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in georgian mythology, tamar was the sky goddess who controlled the weather patterns. she enslaved dilis varskvlavi, the morning star, who was the master of winter.  whenever he escaped, snow began to fall, but every year she captured him and brought summer back to the land. tamar was an eternal virgin who rode through the air on a serpent. she is also identified with the georgian goddess lamara – “eye of the earth.”

tamar goddess wrist cuff

this cuff is a new style i’m making that ties on instead of using snaps or hooks.  this means it can fit more wrists.  🙂  the cuff is made of GORGEOUS sari silk ribbon from mudhound studio, blue fabric and lace from a porcelain doll’s dress that i got when i was about 7, hand-dyed vintage green lace (the earth), tea stained lace “flowers”, metal disks and a vintage blue button for the “eye of the earth”.  the light blues and creamy whites represent tamar’s virginity.

tamar goddess wrist cuff

in celtic religion and irish mythology, brighid (“exalted one”) is the daughter of the dagda and one of the tuatha dé danann. she had two sisters, also named brighid, and is considered “a classic celtic triple goddess”.  in her english translation of irish myth, lady augusta gregory (Gods and Fighting Men, 1904), describes brighid as:

“A woman of poetry, and poets worshiped her, for her sway was very great and very noble. and she was a woman of healing along with that, and a woman of smith’s work, and it was she [who] first made the whistle for calling one to another through the night. And the one side of her face was ugly, but the other side was very comely. And the meaning of her name was Breo-saighit, a fiery arrow.”

celtic goddess brighid wrist cuff

to represent the triple goddess, this wrist cuff has three fairly large celtic knotwork embellishments: one of bone and two of carved wood.  the cuff itself is made of red velvet, recycled silk ribbon and various types of vintage and antique lace.  the beads around the lower half are silvery and red — oh so goddess like!

celtic goddess brighid wrist cuff

these and other cuffs can be found in my shop >>


…and really a lot more than that!

frozen charlottes, vintage dolls, antique dolls, victorian dolls, doll parts

i’ve been a busy bee, re-stocking the altered bits shop with heaps of new goodies, including but not limited to frozen charlottes, little victorian dolls, other vintage and antique dolls and doll parts, a whole new page of digital collage sheets (these were up weeks ago — i’m just slow to share), new embellishments and found objects, vintage photo bundles, textile bundles and vintage crocheted lace… all kinds of little pretties.  if i add five things per day to my shop over the next seven months, i should be caught up.  😉

textile bundles, salvaged fabric, vintage lace, crocheted lace

a few new items were added to my etsy junk shop too… cleaning out the house in a new year is a great thing!!

digital collage sheets, ambrotypes, daggurotypes, tin types

i literally have hundreds more dolls so if you’re looking for some, let me know.  i’m not going to be able to add them all for awhile (takes a LOT of time to photograph, resize/enhance, write code/add to site, create buttons, etc.).

on a totally random note, wanna swap? i’m looking for a cute little boy cdv, cabinet card or tintype and will swap you for other photos (i mostly have adults), dolls of whatever sort, vintage lace, or whatever you may want from my shop(s) of relatively equal value.  i’ll even throw in some digital collage sheets for fun.  🙂  i’m really quite picky about this photo… typically i don’t use children in my art, unless they are fetuses.  in fact, this will be my first child.  but in the spirit of accuracy, i need a little boy (around age 10 in the first decade of the 1900s, named sam) for the historically accurate ghost book i’m working on.

as some of you may know, i was blessed last week or so with not one, but TWO books from the pulp redux collaboration in the same day.  i received lisa jurist’s book from kim palmer in austrailia, and i received lisa sarsfield’s book from debbie price-ewen in new zealand.  since i’m the last to work on lisa jurist’s book, i decided that i should start out with lisa sarsfield’s book entitled “labyrinth”.

i haven’t done much yet, but this is what i accomplished this weekend, or the part i’m willing to share so far.  i won’t give away my plans for the book, of course, but within my pages there will be a removable inner book.  here are some peeks at that…

first, the first two inner pages.  here i have hand stitched a classical 7 circuit labyrinth.  i did the stitching rough on purpose as i liked the little loops and tangles that came from the “imperfection”.  on the right, a small booklet within the book (that will go within the main book) explains the history of the classical 7 circuit labyrinth.

altered book, handmade book, labyrinth, mixed media art

here is a detail of the hand stitched labyrinth.  my fingers got a bit grumpy after awhile — i’m not the best or most patient stitcher in the world and after about 3 or 5 hours they stung a bit.  but it was well worth it!  four strings for every stitch — that was part of the time (and i did say i’m a slow sewer, right?).

altered book, handmade book, labyrinth, mixed media art

on the right of this page, i attached seven vintage beads and buttons to reinforce the seven aspect of this particular labyrinth.

altered book, handmade book, labyrinth, mixed media art

this is an utterly crap and shadowy photo of the second page spread.  this is a variation of the roman labyrinth which the left hand side explains.  i’m a little embarrassed.  the stitching on this was initially perfect.  as in no lines were askew.  i sewed it onto birds nest paper and after the fact thought that it needed a quick dunk in coffee.  did it, wrung it out and poof, it dried all lame.  should i redo it?  be honest now.  the lower right was the most effected area… and bottom.  grr.

altered book, handmade book, labyrinth, mixed media art

and this is the back cover of the book — a reflection of the roman labyrinth.  i’m a horrible evening photographer — everything is shadowy and askew, but you get the general idea.  i’ll post better photos when i’m done.

altered book, handmade book, labyrinth, mixed media art

i will save the cover for later… mostly ’cause it’s not yet done.  this is just a small portion of what is to come in lisa’s book so stay tuned!

update: a few hours later

okay, just got some WAY better photos and finished and photographed the cover.  will post it all on wednesday or thursday, time permitting… just in case you want to peek back.

phew.  i feel like i haven’t been “here” in ages.  not in the blog world or home.  we’ve just returned from a longer than anticipated trip… all over the place but spent the most time in southern california.  it was hot but wonderful fun for the most part.  and the little man got to visit disneyland for the first time which of course, as you know, is probably one of the most thrilling things in the world to a seven year old.  i had fun too… despite being a huge wimp when it comes to rides.  i’m even a bigger wimp when it comes to NO ART for 6 or 11 or whatever days it was.  not cool at all.  for that alone i’m glad to be home.

so today, reunited with paint and paper and fabric and lace, i made stuff.  first sewed a new curtain on a whim.  all kitchen curtains should have a pocket, ya know.  why?  i think i said something about this the last time i made a kitchen curtain (the one i decided was ugly this morning).  because husbands can be really mean beasts who hide your ring in an obscure cup or vase on the top shelf of the cupboard that you couldn’t even reach if you wanted to when you take it off to make him a damned meatloaf and lets you whine and cry for 17+ minutes that you THINK it went down the garbage disposal.  now, yeps, a pocket.  a sweet little dainty one that his big grubby man hands can’t fit in to thieve my pretty wedding ring… even if HE wanted to.  ha!  take that, husby!

vintage lace, coffee stained, curtain, pocket

after my mini bout of sewing (the curtain took all of 15 minutes to create so of course i needed much more) a heard a little folk story that made me somewhat weepy but smiley and a feel a bit verklempt.  so i had to make something in honor of said story.  the story goes like this (imagine this in the voice of johnny cash, which is how i heard it):

A Mother’s Love

Once a young man lived with his mother beside a great forest.  The young man was in love with a beautiful girl who lived in the forest.  He told the girl in the forest that if she would marry him, he would bring her anything that she asked.  Knowing that he lived with his mother, the girl said “take your dagger and cut out your mother’s heart and bring it to me and I will marry you”.  This made the young man very sad, but he wanted to marry the girl so he killed his mother and cut out her heart.  Running through the forest with his mother’s heart in his hands, he stumbled and fell and dropped the heart.  As he was getting up, his mother’s heart cried out from the ground, “My son, did you hurt yourself when you fell?”

and this is what i started to make, which is of course not done (the heart piece will be a door that opens to reveal the story inside, me thinks):

anatomical heart, vintage lace, coffee stained, fabric, collage, rusty metal

i have a new-found love of my local library.  i buy way too many books.  i picked up THREE of the books from seth’s book guild posts that i’ve been wanting to check out before potentially buying (the principals of uncertainty, journal revolution and eco-books) and a bit of velvet and a dash of lace (magnolia pearl book).  i love the principals of uncertainty!!  i will buy it for sure.  just reading the first little bit made me want to make a book for my son (i like writing stories), so of course i started in on that straight away.  it’s mostly crazy childhood stories for my boy, like when my sister sucked on a slug and almost died, and mama doodles and stuff like that…

funny.  i never posted this the other day when i wrote it ’cause my internet went down for days (router up in smoke).  so, i finished the principals of uncertainty and i loved it.  i think you should get it if you like art and doodles and witty, insightful girls who are eloquent and quirky in unison.  i will go back to find out who suggested it and thank them personally (tomorrow though ’cause we’re off to the zoo today).

missin’ you all heaps!  i’m off to start my three day blog catch up time the moment we return from our wild adventure.  woohoo!

thank you all so very much for your concern for my sweet little man — i will catch up on emails and respond to each of you over the next couple of days.  we ended up taking him back to the hospital last night as he had a high fever AGAIN and tremendous stomach pain.  it was the “stabbing” pain he explained to me that made me wish to take him back in, just in case.  they thought appendicitis.  kidney infection.  bladder infection.  pneumonia.  seems none of the above so we were sent home.  today, high fevers but no more pain so we shall see how it goes.  after a week (minus friday) of burning up i’m quite worried, but he was jumping around like he felt great by bed time so that is indeed a good sign.

so, i mentioned yesterday that i had started a couple/few cuffs the other night.  this was the first i started, and i finished it today by adding a few blood red crystal beads and some black glass beads.  then it felt complete.

while creating it, and sewing on a tiny little royal looking key i had just aged a bit, a tiny voice sounded in my head “elizabeth bathory’s secret…”  i was perplexed by this curious voice but thought little of it as these sorts of things are rather regularly occurring with me.  but after a bit, i couldn’t get the thought of this lady out of my head.  i did a bit of research and found this photo of her…

once i found this image, which was just one of a very few i found of her, all was made clear.  apparently she and i both have an adoration for red ruffles, black lace and intricate cream lace.  at that point i realized that “elizabeth bathory’s secret” was the name of the cuff.  i really wish to wear it for a day or three to find out just what this secret is.  or perhaps that was her key to something mysterious, divine and unknown?

now, if you don’t know who elizabeth bathory (or erzsébet báthory if you prefer) is, you may be pleased or displeased to know that, in short, she was a countess who has been labeled the most prolific female serial killer in history.  she is also known as “the blood countess” as she allegedly bathed in the blood of her victims in order to retain her youth.  you can, if at all interested, read about here on wikipedia.

i wish to keep this, but have posted it in my etsy shop instead.  i’ll make myself a new one when i don’t have two huge hospital bills to scrounge money for.

happy fourth of july.  we had a FANTASTIC show of illegal fireworks as we seem to each year in our neighborhood.  we literally did not go a whole second (i’m really not exaggerating this time) without a flash or bang during the early dark hours.  was wonderfully fun for not being able to go out… and we probably saw more than we would have at home had we ventured away from home.

last night, while feeling happy that my little man was feeling better after days of fever and poo and being in the hospital for a day, i decided to make a cuff bracelet.  they are so much fun.  well, i ended up starting three.

then today, my little dude, after only a day and a half of feeling better, came down with a high fever again.  i’m really worried.  most people have more than one kiddo and calm down after each one — things aren’t as stressful once you’re to the second, third or fourth kiddo.  he’s my first and only so i’m in panic mode the second anything is wrong.  but seriously though… isn’t a high fever from sunday to wednesday night, a break, then a high fever again on saturday not good?  i so hope he’s better for the fourth… tomorrow.  we have fun plans of fireworks and grilling and joyous adventures.

but the cuffs… the distraction.  this one is called “green as the sea”.

rusty bits found on the ocean’s shore with pretty little sea green stone beads…

a little shell, hidden in some silk…

the ruffle rises and falls like the sea on one side of the wrist…

probably looks better not on me…

i’ll be putting these (this and the others once complete) in my altered bits shop or in my etsy shop as soon as i’m not taking temperatures and administering fluids and fever reducers and secretly fretting.

i was going to do a cuff a day from yesterday through next friday… but we shall see.  babies first.  pretties second.  just thought it would be a nice tiny break from all of the books and assemblages i have lined up here… a little instant gratification.

as most of you know, i have been working on a phenominal collaboration with debrina, lisa j, kim and lisa s called “pulp redux” — it’s an altered book collaboration.  due to illness and moving and family in town, kim’s book arrived to me a bit later than the others had received theirs, but i have been working away and finally have the first two pages to share.  first though, a slight deterrence.  when kim’s book arrived i was so utterly surprised to find four tissue-wrapped gifts inside the box, each a different colour.  we were each supposed to pick one.  after much hemming and hawing and running my fingers over each of the packets, i picked the blue one.  inside, was this most magnificent fabric collage from that sweet lady which contains the quote from her book as well as one of the images:

fabric collage, astralia, kim, merlin's musings

copyright kim palmer of merlin's musings

now, if you have not looked already, please go see THIS POST and THIS POST and THIS POST to view kim’s book as i received it.  so magnificent!  (read in reverse order if you want to see it properly sequential)

and to my contribution(s) to her book, fragments, vestiges and remains.
part one of two.

although i am not entirely done with the first two pages of kim’s book, i felt i should post an update nonetheless. when i finish the remaining page(s) i will post a few more updates of these.

in short, this two-page spread is about the portland underground, or shanghai tunnels, which were inhabited by white slavers and other nasty people around 160 years ago. they would kidnap men and women and sell them into slavery, prostitution, etc.  on page one, you have della’s story — a young lady who was unsuspectingly snatched, and her sister’s efforts to find her.  on page two, a wee bit of history and a trap-door such as the ones the “shanghaiers” dropped people down after nabbing them.

altered book, pulp redux, kim, merlin's musings, fragments, vestiges and remains

the little glass door is not currently attached, nor is the diary behind it, but they will be tonight.  i am first coating a layer of the copper tape with wax, and then carving into it like i do in my wee apothecary bottles.

altered book, pulp redux, kim, merlin's musings, fragments, vestiges and remains

that stupid white string on the right is NOT supposed to be there.

altered book, pulp redux, kim, merlin's musings, fragments, vestiges and remains

della’s sister stitched a small red heart onto the page as a tribute to her love for her.

altered book, pulp redux, kim, merlin's musings, fragments, vestiges and remains

page two displays the darkness of the portland underground.  a pocket atop the page holds photos from 160ish years ago.

altered book, pulp redux, kim, merlin's musings, fragments, vestiges and remains

bottom was fashioned to look like one of the trap doors — or at least function like one.  underneath is a history of the portland underground, or shanghai tunnels — which i haven’t written yet.

altered book, pulp redux, kim, merlin's musings, fragments, vestiges and remains

here are some of the photos:

altered book, pulp redux, kim, merlin's musings, fragments, vestiges and remains

you can actually read about it and see several more photos here on the pulp redux blog.  after doing a long post over there i’m feeling a tad on the lazy side with retelling of stories and reposting of images.

i feel so repetitious with all this “i’ve been such a busy little bee” prattle, but it’s true.  i feel like i have four point seven full-time jobs lately with web design, clients, my shop, prepping for a couple of exhibits, family, “me” time (huh?), volunteer stuff that i keep finding myself doing, one world one heart, updating my sites, etc.  it’s made for little time to art.  but as most of you, i can’t make it though a day [nicely] without being creative.  web design isn’t enough — i need the feel of fabrics or fibers, the smell of paint or something to get me through a day most happily.  so, i’ve been taking little bits of time to make little things lately.  mostly ATCs and ACEOs and other small-scale paintings and collages.  i have two or four swaps going on, some gifts i feel i should make, and a few to sell… soon.

atc, aceo, paper, cloth
i’ve been enjoying making some paper and cloth ATCs.  i’ve started a few over the past week and finished the two above.  i love the contrast between the smooth papers, with more rough and texture papers and softness of the fabrics and fibers.

i’m also doing a series of “love affair” related ACEOs for two swaps.  and some naughty vintage erotica ones too, but i may not post those here.  or maybe i will.  you’ll just have to wait and see.

love affair, nude, vintage art, atcs, aceo
the “little things” are fun as i can create them when i have little time… between helping with homework and putting whatever i’m making in the oven, etc. and can easily be set aside when a client calls.  i am, however, going to be spending time creating the things i have really been wanting to create for the past year — finish my mechanical and light-up pieces that have thick layers of dust on them.  that is one of my passions, and something i haven’t had the time to partake in for way too long.  i’m lucky — my husby is an electronic genius.  i say “what if i wanted this to have a head that turned?”  he says “buy this and that and this and that other that and i’ll do in it a night.”  gotta love that!

i’ve been on a frida kick lately too.  i started to make this for the gorgeous and talented gaby but as i have a problem with injuring myself to the point of drawing blood when using an awl, a sewing needle or working with sharp metal.  as a result, i bled on the back of this card not once, but TWICE.  so, i’m making her a new one.  i’m not going to post the new one until after you receive it so as not to ruin any potential surprise.

copper framed frida kahlo atc
since this is all battered and bloody on the back, i’m going to make it into a wee shrine of sorts.  it’s such a lovely image of frida and the wee fresh-water pearl matches her bow so well.  since taking the photo, i fixed the necklace piece to be more perfectly centered, and you can’t really tell in the photo but a lot of subtle text in the crackle that doesn’t look too shabby if i do say so myself.

for a BIG thing, i must announce that my sweet and wonderful friend debrina has finished her pages in my book “the museum of forgotten things”.  i must admit that i grew quite weepy when i saw it last night as she’s done such a phenomenal job.  it’s utterly perfect.  i’ll add one image below, but go check out our pulp redux blog now to see the rest.  now.  you’ll LOVE it!!

altered book, museum of forgotten things, pulp redux, round robin
i’ll be posting my first additions to kim’s book “fragments, vestiges and remains” in the next day or three so peek back.  then i have until the 22nd to plan and execute my other two pages for her book and ship it off to debs who gets it next.  i must hurry as the 14th is valentine’s day and i’ll be mucho busy, the 18th is my birthday (i’ll be 23… again… for like the 10th or 13th time) so i’ll supposidly be busy, and maybe out of town the next weekend for a night so i must hit the book again tonight!  sooo much fun!

ohoh, and a last note.  see side bar for fleamarket floozies — we’ve created a group for our barterables.  and i’ve updated my barterable page (see link at top of page).


every year or three we succumb to a strong urge to paint various rooms in our home a different color than the year(s) previous (or rather the husby just sighs and says “as you wish” and i get it done).  it seems we are drawn to different hues in cyclic patterns.  for example, i used to like red.  then for a few years i utterly despised it.  poof!  i wake up one day and red is the most lovely hue that ever existed.  i’ve always been fascinated by such things.  right now, i reestablishing a love affair with hues of earthy green, both light and dark, and super deep almost brownish purples.  i have loathed purple for years.

orange, paint, pumpkin, leaves

when i moved into my husby’s house, i was a much nicer girl.  i said “i’m having someone paint every room in this place — you pick the colors and i’ll pick the hues.”  yeah, not doing that again.  he wanted blue for the kitchen and orange for the dining room and living room.  orange?  i ended up creating a lovely warm terra-cotta pumpkin bliss, as we later named it, but it’s a bit much for four large walls in my opinion.  hues of orange evoke feelings of energy and excitement.  no wonder i never sleep…  i wish to paint it so i can relax.  i am thinking about either coffee-stained organic white cotton or dusty crocheted tablecloth tea-party or old crumbly paper (we like to make up weird paint names as we never chose one of those pre-mixed square-on-paper-card hues).  our downstairs hall, for example, is the most GORGEOUS shade of “bum dust” (which i would paint in the whole main level of our house if i wasn’t into different hues for every room).

bum dust paint, sock monkey hat, mossy rocks
i’m thinking that i will keep the blue hue of our kitchen and dining room for another year.  it’s happy happiness blue.  hues of blue create feels of calmness and serenity.  blue can also lower your pulse rate, so if you have high-blood pressure, maybe a nice azure room in your home would be of benefit to you?  or you can come for a visit for tea.

blue, painting of city, flowers, art, beach

how you do chose one single color to paint a wall?  there are way too many options out in the world.  i’ve decided my bedroom — that’s easy.  the walls with now be “my morning coffee” with “my favorite mug” as the trim hue — you can see just below.  the mug is a deep chocolate brown, not black as it may appear.  but how do i pick my living room hue?  put them in a hat and draw?  let the husby do it?  if he picked, it’d probably either be lime green or…. no, he’d keep it “orange”.  (and he would never really pick lime green.)

coffee stained lace, tea stained fabric, cream flowers, coffee

browns and tans bring a sense of warmth, comfort and security.  i love the earthiness and natural feeling of these hues.

but enough of that — i got distracted and this distraction has turned to excitement.  my plan for the day was to post this blog entry, read a dozen or three of some of my favorite blogs’ newest posts and do client/computer work.  got the client work done for the most part.  check.  got most of this post done — i had some other colors and feelings and blah, blah, blah, but i had a thought.  “i want a bonnet so someday when i get my trike, i’ll be ever so cute peddling around my neighborhood.”  actually my REAL thought was “i want a bonnet.”  so without a pattern, sewing skills to speak of or any decent fabric, i managed to create my wee bonnet anyway…

hand made black hat with crushed red velvet, tatted lace and cheesecloth
ingredients: left over fleece from my wee bug’s solstice skull blanket, some crushed deep red velvet, coffee stained cheese cloth and two types of lace, coffee stained piece of vintage crocheted tablecloth.  oh, and two long pieces of black velvet ribbon to tie it.  it’s ever so cute if i do say so myself — nowhere near the bonnet i posted the other day that i said “i wish i could sew like this!!” but maybe with practice…

hand made hat, bonnet, black and red, tatted lace, coffee stained lace
the back is cute too with all of it’s over-stitched red bits (it was a tiny bit too big so i had to take it in here and there).  or at least i think so.  my mom will make fun of me and say something about how i look like i’m trying out for a part on little house on the prairie but whatev.  she’s is so not cool enough to wear my hat!  😉

hand made hat, bonnet, black and red, tatted lace, coffee stained lace

hand made hat, bonnet, black and red, tatted lace, coffee stained lace

hand made hat, bonnet, black and red, tatted lace, coffee stained lace

i kinda failed on taking a picture of the right side, which has a cute red polk-a-dot but you get the idea.  as if five photos isn’t enough, i know.

happy wednesday… tomorrow for most of us.  i’m going to see about going used window shopping for our new studio (like literal window shopping — i need to buy two of them).  wish me luck as this is my fourth trip to find “the perfect panes”.

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