"We make still by the law in which we're made." --JRR Tolkien

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Garlands of Grace {Blog}: First Post!

Dear All,

here is a small home-based company that I have admired for over a year now, and I am happy to (spontaneously!) share with you their new blog! They make beautiful head coverings and veils. Enjoy!

Garlands of Grace {Blog}: First Post!: "This is our first post here on our Garlands of Grace Blog, hopefully many more to come! A few pictures to show how the day has started for t..."

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

3) Lord Circus is . . .

. . . now available on Etsy!!!

And I've already been featured in a treasury along side some of my favorite artists!!!

Please come visit us!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

2) Lord Circus is . . .

. . . having a birthday party!

He is turning 13.

After a luncheon beginning with cock-a-leekie soup and ending with burnt cream they had their pictures taken with all the decorations.

After their portraits, the three went out for a stroll through a glen much like this:

(Horatio McCulloch, about 1857, Watercolor on paper)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

1) Lord Circus is . . .

is . . .

He lives in a castle with his sister Elsie . . .

They have a friend named Moira . . .

Together they like stealing sandwiches from the lower kitchens and sneaking away to go boating. They like rambling about until they stumble upon something exciting or surprising. They like making impromptu chicken soup dinners when they come in from the cold and fog.

Just one way to finish the sentence "Lord Circus is . . ."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Introducing: Transitions

So, I have been working for some time (all year in fact) on a new project, a really big project, which I will be sharing bit by bit over the next couple of weeks.

(Sneak peak!)

It is something that I am very excited about because it is a project that I have designed from the ground up. So much of my work has been mediated through the Waldorf aesthetic because it is something that I have found (and continue to find) truly beautiful, and because I have been thoroughly investigating the philosophical foundations behind it. But I have found myself needing to move on from that world of strictly natural materials and minimalistic features.

Where I find my self now is by no means an end point, and that is what makes this project so exciting! But, for this evening, I am only sharing a piece that has become for me a sort of symbol of the transition between what I have been doing and what I hope to continue doing.

Round about the time I began working on this new project I also picked up a series of books for the second time, and found myself laughing out loud and weeping in sympathy. Even though there are 13 books, they are a quick read and, I think, worth every minute. These books constitute

by Lemony Snicket.

This series follows the unfortunate travels of the three Baudelaire siblings, Violet, Klaus and Sunny, as they attempt to find a home to call their own after their parents perish in a terrible house fire.

{If you have not read these books yet, I highly recommend that you do. (And no one is paying me to say that.) But I must pass along a warning from the author, "If you have picked up this book with the hope of finding a simple and cheery tale, I am afraid you have picked up the wrong book altogether."}

I was inspired both by the macabre quirkiness of the narrative, and the Victorian austerity of the illustrations by Brett Helquist, to attempt my own rendition of the characters. I took as my reference points the following cover illustrations:

And thus, I can proudly(!) introduce Klaus Baudelaire:

He is made like a traditional Waldorf doll, but he has a bit more structure in in the face and shaping to his body. And, of course, his features were directly inspired by Mr. Helquist's illustration. This was my first attempt at structured clothing, a suit no less! I am very pleased with how the coat came out, and the collar on the shirt is entirely adequate to its task.

I had intended to complete both a Violet and a Sunny doll as well, but I have moved on to other things for the moment. You never know though, maybe on my next read through I will be inspired again!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Side Tracked (for a good cause).

I was reminded yesterday that it was a friend's birthday, so I dropped everything else to finish a present I started almost a year ago in anticipation of this anniversary.

Saint Anne, The Mother of Mary, The Mother of God,
and Mary, The Mother of God herself (as a child):

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Velveteen Rabbit: All Saints Day or, "Does it hurt to become Real?"

I had to bring this lovely book

back to the library some weeks ago. But, for the Eve of All Saints Day, I wanted to share one more passage which for me is a poignant picture of our relationship to sainthood:

"When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand" . . .

The Rabbit sighed. He thought it would be a long time before this magic called Real happened to him. He longed to become Real, to know what it felt like; and yet the idea of growing shabby and loosing his eyes and whiskers was rather sad. he wished that he could become it without these uncomfortable things happening to him.


I love this passage because I have the same reaction as the Rabbit! I don't want to have to give anything up or become ugly for the sake of Realness! And yet, on some level, I also know that our reaction means that we are still in the category of "those who don't understand".

For, wouldn't "Realness", when it comes to man, be "Sanctification"? To be a Real man is to be free of all that comes from our fallen nature. Wouldn't a Real man be able to happily give up all those meaningless externals to be truly alive through the power of the love of God?

It seems almost as though the more we strive toward sainthood, the more we understand what we are striving toward. But that means that we have to start without quite understanding what it is we are gaining when we give up our vanities! I so often find myself in the same position as the Rabbit. I long for sainthood, but really does it have to be so uncomfortable? Do I really have to give up my fine fur and my eyes and everything I take pride in in order to become a saint?

Of course I do.

Or, at least be willing to.

Becoming Real is a process of allowing yourself to be loved and changed. And who better to let change us than God?

And so from Saints
Agatha (Francisco de Zurbaran, 1630-33 Oil on canvas)
Fidelis of Sigmaringen
Peter of Verona, and
Erasmus (Dieric the Elder Bouts, c.1458, Oil on wood)

I ask your prayers that we be as brave as you at facing the pain of becoming Real.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Little Preview

A little something I have been working on for a while and am bringing to a finish!

More to follow . . .

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What Have I Been Doing?

Yesterday was our school's fall Festival. It was a blast! There were games, delicious foods, a silent auction, and a few vendors. One vendor was the school's Handwork Group, a dedicated and talented group of parents who spend hours and hours sewing tiny felt and wool toys to sell as a fundraiser. A couple of weeks ago the head of the group flattered me into making a few things to donate to their sales table. In past years I have had a table of my own, but this year I had more on my plate this summer than I had anticipated, and I was also drafted by the Early Childhood department to help put on the puppet show at the festival. Therefore, I didn't do much sewing this summer, which was really ok with me.

The head of the Handwork Group was very persuasive, and she gave me all the materials I would need, so I ended up having quite a few things to give her. I also cleared out a couple of projects of my own that had been lingering around and gave them away to the Handwork Group. Here are the things I made (with a little bit of the process along the way: I just love the Dr. Seuss-y shapes of some of these items!):

Here are all the styles of houses I have made over the last couple of years:

I had a few extra heads lying around : ) as well as some plant dyed silk handkerchiefs, so these two beauties were born. (At first I thought they would be marionette puppets, but their felt bodies were too stiff for simple strings to move. I think they turned out well anyway.):

Another unfinished project was these pouches. I had intended to make them for a previous fall festival and never finished. I always liked them though, and am glad I finished them for this year.

I have a colleague who always says "the more you have to do, the more gets done". Gladly, this forced productivity helped to jump start other projects that have been languishing. I will have to share those in the coming weeks!