Thursday, August 24, 2006

busy busy

This is awful. No posts in forever. All apologies. Damn, I have been busy. A good busy, a satisfying busy. I have been making lots and lots of the laptop sleeves. I need a new map. I have been tracking all my sales and placing a little pin on the map for each one. My "target market " has shifted considerably since the boingboing post . I have sold in the UK , Japan and Germany. I only have a North America Map and so I have a flotilla of pins in the Atlantic and a raft in the Pacific. I have been selling lots more sleeves to men, and it has been a pleasure. They are not afraid to ask for special things and several have bought bags not only for themselves but as gifts as well. The only down side is that I have little time for new ideas, and I have a bunch of new ideas. I can't seem to stop myself from buying new fabrics and trims so if and when it slow I'll be prepared. Well I promised myself an early to bed this evening and I'm already an hour into the new day so I 'd best say good night . Here's a picture of the newest laptop fabric, I am so in love with it. I have never has such a difficult time sewing anything, this may be the first and last thing I make with it . I call it amp because it reminds me of my dad's Fender amplifier. I wish I had a laptop, this would be the fabric I would choose for myself.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

catching my breath

The summer is passing me by. I waited so patiently for summer, to have the luxury of time to myself, time to catch up on all those projects that require fresh air and warm temps. Somehow it hasn't worked out that way. Good things and bad have kept me from any routine and the bulk of my time has been spent just keeping up. I am free right now because I have just returned from the airport to pick up my son from his holiday in Hawaii. I am not going to go downstairs and sew the dozens of projects that are calling me. Tonight I will take off and just allow myself the luxury of catching up on my favorite blogs and posting this , as meager as it is. I guess I need to write about crafting. I have been doing lots of sewing but almost all for things I've made before , nothing particularly creative or new. I am not complaining . My small bags were featured on funky finds which brought me some new customers. Also waaaaaay back in June, I sold one of my laptop sleeves to Alice who bought it as a surprise gift for someone. I had to hold it several weeks so it would arrive on the right day and somehow it was returned to me. I sent it off again. This time it found it's way and I later received a lovely note from Alice telling me the recipient loved it, even if it was late. A few days later my Etsy mailbox was filled with requests for more.
It turned out the sleeve was for Cory Doctorow who showed it off and linked to my shop Views have slowed but I am still receiving more visitors from that one post that all my other marketing efforts combined . It just goes to show you that a satisfied customer is your best advertisement.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

lei pikaki

The rain and heat have given me a bumper crop of pikaki blooms. Two days worth was enough to make a single strand. I wish I could post the scent ,so fragrant and beguiling that dozens of songs have been written about it. Pikaki is the traditional lei for lovers and weddings.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

yo ho, yo ho ,a pirates life for me.

Just got back from the movies... Can you guess which one? Now you know as Saltygal I"m going to take in any good sea farin tale but the main reason I went to see this wasn't Johnny Depp it was my brother Ron. He has been working on it ( and the sequel) for over a year. I wanted to see his name roll by at the end. He's not an actor,he's a craftsman, one of hundreds that work so hard to set the scene, create what isn't real and make us believe for a moment that it is. He did an awesome job, and once I got over the initial shock of seeing what he had created up on the screen, I fell into the story and found myself at sea once again.Arrggg Thanks Ron.

Friday, July 14, 2006

All tied up

It's been a frustrating week. The first part of the week was focused with getting my son cleared for takeoff after his surgery. He has to keep the sling on another 3 weeks and can start physical therapy when he returns. One good thing ,if you can call it that was that I had to take him to the airport extra early to get him an aisle seat because he wouldn't be able to crawl over people to get in and out. As we are heading to the airport we find out that the new tunnel to the airport has been closed because the night before a giant piece of concrete fell off and killed someone. Needless to say instead of arriving 90 minutes early ( we left at 5:30 AM for a 7:30 flight) we got there 45 minutes early. If we had left at the usual time we would have missed the flight. So that was lucky Huh ?
The next day I spent sewing a custom order( very s l o w l y so as not to tax my machine.) Yesterday I cleaned up my sewing space and prepared to sew one of my cargo bags with a tutorial for this months whiplash!
I get it all figured out and lay out the first shot. My camera starts acting up. It will only take pictures in blazing sunlight and only if it feels like it . I arrange and rearrange the lights, the shot, try a tripod, and take 20 different shots of the materials neatly laid out and not one comes into focus, not one! So I'm not doing this months competition which really makes me sad because it has the best prizes! Now I not only need a new sewing machine, but a new camera as well.
This morning decided I needed some shopping therapy and I headed out to my favorite thrift shops and hit the jackpot! Someone who was very dapper back in the 70's cleaned out his closet and I scored some beautiful ties. If I hadn't have set myself a spending limit I would have come home with 30. There were so many beautiful ones. Silk, polyester and even corduroy. I also found an old damn troll doll dated 1977 which I need like I need a hole in my head but she was just 99 cents and perfect and she went well with all the 70's ties. I came home and took them all outside and managed to get shots of most of them but there were a few that no mater how many times I moved things or adjusted them they just wouldn't come out so you won't be able to see them all,but I've posted most of them on flicker. I love ties. My husband is an electronic engineer so he doesn't wear them to work. When my son made the High School Hockey team I was overjoyed since they wear ties on all game days. He enjoys it too and definitely has the best ties on the team. Now,with his injury it's doubtful he'll play this year. Even so I did find him one beautiful tie in the school colors today. I started collecting ties just because they were affordable and the fabrics are so beautiful. I started making small bags, wallets and ipod cases from them and selling them online. A while back I received a letter from a tie collector asking me not to cut up "perfectly good ties" I understand his argument. I still cut some up, but I try to look for ones that are snagged or stained. Some I hold for a while and then let go to good homes. It will take me a while to figure what will become of the rest . For now it makes me happy just to look at them.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Stress reducer

It might have worked, had my neighbors not gone away for the weekend and left their dog locked in the house to bark and howl for 45 minutes out of every hour. Their insensitivity towards their neighbors is only exceeded by their cruelty towards their dog. Since this is supposed to be my craft blog not my bitch and moan one, I will tell you that this reminds me of one of my first craft projects, a plaque I made for a local animal shelter I volunteered at as a teenager. It was made from a cross cut of fir and I burned into it this quote..... The more I see of dogs, the less I think of men.

Friday, July 07, 2006

A slow death

Arrggg my sewing machine is dying a slow death. I have had it for 30 years. 20 of them were in Hawaii where heat,humidity and salt air are constant. I didn't use it much when I was there, mainly for alterations,repairs and Halloween costumes. When you own a clothing store and your best friend is a seamstress extrodinare why sew? I don't think it would have lasted this long if my current husband wasn't such a wiz at repairs. Since I've started sewing with ernest he has repaired the needle tension mechanism, the feedogs, the flywheel and the electric cord. I knew it wouldn't last much longer and with some assistance from my vintage singer featherweight I've managed to put out a couple of large orders. But the end is near, very near. Tonight I looked at some new machines and faced not only sticker shock but techno shock as well. Even though my husband is an electronic engineer capable of building some seriously complicated shit, I don't want an electronic machine. In the past few months a host of electronic equipment in my household has died. These were not cheap goods. Some were top of the line and I researched each and everyone before I laid out the bucks for them . I don't want to spend a thousand dollars and have to take a week of classes for a machine that is going to break down in a few years. I don't want to, but that is what I may end up doing. I finally made something with some of the Japanese fabrics I bought several months ago. I'm keeping one of these for myself.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

unfinished business

I finished a few projects that have been cluttering up my desk. One the prototype design for the vintage fabric I found at the dump. I'm glad I didn't cut into the fabric. The bag is very cute but not for me.. The other is another bag made from men's pants. This one is simpler than most but the colors are really beautiful. Now I have a large order to fill and must buckle down and sew sew sew. My son is recovering from his surgery and my husband took this week off so I've been up late sewing every night. Here are two pics for now.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Junque Revival

A while back I met the incredibly creative and talented Jes when I made one of my recycled cargo bags for her. She was in the process of building her own online shop
JunqueRevival. The shop is now open and is filled with fabulous one of a kind wearable works of art. I fell in love with them the moment I saw them. I literally flipped a coin because Ihad to have one and was torn between two of them. This is the beauty that won. Jes is having a drawing to promote her shop and a chance to win one of her pendants. If you sign up for her newsletter maybe you'll be one of the lucky ones!

sleeping on it

The change of seasons and school years has left my household in a bit of turmoil for the past 2 months. My daughter returned to Hawaii yesterday after a 6 week visit. Tomorrow my son will have othroscopic surgery to repair his shoulder which he has dislocated 5 times in 3 years. Ouch! My husband is also taking a weeks vacation starting tomorrow. In 2 weeks my son will go to Hawaii for his summer visit with his father. I will have loads of time to sew and garden and do all the things I never seem to find the time to do whilst being chief cook and bottle washer around here. In the mean time I am trying to work on two large orders and I have a new buyer in the UK asking me to make all kinds of things wholesale. I'm not really sure I am ready for exporting. A while back I had posted some vintage fabrics I found at our local dumps recycling center. I wanted to make myself a bag with one of the fabrics. I had a design in mind and last night I began a practice version with another fabric. The design seemed simple, an egg shaped sling with strap and bag all cut in a single piece. While I don't think I'd ever reverse it, I feel it needs to be sewn as reversible for neatness in the strap area. The only thing I've ever made that was reversible was a fairly straight forward rectangle. I struggled with how in the heck to do it until almost 2 am before giving up. I was still working on it in my dreams when suddenly there I was, turning it inside out after having completed it. Sometimes I think we just need to sleep on things. My daughter gave me this wonderful book last Christmas after I had checked it out and renewed it to it's limits at our local library.
Now whenever I get stuck, I pick it up and take a little refresher course in getting my creative mind out of it's rut. Tomorrow while my son is in surgery I'll take it along and give it a review.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Independence Day

Back in April I wrote about my daughter and her birthday. Today I celebrated the birth of my youngest child, my son who turned 16 today. Boys may not celebrate "Sweet 16" but it's an important milestone on the road to independence. Being eligible to learn to drive and getting a license is a very big deal. We live on the edge of town, miles away from friends,sports, activities, school. Everywhere he goes requires a ride. Even when his friends come over, I usually end up driving one way because if I didn't, their parents wouldn't let them. It's not that we live in a small town out in the boon docks, it's just that where we live and the terrible gridlock that stifles the roadways makes getting here a headache. My daughter was so intimidated by the roadways and aggressive drivers here she did not get her license until she moved back to Hawaii. My son is different. He has been waiting and preparing for this a long time. Soon, he can drive himself. He will be Mr man about town. Meanwhile, I'm suffering a little bit of an identity crisis. For the past ten years my principal occupation has been that of chauffeur. Now with my daughter in Hawaii and my son ready to drive, he will not be the only one gaining independence. I will have much more time on my hands. I'm not sure what I'll do with all of it. More time to craft and garden and cook and read. Now, some days it seems that all I do is drive. I am in the car more hours than not. I long for days where I never have to leave the house. It just seems as if the coming and going ruins everything, interrupts the flow. I don't start anything I can't finish in a short period of time.

Long ago when I lived on my boat my (now ex) husband and I spent a summer anchored at Point Conception, CA. We sailed down to Gaviota pier a couple of times to pick up visitors and once, just to get an ice cream cone. We sailed to Santa Barbara for fresh foods and ice and to fill the water tanks twice. Most of the time we lay at anchor. I went to the beach there exactly once. I could take the dinghy out to the kelp beds and fish a while. I could swim. My husband would surf 6-8 hours a day. I did not feel the need to go anywhere. I could just be. I know I'm not ready for that kind of solitude just yet, but I will be having a little bit more of my own time soon. Maybe I won't be an attention deficit crafter anymore after that.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Found fabrics

Here are some pics of the fabrics I found yesterday at the dump, all washed and sorted by color. Some of them really are quite spectacular in their strangeness. How did we live with such prints and colors ?

These two are my favorites ,a good sized piece of an avacado floral that is destined for a handbag and a skinny piece of voile in shades of pink and brown that will make a lovely scarf.

Take it or leave it

Inspiration comes from the strangest places. I am lucky to live in a town with an amazing recycling center. Virtually everything can be recycled there and residents can take some things back too. You can get free compost, once every couple of months you can shop in the "paint store" there is a library section and another one for household, office and sporting goods called"take it or leave it". I always find something. When I was doing lots of pique assist I'd go there looking for dishes. Today I saw 3 wine cartons stuffed with fabric scraps, Most of the fabric was in very small pieces. It was rolled and stuffed into the small compartments for the wine bottles. . I sorted through and manage to find some interesting fabric from the 60's I brought it all home sorted it out by color and washed it. About a third of it was from clothing that had been deconstructed, the rest of it was upholstery fabric. There were a few remnents that still had the prices on them. 22 cents for a quater yard of tan polka dots on black. Some of the colors are absolutely hideous, but others evoke memories of my younger years. Many are not the kind of vintage fabrics I think we're likely to ever see reproduced again. A few I would give anything to have more of. I think the person that left them was cleaning out either an upholstery shop or was a home decorator. It was fun to try and guess what each piece once was and what kind of people would want piece of furniture covered with cream twill printed with evenly spaced quarter sized duck decoys? I'll take some pictures and post tomorrow but I'm already filled with ideas.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

South End Open Market

Today I took a carload of accessories to Boston's South End Open Market to sell at the Etsy Booth. Traffic was pretty good, I received many compliments, sold 20 items to 14 customers , but overall,(sales-wise)it was a disappointing day. The best part was meeting other ETSY sellers,some incredibly talented people. I shared a booth with
sweetestpeawho makes the cutest stuffies around , all hand sewn and completely original and mlee a printer that specializes in wood block prints, very reasonably priced that have a very earthy organic feel but are also very modern. Next tent over were allyouneedislove,a very talented painter, she also sells prints of her originalartwork and repurposed clothing which she embellishes with hand sewn appliques. Sharing a tent with Allyouneedislove was eirene a handbag designer with an eye for fabrics and exceptional skill. She had the cutest handbags there (and there were quite a few sellers with handbags including me.) Across from us were Mogo, who screen prints on small accessories and baby clothes and heatherjeany with beautiful handmade cards. It was both intimidating and inspiring to be around so many creative and talented people.
I also had a little bit of a dream come true working with my daughter, Naomi, who is home for a few more weeks. Naomi came to work with me when she was a baby, and was only 5 when my store closed. My business partner and I used to dream of the day when Naomi would take over for us. Naomi is an amazing trend spotter and trend setter, and I have no doubt that she would succeed as a buyer, but she has never shown an interest in retail. When the opportunity came along for me to sell at the market I was hesitant because I didn't want to interfere with her vacation, but she encouraged me to do it, was full of bright ideas and was a terrific sales person. So a bit of melancholy there, seeing that had my store survived she would have been a success. I have 2 more years until my last little bird leaves the nest and then I'll think about opening a new store. I hadn't planned on doing any shows until fall but I think I'll look around for one or two more while Jon is away for the summer.

Monday, June 05, 2006


Holy cow I just realized it's been almost a month since my last post. Lots has happened to keep me form posting and crafting. My daughter is home for a month and I've been spending time with her. I celebrated ( not really ) another birthday. I've been busy in the garden and at my other garden. Baby muskrats have emerged from their den under our dock and the swallows will be fledging soon. I have been busy and next weekend I'll be selling some of my wares at the 'South End Open Market " thanks to ETSY for setting that up.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's day

My mother was an amazing woman. She was a stewardess for PamAm Airways in the forties. She met and married my father a pilot, in the fifties. My father said he married her because she was smarter than he was and was not impressed with his good looks. She was a gifted artist but did not work outside the home until all her children had gone their own ways. She was politically active, had a deep love of nature and was a feminist. She had come from a wealthy background and had expensive tastes,but did not live beyond her means. When she craved something she could not afford, she taught herself the skills necessary to craft it herself. She did not have many close women friends because she refused to stay in the kitchen or be subservient to my father. (which was one reason my father loved her so much ) Since my father was away most of the time she ran the household. She was way ahead of her time. I don't have her talent, her intelligence, or even her good looks but everyday I strive to be a little more like her.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

rainy day blessing

I should be sewing but seeing how I left my mayday post sitting on the dashboard for two weeks, I'm feeling guilty about not updating. It has been raining steady for almost two days and we have one more to go. That will keep me out of the garden for a while. My "other" garden has been planted but I haven't seen it yet. I laid it all out and I hear it's beautiful. Hopefully I'll get a dry day and can snap some pics. I have to send the bill, my least favorite part of the job. The rain is a blessing. I feel as if mother earth has endorsed my efforts and has taken over for me. I'll go see it when the rain stops and take lots of pics.
I have been busy with handbags, finishing one for Sweetpeas and another to sell on a new site, Modwerk. I really enjoy making them , especially when the person I'm making it for chooses some of the elements, because it's more personal that way. The internet has it's advantages but it can be very impersonal. My Etsy shop and flicker stream have brought so many interesting women to my door. It reminds me of when I had my shop, I knew just about every woman between the ages of 13 and 65 on my side of the island, but we also had regulars- visitors that came on a regular basis and celebrities and first timers. So many people from so many places, it was wonderful to meet the all and know that they were taking a little bit of us back home with them. My daughter Naomi will be coming home for 5 weeks in 10 days. I hope to press her into service and let her take care of all the web business for me. I know the time will fly and when she leaves my son will go with her off for his summer with his Dad and I will have lots of time to sew and plant and hopefully get myself into a better blog routine.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

May day is lei day in Hawaii

Here I am late again, but better late than never. May came in windy and cool and I spent it at the nursery picking out plants for the "other garden". What a pleasure to be able to pick whatever I fancied without looking at the price and then deciding if I wanted it or not. In less than 2 hours time I spent $1,000 dollars. I still have another dozen shrubs to find somewhere else. I have a half a dozen excellent nurseries within 10 miles of me so that shouldn't be a problem. It's rained the past two days, tomorrow I will lay out the garden for planting.
Today was almost over before I realized it was May Day which is Lei day in Hawaii. In the weeks and days leading up to may day lei makers all over the state are gearing up for the days festivities, which focus around the lei, symbol of love and friendship. Even though I am 10 years removed from my island home I have continued to make leis. This year for the first time I didn't, which brings me to my list of the things I miss most about Hawaii.
1. My best friend Deb. We are the same age, she is also originally from California. We have very common history and experiences. With the exception of my brother Ron, I think she understands who I am and why I am that way, more than anyone else just because of our age and having grown up in the 60's California culture. She is like my sister, and I love and miss her more than words can say. My daughter Naomi says that we have sound alike and use the same expressions. Holy mackerel!

2. Flowers and more specifically, leis. I had plumeria,jasmine,stephanotis,gardenia, pua pua kini in my garden and oh the scent of them. The joy of picking and stringing them,laying one upon a friends shoulders. Kauai's lei is Maile and Mokihana, neither flowers. One is a vine the other buds on a branch of forest trees. Both smell faintly anise like and they are my favorite. My ex husband brought maile leis when our daughter graduated from high school. I wore mine for 3 days and now almost a year later I still can smell it when I rub the dried leaves between my fingers. When Naomi was little she learned this song "maile lei ,flower lei wear this lei on this occasion. Flowers bloom, lovers too, beautiful maile lei, beautiful maile lei.

3.The sandy beach of Hanalei Bay, I could wax poetic for hours on the beauty of Hanlei. When I first sailed to Hawaii we spent almost 2 months at anchor in Hanalei. When I am sad I imagine myself floating on my back in the warm shallows at the pavilion, hearing the swishing sound of the sand moving with the current and watching the clouds slowly pass overhead.

4.Beach combing, there really aren't many good beaches for collecting shells on Kauai, the reefs and the waves break most before they make it to shore, but you can find wonderful treasures. Perfect tiny shells, beach glass,driftwood, even coral. Another song Naomi would sing and also hula to me
"Pearly shells, from the ocean, covering the shore, shining in the sun, when I see them ,my heart tells me ,I love you more than all those pearly shells.

5.Hamura's Saimin and Kilauea bakery & Pau Hana Pizza. If you go to Kauai you must have a big bowl of Hamura's saimin in Lihue... True local food long silky noodles in a light broth with bits of green onions and char sui sprinkled on top, locals like it with hard boiled eggs , I preferred added vegetables and maybe a wonton or two. Yum! Pau Hana Pizza is in Kilauea and is owned by Tom and Katie Pickett. They make the best artisan breads, bagels and pastries and later in the day, Pizza of all kinds traditional and very untraditional. what I wouldn't give for a kalamata bialy or a mighty thistle pizza.

What do you miss about your former home?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Spring Fever

I’m having a difficult time getting into the blogging routine. All my routines are off with the change of seasons. The weather has been off and on…. warm and sunny and cool and rainy. We needed the rain, but damn if it didn’t knock most of the cherry blossoms off my tree before I had a chance to get a good shot. Last year I was managing a children’s store and did next to nothing in the garden (or elsewhere for that matter. Retail Manger – is s job for someone with no life). I have major projects planned, but I’m no longer sure I want to keep investing in a garden I know I’ll be leaving within 3 years. My garden is not the garden that has kept me from blogging and crafting the past 2 weeks. I have a second garden, well, it’s not a garden yet, I have been designing it.
6 years ago I was working as a mortgage assistant part time. The man I worked for had a beautiful house in Cambridge and I worked there while he was between offices. It paid well and my boss was great, but it really wasn’t my cup of tea. When his new office was finished, I told him I would be quitting and he asked me to design his garden. It was fun for me. My home garden is mainly shade and can be windy. His yard had a nice balance of sun and shade and was very protected. I planted the garden and took care of it for 2 years until it was established. Well Dan and his wife now have a child and have moved from Cambridge out to the suburbs. Now I have another garden, this one is over ½ acre with some deep shade areas, a challenge. lots of established trees, a new lawn but no shrubs, no perennials. I have drawn the plan and Thursday we will go select the plants. I am not going to plant this one, but I will supervise. It’s a nice design, a 3 year plan so they don’t break the bank getting it all in. I am going to use the money I make on this to buy a big tree for my front yard to help screen the monstrosity that is my neighbor’s new addition.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Aren't they grand?

My grandson's, two years apart both had birthdays last week!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

I'm too young to be a grandma again

My daughter Heather had her second son this evening ( I forgot to ask what time) A boy 2 weeks early but still a healthy 6lbs 11 oz and 20" long. She sounded great, but I know she was tired. He sounded hungry. I'll post a pic as soon as I get one. Now I can go to sleep.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Catch up

I was thrifting last Friday ( see my flicker vintage children's books for my two 50 cent finds) when a terrible headache came over me. I spent the better part of the weekend in bed.
On Sunday my husband was going a little stir crazy and we went out to the Grafton flea market. Oh what junk, it was awful, The few decent tables were loaded with a few good things mixed with trash can material. No prices on anything. Now I'm not afraid to bargain but before I begin I like to have a feel for the seller. I stood at table after table looking through piles of post cards, sheet music, junk jewelry and listened to the sellers talking amongst them selves about how bad business was. I'm wasn't surprised with no prices on anything and sellers that either hovered over you telling you the history and price of every object or ignored you all together. "How much are these?" I ask holding up sheet music pages (not booklets just odd pages)
"They are all different" he says.
"Oh, they were all in the same pile, How much?" I ask again?
"For which one?" he asks.
"This one" I hold up the top sheet.
"A dollar ",the next one "50 cents", this one" 2 dollars" and on and on .
Ridiculous. I offer him $2.00 for 5 pages.
"No bartering." he says .
I said "If you don't barter why not put price tags on everything or at least sort them into piles with a sign?"
I get what we used to call in Hawaii "STINK EYE" . Oh well, I guess he doesn't need the money I mumble to myself as I walk away empty handed.
Out of maybe 20 decent sellers, only 2 had any prices on anything. After several hours with a husband who regretted suggesting the excursion the minute we paid a dollar to get in. I managed to find up a nice Limoges dish with an arts and crafts motif, an ivorine shoe horn and 4 metal necklaces for 10 dollars.
Now I am 3 days behind in my orders, I need a helper or someone with a whip to stand over me. I did finish a reconstructed bag that is not promised to anyone to list on Etsy

Monday, April 03, 2006


I had a request for another pocket bag and so I whipped this one up for the very nice Amy from Illinois. While in search of materials for the bag I found some really odd grandpa shorts but I just fell in love with the fabric, a tissue thin cotton plaid. I made a cute little skirt from them, but I am just too damn old to wear it. I'm going to take some pictures and sell it on Etsy. I am just about ready to give up there. It may be a cheap place to sell but the lack of control over the layout and set up of my shop is driving me crazy. Last week, I bought myself a US map and some map pins. I want to put one in everywhere I sold something. Reminds me of when I was young, one of my friends had a map of the world that was floor to ceiling the length of their hallway. There were 4 kids in the family, travelers all.They each had their own color pins and even yarn to chart their travels. I know mine will never be as grand but the thought of a map with pins in every state and continent might be incentive enough to keep my foot in the door at Etsy.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

My little rainbow

Today is my daughter's 19th birthday. This is the first time I will not be with her to recount the tale of how she came into the world. When she was smaller it was a long story, she always begged for more details. As she grew older, the story grew shorter. Slowly it morphed into a family legend.
I feared I wouldn't have another child after my first.Years went by, doctors said it was improbable. Still, I hoped and wished and prayed and waited. My prayers were answered. After a long stormy night of rain( tears) and wind (breaths) the sun came out and delivered my little rainbow. Happy birthday Naomi!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Season opener or Absolutely no early birds

I am a thrift shop and garage sale maniac. There are no thrift shops in the town I live in, only "Designer Resale" shops that I can't afford to shop in. In the winter no one has garage sales so I get pretty happy when spring rolls around and I can go treasure hunting. So last week while browsing
I see an ad for an upcoming garage sale in my town. It reads "Estate Sale- Clothing, furniture and household items from 1940's to 1950's.... One day only, No advance sale! Absolutely no early birds!
I circled it in red on my calendar.
It was a pretty ugly day out. I figured if I went 15 minutes ahead of time I wouldn't get too soaked while waiting to get in. When I arrive there are only a couple of cars and no line at all. I go inside and there is virtually nothing left but furniture and glassware, I walk from room to room Where the heck is everything?
I ask one of the ladies, "Where is all the clothing?" She says "Oh there were people knocking on the door at 8am and since it was raining we let them in. A couple of ladies bought everything." I was bullshit, " What about "No advance sale! Absolutely no early birds!?" She just smiled weakly and said "Sorry." I went down to the basement to see if I could find any thing interesting, I found an old wooden sleeve ironing board, a wicker rug beater, an enamel funnel from Sweden. There was an old map of our town tumbtacked to the wall which I took down. Up stairs I noticed two beautiful heavy mirrors, on large rectangle with a walnut frame and a small plaster oval one with gold leafing. Nothing was marked except the big mirror. "How much?" I asked the woman I had spoken to earlier. She said "You have six things, so how about six dollars ." That was more than fine with me. Early birds be damned!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Two down, one to go

I finished my second reconstruction project, which was the one I started on first. A skirt with ruffles of a gorgeous Amy Butler cotton sateen floral. I had originally bought the fabric to make myself a bag but this year I think I'm going to macrame one or go with a solid color. So, I had the fabric and the colors worked very well with the cargos, but more than that I loved the contrast of texture. I made a sash out of the floral and another Amy Butler print and wove it through a chain belt. It looks great without the belt too. Originally I was going to hang little fabric fans from the loops but since the skirt will be in a larger size I thought I should keep it simple. I need a real dress form for fitting. My display mannequin is tiny ,it's difficult to display anything larger than a 4 on on it . The skirt is designed for a taller girl. I'll make a short girl skirt next. But I'm very pleased with it. My bag was a major hit . I posted it on Flickr before I listed it on Etsy, because I wanted to get Naomi's input. I received 4 inquires about it. This morning I wrote the first one back and she bought it straightaway. So that was a success. Now I still have the two legs to figure out for my 3rd project. I need a new book bag maybe.... Well the weather here is still cold and I am so done with winter. Just leave already !

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Unfinished business

I tried to finish up a few unfinished projects this week. I have a bunch of ipod and laptop sleeves that I cut out weeks ago. All I need to do is sew them.I moved everything downstairs (in anticipation of spring) But I'm not quite organized , all my stained glass and mosaic projects are also waiting to be finished . I started to clear a space off, there was a bag of my sons clothes for donations. I made the mistake of pulling a few things out to play with . So, instead of sewing up what I had all ready, I cut up a pair of his pants and started 3 new projects. I am pleased with this purse.
I bought some very cool ribbon from sacredkitschstudio a while back and wanted to make a belt with it, so I used that and built on it. I love recycling . The ribbon is the only thing new on the bag. The rick rack, buttons, webbing and lining and of course the bag itself are all recycled. I think it's one of myfavorite things, I hope the other 2 pieces come out half as good.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Crafters block

Is there such a thing? I got a little excited last week when we had some sunny warm days and moved all my sewing projects downstairs. I had planned on waiting until Easter but my daughter called and told me that her brother had complained that we weren't eating at the table as a family. She told me to pack it up and give the table back to dinner. So I did. Family dinner is one ritual I have always insisted on. We were quite the oddity in town, no nanny, no maid, must eat dinner at the table with parents. Horrors.
So, now I have to go downstairs to work. It's not like sitting in our sunny dining room with big windows all around. Its a nice basement all finished off but natural light is only available on one side, In the winter the sill is home to my collection of tropical plants and scented geraniums. This year I have neglected them,yet they thrive and block about half of the light that comes in . Makes me wonder how our forefathers managed to work though the winter in their homes with little or no natural light.
I have a ton of stuff to sew, all cut out and neatly stacked. I have a craft show this weekend . Monday is spring, I'll shoot for then.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Owls Away

Well it's been a while I know. I actually wrote a nice long post last week and then had a major crash before I posted. I guess I should write in word where I have auto save, I just don't. So, I had the crash while my Palm desktop was open and lost 7 years of data. Yes I had a backup, but it took me a half a day to figure it all out. So my post was about owls ,which are suddenly popular. I have been an owl person for the last 15 years. Back when I was living in Hawaii, they seemed to appear when ever I was in a difficult time. A friend told me Pueo (owl) must be your amakua ( guardian spirit). Which at the time made perfect sense to me. So over time I began collecting them and then of course when you start collecting something all of a sudden people are giving them to you . I never really liked anything too "cute" but now with it's popularity at an all time high there are some wonderful owls flying about. So I decided to try my had at a cute owl and made some pillows to sell on Etsy. I like the way they come out . I have decided making and selling things on ETSY is perfect for me. I have too small of a house to keep all that I make and so by selling it on Etsy I get the satisfaction of creating it and I don't have to worry about where to put it.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Woot 2 posts in one day

Per tigerluxe"

I'm inviting everyone who reads my blog...if you have read this list on their blogs 5 books that have changed their life...i hope this hasn't been done before (in the many corners of the intranet)

It was difficult to just pick 5 but here are mine in the order I read them.

1.The Collected Works of Dorothy Parker
2. Slaughterhouse Five Kurt Vonnegut
3 Silent Spring Rachel Carson
4. Fatu Hiva Thor Hyerdahl
5. The Life and Times of Michael K JM Coetzee

And why....
#1 My father gave me a volume of Dorothy Parker after my first heartbreak, I laughed and survived many more with it's help. She is one of only 2 poets I can recite with authority.

#2 War is hell This book turned me into a pacifist.

#3 We need to protect our planet This book turned me green

#4 This book made me question organized religion , missionaries and it was an amazing adventure story.

#5. I can't describe it, our connection to our spiritual self and nature, dignity

I read the first four books before I was 20 and the last one after I was 40. I read hundreds if not thousands more in between but those first 4 really shaped me into person I am today. Thanks Rachel for the mental exercise.

Wearing a turtle neck sweater is like

being strangled by a weak man .........All day. Mitch Hedberg
Rest in peace Mitch. I am sitting here procrastinating. Comedy Central is airing a half hour of Mitch. He really had one of the most perfect deliveries ever. His comedy was so original. The other night I was questioning if there are any original ideas left. How do you know we haven't seen or heard something somewhere else, long ago and instead of thinking it up we're remembering it? My husband is an inventor, an engineer. What he does is science, everything documented, researched. He has patents on his ideas. The last couple of weeks I 've been working on a new design for a purse. I was pretty excited about it, thinking it was so original. I've never seen anyone do anything like it. I toiled over it, dream of it at night. Sewed and resewed the prototype. Last week I'm in a used book store. I open up a book from 1957 and there it is, staring me in the face. Did I see it before, or just think of it?

I've been working on income taxes for the past couple of days. No fun and definitely not the time to get creative. I can't work on taxes and listen to Mitch at the same time. I decided to upload some more of my son's pictures from his trip to Greece into Flicker. He took 160 digital ones and another 80 on film. (it was a photography class trip) At 6 at a time it's taking a while.
I was happy to have comments on my Kokeshi doll pictures. Nice to be able to share them and see others collections. I decided to take some more pictures of my Japanese things and now I'm uploading them. Mitch is over and now Stephen Lynch is on. I love him too. Comedy is good. We need more comedy in the world today. I have to finish my taxes. Joy .

Saturday, February 25, 2006


My husband hates the name of this blog. He thinks Attention Deficit is a condition and I shouldn't joke about it. I really think, he thinks people will not understand or somehow look down on me. For the record, I am not joking about it, nor have I been diagnosed with ADD, but when it comes to crafting and gardening, I do have a difficult time keeping focused on one thing at a time. There just aren't enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I want to .
In the winter, I like to work with fabrics and foods. In the summer it's tiles and glass and plants and paper. It hasn't always been this way . When I lived in Hawaii, I worked onall my crafts year round. Here in the Northeast you spend so much time indoors. Days on end. Short days. Long cold nights. My sunny Hawaii crafts of making sailors valentines, stringing leis and making beach glass mosaics just don't cut it on these long cold days.
I took a classes in stained glass, copper foil and lead. I made mosaics from pottery instead of glass . I painted and decopaged wood and I started sewing. I sew in the winter upstairs where it is warm and bright. I break glass and cut tile in the summer when it is too hot to be in the garden, and cool in my basement.
This year, winter came too quickly. I didn't have time to finish off my downstairs projects. On my workbench, summer crafts wait for me. A mosaic I started for my front entryway, a kaleidoscope that just needs a touch of solder and several small pendants, all waiting. Waiting for the sun, waiting for me to tire of the warmth of wool and cotton, roving and thread. Waiting for me to trade the chug chug chug of my sewing machine for the sharp high whine of my grinder on a piece of glass.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Here comes the son

Well my week sans son will be over tomorrow. I haven't accomplished much , but it was great to have a break. I really needed it . It's the first one I've had in at least 6 months. But I did miss him . I'm looking forward to seeing his photographs and hearing his adventures.
I did manage to finally make Deb's apron and get it into the mail. It didn't turn out quite as I had envisioned . I like the two fabrics together but the pieces were too big. I should have broken it down more. That is the problem when you work on a deadline. I know she'll like the style and maybe it will look better once it's broken in.
I spent the Monday holiday at my husbands workplace. He's an electronic engineer and while he worked on an attachment for my total gym ( a footboard-I have the cheapy model without one ) I recycled some of his bits and pieces and made some cute earrings from resistors. I've listed them on etsy, If no one buys them soon I may just keep them , the style and colors suit me.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Procrastination and inspiration

I haven't been able to get much of anything done this past week. It's winter break time here. I spent most of the week getting my son ready for a 10-day visit to Greece with his photography class. Now that he is gone, I'm hoping to make progress on some of ideas. Inspiration arrived for me in the form of a bundle of fabric from my best friend Deb. She is an accomplished seamstress and her fabric stash is amazing. Included in the package are several very posh pieces of vintage upholstery fabric, a bit of bark cloth, vintage cotton kimono fabric, and silks from Japan, Thailand and Italy. My favorite is two pieces of Shibori silk. The sizes range from 5x5" to 12x24 ". I have been sewing lots of felt lately so I will have to start to think more delicately for the silks. Possibly some small bags or hair ornaments. First I have to get to work on making Deb an apron. I bought some Amy Butler fabric before Christmas intending to make her an apron for a Christmas gift. Somehow I never got around to it. Her birthday will be here soon enough and the weather is so dreary the charm fabric is just what I need to put me in a springy state of mind. I'll post when it's finished.

Friday, February 10, 2006

got got got no time

I am amazed at the creativity of the crafters online. They are both inspiring and intimidating. I have been having a difficult time getting anything done this past week. I can't seem to get more than an hour here, twenty minutes there. If I was more organized, that would be more than enough time, but I'm not. Two weeks ago I had a creative burst and filled pages of my idea book with things I wanted to try. The only one I have worked on so far - a handbag is not turning out anywhere near my vision despite numerous alterations. I believe I should keep at it, I had a dream about it last night.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Everyone has to start somewhere

This is my where. A little about me, who I am. A middle aged mom.Actually I prefer mid century, I was born in the fifties and now I am in my fifties. I come from a family of artists and other creative types , but I never considered myself artistic. My mother worked in many mediums and was a crafter before they had crafters. My father was an airline pilot whose regular route from the fifties to the early seventies was the Orient. I grew up with all things Asian. Every trip home a treasure, a treat.
My dad was the hero of my elementary school teachers when after a trip to Japan he brought back a package of "Magic Markers"heretofore unseen in colors. They were smelly, made very thick lines that ran through all but the thickest paper, but the colors were so intense, so bright that my teachers would have paid almost anything to get their hands on more. ( My dad sure missed an income opportunity there). Soon, there were American versions, but it was some time before they could compare with the originals.
So I've already strayed off my course, which happens to me quite a bit, which is why I named my blog what I did. I do have trouble focusing on one thing at a time, but I'll try to keep to the subject which is crafting. Crafting, a word I love because it is both sufficiently vague and all encompassing.
"What have you been doing today ? "
" Crafting"
For me it sounds productive, like I accomplished something.
Today I crafted.