Monday, December 21, 2009

Up to the moon! All through the sky!

Here's a collage I made this weekend. It is supposedly for my holiday cards, although there's nothing holiday-ish about it. It is, however, optimistic and peaceful and nurturing...and I think that's a grand way to start off a new year. The crown was made from a nifty punch I bought at Michael's with a gift certificate my sister sent me...that makes it doubly fun! I was inspired by the book SCRAPS (that I posted about earlier) to incorporate lots of postage stamps.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Stop It! A trip down memory lane

Recently, after whining somewhat incessantly to a good friend (let's call her "MB"), she playfully asked me to look up and watch this old clip of Bob Newhart in which he satirizes his long-time psychologist character.

I had vaguely remembered this bit, but had forgotten how damn funny it was. And really, after all of the hair-pulling and chest-beating and drama has been exhausted, what is there to do but just finally "stop it"?

I'm pretty sure I owe MB at least $5...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

SCRAPS is TOPS!

Oooooh, I just checked out the niftiest library book. It's called SCRAPS - An Inspirational Field Guide to Collage, and boy, is THAT truth in advertising! It is chock full of amazing multi-media collages that evoke fantasies of world travel when it was mysterious and exotic. I am declaring myself an official groupie of Elsebeth Gynther and Christine Clemmensen henceforth. Check out their work (and their blogs)!



Monday, December 14, 2009

From Nasty to Chic!

I think most artgirls would agree with me that there's almost nothing nastier than second-hand office furniture, especially upholstered chairs. Even with a strong stomach, I hesitate to speculate about the source of the stains that are inevitably sprinkled about the fabric. But look what local gal, Tammy did with just such an eyesore using a can of cream colored paint and some vintage fabric...

Yee-haw! You are an absolute inspiration! I will suffer hideous desk chairs no more!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

No more fuzzy photos! No more fuzzy photos!


I've had it with fuzzy photos, blurry pictures, wavy images. Had it! Fini! Been there, done that! I finally ordered a new digital camera. My old one was many years old and purchased second-hand at that. While it took great super-close-ups with its nifty 10x lens, it never ever worked well for "normal" pictures...the kind an artgirl wants to take for her blog or her etsy shop.
-
So....I finally ordered this little beauty. A friend of mine has one just like it and raved about. Plus, the price was right. I had a gift certificate leftover on amazon.com so it cost me all of $5! Woohoo. I'm going to break it out of its box and test it around my house over the next few days.

Although true to form, I already hear a little voice whining in my head, "Do I really HAVE to read the manual?"

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Crazy Crochet Class - December 10th!

With the help of my North End co-conspirators, Nancy & Sherri at the Arthouse Mosaic Studio, I'm offering a Crazy Crochet class on Thursday, Dec. 10th from 6 - 9:00.

Let your creativity explode! Crazy Crochet is fun, fast & fabulously funky. This is NOT your grandmother's crocheting...no worries about reading complicated patterns, counting stitches, or making edges line up...in other words, no stress!

You'll learn how to combine yarns and fibers in colors and textures that blend or contrast. Get wild & wacky with it, mix thick and thin yarns with smooth and textured yarn.

Class fee is $45. A variety of luscious yarns and fibers included in class fee.

Supplies: Bring any yarn you'd like to use, scissors, a few crochet hooks of various sizes (between Size H and N).

To register: Call Arthouse Mosaic Studio at 206.372.7531 or email pestkaca@yahoo.com.

Directions to Arthouse Mosaic Studio, 621 NW Richmond Beach Rd (above 20 minutes north of Seattle)

From I-5 N, take the 175th street exit and go left, make a right onto Aurora, then a left onto 185th Street (which becomes Richmond Beach Road) for 1 mile, then make a left into the mini mall behind the 76 gas station.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Niftiest Purse Ever


Don't you just love this crazy wicker purse adorned with felt fruit? I found it at the local Salvation Army thrift shop. It's too fragile to actually be carried about, but I find myself wondering about the exuberant free spirit who would have sported such a delightfully tacky purse. I have it on a small chair next to my kitchen where I toss in small things that need to go downstairs so I don't forget them.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Salvaged Beauty

Here's one of my favorite pieces ever. It's made largely from discarded objects I salvaged from a dump site on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. If you look closely you'll recognize a rusted sardine tin, bottle cap, glass jar lid and silver lining from chewing gum wrappers. What is so special about this piece is that I made it while on an art retreat with some of my most favorite people, surrounded by the stark beauty of the desert southwest.


Cindi Powell (aka "Piz") and I had so much fun scrambling over the discarded junk, gleefully pulling out treasures from the unstable, chaotic mound.

"Are you up to date on your tetanus shots?" Piz asked, her R.N. training taking over.

"Probably," I shot back, completely undeterred.

Her only response was her unrestrained giggle; we were having too much fun to let things like possible lockjaw slow us down.

And so we dragged back a huge pile of "treasures" to the communal room we used for making art. Adding just a few beads and some milagros I had purchased at a flea market, I let the beauty of the "trash" shine through.



Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ms. Peacock in the Office with a Scanner

When I was in my boss's office I happened to see this peacock feather on his desk. I have no idea why or how it came to be there, but I borrowed it long enough to scan it for your viewing pleasure. Aren't those colors just glorious? I recently bought some new clothes (a HUGE deal if you know me) and they are in those very jewel tones.



Monday, November 16, 2009

Carla's Coming To Town!

I just found out that one of my favorite people, Carla Sonheim, sold her home in Salida, CO and will be moving to Seattle with her family! I met her at Artfest several years ago and along with a bunch of Seattle artgirls became friends with her. She gave us some fabric transfers of her art and I incorporated one of them into a purse I made, shamelessly copying her purse pattern.
,,,,

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Crazy Crochet

I keep thinking I should submit this freestyle crochet technique as a book idea. I haven't really seen it anywhere else and it's so perfect for people who like to crochet but don't want to (or can't!) follow those confusing directions or count stitches.

Friday, November 13, 2009

As if there weren't ENOUGH birds!

And yet another fabric depiction of a bird. This time I used the shape from my last project and just casually stitched around it a few times. Then I went back and forth kind of crazy-like to create the tail feathers. Easy peasy and pretty fun looking...if you don't mind a few wrinkles. I love the funky stitch I used to attached the colored dots...it reminds me of bird footprints in the sand.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Again with the birds!

Yes, I know....I am obsessed. Obsessed with birds. I can't help it. And truth be told, I don't want to help it.
This is a favorite of mine I made recently. I cut up an old, stained tablecloth, sewed on a bird silhouette (silk from an old pair of pajamas!) and then covered it with a snippet of wonderful vintage lace. The cool embroidery stitch was WAY easy and WAY fast (double yay!)

Monday, October 26, 2009

David Letterman, Craft Demos and Me

Gentle readers, I must share with you a dream I had two nights ago but first, I ask you not to judge me too harshly until you have read this entire post.

Do you promise to withhold judgment? Ahhh, thank you; I knew I could count on your civility and generosity.

I dreamt I was at a taping of David Letterman's show when suddenly one of the producers decided it would be great to include a craft demo in the next segment. She turned to me (somehow I was no longer in the audience but instead standing right next to her) and asked if I knew any craft projects and I (somewhat overzealously and with more than a little conceit) replied, "Of course, I know hundreds."

"Great, you'll be on in 5 minutes."

Undaunted, I rapidly sorted through the amazing mound of art supplies that inexplicably appeared around me, and spied a little handmade booklet that I thought would be the perfect project. No matter that I hadn't made said little booklet, or that I didn't know its dimensions or if I had the correct supplies on hand. Being an intrepid artgirl I figured I could improvise something snappy.

I quickly arranged little bowls of supplies in a pleasing configuration while I tried to mentally deconstruct the booklet's construction. All of a sudden I was told, "Make sure you look right into the camera" and ladies and gentlemen, it was showtime!

Trouble was...I had nothin'. Zip. Nada. Zilch. A big goose egg.

I looked at the nifty little booklet and gamely tried to guess at its dimensions and suggest what materials to use (it was no coincidence that the materials I used for the Junque Journal workshop at the Art Party came to mind). I realized I should have spent more of my precious preparation time figuring out HOW TO MAKE THE PROJECT rather than merchandizing the supplies. After about a minute of mumbling and stumbling I realized that they were no longer taping me and had in fact, moved on to something else.

It was basically the artgirl's equivalence of dreaming you're naked in public or unprepared for that big test.

Sigh.

In my defense, I have identified several factors that no doubt contributed to this disturbing tale...

First, my dear friends Maureen and Terri were recently defending David Letterman in light of his recent scandal. In fact, they named their Tuesday evening Trivial Pursuit team after his production company (Worldwide Pants) as a means of defiant protest. Thus, David Letterman was on my mind.

Second, those same two dear friends were just discussing how they hope to go to a taping of Oprah's show some day. Thus, being at a talk show taping was on my mind.

Third, one of those same two dear friends (hint...NOT Terri) texted me a few mornings ago that she had had a disturbing dream about me greeting her at the door of my squalid apartment, pregnant and about to give birth, whereupon we proceeded to toss my ratty and smelly old furniture out of the windows. I will spare my Gentle Readers the remaining details, lest you be offended and possibly even require medical intervention. Nevertheless, disturbing dreams were on my mind.

Fourth, I recently was scheduled to hold a Stitched Paper Demo to which I arrived late (and highly) apologetic. A bad combination of being ill-prepared (heading north without printed directions) and encountering heavy traffic led to my tardiness. The hosts and guests were more than gracious and the evening went well, but the sting of ill preparation lingers yet.

There you have it, Gentle Readers, a look into the workings of my mind, it both its waking and sleeping states. Do with it what you will, but again, I throw myself upon your compassion and mercy.

The moral of all this? Make like a Boy Scout and be prepared!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Over the top...and around the bend

Wowza, 2 of my favorite artgirls, Lisa & Beth, bestowed an honor upon me by giving me the "Over the Top" blog award.

My responsibilities (insert solemn voice and furrowed brows) include passing this honor on to 6 of my favorite blogs and providing my answers to the questions below. The answers are supposed to be single words, but anyone who knows me also knows that just isn't going to happen.

Where is your cell phone? Usually in my left pants pocket

Your hair? Feria Red Number 56!

Your mother? in St. Louis

Your father? Not a significant person in my life

Your favorite food? Sweets!

Your favorite drink? Gin & tonic

Your dream last night? I don't remember one from last night, but a crazy friend texted me this morning to tell me she dreamt that she and I were living in a squalid apartment and I threw the only piece of furniture (a chair) out of the window before she helped me give birth. How can I possibly top that????

Your dream/goal? A cottage on a quiet beach made for long walks

What room are you in? Work office

Your hobby? Creating art and possibilities

Your fear? Not making a difference

Where do you want to be in 6 years? That cottage on a quiet beach sounds pretty good

Where were you last night? Walking, home, talking & texting

Something that you aren't? Patient

Muffin? Chocolate with cream cheese filling

Wish list item? More time

Where did you grow up? St. Louis, MO

Last thing you did? Talked to a friend on the phone

What are you wearing? Slacks, v-neck sweater, funky jewelry

Your TV? A semi big thing with On Demand

Your pets? Cats Max, Isabelle and Indy

Friends? About the best part of my life

Your life? Always evolving

Your mood? Content, excited

Missing someone? Not really

Vehicle? Honda Fit

Something you aren't wearing? Anything pinchy

Your favorite store? The Mother of all Goodwills

Favorite color? Soft teal

When was the last time you laughed? I live to laugh

Last time you cried? Welled up during a phone call a few days ago

Your best friend? Can't possibly pick just one

One place you go to over and over? The beach

One person who emails you regularly? Can't pick just one

Favorite place to eat? Anywhere someone else is doing the cooking

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A different sort of 'paint by number'


Here is an embroidery piece from a kit I bought several years ago (ahem) that I finally finished. It was the perfect project for those times when I wanted my hands to be busy but I wasn't feeling all that creative, or I just didn't want to make a big mess in my art room (or more likely I already HAD a big mess and didn't want to clean it up so I could work on something else).

I haven't decided what I'm going to do with it. Well, ironing it would be the first step, I suppose. I suspect I'll piece together some cool fabric for a background and think of a fun way to display it...maybe hanging from a small branch.



And this is from a table runner I found at the Goodwill Outlet store in Seattle. There are literally huge piles of fabric-y things (clothes, linens, pillows) to sort through, but at pennies per serving (they charge by the pound of merchandise), it's worth it. I always take everything home and immediately toss it into the washing machine. Then I have fun cutting it up (if it's clothing) and adding it to my (ever growing) stash of fabric fun-ness.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Mark your calendars for October 15!


On October 15 I've got a fun event scheduled with the gals from the Arthouse Mosaic Studio and Blue Apple Gallery near Seattle. Sherri Robbins and Patty McCauley have side-by-side businesses in Richmond Beach and they're determined to make the north end a "groovier" place for artists. Sherri's flower pot above is proof that she is all about getting her groove on...

They are in the process of lining up classes and other social events to develop a community of artists and provide creative inspiration for beginners and more experienced artists and crafters alike.

I'm thrilled to be doing a cool demo on Thursday, October 15 from 6:30 to 8:30pm. And the best part? You get to play along and take your treasure home with you.

I've got about a gabillion ideas for demos...leave me a Comment with your favorite and the one with the most votes wins:

1. Hand-stamped muslin ribbon

2.Stitched paper bookmarks - BIG WINNER FOR DEMO!!!!!!!

3. Funky face drawing and watercolor painting

It's fun...it's free...it's GROOVY!

The address is:

621 NW Richmond Beach Rd (above 20 minutes north of Seattle)

From I-5, take the 175th street exit and go left, right on Aurora, left onto 185th Street (which becomes Richmond Beach Road) for 1 mile, then make a left into the mini mall behind the 76 gas station.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Birds and dots...dots and birds

Whenever I go on away with one group of friends for an art retreat we always make cards for a card swap. For this batch I used paint chips (the long ones with 5 coordinating colors) and torn-out pages from old books. And of course, my favorite Signo white gel pen. Little white dots just make everything better. As do little birds. And birds and dots together? Well, that's the shizznit!


And if you look really, really closely...you can even learn a few random and outdated facts about New Zealand and Pakistan!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Our tax dollars STRANGELY at work

A delightfully creative young woman used to work in our office and she left this behind on her bulletin board. It's the painted wooden side from a box of mandarins (which, by the way, I just learned are NOT the same as tangerines).


Of course I began to wonder about the lyrics to that strange old song...and it turns out it's a lot stranger than I thought.

First of all, I found the lyrics on a government website run by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Why on earth would the NIH (which funds all sorts of scientific research projects) care about the lyrics to "Darling Clementine"? And why would they put it in their children's section? Are there perceived health benefits to children in singing maudlin old ditties? Does it ward off tuberculosis or scarlet fever or the croup?

The answer, Gentle Readers, is that a rogue verse was added to encourage people to learn "artificial respiration" (as it was once quaintly referred to) to prevent their loved ones from following in the teeny, delicate footsteps of darling Clementine. And of course had Clementine or her boyfriend taken swimming lessons from the YMCA as THIS song admonishes, this sad tale never would have transpired.

And if you click on the little gray horizontal bar, you can hear an old, tinny, accordian-ey version of the song.

I had no idea the story was so...dark... like so many old nursery rhymes. And what sort of low-down, no-good, rat-b******* would forget his beloved Clementine as soon as he kissed her sister??? He doesn't sound so "dreadful sorry" to me!

Judge for yourselves...and if you want to brush up on your CPR techniques, this nifty website can help.

In a cavern, in a canyon,

Excavating for a mine
Dwelt a miner forty niner,
And his darling Clementine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling, Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine

Light she was and like a fairy,
And her shoes were number nine,
Herring boxes, without topses,
Sandals were for Clementine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling, Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine

Drove she ducklings to the water
Ev'ry morning just at nine,
Hit her foot against a splinter,
Fell into the foaming brine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling, Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine

Ruby lips above the water,
Blowing bubbles, soft and fine,
But, alas, I was no swimmer,
So I lost my Clementine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling, Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine

How I missed her! How I missed her,
How I missed my Clementine,
But I kissed her little sister,
I forgot my Clementine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling, Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine

Rogue Cautionary Verse:

Now you kids may learn the moral
Of this little tale of mine
Artificial respiration
Would have saved my Clementine

Friday, October 2, 2009

If you're happy and you know it...google yourself!

I borrowed a zany idea I saw on Carla Sonheim's blog...googling your first name preceded by an adverb. I had no idea I had toothless admirers, coupons for shoes, am exempt from writing stories, have no aptitude for diagnosing dehydration, and (sadly) disappeared into a mushroom cloud.

Next time you're avoiding actual work, try it!

Happily, Cindy received her Certificates of Occupancy and opened Dogma's doors in 2006!

Happily, Cindy is distinctly chilly towards him chasing after you.

Happily, Cindy and I will have our very own pair with the shoebuy.com coupons we used to save.

Happily, Cindy at the local branch said they were full of it.

Happily Cindy will continue as an ordinary member of the club.

Happily, Cindy is continuing as an NCPA member.

Happily Cindy will still be near enough to come to coffee occasionally and attend other events in the Department.

Someone smiles happily. Cindy disappears in a mushroom cloud.

As the ladies clapped their hands happily, Cindy said, “Uni and I are new so we don't have to do stories."

Happily, Cindy has fully recovered, they have a thriving business and their jewelry is available in 300 stores, including Saks and Barney's.

Zolov looked up happily Cindy! Cindy! Cindy! he cried out with a gleeful toothless smile.

Happily Cindy went up the stairs, and locked herself in the bathroom to celebrate the events of today.

Happily, Cindy mistook his distress for advanced dehydration and poured him a liberal cup.

Happily, Cindy said, "I will meet you at the bar."

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Heigho! Purple flowers and robin wings

And here are some more from my alphabet-block series. For the blue and purple one, I mixed all sorts of pages from French poetry and shorthand books with snippets from an old dictionary and nature images.


For this piece, I used dictionary pages and Asian text I had spritzed with walnut ink through a wing-shaped stencil.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

4 and 20 blackbirds baked in a pie???!!!!


A few months ago I scored a huge tub of wooden alphabet blocks at a thrift store. Some were new, but many were chipped and worn with rounded edges...just the way I like 'em. I also happened upon a disintegrating vintage book of nursery rhymes...the kind all in black and white except for a few illustrations in primary colors.

I set aside the distressed blocks to use as they were. Then I covered a flat side of the newer blocks with little snippets from the book. I alternated the blocks and then hot glued them together, layer by layer. Then I wrapped strips of text around the edges to finish the look.

I gotta tell you...I had forgotten how creepy some of those rhymes could be. I didn't mind cutting THOSE particular ones up to make these little treasures.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Return in 5 days to...NEST

Here are a couple of thank you cards I made for folks who helped out with the Art Party last week.

I took a brown business folder (the kind that is more like cardstock and has one of those metal paper fastener thingies at the top) and cut it into strips about 3" wide. Then I sewed on scraps of coffee-dyed cheesecloth, vintage sheet music and bird images. I stamped out "NEST" on old, yellowed paper and doodled with my favorite white Signo pen. Goodness only knows where I originally found the teeny, tiny stamp that reads "RETURN IN 5 DAYS TO" but I pulled it out of my stash and used it on both cards. I lined the inside with ruled penmanship paper...the kind that alternates solid and dashed blue lines that we used to laboriously practice lower- and upper-case letters way back in the day.

I don't know the name of the stitching pattern on the lower card, but I love it because it reminds me of seagull prints in the sand.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Will the REAL New York City please stand up?

Over the last month I've been a walkin' fool as part of a fitness program. Isn't it interesting how much HILLIER terrain is when you're WALKING vs. DRIVING????

Anyway, last week I happened upon this really cool photograph. Being a found object fanatic, of course I bent down to retrieve it. At the risk of sounding like I don't get out of Seattle much...is that REALLY New York City? It looks more like a Disneyland representation of it.
So Gentle Readers, tell me what you think...

Art Party Afterglow


I'm sure you read it on Beth & Lisa's blog first, but our Art Party was a grand success! We really had a blast incorporating special touches for our guests...

collaged goody bags, nifty workshop kits, one-of-a-kind door prizes, sheet-music & tissue paper flower garlands, a beautiful buffet, Beth's homemade red velvet cupcakes and vintage table coverings. Every person won at least one door prize and a couple of people won 2 more!
It was no surprise that our workshops represented our personalities...

Starting the party, Beth's stylish aquamarine charm bracelets were elegant and could be easily contained on a paper plate...

Lisa's kits for her frou-frou fabric pins had beautifully coordinated vintage fabrics and were the perfect relaxed way to end the day...

And in between, the room pretty much exploded with junque journal madness. A happy, creative chaos reigned...at least it made me exceedingly happy to see so much energy and inspiration filling the space!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Watch those lips!

This binder of volunteer information was so bland I decided to bling it up with some crazy collage. I cut flowers out of old wallpaper, glued egg images onto a paint strip, outlined parts with funky red tape and used my nifty Sigmo white pen to doodle. Ahhhhhh, MUCH better....

Except, I get that the woman in the June Cleaver pearls and blouse really loves her bird, but each time I look at her, I fear for her lips.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Progression of Color


I found these leaves just outside my workplace. It seems much too early for leaf colors to be changing, but there's no denying it. I just love how the vibrant green gently becomes a brilliant fuschia.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Girl Effect

Wowza! This was too inspiring not to share with everyone. I've belonged to the organization CARE for many years, and they recently sent me notification of this video:


According to CARE: "There are 75 million children not in school across the world, and the majority of these children are girls. Yet investing in girls' education pays off in so many ways. When girls gain basic skills like reading and writing, they grow up to earn twice as much money as their peers without education. They have fewer, healthier children. And they are more likely to reinvest their earnings in their families and communities. That's the power of education!"

So take a few moments, play this video and let yourself be inspired by the power of simple acts. It will be worth it, I promise.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Moulage, Monsters & Mayhem

The summer days are flying by...I'm embarrassed to say I hadn't realized how long it had been since I posted here.

For those of you on the edges of your chairs wondering how the moulage event turned out (and really, who isn't?), here's a quick report...

The event was held at a Fire Training Academy about an hour outside of Seattle...an exquisite location surrounded by endless pine trees, verdant hills, blue skies with puffy white clouds...around a HUGE post-apocalyptic field strewn with crushed and overturned cars and buses, debris, broken glass, burned concrete structures...the only thing missing was Mad Max on a motorcycle. It makes sense that the firefighter trainees would need to practice their craft in a realistic setting, but I have to tell you, it was more than a little surreal.

The 50 or so volunteer victims lined up patiently to have specialists wearing "Moulage, Monsters & Mayhem" t-shirts apply ghoulish, bloody makeup and fake wounds. The very, very best part was that we each got to select our own "injury" from among color-coded laminated cards. Nothing jumped out at me until I saw the one that read, "Minor injuries...but PANIC AND CREATE MAYHEM."

It was like Christmas, my birthday and Halloween all rolled into one moment. I thought of all the mayhem I'd been repressing for years and just knew that my big moment of catharsis had finally arrived. With a fake steel post sticking out of my shoulder, I carefully made my way down to the Field of Death with my fellow victims.

We were abuzz deciding how we were each going to play our parts. "Do you think I should lay half in and half out of the school bus?" one "deceased" woman asked. "Pick a shady spot," she was advised, "so you don't get sunburned."

Having absolutely ZERO acting experience, I quickly asked myself, "What would Meryl do?" and settled on being distraught because I couldn't find my daughter. What mother HASN'T momentarily lost track of a child in a crowded store or at the playground and felt that horrible stab of worry/guilt? Mr. DeMille, I was ready for my closeup.

I saw the first responders fanning out in the field and knew my moment had arrived. Clutching my cell phone desperately in one fist, I hurried over to one group shouting, "My daughter! I can't find my daughter! Help me find my daughter!" The first woman did a great job of calming me down, but I didn't select that particular laminated card for nothing. Nosireebob, I wasn't going down that easy. I did my best to distract her from the poor souls who actually needed medical attention until she had a moment of inspiration.

"Would you like to help find your daughter?"

"Yes, oh yes, please," I sobbed. And I swear to you, an actual tear ran down my face.

"Then why don't you sit here with this piece of paper and a pencil and write down everyone's name who comes by and see if they're also looking for someone?"

I could see through her trickery; if I were sitting down calmly writing I wouldn't be creating mayhem, now would I? I gulped in air and nodded, pretending to be helpful until she turned away to help the young woman unconscious on the ground and then I ditched the paper and resumed roaming the Field of Death for my daughter.

Group after group of first responders talked to me, calmed me down, took me to the First Aid Station where I quickly became a real pain in the rear. I lurched from person to person (all the better if they were stapped onto a backboard and couldn't move away from me), waving my "useless" cell phone and emoting, "Why won't anyone help me find my daughter?"

There weren't enough resources to spare someone watching me full time, so as soon as I was alone, I staged another jailbreak from the First Aid Station and shambled back onto the field, accosting and distracting yet another helpful team of rescuers.

After an hour and a half, even I couldn't stand myself anymore and decided to give everyone a break from the manufactured mayhem. I stopped to watch the groups of volunteer rescuers as they carefully and calmly triaged and treated dozens of "victims". It was impressive, all the more so knowing that they weren't being paid to do this; it was just their sense of community spirit and wanting to make a difference that had them give up free time to train and practice as they did.

When the drill was finally over and I was heading to my car a teenage boy looked and me and asked, "Hey, weren't you that crazy lady?"

"Yep," I told him with a wink, "that would be me."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Moulage is NOT the same as Moulin Rouge

I get myself into the craziest things. About a week ago I received a request to participate in a mass casualty drill that will be held near Seattle this weekend. As someone who has the recommended 3 days of emergency supplies (including water and pet food!) in her house and who has played "Emergency Kit Bingo" with senior citizens, I'm all about helping communities prepare for possible disasters.

In this case I'll be a "victim". As such I will have make-up and probably latex "wounds" applied to my person. I've been on the other side, and it was surprising how seeing someone covered in fake blood gets the heart beating faster even though you KNOW it's make-believe.

The art of applying gory makeup and fake knives and bullet holes is known as "moulage", and has apparently been around since the Renaissance when they used wax figures to practice on.

According to the official letter I received, I get to select how "wounded" I'll be. I'd rather not be deceased because...well, for LOTS of reasons, but namely because then I have to just lay really, really still for long periods of time. Where's the fun in that? I want to have some sort of injury where I get to roll around and groan and cry out pitifully.

"It's getting so...dark...and I'm feeling so very, very cold," I'll tell the first responders in a weak, yet noble voice. And then I'll wave them off with an anemic little swish of my hand..."Don't worry about me, take care of the others (cough, cough) first. It's just a flesh wound," I'll say with a saintly smile to bolster their sagging spirits, pretending not to see the dire concern in their eyes.

Ah, mass casualty drills...good times, good times...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monkeys in my mailbox!

The heretofore mentioned monkey fabric arrived from Spoonflower! I would HIGHLY recommend their services...easy to order, quick turnaround time, great fabric and printing quality. The only hard part will be deciding what to make with my precious yard of specialty fabric...

a monkey apron?

tote bag??

pillow cover???

superhero cape????

cat bed cover?????

You can sign up at Spoonflower to vote for your favorite fabric-of-the-week. It's never an easy choice and it's always amazing to see what different people have come up with. I entered my Monkey Madness fabric into the competition, but given the large backlog, I'm not sure when it will come up for a vote. When it does, I urge my Gentle Readers to vote early, vote often!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

When all you have is 30 minutes...

Here are some watercolor doodles and a beautiful quote I recently worked on. My friend Carla Sonheim gave me a quick lesson in watercolor painting a few years ago and one thing I love about it is that there's no elaborate or timeconsuming setup or cleanup, so it's easy to do if I only have a half hour to play.

I had seen a peacock image similar to this one, although I'm quite sure THAT one didn't look so much like a blue chicken.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Of Forks and Friends and Quandries

Ever been in a quandry, at a crossroads in your life, unsure about which fork in the road to take?

On one hand there's the more familiar path...safer, less risky, but not so very rewarding. And on the other, such an exotic and alluring option, with commensurate greater potential reward AND risk.

I found myself at such a spot just today. I think of myself as an adventuresome person who often takes "the road less traveled" but I was clouded with doubt. That fork in question would be far more challenging than any utensil I've ever used ("I could really poke my eye out with this one")...and yet, I really, REALLY wanted to know what food would taste like when this fork consistently lifted it to my lips; the little morsels I'd had so far had been surprisingly rich and full of flavor.

And something else...I'd been alerted that the alluring fork may well only last for a given period of time. I found myself thinking, "What if food tastes SO much better with this very fork, that when the day comes and I don't have this very fork anymore, food might seem forever bland; wouldn't that be so sad? Might I even be sorry that I ever learned to enjoy this very fork so well?"

Thank goodness for sensible friends. One told me, "Don't make it significant that you might have to forego the fantastic fork someday. There's no guarantee to ANYTHING in life, and yet we walk around like there is. Who knows, you may want to try spoons or chopsticks at some point. And who's to say if this fork flitted you wouldn't find an improved implement to replace it?"

So, so true, I thought.

And another friend just happened to send me this little bit of wisdom: "To get something you've never had, you have to do something you've never done."

And that, Gentle Readers, clinched it. I realized I did indeed want something I had never had, and am therefore willing to do something I've never done.

I'm going for the far fork, the utensil less utilized, the tantalizing tableware...

Cover me, girls, I'm goin' in!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Unbelievable Cat News!

If I hadn't heard this story firsthand, I would not believe it. A coworker of mine had his beloved Siamese cat go missing 10 years ago. He was having some construction done on his house at that time, and his best guess is that the cat jumped into one of the contractor's trucks and ended up in an unfamiliar neighborhood and couldn't find his way home.

Of course, he was heartbroken. This cat had been one heck of a character...biting his wife on the nose to wake her to for breakfast, bringing in (live) bird after bird, turning the place into an aviary, etc. As the days went by without his return, life went on (with other cats and dogs) but with some sadness.

Then last week, my coworker got a call from a veterinarian who said a Siamese cat had been turned in, and its implanted microchip revealed him as the owner. He could not believe it. He raced to the vet and found his beloved cat bedraggled and with some minor health problems, but not too bad given he was now 16 years old.

It appears as though someone had taken the cat in for the bulk of that time, but somehow the cat recently ended up on its own again. A Good Samaritan rescued it and took it to the vet.

Needless to say, the reunion was a smash hit. He brought the cat in to work yesterday and I've never seen a cat so content to be cradled in its owner's arm. Being a Siamese, it was of course NOISY...but then it had a LONG story to tell. My boss was so taken with the cat's meow, he recorded it and is going to turn it into a ring tone for our cell phones!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Design your own fabric!

There's a great site that allows you to design your own fabric. It's called Spoonflower and it's as easy as 1...2...3.

Yep...all you have to do is upload (or is it download???) an image onto their site, figure out what repeating design you want (I choose "half drop") and then select how much fabric you'd like to order.

1...2...3. It's that easy. Being smitten with sock monkeys lately, I couldn't help but order myself a little fabric. I have NO idea what I'll make with it, but that's rather beside the point, isn't it?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mondo Monkey Madness

Yesterday as I was MIGHTILY avoiding actual work, I created this silly little sock monkey face on my computer. A friend of mine is starting a business making and selling sock monkeys, so the funny little creatures have been on my mind lately.


What IS it about sock monkeys that make them so universally appealing? This one is kind of a Shriner Monkey...can't you just see him riding a little scooter in a parade?
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OMG...this crazy exchange between Beth and me is too damn funny to leave hidden in the Comments section.

Said Beth (of Salvage Studio fame): I bet a zillion of them could cram into the little car too!

To which I replied: Oh Beth, that's brilliant. I'm now imagining an entire team of sock monkeys driving a flotilla of little red go-carts. I can see the tassels on their fez (what IS the plural of fez...fez, fezzes, fezi, fezzzz???) streaming behind them in jaunty exuberance.


I know that a whole bunch of REAL monkeys are called a barrel as in "more fun than a barrel of monkeys".* But I wonder what a gabillion SOCK monkeys are called...maybe a mondo? As in "Those art girls are as zany as a mondo of sock monkeys."

And then I looked up the plural of "fez" and found that it can be "fezzes" or most unfortunately, "fezes", the latter altogether too suggestive of something wholly unpleasant. And most unfortunate of all? Perhaps the fact that I could not keep this little-known fact to myself. Oh no, I just HAD to add it to my blog post for my dear readers to see.

I blame the heat. It's 100 degrees here in Seattle and we're just not used to it. It makes us mental.

* Yes, Gentle Readers, I, too searched "the google" and found that a gabillion REAL monkeys are known as a troop (no accident that troop is also the term for a gabillion Cub Scouts, is it?) But I saw no such reference for SOCK monkeys, and so I selflessly offer up "mondo" for the job.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Embroidered Flora & Fauna

Oooooh, I just got the coolest book from the library...Embroidered Flora & Fauna. Imagine pages and pages of sumptuous photographs of 3-dimensional textured embroidery like this:


I want to be sitting in a comfy lounge chair, under an old shade tree, tall glass of iced mint tea next to me, embroidering pomegranates. Yes, gentle readers, you heard me correctly...pomegranates. Like so...
Check out the little birds and rabbits and flowers and leaves and grapes...I can SO feel a new obsession starting...