Friday, November 30, 2007

NaBloPoMo Finish Line

Pshew! I did it!
Harder than it looks or than I thought it would be. Not the blogging necessarily, just the *remembering* to do it every ding danged day for 30 days in a row...But the people were nice, the community created is great and I'll do it again next year.

Just don't ask me about nanowrimo. I utterly failed in that department. Oh well, next year! And I have the next year to work on the great story that I did actually begin.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Seen Around Town

The full moon this past week, seen through some trees in Saratoga.

These are some pictures of downtown San Jose's "Christmas in the Park" on the first night (Friday after Thanksgiving). We did a quick walk-through after going to see the awesome Bodyworlds II exhibit at The Tech Museum. Have you ever seen this exhibit? It has been traveling around for a while now. The human bodies on display were amazing, beautiful, intricate and formidable. I found them for the most part to be treated very respectfully. Some weren't, but on the whole I found the whole thing to be inspiring and informative too. Many of the bodies had diseased lungs, and there was a big display at the end encouraging people to quit smoking and discard their packs of cigarettes. I don't know how you could keep smoking after seeing the black lung versus the healthy lung display. yuck!
The displays weren't complete by a long shot, but I did like these light-wrapped trees.
I liked how the tree disappears in this shot, leaving only the lights and the looming building.

What's this? A special type of teeny or fancy porta-potty? We must investigate.
It is a special one, presumably for elf sized folks. Yes, my much larger than elf-sized children climbed in. Actually Alex did, and then Zach tried to lock him in. Haha, aren't big brothers fun? not! according to Alex.And then, here is our very favorite statue to climb on:Quetzalcoatl, serpent god of the Aztecs. Very controversial statue, it was almost pulled when it was first installed. Some people were insulted or offended by it, saying it looked like a pile of dog doo. (whatever! I like it!) Kinda appropriate then that it is situated in guardian position near the array of variously sized porta pottys. That is Alex's teeny tiny head on top, and Zach is to the right in the foreground.
Santa Cruz downtown at dusk. Taken from the Noah's Bagels giant open windows.

Aren't I just a totally sneaky mom and wife? They didin't even know I took their picture. Using the large folded-in windows as we sat and had a bagel before going to see "The Mist".

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Cornucopia, Refilled

Another filling Cornucopia, mostly filled with movies:

You've got to check out this quilt exhibit from Australia. Seeing this exhibit this morning online makes me want to:

1) Move to Australia to meet these inspiring artists

2)Throw away all my quilts

3)Start making new kinds of quilts.


After reading about the collaborative prints offering from The Sampler, it reminded me of how much I really really want a print Gocco or thermalfax for making screens for printing. Hope you are listening Santa... I guess I should really try to use the screen printing stuff I already have and make sure I like using screen printing. Ok, you are right! I talked myself out of it. There are always screen making services if I do find I like it. Time to save up my pennies I guess.

Yet another magazine to check out: Adorn. sigh. ALthough I am probably too old for this one, looks to be aimed toward a younger, hipper (ie not hippie or hippy) audience.


And finally we can subscribe to the hilarious, unstuffy, fun new quilting magazine: Mark Lipinski's Quilter's Home Magazine.

Movies I've seen Lately:

The Sea Inside - This one had been on my list for a while, and it was so good. It is a Spanish film about a real story of a parapalegic man who tried to change the law so that he could be helped to committ suicide. This is of course an explosive topic, but they show it from all sides, from the inside of the man at the center of the controversy, from the point of view of his caretakers, his friends, the lawyers, etc. Very moving, I think I was crying for about the last half of the movie. Makes you think, and makes you feel, and it is beautifully photographed to boot. Oh, and the best flying in a dream imagery I've ever seen, that's exactly how it looks in my dreams.

If you like horror movies (not the newer "tortureporn" like Saw), but really good scary, disturbing, funny and surprising, then go to the movies and see The Mist. Based on a Stephen King novella, although they changed the ending very substantially, it is brilliant. The monsters are scary, and as in most King stories, the people are worse than the monsters.

I was most impressed with Marcia Gay Harden's portrayal of a rather beyond cracked fundamentalist. My teenager and I dragged the husband (who really doesn't like scary movies) to see it, and he dug it. We all looked at each other afterwards and said "Couldn't you see this happening in Johnnie's?!" It is set in a small insular rural town (like ours), most of the action takes place in an old-style grocery store (like Johnnie's in our town). Anyways, this movie had us talking for days afterwards, which is usually the mark of a good movie in my mind!

Lost Highway - This David Lynch movie is truly weird (aren't all of his movies), hard to watch in some spots, but mind-bending. I love his stuff, non-linear cinema at its best. Have you heard this interview with him about creativity? He is really onto something!

Donnie Darko- Watched this one with my teenager and marveled at the story once again.

It is worth watching more than one time. He really enjoyed the movie and we were discussing it for days afterwards, he said he wished everyone at his school would see this movie.

Collateral - We almost finished this movie, about 20 minutes from the end the dvd stopped working, and no matter what we tried, it failed at the same tense point of the movie. arrgggh. So we sent it back to netflix, got the replacement yesterday and all gathered to watc the end of this rather gripping movie. I take it out of the netflix envelope and the disc is completely cracked! Not scratched or smudged, but physically cracked. arrgggh again. So no one better spoil the ending, and it damn well better be worth waiting for! We were joking that the ending must suck, so people are throwing the discs across the room in disgust or something...we'll see at some point, I hope! No spoilers puhleeze!

Lord of The Rings: Return of the King - We re-watched this on my husband's birthday this past weekend. He hooked up the surround sound that we've had for years and wow, did it ever complete the experince. All we need now is a gigantic tv (hmmm, we'll see!).

Die Hard 4 - Live Free or Die Hard - We gave the husband this movie for his birthday, and he really liked it. Almost too much action even for an action movie, but very satisfying. Plus the plotline makes you wonder about whether a "firesale" really could happen here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

House of Mom for Sale

Up for auction that is!

My quilt "House of Mom" that I made for The Alliance for The American Quilt fund-raising effort, Put A Roof Over Our Heads is up for sale.

Go see it on ebay, along with 24 other quilts from the exhibit that are up for auction too, until December the 3rd.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Refashioned Shirt

What I'm wearing is something I made for myself out of a ruined t-shirt in one of my favorite colors. I made the mistake of actually washing up the kitchen while wearing this and some of the cleaner made some unrecoverable bleachy type of spots.

I started out this refashioning project by adding to the bleach spots that ruined this cool green tee. A few bleach spots is yuck. A lot it turns out is yum. This was accomplished by propping up the shirt on a cardboard box in the backyard and flinging bleach undiluted via old toothbrush at the shirt. I know that would have been a good picture, but I was too busy flinging bleach around. Then I soaked it in anti-chlor (to stop the bleaching which continues until your fabric disappears), washed it, and took it to the sewing lair. bwaahahaaa.The first sewing was turning out the hems of the neckline, sleeves and bottom. All I did here was to turn the hems outwards folding them back onto the shirt. This shortened the sleeves and bottom a bit, and changed the neckline to something a bit more comfortable. The stitch I used looks like a zigzag, but it is a mending zig zag, each zig is comprised of a bunch of teeny tiny stitches. Oh, and I remembered to us a knit jersey needle (yeah me!), which works so much better when sewing t-shirts. Sewing slowly and using a lot of pins on these hems resulted in no puckers gathers or lumps.Now it was time to pin on the patches I bought from leethal. I decided to give them a little more oomph by giving them some other fabric to perch upon and relate to. One piece has upholstery fabric (this one by the coffee), one has cotton-poly, and the last has silk. All of these are recycled fabric scraps.Before stitching I made sure to try on the shirt to ensure no obvious placement problems had arisen. Those of you with breasts know what I'm talking about here.I used the same mending zig zag that isn't a zigzag stitch as I did on the hems.
I realized I didn't like how light the bleach spots were, so I obsessively colored them all in with a sharpie pen. Now I like it better with this color.

So here is how the shirt looks on the floor.
And here is how it looks on me. I have no idea what that expression on my face is meant to convey. I think I was very near to actually smiling, but who knows. The result, very comfy, unique and me.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Former Paste-Eater Confesses

I was getting frustrated with my fairly new glue, the tip was gummed up, I couldn't clear it, and the top was glued completely stuck. I really liked this new brand, I'd never tried it out before and I really liked the smallish container, it fit nicely in my hand and seemed well designed, plus the glue works really well for the kind of collage I like to do.

My internal dialogue went something like this:
"man, I just bought this, I really like this glue and I loved the teeny tiny pen point that it came out of and now it is all ruined and arrgghhh why can't I ever remember to wipe off the top of the glue before I put the cap back on, you would think after more than 40years of gluing stuff I'd have learned that...."
I almost cut off the top to get at the glue inside, but then I noticed something I hadn't before.
This particular glue container is a dual tip, one on either end. D'oh!
Now, mind you the other end is gigantor compared to the one I was using. But hey, at least I get to use the glue (at least until it gums up also.).

This post dedicated to my buddy in 3rd grade, Mrs. Harris' class, at Congress Springs Elementary (RIP now sub-division of mini-mansion-monstrosities), his name was Dallas, and we used to sit in the back and eat a lot of that minty yummy paste. Plus he was one of the few people in my life to date to ever give me a nickname: Jules Verne Jules ( I was quite the reader back then, and going through a Jules Verne phase and tried to get everyone I knew to read the books along with me.).

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Leethal Goodness

I found a link somehow someway to leethal, where Lee Meredith sells her indie crafted recycled super coolio stuff, and decided I needed to order some of her recycled fabric patches, oh and some buttons too. Hey the price was right, and I liked the whole recycled reusued vibe she has going on.
Here are the buttons, they are the gondola series, which are made from some of her photos. I think someone in my family who skis will be getting them, if I can pry my sticky greedy fingers off of them.
Here's a closer view of the patches, I got one of each, coffee!, tea!, beer!. They're screen or block printed on recycled fabric squares. I'm currently washing the icky green t-shirt they'll be going on, so I can't show that to you quite yet.
Oh, and since I ordered enough, I got a mix cd too! How fun! I love love love mix cd's and this one has some songs I didn't have in my collection, hooray!
And everything is wrapped in recycled magazine paper, you can see in the first picture, even the envelope was made out of it. Very clever packaging that carries out the recycled is *cool* dammitt theme.
So get yourself some leethal!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Maple Beauty

Having a fun Thanksgiving weekend with family, so I'm too pooped to post much at the moment. So here is a picture of our Japanese maple that is in the front yard. With some of the best colour we've ever seen. Not sure why, maybe it is just old enough, or the weather fairies cooperated or... I think this tree is about 4 or 5 years old. It is protected by some round wire fencing to protect it from marauding bambi type characters.

Today we:
stole a bunch of music from my brother and v.v. (I see it as just like making tapes for each other like we've always done)
went to the best deli in Santa Cruz for lunch: Zoccoli's
Toured the UCSC campus (Alex has declared he is definitely going there, I'll ask him in 5 years and see what he says).
Went to the beach and watched Zach and my brother skimboard, and watched a huge seal watch them from the waves.
Drove back to my parent's house.
Went to see BodyWorlds at the Tech Museum in San Jose.
Drove back to my parent's house and devoured (completely gone!) the leftovers from T-day and drank mojitos, both the hi-octane and unleaded versions.
Drove home.
Yikes, no wonder I'm so beat.
Good night!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

What I'm Wearing, A Tutorial

What? A Tutorial? For self portrait challenge? Well, stick with it, I'm in it down near the end.

Here I will walk you through the steps of making an embellished muff. I felt compelled to make one as my hands have been really really cold lately, the rest of my temperature is just fine, but my hands are feeling like iceblocks. So I thought a muff would be good. Mittens or gloves are ok for outside, but inside the house I'd just be taking them off and on all the time, With a muff, no taking off is required, just pull hand out, then reinsert.
But I couldn't make a boring muff, that wouldn't be me at all, I need some texture, interest and sparkles.
So, I started with the Clover yoyo maker. These new products are very clever, come in all sizes, and several shapes (haven't tried those, a heart and a flower, hmmm?). I guess yoyo related stuff is all the latest craze in Japan, so these gizmos are very popular. I got mine at The first step is to cut square of fabric, place it in the holder, then trim around it to leave a seam allowance.

This is the "right side", and where you will be sewing around the little scallops. On the opposite side there are little scallops that guide the needle, very clever!
So, now I've gone around the circle (see the black thread) with stitching, overlapping by one stitch as directed, and I'm pushing out the stitched yoyo.
And here it is, free of constraints! But still holding the center plastic circle.
Now to remove the center circle and gather up. That pops out easily. Gather by pulling the thread gently.

Take a couple of securing stitches inside where they won't show, and voila'! Hey, no snickering, it is my first yoyo. It isnt perfectly round I know, but it is close. And it certainly doesn't look machine made does it??

Hmmm it looks like a mushroom cap. Here is the much less interesting side.

Oh my goodness, I think I've made a yoyo!

Now on to choosing some fabrics for the muff, I know I want flannel, and I've had these woodsy samples around for the longest time. Totally not my style, but the look is very cozy and comforting which is what I'm aiming for.
And just look, the yoyo looks very happy on this floral. Especially after adding a bead for some extra fanciness. I stitched it on with a few stitches through the pleats of the yoyo where it wouldn't be showing.

Sewing together the flannel squares with a pretty big seam allowance as this type of flannel is quite ravelly as you can see.
Building up more, and adding in the larger piece which is a fat quarter.

All stitched together and ready for layering with some cozy batting.

I cut a piece that will cover the fat quarter and fold over the pieced section with the lonely yoyo.

Lots of stitching following the lines in the fabric design.

And some almost circular stitching on the embellished section. And what is this I see, two more yoyo's have appeared!

I folded the fat quarter over on itself, so now it is double thickness of flannel and batting, and folded and pressed under the long edge of the pieced section. Sew down that topstitched seam and then just the edges are left. Remember, I'm going for thickness and warmth here, functionality over precise measurements. The shorter edges are not sewn and do not have batting so that I can turn them over.
Here are the edges all pinned and ready to sew down.Now I've pinned it a bit overlapping to make the muff tube shape out of the flat rectangle, here I am trying it on for size, aahhhh cozy!
Sewn together with some crazy yet sturdy stitching, I'm calling this muff done, and my hands warm!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Love Not Meant to Be

I know I posted this picture yesterday, but doesn't match just about perfectly this journal spread I did in RedDog's black,silver,blue True Colours Journal?

I called this "Their Love was not meant to be." Features
a vintage playing card with Abraham Lincoln looking rather pensive or melancholy,
an Artchix vintage woman image layered on top of a shredded silvery candy wrapper .
These pages were first colored with carand'arche watercolor crayons, wetted and turned around to make the drips,
rubber stamped with clouds, a moon (with silvery embossing crystals),
a piece of silvery black fabric goes across the two pages,
and a tag stamped, colored and written on, tied onto the fabric,
words written in silver pen.

Oh and how about this free site for texture photos to use in your art?