Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Memories

Wow .. I'm sorry I've not been posting for such an incredibly long time!  I guess with Facebook and Newsletters I forget to come here to write too.  I think my real problem is that I seem to be incapable of 'short' here's what I want to say postings!  The holidays brought me back here.
Christmas Memories!

I guess this Christmas really has me a bit down .. longing for the holiday times of being able to be with family and .. those days, unfortunately as I've grown older, are gone.

ONLY gifts that came in the mail went under the Christmas tree.  Or gifts that were for my sister and brother in law and 2 nieces that would be coming over on Christmas Day to celebrate with us.   Mom and Dad would wait until after I was asleep to put their (and Santa's) gifts under the tree.  I'd wake up on Christmas morning and go running down the hall and ... there was the tree with what seemed like thousands of festively wrapped presents spreading out from beneath the boughs and across the floor!
I used to hunt and hunt the days preceding Christmas to try to find my potential gifts .. in closets, in the basement, in the garage, under beds, and .. when I got older .. up in the attic.  Never found a one!!  Mom says they were there in the house, but to this day will NOT tell me exactly 'where' they might have been.  I still don't believe they were there!
I was in my early 40's and it was Christmas morning at my parent's home.  We (Dave and I) both woke up early and came walking down the hall to get a cup of coffee .  I glanced into the living room .. and there was the Christmas Tree with TONS of presents under it (Mom and Dad had once again waited until I went to bed to put out their presents)!  My first thought ... my very first instant thought was ...... SANTA!!!!  And I shivered with excitement. 

We'd have to wait until my sister had their Christmas before they'd get to our house when I was young.  That meant that I'd have already been into my stocking by 6am (candy, oranges, small simple toy type gifts), had breakfast (juice and Christmas Stollen bread), and now was pacing excitedly waiting till nearly 10am for the rest of the family to gather so we could all begin to open gifts!  My mother, to get me out of her hair for 4 hours or so, would allow me to open ONE gift!  I'd stand staring at the gifts under the tree and mom would point to one and say "there's one from Santa, I'll bet that's a good one to open first".  I'd tear into the paper and ... it would be a BOOK!  I loved books!  I'd read quietly for hours curled up in my favorite chair.  That ruse always worked and Santa always picked out the best books!

Going up to my parents house several years ago for Christmas with a sick cat ... we couldn't leave him alone and  my mother was extremely upset that we would sacrifice the holiday because of a cat.  (she can really lay on the guilt, believe you me!)  So Dave and I packed up the cat crate and hit the highway on Christmas Eve Day.  We all went to early evening church services (that's another favorite memory .. candlelight church services on Christmas Eve!  Not like they are today where, due to fire codes and insurance regulations, you can only have the lit candle for one song at the end .. those days we'd be holding lit candles for the last part of the ministry and several songs .. always ending with "Away In A Manger").  When we got home, found that our cat was now incredibly sick!  Called my sister for the numbers of any 'local' vet clinics .. the closest one that was actually open was over an hour away.  That night it was snowing heavily so meant it took nearly 2 hours to get there.  Good thing we had .. poor kitty was at death's door and the vet wasn't sure he would last the night ... so we had to leave Abbie there hooked up to IV's and such.  Driving back, the snow storm had stopped and there was a full moon out ..... "The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow, Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below".  Dave and I both looked up at the same time and laughed as we both searched the skies - since it was just after midnight now - perhaps we'd see Santa in his sleigh flying across the face of that moon.  We didn't.  And Abbie? We had to stay up north a bit longer than we'd planned and were able to pick him up 2 days later .. that vet saved his life .. our little "Christmas Miracle"!

Christmas memories .. what wonderful things to take you back to those special times in your life!
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas with warm memories to last a lifetime!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


When I saw the movie "UP", I got the largest chuckle out of the dogs and their "SQUIRREL" and immediate inattention.
Now, once again, I am reminded that SQUIRREL and SPARKLY ('my' inattention word) have nothing whatsoever in common.

Going back slightly in time ... to when the ground squirrel was trapped in our garage and had to 'eat' his way through our garage door to freedom.  And then, once outside, decided that back inside the garage was the bestest place for hiding nuts, hanging with his friends, and getting out of the elements .. so  he moved back in!  Many many nights of listening to him and what seemed like 37 of his closest friends paying 'roll the acorn' and 'hide and seek' within my bedroom wall, it was time to get a trap.
After several live trap attempts (said squirrel would go into the trap AND remove the ear of corn with him without setting off the trap and on another try, went into the trap, couldn't get the corn out with him (we had tied it to the inside wiring), stayed and ate all the corn off the cob and then, again without setting off the trap, took his bounty and went back into our 'walls'!).
Now it was time for the exterminator who came and set up several traps as well as attaching a 'can get out but cannot get back in' trap to the hole in the garage door.  He caught several large mice in his trap, but the squirrel remained free to cavort within the walls ... I'm sure the fuzzy little guy had painted his face 'blue' and was yelling 'freedom freedom' while he scampered about in relative safety!
Finally it would seem the squirrel left for the day, we sealed the hole back up with a metal plate, and silence once again (after MONTHS!!!) within the Koch household walls.  The cleanup mess in the attic would take weeks and involve throwing out just about anything that had been stored up there, including most of my Christmas decorations.

Fast forward to summer and the advent of warmer weather (what am I saying? Hot hot hot weather) and the need to use my car's air conditioning system ... which just was not putting out any cool, much less cold, air into my car.  Getting ready to drive to the Columbus Market in early June meant that I would need my AC and vents working properly, so drove into the car dealer (after finding one who still worked on Saturns .. deep sign .. how could they stop production of such a wonderful brand???).
After waiting at the dealers for a bit, the mechanics called me into the garage to show me what they had found ... a huge squirrel nest had been blocking my vents!  Fuzzy little  #&%(*  had gotten into my car's blower system and decided, since I wouldn't let them in my walls any more, that my VUE was the second best home!   Got that all cleaned out to the tune of I've not forgotten how much money, and drove merrily on my way to Columbus in a 'cool' vehicle!

NOW ... I am getting ready to fly to the Fall Baltimore Market and on the day before I leave,  had errands to run.  Once again the weather is hot, but rather than try my AC, I just turned my air vent blower up to 'high' ......  CLUNK THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP ..,,,, quickly turned off the blower!  What the hell was that?  Turned it on to *1* .. no problem ... turned it up to *2* .. no problem ... turned it up to *3* .. THUMPITY THUMP THUMP.  Oh shit what in the world is going on this time?  Another nest??   Don't turn on the fan motor again .. just opened the windows.  Flew off the next day - a Thursday.
Drove back to the shop on Tuesday, cool morning, didn't think about the fan.  Drove back home and back to the shop on Wednesday.  Wednesday night driving home it was quite warm, turned on the fan ... nothing happened.  Thursday, started smelling a smell.  Didn't think too much about it as the car had been parked on the other side of the house that night where we came across a dead animal (of some sort - phew)  and disposed of it bu burying it.  Friday, smell is there.  Saturday smell is stronger
Yesterday, Monday took car into dealer.  Kind of thought I knew what had happened.  Remember that THUMP THUMP THUMP?   Yeah, my mind went there too.
Service department called me that afternoon ... I was right.  There WAS a dead animal (they didn't know what it was) IN my blower motor!!  It had EATEN its way through the plastic housing that covers the fan area! Was completely blocking the motor, it wouldn't turn at all!
Need a new fan motor, need to have the fan area sanitized .. so far the cost is $400.00 - they don't know what all else has to be replaced until they can remove said SQUIRREL (I know it is, was!), and get everything cleaned out.  I am SO NOT a happy camper.  Saturn Vue  =  Sqirrelmobile
Some kill squirrels with their cars by driving over them, I kill them by trying to get cool!
I am now joining Nick on his mad dash squirrel attacks out our back door and across our deck and into the yard.  Him with his ferocious bark/growl (ok, so it's really a loud yelp/squeak - out of an 85# Golden, it is a ridiculous sound!!), me brandishing a pick axe (if I had one, I think we have one, just don't know where it is, if we have one!)!  And, don't think I'll swerve out of their way anymore when they stand in my lane and try to stare me down.

Friday, August 19, 2011

I got Crabs while in Baltimore!

Yep .. crabs!  And I'm proud of it too!
1st indication that I was getting Crabs was while in the "Meet The Designers Class" on Friday afternoon.  Cecille of Just Another Button Company had made and assembled the cutest little crab pincushion for each of the class attendees.  AND .. enabled those 30 some shops (ONLY!!) to be able to get more CRABS too!
Sydney The Crab Pincushion (on the right .. his gal friend is shown on the left) is very limited!  Like I said, only 30 some shops are able to get him to you!  We were making all kinds of crab jokes ... I mean, obviously Sydney is a SOFT shelled crab.  If you stitch a black squiggly line on his back, you'll have a CRACKED crab.  You can stitch a couple of these up and give crabs to your best friend.  If you changed the color of his 'felt' to blue, you'd have steamed crab.   I'm so glad I got crabs from JABCo!!!

 My second indication I was getting crabs came on Friday night.  We went in search of crab dinner and found G&M Restaurant - they are known for their Crab Cakes!  There were 6 of us and everyone was ordering the single crab cake platter.  Now I know crab cakes .. I love crab cakes .. I know how 'big' crab cakes are .. so I, being the little piggy that I am, ordered the TWO crab cake platter.  These babies are 8 OZ EACH!!!!!  All lump crab, no filler!  Needless to say, we did NOT have dessert, and I had an entire crab cake for my lunch the next day.   They ship fresh nationwide ... I sure wish Dave liked seafood.  Oh well, he'll have to have mac and cheese when I order and receive my crab cake in the mail!!!
Had crab every chance I could while in Baltimore ... yum yum!

Thursday night I went on a "Night Tour of Washington DC" ... took the Marc Amtrack train from Baltimore to DC and got to see (and eat in) Union Station ... what an incredible place that is!  I thought we'd be just looking at the sights from the bus window, but the trolly we were on stopped and gave us 20 minutes here, 30 minutes there at the Jefferson Memorial, at the Lincoln Memorial.  I got to see the Vietnam Wall, and the Korean Memorial up close and personal too.  Very very moving!!!  Lots of info gained about our capital city and it was so much fun!

Saturday night I was invited to attend a baseball game at Camden Field (Orioles vs my Tigers ... and my Tigers won!!!).  Sullivan's Floss company reserved a sky box suite for us, and we had dinner up there, watched the game, had pictures taken with 'the Bird', and partook of the most incredible dessert cart service ever!  Again, yum yum

Oh .. how was the actual Market??   Sorry ... got carried away.
MARKET WAS FANTASTIC!!! Absolutely Fantastic!  I bought lots and lots, had time to smooze with my designer and shop friends, and bought more and yet more!  I only wish that the designers who chose NOT to attend (too far, etc, etc, ) had been there!  Everyone I spoke with was having an incredible show!  A note to those designers who didn't attend:  If distance IS a problem, the show does NOT have to be a 'cash and carry' only show for you.  SHIP YOUR MODELS - that's what we want to see .. your new stuffs stitched up - and Take Orders!!  Let's all work together to make this industry, and it's shows, the best it can be!!

My best part .. coming home with one suitcase weighing 43# (still under the prohibitive weight limit for Delta) and the other weighting 57#.  That suitcase should have cost me an additional $90 to get on the plane, but .. the wonderfully harried desk clerk refused my credit card and yelled ... next!
YIPPEE  I was able to get ALL my goodies home with me this time!  Love it!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Leaving On A Jet Plane ...

... at around 4:00am tomorrow morning!  Actually, I'll be riding in the car TO the airport at 4am, my actual flight is at 6:00am!   A couple hours layover in Atlanta, then I'll be landing in Baltimore.
May be doing a 'Night Tour of Washington DC" Thursday evening .. I think I am, but not actually sure how that's all going to work.  I'm rooming with Penny from Ewe Count - always so much fun!

Friday (for me) is a Retailers Round Table (where we share ideas and such) and a "class session" entitled "An Afternoon With Your Favorite Designers" with Blackbird Designs, Cherrywood Design Studios, Dames Of The Needle, and Just Another Button Company.  We'll have chat time with them as well as get a special kit from each one!
As for the evening, I MUST find 'crab for dinner'!!!!!  And then, there may be some "early bird shopping".
The actual shopping is on Saturday from 9am till 6pm.
Saturday night I am in for a TREAT .. I've been invited to join (Free Ticket) a select group in a private suite for a baseball game at Camden Yards with the Baltimore Orioles AND... wait for it ... how cool is this?? ... the Detroit TIGERS!!!!  I've been told there will be food in the suite too!  This will be my first ever major league ball game, and of course .. my first time in one of those 'game boxes'!
Shopping resumes on Sunday from 9am till 4pm, then it'll be time to figure out HOW I'm going to get my purchases back to Michigan with me!  I'm going with a suitcase IN a suitcase - I've already weighed it and I'm within the limits so there will ONLY be a $25.00 baggage fee.  I also have several broken down shipping boxes in the suitcase, in case I go with UPS for some of it.  I will be charged $90 for a suitcase weighing over 50#, so .... we'll see how creative I can get!  Flying back on Monday morning. and I know that you'll want me to have everything with me upon my return to the shop on Tuesday.  Shipping UPS means it will be closer to the end of the week before those boxes will rejoin me.  Wonder if the hotel has a scale for weighing my 2 suitcases??
Always look forward to going to Market .. seeing old friends, both designers and other shops, as well as seeing the new stuffs up close and in person!  You know the stitched model is always so much cooler to see than just the cover picture on the chart.
Not sure why most of my 'favorites' will not be attending the Baltimore Market .. could be the timing, as this year Market is the early part of August as opposed to the middle or end of September as in the two years past.  The timing of market had been changed following surveys sent to not only the shops, but also the designers.  The September timing wasn't good for the designers, as they wanted to get their Halloween and Holiday designs out to the shops earlier.  The shops also wanted to have more time for the Halloween designs to be stitched up and promoted in their shops.  So .. we have an earlier date.  The other problem is the change in location.  Again, according to the survey responses, there was an overwhelming demand to have the Market shows 'rotate' around the country, instead of always having them in the same location.  Of course, the best location that everyone wanted was ..... "close to me"!!   So, we're in a new location this year and I'm excited .. I've never been to the east coast (other than a stay in The Big Apple many many many years ago) and going to a location known for their 'soft shell crab' is perfect as far as I'm concerned!!!!
I hope to be 'tweeing' and 'facebooking' (Stitches N Things) over the next few days from Market ... stay tuned!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Final in my Halloween Needlin'

This is my graveyard scene ... thanks to those who gave me inspirational ideas!

Standing 7 1/2" high, I've signed the back of a purple bat button from Just Another Button Company and attached it to the gravestone.   Not the best photo, but hey ... you get the idea!
I've emailed the gal who wanted these 6 creations to let her know I was done well ahead of schedule (she was to have given a deposit before I started, but I got enthused!!).  Gave her pictures, dimensions and prices and asked her to let me know IF she wanted them still, IF she wanted something else. IF she changed her mind and didn't want them ... any response was fine with me!   (I'm such a marshmallow!)  If she doesn't want them, or wants some of them and something else done, the 'rejects' will sell at the upcoming Art Fair the end of August.

Now .. to begin work on an Elephant (for someone else) and then I can start on my felting for the show!

Friday, July 8, 2011

a bit of Halloween felting ...

   I've been commissioned to create 6 Halloween characters for a customer. Problem is, she didn't specify what kind of felted creations she wanted. I gave a variety of suggestions and only received an "all sound good as long as they're in the $40 to $50 range" response. I'd emailed her a picture of my first creation (Jack the Headless Pumpkin Man) and asked if this was something she liked and told her that since I was custom creating for her, I really would like some idea of what she wanted ... and haven't heard a thing since.
   So, even IF she should not come through with our agreement, I'll have the Halloween items for sale in my Etsy shop and also for an upcoming Art Fair at the end of August. It's a win-win situation no matter what happens.
      Each is felted over a wire armature so they'll free stand or pose if you wish, and each is embellished with a button from Just Another Button Company that I've signed on the back of with my name and year date.
I've been asked to show what I've done so far, and here you go:

This is Jack the Headless Pumpkin Man .. and is by far my favorite! I'll have to do another of him, or maybe two!  His button is a pumpkin 'belt buckle' at his waist. He was too skinny to free stand, so he's been attached to a wooden base for display. Jack stands 15" tall. 
 Little Trick or Treating Ghostie is taking his pet bat Henry for a walk with him. Standing 9 1/2" from his boots to the top of Henry's wings, Ghostie boy also wears glasses! His button is a smiling Pumpkin that I've attached to cording so it looks like it's his 'treat bag'.

This witch is a REAL "Broom Hilda" and stands 13" tall. The bristles of her broom are natural undyed sheep curls to which a black cat button with pumpkin has been attached. Every witch needs her cat nearby, don't ya know?! My witches tend to be a bit 'more fashionably attired" than what the books would have you believe .. I think it's to offset their, um ... looks!

This little guy hasn't told me his name ... yet! Black Cat on Jack stands 8 1/2" high. His button is attached to the side of his yellow cone hat .. it's a purple spider!

And what would Halloween be with out Frankie? Since he's walking towards you, he's also been mounted onto a block so he'll stand upright at 9 1/2" high. He proudly wears as a lapel pin his JABCo button which is a tombstone with bat and RIP on it.

Dave has a real problem with this creation as Frankie wears a gold hoop earring in one ear ... and Dave says "that's just so wrong Deb".

I have #6 to create yet, and after getting some imput from my Facebook friends have decided that it will be EITHER a tombstone, with a ghost peeking around one corner of it and with an owl or raven perched ontop of the stone
a frog wearing a witches hat and holding a magic wand.

decisions decisions!

Little Trick or Treating Ghostie is taking his pet bat Henry for a walk with him.

Standing 9 1/2" from his boots to the top of Henry's wings, Ghostie boy also wears glasses! His button is a smiling Pumpkin that I've attached to cording so it looks like it's his 'treat bag'.

This witch is a REAL "Broom Hilda" and stands 13" tall. The bristles of her broom are natural undyed sheep curls to which a black cat button with pumpkin has been attached. Every witch needs her cat nearby, don't ya know?! My witches tend to be a bit 'more fashionably attired" than what the books would have you believe .. I think it's to offset their, um ... looks!

This little guy hasn't told me his name ... yet! Black Cat on Jack stands 8 1/2" high. His button is attached to the side of his yellow cone hat .. it's a purple spider!''

And what would Halloween be with out Frankie? Since he's walking towards you, he's also been mounted onto a block so he'll stand upright at 9 1/2" high. He proudly wears as a lapel pin his JABCo button which is a tombstone with bat and RIP on it.

Dave has a real problem with this creation as Frankie wears a gold hoop earring in one ear. Dave looked at him for the longest time and then said "that's just so wrong Deb".

I have #6 to create yet, and after getting some input on Facebook, have decided that it will either be a tombstone with a ghost peeking around one side and have an owl or raven perched on top of the stone


a frog wearing a witches hat and holding a wand.

hummmmm decisions decisions

Friday, June 17, 2011

Felting the days away!

The weather was good for the Flint Institute Of Art Summer Art Fair ... a bit cool, a smidge windy (felted fairies and witches try to 'fly' about when it's windy), but sunny and best of all .. no rain!
Got the booth assembled and put up on Friday night .. then Dave and I headed off about 7:30 the  next morning to finish positioning tables and arranging my items for best exposure.  Wait?  Did I say DAVE and I?  Dave was there .. I was the one moving things around!  Dave was wandering around and getting a good look at everything, and then wandering back into the booth to tell me the neat stuff he'd seen. 
  When the traffic in the booth slowed down and I suggested that I be the one to do some wandering around, this look of total terror would come over his face!  But finally, I did get to leave - just for a few minutes though - and when I got back, Dave would tell me, in this long suffering sort of way, that "I had to make change and everything" and that "as soon as you left, I had to sell 4 of the angel ornaments and one of the bowls AND I had to wrap them in tissue and everything"!  And then he'd wander off again.   LOL

    My friends Cathy and Laurie came to see me and brought a gift too!  They'd found one of those metal garden/lawn stakes that had a squirrel on it holding a nut (think nuts and bolts type of nut here .. it was really really cute) and, in honor of our squirrel experiences, presented it to both of us!  It's next to the 'cat pen' at home now!
    Sunday again had quite a bit of traffic in and out of the booth and a lot of giggles going on between me and Kathy.  We got there two hours before the show opened as they had an Artists Breakfast and Awards Presentation - 4 honorable mentions and 3 place winners.  They had one more honorable mention to name and they said   Debra   and my heart jolted   and then they said the last name and it wasn't mine.  Oh well, with that many artisans there, I really didn't expect to receive anything.  But then, last summer I didn't expect to win 2nd place in my first ever show either!  So after the Breakfast, we had time to wander and look at the other booths as they were being opened .
    5pm .. the show is over.  Kathy and I were tissue wrapping everything and boxing them up, waiting for Dave to arrive to take the tent down.  Finally everything is loaded in the van, so Kathy goes her merry way and Dave and I start in on un-assembling the tent.  Phase One:  got it lowered down.  Phase Two:  I remembered we had to get at opposite sides and move in toward each other.  Dave didn't remember that part.  So I zigged and he zagged (with a lot of muttering going on under his breath).  Then ... he kept pushing and  ... one of the struts in the roof snapped apart - right in half!  More muttering - this was apparently my fault, but I was calm cool and collected and ignored him.  We zigged and zagged a bit more ... SNAP another strut snaps in half!  Ok .. Dave's mad but I'm still calm, laughing actually .. what IS the matter with me?  This is so not Deb the Impatient!  
    The tent is now wrecked .. it cannot be used again.  So .. let's just push and pull and push some more to COMPACT it so we can at least get it into the van and get the heck outta there!  So push and pull and push some more we did!   
Now mind you, the other people that were taking their booths down were studiously avoiding eye contact with us. FINALLY, as we're picking up what was once a really nice tent and carrying it to the van, a few came over ... cautiously, mind you.  By then Dave was laughing too (I think he was really concerned about why I was laughing and decided to go with the flow).  One lady was concerned .. I told her it was OK as we were "Patrons Of Modern Art" and now had our own sculpture!  Another suggested that we just leave 'it' on the grounds of the Institute ... it may take them a month or two before they realize that this piece of 'art' wasn't really owned by the FIA!

 So .. now it sits in my spot in the driveway.  And I need to buy a new tent before the August show in Swartz Creek.  And Dave ...well  but the time we got home Dave realized that the entire problem was that he'd NOT put the tent poles in their final position down before we started our zigging and zagging (so it wasn't my fault after all!!!)!

Monday, June 6, 2011

I'm still here, honest I am .. really!

And I so apologize .. it's been 3 months since I've blogged here! I've been on Facebook, I've been on Twitter and I guess that much social media took me away from thoughts posted here. I'm sorry .. honest I am!

So .. what's going on in my world.

I'm fighting the 'itchies'! Have hives right now from stress (I internalize too much and then I suffer!) - this coming week: working Monday and Tuesday and getting ordering done and a weeks worth of invoices paid; driving to Columbus Wednesday for TNNA Retail Council meetings on Thursday and staying till noon on Friday for class sessions assisting the TNNA Member Meeting; then hightailing it home to start getting my booth /displays set up before 6:30pm for the Art Fair beginning on Saturday is taking a bit of a toll on me.
So .. I was out in the 'cat pen' last weekend. We have this long wire enclosed dog run with dog house in it that the dogs never went in, but the cats love it out there where they can be outside AND safe. The grass was about 2' high due to all the rain and too much for a mower to tackle, so I was out there with hedge trimmer shears getting the grass cut.
Dave wanders out and says .. 'you do know there's poison ivy in there, don't you'? HUH? I'm in tee shirt, shorts and sandals and not wearing gloves! "Why haven't you been spraying it with killer stuffs?" "I didn't want the kitties to get in the poison". "What about them getting into the poison ivy and bringing it into the house with them?" "Oh they won't do that .. it's all around the doghouse and right where you're clipping and they don't go there". "WHAT!!!!!!!! We get second-hand poison ivy every year from the dog when he's in it .. we will from the cats too!" "But Deb, it looks so pretty around the doghouse .. like a little ivy covered cottage!"
Needless to say .. I have hives on my arms and a bit on my legs from nerves .. and poison ivy (not as terribly bad as it could be, but itchy icky bumps all the same) all over the backs of my hands and spreading up onto my arms. Between Eucerin lotion and Benedryl cream, I'm fully supporting the local Rite-Aid pharmacy! But I feel that a steroid shot is also in my very near future (like before I leave for Columbus!).

I've been needle felting like a crazed being getting new stuffs created for the upcoming Art Fair at the Flint Institute Of Art this coming Saturday and Sunday (June 11 and 12th). If you're in the Flint area , come by and say HI - I'd like to just see you and have the opportunity to chat. Dave will be assisting me in my booth on Saturday from 10am - 6pm (he was my only choice as helper!) and that should be interesting. This is so not his thing, and being 'forced' to talk to people he hasn't known since birth is going to be rough going for him .. but .. he IS agreeably helping me with that one day! Kathy will be working with me on Sunday from 11am till 5pm.
I've also applied for acceptance in another juried art show for the end of August .. wish me luck on getting into that one. So, if my fiber art is approved, I'll be needle felting more stuffs after June is over so that I'll have new items for that show too!

Still stitching away in my, um, spare time on Lizzie Kate's Halloween Rules, using buttons from Just Another Button Company in place of some of the 'stitched' designs. It will become a bell pull instead of a framed model for the shop. I'm about 1/2 way through now and it's looking great! Of course, that doesn't stop me from collecting other designs to put in my "hey I gotta stitch these" stash pile!

And I'm adding books all the time for reading on my Kindle AND adding books on tape (also for my Kindle) from I've been listening to quite a few while I needle felt. I can watch TV (for the most part) while I'm stitching, but watch while felting .. it puts my fingers at too great a risk! I've got "Water For Elephants" waiting for me to listen to while I drive to and from Columbus. Right now I'm re-reading "Changes" from The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher and hoping that the next edition in this series comes soon! Someone told me to check out books by Michael Baron .. anyone familiar with his stuff??
Kathy had given this link to me but I must confess I'd not checked it out yet. Think I just may do so a bit later today!! I'm trying to force myself to just kick back and take it easy today ... instead of trying to see what else I can felt in the few remaining moments before everything has to be packed up (today) for taking to the Flint Art Fair. overachiever? insane? that would be me!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Tragic Loss

Early yesterday morning, while driving to work, Lisa Roswell from The Primitive Needle died as her car was was swept away in flood waters.   Her body was found early this morning.  
The needleart industry has lost a shining star and those of us who knew Lisa will deeply mourn this loss.
My prayers, my thoughts, my tears, my heart, go out to Lisa's family.  May the Lord grant you the comfort you need.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

And, Continuing On ...

Great discussion on the copyright/copywrong issue I was concerned with. 
The result?  I'll continue on, in addition to those felting ideas that spring out of my wee little brain, getting inspiration from where I will. 
I've just 'torn out pictures' from a gift type catalog .. and will see if my felting needles can duplicate them in wool.  What kind of pictures you ask .. in case you're wondering IF I'm trying to 'copywrong' .. well, lets see:
(1)  from a picture of an pewter/enamelled gift box featuring a white bunny sitting atop a huge huge carrot
(2)  from a picture of some wooden painted folk art 'fish' - I'm picturing a long funky fish atop a tall wire post.
(3)  from a picture of a pair of tin sculpture wildly painted roosters.
(4)  from a picture of stone sculptured frogs .. in different yoga poses.
(5)  from a picture of glass blown rooster/chicken (pictured here) - I'm thinking of embedding funky fashion yarns in the wool for the 'striped' effect and also for hopefully a very cool texture effect.

I've also got the cross stitch charts "Hip Hop Cat" and "Hip Hop Cow" from Samsarah Design Studio that I've been wanting to stitch AND make the designs into felted sculptures.  I've already told Patti (the designer) about my plans and promised that when I DO needle felt them, she has to see them/I have to bring them to Market with me!

I feel that the above gift catalog pictures I've told you about are 'inspiration' .. not blatant copying.  You get inspiration from everywhere .. and I am taking a flat non-dimensional picture design are recreating it into a 3-D felted sculpture .. it won't be the same, it won't look the same, and cannot be conceived as the same.

Do I have 'original' designs?  Of course I do .. as long as you realize that I also do 'people' and breed specific dogs and birds.  And I also have 'how to felt' books that show you step by step how to do this needle art form .. those images become my own.  You start with an idea, whether imagined or pictured, and make it your own.

What about cross stitch?  I'm stitching too .. currently working on Lizzie Kate's "Christmas Rules", but instead of doing it on the Summer Khaki linen Linda chose .. I'm using "Golden Wattle" from Stitches & Spice.  It's a yellowish mottled opalescent and I'm really liking the colors on it!
Tonight I'll stitch some more ... tomorrow, I'm going to felt something!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Copyright or Copywrong?

What constitutes copyright infractions?
Is it being inspired by seeing something, and without taking pictures or etchings, reworking it from memory? Is it seeing a design in one medium and attempting to recreate it in another medium?

On my Etsy shop for Needle Felting (DebFeltIt) I have the following stated:   I needle felt with patterns, I needle felt without patterns, I needle felt from pictures seen, I needle felt what comes into my brain and out of my fingers. I wet felt scarves, bowls and vessels. I nuno felt.  Basically .. I felt!

    I have found myself in the position of seeing a sculpture at a trade show and becoming so enamored of it, tried to recreate it from memory by needle felting it when I returned home.  I did not try to pass this felted sculpture off as my own (see statement above) but I did put it for sale on my Etsy store.
    The original creator contacted me by phone and told me it was a copyrighted design (which had never occurred to me that it would be - I thought it was a 'display' item and again, copyright never entered my wee little mind) and asked me to remove the item.  Of course, I did so immediately!

   Later on that year, I did another couple of designs based on "Shaun The Sheep" from the Wallace and Gromit series.  Surprisingly enough, these were also similar  - or so it would seem - to the 'so called copyrighted' sheep design of earlier. I sold one at the First Frost Art Show and then placed the 2nd sheep on my Etsy shop.  Once again, I was contacted by the 
 same individual yelling copyright issues.
I told her that this sheep was based on Shaun The Sheep but was told that since 'her sheep' had knobby knees and Shaun did not have knobby knees, I was again duplicating her design. And since my sheep had 'blue' eyes like hers, it was obvious that I was in the wrong.  I responded by saying that since I have a stuffed Counting Sheep residing on the back of my sofa that also has 'buggy blue eyes', and since my "Number 44" has the same face style as my creation, he was also an obvious inspiration to my felted sheep. Once again, I was told to remove him immediately or face consequences.
So at what point am I guilty of copyright wrongs?
When I saw her design and from memory recreated it?
When I looked up Shaun The Sheep, or looked at my Counting Sheep,
and  recreated it?
When I put 'my' sheep up for sale, even though I did not claim personal  
credit for it?
And what happens when I see any other image in print, or in person, and
needle felt it?  If I felt from a kit and put it up for sale?  What if I do a dog
with spots and someone else has done a dog with spots?  What about my
 long-legged birds?
Again, going back to my Etsy shop description ... I needle felt with patterns, I needle felt without patterns, I needle felt from pictures seen, I needle felt what comes into my brain and out of my fingers.

Opinions, comments, criticism .. all are welcomed!!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 .. a new year ... and so it begins!

    Had a relaxing New Year's Eve stitching and watching chick flicks (Dave was buried in a book), Mocha at my knee, Padme off doing whatever Padme does when no one can see here, and with Nick happily destroying another new stuffed animal.  I managed to make it to midnight to see the ball drop and finish off my glass of wine .. then happily went to bed with a book and hopeful thoughts .. it was now a new year!
    Kathy and I had been emailing back and forth about going to a movie on Sunday ... "Black Swan" at 11:20am; she'd already gotten us tickets.  Dave and I were going to go to see "True Grit" the next day.   This WAS a new year ... 2 movies to kick it off, and at this point more movies in one year than I usually take in!

   Got up, had breakfast, puttered around, and then drove to the movie theater to meet Kathy.  New Year's Day and late morning = probably around 100 cars total in the parking lot!  This WAS a great time to take in a movie .. everyone was still at home hung over.  I was early, probably a half hour early actually, so when I first got there, went up and ordered 2 tickets to "True Grit" for the next day for Dave and myself, then played around with my Blackberry on-line while waiting for Kathy to arrive.  I got all engrossed on a needle felting site and suddenly thought ... hey, Kathy's not here yet .. how much time has gone by?  Looked at my screen and OMG it's 11:54am!  The movie was to have started at 11:20!  Where is Kathy???  Maybe she came in a different door???  Asked which theater "Black Swan" was in and walked down there ... no Kathy, no other door for her to have walked in through.  Did she go in without me??  Emailed her, knowing that if she was IN the theater, her cell would be off, but .. worth a shot.  Then, went up to one of the attendants and told her that I didn't have a ticket, my friend had tickets for us both, but I think I missed her and perhaps she was already in the theater.  Kind lady that she was, she told me to go in and take a look.  Wandered down the aisle ... there are only perhaps 7 people in the entire room!  And .. no Kathy!   WTH?????  Walked back through the complex, looked at my cell - no email from Kathy - and then .............. OH NO!!!
E-mailed Dave .... when he answered,  asked "What day is it"?  "It's 1-1- .. ".  "NO ... what DAY is it?"  "It's Saturday".  "Nooooo" I cried ..  "Kathy and I are going to the movie on SUNDAY not today"!!! 

     Asked him if he wanted to go to the 2:05 show with me today INSTEAD of tomorrow, IF I could get the tickets changed.  So went back up to the ticket counter, was able to get the tickets for "True Grit" switched from tomorrow to today and left the complex.  Called Kathy and told her what I'd done .. gave her her first real laugh of the New Year I'm sure!  I know I'd given Dave his first laugh!
    Drove home and an hour and half later was back in the car going back to the theater.  We saw "True Grit" today .. it was FABULOUS .. and TOMORROW, I'll be in the theater again, this time on the correct day with Kathy to see "Black Swan".
    And here I though 2011 was going to be different.  sigh   let the merriment continue for another year!