Well, rough night. Wild year. Nothing deep to say. (You know that’s not true – the not having anything to say part. Nothing deep – eh – that part’s probably true.)
Evidently these last months, the passion and nervous energy de moi has come out in the making of cute stuff. Actually, it has been so for the last year and half or so. And seeing that making things is actually a sort of performance art, I have to show you. There’s no value in the making of the stuff unless I do. Feedback. Exclamations that indicate that the exclaimer has been seriously charmed. Communication. Interaction. Bonding. YAY!!! Anyway, I don’t seem to be able to stop doing things like this. I’ve tried.
This is the beginning of October. During conference, actually. Guy oiled the saddles and the tack. I sat on the floor surrounded by bells, beads, felt, ribbons, needles and all other things useful for the dressing of camels.
The strange thing is that I always have ideas. If I were a marsupial, my pouch, now Joey-less, would be full of Things I Have Always Wanted To Try. At this point, I introduce the magical fact of Sticks Furniture, something Rachel and I discovered in a Park City gallery that was packed like grandma’s attic with the stuff. We fell in love instantly. Not the least, for me, because their designs are very close to the motifs I’ve been doing myself since high school. Very reminiscent of illustration. CUTE illustration, not funky, philosophical illustration.
The basic idea here is wooden furniture that has been “drawn” on a la wood burner, then painted and sealed. Who couldn’t do that, right? After I’d found the gallery, I “found” a heavy duty wood burner, then did nothing with it for years. But this year, being what it is, I finally bought myself a very basic, light weight wooden picture frame and broke out the Very Dangerous Burner. It’s a dual pen, heavy duty, hoity toity thing that is probably wasted on me. And I began to doodle – on the back of the frame, as I was terrified to venture onto the front.
Turns out that cheap frames aren’t that easy to work with. They’re kind of “hairy.” But sufficient for experimentation. So I did this. Acrylic paints do just fine. And I have always loved spar varnish.
But the project I’d been wanting to do for ages had to do with a tiny kid’s stool we’d had since the kids were wee. I’d never even finished the wood. And the poor thing had gotten dirtier and rattier as the years went on. So THIS year, I cleaned it off, considered the surfaces, and got brave enough to give it a go -
My motif. My baby stool. Finally done.
Chapter 2. I know I always do too many things at one blog. But I only blog in frantic spurts or not at all.
Once upon a time, Ginger brought this really, really cool sparkly glittered star to the Christmas party. Chaz won it. I wouldn’t let her have it. Not till I figured out how to make one myself. So I sat out on an Autumn afternoon, using the stool to sit on, and started encrusting wooden stars with the glitters I’ve been collecting since Ginger did hers.
I couldn’t find hers at first, so I was just going from memory. You wrap a wooden star with yarn, I remembered – bright yarn with metallic touches. Then you add a bunch of glitter. (the pine cones are coated with micro beads. The most important thing about them is that they came off the Stone’s trees, and we all love the Stones. Micro beads are not that fun, it turns out, and they cost like crazy.) So here are the stars – which I thought were encrusted.
Then I found Ginger’s star. And realized that my concept of encrusted was pretty sad. I also realized that she’d done the glitter encrustation first. Too late for me. But where I couldn’t do it first, I could OVERdo it at any point.
So I did.
They’re still not as good as Ginger’s, but here’s the thing: I scratched that itch. I did it. Mark it off the list along with the pine cones and the sticks and the camels. Making progress in my life. And bonus: I got a bunch of glitter-ridden stars.
Chapter 3: I should be able to make a kid’s dress from scratch. Really.
I shouldn’t need a pattern for a tiny little jumper. Right? All I’m really trying to do is make something one flipping quarter as cool as all the stuff Wabi does. Yes, I am a big fat copy cat.
So I found this cool Fall corduroy and bought it, thereby committing myself to the project. Then I borrowed a couple of Andy’s dresses for size and basic construction.
Long story short: after several drafts in muslin, I got this little jumper. Which ended up no more than two sizes too big. But I made up for that with details. Above, on the very left side of the neck line, there are three little leaves appliqued onto the neckline. This was an attempt to keep the bias tape binding from flopping over – sort of tacking it down. And it almost worked. One of the little leaves is just kind of a dangle.
And I added a little round pocket. It’s there, where the red ribbon is leaking out. The ribbon is there because the pocket has a secret – a ribbon tethered tiny bird.
The bird. Actually shot upside down. Fits in the pocket. Andy loves to pull it out and show people, which unfortunately usually means she is also showing off her tiny girl underwear. Unintended consequences.
Beautiful day. Not to my credit.
These pictures are me, trying to Wabi-ize my world. Son and his daughter. In small construction hat.
Without hat. With bird in hand.
I did not make this. I do take credit for some little part of the pattern, however.
Final Chapter: the gourds.
I found some cool, painted gourds Christmas ornaments in a gift shop at the airport in Santa Fe. And then I came into possession of a bunch of jewelry gourds. This project is kinda related to the Sticks project. And once again, answering the call of the Year I try Everything, I just up and tried my hand at it. They’re pretty crude and folksy – but I’m kinda happy with them.
And that’s it. Better than listening to me howl about elections and end of the world, eh? Maybe? And I promise, I’m going to run out of these long-held ambitions. Really I am. Pretty soon. And now I’m finished. Thank you very much.