San Francisco and other news

I’m doing all those other things in my life since returning from SF. Laundry, rearranging random piles, studio cleaning, correspondence, reading books, listening to podcasts, gardening a tiny bit between too much rain… but mostly I’ve been on the computer, listing dolls into my shop on Etsy. What a job! I am getting close to finishing: I still have the kitties and foxes but everything else is done. I am taking a doll making (finishing?) break until the end of August- now, let me see if I can stick to that!

Here is my SF booth-

This is what set-up looks like, with my husband helper ♥

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And all set up-

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I tried to upload my video but my blogging software didn’t like it. You can see it on Instagram here.

Thank you everyone who came by and said hi- it was the best!

We did other things in California too. We went to Santa Cruz and stayed a few days with my SIL. We went to the Monterey Aquarium which is incredibly beautiful but very crowded which can make me jumpy.

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An exhibit about tentacled beasts- very cool!

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8-18-sf - 3We ate deep-fried artichoke hearts from a food truck in Castroville, the “Artichoke Center of the World”! (Their PR not mine!) We watched surfers falling down. We enjoyed cool dry air. We saw some REALLY BIG trees. There is no way I know how to capture the size in a photo.

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So many things on my to-do list that are calling my name. One thing is that I have to send my computer to the shop soon and it’ll be away for a week or so. That might effect who knows what but fair warning. Hope everyone is having a good summer!


Portland (west)!

I had an amazing time!

I saw beautiful dolls at the NIADA conference

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Harriet by Shelley Thornton.

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Ima Naroditskaya‘s beautiful doll.

I listened to amazing people give inspiring talks including- Ronnie Burkett  His talk made me desperate to see one of his performances and guess what? He will be in NYC at the end of September! Time for another NYC trip!

Toby Froud

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And Georgina Hayns from Laika Studio who brought some of the puppets for us to examine, up close. So so awe-inspiring! (Are you noticing the puppet theme?)

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But that wasn’t the best thing. The best thing is that I internet-know George. She has bought some of my pieces and we’ve corresponded. She invited me to visit Laika and see how a hive of 400 people come together for 2+ years to make a fantastic movie. Honestly, as a one-person show, it was hard to wrap my head around! I saw so many interesting and beautiful things- and now I have to wait more than a year to see how it all comes together!

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She took me around to some Portland fabric stores. We went to Bolt Fabric, The Mill End Store and the Pendleton Outlet– where they were having a sale, how lucky am I?! I got some good stuff- for the dolls, for clothing for me, and for random projects. Cottons-

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And wools except that purple one is silk-

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She asked me to teach while I was there, so on the Sunday, a group of friends came together and made ornaments. Thanks for the Instagram photo Vera! (since I didn’t manage to get any pics.)

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Okay, what else? I met up with a friend of a friend and now I have a new friend! I also met up with Diane who I saw last time I was in Portland, so many years ago. Time flies but we stay connected- thank you internet. And I went to the Button Emporium of course. Most of these things came from there (except rick rack from Bolt).

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So yes, it was great. I hope it isn’t another 7 years before I get back!

Puerto Rico 1

We had a fantastic time in Puerto Rico! What a relief to get out of the dreary monochromatic winter-scape and see colors. All these photos are taken in old San Juan, a lovely place to spend a day or two at the end of March.

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4:2:colors 6I have never been to PR before and really didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t do much pre-planning and let ourselves be open to enjoying the warm weather, beautiful colors, and tropical landscape. I will post more pics soon.


I left my studio

Yep! I went down to the beach in North Carolina for some brisk beach walks and salty air.

5:2:hatteras15:2:hatteras2There is cactus there. And people zipping around the water using kites.

5:2:hatteras3Lots of pretty beaches for walks.

5:2:hatteras4And lighthouses.

5:2:hatteras55:2:hatteras65:2:hatteras7Big dunes and bird watching.

5:2:hatteras8Did I mention that my daughter was part of the group?

5:2:hatteras9And then a very long drive in the pouring rain.

5:2:hatteras10The last leg was a train trip from Connecticut back to Boston. One of the things I love about the train is all the views of the undersides of the world.

5:2:hatteras11And I’m home! Hopefully I will be back to work soon and get some things finished up and posted. So much to do including the garden which came to life when I was gone. See you soon!

Visit to Salley!

I went down to the Cape to see Salley and her amazing artwork!

I’ve seen enough of Salley’s artwork to know it would be worth the drive to see this piece in person- it was amazing! She blogged about the visit here.

We sat in her studio and chatted, we walked in the woods, we visited the show, we had lunch… and it was a perfect Autumn day. Salley’s studio is so beautiful- I always enjoy visiting and seeing what she is up to. Lots of work-in-progress!

finally- Maker Faire!

I was in Stamford, CT and the Maker Faire was less than an hour away- how could I not go. Especially when I knew Sonya was there!

And all her dresses!

I saw some other things too of course although I only had about 3 hours total to be there.

New York in toothpicks-

Makie Dolls

Scribble makers-

A man dressed in Metro Cards-

and a life-size mouse trap!

Next year, my husband and I will probably come and spend the weekend. There was so much to see, so much energy and so many people having a great time! I’m glad we made the quick trip and got a taste.


and then I went to a doll conference

I went to the NIADA conference in Stamford, CT. I saw some amazing artwork.

I love Neva‘s work- the craftsmanship is amazing and her humor has stayed with me- every time I think back, I am amused again!

Nancy Wiley‘s beautiful work. She now has 2 children’s book- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Red Riding Hood. I bought myself the Red Riding Hood book. She did a presentation and described the process of illustrating the book and self-publishing.

Ana Salvador

Ankie Daanen

I love seeing Shelley Thornton‘s work. I wish there might be more but even one is a treat.

E.J. Taylor

I saw other dolls (Anna Zueva) that I missed getting photos of and met some wonderful people (Lillian Alberti). There were hours and hours of presentations.

The talk I needed to hear was by Robert Tonner who is currently celebrating 20 years of his doll company. He spoke at the first NIADA conference I went to in 2005- I still remember things he said from that first talk. This is what he said that I wrote down and will post in my studio- If you want to grow, let it go. I need to hear that- over, and over, and over… yes, I admit it. I can go nuts if things aren’t just so- especially if they have my name on them… reminder to self- let it go.

And now I will probably burn any bridges that might have existed with the NIADA part of the doll world. Wow- I just checked out the doll websites for the above artists and several others too. Most of them have not gotten the message about the internet. Please- update your sites! Put some of your new dolls up there. Get rid of the black backgrounds. How many clicks does it take to see what you do? Sigh.

And here is a story that will be what I remember from this trip. If I ever get worried that I am getting a fat head when exciting things happen, I will come back over here, reread this and laugh one more time!

background- On Saturday morning there was a program where visiting artists’ could sign up to show 10 images of their work- they called it 10 x 12 (based on this). I hadn’t submitted my images because I thought that, heh, I’m all over the internet. People have seen my work and I should give other people a chance. (silly me!) When I asked the organizer of the program, she told me only 7 people had submitted work so I joined the fun after all. I presented and survived- it was the first time I have ever spoken into a microphone! At the end I mentioned the licensing contract with Land of Nod. I then spent the rest of the day answering the question- how did LON find me. I don’t actually know the answer to that but tried to suggest ways that hopefully didn’t make me sound like a jerk. That evening was the banquet and again someone asked- how did they find me? Maybe I’d used up all my patience but I said- they probably saw my work on line. I’m pretty well known on the internet. And the woman sitting next to me asks, For what?

I am still laughing. It was all so absurd. Yes, I was at a doll conference. No, almost no one there knew my work or was even interested. I apparently don’t fit their definition? Luckily I am at a place with my work that I find it funny and not discouraging. And, next year I will think about going to Comic Con where I think I might fit in a little better.

House on the Rock

After Chicago Renegade, my husband and I drove into Wisconsin to visit the House On The Rock. I’m not sure I’ve ever been in Wisconsin before- it is beautiful even though they’ve had a terrible drought all summer. We were lucky enough to be there a few weeks after they’d finally had rain and although the corn was only about 3 ft high, everything was very green and pretty.

This is the display in one of the the Ladies Restrooms!

I was initially confused about what kind of collection I was looking at. It is a wide variety of stuff. Some is rare, special and amazing, some looked very close to junk to me- especially when I was looking at something I know about. I readjusted my expectations.

There was an amazing collection of automata, mostly musical- from individual self-playing instruments to whole orchestras!

I was saddened by how many were in poor repair. Visitors can buy tokens and choose which they’d like to see in action. One of the first that we tried was a mechanical banjo. There were 4 “fingers” but only 2 of them were working. It was terrible. Other ones that we tried were wonderful in spite of the broken bits, but I really wish someone cared enough to spend money on keeping these treasures going.

Wonderful collection of circus posters in the cafe.

A player piano with an interesting way of storing the scroll- definitely worth 50¢ to see that in action.

Here you can see the scale of some of these “music boxes”.

This one filled an entire room- And it wasn’t the only one!

There were a number of these planters out in the parking lots. I’m not sure you can tell how big these are- well over 10 ft tall I think.

And next I’ll post some photos of the NIADA doll conference and my too short visit to Maker Faire.

Thanks for all the nice notes- really I’m fine. I mostly wanted to let people know why things were going to be quiet around here. We all need time to reflect.

Currently I am planning to schedule some classes in the next few months- I’m thinking that it would be fun to focus on projects that people would like to make for holiday gifts- little felt ornaments, owls, tiny worlds… and if I can figure out about sewing machines, the fish. I’m wondering about weekends versus weekdays. Also, just a reminder, I am happy to schedule a class for any group at your convenience if you have a least 4 people ready to go.

I’ll be back soon!

to minnesota and back

So much going on!

We’ve been to Minnesota and are back. Another child graduated from college. I think we are getting pretty good at this!

Let me see- so much to report. An article/interview about me was published in my local weekly paper and is online here. The article happened because of the firemen with dolls photo that my husband forwarded to the local paper.

I had a wonderful blogger meet-up in Minneapolis and I am sending a HUGE thank you to Kristin! Firstly, although I brought my camera, I forgot to take any photos- typical. She did not forget and did this lovely post. She hosted 4 of us for a delicious lunch and we talked craft and internet and blogging and kids and thrifting and … yes, on and on. There was Erika, Susan (and her post on the day) and Susan’s daughter Hannah who has a blog but I didn’t catch the name. Then, after the party broke up, Kristin showed me her school and drove me around to meet back up with my family. Terrific!

Then, lots of graduation festivities. I’m not really sure how much Julian wants to be outed so I’ll just show a piece of him-

Hurray! Or, as he would say, Huzzah.

Sunday was spent doing some Minneapolis things- a farmers market, the Walker, the sculpture park, the downtown library, an Eleanor conducted tour of the Guthrie and a lot of just walking around.

I am exhausted now but tomorrow it is back to work- only 2 1/2 weeks until Renegade!


I’m off to Minneapolis tonight. It always seems to take me a few days to get back into things, once I return. I am leaving some partly finished dolls, all ready to work on. I am hoping this will help me jump back into the studio when I return.

3 tattooed ladies and one tattooed man-

And here is what I am stitching- a grey-haired, mostly bald dude. I’m having fun with my variegated floss.

See you next week!