Sea Grass Basket

Thank you Donna Sakamoto Crispin for the base pattern!

Sea Grass Basket
Sea Grass Basket
Shells from my collection – Ocean-drilled spaces…
the bottom of the basket
the bottom of the basket
front of basket – overlapping braid end
sea grass braid
purple sea grass braid
beads inside
surprise surfline beads inside
It works upside-down too!
It works upside-down too!


Basket front
Basket front

I’m having so much fun with this basket (it clinks when I move it!).

It feels, smells and sounds like the ocean…

Geography on the Dinner Table

I completed this project about 15 years ago when I attended my daughter’s first grade orientation and heard that geography was last on the list (e.g: they might get to it on Thursday afternoons).

I had a wooden dining room table from a relative with water marks all over the top. So I adhered a National Geographic map to the top, then varnished the top (with what turned out to be old shellac – turned out yellowish, which makes the whole thing look like it belongs on a pirate ship: bonus!).

Change chairs...whole new world!
Change chairs…whole new world!

I used the wrong adhesive and there’s wrinkles-turned-into-holes over time…but the idea stands solid. And every parent who has seen it or heard about it seems enthralled, so I thought to share.

“My Educational Geography Plus Plan”: Start early in elementary with a map on the table and play games (e.g. I Spy, Hot/Cold location, etc.). Then move the table or switch chairs, so the focus is different. As a family, we ate three meals a day at the table and it’s a great way to bring geography and learning into the daily family chatter.

What’s with the name?

I’ve realized that “Annabellabooboop” probably doesn’t mean to you what it means to me (for reals? hello? waking up over here…)

Here’s the haps:

  • My daughter (MAIN LOVIE) = Chloe Ann
  • My upbringing (Texas Hippie Rock-n-Roll) = sources too many to mention (Janis Joplin must be named!)
  • A song from my childhood = “Tutti Frutti”

So when my daughter was a baby (many moons ago) I sometimes sang her a song that went something like:


Sunset in So-Cal; #40daysoflight
Sunset in So-Cal; #40daysoflight

So with this post I’m sending artistic love to all those “boo-bop-a-loo-bop-a-tooty-fruity-oh-rooties” out there.

Overflowing with Art

Hello World! I’m back from a week long art retreat in Portland, Oregon called Art and Soul Retreat. SO.VERY.ENGERGIZING.AND.INSPIRING. If you find yourself near any of their upcoming locations I encourage you to check it out: authentic artists, inspiring teachers, sharing participants. I could go on and on…and I shall… 🙂

Art and Soul Retreat-ing

Pics to follow and teacher info below for “enquiring minds” like myself who like to read ahead. They were all AH-MAY-ZING teachers who shared a plethora of information and technique (and supplies!) and I highly recommend checking them out (in person if you are nearby – they’re from all over).

I took 6 day-long classes learning the following:

  1. Wet (Nuno) Felting – made a scarf!
    (LeBrie Rich – Pen Felt)
  2. Doll making with cloth and paper clay – WIP! 🙂 Paper clay is fun!
    (Lulu Moonwood Murakami – lulumoonarts)
  3. Needle felting with a sewing machine – made 3 bases I’m in love with! (broke some needles – I’m not proud – “it’s part of the process” – more on that later)
    (Rebeckah Meier Designs)
  4. Gold leaf and copper strung African beads on a half ostrich egg bowl – featured below!
    (Debbie Rijns, who specializes in Precious Metal Clay work in South Africa – I couldn’t find just one link that summarizes her artistic work – best to internet-search her)
  5. Hand stitching and embellishing the Alabama Chanin Way – after all these years of hand-sewing I learned a new way to thread, knot and sew. Amazing. (WIP! I bought a shirt pattern…there’s A LOT OF HAND stitching to do…hopefully I can finish it while I’m still this size. 🙂
    (Natalie Chanin designed the pattern and technique – Patti Calande taught the class)
  6. Basket weaving with sea grass – another WIP (boy did I dig this one! Weaving is so meditative for me.)
    (Donna Sakamoto Crispin – the amazing artist/teacher blend we’re all looking for! Donna was great!)

A Finished Product: “Home Base”

I enjoyed figuring out this artistic vision as I went. Layer work is still a challenge for me, though I learned so much about the value of strategic layering throughout the week.

This one is named “Home Base” because it incorporates elements of all my home bases (virtual, physical and metaphysical).

These photos are staged on the lobby floor of the hotel in a brief moment of Oregon sun (yes, I was laying on the ground taking pictures when my significant other arrived…he wasn’t surprised and offered to help…bless our lovies!)

African album beads and grass seeds, copper wire, seashells, monkeywood base, gold leaf edging
African album beads (red/black around edge), grass seeds & Ethiopian silver (red/green hanging right side), copper wire, seashells, monkey wood base, gold leaf edging, armadillo symbol from Sand People drawings (for me on this bowl this represents my hometown of San Antonio, TX).


A look at the inside of the bowl. African porcupine quill at the front.
A look at the inside of the bowl. African porcupine quill at the front. I learned how to “stitch” with copper wire (lesson learned: it pretends to be like thread, but it absolutely isn’t thread in some crucial ways – blergh!). I especially appreciated the way Debbie taught me to “hide” the wire behind each inside disc. That’s some tricky sh*t that took me LOTS-O-PRACTICE to secure those beads.


I had a touristy seashell bracelet in my stash, so I cut i apart and stitched the seashells onto the ostrich shell with copper wire. They had 2 holes each already drilled so it was pretty easy to incorporate.
I had a touristy seashell bracelet in my stash, so I cut it apart and stitched the seashells onto the ostrich shell with copper wire. The shells had 2 holes each already drilled so they were pretty easy to incorporate. The image at the bottom of this view is the Coral Tree seed pod, which grows in South Africa and ALSO in Southern California (in my front yard!). It was a nice connecting home image for me, and it sits opposite the armadillo on the bowl.


The tiny coiled copper wires are the beginning and end of my beading work (fun shadows!).
The tiny coiled copper wires (left of photo) are the beginning and end of my beading work (fun shadows!).

It was good layer work for me – I started with the green wash paint inside and dots in the middle, and they ended up guiding the bead design.


Lovin' the sun on this one!
Lovin’ the sun on this one!

I really enjoyed this class, learning about gold leaf and incorporating South African Sand People images into my work (there’s also: giraffe and the “thread of knowing,” which represents our collective conscious dreams).

Get out there and try something new!
Crafting on…!

Crochet Mandalas

I read a post last week about mandalas by a blogger friend that got me thinking (check out this Hooked! post for an amazing mandala by Amy Le Pelley…she made a clock out of a mandala y’all – genius!!). She also talks about doing a mandala in off-white colors for a baby gift – which also strikes me as genius (patent pending for Amy!!).

She encouraged me to post some pictures of mandalas I have sewn, so I staged a photo shoot today (after several evenings of: “Damn, it’s too dark to take good pictures now. Maybe tomorrow morning…” followed by wash/rinse/repeat until today – breaking the cycle and following the light!).

These are all sewn following this pattern by ZootyOwl (Thank you ZootyOwl!) and using Finca Perle No. 8.

My 1st mandala - mounted on a hoop
My 1st mandala – mounted on a hoop (this involved math and I don’t want to talk about it. Also: I look at this while I brush my teeth every night – highly recommended to get through that 2 minute brush the dentist thinks we’re doing each night.)

Forest Green

My 2nd color scheme,  based on the colors of my walls (e.g. I should crochet one for each room!)
My 2nd color scheme, based on the colors of my walls (e.g. I should crochet one for each room!)

Poor things aren’t blocked yet – they’re stuck in WIP mode and I stretched them across a stepping stone for a photo shoot.

I used to have a room in I started this color path (still on the hook)
I used to have a room in blue…so I started this color path (still on the hook)…

And now for something completely different…

Uhm...I tried a new color path and suffered the consequences. I still don't know what to do with this...
Uhm…I tried a new color path and suffered the consequences. I still don’t know what to do with this (it might look worse in person. Most people who look at it in person say, “Oh…hmm…” )…apparently it matters what colors one uses, and in what order…I continue to learn this lesson.


Light…at the End of the Tunnel?

I’m working feverishly toward the coveted time off and I’m beginning to see that the light is actually at the beginning of the tunnel…and I’m almost there….

I’m still rocking the cross-stitch and planning for the art retreat, and in the meantime…here’s some light I found while looking up…

Looking up
Light at the beginning of the tunnel

Sending light and love to all reading this…(you might need to look up for the next step).


Cross Stitch Progress: We Have a Ducky!

There’s only a week to go until my art retreat, which coincides with my deadline for the cross stitch project as well as a lot of work-at-work to get ready for being away. So I’m already tired and ready for some shut eye but got some good progress in this weekend on the cross stitch.

Yay for outlining!
Yay for outlining!

I’m regretting my choice to bust my thread stash for this because I didn’t have enough of some key colors, which slowed things down. Plus I didn’t always guess right (proven by a run to the thread store for extras – I forced myself to compare each thread color to see how far off I was). There are only a handful of colors that don’t match the pattern palette, but I think my choices will work out. We’ll spend just one sentence talking about how much stitching and unstitching I did on Sunday. (That was it.) I learned not to work too far ahead with a color just because it’s on the needle. I can only count so far on blank aida cloth apparently.

But a fuzzy ducky head feels like progress indeed. Maybe I’ll get up early and do tonight’s stitching in the morning (…prolly not…).

Orange Flowers in My Garden

These bulbs came with my house (which I first rented then purchased…twice…no need to dwell on such details).

A bulb-based flower that came with my house
A bulb-based flower that came with my house

I have found and lost the name of this bulb/flower (I should have saved that final search link!). If you know the name, please share. In the past I’ve found this flower in a few yards in my neighborhood, and most surprisingly on the grounds of a horse ranch in nearby Bonsall, CA (Rawhide Ranch rocks it, especially for Girl Scout events!). That’s actually where I learned the name of the flower, and subsequently forgot these many years later.

This flower bloomed first on this property when I landed here in 2000, and I like to think it inspired me to transport and lay down all the huge rocks that line my garden beds today (maybe I’ll share another post about all the excavated “dinosaur eggs” that line my garden paths). No matter what garden and house renovations we complete, these persevere…and I love their alien exquisiteness.


Aloe flowers in the background
garden view
broader garden view
The garden "at large" - I call the business at the right "Cactopolis."
The side garden “at large” – I call the shining business at the right “Cactopolis.” (There are other spiny characters at the base of that metropolis…pictures to follow…far left is my pineapple plant.)

Sending sunshine from So-Cal and looking forward to hearing about your gardens and your sewing projects!

Petit Point – Needlework from long ago

Today I attended a Cyber Security talk with my local ISACA chapter (blah blah blah what I do during the day blah blah blah), but there’s an amazing set of needlework art on the walls of the college where we meet. And that’s what we’re going to talk about here.

Petit Point: Bird detail 1
Petit Point: Bird detail 1

The plaque describing where these come from was gold and shiny and defied all pictures. And my brain was filled with cyber security details related to  my work, so I didn’t even write down the details or take a rubbing (now that’s a good idea for the next meeting! the plaque is engraved!). I promise I will write this down at my next monthly meeting – specific credit is due!

The mixture of small and large needlework stitches fascinates me on these works (and they’re not even behind glass y’all! I didn’t touch the stitches – I swear – tho I wanted to…). So here’s the best visual I’ve found so far of how this is created: Petit Point . I believe these items are from the early 1900’s.

Mastery to the Nth degree, in my book. Reality: This artist started with long blank canvases and stitched complex three-dimensional patterns on them with different threads in different material:stitch parameters. I’m just beginning to imagine how to create this kind of diversity in my threading.

A close-up of another bird
A close-up of another bird

I love being a part of this long history of tapestry, embroidery, needlework and crochet. We are making pieces of love that last the ages (on this topic: Please please check out what Amy Meissner  is doing with historic handcrafted and found pieces. She is a huge inspiration for me, and I love to see how she is incorporating sewn pieces from our cultural past into a new future. I also love how she uses found items in her art. Very thought-provoking for me…).