ornaments, the warm colors

ornaments in warm colors

I brought these down to show Alice, and she was running them through her fingers and cackling. "I'm rich in ornaments!" she giggled. So I giggled too. A great concept, being rich in something in particular.

These are about 2" across. They still need ribbon hanging loops to make them properly ornamental. Until they can hang, they are just large fabric coins. Which is a nice enough concept, but hard to keep on a Christmas tree. 

Because Aerin was home sick today I got to spend some quality time with the computer updating things. As a direct result of that, the Bigcartel link (above, see Large Works For Sale) has something in it. The reproductions of the pond pictures are there. If the chicken originals don't sell at the craft show, then I'll post them there as well.

The cards will go on Etsy. If you click on the grid of things on the left there, it should take you to the Etsy store. Alternatively, there is a button on the top bar (Cards and Small Works) that will take you there as well. 

everybody needs somebody, sometime

What I am realizing more and more about this artist gig is that while I am capable of doing everything, it isn't necessarily the smartest thing for me to actually do everything. 

Case in point – printing cards from photos of the artwork. I can do it. There are special papers for it, and better inks, and there are also paper jams and the art not centered and all kinds of other glitches that make my head hurt just thinking about them. So I trundle off to the best copy shop EVER, and voila, cards, accomplished. From start to finish: cards, scored, folded, envelopes, packaging, everything.  

Plus, I get compliments too. 

craft fair scrimmage

The week before a craft fair seems to consist entirely of trips to the copy shop and moderately frantic listmaking, in between concentrated sewing machine time as I work to finish one-last-thing. Of course, once I finish that thing I start the next one-last-thing, so there is a distinct Sisyphean aspect to the process.

Today was dedicated to transforming the chickens, horses and pond pictures into cards. These will be folding cards instead of postcards, with pretty envelopes and everything, packaged into sets of six. 

The tins of circles that have been haunting me are perfect for ornaments, so those need ribbons for hanging. The other tins of squares and rectangles are interesting, and I'll bring them along.

And of course, I need a check list. 

Christmas trees

trees for winter

Inspired by a pair of Christmas candle holders (imagine red candle holders on the ends of the biggest branches, and one on the top) I tried my hand at these three dimensional pieces. I guess technically they are two 2-dimensional pieces at cross purposes, but they stand up, which feels like a triumph. 

I get to decorate them now. I have my choice of beads, or fabric, or embroidery. I suppose I could use all three, but it feels like they aren't really big enough for too many mixed metaphors media. 

These are for the Ipswich Museum Craft Fair coming up this weekend. Next up is a couple sets of ornaments in tins. 

charismatic megafauna redux

charismatic megafauna redux

Santa Claus has worked through us. Or something like that.

Four large, very soft creatures for cousins, finished with help from the dinner guests (Thank you very much Cathy and Rachel!). Also they have been test hugged, and pronounced satisfactory. The pattern is from Simplicity, designed for fleece. It goes together quickly, and looks, well, adorable. 


never never (never) hurry

I have been spending time with Alice in the studio doing Santa Claus things.

We'd decided on making four more hippos and rhinos, two of each, for the young cousins we are visiting for Thanksgiving. We got fabric yesterday, lovely soft fleece, and cut out pieces for all the aminals. This evening, we sat down to make them. Alice was working on an essay on the yin-yang symbol, and I was stitching away. Once the first was done (a blue argyle rhino) Alice started stuffing while I finished the second rhino. I stopped for a phone call, and came back see that Alcie had stuffed the green butterfly covered rhino, but it looked….odd. In fact, I had stitched the head where the tail should be. I'll have to cut off the head and restitch it to the correct end of the creature. 

So I've paused to regroup, and to remind myself to slow down and make sure I have things correct. To my credit, the head is right side up, just attached to the wrong end. I'll deal with it when I've had more sleep. 

parenting, or you never know where you’ll end up

I am sitting here in the middle of MIT, waiting for Alice to finish having fun. She's spent a happy two hours with Serpinski triangles, and spurned the lunch offered for a healthy mix of carbs, sugar and fat (crackers, yogurt and chocolate cheesecake) and is now learning things about Finnish. 

The parents all look vaguely familiar, the kids all look rather more familiar – there is something like finding one's tribe about it. And yet, and yet, parts feel …. odd. I pointed out to Alice that she's a slacker gifted child. We never forced an instrument on her, or a gymnastics routine, or anything really. No sports but fencing, and that intermittently. No special language classes outside of school. Nothing she hasn't requested, basically. Which makes her sane, and me her mother sane because I don't have to drive her somewhere every day. 

On further contemplation, it is a continuum. Like my beloved otherKate told me once, there's always someone feeding their kids more organic food than you are, and someone else who hits micky-d's regularly enough that they have the entire collection of mini-beanie-babies. You do what's right for you and your kids. Don't sweat the neighbors. Do what feels right and works for you. Change if it stops working. (which, parenthetically, is why we stopped going to McD – Alice kept throwing up, which is a powerful demotivator for any behaviour.)

So here we are, testing this part of the continuum. Parents are distinctly unwelcome – we're barred from the official lunching place, and tossed unceremoniously out of any classes we wander into by mistake. It really gives the kids a lot of ownership for the whole process. It makes Alice and me a little twitchy, because we've said we'd rendezvous between classes and travel together from building to building, just to keep me (and her dad, in absentia) from freaking out, not because she is bemused or bewildered. 

The program is for grades 7 – 12. I'm guessing it used to be for high schoolers, and they expanded it because kids are getting smarter younger, and then they couldn't figure out how to integrate parents of younger kids, so they stuck to a model that works. There is an adults program, but most of it looks reeeeeally boring (another lecture on choosing a college? no thanks.) So instead I get to sit still, and read a little, and knit a little, and walk around in nice weather and pretty surroundings. If there were no waiting for Alice, it would be a perfect vacation day. Instead I get to do exactly that and then get hugs when she comes out of class. Pretty good deal, all told. Plus, internet access in the middle of MIT is awesome

willow leaves

pages of willow

Working again on the sketchbook. These are some of the willow pages. I was particularly pleased with the idea of enclosing real leaves, as well as prints from real leaves. The stitched portrait was especially fun to make, with all those sweeping lines of weeping branches. I need one more willow thing – the seeds are hard to come by right now, but I may be able to do womething with the bark, or a willow withy. 

the rest of life

Things are nothing if not complicated. 

The hardest news is that Image, the grand old horse that I ride in Montgue, is not doing well. He was having a bad week, with fevers and swellings; the vet did some blood tests and realized he had a bactierial infection that had to be treated with IV antibiotics. Then when he was just starting to look better, he started swelling in all kinds of odd ways and places. The change was alarming enough that J took him to Tufts Medical Center yesterday, and she called today to tell me what they'd found. 

It looks like he probably has a rapidly metastasizing cancer. There is not much they can do for him, aside from palliative care, so with a few more tests to rule out anything that might possibly be cured, he'll come home on Monday and be loved and grazed until he has to be put down. 

I am thinking of animals that last longer than horses, or dogs, or cats. Maybe I'll take up working with elephants. Or parrots – they can go a long time too.

Beyond horses, life is pretty happy.

We went to see Gilbert and Sullivan's Sorcerer, one of their less produced works but a lovely light hearted version of it from the Valley Light Opera. I was walking down the hallway looking at photos of previous productions. We first started going in 1984 to see Trial by Jury and Pinafore. We attended nearly every year until Aerin was born, and there was a hiatus until Alice was big enough to admire the scenery even if she couldn't understand what was happening necessarily. And we've been annually since 2004. We've seen many of the players several times in different roles, and watched the Midshipmite from Pinafore grow into a sturdy tenor. There is something soothing about Gilbert and Sullivan, as well as deeply silly. 

The sketchbook project continues, but I'll have to post more about it tomorrow.