Thursday, December 17, 2009

When I was a ten-year-old, I thought I would be a
Doll Maker, when I grew up. I remember checking out the book, Dolls to Make, for Fun and Profit, by Edith Flack Ackley. I checked out every make-it type book I could find!

About that time, my family visited my dad's cousin who lived in a remote corner of Texas. Leada, my dad's cousin, was married to Ward, a real cowboy. They lived in an adobe house at the end of a dirt and rock road over an hour's drive from the nearest paved road. Their children were grown so she spent her time making dolls and collecting arrowheads. (I was disappointed that I was not allowed to ride horses; the cowboys rode mules because of the rough terrain, and drove jeeps and trucks.)

I made lots of dolls and doll clothing as a child but only two, that I made as a teen, have survived (other than a few paper dolls that my mother saved.) My childhood technique was less than adequate. I made big stitches and used fabric that frayed too easily. My mom provided lots of drawing and painting supplies and inspiration. She taught me how to sew clothing but I probably didn't request help with dolls or at least I didn't accept it.

As a "serious art student" in the 1970, I would not admit my love of dolls or the vintage inspired books written for little girls and for those like me now who are still little girls at heart. Now, not so self-conscious, at least not toward the Art World, I am indulging in my doll and costume passion.
Yesterday, I ran across an my old pattern for a Holly Hobbie doll. I had never used the pattern because it makes a larger doll than I have wanted to make. Also, I have preferred to make my own patterns. I kept it all these years and may make it yet. The pattern uses a child's sock for the needle sculpted head which I am more interested in now than I was then. Having researched the cloth dolls being made these days and especially loving the cloth and clay dolls I have seen, I am now taking a more humble approach and want to learn from other doll makers and even, gasp, use a pattern!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

This Beautiful Fall 2009

What have I been doing? (I ask myself, because I don't feel like I have accomplished much recently!)

My main occupations : Enjoying the three "children" still in my home and hearing from the three that are far away. Notice the "Abe" costume my youngest wore on October 31st! (Thrift store jacket looked black in person. I made the vest and top hat of felt.)
Teaching Latin and loving the children, 3rd through 6th grade, at my school. Teaching two classes weekly at a local dance and art studio.

I went to a HUGE garage sale benefiting "Meals on Wheel," where I stocked up on needle working supplies to use and share. I also found some vintage and not so vintage dolls!

I fullfilled a childhood desire to stay at the Prude Ranch in the Davis Mountains of Texas. The ladies of my church went for a weekend retreat. I didn't ride a horse while there...maybe next time!

A friend at church asked me last Sunday what I had been doing creatively, lately. I could not answer! I reallized that the sewing studio area of my bedroom was a chaotic mess; that was a big part of my inability to sew. So, this week I cleaned, sorted, boxed, moved furniture... and now I have a place to work again and am inspired!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The desire to create is strong!

I found this free writing I did several years ago. I have since grown a garden and most of my children are grown!

It was written for an altered book I entitled, "My Blue Book of Desire." The title I stole from somewhere, I don't remember where, and the plan was to make a dark blue slightly sad and dark book. Probably that was how I felt at the time. See this journal page.

Longing for lost dreams - not released- not free- not forgotten- this vision will not be forsaken
How to redeem this dream, this imperfect manifestation, this desire, this longing, this love!
How do I settle for less?
How do I make the most of what is in front of me, in this life.
Only God can make this loss beautiful!
Creativity: making, doing, living, loving
This sub-creation that I see before me: this journey, the journal,
The trial, trail, tears.
The perseverance to growth,
To forgive and be forgiven.
By grace to finish well!
Soul searching- discovery-joy
Spirit, soul, song, tune, music, air, breath, animus.
My life wrapped around sights and sounds, tastes and colors; the physical life.
LOVE, NURTURING, NEST...more than the physical!
For some years I have given up this- no garden but grass and weeds- to raise children- to feed and educate them, sometimes not feeding them well, I have neglected the culinary arts.
How to live gracefully, frugally, clean and neat, but also creative, which seems to necessitate some messy clutter!

Give, give, give, for it is better to give than to receive but giving to my own children is not hard or unselfish, though not always easy! Self-absorption seems to come naturally. (See blog!)
All that I have; life does not consist of things!
I need food, shelter, utilities, clothing, medicine, glasses...
Do I need paint, paper, books, fabric, yarn?
When I was a child I made a rose out of native clay, drew on free paper.

I have all this and more. Do stuff with it! Draw, paint, make books. write, sew, weave...and share.
Make a winter garden by the south wall: lettuce, cabbage, parsely, dill, fennel, onions, peas, flowers! Make gardens not war! Grow good stuff to eat. Smell the earth! Watch seeds sprouting. Plant wildflowers: poppies phlox, sunflowers, blanket flowers, larkspurs, marigolds...

Saturday, August 08, 2009

I am feeling blue about the end of summer!

I LOVE teaching, my school, the other teachers and staff, and especially the interaction with the children. I am excited about my new classroom. Previously I have been the Mobile Latin Teacher, have cart will travel.

But there is a sense of disappointment that I didn't accomplish more.

I have not painted on canvas, threaded the loom, finished dolls, made a book or quilt, felted...

I have resisted the urge to buy art supplies*. I recognize that as a substitute for spending time creating that I can fall into too easily!
But today I bought two books and a magazine with art class money.

I am not really happy about my studio arrangement at present hence the purchase of the book Where Women Create.

In my heart I know that creativity does not depend on place, space, or a lot of specific supplies, I have a lifetime supply already.

But some of my focus has been missing of late!

* Honesty check: I have bought fabric!
sewed four skirts, and a tunic
dyed and embellished a t-shirt
had a serious garden
taught a weekly sewing class for girls
taught one week of art camp
cooked lots of primarily vegetable meals
made pickles
worked on the garage, sorting, boxing, trashing and giving away stuff

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

This morning I picked a cluster of three large Pompeii Italian Tomatoes. I grew them from seed purchased from Renee's Garden. They are not as heavy as the standard large juicy tomatoes but weighed one pound total. I also picked a over a pound of the small Roma type tomatoes that I love and are so productive here even setting blossoms in our hot weather!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Borago officinalis


See it here in my current garden next to a tomato plant. This hairy herb is a favorite of mine. The flowers are also a favorite of bees, tomatoes, and children. I grew it in my first "serious" herb garden in San Antonio and later when my kids were small. Kids like the cucumber flavor of the blue star shaped flowers.

When the children were helping me garden we lived in the almost desert prairie of West Texas on 2 1/2 acres. The ground was caliche rock and blow sand. It can be a carpet of wild flowers in any seasons with just a bit of rain. But the summers are hot, windy, and usually very dry.

We had a nice water well and one February I got a load of topsoil for my birthday...a dump truck load of dirt! That was my all-time favorite birthday gift! But even with the additional soil I could usually grow flowers and herbs better than vegetables. But we tried!

Borage is suppose to be a great companion plant for tomatoes. I am hoping it will deter the dreaded great horned tomato worm. We found one of those on a pepper plant yesterday but not close to the borage.

Memories in the Garden on the Farm

Some of my earliest memories are of time spent with my grandparents on their farm in Central Texas. I would help Grandmother plant seeds in a lot next to the barn. It had incredible dirt with all that aged manure and decomposing hay! This was the kitchen garden for beans, squash, okra, potatoes, and tomatoes. She always started her own tomatoes rather than buy plants.

They also had a few garden rows out in the field for black-eyed peas, corn, and melons. Grandmother grew herbs and flowers in the yard. I remember mint, parsley, dill, garlic, and those wonderful walking onions with the baby onions on top!

She grew chili petines for my granddaddy; they would reseed each year. Once I added them to mud-pies and got mud on my face and peppers in my eyes! You don't forget a thing like that!

I remember hollyhocks, petunias, bells of Ireland, irises, pomagranet bushes, lilacs, and climbable mesquite trees.

We have been eating lettuce, spinach, carrots, baby bokchoy, onions, garlic, sugar peas, a few Italian bush beans, and small tomatoes. Also from friends and family with larger, earlier gardens we have had new potatoes and squash! We have small squashes coming if the bugs don't get them.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Not forgotten

After a long absence and silence here on the blog I am going to attempt a comeback.
No time for detailed backstory or excuses!
In the past year:
We have moved to a different house after painting the interior.
We have planted the whole backyard in garden.
Made gradual but definite changes in our diet...

I am struggling to find balance, learn to accept loss, and change, and I hope, to be content but not complacent! I am easily distracted from important but difficult areas of responsibility. There can be an exhilarating and almost intoxicating high from creativity. I can postpone thinking of other things while reveling in color, pattern, paper, paint, and fibers. I can numb my painful memories and present fears with a new project idea. Arranging and rearranging art supplies is a potent procrastinator's ploy!

But, I am still creating!