Saturday, May 29, 2004

I puke; therefore I am...

I have been working all day on trying to get linings and details sewn up on my handfelted bags. Fun Nazi: "No fun for you!" The fun was the felting. Measuring linings for irregularly sized pieces and sewing them by hand sucks donkey-shlongers.

Now that I am somewhat delirious and wanting to go bed, Baxter decided to get all existential on me and prove that he does indeed vomiting on the foot of bed. Do I have a clean set of sheets? Um, that would be a negative. Do I feel like doing laundry this late? That would also be a negative. I'm going back to handsewing and then it looks like I'm going to lull myself to sleep to the smell of old baked potatoes...

Friday, May 28, 2004

life is damned rollercoaster...

And why did God decide to put me in the front car? He's taking pictures of my wide-eyed, flapping-cheeked face going down the hill--and selling them on Ebay for fun. Ha! Ha! Ha. I feel like I'm riding the White-Knuckle Special these days. Ok, enough whining. Things are good when taken in perspective.

I couldn't get to sleep last night for two hours because I was thinking of all the hundreds of details to be wrapped up before this year's first art/craft show next weekend. It's not a big show for me, but a show is a show. And shows make me shit in my pants. Maybe it's because my craft means so much; maybe it's because having your innards on display can be painful.

Show attendees can either bolster your self-esteem or be absolute jerks. I'll never forget one felter, who is known internationally for her work, was at a show and a customer came up and said she should study with so-and-so to improve her work--that so-and-so was really good and could really help her along. If the dumbass had paid any attention to who she was talking to she would have noticed that she was actually talking to "so-and-so." All in all I guess it wound up being a compliment, but...sheesh.

I get people coming in going both "wow," and the Whisperers who come in and, while sneaking glances at me, talk about how "they could make that" and "we could do better than that!" or "we should be doing this." My advice is, you go right ahead. You go right ahead and get your work photographed, send applications out, pay exorbitant fees to get into shows, buy tents, build displays, get business cards printed, take off time from work to travel to shows, spend eight to twelve hours a day talking to people, hoping to sell, having your work dissected by rude people and hopefully appreciated by others. And don't forget to pay the taxes, fill out the paperwork, rent a Uhaul or borrow a van to haul your crap to and from shows, get rated by fair judges who may or may not know what they are doing, get into juried local guilds to build a reputation...and the list goes on and on... Yeah, please join the crowd. You have to really want to do it. Oops, I forgot you have to make time to MAKE your art. That takes a wee bit of time, too...especially if you are trying to fill a whole booth.

So there, I said it.

What was I going to talk about?

I forgot.

Sorry about the rant. I'll try to post more pictures this weekend.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

insert whining here...

In order to save you from reading the same old blather, today I'm merely going to simulate my whining. How much you are entertained will depend on the extent of your own imagination.

Wah! Wah, wah wah and then wah wah wah wah. Waa-a-a-a-a-a-h! Wah? Hell-wah!!!! Wah wah wah, you know, wah wah... Wah. Wah, mostly more wah. But wah? Wah beyond wah. Wah wah wah wah wah tangled up with wah. WAH BIG. wah small. WaH iN-bEtWeEn. Just wah. Super-duper wah-wah.


Tuesday, May 25, 2004

and you thought I crushed beer cans on my forehead for fun...

Take the quiz: "Which American City Are You?"

San Francisco
Liberal and proud, you'll live your lifestyle however you choose in the face of all that would supress you.
Seen at Driving with Dawn

le poop...

I did two pieces of felt last night, both failures. One can be fixed and one is going to be turned into a money bag to be used at fairs. Sometimes you just don't have the mojo going on. It's funny, I can feel when things are going to turn out and then other times when I don't have an "inner flow" going on, no matter how hard I try, the piece isn't worth looking at. Go figure.

More later frijoles!

Monday, May 24, 2004

this and that and some of those...

Gary Trudeau intends on naming all the U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq in his Memorial Day cartoon. Keep an eye out for it: Story Here...

I was assigned to be "event photographer" over the weekend for work--and this and that bothering me kept me from being terribly productive with more felt. I can't talk about This and That here because it pertains to Another Person. I can't cross those lines on the blog. So I am still working through some stuff...the same stuff that mostly caused the original creative block. I will toil through it and I hope it doesn't block me again. It feels better to throw myself into my artwork and let it be for a while.

I am thinking about putting a small aquarium in my office to keep me perked up during the day. I feel like I'm working in a WWII bunker. It's a nice office, but absolutely no natural light, which makes for a Grumpy Girl Who Eats Too Much. I might make the leap into aquarium-dom at the end of the week when I get paid. "Here, fishy, fishy..."

Friday, May 21, 2004


Tired. I just have to thank you all again for all the nice comments. It's really helped me! I'm trying to get stuff done for my first craft show for the summer, which is the first weekend in June, so I have lots to do. I'm basically working my fingers to the bone every night after getting home from work, which is fun, but I'm getting really tired. That's okay, it's only a's the soul-tired I can't handle. I'll have some more pics this weekend. Gotta get back to work for The Man so I can buy more wool!

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

aw, shucks y'all!

After muddling through such an awful--and terribly long--creative dryspell your kind comments on my latest stuff felt to me like a million hugs from a best friend. Thanks all for taking the time to encourage a friend on the mend. I can't tell you how much I appreciate you all. You helped energize my heart and hands...

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

I'll leave no fingerprints...

I have no skin left on my hands, but quite frankly, I don't care. Got a jewelry heist for me to carry out? No problem, I have no fingerprints...

Anyway, here's more felting project photos as promised (most are the main parts of bags--i.e. straps and details have not been added yet):
First, for Cari, the planned strap for honeybuns...not attached yet, but in its proposed position...the strap is a felted braid.

Next up is the wool and Bashkir Curly Horsehair bag. I was initially disappointed, but when I brushed the horsehair to get rid of as many loose hairs as possible, it began looking like fur. Whoa, cool! And no animals were harmed in the making of this bag!

Below is a simple little green bag I'm calling "Lilypads" or maybe "Monet Meets the Liliputians." It's merino with merino and hand-dyed silk accents.

The next one is my favorite...a bag I'm calling "Radioactive Jewels." It's merino with merino accents and lots of my own hand-dyed silk. I love the zip of the shiny tussah!

and the other side:

Here is an earthtone bag in merino and mixed wools...

And that, my friends, is the end of our show. Please dispose of your popcorn bags and drink cups in the proper containers...

it's about the the horse of course...

Last night I worked on a wool bag that incorporated fiber from the American Bashkir Curly Horse. I've had this fiber sitting around for a while and finally got around to experimenting with it. It made for a really rustic bag, but I'm afraid it will shed like crazy. I'll post pics later of that bag and others I've been working on.

To grommet or not to grommet; that is the question. I am most definitely having grommet anxiety.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

honeybuns anyone?

I thought I would show some felting process pictures since I tend to not do that so often. This is a circular bag I'm going to call "honeybuns." What you're seeing is the making of the main part of the bag. First I layout all the wool. This first layer is about 2 ounces of Norwegian wool with mixed wools as decoration. Underneath the layer is a resist of calico cloth. The resist will keep the sides from sticking together when I add the other side. The layout here is about 16 or 18 inches across.

Now I'm adding hot water and soap and pressing all the air out of the first layer (a second layer waits off to the side for joining in a minute). In order to keep the wool from sticking to my hands, I use a slick material over the wool. It's important to not move the wool around at this point or your layout will be destroyed.

I've added the second layer, carefully overlapped the edges all around (the resist is now completely enclosed inside) and I've pressed all the air out of the wool again after adding more hot soapy water. This image below shows the piece after about 20 minutes of gently pressing everything together and very gently rubbing with the protective material as a buffer. The felt is just now holding together here and I can carefully flop it from one side to another without it falling apart.

Now comes about two or three hours of manual labor, rolling the felt in a bamboo sheet, spot felting the edges and joins on a glass washboard (that's what you see below), throwing on the table, rubbing, screaming and sweating. As soon as I feel the felt getting "tough," I cut away the opening of the bag and hold my breath while removing the calico. Getting smooth, even joins or seams is probably the most difficult part of this type of 3-D felting--also called Scandinavian felting.

You can see the resist (I used calico/tight weave cotton, but you can use other things) has kept the layers from felting together and has given me a completely seamless pouch!

The basic felting process is now done and I have the base pouch to play with. Lots of details are left, but the seamless pouch is finished except for a vinegar dip (one cup to a gallon of water) to neutralize the soap's alkaline residue. I also "shaved" this bag so the design would show up better. It was a bit hairy. The finished bag is about two-thirds the original size!

Secret Agent Eyebooger observes from the spelsau batt and is not amused.

Friday, May 14, 2004

spinning out of control...

Considering I rarely finish a knitting project, can you tell me why I spun all this? Navajo-ply, two-ply, singles of all thicknesses, hand-dyed, commercial roving, handcarded, spun from the fold, straight on...I just want to roll in it. I think about knitting it, but I wind up just smelling and squeezing it. Clearly, I have a disorder.


Too bad it's not funny...

Thursday, May 13, 2004

kitties like wool, too...

I was working on some felt this evening and I heard some crinkling and crumpling going on this box that was behind me...

After lifting the pink paper, I saw that Mr. Rooney, a.k.a. Secret Agent Eyebooger, decided to make a nest in my best Norwegian wools...

Sadie, a.k.a. Princess Fat Dog, did a good job with the investigation, so all is secure again.

So, I've been doing some different things with my wool lately. These are wet-felted from loose wools as usual, but in some different designs. These are only the base parts of the bags...there's lots of finishing to do to them (funky linings, felt straps--which I like to put on the outside, instead of felted in)...anyway, some of the creative block is giving way...

RTB Scratchcard Edition...

Check out the Rocky Top Brigade Scratchcard Edition posted by our illustrious, bat-loving host Queen MedB.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

stuff I don't want to know about but should...

From Abu Ghraib to Latin America: Map of U.S. Pattern of Abuse Grows
Torture of Iraqi Soldiers Indicative of Ongoing Policy of Systematic and Illegal Abuse
Recent reports of the torture of Iraqi detainees at the Abu Ghraib military prison near Baghdad are part of a larger pattern of abuse and torture at the hands of U.S. soldiers, U.S.-trained soldiers, "independent contractors" and intelligence agents around the world. In fact, U.S. Army intelligence manuals advocating torture techniques and how to circumvent laws on due process, arrest and detention were used for at least a decade to train Latin American soldiers at the U.S. Army's School of the Americas, renamed in 2001 the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation or WHINSEC.
read more if you can stomach it...

And I can't even begin to talk about Nick Berg.

Someone said to me the other day "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't..." The comment wasn't related to the demise of humanity or the current political arena, but it sure does fit a lot of the scenarios currently at play.

Part three (or so) of the money beggar dilemma...

Last night I went out to water the herb and shade garden because our house has been earmarked to have an individualized drought while rain falls in all other neighborhoods around us and a lady walked by and said "hi." I said "hi, how are you?" back to her. Then she asked me for money to feed her baby and that she wouldn't have money until tomorrow because her son, who works at the McDonald's down the street, won't get paid until then.

I thought about telling her the truth--that I really didn't have anything to give her, but our house probably suggests otherwise. So I just very apologetically said I can't. She told me to have a blessed evening and walked on. My heart wanted to give, but my brain kept stepping in, having been scammed so many times.

Then I felt like shit anyway.

Even though I knew she was probably lying.

I thought later the next time someone says they need money for food, I will offer to go get them something and bring it right back. Then, it will be obvious if they are wanting food or something else.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Cades Cove...

In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park there's a place called "Cades Cove," a beautiful scenic valley with lots of wonderful wildlife. Ma and I drove through there after we went horseback riding last week. If we had driven through during the morning or early evening hours we would have seen hundreds of deer munching in the fields. East Tennessee is a beautiful place.

Monday, May 10, 2004

unbearable shame...

I feel so much shame over the treatment of Iraqi prisoners that I have avoided blogging about it after the initial shock of the news. My Fellow Man needs a copy of the Geneva Convention in order to know that rape, torture and humiliation of prisoners is wrong? My Fellow Man takes pictures of unspeakable acts and smiles for the world to see the depravity present in our own kind?

thank you, you son-of-a-bitch...

No really, I mean that with all my heart. I forgot to thank the drunken creep who started ringing our doorbell at 3:45 a.m. Monday morning because he said he needed $17 to get a tow truck for his wife and "they won't take checks or debit cards."

Neither hubby or I could sleep after that. We seem to be on the National Scam Interstate Route. Last week it was a girl saying she needed to talk to 1,000 people who would rate her on her friendliness and buy from her list of magazines. I just plainly told her we'd been scammed before and I couldn't do it. She said "well, that ruins it for the rest of us." Really?

We always get the same amount requested from us ($15-$18). Is that what a little bag of
"sumpin-supmin" costs these days? It seems to be the going rate around here. Ah, the joys of living near downtown.


I'm back. One person asked me how my vacation was and that's only because he wanted me to do something. I miss the old days in my department when everyone was really friendly and we all went on beach trips together and such. It's not like that anymore. Update 5-11: Okay, so I was just being bitchy. My office-bud, Inn was even out sick upon my return, so yah, I can be dramatic and bitchy all at the same time...'cause I'm multi-talented like that! Sorry, Inn. Ahem, oh yeah, a couple of people asked me later in the day anyway. Double the dose.

Oh well, I have to suck it up and pay the bills.

I had a nice relaxing vacation. I spent some time with my mom with whom I went horseback riding, hoofed around nearby Asheville and played slots. I took her to a casino for a day of gambling on Mother's about that for a non-traditional gift? She had a blast and so did I.

I did one sculpt of a doll head and a couple of felt pieces, but other than that I am still experiencing creative block. I think I'm perpetuating the problem by worrying about it.

So I'm not going to worry about it. I hope you all have been well. I gave myself a week-long break from blogging as well.

Thanks for giving Leigh-Anne so much feedback on the commemorative knit kit. I thought it was pretty neat, too. Happy Monday...blech!

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