Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Things that Go Well with Stove-Top Popcorn

Thanks for all of the fantastic movie recommendations, everyone! You came up with a lot of titles that I hadn't heard of, and you also reminded me of a lot of really good movies I need to put on my "rewatch again and again" list... Everyone definitely helped pad my Netflix list, so I've got a lot of good things to watch as I sew and draw - yay!!

So I thought I'd recommend some back to you...

1. Rebecca is one of my very favorite new-to-me movies that I've watched recently. It's based on the Daphne du Maurier novel of the same title (which just happens to be my mom's favorite book... I need to read the novel, too!). It is an Alfred Hitchcock film, and it won the Oscar for Picture of the Year in 1940, and I can definitely see why! It's full of amazing imagery (the fantastical setting, the gorgeous vintage gowns, the moodiness that only Hitchcock can create...) and so many twists and turns, it will make your head spin! What's amazing to me is that so many movies today are really formulaic, but the storyline of Rebecca is truly unique and so original.

2. Happenstance is the cutest movie ever. It stars Audrey Tatou, and it will charm you almost as much as Amelie did! I don't want to give too much away about the plot, so I will just say that the movie's title tells all. It's a film about coincidences and, well, happenstance... (In French with subtitles.)

3. Before Sunrise and Before Sunset are probably my two favorite movies of all time, along with Reality Bites, and I could watch those three movies over and over again every day... And it's not just because Ethan Hawke and I have had a very one-sided romantic relationship since 1994. While Reality Bites is just plain fun, Before Sunrise & Sunset are just plain real - they encapsulate what it's like to be in your twenties (Sunrise) and your thirties (Sunset) perfectly, and they do it with storylines that are compelling and fabulously acted. They both star Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, with 10 or so years in between production, and the second movie continues the story of the lead characters all those years later. Again, I don't want to give away too much, but OMG how I love these movies...

4. Arist biopics. I've been known to have a serious "thing" with artist biopics... So I'm going to list some of my many favorites, and hopefully you'll find one or two you haven't yet seen: In the Realms of the Unreal (Have you seen this?! Do you love it?! It's about outsider artist Henry Darger.), Sylvia, Frida, Basquiat (Four words: David Bowie plays Warhol!!!), I am Trying to Break Your Heart (Wilco), Pollock, the Art:21 Series (new season coming soon on PBS!), and the Art City series (I loved seeing Elizabeth Peyton's studio.).

5. Junebug has meer cats, an outsider artist, beautiful film shots, and an atypical storyline. I love it for all of those reasons. Amy Adams' acting was awesome, too!

6. The Shape of Things is really interesting and unique. I don't want to tell you anything about the plot. Don't even read the box, just rent it and watch. Be sure to watch it with someone, too, since it's an interesting conversation starter. It's also an artsy flick, and because it was adapted from a stage play, the acting and script are both a bit over-the-top, but the plotline is fantastic.

7. Lost in Translation is yet another frequent re-watch for me. I think the gorgeous cinematography and color schemes typical of Sophia Coppola films are what really makes this movie for me, and I always find that watching it calms me down when I need it.

8. High Fidelity is another one I watch when I need a de-stresser. Why is it that watching John Cusack freak out and panic about love and life has a somewhat soothing effect on me? Maybe because his problems aren't mine...?

9. Great Expectaions is a faux artist biopic that stars Mr. Hawke. Two guesses why I like this one?

10. TV on DVD: Freaks and Geeks (created by Judd Apatow and simply the best TV that ever aired, so of course it only lasted one season...a must watch!), Undeclared (also by Apatow Productions), Arrested Development, Felicity, Big Love, Nip/Tuck, South Park, and Gilmore Girls...

That's it for now... I've been covered in silkscreen ink, working really, really hard to make new things for the shop and the holiday season. I can't show you all the new stuff yet, because I'm doing a surprise swap with Ms. Lauren Smash, and I don't want to spoil any of the fun...

Have fun watching new movie goodness!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

How to Make an American Quilt

While digging through some of my old stuff at my parents' house, I found a great box of old quilting fabric that I had collected a long time ago. My parents are in the process of moving, so I'm trying to absorb or throw out a lot of my old things that were still lurking around in their home... This box was one of my greatest finds (along with tons of Lisa Frank stationary and stickers - remember Lisa Frank?!), and what I thought was really funny was that my style hasn't changed much since I was in middle school choosing these fabrics all those years ago. The colors and floral patterns are exactly the types of things I would have chosen on a trip to the fabric store today:

Miss Ruby Roo helped me pull out some old quilt squares I had been handsewing a few years ago from a big bin of half-finished fabric projects back at my place. I decided I wanted to work on making some more squares for a fun quilt for the house that I've been meaning to work on for quite some time. Since designing the quilt is such a slow process (even though I'm going to do some machine sewing on the upcoming squares), I don't plan on being done with this project anytime soon, but every little bit helps... It also helps to put on the movie "How to Make an American Quilt" (one of my favorites) as you stitch. I actually learned how to hand quilt in a college English class! It was called "Writing about Quilts," and our teacher taught us how to stitch, write, and make an online "quilt." It was one of the best college classes I took, and we even got to watch "How to Make an American Quilt" as a class. The guys in the class got into it too, and everyone was so proud to come out of it with a little handstitched quilt. (I took another class from the same cool instructor, "Writing About Fairy Tales and Comic Books," and I loved that one too. We watched "Ever After" and "Unbreakable." I can't believe I got writing credits for such fun classes!) The hand embroidery on the squares below was the toughest part, but it's what I'm most proud of:
Sometimes getting out the camera is just way too exciting, and Roo just can't sit still!
More fabric love:
I also figured out a convenient little way to store and display part of my yarn stash! This clear shoe organizer was $6 at Target, and I love walking past this door in the hallway to see all my luscious Rowan yarns, yum!
Oh, and that's where my screens (purple things on bottom left) live when they are drying.

While I was in the hallway, I decided to snap a few other shots so you can see what else the hallway is hiding...

This is a Derek Buisch painting that I was lucky enough to snag at a silent auction a few years ago:

Here's part of an installation I made for a solo show a few years back:

I just noticed that one is missing at the bottom... That one has always been a little loose due to a weird, thrifted frame.

Time for bed! I have a lot of work I want to get done for the shop in the morning, then I have to teach painting and drawing at night. Hope your week is a good one so far! :)

P.S. Any suggestions on what to add to my Netflix queue? I watch movies and TV on DVD the whole time I'm working on images and sewing, and I'm running low on ideas. I just got done watching just about all of Alfred Hitchcock's movies and Arrested Development on DVD... My two favorite movies are "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset." My taste is all over the place, and I'm up for any suggestions... Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Ruby Roo is Hiding from a Forkfighter . . .

Roo has been in hiding amidst all the piles of clothing and fabric and yarn populating her living space...

The good news is that I haven't been missing from blogland due to poor health anymore (It's getting better, I think!), but I've been so busy working on new, fun things that I haven't had a chance to post until now! I've also been teaching a ton during the weeknights (two beginning silkscreen classes, an advanced silkscreen class, experimental painting, and experimental drawing), so that's been keeping me really busy.

I've been sketching a lot, coming up with new imagery, burning new screens, screen printing at home and at work, painting, sewing, knitting... It's been great, and I feel so much more like myself being this busy and making stuff constantly! The only thing I've been lazy about is posting some of the new stuff I made for my Etsy shop... I always procrastinate about taking pictures and listing the stuff, since the making is so much more fun. I don't enjoy the "businessey" side of things, and Ruby Roo isn't too adept at the computer yet (She's only 1 and a half!), so my little assistant can't help me out with that one just yet.

Here's one new shirt that I did get a chance to post, and it's The Forkfighter, who goes into every battle with his trusty giant fork:

Okay, I'm off to work a little bit more on some sewing stuff, but I'll be back soon with some pictures of more new goodies...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Rainy Day Productivity

It's been raining allllll morning and all day so far, so I have just been stuck in the house working on lots of new prints and things for Etsy! I've already got a bunch of new prints fresh from the printer and ready to put in my shop, as well as some fun new skirts and some shirts for guys to post, and I think I'm going to post one or two every day for the next couple of weeks. Here's some of the newness:

These are digital prints I made from a series of silkscreen monoprints based on a woman's home economics scrapbooks from the 1940's:

Here's a new little silkscreen in the shop... A twin of this print is currently traveling the country on exhibit, and when it's done showing itself off in the U.S., it's going all the way to Denmark!

This is a new purse in the shop that was made with silkscreen and hand painting. That's me in my living room with some gorgeous art in the background made by the following folks: Vinylmonster, Ashley G, Marmeecraft, The Black Apple, Luxedesign, and Lightleaks.

Ooh, and real quick, while Roo is sleeping, here's an embarrassing shot of her that I took outside a few weeks ago:

I was supposed to do a visiting artist lecture this weekend in conjunction with my solo show in Panama City, FL, but it seems like the scheduling is going to be too tight, so I'm going to plan on coming in next semester. I'm really excited but nervous, too, since I've never done the whole visiting artist thing before. I remember I *loved* the visiting artists talks that were given when I was in college, so I hope the kids are able to get some inspiration and ideas from me! At least this will give me more time to plan...

My solo show is called "It's Easy When You're Bright," and I should be getting some of the pieces back in the next few weeks, so maybe one or two will make their way into the shop...

Okay, it's back to work for me...I've got another hour and a half to play before going in to teach silkscreen for five hours straight...