Friday, June 29, 2007

International Roo Day

I don't know if you know this, but today is Roo Day. Happy Roo Day! It's the day when, one year ago, I made the best little purchase you could imagine: a tiny hypoallergenic fluff ball/life partner! Exclusively for you, here is the little star herself:

I've just been spending quality time with the pup & other friends today, and taking a look at some awesome online fall trunk shows. Oh, how I wish I could watch these outfits shimmy down the runway in person...

Milly Trunk Show

Juicy Couture Trunk Show

I have to confess: I am a fashion junkie. I'm really digging the season's empire waistlines and 60's flair. Everything has been all about retro for the last couple of seasons, and I am *loving* it!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sew in Love

It's been a long and arduous courtship. We both thought it would never work out. You thought I could never make a serious commitment to you, and I had my doubts as well... We actually stopped interacting completely for a period of about three months, pining for each other all the while. We've had our fights. Some of them physical - I hurt you, broke you, and then there was the time you stabbed me, and I thought I'd never go back to you. But I did. And it's been a lot of hard work on both of our parts, but I am finally willing to declare my love for you...

I love my Brother CS-6000i sewing machine!

Oh, it's so freaking fantastic! We've finally been making some cool stuff together, despite all of my initial sewing fears. My excitement over wanting to learn to sew has finally overpowered my fears of it. And check out my cool new stickers that adorn the machine, made by my lovely blogging friends Megan of MooganCreations and Lauren of LaurenSmash! (Thanks so much for sending me stickers!! I love them!)

See, this is my very first sewing machine, and I'd never sewn *anything* in life before purchasing this machine from that local shoppe called Wal-Mart. I felt like I was doing rocket science the first time I threaded the bobbin, but I can finally say I no longer need the manual and can change thread colors at whim! That is a big accomplishment for me.

I know some of you have asked about the sewing machine I use and if I like it, and I have to say, this machine is SO user friendly and perfect for beginners. The instruction manual is clear, has tons of pictures, and can help diagnose any problem while teaching you about needles and threads, too! I am also a big fan of the Brother company in general, since their customer service was beyond awesome when I needed help with a rebate on my 4-in-one Copy/Scan/Fax/Printer (which, by the way, works like a dream). Seriously, I love their products so much, I should be their new mascot!

I didn't buy the cheapest machine, I spent as much as I was willing to spend ($250) to get a good machine, and I'm so glad I did. It has a zipper foot, buttonhole foot, free motion quilting foot (one of the major things I wanted), and tons and tons of decorative stitches! I did a lot of research before buying and asked around a lot, and everyone said to forego the stitches, but really, they have become my favorite thing about the machine, and I used them a *lot*. So that's my advice for the beginning sewer, which I definitely still am, but I've been more adventurous and confident in my abilities lately - yay!

I've been screenprinting a lot of little patches to sew onto things, and the picture above is me going crazy with my free motion quilting foot, straight stitches, and a zigzag stitch. I initially made this tanktop to go in my Etsy shop, but I feel in love with it and decided to keep it. It was way too big, so I used the "pinch & pin" method to alter it easily. I put the shirt on inside out and had a friend pin off the areas that were too big, stitched it up, and cut off the excess. I've also been learning a lot about machine needles and the proper threads to use, and if you're sewing jersey (t-shirts), the proper needle to use is a ball needle (size 11) and polyester or poly-blend thread.

If you're curious how I made the mottled pink and white fabric that the patch is printed on, it's a funny story... If you saw a few posts back, I had a massive spill of hot pink ink on my carpet. Cleaning it up (or attempting to) was so bad that I used up two rolls of paper towels, a kleenex box, then had to resort to using fabric scraps of old t-shirts (which I usually use as rags when I paint). They started to look good, so I started dipping everything in the watery ink puddle on the floor - fabric, watercolor paper, even canvases! Not a very effective way to clean a floor, but I did amass a pile of cool pink-dyed stuff. Since it was textile ink, I heat set it into the fabric before printing on it, printed on it, then heat set the whole thing again before stitching it on. I made some lemonade out of that spill! :)

So to those of you who are thinking about buying a machine, do it, do it, do it!! It's so easy and fun, and the payoff is fantastic. I am still so proud of myself every time I finish a project, even if it's just hemming someone's pants.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I Realize This is Sort of Silly, But...

I just can't help myself - throwing toys at royalty is just plain FUN.

Go here...the code didn't paste correctly, so I couldn't imbed the video.

P.S. I haven't tried the site it's adversiting, so I don't have anything positive or negative to say about it. I just like throwing virtual things at virtual people, ok? :)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Flirty Skirty

I just wanted to let you know, that if this skirt were not too big for me, it would totally be on my butt tonight rather than in my Etsy shop!

In other news, my lovely friend Heather (who is doing an internship in Miami) is trying to Gmail-chat-explain to me how to revive my not-in-use-since-high-school AOL Instant Message account. It's not going so well, because I am very dumb when it comes to new computer things... She is awesome to be so patient! I have been resistant to the whole e-chatting thing since I know it will eat up so much more time...but it's going to be lovely to be able to IM while I'm at work this weekend!

Ok, it's all set up now, and she even taught me how to do an audio chat! It's just like talking on the phone, only free! And instead of talking into a phone, you talk into a tiny hole on your computer that you didn't even know existed. How cool is that?! Email me or convo me your IM screenname if you want to help guide me into the modern adventures of internet chatting... I'm such a dork.

Squirrel Popsicles

Pop. Pop. Pop.

I got three little summer tanks in deliciously popsicle-like colors, and I decided to print my brand new little squirrel images on them. I love how they turned out, and so I had to make one for myself too! I mixed some subtle sparkliness into raspberry colored ink especially to print these tanks.

I've been updating the shop like crazy for the past couple of days, and it's been a long time coming! I've been working hard in the studio lately - both on clothing and on "art art," so it's been a good week because I love being busy with creativity. I'm done teaching the first half of my summer classes (yay!), so I get a couple weeks of break to do nothing but make stuff, redecorate my ever-evolving apartment, play with the pup, and hang out with people.

And did I mention "Grey's Anatomy?" I know, I know... I'm a total dork and about two years too late with this one, but DAMN, that is one great show. I'm still in the middle of season 3, but I plan to eventually catch up to what's actually going on "now" in the latest episodes... I've even convinced other Grey's skeptics (like I used to be) to learn to love the show as well, but I'm not allowed to say who. Or they might kill me.

Speaking of learning to love more, the fantastical Miranda July has just released this new book to raving reviews! Feel free to buy me a copy, get it autographed for me, and send it my way, in exchange for my undying love and affection... Miss July is one of those artists who just overwhelms me with their awesomeness. Makes me think I should re-watch "Me and You and Everyone We Know" sometime soon...

P.S. I just found this while checking to make sure the links in this post work! Wow-oh-wow, if I had a couple thousand bucks of pocket change...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I Don't Care Unless...

1) It's happening between the walls of Seattle Grace.

2) It has chocolate on it, around it, or inside it.

3) It has something to do with Etsy.

Some days should just be that simple...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Puppy Haircut!

I recently trimmed the Ruby Roo myself for the first time. She is a bichon frise who is hypo-allergenic (thankfully!), but that means that her hair grows like human hair and has to be cut every so often. It's very expensive to trim her breed, since their hair gets matted so easily, and I'm never too happy with how she looks when she gets back. The typical bichon cut is a huge lion's mane looking thing around the head, and no matter how many times I ask them not to cut her this way, I still get a baby lion when I go to pick her up... I'm so glad I didn't end up making her look crazy, and I know she is so much more comfortable with me than some stranger who wants to poke and prod at her.


In the background, you can see the messy place I call my living room. I used to hate that I am so messy, but now I've just sort of given into it. I do major clean-ups now and then, but really there are piles of art supplies and clothes to print on galore, and I think it's sort of become my natural habitat. Maybe I shouldn't think of it as "messy," but more like "disorganized." I mean, I don't have *gross* things lying around - no food debis or yucky bathrooms here! I just have piles of drawings, jewelry making supplies, yarn... Even though I don't mind it so much, I need to do a major rehaul of my studio "organization," but it's so hard to make myself do it, because anytime I'm in there, all I want to do is make stuff! :)

Flea Market Eye Candy

Just what it sounds like... I got all of this stuff (plus a little more) on one very awesome day at the nearby flea market! It's been a while since I've hit a flea market jackpot this big, so it was a little too exciting to handle!

Three tiny little diaries that age in range from the 1900's to the 1940's. I can't wait to read all the juicy gossip they contain... but how come I feel like the lives of people then were less dramatic than our lives today? (Hmm...could be due to my recent "adventures.")

Gorgeous little Victorian handcolored print - yummy!

Cute little yellowed thang from a page in a girl scouting scrapbook from the 1950's.

An...interesting spread from a 1980's wedding photo album. There were a bunch of these to choose from, and I'm guessing this young couple ended up getting divorced. I picked this album out because of the woman's expressions in these photos.

You can't really tell from the photo, but this is a puffy horse face that sticks out from the piece just a little bit, sorta like a sculptural painting. I think it needs some hot pink painted on it somewhere...

One of many pages from this 1920's scrapbook that has fallen apart. There were so many great photos in here, and it's a shame that the construction-like paper in these albums always tends to fall apart. I like them as individual pages, too...they sort of function like artwork.

A page from a little boy's 1950s/60s scrapbook. Scrapbooks, photo albums, and diaries are my absolute favorite things to find in flea markets, especially since my artwork is so largely based in what I find within these little books. I've been collecting these sorts of things for so many years now, but I am still always so shocked to find such personal memories scattered about the flea market tables amidst rusty tools and singing wall mounted fishes. :)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

World's Greatest Tchotchke

Go ahead, try to top this amazing thrift store find, from the trip I took with Sam to Jacksonville a couple of weeks ago:

If you have a better/stranger tchotchke find, post it in your blog and show it to me! I have more crazy ones up my sleeve if someone does, indeed, top this one...

Here's my helpful little photography assistant, checking things out to make sure the lighting's okay before I take the shot:

This particular picture really cracks me up, because she looks *nothing* like the shaggy beast you see here... I just gave her a haircut! This is the first time I've clipped her myself, and she looks very cute, I think. I'm going to try to learn how to do this better and better every time, because sometimes she comes back from the groomer sort of skittish - I don't know if they handle the pups who come in as gently as I would. I'll post pictures of her new 'do soon!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Lions and Horses Galore...

I'm working in the studio again! That's a big step, considering how stressed out I still am about all of the weirdness going on lately. It's been good for me and definitely a stress reliever, even just working with some old images in a new way. I did burn a new screen yesterday with some brand new images, and I'm really excited about using it...maybe tomorrow?

In other news, I finished up teaching my Summer A drawing class tonight, and tomorrow is the last painting class. It's "Experimental Drawing" and "Experimental Painting," actually, so we're doing a lot of alternative techniques and different ways of looking at things. It's interesting how some students take to it really fast, while others are really resistant to any experimentation. It seems like they're getting a lot of really great work out of the class, though, so that's pretty exciting for me. I still have a couple more class periods of screen printing to go, which is good because that is by far my favorite class to teach.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

You're All Invited...

To my blog pity party!

I have been in hibernation for a little while now, and I wanted to write and say thanks to those of you who have sent encouraging words via email and such. I really, really appreciate your kidnness and support - it's been an extremely rough week for reasons I don't feel like revealing to the world in general... But I know I've emailed some of you to tell you about it, and right now things are a lot better. Sorry to be so extremely vague, but I don't know who is reading this, so I'd rather stay mysterious than specific! I didn't get a chance to email every one of my blog friends with the gory details, but if I left you out, it doesn't mean I didn't want you to know, but I just got sick of telling the same sad story again and again. Thanks for not forgetting about my blog, and I promise you'll see more blog and art making action again in the very near future - it's what helps keep me sane! :)

Thanks for understanding and for sticking by me!