Here are two new Woolly Popos. I like their long legs, and their long hair, like dreadlocks. My new thing is to sew a little pocket on the back and stick a heart in.
That way, you can use the Woolly Popo as a tooth-fairy pillow, and put the tooth in the little pocket. Or, it can be a bad-dream-banisher -- write some happy thoughts or draw a happy picture on a piece of paper, fold it up and tuck it in the pocket, then take you Happy Dreams Monster to bed with you, and the bad dreams can't hurt you!
P.S. Did you see my blanket in the background of the first photo? That's the one that Kathleen sewed together for me on her serger. It is made from 16 squares of felted wool about 14" square, cut from old sweaters. I love to use it in the evening to cozy up with. Dad, do you see your old, rusty-orange sweater in there? That must be almost 50 years old!?
Halloween kind of slipped by me this year. The boys dressed up in costumes they had already.
Here they are in their school costume parade. Troy is the red and blue Spiderman, above, and Teddy is the black Spiderman, below.
They went out Trick-or-treating on Sunday night, and I stayed home and handed out candy. I didn't dress up, and neither did Pippa, so I didn't get to create anything. I love costumes and making things, so afterwards, I regretted not getting more involved. I've determined to make up for it next year . . .
I had a very crafty weekend! I spent the weekend with my sister, Kathleen, the talented designer and seamstress of KH Designs -- NO BOYS ALLOWED :)
We sent the boys with my dear H (hers was out of town) and we took the girls and went shopping and made sushi and did crafts. Kathleen helped me finish a warm, woolly, winter project, which I already used, and I can't wait to show. But even better, I photographed my current batch of Woolly Popos in her sunny window on Sunday morning. I have some great wool right now, with perfect Autumn colors:
This one has a little pocket on the back, which you can use as a tooth-fairy (or tooth-monster) pillow. My friend Catie gave me that idea. Isn't that great?
The trip down was great. I always get excited when I arrive in The City. The atmosphere is just . . . there's nothing like it.
We reserved a hotel room through Hot Wire, so we didn't know what it would be like until after we reserved it, but it turned out to be a boutique hotel called the Night hotel, which turned out to be really fun. Everything was decorated black and white and very Urban Gothic. Here is the view looking in to the room:
Here is a close-up of the wallpaper. I love the thistles:
This is the bed. It would have been romantic, if I hadn't been sharing the room with my BFF from tenth grade:
And the black-tiled bathroom:
After checking in, we went shopping in the Fashion District (the bead stores -- wow), went to the top of the Empire State Building and took pictures . . .
Then we walked to Times Square, shopping along the way, and had dinner at 10 pm (very New York). On Sunday we went to the Guggenheim, and then down to Greenwich Village to visit Purl SoHo, shopping along the way (are you starting to sense a theme, here?). We had a fantastic lunch at an Indian restaurant in the NYU area, and took the subway back to the hotel to pick up our bags. Suddenly, it was late, and we had to run the 14 blocks to the bus station. We were toward the end of the line, so we didn't get seats together, so the trip back was not as pleasant. All in all, though, it was a relatively reasonable way to take a whirlwind tour of the Big Apple. I'll definitely do it again!
My friend Penny visited from Vancouver last week. Over the weekend I took her to the City. I have lots to report, but here is a sneak peak: some of my loot from the great shops we went to. There are Day of the Dead skulls, plastic goldfish, a scarab beetle in clear plastic, and a few of the fabulous fabrics they had at Purl Soho. (I could have spent days just shopping for beads and fabrics!)
After many long, hot days over the summer spent scraping, sanding, patching, caulking and painting, the project that began a year ago is done. Our house, which used to be a pale, tired, chalky grey, is now "Pomegranate."
Here is what it looked like Halloween 2009 (blech):
And here is a glimpse of what it looks like now
We also replaced some windows that had failed, and had a mason repair the foundation. It's like a whole new house. I'll post some beauty shots soon -- wait till you see!
It's old news by now, but Teddy started Kindergarten. Once we did the orientation and he got to know his teacher a little bit, he was excited (particularly to ride the bus with his big brother). I don't know if you can tell in these pictures, but I can: he suddenly had a fever the day before the first day of school, and he's still looking pale and has circles under his eyes here. I thought he was going to miss the first day of school, just like Troy did, but he pulled it off. The big cone filled with treats is a German tradition. My sister made this one for Troy two years ago.They had school Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, then a long weekend. On Monday morning when I woke him up he asked "Do I have to go to school AGAIN? How many times do I have to go?!"
I've been seeing photos of hand made bunting, bunting how-to's, and bunting for sale all over the internet lately. Crochet, vintage hankies, paper, anything you can think of.
I was skeptical, though. Why? Where do you put it? Then, I saw bunting made out of felted wool circles (here). I was interested, but not won over, yet. Then I saw some in real life, on the big screened-in porch of my sister's beautiful sea-side house, and it looked fabulous (you can just see it in this picture, hanging across the porch door, here). When I got home,I looked around, and seeing the bare windows of our sun room, it struck me -- they need bunting, of course! I'm sure you guessed that I would pick the wool circles.
A few weeks ago, we re-arranged some furniture, cleared out the living room (including removing the area rug) and removed one settee from the sun porch. This space used to be the "play room," but over time had devolved into toy and shoe storage area. I decided the boys are old enough now that they can go upstairs to their room to get whatever toys they want to play with, so I moved most of them out of this room, and got rid of the series of small baskets that used to hold their little shoes and slippers and gloves. I moved this armchair into the sunroom and made a slipcover for it out of some white fabric I had on hand (the upholstery is dark blue and green, and getting very worn). As you might guess from the picture, the inspiration for all this was that I was looking for a spot for my vintage, granny-square pillow! In any case, this is also the entry-way, which now looks a lot neater when you first come into the house, and I have a nice sunny corner to sit for a few minutes in the mornings, read, and drink my coffee.
I am so proud of myself! I found these plain, navy blue wool clogs at Savers for under $10, and I embroidered the flowers myself. It's my first attempt at embroidery (if you look too close, you can see the mistakes) but it was pretty easy! I found a pattern at Needlecrafter.com that was just what I was looking for, and I used some leftover needlepoint floss from years and years ago.
My whole day goes better when I've accomplished a project like this. I hope you had a successful weekend, too . . .
We rearranged our office/studio a while back. The easel and stereo system is gone, and the Woolly Popos are moved in.
They have a cozy spot in one of my old leather suitcases, and Pippa has a cozy spot next to the heater vent. My desk is next to the window that looks out into the backyard, and I love sitting there with the window open and hearing the boys playing in the backyard.
I mentioned last time that my mom is a great source of vintage goodies for me. Here is something else that came from her: a vintage black slip with lace trim. It's so well-made and so detailed. I have to admit, it's my new favorite piece of clothing. A fitted, sleeveless T, and some cute ballerina flats, and I'm good to go!
My younger sister and I clearly inherited the "vintage" gene from our mother (insert joke about my age, here). I have the first piece she bought, back in the 70s. It's a child-sized rocker, Victorian, I think. Not for a toddler, but for a school-aged child. Ever since I can remember, we've been going to antique stores and flea markets. I have the broken cylinder record I picked out when I was about 13, and the ethnic silver bracelets when I was in high school (but where is that doe-eyed bunny figurine I made her buy, I wonder?).
Since then, she has been a reliable source of textiles, silver, and ephemera for my collections, especially from Germany. More recently, I have been "inheriting" the old toys she has saved or picked up. Look at this intricate child's tea set.
It has scenes of chidren playing in traditional German outfits. It has an embossed pattern, and it's sprinkled with sweet flowers and a gold rim, and the china is really fine. This is my second toy tea-set. I'm not sure what to do with them. It seems a shame to hide them away. Any ideas?
I have a lot of catching up to do -- photos from great weekends at the Cape, rearranged rooms, etc., but I'm too excited about my latest "treasures" to think about those things right now. I went to my favorite thrift store this weekend. While I was there, a I woman called and asked if they would take an old doll bed and toy cookware. If they didn't want it, she would take it the "Treasure Chest" (some people call it the "take-it-or-leave-it". It's a place at the dump where people leave things that others might want. Do all towns have that?)
In any case, I didn't think much of it, but I was still there when she came (yes, it was quite a while, why do you ask?) and after taking a peek, I just couldn't leave them behind:
Here is the vintage toy cooking set. It's tin with red wood handles. First the utensils:
Then the pots and pans. Aren't they cute? I love the little coffee percolator. It has the little basket inside and everything. Some of the pieces have nursery book characters embossed in them.
This wasn't from that woman, but I love, love, love this American Tourister make-up case. I read that "Tri-Taper" was their top line, and people are selling these for around $25 on Etsy:
Some of my vintage sewing supplies inside. I think I will use it for my face-paint supplies. Or doll clothes. I can't decide.
And now for the piece-de-resistance:
Is that the cutest thing you've ever seen? No? Then this has to be:
I got it all (plus a few vintage, hand-embroidered hankies) for $30! Sehr gut, nicht?
I hope you get to relax and enjoy the summery weather!
I've recently re-discovered my passion for thrift stores. Right now I'm a little giddy at the thought of going to the Cape Cod thrift stores tomorrow. I have to say, though, that I'm a little disappointed in the state of thrift stores on the North Shore. My old favorites, "Sal's Boutique" (Salvation Army), seems messy, dirty and crowded. (I know, I know; it's a thrift store, but still.)
The new "Saver's" chain on the other hand, is like the big box of thrift stores. It's like the Wal-Mart of thrift stores. A thrift store chain? The first time I went, I walked out in disgust. "That's not a thrift store, that a bunch of old crap," I thought. (I know, it's a thrift store, but still.)
And yet, I couldn't resist going back. OK, a pair of vintage clogs and the cutest little purse with the tags still on -- maybe it's the Target of thrift stores. I'll give it another chance.
It snowed again yesterday. I was feeling tired of the snow: tired of coats and mittens and boots and climbing over or around snow banks. OK, maybe snow banks is an overstatement. Snow-ridges. Anyway, we woke up this morning to a beautiful clear blue sky and several inches of snow everywhere. It's the kind of snow that sticks to every twig and wire, turning the town into a fairy-tale village. I wish I could spend some time outside today, taking pictures of the trees against the blue sky and sledding with the boys.
I have been working feverishly in my spare time for the past several months on a series of stuffed animals (I understand those in the know call them "stuffies"). I'm calling the Woolly PoPos. Here are a couple of pictures. I like how this one looks melancholy:
I made the first ones for the boys. I wanted to applique a heart onto them, and as I was deciding where to put it, on a whim I decided to put it on the bum. I knew it would make the boys laugh. Hence, the "PoPo."
I've been having a great time creating these. It uses my sewing skills and sculptural impulses, and I get to see quick results. I also like the fact that the materials are recycled. (If you have any nice wool sweaters that are going to be thrown away, let me know . . .)
I just think these are so great, and I've had good feedback, so . .
I'm going to open a shop. It's going to be "cshargrove" on Etsy. If you're not familiar with Etsy.com, you should check it out, especially if you like handmade or vintage. My shop is there, but there's nothing in it yet -- I need a couple of hours to get the photos and descriptions posted. I am very excited, though, so I'll keep you posted.
I love driving. Whenever I have to go somewhere for work, there's a point when I'm in the car, on the way, and the stress of getting ready pauses for a moment and I relax. I'm alone and the sun is shining in (or the rain is drumming on the windows) and I see the trees and the sky, and I'm on the road. Maybe I should have been a trucker . . .
Today on the way home I bought a GPS, so now I'll have my little gadget with me -- I can go anywhere!
Last Saturday I took a jewelry-making class at Beadworks, a bead store in Salem. There were just two of us and the instructor. I pretty much knew the material already: making simple wire loops and wire-wrapped beads, but I made a nice pair of earrings (purple stone, of course), and spent a pleasant hour and a half chatting, with the winter sun shining through the windows on the smooth wood floor.