Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!!!

Gulli is enjoying a quiet evening at home, watching the fireworks on TV and enjoying some French fries from his favorite fast food restaurant.  He's such a party animal!

Friday, November 29, 2013


Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We tried the Tofurkey Feast for the first time (had a free coupon from ShopRite) and were very pleasantly surprised at how tasty it was!  We will definitely be having that again.

I had some fleece left over from a Santa outfit and found this adorable free pattern from Simplicity to make mittens.  They require less than ½ yard of fabric.  The pattern is simple, quick to sew and fun to embellish.  I added fleece flowers to mine (instructions here).  Make the initial square for each flower any size you want and add a fun button to the center.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Another New Song: "Steampunk Serenade"

I used to have a bunch of synthesizers and a rack of effects modules plus a hardware mixer to produce music.  Nowadays, everything is done in one computer plus a keyboard driver.  I record my songs in a digital audio workstation (DAW) called Sonar using a variety of softsynths.  Each instrument (soundfont) is recorded to a midi track and, when the song is finished, the midi tracks are converted to audio tracks.  Then the song is mixed down and exported to an MP3 file.  That file is uploaded to SoundCloud which you can hear, here:

Friday, November 08, 2013

Wooly Bear Caterpillar

The wooly bear caterpillar is the larval stage of the Isabella tiger moth (Pyrrharctia isabella).  His body consists of thirteen distinct segments and, according to folklore, the more reddish brown segments there are, the milder the coming winter.  While this little guy seems to be forecasting a mild winter, human weather prognosticators are predicting the opposite.  I'm rooting for the caterpillar!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Gunther and Old Lace

I have just recently become obsessed with all things Magnolia Pearl.  I was browsing on eBay a couple of weeks ago and happened to come upon this book by Robin Brown, A Bit of Velvet and a Dash of Lace, and it looked so intriguing I bought it.  I was not disappointed.  It inspired me to go through my collection of old lace and trims and create this Santa.  He is definitely sporting the lagenlook (German for layered look) with an undershirt made from a vintage lace dresser scarf (coffee-dyed and a little tattered) hanging below his jacket.  I further embellished him with vintage mother-of-pearl buttons and belt buckle and a combination of new and vintage trims.  Had myself a big old time! He tells me his name is Gunther.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Driftwood Santa

Here's my newest boy.  He's sitting on an interesting piece of driftwood that I purchased in "The Old Salt" on the Ocean City, NJ boardwalk.  The driftwood has tiny bits of shell embedded in it. I left it in the back seat of my seldom used car all summer in a plastic bag to make sure there were no live  "critters" in it!  Santa is not affixed to the driftwood so he could be seated anywhere.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Beachcomber Santa

I just finished a new Santa doll.  I wasn't sure how I was going to accessorize him until I found a little basket (in my stash) trimmed in the same colors he is wearing, mauve and grey.  I glued in some small shells, some purchased and a few gathered from the beach in Ocean City, NJ.  The plastic shell-shaped buttons on his jacket were another serendipitous find, again from my stash.  I had forgotten I had them.  I embroidered the open edges of his jacket with the up and down buttonhole stitch. 

Thursday, August 01, 2013

A Little Song...

I joined SoundCloud the other day and uploaded a new original song. I hope you like it.

Caroline's Bonnet

If anyone is still out there, a thousand sincere apologies for being so slow to update this blog!

I posted this yesterday with a promise to upload a photo of the completed bonnet I had been working on.  I decided to remove the post after it had displayed briefly - and repost when I actually had a picture to show.  So here it is.  I added cockades to each side of the bonnet in the same vintage ribbon that I used on the dress.  I’m also working on a couple of Santas, but have no pictures yet.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

"Rustle of Spring" (WIP)

Susan Sorrell graciously invited her former students to join her Doodle Designs workshop at Fiber Arts/Mixed Media to encourage us to work on pieces we started and never finished.  I finally finished stitching this piece but still need to add lotsa beads.  I purchased a frame for it at AC Moore that is a hybrid between a shadow box and a standard frame so there will be plenty of air between the stitching and the glass.  Been looking for a frame like that for quite awhile...

You can sign up for Susan's class through the end of June and it is self-paced.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Nature Journal: Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans)

A while back, I posted a photo of what I thought was poison ivy, here.  A kind and helpful reader corrected me and suggested I look up Virginia creeper.  So I did – and I’m relieved to say that my beautiful vine is, indeed, Virginia creeper – and now I don’t have to worry about eradicating it.

When I researched Virginia creeper, I learned that poison ivy is almost always found growing nearby, and sure enough, it is!  Here is a page from my nature journal depicting poison ivy.


Wednesday, April 03, 2013


I had been trying to get a photo of this leucistic Junco (snowbird) all winter.  Every time I’d get the camera, he’d take off.  This is the best I could do a few weeks ago, shooting quickly through double glass.  I had never seen one like him before and, at first, I thought he was a different species of bird.  Then I did a little research on the web and learned about leucism, a genetic condition that affects proper pigmentation, causing varying degrees of white feathers to occur.
I haven’t seen him in a while so I presume he has headed north to breed.  I keep thinking he’ll soon be in someone else’s backyard perplexing them as to his identification…

Monday, February 25, 2013

Caroline's Dress

Here’s the promised photo of the dress I made for Caroline.  I used a commercial pattern as a general guide for size, but adapted it by shortening the bodice and making it more close-fitting,  redesigning the sleeves and lowering the neckline.   The skirt is also much fuller.  The trim is made from vintage ribbon stitched to the lower edge of the skirt with invisible thread.  The hem is sewn by hand.  I made her a pair of lace-trimmed pantaloons to wear underneath.  I’m currently working on a matching bonnet.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Drawstring Bag for Caroline

I made a Regency era dress for my AG doll Caroline (photo later) and wanted to make her a dainty little bag to match.  This one is lined and embroidered by machine.  Although it was simple to sew, stitching the casing was a bit tricky due to the small size.  Having never made a drawstring pouch before, I searched the web and found quite a few wonderful tutorials and YouTube videos showing how to make several variations.  

Friday, February 01, 2013

Bird Nursery

was delighted to come upon this old nest nestled in the catbrier on my walk the other day.  It would have been well hidden in the thick foliage in the summer.  It's beautifully engineered with a plastic outer layer and sweetly decorated with lots of pink Easter grass.  Mom and Dad must have been expecting girls!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Nature Journal: Pinecones

I was inspired by Jane LaFazio’s tutorial on painting pinecones so I thought I’d give it a try.  I don’t know why I never did it before.  I had a great time mixing greys and browns!  Our yard is littered with pinecones from many big old pitch pine trees - so willing models are plentiful…

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Another New Doll

This is one of several My Twinn dolls I got for Christmas.    I never intended to collect them, but they are just so darned cute and difficult to resist, especially when they are on sale at half price!  She is known to collectors as the “Cookie” sculpt.  The piano is also from My Twinn and makes a nice prop I think.