Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Olga Choubaroff and Other New and Exciting Things

So! It was a good weekend, with a kind of goodness that is spilling over into the week.

Who's that lady? Well, read on, read on, dear Kinder and you will learn that it is a Russian Princess. Isn't her expression just precious? Dig the uncomfortable hand positioning. Who posed this poor darling anyway?

Now, about that lady: Michael and I went to Three Rivers Auction in Washington, PA, where they were selling off the estate of a one-time Russian Princess, Olga Choubaroff Clark, who was the wife of (well, she was wife to five men) the admiral of the Yorktowne, "Jocko" Clark. We happily carted home two oil paintings, a water color, a pink alabaster bas relief of one of Olga's great, great grandfathers, who fought in The Caucasus. He is now above my head as I type, looking as robust and resolute as a Ceasar.

Michael also got a hand-carved skull pipe, a kind of Hamlet-ian momento mori. And now on our book shelf is the Thai lightning goddess...we're thinking she's very likely Mekkala, although we are not certain of this. We were also very lucky to get a sculpture of one of the seven lucky Taoist gods, although it took some reasearching on Michael's part for us to learn who the little bearded fellow with the staff was (he came with no description at all). Michael believes he is either JurĊjin or Fukurokuju, two figures who are easily confused because they sometimes inhabit the same body, according to Taoist belief.

On Monday, I went into Pittsburgh to take my first sewing machine class at Cut & Sew Studio, which--I have to say--is just awesome. While I have my own sewing machine, in the past, I've had a terrible time figuring out how to get it working properly. Never mind the fact that my father could sit down to it and make an absolutely beautiful row of stitches. I, on the other hand, previously pulled up my chair, gently pressed the pedal, and made a rather impressive knot. Now, understand that my father had no prior experience with sewing machines, except maybe watching my grandmother when he was young. He undid the knot, rethreaded the machine and began sewing another lovely seam. I was stunned. My dear father was wearing bib overalls. How can you sew a perfect seam in bib overalls? Doesn't the machine know that pink pajamas are the thing to wear when sewing and long strands of sewn cloth should just ripple out of the machine with as much ease as teletype paper from Jack Kerouac's typewriter?
Well, come on now. Really.

Now, though, after yesterday's class, I finished a pillow I had started by hand-sewing the seams a few weeks ago. And this morning, I began stuffing it with polyfil. Woo, indeed! In between grading final papers this morning, I've also been sewing together vintage napkins to make a table cloth (because why let those old lovely napkins go to waste?). I'm on my way to making some lovely patchwork skirts, like this fantastic Etsy seller, JaneElizabeth's, where I've gotten beautiful things.
Have I mentioned that I have an Etsy addiction? It's true. Too true. And I am not ashamed of this fact. Crafting is the new cottage industry.

So, there is a whole lot of awesomeness going on in the Guz 'holler'. And, there will be a more substantial and maybe even scholarly posting tomorrow.

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