Spirited Away

I really am a lucky girl sometimes. Richard, one of my good friends whom I have known ever since high school, has lived and worked in Tokyo for the last seven or eight years. When he can, he likes to have friends come and visit him. I've been once before and now I'm going to get to go again, along with another friend, Pol. Best spring break ever!

It's going to be interesting to visit Japan again after a year and a half of design education. Last time, I was very much looking with a novice's eye, and from my anthropological background. My sense of aesthetics has taken a very solid shift over the last year or so. I expect to be noticing all sorts of things I didn't see last time - things that I couldn't see. I've become addicted to Japanese craft books - I understand that they have a few of those over there. The challenge will be to not come home with fifty gajillion craft books. Maybe if I pack less clothing...

I think I'm going to be much more on the lookout for zakka and cute things, as well as sweet modern Japanese design. There's no way that I can get away from the fact, though, that I can't go very long in Japan without thinking of Hayao Miyazaki films, espeically Totoro and Spirited Away. I had so many moments of recognition last time, of feeling like I somehow magically slipped into one of Miyazaki-san's idyllic landscapes. Unbelievably green and verdant. And this time, seeing Japan in the spring, I'm hoping for cherry blossoms. Cherry blossoms and art and history and beauty.

Neighbors at Wonderland

I had some very good neighbors at Crafty Wonderland. Every time I looked up, I had a marvelous view of Paper Sparrow and her beautiful artwork. Andrea Courchene kindly gave me permission to share pictures of her work with you; I'm so glad to do so. Andrea's shadow boxes caught my eye again and again over the course of the day. I don't know what it is with me and gnomes lately, but this piece in particular was like looking into a window to a happier world. I am definitely lusting after this particular shadowbox, even more than the narwhale or the darling polar bear which was very serene.

I probably shouldn't say "lately" about gnomes. Like a lot of people, I had the
Gnomes book as a kid; still do, in fact. It was a warmer, more peaceful world than the one in which I grew up. Especially, I was fascinated by the domestic images, the gnomes' house and daily routine, from the moment the house mouse brought her slippers to the mama gnome to the moment at sunrise when all is safe and quiet and "nothing can possibly happen." Perhaps as a sign of things to come, I was also deeply drawn to the section on home industry: the gnomes at work making candles, ceramics, metalwork, clothmaking...all the works of the hands.

Despite having a kind of rotten childhood, I think the love of craft that I grew up with is an absolute, unadulterated blessing, granted perhaps as a gift that would let me keep a sense of hope and wonder about the wider world. A gift that would ensure I would appreciate artists like Andrea and all the pretty things that come from her hands.

Etsy Tuesday

I updated my Etsy store today, adding the pastel mushroom people shown here, a couple of new (and yummy) pincushions, and a pretty little owl feltie. The mushrooms are similar to the ones I made for the mushroom swap, only in different colors. I love all three, but I think the opal is my favorite. I'm getting so much mileage out of that shade of wool. These are super fun to make, and it's especially nifty to have a good way to use some of my vintage buttons.

This weekend, I figured out a new way to make bunnies. These are quick and easy to make and they can hang out with the little mice in the bowl at shows. These two are about as long as my thumb. I think I need to go back and add some highlights to the larger one's eyes, so they look cuter and less like they are burrowing.... into your soul!!! Add dramatic music here.

Really, really, really nice day

Here's my table from Crafty Wonderland. The bright background is from the talented crafters behind me, selling nifty paper. I had a really good time. They had film crews there for a Museum of Contemporary Craft Museum documentary, and I got to talk with them about feltmaking, felt sculpture, and stabbing my finger. I spent most of the day chatting with people, saying thanks for all the "oooh, so cute!" comments, and making a few new felt critters. Allison came by and sat with me for a good chunk of the afternoon. It was SO nice to have her there. I'd forgotten to pack a real lunch and my blood sugar was tanking. Note to self for next time - pack a lunch! Lots of people picked up my card, which made me very happy too. If you're reading my blog after seeing me this weekend, HI! I'm going to try to get in again in May.

Tomorrow, massive update of Etsy store. Bunnies!

Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it's getting!

Crafty Wonderland on Sunday! I've been busy this week getting ready, making new things, working to put together a pretty display. It's going to be brilliant. I hope folks like the plate of pincushions for sale - they are tremendous fun to make. I'll also have needle felts, tote bags, and other sweet little things.

As a thank you for my blog readers, I'll have a bit of a giveaway at Crafty Wonderland. The first five people to mention reading StacySix will receive a small gift bag. I'm trying to make the contents reflect something of the things I've blogged about, as well as including a small sample of my own work. One thing you'll find is that I've dug into my fabric stash to add a piece of quilter's candy to each bag. The rest, well, you'll have to show up early to find out. Hope to see you!

Nom nom nom...

Sitting on my computorz, making me smilzor. They are LOLNOMS!!! Ok, so they're "just" Noms, but it doesn't seem fair to refer to them as "just" anything, they brighten my day so. Noms are made by the wonderful and talented Aimee Ray, author of Doodle Stitching, a book very high on my current wishlist. Recently, she had a sale on her Etsy store (loads of cute stuff), and I took the opportunity to pick up a couple of her Noms. Ever since they've arrived, they've either been on my keyboard or sitting under the lamp next to me.

The other day, Trent over at the Simple Dollar wrote about an interesting article on the idea that the best way to make a creative living is to cultivate 1,000 "True Fans", people who love your work and support what you do. Personally, I'm not too fond of the term "fan" but the idea of having a dedicated following is vital to anyone who does creative work for a living. In these rough financial times, it seems more important than ever to support cottage industry, and I'm delighted to have been able to become one of Aimee's supporters.

Not much longer now...

What a beautiful day it's been! The clouds are coming in now, but just a little while ago, I was in the back yard and it was warm out. For the first time in months, I was comfortable outside with no sweater or hoodie. And little signs of spring are all over. We have a ginormous rosemary bush in the backyard and it's just starting to flower. I love the delicate color - not quite blue, not quite lavender, but some amazing shade like a piece of pre-dawn sky.

I think these guys are going to be bursting out into full color and blossom any day now. Wes, my significant other, doesn't really like tulips, so we dug out a whole bunch of bulbs last year to thin them down a bit, but here they are, coming up again, hardy and cheerful as anything you can imagine.

It finally seems safe to anticipate spring, to feel like the worst of winter is past. This was one of the worst winters I can remember for personally wishing it would just be done with. Most years, I manage to hold off the "fed up with winter" stage until late January or early February. Not this year. This year, I was done with winter back in December. Grrrrrrr. Anyway, seeing signs of spring all over inspired me to make this little confection of a pincushion. I particularly enjoyed embroidering the stem stitch/french knot flower garden. Maybe this will be the year I make our little side garden bed look so sweet and tidy.

Taking the Plunge

2 month pledge

For the next two months, I've joined the Refashionistas with this solemn oath:

I, Stacy, pledge that I shall abstain from the purchase of "new" manufactured items of clothing, for the period of 2 months. I pledge that I shall refashion, renovate, recycle preloved items for myself with my own hands in fabric, yarn or other medium for the term of my contract. I pledge that I will share the love and post a photo of my refashioned, renovated, recycled, crafted or created item of clothing on the Wardrobe Refashion blog, so that others may share the joy that thy thriftiness brings!

Since I already buy most of my clothing at resale, my primary goal with this project is to do more sewing for myself. My fabric stash is staring at me mournfully, whispering "you don't really love us." The secondary goal is to keep me away from the ever-present temptation of Sock Dreams for a couple of months. Especially since I've started looking at socks and planning new outfits around the socks.