Booties and Balance

Part of finding ways to be more balanced in life means finding ways to structure my work so that if can be set aside easily, and then picked back up without difficulty.  I've concentrated my time on embroidered booties.  I love making them and they are the most transportable item I make.  I've really enjoyed playing with color and technique.  I also am enjoying the smallness of them. I mean who doesn't love baby scaled items.  But also the fact that I can indulge in a great level of detail and stitching but since they are sized for babies they sew up rather quickly.  

Here's a look at what I've been working on this month.

 

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Summer time

This week we had the longest day of the year.  I always think that some year I will mark the day with a celebration, a nice dinner with friends and the kids staying up late catching fireflies.   Somehow every year it slips up on me and I don't follow through with any of it.  This year we had a regular dinner and evening at home with the four of us going about our regular routine.  This year i'm not a annoyed with myself.   This summer I've decided to work on being present with my life.  I'm trying to set aside my phone. I might not get as many lovely pictures.  I might be able to see the joy and surprise in my girls' faces though.  

I'm still sewing away, but I'm trying to stay apart from the over scheduling.  The last few months I could feel the tensions of schedules, and homework, and all the rest of life that seems to collide on itself at the end of a school year.  I knew that all four of us needed to slow down and breath.  So on the solstice, we did celebrate in obvious ways.  We simply enjoyed being with each other in ordinary, mundane, routines, and loved every minute of it.  

 

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Southern Living!

So this has been in the works since July but only now could I share it.  

I'm in Southern Living!  

Holy Cow! I'm so excited to be able to say that. I am one of the southern makers included in Southern Living's Holiday Gift Guide.  

 

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Right there on page 100.  

Right there on page 100.  

I'm thrilled to say the least. And the elephants are flying out the door. I'm seeing like mad to restock.  

You can find them at my etsy shop and locally in Mmphis at the Women's Exchange, and at Diane's art, gift, and home. I'll also have them at the Indie Market in Midtown Memphis on December 10th at Muddys.  

 

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My poor neglected site

I checked in here today expecting very little considering that I have given my site and blog so little attention lately.  I was shocked to find that y'all are still coming and checking in.  Between the efforts to make new work, and sell work, and of course take care of my family have been keeping me from posting much.  

Now that school has begun again I find myself with a bit of breathing space, and I hope to get back to writing about my work and sharing it here.  

This is Meg modeling a wolf mask  

This is Meg modeling a wolf mask  

To begin the catching up I want to share some work that I have made for an adventure this August.  A very good friend of mine asked me to join her as a vendor at the Mid-South Renaissance Faire.  Meg and I met as freshman at RISD 20+ years ago.  We have studied, traveled, roomed, and worked together during our friendship.  I had never been to a Renaissance festival and definitely take a quieter path through life but I was willing to join her in full regaliaed fun.  She and her mother spent a year making beautiful floral crowns for the the faire and I brought my hobby animals, butterfly crowns, and new masks to the booth.

I discovered an amazing ETSY shop called oxeyedaisey.  She sells mask patterns, and they are incredible.  The design work is beautiful and they instructions are very well written.  You can follow the link imbedded in her name to see her shop.  With her permission, I made felt masks to sell at the Faire and will keep them in my regular inventory.  My personal favorite is the CHICKEN! Yes, it is so good it gets all caps.  

Chicken Mask, sewn by me, pattern by Oxeyedaisy at https://www.etsy.com/shop/oxeyedaisey

Chicken Mask, sewn by me, pattern by Oxeyedaisy at https://www.etsy.com/shop/oxeyedaisey

In addition to chickens, I made wolves, bears, cats, and dragons.  

In addition to the masks, I brought a stable full of hobby horses and stick animals.  My stable has become quite diverse.  I added elephants (pole pachyderms) and stick dragons to the stalls.

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I'll have more about these very soon.  

The Faire was great fun.  The weather was against us bringing drenching rain, ankle deep mud, and then sweltering heat.  Which is all to say, that it was completely typical for August in Memphis.  I brought my girls by to see the Queen, the jousts, the fairy court, the extravaganza, and to my youngest daughter's delight, the pink pony.

Some of the new work came back home and is now in my ETSY shop.

Here are a few shots of the fair itself.

 

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And of course we end with the fabled pink pony. 

And of course we end with the fabled pink pony. 

Apple of my eye

I thought I'd share a few of shots of some newly finished work. It's just 3 weeks till the spring Urban Barn Market. I've got a lot of sewing still to do.  

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I've been "shopping" in my fabric stash. I had forgotten about so many wonderful prints I had saved away. I particularly love the vintage styled circus print. I'm debating whether the remaining fabric should be more booties or shorts for my youngest. 

I've been "shopping" in my fabric stash. I had forgotten about so many wonderful prints I had saved away. I particularly love the vintage styled circus print. I'm debating whether the remaining fabric should be more booties or shorts for my youngest. 

I also have been working through my stacks of wool I cut up.   These are booties are available here.

I also have been working through my stacks of wool I cut up.  

These are booties are available here.

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Felt and floss

I have been busy restocking my crossover booties and spent a lot of hours sewing at the machine. This afternoon I finished up a batch of 42 new pairs in time for spring markets.  

To celebrate the end of a mass production cycle, I spent a lovely hour digging through my felt and floss planing out more hand embroidered booties. I love making these. Each pair is a doodle if you will of stitches. I always try to keep a pair stashed in my bag for filling the time while waiting for a lesson to end or while my girls are busy playing in the park. 

 

The resulting chaos while I work

The resulting chaos while I work

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Cotton Bolls

Today I delivered some items to the Cotton Museum gift shop!   

The Cotton Museum is housed in the Cotton Exchange Building at the corner of Union Ave and Main Street.  The museum tells the story of the cotton trade here in the midsouth, how it was cultivated and grown, the effort of bringing it to market. 

It is well worth a visit both for visitors to the city and for locals as well.  

The gift shop is starting to spotlight local artists and writers. I met one of the coordinators of the shop at the Brooks Holiday Artist Market. I am thrilled to be able to see my work for sale in this great space.  

 

Several pillows and a hand colored illustration are currently for sale in the gift shop.  

Several pillows and a hand colored illustration are currently for sale in the gift shop.  

The shop window on view from Union Avenue.  

The shop window on view from Union Avenue.  

January In Memphis

It's been grey and rainy and cold.  Snow is predicted here for tomorrow.  The city is a state of advanced chaos and giddy excitement at the news.  The grocery store is a war zone and forecasters are using terms such as "blizzard like conditions", however, the prediction is for 2 inches of accumulation.  But that is what a Memphis winter is all about.  

My grandmother grew up here.  When she and my grandfather (who lived in the South growing up as well) married in November of 1940, they moved to Milwaukee, WI.  Very shortly after moving it snowed.  Snow for them was a rare and joyous event being from the South.  They went out to the local park, and played, and built a snowman, and had so much fun.  My grandmother told me how all the other adults who saw them were unimpressed at their behaviour.  My grandparents didn't understand why no one else who was past school age wasn't playing.  In Memphis, after all, everyone young and old played when it snowed.  It was a holiday.  Then my grandmother said, "When it was still snowing in April, I understood why no one was joining in."  I'm not sure she ever fully recovered from five and a half years in the north but for me after 15 years here I say snow day with some joy.   

Here are a few shots from the work I have been doing this month while trying to get us all back and moving in a rhythm.



Hobby Horses

I have been selling hobby horses for a few years now.  Like most things in my shop, they started as something I made for my daughter and then my niece and nephew, and then I decided it was something to add to the shop.  At first I made them from fleece in lots of colors and a very random collection of ribbons I had amassed over time.  They were one of my "sweatshop" items.  My husband uses this term for the pieces on in mass batches.  I make so many at one go that generally they take over my work space, our bedroom, and the house in general.

I decided that the hobby horses needed a reinvention this fall.  Last year, once again, I made a gift for a baby shower that needed something extra to go with it.  The shower theme was rodeo inspired and I pulled out a hobby horse to add to the present.  Then I saw the registry and realized that everything was extremely neutral, beautiful, chic.  Not what my hobby horses were.  So at the last instant, while packing my suitcase, I whipped together a rabbit head out of an old sweater I had felted after it was no longer wearable, and made it into a hobby bunny.  And of course, I didn't take a single picture of it, not even a quick blurry cell phone shot. 

I was really quite pleased with the results however, and when it came time to start replenishing my stock of hobby horses, I grabbed my bin of old sweaters and got busy.  I've just spent the afternoon updating the shop and thought I better go ahead and share them here as well.

 

I still love my bright colorful fleece horses and will still make them too, but for now I'm loving these upcycled creations.  

Where did this fall go?

The school year is flying by.  My husband teaches, which means that since three out of the four members of the family live by the school year, it seems like we should celebrate New Year's Day August 1.  Yes August first, because here in the mid-south school starts early.  Long gone are the days of starting the day after Labor Day.  

But all of this is a digression to say simply that I have been swallowed up in the sea of schedules and activities that consume us all.  I've been so very busy.  I had an amazing time being part of the Urban Barn Market.  More about that here.  I created a great deal of new work in preparation that I have been wanting to share and just haven't sat down at the computer with the will to post anything.  

I've been experimenting quite a bit with more wall hangings/quilts.  I shared a photo journal of the creation of a piece with coneflowers. I also started working with some gorgeous cashmere sweaters that were passed on to me after moths found them.  They are amazing shades of blue that were perfect for iris.  

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I also had enough of the materials left to make a few more cotton boll items.  Pillows restocked and also a large wall piece

I started working today on a new design for a fall leaf design that will be headed to become a wall work in the next few days.  

 

The happiest news is that I'll be busy for some time to come as well.  I will be at the Mullins United Methodist Church Craft Fair, Saturday November 14.  And just one day after the Urban Barn Market ended I received the news that I am going to be part of the Brook Museum of Art Holiday Artist Market.  I am thrilled to be part of this event.  I'll be posting more details about the sale and offering glimpses of some of the new items headed to the sale.  Some of the artists participating are those that I have admired for quite some time.  It is very gratifying to find myself in the same ranks.  I discovered the work of Baucum Pottery when I first moved here to Memphis.  It is amazing ceramics work created by a married couple.  Their work is simply stunning.  Melissa Bridgman of Bridgman Pottery is another very talented potter.  She also is gracious in sharing support and help to other artisans in the Memphis area.  I hope that if you are in the Mid-South that you come by and see my work in person.