Sunday, November 30, 2008

Creating Costumes

Here's a bit more about the costumes I've been working on for Seussical. These are the tails that the bird girls will wear, they're the color inspiration for the dyeing that I was asked to do for the costumes. I was given cotton tank tops and long bloomers to dye. The bird girls are kind of a Greek Chorus for much of the play.
This is the Amazing Mayzie's tail, she is much more colorful than the other bird girls. She is basically the Carmen Miranda of the show, she thinks a whole lot of herself. If you've read Horton Hatches the Egg, you'll remember her, she's the bird who convinces Horton the elephant to egg-sit for her, and then flys off for an extended vacation ,abandoning her egg. Her costume will be two colors, purple on the bottom, ombre'd up to blue on the top.This is also part of Mayzie's tail, she really is the peacock of the show.
Here's how the dyeing looks while it is sitting and processing. I've been using the plastic containers we get our salad greens in from Costco. They're a great size for bigger pieces like these costumes. The colorful thing on top is a paper towel I used to wipe up drips of dye, I'll probably use it in collage somehow.

Here's how they turned out. Pretty bright, huh? And the flash kinda washed them out... They look really great on stage with the bright sets and props.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Library Reading Challenge for 2009

A reading challenge has been issued by book blogger, J. Kaye, with a twist.

The twist is to commit to reading a certain number of books from your library.

You can sign up here if you want to join in.

I really use my library a lot, reserving books online, renewing stuff online, downloading audio books, checking out movies, and cd's. The one in my town is really comfy and low-key and the building is beautiful. For the most part the librarians and staff that work there are super nice and fun to chat books with. I hope that your library is as accessible and well-stocked as mine is, it is impossible for me to imagine our country without free public libraries.

This will be a post that I edit and add the books in a list as I read them over 2009.

My goal is to read 50 books from the library in 2009.

Library Books I've Read in 2009:

1. Astro City Vol.3:Family Album - Kurt Busiek
2. Atro City Vol. 4:Tarnished Angel - Kurt Buseiek
3. Civilwarland In Bad Decline - George Saunders
4. Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris
5. The Garden in Winter - Suzy Bales
6. A People's History of American Empire - Howard Zinn
7. The Harvest Gardener - Susan McClure
8. The Tofu Cookbook - Becky Johnson
9. The Iron Hunt - Marjorie Liu
10. The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
11. The Dark Side - Jane Mayer
12. Just After Sunset - Stephen King
13. Twilight - Stephanie Meyer
14. On Guerilla Gardening - Richard Reynolds
15. The Full Cupboard of Life - Alexander McCall Smith
16. Pruning Fruiting Plants - Richard Bird
17. Beader's Color Palette - Margie Deeb
18. Bloodsucking Fiends - Christopher Moore
19. Living Dead in Dallas - Charlaine Harris
20. 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women - Gail McMeekin
21. Quest - Denise Linn
22. Four Acts of Personal Power - Denise Linn
23. New Moon - Stephanie Meyer
24. Living Dead in Dallas - Charlaine Harris
25. Club Dead- Charlaine Harris
26. Eclipse - Stephanie Meyer
27. The Neddiad - Daniel Pinkwater
28. Dead to the World - Charlaine Harris
29. Dead as a Doornail - Charlaine Harris
30. Definitely Dead- Charlaine Harris
31. All Together Dead- Charlaine Harris
32. Bite - Laurell K. Hamilton
33. From Dead to Worse - Charlaine Harris
34. Blue Shoes and Happiness - Alexander McCall Smith
35. The Beekeeper's Apprentice - Laurie R. King
36. Bee Season - Myla Goldberg
37. Fast Fit - Sandra Betzina
38. The Good Earth Beauty Book - Casey Kellar
39. Breaking Dawn - Stephanie Meyer
40. Dead and Gone - Charlaine Harris
41. Wildly Successful Plants Northern California - Pam Peirce
42. Water Garden Idea Book - Lee Anne White
43. Creative Serging - Nancy Bednar
44. Lisey's Story - Stephen King
45. Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace
46. The Forgetting Room - Nick Bantock

San Francisco at Night

We went to see a concert in San Francisco last week, and took some pictures before hand in and around Yerba Buena Gardens and the Metreon.
Want to Shake?
No really? Want to shake?
This is a really disturbing statue, not only because from far away when I was walking by myself in the dark, I saw this person standing so still, freaked me right out.
Actually a piece of public art "Shaking Man" by Terry Allen.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial, a beautiful waterfall installation, you walk behind it and see photos and read quotes from his life.
Hard to get a picture at night of a waterfall, this one finally worked.
This infinity edge fountain on the top of the gardens is beautiful by day too, but with the reflections of all the lights, really gorgeous. Don't you love the curviness of it? In the background is the big Metreon, a shopping/movie complex (ie, a mall!).

One of the weirder things I've ever encountered in SF (and that's saying something!), a gigantic room filled with toy claw machines.
We were absolutely mystified until Marc noticed that the machines were for sale! Here's my favorite, because it is filled with Cal mascots, Oski! Go Bears!
What is it with me and taking pictures in bathroom stalls? This is the bathroom stall in the Metreon, some type of brushed steel, I just loved the overlapping circular patterns that gave the illusion of such depth, it looked different from every angle.

And here's the reason we came to the big city! What an amazing show. We all really love The Decemberists, but we had no idea how fabulous they would be live and in person. I got the tickets really late so we were in the last row of the upper balcony, but luckily The Warfield has good views from every seat.
The opening band was called Loch Lomond and they were really good too, a nice surprise, because you never do know when it is a band you've never heard of. And they say Loch Lomond the same way we do too, because that is the reservoir/lake that is near our house. We couldn't be normal and use the proper Scots pronounciation, so we made up our own faux French version. When we heard them introduced Marc and I cracked up. Zach said their playing made them want to learn the violin, which he told the band member that he bought the cd from, I think it made the musicians' night to hear he'd inspired a teenager to want to learn the violin.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

End of The Exquisiteness

I received my completed Exquisite Corpse collaborative project back in the mail, hooray! Excitement reigns! This is the second round of this experiment and we've been working on it for several months now. Didn't it turn out great?
For this round we drew the entire design, then divided up the space into six spaces, worked on one space, covered it up front and back, and sent to the next person. Here's what my overall design looked like, with one piece of fabric added to my square (oops forgot to take the picture first!). I used as my base a piece of cotton moire' that I'd dyed. The design idea came from the faux barkcloth print on one of my atomic pillowz.So when I received it back, it was all covered up. Part of the fun is un-stitching each of these covers one by one, slowly revealing the entirety of the work!
First, I'll show you the square I worked on. The dark stitched line marks the edges of the six individual squares.

Next is Arlee Barr's work, she always has such great texture in her work. also, she is the Corspe Mistress aka the organizer of this whole shebang, and she does such a good job keeping us all on schedule and pointed in the same direction. Some of this is painted, some is stitched, and lots of it is sparkly and/or beaded:

Next is by Elizabeth O'Donnell, lots of great hand stitching and embroidery on top of couching and applique.

This square is by Donna Royer, it has a great fringe treatment on the edges of the shapes, and if I'm not mistaken she's hand drawn the patterns on the two fabrics of the shapes (ie not the background).

This square is by Reta Brunner, you can't see it too well in this picture but there are clear star sequins scattered across the background, very twinkly and beautiful. She used some interesting fabrics that go together well with the rest of the piece.

Finally a square by Susan Sawatzky, she's used several silk fabrics, couched yarns, and some great beads.
For even more exquisite corpse completed works check out our group blog, Exquisite Corpse Textiles!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Buncha Links!

Haven't done a link-tastic post in a while, so here are a bunch of links on various and sundry subject, that I've been holding onto until the "right time":

A Denyse Schmidt fabric giveaway at Little Blue Cottage.

Free embroidery pattern from BadBird

Something to use up a whole lot of your long fabric scraps.

Amazing under the sea sculptures, website translated from the original French.

Vote in a Stitched-by-Hand Flickr contest.

Ideas for gift sewing at Sew, Mama, Sew

A beautiful wreath made from fresh brussels sprouts!

A great new clothes sewing blog called This Large Life.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Save ABC's Pushing Daisies Petition

If you like the ABC program Pushing Daisies, you might want to help by signing this petition: Save ABC's Pushing Daisies Petition
Hard to believe that one of the most creative and visually beautiful shows on tv (dare I say ever!?) has been cancelled.
Here's what I wrote on the petition: This is one of the most original shows I've seen in years. Quirky, funny, insightful, colorful, expressive, romantic, sweet, thought provoking. Just what your network needs to keep. Please no more reality shows, we need a break from reality with fun fantasy shows like Pushing Daisies.
and here is what I wrote when asked "What I Love About Pushing Daisies" :
The thing I love the most is showing the magic in everyday life, all the connections and coincidences that we mostly miss, but make up most of our life stories.
These characters are unique, have depth and are mostly people who seem very realistic. I find them to be entirely believable, while most characters on tv are broad stereotypes or charicatures, but not these.
The stories have so much to them, even when you rewatch episodes, there is always something new to understand. The intricacy of the storytelling assumes that grownups are watching, hurray!
The set design and music are so beautiful and alive and positive. There is nothing else on tv that compares.
The whole show all taken together just makes me happy. It illustrates the power of love, friendship and caring, maybe that's sappy, but compared to all the utter meaness of all the reality shows it sings to my heart.
And I don't even like pie!
Two of my favorite moments thanks to YouTube:
The most romantic scene:

and a very funny scene featuring a favorite They Might Be Giants song:

An Afternoon in Santa Cruz

The other day I got to drive on a field trip (wheee! haven't done that in quite a while, once kids get into middle school, not so many opportunities) to take son Alex's drama class to Fiddler on the Roof in Santa Cruz. It was a very nicely done production, and I had a chance to take some non-kid related pictures while we waited for the theatre to open.

The willow tree we parked under (or maybe it is a pepper tree).
The beautiful old tile work over the door to the theatre. Louden Nelson Community Center
used to be an elementary school and is built in the Mission Revival style.

The painted ceiling in the theatre. Hard to get a good shot with the bright stage lights on.

The Fiddler on the Roof! He was a wonderful violinist, a young teenager who had to get up and down off the roof a couple times during the show. You can see the painted trim around the stage pretty well in this picture, isn't it a lovely design?

The lion guarding the door of the house across the street from the theatre. I loved the colors in this picture, and the shadows.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fabric Acquisitions

Recently I ordered some fabrics for making some clothes for myself from ReproDepot, and I was smart this time and instead of just guessing on yardage, I actually got out the pattern I was planning to use and ordered the correct amount. And here is my next innovation I'm most proud of, I wrote a note to myself about which view I'm planning on sewing with which fabric and *put it with the pattern*.

So when my order arrived I wasn't confused

  • as to who was sending me a gift of unknown yet beautiful fabric?
  • or why the heck did I buy this?
  • and hey there isn't enough to make curtains out of this!?
  • you know, the buyers' amnesia that some of us of a certain age are quite used to dealing with thankyouverymuch....
First is this lovely Asian cloud fabric. I've always loved this motif or symbol and was happy to find it in such a great color combination.

I'll be making the jacket on the right. Very simple, but I'll do something exciting with the buttons and/or pocketses.
Then I saw this fabric which completely cracked me up and charmed me all at the same time. It is part linen and quite sturdy. From the rabbits and race-cars line by Heather Ross for kokka, printed in Japan.

It will be the front part of view A, the shirt. I'll make the sleeves and the rest out of an orange and or green hand dye.This was a just because it is neat and on sale impulse buy, a very interesting print from Joshiko Jinzenji printed by Yuwa in Japan. Probably will be a shirt, but we'll see.
Then I got this, because I found the imagery to be amusing and I liked the colors and shape/energy of the design. Nest by Tula Pink for moda fabrics.
Finally I found some really fun buttons for my sci-fi jacket that I'm plotting and planning. I have several very loud and annoying scifi/robot conversationals that all kinda sorta go together and needed special buttons. Aren't they fun?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Back to Collage

Haven't made a collage in absolutely-freakin' ages, and I came across the dog jumping photo on the upper left of this one in a magazine, it made me want to make a collage rightnowrightnow, so I didn't fight it for once and got busy with my scissors and gluesticks and here is
"Capturing Men"
I wanted to stick with just black/white/grey and then I came across this great quote from a program I've been cutting up from the George Bernard Shaw Festival.

"The whole world is strewn with snares, traps, gins and pitfalls for the capture of men by women." - George Bernard Shaw
In this collage is:
Founding Fathers
Jack Lemmon crossdressing
Inuit Art
A Medieval baker
Random Woman in Hat
And the jumping dog on a leash that started it all

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dyeing Delight

I've actually been dyeing lately. Which I said out loud to some friends last night and they all gasped, oops, I see the word in my head and forget that dying and dyeing sound pretty much exactly the same.

Anyways...The reason for actually getting all the dyeing stuff uncovered from the usual laundry room debris is that I'm helping with costumes for my son's first foray into the dramatic arts, participating in his middle schools' version of Seussical. While dyeing the costumes, I ended up with some extra mixed up dye solution so I threw in some pieces of whites or off whites that have been waiting for some color. That's what I'm showing you today, as there aren't pictures of the dyed costumes quite yet. This first piece was a white on white Asian themed print. I have never understood the whole concept or purpose of white on white quilting fabric. Take a white fabric, print it with white fabric paint (not dye), use in your quilt when you need white. Since it is overall printed with fabric paint, the fabric is always stiff and a bit scratchy no matter how much you wash it. If you want to actually see the design take out into very bright sunlight, or spray with water...??? I don't think it ever adds depth or interest to a quilt, it just reads as white. Even close up it is hard to really see something is there in normal indoor lighting. Not being a traditionally trained quilter, I guess I am missing the purpose of this fabric. But it makes a great thing to overdye if you don't mind the stiffness of the fabric because you actually get to see the printed pattern!

Here are some blue green pieces. Very very usable I think. I was using cerulean blue and chartreuse from Dharma Trading just in case you're wondering what made these color combos. Some of these fabrics were very white and some were very off-white, which affects your final color of course! Some were a coarse-weave muslin, some were nicer broadcloth which soak up the dye so much differently.

This is a big piece of muslin that I dyed in the same colors as above. It wouldn't cooperate in staying up on the design wall, so here it is all foldy.
Yikes I ran out of Synthropol, (special detergent dyers use that gets rid of excess dyes molecules). So I have an emergency order hopefully arriving today or tomorrow so I can finish the rest of the costumes. Pictures on those later when they're all done.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Late Fall Garden

A little tour through the late fall garden on a dewy morning: The climbing rose continues to bloom.
I like this view of beautiful corruption.

A closeup of a mini-mum.

The lemon balm decided to re-sprout. I thought it was done for the season. I love how spring green it is, you can practically see the sunlight captured within the leaves.

An end-on view of a kaffir lime on my small patio tree. My Thai plants have been doing great all summer, the lemongrass really took off and the Thai Basil is still putting on new sprouts. It has been fun cooking with all three of these pungent herbs, makes my attempts at Thai cooking so much more authentic tasting.

The apple trees are changing color.

And finally, the sun coming through on of our redwood groves.