Saturday, October 27, 2007

Props to My Peeps

Today I'm spotlighting some outstanding Etsians I've discovered in the rural region where I live. I've only gotten to meet one in person, but I've convo-chatted with another, and purchased lovely work from a third.

CCDesigns lives in my zip code and I was lucky enough to meet her at the fall festival this past weekend. We were both pretty excited to meet another Etsy person. She's super nice and has an amazing range of eclectic earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. The neck ornament pictured above caught my eye at the show, and the price is unbelievably reasonable. Visit her shop at:

This great pendant is one item on my wish list from MissFickelMedia's shop: She's extremely successful on Etsy, is super friendly in convos, does custom work, is a mom (like me!) and lives in an even smaller town than mine. Check out her shop! Rebecca Weis is a meticulous jewelry maker and a sewing idol. There is not one single weak or unimpressive item in her lovely, ultra-professional shop. The earrings are an example of her creative beauties.

That's all for today, but if you live in or near Troy, MO and craft, let me know. I'd love to give more regional artists some positive exposure.

Here we are at our first craft fair-- The Pumpkin Festival. From left to right, you see Etsy devotee LHenke: jewelry designer and decoupage mistress of a soon-to-open shop, knitter extraordinairre Lenox of, and me, GrayEyedScorpio.
Our "booth". We decided to skip the borrowed tent, since few others were bothering with them, and because 20MPH winds were in the forecast. I painted a quick banner on some muslin from a swag that used to hang in my home. Not fancy, but it did the job.

The day was beautiful, but we'll be following Etsy and other blogger's advice by avoiding fairs with food and activities in the future. People simply were not there to shop, and the constant passersby who were smoking really bothered me. Also, I'm worried my merchandise may now carry a faint scent of BBQ smoke from the vendor next door.

All in all, it was good practice and we feel prepared and eager for an "all handmade" fair next time.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Today a student who had just called the principal gay (and not meaning homosexual, but dumb, he later assured me, as if that somehow made it okay) in my earshot, complained about my reaction.

Here's the script:

Student: How do you do that!?

Me: Do what?

Student: Make me feel like the worst person in the world just by looking at me that way.

Me: That's not me, it's your conscience.

Student: No, it's you. You get this look like you're totally crushed by our behavior, but you stay just as calm as always and it's horrible.

Me: Maybe you should only do things to make me proud then.
It's easy to forget what influence I have, since teens are loathe to let us know. Reminders like this are both flattering and sobering.

I also had a student thank me for correcting her assignments today. She said it was really helpful to have a teacher who graded for more than just completion. Pretty scary. I have faith in my colleagues, and in the system, but am aware of the need for improvements. Bright kids are woefully under-served by our schools, but average kids get what they need.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

At last!

This bag has been in-progress for nearly a month! My design is fairly simple, but the thickness of the fabric and interfacing layers were stubborn to get through. I'm happy with it overall. It's a bit sleek, yet relaxed, and stands on its own.

My goal for the upcoming week is to complete two dozen more headbands. I'd also like to finish a batch of key fobs, and begin some pendants that have been dancing around in my imagination, but time is too limited.

I've been intending to go to an auto junkyard for months. My mission: to cut seatbelts from the least-used seats in cars. I plan to launder them and re-purpose them as awesome straps for bags.

Another design I'm toying with is for a gym bag. As a birthday present to myself, I might take a day off work to make myself the perfect gym bag next month.

I love to read your comments, and check out your blogs, Etsy sites, and works in progress, so leave your mark and let me know where to find you, please.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Something Old AKA Something New

About 8 years ago, I inherited an old sewing machine. But no key to open the case. Recently, advised me how to jimmy the latch. Hiding inside is a beautiful, 1925 Singer machine, with old thread and scrap fabric for testing thread tension. It's as if Great Grandma Jake never knew she was putting the cover on for the final time. The original instruction manuals were inside as well, and I can't wait to learn how to use this sturdy relic from an ancestral quilter and clothesmaker.

When I plugged it in, I got zapped with electricity, so I'm going to have to take it in to the friendly Quilter's Caboodle store in town (that's Troy, MO to you strangers). Enjoy the pics, and share any of your own Singer refurbishing stories.

Saturday, October 6, 2007


I've always been intrigued by tattoos. I love art, and see it as natural that I should want to be a canvas. Here is the curated tour of my pieces.

My most delicate: My wrist is circled by a design I found on a "fancy dress pin" in a MOMA catalog. Brad, owner of Iron Age in St. Louis did the work in 1997.

My most ambitious: The tree on my back represents the seasons of life. Its roots are in the power of literature, and truth via Shakespeare's words. The bit with the naked angel was my first tattoo (1994). I wanted it incorporated to avoid a patchwork look, but it doesn't blend as well as I'd like. Cat did a fantastic, painstaking job on this. Find her at the Pain Station in St. Louis.

My most recent: the Celtic knot (originally done by Gary at Goldenlands, 1995) represents an endless continuum. The Koi represents my husband (a pisces) and the water represents my son (an aquarius). Work by Adya at Living Canvas in Columbia, MO (2007). I love it, and if I had a different day job, I might work it into a 3/4 sleeve.

Being Green

Green lifestyles are in vogue right now, but there is a backlash as well. Regardless of either zeitgeist, my household does what we can to respect the earth.
Projects we wish we could afford:
  • re-insulating our attic
  • insulating our basement
  • graywater re-use system
  • solar panels
  • buy local eggs
We get bummed out because we can't do those things for a while, so to cheer ourselves up, we're listing what we already do/have done:
  • totes instead of shopping bags
  • mow infrequently, allowing grass to re-seed and mulch itself while using less fuel
  • we never water our lawn
  • Jetta TDI (since 1997) + a Subaru with decent milage
  • we wash our cars only after salt is on the road for ice
  • small house with responsible thermostat settings, windows open whenever possible
  • clothesline instead of dryer for certain loads
  • better light bulbs, and only necessary lights on
  • perrennial flowers = less watering
  • infrequently purchase carry-out/to go food (packaging & health)
  • efficient new appliances
  • buy used toys, clothing, furniture more often than new, packaged things
  • cook few convenience items
  • recycle (our trash can is never more than half full for once a week pick-up!)
  • re-use
  • avoid using plastic bags for lunches, use silverware, not plastic
  • minimize car trips
  • don't use gift-wrap--unless re-used bags

Miles to go, but we're on the road, and most of it is simple. We aren't even conscious of the effort for most of these habits, which is as it should be.