Jumat, 21 Agustus 2009


Here's my latest creature - a Yubbla. These are creatures that live in mossy areas around the roots of trees and rocks. They hop around, eating bugs and fungi, their horns giving them a good defence against any predators. They are very friendly and should be encouraged into gardens, as they are great at eating up pests such as slugs.

I got the idea for him back in the spring when I was looking at some very knobbly trees in Petworth Park.

It made me think of a creature that was faintly frog-like with bulgy eyes and big, round haunches. I drew a quick sketch and added in horns since they seemed to fit. Then I got busy making other things and didn't think any more about it.

Recently I started to make another creature using the green mohair but the shape was wrong. I looked at what I'd done and realised it would make the perfect body for my Yubbla. I found the old sketch and even though I tried out a few different ideas, it ended up looking pretty similar, although I did add a tail to make it less froggy. When it was finished I found it very endearing. There's something about the positioning of the eyes that means they seem to foloowing you around, but in a puppy way, not a creepy way.

This Yubbla is now up for sale in my Etsy shop.

Selasa, 18 Agustus 2009


Finally! A few days of heat and languor, sunshine and swimming.

We introduced Gibson to the Au Sable. I settled him, gently, into a still, shallow spot by the bank, but he squirmed away and scampered right out. Hopefully this will change. He preferred walking in the woods and resting on the cool concrete of the porch. It is a fine porch, with a view of the lake and a little wood stove waiting for cool fall mornings. I set up a table in the path of a breeze and carved two stamps. The little brown job is supposed to be a wood thrush.

The kingfisher is a bit more recognizable.

I used this book for a reference, which I brought home from my grandpa's house last fall. It was published by the National Geographic Society in 1927.

Sabtu, 15 Agustus 2009

Fuzzy Monkey

I love monkeys - toy ones are cute, and I could watch the real ones for hours. Whenever I go to a zoo I especially like the little guys such as spider monkeys, tamarins and marmosets. I watch their tiny little almost human faces and really want to translate that into amigurumi. The only trouble is that I've made a few amigurumi monkeys, but I don't always feel that I succeed completely, I think I try too hard with the faces and get them wrong.

So for my latest attempt, I kept it simple and didn't try to copy a real monkey. I have some neon green mohair-type yarn that I've been wanting to use, so I decided that would be perfect for the head and body. I made a very simple face, and decided that quite large eyes looked best but with no other features. I gave him long arms and short legs, which probably is more appropriate for an ape, but again it just seemed to work. He ended up with a stripy tail, because I thought a bit of blue mixed in with all the green would look nice, so that makes me think of a lemur. Anyway, I'm really happy with him, even if he is some bizarre primate mix, and he's up for sale in my Etsy shop now.

Senin, 10 Agustus 2009

Brick Factory

Sunday we hiked around Lincoln Brick Park, just north of Grand Ledge off of Tallman Road. We saw a scarlet tanager dip over the old quarry, walked along the river, and felt the odd fascination of a place where the remains of an old industry are crumbling among meadows and woods. The park has 6,000 feet of river frontage and the trails are interesting. We looked for one letterbox but could not find it.

Jumat, 07 Agustus 2009

Walks with Gibson

On our way home from the Bruce Peninsula, we stopped and brought home Gibson, an eight-week-old Chocolate Lab. That was at the end of July, and I greeted August with some understanding that the itinerant days of summer had passed, and the dog days were ahead. It's true that it's not a good time to travel very far, but we are getting out for short adventures with Gibson near home. Last Saturday, Tommy and I took him to Lake Lansing Park North. Gibson trotted cheerfully along the longer loop trail and rested, occasionally, when we stopped to find a letterbox. On Wednesday we walked through the meadows and woods of Woldumar Nature Center with our friend Julie and her kids. Yesterday we took Gibson for a long walk on campus, and today we took him to The Ledges at Fitzgerald Park and to Hawk Meadow Park along Delta River Drive. He's a good woods walker, and his little legs go like a wind-up toy. We've letterboxed nearly everywhere we've gone. The stamps hidden at the Ledges are impressive: intricate, hand-carved, and relevant to local history. The first stamp we found at Hawk Meadow was not homemade, and though it was fun to find we did not bother stamping it into our book.

Here's a stamp from the Ledges:

J.S. Mudge built his folly in the late 1800's on one of the small islands in Grand Ledge. He designed the tower to have rotating levels topped by a centrifugal swing out over the river. A flood damaged it in 1893 and it was never completed.

Here is Tommy retrieving a hidden letterbox:

It was a fun walk. I have not been out there since I was a girl, and it is still fascinating to see those rocky outcroppings along the banks of the Grand River.