fledge capable of flying, from Middle English flegge, from Old English -flycge; akin to Old High German flucki capable of flying,
Old English flEogan to fly -- more at FLY
intransitive verb, of a young bird : to acquire the feathers necessary for flight or independent activity

Monday, April 28, 2008


A workout for those deciding-what's-pretty-and-what's-not muscles.

So, apparently, somebody has a car parked on his property. The gazing upon of said vehicle by some other property owners ("neighbors as a group"?) is displeasurable to those property owners. This has been revealed to said vehicle owner with an anonymous note. Said vehicle owner has responded in kind (in cardboard). In addition, yet other property owners find the vista con Plymouth quite the opposite of displeasurable and have formed an impromptu Little Blue Car fan club. 


There are neighborhoods in the United States where things like when and if you are allowed to park a car outside your garage (and when and if you can put up holiday decorations and which paint colors you may use and which building style you may build and which landscaping you may plant and which yard lights you may and must install ... the list goes on and on) for the sake of overall aesthetics of the neighborhood are strictly regulated. I wouldn't want to live in a neighborhood like that, so I don't. 

Want to join the debate? This car is not mine, but I've got nothing better to write about today.
For the record, I am pro little blue car. I like the lines and I really dig the color.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Can today be Earth Day, too?

It's still a really nice Earth today, as well, so what the heck.

I wanted to announce this on Earth Day, but I wasn't completely certain of the details. So now I'm certain: All new Farbenmix and studioTANTRUM/fledge sewing patterns for North American distribution will be printed on post-consumer recycled paper. I still have a bunch of the patterns to go through which are printed on real tree-killer paper. But all the new ones printed will be on recycled paper. I should have done this right from the get-go. But here you go, nonetheless.

What will not be recycled are the designs. Always fresh, always new and always organically grown.

Friday, April 25, 2008


I don't know where this image came from. I found the image downloading from the RAW-thingy and I don't remember taking this photo. Maybe the kids got ahold of the camera. Maybe a sentient being from another dimension is sending a chromatic message! Yeah, that's the ticket.

Sky, sea, glass, ... Anyway, I like it.

Thank you for all your kind and loving comments for my Stinkbug. She stunk. But in a good way. And stole the show.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Show business stinks.

I've seen enough episodes of Entourage to understand that the talent agent schmoozes and fishes for acting jobs for his client. When that work is found, it is the job of the talent manager to make the actor do his job. The manager has to encourage, rationalize, flatter, monger fear, argue, manipulate, justify, soft-soap, clear obstacles, plead, prate, cajole, coax, coordinate, cater to whims and foster idiosyncrasies and stroke ever so gently that fragile artist's ego (remember that, because I'm going to need your help there) ... all so that the show can go on. In other words, a talent manager is a mother.

My client recently got some work. I'm happy for her. The First Grade play could be a big opportunity. It's a chance for her to grow artistically. To stretch her creative wings.

If she had wings, that is. Like the butterflies ("Butterflies." Say that like Seinfeld says "Newman").

Thing is, my girl has been cast as the Stinkbug.

The Stinkbug. 

The Stinkbug, whom the other bugs make fun of. 

The Stinkbug, whom the other bugs don't want at the picnic. 

The Stinkbug, who is to appear on stage in front of the entire school adorned in dirty socks, onions and garlic cloves in a stage metaphor for a certain aggressive odiferousness.


At this casting decision, my client was, true to form, in a bit of a stink. Considering there were Labybug and Butterfly roles to be had, I hardly expected different from my client. You know my girl: Stinkbug? Now that Ryan kid: That Ryan kid has that rugged vulnerability that will elicit the audience response we want for the Stinkbug, right? Or Maddie. Sweet Maddie. Maddie with those heartbreaking doe-eyes. Now she charts very well with the primary school girls aged 5 to 11 demographic. That's good Stinkbug casting. But my girl?  Cricket, Gypsy Moth, Army Ant. My girl has broad range: She can do Army Ant. But Stinkbug?

Imagine now that I am talking to a locked dressing trailer door to muffled sobs (really, it's the slammed bedroom door, but in my mind, I'm on the Paramount back lot with Best Boys flirting with the Third Assistants to the Second Assistant and Gaffers and Key Grips impatiently swilling Fiji water).

"Darling, the Stinkbug is the most important role! It is the cathartic catalyst. It is the character that forces the other characters on their journey of self-realization! Without the Stinkbug, this is just a story about eating crumbs. You are the story. The Stinkbug lifts this to art. You, as the Stinkbug, could do for body odor what Dustin Hoffman in Rainman did for autism."

Okay: I didn't really say that.

What I said was, "Baby, you don't have to wear dirty socks. You can wear whatever you want. We'll go through all the fabrics and you pick out what you want. Stink as you might, you will be the cutest Stinkbug in all of theater history."

This is a real indy, bring-your-own-wardrobe kind of production. And I'll take some heat on the whole what-part-of-dirty-socks-costume-didn't-you-understand?-thing. But I have to protect my client's interests.

I don't care what you really think about this concoction of felt and craft glue, because my heart wasn't in making this. Not for me, but (and this is where you come in) for the First Grade play, for the love of all that is good and holy, write in the comments that this is the cutest Stinkbug in all of theater history.

For your cut-and-paste convenience:
This is the cutest Stinkbug in all of theater history. 

Credits (in order of appearance): Bug appliqué handcrafted by Creabine. ANTONIA mix & match shirt from Farbenmix. Fabrics available from BanberryPlace and FabricBliss.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I'm it.

I'm not all that. All that and a bag of chips. 

But I'm it.

Toni, Clara and Jen all tagged me. I suppose I'll give you 6 ...or is it 7?... I've done this before and those 7 facts are all there are to me. Really. 

More random facts:
1. Right now, we have a loaner car. It's a Mini Cooper. I crank up the Hives at full volume and lean my left leg against the door while driving so I can feel the vibrations. I am reeking havoc on the streets, pissing off every SUV I possibly can. It may become my reason for living. I am a menace.
2. We have this giant television and no television! Seriously. This thing is so schmancy, that the television doesn't get terrestrial channels (except for this one Korean soap opera channel, which isn't so bad, really ...). No cable. I hate cable. I think cable television is worse than drugs. We use this thing to watch movies. And to impress the neighbors. You know how television shows used to be the topic of conversation? Now it's just the television.
3. That's it! I gotta stop! There's nothing else! I have no tattoos, no piercings, no prior convictions ... I need a life. Or maybe cable television. "We are fated to pretend ... " that was playing in the Mini Cooper this morning, too.
4. I'm a real in-my-head kind of person. As much as I love fashion, my appearance is a shambles. I used to have a whole bunch of that natural good looks and disposable income and metabolism and charisma (I'm being honest), that I never spent any time learning how to work out regularly, or apply make-up or blow-dry or wax or pedicure or polish or whatever it is grown-up women know how to do. I walk around looking like a yeti, probably.
5. I like all three contenders for President. I'm really happy about this election. There's one contender I like a little better than the other two. But I won't be heartbroken if my candidate loses. It's a win-win-win for this one little voter.
6.  This week, I was heartbroken to have learned that fabric designers snap up vintage swatches and call them their own. Recolor or rescale as they may. Whatever. I guess that's why I see too much regurgitation. Regurgitation makes things easier to swallow, sure, but it's not fresh.
7. I don't know 7 bloggers well enough, who haven't been tagged. I think I'll tag the next seven blogs under "Next Blog" ...
http://amatorfutbol.blogspot.com Great. Turkish amateur soccer.
http://elrincondemax.com Uh-huh. Barcelona boy collects YouTubes. Those giggling quadruplets are pretty adorable.
http://nilesman.blogspot.com Niles seems like a really cool kid.
http://breguenaites.blogspot.com I don't speak Spanish. (Is this Spanish? Portugese?)
http://danieljuriyholthaus The life of a cute German toddler.
http://saramoonphotoblog.blogspot.com Hey, she's pretty good! And that would be my pedicure.
http://cayetanca.blogspot.com Hm. Some slavic lady sketches stuff. I like it.
http://welldunne.blogspot.com "Who's who and who's where in the world of entertainment marketing" Okay, I know now why television is just so bad. Thank you.

There we go! The curse is passed.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Best Things are Free Day 30

An eye for.

Do you see the eye in the picture? My son saw the eye in the tire tracks. My husband didn't.

What do you have an eye for? For color? For a good bargain? For the winning American Idol? For a good fixer-upper of a house? For a person's character? For a hot trend? For a political solution? For the pick-pocket in the crowd? For the answer to a mathematical equation? For the child with a painful secret? You have an eye for. Now what is it?

I think we all have an ability to see, which is very particular to ourselves. This ability to see is not an ocular function neccessarily. Blind people have an eye for, as well. Maybe blind people have a better eye for than the sighted.

I have had two different people email me this week, people whom I really, truly admire, real creatives and entrepreneurs both. In our separate discussions, they both wrote me this idiom:

"There's nothing new under the sun."

This saying really irks me. I mean, do these people live under the same sun as me? Are they talking about this sun or maybe some other sun? Or have they seen it all already and I am just way behind? I see new things every day. I cannot imagine that there are not new things discovered every second of every day by some one somewhere. Who came up with such a silly notion? Google...

Oh. Yeah. That's right.

This saying comes from the Bible, namely, Ecclesiastes 1:9-14:

"What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun."

That can I accept. In the philosophical, metaphorical, bending-of-space-and-time, beyond-space-and-time way. 

But in the clumsy linear way in which we do and must experience life, I just think that there are new discoveries, new solutions, new answers, and, specifically in our little corner of creativity, completely new clothing designs and new fabric designs that can yet be made.

So, I'm throwing down. I don't want to hear "There's nothing new under the sun" unless you are ready to pull out the Good Book, some Stephan Hawking, maybe the Upanishads and anything else along those lines. I'm open to that.

But if you tell me there's no more new ideas to be had in textile creativity, like I said, I'm throwing down!

Well, that was a little more than 30 Days of Best Things are Free. In Buddhism, I've heard of the concept of annica. From what I understand, it is a principal of impermanence being an inescapable fact of human life, that nothing that belongs to this earth is ever free. When you see it that way, the free things become ever so much more valuable. Thank you for spending your valuable free time with me.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Best Things are Free Day 29

A handy tip. Like Die Machen Was's TOPS and FLOPS.

Uschi is sharing her favorite sewing gizmos and gadgets. Sabine has joined in. So will I. 

Here are two of my TOPS:

Sisal carpeting in the sewing area. Nobody here has ever gotten a pin stuck in their foot. And we are a no-shoes-in-the-house kind of people. The weave of the carpet is such, that the pinpoint goes down between the ridges instead of pricking your foot when you step on it. Most pins just lay between the ridges.

Viewtainers, available at the hardware store. Great for buttons and snaps and all that falderal. But also for storing and dispensing ribbon and bias tape, especially while stitching the miles and miles of bias tape used on the hems of most of my designs. I just let the Viewtainer loll there on the sisal carpeting as I keep pulling the tape or ribbon out.

Among the FLOPS? Well, I have quite a stormy relationship with a certain Pfaff 4862. It could be me. It could be the machine. I just don't think we get along. Is there such thing as counseling for crafters and their machines?

Ein hilfreicher Tip. Wie die AHA-die-machen-'was-Damens TOPS und FLOPS.
Sabine spielt mit. Ich will auch.

Ich empfehle Sisalteppich im Nähbereich. Bei uns ist keiner im Fuß von Stecknadeln gestochen worden. Und wir sind von der keine-Schuhe-im-Haus-Sorte. Der Teppich ist derart gewebt, daß die Spitze der Nadel nach unten in die Webe langt anstatt in den Fuß zu stechen wenn du drauftrittst.

Diese Viewtainers. Gibt's sicherlich 'was Ähnliches im Baumarkt bei euch. Für Knöpfe, Sicherheitsnadel und alle mögliche Kleinkrams ganz praktisch. Aber auch um Bänder aufzubewahren und auch auszuspenden, z.B. beim Ansteppen diese elendlange LAGUNA-Säume. Das Viewtainer lümmelt am Sisalteppich während ich das Band ansteppt.

Zu meinen FLOPS gehört eine gewiße Pfaff 4862. Vielleicht bin ich es. Vielleicht die Pfaff. Auf jeden Fall kommen wir mit einander nicht zurecht. Gibt's 'ne Art Beziehungshilfe für Näher und ihre Maschinen?

Aber mein allegrößtes TOP ist Farbenmix. Einfach unersätzlich.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Best Things are Free Day 27

Free Stuff. Like "Dings Da".

How about a free little tutorial?
And maybe a little more organization in your life?
Download here.

Have fun!

(You'll let me know if this is a good thing or not, right?)

Wie wäre's mit einer Anleitung umsonst?
Und vielleicht ein ganz wenig mehr Ordnung?
Download hier.

Viel Spaß!

zur Info: Dein LFN-Kuchenband bekommst du in Europa bei Ribbons & Crafts.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Best Things are Free Day 25

Climbing a tree and seeing what you see.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Best Things are Free Day 24

Jeder Mensch ein Künstler. Everyone an artist.

Joseph Beuys reminded us of this.

I just googled "Jeder Mensch ein Künstler" and some of the top links were essays revealing how ticked off the art world still is at this statement of more than thirty years ago. Surely, he didn't mean everyone.

A little trivia: In the Balinese language, there is no native word for "art", nor for "craftsman". They use the word "worker", the same cognomen for those in the rice fields or on the construction site.

I've never been, but I will go to Bali someday. Those who have been there tell me they don't believe that there's no word for "art" in Balinese, because they saw art everywhere. They show me the vacation photos and tell me I am mistaken: Sculptures, carved posts, prints, fabrics, paintings, the food is artfully stacked and ordered and arranged, even the daily utensils are adorned with representations depicting wonderment. 

That, which we identify as "art", the Balinese call "work". "Work", you know, that thing which must be done, something for survival, something to offer praise, something to pay for, something to teach the children, something to prioritize in their lives along with caring for children and running errands and doing laundry and visiting the doctor and fixing the bike.

And then I look over here. Oh, we understand art. We have museums unrivaled in the world containing the highest examples of art from all time and all cultures. Art is well maintained in grand facilities, highly guarded, surrounded by manicured lawns and parking structures. They are conveniently open to the public six days a week, between the hours of 10 and 5 during the summer tourist months. We have developed a language and understanding of art also unrivaled: (ordered abecedarian) Ashcan, Baroque, Constuctivism, Dadaist... High, Low, Commercial, Folk and, forget we not, hot

Maybe we understand art, but it is a thing separate, over there, a destination, an adornment, a frivolity, a political statement, a discretionary expense, a generous tax write-off, an angst-riddled self-indulgence, a piece to tie the colors of the rug to the couch, just really weird music, a once-a-year thing, like St. Patrick's Day. If you're not Irish, or if you don't know what or who a Fauvist is or was, well, whatever.

Maybe if it was just "work". Maybe if Joseph Beuys would only have been able to say, within his language, "Jeder Mensch ein Arbeiter," what would our world look like? How would we spend our days? What would be our work?

Let's get to work.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Best Things are Free Day 24

Not being afraid of getting wet.

I've come across Design for Mankind recently. I don't know who this person is, but she has three bachelors' degrees and is a blond Midwesterner in Los Angeles. So she could be me (I'm trying to think if there are any long periods of time that I can't remember or for which I can't account ... maybe this is me, an alternate identity, a younger, hipper dog-lover with better taste... ). I digress. This person (very probably not me) puts out such great positive ripples for anybody wanting to pursue a creative endeavor. I like what she has to say about networking

I think we all have a tiny, instinctual hesitancy to introduce ourselves to somebody new, upload a piece of work we have put our heart into for Internet scrutiny, jump into the water. Hey, nobody ever drown by not getting wet!

I learned lifesaving a long time ago, so I'm not sure if this is recommended anymore for actually rescuing somebody from the water. But I do remember this from my life-saving classes, that I'd like to add metaphorically: If a person can splash around enough to keep his head above the water, he's not drowning and, with a little guidance, he can splash his way to safety. As such, you can make it through the water. You'll need somebody you trust to show you direction and say keep going, you'll make it, this way, you're doing great, keep going.

I say, go ahead and get wet. Trust yourself. It's a thrill. And you never know who you will meet and who will help you help yourself. Also (ref. top illustration), reach for the beauty, not the money. Reaching for the money will take you down and you may miss the beauty altogether.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Best Things are Free Day 23

Not always getting what you want.

But, if you try sometime, you might just find, you get what you need. (Thank you, Mr. Jagger).

Because then you can improvise, right Diana?

Sure, I want a dress form mannequin. But there are other things I need to pay for before I splurge on that. 

While cleaning the garage, I did come upon duct tape, some rocks and old tee shirts. Add one silly girl, put them all together, and in about an hour, I have a custom dress form mannequin. Good enough, anyway. Good enough is good enough.

What you do: 
• Have your subject wear a tee shirt. I recommend a longer length tee.
• Duct tape away! Duct tape snugly around the waist and rib cage.
(After applying duct tape, allowing your subject to play "Girl Knight Warrior" for an hour is optional).
• Cut the shirt away along one side. Best to place your hand underneath the scissor blade to prevent accidentally poking your patient subject.
• Remove from your subject and re-duct-tape the cuts.
• Cover the arm holes and neck with strips of duct tape.
Stuff with poly fiber fill or unfinished sewing projects, you'd prefer never to see again.
• Place a layer of rocks at the bottom (shirt hem end) to make the mannequin stand.
• Place strips of duct tape across the bottom.

Voilá! Your custom dress mannequin is complete! This is also a fun project to do with a teenage daughter or good friend.

Sources: Here. Or Here

Nicht immer das zu bekommen, was du dir wünschst.

Ja, ich möchte eine Puppe. Denn Anpassen passt meiner Puppe nicht. Ich habe aber momentan andere Aufwendungen vorliegen. 

Also, beim Aufräumen in der Garage entdeckte ich Panzerband, alte Tee-Shirts und Steine. Na wunderbar. Zusammen mit einem frechen Mädchen kann ich in etwa einer Stunde selber eine Puppe basteln.

So geht das:
• Du ziehst das Tee-Shirt an die Person. Ich empfehle ein hüftenlanges Shirt.
• Du klebst und klebst und klebst das Shirt voll. Auch um die Ärmel und um den Halsausschnitt. Bitte stram um die Taille und den Brust das Isolierband kleben.
(Auf Wunsch das Kind ca. eine Stunde "Mädchen Ritterkrieger" im Isolierbandrüstung spielen lassen).
• Vorsichtig das Shirt wegschneiden. Am Besten legst du eine Hand unter der Schere, um möglichst die kleine Person nicht aus Versehen zu stochern.
• Wieder das Shirt mit Panzerbandstreifen zusammenschustern.
• Die Ärmellöcher und den Halsausschnitt mit Bandstreiben quer zukleben.
• Von unten mit Textilfaser (bzw. auch mißgelungene LAGUNA-Röcke) fest ausstopfen.
• Unten, eine Lage Steine bzw. einen Backstein legen, um die Puppe aufrecht zu halten.
• Die untere Öffnung (Saumende) mit Panzerband Streifen zukleben.

Voilá! Deine Puppe ist fertig. Und deine erste Puppe kann ja wieder spielen gehen. Dies ist ein lustiges Projekt auch für die Teenies im Hause bzw. auch mit einer guten Freundin zusammen.

10. April: Ähm, 'Schuldigung: Nicht ganz meine Idee. Schau hier. Oder hier.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Best Things are Free Day 22

With every step, we send out vibrations. With every breath, we change air currents. With every word spoken, we send sound waves into infinity. Energy never ends. It changes, but it is always still there.
The past few days have been a lot of fun. I have been exchanging emails with several people, sending out tiny ripples of ideas in all directions. Not every stroke of a butterfly's wing will stir up a hurricane on the other side of the globe, but occasionally an idea can inspire another and, ultimately, perhaps lead to achieving a personal accomplishment. I feel very privileged when I am included in these conversations.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Best Things are Free Day 21


Potential, such as that is found in my garage.

Clearly, most of this stuff is hardly used, if at all. But to me it
is free stuff, because it was acquired, inherited and rescued from dumpsters so long ago, that, for me, it has been written off long ago. So it’s free. Shall we have a look?

An ancient scooter. It has the potential to be an ancient scooter. 

And I have boxes and boxes and boxes of dollhouse furniture. Wait! Don't call it dollhouse furniture: My mother's hobby was 1/12th scale minatures. Her dying wish: Keep it together and don't sell it. Okay. Now what? There's barely enough room for the things and people in 1/1 scale, let alone any 1/12th scale representations of such.

These lamps. Oh, I know you want them. I know you do! I think Nic really would actually want these.

My inline skates. Yeah, right. And tennis balls. Again, yeah, right.

Thonet chairs. Hm, will I ever take up caning? Yeah, right after tennis.

This cabinet: Supposedly, it came from the Old Country. The watch maker who first owned this house kept watch-making stuff in it. I flipped through a soft-cover book on how to organize by Martha Stewart. Apparently, neatness bliss can be achieved with an Old Country armoire, some matching baskets and some dried flowers on top. Okay. From the book, I still don't understand where to put the trashed surfboard. And frankly, the trek across the cold Atlantic and over the merciless Plains to reach California will prove less arduous than my actually moving that thing from behind the tool cabinet and those boxes of toxic trash. Must get those boxes to the disposal place.

Some of my old work in logistics. Just in case somebody rings the doorbell and asks, "Say, could you help me with an AS/RS warehouse?" I'm ready. Speaking of logistics and warehousing: Sewing patterns! Now that's more like it! These happen to all be in German. But we are working on the translations of the photo tutorials. All these sewing patterns have the potential to be trousers and dresses and tunics and jackets and coats and many happy hours. Tell your retailer what you'd like to have and we'll work to see that you get it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Best Things are Free Day 20


This is Wendy's idea. Wendy doesn't have a blog, because she sews, unlike me. 

So, it went like this: I rouse the kids out of bed. I tell them they've got ten minutes to get in the car. They're late, they're late, they're late! Here, take a hairbrush and brush it in the car. Just slip those shoes on and tie them once you're at school. Doesn't matter if the socks don't match. Just go! We're late, we're late, we're late!

Up at the school--oh no!--we are so late that all the kids are already in class! Hurry, hurry, hurry. Go on, get out of the car and run to class!

And there they go!

*hee hee hee*

Hey kids! Hey! April Fool's!

And they turn around, drop their backpacks and hang their shoulders. We were really extra early at the school. We all laugh. I hug them, put them back in the car and take them to breakfast at a restaurant. 

Not so bad, am I?


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