It's National Dog Day, apparently! And who could be more national than Franklin, this scrappy mutt from the streets of the south, now being raised in a struggling post-industrial New England town? His is the story of America itself. Cheers to you, Franklin! May every hammock welcome you.
Have you met artist and illustrator Matt W. Moore? If you saw this post from last week, it'll soon become clear as to why I'm sharing his work with you now. During an artists' residency in Utah, Matt created complex mandalas and geometric patterns out of found natural materials. Take a look:
Click on any of the images to go to his portfolio site, where you'll see many other examples, as well as close-up and detail shots. It all has me itching to get outside and spend a few hours engrossed in activity with a whittling knife and a camera.
If it's everyone's birthday, does it mean that it's really nobody's birthday? If everyone is special, doesn't that mean nobody is? These are the questions raised by this charming Zodiac Birthday Party plan, originally from a 1969 issue of McCall's.
I understand the appeal of having one annual birthday party for an office or club that would otherwise be having birthday events every darn week, but this idea reduces the whole concept of a birthday celebration to nothing. Better to throw a Zodiac Party as an addition to regular birthday recognitions, and not a replacement.
As usual, I love the color scheme for this party, and the groovy yet simple design. To help you throw your own swingin' cosmic soiree, here are the directions:
(There's a bit more copy on a later page about placing cookies and applying frosting and dragees, but just look at the photo — it's more helpful than the text.)
I'll be away from my big computer next week, but I have a plan for sharing some creative stuff with you while I'm on the go. Tune in to see how that goes!
These ladies were truly in their prime back in the 1960s. Look at how shiny they are!
I have a vague tactile memory of this type of plasticky, crinkly ribbon, that's bright and shiny in a way that only spun polyester fiber can be. I don't even know if it's made anymore, but I imagine that a modern-day wired satin ribbon would give a similar effect.
Want painfully-detailed directions? Of course, who doesn't?
Enjoy, my flouncy friends! xo
How does your garden grow? Mine's doing pretty well, except for the flowers I planted in pots on my patio. Those were blooming nicely until the chipmunks discovered they can hop right on up and munch away. Now the plants are all crewcutted and sad. So, to make up for my lack of flowers, I made these yarn blooms. They remind me a bit of Devil's Paintbrushes and Cornflowers. The construction of each is so quick and easy, you'll soon have a pot-ful of your own. All you need is yarn and cloth-wrapped stem wire, which is available at all the big craft stores. I cut my stem wire in half to make them shorter (and to get twice as many). That part's optional.
Use your thumb to hold the end of a ball of yarn against three fingers. Wind the yarn around your fingers a bunch of times — the exact number of times will determine how thick your flower will be.
When you've reached a pleasing amount of thickness, cut the wound-up yarn from the ball. Carefully slide the yarn from your fingers, and slide a wire through the center of the loops.
Fold a half-inch (or so) of the end of the wire over the yarn, as shown. Twist the wire's end around itself to secure. Use scissors to cut through all of the loops.
At this point, your flower will look like this:
Lay the flower on top of a short piece of yarn. Tie the piece tightly around the rest of the yarn, close to the base.
Trim the ends of the knotted yarn, if you'd like. Pick up your yarn tassel flower and shake it a bunch to fluff it up. You may want to do some trimming and shaping; I did, because it's fun.
Different kinds of yarn produce different results. Here's a range of flowers made from my yarn stash, from thick to wavy and all in between.
Happy summer! xo
I'm Debbie Way, an artist and writer who enjoys making things.