Monday, March 31, 2008

Yellow Bird

I just finished making this little guy. He's for an auction to benefit the nursery school my mother teaches at, the same school that I went to when I was the age her students are now. She was a teacher there when I was a student (she's been teaching there a long time). Pilgrim is a great school. I'd send my future kids there if I still lived in the area.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Did anyone else do Earth Hour? We did, and it was really fun. I think we may need to have dark evenings more often. Reading and chatting by candlelight, playing with the cat and the dog, having a beer. It was all very relaxing. A good reminder of how little it takes in life to have a good time.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Today we went to the Huntington with Brianna. Which was fun, but also really, really exhausting. It feels like it shouldn't be, but it is. It was also super, super crowded today. I don't know what was going on, but there must have been some event.

Friday, March 28, 2008

First of all, I want to point out that Jezebel/Fine Lines is talking about The Westing Game. As soon as I saw that, I had to run to the other room to find my copy, and I suspect I'll be re-reading it this weekend. Not only is The Westing Game one of my favorite childhood books, it's one of my favorite books period. And Ellen Raskin wrote a bunch of other good books too, although I think my copies of the other ones are still in Chicago. I'll have to remember to pick them up in June.

In other news, I have been carving more stamps.

I've thought up some ideas to use them, which I'll share once I try them out. But I really like them. They make me smile.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Not Dead!

This has been absolutely fascinating to me lately:

The Wikipedia list of premature obituaries.

I feel sort of ghoulish getting so much pleasure about it, although I suppose the fact that the people weren't actually dead (hence premature obituaries) lessens that. It's just so interesting. Plus, I like knowing things. Especially things that are, for all purposes in my life, rather trivial. Trivial Pursuit is one of my favorite board games, because I'm either winning or learning something. My brain is really, really suited to holding on the most useless crap possible.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Last night we were watching a movie (This Film Is Not Yet Rated, which is an excellent documentary that anyone with an interest in film, censorship, or conspiracies should see), and while we watched I was knitting. I got to the spot on the green sock where the heel should start. And I thought, well this is great, I'll knit this heel up real quick and I can be at an easier part for my knitting group tomorrow. This was stupid. Starting to knit a stretch that's hard to stop in the middle of is not something one should do when bedtime approaches. Also, at least for me, short rows aren't the best idea when I'm tired. That said, for awhile, it was going well. I was more than half way done. And I was rushing, because I wanted to go to bed at a reasonable hour. You see where this is going, don't you. Picking up a tight wrap, a stitch drop. Or something. Honestly, I'm not sure what went wrong. It seemed to be messed up in a way that defied both physics and all sorts of logic. And since I couldn't figure out what I did wrong, I couldn't fix it. So I had to rip out the entire almost finished heel. There was a lot of swearing. Then the stitches I had ripped back wouldn't go back on the needles easily. There was then more swearing, and also crying. Then some stomping around the house, and some throwing the sock down on my work table and slamming the office door. I left it until morning.

This morning, after getting at least a little sleep, I picked up the stitches again. And tonight after dinner, I knit the heel again. This time it worked. I took my time, and it worked. Of course, I'm not entirely sure the foot was long enough after all, but that's an issue I can figure out tomorrow.

I also did some more stamp carving this afternoon. I really like this one. It's the stamp version of the felt and polymer birds I've been making.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Upon reading this entry on iHanna's blog, I realized that it had been a long time since I had carved any stamps. Too long, really. So this afternoon I took a break from my sewing and did some carving. This is one of the stamps I carved.

I can definitely tell I haven't played with the carving tools in awhile, and it's a lot cutesier than I usually work, but I like it. And I like carving again. I need to do this more often.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Yesterday was a lot busier than I expected, but definitely fun. I'm still exhausted from it. Worth it, but still exhausted.

The day started off with dim sum at Empress Pavilion. Even though we had been to Dumpling Master for dinner on Friday night, I was still super excited and happy to start my Sunday with dumplings. Honestly, I could probably eat dumplings pretty much every day. I love them deeply.

The middle of the day was spent introducing a friend to the kitten, and then taking a stroll around Pasadena. Phone calls were made, plans began to materialize, and I was to make dinner for six.
I actually went with the exact same menu I had planned when I thought it was just going to be Charlie and me. The only difference is that I have fewer leftovers.

The menu-
Leg of lamb, marinated in garlic, rosemary, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Roasted in the oven, because we haven't gotten a grill yet.

Potatoes, roasted with the lamb, and then fried up on the stove because they hadn't cooked enough in the roasting pan.

A nice pan sauce from the lamb drippings, drizzled over the lamb and the potatoes.

Eggplant sauteed into something of a stew with onions, garlic, cherry tomatoes, and balsamic.


Homemade frozen yogurt.

Bread and apple pudding, flavored with vanilla bean and amaretto.

I think it all went pretty well. I certainly had fun.

Today I've been using the lamb left on the bone, and a bunch of other leftovers from the weekend to make a huge pot of chili. That's the big red pot in the picture. It's becoming something of a tradition in our household that after a big dinner party or holiday meal, I turn the leftover meat into chili. It isn't as fancy as the meals the meat is left from, but I think I look forward to it even more. Partly because I'm a big fan of chili, and love playing around with making different kinds, but also because when you make this big of a pot of anything, you can freeze it and eat for quite awhile.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Hey! Happy Easter!

I just through an impromptu dinner party for six. It was awesome, and I believe fun was had by all. Also lamb. Lamb was had by all.

Before that was a Easter dim sum brunch, which was so awesome it may need to be a new tradition.

All in all, it was a great day, both for food and in general. More details tomorrow, when I am not so tired.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

For my mom, who wanted a picture showing how big the cat is.

Friday, March 21, 2008

We've been having a truly lovely day here. Charlie had today off of work, so we were able to spend the morning in our pajamas, reading and playing video games. The afternoon was spent thrifting and book shopping. I believe tonight we are going out for dinner. There's been a lot of playing with the cat and the dog. It's my favorite sort of day.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I'm not always crazy about living in Southern California. Really, if there was more film for Charlie to work in in Chicago I'd want to be back there in a heartbeat. But there are certainly perks of living here.

For instance- today is the first day of spring, and it actually feels like spring. There are little pink flowers starting to bloom on the bush outside my office window. And while I spent $54 filling my car with gas today, at least it was not covered in a thick layer of ice.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Headache. Bad headache, behind my right eye. Not feeling super functional.

On the other hand, sock progress! Yay! This isn't my first time making socks, but these are my first toe-up pair, my first self striping sock yarn, and my first knee socks. It's going quite well on all fronts so far. I adore, ADORE, the colors.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My yarn arrived!

Guess who is making herself some knee socks?!?!?!?
(The color is even better in person- a good deal warmer and grassier, more vivid and alive.)

Monday, March 17, 2008

I am entirely too enamored of the new cat (and our dog, who continues to be fabulous) to get as much work done as I should. But I'm still poking away at things, getting things ready to go. These (very) rough sketches are for sea-monster toys. I'm not sure whether I want to use them for a specific show or auction, or it I just want to make them and put them up in the shop. Probably both, provided they turn out well, as I rather like the idea of sea-monsters.

On an unrelated note, Charlie and I were dining at home with a friend last night, when Charlie glanced out the window and saw a peacock on top of the building across the street. The friend and I didn't turn fast enough to see it, but when we went out on the the patio to look, we saw four peacocks near the top of the tall tree next to the building. I would have taken pictures, but it was too dark out when it happened to get a good shot. At any rate, it was very cool, and extremely bizarre. I had never thought of peacocks going that high up, although when I told my mom about it she said that friends of hers with peacocks will sometimes find them on the roof of the barn. I suspect my peacocks are from the L.A. Arboretum, which isn't far from us, and has peacocks (which roam the grounds there) escape from time to time.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


We got a new cat!
Meet Bertram, named for Bertie Wooster of Wodehouse fame. He's a year and half old (or so the shelter estimated) and was found as a stray in Glendale. He's outgoing and affectionate, and we already love him to bits.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


It occurred to me just now that I never showed this little fellow on the blog. He was made for some lovely people in Pennsylvania who have real live peacocks. I'm particularly proud of the tail. It may not be clear from the picture, but it's a crocheted doily with buttons sewn in as the eyes. I couldn't find a pattern that was quite what I had in mind, so I freehanded it and I think it came out quite well.

Friday, March 14, 2008

I'm not doing all that well today. Nothing seriously wrong, I'm just achey, and mysteriously, but none the less massively, sleepy. I'm also grumpy, sullen, and just generally out of sorts.

It's a pity, really, as everything is in fact rather nice around here, and I know I'm being ridiculous. It's gorgeous outside right now, not too warm and not too cold, with sunny skies and gentle breeze. My work is going well. I have a loving family. In particular I have a lovely husband who will be around all weekend for me to have fun with. I have the most awesome dog on earth.

So clearly it should be easy to shake me out of my bad mood, a bad mood I'm in for no good reason. But I can't. I'm just grumpy right now. So I'm going to have a cup of tea, and I'm going to draw lazy pictures in my sketchbook, and I'm going to be nice to myself. And I bet tomorrow I will be feeling awesome again.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


This is the show that I'm in, the one I was making the birds for. It's at Hello My Name Is Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut. I'm super excited about the show, and sad that I won't be able to make it there in person. I actually tried to swing it, but holy crap are plane tickets expensive these days.

Anyhow, check out the show page. There are links to the pages of a lot of the artists. Looking at said pages is in fact what I am off to do right now!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


And the birds for the show, they are done. No documentation on this guy being made, mainly because I didn't think of it earlier in the process, but also by the time I did think of it I just want to finish and didn't feel like messing around with the camera. Also the light was not so great.

The light was great today, not that you can tell from that shot. My camera and it's ways are mysterious to me, but the end result is that I'm going to have to play with this in Photoshop a bit to get it to look right. Which I probably should have done before posting it, but I wanted to get it up there now.

Anyhow, it's nice to be done with that, other than sending off some info to the gallery, and than mailing them there. I've been mainly taking today to lollygag a bit, going to knitting and then poking at the internet. It's good that today is my lazy day, as I'm feeling a bit off, not physically, but somewhere in my brain. Not sad either, just needing a bit of a break. Which I'm having. Tomorrow though, it will be back to work. I have all manner of sea monsters and cats and more birds and who knows what else to make.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I fixed him! And I actually think he looks cuter like this than he would have if the legs had worked the way I was hoping the first time. Anyhow, I made a whole flickr set documenting the process of fixing him, so check it out. Marvel at how in a few shots, you can kind of see my bra through my shirt. And for "kind of" read "entirely". It wasn't my intention, and I can assure you it is in no way scandalous or sexy. But I left it in to preserve the veritas of the situation. Or because I'm lazy and don't want to Photoshop it out.

At any rate, give it a look. I'm going to poke at the internet for a few more minutes, and then it's back to work. The little bird's legs won't make themselves.

Monday, March 10, 2008


This is what I was doing today. And it really turned out wonderfully, except for one thing. The legs don't support the body. They go all wobbly sideways and the whole thing capsizes. I'm incredibly disheartened. For some reason, I assumed that since the same sort of legs support the little birds, that this style resized to fit the larger bird would support it. Obviously I was wrong. I'm thinking I'll be taking the legs off, repositioning them towards the front, and replacing some of the stuffing in the bottom of the body with weighted doll filler beads. Than it will probably be able to sit nicely enough. It's just very frustrating. Accordingly, I think I'm taking a break for at least a few hours. I'll make dinner and what not, and come back to it with fresh eyes.

On the plus side, look how awesome my patio furniture is. And this photo doesn't even fully convey it's awesomeness. I'm looking forward to later in the week, when I will hopefully have time to spend a few early afternoon hours doodling in that very spot.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


Okay, so I meant to take pictures of our new patio furniture, because I am deeply in love with it and want to share it with the world. Sadly, I did not remember to take said pictures, and now it is dark. So for tonight, I was going give you instead a self-portrait and a picture of my dog, both done in Photoshop while waited for Charlie to get home from work on Friday. And they were pretty cool. But Blogger doesn't seem to want to let me post them right now. So I have nothing for you. Nothing. Although I suspect I wouldn't have been able to put up the patio furniture photos either. If they existed. Which they don't.

Come back tomorrow. I'll have some nice art for you.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

We finally, finally have patio furniture! We got a nice wooden folding table, and two chairs, with an Ikea gift card. In a few weeks, we're hoping to go back and get at least two more chairs. And in the mean time, we can bring chairs out from the dining room for dinner parties on the patio. I'm super excited. I've been daydreaming about dinners, especially dinner parties, on the patio since before we had one. Tonight it will just be the two of us out there, and perhaps Smee running in and out. But I'm positive our cheeseburgers will taste that much better out in the breeze.

Friday, March 07, 2008

I started flossing today, after a prolonged but unintended hiatus (I, um, forgot). Wow does my mouth hurt. I mean, I'm going to keep it up, because it's health and because long term I like how it feels, and because I know if I keep it up it won't hurt anymore. But short term? Ow. It isn't even so much that it hurts, as that it is sensitive. I am so aware of the teeth and gums right now it's a bit distracting.

Also, I would like to point out that the downside of the pleasant Southern California climate is that it is always construction season. Always. Especially in my neighborhood. It is very loud, and like my mouth pain, rather distracting.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

I am currently mulling some wing choices for the current bird in progress. Big wings? Teeny-tiny wings? Standard close to the body wings? Sticking out flappy wings? I'm leaning towards teeny-tiny sticking out flappy wings, but I'm giving myself just a little longer to mull things over.

I'm feeling a little down today, and a lot lonely, but I think that will improve soon. For one thing, I think I will get to have Charlie pretty much all weekend, which will be nicer than last weekend, when he worked both days. I've been craving family time, and it hasn't been in lush supply lately. But I think we're making pretty good use of what time we do have, and I guess that what counts. I'll still be glad, though, to take that Charlie and go hiking Saturday.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

It's slow, but it's progress.

I'd probably be further along, but I woke up in the middle of the night last night and couldn't get back to sleep for about two hours. It really isn't that much missed sleep for just one night, but for whatever reason it completely knocked me sideways. I've been so slow all day, and my head has been killing me. Hopefully tonight I'll sleep soundly, and by this time tomorrow I'll be much further along.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Today has been a face making day. Sculpting the faces may be my favorite part of the work I'm doing. No matter what sort of body the face ends up in, the face is the part of the toy that really defines the character to me. Also, I feel calm and confident doing this part more than any other.

Oddly, as much as I love painting, I do not love painting the faces. It's fiddly and a little slow, and I always seem to be getting paint in the wrong places and having to go back and fix it.

In other news, check out the banner I made for the page. Pretty snazzy, huh? Not too shabby!

Monday, March 03, 2008

in progress


Not the blog (although I am working on some banners and what not to make it look a little more spiffy and a little less generic) but my printer. Which has been miss behaving on and off for awhile now, and of late refuses to actually print anything on the paper that it slowly and laboriously pulls through. While I'm not giving up on fixing it quite yet, I am starting to look at new ones. And if I have to get a new one, I"m looking into getting one with a scan/copy function too. It would be a useful thing to have around the home office. Also, it would be an awesome fun toy.

Sadly, I do not have one of these fun toys here today, so I'm going to have to go over to the library and use their copier, as I want to enlarge the patterns for my toys. And possibly reduce them too. I want a variety of sizes in my arsenal, and I want modern science to do the work for me.

Such that the photo-copier counts as modern science. Although I think it does, in the scheme of things.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

My work area has become a bit of a mess. But hey! I'm getting work done. Paid work. And isn't my newly acquired pile of wool and wool blend felt lovely?

Saturday, March 01, 2008

I'm back. And I'm planning to post every day in March. I found that I did really well with the every day structure in November, and without it I tend to keep putting posting off until it doesn't end up happening. So I'll be here all of March. And really, if it goes well I think I'll try to put up a little something everyday after that, although if I'm not able to get to a computer it isn't something I'm going to stress about.

And there's a lot to celebrate right now. After a very hard week when we lost Rusty, this week actually went quite well. I sold a piece, got into a show, and got inspired for a lot of new directions. It's not the everything is perfect now, but I feel like it's starting to move in the right direction.

I'll share more details on the show (that being the big excitement) soon, but for today it is gray and a little lonely, and I am completely wiped out, so I'm going to go curl up with my dog.