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Tasha Tuesday

It may be the last day of January, but it feels suspiciously like spring around here. I've been out running errands with no coat. I can walk the dog with no mittens or hat and it's very seductive to start feeling like it's only mere moments from the time when the daffodils will pop up.

At this point in the year, with winter 2/3 over (and this year, with no real winter at all!) I like to start thumbing through seed catalogs and gardening books, something I know Tasha Tudor and her brood were fond of as well. When the sky is still gray and the earth is still sleeping, it's fun to think about what can happen in the next few months, when all the things that are bare will be green and beautiful again.

This is a strange spring for me, with our house for sale. I honestly don't know where I'll be planting a spring garden, or if things will happen in a way that will keep me from planting all together. Although I'm sure I'll do some container planting if I dont get the chance to plant a real bed.
I really hope the coming summer is kinder, after 2011's summer was so brutal (brutal seems to be my favorite word to describe it) and I lost a majority of the vegetables I'd so painstakingly ordered and planted and tried to keep alive.

Luckily, there always seems to be another chance. Another season. I'm looking forward to the chances of 2012.

Happy Tasha Tuesday,
H

Vintage Style: Edwardian in the Modern Era


As you guys know, at the moment I've got a serious crush on Edwardian style (thanks, Downton Abbey) and although I love the lace, the velvet, the beautiful detail and rich fabrics, I know that if you tried to dress head-to-toe Edwardian, it would look rather costumey. But if you love it, there has to be a modern twist to it. And I found that twist when I visited Harriett and Aimee's blog "Bright Young Twins."

These two looks are just gorgeous, but with a decidedly modern edge. This, my friends, is how you do Edwardian in 2012! I particularly love the pairing of slacks with a decadent Edwardian top, and love the wild and beautiful hair paired with dark lip color. They really got it right!

And as for my American friends....we're still in the middle of season 2 on Downton Abbey. The latest episode was last night and good grief....the drama never stops! I loved Mary's head to toe red velvet traveling jacket and hat but I cant help but hope that Mrs. Bates and Sir Richard meet mysterious and tragic ends. How Anna keeps from snatching Mrs. Bates bald-headed is beyond me... ;)

Happy Monday my friends! And many thanks to Aimee and Harriett at Bright Young Twins for letting me show off their photos! They've got amazing and timeless style!~
~H

My Laura

So this afternoon I finished up my second Little House themed painting, this one is simply "Laura." I imagine this to be Laura first arriving in the Dakota Territories, when the railroad is being build and she's out riding ponies and exploring the strange new territory that will be her home.


I hope you like this one! I wish I had a nice red dress like this one. Red was often young Laura's color, and its my favorite too. When I do my next print order, I will be sure to get some made of these new paintings. Hope you like them!~
h

*Made*


You might remember that I had some of art available over the holidays at a little pop up shop in down town Tulsa, put on by friends from Indie Emporium. Well, the pop up shops were so successful in bringing shoppers out that some of the shops have decided to stay, and one of them is the Indie Emporium shop!

So I'm very happy to share with you that Thom and Christine have opened up "Made", which opens to the public on Feb.1st and its adorable. It's filled to the brim with so many beautiful locally made items from art to home decor to jewelry. I was so happy to see the handiwork of so many friends there, and feel so thankful that Oklahoma is such a crafty and welcoming place to be.

Made is located on the corner of 5th and Boston in the heart of downtown Tulsa in the beautiful and histocial Philcade building. It's so wonderful to see life being breathed into these buildings again.

If you're in the area, I highly suggest coming down and treating yourself to some fabulous food and great shopping. Tulsa is such a beautiful city, and its good to see things that are so grass roots motivated flourishing!

Have a great weekend,
H

Little House Series: Prairie Girls

So, I've been hatching some new ideas for art for this new year and one idea, with lots of encouragement from fellow friends and readers, is a series of paintings inspired by the "Little House on the Prairie" book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I am very pleased to present to you the first painting, "Prairie Girls."


This painting features Mary and Laura playing on the wide expanse of the open prairie, making daisy chains in the wild grasses. The wagon is in the distance, and soon they'll be on their way to another little house and home.

I'm brainstorming about other scenes to paint, there are so many. I'm so excited to start this new series and hope you enjoy it too :) if you have any suggestions, send them my way!~
~H

Yorkshire

A few days ago I treated myself to a month's subscription to Ancestry.com and their world records. Intent trying to unravel my own family mystery, I found myself pleasantly surprised to get lost in my husband's family tree, which reaches quite far back into Yorkshire, England.

Seems fitting that a girl named Heather would fall into a family line that spent many a generation rambling in the heath ;)

I've always loved history-- especially the more anthropological side of it (customs, folk lore, language, traditions, dress, that's all more interesting to me than war and land-grabbing) so when I start digging into census records and finding little nuggets of long-lost knowledge, it makes my little heart sing in the most nerdy of history loving ways.

While my family tree is complicated by centuries of living in the most rural of the American landscapes (it seems I come from a long line of mountain folk who didn't take kindly to census takers) Will's family were neatly accounted for in decades of meticulous English record. I was able to trace his line back to 1520 before I lost the trail. That's the reign of Henry VIII!

Now, I know I have a good many visitors from Great Britain on the blog, even if some of you are rather quiet :) I hope you'll indulge me this once however, and perhaps come out of the woodwork to share what you know about where you live!

The earliest Sleightholm(e) I found was from Oswaldkirk, Yorkshire. Then for several generations they lived somewhere called Great Edstone, Yorkshire, before ambling down the road to farm in Scalby, Yorkshire and Kirbymoorside, Yorkshire. In the mid-1800s it seems they left the countryside of rural Yorkshire to work in the mines in Oldham, Lancashire. That's where they migrated from.

Through bits of census reports, immigration papers, and naturalization records, I've been able to piece together that my husband's great-grandfather left England for Canada as a young man, and soon his parents, siblings, and his sweetheart, a girl named Amy, soon joined him. Amy was a mill worker's daughter born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. I found her working as a servant as young as 15 years old in a small household through records, and she later moved to a slightly larger household in Oldham. The change in the lives of this couple is pretty impressive. Within a decade they went from a miner and a housemaid in England to a family of five in Pennsylvania, with Mr. Sleightholm rising to foreman at an electrical company. I'd say they did pretty well for themselves!

So, if by chance these places I named sound familiar to you...I'd love to hear about them. From what I've gathered, Oldham seems to have been a fairly industrial town in the 1800s, filled with mining and mills (cue scenes from "North and South") I'm curious about these other tiny little towns-- Kirbymoorside (which was mentioned on Downton Abbey last week, did you catch it? Whodathought!), Scalby and Great Edstone. Perhaps one day we modern Sleightholms (we've dropped the last 'e' now) will make our way back over the ocean and see this place where we lived for so many centuries once again. It sounds like a grand adventure!

Til then, I feel a great urge to paint, especially when I see beautiful images of the moors like the photo shown above. What a beautiful place. And how happy I am to have followed our family trail there.

~H


Tasha Tuesday

For today's Tasha Tuesday I thought I'd show this music video of one of my favorite bands...I think she'd like the goats :)



*Thanks Mary Ann for your help in posting the video with content!

Brainstorming

Something about this time of year just begs for a fresh start. Is it the new calendars? Fresh and empty planners? The weather certainly doesnt do much to inspire, but still...it makes me want to brainstorm and streamline and ponder what should be my path with this little folk art endeavor.

I thought one of the best ways to sharpen my focus would be to ask you all-- my friends, readers and customers, what it is you like best about Audrey Eclectic and your favorite items to purchase. I've decided that this year will be different in that I don't plan on doing many shows. One maybe. The rest of my time I'd like to devote to new endeavors, and expanding things online.

This will mean that I'll have many more opportunities to buy originals. Instead of being horded for shows, originals will be placed in the shop. I'll keep offering prints, would you all like the opportunity for more post cards? What about the ceramic dishes? I need some help brainstorming because these lazy dogs that are in my studio are no help. All they care about is when it's time to take a walk or have a snack ;)

So. Any thoughts you may have would be greatly appreciated. I have a few ideas for long range plans, but I'm always eager to hear what it is that people would like to see in the shop.

Hope you're having a good week and looking forward to hearing your thoughts,
~H

Knitted Love

I had the idea for this painting a while back. I thought it was quite funny. I thought it might make a good painting. What if you could just knit up your very own sweetheart? Wouldn't that be lovely?

Luckily, with my knitting skills, I didn't have to. But he does have a beard. Man fiber-art :)

****

Also, thanks for all your nice comments about my post yesterday with the family photos. They are some of my most treasured photos. Until my grandma gave the pack of photos of Lula Mae a few years ago, I had no idea about her. I don't know that I even knew her name. It gives me a little thrill though to know that I've walked the same old down town streets that she walked, and I visited her little house countless times to see my Grandma Kate, who married Lula Mae's son and raised her own family in the same little house. It still stands today and still is in the family.

I think these sort of little ties to history and place and family are one of the benefits of living in a family that didn't move much. Well, we moved a bit but always came back. Bloom where you planted, I suppose.

Have a lovely weekend!~~
~H

Edwardian Era, Okie Style

All this Downton Abbey talk has got me thinking about the fashions of the day, and how it was interpreted all over the world, not just upper class England. In the nineteen teens, my great-great grandmother seems to have been quite the little clothes horse herself, although she had never seen a grand manor house. She was the daughter of a glass factory worker, the oldest of several children in a small rural town in a land that was just freshly minted with statehood. She was also quite the striking beauty and had a love for clothes. Meet Lula Mae!
She's pictured above with her first husband, Jim, who was my great-great grandfather. This will be about 1910, their wedding photo. I have this photo blown up huge and displayed in my living room. I think they are so just beautiful. I love her elaborate hat and beautiful white dress. She's got a nice parasol and he's wearing his best suit, which he seems to wear in most of the photos he gets his picture taken in. They met in Caney, Kansas before settling in my home town in northeastern Oklahoma, probably around the time of the notorious Titanic.

I love the full length portraits like these, you can see everything from the flowers on the hat to the types of shoes they wore. This year high waisted skirts seem to be in fashion, and Lula is pictured here with her younger sister Grace and an 'unidentified gentleman.' Lula's familiar stance with him seems a little risque since I know this wasn't her husband. I do know she had a twin brother. Could it be him? Or was she a brash flirt? Her lips are sealed on this...

Another photo of Lula Mae, her sister Grace, and a small child that may have been a younger sibling or perhaps Lula Mae's son, Jesse, who would be my great-grandfather. I love their dresses and the neat silhouette they form. I think what I like best about this era just before the flapper age erupted so much because the silhouettes are so simple and mostly natural. No elaborate bustles or crinolines or mounds of wasted fabric. Everything was much more tailored and it was the little things that captured the eye--- pretty tucks or lace edges or embroidery. I love the little details of her gloves with the watch over it, and Grace's ring. Even the little boy's shoes are finely detailed and adorable. Oh, to have such toddler clothes today! I can't even imagine a toddler in pantaloons now :)

This is Lula and her little family with Jim. I know very little about him, although I'm in the midst of some family research. Evidently he had a long illness that Lula Mae nursed him through and died when their son was about 6 years old. At that time Lula was only in her mid-twenties, and already a widow with a young child. She had a second chance at luck in love, however, when she remarried a local businessman who owned a mattress factory in town and was widowed with his own young son, exactly the same age as her Jesse. They were an early blended family that evidently worked well, since Jesse would grow up and give his first son his step-father's name as a middle name.

And here is Lula Mae, in the mid 1920s, with her son Jesse. Don't their outfits just smack of refined taste? I'm always in awe of the beautifully detailed clothes, they seem to be of such fine quality. They were never more than normal middle class folks, but Lula seemed bent on having a few fine things and loved showing them off for the camera. She was a youth of her time, no doubt. Moving pictures were invented, the telephone came to be in homes and businesses, oil was booming in Oklahoma and people who had never had fine things were suddenly finding themselves able to dream of bigger and better lives. And I have a feeling she was probably a little mischevious and lots of fun. She knew how to dress, no doubt about that!

Hope you've enjoyed this little peek at some long-past fashion~!
Til next time,
H

Tasha Tuesday

Hello my friends, and happy Tasha Tuesday!~
Our 70 degree beautiful day of yesterday is gone and replaced with a rude awakening in the 20s this morning. It's a day just made for knitwear. I wore my gray scarf out to do school drop off and it's amazing how warm something wool can keep you. Natural fibers are a wonderful thing!

I think perhaps my love for knitted things come from the fact that I love to layer and burrow in things like shawls and sweaters and blankets. I love being in a constant state of cuddled up. Because of this, I always wanted to knit a shawl but all the patterns I saw would make me cross-eyed. All I wanted was a simple, beginner's pattern. Thankfully, I did find one (again, youtube. What did I do before it existed? I am such a 'show me' learner. It's awesome) and started on it a few days ago.

From what I've seen in books, I think Tasha Tudor had quite the shawl collection. Perhaps she was a serial cuddler like myself. I love the scalloped edge she did on the red one she's shown wearing in "Forever Christmas" (Photos by Jay Paul, including the one above) but I'm not that fancy yet. I can't help but always wonder how did she find the time? How could she sit and knit and make all these things when there were animals to care for, and children too, and a writing and illustrating career to keep up with. I suppose the simple truth is, like with anyone, she just made time for the things she loved.

Are there things like that in your life? Little passions that you carve out moments for?

I havent gotten to the place where I'm able to knit at stoplights yet, haha, but I'm thinking I'll probably get there! We finished our recordings of Downton Abbey last night, so I got a good 3 hours work in on the shawl. I know its not perfect and will probably be a little blundered as I got more caught up in the show and forgot what row I was working on (did I do the yarn over row? Good question....) but I think it will serve it's purpose, and I'll be glad to have completed my first shawl!

I hope you take a little time to work on something you enjoy today. Go on, Tasha would want you to. It's Tasha Tuesday, after all :)

~H

Who is Tasha Tudor? Find out more HERE

Vintage Style: Downton Abbey Hair

I love vintage cloths and vintage hairstyles. You don't much in the way of sumptuous fabrics and elaborate hair in modern style, but that doesn't mean you can't use those elements, and not look like you're going to a costume party.

This morning I watched a bit of the new season of Downton Abbey and my first thoughts were "How could Matthew bring another girl home?!" And "Ooohh....I like that velvet. And that lace. And that hair! I want that hair!"

Of course we don't all have a lady's maid waiting on us hand and foot to lace and button us into stunning gowns or weave our hair into beautiful coifs. (If I did, I probably would have her too busy washing dishes and putting away laundry. The chores I hate!) but that doesn't mean we have to do without a little Edwardian glamour.

So, with this in mind, off I trot to youtube, the rabbit's hole of "how do I...." questions and found several tutorials for Edwardian hair styles. But I found that a lot of these tutorials are pretty elaborate and not suited for everyday use. So I came up with the style shown above that took a grand total of 2 minutes and 2 bobby pins and an elastic band to complete.

And this is how: First, I just combed out my hair (mine falls in a slight side part) and put it in a loose ponytail. At the base of the ponytail, just above the elastic, use your hands to divide the hair in two. Then take the ponytail and flip the end up and through the hole, that will give you the roll look, and the end of the ponytail will be left hanging down your neck. From there, take the rest of the ponytail and tuck it back up into the roll, securing it with a couple of bobby pins. Voila! You are now ready to be the Lady Mary of the grocery store or school pick up line ;)

What do you think? What are your favorite vintage hair styles?

Dapper Mr. Fox

This is the second piece of 2012 :) I'm not in love with the photos I took of it, but it seems to big to scan and my new scanner isnt out of the box yet. But I grew impatient and wanted to show it off!

It shows a little folky fairytale-like scene of a little girl traveling through the woods with her basket when she comes upon a very dapper fox. I was thinking a little of the movie Fantastic Mr. Fox which is so good when I painted this. I wonder if this fox will get in as much trouble as the fox family in the movie did?

Anyhow...thank you all for your nice comments on my scarf. I really like it. There's a lot to be said for nice, natural fibers. This has gotten me thinking too about historical knits. I'd love to learn more about the knitwear that our ancestors made and wore. I imagine for settlers in the wilds, a savvy woman with a pair of needles and knowledge of making her own fibers would have been invaluable. What were the mainstays of knitting 100, 200, or more years ago? Socks, I'm sure. Hats. Scarves. Protection against the elements. Did you know that when the puritans landed in North American we were going through a bit of a mini ice age? No wonder they thoughts they needed so many clothes and underthings. But I digress....I just always find quirky historical facts so fascinating.

But if you know of any books or websites about historical knitting, let me know! I feel inspired.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Although we have a tiny bit of snow still on the ground, the weekend here on the prairie is looking wonderful, in the 60s!

Enjoy your weekend and talk with you again soon,
~H

knitting and planning

Well, I finished the gray scarf the other day. I stitched until I couldnt stitch any more! I think it came out nice and because of the wool content it's very warm! I took this photo outside yesterday evening when the winds started picking up and getting a little brisk. That night we saw our first whirling snow come tumbling down. It was just a dusting--- the whole world looks like a gingerbread cookie with a little bit of icing. But it was so pretty, and its nice when snow is unobtrusive. Just pretty. That's nice.

2012 is going quietly but diligently. I'm working on some commissioned pieces that are fun, and my show at Deep Fork is officially over with as of yesterday. It was a good exhibit and I met all sorts of folks who said they saw the paintings and liked them there. I was so surprised and honored when people would seek me out after seeing that show, even though I'm not in OKC. It was so fun and nice to hear the comments on the paintings.

But that's not the end of the shows though! I have another show going up in mere weeks--- tentatively scheduled to hang February 1, I'll have a month-long exhibit at Shades of Brown Coffee and Art in Tulsa. I did a gallery there a few years ago and it was really fun and they're very sweet there. They also make a killer grasshopper by my favorite is the frozen heath mocha. For some reason when I buy coffee drinks I prefer them frozen. More like ice cream that way, probably ;)

I'm feeling good though. Quietly inspired and recuperating a little after the craziness of December. I never got sick after the shows (which I sometimes do) but I got run down and sort of ragged. Its nice to rest up and get back to work.

So. Now I really want to knit a shawl. I'm not sure how to go about it. I guess I need to haunt Ravelry and see if I can find a simple pattern. This time of year always makes me want to knit! Its great for fidgety hands.

What have you been up to this week? Have you been creating? Resting your muse? I was listening to a Roseanne Cash interview on OnBeing yesterday (I love that show!) and she mentioned a quote she enjoyed, and I quite liked it too. She said that, when you're creating, you have to "show the muse you're serious." That means working through funks and not giving up. Show your muse that you mean business and you're willing to tough out the bad days or the lack of inspiration to get to the good stuff. I think that's a good thing to remember.

Well, enough rambling!~ Back to painting....
~H

*Pretty Gray Things*

January can be a pale and dreary month after the intense colors of Christmas. But gray doesn't have to boring or plain. I've been admiring some very pretty gray things as of late, like a new vintage photo and lovely gray knitting project.

The other day I was surprised by a package in the mail and received this most gorgeous of gorgeous old photos from my friend (and jewelry making genius) Katinka Pinka. I had seen a glimpse of it in a photo she posted of her booth at Max's Haus in New Braunfuls, TX. She was kind enough to send it to me, and I love love love it. It looks to be a pair of children's confirmation photo. Their last names aren't the same, so I wonder if perhaps they were cousins. I love her dress, don't you? And their tiny ornate Bibles and rosaries. I think their candles have been 'enhanced' to look as it they're glowing. Pre-Photoshop, people!

I've also been working on that dreamy gray yarn I purchased at Shepherd's Cross last month. it's soft and easy to knit, and I decided to try out the seed stitch after seeing a really simple explanation for it on Katie Elliot's blog. She also made a seed stitch scarf, and so I thought it would be a perfect way to get that stitch down pat. As you can see from the little ball of yarn, I'm almost done!

Well, I need to get ready to start the day. I'm in the mood for french onion soup tonight. The temperatures are finally falling from their deceptively spring-like warmth and perhaps winter will truly be on it's way soon. Will we see snow this year? Who knows! I did buy a snow shovel and a karosene lamp...which should guarantee we have the warmest winter on record ;)

Til next time....
~H

Lillibet

Well here it is, the first painting of 2012! I was working on this New Year's Eve night. We actually rang in the new year sitting on the couch with a couple of snoozing dogs watching Portlandia. It was my type of fancy :)

I decided to name this piece Lillibet because I think its the cutest name. I've been on an anglophile reading tear lately and while reading about young Queen Elizabeth II I learned that "Lillibet" was her childhood nickname (A babyfied 'Elizabeth') and thought it was adorable. And so, that moment of love has turned into the naming of this painting.

This new year has inspired me to work on a little different sort of wintery color palette. I don't often do pale backgrounds, although this time of year seems to bring it out in me. And for some reason this time of year always finds me listening to this album, without fail. Perhaps the pale cover art is what clicks in my brain for pale paintings. Who knows!

Anyhow....a quiet day in the studio here. I've got two snoozing dogs and a date for a walk in the park with a friend, and a mommy dinner date later tonight, which I'm looking forward to! It's so easy to burrow in and become a hermit (who wears terrible, mismatched lazy clothes) when you work from home. Here's to throwing in a little girl time and nice outfits into the mix :)

Hope your 2012 is happy and hopeful!~
h

Tasha Tuesday

Photograph by Richard Brown

"Why do women want to dress like men when they're fortunate enough to be women? Why lose our femininity, which is one of our greatest charms? We get much more accomplished by being charming than we would by flaunting around in pants and smoking. I'm very fond of men. I think they're wonderful creatures. But I don't want to look like one."

--Tasha Tudor
The Private World of Tasha Tudor

What are your thoughts on the subject? Oh, the topic of post-feminist clothing...the arguments are endless!~
Just a little food for thought on this Tasha Tuesday....
~H

Another New Beginning

I love the promise of a new skein of yarn, and thought there was nothing so befitting the first day of the new year as a freshly wound ball of yarn and plans for leisurely knitting with no holiday deadline.

As always, I have high hopes for 2012. Its all fresh and untouched so far. A year to be made. Over the past year I've learned more about what I want for myself and my business and what I don't. Quite frankly, these past few months made me very weary with a grueling show schedule. I think this year I will do things a lot differently, try a different approach. I plan to make my focus for 2012 be more relaxed and intimate with you, my readers and wonderful customers over at my little etsy shop. I want to pace myself and not over-commit myself so that I can truly enjoy the seasons and take part of them, and not feel like I'm always trying to stockpile for the 'next thing' and next show so that I never get a chance to sit back and relax and enjoy. That will not be the theme of 2012~

And so. I will knit myself something pretty and gray with this nice new yarn, at the moment completely unblemished with any mangled stitches. I bought the yarn a few weeks ago at Shepherd's Cross, a beautiful and picturesque sheep farm and tourist center in Claremore, Okla. that also sells my artwork. The yarn is an alpaca and lamb blend and I love the thought that perhaps I saw the source of my yarn frolicking in the pasture as I left that rainy afternoon with my new yarn and a bag full of produce, its such a lovely place.

I don't really have an resolutions to keep, other than trying to take things easy and not put so much pressure on myself. To follow whatever adventure may await me, to be braver and take chances but also know that I can also enjoy the process without fretting over the end result.

And so, let us begin!~
H