handmade presents

for the past few christmas' i've been making gifts for close family instead of the conventional buying of gifts. i don't know, it makes it feel more like giving; taking the time to think of what each person would be charmed by, then spending time in the creation.

plus there's the added benefit of not worrying about returns, "i already have that", or spending lots of $. i know, completely selfish on my part, but giving gifts is not about me buying you something you want just because it's what this holiday has turned into. it's about giving you something from my heart as a way of saying "i care about you and am glad you're a part of my life and i'm choosing to show you this in a material way".

so, this year i needle felted a bird ornament for my mother; she collects them and it makes her happy as this is her favorite time of year.

for my brother i'm giving him a fiber wall piece that i had made earlier in the year when inspiration struck. it has a gold embroidered skeleton on it; charming, i know.

i painted a field of mushrooms with a sky blue cloudscape on brown paper framed in an antique glass frame for my sister. for her two children i crafted a 2-d spongebob out of paper for my nephew (who has an overwhelming obsession with all things spongebob), knitted a blanket and sewed three decorative pillows for my nieces' dollhouse, thankfully they're only 4 and five years of age.

the only member of my family that i break the handmade code for is my father. he received a 12 pack of beer. he's really bad about getting gifts, something along the line of "what do i need that for?" and "if i need something i'll go out and buy it for myself". ah, the joys of family.


feeling the twinge of regret

i've never really regretted getting the tattoo i have, until i stumbled upon the work of amanda wachob. her work is beyond anything i ever thought anyone could do; if i had even a glimpse of the possibilities or known anyone was even experimenting with a new way to do an old artform i would have waited.

i'm one of those weird people who like single things; one piercing, one tattoo, toes or hands painted but not both. i don't know, it's kind of like a balance thing; more than one and i feel unstable. weird, but there you have it.

i like tattoos, i think it's really enchanting how you can paint the body and it becomes part of you forever. it's like spice; okay without, but with, wow talk about fireworks!

a couple of years ago i got a tattoo of a dumpling-like kingyo. i really didn't want any black in it at all, but the tattoo artist wouldn't change their mind and so the black ink went in. eeh, too late now. but it kind of stings to see what could have been.

holiday entertainment

something i always like doing when i find myself with free time on the holidays is to watch movies; actually, it doesn't even have to be a holiday. my favorites for this particular holiday, christmas, are usually comedic, romantic, and/or classic. without further ado here's the list:

so what christmas movies are your favorites?


you'll never guess...

i finally saved enough and was able to order my very first computer; a laptop, and not just any laptop but a pretty white one with an apple on the front. i'm beyond excited! i've been playing around with it all day and it's definitely different from what i'm used to (a pc). i can hardly believe it's all mine, mine i say! no more sharing with at least two other people, no longer shall the desktop background be a photo of something we can all agree on, no more disorganized chaos in digital form, no more giant dark and brooding desktop. hip hip hooray!

the only thing between me and utter happiness is that i don't have photoshop for mac, so i just have to keep using the family pc to edit images as i save up for adobe photoshop cs4 (which probably cost as much as the computer). what a lovely new year's resolution! i resolve to always ask myself which is more important; getting photoshop or eating out, that new shirt, those yummy looking baking thingies, that too cute pen, etc., etc., etc.? and if i'm really good at this self delusion thing i'll loose some weight as the food and gas budget get smaller.

i wish you all have a merry, zany, and not too awkward holiday!


light as air

feathers are fascinating; the incredible things they can do by providing flight, maintaining warmth, making a mating ritual extravagant. upon closer inspection they are equally glorious, the color only seen at a distance is broken up into an array of multiple hues, with mica like shimmer.

feathers have been something i need to pick up when found on the ground; always searching for that one spectacular specimen. when i was younger and vacationing in the bahamas we went to a preserve where these lovely peacocks lived. there were so many blue feathers on the ground; tiny ones from the head and bigger downy grey ones with iridescent blue tips. i only wished that i was able to gather more.

not so long ago one of the feral cats in the neighborhood brought down a female cardinal and left bits of her plumage on our porch; it was sad, but an example of the hierarchy found in the natural world. i saved one of her brown red feathers.

when viewing historical garb and movies of glamorous eras i'm always drawn to the fantastic headgear comprised of luxurious feathers; ostrich, pheasant, peacock, exotic birds from the tropics and the rainforests. watching documentaries on the television about birds and wild things from our beautiful planet, at the ways they've suffered by our hands because of the finery they are made of, creates within me guilt over this feather fascination. should i continue to use them in my work, even if they are found objects and not bought? what message does it send? i guess these questions could be asked of any animal derived material, be it fur, leather, pigment, scale or feather.


being elsewhere

this last week i was visiting my great aunt, who is 98. she resides in las vegas in an apartment with views of the mountains and of a school. several of the days gave you a glimpse of snow covered peaks, and chilly fingers upon leaving the warmth of indoors.

when my great aunt was younger she traveled quite a bit. in the early 1940's on one excursion across the country she was taken to see the boulder dam. and for whatever reason hadn't seen it since; even with moving to las vegas six years ago. the weather was quite nice, i had a rental car, and we were feeling adventurous, so she and i went to see it as it's known now by the name hoover dam.

needless to say it's quite different from her first visit; no longer can you park right along it and get out to take photos, nor are people dressed up in their best for the occasion, you can't walk out onto the small promontories either. but a lot of things are the same; the beautiful mosaics covering the floors, the soaring statues and art deco architectural details, and the expansive view of water that should be let free to carve out stone, give life to fish and animals, clean the byways of canyons, and flow unheeded to mexico.


i survived the storm

and lived to create another day! i finished up my ode to inspiration cushion. it's very delightful, with the bright blues and cheery oranges. every time i work with natural linen i am amazed at the variety in hue that is available; from lightest tans to deep wheaten browns. the tiny bit of firmness linen gives to the shape of the cushions is very nice, not too stiff and not too slouchy.


where does inspiration come from?

sometimes just when you're leaving a room and something catches your eye; either a pattern, or a color combination that just didn't show itself to you before this point. i'm at work on a pillow that hopefully will be finished tomorrow. if the house doesn't blow away. storms with tornado warnings really scare me.