Friday, December 26, 2008

And On To The New Year!

I haven't been very reflective this year. Like everyone else, I'm just standing back to watch how the economy and politics will unfold. A very quiet holiday, my two social events were going to see traditional Chinese dancers Tuesday night (amazing) down in Sarasota with two friends, and having brunch this morning with Jim and Martha Marshall.

We watched my god-dogs open their presents and they were just a hoot! I think Martha got most of it on camera. I'll be staying with them this weekend while J and M go to Apalachicola Bay for a two day holiday, which both deserve. I'll get lots of work done while I'm there. So the dogs are happy, I'm happy, the Marshalls are happy. Life is good.

Next week, I'm going to introduce you to an amazing artist and musician. I just have that bone feeling that she's going to be a star!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fiber Artist Annette Emms

Peaseblossom's Boots by Annette Emms

Silk, Mixed Media

I promised you an amazing fiber artist from Britain. Now I must deliver. I found Annette Emms purely by serendipity. Stumbling on her blog site, Rowan's Patch, named after her beloved dog and traveling companion, I was captivated by the perfect shoes she makes embellished with silk ribbon and beads along with her immaculate stitching. When I found out those shoes are only about three inches long, and made for native fairies, I was awed! Accompanied by the most gorgeous pictures of her travels around the British Isles, there is no way one can deny that the Muses of Creativity have lived within the well of Annette.

Jane's Flowers, Annette Emms

In addition to her marvelous shoes, Annette builds fiber wall hangings and books. Jane's Flowers was inspired by a slate memorial in a Cornish church. Indeed, much of her inspiration comes from her travels.

Annette teaches and lectures for the Embroiderers Guild, which speaks to the quality of her work. For those of you unaware, Guilds are ancient organizations probably predating 700 CE in Britain and certainly elsewhere, formed to support, apprentice and keep uniform standards of excellence in the various crafts and arts skills. Guild memberships were often by appointment, are jealously guarded, are still governed by ancient law.

Each time I give a lecture or teach a workshop I come away feeling very fortunate that I can be involved in this wonderful sharing of ideas...I learn so much from my students and it's a joy to be in a position where I can guide a 'hesitant' person..”, says Annette, very in tune with the ancient principles of masters teaching novices.

Indeed, Annette has turned out other artists by inspiration who go on to grand works after attending her lectures, as exampled by one young woman who decided to go to college and study textile art after meeting and listening to Annette. Annette inspires through her articles written for several artisan publications as well.

Annette's Skillywidden book

As Annette and her husband Mike travel, they take incredible photographs. I have encouraged her to publish a book of her photographs anchored by her amazing fiber works!

Mike and Annette Emms with Granddaughter

Here's what she had to say on her work.

DWJ -.When did you begin your fiber work? Who in your life inspired you?

AE - I don't really remember a time when I wasn't interested in creating things with fabric and thread.

As a child I would make garments for my clothes peg dolls. I can remember that I would take a little bag of fabric pieces to stitch on the long train journey to school. Nothings changed, I always have some stitching with me, I can't bear to have still hands.

I had a wonderful teacher when I was 10 years old, Miss Birchley, she showed us how to work traditional stitches and play with colour. At college, my tutor Jan Evans was a great influence on me, she gave me the confidence to experiment and develop my own style.

Puck's Shoes Annette Emms

DWJ -What is the type of work which you feel most drawn to?

AE - Everything I make has to have a story, whether it's a legend or one I've made up, doesn't matter. I love to make books and dimensional pieces, often from a variety of media but they always include a core of fabric and stitch.

I recently made a series of books based on local legends. They have hard covers with secret hiding places, ready to hold treasures relating to the stories. The pages are made from calico and the stories are told with images and text, which I have embroidered, printed or transferred.

This project was such fun. I visited each area where the legend was set and took pictures, sketched and generally got the feel of the place. I felt that this lent authenticity to my work, the Bluebells for example , are the actual flowers that the Fairies danced amongst in 'The legend of the Dragon of Mordiford'.

Princess Badr al-Budur, Annette Emms

DWJ - What areas of your work would you most like to explore in the future? Are there any projects in your sketchbook ready for your hand?

AE - I would very much like to make some pieces for the wall, making books is so time consuming! I have been working on an idea for some interactive wall pieces. You see nothing is simple in my life!

I love the idea that the viewer can discover secrets in my work, for themselves.

A recent visit to west Wales has inspired me, the medieval pilgrimages to St. Davids, the voyages , the Saints , stones and simple churches along the way. . . .

DWJ - Have you considered authoring a book of your work, either as an instructional or as an art book?

AE - That sounds like fun! Yes, I have an idea for a book. I'm not sure what category it would come under though! Briefly, it would be about the many fascinating old parish churches in Great Britain, the people that built them, the countryside around them and the wonderful treasures to be found in and around them. Sounds a bit heavy? Well my idea was to draw the reader into the atmosphere of the place and show them how to use what they find as inspiration for textile art.

I guess it would be a bit of a cross between an Eric Sloane ( Our Vanishing Landscape) type book and a 'How to find inspiration' manual!

Annette Emms' work has been displayed in many galleries and venues in Europe and the UK. Much of her work has sold during exhibition. Contact Annette at HER BLOG for information.

Cobweb Shoes

(NOTE: All photographs and artwork are copyright 2007-2008 by Annette Emms. They are used here with the express permission of the artist and may not be reproduced, copied, or used in any other way without her written permission.)

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Miracle Skirt Basics - Pattern #1

The finished skirt striaght and ruched up with drawstrings showing a bit of a red calico pettycoat.

I made this item for Cindy's character for the play, "Into The Woods" . It turned out super so I thought I'd give a mini-tute on how to make one for yourself. The drawstrings are sewn into channels that cover every seam in this gored skirt giving you lots of options.

It can be bustled for an 1890s look, pulled up on just the sides and worn with hip pillows for a paniered look of the 1700s, scallop it all the way around for a Civil War ball skirt, or draw it up on just one side for a wench or lady pirate look. The length is up to you.

This one is just about ankle length, but shorter versions make up just as well as overskirts for Renaissance gowns or dance.

Depending on your fabric choices, you could also use this for a belly dance piece if built in a sheer chiffon worn with or without dance pants and a choli.

1. This example is for a 38" long skirt. Panels are 42" long with hem allowance and a bit over 3" for the waist elastic casing.

First, you need to put together your gored skirt. I do this my old tried and true method with minimum to no waste. Yay Green Sewing! Measure from your waist to the desired hem length of your finished skirt and add 5/8" for seam allowances top and bottom, plus enough for fold over casings in waist if you're going to have an elastic waist in a self casing. Three inches at the top is a good number for an elastic waist with self casing. It gives you a 5/8" seam and a roomy casing which can be stabilized by sewing close to the fold at the top before you insert your elastic.

Fold your goods lengthwise to this measurement, folding it accordion style until you have the number of panels you want. Four double folds or panels as the fabric is cut off the bolt will give you a super hem sweep. Add a few more panels for a ridiculously full skirt or less for a more tame version.

Here's where that math you learned in school comes in. Measure your waist and add six inches for wearing ease for a skirt with a fitted waistband. For a fuller waisted skirt either gathered into a waistband or with a fold over casing with elastic, take your waist plus the six inches wearing ease and double it.

Whichever figure you end up with will be divided by the number of panels or gores you'll have doubled. This will be the size of the smallest end of the folds in my cutting diagram in the next step.

Example: Say your waist is thirty inches. With wearing ease, that measurement will be 36". You've made four folds or panels in your 45" fabric. That will give you 8 layers of fabric because each panel is doubled as it comes off the bolt folded in half down the center of the cloth.

2. This diagram shows how your panels will stack up and where your cutting lines should be.

So you double your folds for the two layers of cloth for each fold, which would be 8 waist ends and 8 hem ends on each crosswise edge and divide your waist measurement by 8. (30" waist plus 6" ease or 36: / 16 layers of cloth or 8 panels = 2.25"). Add 1/2" to this measurement and round it to the next closest number. In the case of a 30" waist, that will be 3". This allows for a gore seam to be sewn.

3. Diagram 3 shows folded panels ready to cut.

If you're going to finish the waist edge with a self casing, your turning over and sewing will be easier if you cut down straight for the first 3 plus about 3/8" before you angle down to the bottom. Be sure you cut both waist and hem edges your 3 3/8" on both sides and then cut a straight line from the bottoms of these points.
To get a straight edge and take the guessing out of the side seam cutting lines, I make one more fold and use it to guide me when I cut the gores as above.
Sew your panels together from the bottom to top. Press straight grain seams with selvedge edges together open and serge or finish the edges on a bias angle and press towards the selvedge seams. Now you sew 5/8" bias casing along each seam turning hem edges under.

4. Gores sewn, seams finished and pressed, casings sewn in. Center casing before drawstrings pulled through.

5. Bottoms of the casing channels with drawstrings pulled through and knotted at hem edge.

6. Picture of drawstrings at waist edge opening pinned, and ready to be sewn.

Use a safety pin to thread narrow drawstrings or braid through your casings leaving a 6" tail. Pin the other ends at waist end and secure with straight stitching. Cotton or string with a tooth will work better than silky cords or ribbons which have a tendency to slip.
Now your ready to play! Try on your skirt and start pulling some strings!

7. Skirt hem pulled up just a bit for a peek at an underskirt or pettycoat.

(**This is the start of what I hope will be a regular series of patterns for simple garments that are the basic building blocks of what I do. I've come full circle after 45 years of building with lint. I've learned that the simplist cuts and most economic lines are the best - just as our ancestors did because of the scarcity and value of cloth.

If there's a particular item you'd like me to address, let me know.)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Belated Halloween

I'm up to my earlobes in costumes and work so I couldn't post anything more elaborate for this most special of holidays! To make it worth your while, here's the Final Fantasy version - which I think is one of the most brilliant animations to come down the pike - AND the Hindi version - a true Thriller in wardrobe and choreography.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Old Fat Naked Women for Peace

Go see the old babes! This may truly be the answer to all of our National Defense issues!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Stand By Me

"The last person who remembered why we are fighting died long ago." Anonymous

It is worthwhile to watch cultural commentator Bill Moyers' entire interview with commentary on the negativity of the campaigns now and how it relates to every day folk far removed from Washington. Here is the link to see the PBS Moyers' Journal Interview with "Playing For Change" documentary film artist, Mark Johnson. And I will own the DVD.

And I close with this request from you:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pun Fun Word Run

With all the seriousness facing us at every turn, I just had the urge to put up a bit of playful word silliness. Read the news. Then come back here and read this.

1. The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.He acquired his size from too much pi.

2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned outto be an optical Aleutian .

3. She was only a whisky maker, but he loved her still.

4. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it wasa weapon of math disruption.

5. The butcher backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.

6. No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

7. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.

8. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.

9. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.

10. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

11. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are lookingi nto it.

12. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

13. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other, 'You stay here, I'll go on a-head.'

14. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.

15. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: 'Keep off the Grass.'

16. A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital. When his grandmother telephoned to ask how he was, a nurse said, 'No change yet.'

17. A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.

19. The short fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium, at large.

20. The man who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.

21. A backward poet writes in-verse.

22. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.

23. Don't join dangerous cults, practice safe sects!

24. In democracy it's your vote that counts. In feudalism it's your Count that votes.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Marie Antoinette's Dresses

One of paper...

And the other out of storage...

Click Here: The Curating of Marie-Antoinette's Dress
to take you to see a wonderful Podcast from the Royal Ontario Museum on the exhibit and handling of the real thing:

"Embellished with silk embroidery, ribbon appliqu├ęs, spangles and glass stones, follow the journey of Marie-Antoinette's lavish dress from ROM's vault to the gallery. Discover the delicate conservation methods, innovative mounting techniques and the mesmerizing history of the woman who once wore this dress." Royal Ontario Museum

***Updated 12-13-2008: This is no longer a current exhibit and the podcast has been archived HERE.*****

And progress on my own handwork...

Cindy's Shawl

Detail of the beaded embroidery

I did get quite a bit done on the shawl Cindy wears in part of the play, "Into the Woods". We chose a sage colored plush and an eyelet embellished soft corduroy which really does match but takes the light differently. For trim, we found this incredibly expensive organza trim with hand beading and embroidery.

Also got Sky's peach pettycoat together except for the hem and have trimmed the skirt's velvet forepart with the gold bullion trim.

Kim's fabric is prepped for her skirt and that's part of what's on the burner for today.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sleeping Beauty Has Sleeves

Sleeves have been set in by hand after easing the sleeve heads. Had one fitting on Sky and will get around to readjusting after the back lacing tab and zipper are in place. Ripped out one side of the skirt forepart because it was puckered and reattached it by hand this time to assure it works.

I added a simple row of the gold twist bugle beads and rocailles to the edge of the sleeve cape to tie the sleeve in with the bodice. Hand edges of pointed inner sleeve are piped and need finger rings to hold them in place. This is a very heavy sleeve!! I may have to put a tie in the upper back to keep the bodice from dragging off her shoulders!

I need to put gold bullion braid on the forepart insert and join skirt to bodice. Zipper will be hand set because this pattern doesn't call for one and it's an extra to help her dress for stage. Cindy's red calico petticoat is hanging up behind the bodice.

Tonight I finish off her shawl, cut out Kim's skirt and piece together another skirt. I also need to run a piece of elastic at the top edge of the center bodice.

I had two burglars yesterday afternoon. I left the back door wide open so George could come in and eat. She's been extra fussy lately because of the two new kittens and the visiting cats from next door. I hear this crash in the kitchen and get up from my desk to go see. I round the corner just in time to see two young raccoons dragging a plastic bag with 2 bags of cat food across the floor and headed for the back door. I told them that they could get take out when they started paying for the food.

They let go and waited for me on the porch to fill their bowls. Cheeky little buggers. I DO sometimes feel like an all-night diner with drive through. I don't mind feeding the extra guests, but they get pushy sometimes. There are two possums dining on the water side porch along with the neighbor's two cats, too.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday Song With Willow Creek Dress

I want artist Robin Barcus Slonina to have six wives so she can create 24-7. I can't cook, but I'll stitch for her!!

October 16th- Just realized I hadn't put her link so you can see the other amazing things she does. I was just captured by this Ophelia happening, but you can go see the rest by clicking on her name.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tiara Under the Dog Star. Seriously

Tiara BC (Before Combs)

Tiara Finished. I think.

I've been dog sitting Martha and Jim Marshall's three dogs and two cats. Got some Sirius beading and sewing done under their watchful eye. Pieced together two of the four skirts I have for the play. Even cut out a big surprise for Cindy and a petticoat for Sky.

I was tempted to add more - some droplets above the tiara - but it's saying no, so I've stopped for the moment and will watch it to see if it barks. Did some fill in between the swirls to tighten up the design. Bought a ton more crystals and beads since I ran out, and the two tiara combs to hold it in place. Cindy will kill me when she sees how much I spent in OTHER beads, but I'm trying to spoil her and stock up while I'm able to see the eye of the needle.

I decided to shape it slightly like a Russian diadem pushing the center of the beaded net inward and bending the beaded caps at the top outward. Looking at the finished picture of it, I see some spaces that call for a few more beads, which I will add after I finish with the day's sewing.

I'm pleased with it. It conforms very to the shape of the sketch I did on the edge of a newspaper and is light and airy enough to be sure that Sky is comfortable without having to have a stage hand prop her head up as she does her lines.

A continuation of the casual style tute:

Leave the last 2 or so inches of your frame without fill wires. Position your combs (can be purchased or made with elongated bent wire loops wrapped at the top and secured to a length of bar metal or several head pins wrapped together).

You'll use 26 gauge wire to wrap the combs securing the bar between your base frame. Bend your ends in at the finish and tuck inside the wrapping. You can also string crystals or beads on the wrapping gauge to position on the front side of your tiara as I've done.

Shape your tiara with gentle pressure and you're finished! Wor-lah!

I showed the finished product to Reno, Abby, Boomer and cats Balentine and Blueberry Marshall as I enjoyed my work and a well earned glass of Marty's house merlot. They were interested in it with what I assumed was real interest, but then they reminded me that it was dinnertime. Sigh.

A nice thing about being a dog is that you don't have to load up several bags when you leave to go somewhere and need to take your work with you. It's all there. Built in.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Zen of Tiaras With Florals

I'm starting on Sky's tiara to go with the Sleeping Beauty gown for the play. I'm including the first picture for artist Vikki North because she gets enthused seeing creative piles of possibilities in my gathering to start a new project. I hope it gets her going on her own sewing and making adventures in addition to her art.

There really is the base of a tiara in there! If you want to make your own fairy tiara, you'll need 16 gauge wire for your base, 20 gauge wire for the scrolls and wrapping, jewelry making pliers, and an assortment of crystals, gemstones and beads that will fit on your 20 gauge wire. I'm using gold wire to match Sky's trim on the gown.

Start with a cut length of 16 gauge wire about 34". Form a circle and join the ends by bending and wrapping, snugging up the wire with a flat nose plier. Bend your circle in half so that you have a shape that vaguely looks like the outline of a taco or half moon. (Don't you just LOVE my technical terms!)

Don't worry about it being wonky at this point. You'll stabilize the entire piece with the 20 gauge wire. I started at the center front of the tiara. Determine how tall you want the finished piece to be and cut several lengths of wire this length doubled plus an inch to allow for your swirls and curls and the wrapping at top and bottom of your basic frame.

Here's where it gets fun. Start slipping your crystals or beads on bending and coiling your 20 gauge with round nose pliers ....

(note here: My computer was taken over by a Trojan ZLOB while working on this post, published it incomplete, and caused 3 hours of down time while I fixed the thing. It should make a bit more sense now.)

....until you have a piece the width of your frame height coiled. Then wrap it on your frame top and bottom. You can get an idea of what I'm talking about in the picture above. The rough sketch behind is for another costume I'm making for the play. More pix and directions on the tiara later.

Frangipani/Lei Flower/Plumeria

Blue Skies from India

I know that many of you in the temperate climates are experiencing Autumn leaves changing color and thought that you might enjoy seeing my 'Fall' here at Dogpatch. I'm enjoying my frangipani - so fragrant it just puts you in a trance! The bottom shows one of the many living arches I have here complete with weeds. It's a vine from India and has almost covered the tree tops above my house in drifts of these gorgeous yellow-throated garlands.

If you look closely, you'll see the waterway behind my home. The ghosty gray thingy hanging beside a pannacle of flowers is Spanish Moss, ubiquitous in Florida. It was once used to stuff airplane seats with. My mother pulled moss in the swamps bordering Georgia when she was a girl in the early days of the last depression.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

An Answer For Heather

Artist and writer Heather Brown-Truman is a longtime friend. We've shared lots of discussions in the past on many subjects, including the state of the STATE. Heather commented on the post that Martha Marshall put on Deepwater Journal about how stressed current events were making her (Martha). Here is what Heather said:

Write, call, email, fax, and pray...all these things are being done by the masses...but I am left with the same question, over and over again. Where is our collective anger? where is your anger? I mean they burned down their own town in LA over the Rodney King/OJ thing....but now nothing? When the new jobless numbers at almost 500,000 new claims for unemployment for the last month...where is our anger. Where are the marches, the protests on the steps, hell even turning over some cop cars and setting them on fire (not really) but something other than sitting at home and writing, and thinking and just being blissfully unaware...I have just that one question running through my head. Where is your anger? I mean we almost impeach a President for lying about diddling a page in the oval office, but mass murder and fear mongering, gets...nothing? Really? Watching the congress start the debate on the bill last night before the VP debate...some of the speakers warned of Marshall Law and riots will happen if they don't pass this bill. Oh, really? This is taxation with out representation,
this is economic terrorism, this is not only against the law of our Land but against the laws of logic. (Ed. Note: See the actual video references by Representative Brad Sherman HERE . You can see several related videos as well.) I'll tell you what...I know where my anger is...and I plan to light a match and set that beast on's go time...I'm pissed that both nominees backed this bill too...crap it don't matter who America, anyone can be elected to the office of President...that's the risk you take. I don't know what's next (well I do, but that's another post) but I do know that I do not have to swallow this bitter pill without bitching real loud, marching on my own streets, screaming...bring out your live human...ring the bells...bring out your live Americans!

I've often said that it really hasn't mattered who you vote(d) for. There has been an agenda that is just below the surface since the 1950s at least that many of us are ignorant about. I simply choose the lesser of two evils because I'd like a slower ride to Hades.

Here is my answer to Heather. And the rest of you. No matter what your political persuasion, I ask you for about 30 minutes of your time to watch author Naomi Wolfe describe what's going on in our land and what we can do about it. After you've watched it, get off your duff and go research. Don't just take my word or anyone else's about it. Read, look and see for yourself.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Narcolepsy and Possum Children

Bodice and lining hand stitched together and ready to receive the sleeves.

Sleeve components together with lining, ready to be set in to the armscye of the bodice.

Skirt forepart piped and attached to skirt sides and back. Starting to look like a costume gown.

The strange title for this post comes from a discussion of the myth and mode behind the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty that took place in a college class I took on magic and religion. The professor asked for themes interwoven in the tale and I piped up with necrophilia, a woman weakened, impotent and rendered harmless.

After the class quit laughing, he agreed with me that indeed, that could be one of the psychological readings of the story. We discussed the Sleeping Queen that would be awakened in the Spring as part of a fertility ritual and I threw in another fifty cents with the fruit that put her in a narcoleptic state in the first place. How apropos that it would be Eve's apple, the Fruit of Knowledge.

Now. You could go on forever, or for at least a good long time serving up one implication of this, fractal the Prince and his gig with comatose Princesses and the angst between the Evil Queen and Beauty. But. I brought this up to let you know that I'm there with Beauty.

I've slept most of the week and feel I need more. My skewed diurnal cycles have interfered with getting my obligations done. I should have had more done in less time, but have been feeling enormous fatigue. Some of it I attribute to recurring chronic fatigue syndrome. I'm also convinced that the psaltery that we've had to listen to in D.C. over the bailout has made me crave an escape.

Most of all, I find it ironic that I'm costuming a character who echoes what is going on in my life with the theme of sleep. One of the perks of living life on the vampire side of the clock is that I get to see the night critters here at Dogpatch. This little child is an orphan who's mama wasn't quick enough for the road. I know that you're not supposed to feed the wildlife, but when you're this young, a steak ain't easy to find so I put out cat food mix and water.

She brought along a twig for her tail to rest on. The bowls are almost six inches across for scale reference.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Sky Is Falling, The Sky Is Falling

by Martha Marshall

How is one supposed to get inspired to create with all the negative forces pushing in on us at this moment? Right now it's difficult to get centered and be inspired. The world is going to hell in a handbasket and I feel powerless to shout loudly enough over the noise and tell everyone to stop the madness.

For the past few nights my sleep has been disturbed, or when I do sleep, I have dreams of intense dread involving swirling dark currents of water lapping up around a few small perches of refuge. As a result, I am constantly sleep deprived.

And all because our leaders and the mainstream media are once again trying to paralyze us with fear. They say the sky is falling. They say only we can save you. Put your trust in us, they say. Just like when we saved you from future terrorist attacks, and weapons of mass destruction, and bird flu, hurricanes, and killer bees. The current threats are just as scary, they say -- a falling stock market, a credit freeze with certain joblessness, disappearing nest eggs, the loss of our homes, and starving people in the streets.

They told us that we "must act immediately" to avert "certain disaster." They say we just don't understand the complexities of the problems confronting us, and if we did, we would stop all those silly phone calls to our elected representatives and protests and emails and get behind Congress to pass this bailout. I am insulted and angry that they keep saying I don't understand what is happening. Do they truly believe we are stupid? I keep screaming this at the TV, even when it's not on.

The bailout bill did not pass yesterday. The stock market fell but the sky didn't. It's not that we don't need to do something. But we don't have to have this bill. No other alternatives have even been discussed.

What was it that George W. said? Fool me once, shame on you, fool me . . . fool me can't get fooled again."

(Dina says: Martha is a contributing editor to the DWJ. This is her post from her most excellent blog An Artist's Journal from yesterday. I told her that I wanted her to post it here as well because it just sang to me when I read it! I've been having the same fitfull sleep over the state of the State, but I don't believe that giving away the coop to the skunks is the payback they deserve. Several dozens of crack economists say that there are other and more sensible ways to handle this crisis, including ways to protect We The People, otherwise known as the Great Unwashed to Wall Street Biggies.

Call, write, email your Reps until they get the same sleepless nights we have and think about the real people!)

Monday, September 29, 2008

"Hello? Has Anyone Seen Pam? HELLO........?"

Please reply to this email so I’ll be able to convince myself that I’m not in some kind of crazy time warp or Twilight Zone episode…

Well, bad eye sight, over medication of narcotic drugs and a habit of driving like a bat out of hell (is that where I am?) finally caught up to my Mama yesterday afternoon. Daddy and I were out in the guinea pen trying to fashion a hanging feeder out of a dog leash and two S rings when we got the call from Mama that she “was in the ditch down by Beeson’s dam.”

So off we go in Daddy’s truck (a mile down the road) – and there was Mama’s recently acquired Lexus RX 330 SUV turned over on its side in a 6 foot ditch – and literally 100 feet of turn up ditch behind her. She, on her way home from a baby shower, was perfectly coiffed and shoed and dressed on the side of the road and a WHOLE BUNCH of people had pulled over to help her. Two big ol’ boys had opened up the car door and pulled her out.

Mama: I saw a car coming towards me and it was about to cross the line so I must have just run off the road into the ditch (100 feet back).

Witness 1: I was behind her and she just run right straight off the road. She never braked or nothing. She hit the ditch and gunned it – them tires were spinning a hundred miles a minute. And then the car just couldn’t go any further and turned over on its side. LORD HAVE MERCY!!

Witness 2: (supposedly the car that crossed the center line – but was ¼ mile away when she hit the ditch) We was coming up over the hill and saw her driving through the ditch and we was scared that she might be able to get out of the ditch and cross over and kill us – we had kids in the back seat. But my husband said there was no way she could drive out of that ditch and then the car just couldn’t go any further and turned over on it’s side. My husband reached in there and toted her out. LORD HAVE MERCY!!

Witness 1: Do you want me to go get your brother?

Pam: (to myself) Who are you and how do you know who my brother is?

Daddy: I think he’s mowing the pasture.

Witness 1: I’ll get him.

Pam: (to myself) Where is the vodka?

My brother, Tony, came and pondered the situation and figured it all out and took control (thankfully).

By this time the NC Highway Patrolman arrived. VERY cute and studly and in uniform and all that… – and of course I looked like a homeless person in sweats and Crocs and appropriately dressed in what you wear to the pasture to fashion a hanging feeder with a dog leash and two S rings for three guinea fowl who all they do is eat and shit and dig in the dirt. (I really do think they love me though…)

Pam: (to myself) FUCK!

So the tow truck guy comes – and HE (much more age appropriate for me) – looking pretty handsome in his yellow slicker outfit - drags the car out of the ditch. I get assigned to ride with him to deliver the car to the house. He doesn’t make eye contact and I can’t blame him.

Pam: (to myself) FUCK! WHERE is the vodka?

So the car is safely in the yard – looking worse for the wear and without a tire... Handsome tow truck guy got his $175 for towing the car a mile. Mama cried in the recliner for 15 minutes and then fell asleep. I found the vodka. Dreamed of drinks and dinner at Bella’s.

Today I called Nationwide to report the claim and answered all the questions.

Steve: Did anyone have to employ extrication measures to get her out of the car?

Pam: No, we live out in the country and a country boy just hauled her out.


Steve: (to himself) OMG, another bunch of rednecks – who do I hate enough to assign this claim to.

Steve: Were there any witnesses?

Pam: Yes, but I didn’t get their names. I could probably ask around…

Steve: That’s okay. Brianna will call you tomorrow.

So life goes on…and it could be a lot worse - Mom is fine. But, where am I? Hello???

Ed. Note: I received this from a dear friend who lives in North Carolina. This is just a sampling of the literature I get from her on a regular basis. And she's just as colorful in person. I keep telling her she needs to write a book about a city girl returning back home to her roots in the country and the culture shock that occurs after thirty years.)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

An Animated Child's Take On The Bible

Vikki North had a post on her blog on a painting of the vision of Ezekiel from the bible and how it's interpreted. I found this Academy Award winner and just had to share it. These are real children's stories that are animated.

One of the interesting threads of the various conversations had to do with translation of holy books over the years and how those translations can change a word or two at a time. I love this innocent Irish take on how all holy stories are open to interpretation just through retelling.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sleeping Beauty Gown Coming Together

Starting to look purty. The frontispiece is piped and set in with the side fronts. Picture above shows one lower sleeve cape together and basted at the top. The other side shows the velvet sleeve cape lining with bias piping basted on ready for the fashion fabric.

Get over it. You must always baste velvet if you don't want to drive yourself to an early happy hour. Piping is a real boon when sewing a pile or nap fabric to a smooth surface fashion cloth. The basted on piping wont let the smooth fabric walk or travel because both smooth surfaces are together rather than velvet to smooth. The basting keeps your piping in place. After you've sewn your two pieces together, the piping helps you turn a super crisp edge.

Here's the sleeve cape with the gold soutache braid hand stitched in place. Why by hand? No sewing lines show on your exposed lining. The bodice is stitched to the backs at shoulders and one one side. As this is a lace up gown and a piece used for theatre, I'm adding a side seam zipper for ease of getting it on and off. Even though there's no quick changes, lacing a bazillion holes is not a quick closure and you need help with it.

Today I finish the bodice back darts and put the sleeve cap and lower sleeve together to ready them for the lower sleeve capes. The lining is together and ready for boning.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Frontispiece/Bodice Beading on Sleeping Beauty Gown

Finished frontispiece of the bodice. I quilted details into the fluer to both define it and to make it lay more flat against the chest. I'm going to bone the bodice as well. Even though it doesn't call for it, there's a lot of weight being supported here. I'm making self bias piping to outline the pieces which helps to keep the edges crisp and defined. The color is actually a deep, rich sapphire blue, but the duchesse reflects the light.

Everything else has been put on hold - sorry dear Annette! - as the deadline for the first costume reveal is the 3rd. Fast approaching deadlines! I've also felt like warmed over you-know-what the past few days and that has slowed down my work.

This is the back of the frontispiece showing the cuts where batting was stuffed and then stitched closed using trapunto, the quilting stitches, and the grid work where I laid on the plated gold twist bugle beads. Each of the individual knot is where I stitched a 3 cut Czech Charlotte size 13/0 bead. I chose a pale blue lined with copper Charlotte which will pick up the blue velvet contrast and accent the gold beads.

There's at least thirteen hours of hand work here. Lots of ripping out to keep lines and proportions equal or it would have read like op art on stage. I showed this to Cindy and she was thrilled with it. I'm pretty pleased myself.

Recommendations: Always back this kind of work. Keep your slits narrow and small on the back of trapunto work and baste them closed with a medium loose stitch to keep the front from puckering and curving. Non-quilted trapunto does better in small areas. If your design is large, quilt it or anchor it with beads.

I worked this without a frame, but would recomment one if you have issues with keeping your work flat.

Use a waxed polyester or nylon thread for your beadwork. The sharper edges of the bugles won't cut the waxed surface as quickly without the microscopic thread fibers frizzed out to catch the raw glass.

Judiciously pad areas that are to be solidly covered with beads so that the surface is almost rigid. It supports the beads better.

If you really want the beads to stand up to vigorous wear such as a beaded belt or bra for a belly dancer or stripper costume, dab a bit of fabric cement on the back on each knot. There will be a lining to hide your work and add longevity to the piece.

More later.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fleur De Lis Beaded Embroidery

I'm trying to catch up on my projects, finish the story of the fabulous fibre artist from Britain I promised you, and take care of daily duties including cat herding.

Above is the picture of the center front bodice for a sleeping beauty gown. It will be worn in the play, "Into The Woods". One of two characters I'm costuming for the production, I've spent the last three days adjusting, cutting and pinning.

For the center front bodice, I want to give a nod to the French origins of the fairy tale so the design incorporates a Fleur de lis. You can see the basting stitches in place to hold the duchesse satin to the interlining muslin, and the pattern I cut pinned to be outlined with chalk. I'm going to raise the design slightly with trapunto and then will bead it. The gown is so opulent, I'm having to curb my sparkly crow self to refrain from beading the ENtire gown!

I'll show you bits and pieces of this and other projects as I work on the article of our mystery artist.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Brillante Weblog

Samate nominated me for the Brilliante Weblog award and I'll humbly accept it! It will take me a bit to nominate my 7 per the rules, but I will get to it and will let them know!

Many thanks, Samate, Little Beauty! Okay. Here are the rules:

The rules for this award are:
  • The winner can put the logo on his/her blog.
  • Link to the person you received your award from.
  • Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
  • Put links to those blogs on yours.
  • Leave a message on the blogs of the people you have nominated.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I Got Chosen!

I'm tickled pink! My Goddess Gown that I just finished and listed on Etsy has been selected by the fashion mavens on Ooh, I've Got Something To Show You! It's good to be Queen!!