slightly wonky

Schwarzenegger and sundaes? Wyeth not?
July 25, 2014, 10:34 am
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , ,

Does anyone else out there feel that the current situation in the world is particularly depressing?  I know that this is always the case if you focus on the negative, but I feel that humanity has quickened its recent pace of going to hell in a hand basket.  Can’t we all agree to stop killing/invading/abducting one another???  WTH???  Methinks I need an NPR break.  Or maybe a mint chip ice cream sundae with fresh whipped cream?  Or both?

You can all just put away your Strunk & White when you read this blog, lest your grammar cortisol levels skyrocket…(I love a good ellipsis, and find parenthetical expressions invaluable.)

My adviser/friend organizes a local, temporary art exhibit called “Chairful Where You Sit” here in Arlington.  Artists decorate discarded chairs, and then the chairs are sold to support Arlington Public Art’s programs.  Nice!  Here are some of this year’s creations…


Adria Arch, Chairful Where You Sit 2014


Unknown artist (sorry!!!!), Chairful Where You Sit 2014


Susan Murie (my neighbor!), Chairful Where You Sit 2014


Amy Hoff, Chairful Where You Sit 2014

It’s a really fun event each year.  I love that the chairs are rescued from the trash and then transformed.  I have not been organized enough to participate and create my own chair thus far.  Maybe if I start NOW, I might be able to complete it in time for NEXT YEAR????  (Is it sad that I need that long? Probably. At least I did some laundry yesterday…)

My mom and I went to see the quilt exhibit at the MFA.  The show is titled, “Quilts and Color.”  The quilts were impressive, obsessive, and convulsive.  (Just kidding about the last one…)


Quilts and Color at the MFA Boston


Quilts and Color at the MFA Boston


Quilts in Color at the MFA Boston


Quilts in Color at the MFA Boston


Quilts in Color at the MFA Boston

TINY BITS OF FABRIC!!!  (Yes, I know that isn’t a sentence.)  If you don’t make quilts, you may not realize the HOURS it took to make these.   You also may not appreciate the difficulty in getting such precision between the fiddly little pieces.

Back in the day, no one could just use a little gizmo to pop out identical and accurate pieces of fabric, as we have available today.  Nooo…you had to sit hunched over by candlelight cursing your existence as you cut out minute hexagons from random fabric, hopefully not from your family’s clothes as they’re still wearing them.  (Maybe Amish kids don’t yell, “MOM!  STOP IT!”???)

In the caption next to one quilt, it said something about the local Bishop needing to approve the use of patterned fabric, as opposed to solids.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME???  I joked that these quilts were actually Amish voodoo dolls where docile Amish women could stab and poke and cut their frustrations out on these things.  Maybe that’s just me?  Hmmm…I would make a terrible Amish woman.  Plus, I look awful in beige.

One interesting thing about the quilt show was that in spite of it being all about COLOR, I generally hated all of the colors.  Odd, right?  The palette of colors was so unpleasant and nauseating.  Rust red next to forest green, mauve, off white, ochre…YUCK.  GAG.  I know it’s quilting blasphemy to make such a statement, but I generally was put off by the colors.  I must be missing that Amish gene…kind of like how I hate cilantro while other people will happily chomp on fistfuls of it.  Blech.  Julia Child hated cilantro too, so I’m not a total philistine.

There are a few pieces of color-intense artwork interspersed in the show:


Victor Vasarely, MEH2, 1969, Color screenprint


Bridget Riley, Elapse, 1982, Color screenprint

These generally enhanced my overall enjoyment of the show, and cleansed my “cilantro-esque” violated aesthetic palette.

The MFA also had an exhibit of the work of Jamie Wyeth, son of Andrew Wyeth.  His technical skill was amazing.  I especially loved many of his watercolors, but his “style” was all over the place.  In addition…again, this is probably art blasphemy to say this…but I found that while some of his work was stunning and beautiful, many other pieces were hideous, while still technically perfect.  Weird, right?


Jamie Wyeth, Portrait with Black Wash Background, Head, Nureyev (Study #23), 1977,

Pencil, opaque and translucent watercolor on toned rag board

His drawings are lovely…and I love the inky splotch.


Jamie Wyeth, Portrait of Lincoln Kirstein, 1965, Oil on canvas

Apparently, Kirstein was “a towering figure in the art world and passionate advocate of ballet.”  This view is of him standing in the darkened wings of a stage, watching a performance.  This is not the style of art that I am normally interested in, but I loved how most of the picture was of his shadowy back.  I also like that he isn’t a politician/royal.


Jamie Wyeth, Head Tide – Maine, 1991, Watercolor on Rag Paper

This is a gorgeous watercolor.  I LOVE IT.  The inky dark trees behind the cold facade of the church is beautiful.  Wyeth has an amazing ability to capture light in his works.


Jamie Wyeth Butterscotch, Gull, and Hot Fudge Sundae, 2004,

Translucent and opaque watercolor on toned rag paper

I thought that this was a hilarious painting of a gull with two ice cream sundaes.  See the crazy technical skill?  See the rather odd use of this skill?  It gets weirder…


Jamie Wyeth, MFA Boston

Hmm.  Starting to get weird.  The reddish border is actually a garish, splotchy background that looks like something my son would do stuck behind the bird painting.  HMM!  Bizarre.  Go see this show, and you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say both, “Wow!” and “YIKES!”  I didn’t include a photo of the painting of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s naked back as he makes an enormous muscle with his bicep.  I’m not kidding.  For real.  My husband asked if this artist would have had a show at the MFA if his father had not been Andrew Wyeth.

What do you think?  Hmmmmmm…

How can I POSSIBLY JUDGE when this is what I do now…:


Yes, this is another silk top for my friend.  And the last one:


Again, these are recycled saris from India.  These are VERY BASIC.  They do look nice on, though.

I also finished a sheer shirt that I made from a commercial pattern:



I know…kind of “floofy”, right?  I’ve been wanting to make a more complicated article of clothing using sheer fabric…so, I finally did it!  I’m happy with it, even though I had to redo many parts of it.  See?  How can I judge a painting of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s bicep when I make stuff like this???  (At least, I’m covered up, right?  Sheesh.)

Okay, so I’m going to “make like a gull” and get a couple of ice cream sundaes to take my mind off of the bizarre artwork, ugly quilts, global apocalypse, and my own artistic ineptitude.  Carry on!


Sari to bore you…
July 11, 2014, 9:47 am
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts..., Sewing | Tags: , ,

As my son was both out of school and not yet in camp, I was inundated with “mommy-time” recently and could not write a post until now.  Camp is a fantastic thing.  We’re lucky that we can send my son there.  It’s definitely cheaper than having me institutionalized from my son being home all summer, right?  I’m so selfless.

My stepdaughter turned 18 this month.  YIKES!  Where does the time go????  In preparing for her family birthday party, my son dressed his Sasquatch up in festive attire:


Notice the red shoes and rakish tilt to his hat.  This Sasquatch doll has become the most entertaining thing in the house.  I guess my son has seen me sewing clothes lately, and decided that he would make some clothes as well.  His look better than mine, naturally, but I’m trying not to feel too intimidated.  I’m going to plagiarize some of his tape details, though…

During the past few mommy-madness weeks, we had a ridiculous incident of a bird “nesting” in my car:


Isn’t it cute? I got into the car, and saw the bird nestled into the front of the car, between the hood and the windshield.  I got out of the car and stared at it…thinking that my mere presence would frighten it.  Apparently not.  THEN, in my neurotic way, I imagined that perhaps the bird was ill with RABIES, which was why it was behaving so oddly.  (Luckily, no one uses that gauge on me, or else I’d be getting shots more often…)  So, I got BACK into the car, and started the engine.  The bird blinked and stared back at me, unruffled by my 4 cylinder Toyota starting up.  I decided to drive off, hoping that the movement of the car would jar it out of its zombie-like stupor.  No luck.  I started to fret, as I needed to head to the Mass Pike.   What would happen to the wee bird then????  I couldn’t let it blow away on the Pike!!!! Luckily, as I was driving along with him STILL ON MY CAR, I went over a small pothole (or not really so luckily), and he flew off at last.  Disaster averted!

Okay.  Not only has my life been reduced to such minutiae, but you’re actually reading ABOUT my minutiae.  Oh wait, don’t take that the wrong way.  Did I just lose my only reader?  Wait!  Come back!  I promise to somehow make this more interesting somehow!  PLEAAAAASE!!!

Just kidding.  I’ve got no way of making this more interesting.

I have a friend who has lots of sari / saree fabric from India.  I’ve been making simple, draped tops out of them.


This looks really nice on.  It’s silk, so it has that sort of iridescent quality where the green and the red threads overlap.


It’s kind of hard to tell in the photo.  He likes it, and has asked me to make three more!  (BTW, these are not for him, but for his girlfriend and family.)  I made a more plain one here:


I know…pretty simple.  The bottom edge is hemmed with gold, and there is a double layer of fabric at the top.  The saris were going to be taken to Goodwill, so I’m glad that I can rescue some of them to become clothes.  It also helps when you’re willing to wear something weird, as I am.

Okay, I PROMISE that my next post will be interesting.  I’m not sure how I will manage that, but I’ll really work on having SOMETHING INTERESTING happen in the next week or so.

Does going to Bed, Bath & Beyond count?  No?  Hmm.  What about Target?  Trader Joe’s?  How about Home Depot?  Oh, never mind…


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