Monthly Archives

February 2014

Four Favorite Books for February

By | Four Favorite Books

Let us all prepare to dab our eyes, blow a kiss, and bid a fond farewell to February 2014 — the fastest little month in the year.

But before we do, let’s pause a moment to enjoy my Four Favorite Books for February. (You thought I was going to forget didn’t you?!)

Be forewarned however, my choice for Fiction comes with a nonspecific Spoiler Alert — i.e. I am going to tell you a little bit about what I DON’T like about this book first.

My choice for February’s Favorite Fiction (triple F, it must be good!) is Bel Canto, a novel by Ann Patchett.

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OK, here’s what I don’t like. I don’t like that the whole time you are reading this lyrically written story and the magically realistic spell is being cast, seducing you into believing with your whole heart that it could happen, and beauty and truth will prevail, your whole heart is actually growing heavier and heavier with the dread that it couldn’t, and they won’t. (Hearts aren’t idiots.)

So what’s the story? In a small country somewhere in South America a lavish birthday party with opera’s most famous soprano as the entertainment is being held for a Japanese business man in the home of the country’s Vice President. As the lights go down after her final aria, all 250 guests are taken hostage by a small band of terrorists. The story is what happens, that you would not predict, and that makes perfect sense….if only.

I loved this book right up to the last chapter. If you are like me, and Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook,

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read this book. You’ll love it. Just DON’T READ THE LAST CHAPTER. There’s no reason to. It’s just a story after all. Let the story live forever ending with the penultimate chapter. You will thank me for that. (And by the way if you haven’t read Farewell to Arms, or Cold Mountain, yet, I’d recommend the same course of action with those books as well.)

For my book of Interior Design I chose PAD, The Guide to Ultra-Living by Matt Maranian. Photographs by Jack Gould, Illustrations by Susan Tudor. Published by Chronicle Books, 2000.

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With sections titled Launch Pad (Introduction), Living Wombs, Sanitary Pads (Bathrooms), Crash Pads (Bedrooms) and Padios this book is a hoot. It actually features photos from the homes of eclectic artists like Jon Bok, and Dan Nadeau who decorates like “a tortured alcoholic homosexual priest with a passion for hunting.”

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The book also has a lot of helpful how-to instructions for the DIY crowd, including my favorite, the GARISH GARNISHES:

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Believe me, after almost finishing Bel Canto, and spending even a short month doing DIY projects, if you’re like me you are going to need your drink to have a garnish which is a meal in itself!

Which actually makes a nice segue to my February Cookbook: The ABC of Canapes from Peter Pauper Press, copyright 1953.

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I am actually getting to be very much like Cher’s character Mrs. Flax in Mermaids who served hors d’oeurves for every meal. Her cookbook was called Fun Finger Foods, but I’d bet it didn’t have the recipe for Idiot’s Delight. Not that I would actually cook Idiot’s Delight — it’s made with Accent, which I think is MSG, which makes my throat itch. That would be silly.

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Still, any cookbook that lets you swap out peanut butter for cheese gets attention at our house.

My final pick for February is the Art book, and my choice is Just Above the Mantelpiece: mass-market masterpieces, by Wayne Hemingway, published by Booth-Clibborn Editions, 2000.

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The author was born in 1961 on the NW coast of England, and raised in his Nan’s “art gallery” filled with mass market masterpieces including windmills, playful gnomes, coiffured poodles, velvet bulls, vintage car ashtrays, as well as the paintings of “unreasonably vibrant-skinned oriental beauties [who] fought for precious wall space with big-eyed animals and even bigger-eyed children.”

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He knows his subject upside and down, and has a true affection for it, as well as the artists who produced the work. It’s actually fascinating to follow the “big-eye” phenomena and to think about its expression now in Japanese anime and the Blythe doll craze, for example.

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Well that was fun! I’m off to have some of Jenny’s Mock Caviar and a cocktail with a Crystal Craze GummiSaver Kabob garnish for dessert. Happy reading!

I live to Tarpe another Diem

By | Ordinary Days, Treefort Tarps

Thanks to my crack team: Mom, Marilyn Frazier, and Barb Bowling, I now have four of my seven tarps taped and ready to be “detailed.”

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In fact I believe all of us could easily win in an alligator wrestling contest after wrangling with these monsters. You haven’t lived until you’ve blown out your quads, strained your back, torn your fingernail, gummed up your best scissors and ground Fusion plastic spray paint into the knees of your jeans.
A little alligator spit sounds delightful after that.

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Once we’ve taped all the fronts to all the backs with the oh so easy to peel double-sticky carpet tape (ha!) my next hurdle is to “detail” the tarps and seal each cut so when they’re out in the elements the wind doesn’t catch them and tear them, and the rain doesn’t drip inside and fill them up like giant water balloons.

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I still have three to tape today and my “crack” team will consist of Me, Myself, and I (who will undoubtedly fill you in on the joys of solo tarp wrangling in a later post). Wish me luck.

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I do have great news — shall we call it the giant carrot keeping me motivated right now? One of these tarps will be the cover art of the March 19th edition of the Weekly — the week of Treefort Music Fest! The tarp itself will be auctioned at their annual charity art auction in November. How cool is that!

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Alright!! I’m stoked! Tarps — I’m comin’ for you…get ready to wrastle!

Second Helpings: Tourist Tapestry Pillows

By | Second Helpings

I think of these “Tourist Travesties”…er, “Tapestries” as being the equivalent of paintings on black velvet for your floor. Not that anybody actually ever uses them as rugs. Come to think of it, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen them truly “used” at all. At least not the kinds that depict scenes of nature or far off exotic places.

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When I was in college I had several mini “oriental rugs” in my dorm room, and I did use those on my floor. I wish I could find some of them now, they would make great pillows.

Anyway, what makes these “tapestries” Second Helpings is that I cut them into sections and paint and sequin designs onto those sections, and then turn them into pillows. Uno, dos, tres chic!

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This is a set of four I made from a lovely sky, mountain, forest and water vista. Mother Nature would be so proud.

I first painted (using acrylic paint mixed with textile medium so the paint would remain flexible and not crack), and then sequined, the symbols for Earth:

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Air:

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Water:

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and Yin/Yang, which represents the whole catastrophe:

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I have also made a set from a technicolor Indian tapestry including a Taj Mahal-esque edifice and a peacock:

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You can get quite a few pillows out of one “tapestry.” I buy inserts at a fabric store like JoAnn’s and personally prefer square, but you can buy your inserts first and tailor your tapestry’s image to fit your sensibility.

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Now that I know what to do with these “Tourist Tapestries” do you think I can find even one with dogs playing poker? Or a sword wielding bullfighter? Or swooning Mayan virgin?

I know, the hunt is half the fun, but if you’ve got ’em and don’t want ’em, now you know who does!

Tarpe Diem

By | Ordinary Days, Treefort Tarps

At least I warned you my blog presence would be spotty, and now I’ve got pictures to prove I’m really not just sitting around watching Netflix and eating bon bons — though I’ve had my fair share of that as well. (If I don’t give myself little treats now and then I pitch fits and stomp out of the room and quit, so it’s just easier to let me watch Netflix and have a bon bon.)

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I have been working on my public art project for Treefort, which as you know is going to be giant tarps cut out to look like papel picado. Only I can only find the tarps in blue, brown, white and silver so I have had to paint 10 of them to get some fun colors.

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It took 17 cans of Fusion (for plastic) spray paint in red, pink, yellow, purple, and orange to paint 10 tarps with Mike’s able assistance. My hand could barely grip my toothbrush this morning. (This could be a problem considering the number of bon bons I earned with that little paint job!)

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Luckily we had a relatively warm sunny day and the tarps dried spread out on the lawn. They are now stacked in the loft in the garage awaiting the next steps.

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I have 8 million, OK, 8 rolls of carpet tape to adhere the cut tops to the painted bottoms, and my crack team of assistants is lined up to help.

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Honestly I wish I had a videographer to chronicle the process ahead and set the whole catastrophe to music. The plan is to take the tops which I have already cut out and ever so deftly adhere them to the colorful bottoms.

Here are the tarps I’ve already cut out, stacked in my sewing studio:

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I’ll let your imagination run with that plan I just mentioned for a moment.

There is hope, however. The cut out parts look really cool, and IF we can actually get them to become one with the other colorful tarps then I think this will end up being one of my favorite projects ever.

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I’ll keep you posted, and until then…I think I just heard a bon bon calling!

Go to Your Studio and Make Stuff

By | Everything Else, Inspired By

I’m sure you’re familiar with this sentiment, and maybe even with this poster by Fred Babb…

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which pretty much sums up the time that I have spent NOT working on this blog in the past few days, as well my excuse for what will probably amount to very spotty blog posting in the next couple of weeks.

I have a crapton of work to do for my public art piece for Treefort which needs to be done by the first week in March and I am simultaneously selecting, arranging, and hanging the TVAA exhibition “Metamorphosis” opening at the offices of Boise State Public Radio on March 7th. Plus I have a little project called “See Spot Walk” which needs my attention. Just sayin’.

So to inspire you to go to YOUR studio and make stuff in the hope that time will fly by for all of us, here are some photos from the studio of Marilyn Frazier.

We had Art Friday at her home last week and Marilyn let me take some pictures to share with you…

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These are some papers which have been painted and stenciled and which will be used as book covers or on boxes.

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You can always find a sharpened pencil in Marilyn’s studio!

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Each of these books is handmade by Marilyn. She paints the papers, and sews the bindings choosing the beads the way you would decide which necklace best complimented your dress.

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Lots of little boxes, some covered with painted papers.

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Work in progress.

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The view from Marilyn’s studio out to her garden and the chicken and duck run. The very happy chickens’ and ducks’ run. Marilyn is a vegetarian.

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More beautiful books completely handmade by Marilyn.

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Just in case you were wondering what you should make once you get to your studio.

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My plan is to continue dervishing (I just decided to make that the adjective, whirling is so tired) away in MY studio and I will blog visual updates as I’m able.

Meanwhile I’m trying to convince Lula to take over the blog for me — just until I can get through the next few weeks.

Does she look convinced?

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Well, we’ll see you when we see you!