Wednesday, May 27, 2015


One of the true signs of summer is the appearance of white in the wardrobe, white slacks, white shorts, white shoes. The fashion mavens of times past would shriek with indignation if you dared to wear white before Memorial Day, or after Labor Day. I willingly admit that white makes a tan pop, look more vital, healthy, etc; completely disregarding the scary health issues associated with too much sun, but i digress. Since i am both a dedicated, and messy cook as well as an artist(another messy endeavor) i can safely say that i have no white in my wardrobe, nope none.

what do you think? is the pink parasol me?

On another note of white, this one aromatic. Mungo and i walked to the grocery store this morning; as is our want, we try to get a walk in every day and it is far more likely to happen in an organic fashion, i.e, a trip to the store, as opposed to a walk for exercise sake. Oh ya, side tracked again. Even though we live in the exburbs of Baltimore we are surrounded by an amazing bounty of natural beauty. Today i was struck by the sheer drunken euphoria induced by all the white flowers lining the roadway; we have several stretches of undeveloped land in our area, abounding with briar roses, honeysuckle, tulip poplars and a couple of other white blooming shrubs i have yet to identify, all of them releasing their intoxicating aroma into the hot, humid summer air. Who needs wine? Oh, drunk on aroma, yes indeed, i am the "proud" owner of yet another new bruise on my leg as i was so intoxicated by this particular smell of summer that i never saw the fire hydrant that ran into me. Really officer.
this is more my style

More later

Thursday, May 14, 2015

LAW 33: Magellan's new job title

is, 'Very Helpful Studio Assistant'. I believe when you watch the little video you will see why.

 I have always leaned heavily to the fiber arts, so i have also always had lots of very interesting things to play with from the cat's point of view.  For years an upright tapestry loom graced whatever room large enough to hold it; usually the living room.When i spent a lot of my time weaving and raising Siamese kittens it was self-defense to wrap the first two feet or so of the current project with tin foil, particularly when we would be gone for oh, more than five minutes. The kittens seemed to live for climbing up the wool, and pulling down every floor length curtain in the house. Sigh, its been years since i've lived with kittens, i'm having trouble keeping up with a seven year old.

More later,

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


'Is a difficult matter, it isn't just one of your holiday games. Now you may think i am as mad as a hatter, but i tell you a cat must have three different names.' (my thanks to TS Eliot, the above quote is of course from his rather famous poem, "The Naming of Cats".

It is so good to be me!

I bring this up, because as you know we were adopted by a new cat about a month ago;  Magellan, the cat formerly known as Brian, has received his second name, Piddle Peeper. This charming moniker came about because of his invariable habit of popping up, literally out of no where to be a personal bathroom assistant. Now this is not about the typical cat fascination with the water in the toilet bowl, as we have a composting toilet. I am unsure why, i simply know it is true.

More later,

Saturday, May 9, 2015


This winter i decided that i was going to spend time learning new book making techniques. For years i made and taught Japanese book binding techniques; i was however ultimately unhappy with the way the books opened, using stab binding techniques did not allow the books to open flat.

This one is sold!

 So i went on the web and did some research, found some, tons, of interesting sites and taught myself both the French stitch binding technique and the Coptic stitch.
The Bold Buccaneer

Since we live on a boat and have lots of friends who sail i thought, why not make blank books that could be used for Captain's Logs? Cool idea huh?
Who could resist a mermaid?

Fate stepped in when a large piece of Marine blue Sunforger cloth came floating down the river. Mungo fished it out of the drink and i have been making book covers out of it ever since.
Or this little beauty who wants you to look into her mirror

I have to admit that the Sunforger cloth came with its own special challenges, the biggest being that PVA glues do not like to stick to the fabric. It took way more time and trouble than it was worth. Once more Mungo came to the rescue. He found TearMender; an all natural latex based glue that has been around since the 30's. It works wonderfully. I recommend it highly. It appears to be available only on the web.

Wanting to personalize the books; i mean after all, just how many blank blue books could i make before i got bored, i decided that i would find interesting marine themes and hand embroider the front covers. Thus keeping my interest in the projects and fulfilling my personal need and interest in fine handwork.

I hope you like the images, almost all of them are available for sale: feel free to contact me, or check out my Etsy site, gailelwell @ Floating Empire Works.

more later,

Friday, May 8, 2015


Magellan in the head, he is very helpful

Magellan, a 12.6 pound, 7 year old ball of love joined our crew on April 16th. He is with out a doubt the sweetest boy kitty that we have lived with in a very long while. He has adapted to shipboard life beautifully.
Magellan in the loft window, it's kitty TV

 He is a great personal assistant and a talented art maker in his own right!
 You should see some of the topo maps he creates in his studio, hmmm, litter box. Just thought i would share some images of the boy.
Magellan on stairs, educating Mungo about electricity, "Now here's your problem"

Oh yes, he has already figured out how to jump of the boat on to the finger pier, watch out ducks!

Resting after a busy morning