Wednesday, April 30, 2008

As promised, the blue bird.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Big Packages!

I got a late start on things today. Well, I started early enough, and got my grocery shopping done, but by the time I was finished putting said groceries away, my little headache had grown big, and I was not terribly functional for awhile. Luckily, a little lie down and some asprin brought the headache back to tiny after a bit, and I was able to get some things done!

I have half of a little blue bird made. Rather than using my normal bird pattern, I'm adapting the duck pattern. It's looking good. It should be finished tomorrow; I'll share it then.

I also made matzo candy! From this recipe. It is so good I kind of don't want to ever eat anything else again. Which is fortunate, because I bought a five lb. box of matzo crackers at the store today. It is, as one might imagine, a very big box. But it was also very on sale! And was the only size box of matzo they had, owing to matzo generally being on sale right now. And I was tired of being thwarted in my attempts to buy various grocery items, just because the grocery store is not so good at stocking the things I want to buy. Also, secretly, I really like buying really big containers of things. Like the time I bought a can of hominy that was larger than my head. Which I thought I had talked about here, but I can't find it, so maybe I didn't. Anyhow, that can of hominy was very, very big. It was awesome.

Oh! And we are significantly less on fire in my region than we were yesterday, which is a plus, as I don't like being on fire.

Monday, April 28, 2008


He's reasonably identifiable as a duck, right?

And in non-duck news, I am not currently on fire, but the current wildfire in Sierra Madre is close enough that I can see the smoke from my street. Which has me in a constant state of mild panic. Partly for myself, but also for people I know who live vaguely that way, only I'm not sure how far that way. Also for my cat and dog, who's dependence on me is really emphasized by things like this. Plus it's a upper 90s F in April, and our air quality is shit with all the smoke. I don't think I will ever become entirely comfortable living in a region that is so constantly on fire. Anyhow, in summary, fire scary.

Also, the water in my building was turned off for awhile this morning, no warning, no explanation later. This has happened way more frequently here than in any building I've ever lived in, and I can't say I'm happy about it. I'm not sure if it's a management issue, or if there is something wrong with our building. Either way, it wasn't a fun way to start a day this hot. At least it's a pretty great building otherwise.

But hey! Enough bad! Look at the duck! And sorry that this post is even more all over the place than usual. Nature trying to kill us has me stressed.

Friday, April 25, 2008


I did something today that was brave, risky, and possibly foolish. It's also something that, for however small it is, will quite possibly change my life in the most wonderful ways.

Backing up a bit- I've been having interviews to work at a local art supply store. And honestly, if money was tighter, it would be an awesome place to work. They're really nice, and it pays decently for a retail job. And yesterday they called and offered me a job. I gave it a lot of thought, talked it over with Charlie, and today I called and declined the offer.

I realize that turning down a good job in this sort of economy is in many ways a stupid decision. But I also think that for me, it was the best decision to make. I'm finally making headway in my art career. For some people, balancing that with a steady retail job is an ideal situation. But I know myself, and I know that I throw myself so wholeheartedly into whatever work I have, that there wouldn't necessarily be anything left for the art. And that's not okay with me.

I'm not planning to just sit at home and make toys and paintings. I'm also lining up some freelance illustration work, and I'm hoping to start teaching some art and craft classes. The whole idea is to make the work I do that isn't directly creating art be things that feed back into my creativity, things that inspire me instead of drain me. And for me, teaching a few classes does that.

I'm also fully aware that I can only do that because I'm so fortunate as to have a husband who's work pays the bills, and family and friends that would back us up if we hand some catastrophic misstep. More importantly, at least to my current mindset, is that I have a husband and family and friends who are supporting and encouraging me to pursue art. I am so lucky to have them all.

So yeah! I can't say I'm not nervous, but I feel deep in my depths that I've made the right choice. I'm an artist. Full on. It's my job.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Today is the day to decide how brave I am.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The fishboy, he is finished.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Today's work is slow going. It's turning out well, don't get me wrong, but it's a more complicated piece than I've been doing lately, and it's taking time. It'll be worth it though. As I'm getting better at what I'm doing, more and more of the time spent on art becomes worth it. Which I guess makes the time before it worth it too, because otherwise how would I have gotten to the point I am at now?

Anyhow, it's also slow going because I'm tired. For non-serious dog related reasons, I've been awoken way too early the past two days. And last night we were out late (well, late for us on a Sunday, as we've become the stay at home sort of people) at a friend's theatrical showcase. Which was awesome. I'm so proud of our actor friend, he did so well.

Charlie, of course, is even more tired than I am, as he had much the same Sunday as I did, except that he started the day by flying from Melbourne, Australia, back to Los Angeles. And he's at the office now, so he can't take a nap break the way I'm thinking I might.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

This is what I'm working on this afternoon. It's going well, and I have no doubt that this toy will be done by the time I go to bed tonight. And another one will hopefully be started.

This morning was all about errands. First the fabric store for more of the nice felt, and matching thread. Then to the pet supply store, for wet cat food and a 35 pound bag of dry dog food. A quick stop was made to Bed, Bath, and Beyond, because it's in the same parking lot as the pet supply store, I have a gift certificate, and we needed replacement wineglasses for all the ones we've broken. Then the gas station, a stop that made me glad that I walk to most places. And finally, a stop at the supermarket, for bandages (I am clumsy, and we only have the tiny bandages left), and toilet paper, and a little bit of supplementary food.

One of the food items was a rotisserie chicken, which I had part of for lunch. I'm turning a bit more of it into a chicken curry salad sandwich for dinner tonight, and a bit more of it into a chicken and mushroom savory bread pudding for dinner tomorrow. So a good purchase I think. Tasty tasty!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I'm waiting for Charlie to call me from the airport, before he jets off to Australia. I'm surprised how lonely it feels already. Mainly because he wouldn't be home yet anyway on the average weeknight. But also because previous to my move out to California, I had lived alone for years. Yes I had lived close by to my family, but I had an apartment to myself. But right now, tonight, I'm feeling lonely. And it's not really a bad thing, because I'm realizing that I'm lonesome for the lack of Charlie specifically. Which makes me oddly happy.

I have the odd sort of feeling you get when you move into a new place, where it doesn't seem entirely like home. And that too, I think, is the lack of Charlie. Because this apartment has only ever been my apartment with him.

Luckily, he'll be back on Sunday. And in the meantime, art art art!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I'm part way through painting a batch of faces (and one head) and I am flagging. And even when I finish these, I still have six unpainted faces, and one unpainted head to go. I love sculpting the faces, and I love painting, but painting faces is very tedious. That said, it so neat to see the character come out with the painting. I try not to worry about being too tidy with them, as I think it lends the faces personality if they're a little messy. It's also a reaction, I think, against my brief stint making puppets for stop-motion animation. In stop-motion, the heads generally have to be very neat painted. And that's all well and good, and something that I entirely understand from a technical standpoint, but I am at heart a messy and imperfect person, and I want my art to reflect that. Anyhow, it's something I think about every time I paint faces for toys.

It's been a mad house around here, getting back from our trips out of town, only to be thrown right into getting Charlie ready to go to Australia. And at the same time, I'm looking into getting some outside work. It's something I have to admit I have mixed feelings about. It isn't that I'm in any way lazy, it's that I've had some less than stellar work experiences in the past, and I'm a little gun-shy at this point. But I did have an interview today, and I think it went pretty well. I'm not sure if I'll get the job, but I'm no longer feeling so freaked out about going back into doing some customer service if necessary. I need to remind myself that ever job is different, and that this is actually something I'm very good at.

The other part of my resistance to this is that my work in art is finally coming together, and I'm loathe to be away from it. But at the same time, it would take only a little bit of extra money to make our household comfortable, so that wouldn't translate into all that many hours off of the art.

And I'm babbling. It's nice to have this space to work out my feelings in.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Twenty-one new standard sizes faces, one new big face, and two new heads. Not bad for a few hours of work. They're now baking in the oven, and will be painted at some point tomorrow. I'm also going to prep some small canvases tonight, and paint them at the same time as the faces.

All this work is going towards me having a big art week. Charlie is leaving for Australia on business Wednesday night, and won't be back until Sunday. I've got to admit, the idea of being without him, especially so far from my family, is a little daunting. Luckily, I have plenty of art I need to create to fill the time. I got into the Crammed Organism show, so I need to finish the toys for that. And I have at least two commissions to work on (I need to check my master list on that, but that's the amount I can think of right now). Plus I want to be able to update my shop for once. I'm actually hoping to start doing more regular updates, and making more of a business out of it. So barring any unforeseen circumstances, I'll be spending most of my weekend with art. Which is awesome. I figure I can work in the studio most of the day, and move my work to the dining room table in the evening so that I can watch movies while I sew. I'll miss Charlie deeply, especially as we were apart this weekend, and he works ungodly sorts of hours even at the best of times, but at least I'll be busy with something I love.

Speaking of being apart, Florida was worth the trip. I'm twenty times more exhausted than I was when I left, but seeing my family was so nice. I don't get down to my grandparents house nearly as often as I should. And since my parents and my siblings came down from Chicago, I got a chance to see them too, which I'm always happy for. I still miss them every day. Plus there were assorted aunts, uncles, and cousins. Plus swimming and anoles. So a good time.

And Charlie had fun in NYC. His meetings went well, he saw lots of old friends, and ate lots of tasty, tasty food. Plus he saw a bunch of awesome art, and brought me back the catalog from one of the shows.

Now if there can be a weekend coming up in which he is here with me, things will be awesome.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I've been running about wildly all day. To my knitting group, to drop off an job application (although I'm hoping I can teach classes rather work at a store or in an office, since for all that I'm very, very good at customer service and the like, it's also very, very exhausting for me, what with my social issues and all), to the post office, to the vet to drop of the boys for boarding (Charlie, sadly, is not coming with me to visit relatives, but he is going on a business trip to New York). And now that I'm home I've been mainly getting household stuff wrapped up, so that we don't return to a complete disaster. So no real art today, although I did do a little sketch of a knitted toy I'd like to make.

Tomorrow we will get up bright and early to be off to the airport. Although our flights only leave a half hour apart, we're on different airlines, so we won't be able to wait together. Then at the other end, I will meet my family. We will collect our bags, get our rental car, and head off to my grandparents house. Once there, I suspect it will mainly be hanging out, chatting, going on walks, and swimming in the pool. A low key sort of time. I'm very happy about this.

If I get a chance to get on to my grandpa's computer, I'll try to update. If not, I'll report back on Sunday!

Editing to add: I wanted clarify, re: teaching versus customer service, that I've had both jobs before. Teaching doesn't give me the kind of massive anxiety customer service does. It's difficult, and tiring, but I don't stay awake all night panicking about work the next day. Plus I actually enjoy it, and feel like I have skills to share.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The toy from yesterday is finished. It makes me happy. Which is good, because there's a lot wrong in my life and the world right now.

The other thing that's making me happy is that Thursday I fly out to Florida to stay at my grandparents house for a long weekend. My parents and my siblings are flying in to. My aunt and uncle and my two boy cousins are driving in. The other aunt and uncle on that side of the family, along with the two girl cousins, live a few miles from my grandparents. In other words, I'm am getting to see the majority of my family this weekend, and it's awesome.

Monday, April 07, 2008

This is what I've been working on today. It has a little ways to go, but it should be finished by some time tomorrow at the latest.

Really today should have been about making new faces, and doing a small painting I need to get ready for an auction. And these will be the main things I work on tomorrow. It takes a lot of willpower to be self-employed, and some days I do better with that than others. At least I got work done. But it would have been a better day if I had gotten different work done.

That said, what I really wanted to do with my day, in my heart of hearts, was to nuzzle fuzzy kitten tummies and silky puppy ears. Which actually, I may need to take a break soon to do. Because man are those little guys inviting.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

I gave myself a haircut! Charlie helped!

Now we're going to Sears, because I need jeans that don't have holes in inapporpriate areas, and I also may need a jean skirt.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

I gave Charlie a buzz cut this morning. Now I'm seriously considering giving myself one. I like my hair, don't get me wrong, but it's such a hassle. At the length it is, it really needs to be blown dry to look good, and I don't really like doing that. Charlie is encouraging me do cut it, as he thinks I look especially cute with the buzz.

Friday, April 04, 2008

The seamonster I showed in progress before? She is done!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Sewing down individual sequins is time consuming, especially if they are far enough apart that you need to start new knot each time. This is something I had long known intellectually, but it's still a little surprising to me in practice. No matter. I'm having a lot of fun with this one. She's the first in what I hope will be a long series of seamonsters. Or rather, water monsters, because while I see her as a seamonster, I also want to make lakemonsters and rivermonsters and bathtubmonsters.

I learned to swim before I could walk, and I walk early. I feel so at home in the water, and frequently wish that I could conduct more of my daily business from the shower. Hopefully soon I'm going to start swimming regularly. I think it will improve my life greatly.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

After letting it sit for a week (if you were guessing that my knitting group meets on Wednesdays, you would be correct!) I got back to my green sock, and made a little progress. Not a lot. But I've made enough progress that I can tell that my theory that as the ankle started to grow, the foot would start to fit better was correct. Which was a relief, because I didn't want to rip out. And I like my socks to fit a bit tightly, especially handknit socks, so it's all just fine. I'm feeling excited about them again.

The baby shower I went to today was tons of fun, and the food (done potluck style) was wonderful. My spanakopita was enjoyed, and I'm going to be putting together something of a recipe to share, both with the people who attended the shower, and with anyone who reads the blog. Get ready for easy! I would give more of a rundown of the shower itself, but I've had a bit to much caffiene, and I am all jittery and scattered.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Progress on this little seagirl was interrupted early on, when I realized that I needed to make spanakopita for a baby shower I'm going to tomorrow. So I'm not quite where I thought I'd be work-wise at this point in the day. On the other hand, I made extra spanakopita when I was cooking, so I'm ahead on dinner. It evens out.