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June 14, 2012

Making Things

My grandaughter Sydney loves to make things.  I definitely recognize that need and try very hard to get her alone so we can play together creatively.  She is now 7 1/2 and for the last several years has slowly been learning how to use my sewing machine.  Long term readers of my blog may remember previous blog entries as we inched our way toward full competence. 

She finished 1st grade last Friday.  We came home from the beach on Monday.  And we had a "creative day" immediately scheduled for this week.  One day turned into two days, two overnights, and two sewing projects.  As soon as she walked in the door, she asked if she could sew.  I was anticipating this and decided I would have a project in mind.

I bought quilted placemats for my young children in 1981 in Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco, and then designed and made more using the same concept.  Our family used and washed those placemats almost daily for years.  I brought them with us to NYC in 1993, as patterns/prototypes to make more, but my grandchildren saw the originals and loved using them for all of their meals here with us.

Sydney selected patterns that I drew, but never made, and over the course of 2 days made two placemats!  I worked with her, teaching her how to use an iron, adhere fusibles, and applique using a satin stitch.  Here she is using the sewing machine!!  I now only have to stand behind her.  When I told her the eyes were going to be hard to stitch on, she said "I'm ready for it!" She even wanted to thread the machine and change bobbins by herself!  And did.


Sydney with her two completed animal placemats:


Here is the Rhino - each animal has a head, feet, and tail.  Wish I knew who made the handmade originals I bought 30+ years ago.  I expanded the concept into a full set of animals and designed more.


And here is the bull:


When one of her brothers came to pick her up this morning, she told him the rhino would be his to use, whenever they eat here, from now on.  Up until now Cal and his cousin Robbie (one of my sons' boys) share the dragon!


Addendum: I finally found the blog entry I wanted to include in this blog post on why children need to taught to make things. 


June 9, 2012

More from the Beach - 2012

We are still at the beach, so these sketchbook pages were photographed, not scanned. 

Clam Bar in Amagansett- We took a ride out to Montauk, the tip of the South Fork of Long Island, one afternoon, and stopped at a roadside clam bar for a snack on the way back.


A 2 pound lobster, before he was boiled for dinner.  He was frisky, so this was a very fast sketch! 


I found two different varieties of whelk shells on the beach yesterday, and had to add them to my Southampton beach collection.


June 5, 2012

Journal Pages From the Beach

This is our annual beach week with friends - and we've been lucky to have several hours each day to walk on the beach.  I love collecting and painting shells, but I haven't found many yet.  Here are two scallop and two broken moon snail shells.


My husband made wonderful, fresh black sea bass for dinner with a green sauce made from cilantro, lime, and several other ingredients.  I sketched the fish before it went on the grill.


June 1, 2012

Venice Sketchbook - Part 4

I am still working on my Venice sketchbook, and decided to upload 3 pages done since I returned home.

We visited Arcobalena, the art supply store that sells pigments.  It is centrally located, and a very quirky place.  Half of the store is a hardware shop, the other half sells pigments - and hand blown glass - and leather aprons - and some art supplies.  We spent lots of time talking to the woman running the shop and learned some of the history.  My friend Sara bought a set of pigments to make pastels when she returned to the US.  And the 4 of us couldn't resist buying a few leather aprons made by the shopkeeper (who is also a glass blower)! 


I collected a few pieces of ephemera - mainly because they appealed to me graphically - and made one collage page of memories.


The gondoliers were everywhere!  And there seemed to be many variations on the standard uniform.  I took photos of many of them and created this page of drawings from my photos.


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