slightly wonky

I Cy (sigh)
March 20, 2015, 9:27 am
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts..., painting, printmaking, Sewing | Tags: , , , , ,

Yay!  Spring is here!  Get out the lightweight mittens!  Get out the waterproof, yet non-bulky, knee-high boots!  Get out the gauzy, cotton scarves!

Just kidding…

It’s in the mid 20’s and I’m bundled up like an Eskimo.  Right now, I’m wearing a down coat in the house.  My feet feel cold.

Beyond the perpetual climate woes in the Northeast (did I mention that Boston broke its snowfall record this year?  Yay/Boo!), I sprained my knee recently, which is beyond annoying.  I’m not a good patient, as I avoid seeing the doctor, do internet research, and hope for the best.  I have a perfect excuse for laying on the couch all day eating bon-bons with my leg elevated, and yet that seems like a tedious way to spend the day.  Instead, I hobble around trying to do stuff, wondering WHY my leg doesn’t feel any better.  It’s kind of sad that I’m not even 50, and I’ve already started moaning about my aches and pains.  Would you like to discuss the pros/cons between three different types of knee brace?  No?  Do you think that if I wore all three at once, it would heal faster?

In spite of my aching leg, I’ve managed to play around a bit with sewing, printmaking, and painting.  I made a little pouch for my SIL:



It’s cute, right?


Here is one of the annoying things about photography that I struggle with…COLOR CORRECTION.  Here is the same pouch in direct sunlight:


Looks pretty different, right?  AAAARGH.  I hate dealing with trying to reproduce accurate colors.  It wouldn’t matter if I wasn’t listing things on Etsy.  But because I am, I’m constantly struggling to get accurate color.  It’s truly maddening.  Well, it’s not as bad as cooking and grocery shopping, but a close second.

I took a 6 hr printmaking class on reduction printing.  It was fun, even though I made some serious disaster prints.  We just used those cheap styrofoam plates to print with.  Here is a tutorial on this kind of printing.  I was sort of content with this print:


You can do this kind of printing at home without a press, so give it a try! Do not accidentally lean your elbow on your styrofoam plate because you will:

a. get ink on your elbow

b. make an indentation in your plate which will affect your print.

Unless, of course, you’re into elbow prints.  Who am I to judge?

I was also mucking around with watercolors too.  In grad school, I took a VERY ANAL RETENTIVE watercolor course.  We were doing Beaux Arts watercolors like this:


Michael Simeone

I know.  WHY was I learning this in architecture school, as it’s soooo stodgy and traditional?  I wanted to learn how to do this as it was an actual SKILL.  Have I used that skill since then?  No, but whatever.  ANYWAY…I brought this up because this is my only experience with watercolor.  Very rigid.  So, this week, I started to just play with watercolors…generally making a mess.




I kind of liked doing these!  Just blobs of color.  Look at the cool effects you get with watercolor:



Neat, right?

I have basically spent the majority of my life trying to be precise and perfect in what I do (except for cooking and cleaning).  Now, I’ve realized that this is total B.S., and it’s better to be messy.  Notice that my fish print is completely anal retentive, YET AGAIN.  Okay, so I fell of the wagon a bit.  Clearly, I am still struggling to stop being that way, but I am working on it.

There is a reason that I love Cy Twombly’s work:


Cy Twombly


Cy Twombly



I love his work because it is SO free.  That may not be the academic interpretation of what he does, but it’s mine.  I love how visceral and messy his work is.  LOVE IT.  As a recovering perfectionist, I yearn for this…


Cy Twombly

Sigh! (Cy!)




Small hands
March 5, 2015, 3:09 pm
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts..., Sewing | Tags: , , , , , ,

I don’t know about you, but I’m trying to maintain sanity during this absurd winter.


That’s our walk to school.  This image was taken several weeks ago.  It’s worse now, but I have given up taking pictures.  I need my arms now to keep balance when traversing the treacherous wasteland, formerly known as “the sidewalk.”  What’s even more ridiculous, is that Boston hasn’t broken the record yet for snowfall.  HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?  I don’t remember signing on for the Antarctic here…or was that in the fine print somewhere?  Where’s my lawyer?  Am I not entitled to a team of sled dogs by now?


This is a snow pile near our house.  The town has started dumping snow in this lot at the nearby reservoir.  Notice the house that is barely visible in the background.  Yes, that mound of snow is probably 25′ tall.  And yes, I am letting my child climb on it as I repeatedly yell, “BE CAREFUL!!!“.  This is my way of trying to avoid being both a helicopter parent and a negligent moron.  It turns out that I am both.

My son recently had a play date that, in typical fashion, spiraled into mayhem.  The mayhem is my fault, which is also typical.  Instead of refusing to allow my child and his friend to play with his chemistry set, I actually said “okay.”  I tried, in vain, to contain the insanity:


This is my son and I admiring his handiwork.  I managed to have the wherewithal to deny them more food coloring. Next time, I’m just going to let them watch TV.

I realize that I made a similar error in judgment a few weeks ago when I agreed to buy my son a “fossil excavation” kit.  You may recall (if you have no life and have read this blog for way too long…) that in an earlier post I vowed NEVER to purchase one of these kits again.  And yet, I somehow thought that this time it would be okay/less messy/better.  Well…surprise!   I was wrong…yet again:


Yes…this is our dining room table.  Yes…there are chunks of rocky plaster being smashed on the table by my son with his hammer and chisel.  Yet again, I vow NEVER to buy one of these things EVER EVER EVER AGAIN.  I think that when my son develops severe asthma as a result of this “educational toy”, I am to blame.  TV is starting to sound like a “no brainer” to me, both literally and figuratively.

So, I haven’t seen any art lately, as I would imagine that most museums and galleries have given up due to this ridiculous winter.  I know that’s not true, but I also know that I do not have an AWD car, so I am not attempting to haul myself anywhere.  In spite of my general malaise and apathy, I made some cards that I listed on Etsy:


They’re cute, right?  I’ve sewn tiny scraps of fabric onto them.  This is about all that I have the energy to do at the moment.  When the snow melts, sometime in June, I may venture further afield and bring you back images of real art to look at.  Until then, I’m just sewing tiny scraps of fabric onto cardboard.  (small hands)


Seasonal Affected Disorder
February 6, 2015, 3:20 pm
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , ,

It’s kind of hard for me to discuss anything other than the snow.  We have ridiculous gobs of snow.


That’s our deck furniture.


This is part of my son’s school playground.


See that narrow path?  These pretty much everywhere.  People are scurrying around in these gullies like mice in a lab maze.  VERY CLAUSTROPHOBIC.

It’s starting to feel like this:


At least the snow isn’t sticky…and green.  Did I mention that it is around 0 degrees right now too?  I think that it’s only fair that we either suffer with snow, or suffer with cold…not both.  I shake my fist in irrational outrage!

(…from inside the house, of course…)

I know.  Those of you that live where the weather is reasonable are scratching your heads about why we put up with it.  Why do we?  10 reasons why we persist in living in Massachusetts:

10.  The funny accent

9.  Fall leaves


8.  The Patriots (this year, at least…)


7.  The extreme sport of driving…anywhere…


6.  We like to be surrounded by smaht MIT and Harvard people


5.  Our wardrobes consist of chunky wool sweaters AND flip flops (not typically worn at the same time, mind you…)


4.  The sarcasm


3. The Berkshires


2. The Cape


And lastly…

1.  Bitching and moaning about the weather


Yes, we’re a surly lot here in New England.   Don’t bother visiting until…July?  October?  Just don’t come now.  Only insane people visit from January – March.  The padded wagon should just pick them up directly at the airport.



Body suit boycott
January 23, 2015, 11:25 am
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , ,

Has anyone out there ever baked a recipe using expired flour?  Probably not.  Well, OF COURSE, I did that yesterday.  The problem is not that I don’t know how to read…or that I don’t understand what numbers are.  The problem is that I have a warped sense of the passage of time.  I somehow thought that I had bought that whole wheat pastry flour within the past six months.  But alas…no.  I had not.  I had probably purchased the flour a year and a half ago.  The muffins that I made with the expired flour were…gross.  Blech.  What is even worse is that this is NOT the first time that I’ve done this.

I kid you not.  I’m really not facile in the kitchen.  Have I mentioned that my cleaning skills are also shoddy?  If I could get fired from my job of “stay-at-home-mom,” I probably would.  I know that I should be more gung-ho about scrubbing and cooking…

(ha ha!  not!)

This is what I tend to me more gung-ho about:



YES!  Knitted arm warmers!!!!  For those of you who are either never cold, or live somewhere warm…people DO wear arm warmers.  I think our thermostat is set to 65 degrees, which means that I need these things.  Ignore the yarn umbilical cords…I just haven’t finished them up yet.  I know that I should basically knit myself a wool bodysuit, but that sounds like to big a project for me…VERY big…especially around the rear.  I got an email from Elle magazine today telling me that bodysuits are in, so my suburban mind is taking note…



Really?  That doesn’t look fun to wear.  Seriously.  Reason #364 that I’m glad that I’m not a celebrity…I’ll stick to wooly arm warmers thankyouverymuch.

Besides making arm warmers for myself…I’ve been TRYING to make progress on my Etsy store.  I’ve got a bunch more things made and listed.  Now, I’m just waiting for the orders to roll in.

Any minute now.


Still here.


I know…I have to do MARKETING…PROMOTION…STUFF I DON’T LIKE TO DO.  Sigh.  I know that it’s possible to hire someone to do that FOR me…but I can’t afford that.  If I could afford stuff like that…I’d hire a personal chef long before I’d hire a marketing person.  Right???

That bodysuit is really creeping me out.

I recently bought my son some ice skates.  No, he does not know how to skate…but I figure this might help.  We live right by a reservoir that freezes over.  It’s super fun to pop down there for a bit of skating…but it’s also kind of like extreme-off-road skating.  I’m used to a freshly zambonied rink…so dodging cracks, small ice mountains, and rocks in the reservoir (or “res” as it’s known locally) is kind of difficult.



This is my son in an “action pose.”  He didn’t want me to photograph him flopped on the ice.  Go figure.  He tells me that he doesn’t want skating lessons. He says that I’m going to teach him.  REALLY?  That’s fascinating to me, as I’m probably the last person that he listens to.  I think that he’s just trying to avoid having lessons.  Sometimes, I think that my son would like to put his fingers in his ears and yell, “LA LA LA I AM NOT LEARNING!” at the top of his lungs whenever I try to “teach” him anything.  Apparently, he already knows it all.  Did I mention that he is seven?  I thought that the “know it all” stage came much later.


I’m going sign off now to do some reading about marketing and promotion.  BOOORING.  It’s just going to tell me to chat up social media, tweet about my breakfast, and post about minutiae.  Gag.

heart 1 5

Just buy some of my stuff…okay?


Sort of.

(Is this considered “guerrilla marketing” or “inept harassment”? Discuss.)




No son of mine shall be a hoarder…


WHERE HAVE I BEEN FOR THE PAST MONTH???  I was in holiday survival mode.  As you can tell, I survived.  I may have gained ten pounds from eating, but I’m okay.  I just look kind of like Baymax:


Maybe I should just buy bigger clothes too?

In order to absorb the new toys that my 7 year old got for Christmas AND his birthday, I had to purge some of his older toys.  This had to be done on the first day that he was back at school, as I can’t throw out a single, broken piece of plastic when he is present. He has the pack-rat gene that runs in my family, which is rather unfortunate.

I just put out all of his empty Rainbow Loom boxes in the trash.  I am feeling HORRIBLY GUILTY about this.  If he knew, he would go ballistic.  But they are EMPTY boxes!!!  I feel terrible doing something that I know would upset my child…but if I don’t throw some stuff away (not donate-able), our house will quickly become a scene from “Hoarders.” Where/why am I to keep these boxes that he does nothing with?  I can’t.  I live in fear that he will realize what I have done.  Am I a horrible mommy for doing this?  Stress.  I may have to assuage my guilt by eating some chocolate.  (Be back in a minute.)

My son’s latest, and most crazy ambitious Rainbow Loom project is making a life-size Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III out of those silly rubber bands.  For those of you that don’t know, he’s the main character in the How To Train Your Dragon series.  FYI…He’s a kid/young man.  Did I mention that my son wants to make a life-size version of him? LIFE-SIZE.  So far, he has only completed the eyebrow:



Yes, that’s me holding the Rainbow Loom eyebrow up against my own eyebrow to show you that it is indeed going to be life-size.  NIGHTMARE.  Why can’t he build Lego spaceships, or something reasonable like that???  Why can’t I be the only crazy person in the house?  Do we really need two lunatics under one roof????

Is it just me, or does that rubber band thingy look like ramen noodles?

My 2015 New Year’s resolution is to be less messy.  Does that give you any indication of what kind of poor role model I am?  Sigh.  I have already cleaned/purged the downstairs…so I am doing SOMETHING about my resolution.  Notice that I started with the easier task of purging my son’s broken toys, rather than purging any of MY art supplies.  Hmm.

Here in the Northeast…it’s been rather BRISK:


It slipped down to -2 on the 0.4 mile drive to school.  We normally walk, but I didn’t want scowls from the principal because my son turned into a popsicle on said walk.  Brr! Perhaps we should have made a roaring fire in the fireplace with the ridiculous pile of Rainbow Loom boxes that I just threw out?  At least they would have been put to some good use.

Why aren’t my extra layers of fat keeping me warm?  Maybe I need more?  Send hot chocolate and donuts, pls! My Baymax body thanks you!!!


No love for the post office
December 15, 2014, 1:35 pm
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts..., Sewing | Tags: , , , ,

post office

I know.  It’s a stressful time of year.  I get it.

But why is it that the post office closest to me has staff that are the LEAST helpful?  Actually, surly might be a better word.  I was bringing a sold Etsy item to the post office.  I was using a free padded envelope for priority mailing that I had ordered from the post office.  I printed my label.  I was all set.  UNTIL…I reached the desk at the post office.

“You can’t send this in that envelope.”  Blank stare.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because you have a Priority Mail Express envelope, not a Priority Mail envelope.” Blank stare.

“Well, my paid shipping label says Priority Mail.  Could you just put some Priority Mail stickers on the envelope and cover up where it says Express?”

“No. I can’t do that.  You have the wrong envelope.”  Blank stare.

“But this envelope is physically identical to the Priority Mail envelope…except that it also says “Express.”  Can you just cover up the word, “Express” with some of your Priority Mail stickers which are right there next to your hand?”

“No.”  Blank stare.

I kid you not.

I ended up going to the OTHER post office in Arlington.  And do you know what the woman behind the counter at the OTHER post office said?  WELL!  She said that she would put Priority Mail stickers on it, no problem!  IMAGINE THAT!


I know that I should be more forgiving…but that was totally ridiculous.  That is not the first time that this employee has made me feel like my head was going to explode with frustration.

post office again

 Avoid this post office like the plague unless you want your head to explode


So, I participated in a neighborhood Holiday Sale at a friend’s house yesterday.  It was so much fun!  I had a great time chatting with the other artists in the area and the neighbors that came by.  I even sold a print and a scarf!  WOO HOO!  I did eat a ton of Christmas cookies, so that wasn’t so good.  Here’s a bunch of new stuff that I’ve made:


Isn’t it beyond cute???  It’s a little quilted pouch, and it’s around 5 1/2″ in diameter.  It has a zipper, and the lining matches the border.  Adorable, right???

Here is the NEXT one that I’m doing:



I did some basic hand quilting on this one.  As soon as I can finish it, I’m going to photograph it and put it up on my Etsy store.  Unless, of course, I decide that it is too cute, and that I must keep it.  Mine!

I also made these other pouches, which are listed:

slightly wonky pouch1


slightly wonky pouch2

Cute, right?  The top one just sold recently.  Woo hoo!

Okay, I’ve got to run to do the bajillion errands that seem to be piling up…much like the dust bunnies that surround me.

Speaking of running…check out the photo of these baby legs that I found online:


I want to die, these are so cute.  The next time that I have to go to the post office, I am going to pull up this image on my phone to fill my mind with happy thoughts about fat baby legs…even if it turns out that I have to deal with surly employees and that I do have the wrong friggin’ envelope.



Art rant!
December 5, 2014, 3:31 pm
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , ,

Bear with me, but I need to vent a little…not about the “art world”…but about the world’s view of art.

WHY is it…that WE (as a society) think that ONLY people who are supremely talented at art, should make art?  WHY are we SO judgmental about the art that non-professional artists make?

Let me put this into perspective…

Does a father and daughter who go out to throw around a baseball fill their minds with critical thoughts like, “I can’t do this at all…my throwing sucks…why can’t I catch better?”  We don’t consider that reasonable thinking…it sounds hyper-critical and judgmental, right?

People accept that someone can throw a baseball around JUST FOR FUN.  It doesn’t mean that you think that you’re a major league player.  It doesn’t mean that you think that your playing is better than anyone else’s…you just like to PLAY.

So…please tell me…WHY IS IT DIFFERENT FOR ART?  Why can’t people just “play” with art?  Why can’t we just enjoy making marks and daubing paint because it’s fun?

It would be obnoxious to go to a little league game and scoff at the players, who are total “amateurs.”  But, for some reason, we feel justified in scoffing at amateur artists.


I’m sick of it.

I’m not saying that ALL art is worthy of being in a museum or gallery.  Just as there are the major leagues of baseball…there are the major leagues of art.  Fine!  So be it!  I love going to a museum to see what FANTASTIC things the hyper-talented can do.

But, for everyone else…can’t we just make art because we love it?

If everyone’s activities were critiqued through the lens of, “is this outstanding?”, no one would do anything.  Instead, we bake/play baseball/ride a bike free from this burden.  Why can’t we paint/draw/sculpt with an equal amount of freedom?

This blog post is dedicated to all of the non-professional artists out there who do it simply for the joy of it. Keep your chin up, and your hands dirty.

I’m one of you.



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