Oak Bluffs cottages

A few weeks ago, my husband and I went in our motor boat across Vineyard Sound to Oak Bluff’s harbor.  We took the launch ashore and walked the short distance to see the cottages in the Martha’s Vineyard Camp-Meeting Assoc. Campground.

The 300 or so mini cottages look like gingerbread-styled play houses, all nestled closely together, with barely a path between them. The cottages have an interesting history, with their plots originally holding tents for religious revival meetings started in the 1840’s.

In the 1960’s, cottage owners began to have fun, painting them bright colors. The early Methodists who formed the campground had a long “Do Not Do” list. I’m sure that they would be appalled at today’s collection of flamboyant cottages.

The original canvas tents were built on wooden platforms. Then, wood sides were added, with canvas tops. By the 186o’s tiny prefabricated “Carpenter Gothic” wooden houses were built in place of the tents. Today, 320 cottages remain, with 52 winterized and occupied year-round.

I’ve been here many times, but found new inspiration looking through the camera. Here are a few of my favorites.

Rabbitat – part 5 (garden gate)

I added the garden gate about half way through the process of making Rabbitat. Since I changed the design from vertical to horizontal, I needed something in the lower right to balance the rabbit topiary on the left. I also wanted to create  a transition from the foreground to the background and make an an entrance into the rabbit world.

I selected some driftwood and carved joints into the pieces. I then drilled holes in the joints and glued the pieces together with wire in the holes for reinforcement.

On a jig saw, I cut out a wooden rabbit shape to put on top of the gate.

I wanted bars in the gate, so I bent some 32 gauge cloth-covered wire and wrapped it with embroidery floss.

Then I had to figure out what to use for hinges and a latch. I got out my collection of little metal do-dads, but wasn’t satisfied with how they looked. Shiny metal didn’t seem to fit in the rabbit’s world. I ended up using clay tube beads for the hinges and wrapped wire for the latch.

I worked around the gate for many weeks, sewing the tree and constructing parts of the scene’s landscape.

I created a felt stone pathway leading to the gate, with french knot moss. Thinking ahead, I stitched my initials into the design on the right hand corner.

To see more posts in this series and to view the Rabbitat film click here.

magical island

South of Woods Hole, most of the islands in the chain of Elizabeth Islands are private and protected from development. The only public settlement is on Cuttyhunk, which we visited earlier this summer (see post here). 

Lately, I’ve been doing more adventuring than sewing, although I am working on something that I can’t show until later. We went to this particular island to visit our friends Heydt and Barbara, who are the caretakers.

We walked to the top the highest hill and took in the view, while Heydt shaded himself under an umbrella.

I brought Barbara some dahlias from my garden. Their old boat sits on the lawn near their house.

There were scrub pines in a low, sheltered area.

And bursting milkweed pods.

This monarch larvae was happily eating a milkweed leaf.

I found many dead horseshoe crabs washed up on the beach by the storm, Irene.

What a beautiful, peaceful day!

cruise to Cuttyhunk (part 2)

Continued from cruise to Cuttyhunk (part 1).

The next morning we took our dingy to the Cuttyhunk dock and walked through town.

We went to the Cuttyhunk Fishing Club for breakfast.

On the way we came across this “Bed and Breakfast” garden.

I love this flower bed.

There was an incredible view of Vineyard Sound from the dining porch.

We walked back through the village a different way.

With just a few short roads and no gas station, golf carts are the prefered transportation method.

From the hill on top of the island, you can see the Elizabeth Island chain going north toward Woods Hole.

We walked down to the dock, took our dingy back to our boat and motored home. What a wonderful getaway!

Rabbitat – part 4 (stitched signature)

The last part of the animated title sequence in the Rabbitat film (which just hit 2001 views!) includes this stitched signature. We wanted my name to appear below the title made of found objects, so I wrote the script out in a simple line of stitches.

On tissue paper, I wrote out my name in pen and then pinned the paper to a stretched piece of black felt. I then stitched through the paper, tracing the lines with orange Perle cotton, making one continuous line. Removing the paper afterwards was a tedious mess. I cut as much as I could with scissors and pulled out the small bits with tweezers, making sure not to leave bits of white showing on the black background. I’m sure that I could have found a better method, like water soluble paper, but I didn’t want to get it wet.

We stabilized the camera by strapping it to a stack of books.

We used a tripod and clamps to hold the stretcher upright and rigid, so that I could access the back.

Daniel took pictures as I pulled out one stitch at a time. Through the magic of filmmaking, he put all of the photos together to make it look like the signature was written out in stitches and added it to the rest of the title sequence. The process took several hours for a few seconds of action in the film, but we think it was worth it.

To see the film and read other posts in the Rabbitat series click here

cruise to Cuttyhunk (part 1)

On a calm day earlier in August, before Irene blew up our way, my husband and I took our boat to Cuttyhunk Island. It’s only an hour ride from Woods Hole to this little gem at the end of the chain of Elizabeth Islands. In the harbor, we met up with our friends Ben and Julie and they rafted their sail boat up to our boat.

We took our dingy to shore, walked around the town and passed the public library.

We had a lobster dinner.

And walked back down to the dock to take our dingy back to our mooring.

On the way, we passed acorn stand in a golf cart which operated on the honor system .

As the sun went down and the moon came up, we returned to our boat and spent a peaceful night on our boat in Cuttyhunk harbor.

to be continued…

Cruise to Cuttyhunk (part 2)

Rabbitat – part 3 (title animation)


Now that summer activities have slowed down, I can get back to writing about the making of Rabbitat.  This post will show the letters that I made for the film’s title animation. See  the completed film  here.  I was originally just going to spell out the word Rabbitat in found objects. Then the filmmaker (Daniel Cojanu) and I decide to try our hand at some spot action animation.



I formed the letters with driftwood, adding embroidered felt vegetation to complete the shapes. One “B” features a roving, rounded vine made of felt covered wire. The thorns are thread wrapped wire.


And a “T” is crossed with thread wrapped wire branches laden with felt leaves and bead berries.


I found just the right beach stone for the other “B” and used a green mushroom, which is a florist product, for the rounded top of the “R”. For the filming we used a solid black felt background.


We started with the word Rabbitat spelled out and then moved each piece about a 1/4 inch for each shot.


Every piece had its own path to follow, so the 2 of us had to keep track of several objects at once. Instead of trying to construct the letters from a pile of objects, we deconstructed the word and then reversed the order of  the hundreds of photographs, so it looks like we built it in the film.


When we were ready to shoot, I bought some vegetables to include; a carrot, a parsnip and a peapod.  It took us many hours to move and photograph the letters for what would become a 15 second title sequence. After working side by side for most of a day, moving little objects a tiny distance at a time, Daniel and I weren’t frustrated at all. We said to each other,”That was fun!”.

The next post in this series will be about my animated stitched signature from the Rabbitat title. For other posts in the Rabbitat series click here.