Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Revels and Beautiful Calligraphy

This weekend I went to the DC Christmas Revels. I love the Revels and have been going yearly, since I was introduced by my husband's Boston based family. For those who don't know, the Christmas Revels takes their theme from a culture, researches the cultural customs from the area, and then has a play based loosely on these songs, stories and dances. In addition to the cultural theme the Revels has several standards. There is always a variation on the play St George and the Dragon, Morris Dancers, the cast and audience singing and dancing to the Lord of the Dance at the intermission, an excerpt from a letter by Fra Giovanni and a poem written by Susan Cooper, The Shortest Day which is always followed by calling out "Welcome Yule!" and finishes with all singing the Hogsmead Carol together.
This years Revels was one of my favorites. The theme was French Canadian and I have to admit I do not have a connection to the culture and did not have any expectations outside of my usual good time. I was very impressed by the singing of Riki Schneyer. She has a beautiful, smoky, warm voice. I strongly encourage you to check out the Revels for next year.
During the intermission, I went down to the sales table and LOVED the calligraphy by the artist Cari Ferraro. One can see her work at her website The picture in today's post is from one of her beautiful holiday cards and is used by permission.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Rememberance of Grandma

This is a picture of my Grandma in 2000 holding her great-grandson Aden. She died November 24th this year. She has an obituary at Pursel Davis. Grandma was a poet, defender of justice, and a lover of books. She taught me how to sew and I made my first doll clothes with her. I was very close to her; she will be missed.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Another set of scarves

My time has been very limited lately so I have only been able to do a little art here and there. I did take the time to dye another batch of scarves. The first batch is mostly sold out (Artists on the Avenue). Hurray! Aside from these scarves, I have been participating in a round robin group for about two years. The face you see above is only the 2nd paperclay face I have tried to sculpt. I am not sure I like the medium...maybe I need more practice. The doll is a Trow or a kind of troll.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Happy Fall Mosaic

This weekend I went to the Takoma Park Art and Humanities festival. I had a great time making this little mosaic card. An acquaintance of mine, Arturo Ho, is the lead artist of the Takoma Mosaic Project. This is going to be a great project involving the whole community to make community space more attractive. I hope to join them and am inspired to do some mosiac in my own house. Supplies can be found at Maryland Mosaics. Check out thier gallery for ideas.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I made this Santa while living in Ithaca, NY and have never posted a photo of it. This Santa is of my own design and his body is a modified stump, that is, a stump body with boots attached. His skin is dollskin (a kind of polyester knit) and his beard Tibetan lambs wool. His hat is an infant sock. Santa measures about 1ft tall. I may try to do another of these Santas soon. Or maybe a troll version? Photos taken by Annie Zygarowicz. Doll copywritten by Penney Hughes.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Scarf project

September was a slow month for my art due to several changes in my life. I did get to do one significant project at the end of the month. A couple of friends and I got together, pooled our procion mx dyes and did tub dyeing as well as tie dying. This picture is a sample of the scarves I dyed. The scarves are velvet cut silk/rayon. We increased the temperature of the tub water for the silks and then added our cotton items when the water cooled down a bit. After I rinsed the scarves I then added another color from our squeeze bottles to give the scarves visual dimension. These will be for sell at the shop Artists on the Avenue.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sad Times

My very good fried, Mike York, died August 31st and my Grandfather, Zeb Burrell died September 20th. Here are the reprints from the obituaries.

Grandpa's obituary from Groce Funeral Home

Zeb Edward Burrell

Born in Buncombe County on Mar. 26, 1919
Died on Sep. 20, 2008 and resided in Candler, NC.

Zeb Edward Burrell, 89, of Candler, went to be with his Lord Saturday, September 20, 2008 at Memorial Mission Hospital.
A native of Buncombe County he was a son of the late Wint P. and Cora Honeycutt Burrell. He is also preceded in death by his three brothers.
Mr. Burrell was a veteran of the U.S. Army and served in WWII. He was a member of Pole Creek Baptist Church.
Surviving are his wife of 62 years, Helen Herren Burrell; a son, Ronald E. Hughes and wife Patricia of Marshalltown, IA; two daughters, Sandra Sprinkle and husband Charles of Candler and Pamela Kilpatrick and husband James of Castle Rock; seven grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.
A funeral service will be held at 3:00pm Wednesday at Pole Creek Baptist Church with Revs. Dennis Thurman and James Kilpatrick officiating. Interment will follow at the church cemetery and pallbearers will be Kelvin Sluder, Edward Sprinkle, Gary Widener, Colby Sluder, Christian Sluder, Rudy Herren and Zeb Sprinkle.
Military honors will be provided by Enka High ROTC.
The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the church.


Michael August York 1970 - 2008 Michael August York
Jan. 20, 1970-Aug. 31, 2008
Michael August York, 38, of Ames, died of septicemia at home on Sunday, Aug. 31, 2008. A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, at Unitarian Church, 1015 N. Hyland Ave., in Ames.
Instead of flowers, please make a donation in Mike’s name to the Arbor Day Foundation at

Here is what I read a Mike's funeral, more or less.

Thank you for allowing me to share with you a few observations and memories about Mike.

One of the most remarkable things about Mike was the extent of his love for family and friends. He showed his love through the generosity he extended to his friends, with his family and his animals. Early in our friendship, Mike learned that I had very little income, with just enough to cover rent. He took me grocery shopping. He took me to the movies and opened his house to me. His generosity was a very powerful show of love and friendship to me and I have never forgotten it.

There is no doubt that Mike loved his family. He often talked of his mothers and his sisters and the great sense of humor they displayed, even when fighting about something. And his nephews were like the children he had never had.

Mike was very perceptive about people and free with his advice if you were willing to take it. I personally benefited from it since I grew up in a very sheltered environment. With Mike’s encouragement, I grew into a woman who was able to stand up for myself. Mike was also free with his medical advice. He watched medical shows and read medical journals for fun. I used to teasingly call him Dr Mike when I had a cold and wanted to know what herb might be good to use.

He was not a snob, unless you were the kind of person who he described as ‘sucking the moisture from my soul’. He loved his clients he worked with for years who had developmental disabilities and got a lot of joy working with them.

Mike loved animals. During the time I have known him he has cared for ferrets, cats, dogs, macaws, sugar gliders, African pygmy hedgehogs, and potbelly pigs. Mike learned to do many of the veterinarian tasks to keep his animals healthy. He never did have a great deal of money; yet, he shared it with all of these creatures sometimes in menageries over 50 animals.

Mike’s love expanded to caring for the Earth. He recycled with a vengeance and got in trouble more than once for dumpster diving. His love for the Earth imbued his spirituality and informed most of his basic life decisions. He was very spiritual. He had a rare connection with owls. Once, when I was driving him home, he told me he had a dream that an owl died the night before. He had me drive a couple of turns out of our way and there we stood looking at a dead owl. He had an unusual relationship with computers and other electrical devices that seemed to go haywire around him.

Mike never met home improvement challenge he didn’t like; especially if it involved tearing something apart. I have helped him with tearing down walls, and roofing. I helped put in insulation, drywall, new cabinets and he was just getting started with the home repairs back in the days I was able to help.

Mike worked hard on his house but ultimately he was fun loving.

Mike wanted joy in his life and wanted you to laugh too. His sense of humor was silly and many times bawdy. To give you an example, I would like to close with Mike’s own words, a poem he wrote a few years ago:

Kissy pig, Kissy pig

Kiss pig ke-roo

If I were a pig, then you would be one pig too.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Seasons Thread Tree Art Quilt

I mentioned in an earlier post working on an art quilt with the thread trees I have been making. I am going to only put up what I can scan because my camera is recharging and I am submitting this quilt to the county fair tomorrow. This will be my first submission! Try to imagine the pictures in the order of Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter and you will have the basic idea. Wish me luck.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Advice from a Tree

This fall I did am edition of hand illustrated books to the beautiful poem Advice From a Tree. I used some of the thread trees on the cover that I mentioned in an earlier post. One of the things I am working on right now is an art quilt called 'Seasons' based on the thread tree idea. I hope to post it here soon.
I am also working on a doll of the night sky with actual lights incorporated in her design. More to come.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Terrific Quote

My 4 1/2 yr old son today:
Mommy, if I saw God I would say "God, you make butterflies sooo cool!"

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Earth Oven

This week my youngest and myself went to my friend Tish's house and earned two of these shirts designed by Tish herself. Tish, along with many friends and family, is building an Earth Oven. This is an outside clay oven with a brick base. My son and I helped lay the outside cobb (a kind of clay and straw brick) and place the layer of insulation between outside and inside layer. Tish's son took a video of my son packing the cobb. Check it out below. One packs cobb by stomping on it. My son, who is four, danced and jumped with great enthusiasm to pack the cobb. I am certain this was his favorite part of the process. Many other people have been involved in this process and if you want more information, check out this bulletin board. Here is another blogger's more involved entry.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Egyptian Fairy Doll Finished!

Finally, this weekend I was able to deliver the Egyptian Fairly that my young friend and I have been collaborating on. She was great to work with and came up with the design for the hair, features, belt, wings and jewelry. We used Barbara Graff's Woman pattern and I designed her shift (dress) after the Kris Waldherr picture I posted earlier. I also provided the technical expertise and materials. I am quite pleased with our collaboration!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Refinished Sewing Table

I purchased this beautiful table at a yard sale a couple of years ago. This photo is how it looks refinished. Admittedly, I have been using it as a sewing table since it was purchased and it was flaking varnish, had all kinds of water stains and scratches. Ew.
This is my first refinishing job. It was pretty simple job which I did outside. I coated the table with a soy based paint/varnished remover recommended to me by a woodworker enthusiast friend and used the scraper to remove the varnish, then washed off the remover with the garden hose. I alternated painting the table with varnish and sanding it.
The table is not perfect but I am so pleased with how it turned out.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sewing another Chuppa

Site: Mayflower Hotel. Photo courtesy Steve Whysall Photography
I would love to say that I have been working on my art lately but the truth is I have been working on a new chuppa for my friends at Petal's Edge Floral Design
. They really do beautiful work and I am glad to help them out. The photo above was one of the first chuppas I made for them. It is really beautifully photographed. When I do get back to work on the art, it will be to finally finish the Egyptian fairy I am working on with my young friend.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Strawberry Jam

Friday my youngest and I went strawberry picking and yesterday, I went to a friend's house and she and my youngest helped me make jam for the first time. We had it this morning for breakfast. Yum.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Finished Ithaca Doll Artist Show Entry

I have finished my entry for the Ithaca Doll Artists annual show at the Tompkins County Public library. While I no longer live in Ithaca, I am please to continue associating with the wonderful people in this club. The challenge for the library show is to base a doll on a character from a children's book. I have chosen The Merbaby written by Teresa Bateman and illustrated by Patience Brewster. I used Arley Berryhill's Minerva Mermaid pattern for the doll. Her hair is mohair, her body craft velour and cotton painted with various acrylics, her face is colored pencil. I have also added wire, beads, and fibers to the ensemble. Her rock 'throne' I designed myself using floral foam, glue and paint. I have named the doll Vellamo after a Finnish Sea goddess.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Thread Tree

We went to visit some friends today at House in the Woods, a CSA near Frederick, MD. I must have handwork to do in the car so I quickly grabbed some fibers to make one of my trees. This is about the 10th tree I have made. I use thread clippings, yarns, strips of material and whatever fibrous object might look good and loosely couch them down. This tree will probably be placed in a goodbye quilt for the ministers of my church, who are leaving for another position.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

One of my favorite bloggers on Irises

Check out what Beth Owl's Daughter has been saying about Irises these last few days. Boy do I love her blog, always something interesting to think about.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ugly Fabric Swap Doll

I have finished one of the three dolls I am working on. She is a doll for a ugly fabric swap hosted on the MSN group ClothDollsForFun. Today is the mail date, but my van broke down so she will have to wait until tomorrow when the van is fixed (hopefully). She is made from Arley Berryhill's Mermaid pattern that I adapted. I really love the head and hand of this pattern. Her body is made of the 'ugly' fabric sent by my partner Jerlyn and craft velour. I used markers and colored pencils on her face. Her hair is made from an idea I got from Barbara Graff's Kith and Kin pattern. I hope my partner likes her!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Working on and on and on

I have been really busy lately working on several projects that I hope to show you all soon. One that is particularly exciting is a one-on-one workshop with a child of a friend. She came over with her mother and we began working on a doll based on an Egyptian with wings. Sort of an Isis doll. We are using Kris Waldherr's Isis painting for inspiration. I found the image below at
I am also working on a doll for an ugly fabric doll exchange on the ClothDollsForFun MSN group, but I can't get into the details until the doll is sent.
I was asked to create a doll for the Ithaca Doll Artists show based on a character in a children's book...and I want to join the dark fairy challenge on Doll Street. I don't know if I can do all of this along with the volunteering, housework and other sewing projects I have committed too. Whew.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April Fool on Me? or A Project That Didn't Turn Out

OK, so this is not one of my best pieces. I bartered with a friend of mine, a cooking lesson for my husband for an IPod cozy she can wear on a chain or with a pin. I used hand painted Pimatex cotton and made it reversible. The big problem in this project was I only had brief access to the IPod and did not find a good pattern online for her IPod size. My husband took a photo of it and I just looked at the photos today. Yikes. I think I am going to have to make her another.
BTW, the meal she taught my husband was very good and she even taught him what to do with the leftovers.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Becky Holloway's Willow Wisp

Whew, I just finished a new doll. I started her the end of December. The torso has nine parts, so the body is much more tailored than with some patterns. I just love this pattern and may do another with purple and blue color scheme. Willow Wisp is not a good pattern for beginners but an intermediate dollmaker would find her a challenge.

I am donating Willow Wisp to a charity ball silent auction for Open Hearth Foundation. Per usual my images are copywritten.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Placed in online challenge!

I am excited to report that I have won 3rd place in the online doll club, Doll Street Dreamers, Winter Blues challenge.
Instead of doing her projects, my doll is still in her nightgown and robe with her favorite romance pulp fiction in her hand. She is taking a break from reading and is just daydreaming right now. This doll has a wire armature, needlefelted stuffing and was 'skinned' with strech nylon. Her socks come from my boys toddler socks, her robe from an old towel.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Fused Glass Workshop

Hi, I wanted to share a few pieces I made at my friend Tina's Fused Glass Workshop. I was particularily excited about trying to make a couple of face masks or plates to sew on dolls. The faces are not quite what I envisioned but I am pleased. Fused glass is all about going with the flow.
I really like how the pieces with the copper foil turned out. The tree is a powerful personal symbol for me, the plant lover that I am. The heart is another powerful personal symbol. I really like the shape the pendant turned into. As usual my images are copywrited.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Noodling on Silk

Like many, I think more about doing art than I actually get to do. Today, a friend came over because she wanted to take my silk suncatcher glass but had missed it the day I was offering it. I decided to noodle around as well. This is my underwater piece. This image is copywrited.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

One of my favorite things

I love making artdolls. I want to share a couple of my favorite online clubs to belong to. The first doll club I joined was Cloth Dolls For Fun: They are a friendly bunch with a homey atmosphere. My other favorite online doll club is Dollstreet Dreamers. They are filled with fun and interesting challenges. It is also a good place to take classes:
Both clubs are populated by helpful people and even being a lurker will help you learn more about the craft.
Blooming wishes!