About Me

Thursday, February 11, 2010


A leisure pleasure of mine on a Sunday morning is to read  the Joggles Newsletter, wherein I find the latest info on books and products and classes and SALES. This week Barbara was lamenting the Punxutawney prediction of an extended winter and offered subscribers a special to get even with Phil.  This evoked a chuckle and a reminder of my own war waged on rodents last summer.

To the right you see my 94 year young father with the cabin he and my mother built themselves in 1938.  Along with scalloped moldings, red gingham curtains and folksy homilies rendered in cross stitch, my mother, an artist, designed  a loft railing that features  cut out squirrels.  Over the years we've extended this theme.

We used Mother's original pattern to make a railing for the loft in the cabin addition.  Throughout  is a collection of antique and vintage nutcrackers, and the abundance of squirrel and acorn decor items should attest to our family's fondness for critter cuteness.  The first quilt top I ever made was nuts and squirrels!


When we opened the cabin in late June we were pleased to find the place neat and tidy, no sign of the mice  we usually anticipate; in fact the mouse bait was untouched.  But wait!  Oh, some broken glass; a mouse must have knocked a tumbler down from the built-in hutch.  Uh oh -- big shards of pottery; a large pitcher found it's way from a top display shelf to the floor.  No mere mouse could have helped it along.  I should mention that windows are still shuttered during this investigation.  I step on something.  Pinecone remains.  More, and sizeable, too!  Then a whole pinecone, just lying there waiting to become a snack.

I clean up the mess and ponder the mystery.  The cabin is pretty secure, so it would be difficult for a squirrel to get in unless it were in when we closed up.  But the pinecones, 6-7 inch pinecones?  So the glass was just a drinking glass and the pitcher wasn't vintage Bauer and I had a little extra sweeping chore.  I remove the  dust covers from the furniture.  Everything looks fine even when I remove all the throw pillows and cushions that have been stacked and covered with plastic.  You know my sigh of relief is short lived, don't you?

I want everything so perfect for my dad's arrival.  This marked the first time DH and I had completed a cycle of opening and closing by ourselves.  In the living room (the cabin's original room) We have a single bed with bolsters and cushions that doubles as a sofa.  It was in making up this bed that I became aware of nesting.  A neat nest, to be sure, but nasty nevertheless.  What you're looking at to the right is the window seat cushion from the dining area.  On the bed the critter (may it crisp in rodent hell) gnawed into the base of one of bolsters, but found the foam filling not to taste.  It made it's way down toward the mattress but only got through the cotton twill spread and a thermal blanket.  I threw those away and everything else got washed or heavily Lysolled.  Then I got to work repairing damaged upholstery which was new and customized and couldn't just go to waste.  These are the patches I made.  

Did I make my point?  Am I nuts?  A little on the squirrelly side?

Friday, February 05, 2010


I've been absorbing myself in Transformative Dollmaking, the Joggles class I'm taking from Pamela Hastings. Among other things, our first assignment called for us to make a paper doll that reflected our happy days and the not so good ones.  I complied with a two-sided doll based on a pattern she supplied.

To the right you see me tickled pink and tripping the light fantastic above my desk.   This was my first play with paper collage, so the educational experience was doublefold.  I have so much to learn.  Never mind that my foil wings bear glue smudges and fingerprints.
Never mind that my mylar stockings are wrinkled.  Never mind that my tissue paper arms were so tattered I had to cover them with lace.  I played.  After applying my acryllic facial foundation, I put on minimal makeup with a pen.  I styled my hair with petals from an old carnation corsage.  A little stick-on bling at my neck and a big heart do it for accessorizing my dowdy, somewhat old fashioned print dress.  I am happy today.

Below is my alter ego.  Thankfully I'm an optimist and born with a sense of humor that sustains me in difficult times, so even though I can be as witchy as the next gal, my anger is typically short lived.
Most of my bad days stem from frustration, impatience, discouragement, and fleeting resentments.  My depression is genrally controlled by medication, although I do occasionally have anxiety breakthrough.  My recent grief was the first time an emotion left me debilitated.  I would never have imagined  that creating a grouch could make me laught and have so much fun.

My beloved DH cringes whenever he sees me saving "stuff".  If you're reading this, you know what I'm talking about.  There are times he vocalizes that I hoard and belong on a certain TV show.  I will allow only that caching stash is sometimes problematic. I mention this only because I got to use some unlikely keepers in this project.  Like that corsage I mentioned?  From a commercial floral class about 20 years ago. 

Also unlikely are the wings.  I'm not sure why a witch would have wings unless she's fallen from grace.  Anyway they're tarnished.  Look closely.  That's embossed toilet paper I used to blot while I sprayed various inks and starbursts and saved from an earlier project.  It absorbs beautifully and randomly in color and stays strong; it worked fine with the gel medium I used.  And you know, I'm not sure why my happy side has wings.  Maybe  they  symbolize my resuming creative flight.

My inner imp is wearing a dyed coffee filter!  Yes, yes, last week I decided to experiment with some months old cold water dye solutions.  I dyed bleached and unbleached filters and learned the bleached come out a little brighter.  This particular one is unbleached and chosen to match the catalog cutout of "The Witch is In".  Do not ask why I owned a gold bandana with primitive hearts, as I have no clue.  But I love how the heart looks pierced by pins to cause me pain.  The arms are coffee filters given a multicolor treatment with the same dyes.  The dye bleed like watercolors on the filters; I just dropped the color randomly and watched it run and marble.  I did purchase paper for the legs.  I could not resist the filigree and spider webbing to sub for fishnet stockings.  My witchiness has a sleazy side as evidenced by those tarnished wings, and I suspect her presence by my computer is to lure me to a game of scrabble or spider solitaire, anything to keep me off productive task.