words

As a kid, my Chinese friends excelled in math. Not me. I did better in English and love(d) writing. While covering journal pages with scribbles straight from the paint bottle, my hand began to write secret thoughts in an unending stream. The words felt safe enough to emerge because they are mostly illegible and will be covered by ephemeria. No wonder art is used as therapy.

In the What Was I Thinking category, these giant cones of skinny yarn just had to come home with me. I like the yarns together and started a mitered shawl. If it comes out nicely, there is yarn for many more. Aha, another ABC Rags product to sell! The multicolored wool has lots of lanolin in it and leaves a waxy coating on my fingers and needles.

Cast on 5 stitches
Row 1: k1, yo, k1, yo, k1 (mark this stitch), yo, k1, yo, k1
Row 2: purl all stitches
Row 3: k1, yo, k to marked stitch, yo, k1 (marked stitch), yo, k to last stitch, yo, k1
Increase every knit row as for Row 3, until shawl is the desired size.

Sleep has not been good lately and, those who know me will remember I'm a night owl. Recently, no matter when I retire, I arise at 8a or 9a, which means only 6-7 hours of sleep. When waking in the middle of the night I want to rush to the sewing room to do something, anything. Several projects obscure the surface of my table and boredom is never an issue. Creatively, I'm about to burst and it feels wonderful, as if freedom is around the corner. I'll keep following it.

June 14, 2008

Beaded Torrey

It seems either side could be the front. I'm not sure about the close placement of the flowers, but I'll sleep on it before taking anything apart. Tomorrow I'll probably be fine with it.

The doll already has a name, after my friend Christine's beautiful and tiny baby girl Torrey. Torrey is so new that she weighs less than Magellan The Cat. Torrey The Baby was wearing pink when we met, and I brought Torrey The Doll to show to Christine. That's how the name came about. As for Torrey The Baby, her name came from Torrey Pines State Park where Christine was when her labor pains began.

The base layer painting continues on bag book journal pages... Iridescent medium copper and iridescent peach were mixed with water (separately) and splotched onto paper. In the picture the paper is soaked with water. It will dry by the time you read this. Cheap $1 paint produces wonders when you're playing around.

June 13, 2008

Peyote Rookie

These 11º beads look big under a 5x magnifying mirror! Peyote stitching is one of those things I had to try. Turns out to be fun, if one likes repetition and monotony in creative work, and I do... in small quantities. This will be a shawl or draped neckline for the doll, falling from her shoulders. I'm excited to work on it, but hunched-over beadwork has given me a stiff neck. Ahh, stretchhhhh...

I'm still covering bag book journal pages with initial paint layers. A little bit each day is all I can accomplish while pages dry. It is a welcome change, and a time to stretch, while beading.

June 12, 2008

Paint, Paper and Pets

Remember the journals I made from paper grocery bags? Jodie might recall the $1 bottles of acrylic fabric paint I used on kids' tees in the mid 1990s -- most are still in liquid form. Time to use 'em up! I'm armed with an old basting brush to apply paint; paint is also squeezed or squirted directly onto paper. In some cases I've mixed acrylic with gel medium as a extender.

The pages are getting a base layer. I'm trying not to think too hard about this and merely cover the surface. Actually, acrylic dries so fast that I don't have time to think!

The iridescent applications are my favorite, even though they take the longest to dry. Iridescent paint is mixed with lots of water and soaks into the paper, then the sparklies settle into the wrinkles.

We have a pair of lizards in our garden. Brenda named them Fred & Ethel during her weekend here. One of them recently lost a back foot (front left foot is turned funny, but s/he was posing for me). The injury doesn't seem to hamper movements because the lizard scampers about normally and does push ups. Companion lizard is larger and darker. They are 6"-7" long.

While sitting at my computer with Magellan on my lap, he flicked his tail about, causing Coppélia to paw at it -- very cute! Her eyes are gold/green, not blue as they seem in the photo.

June 11, 2008


This is how I covered the skirt's gathered raw edge. It is pale pink silk kimono lining sewn into a tube. A scrap of yarn inside assisted with gathers, then I stitched it down here and there, added a few pale beads, and pulled out the yarn. Voila! It needs a pale pink star flower at the left side of the waist.

This blog is supposed to be about my work, but ya gotta see this. Wooster Collective attracts smart art. This video is so clever, esp the chairs. Please click to watch Marcelo Costa's Equalizer.

June 10, 2008

Beaded Bodice

I'm happy with the way this is coming out! More beaded flowers on her back might be too much, so a beaded cape could be the ticket. Stay tuned to see where this goes.

Just for the photo, straight pins hold the star flowers in place with a loose blob of eyelash yarn plopped behind her head.

June 9, 2008


Embellishing dolls is satisfying, plus they become prettier as my skills increase. I am mindful the dolls are not keepers in order to share the love of my work with others. This pink doll has been ignored since October, but she'll have all my attention/affection for the next several days.

This six pointed flower was made using instructions in Patti Medaris Culea's newest book, one of my bibles. I'm such a fan of this dollmaker! The next image shows the three dimensional quality -- doesn't it resemble a lotus? I plan to make several more. The topaz Swarovski crystal in the center warms the flower.

Nancy Tyrell and I discussed doing a July art show together. I hope we are accepted! We worked at the same company for many years, but didn't get to know each other until the place began shutting down. Nancy and I are compatible in many ways and often say to each other, "We do pretty well together." With how many people can you say that? I'm grateful we carry it into our lives outside the office.

June 8, 2008

Finished Dolls

This doll is finished, but she doesn't have a name. Would you like to suggest one? Please leave a comment.

This doll took one week to bead. She's satisfying to look at, esp with all that's hidden under her tent dress. Here is a view of her figure with light behind -- very cute!

Rayessa came home this week too from the Art Doll Quarterly magazine offices. It was a pleasure to see her again, like the old friend that she is to me. She didn't have a base to stand on when we parted; now she does.

Happy birthday to my ultra-creative brother Russ!

June 7, 2008


This doll's green silk halo is stiffed with crinoline. The back of the hat is the same fabric as the doll body. The green/black ruffle on the hat is hand-gathered ladder yarn. More pictures to come once I put her on a doll stand.

Have I written about my years as a millinery artisan? During the 80s I stitched made-to-order headpieces and veils for brides. During those days everyone I knew was getting married. My favorite headpiece was similar to this halo -- it was a sample and, sadly, no one ever ordered it. It was stiffened with buckram and edged with millinery wire to hold its shape. I covered it with white silk and edged it with white marabou feathers.

June 6, 2008

Does My Garden Grow?

Since I spruced up the garden, I thought I'd share. It might not get another cleaning in a few months. There are a few bare spots, but they'll be filled in with plants later. Like the sign says in my kitchen, "I'd rather be sewing."

June 5, 2008

Details, Details...

I just LOVE 'EM. Details take patience and, where sewing is concerned, it seams (!) I've got it in abundance. My real reason is dressing vicariously through my dolls. When I showed the bracelet (or whatever you call it) to Tien, he asked if I was going to make one for myself. I did not get the same response from him on the garter.

Ooh, I wonder what this 1927 movie is like? If it was really filmed in SF, I will be able to see the city as it was when Dad was a toddler. Click on the image to read tonight's schedule.