Monday, February 23, 2009

Hoop Dreams

This last two weekends, I have been working on a design that essentially is fun and eye catching but it needed a lot of refinement. Something that conceptually is so simple but it needs a lot of "body English" to pull it off.

It has taken two weekends to complete it. I make the pattern, make a sample. But here is the rub. The sample is never of the same fabric, so it does not act the same and I have to see past the differences to see if it is doing what I want.
Well, with a lot of twoing and frowing. I came up to the end and I am pleased with it.

What I consider unique with this design is that the flap acts as a lock or cover for the opening and when you open the bag, the flap goes over the hoop. The entire contents of the purse is open to viewing. It will be a lot easier to find that check book!

The bag fabric is a gold and black basket weave. The lining is cotton, imported from Japan. Actually, it was brought in by this lovely Japanese lady that shuts her shop down for a month every year. She goes to visit her Mother (who must be close to 90) and her sisters. She is charming, very old school and formal. I can barely understand her. Most of her customers are immigrants from Japan. We bow to each other and smile. Words by each, no one really can figure out what the other is saying. But it feels good. The lining fabric is a traditional Japanese print. I loved the "romance" of the colors and subject....cranes. The cranes symbolize mating for life, devotion and continuity. All ideas that appeal to me.

The carving is yellow Jade. It is an old carving of a dragon. Since the design seems to cut across cultures, I knew that I had to buy it and use it on this purse.

It was a good experience.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


This is a story of Buggy-to-Little. It is my rag doll. She is not much of a rag doll but she is mine. She is the only remnant of my childhood. The odd part of still having her is that I was never a doll person. Give me a truck, train, skates - anything other than a doll.

When I was eight, I had never used a needle but I thought that I should make a doll. That seemed like a good project. My sister and I had always made these puppets that you could make from old sheets. They were easy - just wad up a ball of material, put a string around it for a head, draw a face on it and voila' you have a finger puppet.

I was comfortable with the use of old sheets. So I took this idea to my mother. She couldn't sew but she was willing to give ideas and assistance. I was thrilled to have this project. It took all my thoughts and energy for a couple of days. What fun! I sewed the doll by hand. We made clothes by hand. My Mother drew a face for me. This no longer exists. My sister and I gave her a "face lift".

She had many adventures. My sister loved dolls and had many. I had one - Buggy.

She got her name when we made a wheelbarrow to put all the dolls together. Somehow my rag doll would get lost, flop over, get squished and so we said she was too little for the buggy. Hence the name Buggy-to-Little.

She went on to win a prize at my school's doll faire. She had her picture in the newspaper. She lost her arm, her mouth, her clothes. But she still is there in my memory box. She is always willing to come out and make my life complete with my sister at my side.


Too wee for my carriage
Too big for a match box
Sad little, bad little,
Glad little "Buggy"

Big button eyes
Weak little chin
She's Heidie. Dale Evans,
She's HucklberryFinn.

Friend to what's happy
Or all that is lonely,
She's me and my dreams
She loves me and me only.

She's lost youth, lost hope,
The Circus, Santa Claus.
Sad little, bad little,
Glad little Buggy.

All that is left of me,
Worn, almost brittle.
Glad little, Bad little,

Annie Sieler, my sister
about 1967
Janet Clare did a post about her "Flopsy"

Friday, February 13, 2009

Demon Kittens or How to Kill a Plant

In my kitchen I have a spot where I have kept plants for about 15 years. I have one plant that must be close to that age. I have a "Grow Lamp" above the plants and most of the plants have thrived. The thriving stop in the beginning of the year.

The lamp did not break, I did not stop watering or feeding. What I did do is get two adorable, sweet, defenceless kittens. These kittens started eating real food, instead of dried food. Their first "real" food turned out to be my leftover Christmas turkey. They obtained it easily. All they did was climb up my pant leg and threatened me with more damage. I gave in easily. The scars will heal and fade eventually.

Their little bodies metabolized this "real" food and they have grown. They are 4 1/2 months old now and they know their way around my kitchen.

First they jumped up to counter where food was prepared. They insisted on supervising. Chester would be placed on the floor and he would jump right back. I do testify that he is a bully! They then jumped onto the counter where the plants where enjoying a peaceful life. I used to have beautiful plants, untrammeled by small claws and teeth.

At Christmas time I received a red Amaryllis bulb in this terrific planter. It started to grow. Every day I would look at the plant and think about the people that gave it to me.
Then "they" took over the kitchen. Two nights ago, the bully kittens knocked over the planter.

The long, beautiful leaves were damaged. The bud seems to be fine, but the plant demanded that it be removed from the kitchen.

The plant has taken refuge with its other friends that have been driven from the house.

Experts say that life will resume its quiet serenity, but not for a little while.

But for now the DEMON KITTENS are in charge!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My "Felted" Life

I had a vision for this bag and it pretty much came to me in a dream.
Please forgive any mistakes as I have two "babies" on my lap and keyboard. It inhibits the finger and brain action.
Back to the bag, I love felt. I like how black and white it is. It doesn't fray, it remains in the same shape (maybe a little stretched but essentially the same). the edges do not have to be bound, in fact the edges can become part of the design. Felt is really quite "plastic", it becomes what you want it to be.
The straps are cord that I found in a drapery shop. The cording was an experiment and it worked out well.
I love that button. It is a shell button with the sewing eye cemented on the back. I love that button so much, I may replace it with something else; just so I won't have to part with it. Doesn't that sound a little nuts? That button has been with me since I made a silk coat dress when I was 21. It was a beautiful dress that I finally gave to Goodwill. That was the spare button but it lets me remember the dress in all its newness.
Back to the purse, It is lined with white felt and red felt. It has two gray felt pockets on the inside. It measures 13" across and 11" down.
It was a lot of fun to make and I crossed some design bridges to complete it. That all adds up to a "fun" purse for me.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Dont Step on My Blue Suede Purse

This purse was the most difficult. Sewing leather takes all my attention and a little more. I found this wonderful leather in downtown Los Angeles. To me, it looks just like the color of "Blue Suede Shoes".
I dream in color, I think in color, I live by color. So, if I am going to make something I have to absolutely love the color, or the color combination. I am so involved with color that I have had fights about the quality of color or what a color is called. Maybe I am a little wacky in regards to color. Quien sabe?
Since I make my own patterns, this took a while to figure out. I lay a design out, throw it away, cut down or paste on more paper. Then if I still am in doubt, I will make a sample and make adjustments if necessary. I think, that deep down, it is the process that I enjoy.
The other side of the purse is a duplicate of this side. The inside of the purse is the same design only in black Moire and blue Shantung silk. With lots of pockets. I like large purse that will hold everything, even a pocket book, so it measure 11" wide and 12" long.
Where you see the button, that is a flap covering a cell phone pocket. The other side has the same pocket.
I was really happy to finish this. I still don't know if I set the bar to high but at least I got to the top and it is complete.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Rebellious or Luddite?

I just spent a good part of the weekend trying to put that machine that converts my analog TV into high definition. This threat that is coming Feb 9 that will scramble the air waves? I have to tell you that I did not vote for this, I am innocent.

I sound like a Luddite, and I am fairly fluent in technology, but this thing was not easy. First of all I have a rat's nest behind my TV. I have a DVD and a VHS. They are not a combo but separate systems. I had to handle that to make them both work. I installed the converter box for the DVD, I had to put on a switch to interact between the DVD and the VHS. They function fine. I did not go into a tizzy with either of those things. But, you have to remember that I had a choice in all that.

Then comes along the government telling me "Do or Die". My brain rolls over and says "Die because I will not conform". That was where I was this weekend. In my normal anti-government rebellion. I gave my self a good talking to and worked things out with my alter ego.

Yesterday I gave myself time off from my day job, ahem. And I worked to sets things aright.

Somehow, I have lots of cables left over. Sort of like repairing the watch and having a main spring still on the bench.

But the important part is...Ta Ta (that is magic talk) everything is working. I did it. Swearing and sweating seems to get the job done.

And the announcement on TV says "It is easy". Government talk for saying "Go buy a high definition TV and make it easy on yourself".

Ha! I fooled them.