23 September 2008

Nearly there

The living room is nearly done. I couldn't stand the chaos one more second and put most of it back together even though there are odds and ends to finish up. The new bookcase that Carlos built is gorgeous and so much more our style than the old one. The books that I know we're keeping went back up on the shelves. There is a delightful, gaping hole (with appropriate wiring!) ready and waiting for a new tv (someday, hopefully not too far in the distant future, - you know, I should prop up some framed pieces in there in the meantime...), and I got out a few of my Oaxacan carvings for the top shelves. I'm not sure that they'll stay there as they're looking a little busy visually in a group like that and it's hard to appreciate their finely-painted detail so high up.

The Eames chair is very well-loved. Carlos bought it from a showroom on Park Avenue in Manhattan in 1970 for a then-princely sum and it's the one and only piece of furniture that we've continuously had our entire married life. I adore that chair - not only is it exceedingly good-looking but it's really comfortable too.

We still need a mantel on the fireplace and we had an inspiration yesterday that we're going to try out tomorrow to see if it works (fingers crossed).

There are supposed to be three small paintings hanging above the fireplace but two of them didn't have frames so I didn't hang them back up yet. Hopefully the frames will be done by the weekend and all of that white space will be a memory.

I placed a few things temporarily on the top of the fireplace. Among them are two pieces of mate burilado, examples of the traditional Peruvian craft of gourd carving, which dates back over 5,000 years. These are obviously more recent.

I matted and framed another of Carlos' old intaglios, Red Light, to hang beside the fireplace. It's hard to tell in this picture, but the lighting really shows off the relief.

A small painting that Carlos keeps insisting isn't finished yet (is an oil painting ever finished??) that I won't let him touch because I love it just the way it is. It's waiting for its two companions to return from the studio with new frames.

And everything that didn't make it back into the living room is now residing in my studio, which as a result, is an ungodly mess with not a clean flat surface (and very little floor space) in sight. Makes it hard to get anything done, but the view into the living room is sublime.

Recycled theme postcard

With this postcard I am officially Caught Up. For one don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-it minute. I'm going to bask in the glow of current-ness and then look for something else to get into...

Another collage necklace

I'm having a blast making these. The latest is 1" by 3" and incorporates a watch gear on the bird for a steampunk vibe.

22 September 2008

Up close with the Crow

A number of people asked where they could get their very own Jim Mullan bird, so here's the scoop. The Left Bank Gallery in Massachusetts and the Christopher Park Gallery in South Carolina were both a pleasure to deal with over the internet and provided phenomenal service.

If you end up succumbing to the lure of the bird, remember that it's all Sandy's fault, she's the reason I got started on this new bird kick. Thank you Sandy!

Just to give you an idea of scale, this is the crow with the jay that I posted about in August.

Collage necklace

And now for something completely different...

A tiny bird collage to wear. The little frame is only 1.5" square and it hangs from a length of hand-dyed silk ribbon. The scrap of printing is from an Indian newspaper I tinted with ink. The mah-jongg tile is from a neat store in Oregon (that I dearly wish had a website - I got the most unusual shoes there but the brand name is Pretty - try googling "pretty shoes" and see how far you get... argh).

My friend Natalya sent me a link to a talk on Ted by Sir Ken Robinson. Sir Ken addresses creativity in the education environment. It's a really interesting speech and here are a few quotes from it that just jumped out at me.

If you are not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original.

Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value.

21 September 2008


I'm finally getting some overdue projects done - one of which is a postcard exchange with a group on Postmarkd Art. The theme is alphabet. I stamped different letters on each card in the series and kept letter A for myself. Not sure what the bird symbolizes, but he insisted on being there.

One more set of postcards and I'll be officially Caught Up. Don't blink...

12 September 2008

Tweet peek

The beautiful Jim Mullan crow arrived this week and he's stunning. The lightstands are in Carlos' studio because we're shooting his new paintings to update his website but I will post a good, well-lit picture of Monsieur Crow in the next couple of days. In the meantime here are a few peeks at some of the exquisite details.

And I've decided that three steampunk Mullan birds is the perfect number so I'm on a quest for the final addition to the trio.

When I was teaching in Sisters, Oregon this summer one of my students had a bag full of funky little wooden birds that she had purchased at a tag sale on her way to the conference. I coveted those birds - they were all different colors and shapes and had the coolest vibe. She gifted me with two of them at the end of the workshop and I am so grateful (and I didn't even whine or beg or anything). Aren't they great? They're only about 1.5" high and are obviously hand-carved and hand-painted.

I finished the first of a new series of quilts with a bird theme and will reveal it soon. It's really interesting to re-visit a theme after many years have gone by to see if you can say something new. My last bird quilt was in 1994, but I definitely see a new approach to birds as subject.

Do you find yourself re-visiting old themes? Or do you say everything there is to say in a theme and move on?

08 September 2008

Happy Birthday, Baby!

My baby turns 23 today (and I refuse to let that make me feel old, lol). She has grown into a beautiful, intelligent, creative, capable, poised young woman.

seven months old, first Easter

ten months old, Woodstock NY

almost three years old - I was her age now when she was this age then...

four years old, first year of sixteen + years of dance

first day of school

A sunny five year old

A stunning seventeen year old

The girls taking in a show last month

Every year on the first day of school, from kindergarten on, I've tucked a brand new box of crayons in her backpack. It's been an inside joke all these years, and I'm sure caused her some embarrassment in high school, but there's something about a crisp, new pack of crayons that just shouts "new beginnings". This is the first year I've forgotten, so here's a virtual box of glittery crayons.

Here's hoping everyone has a new box of crayons on this glorious day!

02 September 2008

Renovating over the long weekend

Every time I have more than two days off next to one another we tackle a home reno project. My hope is that eventually we'll run out a things to renovate and be able to relax over a long weekend, lol. This past weekend we decided to hit the living room - finally. Unfortunately, Carlos tore the mantel off the fireplace before I got a good "before" photo, but trust me, it was not our style at all, with its fluted Colonial columns and dentil moulding. We had a fireplace insert installed last month to help with the heating bills this winter which was sort of the catalyst for the remodeling. Notice the weird little closet to the right of the fireplace.

small dog in a big hurry

One side of the living room had a built-in bookcase, also with dentil moulding and Colonial detailing, that we just piled books onto willy-nilly when we moved in a number of years ago. We did remove the doors from the lower section thinking it would help, but it didn't, we still hated it, partly because the top half was only 7" deep. Why? Who makes a bookcase shallower than a standard book's depth? So out it went on Saturday morning.

A couple of hours with a crowbar and a sledge hammer took care of the bookcase. We had put up track lights a while ago, but they were the plug-in kind so I spent some time on Saturday adding a switch and hard wiring the track fixture. Much better than cords draped across the ceiling and walls! The new bookcase is almost ready to be installed (maybe tomorrow) and I wired in new outlets and a cable receptacle for a television and dvd player, again to avoid cords draped out of the bookcase. Too much time spent in the cobwebby and hot attic (no dead rodents this time, thank goodness), but it's done. Here are some "in progress" photos. We haven't gotten all the way to the "after" yet...

We didn't finish in the three days, but we did get pretty far on the project. The walls and ceiling are painted, the track fixtures and outlets are wired, the new wall and door moulding is up and the bookcase will go in shortly. The fireplace will be re-surfaced next weekend. Now we have to decide what art goes back on these walls and what art comes out of rotation - maybe my collection of Oaxacan carvings will fit on a few shelves in the bookcase? Maybe those shelves will need under-cabinet lights to show them off? Hmm.

And the dopey little closet next to the fireplace is gone now too. The wall has much better balance without it and it was way too small to use anyway.

I'll post some "after" pictures as soon as everything's done and gorgeous!

Quilting Arts Gifts

The new 2008 issue of Quilting Arts Gifts arrived in the shop today. I contributed two articles to it, one is my take on a gingerbread house and the other is a cool idea for using fiber postcards to present gift cards to the special people in your life.

It's a gorgeous issue, jam-packed with all sorts of neat projects. I have to get busy making some decorations to replace the ones we lost in the basement flood after hurricane Wilma a couple of years ago and this magazine is giving me tons of ideas.