December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my favorite things. I hope you're receiving a few of your favorite things, whether or not they come in packages, and arrive in the shape of love, warmth, food, or blessings. Merry Christmas to you with my best wishes for a happy 2012.

December 21, 2011

Earrings for My Niece

My niece Natalie just got her ears pierced. Making earrings for an 8 year old is quite different than those for an adult. It's a whole 'nother mindset and somewhat more challenging than I expected. My bead collection had only a few things suitable for her age. I also noticed that jewelry making was difficult because I was out of practice. Wire wrapping was messy and I'd forgotten how to manage my tools. In the end, everything turned out satisfactorily.

December 9, 2011

The Fat Lady Sng

The 2011 art show season is over and, in reference to the title of today's post, I'm done until next year, phew. Now you also know how to pronounce my surname, as though it had a "u" in it. Thank you to everyone who came out to support independent artists and buy locally! I'm grateful to you because you took home my handmade goods. If you still need lavender pillows, please email me -- there are just a couple remaining for last minute shoppers.

Have a wonderful holiday!

Love, Lauren

November 30, 2011

Show, Times Two

This weekend I will be hawking my wares at two single-day shows. Come by if you can in support of independent artists!

Dec 3, Saturday
9:30a to 3:30p
Carmel Valley Artists
Karl Strauss Brewery & Gardens
9675 Scranton Road (map)
San Diego 92121

Dec 4, Sunday
2p to 6p
Kringle Mingle
Cardiff Town Center
2087 San Elijo Avenue (map)
Cardiff by the Sea 92007

This next item has nothing to do with shows, but it's the kind of art that provides me with LOADS of inspiration. It's terribly clever! Never mind the blather about aiming "to question the roles we play as the participant or performer, as well as elevating the experiential boundaries of this versatile relationship." I love the shape, the layers, the color red, the yards of fabric, the people-pockets and the contrast of the venue against the folds of woolen. Read about it here.

Photograph by Berhard Ludewig

November 28, 2011

Cyber Monday

Come visit me in my online shop and I'll pay for shipping on selected items. If you prefer to see textile treats in person, I will be at two shows this weekend -- see sidebar for details. Click click click!

November 24, 2011


I was pleased all around with the efforts I made on my little display. Although my booth looks, at first glance, exactly as it did during the Talmadge Art Show in May, the changes I made and the mindset I carried felt more comfortable for me. Confidence makes a big difference and I believe patrons are the first to notice.

Another small but important touch was being located next to a door that my neighbor and I had partially open. The incoming air cooled us and blew a scented breath of lavender around our area.

I'm grateful to everyone who came out to support independent artists on Sunday. Your appreciation for handmade goods was apparent in the crowds who showered us with oohs and ahhs. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

November 15, 2011

Talmadge Art Show

Please join me this Sunday. I'll be at the Talmadge Art Show from 10a to 4p along with 82 other artists in the Event Center at NTC Promenade, the former Naval Training Center in Point Loma. Come see what we've created for the holiday gift-giving season. Buy handmade, buy local and support independent artists. We hope to see you there.

20 November 2011 - Sunday, 10a to 4p
Talmadge Art Show
NTC Promenade, Events Center
2875 Dewey Road
San Diego 92106

Three food trucks will feed hungry shoppers.

November 8, 2011

Colors of Another Era

I've been cutting vintage and new Chinese silk brocade for lavender pillows. Most of my brocades were from Hong Kong during the late 1950s and early 1960s. China was closed to foreigners; Hong Kong, under British rule, was open to tourists. Ladies had custom-fitted dresses made in Hong Kong, or they brought yardage back to the U.S. as gifts or intending to have it made into a garment here. Notice the abundance of aqua, a popular color of the period. Can you tell which brocades are brand new? Hint: gold, royal, lavender and red.

These woolens and silks were shibori-dyed by Doshi. They'll be filled with French lavender too and will be a nice addition to what folks normally see in my booth. Doshi has a vivid sense of color, all of which I am attracted to.

November 7, 2011

Learning the Hard Way

I forgot a key component of my display: the L-brackets that hold the cross bar from which three picture frames would hang. All was not lost -- I suspended them from the tent rails.

Each show brings lessons. The removable L-brackets are now stored on the rack so they can't be forgotten; sewing tabs to secure table skirt corners when the wind blows; carefully hiding storage boxes underneath; hanging tent side walls lower to prevent a gap; finding my new shop name banner was too big. There will be another opportunity, so I look forward to making things right!

November 4, 2011

Bazaar at the Language Academy

If you're in San Diego, please join me tomorrow, Saturday, under the ABC Rags tent from noon until 4pm. I'll be selling handmade dolls, kimono silk rag baskets, and lavender pillows. This is the last chance this season to get lavender pillows made with vintage Asian silks and brocade at 25% off. I will have tillandsias (live plants) this time too. Nancy Tyrell and her colorful quilts are sharing the booth with me. We sure hope to see you.

October 31, 2011

New Signage

This is the new sign for my art show display. Previously, I never had any signage, except for item descriptions and price tags, but those are dinky. Loretta (BFF and merchandising expert) said my booth needs an identity. I've been doing shows for many years and, sadly, I'm just now getting around to this. As for the doll, I may have to keep her. Red Ferraris are known to be ticket-magnets, and I'm hoping the image of this red doll will draw patrons closer like the CHP to an exotic red car screaming down the freeway.
This mock-up is how everything will look once the image is printed and mounted. My husband did the graphic work for me. I can count on Tien for good advice too.
Lastly, my 10' x 10' white tent needs some pizzazz. Without front door signage, all white booths look the same. How would anyone find me?

October 27, 2011

Tweaking (again)

You might not know what is different here from the photo in the prior post, but I do. Thanks to professional merchandising expertise from Loretta, my best friend of 40+ years, I got great advice. Now, the bare metal is covered with fabric, the lights are in perfect placement, and a red runner punctuates the center. Icing on the cake would be a picture light installed over the center frame where a sign reading "ABC Rags" will go. After every possible tweak and three trial runs in the garage, this has to be perfect because, if it isn't, I'll be at the next show thinking, "Aww, darn, I should have done that too..."

October 21, 2011

Satisfied, I Think

I'm getting ready for this season's shows by tweaking my display. The picture frames are lined with chicken wire and cloth for exhibiting altered dolls, and the shelves will hold lavender pillows and all the other textile treats made in my studio.

Previously, I had a long table and stood behind it which seemed to allow patrons to examine wares without pressure. After I changed to this 6' rack and hung a red curtain in the back, standing in front was uncomfortable, as if preventing folks from venturing closer. Then I tried to display the dolls on a shelf turned sideways, but it appeared makeshift. I think I've got it now with the picture frames and the ability to see out from behind them, but the real test will be on the selling floor.

The next projects include a store sign and making the table skirt more interesting/less bare. Suggestions for gussying up the skirt, anyone?

October 17, 2011

This Ain't No Sweatshop

Similar doll bodies were made a few years ago. They're tall, with exaggerated skinny limbs. This is the only one in a seated position. The hand-dyed shibori skirt is a Doshi remnant and the bodice of textural florets is from an August failure that works perfectly for this 21" doll. The doll's head was made some time ago too, during an experiment in 3-dimensional noggins. Under the black and white skirt is a sheer pumpkin petticoat that gives the silk some substance. To be made next is a Christian LaCroix-inspired shrug from another piece of sheer pumpkin which lays to the right of the doll.

I also used the same beading technique on the hem as other recent doll skirts. It gives a finished look that I like, and also gives weight to the edge of the skirt so it hangs properly.

October 16, 2011

Bead Stitching

Some time ago I knitted scarves using a very easy pattern. A little glitz and shine on the edges was called for. Usually, I love tedious work, but for some reason, bead stitching on the edges wasn't as enjoyable this time. Maybe too much coffee?

Today I'm working on a doll. I wonder what she'll look like. Wondering where the path leads is always an adventure. To be sure, I'm in need of an adventure (see previous paragraph) and being led by the hand of a doll is a curiosity indeed. I'll share once the work gets underway.

October 9, 2011

I Got What I Paid For

New merchandising props for my art show booth required two decorative frames. Add chicken wire and richly textured Mary McFadden-ish pleated fabric and, voilĂ , doll displays!

I went to Michaels with my frugality and resourcefulness. Instead of spending $45 on two wood frames without glass, I came home with really cheap, preframed "art," removed the thin glass, art and backing, and was left with the empty frames I needed. It turns out I gypped myself instead. After ripping out the artwork, I discovered the frames were made of dense foam core. WHO WOULD HAVE GUESSED IT?! Foam core??

Finding out the frames weren't wood was bad news. No wonder they were so lightweight. They damage very easily after using a staple-gun on the backside. These will fall apart sooner than I want, so I'll end up going back to Michaels to get solid wood after all.

UPDATE 10/10/11, 4:15pm
While testing the new frames on my display rack, the hanging hardware came loose. I was headed upstairs to glue it back together and then I tripped, fell, skinned my arm and broke the frame. The foam core frame is a goner. Now I have to spend more money (like I should have in the first place) and get proper wood frames. I'm really mad.

October 6, 2011

Fall Photo Session

The reworked Nancy Anne Storybook Dolls had a photo session in hopes of being chosen for the Talmadge Art Show mailer. I've been reading forums that discuss art show marketing. Jewelers often display blown up photos of items to bring people in for a closer look. Since my dolls are little, a doll portrait could serve the same purpose, esp if it's the same photo on the mailer (fingers crossed!).

Here is a photo of a doll that I didn't submit for the mailer, but want to share with you.

Steve Jobs, RIP...

October 2, 2011

Post-Show Photos

On Saturday, Nancy and I shared a booth at the Master Gardeners' Autumn Garden Tour & Market. There were 40 vendors selling everything from plants, garden decorations, birdhouses, ceramic pottery, items decorated with succulents, to vertical gardening supplies, among other things. The weather was beautiful and there was a nice breeze which, every now and then, kicked up and gave our tents a good shimmy. Nancy sold quilts and I sold lavender pillows, tillandsias and wire cloches. We had a good time visiting with folks and fellow vendors. Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth and made purchases. We appreciate you.

September 30, 2011

Tilly Hangers

Remember when I made the tillandsia hooks? This is how they look with plants. I must have given some of them away because I'm sure there were more before :-). These will be for sale on Saturday at the Master Gardeners' Tour and Marketplace.

September 29, 2011

Separation Anxiety

You know the feeling: You've spent hours on a project, stitched diligently, solved design issues, overcame every challenge and, in short, put all your heart into it -- then it's over. That's where I am today. I went from Point A to Point B, and enjoyed/suffered all the bumps in between, least of all the lack of creative desire that comes when the monsters in my head are telling me my work is cutesy, isn't good or my design is stupid. But after all, I'm satisfied and happy with this work, and it's time to say goodbye. That's assuming customers will take them home this Saturday [see sidebar]. I'll pack them away with the rest of inventory, then admire my work one last time while I put them on display. Also, it's funny how insecurities vanish once a doll is finished. Monsters, be gone!

I just completed this one. The colors are out of my comfort zone which made for an interesting project. I liked the challenge! Once I realized that, I fantasized being in a fabric store, tapping a fellow shopper on the shoulder, and asking her/him which brocade/silk/whatever appeals the most. Then I'd go with that choice so I don't end up with red and gold or blue and purple again. It's like going to a salad bar with a friend, scooping the various ingredients onto your plate, then trading with the friend in order to eat something different from the usual. Only thing is, the mind must be open to the idea.

A couple of my dolls have sleepy eyes, that is, the lids close when the doll is laid on her back. Though my girls are meant to go onto the wall, their lids are painted to match their clothes. What a shock of color!

September 25, 2011


The current doll is getting a double-faced skirt. The outside is teal and copper brocade, and the inside is orange satin. To me, the petticoat looks like a peony, with ruffled and uneven edges. I'm excited to finish her clothing and work on her hair.

September 23, 2011

Master Gardeners in San Diego

Come visit me at the Marketplace! Even if you don't buy a ticket to tour the gardens, the market is open to the public. I will be sharing a tent with Nancy Tyrell who will have her gorgeous quilts for sale. We hope to see you.

September 20, 2011

Inspired by Runway Looks

Chanel's Spring 2010 fashion show was inspirational. Hairdos were so fantastic (as in fantasy) that I just had to do my own version on a doll. The doll's skirt is three layers of circles, with an edge of glass beads on both sides. Her simple slippers are teardrop beads to keep the eye focused on the outfit. I'm slightly dissatisfied with the uneven hem length, but as my teacher Nadine Spier likes to say, "That's how you can tell it's handmade." I'll go with that!

September 17, 2011

Topped with a Tiara

She's a lady, not a princess, which is why her jewel is understated. Besides, she feels her dress is already ostentatious.

September 9, 2011


If your lifetime's destiny were the prominent placement on a wall, you'd be satisfied with hanging around wearing an impossibly impractical outfit like this. The flare is made from Doshi's hand-dyed silk and stitched with size 15 beads. I'm excited to complete this doll. She's coming along nicely, and still needs shoes, hair, a finished collar and, a [something] on the opposite side to balance the flare.

September 4, 2011

White Doll #2

The platinum blonde hair and dark eyebrows/lashes gives this 9" doll a Christina Aguilera look which I think is pretty cool. The "halo" hat is mohair. Look closely at the multiple-circles-skirt -- yes, there is a bead on every stitch. Stay tuned, as the next doll will be all about color!

September 1, 2011

White Doll #1

It took me a while to finish this 8" doll. I was frustrated after the first skirt didn't work. Do you think she still needs a little more sparkle, glitz and glamour? I've been using a lot of white for doll-making lately. It's clean and bright, and provides a great background for a zinger color.

August 31, 2011


The high waist and shape of this doll's garment reminds me of a South Korean hanbok. Do you agree or disagree? Of course, the doll's version has a more elaborate hemline. She also wears fishnet stockings, with one side denser than the other. As with my recent others, this was a Nancy Ann Story Book Doll made of bisque, who had also lost legs and arms before coming to me. This 9" doll has bigger hair and longer legs than in her previous incarnation as a little girl.