Monday, December 29, 2014

On Years and Time and Stuff

With a birthday between Christmas and New Year and then the turning of the new year - my mind drifts these days.  Drifting to the past -- all those many years behind me -- all the love I've had in my life, the joy and the pain, the laughter and the tears and just think, here I am - beginning a new year all over again.

Each year I write in a journal.  Earlier on I did it on the computer, just for ease and probably readability too - since my handwriting is awful.  For the past few years I have written each year's journal.  These aren't the 'art journals' that some of you create and that are so beautiful.  These are just no nonsense writings, usually of ideas for future projects or what I worked on that day.  Interjections of something good happening or something bad happening.  

At the end of each year I go back and read the current year's entries.  But then sometimes during this quiet lull at the beginning of the a new year I'll go back and read past years too.  Sort of fun to see where my art journey has taken me over the years.

But now, today, this moment, its time to look ahead.   I hope for all of us its a magical, mystical, marvelous year.

"The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time." - Abraham Lincoln

Friday, December 26, 2014

Sarah's Give Away


I know that Christmas is over but its not too late to sign up for Sarah's giveaway over at  Sarah Fincham's blog 

She is graciously giving away this original drawing shown in her December 16th posting.  The drawing will be at the end of this month.

Loving Sarah's work as I do -- of course I just had to pass this along.

"In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.  For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed." - Khalil Gibran

Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Misfits

Being minimalists for forever, my hubby and I continue our 'low maintenance' holiday decorating.  Except for Mannheim Steamroller's Christmas music (from many, many years ago) and a bit of table top frivolity there is not much going on around here during 'the season'. 

 For those who create beautiful trees each year, my paper tree might be a sad imitation  but I love it.  It was handmade by someone and it seems somehow to put the holiday into delightful perspective.

"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." - Charles Dickens

Friday, December 19, 2014

Winter Solstice

I'm not sure why I am always drawn to this season change.  Is it the silence and solitude that it represents for me?  Is it the slowing down of everything, even my heart?  Is it the nesting feeling that I always have as days and nights get colder and seemingly darker?

I'll let William Carlos Williams speak for me as we greet this year's winter solstice.

Winter Trees
by William Carlos Williams

All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Prudence Pennyworth

'Tis the season when all of the Lickety-Split Savings and Loan customers will be coming in to redeem their Christmas Club savings.   Ms. Pennyworth, owner and president of the L.S. Savings and Loan loves to hand the money out personally.

Ms. Pennyworth inherited the bank from a long line of Pennyworth's and manages it in the very same way her father, grandfather and great grandfather did.  Please don't plan on using the ATM because there isn't one.  No credit cards either.  The L.S. Savings and Loan is strictly cash and carry with a strong emphasis on savings.

For each birth announcement made in the local newspaper Ms. Pennyworth sends a piggy bank (with $5 in pennies inside) to the lucky newborn.  With this she hopes to establish a long life of savings.  She carries pennies from her first bank in her pocket, just to remind herself from whence she came.

The Bank offers very personal service -- as Ms. Pennyworth knows everyone's name and more important exactly how you handle your money. We love her though - as we know she just has our financial interests at heart.

"Pennies do not come from heaven.   They have to be earned here on earth." - Margaret Thatcher

Friday, December 12, 2014

Diary of a Mad Stitcher

Anyone walking into my studio these days would think I'd gone mad - especially given my usual reputation for organization.  Indeed - I've felt a bit 'mad' - not in the angry way, but in the crazy way.

In working on a new group of 'people' my ideas and thoughts have been in overdrive.  Trying to accommodate the style to the fabric that I have on hand wasn't working.  While  this pile of clothes might look like laundry to be done it is really men's shirts in wonderful fabrics that I found at the Goodwill Shop.  Buttons removed they are awaiting their washing, then staining and then who knows what.

Meanwhile, I suspect I'm going to have to tackle my work table as it seems to have a mind of its own lately or else its reflecting my insecurities and craziness.  

"To find a form that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now." - Samuel Beckett

Monday, December 8, 2014

Mother Murphy

I've been remiss in not introducing the owner and manager of Muddle House. She goes by 'Mother' 'Murphy because she raised eleven children of her own and was the neighborhood mother who let everyone play at her house.  So it was natural that after Mr. Murphy passed on (probably from shear exhaustion) she should open a boarding house.  A perfect place to take in dreamers and misfits. 

Of course it also helped that she finally, after 25 years of playing, won the Lottery!!  It gave her enough to remodel the Muddle House, settle in and wait for her tenants to appear on her doorstep. 

Fortunately, those who aren't so proficient at looking after themselves now have a happy, warm place to go.  Couldn't we all, at various times, use a Mother Murphy?

"A woman is the full circle.  Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform." - Diane Mariechild

Friday, December 5, 2014

All around me...

...I see the colors of rust and tea dyed cloth and hot apple cider.

Our Birch tree looks like the leaves have clung to its trunk - or it has been decoupaged by a somewhat incompetent 'paster'.  This is actually the layers of the trunk slowly changing color and releasing themselves from the bark.

I see all of the leaves which sheltered us during the summer now laying on the ground, ready to decay into the earth beneath them.

Some would look at this 'weedy mess' and see just that.  But you and I see the colors and the textures and its all quite beautiful isn't it.

"Now Autumn's fire burns slowly along the woods and day by day the dead leaves fall and melt." - William Allingham

Monday, December 1, 2014

"Bugsy" E. Wilsonette

If you're wandering around Lickety-Split on a sunny day, you'll probably see this mysterious person kneeling in the grass, or peering into a bush.  What is he doing, what is he looking for?  Well he is a recently arrived entomologist.  Yes, we have our very own 'bugologist' here in Lickety-Split.  

Bugsy is on a quest to study any and all insects that come his way.  Trapped in a world of bug spray and fly swatters he tries to educate anyone who will listen, that bugs are 'people' too'.  He has answered many a panicked call from housewives who have encountered a spider or grasshopper inside their house and he is happy to respond. All to save the life of the poor creatures.  

He has also collected quite a few insects for study before he releases them.  This brings a troubled frown to Mother  Murphy, his landlady.  She has made him a deal that he can rent a room at the boarding house but he must clean it himself. As she says "You aren't getting me close to those jars and bottles of his".  Perhaps, as his stay at the boarding house lengthens he'll make a convert of Mother Murphy.

"One thing I did was grow up as an ardent naturalist.  I never grew out of my bug period." - E. O. Wilson

Friday, November 28, 2014


If I had nothing else to be thankful for - I can always go to the word 'abundance'.  We all have stashes -- but mine seem to grow every fall. That's when the fiber shows appear and all manner of 'goodies' are on display.  Now who am I to deny a person a sale, especially when one can get 28 yards of fair trade silk chiffon strips for $4.  One of my dear friends and I split this find - and still I'll never, ever use all of my share.  In the meantime it hangs above my desk so that I can look at it.  Sometimes that's enough of an excuse to add to my stash - the 'look at factor'.

And then there are the craft shops that have those bins in the back where they sell 'stuff' for $1.  Okay - pretty hard to walk past that.  Who in the world needs a huge bundle of pom-poms?  Certainly not me -- but the colors were fun, the puffy balls fun to touch and well...

Never a knitter nor a crocheter will I be (due to the fact that I lack the dexterity of a walrus) but does that mean I don't have yarn in my stash?  Of course not -- there it is this 'puddle' of softness, sitting in a wire basket along with other acquisitions.  

What can I say?  These things make me happy. Its easy to justify it all as 'pieces of art' in a raw form - many of them destined to never go further than their studio setting. They are doing their job of exciting me each and everyday with the beauty of fiber. 

"Not what we have but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance." - Epicurus 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Kerry Keyes

Only recently has Kerry moved out of the family  home to live ‘on her own’  - for the very first time I might add. Her very protective parents took a lot of convincing that she could do this. You see  sometimes Kerry is a bit on the befuddled side.

When the boarding house opened she just knew it would be a good place for her.  Oh heaven!  To have her own nest up on the second floor where she can come and go as she pleases.  Yes, It’s only a room in the boarding house – but sometimes that’s all a person needs.  

These days, when she wanders around town, she wears her room key around her neck and carries her map in her pocket -- just in case.

"Your goals are the road maps that guide you and show you what is possible for your life." - Les Brown

Friday, November 21, 2014

Story Telling

Its magic is it not?  This story telling of ours.  Yes, all of us in blog land are basically story tellers.  Some of us tell factual tales of our life, our loves and the world around us.  Others tell stories through images - of beauty and grace and magical places.  Yet others make up stories - stories of ogres and witches and fairies and princesses -- or even of everyday life in a town like Lickety-Split.  

With each  posting we share a bit about ourselves, even if we don't mean to. And in reading the others' posts we learn what is important to the writer, what is loved and what is hated and where you've been and where you're going and once again its MAGIC!

Keep on spinning the tales and sharing the real...

"I like that 'once upon a time' quality, where the telling of a tale has an elevated sense of story.  There's a whimsical quality to it.  Sometimes in fairy tales more things seem possible, even though often they're real world based." - Erin Morgenstern

Monday, November 17, 2014

Luna Moon

The newest resident in the boarding house is Luna Moon.  She is so thrilled because she was able to rent the attic room - which has a lovely window, high enough that she can see the moon in all its phases.

As a child Luna would look out her bedroom window, which was right beside her bed, and gaze at the silvery orb of the moon.  Many wishes and dreams were carried out before her eyes grew heavy and she went to sleep.

These day she absolutely refuses to believe the stories of men on the moon and that its surface is barren rock.  Luna is caught up in moonlight and no amount of science will dissuade her. I think I might even see a few moonbeams in her hair.  Shhh, please don't take her dreams away. 

"Aim for the moon.  If you miss, you may hit a star." - W. Clement Stone

Friday, November 14, 2014

Playing Around

Sometimes its fun just to mess around with fabric and stuffing.  Making up templates, drawing around them, stitching, cutting, turning, filling.  Wondering if this will work or that will work or if any of it will work.  Trying to imagine these bases turning into the idea that is in my head.  Sometimes getting it out of my head, through my fingers is a lot more difficult than I had anticipated.  But for me,  playtime is essential to creativity -- that's pretty much what its all about.

"Trust that little voice in your head that says 'wouldn't it be interesting if...'; and then do it." - Duane Michals

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Minstrel

Lately the sound of bells has been heard on the streets of Lickety-Split - and not the regular church bells either.

No, it seems that one of the first boarders at The Muddle House is wandering our streets.  Each step produces a slight tinkle of bells.  If you listen closely you might even hear him singing, softly under his breath.

Many of us in the neighborhood are spending more time on our porches these days, listening for his 'joyful noise". 

"A bell's not a bell 'til you ring it, 
A song's not a song 'til you sing it,
Love in your heart wasn't put there to stay,
Love isn't love 'til you give it away." - 
Oscar Hammerstein II

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Land of Make-Believe

Before beginning my recent 'doll blitz' I had forgotten how much fun it was to live in the 'land of make-believe'.  My fondest memories of childhood are those that involved some kind of make-believe world, even if it was in my backyard or in the field across the street from our house. 

To creatively play as an adult is the grandest thing ever.  Each day my head is filled with thoughts and ideas - and most especially how I can represent these ideas to others.

What a gift it is to suspend disbelief and just let your mind roam around possibilities.  So what land of 'make-believe' are you following today?  I'd love to hear your story (or stories).  Let's share a little make-believe, suspending reality just for a little bit.

"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells.  Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, its a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.  Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life's realities." - Dr. Seuss

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Boarding House

Everyone in Lickety-Split has been very curious about the old "Muddle Mansion".  Someone has been in there fixing it up (and it badly needed it since Mr. Muddle deserted it for the 'old folks home').  Who bought it?  What do you think they're going to do with it? Isn't it looking lovely these days? The questions have been bouncing all over town.

The other day an ad appeared in the back of the Lickety-Split Tribune - complete with picture.  It created quite a stir among the 'proper' ladies around town.

Announcing The Opening
"The Muddle House"
We provide rooming for misfits 
and free spirits.
For a small rent you will have a
private room with bath.
A hot breakfast will be provided every morning.
Only the whimsical need apply.

Now what do you think they mean by that????

"I have fallen in love with the imagination.  And if you fall in love with the imagination, you understand that it is a free spirit.  It will go anywhere, and it can do anything." - Alice Walker


Friday, October 31, 2014




Monday, October 27, 2014

Testing 1, 2, 3...

I still have more Lickety-Split Ladies to be created, but the wanderlust bug has struck and I'm venturing through some new ideas.  Always fun to experiment.   A lot of trial and error...

 First some practice with legs...

Practice pieces, making notes as I went along.  Cautionary rules and regulations for myself...

All this time, my mind is wandering through doors, down halls, up stairs -- seeing what I want this small creature to become.  Isn't this just the best fun a person can have?

"Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun." - Randy Pausch

Friday, October 24, 2014

Round the World Blog Hop

Alex from UNDER A TOPAZ SKY contacted me before we went on vacation and asked me to be part of a round the world blog hop started by Hilary of "Living to Work".  Of course in my usual fashion I forgot completely about it -- but here I am, a bit late but still ready to share.  I come to you from Hendersonville, North Carolina.  I've lived all over the United States -- but this place came at just the right time for me. The creative population abounds in this area and the arts are truly treasured.  You almost have to create something with your hands if you live here.

1. What am I working on?

Lately I've been busy creating the Ladies of Lickety-Split which are cloth dolls with stories.  Doll making has been an integral part of my life. While I sometimes veer off in other directions: book art, beading, punchneedle - I always come back to the making of dolls.  Just in the past few days I've set the "Ladies" aside and am working on a whimsical cloth doll - which involves only a smidgen of reality. Watch for it at a later date...

2.  How does my work differ from others in its genre?

As a whole this isn't something that I think about too much.  Of course I don't want my work to imitate (or heaven forbid) copy anyone else's work.  I do think that doll making opens one up to imaginative play and there are some very, very imaginative doll makers.  I guess my work only differs in that its mine -- with my theme/story choices, color choices, fabric and material choices.  

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

Because it makes me happy!  That's it in a nutshell.  I purposely do not give myself deadlines, nor do I worry about 'what will sell' (as I have in the past) but I just create because my mind and my hands demand it.  Its a joyful process and I do everything I can to protect that joy. I'm so very grateful that I'm at a point in my life where I have the time with which to spend hours in my studio.  Being frivolous with my time and creativity is my goal these days.

3. How does my writing/creating process work?

During my morning walks I let my thoughts go where they may.  Sometimes I'm just in awe of the beauty around me - other times my mind is busy, busy, busy with ideas for a new 'personality'.  All too often I'm walking home so quickly you'd think something was chasing me.  But no, that's just me trying to remember the random thought I'd had so I can write it down.  Yes, I should take a small recorder or a pen and notepad - but gee where would the excitement be in that? 

The other stimulation I get is from material things (especially fabric) but also  yarn or fiber that I just have to use.  I am totally vulnerable when it comes to buttons or 'found object' metal items -- these often whisper their story to me before I've even had a chance to think about it. Lately, my focus (if I have one) is to let my imagination go and to not let that inner critic pop out.  

Let me introduce --

One of my greatest joys is to visit friends online.  What a treat to look inside another stitcher's studio to see what they're doing and especially how they are doing it. I pass along to you two of my favorites -- I know you're going to enjoy following them, if you don't already.

 Rachel of VirtuoSewAdventures is definitely a 'virtuoso' when it comes to needlework.  She constantly stretches herself, using new (and difficult) stitches in her work.  I love the fact that she creates her art using historical references, pictures from long ago, symbols used in the past.  She uses her stitches to make a new representation always putting it into context of the stitch and staying true to the original image.  Rachel lives near Liverpool in the UK  - so far away.  What would it be like to see her work in person -- oh  my!!  For now I recommend that you stop by for a visit - I know you'll be amazed.

JenClaire of Bayou Quilts resides in Louisiana (hey Jen, not so far from North Carolina).  I think she and I are on the same wavelength.  Jen is creating some wonderful, fanciful dolls which I adore.  She's got a bit of the adventurer in her, doing some of this, some of that.  I love it that I never know what she'll show me when I drop by.  Her figures seem to me to be full of LIFE.  She loves to experiment and to play (my kind of gal). 

Jen also maintains a book review blog named A Garden in the Pocket.  I think I need to stop by there more often as she has reviewed some very interesting looking books.  

Hoping you'll visit these creative women - I know you'll enjoy.             

NOTE:  I'm so sorry -- my computer was giving me fits when I tried to link in Alex, Rachel and Jen's sites.  Please forgive me.  If you Google the names I'm sure you'll be able to check in with them.


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