Archive for June, 2008

A Year in Photos

The first of the winter fair applications came in the mail today. Our neighborhood community center has a very well attended event with a reputation for well-crafted items. The jury selecting applicants requires two pages of photos documenting the scope of work the artist will have for sale.

As I approach the first anniversary of this business venture, it was an interesting process to put together two mosaics that represent SpiderFelt. The spring was so busy, I realize some of these pieces weren’t chronicled here. Some are personal items I’ve kept for myself, others were custom orders that went out the door as soon as they were made and some are waiting for the next fair.

This signals the end of a cycle and an extended blog break. Thanks for visiting, looking and commenting. It has been an exhilarating year, but now it is time to put my feet up. I’ll be back late in August.

Purple Collars in July

Phew. Deep breath. A whole lot of activity, a whole lot of sleep and then a rush again. School ended a week ago, and as I prepared to leave for the Black Sheep Gathering, ready the house for my father who was going to stay with my son and finish some custom orders, I was struck down by an acute sore throat. It left me speechless and gasping in pain. Needless to say, we had to cancel the trip to Oregon and I was forced to sleep for the better part of four days until my strep culture finally came back positive.

My parents stepped in as the heroes of the day, taking over caring for the house and for me without skipping a beat. As soon as the youngest returned from a birthday party, they whisked the children north of the border so I could continue my convalescence and catch up with last minute business details before shutting down my production for the summer.

First thing on my list was to post the rest of the nunofelt scarves I photographed in early June. There are still two more nunofelt scarves in the rosewood series not photographed, and a couple more turquoise scarves, but they will have to wait until fall.

Two custom orders for purple collars prompted me to begin a new series unexpectedly in late June. I was trying unsuccessfully to make a small crescent of felt lay flat on my neck. When it refused to cooperate, I cut little points to give it some ease and voila!

In addition to the pink collar, I made four larger purple collars and a few pieces of fabric using a merino/tencel roving blend – a total of twelve pieces for two custom orders. Unfortunately the delicate nature and the beautiful drape of the merino/tencel fabric made it too fine to hold up for this form. The buttons would have ripped a hole in the fabric, even with a reinforced buttonhole. I’ll have some experimenting to do with those pieces later.

With a custom order for four felt boxes left, and a tutorial to photograph for a new kit, I’m just about ready to clear out. Maybe Saturday if all goes well in the next two days. In the meantime, I’ve photographed most of my current inventory and posted it in my etsy shop. There are still a few more pieces, but I really hate photographing myself, and as the clouds started to clear this morning, the battery on my camera died, so I called an end to the photo session.

Words to the Wise: Advice to Dads from Second Graders

My daughter’s second grade class composed this set of proverbs for Father’s Day. Their perspective left me grinning from ear to ear.

Everyday Life

Don’t count your chickens before…sunrise.

You’ve made your bed and now you must…eat bread.

Don’t put all your eggs…on one plate.

Out of the frying pan and…into the oven.

All work and no play…makes it boring.

Don’t put your eggs in…a hole.

Don’t put your eggs in…the oven – they’ll pop!

Two is company, three is…visitors.

Out of the frying pan and into…the mouth.

You’ve made your bed and now you must…sleep.

Never leave for tomorrow…for work.

Out of the frying pan and into the…stomach.

Fools and Canines

If you lie down with the dogs…you will get slobbered on.

You can’t teach an old dog…to jump.

An old fool is a…smoker. If you lie down with the dogs…you will be one.

You can’t teach an old dog…to dance.

A fool and his money shall soon be…gone.

Taking Precautions

Good fences make good…protection.

Don’t bite the hand that…is on fire.

Too many cooks…make a mess.

Don’t bite the hand that…has claws.

Strike while…the sun is down.

Beware the wolf in…the mountains.

Don’t bit the hand that…is hairy.

Too many cooks…make you fat.

If you lie down with the dogs…they might bite you.

Beware the wolf in…the bushes.

Where there is smoke…there’s someone smoking.

Beware the wolf…in the woods.

Never underestimate the power of…hate.

Strike while the…enemy is asleep, but be careful when you do.

The Good Life

Early to bed, early to rise…makes a happy day.

Beauty is in…the heart.

Every cloud has a…dream.

Too many cooks…too good food.

Love all, trust…and you will be smart and you will have beauty.

Children should be seen and…not be gone.

All work and no play makes…play the next day.

A bird in the hand is…play.


Every cloud has…raindrops.

All work and no play makes…sadness.

It is always darkest before…bed.

A fool and his money shall soon be…sorry.

There’s no use crying over…the guitar.

If at first you don’t succeed…ask for help.

There is no use crying over…anything.

Every cloud has…sky.

Too many cooks…upset who they’re cooking for.


Love all, trust…me.

Beauty is in the…smiles.

Children should be seen and…not ignored.

Beauty is in the…girl.

Beauty is…your girl.

Good fences make good…dogs.


Good fences make…good flowerbeds.

Beauty is in the…garden.

Beauty is…as great as being happy.

Beauty is…as beautiful as glamorous.

The pen is mightier than the…fish.

If you lie down with the dogs…you will stink.

Too many cooks…too many messes.


One good turn…is better than none, so do not be sad.

There is no use crying over…something that can’t be first.

One good turn…one good day.

The pen is mightier than the…laser.

A miss is as good as…a goal.

One good turn…is good.

A miss is as good as…a win.


If you lie down with the dogs…you will have to take a bath.

You’ve made your bed and now you must…clean the car.

You’ve made your bed and now you must…clean your room.


Two is company, three is…trouble.

Early to bed, early to rise, makes…early to school.

All work and no play makes…faster work.

Half a loaf is better than…no food.

Two is company, three is…3-D. A bird in the hand is worth…$200.

Social Justice

Every cloud has…its way.

A miss is as good as a…mister.

Never underestimate the power of…meat-eaters.

A rolling stone is…powerful.

Never underestimate the power of…life.

Love all, trust…makes the world just.

Love all, trust…yourself.

Never underestimate the power of YOU!

Wordless Music

And now for something completely different. No shop promotion. Just a little music.

Atmospheric, innovative, music expanding, wordless pop music paired with classical chamber music. Wordless Music. On WNYC. Insightful commentary by Jad Abumrad, host of RadioLab and David Lang, winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Music. While you are at WNYC, download the archive of past RadioLab shows. Your mind will grow.

Felt Soap Kit

One of the new business directions I’m exploring: DIY felting kits. The first in a series is a felt soap kit, available in four varieties: Green Tea, Verbena, Lavender and Unscented.

Thanks to Lora, who documented the process yesterday, a photo tutorial and video tutorial are now ready, with links included in the instruction sheet.

The first pair will go to the teachers in my daughter and son’s classes. More will be for sale at the AP Business Fair, and in my etsy shop.

PS. Check out Lora’s blog Little Kids, Big City – great ideas for Seattle families who want to know what is happening in the city.

AP Fair Showcases Businesses & Practices

Interested in great clothing that’s good for the planet? Want a relaxing chair massage? Ready to add a little flair to your life with felt? Want to trade in some of your best loved books?

All this and more will be available at the Seattle AP Home-based Business Fair (6/14, 2:30-4:30PM), which will showcase the livelihoods of a dozen local families, feature a book swap and a bake sale of delicious homemade treats, including some that are gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegan. Bring the whole family!

Bring your gently used books (board books, pregnancy, parenting, children’s poetry, stories and literature) to the fair to share and trade. Unclaimed books will be dropped off at Goodwill, so don’t be shy!

WHAT: Home-Based Business Fair

WHEN: Saturday, June 14, 2:30-4:30PM

WHERE: Jackson Place Cohousing, 800 Hiawatha Pl S (1 block east of Rainier Ave., off Dearborn). On-street parking. map

Sponsored by Seattle Attachment Parenting

Businesses include:

Functional Felt Art

Sparrow’s Tail (R)
Organic Clothing For All Ages

Alexius Bodyworks
Therapeutic Massage, Deep Tissue, Relaxation

Village Beauty
In-Home Hair Services, Specializing in Haircut Playdates

Little Bee Productions
Small Business Web Services

Perry Janssen
Psychotherapist & Family Coach
Speaker for women, parenting, and family issues
Writer for NW Baby and Child
Freelance writer

Erika Jennings
Workshop facilitator and public speaker on emotional intelligence and achieving mutual understanding

Amanda Quaid
Home Organization

Arthur Salamon, MA
Counseling and Psychotherapy for Individuals and Couples

Olivia Joy Salamon, MA
Counseling and Psychotherapy for Individuals and Families
Attachment Parenting Advocate
206-547-4146, ext 1

Felt Hair Wrapping

Just because Sue asked, here is the reveal: I’ve created a new category in my etsy shop. It is kind of like gift wrapping, if you treat your face like an asset.

These are not for the curly haired alone, but a great mass of hair does look good bound up with colorful silk and felt.

Closing Little Boxes

These boxes weren’t finished the first time. Sometimes it really helps to hear that little voice when it comes from someone else. Thanks for keeping me honest ladies.

Little boxes need to close, even if they are tiny and only hold a tooth or a ring. Little wire-wrapped dangles with recycled sari silk yarn sewn into a little loop. So sweet.

Good night.

Modeling in Volunteer Park

More than just a name, I spent a wonderful afternoon in Volunteer Park, one of Seattle’s gems located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood with Paola and her daughter Primavera.

Playful, patient and endlessly tolerant of my adjustments, Paola modeled the latest SpiderFelt pieces while Primavera ran in circles around our feet. Her bubbling personality added an extra special dimension our photo shoot, bringing sincere smiles to her mother’s eyes.

I took over 500 photos in two hours, as Paola modeled twenty-one pieces. I will be updating my shop with a couple of pieces every day. Many, many thanks to mother and daughter for their assistance.

Conveyances or Getting From Here to There

I’ve been reading a great blog called Make It, written by a paper artist building a craft business. A few days ago she wrote an honest post describing her ambivalence about the wholesale/retail model. While I was intending to write a celebration about reaching a milestone, my mood is left a little more contemplative after absorbing her thoughts.

Segue: My brother, TJ Dawe, sent me these three sketches yesterday from Indianapolis, where he had stopped for a single benefit performance before between a week of shows in Orlando and Victoria. When the shows in Victoria are done, he’ll fly to Montreal where he will resume an east-west cross-country Canadian tour of his latest one-man show.

This year marks TJ’s tenth year performing his productions at Fringe Festivals around the world. For the first few years, he toured full time from April to October, and worked odd jobs in the off-season while writing a new show. For the most part, he writes autobiographical one-man shows, couch surfing while he is on tour, living out of a backpack, trying to find a little bit of quiet time to read in the hub-hub that surrounds the theatre festivals. He would probably characterize himself as an introvert with a propensity for storytelling and performance. Being around people in social settings leaves him drained, and yet he writes, talks and dramatizes his own life full-time.

For the last few years, his tours have been profitable enough that he can afford to rent a furnished apartment during the winter months, giving himself the quiet space he needs to write. He is an avid reader, collecting entire bodies of work, re-reading an author’s work after reading their biographies to gain additional insight.

When TJ was 16, he painted an intricate architectural mural on the ceiling of his bedroom, part Escher, part Mad Magazine with connecting stairways to nowhere and crazy characters popping out of doorways. Lying on his back on a scaffolding, working with pencil, sharpie and acrylic paint, it took six months to complete. The size of the work and low ceilings made it impossible to photograph, but its existence lives large in our collective family memory.

Incidentally, my parents sold that house in ’94 and it has gone through two owners since then. TJ recently visited the house to ask the current owners if he could see his old bedroom. The current owners use it to store their hockey equipment, but the mural is there, intact.

This currente series of drawings was commissioned by Anna McCambridge, the curator of the Visual Fringe at the Orlando Fringe Festival. She heard about his murals, but since he didn’t have any prints of the work, she asked him to create something original. He has done a couple of similar pieces for friends when staying at their houses, but this is the first piece he has done in at least five years. When he started to draw, he wasn’t sure what it meant, but like most artists, he had an idea and went with it.

An old friend saw some of the early sketches and offered his analysis: this is all about passages, methods of conveyance, ways to get from here to there. TJ is at a turning point in his career, partly because he is ready to change his lifestyle, but he isn’t really sure what it is going to look like. The three drawings literally run into each other, and can be viewed in any order. However, the items on the edge or fringe of each page are presented in a different perspective from the connecting piece below (or above).

As I look towards the end of the school year, and the slowing down of my production machine with the return of full-time motherhood, I wonder about my business and the passages that have led me here. What have I made this year? What have I sold? What have I learned? Looking back on what I thought I knew at the beginning, and the leaps I took before I was really ready, I think I have gained a lot. But I’m still challenged by the amount of time it takes outside of production to make the business work: correspondence, documentation, packaging, photography, marketing and planning for events yet to arrive. Pretty soon the applications will go out for the holiday shows while I’m expecting to take the summer off for an extended vacation with my children. How much ground have I gained with Etsy and is it worth keeping my shop open when I can’t attend to it regularly? Do I take stock with me as I travel, or just close everything down?

I have been writing less and less on my blog about my process because of the time involved and my narrow focus on getting things made. Tomorrow, I’m hoping to meet a friend who has agreed to model a large batch of scarves. My photography set-up at home drives me crazy and I’m frankly tired of the overexposed photos in the same corner on my mannequin.

Incidentally, Anna was my 100th sale on Etsy a few days ago. My leaf lariat and a felt box are on their way to Orlando this afternoon, along with a fuschia keychain. Thanks to the wonderful customers who have brought me to this point.

Flickr Photos