jeans and ceramics

i’m pretty sure i just thrifted some dungarees that could be the coolest pair of levis in the world.

these jeans scream “AMERICA” despite the souvenir patches from france and germany.

just a good ol’ pair of american levis that will NOT GIVE UP no matter how much wear and tear.

will ya look at that stitching?!?!

these are ART.

also found a couple arabia finland bowls that are a little different (to me.)

small dish with fish.

and another bowl with golden flowers.  apparently flowers called carolina jessamine.  or evening trumpet flower.

and that is your horticulture lesson for the day.

designed by hilkka liisa ahola.

also, a vintage franciscan earthenware serving bowl in a cool aztecky pattern.  hacienda gold.

and a cute little scandinavian-ish shaped vase.

and that’s the way i like to spend a holiday.

mini quilt

lemme guess.

another mini quilt, another bear?

yes, indeed.

it’s still winter and i’m still hibernating and hibernating = bears. 

used some of that hand stamped fabric i hand stamped several years ago.  i had intentions of making a pillow back then, but sometimes the urge hits you to make a bear mini quilt and you just have to go with that urge.    

i’m also experimenting with not having perfect little stitches and that is a HARD thing to do.  when i browse the web and look at other people’s work, the quilts that catch my eye  are the messier, less-than-perfect quilts.  i can’t figure out what makes something look “artsy” vs. what makes something look like it was done by someone who has no clue how to use a needle and thread, and therefore amateurish.  is it a combo of good stitches and messy stitches?  good and messy is what i tried here.


this one’s smaller than the ones i’ve been making recently.  8″ x 10-1/2″.

(this is another example of using a photo of a bear as a template, although it kind of resembles a man in bear suit.  and that makes me laugh.)

also – if you’re asking yourself, “is there any difference between a mini quilt and a potholder,” well, i cannot answer that.


i made the goats and then immediately became bored with the goats.  goats just aren’t funny.  i need a funny ornament.  or a more “of-the-moment” ornament.  something more current event-y.   current event-y and funny. 

don’t get me wrong.  i think these are cute-as-hell. 

i just need to move forward and create something more funny. 

that said, here are the GOATS!!!!

non-funny, traditional, scandinavian non-milked goats

today i’m going to hike somewhere out in the wilderness.  somewhere far far away from the ghetto.  it could very well be the last gorgeous, warm day of 2010.  i must take advantage.  yesterday i opted to take a 20 minute walk downtown to the post office and missed a bank robbery by *this much.* as i was trekking home, i swear every police officer on duty came whizzing past me at mock speed with blaring sirens.  this does not make for a peaceful hike.

today’s agenda – peaceful hike.  funny ornaments.

i made a goat.

high on my priority list this time of year is getting a job coming up with a creative christmas ornament.  something simple, something different.

because i’m enamored with all things scandinavian, i thought i’d make a traditional swedish goat.

i thought there was a goat in the christmas song the 12 days of christmas –   8 goats a-milking.  it’s not goats.  it’s maids.  the 8 maids are a-milking.  and i don’t think they’re milking goats.  maybe they should be milking goats.  let’s represent the goat from now on, i say.  at least one goat.  let one maid milk one goat. 

my goat is not straw.  i’m allergic.  go figure.  and let’s face it – i wouldn’t even know how to begin to make a straw goat. 

my goat is felt.  wool felt.  strangely, i’m not allergic to working with wool felt.  i even wear wool sweaters, but after a little while they do make my eyes itch and my neck itch.  i suffer so. 

found an image on a swedish tablecloth on ebay and went from there. 

now i just need to make a whole tribe of goats.  christmas 2010.  year of the traditional non-milked goat.

quoi de neuf?

more mysterious foreign language messages.

i believe this means “what’s new?” in french. 

that, or “what’s nine?”

i can’t be sure.

either way, it’s made it to my latest patchwork pillow top.


i’m showing you this unfinished pillow to leave you with something because i’m off for awhile to help paint walls and trim and offer unsolicited decorating advice in parts unknown. 

the boonies. 

you can’t get there from here. 

i’ll be away from my computer, away from my thrift stores, away from my sewing machine for who knows how long.  in who knows where.  it’s like i’m quitting everything i love cold turkey (except for maybe that sewing machine thing – i can’t quite say i love that.)  i hope i don’t have withdrawal symptoms.  i hope i don’t throw up. 

the thrift store employees might put out an all points bulletin for me.  you think i kid. 

speaking of thrifting…

sabra and vera.  2 lady artists whose first names end in “a.”  how’s that for a theme?

first up – sabra. 

a thrifted piece of GREAT art, a cobalt blue woodblock print, frame dimensions are 11-1/2″ x 12-1/2″.  i think this one must be pretty old.  found sabra’s website (it’s under her married name of sabra field, this piece is signed “sabra johnson,” which is why i’m assuming it’s old.)  but very modern looking, no?  and sort of scandinavian.  anyway, i love it.  it’s entitled “aspiration” and might resemble a corn stalk or a rooster tail and i’m deathly allergic to corn and does aspiration have something to do with breathing?  because i can’t breathe when i eat corn and therefore i was meant to have this print.  how’s that for a story?

next up – vera.  

vera neumann.  more vintage vera napkins.

i didn’t even realize they were vera when i bought them.  i  just liked the print when i saw them, and then saw the tag when i brought them in the house.  bonus surprise.

hopefully i’ll have some good house painting photos to share upon my return.  there is rain in the forecast for several days in my painting destination locale, so who knows if any photos will come out?  what can ya do?   

til then, mes amis… 

à bientôt.

oh, that’s good.

my talents run deep.

i finished another very complicated (translate:  very easy) pillow, this time with less swearing.

i’m IN LOVE with neon thread.

will i look back on this neon quilting in a couple years and think, “ewww?” 

of course i will.  we’re cyclical beings, right?  ya love something now, ya hate it next year.

but for now, in this moment, in this ZEN moment of mine, I LOVE IT.  and with that i give you my patchtacular, all vintage fabrics, neon orange quilted 16″ square of awesomeness.

oh wait, did i build it up too much?

you mean you’ve seen square patchwork pillows before?  a zillion times over?  i don’t care.  this one went so much more smoothly for me and i never felt like throwing my sewing machine through the kitchen window.  i confess there was a near tragedy.  have you ever been sewing in the kitchen, taken a little break, picked up a bottle of balsamic vinegar and then dropped it on the floor accidentally without the top on?  you have?  so, you know.  it makes for one awful mess, but clearly luck was on my side and nary a pillow top, nary a piece of fabric, nary a newly recovered tulip seat cushion, nary a tablecloth was harmed in the splattering of balsamic vinegar.  just a little aggravation from having to get down on my hands and knees and scrub the kitchen floor.       

i embroidered a patch in there to put pressure on myself to make this pillow beautiful, make it an exquisite piece of patchwork art.  in a foreign language (spanish) i wrote “oh, that’s good.”  apparently there’s no “oh” translation in spanish, so it’s a combination of english and spanish, which i like.  and i think “bien” is also french, so really it could be a triple language threat – english, spanish and french.  i like stuff written in foreign languages – it makes life mysterious.  well, mysterious for me since i don’t speak a foreign language, despite taking 5 years of french in high school.  well, jr. high and high school.  i wasn’t in high school 5 years.  that would make me dumb.  but 5 years of french – oui, that’s right, cinq years.  no speaky de french très well. 


but damn i can sew. 


i really put “oh, that’s good” on it so if you were a guest of mine and you sat against this pillow in one of my chairs, you would just be so taken with the cozy way it feels, your first thought would be, “oh, that’s good.”  and without realizing it, you would probably be thinking this thought in spanish for some unknown reason. 

ooooh, snazzy neon orange.  OLÉ.

and yes, there are more pillows to come. keep your dial tuned in if you know what’s good for you.

adiós, hombres.

neon fries

i made another mini quilt and i call it “neon fries.”  cuz i’m artsy like that. 

it’s the crookedest mini quilt i’ve made to date and i know why.  i rushed it.  normally i make a quilt top and put it aside for what? 6 months?, then come back to it, sew a back to the piece and finish it up.  this time, in an effort NOT to procrastinate, i went ahead and sewed a back piece to it immediately, and it came out all wobbly and not square.  i should just accept the fact that procrastination becomes me.  it’s much better for my masterful works of art.

i like how the fries are all wobbly.  i just don’t like that the quilt itself is not square.  so i’ll just chalk this one up as homemade charm.  when you squish it in a frame the crookedness shows up more.  that’s why it’s necessary to layer cute little danish figurines in front of it and distract the eye. 

this yugoslavian cop is thinking, “i smell something crooked in these parts.”       

started in august

finished in february.

that’s just about right.


we’re in for some rain for the next five days or so.  rain, sleet, snow.  the picture above was taken this morning when it was snowing and the snowflakes were gigantic.  can you see them? 

i don’t know if i can bear another 6 months of rain like we had last year.  really though, what can you do about it?  if you can’t beat it, craft it.

i’m on a tear.  i’m in the process of finishing up a few projects i started in the fall which have been left strewn about the apartment. 

yes, it’s achingly similar to the other one i did this past summer, only i’ve gone out on a limb (no i haven’t) and made raindrops instead of circles. 

from this summer:

(the design was lifted from a vintage craft book i own.  here’s the original by beaudette smith.)

original wall hanging by beaudette smith

not so original wall hanging by me


next up is trying to figure out how to sew an envelope enclosure pillow with giant rick-rack trim piping using a piece i’ve already appliquéd and embroidered.  it hurts my brain to even think about it.  will undoubtedly involve math and real thinking, and i like to think of myself as more of a mindless crafter.

abandoned warehouse

had to make a trip to my storage unit today and there’s an abandoned warehouse right next door to it.  looked like a good place to hoop. 

so i did.

can we talk about the weather for a moment?  mid-november in new england?  absolutely GORGEOUS.  for me to be in a t-shirt in november is a mini miracle.  i’ll take it.

just a spectacular day. 

finally finished this up this morning and framed it:

i like it.  looks good with the other one i finished awhile back.

happy cheery colors.

remind me to channel this happy cheery day come the middle of a snowstorm.