Wolves and Castles

I’ve been researching “Paris in the 1600’s” for the fabric art book class.  We are going to make a mock castle to go on one of the pages in the book. I’ve chosen Chateau de Cheverny for it’s lovely symetry. It was comissioned by Marie de Medici, the mother and wife of French kings during the early 1600’s. Marie de Medici was from the Medici family in Florence, Italy. Naturally, she imported things from home to keep from being lonely, as any good woman would.  She imported Italian gardening, painters, architects, and good food. (Nothing like a little Italian home garden to keep you company.)

I’ve also discovered that the Chateau de Cheverny was Herge’s inspiration for Marlinspike in his Tintin series. While researching for the castles, I ran across a French structure that was just so charming.  I’m not certain when it was built, but they have an article on the repair of the turrets that is interesting.

I’m awed by other women who are artists and who do arty things with their munchkins. (Where do they find the time, I wonder…) Jean writes The Artful Parent blog, and her current posting is an interview of yet another mother who makes it a point to engage her children in her art.  Jean has some lovely links to projects you can do at home as well as other mothers who create.

I created a little something this week. The munchkins are going trick-or-treating and I was inspired by this Little Red Riding Hood/ Big Bad Wolf costume combination by Martha Stewart.  I wasn’t crazy about the fabrics chosen, so I just used the pattern and made them with fur.  I do like the fact that the base of the pattern is a sweatsuit, because the hoodies are going to keep them snuggly warm! I have to say, I like mine much better, especially since it doesn’t create two heads.  (The Martha version has eyes and a mouth on the hood itself, but that always looks strange to me.)


If you don’t know about Tintin, it’s worth the research.  My munchkins love him…

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Fall Colors

I’ve woken up to fall being here with the new colors in the trees.  The reds and golds shimmering in the late sun have been tickling at the edges of my vision, cajoling me to like fall. The birds must have flown south.  Their nest was unoccupied by the little cottage.

We’ve found that the apple trees each have their own ripening date, one after the other.  The last two trees are ready now, crisp and sweet. They’ve been feeding the deer for the last week, as I didn’t know that they would continue to ripen.  We thought they were crabapples.  I may not get to them even so. They do look so beautiful out my window.


I found the most ingenious box handles today. They looked like faux crystals and when you opened the box, they were attached with a screw. I immediately thought of drawer pulls. Can you envision cute little boxes with all different kinds of drawer pulls for lid handles?  What about on the sides of your boxes?

Have you seen this perfume display? I thought it was just adorable, and lends itself for so many different uses. It would be lovely on a dresser, holding your special items, or in a larger version, to hold cups with silverware and napkins for a party.

Some beautiful colors were showing in the blackberry patch, but alas, they will never sweeten in this chill. I think it’s time for cocoa and candlelight.

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Between Projects

I’ve been hosting my mother this week.  Not by our choice,but delightful all the same.  She fell down a flight of stairs and fractured her ankle, so we’ve been working on projects with her leg elevated.  All of my current art is in a “middle” stage right now.  It looks halfway done with pieces here and there.

Here’s one I haven’t started yet, but feel I’m going to have to. Today one of my students asked me a question I’ve been wondering myself.  “Have you actually done this project we’re doing right now?” Um, no. I had to admit.  I’m teaching you, and I know how to teach you, but I haven’t actually done it myself.  I know that sounds strange, but as I’ve taught the class before and my student’s paintings received rave reviews, I’d only let it nibble at the corner of my mind.  I think I’m going to have to do a copy of the painting I’m teaching…

As I’m not really crazy about any holiday that includes freaking people out, Halloween and April fools Day are pretty low on my favorites list. However, I do enjoy a good fall party and I found these delightful little cakes.

You’ll need to record the recipe right away though.  They are on the Cookie magazine site and I just got a notice that they are closing the magazine.

I’ve been teaching my students the good habit of daily sketching, including making a list of things for them to sketch.

This site caught my eye as they are trying to follow the “sketch-a-day” practice. One magazine that isn’t disapearing (yet) is my Bon Appetit.  It came in the mail yesterday and after looking at those yummy photos of Thanksgiving, I know you’re going to be drooling on your keyboard.

Just you wait.

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Have you ever thought about where your pockets first originated?  When you look at drawings of ancient togas covering Greeks and Romans, they don’t have pockets sewn into their clothing. Once you reach the Middle ages, they appear.  However, instead of being hidden, they are worn on the outside, attached by a belt.  (Pockets to the left are from the collection at the MFA Boston.)
I made my own version of one of these, with braided ribbons for the “belt” when I was working as an art director for a summer camp, many moons ago.  I didn’t have a way to close mine, however, so every time I bent over, I lost all of my trinkets, coins, and love notes from little boy campers.

I researched to find out how they kept all their treasures inside.  The patterns I found used a double flap and toggles or buttons.  I decided to use a zipper.  I drew a little scene on canvas and added glass bead-work, then stitched it up.  When I originally envisioned the pocket, it was to work with the diva doll, but they didn’t end up going

together.  It didn’t take too long to make, the longest time for the artwork was sewing on all the individual beads


for the fruit and flowers.  The most time consuming part of assembly was inserting the zipper by hand, since I couldn’t figure out how to do it by machine.

I’ve loved elephants forever.  At least, since my Gram brought me a little one from India when I was ten.  When she passed away, I asked for the mother elephant that she had kept.  Since moving to Deer Haven, another animal has grown on me.  I’m sure you can guess which one.  I started peeking around Etsy for little deer things and came away with this lovely site called Trafalgar’s Square.  It looks like the artist has a new blog as well at onelittlehollow.blogspot.com

We took the munchkins away for a one night summer vacation this week to Great Wolf Lodge. I know that sounds short (and a bit late), but that’s all a kid really needs when they’ve been allowed to run free for a month out here.  We went on a Sunday night/Monday when everyone else was away at school, so we just had itty bitty people around and no lines on the inter-tube rides. They LOVED it.  There was literally no wait for the pools they wanted to swim in, and it was only an hour’s drive away. A pool and no airfare.  That’s a bit rare here in the chilly Pacific Northwest…





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Once upon a time, in a land very close, so close it was under your bed, there was a tiny girl.  My sister and I had high spool beds growing up.  They came from my spinster Great Aunt Vevah’s home.  My daddy used to tuck us in tight at night, almost suffocating us with the sheets in his desire to keep us from rolling out of bed.  As we grew older, we crawled under the beds into the

secret world of our dolls.  We fashioned shoe boxes, medium moving boxes, and scraps of fabric into doll castles.  This little star would have been quite the diva there, in all her polka-dotted glory.

We do all the hard work for you here.  The heavy lifting (of the fork), the weight gain (so you don’t have to), and oh yes, the paying of the first bill (in case it was a baaad experience.)  When we only had one munchkin with us, we tried out the new Bones Restaurant in Battleground.


The first test, as always, was to order fresh squeezed orange juice.  If your server knows why you are ordering fresh squeezed orange juice, they would never fill your glass with ice

cubes.  We were not impressed.

However, they did make up for it in the rest of the plates.  The food was excellent, but we were a little concerned on the service side.  It was certainly a new, new, restaurant that needed to learn the ropes.  I’d be concerned about arriving on a busy night.  All in all, food’s good, go for lunch.


Please excuse the bad photo here.  It does not do justice to the cooks.  I just had to thank Lori for hosting a glorious Alaskan fish-fry this week.

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