Monday, January 25, 2010

Hearts to Wear

     This is the front of a completed brooch.  The embroidery, pearls and lace snippets cover a piece of beige upholstery velvet.  This type of velvet does not is sturdy and fun to embroider!. I fused a piece of cream colored felted wool on the back to which I whipstitched a fastener.  The heart  is about 2 1/2" by 2 1/2".
     This heart is embroidered on the back side of a piece of felted wool from a fair isle sweater.  I think the mottled background color looks "snowy".  This is my favorite of the dark hearts.  It is covered with French knots and snippets of lace.  The back has not been attached yet....when finished it will be on ETSY.  Size--about 3" by 3"
     Both of these hearts are cut from the front of same sweater as the gray/white one above.  I might make them into brooches.


This heart is cut from another felted fair isle sweater.  It will be backed with a purple piece and made into a brooch about 3 12' by 3".

     These are really fun to make...worst part is cutting them out!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Valentine Garden

     Dashee has been growing Valentines.  She had added a few to her shop....more next week.  Dashee really likes making these and has been getting carried away in the process!

Saturday, January 2, 2010


     Behind my pillow is a small collection of reading material which includes an old edition of The Green Eyes of Bast by Sax Rohmer.  After my mother's death a couple years ago my sister and I sorted through her books and found this mystery novel.  I recognized it as the book that Aunt Jean, my mother's sister, had given me during my teen years.  I do not remember much about why she gave it to me, but I enjoyed mysteries and was fascinated by the Orient.  I read part of it before my mother found it and took it away.
     My memory of the book is fuzzy except for a couple impressions.  First, it was a really good story.  Next, mystery, darkness and opium.  The latter was creepy but spying on something forbidden. I think that sums up why my mother took it away.
     I have always had an aversion to drugs and the occult.  I didn't think that reading about them would tempt me, so I was not happy when I lost my book.  I was the "good" girl and felt my mother did not trust me enough to let me read it. On the other hand, I knew there was something  bad about it!  I also wondered if there was something bad about my aunt....  I already knew they did not get along with each other.  Needless to say, when I saw the book I grabbed it and brought it home.  I started to read it but put it away....just not that interested yet.
     The book stands as a reminder of my Aunt Jean and the relationship my mother had with her.  They were not close.  While growing up I would often hear my mother say "I hope you two girls are closer than Jean and I were.....".  That implies problems between them, but I never fully understood what they were.  I know they were both good women, but my aunt loved to embellish the truth (lying, according to my mother) and she was much more extroverted and adventurous.  These traits got my aunt in trouble as a kid, with my younger mother being the "good" one.  They lived two hours apart as adults with contrasting lives, Jean married without children and a professional singer, and my mother home or working next door at the nursing home she "inherited" when she remarried.  My mother was also very musically talented but did not perform professionally.
     Aunt Jean was what my sister describes as  "a little bit of Hollywood".  She was cheerful, generous, and dramatic; her strong personality would often dominate in her younger years.  She was an attractive blond who usually wore glasses because she was almost blind without them. In photos she wears the kind with the flaired frames of the 1950s.  Her small home was fascinating.....some Oriental decor, the colors gold and purple, and the smell of  Tabu mixed with cigarette smoke.  She always used a cigarette holder, claiming that smoking  was not bad for you done this way.  There was a sewing/guest room in which stood a dress figure that she used to make her own singing attire (lots of sewing in my family but no one else had one of these).  Her fabric--gold lame, of course!  I suppose she was a little bit like the book she gave me.
     After college I moved to the city where my aunt lived and I visited her frequently.  I found her to be a good woman approaching her life struggles with faith and cheerfulness.  By then she did not sing much and was learning to sell real estate.  When the math, her nemesis, was too much she turned to selling something else.  I do not remember ever seeing her depressed.  Irritated or angry on occasion.....that's about it.  She and I are strong-willed so we butted heads a few times, but it passed.  I enjoyed her.
     I often wonder if my mother was uncomfortable about my aunt's influence on me.  That was certainly true about the book!!  Perhaps my mother felt sometimes that my aunt should have been forbidden.  There were some disagreements or misunderstandings that might have fed this.  She never forbade us from seeing her, though.  Maybe that was an act of faith on her part.
     This morning it suddenly occurred to me how odd it is that my mother kept this book until her death.  I can not imagine her reading it, but maybe she did. Perhaps it reminded her of Jean; there was some kind of meaning to almost every book she kept.  Each was tied to a home, person, memory, or it was worth keeping for knowledge, entertainment or money..   Hmmmmm....since she found it important to keep I will assume permission to read it......ha ha.......liberation!

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In addition to being a violist, I am a wife and mother (three sons). I dabble in writing, handwork, sewing and photography.