Monthly Archives

January 2014

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

By | Holidaze

Gung Hay Fat Choy! That means “Congratulations on your prosperity!”

May it be so for you and yours all year long in more ways than simply financial — though more pennies in the piggy are always welcome too!

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This morning I thought I might get clever with all the wonderful joss papers I’ve collected up in my studio.

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I didn’t know quite what I’d do. Maybe make a door wreath, or fancy-dancey mobile or string up a colorful banner. Something.

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Today was Friday though, which meant Art Friday, which meant Lula and I headed over to mom’s….where we didn’t get to watch a lovely Chinese artist cut a horse out of red paper.

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But we did get to have a lovely lunch with a horse centerpiece and many round foods, which are supposed to be lucky.

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And for dessert there was lucky money — chocolate coins– with hearts on them!

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I guess it goes without saying we had Chinese takeout for dinner:

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I’m afraid my fortune wasn’t as helpful as I might have hoped…

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Nevertheless I’d say this was a pretty sanguine beginning to the New Year. I’m feeling lucky already.

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Hey the Sun Came Out!

By | Ordinary Days, Treefort Tarps

Hey the Sun came out! But I’m still fighting my way out of the inversion — at least the one going on inside my brain.

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I’ve been working on the See Spot Walk design for IHS and I’m going through the second stage of the three stages of a big important project — you remember, the IMPOSTER stage. Only this time, I really AM an imposter.

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I hate to tell you, but I can’t paint. I’m not actually an artist. I just pretend to be one for the sake of this blog.

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So for the past few days I’ve been f-ing around and f-ing around and going home crying (not really, that’s just the punchline to a much longer story) and all I have to show for it is this impasto.

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Luckily there’s Instagram. This almost looks like I meant to do that.

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But things may actually be turning around this afternoon because suddenly here comes the SUNSHINE after what feels like an impossibly long inversion. And I got a really great haircut — thank you Ingrid at Arroyo Salon in Boise. And tomorrow is the Lunar New Year — let’s hear it for MOONSHINE too! You know what I mean.

And there’s always Lula to remind me that it doesn’t matter how silly you look while you do it, just put one foot in front of the other and keep walking…. You’ll get there!

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HeARTy 102nd Jackson Pollock!

By | HeARTy Birthday!

If Jackson Pollock was still — and still is a state Jackson Pollock was rarely in — dancing with a loaded brush around a canvas today, it would be to the tune of “Happy Birthday!”

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He would be one hundred and two. That’s like a gazillion and two in paint spatter!

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I don’t like to let these occasions pass without acknowledgment so I’d have Jackson over.

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Of course he would bring his talented wife Lee Krasner
too.

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And we’d talk art critics, because all joking aside, I always wonder what the artist is thinking when you have one critic like Clement Greenberg who says “I knew Jackson was the greatest painter this country had produced.”

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While at the same time you have Robert Coates calling Pollock’s work “mere unorganized explosions of random energy, and therefore meaningless.”

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Shoot. I’d throw more than paint at that!

Then we’d have a couple of shots of whiskey and a couple of pieces of this wonder bar:

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And then I’d probably suggest a nap because by the time you’re 102 you’ve earned one.

HeARTy Birthday Jackson Pollock!

Four Favorite Books for January ’14

By | Four Favorite Books

This wasn’t exactly one of those months when I could just sit around enjoying my stacks of books and pots of tea, though I did manage to sneak in a couple of cosy moments thanks to Action Girl having a very strong streak of self-indulgent preservation.

When I did find time to read I found myself turning to, or maybe returning to would be more accurate, ladies who have withstood the test of time and are being rediscovered and appreciated all over again — perhaps more now than they were before.

I usually choose one work of fiction for my monthly favorite, and this book is actually described, by its author, as “Faction” so though it is truth, embroidered, I am going with it instead of a novel…

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DV. by Diana Vreeland, edited by George Plimpton and Christopher Hemphill, published by Da Capo Press in 1997.

Just read it. I have been sitting here with my fingers hovering over my keyboard…and… I. need. 1000. words. But I’ll try.

Diana Vreeland not only managed to be present at the heart of what made each decade from the 20’s through the 80’s special, but she managed to capture their essences and then visually transcribe those essences for the edification of the generations in the forms of Vogue and Harpers Bazaar — like Illuminated Manuscripts. And the way she understood color…. “Donkey!” Just read it.

For my Cookbook selection I chose Frida’s Fiesta’s — Recipes and Reminiscences of Life with Frida Kahlo, published by Clarkson Potter, 1994.

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The book is written by Guadalupe Rivera, Diego Rivera’s daughter with Marie-Pierre Colle, and is divided into 12 fiestas which were special to Frida and Diego.

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There are gorgeous photos of their home in Coyoacan, as well as of the prepared recipes which are all autentico, delicioso and made with ingredients you can find at your local grocery store — and if not there, then at the Mexican mercado next door. At least that’s what las chingonas tell me.

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My selection for Interior Design is really more of an Exterior Design book, though some interiors are featured, and the “lady” is in fact many “ladies”… America’s Painted Ladies, The Ultimate Celebration of Our Victorian’s. It’s written by Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen and published by Penguin Books, 1992. There are examples of spectacular Painted Ladies from all over the country and lots of inspiration if you find yourself with the opportunity to choose more than 2 colors for an exterior paint job.

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While in Woodstock, IL we lived in a Victorian and I had the great pleasure of selecting 5 colors with which to dress her up for the first time in her 100 year long life. I scandalized the neighborhood. People actually yelled things at me and my painters, Juan and Adrian (who had flown North for the winter from Puebla), as they covered her boring white and pale yellow with navy blue, cappuccino, persimmon, apple red, and gold.

When we were getting ready to move back to Boise I had a yard sale, and EVERY neighbor who dropped by told me how much they loved that we had brought out the true spirit of our house and our neighborhood with the new paint!

Finally, my Art book selection for January is Vera, The Art and Life of an Icon, by Susan Seid, published by Abrams in 2010.

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I’ve been kicking myself because I had a Vera linen dishtowel with beautiful red tomatoes on a deep orange background which belonged to my Gramma Dottie, who kept it in perfect condition. I inherited it, and beat the crap out of it drying dishes, and now I don’t have it any more. What would Vera say?

Actually, I think Vera would have been delighted because her whole intent was to bring color and art and a little bit of sunshine and playfulness into the mundane and often drab lives of the “ordinary housewife.” Why shouldn’t your dishtowel make you smile while you dry the bazillionth dish? Of course, as this book so beautifully shows you, Vera’s vision, and her business model, went miles beyond dishtowels!

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So those are my favorites for this month — mostly pictures, and just before the month runs out, but all worth a look, or a second look. Some things just get better with time.

Second Helpings: Wooden Animal Puzzle

By | Second Helpings

The first stop I make at my favorite secondhand store is the aisle with all the wooden objects. I’m usually hunting with a list in hand, which is never a good idea.

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(Never shop secondhand with a list. Always buy BEFORE you need it. That way you have it when you do need it, and like me, you can create your own monument to materialism.)

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I found this wooden animal puzzle when I was looking for something else — which I may, or may not, have found on some later day with a completely different, equally unrequited wish-list in hand. Such is secondhand serendipity.

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Like the crocheted blankets I collect and pom pow, wooden hobby-kit orphans are a dime a dozen at these stores. They are all made by a kindly grandpa caught in a 1968 workshop time-warp endlessly carving small pieces of wood into shapes which are vaguely reminiscent of animals or furniture or farming implements and which fit together in cunning jigsaw arrangements. Get jiggy with grandpa!

Too far?

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This puzzle is wood. Pine I believe. I paint right on the wood with the acrylic paint because the acrylic paint serves as its own primer. Some colors are absorbed more by the wood than others. Pure hues without the addition of white tend to be more translucent and require more coats. So red might take 3 or 4 coats, but pink only 1.

Once I’m happy with the surface pattern and the paint is dry then I seal it with the Minwax Polycrylic Sealer.

And…Bric-a-brac-er fire cracker sis Boom bah! There’s another Second Helpings for you…Rah Rah Rah!!

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