Monday, September 8, 2014

housesitting, dogsitting, chickensitting

I've spent the past several days in White's Creek, Tennessee, caring for my friends' home and animals. It's been quite nice.
See the treeline there at the top? That's the top of the hill across the street. The cabin is situated in somewhat of a valley, or holler more accurately.
Seems like I'm dogsitting for a different friend every couple of weeks, which suits me just fine--staying in one place makes me restless anyway. I am fortunate to have friends with five star front porches, so that's where I'll be the rest of this week.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

starting anew

A quick look through my archives will show that I've been an absentee blogger this year, and a sporadic one over the past several years. That's bad! I am committing myself to blogging all over again, though, this time with a shift in focus and approach.

After spending two and a half years in a very time-intensive fine arts program, I dropped out of university, moved back to the city (Nashville, my hometown), and threw myself into making and selling my soap. The most wonderful part has been reconnecting with a community of makers, which is the motivation for my relaunch here at Hag Palace. See you back here soon!

Monday, January 6, 2014

winter is happening.

It's happening! Winter--in January. (If you're in the northern hemisphere, that is. But enough with the details!) I didn't really understand what winter was all about until I spent a few years living in Indiana. We have it pretty easy here in Tennessee.

stopped off in Alexandria, TN
I awoke this morning to 60 degree weather and a windy day. The only precipitation I could detect came in the form of wayward puzzle pieces.

the weather in Smithville, TN
Worry not, snowbound friends! By the end of the day, the temperature had dropped 45 degrees, and then snow, and then ice. Hooray.

Mary Xmas
I hope you have a sweet animal friend to keep you warm! I am grateful for mine. Since I will be ensconced in this ice palace all of tomorrow, I guess I'll use the snow day to photograph more soap for my Etsy shop, and maybe work in some fun with ceramics. How about you--any snow day plans?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


My semester is over and I am re-learning how to be a normal human! It's an uncomfortable transition, not having more to do than minutes available, and suddenly I've found myself with time to spare.

Despite taking a math, a science, accounting, and history which is whatever, I managed straight A’s this semester. My GPA is 3.92 but who’s counting! (I am. I am counting.) During finals week, I got my Etsy shop up and running (doing those two things at once is not recommended), and have since been channeling all my scholastic efforts into my soap business.
soap samples for everyone!
It's been fun channeling my inner Martha to come up with appealing packaging, and I'm happy for any excuse to use washi tape.

I forgot how easy it is to get lost down the rabbit hole that is Etsy! I'll just be browsing away, when suddenly I look up and it's an hour later! Where did the time go? It's been a couple of years since I've been active on Etsy (having taken a break to focus on school), and it seems to have grown exponentially while I was away. The number of talented makers is overwhelming!

Tannenbaum soap! Fir needle, frankincense, and clove essential oil w/pumpkin puree.
So, reader... do you have an Etsy shop? I'd love to check it out! Leave a comment with your URL and I'll hop on over and give you a like. If you would like to do the same, well, shucks!

peppermint, tea tree, eucalyptus soap with cambrian blue clay

Monday, December 2, 2013

soap fail

Soap! We all use it*--some of us more frequently than others. Contrary to what my mom will tell you, I shower often. Since I started making my own soap last year, I've become a soap addict, and my shower currently contains about a dozen different bars of soap--a different one for every mood!

Last night I made 10 pounds of soap, 3 varieties to sell and one for a friend. Here are two:

top: lemongrass + ginger with calendula;
bottom: rosemary + litsea with poppy seeds

I've never made so much soap at one time and was feeling very accomplished! I noticed that the rosemary soap was overheating and put it in the fridge overnight, but apparently didn't catch it in time because I woke up to this:

Dang! Consensus among experienced soapers is that the soap was already too hot when I put it in the fridge, so the shell cooled quickly while the inside remained hot. The temperature difference caused the soap to crack. I'm so disappointed because I tried a swirl with two different colorants (sea clay and olive leaf powder) and now my pretty is no more. I've been using these wooden molds that my dad kindly made me, and they are great, except I am having to adjust to the fact that they insulate way more than silicone molds, so the soap can overheat more easily! Lesson learned.

UPDATE: Turns out my fridge is dying, hence why the soap overheated! It was almost 50 degrees inside. Don't ask why I didn't notice sooner, because I don't have an answer for that. Now I know!


*Actually, a lot of what is called "soap" is actually a synthetic detergent! Soap is the product of an exothermic reaction between sodium hydroxide (lye) and oils; this reaction also yields glycerin, which is part of why handmade soap is so good for your skin. You know how Dove bar soap claims to contain moisturizers so it won't "strip your skin like soap"? Well. The moisturizers in Dove are sodium tallowate, sodium cocoate, and sodium palm kernelate. Translation: saponified tallow, coconut oil, and palm kernel oil... AKA SOAP! The "soap" Dove says strips your skin is actually not soap, but a synthetic detergent which may or may not contain saponified oils too. Ok I'm done.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

hello, strangers!

Well! I certainly took a bit of a break from blogging, didn't I? School (especially my studio classes) kept me so intensely busy that I hardly had time to shower, much less blog! But I'm making time now, so yay. I imported all my posts from my old blog, but the focus of this one is going to be a little different. When I started at university, I knew I was a fibers person. Since then, I've realized I'm really in love with surface design! So while I'll always love to do stuff like this...:

pigment screenprinted on hand-dyed silk
...I am also very much interested in exploring other surfaces, lately in ceramics. Like this:

unfired stoneware with porcelain slip and sgraffito liney-business
And! In addition to these things, which keep me quite busy, I enjoy making soap and am trying to make a go at selling it. For money. I KNOW! Exciting, right? Here's a recently-made batch that I can't wait to cut into:

cedarwood, rosemary, & clary sage with charcoal
Hmm, what else? Sometimes I bake. It's the non-caustic, probably-won't-melt-your-face-off cousin to soapmaking. Expect recipes, friends. Not often, but they'll be dang good. And!! I recently taught my (wonderful, talented, adorable, silly, &c. &c. &c.) mama how to dye fabric! So I spend a fair amount of time in the basement with her, conjuring up the prettiest colors you can imagine. Like these:

the second-to-last piece has some amazing variation!

My mom and I sell our hand-dyes on Etsy, if you're of the sewing persuasion. Find them at Twiggy and Opal! Alright, I think that covers it. If you like any or all of the above, that's what you're in for. If you don't... get with the program! Alright. Bye.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Here's a detail shot of my final project for Surface Design II. My final critique is in a matter of hours, and all I have left to do is print my title and finalize my statement! After that, I have to rush off to main campus for my literature final, and then I am done with this semester. What a relief!

This piece is part of a series (photos soon) of tiny works. All of these fabrics (silk noil or raw silk, cotton, and a poly-cotton devore piece in blue). Hand-stitched and embroidered. Oh yes.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

on the bus

Last week, I demonstrated how to print yardage at my school's Celebration of Craft. Here's one chunk of fabric I ended up with:

The buses are screenprinted, and the triangles are block printed. I used fiber-reactive dyes on cotton, and intend to overdye this piece once it's been steamed and washed out.

A highlight of the day was when a very excited kid, maybe 7 years old, asked how I got all the triangles to look the same. I showed him my block, and printed it for him. He asked to try it, so I gave him a pair of gloves and he chose where and in which direction the triangles would point.

I forgot how much fun, and how time consuming it is, to block print yardage! I should carve bigger blocks...

Saturday, April 6, 2013


If you are living in the Northern Hemisphere of Planet Earth, you are hopefully emerging from what felt like the longest winter in the history of the world. (Apart from the Ice Age, but nevermind that.) Today was finally warmish, and I noticed this on my front porch:

My mint is beginning to grow back. Last summer, I yanked a big handful of mint from an overgrown patch at my school, and after neglecting it in a jar of water for far too long, finally planted it. It struggled along through the summer months, and finally succumbed to the double winter that seems to be leaving us. Hooray! I know mint is hardy, but I am still surprised to see it grow back after such a rough start. Hopefully it will do its minty thing and shoot up with a vengeance, so I can start making all manner of wonderful mint iced teas...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

postcard from my nook in the fibers studio

Pictured, in no order: fried egg pincushion; hand-drawn transparencies for a Tri-Met (PDX) bus print and for a print of the first house I lived in as a wee one; antique tape measure; pattern pieces for a sculpture assignment dealing with mass, balance, and gravity (executed in fabric, naturally); pieced curve blocks in hand-dyed and shot cotton.