Friday, November 30, 2007

Someone, I don't know who, said, "Art is coming face to face with yourself."

This week I got school photos back of myself. I did not like them. They were not art! They were not flattering! Maybe that is why I like the less than beautiful doll!

I have among my flickr contacts several people who post photos of themselves daily. Most notable is a young, overweight woman who loves funky clothing combinations and several middle age women. I see where they go, what they wear, etc. I am much too self-conscious for that. But I love to show what my hands are doing in odd bits of time like waiting for a basketball game to start. The game itself was too exciting to watch while knitting. (My 14 year-old son played almost the whole game yesterday and is improving with each game! He made 4 points!) Also, it is a social event; I get to visit with friends, hold babies, meet and make new friendships with other parents. Next week I will work the concession stand and sell tickets during some varsity games.

Funny Things Said:

(I found this on my computer from several months ago)

Isaac was heating up frozen chicken in the oven. He asked why the directions suggested use a “foil lined pan.”

Zachary asked, “Do you know what “foil” means?”

I suggested that it means to “thwart.”

“No, I mean to foil binomials.”

Zac just showed me how to foil binomials. I had algebra a long, long time ago!

When he finished, I asked, “Have you thought of becoming a school teacher?”

He said, “yes.” And walked off.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007



Made by me, last week, during Thanksgiving break. She has knitted limbs, thrift store cashmere sweater head and body, and garage sale lace clothing. She is 9 1/2 inches tall.

Made eight years ago. She is 4 1/4 inches tall.

I have always loved dolls. As a child I didn’t have the latest doll of TV commercials. I never had the walking, talking, Chatty Cathys which I saw at my friends’ houses. Either I knew instinctively that they were overrated or my mother subtlely instilled the idea in me that MY dolls had more play potential because they could say anything I wanted them to say. What my sister and I did have were a few beautiful Madam Alexander dolls: 8 inch Wendy, Baby Genius,

Cisette and 15 inch Elise dressed as a ballerina. They were not just for display either, a concept I abhorred, thinking all dolls should be to play with. I also dearly recall a Betsy McCall doll.

I loved paper dolls too, as I have written about in previous posts. My childhood was very simple

with few toys and a very small uncluttered house but my parents gave me ample paper and permission to cut, color, and glue to my heart’s content. My Grandmother provided fresh wheat paste glue, a stack of old catalogs, and free run of a craft closet. I remember “working” on the front porch of her farm house or in the cool cellar depending on mood and weather.

My mother bought me artist quality watercolors when I was 7 years old or so and my Grandmother bought me set of Windsor Newton colored inks when I was about 10 years old. My dad donated quill pens and showed me how to letter, if not truly calligraphy it was close.

Back to dolls and doll making. I no longer have my earliest doll making attempts. I remember making a cloth doll with the help of an elderly relative. My doll was sort of sad with seams ripping out and stuffing lumpy, etc. So she gave me one of hers. I felt a real kindred to pioneer children, and the stories I loved, when I played with that doll.

The earliest of my doll making efforts to survive is this one that I made when I was about 13. She accidentally got washed in a pocket at some point and lost part of her face and her yarn wool hair felted into dreads. She is almost 40 years old!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

This is weird! Pictures are coming and going on my blog! I replaced the hawk and felted flower photos. Now there are two flower pictures. The other hawk may come back.
Accipiter striatus, I think!
My daughter and I watched this small hawk, wrestling with, killing, and eating the dove on the driveway of our home. This is in the city! Not exceptional photography! But exciting to us.
Link to a better photo.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I have been reading, knitting, sipping mint tea and ice water, napping with heat on my face, trying to get over an awful head cold. I am sampling different yarns with a flower pattern from Nicky Epstein's book KNITTED FLOWERS. So far I like the thinner yarn especially the Shetland Jumper weight yarn from School House Press.

I just put my first samples on the scanner to show what I am doing. I plan to knit leaves and some kind of centers. I have lots of ideas for using flowers but at the moment I'm not feeling very motivated!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Paper Dolls

I have always loved paperdolls and made reams of paper into dolls, clothing, and various accessories as a child. With paper and pencil I could quietly occupy myself for hours. (Still can!) Add scissors and colors and I was in heaven! When I first got markers, in the late 60s, my dolls' clothing was covered with flowers, stripes, and other wild patterns. But mostly I was interested in period and fairy tale costumes.

Last Sunday afternoon I taught a children's art class at a local art museum. First we reviewed museum etiquette and visited a display of antique and vintage clothing. Then we made paperdolls. Our one boy made paper aliens but I didn't get a close-up of his creatures!

Basic paperdoll guidelines:
you must have shoulders to hang the clothing on
don't make the neck too thin
don't forget the tabs
most mistakes can be fixed
you must have shoulders to hang the clothing on
don't use too much glue
you must have shoulders to hang the clothing on
don't run with scissors!
don't cry, we can add tabs
shoulders are hard to add after you cut it out
you don't need to cut around every finger and toe


Sunday, November 04, 2007

Yesterday morning as I was checking my regular blogs and viewing photos from my "Flickr Friends" I found this blog from Judy Scott a fiber artist who is documenting, or "blog-umenting," her City and Guilds Machine Embroidery studies at Dundee College in England. I was very inspired by her work including a very lovely reference photo of foliage. I decided to go over to the our local college and take photographs of a variety of leaves and a few late flowers. I took a half a dozen shots before my camera batteries went dead! When I got home all my other batteries were dead. I was disappointed but decided it was a good time to try something new. I placed flowers on the scanner and took pictures with the scanner lid up.
Then I played a while with Adobe Photoshop to get this.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

More About Doodling

I have fun scanning my art, combining files with Adobe Photoshop, changing colors, etc. Here are some
recent examples.

One of my constant activities when thinking, waiting, or listening is to take verbal notes interspersed with doodling. The doodling is almost "mindless" or using another part of my brain!
At other times I doodle intentionally and even in color. Lately I have felt difficulty concentrating and it seems that doodling focuses my brain by keeping that other part of me busy!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Question: How did the very manly Scottish garment get its name?
Answer: Someone asked "Why are you wearing a skirt?" He was kilt.
Being creative every day is one of my goals but I am still mostly a mom!

Last year in November, my youngest son and I went to a Saint Andrews Festival at a church in a nearby town. We had heard about the bagpipers and free Scottish food to be had at the annual event. We went early to visit with friends in the band and to ensure a good seat. When we heard the first bagpipe a few feet away, my son's eyes got huge. He said, "I want one," or something to that effect. When he saw the knife, sgian dubh, in the sock traditionally carried by pipers he asked if he would get a knife if he learned to play the bagpipes! The sgian dubh, pronounced "skee(a)n doo" is the ceremonial Celtic dagger traditionally worn tucked into the sock (kilt hose) of Scottish Highlanders.

He got his practice chanter last Christmas and has now moved up to a borrowed bagpipe and kilt! He has been brave enough to appear twice in public, at a halloween party and the next night at a Fall Festival at school. When asked to play the pipes he has done so, "Amazing Grace," to enthusiastic applause from his mostly jr. high friends. Last night he played the very best I had heard him play. He even remarked later that contrary to his own expectations he did better with an audience!