Monday, October 19, 2015

Koo Koo Kachew

It's not that what I do is any good, the wonder is that I do anything at all. I totally spaced and forgot the felters' meeting in St. Charles yesterday. Completely off my radar. I think I might have been too tired - I don't know.

We stayed in and watched Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil for the first time. John Cusack is a cutie, but the drag queen stole the show. We also watched Season 1: Episode 1 of the Sopranos. As you can tell, we are down with all that hep jive of popular culture. I've also been watching The Wire, Season 1.

I've been making things. I finished the purse from last post - handles and a zipper, even. Then I somehow got involved in all these little beaded pins. Sitting at the kitchen table, watching Popular Culture on amazon Prime.

The little ones are about 2 - 2.5 inches. Click to embiggen.

They make me inordinately happy.  Each one is its own little story, its own little scene. I think they are good. I think they are worthy. 

I've been feeling okay these last few days, in spite of the fact that the sun is going down around 6 p.m. No frost yet, but nights get chilly and I need a jacket when I walk to dogs. 

Tomorrow is the Guild meeting in Columbia, and I must go in order to get my items juried for the Holiday Exhibition and Sale starting November 13. I am supposed to teach at the Art House in Fulton this Saturday - I need to check to see if I have any students signed up. Is it bad that I almost hope I don't? I really just want to stay in the house and not go anywhere.

Monday, October 12, 2015


I am tired. So much energy has been drained from me that I spent today recovering. (I dreamed about opera and opera costumes last night. Now I know I really am stressed.)

Lots of things going on, but mainly I did a show in Fulton, MO Saturday. It was their second year and it was well done and well attended. I made one sale. So it goes. Fulton is famous as the place Churchill gave his Iron Curtain speech; there is a Churchill Museum there. 

There were two different women visiting from California who were effusive in praise for my purses, so that was nice. Oh, everyone was nice; this is Missouri after all. It’s just that nobody wanted to open their wallet for my goods. I did get a small bump of merino spun though, (I took my wheel,) and plyed into yarn. Lovely blue and purple. 

As president of the Arts Council, I have had to put out yet another fire - the third in two months. I hate being responsible for other people’s actions. Or inaction, whatever the case may be. Plus, I am not getting paid for doing this and sometimes I just want to chuck it and say fuck it. People make me weary. On a side note, I have been asked to stand for the board of our Chamber of Commerce; the Arts Council is a member of the Chamber. That’s one way to know what’s going on in this town, because the good bits don’t make it into the newspaper.

And then there are the sewing machines. Sweetie and I spent several hours yesterday replacing a gear. One gear, people! (The gear I ordered was from a guy in American Samoa, of all places.) Anyway, Sweetie has the strength and mechanical know-how, all the little tricks and tips, whereas I have the skills to set the hook and feed dog timing, and make sure it’s making a nice seam. 

So we spent several hours on it, with a break to go to Harbor Freight in Columbia to buy me some more tools. And him some more tools. Finally got the damned thing put back to together last night, mostly, but when I plugged her in I got nothing. No power to the light. Then I stepped on the pedal and the light came on. Okay. We’ll save taking the motor wiring apart again for another day. And somewhere in there, the needle position lever got messed up. And then I couldn’t find all the screws to put the damn top and sides back on. I have packed it all away until next week. Sweetie told me that that is what working on cars is like, except sewing machines are smaller and simpler and cleaner. 

Thank goodness this one isn’t for a customer. “Here ya go, ma’am, that’ll be $500 for labor, $23 parts, and by the way, the top is duct taped in place and you can’t zig zag with it anymore. Other than that, she’s good as new!” 

So, I’m tired. Nothing has gone well for the last few days, it seems. But I did start a batch of kim chee this afternoon and that is a good thing! We eat a lot of kim chee, Sweetie and I. I credit my first effort at fermenting cabbage to the return of my sense of smell earlier this summer. I find the pungent aroma delightful. Sweetie adds kim chee to his breakfast burrito. I add it to most everything I eat save for sandwiches and cereal. Did you know that when a South Korean astronaut went to the space station, much money was spent to make an acceptable kim chee that would work up there for the 6 month stay? I think that must have been part of the deal - if I don’t kim chee, I’m not going, goddamn it. 

What else is good? Oh, I tried to dye wool with black beans. I read that I should get blue, but as you can see, it is gray. So it goes. 

And I made another purse. It needs a handle. I think the handle will be an improvement, because right now, it ain't much to look at.

I still fuck around with wire and silk and wool. And I located those silk scarves I bought last year and fucked around with them today. 

Monday, October 05, 2015

With 4 mg of memory!

I bought 4 sewing machines over the weekend, from 2 different places, and paid $114 for the lot. All of them were supposed to 'work' or 'run.' Ha. I learned a lot about what is wrong with them - trouble shooting is an important skill, after all - and Sweetie and I spent a considerable amount of time trying to repair them. All of them has something wrong; either a belt needs replacing, or the clutch is worn, or the thing doesn't want to zig or zag.

I futzed with the last one this evening, an old Singer 401 from the late '50s. (May I insert here that I have gotten very good at disassembly and re-assembly? Save for these new clam shell dealies that require a certain tenacity and dexterity. I was given a 'dead' one to autopsy, so maybe I will be able to figure it out. Sweetie wanted to use a screw driver to prize the pieces apart, but that is a nope nope nope. Do not do that! Just sayin'.)

So the old Singer actually worked quite nicely! Especially after a good cleaning with compressed air and oiling. The zig was a little wonky on the right side, but I was able to coax (threaten) the needle bar to behave. What a good feeling to finally have one good machine up and running. I even serviced my old Brother machine that I bought at Sears sometime in the late 80s. Does Sears even sell sewing machines anymore? That baby made me a lot of money back in the day, (jeez, that makes me sound like a pimp,) but has sat unused for a long time.

And that is the worst enemy of a sewing machine - not being used and left to sit in the closet or attic or garage. The lubricants can set up into 'varnish' and make the machine seize up. But one can place drops of lube (Tri-Flow, if you can find it,) on the seized bits and slowly work the wheel. It might take a while, and sometimes the heat from a hair dryer helps. Those are the words of the instructor. He has been servicing machines since he was a young feller. He is an old feller, now.

And so once, at Sewing Machine Camp...

Brother, can ya spare a belt?

If I can get this baby working, boy o boy! 

I plan to autopsy this piece of crap. Do not buy this machine.

I love the watermelon pink! A Brother Festival. 

Singer 401, up and running. Yippee!

One little tidbit that I learned from the inner tubes over the weekend is that the Brother machine was almost called the Sister machine, but some other devise had that name already. Brother is a Japanese company.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Faculty use only.

Larger vessel, about 10" high

So. I have been making sow's ears out of pigs butts. Or something like that. What I mean is, I have been finishing projects, or adding embellishment, or sticking random things together and calling it jewelry. Let me sew some beads on that and by Gawd, it's a brooch your kooky Auntie Griselda  would just love!

I've made 3, and finished 2, new little purses, and a larger vessel that still needs a little something, but I am happy with it so far. I felted some odd bits together and that few minutes work will be something neat. Soon. Making my little brooches can't be a forced thing; I need to try new things, gather together a variety of left overs, and the failed pieces, too.

I even built an armature, I guess you could call it, for the forest man half-mask. Those wire-working skills came in handy. The piece is now wall ready. It is very cool. As always, click to embiggen.

These are two small purses, no flaps, no pockets. Silk on wool.

The weather has finally cooled and for a few days, I have felt like a King Goat, or King of the Hill, or something. I have felt well, in other words, and my feet have been happy. Today, I can feel my atrial flutter and it has made me tired. My mood has been good, though - I seem to finally be out of that dark hole I was in for so long. And it makes me happy to make things.

I decided to do a show called Autumn on the Bricks in Fulton, MO. I think I have enough product but I don't expect much in sales. It's a modest show, in its 2nd year. My more arty items are going to the Southern Indiana Fiber Art show, and the Guild sale will get everything else.

I also have 5 sewing machines to work on. Egad! I know I can fix at least one of them.