Monday, April 30, 2007

Yes, I am Working

Do It Anyways is my new motto.
It seems to be working pretty well since I've adopted it. Note, that it is different than the famous Nike "Just Do It."

Here is some proof that this new attitude is helping me out in the production department!

This is a closeup shot of a quilt made out of my hand-dyed and painted fabrics that I'm just finishing up. It will soon be travelling to Lappeenranta, Finland for the California Fiber Artists' show that is happening at the Taky Gallery in June. I am hoping that Taky does not = Tacky in the native tongue (grin).
And, sadly, no, I'm not going to Finland with my quilt (boohoo!), but I hope it has a good time and is snapped up by a wealthy Russian gallery-go-er...

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Yay for Good Mail!

Participating in swaps is so fun, this one is a swap from the wonderful community at Create A Connection. Sundries Sublime sent me this journal, thanks Sundries! (g)

I received the coolest journal in the mail this week, hooray! Here is a picture of how it came wrapped. I actually admired it for a day, just because it looked so beautiful.

And here is how it looked after I opened it:

Don't you just love that sentiment? Here it is in case you can't read it:
"If you asked me what I came into this world to do. I will tell you: I Came to Live Out Loud." - Emile Zola.
What an absolutely perfect one for me. Thanks for the reinforcement, I needed that!
Boy is it ever nice to get good stuff in the mail, what a treat.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Create A Connection

Here are my answers for this week's Getting to Know You on Create A Connection:

1. If you could have any magical power for only one hour, what would it be and why?
I'd definitely choose Healing. So I could take away my own pain and disability, and then do the same for everyone else I could reach in one hour.

2. You've won a pair of round-trip airline tickets to anywhere in the world. Where would you go, with whom, and why?
I'd go with my dear husband to New Zealand. Just because we're LOTR freaks and are lusting after the landscape/location tours you can go on.

3. You are stranded in a library or bookstore for 24 hours. In what section do you spend the most time? Why?
If I was in a library, First of all, I would be in a really really big one (Like the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley), not my teeny though nice local one! I would spend the most time in the rare books section. Just because I love looking at old stuff, and they always limit how much and what you can look at.
If I was stranded in a bookstore, I'd probably hang out in the magazine section. Think of how many pricey magazines you could look/read through in 24 hours!

4. If you were to be on a reality TV show, which one would it be? Why would you be a good fit for that particular show?
First of all, I truly loathe all reality TV shows. They are all too mean-spirited for my tastes.

But probably I'd choose Dancing With the Stars, the judges aren't so terribly awful. Hey, free dance lessons. Fun, spangly costumes. Dancing with a star...Oh, I guess I wouldn't really fit in on that one, since I am neither a professional dancer nor a star. Oh well.

How about Biggest Loser? I certainly have enough poundage hanging around to get rid of. I'm sure I would lose some weight, maybe learn something about nutrition or exercise. And of course I would oblige with lots of drama and crying, I'm really good at that.

5. What did you most recently dream or daydream about?
I most recently dreamed about flying over the ocean to Hawaii. I wasn't in a plane, I was just flying, without any tiring arm flapping, just zooming along, effortlessly as Superman.

I did have fun answering, go see Tammy's here: at Mimmsical Creations

Monday, April 23, 2007


For Self Portrait Challenge, here is a new body part I recently discovered, the eye-thumb. I tried taking some just eye photos, but oh, gross. I forgot to wash my face first, so there were, let's just say....traces of sleep. Also gigantic under eye bruise looking circles and bloodshot eyes to boot. Guess I ought to try sleeping a little more, huh?!

And two pictures of the top of my head. Hard to take this photo well! I think I need longer arms. At least it shows that my recent dye job looks pretty even from this angle. And that my hair is shiny (yay for Pantene performing as advertised).

As you can see, the amazing climbing roses are starting to bloom again. Every year towards the end of summer my husband gets disgusted/annoyed with them and hacks them practically down to the ground (I'm not exaggerating). Usually he picks a day when I'm out of the house! They are planted a story down, in my vegie/herb garden, right in front of the deck. I planted them there so they'd grow up and I could train them on the deck fencing. Hmmm, well, they are a little more vigorous than that. They grow up the deck fence, across the outdoor table umbrella and up unto the roof of the house. A bit much, definitely.

So anyways, they spring back, undaunted year after year. Someday I predict he'll dig them out just as I've suggested and plant them under a redwood tree so they can climb up and look gloriously Sleeping Beauty-ish. 'Til then they grow and grow, up and out reaching towards the sunlight and delighting me with their color, form and scent.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Day at the Museum

Last weekend we went to the San Jose Museum of Art to see the M.C. Escher exhibit. It was one of the last weeks of the exhibit, and also happened to be Community Free day, so it was pretty crowded (at least for San Jose!). But the art was impressive and I was thrilled to finally see it up close and in person.

There was also an exhibit of Op-Art and massive (I would say obsessive!) ballpoint pen works by Il Lee.

The favorite of the day was a digital exhibit called Listening Post. It was a large room with couches against one wall, and the opposite wall covered in rows of small screens. Data compiled from real-time chat rooms powers the exhibit. The question answered in this exhibit is "What would 10,000 people chatting on the internet sound and look like?"

Don't you love this sculpture? It really stands out next to all the kinda boring buildings, and helps you find the museum. The old building to the left is now the museum cafe, where we had a great (and cheap!) lunch.

Here is an entertwined S and J with an eagle pearching on top. I liked the swirly leaves. We don't usually see too much detail like this on California buildings, since they are all so new and "modern". So I take the pics when I spot something!

This is a small enclosed porch off the side of the museum, it has these three strange metal sculptures, they look like goat monsters being tortured. The boys were quite taken with them.

I liked all the reflections and building components/architecture styles in this photo.

A closeup of the photo below.

A grid laid over the San Jose skyline. Along with the jet contrails in the sky, as the downtown is directly in the takeoff path of the SJ airport. This has meant that they can't expand service to bigger jets to Pacific destinations, because the smaller ones barely clear the buildings as it is. San Jose will thus always be a short, limited city.

Finally on a movie note, you must go see Hot Fuzz. Especially if you have always either liked or just endured buddy cop action movies. Set in England ,with the terrific stars of Shaun of the Dead. Oi!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Flickr Fun

To kill some time this misty Saturday morning, I found a couple of fun things over at Flickr .

One is a random photo game, where you have to guess the common tag name between the pictures. Try it, very addictive: Fastr

And a new clock to try, the numbers are from random flickr images: Clockr

The newest Chia pet, ChiaFlickr

Or FlickrFont, where I created this:

Two Projects, one done, one begun

Here are two upholstery fabrics, recently purchased, with which I am planning on constructing a spring bag for myself. I was shopping for a spring/summer purse and was very disappointed in what was out there, bleah and double yuck.
So off to the home dec section of the local fabric store, where I found these two lovelies on the flat fold table, $7.99 a yard. The brown one (those dots are a vivid lime green which doesn't show in the pic), will go on the outside and strap/handles(I figure it will show the dirt less!). The stripe will be trim and lining and pocketsessss.
Now to find the perfect bag pattern...Off to the library I go!

I also had to buy some new matches, and couldn't find the small boxes, so got the giant BBQ size. I couldn't stand looking at the box in my workspace so I covered it up.

The polka dot paper was from the lining of a card from Jaye, and the ends are sporting fabrics from Mr. B's. Gotta love that glue stick. Also use yellow highlighter to go over all the edges. Now it looks like it belongs to me.

The words say, "Light It Up!" and "Flame On!". I use an incense and devotional candle on a small altar in my workspace to help keep me on track. The scent and the flame assist the transition to the space I need to be in to create.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Paper Quilting

Just for fun today, here is a how-to on the subject of paper quilting.

First I started out with a piece of white construction paper, layering torn pieces of colored tissue with white glue. As a last step at this point, I laid a white piece of tissue paper over the top while it was drying and then tore it off. This kind of muted the colors and made even more surface interest.

Definitely let it dry for at least a day, there are a lot of layers and you don't want to be sewing through wet glue(not good for your sewing machine!), or damp paper (it will tear).

My next step was stamping over the top with a large motif stamp that I carved a while ago. Just with regular ink.
Definitely looking interesting at this point, don't you think?

Next, I decided on a flowery garden theme based on how beautiful my deck flower bulbs were at the moment. I snapped some closeups of open tulips, and then some rosemary just for spice. These were cropped closely in a photo editing program and then printed out on silk. Arranged on the surface, then held down temporarily with glue stick.

For some reason, a Good Earth tea bag paper tag caught my eye, and I added it to the composition. I love their tea, and I love the little quotes on the tags. Plus if they get the tea on them, the paper looks cool when it is stained.

Make a quilt sandwich with your paper piece on top, batting, and backing fabric.

Now onto the stitching. Using an old needle (why waste a new one on sewing paper?), and your stitch length set on the longest possible length, slowly stitch away. Yes it is a little stiff, perhaps a little noisy, but it works.

When you are happy with how it looks stiching-wise, then cut it to the size you want, and zig-zag the edges. Voila', done!

Here is a detail that shows the writing that I did on the lumpy surface. The words are the botanical names of the flowers, their meanings in the Victorian flower language, and what they are used for in herbalism.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Button Weirdness

The other day when searching for buttons for my recently refashioned shirt, I went through my button drawer and found these. Aren't they the weirdest buttons you've ever seen? I just love the detail and their expressions. They are from my grandma's stash. She had a lot of buttons and I inherited most of them.
I believe these are from when she lived in Japan during the post WWII reconstruction with my Army colonel grandfather.
I don't know if they are irreplaceable or not, so I'm debating whether they can be used in something I'd actually wear. Guess I'll have to do some research on that particular subject. Anyone know any good button valuation websites?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Skin I'm In

Self Portrait Challenge this month is about showing it all.
And here I am:
Loving the skin I'm in.
Brave enough to bare a shoulder in the bright sunshine. Yet, not quite brave enough to show it to you in color.
Clear as day, I see the age spots, moles, uneven texture, splotchiness and beginnings of wrinkles.
But still I love it anyways, this body.
You see, that is my strong shoulder there. You can't tell what I've carried by looking at it. How much weight it has hefted. What burdens it has assumed with grace.
And that is also my strong neck just above it. Still supple after all the hard driving, work and stress. Yes, a little creaky when first circled in the morning, but my head is still attached, right?!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Wardrobe Refashion Re-pledging

I am officially re-pledging myself to the Wardrobe Refashion (this time for a period of 4 months). I think it begins in June, but I'm practicing already, so it'll be 6 months by the time I'm through.

So, why pledge to not buy new clothing for a period of time? To use my time and creative energy in this way?

I think the idea of refashioning the stuff I have already into something I'll actually wear and enjoy wearing is a good way to practice what I preach. You know, the whole reuse,recycle mantra.

What better way to celebrate Earth Day?!?! Think of how much energy it takes to get that new shirt to you, to grow the cotton, to power the factories, not to think of the pesticides,etc...So since the stuff is already made, bought and in my hot little hands, I'm using it.

Here is what I made on Friday afternoon/eve (woohoo, how fun am I?). ahem. Well, I was also hosting a sleepover at the time. And we had pizza instead of me actually cooking. The funny thing was all the menfolk in the house at the time actually noticed the shirt when I appeared wearing it instead of the usual t-shirt. And they complimented me (smart move on their part!).
I started with a really nice shirt of my husband's. He recently tore out the elbow (never got the story on exactly how that happened, hmmm....). I'd always liked this shirt, it is a nice light grey, and the fabric has a beautiful sheen. It is a Kenneth Cole Reaction brand. So first off I chopped off the sleeves with my trusty pinking shears.

Then I thought of what a good spring fabric that I have, I knew that it had to have grey in it somewhere, and probably something floral. Came up with this gazania print out of my box of florals. My first stopper was how to figure out how big to make the new cuff additions. So I measured the sleeves I'd just lopped off. Here you can see the rip that got me this shirt to work with.

I decided to have smallish "cuffs" on the sleeves and cut a strip 5" wide and about 2"longer than the needed length to make it around the sleeve. Ironed it in half lengthwise. Sewed right sides together. An action shot:

Pressed open the seams, turned the cuff right side out, and folded in the ends. I also turned under the raw edges of the existing sleeve and sewed a small hem.

Next, I pinned the cuff-to-be on and sewed it on just on the edge of the sleeve end. It overlapped very nicely and I did a little decorative stitch (flowers!) to tack it down on the overlap.

So here is how it looks with the sleeves done. But bleah, I don't like wearing a structured collar, too scratchy and binding.

Cut off that collar! It was worn out anyways. And waaay too pointy for me.

The collar was replaced with the same floral fabric used on the cuffs, and in pretty much the same fashion as described above.

Here are the former sleeves and collar. Don't they look funny without the shirt?

No, I haven't yet thrown them away. Look for them appearing later in a project coming to a blog near you!

Here I am wearing the finished product. A very comfy shirt, that looks nice too.

I'm thinking of replacing the original dark grey buttons with either fabric covered ones (out of the same floral, how matchy-matchy!). Or maybe these hand-dyed ones that are a nice lilac color that goes with the flower petals.