Monday, March 30, 2015

Wearable Textile Assemblage

My second long zipper textile assemblage, "April Showers," with recycled antique and vintage cloth, antique lace and tatting. Along one side I have a strip of linen on which I have written "keep on looking for the bluebird and listen for his song," a line from the old song. French knots and antique silvered seed beads act as random rain drops. The soft bangle set started with the intensively layered and stitched "corsage" wristlet of old lace and tattered textiles, lined, and fastened with snaps. Added to that, three beaded bangles with charms, and a 40's era brass toothed khaki, most likely military, zipper, with a chandelier crystal hanging from the pull, also fastened with snaps.

Thursday, March 26, 2015


I will never run out of hooks and eyes, ever, again. Here's a big lot of notions that I purchased on Etsy from Vintage Polka Dot, and they are just right for the soft bangles I am making from salvaged fabrics. The bizarre star of the lot though, are the "pin in lingerie guards" -- one wouldn't want the undergarment straps to show, now, would one? You can also see the octagonal tin that I converted to a sewing kit, with pincushion (sawdust filled) and a bit of old elastic to retain my cute little crane shaped scissors. See the rusty bottle cap into which I have melted bee's wax for thread conditioning? It's much better than spit to stiffen up that stubborn thread end to poke through the needle's eye.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Make Do Neckpiece


"Make do, mend, or do without," was a catchphrase during the Great Depression, and I think we could apply now it to mending the wounds we have caused to our planet.  Here's a Make Do necklace assembled from an old zipper, antique buttons and depression-era feed sack fabrics.  When you want to make a statement, make a constructive one!

Just listed in my Etsy shop

Click this to go there:  Cookies 'N Milk Bangle Stack.


A neckpiece made with a long zipper and various notions, a spring bangle stack from a salvaged cookie tin, an embroidered, pieced and quilted strap for???

Wonderful 40s era Bakelite and celluloid buttons, and my dear little sawdust stuffed and embroidered (by me) owl with mouse treat. When owls form mating bonds, the male offers his love an engagement mouse.  If she accepts it, they begin a nest together.  Sweet, and true.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

When a door closes . . .

Etsy, now becoming a corporate behemoth, has recently chased off the intuitive healers who had offered their services there. One of them, Nay Ho Tze, helped me through my darkest winter with nutritional advice and her hand succosed flower remedies. I keep her Rescue Remedy (she is a Bach practitioner) on hand for emergencies and find it much more effective than the store-bought kind. Nay puts spiritual energy into her personally formulated blends. Her nutritional advice is sound, and wouldn't offend your doctor. And then there are her hand works, bespoke garments (she recently made a ribbon shirt that was worn in a Native leader's address to the UN), and greeting cards.  Oh, she is a writer and poet, and for me, a source of reliable news on the Native American community. She also taught me to talk to trees and listen to them.

Gnarly Horse Chestnut in Spring: "I have lived long, and may be twisted with age, missing a few limbs, but I bear fruit, every year in season."

So, Etsy's closing door, became Nay Ho Tze's open window; she took a large step into her own website, and I recommend a visit.

Nay Ho Tze and I have become, needless to say, friends, so I wanted to introduce her to you.  Tap this link!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sows' Ears

My granddad said you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear, but as long as I have made things, since childhood, that has been my quest.  I painted a pueblo from red Georgia clay mixed with glue, on a board that had separated sheets of Xray film that mom brought home from her nursing job. Made jewelry from berries, roots and leaves and wished they wouldn't wilt so much.  This weekend, it rained like the tropics, so I settled down with my tin boxes of fabric scraps, old thread and sewing notions, and stitched till my hands hurt.  It was a lot like panting and drawing, and I enjoyed myself. The resulting textile assemblages came from an array of nearly exhausted sources, resuscitated for another spring: a feedsack cutter quilt, a shirt collar, the strap of a toddler's romper, silk, velvet, sewing thread, antique copper sequins, trim, and notions.  The rhinestone circles were cut from a burlesque costume and appliqued with the blanket stitch, the wild blue spirals from a feed sack print, the bee embroidered, not with floss, but with old sewing thread on wooden bobbins. The rhinestone piece is available in my Etsy shop, in time for spring.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

La Cousette

Just off the bench, a garland suitable for wear or display. The "instigating piece" (Keith LoBue's turn of phrase) is the pyrographed and painted wooden case, which once held attar of roses, a souvenir of Bulgaria.  I captured it in hand wrought steel, added a red glass rosary with a ribbon needle, a fragment of necklace with hand painted roses, my kumihimo braid of old sewing thread, a delicious strawberry pin cushion, which I made myself, of silk velvet shibori; mother of pearl and bone buttons, and at the last, an antique tailor's thimble, which is seen in the more recent first photo, above.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Book and Cat Lover Alert

 'Just finished this little brooch, 2 by 1-5/8.  I love old books, doesn't matter the text, and I love the inscriptions in them, fancy end papers, and the marks of the years and damage they have sustained. So I've used a book cover from a children's book inscribed "to my niece, Aunt Sophie, Aug. 27, '86," in a spidery hand, and that's 1883 my dears!  The pin finding is nickel wire bent into a safety pin sort of configuration and secured to the cover with waxed linen tied through copper grommets.  From an old copy of Hiawatha I cut a stack of pages, mounted my miniature embroidery to that, and finished with a frame cut from the same text.  At the last, a lovely surprise appeared, just beneath the kitty a fragment of text says "strings of fish"!  That's when I abandoned using a tin frame I had cut and thought to rivet over the stack. As the saying goes, one must be ready to sail to Serendip when the opportunity arises.