a simple wedding party

when i was asked if i would do some decorations for my friend jen's wedding, i instantly said 'yes', with the next step being putting together an inspiration board on pinterest. jen's pretty relaxed about this sort of thing, and the mood was delicate and simple. we wanted pastel colors and some brights, as well as a tie in with her yarn shop. it was held outside at old fort jackson, on the savannah river.

i recreated the washi bunting from her cactus store opening gift. the twigs were collected from my backyard, then wound with bits of colorful wool roving.

recycled paper was laid down to cover the picnic tabletops; giant binder clips work amazingly well to secure it. going for a good mix of delicate and large flowers, along with cotton still on the stem, each table was set with a mason jar of blooms. it was fun to arrange the flowers; we picked up a couple of bunches of flowers and one bouquet, which i separated, then arranged into ten jars.

it was just right for jen and connor's wedding festivities. 


tweaking the same old, same old

when not at my 9-5, my time has been spent on some projects i've been working on to bring a little transformation to my living space. mostly small details to things i already own. recently, i was finally able to acquire a set of linen sheets; which beyond the expected visual treat, makes going to sleep at night a delightful pleasure.

but then i needed to spruce up the sadly worn yellow striped bolster cover. with a linen one (of course), made of an antique flour sack i came across years ago and which has been languishing in my closet. it's soft to the touch, almost like flannel, but very thickly spun and woven. i had just enough material, with some creative patchwork and different linen endcaps, to recover the entire length.

which led to replacing the simple nightstand lamp with a cheeky edison steampunk concoction i was inspired to make after obsessing over an anthropologie version on pinterest. a bit of legwork to hardware, antique stores, and hobby shops combined with things i already had, and i was able to create something of the feel of the original. it's very nifty, and the delicate bits are safe from the kitties and dust.

after a little rearranging of the pictures above the lamp, i'm quite content with the feel of the space; still mine, just renewed.


what's in a name?

i came across a name while reading a book last night, and it's stuck in my head as a most interesting name. serafina nightingale. if ever i have need of a pseudonym, it would be that.


the coming end of summer

i've collected together all the various bits and pieces of natural ephemera which i've picked up over the years and put them on display. delicate and fragile, they don't do well to be handled overly much; forget dusting. i should get a small bell jar. strange seed pods, feathers, silk bits, seashells, insects, and a skeleton tree frog.

for this year's ga national fair, i've decided to submit some of the handspun i've kept. i've been parting with the majority of what i spin to sell on consignment at the lys. it would be encouraging to win some ribbons, and funds for further purchases. the deadline for submission is coming nigh and i've only two ounces of a dusty stone cashmere remaining to be plied.

i've been busy, but not necessarily creative these last months. however, i managed to sew a new cosy for my porcelain japanese tea pot. using australian merino blanket remnants, natural linen remnants, and wool fiber for stuffing, i created a subtle and tactile two-pot cosy accented with a cognac velvet ribbon and dyed shell buttons. i think it matches the aesthetic of the tea pot beautifully. it's pure pleasure to use them both in my morning tea time routine.


time makes swift progress

i've been productive, just not blogging. the local tea room commissioned 35 service tea cozies, made from a variety of fabric, reversible, and for 2-cup and 6-cup brown betty teapots, which they sell in the gift shop. i'm just finishing up the last 10. it's interesting making something that's you but not; i.e. the material isn't of my choosing, but i paired the combinations together and sewed them all. i find that i'm not at all bereft from parting with them, and though i can mentally acknowledge them, there isn't a thrill of excitement or burst of thoughts going through me when someone buys one and when i see them in the shop. perhaps there isn't the connection with them that i usually have when i create something from conception to finish. or perhaps it's because i knew from the start that they weren't "mine". hmm.

well, summer is well and truly here, with hot, humid, buggy weather and ac blasting in every building. my baby cactus has certainly grown since last featured on the blog; it's a year older and an inch taller. currently residing amongst my orchids in the window. a bit like a cuckoo bird, but strangely doing well amongst it's moisture loving fellows.


here is my handle, here is my spout...

i'm on a bit of a kick. after working out the kinks in the first knitted tea cozy, i decided to finesse the idea and created two more. both with a crocheted bottom and open top to slip the teapot into spout first. also, an excuse to use pom poms in something other than a hat.

i've had this super metallic looking teapot for awhile now. there's never been any tea in it, as it just always seemed like a showpiece, rather than a working teapot. it picks up the blues in the pom pom and is accented by the ribbon.

the other one is in yellow hues, and for a larger teapot. both were knit from an alpaca/wool blend bulky yarn and are super soft and squishy.


tea cozy competition

please vote for my "milk & honeybees" tea cozy! follow this link to the larkin tea website. many thanks and gratitude!


spring means flowers

it also means a renewal of creative energy. between spinning yarn, sewing, knitting a tunic, and planning, i managed to knit a tea cozy for a competition. usually i'm not a terribly big fan of knitting. i think it's because i need to rely on a pattern and even with a swatch i'm not always certain of the finished size; and it's not like you can rip out seams and cut down the fabric to resize, or sew on another trim to make it larger, or that you can make a muslin mockup first. as well, it becomes disconcerting ripping out rows of yarn and restitching several times. so when i say that this cozy was an effort and that i'm glad teapots come in various sizes, you can take it to mean that to get exactly what i had envisioned was a trial. i'm just merry that it is as cute as it is!

not everything is focused on textiles this month; orchids are another thing which interests me. i have eight which i've recently repotted and am looking for signs of growth every time i water them. this past weekend there was an orchid show at the local mall. seeing all the varieties of shape and species is amazing! they're so exotic, but familiar, garish and humble, dazzling and so alive. i snapped many photos, but don't want to become too "family photos from our recent vacation" like, and so will share only some random favorites.


the inequalities that gall me

there were two major explosions in america this week that took lives. so why were the culprits of only one of them pursued with laser-like focus and charged with manslaughter? why are businesses that take human life through carelessness and greed treated differently than those that take human life with guns and bombs? though the weapon is different the intent is not. when you do something that you know will bring destruction and the lose of life, is it not inherently "murder"? when will we punish those that hide behind the shield of "business" like we punish individuals who take the life of another?


making in response to needing

i've been enjoying a spurt of creativity; setting a goal for the day and finishing it. being out of work has really encouraged me to focus my hours on making things which i could sell. "if you don't have work, make work to sell" is my new motto. in the past i worked on pin cushions, which went over okay, then i created boudoir cushions, which i only sold one of, and now i'm onto tea cosies. this last is probably a reflection of creating something with utilitarian uses and the amount of tea i find myself drinking. i've become something of a teaholic these last months (okay, last two years).

being in japan gave me a great respect for their green teas, as well as an appreciation for the umami and astringency which is a major aspect of ocha. it's a tea which i find myself drinking several cups of during the day, and because of the low caffeine, not suffering from jitters, nerves, and insomnia as a result. i love the roasted hojicha, the refreshing cold barley tea, the sweet uji-shimizu with almond milk, and the green freshness of sencha. although, i do enjoy a good black tea, fruity more often than not, with sweet things. luckily, the second cup brews caffeine free.

a major influence on the tea cosy front, is the work of tara badcock, a fantastic and prolific textile artist in australia. i've enjoyed seeing her pieces for years now, and happen to own an exquisite pincushion and change purse (which i use every day) she created. i've borrowed the ruched edge binding she does for my own cosies, as it adds an element of strong color, and a certain timeless grace. plus, who doesn't love something which is almost heedless rococo? as well, it reminds me of the costumes from marie antoinette, and gowns from that period.

all in all, i figure it's about time to live up to expectations and find my artistic footing. too often i find my creations driven from a certain selfishness; i want what i create, i create in response to things i want.  it's hard for me to part from my brood of artistic expressions. thereby making it hard to earn any money.  well, as it was once said, "onwards and upwards".


light and space

i have a tendency to pick up bits of nature when i walk around; a fluffy feather, a piece of coral, fuzzy seed pods, driftwood, a twisted twig, really anything that grabs my attention and is small. as a result of this i have a bowl of seashells, a jar of feathers, and a vase of twigs and pods. i compiled the things i found in california in a plastic case i had, little things that refresh memories.

making the bed is always a playful time in my home; the kitties oftentimes become sandwiched between the sheets. it makes me think it could be a place of peace and awareness for them.


diy tools

i've been seeing a lot of mentions about a "blending board" on ravelry and in spinning magazines. it's a bit of a free hand fiber blending tool, allowing you to "paint" with fibers. i have a set of hand carders, but find that when i want to blend a variety of fibers and colors that it blends too thoroughly and in tiny batches. apparently, this board tool gives you a large surface and more colorblocking capabilities.

so, after a little research, i decided to make one rather than buy a finished product. it's basically a cutting board and a foot of drum carding cloth. hammer in a couple of nails, and it couldn't be any easier to start throwing bits of fiber on, tapping them down with a nail brush, and pulling them off with two dowel rods. the pulling action blends the fibers a tiny bit, and you end up with several rolags, ready to spin. i have to finesse the pulling bit, but overall, i'm really pleased with this tool when i want to make colorful spinning fiber. here's a photo of my second attempt, which i've decided to name unicorn barf:



i decided to add some color to my iphone case; mostly because it was a clear case starting to turn yellow. and it was inexpensive. and for the myriad uses of washi tape. i made a paper insert to fit in the case, and added washi triangles, cut out the camera opening, popped it in, et voila!


happy valentine's day

i did a little bit of nail bling for today; nothing too big. it's 24kt gold flecks and a pink heart. i noticed that the 24kt thing was popular in the nail circuit, and remembered i had some flakes left over in a jar from when i was in college and focusing on illuminated manuscripts.

i've got a couple of things i'm messing around with right now, one being spinning on my tulipwood jay spindle. it's bombyx silk and camel. it drafts smoothly and spins with a subtle tawny stripe. the other thing is i traded my violin for a ukulele; just waiting on some better strings, then i'll start to learn how to play it.

for dinner tonight i made vegetarian pot pie filled with asparagus, mushrooms, peas, onion, carrots, and beans, topped with filo dough, and served with rose wine. for dessert i baked white chocolate and cherry scones with strawberry rose champagne tea. the theme was hearts and pink. i used things i found around the house that fit into those subjects. it's really enjoyable setting the table for a special event, i should do it more often.


mud is just fine

i don't know anyone who doesn't have a favorite movie from their younger years; that movie which you saw so often, parts of it are permanently ingrained in your memory banks. there are plenty of movies which i can spend an enjoyable bit of time watching again, which i either own on dvd or will stop channel surfing when i come across. but, i'm pretty sure that there are one or two movies which stand out the most. in my case, it has to be a quirky musical, starring the rascal lee marvin and a really good looking, pre-chair incident, clint eastwood. the movie, paint your wagon.

well, as it happens, i picked it up on dvd last week and decided to watch it with some musical loving friends. it's been quite a few years since last viewing; as i had it only on vhs, and like the dinosaurs, technology changes and viewing devices die. it's strange what one gets out of something so familiar. i've become more eco-conscious over the years, and since moving to and away from california these last few months, i saw something new in an old favorite. for the most part, it had to be the song lee marvin sings early on in the film, "the first thing you know". it goes like this:

God made the mountains
God made the sky

God made the people
God knows why

He fixed up the planet
As best as He could
Then in come the people
And gum it up good

The first thing you know

They civilized the foothills
And everywhere He put hills
The mountains and valley below

They come along and take 'em
And civilize and make 'em
A place where no civilized
Person would go

The first thing you know
The first thing you know

They civilize what's pretty
By puttin' up a city
Where nothin' that's
Pretty can grow

They muddy up the winter
And civilize it into 
A place too uncivilized
Even for snow

The first thing you know

They civilize left
They civilize right
Till nothing is left
Till nothing is right

They civilize freedom
Till no one is free
No one except
By coincidence, me

The first thing you know
The boozer's in prison
And the criminally isn't
And only the rascals have dough

When I see a parson
I gotta put my arse in
A wagon that follows the tail of a crow

The first thing you know
I pick up a blow!
The first thing you know

it just speaks to the environmental warrior in me. and makes me wonder about how far we haven't progressed in the years since it was recorded. paint your wagon was made in 1969. 43 years have come and gone, and i could wish for a better understanding of our planet, and our society's acceptance that we need to preserve it. all the things nature does for us can't easily be reinvented by mankind, and the functions that we will be forced to recreate won't work as seamlessly and balanced as the original.


very cool!

at the january meeting of the carmel crafts guild i gave a presentation about my trip to japan in 2010. as a result, i was given the opportunity by kate larson to write a little bit about it for her interweave blog, spinning daily. it's been very exciting! here is a link to it.


pom pom!

while wandering around the local yarn store, i happened upon a set of pom pom makers. usually i'm not all that interested in such tools, but this time was different. maybe it was the pastel colors, or a blog post i recently read, or maybe that they were made by clover. whatever it was, i picked them up.

when i got home i grabbed a bag of thrums i'd been saving (leftover warp ends from weaving), and started wrapping. this little doodad is really easy to use, and fun actually. i made a big one in old gold, then a little one in yellows, then inspiration struck! i could make pom poms for the tips of my spindle cosies! a couple of pom poms later, and i'm still fascinated. i see a future collection budding. pom poms, who knew?


winter slowdown

i've not been particularly active in the creation area lately. however, i skeined the cream cashmere i'd been working on these last few months. comparing it to others i've spun, it's the finest in size. which is why it probably took so long to spin. the results are so soft and pretty though, so it was worth it. happily, i've got some warm grey cashmere fiber to spin up in my hoard. because these fibers are so fine, i feel as if i should only spin them up laceweight.

following in jean's footsteps, i went through all of my handspun and labeled each skein with the fiber type, yardage, and year created. i'm glad i decided to do that, as i had trouble remembering when and what for a couple of them. luckily, i've been fairly good at documenting my spinning on this blog.