Monday, March 28, 2011

Some Upcycled Favs and the TCC

There is recycling and then there is RECYCLING!! As I wander through the sellers on Etsy there is the good, the bad, and the ugly, but I am always amazed at the number of us junk collectors and thrift store haunters!

When I was about 8 years old, I was one of the founders of the TCC. That, to those of you who might not have lived on Piper Drive during the late 50s and early 60s, is the Trash Collectors Club. It all started on the day one of the neighbors oldest child left for college, and the Mom purged their room. The curb was alive with treasures which were immediately found by my young friends and me and then dragged to our homes. Why would anyone throw out a perfectly good huge Mexican sombrero? As I remember it, the TCC only managed to stay in existence for one week until the tyrannical mothers of the block banned its existence and made sure we didn't get out until noon on trash days, but it was fun while it lasted.

Here are a few of my upcycled favs from ETSY sellers. 
Things that I recognize as the fruits of the labor of kindred TCC members:
1: Coffee filters upcycled into a lamp by Lampada
2: Boot (but he will use ANYTHING) made into a clock by Imotime
3: Forks now as useful and peace full hooks by JJEvensen
4: Thrift store blouse reincarnated into an elegant clutch by Elegant Green
5: Cowboy boot turned purse by Koop Designs
6: An Ottoman (I am sure it is easy to move when flipped on its side!) by Motomotif

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lunch shadows

Yesterday my friend and I were seated at a very nice cafe for our lunch. She was seated looking towards me and out to the world through huge front windows. I was seated looking past her at a huge blank wall (albeit pink). However I definitely got the better view. The sun outside projected constantly changing and very dimensional images onto my wall. It was both beautiful and fascinating. Luckily my friend, Judith, has long  embraced my ADD (defined as either Artistic Detail Diversion, or Attention Deficit Disorder - you choose) and was not offended by my constant distraction during our conversation!

When I got up to use the facilities, I discovered this little corner of the world... glad I had taken my phone/camera with me! What a beautiful display it was and one that must change everyday with the people and the light. Congrats on a great spontaneous art show to Nosh in Geneva IL!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

TONS of new stuff added yesterday - but there is a catch!!

aqua coat
I will be taking most everything out of my shop on Monday 3/28 for my show in Maryland. I will return anything that doesn't sell by 4/a5, but just so you know that this abundance is temporary! I just don't like to take stuff to a show without giving all my Etsy loyalists first crack at it! Here are a few of the items- click on the captions to go to the store:
black and white

green cardi
zig zag

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Space/Girdle connection!

Today I was listening to NPR's Science Friday and they had the best story about one of the ultimate clothing designs ever made. It turns out that Playtex (yes THAT Playtex!) actually designed the first space suit! the following is a caption and a video from Ira Flatow's SciFri website. The video shows numerous less successful designs! Enjoy (I am glad sweaters are far less complicated!)
Of the suit he wore on the moon, Neil Armstrong wrote, “it was tough, reliable, and almost cuddly.” But that cuddly suit, made by the company Playtex, had some stiff competition (literally) from rival rigid, metal designs. This video features archival NASA footage of mobility tests for several spacesuit prototypes. Music is from the band One Ring Zero’s album "Planets". Music courtesy One Ring Zero. Footage courtesy NASA, and thanks to Nicholas de Monchaux. Produced by Katherine Wells. 

On Wisconsin!

Crowd of 100k+ the Saturday AFTER the bill 'passed'.
I may be stepping on a few toes here, but I have decided to post about WI politics anyway. (It is that 60 year old crone freedom emerging!) For those of you who are friends/likers on my facebook this isn't new, but for the rest of you here is a snippet of life in WI lately. I will admit that this is both a biased and simplified synopsis of the activities, but it's my blog and my opinion!

As you may have seen or read, there has been major political upheaval here in the dairy state (and in many other states as well). Our new governor has taken upon himself, with backing from some major corporate supporters and some quasi-legal (that is being generous) activities, to rid our state of most collective bargaining (contrary to many reports, something he never mentioned while campaigning), reduce many benefits for the disadvantaged, cultural and educational parts of our society while also reducing corporate taxes and making many previously public sector services now private sector "opportunities". He has tried to drive a wedge through two segments of the middle class majority of Wisconsinites, and has succeeded in many ways. However there is also a resurgence of activism and unity that has not been seen in a long time.

Thug" is what some called the protesters
There have also been major hits to the arts and arts funding. In one of the most recent protests included a March of Art Employees and groups. One of the things that has happened is that our 12 person WI arts board has been reduced to four people and those employees have been assimilated into the Tourism department. The budget for Arts activities was reduced by 70+%. I heard a telling interview with the head of tourism that stated (paraphrased here) in two sequential sentences: "We will keep the funds for the Arts board going towards the arts" then "We are excited to have these additional resources to promote tourism into WI". These comments did not instill confidence that the art activities would remain a priority or independent.

Troopers were helping families take pictures!
I  sat for more than 16 hours in the Assembly gallery during the "debate" on the budget bill (debate is in quotes, because the Democrats inquired, argued, presented and lobbied, while the Republicans - knowing they had the majority - sat it silence, not answering or rebutting). I sat another 4 hours watching the Senate Republicans issue warrants (without the power to do so) for the apprehension of the Democratic Senators who had left the state. Without this action by the Dems, this bill would have passed before most people would have known what had hit us. While one may argue the action taken, the result was that many people - both in WI or outside of the state lines - would not have understood what is really at stake or the motive behind it without the borrowed time that the Senators gave us.

I attended a very moving rendition of "Can You hear the People Sing" from Le Mis as it was sung by a throng of people in the rotunda of the capitol, (Click Here if you want to see/hear my video of that) and "We shall overcome" had been lead by Jesse Jackson in the same setting a few days earlier.

Bipartisanship at work!
Doors closed, notes left!
I wept when Gov. Walker closed our state capitol to the public (something that has never been done before and is illegal - as was later verified by a court order). (Click Here if you want to read more of my thoughts on this). This was an act I took very personally. Days later I watched the only bipartisan act I witnessed during the whole time - I saw a Democratic Representative help a Republican Representative gain access to their jobs (representing US) through an office window. They had been unable to gain access to their offices through any capitol door! When I finally gained access to observe a Senate hearing (an activity guaranteed by law) I was escorted through the capitol halls by a legislative page and an armed state trooper after going through security (something again that has never been required before - even after 9/11).

Protesting knit-ins!
Angry and Proud.
There have been weeks of respectful and peaceful protests. Throngs of people from 8 days to 80+ years old attended and I can attest that while many were in fact bussed in - the buses came from Superior (WI), Milwaukee (WI) LaCrosse (WI) and hundreds of other small and large WI towns and were filled with citizens, not outside agitators. Estimates for three of the Saturdays were over 70,000 people. Never once did I witness anything but respect for each other and for the capitol grounds and police officers. Numerous kudos were given to the protesters from various law enforcement officers in regards to the demeanor of the crowd. 
As an aside... Fox news was just about alone in "reporting" any violence in the streets, and in the background of their video footage were palm trees waving in the wind and people in shirtsleeves.... not a sight you often see in downtown Madison while the snow falls and it is 20 degrees outside! In true Madison form, the next day there were inflatable palm trees throughout the crowd! 

This post is not trying to politically sway any of you. Maybe I can set the record straight on some of the erroneous press coverage, but beyond that, it was mostly an update on where I have been these days!

I will end this by thanking you for your attention and asking your for your continued attention to the political debate taking place in your own area. We may be in perilous and pivotal political times right now and, what ever you opinions are, I hope you are making them heard and are open to respectful and intelligent discourse and action. It will be only by listening to each other and combining our efforts for a better society that we will have such a legacy. We are supposed to be governed "by the people" and "for the people" so we must do our part in making sure we are defining "people" and the direction we want our country to take.
Now back to sewing....

Thursday, March 24, 2011

60... whoda thunk it!!

Today I turn 60... Imagine that. And at one time I, like many of my generation, thought life ended at 30. But now I realize that every age is just right. There really is “a time for everything”.

Sure my knees are crap, and my middle is heavy, and, yes, I can never find my keys (but I just ordered a new key lanyard on Etsy that should solve that!). But my heart is full and my mind still questions and I could do more sit-ups lunges and knee bends if I wanted to. But mostly I now have “history” on my side. I survived being a teenager, I explored the vast horizons that opened in my twenties, I was oh so productive in my thirties - all energy and potential and goal. My forties were spent learning about family and generations and continuity. And my fifties have been about learning to be gracious and grateful for life for whatever it is presently.

Recently, during my political protesting, I was sitting in the WI Assembly chambers. There was a brash, arrogant and wonderful young man sitting next to me. At one point we were both defying the rules and texting away on our banned phones. The guard came over and chided the young man and walked away, the young man looked at my phone and then me. I snickered and leaned over and told him - “Nobody scolds an old women!”. My beautiful sister has forewarned me about this phenomena. There is a certain crone power that comes with age!

So this birthday is just another day in what, for me, is the great adventure! I could never have imagined all that has happened to me in the previous 60 years. I never would have anticipated how deep marriage becomes after 36+ years; Little did I know that  I would continue to worry, enjoy and take pride in my adult children as much as I did when they were infants; I have gained friends and lost friends; My family has grown with new generations and it has shrunk with the loss of previous generations; I have been a teacher, a cubicle sitter, an entrepreneur (but usually an artist of some sort) and both an athlete and a couch potato.  I have seen the Beatles in black and white and the most recent wars and tragedies in high definition color. Life has not always been easy or as anticipated, but it has been real and full and fecund.

I will not bother to worry about or excessively plan what comes next.  But I will anticipate with glee. I will be open to whatever it is. I will remember that I have learned more from adversity and loss than I ever did from prosperity and health. I will know that my life is a book both to be written and to be read. I can’t wait for the next page to turn.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Springtime change over!

Check out this pink and sherbet orange sweater!
Spring is just around the corner, even though the robin in the last post is still waiting for all the snow to go away! I have moved most of my wools to the side and have pulled out all my cotton and cotton blend and poly blend knits.

This change of season also means a change of style and color choice as well. Good bye to the soft heathers and marled oatmeals of the winter wools and hello to the pastels and brights of the warmer seasons.
Check out the green ruffles!
The styles need to be lighter, maybe shorter, and often sleeveless. But the flowy swingy styles are still great for letting the spring and summer breezes tickle your skin!

I am sold on sweaters through the entire year. I love the loose cotton knit during the summer as much as I like wearing the cozy wools of winter. Knits are always comfortable, forgiving and just a little more dressed up than my sweatshirts! Check out my shop for the new summer items that have appeared in the last few days. more will be !through this week.

I love this long flap front!
One of my new favorite styles for transitional weather is the wrap front sweater. it overlaps in the front, hangs loos in the back. It can be pinned with those brooches we are always looking for excuses to wear! Or it can flap back like lapels... I will be wearing them over my capris and linen skirts this summer!

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Sorry I have been neglecting all of you for so long... I have become a facebook addict (my fan page), and so that is where I have been posting lately, but now I am going to start back here!

I have just added a couple of new pages to this site. If you go up to the top of this page and click on "Notable Projects" you will see a collection of pictures and descriptions about some of my more unusual projects. The other addition is the "Upcoming Show Schedule". Here is where I will be listing the shows that I will be in over the next months. Hope I get to see many of you at some of these shows!

I have also been involved with the political upheaval that has been happening in the State capitol in Madison, WI. This is my hometown, and the capitol is my favorite building. So many of my friends and family have been and will be affected by the strange laws and circumstances happening here, that action was required.

But this last week, I saw my first robin. Walked the trail for the first time since the snowmobiles have left. And saw the first green sprouts of spring.

Hope. Even though Japan and Lybia still loom large under last night's full moon, here is hoping for hope and renewal.