Tuesday, March 29, 2011


The Marionette's, Roderick & Madeline 
wool applique on cotton, with charcoal on paper
18" x 14", finished
©2011 Danielle Crane

Monday, March 28, 2011


...or Artist Cards, Editions and Originals.

They are collector cards, essentially. They can only be 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" in size but that is the only restriction. So, since I was taking pictures of the ACEO's I've made, I thought I'd make a little collage of the finished cards to show you. Later today, they'll be for sale in my etsy shop.

Do they look familiar? They should. I'm going to make ACEO portraits of the portraits I make with wool and cotton. They are really fun to make! I enjoy the change up from sewing to drawing, from BIG to teeny tiny.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Five for Friday and a Bit of a Break

For the next few weeks I will be taking a bit of a blog break. At least through spring break, which is the first week of April. I just need to get my butt in gear in various areas and I think I need to eliminate some of the convenient distractions that surround me.

What will I be doing?

1. Finishing off the Circus Series. It needs to be done and done. My list of portraits that I'd like to do this year (or decade, whatever) is quite long and by May I should be working on Halloween exclusively. Eek! (Plus I really want to get this ACEO thing going.)

2. This garden of mine is going to be very needy at the beginning. Although, perhaps not as soon as I thought as I sit here looking at snow outside my window.

3. Our family is taking a wee vacation at the beginning of spring break. I'd like to, by then, be able to give them my undivided attention with all my "to-do's" behind me.

4. Any computer time needs to spent taking pictures of new work, filling up my Etsy shop, updating my web shop, applying to art shows.

5. Giving my neglected house some TLC. The changing of the seasons in a big, old house require lots of preparation, inside and out. And, living in Michigan, the weather is unpredictable (and that's putting it mildly). Around here, when the sun comes out and the air warms up, you have to take advantage of it ASAP!

I will take pictures throughout and will update as I can. In the meantime, have a wonderful few weeks and  a Happy Easter! I'll see you that following Monday!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Process- Part 2

It's a bit slow going here.

I've been getting caught up in the many things that there are to do when Spring arrives. Not that I'm complaining too much. It's been nice taking walks and cleaning up the yard and getting ready for the garden. I've been enjoying the sunshine. (As I write this, it is grey, very cold and we're expecting snow. Sigh...)

So...What I'm saying is, I haven't gotten very far with my marionettes. I've made progress but I was originally 
planning to have them finished by now. I have decided on there names. I wanted a literary brother and sister to be my inspiration. Where to go? Poe! Of, course! Therefore, I'd like to introduce you to (the beginning of) Roderick and Madeline. (The Fall of the House of Usher)

 Outfits done.
 Hair cut out.
 Heads stitched and eyeballs in place.
Now for the fun part, details!

I have also begun making ACEO's. More on that when I have more to show!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Garden Prep 2011

It's time to start working on my garden. I reality, not just my day dreams!

According to my calendar and last frost dates, I need to start my seeds indoors this week and, as of this coming weekend, I can plant spinach seeds outdoors. Woo Hoo!!! Further proof that spring is here.

So, on Monday, I spent some time getting things together.

And, I made up my planting guide for my four raised beds. They are big and bright and pretty straight forward.

My when-to-plant guide thanks to Thy Hand Hath Provided. Very helpful!!!

As you may recall, earlier this year I said that I wanted my garden to be different this year. I wanted to only plant what we would truly use and I wanted to plant enough to get our family through the year. This "How Much To Plant Per Person" guide (The Grocery Shrink) was also very helpful.

 Here is what I decided on:

leaf lettuce- 5 squares/80 plants                         cherry tomatoes- 3 squares/3 plants
thyme-  2 squares/4 plants                                 roma tomatoes- 3 squares/3 plants
swiss chard- 2 squares/4 plants                          parsley- 2 squares/4 plants
kale- 4 squares/8 plants                                     carrots- 15 squares/240 plants
basil- 2 squares/ 2 plants                                    broccoli- 15 squares/15 plants
spinach- 5 squares/45 plants                              cauliflower- 4 squares/4 plants
potatoes- 15 squares/30 plants                           rosemary- 2 squares/ 2 plants
beans- 10 squares/ 40 plants                              sage- 2 squares/2 plants

*We may purchase a plot in our neighborhood's community garden and fill it with corn. I'm still thinking about that.

All that's left is to buy the seeds, freshen up the soil in my beds, roll up my little newspaper pots and pray for sunshine!

In other food news... I' have been successfully baking our own bread now. What was I so afraid of!!!???!!! I have made wheat, white and cinnamon swirl so far but I look forward to experimenting with other kinds.

I highly recommend square foot gardening if you live in a more urban area like myself. It is a great way to utilize the "perfect space" for a garden while keeping it neat, pretty and manageable. Our four beds on in our side yard (we live on a corner) by the road. It gets killer sunshine and is perfect for veggies but it had always felt to exposed to all of Lansing. The raised beds surrounded by mulch look really nice though, and the garden never felt like it was out in the middle of the neighborhood, also a plus! 

So, here's to Spring in all her sunshiny, rainy, hot-one-day-cold-the-next, glory! Happy gardening!!! ;)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Five For Friday- Books for Nathanael

Most of these books I read as a young girl, all except the Harry Potter series. I can't wait for Nathanael to be old enough to read/understand/appreciate/adore these books! I plan on reading them with him (another good reason for getting a kindle- I won't have to purchase two of the same books).

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle is fabulous. I've read it about five or six times myself, as girl and adult. I can remember the first time I read it. It was one of the books that I would take up in a tree we used to climb. I'd sit on a big branch and read and read.

The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White. I read that book many times when I was young but not since. I look forward to rereading it. I barely remember the story but I do remember feeling like reading all over again as soon as I would finish it. Which is how I feel about Pride and Prejudice now.:)

The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. I remember the first time I read The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe. It was when my brother and I were visiting my grandma. I was so excited about it. I kept sharing bits of it with Christopher. We had seen the cartoon they'd play on T.V. every Easter, but as books do, this was much better!

The James Herriot books (and after that, the show). I used to think I wanted to be a vet. Because of allergies, asthma and the inability to distance myself emotionally from my patients, this was not going to happen. However, reading those books... I laughed, I cried. I could vet-vicariously through those stories. (I could also clearly see how unsuited I was for the life of a vet. I still can't talk about our family dog that died 21 years ago!)

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. These were just plain fun! I started reading them as a way to connect with my then eleven year old step-son who loooved Harry Potter. He even looked like Harry Potter! I'm glad I did because I really enjoyed them. I'll make sure Nathanael reads the books before he sees the movies. Each book has such great surprises and plot twists- I don't want him to miss out on those.

I'll have oodles more to throw his way as he gets even older. Unfortunately, I don't think he'll be enthusiastic about Gone With the Wind, Pride and Prejudice, Anna Karenina and Rebecca. Ooh! And Wuthering Heights....His loss!:)

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I decided to use this next portrait in my Circus series to make a "Journey" post on my other blog. I'm going to take pictures throughout the process of making this piece and put them all together in a post to show how I do what I do.

For this Thursday Art Update post, I'll take you through the first part of the process for the Marionette Siblings. I haven't come up for a name for them yet but I have some ideas.

 First, a quick sketch, done a while ago to get the idea down.

 Next, a more detailed sketch.

 Then, I go "shopping" through all of my fabrics for background fabric,
skin tone, clothing, hair and any extra trim I might want to use.

 I iron the background fabric and pin it to size I want. I cut out heads and necks and shoulders, if needed. I also start cutting out their clothing pieces so I at least know what I'm working with for spacing and placement. At the top of this one is a paper cut-out of a hand so I know how far down to place the marionette's heads.

 Finally, I start to pin things in place. Once I know for sure that that is 
where my subjects will be spending eternity, I'll pick out threads and begin stitching.


Next week, I'll post more pictures of my progress. In the meantime Happy St. Patrick's Day! I don't know about you but I can't wait for that corned beef! :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I Want A Kindle

I think.

No, I do.

I don't want to. But I do. (Deep breath.) I want a Kindle. Erg!

There was a time that I swore I would never have anything to do with computers. I, much like Regis, felt that computers were a passing fad. I was wrong. Obviously.

Now there are e-readers (is that what they're called?) I love to read. There is truly nothing I like to do more than reading a good book. And, I love books! I love the way they feel, look, smell. Especially old books. Ergo, I assumed I was safe from covetous thoughts about computer-y book-y thing-y's.

But then I saw one. On Friday. In Lansing. At McDonald's. Being used by a real live person, a Mom, like me. (Although, she needed to be paying attention to her kid who wasn't being very nice in the Play Place. But that's another post.) I couldn't get it out of my head! I went home, got on the computer and look up the Kindle.

Have you checked those out? They're incredible! 3500 books can be held in that little beauty! 3500 books on me at all times!!!! 3500!!!!!!!!!!! The books are less expensive. Classic books are FREE!!!! I could have Pride and Prejudice on me all the time and I wouldn't have to keep buying new copies because I re-read it so much!

After researching the Kindle and finding, to my horror, that I wanted one, I called my parents to have them talk me out of my madness. But what do my unbelieving ears hear? "Your Mom and I have been talking about getting one, too." What??!!! The phone call quickly turned into a meeting of the "Kindle Appreciation Society". I hung up feeling even more convinced that I needed a Kindle. Now!

Every day I think of new reasons why buying a Kindle would be smart, thrifty, efficient, necessary to my continued existence, beneficial to the boys (who wouldn't be allowed to so much as look at it), the answer to all of the worlds problems, etc.

Do I have one yet? No. I still have to give myself permission- for many reasons. The biggest reason being that I feel like I am betraying books! How can I do that? I looooove my books. They're everywhere! I read them. I collect them. I even decorate with them.

Oh, what shall I do?

Monday, March 14, 2011

How Do I Love Asher?

Let me count the ways...

1. Look at him!!! Sometimes I find myself staring at him- in amazement, in love, in frustration, in amusement. And it's not just the fluffy, nibble-worthy cheeks, the big, blue eyes and those full lips. It's also every look that comes across his sweet face- smiles, frowns, laughter and tears, concentration and consternation, confidence and frustration. Each one is precious to me and makes my heart feel a little squeeze.

2. He is grooming to be my Enforcer, my Muscle, my Assistant-to-the Mom. No longer do I have to trot out the tired pleas for people (read: husband and son) to push in their chairs, not sit on the table, put on their seat belt, etc., etc. Asher does it for me! For example, when the whole family is in the car, driving somewhere, no longer will you hear from me, "Dave, put your seat belt on. Please don't make our babies watch you fly through the windshield to your death." Now you hear, from the backseat, "David Allen Crane! Put your seat belt on!". I love it! He's always had that hint of the dictator about him. Time to put it to good use!

3. He's game for anything! Being my constant companion, he really has no choice but, I must say he adapts to whatever I throw his way quite nicely. He loves to go shopping, especially Target and Kroger (Target for the toys and Kroger for the firemen who also shop there.) He loves music; listening to and singing. He mostly sings Sunday school songs but sometimes, in between "Jesus Loves Me" and "Holy, Holy, Holy" you'll hear "Should I Stay or Should I Go". And he recognizes Mumford & Sons. As soon as he hears one of their songs start to play, he sticks his left arm up in the air and starts strumming away at his armpit with his right hand! :)
He sits next to me and draws while I sew, he loves to watch the Barefoot Contessa with me and he recognizes Mommy's need for coffee and Regis & Kelly in the morning.

I could go on and on. He really is fun and funny. We lock horns A LOT but we are also quick to kiss and make up. I love having him around and miss him when we are apart. I love teaching him and exposing him to new things. And I love learning from him. I've learned a lot from my Asher.

I am blessed.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Update-Madame Sidonia the Fortune Teller

She is finished! Madame Sidonia, fortune teller and entrepreneur, is ready to join the circus!

Next up: A brother and sister team of marionettes. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lent.... Gasp

This year, as Lent was approaching, I was thinking about possibly, maybe, I don't know- giving up something for Lent. I've never given up anything for Lent before. For some reason, this year, I'm feeling like observing Lent- as far as forty days with/without something important to me is concerned.

What brought it to mind yesterday was reading a post by someone who is giving up desserts for Lent. I found myself thinking, "That would be easy." And, it would. I don't rely on desserts to get me through the day so I could easily picture emptying the house of 'desserts' and taking a vacation from that part of the meal. Which led me to thinking that if I'm going to give up something for Lent, I need to dig a little deeper. And, what came to mind, causing me to gasp in horror?

Popcorn. (Those of you who know me just gasped, too. Didn't you?)

Pop Secret Homestyle Popcorn to be specific.

So I kept this crazy idea to myself until my husband came home. Then I did something regrettable. I told him that I was thinking of giving up popcorn for Lent. Gasp. He didn't gasp. He just told me that we don't observe Lent. My darling husband gave me an out. I told him that I wanted to do something and giving up popcorn felt terrifying/right to me. Gasp.

So, nothing more was said about Lent or popcorn until this morning, when I was driving the kids to school. Someone on the radio made a comment about not being addicted to Pac Man and Nathanael wanted to know what addicted meant. I told him that it was when you wanted or needed something desperately, as if your life depended on it. I said that when you are addicted to something you want it all the time. To which he replied, "You're giving up popcorn for Lent!"
(He spent Monday evening with his Dad. Apparently they discussed my giving up popcorn for Lent. Do you think they were placing bets? Were they betting on whether or not I'd last the whole forty days? Or, were they wondering how quickly I'd descend into madness?)

So there you have it. I'm giving up popcorn for Lent.

Nathanael, my sweet, sweet boy, said that he was going to give up candy for Lent. I was kind of surprised but I told him that was fine. I did warn him to really think about it. I explained to him a little about Lent and it's relationship to Easter and Jesus and told him that he had to make a serious commitment and that it should be something important, but not necessary, to him. He then said he'd give up toys. Gasp. Then he said he'd give up fruit snacks. (He likes fruit snacks like I like popcorn.) Gasp, gasp. I told him to think about it and I'd ask him in the morning what he decided. What a sweetie!!!

I've also decided that we will be giving up Sunday morning donuts as a family during this time. My popularity plummeted with this announcement but the character that is sure to developed will be thanks enough! :D

Will you be giving up (or adding) something for Lent?

Monday, March 7, 2011

What I Love About My Nathanael Is...

~ his many, mesmerizing freckles

~ his passion for Lego's means that I can continue being passionate about Lego's

~ he plays air guitar while I sing along to Mumford & Sons (in preparation for our debut as Crane & Sons)

~ his love of "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Star Wars" means that I am surrounded by images of Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Harrison Ford
~ his big, blue eyes

~ he thinks I'm pretty

~ instead of performing a ready-made play for his second grade class, he wrote and directed his own play

~ he loves detective/mystery shows (in preparation for Crane & Crane, Private Investigators)

~ his imagination and creativity never cease to surprise and delight me

~ he still likes to cuddle
I could go on and on. He really is an awesome, little boy and I love knowing him. And I find, with each year that passes, that I am excited to know Nathanael as a young man (although I'm not in any rush).

Friday, March 4, 2011

Thirty Three for Friday***

***I saw this list on another blog and had several good laughs over it. I thought you'd enjoy it, too.

The Washington Post's Mensa invitational once again asked readers to take
any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing
one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are the 2009 winners:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject
financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus : A person who's both stupid and a jerk.

3. Intaxication : Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you
realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation : Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright
ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign
of breaking down in the near future.

6. Deleted by me.

7. Giraffiti : Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

8. Sarchasm : The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person
who doesn't get it.

9. Inoculatte : To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Osteopornosis : A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon : It's like, when everybody is sending off all these
really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like,
a serious bummer.

12. Decafalon (n.): The gruelling event of getting through the day
consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido : All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they
come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've
accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug (n.) : Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your
bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor ( n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the
fruit you're eating.

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its
yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings
for common words. And the winners are:

1. Coffee , n. The person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted , adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has

3. Abdicate , v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade , v.. To attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly , adj. Impotent.

6. Negligent , adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a

7. Lymph , v. To walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle , n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence , n. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been
run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash , n. A rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle , n. A humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude , n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon , n.. A Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster , n. A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism , n. The belief that, after death, the soul flies up
onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent , n. An opening in the front of jockey shorts worn by
Jewish men

Tee hee! What were your favorite's? I liked sarchasm, balderdash, reintarnation and lymph.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Update- The Circus

Next in line for my circus series is a gypsy/fortune teller. Below is a sketch and then the next picture shows her beginnings.

I'm having fun with her (I have fun with all of them). I always liked dressing up like a gypsy for Halloween. Or a hobo. Or Marie Osmond. But I digress...

Anyway, I haven't decided on a name for her yet. Or her back story. Those tend to develop while I am working on the actual portrait. It's kinda fun having a "conversation" with my creation-in-the-works. Like they're telling me a story while I sit and stitch.

Next, I think, I'll begin work on the marionette siblings. I'll tuck them away in the back of my brain somewhere and let them simmer. In the meantime, here is a little sketch I did to get me started...

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