29 May 2009

how i ended up liking mornings, or: my favorite part of my house.

shhhh!! i am playing hooky from work today! mostly because i have about a million things to do, and no time to do them. today i just want to talk about coffee (!) and about the sun in the mornings, especially in the summertime--if there is anything that makes up for the forty below in minnesota, it's these looooong summer days. i wake up in the morning and, for a few seconds, think i have been transported somewhere exotic, with all-night sunshine. anyway, about the coffee:
my programmable coffeemaker has changed my life. seriously. every weekday since i received it, i have programmed it to brew my coffee at six a.m. and you know what? it has made all the difference in the world. admittedly, sometimes the coffee sits in the coffeemaker until six-thirty, but for the most part, the gurgling sound and coffee smell are a great alarm clock (i still need my normal one, don't get me wrong). and in the warm months? ah, i love to sit on my back porch and just be in the sun. or write my morning pages, now that i do that.
the mug is one of my favorite possessions, the first piece of pottery i bought in college, and carried all over the world with me (or, at least to norway). and when i say 'possession', i mean, i'm weirdly possessive about it. i can't really handle seeing anyone else drink out of it. i'm not like that about anything else i own.
i will really miss this back porch. but somehow, i think my new back porch, with the private backyard and garden, will not be too difficult to get used to.
i hope you all have a wonderful, wonderful weekend!

28 May 2009

hot off the press.

i am slowly but surely building up a little inventory. let me emphasize slowly. so slowly it's driving me crazy, every day finds me wanting a new, part-time job more and more. anyway, i was pretty excited about the color that ended up on the inking disc the other night.

and, since i am totally cheap, i often proof my new ideas over top of my old ones, which led me to this lovely color overlap/combo. i don't know if anyone else gets this excited about layers of transparent color, but let me tell you, this is one of my favorite things in the whole world. i think i jumped up and down when this came off the press. soon, i hope to show you an example of this that is more. . . on purpose, shall we say? i really wanted to have my shop re-opened by the end of may, but obviously some other things have gotten in the way. moving has taken a log out of me, and has thrown me off a little. i think will still be shooting for a summer re-opening of the ol' etsy (i just realized i haven't really talked about it that much at all on here. i think it's because i don't like to talk about things, i like to just do them. and since i am not quite ready for the doing, i hesitate to do the talking). i will keep you posted!

27 May 2009

blah blah blah, art (and a new artist i really like).

discovered someone new yesterday, as i dialogued yesterday. it was an interesting discussion, about whether or not the online art world is reflective of the art and gallery scene in the "real" world. it was a discussion that stayed with me all day, and when i went back to see what others had said, i found that most people weren't answering the question, "does the online art community reflect real life", rather they were saying, "the online art community is better than that of real life!" which, in some ways, it is.
but you know what? sometimes i miss real life galleries and art scenes! i like openings, the excitement of preparing for a party, of inviting friends, of the possibility of meeting new ones (not to mention, there is usually free food!). i also miss seeing work in real life, taking in the size and scale, specific details, textures, and colors that sometimes get lost when work is distilled into a photograph and viewed on a screen.
i have been rather isolated in my own art making in the last few years (or in my not making, as the case may be). i have found the online community to be open and accessible. but is it better? i don't know. it is different, that is for sure. after the whole discussion, i feel inspired to get out and get involved in my local real life art scene.
viewing art online is a very private experience--it reminds me of how people used to listen to and perform music in community and that was how it was, but now we all have our ipods and we just listen to our own music and experience it very privately. there is no discussion over images we find online (usually), not much conversation or interaction (and we all know how i like to converse).
but if we are going to talk about the online art community, and how nice it is to stumble across someone whose work you like, then i want to talk about nigel peake. his blog is lovely, with photographs and drawings--mostly houses and structures, which are always good in my book. the photo above is his.

26 May 2009

iris. that's me.

one of the benefits of living with an herbalist is that you learn a lot of interesting things. for example, i am an iris. which is nice, since i have always liked irises, particularly the wild ones that grow in the ditches along the roads near my parents' old house in northern wisconsin. in greek mythology, iris is the messanger, the connection between the gods and humanity, using the rainbow as her vocabulary (iris = rainbow in greek). sort of like an artist.
as plants, irises are the ones that grow wild in boggy, swampy, mucky areas. they send their rhizomes out under the earth, through the muck and, just when you think they are not going to come up, they shoot out through the muck and raise their flags as little bright signs of persistence and beauty. irises are fighters, they metabolize the muck and bloom in the midst of it.
the iris is a gorgeous flower, and i identify with her in so many ways, especially the more julia reads to me.

Link(images found at the lovely small stump + studio choo. they always have gorgeous photos of their arrangements.)

25 May 2009

welcome, summer.

it could not have been a more beautiful weekend for a move. and by that, i mean: it didn't rain. nor was the weather too hot. we had so many people graciously help us move all of our earthly possessions from one house to the other. now we just have to wait for the painter to finish up at the new house (which is looking great!) and should be able to start settling in next weekend. i am tired, but relieved that everything went so well.

rewind a week: i finally had a chance to upload my photos from art-a-whirl last weekend and realized this was the only one i actually took, from the fifth floor of the california building (full of beautiful studio spaces with gorgeous light). to be honest, i was a little bummed out by art-a-whirl (i was thinking of maybe blogging about it, but i just didn't see much work that i really liked, and really don't want to bring negativity into this spot, especially about art and other artists). however, it was a lovely, lovely day for biking around northeast and being a part of my little neighborhood. i really do love my city in the summertime.

22 May 2009

this kills me every time i hear it.

here goes sharing my first video (and risking the employer-enforced extra-curricular internet watching). i die every time i hear it on the radio.

sleep deprived, week three (and i don't even have a baby).

you know what people don't usually photograph and upload to their flickr photostreams? moving. it makes sense. it's not that exciting. in fact, it's kind of stressful. i can't even describe how tired i am. there are some boxes sitting in my living room. i haven't managed to make time to pack any of them, but they are here, waiting. tomorrow night maybe? oh, and i mentioned flickr, because when i searched for pictures of 'moving', this was the best option i got (which i happen to love, because it reminds me of the mountains and ghost towns and cowboys):
(photo found here.)

is this post even making any sense? as i write this, it's almost friday (only nine more minutes!) and my mind is not exactly cooperating with me. work has totally fried me this month. i realized this week that the major project i am finishing up at work is the first one of its size, possibly ever, that hasn't made me cry. i kind of can't believe that 'not crying' is a positive assessment of my current job.
but where was i? oh, yes. moving. this weekend. fortunately, my parents are coming to help, and the heat wave seems to be over, so hopefully the weekend will include a little rest (and maybe even a hamburger?!) along with the heavy physical labor.
what are you up to on this lovely three day weekend? i hope that whatever it is involves some sunshine, rest, and being with the ones you love.

20 May 2009


someone (i cannot for the life of me remember who) posted this quote several weeks ago. i have come back to ruminating about it since then and i am simultaneously inspired and appalled by it.
what do you think? are we all doomed to recycling ideas? is that such a bad thing? is it possible to tell the difference between innovation and imitation? i would be interested in hearing thoughts. one of the things i miss most about school (yes, these five years), one of the reasons i wish i had a special man-friend (i guess he would have to be the perfect one, obviously, since not all boys like talking about ideas like this) is talking about ideas! and about creativity and about work that is good or not, etc etc etc.
you know. so, even though i would prefer to have such a conversation face-to-face, share them with me in blogland, because that is what is available at the moment.
have a great wednesday. this week is a doozey for me, so i will be really glad when it is over.

19 May 2009

i love my daily worth.

a few months back, jena posted some encouraging words she had received in her daily worth email and i was so inspired, i went right over to the website to sign up to get my own money-related love notes! since then, i really do look forward to them every day. i thought i would share a couple with you, the ones that have been most encouraging and challenging to me. but don't take my word for it, sign up to receive your own! here is a good one to start with:

Waiting Out the Darkness

You've decided that you want something – a new job or career, a particular client, a new house, a move across the country – and you go after it. Here's the catch: It could take days, months, even years. You just have to be determined enough to wait out the darkness in between the “wanting” and the “getting.”

i breathed a huge sigh of relief when i read this. there was some more information at the bottom of the email, with a link to an article, and the words "getting rich slowly". which was exactly the reminder i needed. i will not save all the money i need overnight, it takes time. it takes time to build up a savings account for emergencies or overhead for a tiny business start-up. it takes time to save up for the things i want. and that is okay. it's really all about my attitude, my perseverance, and my patience.

18 May 2009

monday morning pretty.

here is the deal with me and mondays: we don't really go well together (i sure don't heart them, but i am glad some people do). when i finally do quit my job and go out on that limb and start making my own way/living in the world, mondays will not be heavy workdays. or, maybe when that happens, i will actually look forward to them! although i will say, if i ever am able to maintain my ideal balance in life, i will only work four days, four and a half tops. until then. . . mondays=ugh (especially since julia told me about the correlation between heart attacks and 8-9am on mondays: that's when most of them occur! eep!).
here is the deal with me and blogging: i am still figuring out what kind of blogger i am/want to be. i am working on being consistent in posting, i am working on finding things that are worthy of turning into possible 'regular features', i am sometimes rebelling against the idea of 'regular features' (let's face it, i am afraid of commitment).
so please bear with me, especially when the mondays + the blogging adolescence collide.
one thing i am sure of: when it comes to things i don't like (i.e. mondays) and something i am trying to get better at (i.e. blogging), i have learned that it is best to look on the bright side.
be optimistic.
look for the good in the situation.
be positive.
henceforth, i will commence with something i feel good about committing to: a monday morning post that is happy and easy on the eyes. something to make me smile, even if i am not looking at it. when i stare at my inbox as it opens, i will think about what i have posted on my blog and smile (probably with closed eyes. that rapidly filling inbox is something i just can't handle watching).
and hopefully you will smile, too.
these are photos from the lovely sophie cuvelier, whose website and blog are so wonderful. i really like her blog, which is basically a huge collection of photos of everyday things, and then how she transforms those things, through colors, shapes, and textures, into garlands. yeah, it's pretty great. first found on jordan's blog. she's also pretty great.
so there you go: happy effing monday.

15 May 2009

here comes the weekend!

work has been absolutely frying my brain lately. but let me tell you, it really helps when:
1. the client with the crazy deadlines (this is possibly the largest project i have done in the shortest amount of time EVER) is so wonderful to work with
2. i pretend i'm in a tv show or movie about people who work in a boring office.
3. i think about what i'm going to do when i'm not at work--like printing! i have been printing up a storm, mostly the business cards above, but also some more monogrammed cards for amy, and some thank yous.
it feels good to make some progress, although each day i think of another thing to add to my to do list, with not much getting crossed off.
but this weekend! picnic! art-a-whirl! maria's! sunshine! oh, and wrangling some boxes for moving because i am moving in one week.
oh, boy.
what are you doing this weekend?

14 May 2009

summery, letterpressy goodness.

i have been thoroughly enjoying my letterpress class. i learn something new every week, something i am able to take right back to my studio and try out. for example, i ordered this roller gauge from boxcar because they said i needed it (!), so i did--even though i could not for the life of me understand what they were saying in the directions. but then! next week in letterpress class, we learned how to use a roller gauge!
last night was particularly interesting because we spontaneously worked on one of the little tabletop platen presses and i learned some really great registration techniques, which i will definitely start employing right away--it will make my printing so much easier and better.

we created a group broadside to practice setting type, and they turned out so beautifully.

i also really love my rides home. each week the sky is lighter and lighter, and it's always cool enough to enjoy the ride, which takes me past this new park by the river road. the black hulking power line holder-upper-thing and the smokestack-steamstack-pipey things are my favorite part of the photo (and possibly the city? hmmm). i really do love minneapolis in the summer.

13 May 2009

bits & bobs (or: maybe i really belong in england)

i spent the weekend watching green wing on hulu and printing up a storm (photos to come). if you don't know about green wing, you should. it's a hilarious british comedy set in a hospital (think scrubs on speed), and is at the same time outrageously inappropriate (consider yourself warned) and laugh-out-loud funny. it doesn't hurt that it is a good dose of eye candy as well. it makes me want to start calling my underwear 'pants', my pants 'trousers', and using 'oy!' as my new exclamation of disgust, alarm, or surprise.
also, amy and i signed a lease on a really great new place. what a relief it is to have the house-hunting over with. i am excited about 1200 square feet (!) of victorian charm, with a backyard and garden to go with. so only two more weeks in this little tiny place that has been, come to think of it, my longest single home as an adult (just shy of two years). which is a strange thought, but okay at the same time. it is time for an upgrade, and a place where i can stay for several years, if i decide to stay in minneapolis. i'm sure i will share pictures at some point, but a few highlights include: a real oven (no more wedging the cookie sheets in), a dishwasher and full-sized fridge, a giant bedroom on the second floor with plenty of room for work tables, sewing machine, etc. tons of natural light, hardwood floors, a big bathroom with drawers and drawers and drawers for storage. . . . oh, and the backyard/garden. i am looking forward to a lot of socializing. oh! and it is literally only five blocks from my studio. really. it doesn't get any better than that. i think that will make a lot of difference in my getting there.
amy h. is coming for a visit this weekend, and i am excited about art-a-whirl (to be a visitor, not a host--yet), and general springiness.
oh, and i've really been enjoying my hair lately. it looks good and is easy to care for. too bad my stylist moved to texas.

10 May 2009

my mom is the coolest.

(that's my mom on the left. with her sisters last summer.)

earlier this week i had a conversation with my mom wherein she tried to get me confess that i had plans for a surprise visit to her house this weekend. i had to say "no, i wish i did" about five times. because i really wish i had been able to visit her this weekend.
so since i can't be at home with my mother this mother's day, how about i tell you about her, and great i think she is?
my mom is amazing. she teaches fifth grade in wisconsin's best medium-sized school (i did not make that up. her school really was named the best last year).
my mom raised to really great daughters and has been married to my dad for thirty-six years--and i kid you not when i say that my parents just keep getting happier.
when i was a kid, my mom made our ballet class's costumes for our performance as spanish dancers in the nutcracker.
when i moved to san francisco and found myself unemployed and not knowing a soul, my mom listened on the phone every night--despite the two-hour time difference, and sent me money.
when i signed up for 4-h sewing (yeah, i'm not a nerd at all), my mom was sooo patient and helpful and saw me through pretty much every project, even helping me with hours of seam-ripping when i messed something up.
she was always up for letting me experiment in the kitchen, and was always encouraging about the result (i actually can't remember any horrible disasters).
my mom was the one who kept saying, "don't major in something practical, be an artist" when i was deciding on what to study in college.
she has been my biggest cheerleader and supporter all the way, believing in me when i am not sure i even believe in myself--this still happens.
my mom beat cancer, has broken more bones than the rest of the family combined, and less than a year ago, had a heart valve replaced--she really is a survivor.
i hope that i someday get the opportunity to be a mom, and that i create as creative, positive, imaginative, and loving home for my own children as my mom did for me.

08 May 2009

summer wheels.

i never really think about buying a car. i get around pretty well on my bike, or the bus, or i am happy to hibernate most of the winter instead of going out in the -40 degrees. however, when the weather warms up, i start to yearn for a new set of wheels. i long to speed along in traffic on an efficient, beautiful little scooter. but these are merely dreams. and for now, i am okay with that. perhaps someday i will have a little vespa of my own, but until i marry rich, i will just drool over other peoples'. like these, on flickr (they sort of represent the real scooters i see around town).

a cute little pink number (ania.havia).

my own talented sister.

what i am most likely to end up with (by sicoactivia).

more lovely vespa photos that i couldn't figure out how to save right here.

07 May 2009

clean food.

mav posted about a great-looking new cookbook out there. i guess i will just have to wait until the fall before i can snag my own copy. she mentions that these are easy, straightforward recipes, perfect for the single girl who likes to prepare her own food, but doesn't like to take too much time to do so each evening. amazon pre-order, here i come!

05 May 2009

as i mentioned yesterday, i am no fashionista. i do not enjoy shopping. in general, i do not look in a mirror to decide whether or not an outfit is right. rather, i think, "am i comfortable? do i want to wear this all day?" i love my levi's and long-sleeved black shirt ($4 at wal-mart. i know! i'm sorry. i won't do that anymore). if i could wear this as my uniform i would. uh, and what i mean is, i basically do. especially in winter. between november and april, i pretty much don't have any interest in looking pretty or feminine. i just care about being warm.
however, eventually spring comes, and the weather warms up, and i manage to unearth my razor and shave my legs. i still don't like putting a lot of effort into it, but i want to look pretty in the summer. i want to look pretty, and i want to be as cool, and i want to do these things with as little energy and daily effort as possible. i am way more active in the summer, i bike everywhere, i am more social, and i sweat a whole lot more.
i have decided the solution to these criteria are a few colorful, comfortable, beautiful dresses that i can easily pull on and wear all day, any day. as a seasoned seamstress, this should not be a problem. with a good pattern or two, some fabulous cloth, and a weekend (or a few weeknights) i should be able to manage some great summer staples. here are some of my inspirations:
angry chicken's beautiful little number.

the gorgeous fiji dress available at modaspia.

04 May 2009

monday morning pretty.

how was your may day weekend? mine was lovely (a bit more low-key than the weekend before). the weather is finally warming up, and the grass is green, the magnolias are in bloom, and there are bright green leaves on the trees. oh, minnesota, how you trick me into forgetting all about the longest, coldest, grayest winter of my life with your beautiful spring and summer.

here are some nice things from my weekend:
some girls have trouble not shopping.
not me. i can hardly handle prying $20 out of my wallet for a little blue top, but today it was totally necessary. i have next to nothing appropriate for summer wear. the shoes, on the other hand, simply irresistible (and totally affordable at $28). i'm pretty sure they will come in handy.

a friend is getting some practice letterpress, as a thank you for the loan of a comprehensive allen wrench set:

a very special new baby is getting a little present in the mail (thanks to this shop, found at craftstravaganza):

01 May 2009

get it done in may.

(these are some pictures i took yesterday as i was STILL trying to diagnose what is wrong with my press. since i couldn't get my head into the tiny spot behind the platen, i stuck my camera in there to take a picture of the offending part to see what the screw thingy looks like. i was so pleasantly surprised to find these compositions on the screen of my camera! i forget how much i love bright, saturated colors until i see them and they just make me giddy! they seem like the perfect driving force for my new line of designs, and i am excited to start working with them).

i didn't quite get everything done from my april to do list. april was not a good month for me, i was sick and out of town (that was good, but not for my productivity) and just off, in general. however, i feel pretty good about what i did get done (considering), and i am ready to go with my goals for may:
1. make things. i have been kind of creatively blocked--or intimidated is maybe a better word--and i need to get making things.
2. photograph the things i have made.
3. really, seriously, get a file box (the paperwork is overflowing, folks).
4. write up my application for the eileen fisher grant.
5. look for a new, part time job.

i think i am going to keep it at five for may, since those are five pretty big ones, and i really want to have them done by the end of may. also, i am going with the theory (it's a new one) that if i can remember the goals in my head, maybe they will actually get done. the bigger end goal is to get my etsy shop re-opened by the end of may/beginning of june. i have been fighting with google analytics lately, as i cannot seem to troubleshoot why they are not tracking my blog--which i am really curious about. if anyone has any tips, i would be so grateful. i still can't manage to get my press fixed, and my frustration is growing.
and in general? i feel a little discouraged. i am having trouble keeping good perspective lately. but may is going to be better!
so there. here we go!