Category: WIP

new shape

new shape

This is one of the new things I’m working on  for 2011 – a small  bird with a more realistic shape. I’m planning a little flock all made from  this antique bodice ( hoping to get an owl out of it too).


The fabric is really interesting, it has a tiny  geometric print of metallic gold specs over a silky cotton with little squares woven in.

antique bodice detail

boat work and a bat


I finally turned out another bat ( I’ve just added it to the shop).  It’s made from beautiful plum kimono silk (courtesy of Stephen Szczepanek). Some of the patching and mending is mine and other stitches are from other hands a long time ago.

plum bat

I’m  also working on new boats  (with merry wobbler passengers)  and  lots of other stuff too.  I’m adding new things to the shop every day this week.

wobblers and boats

autumnal owl

hand stitched owl

Find the pattern to make your own dastardly owl here.

I’ve been saving the buttons for his eyes ( I only have 2)  for 3 years.  I started putting fabric aside for him  about a year ago – bits of quilts and blankets, a tiny piece of threadbare  russet velvet from a crazy quilt and linings from several garments. And just lately I found the last thing I needed, the heavy  dark brown cotton his body is made from, lining an antique walking skirt.  I’m hoping to finish him today.



ballerina work

Most things start with a pile – the two little piles above are going to be ballerinas.

And patterns usually start with a drawing.

owl drawing

A hopeful sort of drawing followed by lots and lots of experimenting – making  and taking apart, adjusting – over and over and over again. If nothing else I am persistent. Relentless might be a better word.

owl draft

My plan is to end up with a little perching owl who might like to be  a passenger in a paper mache ship.

Filed under WIP

owl work

owl work I’m working on several new owls including one made from mrs. browns skirt ( on the left above), a large black owl made from this jacket and a little grey owl  with green velvet horns and shoe button eyes.
owl work

I’m still  going through my little scraps and making one of a kind birds, I’ve just added the first two bundled up birds of the season to  the the shop and will be adding more regularly.

bundled birdsThere is another photo of the little plaid bird visiting an apple farm here.

I had a conversation with Suzie Monday ( thanks very much Suzie) over the summer and you can find the resulting article in the September October issue of Cloth Paper Scissors.

cloth paper scissors


I’ve been making some birds from my littlest scraps, stuff I’m at the end of or favorite little pieces I’ve been saving forever.
scraps 9/14

I’ve just added these two to the shop and will continue to add one or two little birds everyday.

scrap birds

There will be a larger update (birds and sweethearts) later in the week and if you’d like to be notified when the new things are available please join the mailing list.

And something new in progress.

 paper  mache ship

I’m working on new ships,  bats, boats, ballerinas, owls and  lots of other things  – more  photos tomorrow.


spaceI’m  in the midst of a major getting rid of. I’ve been wanting to make changes here for a while but  couldn’t see new possibilities until I started to clear stuff out. It’s taking much longer than I thought it would -I’m still very much in  the purge  stage – have been for weeks  – it’s kind of wonderful and kind of painful, no regrets though.  I’ll post more as the situation evolves.

And a peek behind the curtain:

peek behind the curtainMore coming soon, also, there will be  new things in the shop next week – please join the mailing list if you would like to be notified when they are available.

*Update:  I’m not going to update the shop until next week, the first week in August, but I’ve just added a couple campers.


dark owl progress

dark owl

I was  sitting by a window working on an owl on Sunday- a new dark owl ( made from a variety of 19th century garments and the backing of an old quilt) and I heard an unmistakable sound outside, the clippity clop of a horse going by. I almost didn’t look because it’s never happened before and I thought I was imagining it.

clippity clop

I love horses and grew up with a big Shetland pony named Ginger.

ginger1969That’s me and my stylish father and Ginger in 1970. We were building bird houses. I was 4 and I  remember the day distinctly.  Ginger was an interesting character – he had very definite ideas about things. He lives on a beautiful farm for old horses now.

spider work and a suggestion for your evening

spider work

spider heads

I think the headless bodies are kind of  creepy – a band of mindless marauders.

** And also-  this is so up my alley – maybe yours too- tonight on PBS: “Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World”

“A fantastic sea adventure, a cautionary economic and environmental tale, and a mythic saga of man and nature, INTO THE DEEP: AMERICA, WHALING & THE WORLD will premiere on the PBS series AMERICAN EXPERIENCE on Monday, May 10, 2010 at 9PM.”


Everything I make starts in a box and then lives there until it’s done. The boxes are  for organization – keeping the many little bits for many little projects together and they are also a thinking tool  and  most importantly  a way to start, it is very easy to put things in a box.


I love Twyla Tharp’s book, The Creative Habit. Here’s a little of what she has to say about boxes:

“The box makes me feel organized, that I have my act together even when I don’t know where I’m going yet. It also represents a committment. The simple act of writing a project name on a box means that I’ve started work”


I have different sorts of boxes for different sorts of projects. The clear plexi boxes above are  children’s shoe boxes from  the Container Store.


One of the first really old things I bought  for making things was a purple silk bodice that was in wretched condition. The silk itself was mostly unusable-  it disintegrates when you touch it .

purple bodice

a sewing pattern for a dastardly owl


I was originally interested in the buttons, the fantastic buttons,  flinty piercing eyes, they inspired my first owl,  but when I began to take it apart I found a variety of tiny prints and lovely indigo ,  hidden and preserved in the foundation.  They ‘re mostly gone now – used in owl ears and beaks and spiders but yesterday I found one more piece of my favorite print  inside a cuff. I think it’s  enough for a beak for the fellow in the background  and maybe a spider too.


It is snowing like nobody’s business in Park Slope.


botanical experiments


And progress on a paper mache ship.


* I’m way behind on email ( that’s not exactly news..) Getting a couple projects out the door and then I can devote some serious time to responding.

* I’m working towards a shop update  sometime next week ( the  week beginning 2/1) as well as a couple ebay auctions to benefit Haiti. You can get updates here or through my mailing list or twitter.