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:


purse

 

It’s cute, right?

purse2

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

purse3

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:

fish

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:

column

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.

stripe1

stripe2

stripe3

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

stripe4

stripe5

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:

twombly

Cy Twombly

Cy-Twombly-Cold-Stream

Cy Twombly

Twombly460x276

THE  MAN

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

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.

snow

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?

snow2

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:

mess

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:

mess2

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:

cards

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)

 



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!

SIGH.

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

Grumble.

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:

circle1

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:

circle2

 

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

and

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:

babylegs

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.

BABY LEGS!!!

 



Manbaby nightmares and Etsy

 

tree

Yay!  Fall is here!  I love the colors on the trees…apple picking…apple eating…pumpkins…the whole thing.  One thing that does trouble me, however, is the dreaded Halloween costume.  My son has told me that he wants to be some kind of Pokemon.

Oh.

Great.

For those of you that don’t know, there are a billion different Pokemon characters, and none of them look remotely like a six year old boy.  Example:

pokemon 3

Seriously?  How am I going to make any one of those into a costume???  Suggestions?

What if I bought a Pokemon stuffed animal, and just strapped it to his head?  Weird?

He spends a lot of time drawing Pokemon, which I think is cute:

pokemonI think that those are made up.  I mean…I know, I know…ALL POKEMON ARE MADE UP.  I meant that these two are not “official” ones.  Basically, I’m going insane over here with the Pokemon nonsense and I need someone to talk to me about something adult and tangible.  World news?  Syria?  Ebola?  Honey Boo Boo?

Hmm.  Depressing.

Perhaps non-stop talk about Pokemon isn’t that bad after all!

So, my minor achievement (besides vacuuming) is to have actually created an Etsy store!  Check it out here.  Yes!    You can now buy some of the crazy stuff that I make!  So far, not much has happened.  The odds of anyone “finding” my stuff on Etsy is similar to the odds in Horton Hears a Who.

horton

Right?  Sigh.  It’s tough being a metaphorical dust speck.  If you have any constructive feedback about my Etsy store, PLEASE LET ME KNOW.

I’ve recently gotten some fabric back from Spoonflower that I’m using to make scarves.  Spoonflower is an online, on demand textile printing service.  So, you can design your own fabric and then have it printed!  It’s kind of cool  Here’s what I made:

infinity pink 1

It’s a knit infinity scarf.  Here it is again, with more of the green showing:

infinity pink 2

I love it! I need to find a reasonable looking person to model it for me. Actually, I know tons of reasonable looking people, just not any that would be willing to be photographed for Etsy.  Hmm.  Yet again I am feeling the disadvantage of not looking like a supermodel.  Sigh.

infinity pink 5

Maybe I should take a cue from a famous artist and try this strategy for modeling?

magritteRene Magritte, Les Amants

Right???  I could even cover my head with my SPOONFLOWER FABRIC that I DESIGNED!

Would that be appealing, or sort of freaky and disturbing?  I’m thinking the latter.

Maybe I can just photoshop on a cute head?

 manbabyman, baby, manbaby by Ed Alkema

WHOA.  Okay…NOT a good idea.

Oh…nevermind.  Just let me know if you’re a supermodel and would be willing to either:

1. Model my Etsy creations.

2.  Go grocery shopping for me.

3.  Vacuum.

4.  Take out the trash.

Thank you!

 



That might cost extra…
September 19, 2014, 9:37 am
Filed under: Sewing | Tags: , , , , ,

I am SO happy to have time to work again! I’ve scurried around my basement studio space furiously trying to clean in up in order to be more productive. It’s better…I’ve got sort of an “organized hoarder” set up. I keep fantasizing about living in a more “minimal” way, but then all of the things that I like to do are the OPPOSITE of minimal: sewing, knitting, drawing, painting, ice hockey. Why can’t I be more cerebral? Oh well.

Is it time for lunch yet?

I recently finished making a cute bag:

new bag

The entire purpose of making this bag is to sell it.  Unfortunately, I kind of want to keep it.  SIGH.  This is a problem that I have often.  The inside:

new bag inside

See!  I even made a little pocket inside with a fabric label on it!!!

new bag detail

I love the little wood bead zipper pulls. How can I possibly sell this?  On that note, I’ve started trying to cobble together an Etsy store.  It’s a lot of work!!!!  I’ll let you know if I ever get it up and running.  How much should I sell this bag for?  $1K?  $2K?  Just kidding…sigh.  If you say $20, I shall give you a good whack with a knitting needle.  It’s HAND MADE…for goodness sake.  You can’t get that at Old Navy!  Hmm.  Maybe they have cooler stuff at Old Navy?  Oh well.

Remember that silk chiffon top that I mentioned in a previous post?  I finished that too!  It nearly killed me.  I vow NEVER EVER to work with that fabric again.  It’s worse than silk charmeuse…it’s like trying to sew cotton candy.   Here it is:

a-blouse1

Sorry about it being wrinkly.  I wore it, but couldn’t be bothered to iron it for the photo.  I love it!  It was a royal pain to make, though…

a-blouse2

Don’t you like the cool layering effect?  No?  Too bad! If anyone has any helpful sewing tips for chiffon, besides finding someone more skilled to do it for me, please let me know.

Does anyone out there in cyberspace have an Etsy store?  Or, do you shop on Etsy?  If so, what do you think of these product photos?  Are they nice, or shoddy?  I still haven’t found an available super model to photograph with these items.  I realize that deficiency may result in fewer sales.  I don’t really want to put MYSELF in the photos, as that will GUARANTEE lower sales.  Hmm.  Seriously…photo feedback appreciated.

Speaking of photos…my son is having his school photo taken on Monday.  I have to select the background that they will use.  I have a choice of: corpse grey, two choices of electric blue, electric purple, smouldering ember orange, and sooty emerald green.  Not great.  I still can’t figure out which is the least hideous.  Why can’t the kids stand in front of a leafy bush, or something natural?

photo colors

Which would you pick?  Ech.  I’m worried about choosing the blue, as my son has a lot of blue shirts.  His photo would end up looking like a floating head if his shirt matched the background…also not good.  Maybe the gray???  I wonder if they can photoshop in a smile, as my son tends to scowl at cameras?  That might cost extra.  He also needs a haircut, but photoshopping in that will probably cost more than the haircut.

We seriously need to find a new place to get his hair cut.  The place we go is SO SLOW, and it pains me to even contemplate taking him for a haircut.  We ALWAYS have to wait somewhere between 1-2 hours until it’s our turn.  Haven’t they heard of APPOINTMENTS???  Why can’t I schedule a time to be there so that I don’t have to try to entertain a six year old for two hours in a barber shop?  Nightmare.  They do a good haircut, though.

Okay, I’m off to try to do something remotely useful.  I’m not sure what that is yet, but I’m sure that it will come to me.  If you know of any places to get a good kid’s haircut THAT TAKES APPOINTMENTS near Arlington MA, let me know.  And, no, a Flowbee is not an acceptable alternative.

flowbee



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:

sasquatch

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:

birdie

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.

top2

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

topdetail

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:

top1

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…

 



Me WOOOT
June 9, 2014, 9:55 am
Filed under: Drawing, Sewing | Tags: , , , , , , ,

The school year is wrapping up, and I’m in panic mode thinking about what I’m going to do with my son before his camp begins.  I know that letting him eat candy all day whilst watching cartoons is NOT an option.  Hmm.  I also know that joining him to play Godzilla with his toys is also NOT an option, unless I want to go completely koo koo and wind up institutionalized.  I don’t do “imaginative play” with figurines well.  I don’t know why.  I can’t do it.  Build with blocks…yep.   Draw with markers…yep.  Action figures…nope.  Can’t do it.  I always end up doing something silly/hilarious, which makes my son mad.  Play is serious business!  I can’t play with action figures in a serious manner.  I just can’t.

In order to try to get some art exposure before the dreaded post-school/pre-camp weeks arrive, I went with a friend to First Friday in Boston.  We always have a good time checking out what the galleries have up.  We have an even better time getting the required “post-gallery-beer,” but I digress…  Barbara Moody, our studio critic for the A.P.T. program, had an opening that night at Kingston Gallery.  It was great to see her and her new work!  This is an image from the Kingston Gallery website:

a-moody1

Barbara Moody at Kingston Gallery

She creates wild landscapes that overrun fragments of architecture.  I love the color palette!  I love the marks, the layering, and the overall energy and vitality!  She also has a series of very small works that are bold collages of imagined landscapes.  Those were also wonderful.  Go see this show, as it will close on June 29.

We stopped by Steven Zevitas Gallery and saw the work of Ann Toebbe.

a-toebbe2

Anne Toebbe at Steven Zevitas Gallery

I loved her work!  She creates these flattened out domestic interiors from collaged paper.  Each one made you wonder who’s room it was, and whether they were all from the same house, or different houses…

a-toebbe1

 Anne Toebbe at Steven Zevitas Gallery

Aren’t these great????  My photos are terrible, so you have to go and see it for yourself.  Her work will be up until July 5.  Go see.  Now.

We also caught the work of Joe Fig at Carroll and Sons.  Joe Fig wrote a great book, Inside the Painter’s Studio, where he interviewed famous artists and then recreated their studios in miniature.  LOVE IT.  Here is what Leonardo Drew‘s studio must look like:

a-fig

Joe Fig at Carroll and Sons

It’s hard to appreciate the detail of Fig’s work.  Here is a bit of a close up:

a-fig2

Joe Fig at Carroll and Sons

This is TINY.  Can you believe it???  Look at the messy paint cans!  Look at the extension cords!  HOW DOES HE DO IT???  Anyway…I have his book, so I was thrilled to finally see on of his works in person.  I also love Leonardo Drew, so it was cool to have a peek into his world, even though it’s mini.  I really could have looked at this for hours, but then I didn’t want to get too many nose marks on the plexiglass case.  I should show this to my husband just to prove to him that I’m not the only messy person on the planet.  Joe Fig would rather eat one of his models than have to recreate my household chaos in miniature.

Besides making nose marks on plexiglass, I haven’t been up to much lately…except for THIS…CHECK IT OUT!!!

a-juki

WOO HOOOOO!  Yes, that’s a friggin’ SERGER!  Mwahahahahh…I’m sooooo excited.  Now, I plan to dash off shoddily made items with reckless and foolhardy speed.  1,500 stitches per minute!  Imagine what kind of trouble I can get into!!!  Here’s my first serger project:

a-shirt1

I know…I know…I should have ironed it…but remember?  I’m ironing-challenged!  I love this day-glo tomato color.  Side view:

a-shirt2

I look like I’m falling over.  Hmm…probably had the camera crooked.  ANYWAY…notice the ruching at the side seam????  My first time trying that out…it turned out okay!  Because this isn’t Vogue magazine, I didn’t Photoshop my backside to make it smaller.  If so, I would have posted this:

a-shirt2skinny

Don’t I look more skinny?  Ahh…the alchemy of Photoshop!  I hope that they incorporate that feature into the new Google glasses.  That way, everyone would look as they would like.  Kind of like beer goggles…but different.  I think that I’d make myself look like Zooey Deschanel, even though that change would be pretty traumatizing if someone took off their glasses.  Oh well.

 

a-shirt3

Not bad, right????  The pattern is one I drew up based upon I shirt that I already have.  I suppose that’s cheating, right?  The whole thing is so simple that it doesn’t seem like THAT original of a design…hmmm.  I’m a long way from Project Runway…especially as they would spit upon my serger.  BUT WHO CARES????  I love it. It’s “quick and dirty” sewing.  Actually, based upon my housekeeping skills, mine is mostly “dirty”…

So, my husband recently discovered the work of Hombre_McSteez.  He does AMAZING animations on acetate(?) held in front of some actual scene.  Please watch THIS VIDEO on Youtube to see some of his stuff…

a-mcsteez1

Hombre McSteez on Youtube

You also have to see his instagram feed…HERE.

a-mcsteez2

Hombre McSteez on Instagram

You’ll never look at a green bean the same way again.  At my house now, we all can’t stop saying, “I am a plant!”  or “Me WOOT!”

My parting words for today are: Me WOOOT!!!  Discuss amongst yourselves…

 




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