checking in

I have been working. I’m doing that part of the job where I am getting all the parts sorted out (matching dyed “tattooed” body piece to plain flesh color pieces and then cutting parts out), stuffing groups of already sewed animals (kitties and foxes) and giving them faces,

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and moving forward with dressing some of the them. I had a fox girl that I had promised to make so those are moving forward first.

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Soon I will have some finished pieces to show. But, the thing is, that really isn’t why I’ve been so quiet.

*** trigger warning for liberal politics- stop here if you can’t stand anymore***

I have just been so overwhelmed and distracted by what is happening here in the US. I have had a hard time focusing on my work. I get sucked into checking the news multiple times a day. My social media feeds (twitter, facebook) are filled with all the terrible news. I find myself thinking, I will just go peek and see what horrifying thing this new administration has done since the last time I looked. I know this is bad for me. I have to limit my exposure but I vacillate between feeling like I need to be informed and wanting to put my head under the covers and block everything out. I am a person who has struggled with depression my entire life but focusing on my work is what has kept me stable and functional for years now. I have to find my way back to my focus, and I know I will, but it is mental exercise and that is hard work.

This blog has never been a place for politics. Someone once told me that my blog was their little oasis from the real world. I am not planning on changing the focus of the blog. I will give a trigger warning if I feel like I need to vent again. But, I can’t remain completely silent. Someone in my life recently said to me, it doesn’t matter who won the election, they were both the same. Honestly, it ruined my day to think that anyone believes that and I consider it to be deliberate ignorance. We are at the beginning of a very scary time. I will be participating in some art projects as one of the ways I will express my resistance and that will be showing up here.

This is what I worked on all of Inauguration Day. It is for a community art project for the window at Gather Here.

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And this is what I posted on Saturday in solidarity with all the Women marching.

1-26-resist - 1 (1)Now that I’ve finally written this post, I am hoping I can get things back to normal around here, posting and all. I was feeling completely blocked so phew.

 

November news

I’m not very good at starting a newsletter but this monthly news post is working for me. Things are very busy around here!

I have been wanting to announce my latest ornaments for West Elm but didn’t want to do it before Halloween- that just seemed wrong. This year’s ornaments are a sweet Owl family! I can’t seem to find a way to link to the whole family but here is a link to the mama owl and you can go from there. And here is the baby-

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If you happen to be in the Boston area, there are several places that you will be able to see my work in the next few months. Today I dropped off a few pieces at Room 83 Spring in Watertown, MA.

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Then, on November 26, I will be part of a pop-up shop at GreyMist Shop and Studio in Cambridge, MA. I will be there with my friend Jen of ZooGuu, from 10- 4pm.

Lastly, I will be at CraftBoston Holiday, Dec 1, 2, and 3-

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It will be a very exciting next 2 months! Now, back to work for me.

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helper wanted

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I am looking for a very part-time helper- one day a week, 6 hours or so. I live in Arlington, a suburb of Boston. I need someone to help me do the things I do which would mostly be the machine sewing part of the making but also various random things like getting ready for shows, cutting fabric, tracing patterns, and on and on. If you are interested in hearing more, email me at mimik@pobox.com.

The photo is the 50 fish bodies I cut out this week- I love all the colors! Yes, I’d love some help sewing them up!

what’s happening around here

I made something for the Summer Stitch Fest. I had big plans, cut out 2 shirts, but then didn’t even get the one finished. I finished it on Monday though and got to wear it out for my birthday dinner last night.

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The fabric is double gauze which I’ve never sewed with before. It was definitely not as easy to sew with as regular woven cotton. It was wiggly and stretchy and very difficult to unpick when things didn’t go right which unfortunately was pretty often. But, it is light and airy and very nice for a summer shirt and now it is finished.

Things have suddenly picked up around here. I am really excited to tell you that I will be going to Nashville in September for the Tennessee Craft Fair, Sept. 23, 24, and 25. So, what should I know about or definitely not miss while I’m in Nashville? I’m excited to go since the last time I was there was maybe 1981? I suspect things have changed quite a bit.

Also, I will be doing CraftBoston Holiday Show in December but I will post more about that when it gets closer. Both of these shows have just been confirmed so suddenly I am feeling like I need to get more things made. The last 3 days have been spent cutting out pieces of/for tattooed men. The studio is getting that crazy mess look.

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Next, I have to cut out some ladies. Then, I am going to pull out the dye pots. That is the next step in the process but I will want to wait for a cool-ish day. So many steps!

a newsy post to start July

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I am working on more ornament designs (although I hate calling them ornaments since they are just little felt figures and could be lots of things- such as tiny toys, a baby mobile, a decorative bunting… ) and as you can see, this tray of first-try prototypes are fairy tale girls. I’ve got a lot of drawing and I’m going to work on 3-d-ing a bunch of them and we’ll see what makes it to the pattern stage. These little projects mean that my sewing machine is getting a break-

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and so has immediately gotten covered with supplies. And my work table- looks like it has exploded with thread, felt, and paper!

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Speaking of patterns, I have printed up paper copies of my non-ornament patterns and am now selling them in bulk, wholesale on Etsy. This is so shops, and doll or quilting clubs can buy them. The listing is for the Tiny World pattern, my most popular, but I am happy to do bulk orders for the fish, owl, kitty, or swaddled baby, if that’s what you’d be interested in. Send me an etsy convo or email (mimik@pobox.com) if you have any questions.

And here is a funny story. My daughter was out for a walk in Chicago where she lives. As she was walking by a playground, she saw this so she snapped a photo and texted it to me-

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Now I know that most of my tattooed person art get hung up on the wall, but this lady is out and about, seeing the world- I LOVE it! Art in the wild= the best!

If you live in the US, have a wonderful long weekend! I need to get down to my library today to pick up a museum pass for the ICA in Boston. Hopefully I will get some art viewing on my long weekend.

What is in the queue

This is my work table-

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I’ve got a whole lotta man going on! Yep, there are the ones that are moving forward first, stuffed and standing. Then there are the flat ones in the front, waiting to be stuffed. There are a few that still need a few parts cut out and to be sewn up. All the stages of the tattooed men.

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Hopefully I will have some finished pieces soon and the weather will cooperate for photographing them. See you soon!

the girl news

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These girls are slow! This photo above was my desk yesterday morning. The 4 little girls all currently have something to wear but…

These girls are a re-designed pattern. That means that I am making new patterns for all the clothing. It ends up being a slow and sometimes frustrating process. Some of the clothing that the girls are currently wearing will have to be remade or at least fixed since they don’t fit quite right. I was hoping to have something finished by the end of this past week but that didn’t happen. I am going to move on to some other dolls for a while and maybe get back to these friends after the holiday season. I want to do them right, not just get them done. So, back to the shelf and being patient!

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and some more Mimi news

I haven’t been spending much time here because I haven’t finished anything! That is very frustrating but I figured I’d check in anyway. I have been busy and distracted. This is where I am with the girls-

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There are maybe 5 more that are stuffed and put together but no faces or hair yet. And then a bunch more, sewed but not assembled. All the girls are currently patiently waiting because I am working on ornament prototypes for West Elm Holiday 2016 (yes already!). Hopefully I will be back to the girls soon.

So, speaking of ornaments, my 2015 line for West Elm is now available. These final designs ended up pretty far from my original designs but that’s the way it works with licensing. There is a racoon couple and a fox couple. It is always a fascinating process.

The other things that have kept me busy or have proved to be distracting? We got a new car to replace our 1997 Honda Civic, probably about time. We are now a Prius family. I went down to New York for Columbus Day weekend and saw Ronnie Burkett’s amazing puppets. Also went to some museums. I think my next post will be things I took photos of at the Met. Work is being done on the house, some of which is to repair damage from last winter. Hopefully it will all be done before winter comes again! It is tough to concentrate on my work with the noise and interruptions. And, the chiropractor. Yeah, my back is messed up again. So, probably too much information. On the inspiring side of life, we’ve been watching the Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries which are great fun and fantastic costumes. I’ve listened to all the audio versions of the books and the shows are obviously not the same but lots of fun anyway. (well, yes, I think the books are better- am I a snob?!)

Fall is in full swing and the weather and fall colors have been great. I love Autumn.

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what I’ve been working on

I have been wanting to get back to making some girl dolls for quite a while. There always seems to be something else that makes it to the top of the “what’s next” list though. Back last winter, I pulled out various patterns of mine and experimented with making some in cotton. I came up with nothing that satisfied me and everything went into a shopping bag and got stuck in a corner.

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I recently emptied that bag back onto my work table and have gone back to work, this time using wool. Much better!

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I am working on tweaking my original girl pattern and also making a little girl design. These are the 2 I am currently moving forward on.

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Next, as I sorted through my fabrics for a variety of skin shades, I found I was low on the peachy colors. I had a range of pinks, but they were too pinky-pink for my taste. So, time for the dye pots.

I had 4 shades of pink that I was aiming to tone down and/or get closer to a peach flesh color-

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I pulled out my dyes and picked a variety. I usually use Cushing Dye for wool but I also did 2 tests with Rit. This was what I got out of a morning’s work-

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The bottom row, second from the left is the 4 original, un-dyed fabrics. I experimented with- Cushing Apricot, Aqualon Yellow, Tan, Nugget Gold, Maize, Orange (2 times since one was too bright), Lemon, and Rit Tan and Taupe. From my samples, I was able to make some educated guesses about what would work. I was very happy with the results! I put a swatch of the original color with the new, over-dyed color.

9-26-dyes - 1 (1)The one that says 3 (left most) is the subtlest. I used Rit Taupe and it just toned the color down a bit. #2 was Cushing Aqualon Yellow. #1 and #4 Cushing Maize. I am really pleased with my results! I had an excellent dyeing day; well, except when the towel caught on fire… but yeah, not too much damage ;-)

Now, time to start cutting out some girls!

ornaments on the horizon

I know it has been pretty quiet over here. It has not been quiet in my life! I am making great progress on my ornament patterns and hope to publish 5 designs in mid-July, when I get back from Portland, Oregon.

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And, I took another trip down to Brooklyn for some West Elm business- that made the 3rd trip to NY in 5 weeks! I stopped in Connecticut to see family. I’ve spent some time making new clothes- I really ought to do a post about that. But, mostly I have been concentrating on pattern writing and photo taking.

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And, wow, is my desk messy. Lots and lots of tiny bits of paper and thread and felt.

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And samples and more samples.

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I’m hoping to be back to the regular making schedule once I am back from my trip and the patterns are ready.