Azalea – Ltd. Edition fairy

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Please meet AZALEA, the newest Blossom Fairy! She is 3 3/4″ tall, with long crimped auburn hair, acorn cap hat, embroidered wool felt tunic and petal skirt. Even though I’ve said that I don’t sell them, every once in a while I offer a ltd. edition of dolls similar to the ones in my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk. You see, I only work on them while traveling, so it’s an ongoing project that takes time. This year I made a set of 25 look-alike Azalea fairies while riding in cars and on vacation. I like to keep my hands busy, so this is a way of producing something, as well as keeping contented while sitting.

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Some of the finish work that’s not as portable, I did while on vacation. I have to limit the time I spend working on these because otherwise I would spend every minute in fairy land, constructing dolls, night and day. That isn’t such a bad thing, but then, I would be less inclined to make new, more involved pieces.

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In an effort to be fair to everyone, I am announcing on this blog, Facebook and Instgram that 25 “Azalea” fairies will be for sale in my Etsy Shop on Saturday, August 13th at 10 AM, eastern US time. That gives more of you a chance to read about it in advance, so you can plan on being ready to shop. I’m sorry if this hour isn’t convenient for other time zones around the globe, but I can’t figure out how to accommodate everyone. Last year’s dolls sold out very quickly, so if you really want one, act fast! Sorry, no reservations ahead of time. The dolls will be sold on a first come first served basis.

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display at the Providence Children’s Museum

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I had the pleasure of going to the Providence Children’s Museum last week to set up some of my artwork in their Geometry Gallery display case. This section of the museum explores spatial thinking and has a number of hands-on play and learning experiences. The display case shows a changing exhibit of 3-dimensional creations loaned by different  artists. The museum staff couldn’t have been more welcoming! We’re all anticipating that the glass will have to be cleaned frequently because of finger and nose prints left by inquiring little (and big) ones!

I brought 2 original fabric relief illustrations from Pocketful of Posies and a whole bunch of wee folk characters from Felt Wee Folk, as well as houses and other props from my collection that I talk about in still playing with dolls. The items will be there for 6 months, until January 8, 2017. I hope that some of you will have a chance to visit. FYI – An exhibit of new fabric relief pieces will also be shown nearby in Bristol, RI, Sept. 16 – Oct. 30, 2016 ~ Intertwined – Needle Art of Salley Mavor  at the Bristol Art Museum.

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still playing with dolls

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Some things never change. Like the urge to play with dolls. I’d venture to guess that there are a lot of grownups like me who still find themselves drawn to creating little worlds, just like they were in their youth. I feel honored to share my passion (perhaps even obsession?) for the wee world with you through my books and this blog.

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I recently got out some props I’d made a few years ago for a video project that my husband Rob and I were planning, but didn’t undertake. It was pure play, as I set up one of the houses out in the yard and made this video with my phone camera.

Our original idea was to make a short stop motion animation of one of my favorite nursery rhymes, Wee Willie Winkie. The easy part was constructing the characters, houses, trees and a clock. Finding the time and space to work on the incredibly tedious task of animating the story turned out to be too much of a challenge. We figured that it would take several months of concentrated effort to make even a 5 min. video that we would be proud of. We’re still intrigued by the prospect of putting together a film and who knows, we may do it eventually. But for now, I will soon embark on a new project that will keep me busy for a few years. More about that later…

The houses, etc. (and a couple of original Pocketful of Posies illustrations) will be shown for the next 6 months, June 2, 2016 – Jan 8, 2017 ~ in the Geometry Gallery display case at the Providence Children’s Museum, Providence, RI

13147836_1084989028189856_5937376141503391142_oHere’s the clock for the scene, “Are the children in their beds, for now it’s 8 o’clock?”

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In the meantime, the various props have not been hidden away. They’ve been used as backdrops for other photos, including shots of Polly and A Buggy Picnic, which is available as a card.

new Ltd. Edition Fairies

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Ltd. Edition Fairies; Holly & Birch and Lilly of the Valley

OK, I’ve learned to never say never again! 3 years ago (in this post), I announced that Pansy would be my last Ltd. Edition Fairy. Looking back, I needed to close that chapter of my career, so that I could move forward and grow as an artist. It was an important and necessary step to take, but I’ve found that the desire to keep my hands busy has won out, especially while away from home. The portable nature of wrapping bodies and stitching felt clothing for these wee folk dolls is perfect for traveling. So, for 2 years I’ve been slowly working on a group of dolls, with the goal of eventually selling them in editions of 25. In keeping with my original intention of banning mass production work from my studio, I only worked on them when traveling, in airport waiting rooms, planes, boats, and  trains.  This arrangement allows me to have a stitching “fix” while away from my studio and there is no pressure to complete the set of dolls by a certain time.

For those of you who are new to my work, these fairies are the same designs found in my 2003 how-to book, Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects. The long awaited follow-up, Felt Wee Folk: New Adventures will be published in March, 2015.

Well, the dolls are finally ready to show themselves and have been added to my Etsy Shop! Two editions of 25, Lily of the Valley and Holly & Birch have been created in transit around the world, across oceans and continents, including America, South America, Antarctica and Europe. The dolls will only be sold through Etsy with a credit card or Paypal, on a first come, first served basis.

What happens when these sell out? Will there more in the future? Possibly, but realistically, it would be a few more years before they make an appearance. It all depends on how much idle travel time there is!

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Working on fairy tunics on a train en route to Toulouse, France

Lily of the Valley has blonde braids, a green wool felt tunic and a white flounced petal skirt.

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Lily of the Valley Ltd. Edition Fairies

During our barge trip in France, Rob took this photo of me engrossed in stitching felt fairy tunics, while waiting for a lock to fill along the Canal du Midi.

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Lily of the Valley Ltd. Edition Fairy

Holly & Birch are a girl and boy pair with dark brown hair and black and red wool felt outfits.

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Holly and Birch Ltd. Edition Fairies

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Holly and Birch Ltd. Edition Fairies

2 new baby jackets

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Within my sphere of friends, two new baby boys have recently been born. So, I made them each a little jacket, which is my go-to baby gift. I love going through my stash and picking out fabric to use for the outside, lining and bias edging. I’ve used the same Simplicity pattern 9647 for about 30 years, adapting it with cotton quilt batting padding, so it’s warm. Their names are chained stitched on the front. Welcome to the world, Eli and Kieran!

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Felt Wee Folk revision sent off!

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Yes, it’s finished and sent off to C&T Publishing in California, two weeks ahead of the deadline! Here I am, mailing the box in the Woods Hole Post Office. It’s full of necessary parts that make a book; patterns, CD of manuscript, thumb drive of digital photos, slides, 4 x 5 transparencies and a photo log.

The revised edition of Felt Wee Folk should be out in the world about a year from now, in the Spring of 2015. After months and months of designing and stitching new projects, writing directions, making how-to models, compiling lists of materials, drawing out patterns, constructing scenes and taking photographs, it feels strange to come into my studio without the pressure of working on the book. I had forgotten about the amount of fussy details that need to be taken care of, like labeling photos and inserting codes into the manuscript. I hope I didn’t forget anything!

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Now, it’s time to catch up on business, speak to quilt groups and make Polly Doll a new outfit for our upcoming trip. I’ll reveal the location later, when Polly’s ready. I couldn’t find her anywhere and thought she’d gone AWOL, but then I remembered that she’s been locked up in a case at the Cape Cod Museum of Art  for the past few months. I’ll be picking her and the “Posies” artwork up next Tuesday.

Poster Giveaway!

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Poster – Birds of Beebe Woods

To mark the one year anniversary of my Etsy Shop, I will be giving away 2  Birds of Beebe Woods posters. Because of the cost of postage, the contest is just open to US and Canadian residents. To enter, please leave a comment saying something about your favorite bird from the piece by April 21st, 2013. Two winners will be picked at random on April 22nd.

I love all of your stories about why you’ve chosen a particular bird. Keep ’em coming!

The original Birds of Beebe Woods is currently in the Fantastic Fibers show at the Yeiser Art Center in Paducah, KY.

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