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!)

 

 

 

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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!!!

 



Pop up!
November 14, 2014, 3:30 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , ,

Last night, I attended the opening reception for a short “pop-up” drawing show in the South End.  I have four drawings on exhibit, along with the works of many UBER TALENTED Boston artists:  Chuck Holtzman, Sandra Allen, Barbara Grad, Linda Etcoff, Eugene Dorgan, Summer Wheat, and Conley Harris.  Please check out all of their websites…the work is gorgeous.  The show is curated by Conley Harris, and held in his studio space in the South End.  I was SO thrilled to be included.  These are really some of the top artists in Boston, so it was fantastic to see their work and to meet some of them.  The show is open today (11/14) and tomorrow (11/15) from 11am to 5pm at 1140 Washington Street, Boston, 3rd floor.  Go see it!

drawing

These are thumbnails of the work of Eugene Dorgan, Sandra Allen, Conley Harris, and myself.  Dorgan does breathtaking charcoal portraits that are moody and compelling.  Allen is a graphite pencil virtuoso who draws with otherworldly beauty, sensitivity, and scale.  Harris’s rich and layered drawings seamlessly meld remnants of photography with layers of gouache to create fantastic “Nature Morte” works.

I’m SO sorry that I don’t have any pictures!!!! I forgot my ipod, which is what I typically use for photos.  SIGH.  At least I made it out of the house properly dressed, and not in pajamas.  It’s tough being a suburban mom.

My other big achievement since I last posted is that I MADE A COAT.  No joke!  Here it is:

a-coat outside

It’s wool, so it’s pretty warm.  I started it with a pattern, but then the pattern was so bizarre…I had to make numerous modifications.  It’s cute, right????  I even added the collar, which it didn’t have originally.  Here is the inside:

a-coat inside

Okay…THAT, I love.

In addition to this coat, I also made a couple of little pouches as gifts for some friends:

a-pouch front

The coffee cup sketch is actually a screen print onto some printed fabric.

I do all of this stuff, and then I wonder why my house is a mess.  Well, it’s messy because: a. I’m messy, and b. I dislike housekeeping.  Simple!  I also have enough stuff to fit into a house that is approximately double the size of the one that I am actually living in.  My son is equally messy, which is clearly a sign that I am being an awful role model YET AGAIN.  Luckily…my husband is pretty neat, or else we’d be in serious trouble.  Why does my son seem to pick up my worst qualities?  He’s messy, he can be grouchy/short tempered, and he scowls a lot.  Hmm.  At least he doesn’t have frizzy hair…yet.

If anyone out there is a “neat person”, I would greatly appreciate an “intervention” at my house to teach me how to be a neater person.  If it involves throwing out any art supplies, fabric, or yarn…then, I’m afraid that you’ll have to leave.  Feel free to take away the vacuum and my pots and pans…but leave the mohair yarn and fabric paint, thankyouverymuch.

I’m just going to rearrange some piles now so that I can get some work done…don’t mind me…

 



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



Hammertime!
August 8, 2014, 9:26 am
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , ,

Today is my son’s last day at camp.  SOB!…sniff sniff…That means that next week, I have to be on mommy-duty 24/7.  YIKES.  Some people delight in that.  For me, it puts me in a sort of low-grade panic.  HOW are we going to pass the time???  HOW am I not going to go postal???  I’m sure by the end of summer, my son will be thrilled to go back to school and get away from me.  I know that I would too, but…unfortunately, I’m stuck with me.

He has made some priceless creations at camp this year:

a-boat

They have “woodshop” at camp.  Isn’t this super cute?  This will be used as the centerpiece for the head table at his wedding.  (Just kidding…maybe…)

a-door

This is a tiny door.  I suppose that we could put it at the base of a tree, as if it was the entry to a gnome house?  Apparently, my son smacked his thumb with a hammer when making this.  Ahh…this is the timeless injury which began when early man first started using tools!  It’s 2014, and we still do it today.

thumb

Look at this ridiculous graphic that I found.  What kind of moronic image is this?  Who puts their thumb ON the nail????  Should that even be considered an accident???  Why do I immediately think of Congress when I see this?  I know that doesn’t make sense, as something is actually HAPPENING in this image.

But I digress…my son’s last creation from yesterday:

a-thingy

I forgot to ask my son what this is.  It looks like something that would be legal only in Colorado.  I’m not sure what they’re teaching those kids at camp, but I can overlook it because they make him lunch.  Yes, I’m THAT kind of mom.  I’m just glad that there is no licensing exam for being a mom, or else I’d be undoubtedly parenting without a license.

So, yesterday was the reception for a show of my drawings.  It was fun for me, because it is at my old office.  These were some images of the show last Friday when I was setting it up:

a-sasaki2

a-sasaki1

a-sasaki3

a-sasaki4

There is a blog write up about the show here.  It was great to see many of my former co-workers.  I was also really happy that some of my non-architect friends came as well.  I was kind of stressed about the show before I hung it, but I think that I had forgotten how nice everyone is at my old office.  I could tell that I wasn’t used to getting out much in the adult world because I referred to someone’s water bottle as a “sippy cup.”  WTH?  My son doesn’t even USE sippy cups anymore.  CLEARLY, you can take the mommy out of the house, but you can’t take the house out of the mommy.  Perhaps someday scientists will find some correlation between Stop & Shop and early onset Alzheimer’s?

I wore one of my latest creations to the reception:

a-tunicfront

I’m pretty happy with it!  My sewing skills are improving…thank god.  It’s hard to work with silk.  I’m realizing that silk chiffon is even worse, but I’ll show you that project when/if I finish it.  And the back:

a-tunicback

Do you think that I could sell these on Etsy?  Or, am I the only person what would wear this kind of thing?  Probably.  Growing up, I was always the weird kid who dressed strangely.  This clearly hasn’t changed with age.  It’s less endearing now because people don’t think, “How cute!” anymore…instead its, “Why is that old, fat lady dressed like that?”

Because she’s cray cray…that’s why.

Time to get back to my life and death battle with silk chiffon…so far the score is:  Silk Chiffon:3, Me:0.

 



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…

 




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