Friday, July 29, 2005


Meet Uriah, my latest prim Santa. A tattered yet elegant old gentleman, he wears a tea- stained outfit made from an ivory chenille bedspread I bought at a thrift shop. An old, stained crocheted doily has found a new life as his collar. His hat is trimmed with a silver colored vintage twinkle button with a “jewel” in the center.

There has been some controversy lately about an “artist” who unravels old needlework and re-embroiders his own work over the top. My personal policy is to use only damaged linens to trim my dolls – linens that would otherwise just be lying in a drawer unused and unloved…


Thursday, July 28, 2005

Tie One On

I have been admiring the aprons being created in the monthly “tie one on” challenge. About as far as I have gotten is just purchasing this cool, retro pattern. I do hope to find the time to make one or two of these…someday…

I found this little bit of trivia on the
Random House web site the other day concerning the origin of the expression, “tie one on.” Thought it might be of interest to the apron makers out there…

Apron Pattern

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Nature Journal: Huckleberries

The huckleberries are beginning to ripen – Woohoo! These are so good in pancakes and muffins and you don’t notice the large seeds as much as when you eat them right off the bush – not that they aren’t delicious that way too! I love reaping where I do not sow…

Nature Journal: Huckleberries

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Machine Cross-stitch

I have been trying to get a little more play time in with the embroidery machine. This is my first cross-stitch test done on 18 count aida cloth. The design was free from Embroider This. There were quite a few jump stitches that needed to be trimmed but I love how the little woven basket turned out...

Machine Cross-stitch

Monday, July 25, 2005

Crazy-Pieced Vest

Here is another UFO. This is a crazy-pieced vest in wool, velveteen and corduroy that I started making for DH around 1998 (?)) and it just got put aside and lost in the shuffle. I really would like to finish it before it gets moth-eaten! I’ll probably just keep the seam treatments simple – maybe a cretan stitch or a feather stitch in gold cotton floss. Or maybe I could use a decorative stitch on the machine. Decisions, decisions…

Crazy-pieced Vest

Friday, July 22, 2005


It has been so hot and humid here that the mushrooms are beginning to sprout up all over. They usually don’t show up until August.


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Nature Journal: Cattail Sketch

Here is a watercolor/pen and ink sketch of the cattail or bulrush. I found a very interesting article here on the many uses of this fascinating plant…

Nature Journal: Narrow Leaf Cattail
(Typha angustifolia)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Mamma Mia! I Won First Place!

Here is “La Befana,” my entry in the Italian Dream Challenge. The challenge was to create a doll in the shape of the map of Italy and include the islands of Sicily and Sardinia.

According to tradition, La Befana is known as the ageless wanderer, the old woman who flies through the night every January 6th (Epiphany) on her broomstick to fill the stockings of good boys and girls with candy and presents. I used the island of Sicily as her toy sack and the island of Sardinia as her little cat and traveling companion.

La Befana

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Old Sock Reindeer

I thought this might be fun to post in light of this month’s Month of Softies. Here is a sock reindeer my mom made for us many years ago. She was very upset because, somehow, she had made him upside down. We loved him anyway. He may be upside down, but he still has plenty of charm.

Old Sock Reindeer


Monday, July 18, 2005

Nature Journal: Hydrangea Sketch

The hydrangea has begun is flower. This plant was originally from a florist, given to us by my MIL and FIL after the sudden and unexpected death of our precious cat, Earl Grey, just over six years ago. We planted it as a tribute to him and it has bloomed beautifully every year after that. I had read that it’s difficult to get florist’s hydrangeas to thrive in a garden setting, but we planted it on the south side of the house in a somewhat sheltered location.

Nature Journal: Hydrangea Sketch

Friday, July 15, 2005

Old Beaded Purse

While working on my beading, I got to thinking about an old beaded purse I bought thirty years ago at an antique show. Here it is. It is in nearly perfect condition with just a couple of loose beads - and even the lining is intact. It cost me $15.00 at the time. I have no idea what the value is now but I’m thinking maybe it was a good investment…

Old Beaded Purse

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Fabric Collage in Progress

Here is the promised photo of my collage quilt in progress. Still have lots of beading and embellishing to do. You can’t see it in the photo but I’ve added stitches to the hair in variegated metallic Sulky thread – so the piece has a little sparkle in real life. This is a small piece, only about seven inches square but it’s a pleasant size to handle and stitch.

Fabric Collage in Progress

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Balloon Flowers

Here are my balloon flowers (Platycodon grandiflorus). I am fascinated by those inflated buds. These are extremely sturdy and reliable little perennial plants. I need to make a note to myself to purchase more next spring.

I finally started adding beads to my fiber collage, yesterday. Will post a progress photo soon.

On a serious note, still lifting up our English friends in prayer as they learn new details of the attack and the identities of the suicide/homicide bombers. I also pray for the dear people of Israel as they endured their umpteenth terror attack yesterday – the slaughter of innocents at a shopping mall…

Balloon Flowers

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

My Ever-Expanding Fiber Art Library

DH and I went to the Ocean City boardwalk Saturday night. It rained a little and we took shelter in the discount bookstore where I purchased two very nice sewing books (for $6.98 each!). The first one is Celtic Inspirations for Machine Embroiderers by Valerie Campbell-Harding and Maggie Grey. It looks intriguing. It’s all about creating original designs from Celtic knot motifs, combining and distorting them to create even more designs and applying them to fabric using all kinds of techniques: painting, stenciling, appliqué – even designing with hot glue that is painted and stitched down! The book illustrates how to draw complex knots using a simple grid pattern.

The second book,
Machine Embroidery and More by Kristen Dibbs, shows how to create very complex-looking fiber art pieces and clothing embellishments using mitered border striped fabric and adding decorative machine stitching and beads.

Today, I am working on a Santa jacket from an old piece of tapestry. I am also still stitching away on my
fabric collage course piece. Those little quilts are really labor- intensive – but I’m learning a lot on the way. This is such a great on-line class with a wonderful teacher, Susan Sorrell, and very lively, funny and friendly forum.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Eastern Chipmunk

This little sweetie lives in a hole underneath the landscape ties right outside the door. There is a birdfeeder outside our kitchen window with a rope attached for him to climb. He provides endless entertainment for our cats as they watch him, from the kitchen sink, stuffing his cheeks to capacity with seeds to bring home for later dining.

Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus)

Friday, July 08, 2005

Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina)

This little guy is the eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina). He was grazing in the backyard the other day. These turtles are omnivorous and will eat slugs, worms and insects as well as leaves, grass, fungi and berries. We attempted to grow spaghetti squash a few years ago and a turtle (maybe this one!) ate every single squash. In the wild, the turtle’s lifespan is between forty and fifty years but individuals have been known to live for over one hundred years!

Grazing in the Grass

Patterned Carapace of Eastern Box Turtle

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Praying for Peace that Passes Understanding

I followed the horrific news from London all day, today. The people of England are in my thoughts and prayers…

A Source for Vintage Sock Doll Patterns

July’s theme for the Month of Softies is “Sock it to Me,” based upon the original sock monkey. Cloth Doll Supply has a whole page of adorable reproduction vintage doll patterns made from socks. I have way too many irons in the fire at the moment, but those sweet- faced sock Santas are awfully tempting…


Here is a rose from my garden…


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Santalady's DVD

If you visit The Santalady’s web site, you can view a little sample of a new, award-winning DVD she is offering that features her vast collection of vintage Christmas postcards, animated and set to holiday music. What a charming idea!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis)

We are fortunate to have several different varieties of ferns growing on the property. This is a sketch of the sensitive fern (Onoclea sensibilis). It does very well here in the damp soil in the shade. It is called “sensitive” because it is sensitive to dry conditions.
Nature Journal: Sensitive Fern

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Friday, July 01, 2005

Shanty Clauses Home Page Design

I am pretty much settled on this design for the homepage of my prim Santas. I’m still hoping to launch the site with a few dolls during the summer. Then I need to finish up a couple more Santas to add to Just Clauses. It’s July 1st already! How can it be?

Shanty Clauses Home Page Design