Monday, December 28, 2009

Ho, ho, ho. This isn't funny at all.

To maximize the $6.99 value of the pet sweater, I thought it would be lovely if Lester (he of the pink nose) would model before it gets packed away. You may recall Larry, the brown-noser, modeled it rather unsuccessfully on Christmas Eve.
Lester was even less amused, delivering a one-two hook sans claws (or maybe it was Santa Claws). In fact, he wiggled and squirmed so much he was able to leap right out of the sweater in mid-air. So much for cat couture and holiday cheer. I thought it was a tasteful gift; I guess they wanted catnip.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A new appreciation for sewers

No, not sanitation systems, although I appreciate those also. I mean people who can operate a sewing machine, or in this case, anyone who can wield a needle and thread without drawing blood, tangling one's materials in knots or making the finished object look like it was not sewn by King Kong or a Far Side cow (they of no opposable thumbs).

I was all thumbs in my first attempt at making a sock monkey, and worse still, I was late and missed most of the free class offered by the American Visionary Art Museum this Saturday. My first clue that I was in trouble was the lack of parking. And when I finally took the elevator up to the third floor classroom of the Jim Rouse (creator of Columbia, where I live) Visionary Center, I was shocked to find fiberfill flying everywhere and what looked like 300 men, women and children busily cutting, sewing and stuffing socks into fabric precursers of homo sapiens.

I couldn't even see a registration table; just dozens of round tables full of socks, buttons, yarn and more. Luckily, a woman wearing a "Monkey Helper" nametag took pity on me and gave me a pattern and five minutes of instruction. Then she started cleaning up. I felt pretty sheepish, thinking I could just drop in anytime--that's how I had understood the event. I also felt pretty disappointed, knowing sewing is not my strong skill and thinking I'd never manage to make a sock monkey, or even a sock amoeba.

But determination is a virtue, or something like that, and I stitched away into the wee hours, mostly because my neighbors were having a raucous party. By 3 a.m. I had a head, torso, legs and one ear, as well as two daisy buttons that gave Gladys all her personality. It really is all in the eyes.

I woke up this morning eager to finish, and hoping all the party-going neighbors had well-earned headaches. I had one, too, from trying to thread my needle without my glasses. But seeing Gladys with all her limbs intact and her wired tail made me feel all better. That, and some oatmeal monster (I mean monkey) cookies we made after that.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A quick post from Tinsel Wonderland

These photos are all related, although it might be a little hard to understand old dollies, a grinning dog, a tree topper and giant cheese puffs. They are all connected by the sweet and talented person in the bottom photo, my dear friend, the delightful Lisa Kettell. I was lucky enough to spend last weekend with Lisa, her family, friends, six inches of snow and DJ the wonderdog (seen above just after getting a treat and sliding it off the counter stealthily).

Lisa conducted a class in making the clay-headed, paper cone-bodied angel tree toppers in Lafayette, NJ at a workshop she called Tinsel Wonderland on Dec. 5. It was a snowy wonderland, thanks to mother nature, and an extra-pleasant time, thanks to Lisa's mother Joan. The other lovely attendees, like Terri Ventura and Pam Huntington made it extra-special, too.

This is a short post, but check out Lisa's many pictures on Facebook, Flickr and her blog. And mark your calendar for April 7-10, 2010 for Art Opera in Red Bank, NJ.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Oh, Scrap!

Yes, that Glamour Don't (DO wear pants) greeted me inside the front door of The Scrap Exchange. I knew right then it was going to be a great and fun shop! Their motto is "We Collect, You Create." I'm all about that. And collect I did, from old dental x-rays (cool! yuck!) to paper spools, brocade trim, test tubes and more.

Set up as a not-for-profit, this organization has been collecting industrial and paper scraps and other funky materials to be reclaimed and repurposed through their store, gallery, workshops and parties. They are open seven days a week and feature a gallery of finished art for sale as well as not just aisles and aisles of scrap, but rooms and rooms of scrap. It IS altered art heaven.

Imagine all the cast-off floppy disks you could ever want, pounds of paper, tubs of old keys, film cannisters, spools, lids. What about an entire "science" aisle? I was ecstatic with the bins of test tubes, beakers, pipettes, and lots of weird medical stuff.

There's also true vintage stuff intact, like old games, suitcases and clothing, as well as newly-made cool jewelry from scrap and vintage scrap. Check their Web site by following the link at top for an Iron Crafter challenge, event calendar and other activities, or visit their blog here.

Headed to New Jersey

What could be better than a Tinsel Wonderland Workshop? How about a Tinsel Wonderland Workshop led by the inimitable Lisa Kettell? See? There IS something better. So, I'm headed to New Joisey from Balmore, as the locals say. Actually, I wonder if people in New Jersey like it when interlopers say "New Joisey" or some silly variation. My guess is no. I'd better leave my nearly half-century Midwestern twang at the door. If you think about it, don't we all talk funny?

I'm excited to be hanging with Lisa, founder and creator of Art Opera, sad that I won't meet Ann-Denise Anderson, a fellow Lisa fan and supporter and artist in her own right, curious about what we're going to make (Santa's Toy Apothecary, a clay and paper mache Christmas tree with doll-head topper), and ready for some great antiquing at Lafayette Mill Antiques Center.

It seems like so long ago that I 'met' Lisa that I can't remember how or when. I think it was in her private Flickr group, The Faerie Zine, whose actual zine you can order on Amazon here. Not sure. We became fast friends, and I was honored to be asked to submit a piece for her first book, Altered Art Circus, which you can also order on Amazon. We've swapped art, we've commiserated, we've it will be fun to see her leading a workshop. TTYL and BRB...gotta go get my art on.