Spring Flowers in Philadelphia

The Plum Blossoms and Cherry Blossoms don’t last too long, but the Hydrangeas and Pansies will bloom all summer.  Here are some pictures from a recent walk around  Philadelphia.

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My Name is MC Fuzzy Fuzz

MC Fuzzy Fuzz is a sock puppet I made for my Step Grandson (AKA DJ Spud) so his parents would have another way to interact with him and make him laugh.   I started out with a wool sock and added felt, pom poms and googly eyes (not baby safe.) Then I got some childrens  gloves at a dollar store, cut off the fingers and stuffed them with batting, and sewed them on his head for hair.  I had the top of the sock left over and made a hat.  Then I got pom poms and took the puppet to visit my mother.  She picked out the pom poms and I sewed them on.  “You get to name him,” I told her.  “Fuzzy,” she replied.

I came home and my husband said, “No, he’s MC Fuzzy Fuzz.”  (My husband, who is a 62 year old Jewish man with a Ph.D. is heavily into Hip Hop. ” It took me a year to understand Biggie Smalls,” he tells me, “but now I get it and I think he’s a genius.”)  The hair became dreadlocks and the hat became a Rasta hat.  Then my husband said Fuzzy should be a rapper, so I sewed on the arms and gave him some bling.  Then we decided he should be a dawg, and I sewed on ears.  (Thank you Le Mutt for modeling.)  I also gave him a lower fang (his grill).

Like some stars in the sock puppet hip hop industry,  MC Fuzzy Fuzz has a back story.  He did not grow up in the dog pound. He went to the best obedience schools and his father held a high post in the national branch of the ASPCSP (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Sock Puppets).  MC Fuzzy (whose real name is S. (for Sock) Pupwell Baskin dropped out of obedience school to try his luck in the music biz, much to his father’s dismay.  But he hit it big.  To read an except from one of his songs,  press here. And remember to kiss a sock puppet today!

 

Bob’s Urban Garden at the End of Summer.

Happy Holidays South Philly Style

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People live in rowhouses in South Philadelphia and they decorate their front windows and doors when someone has a baby, someone gets married, someone graduates, someone gets paroled or the Flyers win the Stanley Cup.  In other words,  people here don’t need much of an excuse to decorate.  You can keep your fancy suburbs with your large expanse of lawns, triple car garages and gabled roofs.  We’re just fine with our flat roofs, front stoops and double parking.  The constraints just make for more creativity, as you can see from the pictures I took on one frozen night. Heathen’s Greetings.

Dear Fleisher

Dear Fleisher, 4 X 6 Inches of Art is the Fleisher Art Memorial’s biennial exhibition and sale of original artwork. The invitational exhibit features postcard sized (4″x6″) art in a wide range of media. Each piece is signed on the back to preserve the artist’s anonymity and sold for $50.00. I heard Fleisher raised almost $55,000 this year.

Some of the more than 150 contributing artists this year were Jill Bonovitz, Burnell Yow!, Signe Wilkinson, David Brewster, Isaiah Zagar, and Eliza Auth.

I was asked to participate in the last two exhibits and have chosen to work in polymer clay. Here are my pieces from 2006 (left) and 2008 (right). The Fleisher Art Memorial is a neighborhood and City treasure to which I am glad to contribute.

Isaiah Zagar’s Walls

One of the things I love about Philadelphia are its tiny streets and lanes located off the main avenues. These thoroughfares date from long ago when servant’s quarters and horse barns (now desirable and expensive living quarters) were situated in the back alleys, and houses had boot scrapers near their doors so people could clean mud off their shoes before entering.

I didn’t discover these little streets until I stopped taking the bus everywhere and started walking. One of the most attractive features of the little byways in the Bella Vista neighborhood of Philadelphia are Isaiah Zagar’s tile and glass mosaics. They cover the facades of selected buildings waiting to surprise you as you turn a corner.

Here’s a slideshow of pictures I took on a walk through the neighborhood.

The End of Summer

I know that summer is at an end when I start seeing pumpkins at the supermarket and I have to start thinking about pulling out warmer clothes. Things change and we have to readjust.  Fall never fails to remind me of the passage of time.

Bob’s garden has taken over the the front of his house and is starting on mine. Soon the fish and turtles will come inside and the  plants will whither away.  I hope the garden returns next year.  In the meantime, here’s an end of summer look at the garden.  Hasn’t it grown since June?

Bob’s Urban Garden 2008

I wrote about my neighbor Bob’s Urban Garden last year.
Since then, he’s built a wooden Koi pond complete with solar lights that keep it lit at night. Three of the Koi fish from last year are back and bigger (literally!) than ever. They have smaller Koi fish and two turtles to keep them company. Bob’s added a new ceramic fountain, Lilly pads, and an additional wooden tub of flowers in front of our house to give it badly needed curb appeal. Loki the cat is still around checking under cars for hapless pigeons. Barbara the Macaw had a good time mugging for the camera. While I was taking pictures, several people stopped by to admire.

Enjoy the slide show.

I’m at Polydelphia!

I’m at Polydelphia this weekend!!! To check out my newly designed web site, press HERE. See ya later!

I’m Not a Real Artist but I Play One on T.V.

Yes, I am a featured crafter on the third season of the HGTV show, That’s Clever, demonstrating how to make a polymer clay Keepsake Memory book and a polymer clay Festive Pen.  You can read the whole dirty back story in the Spring, 2008 issue of PolymerCAFE.  Ok, OK, so it’s not Britney running from the paparazzi while shaving her head, but it will have to do.

That’s Clever is known for having its crafters engage in  amusing physical antics in the first part of each segment.   They wanted me to do the same. I live in South Philadelphia where my garden is of a blade of grass growing under my front stoop, and drivers who barrel  45 mph down a one way street don’t think they have violated the law if their car is pointing backwards.    I wasn’t gonna be hula hoopin’ on my front lawn, that’s for sure. 

 

Here’s how this part of the production planning went down:

After we finished talking about the step outs, the producer started discussing ways to showcase me in wild and whimsical ways that have become the trademark of That’s Clever.

“We like to film crafters doing something physical for the intro,” she  explained, “Do you play a sport?”

Running from muggers, I thought. “No,” I replied.

“What about hopping on a pogo stick?”

I mentally flash forwarded into the future and had a startling vision of myself hanging over a hospital bed in traction. “I have a herniated disc,” I replied, “and the doctors have put me on a strict no pogo stick diet.”

“What about a scooter?” she pressed.

“Oh, no,” I gasped. If I didn’t fall and smash my head on the pavement, some driver would get me. Even if he had to come up on the sidewalk to do it. They make them tough in South Philly.

She paused. “Do you do anything?” she asked hopefully.

“I use to play jacks,” I offered. “I was pretty good, too.” In fact, I was even better than Margaret Mary who had hands the size of Montana and could suck up jacks like a magnet crane.

Maybe that will work,” she sighed, “I’ll see if I can find jacks somewhere.”

They never came up with anything physical for me to do which is how I lived to write this Blog entry.

To check out PolymerCAFE, press here. If you want to buy a pen like the one I made on the show, drop by  The Jurus Gallery in Baltimore, Md.

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