Nov 13, 2019

My Cup Runneth Over

The studio, after a week of tidying.

Last week I managed what some would consider an Heroic Effort and (mostly) cleaned my studio.  I do not consider the effort heroic, because if I'd just clean it up each day, it wouldn't take a week! 

That wide expanse of work table, clear and ready to create, is captivating, motivating, and thrilling.  You'd think I would want to keep it that way, so I can create any time I want.  Why don't I?  That's probably a question best left to the professionals.

Perhaps it's this: each time I do The Overhaul, maybe once a quarter (optimistically), I rediscover all the different crafts, materials, and creative potential in that room.  I can make so many things there! My mind spins circles with ideas. I actually dream about them at night.  And all the projects shout; "Pick ME!"  In this one 11 x 12 ft room, I have materials for;

Quilting: (I did cull a good many books, planning some basic quilts and throws for our new house.)

General sewing: (garments, house goods, pet gear, doll clothes, you name it)

Rug Hooking: (books, TWO strip cutters, hooks, background fabric and shoes boxes of worms)

Wool applique: (bins of wool, freezer paper, and four giant shoe boxes of pearl cotton)

Doll making: (of course) with bins of fabric, little hats, glasses, baskets, even limb joints I've never learned how to use.  This includes material for cloth dolls with clay heads, mohair bears and critters, rag dolls with a giant bin of cotton stuffing, and another bin of poly stuffing.  Wooden bits for jointed dolls (dowel rods and toy blocks and sticks--oh my!)  Wigs, eyes, shoes.  I even still have the cedar wood shavings my friend Sheri Farley sent me a decade ago because I loved my Sheri-made Tansy Butternut doll so much.  Husband wouldn't quit smelling it--he's a fan of cedar.

Jewelry making: (and I don't even wear jewelry--but the dolls do, and daughters/friends)

Crochet: (knitting--someday) has recently added a great deal to the chaos with bins of yarn, and more than one loom for hats, socks, cords, and some long skinny loom, but I'm not sure what it's for.

Punch Needle: (with a small box of several sizes of needles and lots of embroidery hoops).

Hand Embroidery: (along with the pearl cotton, there is a rainbow of DMC).

Felting: A whole drawer with mohair for dolls and felting.  What, exactly, am I going to felt?

Pin-cushion and Make Do supplies:  I have this vision of tiny embroidered wool pin cushions, each in its own miniature tart pan.  Yes, I have a basket of tiny tart pans.  Also washed tuna and pea cans to make little sewing caddies for my Sewing Ladies who meet once a month. What about needle cases and scissors pockets? 
Stencils: I usually free-hand most of my furniture painting, but I have a small collection of stencils that I am planning to use for the new house.  Nothing big or busy, but yeah--stencils.

Wood BurningWhy?  The last time I did any wood burning was eleven years ago when I did Celtic Knot Work patterns on our new cedar mail box post.  (Drawn there, thank you, using stencils.)  The post was beautiful, but why do I still have this???

Gourd Art:  Try as I might, and I have tried, I can't get rid of the gourds.  I put them in the Going to Sell Bin.  I even put them in the Donate to Thrift bin.  And each time I stole them out and put them back.  Because the potential of them calls to me. 

Painting, Painting, Painting: I could paint anything with the paint I have.  From miniatures to houses.  Furniture, walls, floors--even art canvases.  Water color, Gouache, Oil, Acrylic, Chalk.  Do you need something painted?  Come to my house, and we'll get started.  Want a particular finish or some antiquing?  Ooh--how about glitter?

Sculpting:  Of course.  Creative paper clay has long been my favorite, so I have culled supplies down to that for sculpting.  Except for a roll of cotton so (when I get to it) I can try spun cotton sculpting.  Because, you know--sculpting!  Only one set of sculpting tools, but I have armatures--foil, styrofoam balls, paper mache cones, you name it.  Sanding materials, of course.

Clay Molds and Cookie Cutters:  Don't forget those.  Because you never know when you'll need to make an ornament. Or ten.

Stamping and card making:  I gave away half the stamps and all the scrap booking stuff at least. But stamps are just so...clever and versatile! 

I saw a bumper sticker that read; She Who Dies With The Most Fabric--Wins!  But, when I do a quarterly clean and discover purse patterns I may never use, I have to doubt this is healthy.  Seriously! I culled a good deal of material out of this room just this year!  Minimalism reigns in the rest of the house now.  But in the there such thing as Maximalism? 

My bumper sticker would read; "Hello.  My name is Jan, and I'm a craft supplies junky."

But I have a new pile after last week's overhaul.  If you know anyone who wants to buy a wood burning tool, send 'em my way--otherwise it's going to charity.  Really!

Nov 6, 2019


Once in a while, my brain does a complete turn about and I have to go explore something new and interesting, or at least different from what I've been working on.  In this case, I fell down the Yarn Rabbit Hole.  I have been storing up patterns for future kid-grandkid-friend presents, and have made a few things.  It's nice to find a good stitch that doesn't take too much concentration, and then sit with the spousal unit watching our shows in the evening. 

But the challenge has taken hold and...I want to learn more.  I want to learn something that I have to pay attention to, something TV won't work with.  I'm not anti-TV, I just want to make the brain cells grunt a little.  Ha!

So I made a poncho for the mother in law, and she liked it (I modeled it in the bathroom mirror--the time-honored selfie pose).  See, the thing is this: I've crocheted since I was a kid.  Maybe ten?  My mom was left-handed, and I'm right-handed, so that was my first challenge.  I never learned how to read or follow a pattern (I stink at recipes too), so anything I made, unique. 

My first real crochet was Amigurumi--before we knew to call it that.  I was seventeen, preggers with my first kid, and had no toys for him.  (Eloping with a biker at sixteen turned out to be a bad idea.)  So I made up my own clowns and alligators, blankets and little dangely things for a red-neck mobile.  Of course, everything was eye-balled instead of counted, so limbs on animals were a little wonky, and one eyeball might be bigger than the other.  The kiddo didn't seem to mind, so that worked out. 

Then after a few more attempts and frustration--due to me not knowing more than maybe four basic stitches, or how make even edges--I put it aside for a while.  "A while" meaning a decade.  Or three. 

But I got some library books recently, and you know what?  It's amazing what you can learn from them!  So here I am, wondering if I can actually do Tunisian stitch, or even (dare I say it?) knit??? 

So while the dolls are shouting from the studio, and our time til House Listing is closing in on us, I sit here crocheting a lovely shrug in shades of blue and green, and ignoring all the "supposed to" stuff in that studio.  And trying not to buy more yarn. 

I hope your Wednesday is a fine one.  And that you get a chance to challenge your brain cells!

Oct 9, 2019

To keep it or not?

I'm not believing it's been since early August since last I posted here.  Well...yes I am. 

Maybe blogs are dead.  Maybe just Blogger Blogs, or the ones that don't have a million stupid pop-up ads are dead.  Maybe just craft blogs? 

Yesterday, I was looking for crochet patterns.  There were a million free patterns out there, with links you can find on Pinterest or Ravelry, etc.  But every link to every blog is so full of spam and pop-ups and cookies infecting my computer, I just quit the search.  (And maybe I'll just buy a crochet book, because it's just not worth all the spam.)  Is there a way to do a search for ad-free blogs?

Yes, my own blog has been sadly neglected.  I used to think of it as a sort of web-page hub for my folk art business.  It can still function that way, and maybe should, but it seems nobody goes to blogs anymore.  Do they?  Everyone wants to use Facebook--which is great, but have you noticed the increasing ads on Facebook?  All the "sponsored" posts that show up in the feed whether you want them or not?  Between that and the blog ads, it makes me want to avoid the computer altogether.  Pinterest is just as bad--all the silly "video" style pins that make me dizzy. 

And, the whine fest is done.   

Here's the thing...I've been trying to figure out whether to keep this blog.  I will never be one of those who allows ads on my blog, because that's just a low-class way to operate.  But unless I post regularly, there's nothing new to read here, either, right?   When I was an Air Force instructor, I used to tell my studii that not using the right tools the right way is like sweeping the floor with your hands with the broom propped in the corner.  I should take my own advice.  I've had this blog for over ten years, and it's still a viable option.  One that will remain an ad-free place for people who visit.

So here's me, coming up with a plan to write.  Daily is a bit ambitious, given that I haven't posted in almost three months.  But I can do weekly.  Even if I'm not currently making dolls, I'm always making something.  Lately, it's been floor plan design, dog training, painting, and sorting fabric for future curtains--not sure if any of that is blog-worthy, but what the hell--it's my blog, right?  The main thing is photos.  I will need to get more dedicated to before and afters, or works in progress pictures. 

For my own edification, and as a substitute for Facebook as a social outlet, I plan to find other blogs to follow--but ONLY the ones that don't allow ads on their sites.  (And maybe there's a kernel of weekly blog post ideas here--a feature of ad-free blogs!)

One ad-free blog I recommend highly is Josh Becker's "Becoming Minimalist".   I discovered it this summer, at a time when decluttering, streamlining, and simplifying my life was so necessary.  Following Mr. Becker's concept of minimalism helped me create a more calm, centered, peaceful home. (And I can clean my entire house--"nosy-company" ready--in less than three hours.)

Y'all have a lovely Wednesday, and I'll see you next week.

As a P.S.: Gypsy graduated from her Intermediate Level training class this last Sunday.  Our dog may be a little psycho, but she's a genius psycho.  Now, on to Advanced Level!