Happy Birthday to my brother!

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There’s a bit more to tell about this drawing. I drew a lot of little dog and cat characters in the late 70s and very early 80s, still in grade school. I also had a mouse and bird character, seen here too. The cat’s name was Oglevie..no idea where I got that name…and the bird’s name was Elmo. This was long before Elmo Monster trashed Sesame Street, but oddly enough, the bird was red. I am drawing a blank on the mouse and dogs’ names.


Vintage: Project from College Printing Class!

I had to take a printmaking class in college. While I found some of the projects fascinating and enjoyable, it was often excruciating, because for each exam, we had to turn in a certain number of prints of the current assignment as exactly alike as possible. The teacher also had a very obvious clique of little favorites from previous classes and it was really nauseating to watch him giggle with them as if they were all 12.

If there is anything I cannot stand, it is cliques–groups of people that seem to live to show you how cool they are, how much fun they’re having, how exclusive their club is,and what a loser you are because you aren’t part of their group.

Still,I made it through with some neat projects. This is a woodcut, and as you can clearly see I used nail heads to decorate the backs of these two lizards. I also had to work the design around the knot in the wood.

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Vintage Items: Checklist from my First Job!

I found my old checklist from my first few weeks working in the petting farm at WildLife Trails.  In the petting farm area, we took care of  chickens, ducks, geese, guineas,sheep, cows, goats, donkeys, miniature horses, llamas and pigs. After doing all this stuff on this list daily, caretaking for a large number of  assorted animals became almost second nature to me. Within a couple of years I graduated to Senior Keeper, and I was then able to learn working with the wild animals, which were all native Georgia wildlife such as deer and elk, owls and hawks, cougars, bobcats, possums, otters and raccoons, and even snakes and lizards!

It was a very exciting job, learning about all sorts of wild and farm animals and being with them all day, but it did get pretty exhausting. I was younger and fitter then, of course, but even then, being outside in the heat, rain and cold all day, every day wore me down after a while. I was in college and my parents were divorcing, and my mental state wasn’t that great. After four years I resigned, but I will always have very fond memories of the place.wildlife trails list.jpg

More Stuff from my Mother’s House: Funky!

I’d like to introduce y’all to My Friend Funky.

Funky was created quickly one day at my grandparents’ house when I was itching to make a stuffed toy and Grandmother told me, “Well, go up in the attic and get some fabric, and then make you a pattern and I’ll sew it up.” Which is what she usually told me.
So,I scrambled up into the attic(after getting Granddaddy to let down the ladder for me) and promptly raided Grandmother’s immense fabric stash.
She had boxes and boxes of fabric left over from making her own clothes, Easter dresses for me, and various other projects. Most of it was polyester knit stuff, from making her little leisure outfits she wore from the 1960s to the early 1980s. There was also a good bit of cotton from quilting. The fabric I had in mind needed to be white, and maybe something pink or red. I came downstairs with some white polyester knit and some fuschia velour.
Grandaddy got me out some newspaper from the stack in the basement and I set to work on my pattern which was essentially a silhouette of a skinny,gull-like  bird. At that time I didn’t understand about making a pattern three-dimensional, and when I drew the foot included in with the body, I thought it would eventually magically split in two and become two feet. I had a lot to learn.
Grandmother laid out my pattern on the white fabric and remembered to give a bit of seam allowance–something I hadn’t grasped yet, either( I was about six or seven).
After she cut out the pieces and sewed them together, we realized my bird still didn’t have enough seam allowance so we opted not to turn the fabric. For this reason he has this odd little halo of extra fabric all around his body outline. I stuffed him with the then-new Polyfil(“Don’t shove it all in at once, Elizabeth, you have to spread the stuffing out first to get the lumps out”), and stared at his blank face.
I didn’t know how to make eyes like I do now, and I really didn’t like the eyes for stuffed animals that craft stores carried, so I asked if Grandmother would stitch some eyes onto my bird. She had me draw a light pencil line for eyes and a mouth, and she patiently embroidered the face you see here.


He isn’t quite symmetrical—his right side is his serious side, while the left side shows a more playful mood.( In the above pic you can see stitching under his throat where constant play raveled the fabric and he needed surgery.)


From the bright velour I cut out two wing shapes and decided to just glue them on, plus a crest shaped exactly like his wings. For some reason Funky’s crest appears to be glued on with some very stout adhesive. And in the above photo, you can of course see his single gimpy foot. :/ I called him Funky after the Funky Chicken dance, but he isn’t a chicken.


Still, it is wonderful to see him again. I played with him a lot and  I recall him being the artist in my toys’ adventures. I think it suits him!

More of my Old Stuff: The Giant Eraser!

In another box of junk I dug out of my mother’s basement, I found this long-lost gem:


When I was in grade school in the 70’s and early 80’s, funky erasers were the big deal. They came in all shapes, sizes and colors and many doubled as toys; I had monsters and dinosaurs and dogs and safari animals, plus light bulbs,dice, cookies and hamburgers in my collection. But this one was the topper. I believe it was a Christmas stocking inclusion. There is a catalog called Walter Drake that,looking at it now, seems nowhere near as magical; to me it seems like the kind of catalog little old ladies order from, filled with stove burner covers and plastic garden fencing and fluffy toilet seat covers. However, as a kid, this catalog in its paper form was almost like a mini Sears Wish Book; see, it had about ten to fifteen pages in the middle of the catalog that were the 88-cent pages. Everything on those pages was 88 cents, and most of them were highly desirable things that kids would like; hence, those pages were perfect tools from which Grandmother could order my Christmas stocking goodies. She would usually tell me to pick out eight to ten items I liked(you had to order a minimum of 8 items to get them at 88 cents), and more often than not these wondrous items would show up at Christmas. Such items included a gorilla head pencil sharpener, a walking & sparking Godzilla-esque dinosaur windup, a plastic caterpillar pencil holder, a brown hound dog shaped more or less like a squirt gun that squeaked loudly when you pulled the trigger, a little Monchichi-like toy called Chibunkey, and a colored pencil with about 15 tiny interchangeable leads. It was glorious!
If I wanted a new giant eraser today it is easy to find one; they are still readily available,especially on Amazon. I am almost tempted to get one as my old giant eraser is now as hard as a brick. I think it might snap in half if I put any stress on it. What is so curious is how MUCH I doodled all over it. The front shows a bunch of teeny cartoon stick figures working to put up a sign reading “For BIG Mistakes”. An eyeball makes the dot of the “i”, and at the very far left, on the slanted end of the eraser, I drew a pair of headlights and a grille.


The back is laden with various threats about stealing my stuff and punishments that will be dealt out. I had several very treasured items stolen from me in grade school, including a stuffed toy my grandmother had made for me that I had included as part of a school project(the thief was never caught). I suppose that’s what I get for bringing important items to school, but who knew a bunch of seventh graders in such a close, structured environment were fine with and  could get away with stealing so much stuff. I think I had a few friends sign my eraser too, writing various eighties sayings in handwriting that is not mine on the far right. Notice the two phone numbers–by then I was gabbing on the phone frequently with friends in the evening so my parents opted for getting a “children’s telephone” that you could actually look up in the phone book. 😀