Friday, February 27, 2009

also,this is the best ever

Just a week ago Jason (see moustache below) asked us in the car what one person,living or dead, we would like to have over for dinner and conversation. I said Maira Kalman,forgetting that Abraham Lincoln should also have gotten an invitation. Especially since we just celebrated his 200th birthday by eating hoecakes. Then today, Rachel, knowing me well, sent me this from the new york times. I am in love with Maira Kalman's brain(and her paint brush.) Follow this link (right now!) to see her lovely piece about our mutually admired

crow and canary

I was dropping off new pins at The Paperdoll today and Shultzie told me she had seen Carina's custom name tag the other day. I do not know Carina, her sweet man friend special ordered the pin for her after seeing me at Crafty Wonderland. I knew they lived in Portland but had no idea she was the rep for so many of the fabulous cards at The Paperdoll. I had wanted to post a picture of it but wasn't sure if it was a surprise, so follow the link above and see for yourself.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


I've been sewing a new style of hat lately, something between a baby bonnet and an aviators helmet with a splash of musical swimming cap glamor. But the photos I have are of all our visiting this week. First, up from California it's Steeb's brother Jason and his fabulous moustache.

Hattie Belle (four months of chub folks) with a stack of Steeb's gluten free oat nettle cakes while celebrating John and Sarah's visit with "breakfast for dinner." John and Sarah were all star Old Town co-workers until they moved back to her family's farm in Indiana. These cakes are a new staple around here with nettles from the herb shop until we can harvest fresh ones.

Me and (Steeb's Grandma) Delores talking about the new curbside compost pickup program in her senior village. She said a lot of her neighbors are confused about what waste should go in each container, even though the info booklet had pictures. Well, not everyone is as on the ball as GrandmaDelores.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I taught a creature craft class last week...

I really can't take much credit for this chicken as being an amazing teacher. The student showed up late, left early and using spacial relation skills beyond her years, whipped this little chickie up out of the scraps on the table. I did help tie off some nice knots discreetly placed under wings and beak. I did provide the scraps and the place to make animals. But, wow. Too bad there are those child labor laws or I would have asked her to be moth and squirrel's first employee.

The rest of the kids were focussed and fun and creative as well. And their animals and uglies and tater heads had all the charm and lumpiness you would expect. They didn't want to take breaks and just kept sewing for almost six hours straight. The devotion to a non-profit craft reminded me of my own beginnings, hand sewing doll pillows out of a dress my mom let me cut. The way they kept adding details without any thought of cost benefit analysis, it made me see how like a tiny factory, a slow machine I have become in just two years of market production. And although efficiency helps me to make a living sewing stuffed animals, I need to make time to sew the things I will never be paid properly for creating. To be patient adding extra leaves or paws or fancy trim around the necks of chickens.

With the economy still as "failing" as it is, there is an urge to make more things faster and cheaper. I see this with all the businesses around town having sales, racing to the bottom. I myself am making a new batch of smaller critters right now. But I want to fight that urge to get by financially by dealing in shoddy bulk. I think instead I should keep my prices what they are and add value to my product, extra details, finer construction, a good story and a personal touch. The fact that my skills are improving doesn't mean the prices have to go up. And yet I see home based crafters underselling their work all the time. Cruise around and you will be amazed. These must be women with lucrative day jobs or lucrative husbands. I am suspicious of anything handmade under $5. I mean, don't you even value the time it took you to take those photos and post the item? So where is the balance between keeping objects affordable as money gets tight and valuing yourself as an artist? Right now it seems to be about $30.

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Rad-ening

Every year I see my first snow drops of the season the first week in february, right around the cross quarter day of Imbolic, halfway between winter solstice and spring equinox. Goddess wise it means the crone of winter is dead and the maiden of spring is taking over. The milk begins to flow again as animals in pasture give birth. Adrienne says it's also called The Quickening. Steeb noted that on these early sunny days all the skateboarders come out again. So I called it The Radening. That subtle shift in attitude when you realize it won't be grey and cold forever, that you can survive another year.
This weekend I went out to the Quinault rainforest with my parents. Most everything was moss draped and soggy as usual. The Radening could be seen in the tiny pink buds swelling on green huckleberry bushes. I took about a hundred photos on a little walk and almost none of them came out, the camera just couldn't focus on the slight branches in front of all the other layers of green and brown and red and grey.