Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Writing this first post of 2015 makes me think of cracking open a new sketchbook and feeling that excitement and anxiety of just starting. I like that feeling of beginning, but it can also be terrifying. Where do you start?  Every new year I want to press an imaginary reset button on myself, so while I'm home enjoying every bit of family and sun in California I've been thinking of ways I can keep motivated, start fresh and keep it up throughout the year.

Here are a few things that are pushing me in positive ways:
+ Trying daily planner pages from Day Designer. You can download a free planner page. I tried it out and like it.
+ What It Really Takes to be an Artist from MacArthur Genius Teresita Fernandez. Very real talk about making art.
+ I know that our environment influences our behavior, so I'm itching to get home and change up my space a bit, so maybe I can form better, more productive habits.
+ Incredibly honest and inspiring words to get you making - Molly Crabapple's 15 rules for creative success in the Internet age 

Any tips, links or things you guys are using? I'd love to hear!  Here's to 2015 being the best year yet!

T-shirt to Tank top DIY

I know it's almost winter here in NY, so what the heck am I talking about tank tops for? Well, they're pretty much a staple in my daily life throughout the year. I love to layer, and tank tops help keep me warm under copious amounts of clothes during colder months, or cool and comfortable in warmer months. I basically live in tank tops during summer or when I visit home in California. On any given day I'm probably wearing one!

I have a bunch of t-shirts that are too big for me, mostly band shirts that are for more dudely frames, like this Hexvessel shirt that was gifted to me because animals. (Jeremy saw them at Stella Natura & loved them!) Since I found this 1950's Singer on the street (yep, best trash score ever!) I've been sewing these shirts into perfectly fitting tank tops.

It's super easy and even if you don't have a super industrial machine you can stitch one up in under 30 mins.
1. First, using fabric scissors cut the sleeves off following the seams.
2. Turn the shirt inside out. Use a top that fits you well as a template. Center the template top over the shirt and use dressmakers chalk or regular chalk to mark the side seams and shoulder straps. I didn't worry too much on being perfect. I guesstimated and aimed for symmetry from side to side.
3. Cut the excess from the shoulders and pins the sides.
4. Sew along your chalk marks.
5. Cut the neckline. I just followed the seam. You can always cut more, but first try your shirt on. Adjust and cut more if needed/desired to even out the straps or neckline.
6. Stretch the arm holes and neck line a bit till they curl in. Best thing about jersey- no need to sew raw edges!
So that's it. From boxy boy shirt to perfect fit for me. Hope this gives you some ideas to update your old shirts! Let me know if you do!

NY wish list

Sometimes I'm walking around in my daily life - I'll be carrying a heavy backpack and tote bags full of stuff from running errands and I'll be filled with whinny thoughts about always having to carry everything around here, or how many flights of stairs I have to go up and down or how tired I am from running those errands- and then, like a slap, I'll remember that I live in New-fucking York, the greatest city! (On the east coast. Still got mad love for you LA.)

The other night we were going home and literally walked into a dance party in the subway. Everyone was dancing, hands up, laughing. A dj was playing a set on his ipad & amps. I got caught up in it. Standing on the subway benching smiling like a fool while holding my grocery bags at my side, I was in love with the city again. Stuff like this happens all the time. It sneaks up on you, both the love and the hate of New York. (Exhibit A, this song.) I thought I'd live here for a year when I moved from Rochester, just try it out, and now I've been here going on eight years!

I don't know if I'll live here forever, so last night we made a list of all the NY experiences (city and beyond) that we'd like to have. I always feel like I'm missing what's happening here, and I don't know how many times I've said, "oh, we should do that!"

So here it is, an ever growing wish list to remind me to appreciate all NY's gifts and grit. Hold me accountable internet! Make sure I have all the fun- thank you very much.

-“The Grand Tour” at the Met (Jan 21, 22 2015)

-“Drone Mass” at the Met (March 17 2015)

-Opera at the Metropolitan Opera (& dress fancy!) 

-Drinks at the Campbell Apartment (Grand Central Station)

-Montauk Trip 

-Hike the Appalachian Trail

-Camping at Malouf’s Mountain

-4th of July in Cold Spring

-Storm King

-“Ask Me Another” Live Taping

-Go to a taping of SNL (Please, please, please! I tried once. Woke up and the butt-crack of dawn. Got standby tickets and then had the doors shut on me after waiting in like for hours that evening. I was the most whinny ever that night.)

-Go to a taping of Colbert Report 

-Dancing at a Club (Love to dance & I've never gone dancing here :( What is wrong with me? Also a friend called me old, because I call it "go dancing" instead of "going out".)

-Walk the Full High Line (When will it be completed?)

-Ice Skating at Central Park

-Roller Skating at Prospect Park (Who wants to hold my hand?)

-Judge Judy taping! (I love that mean ol' lady!)

-Swans at Central Park

-Take my momma to Wave Hill

-Alvin Ailey Dance Performance

-Dinner or Drinks at Sardi’s

-Jekyll and Hyde Club

-Actually go see Swans perform

-Bike ride around the island

-Carnegie Hall Performance

-Private Room Karaoke with Friends

-Apple Pickin’

-Skiing at Lake Placid

-Guitar Lessons at Brooklyn Guitar School

-Performance at BAM

-Vegetarian Cooking Class

Anything I missed?

My Spoon Collection

Let's be honest. I'm kind of a hoarder and have lots of little collections- bee hives, stones, sea glass, vintage ephemera, and spoons. There might be a few more too, like the tin boxes in the photographs. I just really like things, especially old and unique things. They become memories for me like, "oh, I got this for my birthday" or  "this reminds me of our trip." It's also just nice to eat ice cream with a beautiful white porcelain spoon.

I have a few more I forgot to photograph, but I listed all of these below. The diagram was inspired by a recent trip to the Met. I believe all lists should now be accompanied by a museum-like diagram.

1. Juniper wooden spoon, Sweden, from Kiosk
2. Dead Horse Bay find
3. Swan spoon, antique, gift
4. Wooden spoon my mom gave that I'm sure is from Cost Plus ;)
5.  by Love Daniella 
6. porcelain spoon by kg ceramics. I bought two of these spoons because I loved it so much, and I'm glad I did since my cats love to break all my favorite things.
7. from Nepal as a souvenir from our trip 
8. Evil Eye Spoon, porcelain, by Deme Ceramics 
9. Ceramic spoon by Kara No Te (her shop is closed now, but I love her hand formed ceramics)
10. Dead Horse Bay find
11. gift
12. Shino Takeda, ceramic

recent work

Do you know your stars?

I've been collecting lots of images and not posting. I've gotten out of the habit, and am trying to get back into it. I think part of it is that I used to diligently upload images to flickr and then post here, but the new flickr sucks. I hate how it looks and it's difficult to navigate, so I totally stopped using it. I'm wondering what you guys do- collect images on hard drives, print them out?

Here's some work I've made as weddings gifts and the VI is a baby piece. The stars were gifted to a wedding party in France! Each one got a custom note typed out by hand. The hearts are wedding presents too. I love seeing my work all done, but damn my arm is hurting. No joke!

halloween forever!

I know it's been a bit since halloween, but the day after I left town for a few days and I'm just getting back to my pictures now. I love, love, love halloween, but it always seems to sneak up on me. I always have high hopes for pumpkin picking, corn mazes, halloween decorating, pie baking and elaborate costume making but yeah, that didn't happen.

I did manage to squeeze in making a Yayoi Kusama costume. She's the queen of the polka-dot & I'm totally enamored with her. I love how it all turned out! Jeremy dressed up as a skeleton, and we went to dinner. It was so, so fun to walk around NYC on halloween night with so many people dressed up. The Empire State Building was even lit up like a giant pumpkin.

Here's to holding on the autumn & halloween for as long as we can! Hope you had a great one. I'd love to hear how you celebrated!!

Experimenting with Shibori Dyeing

This past weekend I took a shibori dyeing class at Brooklyn Craft Company and it was so much fun!  I've always wanted to try it out, but It seemed complicated and living in a small space with no utility sink or room to make a inky blue mess I figured this class was my chance to go dye crazy (and I did!).

 I'm totally in love with the whole process. By folding the fabric certain ways and adding resists, like rubber bands, wood blocks, and string you'll get different patterns. It's kinda like origami meets tye-dye. There's a lot of chance at play too, so even when you use the same technique the outcome will most likely vary. That's the beauty of the process to me- that wonderful moment when you untie your fabric and see what you've got. I dyed lots of pieces and each one is completely different.

We used this kit to make the indigo dye. To create the resists and hold the folds in place we used wood blocks, rubber bands, thick popsicle sticks, and clamps. You'll also need a bucket for the dye, rubber gloves, and a drying rack. It was amazing to have a big space to work out of, because this got messy real fast. The most beautiful kind of mess indigo blue drips, pools of cyan, and dyed wooden blocks.

I'm wondering what I should make with the samples I made. I dyed a bunch of linen scraps I had from my handkerchiefs. Any Ideas?

If you want to give shibori dyeing a go you can check out these great how-to posts by Design*Sponge (which Brooklyn Craft Co. contributed) and HonestlyWTF.

postcard from home

The world is a crazy place. I'm listening to the news right now and just can't believe what I'm hearing. So on this Monday morning I'm relishing these happy scenes from my humble Brooklyn apartment. Cats, cactus, some work, and flowers Jeremy brought home.

My fluffy bunny Banjo is going to the vet this morning, so wish him well if you get a moment.

 Here's to a great week ahead. Make it the best day (even if it's a Monday)!

an embroidered family history

I recently had the pleasure of adding some hand embroidery to a very special family heirloom. This baptismal gown, dating from the 1950s in France, is shared with family members when they baptize their children. Then the child's name and birth date is embroidered onto the gauzy slip. I added a few of these names with the most delicate hand I could.

I don't usually take on these types of projects because of the logistical difficulties, but this beautiful piece called to me. I love the story of this gown, an embroidered family history.

You know I'm a sucker for a good vintage piece too! Really enjoyed photographing it. Here are a few behind the scenes and details of this gorgeous gown. The details are amazing!

Does your family have any heirlooms that have been passed down through the generations?