Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Wolf

Monday's sun did not linger. Today is a chilly mix of snow and rain. Such a day calls for something warm and savory cooked all day in the slow cooker. That was the first order of business this morning, the chopping, mixing, seasoning, and then put the lid on to let the magic happen. I ask you to imagine how amazingly delicious the little green cottage smells right now. Later, the music man (whom I haven't seen in far too long) will come over to dinner with our family, we will share freshly baked crusty bread, heavenly roast and a nice bottle of wine. The simple slow things in life, how nice!

The next order of business for the day has been at the back of my mind for the last little while. Lurking there, waiting in stealth and I was a bit uneasy...

I wasn't quite sure how to proceed with my fairy tale. Still, The Wolf was waiting.

Part of my uncertainty has to do with a question I have, Where am I going with this business? Will these be part of a framed series? Should they be cushion covers? Are these little scenes even finished? Just what is it I'm making? I still don't know.

Right, that was more than one question. No matter. I'm just going to have to be patient and discover the answers as i go.

And one more question; just what goodies does Little Red have in her basket? Ooh, it must be lunch time!

Happy Leap Day everyone!

PS. a nice little write up on the music man here (for full disclosure - yup, he's family)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Little Red

This morning I woke up to sunshine, a welcome antidote to the Monday blahs. I also woke up thinking about Little Red Riding Hood, go figure! I couldn't possibly tell you why, one of the many trapdoors in my noodle popped open and I fell through I suppose.

After the Monday morning rush around to get ready for the day; coffee made, breakfasts eaten, lunch packed, chickens tended, hair brushed, etc. We were out into the crisp morning air for school drop off and playing on the car radio was the song Little Red Riding Hood. Well, that sort of sealed it for me; it was simply meant to be a day for Little Red.

Out came the felt and a couple of vintage doilies and along came Little Red. And as we all know, the wolf can't be too far behind...

Oh, and what of Granny?

Well kiddos, we shall have to continue this fairy tale another time as there are Monday chores to tend to.

Have a lovely day!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Braving the Elements

I have been experimenting, creating and culling new elements. Trying to be brave. Learning new techniques. Fitting the pieces together.

Starting a new sketchbook, drawing on ideas from the past, and playing around.

Expanding on recurring themes - vintage elements in a brave new world.

Still uncertain, still wondering what it will amount to, but going along with it. I am enjoying the journey and braving the elements and hoping for a little sun.

What are you up to?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The little picture

I must admit to feeling a little lost lately. There is so much to do and the 'Big Picture' seems a bit overwhelming sometimes. Do you ever feel that way? I started off the day yesterday full of determination and spirit, accomplished a few tasks, then lost steam along the way.

I thought maybe if I just focused on the 'little picture' and took one step at a time, I might be alright.

My bedroom dresser was piled with papers, cold medicine, the aftermath of a little girl playing dress up with mama's jewelry, and dust. Certainly I could manage that. As I started to sift through the debris, I took note of the little pictures upon the dresser. Like diminutive scenes, or varied landscapes in a tiny territory.

Each little vignette telling a part of the story. The odd assortment of cherished junks from the salty sea to deep in the mountains and all spots in between.

What a strange amalgamation of impracticality is the planet of my dresser. Yet, when looking at it in a series of little pictures, I am captivated and attached and slightly enamored of it all.

Are you a 'Big Picture' person, or a 'little picture' person?

What is on your dresser?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sewing for Love

It starts with a little thought, or a wish, or a desire, or perhaps even a need to make a dress. It is almost always a dress. A cotton print dress. The kind of dress forms in my mind, a loose idea. Fabric selection then, holding prints up to the light, running my hands over the weft and warp, and making decisions.

Looking through patterns to find a basic bodice that is suitable for what I have in mind, followed by pattern paper and colored pencils. Deepen the armscye, alter the neckline, lengthen the bodice, add ease to the side seams. I scrap the inset cap sleeve idea and instead create a gathered shoulder three quarter length with a princess cuff, oh yes much better.

As I cut out the pieces, my girl is home sick and she watches. She gets up close next to me and asks questions. "How do you know to cut like that and not make a mistake?" "Why do you pin the pieces together here, but not there?" "Can I do the marking with the wheelie thinger?" "Is it time to sew the ribbon on yet?" I answer her questions and tell her it takes practice and patience and love. I give her some tracing paper and the 'wheelie thinger' and show her how to use it, where to make the marks.

As I sew, there is focus and intent along with assuredness; this is what I know. It is in my hands, my head, my muscle memory, my heart and soul. This is how Lola Nova was born, making nice things for my girl; this is how I grew my skills, found my passion, and it is love.

It is a little like therapy; it quiets the chaos and brings me back to myself, it restores confidence and brings joy.

And then there's this...

Thank you for all of the lovely comments and well wishes this week, I truly appreciate them. I am on the mend now and looking forward to the days ahead.


Monday, February 13, 2012

A short break

Dear friends,
I am taking a few days off to see to some toothy business. I shall return shortly with tales of stitchery and more.

Until then, be well and Happy Valentines Day!


Friday, February 10, 2012


Today is one of those rainy days that has me thinking the best place to be is on the couch with a hook and yarn, working in rounds.

Today I am nursing a toothache that that seems to have spread to my whole body, another good reason for parking myself on said couch with a bit of yarn and roundy therapy.

Today I may attempt to finish the Valentine dress I started for my girl, which requires working in rounds as well.

Today may be a well rounded day.

Happy weekend everybody!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Aw Sunki Sunki Now!

Things have been a little 'off' for the last several days. The smallest member of the little green cottage clan has had a bit of the flu, there has been some thievery of the bank fraud sort which had me spending hours at the bank and on the phone without resolution, and the hens have been squawking all the live long day as if doomsday were coming. Even though I have been running behind on all things house chore and business related, I felt the need to seek a bit of solace in stitchery. The girls (my machines) had returned home after getting a good tune and tidy from the wonderful folks at Modern Domestic - and I couldn't resist .

On a recent trip to Bolt, I spied a Figgy's Pattern I hadn't seen before. Now goodness knows I don't need new patterns, I have plenty of patterns I have yet to make up, or I draft my own, but this little number, with it's very clever curved seams caught my eye. I had some Sevenberry Japanese fabric in my stash that I had been wanting to use, so the pattern came home with me.

Figgy's Sunki Pattern is a tunic style pocket dress with zippered back and knit leggings.
I have never used a Figgy's pattern prior to this, though I have admired them. I thought I would give you a short review of the pattern.

I made the dress in size 8/9 out of apparel weight fabric. The dress has 3 sleeve length options, I went with 3/4 sleeve.
First, let me say that I love the little details in this pattern; the curved front seams and pockets, as well as the lapped shoulder detail.

Though I love the fabric I used, I do wish I had chosen something that would have better shown off the curved front, if I were to make it again, I would choose a bit of contrast for the side panels to make them pop.

The pattern pieces went together perfectly and the finished product turned out beautifully. I would not recommend this pattern for a beginning sewist, as the instructions are brief and basic; though I had no real trouble with the steps, it certainly helped that I had experience with curved and pocketed seams. I really like the way Figgy's package their patterns and the instruction booklet is very nice; though in this instance I do think they could have benefited from a little more explanation or a few more tips. I would categorize this as an intermediate pattern and a good challenge to someone wanting to push themselves a little.

As for sizing; my daughter wears a size 7 in most clothing and I wanted a little room to grow so I made up the size 8/9 and it JUST fits. If she grows even a little, it will be too small. Yes, I checked the pattern measurement guide, but it is possible that Pony Girl has grown in the last few weeks since I measured her last! So I would advise not only checking the guide, but to measure your child before making (always a good idea) and to measure the pattern pieces as extra precaution. I think the fit is better matched for a more petite and narrow child.

My other observation is that the pockets are a bit more shallow than I anticipated, not a complaint just something of note.

Overall, I think the pattern is great. The drafting is perfect and it turned out lovely. I would recommend it (with my above notes). I love a pattern that is different and clever and unexpected; Figgy's Sunki is definitely that.

Many thanks to Pony Girl for braving the cold wind to model the dress whilst not feeling tip-top!

See you soon!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Picture Postcards

You might want to settle some, as this post took on a long life of it's own, rambling here and there and everywhere. Sometimes things just tumble out of a person when you least expect it. I thought I should edit and trim down to a nice palatable snippet, but there must be some reason for it, so I'll let it stand as it is. It is a good story and it has a happy ending! Still, I thought I ought to warn you.

I have long had a "thing" for postcards. I started a collection in my youth; beginning with quirky postcards from places I'd been with my family. Then it was postcards of kitschy tourist attractions across the US (I had a rather impressive variety of postcards from The Trees of Mystery! and The Prehistoric Gardens; both somewhat local attractions that I had actually been to on school field trips); which then graduated to cheesy 70s motel postcards from random places.

Later in my teens I took my first trip to New York city; wandering alone - I got lost on the subway, finally found my way to Greenwich Village, bought an amazing black leather beatnik coat in a funky old junk shop, kissed a boy on Madison Ave. in front of a blind saxophone player and started an obsession with artsy black and white photo postcards. For years I kept my collection in fragrant and tattered old cigar boxes; in every room of every flat that I lived in during my San Francisco years - there was always a wall or the back of a door taped and tacked with a mosaic of my favorite postcards. Man Ray's lips, Dali's skull, Frank O'Hara's piercing eyes, Bukowski's knuckles, Braughtigan's hat, Sophia Lauren's collar bones, Robert Johnson's hands, Theda Bara's make-up, Tiny Tim, Cezanne's Atelier, and at least two postcards with b/w photos of rumpled beds - they were like talismans, treasured and packed from place to place.

Post New York, but BSF (before San Francisco) I lived in Santa Cruz, California (a midsize Northern California surfing, hippyish, hipster, happy coastal community). I was working retail in a trendy-semi-edgy clothing store; my uniform at the time as I recall, was Monkey Boots with red satin ribbon laces, stripy stockings (yes, even back then), vintage slips and my Grandpa's old golf sweaters (turns out, an outfit that was not as attractive as I imagined it to be). The music I was into ran the gamut from Howlin' Wolf to Brian Eno, Camper Van Beethoven to Tanya Tucker and... Whoopsy there, I just slid straight from a ramble into a full on tangent, pardon me and my trapdoor nostalgia; I swear we will soon be coming back around to postcards.

So... one day a girl I knew from my circle of friends came into the store I worked at, she told me she was looking for a special black dress. I smiled at her and said, "Ooh, you got a hot date?" and she replied, "No, I need something for my father's funeral." It is a vivid, suddenly sweaty and most awkward moment that somehow, a couple of weeks later, turned into the two of us becoming nearly inseparable friends. I apologize Sabrina if I'm getting it wrong, but it's how I remember it. We stroked our late teenage angst with champagne, cemetery visits and the Singing Nuns; she was a great artist and I was very dramatic. We took up pseudonyms and penned postcards to one another. The Anguissola sisters, she was Sofanisba (after the Italian painter) and I was Persephone. We carried on this correspondence of our alter egos for some time, until life carried on and we eventually lost touch.

Are you still with me? Then I shall continue...

Not too long ago, through the labyrinth of social media, my friend and I found one another again. Sabrina has her own lovely blog called "Schtuff at Home" where you can see her amazing and varied creativity in the form of altered art and paper, drawing, painting, soldering, sewing, and more!
At the beginning of this year when I popped over to her place, I saw that she had joined an art postcard challenge. I saw that she was writing the postcards with two familiar names, Sofanisba and Persephone! Granted these two personalities are very different from our long ago alter egos, but I was so tickled to see those names again and love the project! You can see Sabrina's wonderful art postcards and learn about the challenge HERE!

Call it serendipity or synchronicity or some other "ity" word, but at the same time I found another postcard affair of the loveliest kind in "Postcards from Across a Pond" postcards between two crafty ladies (in digital form), the lovely Bernina, Rachel of Ted and Agnes and Panini, Tif of Dottie Angel. I love this too!

There is just something about a postcard. A few lines, a pretty picture, a moment in time, everything and nothing, a casual missive, a work of art, a connection to another place and time; such is a little scrap of card!

I'm gonna think on it, may have some to-doing about those postcards, yes indeedy.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Some time ago, my mother sent me a package (as she so sweetly does from time to time) of bits of fabric. This package was a little different from the usual. It contained several pieces of vintage Japanese Yukata cottons.
The word "Yukata" not only refers to the cotton fabric, but it is also the name of the kimono shaped robe worn at home after bath; and as a cool, colorful kimono worn by young women at summer festivals.
Traditional Japanese Indigo - The use of the print patterns cut from tanned paper was devised in the EDO period (1600-1868). First a design was cut onto a print pattern made of tanned paper. The pattern was then placed on a sheet of cotton cloth and a paste of glutinous rice was spread over it. The paste covered the parts of cloth where the patterns were cut out. Once the cloth was dipped in the Japanese indigo dye, the parts not covered with the rice paste were dyed a deep blue. The tanned paper used for making the pattern consists of many layers of Japanese paper, glued together with persimmon tannin.
Traditionally these fabrics were dyed with indigo in deep blues. More recently, other bright and rich colors have been added. Yukata fabric comes in rolls approximately 14" wide and 13 yards long. One roll traditionally makes one Yukata kimono. The process of creating the beautifully hand stenciled and dyed cotton fabric is a complex and disappearing art. Yukata is colorfast, has no right or wrong side (the design is equally vibrant on both sides) and only improves with repeated washings, becoming softer and more comfortable.

These pictures don't do them justice, they are so intricate and vibrant. I am fascinated by the process used in the hand dying and stenciling. All of these pieces range from the 1960s through the 1970s.
This piece is my favorite, isn't it stunning?

I still don't know what I will end up making with these amazing fabrics, I know that one day it will just come to me. I think the last piece may end up stretched on a frame and hung as art, for that is what it is indeed.

These fabrics were purchased from Patricia Belyea at Yukata Craze. You could also do an internet search for Vintage Yukata Fabric if you are interested in purchasing some of this beautiful fabric for yourself! I think it would be wonderful used in quilts.

Thanks mom!