Monthly Archives: October 2007



Isaac came home with me this weekend. He’s from Shishmaref, way up north of here. He was made by Molly and Vincent Tocktoo. He is what is known as a horn doll or a bone doll, which were originally used to teach little girls how to make parkas.

Isaac Isaac

If it gets too hot, you can take off his parka. Molly laughed and blushed a little when she told me this. Isaac is a very quiet young man, and sits in his corner on the shelf, watching Gizmo sleep. I wish I could have brought home some of his relatives, but I think he’s happy enough by himself.

Here’s a horn doll, also made by Molly and Vincent. And more information on the Alaska Native Arts Foundation website – go to “Shop” and search by artist for Vincent and Molly Tocktoo. On this website, it explains that Vincent carves the body out of reindeer antler, while Molly sews the parka, mittens, pants and mukluks. Neither of them speak much English, so I didn’t get to ask many questions. And when I asked what Isaac’s name is, with the help of the woman they were sharing a booth with, Vincent just laughed and finally said “Santa!”. Later Isaac whispered his real name to me.


Re-fashioned blouses

blouse - unfinishedblouse - unfinished - inside

I thought for Blog Action Day, I should show off my recycled shirt(s?). I combined a knit pullover with a snap-front shirt. First I cut the sleeves off the knit pullover, and the cuffs off the snap-front shirt, and sewed the knit cuffs to the snap-front shirt. I put both blouses on Dolly (you can see her fancy stand underneath the refurbished blouse), removed the collar and some of the front of the snap-front shirt (on top of the knit pullover), then pinned the neckline from the knit shirt to the snap-front shirt. Then I turned the whole thing inside out and trimmed away the parts of the knit pullover I didn’t want to use.

finished blousedetail of neckline

After I had the basic foundation the way I wanted it, I took some wire organza ribbon and attached it to the raw edge of the bodice. The organza didn’t really cover the raw edge, so I laid down a piece of satin ribbon and attached it with a herringbone stitch using green cotton embroidery floss. I made a tiny yoyo out of a scrap of the printed cotton and covered up the join at the vee of the bodice, sewing down the yoyo with an invisible hem stitch and white cotton sewing thread. The last thing I did was to sew the plackets together and turn the shirt into a pullover.

I have all the scraps from both shirts, and I’m planning on making a baseball cap to go with the shirt. I’ll have to add some fabric, or maybe I can utilize the rest of the organza ribbon, to finish the cap. The only mistake I made was to ignore how the original snap-front shirt fit me; it was too large and I should have cut it down a little. But that would’ve made a lot more work, and I got the shirt done over a weekend rather than taking two or three weeks. And I like it! A little large is okay 🙂

In this day and age of cheapcheap throwaway clothes and stuffed-to-the-gills landfills, we’ve got to think about the consequences of throwing out those cheapcheap clothes. There is also the inputs to make new clothes to replace what we threw away-dyes, agricultural chemicals for growing more cotton, waste fabric from cutting out garment pieces, the impact on the employees that make the cheapcheap clothes, and on and on. I don’t buy much in the way of clothing, and tend to find things at the second-hand store or the transfer station (well, socks and undies I buy new!) rather than buy new. But I still think I make less impact, ecologically speaking, and have a lot more fun, re-fashioning old clothes rather than buying something.

Online scams affecting artists

I saw the link to this article on Sharon’s Mindtracks blog. Katherine Tyrrell wrote an interesting and informative post regarding “…the potential for fraud and scams perpetrated on artists…”. I’m familiar with many online scams, but this was new to me. Katherine also includes a number of links leading to more information and articles on a variety of subjects related to fraud.

Almost finished!

Tidepool The Dinosaur’s Garden Secret pal quilt

I am almost finished with the short term projects from this post! One more small quilt that will go on stretcher bars, then get framed. I think… And I need to put the buttons on the vest. Then I can get back to the wedding gift, and working on the silk ribbon sampler for the class I’m teaching next month. I’m also hoping to make some brooches and/or buttons with silk ribbon flowers, that will be demos for the class. And the hats; gotta get those organza hats done and off to their new owners!

And I started another bra; oh, this is awful… funny, that is! I found this bra while walking Gizmo one morning; must have fallen out of someone’s laundry basket while they were whizzing down the dirt road I live on. I have been trying to figure out who, on my road, would wear a black lace bra… So I just had to have it! And now it will have a new life as a small bag.

Anyway, the first little quilt above, Tidepool, will eventually go to a friend as a Christmas gift. I entered it in the local arts association show, 64th Parallel (for Interior Alaska artists), along with The Dinosaur’s Garden. This was just a fool-around piece; I used crayons to make the flowers, then there was a silk hanky to play with; it needed some tulle to contain it, so I had to embroider over that to keep the hanky on; and the bottom looked pretty raggedy so I added the green felt. I’m happy enough with this one, that I’m going to keep it, at least for now. And sadly, neither of the two quilts made it into the 64th Parallel show.

The third little quilt has already been given to my secret pal from last year at the local quilt guild. Jackie has it hanging in her office. It was supposed to be on a cigar box purse, but I did something else with the cigar box, so it had to become a quilt.

I have one more finished small quilt, but I don’t have a picture of it yet. It’s already hanging at A Weaver’s Yarn, and I was so touched by Susan’s reaction. She just loves it, and was so happy to receive it. I love gifting people like that!

And lastly, I donated a small quilt that I made years ago to the Amanda Project at our local hospital. The Amanda Project collects small quilts that go to women who have lost a baby; it is something for them to hold and remember the baby that didn’t come home with them. No picture of that either; it was a very simple nine patch in pink and grey.

Rascally boys and dirty faces

Little Mr. Grumpy Grampa and the older one

Check out those grimy little mugs! I was Not Paying Attention, being more interested in trying to get two tired ‘n wired little boys to sit still long enough so I could take their picture. I think my rascals look good in their new hats! J, on the left, would only wear his backwards, so I’m going to make another pair of hats with smaller bills, and see if he likes that better. He wore his hat constantly while at Grampa’s house; we’ll see if mama lets him keep it.