Sunday, May 31, 2009

"Yes, I Made It Myself"

Last year, my darling niece decided to do caricatures of the people that were in her life. And she made this one of me. She would pick a trait that was prominent in the person and draw about it. She did one of daughter Annie, showing little ghosts coming from a tea pot and the books on the shelves of the library. Annie loves books and tea and stories of ghosts. It was very charming. So, I asked her to do one of me. I always find it fascinating to see what people think of others. So, I found out what trait she found dominant in me. And yes, I do like to make things for myself as much as I can.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Sometimes, the mind wanders to this girl. It still is very painful. We were together for almost 20 years. Let me tell you, that is a mighty long time. We were always in sync. Somehow, the Universe blessed me and sent Roxanne when I needed a friend in my life travels. I guess she will always be missed by me.
The photos are thanks to my darling niece.

Childhood Memories

During the endless days of summer, bunch, gang , group of friends would walk up the the Five and Dime Store. We would pass time there cruising the aisles and dreaming of the things we would buy if we had the money. I think now about the wonder those stores held for me. The aisles and aisles of goods set out for display. My sister and I would buy our Christmas presents there for everyone on our list. I had my first forays of sewing at the Five and Dime. I designed my first skirt from fabric from the Five and Dime. I would walk up to the store and look at the fabrics, decide the one I wanted and then wait for someone to help. When a lady came to help me, I would ask for a finger span of fabric. The lady was always so serious and respectful to me. How I loved the smell and fun of the place.
I would look at the sewing notions and study the wrappers. There was always information on the wrapping about sewing. With needles, the manufacturer would describe for what purpose it was intended. I always took this as a direction, rather than a discription. I was thirsty for sewing information. My Mother didn't sew and my Grandmother didn't live near us. At one point my Grandmother came to visit and I showed her something I had made. She asked why I put the snap on that way and I explained that that was how my dress was made. At that point my Grandmother became my mentor.
This package of needles came to me from that friend who gave me some of her stash. It is probably from the '50's. And it is probably a promotional item from an insurance company. I don't know if I will use the needles, it so much fun just to look at it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Yay!!! Project Done, On To The Next

I really don't know if this would be considered the "front".
And this would be considered the back. are both sides.

This is the luscious lining. It was so slippery and hard to manage. Just what one would expect from luscious, slippery fabric. There is a pocket that is gathered with elastic, as to keep the pencils, erasers and what not in one place.

And here is the ribbon that was chosen by my granddaughter as a detail for her "book bag". Her father let all of her instincts come out. He said yes to everything.
Her comment to me was "Come, Papa said after I chose the fabric, we could run around the store". I wanted to run around the store after her, but I was carrying one of the rolls of fabric. Oh, the lost fun of youth.
I will UPS this today. I could wait for the weekend but I am much to anxious for my granddaughter to get in all the remaining days of school using her bag.
Since, I can't send a project this big to only one child, a Star Wars "rocket ship/transformer" will go to my grandson.
I hope all will be happy.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saturday Entertainment

Well, I have entertained myself and had lots of fun. I do not like the shopping bags that we all accumulate. You know the ones from Trader Joe's and from the PBS station that you support and maybe the car dealership that did a promotional? Well, I just don't like the drabness of the bags or the advertisements that I am giving the people. So, today for entertainment I made some for myself. I had purchased this large bag of remnants from Michael Levine's in downtown L.A.'s garment district. It was a huge bag. I purchased it for one piece of fabric. I do not like to waste, so I figured out that shopping bags would be a great use of the extra pieces.
I have already giving the small bag a trial run. It worked great. I carried about 7 pounds of cottage cheese, wine and 1/2 & 1/2 (for my babies).

Friday, May 22, 2009

Ribbon Tied together

This symbolizes all the diverse strings of my life all tied into one nice neat package. Silly to say that, but life is always many stings with one main one going through it. Maybe just being a woman is the main theme but there could be many other reasons for being on this earth. Not to get to metaphysical on this Friday.
This purse came about because at FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) Scholarship store, I kept seeing these many, many large spools of Grosgrain ribbon, different widths and different colors. I kept puzzling what I could do with them. A couple of weeks later, as I stood in front of them thinking, a light bulb went on. I could weave them into a sheet and form a purse I bought a good bunch of the spools. When I came home, I made a frame and proceeded to make my sheet. I had to stop and go out to buy more thumb tacks but I did complete the first stage that day. The next day (Sunday) I made the black velvet lining but I had to wait till the next weekend to finish this purse. It is not large but is big enough to hold the necessaries!
The world seems a little askew right now because my little kitty, Penelope, had her operation yesterday. And she is totally angry and maybe still a little hung over from the anesthetic. She hates Chester at the moment, so this whole post was typed while I held him in my arms. Maybe her name (temporarily) needs to be changed to Peneloopie! She will talk to me but not to Chester and his feelings are hurt. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


When I moved to Los Angeles to go to design school, I also worked full time. I had no TV or radio, only a phonograph. I would listen to my records and I would paint with water colors. I have never lost my love affair with water colors, except now I don't pick up the brush. I love the way light comes through the page and the paint. It seems to posess far more natural light than any other medium. I used tp paint every night and I only have a few remaining samples of what I did.

I was planning on bringing my two kittens down to L.A.. They were staying with my sister. I had made arrangements to fly them down but the night before they were to come, one was run over by a car. Shortly after that my three year old niece, Patrice said that I had given her the other one.

Curiously, the day my sister told me about my niece, I remembered a dream that I had the night before. In the dream, I had given the cat to my niece. Maybe we met in the twilight and spoke. So, I was left without a cat companion for about six months until my mother gave me this Blue Point Siamese. I named her Mikko. She was a wonderful cat. We had such fun, racing around the apartment. If a date brought me flowers, she would eat them. If a date left a sweater around on the couch, she would chew it. I thought she was jealous and I thought it hysterical.

Mikko became the subject of this painting. I have it always on display. A tribute to my love of this wonderful cat. She was so much more than a cat, she was really a companion to me.

Wonderful time

I went way faraway on Saturday. That is way faraway for a day trip. It took about 1 1/2 hours on the freeways. I had a wonderful time. A friend and I went "way faraway" to visit her daughter, who was cleaning out her fabric stash. I was the lucky receiver. Now this woman, the daughter, happens to be the most impressive seamstress that I have ever encountered. She can whip up bride and bride's maids dresses in about 6 weeks, has two boys and works full time. The sewing she does is breathtaking. I still can't get over the creations she made. I saw one dress that was a prom dress. It was pink, was draped in such a way that the girl wearing it looked like a princess. She must have been the best dressed girl at the prom.
Anyway, I came back with a haul. Six Trader Joe's bags filled. Now comes the problem of finding where to put all this. A small problem compared to my fabric addiction.
She also passed on this little book that was printed in 1974. It has all sorts of small projects that could be fun gifts. This jewelry bag got me to thinking of using my sample silk pieces and whipping up some gifts. I would also include a device to hold necklaces. After all, that is what I wear more than anything else!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Even If I Can't Carry a Tune.....

I can play music, but it is only a few bars at a time. All I have to do is wind up one of my music boxes. I dearly love music but my ability to carry a tune or learn to play an instrument is limited. So my choices are also limited. Radio, Cd's and then there are my music boxes.
Many years ago I started collecting music boxes. I have some lovely ones but if a fire hits the house, one of the items (aside from my precious yin-yang kittens) would be this music box. I made this box from start to finish. I was practicing with making boxes in wood. But the decoration came to me out of the ether. I reduced photos from a Civil War book (I think that I was fair to each side) and I put a Lincoln Penny from 1961 (a hundred year anniversary of the war)on one side, a pellet shot from the field of Gettysburg on another and the remaining two sides I put the two flags of the north and south. All of this took time to accumulate. The flag from the South was brought to me by my niece, when she traveled there. I had purchased the shot from Knott's Berry Farm in about 1969 and kept it in my jewelry box. But the most special and fortuitous piece was a found piece. I encountered it on the parking lot at the grocery store. I almost danced when I saw it! All comes to those that wait. I have a lot of fun, patience and love invested in this little box.
Oh, by the way, it plays "Dixie". I don't know if I am biased or not but when I think about the irony of it, it always makes me giggle.

Friday, May 15, 2009

My Fantasy Jewelry

This is a fantasy that birds are really jewelry. Some birds are so colorful that all you would need is a simple dress or top and then you could wear your bird. I did see a man at a fair wearing a dark navy shirt and on his shoulder he wore that magnificent parrot that was the same color as his shirt. It is this that I tried to capture.
This is a PreColombian Mexican Turquoise. The Mexican Turquoise seems to be a little greener than the Turquoise that we are accustomed to find in the States.
The rest of the stones are Fresh Water Pearls, Malachite (dark green), Malachite and Azurite in combination (green and blue) and Jasper (red) The beads in the necklace is Adventurine Jade (a form of quartz).
When I made this, I tried to capture the bird sitting on a swing. And all the fantasy of wearing a bird!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My Wall Wednesday

This hangs in my bedroom on the wall with many other paintings. However, it does stand on its own, in that it has its own message. This was painted by a young man just beginning to find his own voice. For this, I really enjoy looking at it and seeing the subtext. The items he displayed are items that had been collected by him. Items that had meaning and I think that he infused the meaning into them but..the subtext of the comic setting is a darker side. The way I see it, he is trying to say that life is good but death is lurking. That is how I see it but maybe that is me and not the artist.

The artist has gone on to find his niche is Illustrated Books (the comic book genre that has become so big). And the darker side is still exhibited in his books. He has accumulated awards and honors. And I still enjoy and look forward to the next work that I will see.

Jordan Crane
24 x 30 Acryllic on canvas

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Life in the Midst of......

I promise that this is not a rant but I miss my time when I don't sew. I have not had any time to proceed with my "book bag" for Lucy. And the hard part is that school is almost over. My work in the shop is all consuming and weekend time seems to be in the shop as well. However, last weekend we had a power surge and the phone line for the shop went out. It was blessedly silent. I had forgotten how nice it is not to anticipate the phone.
This morning I was thinking that sewing is an active sport. It is not like knitting, crocheting, or embroidery. I see those as a "put down when interrupted" craft. But for me, sewing is up, down, concentrate, don't interrupt me sport. Before I start sewing I need to get my thoughts together and see what the next step is and then take it. And the only way I can do that is to have time. That is a very precious commodity in my house.
These photos are from my daily walk. My dogs think that I take them for a walk but really I do it for me and they are my companions on the walk.
I tried taking both on a walk but the only time I did that Simon had an encounter (separated by a fence) with another large male. I could not control two large German Shepherds very easily and managed to drag myself back to a telephone pole and hung on till I could get verbal control over the dogs. It probably was very funny to watch but that ended the "two dog" walk.
The Jacaranda trees are now in bloom and they drop their petals all over and they are breathtakingly beautiful. When I look at the petals, the color fills my eyes and my mind. It is wonderful.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

It Ain't Over Till It's Over, Baby!

The other day I was looking for a photo and came across this flyer. The little woman, on the right, is my mother. I was always so proud of her. She was always doing something that seemed huge to me. She could sing so beautifully, she could draw wonderfully, she was funny and loving. I always felt cared about. But I look back on her life and she truly was wonderful. She won contests for drawing, she sang professionally and many people did love her. I wasn't just wearing a child's set of rose colored glasses.
This is what she accomplished after she was 65. She learned to tap dance and was a member of this troupe that went to retirement homes to entertain. She was also the singer for the group. I managed the sound for them, so I got to witness all the perfomances. What fun I had. I could see other people having the same reaction. It was great fun.
These women were all "senior citizens" who learned to tap dance at the same time. And all of the women had the time of their lives.
It is a good lesson for all women that "It aint over till It's over, Baby"

P.S. My Mother made the flyer. This was before color printers!

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Orchid Blooms Again

I am always so pleased when one of my orchids blooms. I have four plants and I tell myself that at least I have kept them alive. My first orchid almost died. I took some one's advice about the caring for an orchid and it almost died. Then I met a man who had the most beautiful orchids and they were so healthy looking. He told me that the very best place for orchids was a bathroom that was eastward facing. In that atmosphere, the orchid receives the temperate climate and the moisture that it needs. He also said I should water it once a week when not in bloom, and twice a week when it is in bloom. Also, feed it once a week when in bloom and once every two weeks, when not. Oh, and don't let it sit in water.

Armed with these simple instructions (I am lucky to have a eastward facing bathroom with a ledge that faces the window), I have kept not just one, but four plants alive. I don't have blooms every year but I do have at least one plant a year with blooms.

The orchid above is the one that almost died. As you can see, it lives.
And if you think about it, those instructions he gave me could apply to living as well.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My Wall Wednesday

This is called "Pogonip." It is in Santa Cruz. It is not far from downtown Santa Cruz and yet it seems many miles from civilization. It puts the mind and soul into another place. As close to the higher self as one can get in this lifetime.

One day, I was in Santa Cruz to celebrate my birthday with my sister. My darling niece whisked my away to take a hike. The day (it was in June) was glorious. The sun was warm and yet there was a very, very slight chill to the air. A sparkling day! We hiked up this path and I remembered all the "roadhouses" that I had seen from my family's car as a child. These "roadhouses" combined a bar and restaurant and were considered family places. We, of course, were never in them but they always looked so romantic to me. This one, in the painting, was a private club that had closed. The whole atmosphere was slightly askew and abandoned. We did not see anyone. Altogether, the hike was memorable.

That night, my sister had invited the rest of her children over. My son and fiancee, Rebecca had come in from Massachusetts. It was lovely. My niece handed me this large, flat package and inside was this wonderful painting.

My photography does not give the true depth and layers of colors that are in the painting.

I framed it in this old frame. The wood came from the 30's and I painted it in shellac. I wanted to be true to time period.

I now look at this painting everyday. I can't separate the day from the painting.

My memories of that day are very warming.

But my aesthetics say that the painting is truly wonderful.

Patrice O'Farrell Hinz

"Pogonip" Acrylic on canvas 22 x 16

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bookbag Progress Report

Well, I am making some progress. My work is awfully busy now and finding time is difficult. But I did find some time on Sunday to work on the bookbag. However making a bookbag is totally different from making a purse. I am looking at this as an exercise to make me more profiicient in concept and design. I have made the strap, the zipper opening on top, the side pocket and the "Crown" design has been put on the other side of bag. Now all I have to do is

1. Find some time to work on it .
2.Cut and sewing lining and add pencil pockets on inside.
3. Get the courage to see if all my calculations are correct and the piece comes together.

Right now, all three reasons are daunting.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Class Photo

My sister and I would laugh and laugh when we looked at this class photo. We especially like the little boy in the bottom right row. He has a black eye. Then there is the girl with the book. She is standing right above the "fighter" at the end of the row.
Then if you look carefully, at the row third up from the bottom, at approximately the middle, you will see my mother carrying her doll. She loved dolls. When she married my father, she wanted to bring all of her dolls with her. But fortunately for my father, her mother discouraged her from that.

I was not especially a doll person and the last doll I received was when I was eleven. It was at Christmastime. My mother and my sister and I went to Berkeley to this wonderful toy store. Now remember, I was eleven going on twelve. I had an older sister, which makes younger siblings aspire to be older. I remember being told to wait in the car, while they went into the store. I knew in my bones that they were going to pick out a doll for me.

By this time I was using the treadle sewing machine to make things for myself and fix my clothes up to my standard. I suppose that if it had been now, I would have tried punk and it was a few years before the hippie look, but I dressed myself.

There I am, sitting in the car, wondering if I can pull off the surprised look when I opened up the box. It was going to be a stretch but I felt I could do it. Both my mother and sister loved dolls. I would have loved an "artist set" full of watercolors, pastels, charcoal and paper. Or best of all, a kitten!

Well, Christmas morning came. I think I pulled it off but thankfully I never received another doll. To me, it was ugly. However, I never got another doll.

But then I am not a doll person.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Junior League Necklace

Since I am not just a string of Pearls necklace wearer, I always think of this as my most conservative necklace. Something I would wear to the Junior League luncheon. That is if I belonged to the Junior League or if it still exists.
This is green Malachite (I love the striations of color in Malachite) and Fresh Water Pink Pearls.
Pearls comes in many colors. All of them lovely and subtle but my favorite are the pinks and the apricots and the blues and the blacks. Oh, my dear, I think that is most of the colors Pearls come in. The only one that I have seen that I am not overly fond of are the ocher. I saw some once that were almost the color of curry powder. They don't sell well because they do not look well on the skin of the average Pearl wearer. But with the right skin tones, they would be a knock-out.
Pearls are my birth stone and I suppose that we all look to our birthstones to see why they are given to that particular month. I believe that it has something to do with Astrology originally. In that, the Astrologers say that each sign exhibits certain traits. Now I can understand why Pearl is given to June. June is supposed to be Gemini and the symbol of Gemini is "The Twins". And Pearls have a changeability because of the nacre (covering the Oyster makes on the grain of sand or sphere placed in the oyster).
Freshwater Pearls are so different from Saltwater Pearls. The colors are more intense or deep and the covering seem softer. Once you have seen the difference side by side, you never forget it.
I think I like Freshwater over Saltwater Pearls. They are more subtle and climb into your psyche.