slightly wonky

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.




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!

Elves and a snacking stupor…
March 14, 2014, 9:36 am
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , , , ,

My son gets angry every time I buy Cheez-its, because I eat the whole box myself.  (Gross, I know.)  Maybe they have MSG in them?  (Grosser.)  They’re VERY addictive.

I have recently discovered a new snack food to eat excessively:


I know.  Grossest.  Try them!  They’re not bad.  I still think that salt & vinegar are more tasty, but I had to try these.  I remember in Spain that they had some Lay’s chips that were flavored like a ham sandwich.  Now, THAT’S gross.  (BTW that bag isn’t empty…YET.)

I recently finished another crafty project…a quilted purse!


It was pretty labor intensive.  I’m going to figure out a way to get small elves to work on these while I sleep at night.  I’m also going to ask the elves to clean the house, since they’re already up.  I’m thinking of opening up an Etsy store.  Any thoughts?  Suggestions?  Words of wisdom?  Are elves hard to find?  They can’t be THAT hard to find, as everyone else’s house is much neater than mine, so they must be using elves.

Please don’t have them take me away and put me in a padded cell.  While that might be good for napping, I’m sure that they wouldn’t give me any Cheez-its.

My son is always creating fearsome drawings:

drawing1He’s 24.

Just kidding.  He’s six.  I love the “v” shaped mono-brow that all of the faces have.  I’m hoping that this truly is supposed to be a monster, and not just me on Monday morning.  I haven’t gotten my eyebrows done in ages, so I have a sinking suspicion that this is actually me.  At least my legs look skinny.

I’ve gotten a bit of “press” as a result of being in New American Paintings.  I got to be the “artist of the day” for March 1 on this website.

artist a day 2

C’mon people!  I need votes!  I only have 28 votes so far.  You aren’t allowed to vote if you don’t give me a perfect score.  Okay, just kidding.  Make it at least NEAR perfect.  It makes me feel better about my imperfections, like my “housekeeping blindness” ailment.  Very troubling.

I also got some press in the latest issue of Artscope magazine.

artscopeRight now, this series of drawings is still up in Dedham at the Mother Brook Arts and Community Center.  Can someone pick up a copy of this for me?  I live in the ‘burbs, and I only know of one local place that has this journal.  Otherwise, I’ll have to schlep into Boston to get some.  Sigh.  Just going to Stop and Shop seems like a major hassle…don’t make me drive 30 minutes to get into Boston.  I’ll have to locate my “good” pair of mom jeans for that excursion.

I’ve recently starting ice skating on a regular basis.  I skated a lot as a kid (not gracefully, mind you) as we lived near a small pond.  I forgot how fun it is!  I hate exercising, so this is pretty much the only way to get me to move around a bit, other than telling me that a fresh box of Cheez-its are in the next room.  I’m even starting to dabble with ice hockey.  I’m pretty terrible, though…so patience is key.  Not falling on my face is generally important too.  I think that the years of playing field hockey is actually doing me a disservice.  I keep forgetting that I’m standing on two, skinny blades on a sheet of ice.  Hmm.

Speaking of ice, my hands are frozen into two claws.  I’m typing this in our unheated basement.  I’m going to stop now, thaw out my hands by sticking them in my husband’s leftover coffee, and then probably finish the bag of pickle potato chips.

THEN, I’ll move onto the box of Cheez-its…

Technicolor yawn
January 24, 2014, 10:40 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts..., Sewing, textile forms | Tags: , , , , , ,

Where have I been???  What have I been doing???  Honestly…I have no idea.  I was SUPPOSED to post last week, but my beloved child was home with a fever.  We were all pretty much sick, and my husband is still on the mend.  DRAMA.

You know that it has been cold when 14 degrees Fahrenheit feels not so bad.  I’ve been wearing the same, over-sized wool sweater for what is likely a month.  I didn’t wear it today, as I had to meet with a museum curator…and I didn’t want to potentially offend her high aesthetic standards with my Sasquatch-like appearance.  How cold does it have to get for all standards of appearance to be eliminated in favor of comfort?  Clearly, that bar is never very high in my world.  I’m always wearing some kind of sad, D.I.Y. project.  It’s funny that after YEARS of being an architect, where we are trained (brainwashed?) to avoid color in favor of black, gray and white…my D.I.Y. projects are always crazy colorful.  I often think that my aesthetic sensibilities actually haven’t changed since I was seven years old, which is kind of sad…as I dressed kind of weird as a kid.  Things haven’t changed, I guess…

I finished up a knitting project recently:


That’s the front…here is the back:


Kind of neat, right?  I can’t take credit for the pattern…even though I changed the neckline…the cuffs…the length, etc.  This is not the sweater that I’ve been wearing for the past month.  The sweater that I’ve had on is more like a wool mu-mu.  This week, I realized why I can’t move somewhere warm…I’d have no reason to knit.

I’m totally serious.

You’re likely wondering when I’ll stop yammering about my technicolor craft projects, and move onto something more interesting.  Well, your wait is over!

My friend, Helen, has her work up at one of the well-known Boston galleries…

a-helenpayneHelen Payne, detail of installation “Here I Sit, Brokenhearted” at Bromfield Gallery, Boston

Here is the description of the installation:

An installation on bathroom tiles where drawings make visceral vignettes, showing moments ranging from giving birth to getting booked.  A shape-shifting protagonist emerges from the tiles. She morphs in time and race and limps along at odds with expectations but at one with viscera. 

“Here I Sit, Brokenhearted” is about the ill fit of the body and how our most private moments can play out in the public sphere.

Helen beautifully elucidates aspects of humanity (primarily vices and viscera) that are typically hidden.  Her work is both sensitive and bold.  Helen’s drawing fluency is as compelling as her chosen subjects.  Please check out her installation at Bromfield.  It will be up for a few months…but don’t procrastinate!  Go see it!  If you see something that looks kind of like Sasquatch at the gallery, come over and say, “hi.”  It’s probably me.

I’ve been sidetracked on a quilt project that I’ve been meaning to do for AGES.  Yes, I said “a quilt.”  Yes, I know that I’m supposed to be focusing on art, but as I just said…I’ve been getting a bit sidetracked as of late…

a-quiltSewing curves is challenging…so I decided to put myself in circle boot-camp by doing this koo koo quilt.  So far, it has been super fun…albeit a royal pain in the tush.  This is a mini-quilt…so the width is around 32″ or so.  Each of those little scallop shapes is probably 4″ wide.  In doing this quilt, I learned why people don’t normally use linen-type fabric for quilts (which I did.)  The weave of linen is so wide that it’s like trying to sew a piece of friggin’ GAUZE.

a-gauzeOkay, well not quite THAT bad…but almost that bad.  I fear that this quilt can never set foot in a washing machine, lest I want the thing to turn into a huge blob of colorful thread.  Kind of like this, but made out of thread:


Do you know that’s actually a creature called a “blob fish?”  I kid you not.

Sigh.  I always have to learn things the hard way.  At least I can sew a half-decent circle now, in spite of the fact that I look like Sasquatch.

Speaking of blobs, did you read about that recent study that says that sitting too much will pretty much kill you???  WHA?  HOW?  WHO?  I have pretty much sat through my entire adult life.  Besides pulling all nighters at school and at work, where I was SUPPOSED to be sleeping but was just deliriously SITTING instead…all of my favorite hobbies and activities involve SITTING.  Can I possibly knit whilst hopping around?  Can I somehow read AND do jumping jacks?  How about sewing and yoga?  Quilting and Tae Bo?  No?

Upon hearing the bad news about sitting, I promptly slid down within my enormous wool sweater and pouted like that hideous blob fish.



I’m waiting for the study to come out that says sedentary craft activities are actually good for everyone’s health because they keep mommy happy.  And we know what a maelstrom of discontent mommy can be when she’s NOT HAPPY…


Be thankful that you don’t live with me.


Mini-quilt madness
November 5, 2010, 1:44 pm
Filed under: Sewing | Tags: , , , ,

So, I have MOSTLY finished the mini-quilt.  What do you think?  I think that it needs something…messy, added to it.  I haven’t decided what, though.  So, in the meantime, I’m just going to leave it.  Let me just say that finishing this little thing was a serious effort, as my sewing machine was NOT cooperating.  Luckily, when I took it to Marie’s Sewing in Woburn, they were so helpful and got me back on track.  That machine is VERY temperamental/fussy/prone to pouting and refusing to work.  Much like me!  We’re a perfect fit!  Anyway, I’d like to keep going with the quilting.  Maybe if I make enough of these, I can join them into one big quilt.   Notice that I do not yet have the energy/gumption to make a big quilt in and of itself.  Someday…

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