Monday, June 15, 2009

The Story of Colette - A Round Robin Diary



Entry July 12, 2008 (Artist: Mrs. Art Doll Maker, NJ)

Hi! I’m Colette. I was born in Vienna under a starry lit night sky, where my Mom and Dad would leisurely drink from the spoils of wine, from the vineyards along the French countryscapes.

We took a trip to Ireland’s shores some years ago; but, the Atlantic winds carried us over the ocean to the U.S. where we currently live. Now, we delight ourselves in the refreshing salt water air and shower in the ocean’s morning sprays.

During our afternoon hours, we visit a nearby garden that’s colored with splendidly vibrant wildflowers! They stand tall and bright and greet you as you fly by. Ahh! Their nectar makes a most delightful afternoon drink. Their hospitality can be reckoned with those of the South. At least that’s what we’ve been told by the other creatures they play hostess to. What an array! There are some that are all red, covered in dots, while others are covered in all fur and are as long as the leaves of a stem! Goodness gracious. It must take many hours to comb through. Others live underground, no fur, but a little on the plump side, if you ask me. How can one gain so much weight eating dirt? Anyway, every day is a surprise and a wonderful party with them!

At night, we watch sunsets and settle in as we listen to the distant songs of The Humpback Family. I believe they’re going on tour soon and won’t be returning for some months. How exciting! They must have many fans because they tour every year.

Our restful evening activities are a welcoming break from the busy day’s events. A cool ocean mist rolls in, coating our wings ever so gently until the sun rises again and dries them with the warmth from its rays.

Entry September 2, 2008 (Artist: Susan L., Virginia)

I had a delightful time in Virginia visiting Susan. While there, I got my new face and a set of arms and hands. It is very useful to have these additions because now I can see the flowers so much better and can now sip all of the nectar out of them. Being a bug, I may need more sets or arms and hands. I'll see what happens along the way.

One big adventure I had was seeing a bear. John, Tia, and I were out on a walk. We heard a noise, looked up and there was a bear! The bear came down the tree. We went one way; and, it went the other.

I met many new bug friends, as well. They make 'em bigger in the South! My favorites were the bees!

My new friend, Tia, whose a black dog with a luxurious coat, showed me all of the best places to meet new bug friends. She helped me practice dive bombs and let me use the cats as targets. It was lots of fun. Sometimes, she even shared her food with me!

Entry October 8, 2008 (Artist: Gail V., North Carolina)

I've been told I'm a real beauty. Gail says that I have the face of an angel, a will of steel, and the spirit of a wild gypsy girl! My ancestry includes the rainbow beetle (hence, my wondrous wings), the firefly (my sparkle and sparkly booty), and, of course, the gorgeous Gypsy Moth Colette, my Great Great Grandmother from whom I inherited my beauty and daring spirit. I've been told I'll go far on these wings of mine and will experience many fantastic adventures - England is next!

I'll miss Gail and our wine chats on mild autumn evenings lit only by the stars and my fiery bug butt.

Entry December 7, 2008 (Artist: Kristen B., England)

I arrived today and charmed everyone immediately! Dancing and swirling around in my long, beautiful skirt. It's late Autumn; and, they've been having quite a cold snap here. The garden bugs have all hidden away for their winter sleep, so I won't be meeting British butterflies, moths, and beetles on this trip. Not to worry, though. I was shown many pictures in books and in photographs. We also looked at images of old Romany people - the original European Gypsy race, their costumes, and their jewelry. I really want earrings like they have but first need to get ears.

Oh! Oh! I also want much bigger wings, like the tropical butterflies are blessed with. I definitely want mine to be bigger and more elaborate, so that's where we started. We added the black and silver wire. Then, the red netting and stitched and stitched and stitched till the wings joined and gave a shape I liked. I had to wear them right away, so my Hostess Mom secured them to my body. She also gave me my gypsy earrings! Thanks, Hostess Mom!

It's beautiful here; but, I would have rathered visited during the summer months when the garden is humming and buzzing with bees; and, the colours of the butterflies are like fluttering rainbows. I did manage to get a few words from a sleepy old moth in the house porch but kept giggling at his accent. He on the other hand was convinced I was a movie star!

Entry May 4, 2009 (Artist: Roslind S., Japan)

A Japanese Poem:

Let us ride, our horses abreast,
To the old home wither we go,
To contemplate the cherry blossom,
Falling perchance like the flakes of snow.

I received many wonderful gifts here and saw many exotic things! There is so much to say but little time to write! Everything will be spoken symbolically in my journal, in prose and in pictures and in what I bring back from my experiences here. (This part entered by Mrs. Art Doll Maker on June 14, 2009.)

Entry June 2, 2009 (Artist: Emthegoddess, Washington)

My dress is made of sky, moist at the waist, tight to my chest. I am full of the sweet soaked clover unstoppered by the tiniest star traveling beneath the moon.

Entry June 14, 2009 (Artist: Mrs. Art Doll Maker, NJ)

I'm back home with Mom and Dad and am glad to be here. My wings are tired. My body is sore from the long journey. They gave me lots of hugs and kisses and squishes. Then, made me some really hot tea. I slipped into my PJs and got tucked into bed. So many memories that will last more than a lifetime. So many tales to tell as we sit around the outdoor fireplace, inhaling the refreshing salt water air of the Atlantic. I miss my new friends and am more than grateful for all they have shared, taught, and given me. But, it is good to be home.

This is how I left a year ago in Summer 2008. My wings were made to wrap around me like a really big hug.

This is how I returned in Summer 2009.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Goddess of Sleep


It's an honor to have this piece chosen among my peers in this challenge. We had to create a deity from our imagination, folklore, mythology, or around the world; and, this is what I came up with after a few tries. The prize I received was a fantastic hand-crafted art doll from Barbara Koppang, aka: The Oddest Goddess. You can see some of her work at

For years, I suffered from insomnia that developed from having my sleep patterns disturbed on a nightly basis over a long period of time. It wasn't until about two years ago when I was prescribed Ambien that they were finally restored six months later.

I used to take care of my mother who is now in heaven a little over two years ago. One condition she suffered from was edema. Almost every night, she would cough and choke in her sleep. I always slept with one ear open and would rush to gently wake her up. Some nights were worse then others. Hearing her struggling to breathe with that gurgling sound flooding her chest always gave me chest pains. Although, she said she was fine as long as she was on her water pills. Like all of us, what are we going to do? We endure what we have and move on the best we can.

The base fabric reminded me of something that could evoke a deep penetrating sleep, a deep relaxation and a dreamy-state of being. My thoughts immediately were brought back to these prior years. The mandala, leaves, and strawberry hearts she's holding represent the dreams we have that don't always make sense but may have an underlying meaning. Or, they may just comprise tidbits from the recent activities in our lives.

I would have liked to have filled her with a combination of herbs but didn't have them on hand. This is something I plan to do going forward, even in my other pieces. Each combination will be different.

This is the first real healing and symbolic piece I ever created that is based on a very personal experience.

Monday, June 1, 2009

2009 Hoffman Challenge

These are all of the fabrics for this year's Hoffman challenge which I bought from Fat Quarter Shop. The one on the right is the main challenge fabric. The others are the coordinating challenge fabrics. You don't have to use all of them but must use no more than a yard of the main fabric in your piece. Details to the challenge can be found in the link below.

Fat Quarter Shop was the first retailer I could find that had all of the fabrics in stock when they were first released. That was important to me. I didn't want to wait for different shipments to come in.

It's also important for me to actually see the fabrics in person, so I ordered some of each. The colors and patterns have a different "feel" on closer inspection as opposed to just viewing them online or in a magazine.

Originally, my design was going to incorporate all of the fabrics into it, along with some of the Sulky threads. However, that idea didn't pan out after trying and trying again. So, I shifted my game plan and still have a work in progress which I hope to share with you soon.

It can be very frustrating and disappointing when the idea visualized doesn't always work out. Since there is a deadline approaching, flexibility and resourcefulness is key.