Sunday, September 28, 2008

Edward's work: Syrena

Syrena by Edward Reed, 2008

I rarely post workstuff to the blog and have NEVER posted edward's... but he finished his latest mermaid today and I have to share. I LOVE it. I really love everything he makes - this one just really got me. Edward's works have been more painterly than his past pin-up vintage style (like Elvgren, Vargas). The latest have been more like Zoe Mozert and Rolf Armstrong.

Her name is Syrena. Syrena is a mermaid who protects the river Wisła and the Polish capital city, Warsaw. A photo from wikipedia at right.

Soon she'll join other mermaids in Edward's new book (should be out in April 2009). He currently has a few others that you can purchase here.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

recycle: paper sample books

As a print designer, I accumulate a lot of paper sample books from various paper vendors and paper mills. These are referred to when selecting paper for a press project. Each spiral-bound book contains samples of papers at different thickness, color, texture, composition, etc.
Every so often - books are retired or replaced with new versions so I'm left with the old ones. Some go back to their vendor or mill for recycling. Many I save for the kids to use as sketchbooks. Here's Mabel's that she played with tonight. I tore out the printed pages with paper specifications on them and made a cloth cover.
I've got plenty more of these books if you want one - just let me know and I'll get one or two out to you... cheers,a.

Friday, September 26, 2008

sewing: sewing machine cover

Here's a great simple project: a sewing machine cover. I'm not so good about putting my sewing machine back in it's case after I use it everytime. I leave it sitting on the little table I've designated as "the sewing table." Because of this - I'm embarrassed to say - it becomes dusty dusty dusty.
So last night, I took some measurements, made a quick pattern and made a sewing machine cover - in about 30 minutes. To make the bottom edge look finished, I used some narrow double-fold bias tape I had on hand. This evening while on the phone chatting with a friend, i made a few yoyos and attached them for added decoration... will add more to it as the days/month/years go by i'm sure of it.
I adore you, sewing machine - hope you like your new jacket.

teaching again - it's been a while

Today I accepted an offer to join the adjunct faculty at The Art Institute of Charleston. I'm looking forward to spending time with students again - has been over 10 years since I last taught.

Am going to stick with one class for this semester and see how it goes. The class is Graphic Symbolism. Here's the course description:
This course examines the importance of graphic symbols in design. Logos and other symbolic images are examined in historic and contemporary contexts. Graphic elements, including letter forms, simplified imagery, and abstract shapes, are then used to create individual logo designs and other symbolic images.

Better get cranking on the course syllabus! cheers.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

just for fun: lucy

Fun photo to share of Lucy. This was taken during our vacation on Lake Huron... my sister put wire in Lucy's braids to make them stand up... then Lucy went from cabin to cabin giving everyone a chuckle. As Mabel would say "Lucy, you crack me."

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ottobre is here!

It's here and I don't know which piece to make first! Ottobre is a great sew-it-yourself fashion mag that has really cool stuff for big girls like me - and munchkins, too. Each issue is full of designs and includes pull-out patterns.

I really need to find a better source for fabric. Hancock doesn't cut it. Will probably need to get most of the fabric online. The problem with that is I'm a real touch-it-before-you-buy-it girl. Especially with textiles and the like. oh dilemma. Not any chance that Mood will be moving to Charleston any time soon.
For more of what's inside this issue - click HERE

boo! lucy's costume all sewn up

finished up Lucy's Grim Reaper costume last night. Probably could have purchased a similar hooded gown, but not a fan of the shiny material they use for them - not so authentic looking (whatever - like i know what an authentic grim reaper looks like). anyway - this one should last several years. Wait until you see the whole thing put together - mask, wig, skeleton gloves... really scares the hoot out of Mabel.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

grand sunday: the park

Really enjoyed the weekend.

Yesterday we got all of the piled up recycling to the local facility. We had a TON of it. Glad to have it out of here.

Today, we took the girls to Gahagan Park. Gahagan has an enormous play structure that seems to go on forever... slides, towers, climbing walls, monkey bars, rope ladders... you name it. There are even musical pipes and little theaters incorporated into the design. We LOVE this park. And the weather was finally cool enough to enjoy it.

We brought Lucy's bike along so she could practice some more. She really wants to get rid of her training wheels, but it's been tough to learn to ride here. Our neighborhood lacks sidewalks but is full of speedy drivers and the driveway doesn't give her the room to really take off.

After the park, we definitely needed ice cream. :-) Then it was on to the fabric store to grab the last bit of black i needed for Lucy's GRIM REAPER costume and to the book store to browse. Finally we had dinner at our local Chinese place and headed home.

LOVE days like this. No schedule - just hanging together and going with the flow...

(Finished Lucy's costume -- will get a pic tomorrow.)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

puss caterpillar: poisonous hairball

Edward went out to uncover the grill tonight and found this caterpillar. We'd never seen anything like it before. Looks like a moving hairball. Glad we didn't try to pick it up or pet it before we hit google.
It is a Puss Caterpillar (or asp caterpillar) and it is DANGEROUS:
The 'fur' of the larva contains venomous spines that cause extremely painful reactions in human skin upon contact. The reactions are sometimes localized to the affected area but are often very severe, radiating up a limb and causing burning, swelling, nausea, headache, abdominal distress, rashes, blisters, and sometimes chest pain, numbness, or difficulty breathing. Additionally, it is not unusual to find sweating from the welts or hives at the site of the sting. (from wikepedia)

So - we got a lesson today. Good that Lucy and Mabel know not to go near these little guys.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

wordcloud fun

Stumbled upon this great site that lets you create word art "clouds" from provided text or URLs.
the above is one of the renderings of this blog.

check out WORDLE here!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

sewing: napkins for the table

I'm still working on ridding the house of paper towels, etc. Not sure we'll ever totally do without... BUT we are going to try to use washable cotton napkins as much as we can. Made 8 of them this afternoon to get us started... thinking i'll need a couple dozen or so to make the switch work. I used 100% cotton that I prewashed before cutting or sewing. Here's how:

whatcha need (for 4 napkins):
8 various fabric squares 17" x 17"
pinking sheers (optional)
sewing machine

how to do it:
1. mix/match your 8 squares into 4 pairs.
2. pin the pairs together with the right sides facing each other (you'll end up with 4 pinned sets with the wrong sides showing)
3. stitch around the edges with 1/2" seam allowance - stopping a few inches short of where you started (this leaves an opening for you to turn the napkin right-side-out)
4. trim the edges with pinking sheers (optional) and clip the corners close to the stitching.
5. turn the napkin right-side-out and push out the corners and edge seams of the napkins using a chopstick or the like
6. with a steamy iron - press each napkin's edges and corners - taking care to tuck in and press the opening.
7. top stitch around the whole napkin 1/8" from the edges.

getting ready for Lucy's 9th: birthday crown

Have been trying to get a head start on birthday celebrations. Lucy celebrates her 9th on December 4. Going to throw her a party at the new Charleston Animal Society. She LOVES dogs and wants to be a pet helper or vet when she grows up - so seems appropriate. More on that as it gets closer.
Wanted to start a birthday crown tradition. I regret not doing it earlier - but better late than never, i suppose. Went ahead and made Mabel's while i was at it.
I intend to add embellishments each year.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Chinese Moon Festival 2009

We celebrated Chinese Moon Festival tonight - starting with a Chinese dinner out. When we got home, we waited for dark and went outside to ponder the moon and eat the traditional Mooncakes. More about the tradition and meaning of the celebration on a post from last year HERE and pics from our 2007 Moon Festival celebration HERE.

Monday, September 8, 2008

sewing: wee jacket

a quick little jacket for a sweet little niece... finally packaged up and ready to post. Next stop - Madison, Wisconsin...

pattern from Amy Karol's book Bend-the-Rules Sewing

Saturday, September 6, 2008

a new blanket started and neglected

I started this to keep me busy on our road trip to michigan in early August. I made a ton of different color yo-yos that will all be connected into a blanket using the creamy ecru color. Will probably take a good 600 yo-yos or more... just going along as I find time (haha - funny).

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Chinese Propaganda Poster:
Look Who is the Cleanest

Look Who is the Cleanest

Kan shei zui qinjie.

I haven't shared any posters lately - so here's one of my faves. It was a part of Pierre-Loïc Lavigne's collection (over at and I was so delighted when he agreed to part with it! The simplicity of it is fab and the colors simple, vivid.

Monday, September 1, 2008

sewing: re-purposed t-shirt

Have had this tie-dyed t-shirt in the recycle pile for a while now and decided to make it into a skirt for Lucy. I was a little nervous - had never done a conversion like this, but it was actually pretty easy. I opened up one of th sleeves and created a double pocket that can either be worn in front, or on the side. Lucy and I love it!

here's a quick tutorial sketch showing how it was done...

sewing: twirly skirts!

The girls like their new skirts. Mabel spins and spins saying, "its so bootiful!" I used the Twirly Skirt Tutorial over at House On Hill Road (thanx, Erin!). The matching shirts are store-bought Tees with appliqued shapes from the skirt fabric ("M" for Mabel and a heart on Lucy's). Will definitely be making more of these skirts in the future...