20 years

Today is my 20th year of blogging. This past year has been sporadic because of the great upheaval of moving and (hopefully soon) resettling. Hurray- we have a move-in date!

This was the first photo that I posted back in 2004-

The first post is a mess- repeated 4 times and the photo is very NOT right… ah, the olden days.

Blogging has been a joy. I always thought I’d do it whether anyone read it or not. It is my “filing cabinet” documenting every doll I’ve made since then. And, all the steps that took me to where I am now. It is a true online diary. I met so many interesting people, made friends, was inspired, and had so many opportunities because of this blog.

Thank you to anyone and everyone who has been any part of this journey. I love and appreciate you all!

What A Week!

The last week has been very exciting. I haven’t sat down at my desk until today!

We closed on our soon-to-be new home:

That’s the lobby :-) Our kids all had to come see. We had a little celebrating:

We sat out in the garden and admired the view. Yep, that is where we will be!

Now it is figuring out contractors, doing paperwork, picking colors, etc., etc., etc. There will be loads of mirrors to remove and floors to uncover. But, we are so excited! Putting our lives back together has begun!

Hello From Chicago!

It’s been a while! We got to Chicago on April 3 with the kitties. We spent 2 months in Airbnbs- one month each so it wasn’t too terrible but really, it was enough. So, we have found an apartment and we will stay here until we find our next home. We moved in on June 1 and all our stuff arrived on June 7. We have spent the time since, setting up, sorting boxes, and all the rest of what you do after a move. I am working on getting my studio set up again. Also, acquiring all the necessities for shipping since I left that all behind. Baby steps to getting back to work. Once I have my new shipping label printer figured out, I will be able to re-open my etsy shop. I do know where the post office is so that’s a step in the right direction!

While I was in studio limbo, I had a few projects to work on. I worked on some summer clothes and some quilts. I had 2 quilt tops done but not backed or quilted. Here is the big quilt, laid out on the floor of an airbnb, getting basted together.

The apartment for the first week-

And then our stuff arrived- and that is just the beginning of the moving-in day.

This is going to be my workspace- I just have to figure out how to make the space useable-

It is all coming along. I have to get back into practice doing my blog and all the rest. We are settling in, even the kitties. They have their condo even if we don’t have ours yet 😸

I’m Moving so I’m having a Sale!

I am living in chaos right now- so many boxes and bins!

This was last week maybe? There is a lot less recognizable stuff and more taped up boxes.

I have no idea when I will be back to work. We will be out of the house by the beginning of April and into some kind of temporary situation. Then we wait for things to happen.

Anyway, all that said, I don’t want to put my finished work into storage for who knows how long. I am post here first for my blog friends- a 25% off code at my Etsy shop. MOVING25

The sale will include all the dolls and the Tiny Worlds, but not the patterns. The sale will go on until I am too busy to ship anything else out- sometime towards the end of March. Help me lighten my load!

What’s Going on Mimi?

It’s summer and it is hot here in Boston. Time for an update.

Things are slow in my studio these days and there is a reason for that. Husband and I will be moving to Chicago next Spring (tentative schedule) now that my 3 kids are all there. It is time for us to sort through all the stuff. We have lived in this house for 34 years and there is a LOT. I am spending less time in my studio and more time culling. Even when I am sewing, my brain is busy thinking about this near future. It has been very distracting. I will be doing the November Paradise City Show, but there is nothing else on the schedule. When the New Year starts, I will probably being packing up my studio. I have no idea at this point when I will be getting back to work but obviously will let everyone know.

Of course now that we will be leaving Boston, I have a bunch of someday items that I want to check off my list. The first one happened this week! We took the ferry to Provincetown and spent a few days. It was so much fun!

Now it’s time to get these kitties dressed. It is very hot here and my studio has got the AC so that will help inspire me 😁

Crazy Times

How are you all doing? I am struggling to stay calm and sane when it seems like all is going down around us. I was supposed to go to Chicago today and spend some quality time with some of the kiddos but obviously that got cancelled. My days shouldn’t seem all that different than usual since I work from home and spend most of my time working alone and not going out. It is the news and how the people I care about are being affected that is causing anxiety. Schools shut down, shows cancelled, shops closed, and everything uncertain. So, I am still working away in my studio but I am distracted and I’m not sure what I am working toward.

I put away all the merman supplies- paper patterns, merman specific fabrics, other random bits, and decided I’d stick to the ocean/water theme of these recent days and make up some fish. I pulled out ALL the bins of wool, sorted through to pick out colors and fabrics that appealed and got to work. The photo above is the construction stage after I’ve cut out the main body pieces- the ribbing and boiled wool bits are used for the fins and tail. I’m always looking for the good textures and interesting color matches.

Sewing, sewing, sewing… next step, clipping curves and turning to the right-side. I want to make a stockpile with an assortment of colors. It is so satisfying to have a big pile all cut out, then all sewed up, ready for me to finished up. When I decide I need to make up more fish, there they are!

And here they are- that is approximately 35 sewed up fish plus about 15 more that are cut out with all their pieces neatly stored in zip-lock bags. Every time I start cutting things out, I think I should cut out “a few”. Several days later, it’s 50! I got tired of the sewing so some fish will wait for another day. I picked out 6 to stuff and finish and the rest went into a storage bin to wait their turn.

Here is the thing I don’t understand- I cut out 50 fish and yet all my fabric bins seem as full as ever! I think the fabric swells in the night :-) I will post some more pics of the finished fish but the weather here hasn’t been great for photos.

And so, how are you doing? How are you coping? My husband has been working from home for 2 weeks now. That’s a bit different. We had food delivered last night for the first time ever- we decided to support local business and try something new. Usually, if we get take-out we can just walk or drive to get it. I have so many friends who make their living by selling their artwork and ALL the shows have been cancelled. (I have a show scheduled for Memorial Day weekend and I’m wondering if it is going to happen.) If you can afford to buy from small and micro businesses, now is the time to show your support. Also, if you are bored and have supplies, a lot of us sell patterns! fyi- if you want to make your own fish, the pattern is in my etsy shop and I’d rate it advanced beginner. I like to make them from wool but they can be made from any fabric including quilt cotton, cotton knit, home dec fabric, etc.

Lastly, if you want to lean into the whole pandemic thing, I think this book is excellent- Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright. The chapter about the flu of 1918 is still very relevant. The big lesson of the book is that you want a strong and compassionate government in place when something like this happens. Her writing style is not too serious which helps with this very serious topic. The book is set up with each chapter focusing on a particular event so you don’t even have to read it in order. I listened to the audiobook several years ago and have re-listened to sections ever since. Also, a lot of libraries have it.

And hey! Spring is on the way! (the first daffodil in my garden)

recap, 2017

I’ve been putting this off all week but I need to do it. It is really helpful for me to have my yearly reflections written down here so let’s look back.

Wow, I’m not going to lie, it has been a really tough year. Politics will be mentioned. The situation in our country and the world has been terrifying. I did some artwork in the first few months of the year to help me deal with my feelings of despair.

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I posted about the above and below here.

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Later, I spent a month working on this-

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Posted here.

I had a very busy trip to LA in April which I posted about here and here. The trip was awesome and I love LA. It was hard to really relax though and I felt that many people I was around were also feeling the weight of the world’s troubles. And then my Mom died.

Unfortunately, as the year went on, I just found myself wanting to retreat more and more. Nothing seemed to help- social media has been/is overwhelming with the constant outrage, my energy and creativity felt sapped when I engaged. During the first 6 months of the year I felt like I couldn’t find the joy in my work or even get to that wonderful focus where the world recedes and I’m in the work zone. Having some shows and deadlines helped. Also, audio books and podcasts. I’ve been continuing to post photos and work pics but somehow the words are gone. I don’t feel chatty about my work on my blog or on any of the other sites where I hang out. I have retreated not only online but also in real life. I know it is not good for me so I guess that is what I have to work on this year.

There were good things too, thank goodness. My garden was amazing this year. If you follow me on Instagram, there were lots of flower pics. the daylilies and the dahlias!

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In August I was feeling so uninspired that I knew I needed to mix things up a bit. I spent 2 weeks working on a quilt idea. I played with colors. shapes, designs. I didn’t finish anything but I’ll get back to it at some point. I felt totally recharged after that- It was like a brain vacation. Obviously, something I should do more often!

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That got me back into work mode for the fall and right up to Christmas. I had a great show at CraftBoston 2017 and I plan on a post about my booth, hopefully tomorrow.

Lastly, I was part of this beautiful book, Beards Rock. A real honor.

And now, 2018. I hope with all my heart that this year will bring a more stable and peaceful world although this first week does not make that seem likely. On my personal horizon, I have lots to look forward to.

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I will be going back to LA at the end of February to teach at French General again. This time we will be doing Swaddled Babies. There are still a few spaces available if you’d like to join in the fun. Check out all the info here. I am also planning to visit QuiltCon.

In April, I will be in Washington DC for the Smithsonian Craft Show at the National Building Museum.

Then, in August I will head west again, to San Francisco, for the ACC show at Fort Mason.

I think that having all these things to look forward to will keep my head in a good place. I’m already back in the studio getting a little work done, doing some cleaning and organizing, and thinking about all the projects ahead. Happy New Year everyone!

 

life news and tiny worlds

My desk has been covered with Tiny World pincushion parts and materials for the last week or so. Unfortunately, I had to leave that all behind on Tuesday to go to Connecticut because my Mom died. When someone is 100 and has not recognized me for years, I guess dying can never be called unexpected, and yet, wow, all the feelings and processing. And getting out of my little nest/comfort zone/studio, into a whirlwind of family and decision making. Goodbye Mom ♥

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I’ll be posting what I had finished and photographed right before I left on Tuesday.

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*trigger warning for politics* 2

If you will be offended by reading my liberal political views, you can skip this post.

The man with Mount Rushmore tattoos that I posted yesterday had a long wait to get finished. I sewed him up last summer but just couldn’t get excited enough to finish him because of what I viewed as his over-the-top patriotic tattoos. We were in the midst of the election season (which I’d been sick of for many months by that time) and once the election was over, I was feeling even worse about him. I’m glad I didn’t just heave him into the trash. My view of things started to change around the time of the Womens’ March in January.

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I started thinking of the Pledge of Allegiance. As children, we recited it every school morning and I don’t think I have thought about it for years. But those words, Liberty and Justice for all– they kept buzzing around in my head. And then apparently, I’ve reevaluated my definition of patriotism. Oddly, I’ve never in my life felt so patriotic. When so many of the things that I believe represent the good of this country are under threat, everything looks different. And every day-

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The level of crazy that is happening every day continues to be a creativity killer. I am still finding the crisis mode to be distracting and exhausting. But, I push on because those times when I succeed in getting lost in my work are like a brain refresh.

So many things- the tide of hate that this president unleashed starting so long ago during his campaign, the work to destroy protections for our environment, the abandoning of science-based policy decision making, turning public education into a profit center for a very few, (actually working to make just about every part of the government into a profit-maker for a few,) alienating so many of our allies, the whole Russia connection, and health care, and all the lies. And the tax returns. And Twitter. omg

My goal is to do a political post approximately once a month. It is my contribution to #resist and #persist.

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.