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What's Next?

Here sits my sweet furry buddy, Silvio, upon the special journal given to me by my daughter Kate. Not sure if he wants to be close to her or to me, but he begs that question. So...A new face? Grocery list? Dolls for Lew to photograph for the web? Bills to pay? A blog? If I'm in the blog, it's okay!

Yes, there are a few dolls to finish. Next would be getting the website up to date with current "Order Me Now" tags. Our web visitors are looking for Olivia. But what really is ahead are two big fun opportunities -- the Annual Chester Festival on the Green on Saturday and Sunday, September 21 and 22 and the Fall Vermont Crafts Council Open Studio on Saturday and Sunday, October 5 and 6. The first event is not new to us; we have been in it for 38 years. Although we've been doing Spring Open Studio for ten years, this is our first fall venture. Being in Chester is the best of both features - seeing and getting hugs from little friends at the fair while having the extended visit from the curious and comfortable in your own home gallery is even better. Our lucky number on the map is #17.

So what does Silvio want to share with you? We had a couple great events this summer, first wheat pasting favorite Bundles on the garage wall in June and then our Creating Dolls Stories in August. Even our Grammie event, sandwiched in between, had its own form of success with six doll orders. The mural is quite an unobtrusive attraction, surviving rain and sunshine just like we did with summer visitors. One of the surprises is that it becomes an instant catalog for dolls not in stock. The little stone gnome is a perfect little gardener and guardian.

You want to hear about the stories? It began at the Whiting Librarywith a captive audience of one - Addie. She was so attentive she could fill in the blanks and finish my story about Gretchen and Wendy and their escapades. We completed a conversation in a thought bubble of just how Silvio felt in that bag of Polyfil. I learned a conversation cloud was a statement while the thought bubble was more of a dream. The day of the event we had 24 visitors, beginning with Adela and her grammie. She made a fairy with her Calico Paper Doll, and wrote, "Let's go for a fly!" in the thought bubble. We will now add the template for statements or dreams in our CPD package. We gave all our visitors a special Love Bundles button, and Eva won the Camilla raffle. View image

Then three pairs of sisters, a favorite photographer, an artist and a respected writer began arriving. The sisters worked as a team creating the story, yes mostly the theme of a pet, being alone with the doll(s) and getting into trouble, with a happy ending. Two sisters collaborated with Lew's camera and help, and Zinny, true to form, beautifully illustrated their story about her Chloe and cat Olive reporting a missing kitten. View image We know we want to do it bigger and better next summer. At last appears Mr. Josh who got to do garden photos with Lew while Bon shared her hopes of a writing legacy with his mom, her accomplished writer friend Maddy. Self publish? Yes. Use family talents for photography and illustration? Absolutely. And keep on writing. I imagine the Gossip Chair series in calico covers!

Having the master of the house, Silvio, as inspiration I decided to write a tale of the cats who I have worked along side all these 45 years, beginning with Mengi and Hidari and filling in all the silly in-betweens - Eddie, Mitch, and Hubbard. Between old photographs and our digital keepers, I think this Camilla and I can share a sweet story about the Cottage Industry Cat Team.

Yes, there are new designs in that journal on which Silvio feels warm vibes - Sue Lewin, the likeness on my favorite other Ferris Seed journals; Pyinthesky, a pie doll my Miss Kelly; and Skoshi, a Japanese doll in kimono, and Autumn to greet the oncoming season. Embroidery is back from the gifted hands of Eileen and her hoop. Best get busy, says the boss. I'm the babysitter!

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