this is a simply lovely commercial! all the pastels and the enchanting child-like world; balloons, flowers, sweets. if paris was really like this for everyone i would be on a plane tomorrow.


decadent brownies

oh yeah, try adding orange zest to dark chocolate chewy brownies along with a pinch of vietnamese cinnamon. yummy yumminess!

a sketchbook of my very own

when you say "artist", your brain sees "sketchbook". or at least it should. well, anyway, i have always had a difficult time keeping sketchbooks. the idea of applying pencil to such clean pristine snowy white pages freaks me out. what if i mess up? am i stuck with a permanent reminder of something ugly? this is suppose to be an inspiration and idea book. and i know that at times you get really good ideas from something that could be classified as a "mistake". but come on. really?
a long time ago in my student days i purchased a mini portfolio for postcards. it has been occupying a space on my bookshelf for um, let's see, 5 years? yeah. one day while chopping up scrap paper to keep on hand for idea noting, i had a brain storm. what if i made a sketchbook but kept the pages loose? that way if i draw something i hate, i can simply throw it away without destroying the spine of my precious book. also there's something unethical to me about ripping pages out of books. ouch, it hurts my literary soul.

getting back to the mini portfolio comment, from this i drew great inspiration (i.e. i copied my general idea from). so dusting off my bookbinding skills, i set out to create my sketchbook. i am in absolute love with natural undyed linen. all those varying shifts in value, that texture, the smell! i need to get more of this stuff. then chose a lovely green paper that reminds me of weeping willow trees. then to keep it all nice and tidy, a lovely blue edged elastic detailed with a bone button from my ever-growing collection. et voila! my sketchbook!


wigs are fun

awhile ago i had purchased a bag of dyed wool wefts at my local knitting store. at the time i had a half-formed idea of using them for a doll wig, but eh, i never got around to it.
while going through the plethora of stuff in my newly cleaned closet i came across the baggie and put it to the side. well, the time came to use some of those brilliantly dyed pieces, and scrounging around till i found a nylon stocking, use them i did. pulling, stitching, and forming as i went this weft of wool became hair. it's reminiscent of a finger wave styled 'do from the twenties; and i especially like the random green section.


dolly couture

i was going through my narae's wardrobe last night and wanted to change her outfit. one of the few (two) items that i bought rather than made is a white 3/4 sleeve top. it doesn't really go with anything else, as the majority of pieces are super girly. so i decided to make a bottom to go with it.
at first i really wanted to make shorts that are ballooned, but i struggled with them for too long. taking a look at what fabric bits were available from my left over shirt project, i thought about doing a high-waisted skirt; something that was gathered. i created a circle and then started to sew a ruffled edge to it, then sewed on a waistband and connected it to a back. it came out rather well and only took a few hours from conception to hand sewing.
the outfit ends up looking mature, and somewhat funky business-like.


a painting and an obsession

i've never been one to like mushrooms. oh, they're pretty enough, sure. but eat one? ugh. slimy. but then a weird thing happened. i watched a program devoted to fungi on some educational channel. and suddenly i wanted to eat them. it's very strange, but you know, they're very tasty sauted with butter and garlic.
and then i wanted to paint them, and so i did. they're even better to paint!

at the same time, i came across a picture of a dumbo octopus in national geographic. i really think they're a very adorable and cute creature. the ocean is full of such inhabitants. i've always been drawn to things that are so ugly they're cute.
so, onto researching my new subjects. for images a scroll through flickr would be my best shot. there are surprisingly few photos of the dumbo octopus, also known as Grimpoteuthis. they're a little deep in the ocean, places where we (homo sapien) don't get to a whole lot (which is a good thing, imho). i found around 12 or 13 on the whole. mushrooms are a little easier, there are entire groups devoted to this subject.

oh, and i like to work small (kinda obvious huh?). the above painting is 5" x 7".

a kitty bed!

on a recent visit, my sister made a suggestion for the master bedroom; that it needed something that was low to the ground to fill a space by the fireplace. she suggested a dog bed or cat tree. as there aren't any dogs in this house, a kitty bed would be nice. a chance to get those little hairballs off of the main bed.
i had a scrap of nani iro fabric that was too big to toss, and the color scheme worked well enough; little pink roses on a white background. so with some thread, a couple of cotton balls and a little bow, i made a nifty little bed. i like it, i think kitty does too. now if she only had a ball of yarn or a mouse toy.


the living room needed more orange in the pillow accents, there was a little bit too much pink going on. a floor cushion would work nice, and fill an area that was looking empty. using needlepoint on linen, i stitched out two different patterns on either side of the pillow; one side mostly a soft pink, and the other cubes. i also sewed together a simple orange silk pillow for the couch to replace a magenta one.


a little detail from the skirts covering the derriere of my narae. she's got such a nice pouf to her skirts.



i have just discovered that i am not in fact a libra, but am a virgo. yay! that libra sign never made much sense to me anyhow. apparently astrologists are behind the times and that due to "precession" the place in the earths sky that we see constellations has altered 36 degrees to the west. thereby placing the astrological constellation, the virgo, in the nights sky on my birth, and not the libra. after reading the write up on my new sign, it all makes so much more sense. i don't run my life by the zodiac, but it's interesting nonetheless.
oh, and the phrase "hoist with his own petard" comes from the time of the stuarts and is when an invention that was used to blow open gates blows you (the bearer of said device) open instead.


not just for me

my narae also has a new pair of shoes. it took much longer to find her a pair. you would think that making such small shoes would lend itself to a world of creativity; stuff that's just not possible, or plausible for flesh and blood feet. sadly, that is not the case.

most shoes available to the abjd connoisseur are usually clunky, gothic, boring, and/or limited to a palette of black, white, red, and brown. one that fits the narrower feet of the narae, is above average, and not having a trace of black or white (sole not counting), would seem to be in the realm of impossible. therefore, having found the beautiful shoes she is now wearing is very exciting! her first pair, wow. only took me two years. this awe-inspiring article of essentiality came from the wonderful cobbler at dale rae designs. there will be more purchases in the future.


my weekly stimulus

there's something magical about the series pushing daisies. the characters are colorful, entertaining, and cleverly defined. the visuals are all eye-candy, with acrylic like colors and storybook sets. the wardrobe is retro, yet modern, and entirely gorgeous with so many textures, patterns, and colors. something that could be overly gross, yet interesting, the morgue scenes are often times hilarious and always distinctive. i love this show, each and every episode. it's like a burst of anti-depressants every wednesday night. it saddens me that it might bite the bullet; so much like another show that i loved to watch, wonderfalls. why is it that such creative and vivacious shows such as these are forced out, and unrealistic oh-so-very-not-appropriate to todays economy reality shows are left on the air?


a head is such a lovely thing

what fun! a picasso head program. now you too can have an original picasso. well, maybe not. i wouldn't try to sell it. but it is fun. here's what i made:


the ombre that felt.

so lately i've been playing around with boiled felt, and have discovered certain aspects of the process that are not so fun. one, dyed wool does not retain it's color when boiled for 20 minutes, but natural undyed wool survives the process just fine. two, there is a certain aroma that boiling wool exudes, something along the line of that hair you pull out of the bathtub drain once a month.
i love felt, it is extremely gratifying to create and the texture is lovely and bumpy and just so tactile. ombre is the mixing of lights and darks that blend into each other, sometimes monochromatic and at times multi hued. prada had a lot of ombre felt going on in their f/w 07 collection, it was gorgeous.
i've been planning a cover for my ipod so that it gets less scratches when thrown into my bag. not that it doesn't already have a nice case to protect the actual ipod, but i wanted something soft and colorful. through the blogging process i've run across several very nice felt covers, but i'm a girl of embellishment if nothing else, so none satisfied. but an ombre and embroidered cover? now that's something i could make. here are the results of my felting, sewing, and embroidering:

front, with doppelganger.


front, detail.

back, detail, look at that cute little apple!


music to my ears

i've been obsessing over this band called chairlift. their music is quite fun and the lyrics are always interesting. you may have heard them if you've been following the ipod commercials. colourful, bouncy, upbeat, charmingly naive; but not really, i love all of their songs, each has its own flavor. i hope this group goes far, i want to listen to more!

ze pillow.

i recently bought a euro sized pillow after drooling over the absurdly large pillows that kirsten dunst was sprawled across in marie antoinette. do they even make pillows that large and fluffy? i wish i had three or four of them, then i could sleep in a fluffy dream every night. yum! so anyway, i bought one pillow (they're pricey you know!), and decided to make a pillow cover from some of the hoard of fabric i collect. i used a print from the the mendocino line of heather ross; a fantastic mermaid and orange-bottomed swimmer against an ocean of palest pink.

the backing is a standard sized pillowcase that lost its mate somewhere. so i seam ripped and ironed mercillessly until i had two hemmed pieces. the pillow back needed some omph in the form of embellishment; luckily that's where my obsessive collecting comes in handy, into my ribbon stash i went. the turquoise blue ric rack matched the blue octopi very well, and now i only needed a closure. i also have a small collection of buttons, and found a large orange one that would look lovely.

when sewing most seams i love to use the french seam whenever possible. one reason is that i don't have a serger, another is that it makes a clean fray-free edge.
i wish i could be more adventuristic with my linens, but there's something about all that white softness. it's like newly laid snow, all fluffy and billowy.



because she is, ya know.

this is not just a post showing you my anea, it is also a happy post about my new digital camera! i am so happy to finally have one after so many months. it's weird how you become so reliant on something. it's a canon powershot a590is. i loves it.


in order to maintain creative goodness to last through the upcoming holidays i have been making a list of stuff to create, adding to it as i go. in the last two weeks i've done:

knitted gauntlets
painted new miniature chair
boil felted wool
embellished purse
created a new shirt out of an old one
made a new skirt from nani iro fabric
sewn a cover for euro sham
made a small sketchbook portfolio containing loose paper

here's a sampling of photos of some of the above things. and a photo of my desk during the creative process. it becomes a wreak of strewn things from books, to sketches of ideas, and receipts.

absolutely love this yarn, it was a dream to work with. it didn't unravel even though i had to pull out my stitches at least three times, the softness is similar to organic cotton and the dye lot is amazing. i want three more skeins of it.

a dolly house remake

well, i've unpacked and put everything to right in the dollhouse. as i was going through furnishings i decided to change the layout a bit. there was also a couple of new additions to the place in the way of new furniture, plants, and groceries.

gourds and squash are all the rage in the dollhouse now, being as it's the fall season.

a new modernica chair, i repainted it an oatmeal color and darkened the legs.

the child's bedroom now has a nice bed i stole from the upstairs apartment.

i like this more colorful version of the hallway.

i even managed to make a rough noguchi lamp for the bedside.

for more images take a gander at my flickr page.


there's this thing about shoes...

i perhaps purchase one pair a year. at first it was because they were pretty and were kitten heels, which made them feminine and mostly comfy. then there were the pairs that looked really good (or, rather, made my legs look really good), which were not as comfy but still tolerable for an hour or four. there is even one pair that is more like 3 dimensional art that belongs on a column rather than on my feet (my ode-to-david-bowie ysl shoes). but now, i've come to a point in my life where i expect more out of shoes; i want them to be very comfortable and pretty. i want them to make my feet feel like i'm wearing birkenstocks, but look like i've grown up and am not afraid to be a woman.
when i went on my trip, i was on a mission. i would not buy anything unless it jumped out and screamed my name. also, there was a list drawn up, narrowed, and ultimately limited to four things that i had to find:

1. elbow length knitted gloves
2. various shades of purple knee or thigh highs
3. a larger tote-like bag
4. shoes

i found many a fingerless knitted gauntlet, but somehow none satisfied. i came across a skein of softest baby alpaca hand painted chunky yarn and knew that this would become my gauntlets. they are currently undergoing that process and are quite soft and warm. after trying on so many gloves and mittens and gauntlets, i figured that it was indeed a soft, cozy, warm thing to cover my wrist and forearm that i was really after (i don't think i own more than one or two long-sleeved anythings; 3/4 sleeve, yes, long-sleeve, no). so, scratch off no. 1.

there were plenty of purple stockings to be had, but alas only one pair of purple thigh highs; and they were too precious and delicate to put up with the amount of abuse hosiery usually gets. the hunt for no. 2 goes on.
the larger tote was found at a booth, revolution of the heart, under the burnside bridge in portland at a local crafts fair they have there every saturday. it is tres cute. the buttons i added when i got home. finally a use for at least some of my collecting. no. 3, found.

now, about the shoes. my travelling companion says i visited around 16 shoe stores between portland and seattle, but i rather think it was closer to eight (and that's counting the ones that had other stuff, like clothes). the pair i eventually found, were at a mano, in seattle. i thought that perhaps i wanted boots, as i had oxford heels in mind when i was looking and trying on. i was also willing to try on shoes that at first appearance were not something i would usually go for. i knew that the ones i would love would have to be a pair that were unexpected and outside of my comfort zone.
well, on the second day in seattle i popped into a mano, as it was on my list, and tried on three pairs before i came to the pair that were instantly comfortable on my travel sore feet. there was plenty of toe room, no rubbing, no tight "ouchie, that'll be a blister in 2o mins." feelings. i was in love. they're a dark olive green (something new for me, i usually never go for the darker shades of shoes), and had a 2 inch heel which definitely does not feel like it, and are made by tn_29. as my mother said when i showed them to her, "they look like the shoes of the 1940's-comfy." they are also impeccably put together; with a little metal toe tap on the sole, nails to attach the upper to the sole and actual room in the upturned toe-box.

well, three out of four is not bad at all.


scrumptious yet insightful

on the railway trek up to seattle i happened to be sitting across form a librarian. this, i did not know, until i mentioned to my fellow traveling companion that i wish i had a book to read; to fill in the hours to our destination. lo and behold, the woman sitting across from me (who was making a valiant effort to keep her curtain from covering the window) pulled out three books and asked if i would be interested in reading any of them; it would cost me only my opinion in the form of a book review of my chosen novel. so, thanking her and wondering out loud at her array of books, she told me that she was a children's book librarian, she had been asked to review several books. i was delighted to help.

"the wednesday wars" by gary d. schmidt was delightful and entirely too full of wisdom. not that that's bad in any way, just surprising, as the focus of this book is children in grades 5-8. i am very glad that this book found me. there are many memorable and comedic parts in this novel, the author has a way with witty words. it's a growing up book for the character, in leaps and tumbles we see the depth of change one year can bring a young person. the book, like the works of shakespeare that are featured throughout, is a mirror to so many of our lives, regardless of the time in which it was taking place, or even that it is about a boy. it's absolutely lovely, and complex, and rich. it shows in so many different ways what one person who takes an interest in us can do.

at last

sometimes i get a lust for wandering. for the most part i bat it down and keep to my comfy surroundings. but every now and then it creeps up on me and i actually let it lead the way. i just so happened to let it have a go and it chose to take me on a trip to portland, oregon and seattle, washington. i'm very glad that it did.
portland has to be one of the best places. i know i've read and heard lots of bloggers and people say that it's a great place to move to, but come on, if everyone is moving there why should i? well, they are right actually. everything i've ever really wanted or could want is in that one city. so many of the restaurants have whole menus dedicated to vegetarians, meals that are nutritionally complete and tasty! waiters actually know what it means when i say i can't eat gluten, instead of saying "does that mean you don't want bread?" or "you can just take that part off when you get it.".
there are stores that stock ribbon, many different types in whole color ways. there is a fabric store that carries nani iro fabric. there is a plethora of lovely clothes sold in small boutiques where the owners actually care about what they sell and where it comes from. not that there aren't large stores like anthropologie or nordstrom, but hey, at least there's choices. like i don't have to go to the mall; i can choose not to.
on one of our days there, we took the metro rail to 24th ave and lovejoy. i love that there is everything you could need all within 3 or 4 blocks of where you live. there was this teeny tiny bakery that makes only gluten free goods. i bought a mini apple tart and a blueberry crumple muffin. the muffin was light and moist and chewy with delicate tastes of cinnamon and fresh blueberries, definitely the best blueberry muffin i've ever had (a feat, because i've eaten my fair share of blueberry muffins all over this country, and three others, and for it to have been a gluten free one, kicks all), the crust on the tart tasted and felt just like a flaky, buttery pie crust should. we found an amazing grocery store that had a giant variety of produce, and cheese from all over the world, a baked goods section that had yummy macaroons, and a butcher that stocked fresh fish. i could eat there everyday and die a happy herbivore/sometime pescetarian. and that's the other thing that is great about this city, the metro rail, as in reliable public transportation so that i don't have to own a car. i would so want to move there tomorrow if i could.
i feel another trip to portland is necessary in order to do further research and to cement any plans concerning actually living there.

seattle was big. giant city big. i don't actually like big cities. they are fun to visit and to do some specialty shopping, and to see the art museums, but i wouldn't want to live in one. it was really neat that it was a 28 dollar train ticket away and only took 3 hrs and 40 mins, but to live there, and work there? no way.
we had vegetarian dim sum that was very yummy, and i bought the comfiest pair of heels, and had the chance to do some tea tasting (actually was reacquainted with my favorite, but forgotten, chrysanthemum tea), toured around what has to be the most vibrant and modern public library, and all in all thought it was a neat visit. but would i visit again? eh, maybe not. if i lived in portland it would be absolutely necessary to make a sojourn up there in order to fulfill my mid-century modern furniture dreams, though.
oh, if you are ever in portland or seattle and want an affordable, eclectic, funky, stylish, and modern, and on top of all that also comfortable (organic cotton towels form turkey anyone?) hotel, ace hotel is where you want to be staying. the rooms were inviting and colorful, i did not mind in the least having to share a bathroom (the least expensive rooms have a common bathroom, which was cleaned and stocked at all times), and both hotels are centrally located in the downtown area and near public transportation. i wish there were more places like this when i travel.


oh, the pages we have traveled

so, for awhile there i thought all would be lost. there was this instance of an itty bitty hurricane scare where i live. i packed up the entire interior of my dollhouse, paperwork, various collections that are irreplaceable; and before i could pack my clothes, shoes, and meds, it all blew away (the hurricane that is, it went further east and north of us). we had one night of light drizzle and a sunny day to wake up to.
well, in preparation for the hurricane i went to the local library. if the electricity went out (which it would have) i wanted to be very prepared with no-batteries-required entertainment. as my at times unreliable, and unstable, good luck would have it, i came across three interesting books. they were completely different in taste from each other; one a novel of a beijing girl finding her place in life, one a continuation of a series i had thought to be over, and one that is a southern woman's comedic take on renovations.
when i arrived home that day, there was a fourth book waiting for me; one i had pre-ordered quite some time ago, a lovely fantasy novel that i instantly had to buy-excerpt unread. so that made four worlds i would be glimpsing into, and out of my tumultuous own.
over the span of several days they each were read. we'll start with the first.

in "belle weather: mostly sunny with a chance of scattered hissy fits" written by celia rivenbark, the author (a southern women) recalls her life during the renovation of an ancient antebellum house. the author has a witty, sarcastic, and thankfully intelligent voice throughout the book. needless to say i was very entertained and this book would have done well to distract me from the weather.

after the comedy, i needed a literary downer, so i choose the novel "twenty fragments of a ravenous youth: a novel" by xiaolu guo. and before you start thinking "downer ?" i mean a story that requires one to think outside of one's comfort zone. i like a lot of movies that come out of china, but this would be my first excursion into the modern day literature of china. i also am angered by the environmental destruction and unthinkable repetition of the negative aspects of the western world that china is currently engulfed in. so, i had to put these thoughts aside and try to see the world of china from a voice that comes from within their walls. it was easier to read through than i had assumed; actually very interesting and in many ways familiar. one can relate to the journey the young woman takes, of trying to find a place within oneself that fits into the world around you.

the third book was one i did not expect to see. it was the seventh book in a series that i have been reading for years, the "undead, vampire queen betsy" books by maryjanice davidson. this one is titled "undead and unworthy" and is a darker, but not any less sarcastic and biting, continuation of the story of a very unlikely vampire queen. this series is definitely a very good read. as to why i did not expect to see it? i had erroneously assumed that the author was done with betsy after the sixth book.

all i can write about patricia mckillip's "the bell at sealey head" is that to immerse oneself in her writing is like dreaming while retaining consciousness. she is one author who makes me very thankful that we speak the same tongue, for i do not know what would be lost in translation.