August 31, 2008

First Things First

It was my duty to finish the curio shelf project and it turned out fine. A decision to hang it like a framed picture stabilized it: I punched two holes in the top, strung cord through and knotted the ends, then hung it from a nail in the wall. The weight of the contents also stabilized it. Two wooden cigar boxes just happened to fit underneath.

What keeps my goodies from falling out is a clear band of plastic sheeting which acts as a fence. I went crazy and made three more for my nephew and two nieces. Now...back to work on inventory!!

August 30, 2008

My New BFF

I got it! I got it! This is my new Best Friend Forever, a Babylock Embellisher with seven needles. Because the new 12 needle model is out, the old model was priced just right and I couldn't resist. One of my favorite fiber artists, Beatte Knappe, uses one for her felted projects.

August 29, 2008

How I Make Myself Crazy

I set aside time to work on purse hooks but the arrival of an Ebay purchase side-tracked that path. These are of empty cigarillo boxes. Knicknacks threatening to take over my desk bred plans to assemble them into a curio cabinet. An exacto knife, ruler, hot glue gun and a few hours later, the results only frustrated me. This needs rethinking: weight on the bottom and the back will make it sturdier and more desk-worthy. Right now it wants to topple over, so I feel frustrated. Wooden cigar boxes would have been better. Right now the sewing room smells like peach and grape cigarillos!

August 28, 2008

Path Along Half Gross

Not gross, as in "euww, gross," but a unit of measure in this instance, a half gross, 72. A full gross is 144, but you knew that. I've set an immense goal for myself, but I'm having fun along the way. So, four down, 68 to go. These are almost like working on inchies but bigger because my design surface is 1.5".

August 26, 2008

Mermaid Skirt

Heehee, I tried putting my feet into the tail section but they're whale-sized compared to my skinny-mini-Natty-niece. The tail goes on like a skirt and there's a slit on the side for her legs (visible if you click on the photo).

Stitching began on purse hooks. Wow, I have a lot of work ahead of me. Can you hear the pressure I'm putting on myself? Yikes. This is why I turned down a show at the Del Mar Powerhouse in November... boohoo, I really wanted to do it, but I know how I am when I'm stressed -- we are choosing not to be stressed.

August 25, 2008

The Tail End

The tail of the mermaid skirt is supposed to be padded with batting. Instead, my version is several layers which, when trailing behind, will reveal several colors (and leave glitter all over my sis-in-law's carpet). The skirt is the stretchy fabric in the background. When niece Natty goes trick-or-treating (assuming it's not torn to shreds before), the tail will have a wrist-loop to keep from dragging it all over the neighborhood.

August 23, 2008

Anniversary / Blogaversary

I started this blog one year ago on our wedding anniversary. Thank you, my darling husband, for being with me on this journey -- every day I'm grateful that you're my best friend. Thank you too, friends, for reading my blog -- I love being able to share (plus it keeps me on the job).

This funny-face is our niece Natalie. Her birthday is four days after our anniversary. This wonderful child is full of life, but you would never have guessed from her photo, would you?! Natty wants to be a mermaid and, imagine my luck, I found this great pattern for her. The skirt and top are cut out. I only have to sew it together. What colors, you ask? Why sea green, of course! Photo credit goes to my sister, Janine.

August 21, 2008

Dizzy Spell

I'm dizzy from cutting circles. No, not really, but I am kinda bored; aren't you? Thankfully, cutting/ironing stabilizer went fast. Next post will be about stitching, at last!

I found some quilting cotton meant for crazy quilt techniques from the first batch of purse hooks, so I prepped those too. They're the three circles in the very back.

August 20, 2008

Going in Circles

Prep is nearly done -- I'm excited to start stitching. This time my base fabrics are strictly Asian silk: Chinese brocade, Indian tambour work, and Japanese kimono remnants. The red brocade in the back row were cut from my wedding gown leftovers.

Do you remember the song, "Going In Circles?" It's my sewing theme of the moment!

August 19, 2008

Unlikely Seamstress

My pal Anita adopted 8-week old kittens. Ridley is drawn to Anita's sewing machine. I wonder what he's dreaming of?

... but Mochi has not shown an interest in needlework yet.

August 18, 2008

Back to Work

Without much of a break I dived back into show preparations. The next one is 9 weeks away but with the large crowd the Bernardo Winery fair typically attracts, I have been concerned about having enough product to sell. What a silly worry, after all, when selling out could only be a positive outcome! The concern is about maximizing my earning potential. With that in mind, I started on more purse hooks. They were popular at Talmadge Art Show and have been great fun to work on. Small canvases allow for many forms of needlework.

August 17, 2008

My Gratitude

Dear friends and customers who attended the Talmadge Art Show: Thank you for your patronage, your kind and complimentary comments about my work and for supporting independent artists. I stitch for the love of the craft, but the icing on my cake is your appreciation -- it means I can continue stitching and make a life from my handwork. The very reason I show my wares in this venue is to meet you. I'm grateful that you are part of my world. Sincerely, Lauren

PS: With you in mind I will work extra hard for the next event, Bernardo Winery Fall Arts & Crafts Fair, on October 18/19. See you again soon!

August 16, 2008

Art Show Day

Look how tiny those three pearls are! I managed to squeeze in one more purse hook. I wish I'd been able to finish the remaining three. Oh well, there are only so many hours in a day. Even with our present economy, I'm excited about today's Talmadge Art Show. Please come by if you are in the area.

August 15, 2008

Mommy, Look What I Found

When I am at the beach, I'm a child again and still collect pretty seashells for my Mother's approval. Today my boss skipped out on work (the door was locked), so I walked down the block to take a stroll on the beach. My boss never came back, so I went home and finished...

... this! The hand dyed silk ribbon edge adds just enough oomph to the purse hook.

August 14, 2008

Photo Session

Creativity on purse hooks was so much fun! Photographing reflective items is challenging. I'm almost ready for Saturday's show. Just a little bit more to do...

August 13, 2008

Talmadge Art Show

Join us this Saturday at the Encinitas Library for the Talmadge Art Show. For the first time it will be held in the North County. I visited the library last week and the brand new building is very nice. I think every library should have a view of the ocean, don't you?

Talmadge Art Show
Saturday, August 16
10a to 4p
Encinitas Library, Community Room
540 Cornish Drive
Encinitas, California

August 12, 2008

More Stash Building

Shopping is faster than stitching, no doubt, and it usually happens at my weekly pilgrimage to Needle Nook of LJ. I added these three colors and, yummy, they're silk. I love the inky blue with the odd green and gold. This week's goal is to finish ten purse hooks for Saturday's inventory. These flosses will surely end up in one of them. Will you be at Talmadge Art Show this weekend?

August 11, 2008


Russian punch needle, punch needle, needle punch, whatever... I love the texture! My circles of work are 1.25" -- more little stitchery. Now all they need is some embellishment.

August 10, 2008

Tien's Scarf

One of the hanks of yarn I bought was for completing Tien's scarf. Most of it was knitted on the road during our car trip through France and Italy this Spring. The scarf needed a crochet'd slip stitch around the edge. An image showing the true color is at this link.

August 9, 2008

Me Time

Thank you for bearing with me as I struggle with emotions from my new office job. After leaving the office I gave myself some restorative Me Time.

There is a sale this weekend at Common Threads, one of the best yarn stores ever. I bought an armful of miscellaneous yarn and a Knitting Knobby. I had one as a kid and it was so much fun, until I got bored. My excuse today was to play with it and then send it to my nephew who I know will enjoy it (until he gets bored too). Right now I seem to have gone a little nuts with scraps. I'm thinking doll hair, what else?! Wire in the middle will make some interesting hairdos.

Check out this FUN book I got too. Don't know if I'll knit anything, but I love the ideas.

How lucky am I to have Masami for my friend? VERY lucky! At my request she did some shopping at ABC Craft in Osaka for an item that is not available in the U.S. or even on Ebay. It's a flower loom made by Clover, an Osaka-based company. Thank you Masami! This the the first thing I made from one of the six looms in the kit. The shiny center is "brighter than silk Glossilla" -- love it!

Gosh, have you EVER seen a better Olympics opening ceremony? I haven't! Leave it to Zhang Yimou to be so creative with Chinese symbolism, costumes and choreography.

August 6, 2008

Off Topic

I am unable to have stitching time for a day or two, boo-hoo. Hey, that rhymes.

My new part-time office job involves reading depositions, most of which are criminal cases. I was interested in seeing another area of law and accepted this position. Unfortunately, some days I am unable to put judgment aside and feel disgusted at these behaviors! What are these people thinking when they do these things?? Often they are violent. Hopefully it's the newness of the job that causes me to have these feelings and, over time, I'll be able to let it go by.

I was thinking - there are entire industries created just for bad behavior: jail construction, criminal attorneys, law enforcement, bail bondsmen, judges, expert witnesses, social workers, halfway houses, appellate courts, electronic monitoring manufacturers, I could go on. How many people would be out of work if not for criminals? Just a thought...

August 5, 2008

Handbag Hooks, ta-dah!

It was like creating art for the inside of a bottle cap -- that's about the size of the smaller ones. The hook folds flat to go easily into a purse. No more handbags on the floor, euww. I think a sterling silver artist should make these out of old spoons and forks -- that would be ironic, wouldn't you say?

August 4, 2008

Little Art

This was exciting! The warm ups were useful to get to this result and I'm happy. The orange embroidery floss is vintage, about 1920, and the "Glossilla" label says it is "Brighter than Silk" - I love it.

I pulled these pieces together, but replaced most of it along the way.

It's like a tiny crazy quilt.

This is the next grouping. I'm having a lot of fun here. If my art stays tiny like this, I will never use up all the fabric in my studio.

August 3, 2008

Getting Somewhere

Felted roving, feather stitches with vintage embroidery floss, a seed bead star on a flower sequin... Let's see how this ends up! More later.

August 2, 2008

How I Felt About It

I made progress embellishing the felted flower. It's too big for the purse hooks, plus multi-blue petals look silly, so I see it as a "warm up" and will save for something else. I kept playing and here are results of two more doodads. My version of a fleur-de-lys came out of a discussion with my sister Janine about decorative elements on handbag caddies. I have so many ideas for these purse hooks, but only four blanks right now.

Janine and I got our purse hooks at the same time. I use mine regularly and only one restaurant wait person noticed it -- he thought it was odd ("What's that?"). Janine says everytime she uses hers, it gets noticed (positive notice, I'd like to add). What's wrong with this picture?! Only my vanity cares -- what's more important is that customers like them enough to buy at my art show booth.

August 1, 2008


I don't mind admitting to a diagnosis of mild Obsessive Compusive Disorder. Without divulging gory details, I can say I'm obsessed with my new laptop. Maybe it was part of Tien's plan to keep me out of the sewing room -- it's working, argh! Once I'm on the computer, it's hard to stop. Maybe the thing to do is NOT turn it on. Hopefully I will get some sewing done soon. I have five shows through the end of 2008 and beginning on August 16th. Be there or be square (talking to myself).