Site Meter

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Making Oranges into Orangeade

Ok. So, I was being uncharacteristically positive on Friday about my ginkgo fabric from Spoonflower. The greens? Perfect. The detailing? Spot on. But the orange? Unless there's an as yet undiscovered subset of duck hunters who really dig ginkgo leaf fashion, this fabric is going nowhere.

The color, as I designed it, is a deep, rich, ripe persimmon color. As printed? Safety cone.

So what did I learn? A couple of things:

First, SWATCH, dummy! The Spoonflower folks make it very cheap to get a swatch of your fabric before you take the plunge on lots of yardage. But I didn't get a swatch--because to me, that would be like ordering an eggroll to test out the Chinese place down the corner, and only ordering dinner after the eggroll arrived; for me, that could lead to death by anticipation. (Remember?) So just to be clear: there is no one to blame for this color mishap than me. Which is to say, I still heart Spoonflower!

Second, there's always a work around. The green fabric came out perfectly, and I couldn't bear the thought of waiting to sew until I had the ginkgo fabric redone in better colors. So I did the next best thing. I took a deep breath, and tried not to think as I sliced into the ginkgo fabric and cut out one of the motifs.

Inspired by this awesome quilt, I appliqued the leaves on using a sketch-like, freeform approach that I think fits nicely with the hand-drawn quality of the leaves. Sort of rustic modern, I think.

Then I sewed it all into a wee (12"x12") envelope pillow with a 1/2" flange.

Third, did I mention SWATCH!?! Oy.

I'm happy with the results. But more than that, I'm happy with myself. For not overreacting to disappointment. For bucking up and making it work. For remembering that what I love about all of this is the process, the problem solving. For remembering that perfection is elusive but always worth pursuing.

Friday, November 28, 2008

You've got mail.

Well, I don't know if you've got mail. But I got some today...

You know, I am not typically a physically demonstrative person. Which is a nice way of saying I am kind of a sloth.

So it is a testament to how excited I was to get a thick Tyvek envelope with a North Carolina postmark that I actually bounded from the mailbox into the house. That's the only word for it.

So, here it is! My first yardage from Spoonflower. I am so excited that I said, Natural Light be Damned!, and took these pictures. The color is fierce! Like surface of the sun fierce. It's not for everyone, but it makes me smile. (The Blogger picture engine seems to be dampening the color [boo]--for more photos with more accurate color, check out my flickr designstream.)

These first yards are destined for pillow-dom and my etsy shop. If you're interested in snagging one (I'm thinking 12"x12", but I'm flexible.), email me, and I'll reserve some yardage. Even though I could have this printed infinitely at Spoonflower, I'm thinking it will be more special if I limit the yardage I make. What do you think?

You know what I think? Woo!

[update: In the bright light of day, I kind of reconsidered my level of ecstatic praise for the color.]

Do Not Remain Stationary: A Stationery Giveaway!

Okey dokey, then. I am in a giving mood what with the holidays and all.

Up for grabs: 12 notecards designed just for YOU. I am on a paper bender right now, and my loss of sleep is your gain!

Here's what you have to do:
  1. Check out the cards in my etsy shop.
  2. Post a comment here telling me a) which of the designs is your favorite and b) what your imaginary, perfect stationery looks like.
You have until midnight EST, Monday, Dec. 1 to post your comment--please be sure to leave me a way to contact you if you win. One entry per person! I'll choose the winner and post here Tuesday morning, Dec. 2.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I want that Wednesdays #3

So. It's not that I'm giving up on my "I want that" segment. It's just that on the eve of Thanksgiving it seems a little crass. I mean, listen, I have a running list of random art/craft related wants that make me look like a character out of Willy Wonka. But I have a lot of stuff already. And, better yet, a lot of intangibles to be thankful for. So, I'm gonna be bringing back the wants next week with a vengeance. But for now, a parable of sorts.

10 years ago this month, I called up my email pen-pal and asked what he was up to that weekend. Not too much, he said. So I said I thought maybe I'd like to visit him in L.A.
From Iowa?
Well, yeah.
Um, ok...I don't really do the tour guide thing.
That's cool.
Allrighty then.
I had a job that allowed me pretty unlimited travel options, and this was before air travel became so unpleasant after 9/11, so I booked a red-eye out of Des Moines directly to Los Angeles--my itinerary put me in L.A. for about 36 hours.

The plane landed right after a rainstorm, so the air was clear and the colors were saturated--it was a pretty compelling first impression. He took me a Cuban restaurant, Versailles, for garlic chicken and then back to his tiny apartment in Miracle Mile. He had rehearsal for his comedy show scheduled, and I didn't have anything better to do, so I watched him and a room full of other funny guys put together a sketch comedy show in an apartment in Hollywood. We went out to a cheesy bar (Lava Lounge, I think?) and then back to his apartment.

If it isn't already obvious, I had gone to L.A. with a vague agenda: my penpal, whom I had known superficially since childhood had, over about 6 months, become a close confidant at a time when I was living a pretty isolated life--fresh out of college, working nonstop at a job I hated, living in a town which, albeit lovely, was just not home. And, uh, I was single. And he was cute. [NOTE TO MEMBERS OF MY FAMILY, CURRENT EMPLOYERS, ETC: "vague agenda" is as racy as this story gets--read on without fear.] So, when we got back to his apartment and he basically said "good night, thanks for coming," I was a little nonplussed.

The next day we bummed around in the morning (which was nearly afternoon because he slept so late--particularly brutal since I am an early riser and my body clock was already two time zones ahead of L.A.) and then went to another rehearsal. We had called MovieFone ("Hello, and welcome to MovieFone"--this was a revelation to me in 1998) and made tentative plans to catch the revival of Wizard of Oz at Mann's Chinese Theater. The rehearsal went long, so we barely made it to the theatre and had to run in the drizzle to make it in time. When we bought the tickets, the clerk gave us each a 60th anniversary Wizard of Oz flicker button that showed Dorothy and Friends following the yellow brick road. Inside, we ate popcorn from a cardboard box and watched a great movie inside one of the coolest theaters in Hollywood.

By the time the movie was finished it was time for me to head to the airport. The weekend had been fun, but not exactly what I'd had in mind. There had been mixed signals and a slightly dampened tenor to all our conversations. No big deal--nothing ventured, nothing gained.

As we drove out to the airport, we stopped for gas at the Arco (on Washington, I think? La Brea?), and when he got back in the car he took an almost confrontational tone, kind of hipster cool, even snearing. And he said, "So, let me ask you a question...why did you come here?"

Devestation mixed with frustration and anger and indignation. And came out in the form of "Um, I don't know."


A minute or two later, he said, "I think maybe you were just looking for a little human contact." Woah. Dude. Was that, like, the most patronizing thing ever said? Or the most insightful? I was just sort of dumbfounded and stared out of the passenger window as we sped past the oil rigs on Sepulveda.

And then he put his hand on top of mine--not really holding it, just making contact, as it were. And we stayed that way until we pulled up in front of the terminal at LAX. He got out of the car and came around to help me get my bag out of the flatbead of his Mitsubishi Mighty-Max. It had gotten really cold, and I can still see his foggy breath and the wide lapels of his thrift store corduroy jacket. He gave me a hug--one of those great, enveloping hugs that gives the muscles in your back a pass and makes gravity seem just a little less, well, gravitational.

We should do this more often, he said.
Yeah. This. Whatever "this" is, I said, fishing.
Right, he said.
And I gathered up my bag and waived goodbye.


There's a lot more to the story--four cities, a lot of love and laughter, and a little heartache, too. But suffice it to say that ten years ago, I knew I wanted something, someone more in my life. And that I was thinking about more than just tomorrow. But if you had asked me to picture the two of us today, our marriage, our child, our home--I would have drawn a blank. I wanted this. I just didn't know what "this" would be. And I'm still finding out. And feeling pretty thankful.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Get it on the table #2: Roasted Cauliflower

First, have I mentioned my abiding love for frozen foods? And frozen vegetables, in particular? Well, feel the love.

And while I cannot function without frozen spinach, and I'm lost without frozen rice, I'm pretty sure that the greatest frozen vegetable of all time is cauliflower. Yep, cauliflower. If you do not like cauliflower, it is because some Nurse Ratchet type steamed it and fed it to you an a partitioned, green melamine plate. Try it again my way, will you? When you roast cauliflower, something happens that turns this weird, spongey, cabbagey brainshape into divine vegetable bacon. Seriously, it gets all brown with crispy bits and sweet and caramel-y, and just flat-out awesome.

Roasted Cauliflower

1 bag cauliflower
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400°. (I am often too lazy/hurried to wait for the oven to get fully up to temp, but it is better this way.)

In a bowl, toss the cauliflower and the olive oil with salt and pepper to taste. Let sit about 15 minutes, if you can stand it. The salt will draw out some of the water and help bring the sugars to the surface, which means better browning. (Aside from the deliciousness factor, there may be a nutritional benefit: apparently, when cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables are cut, they release healthy chemicals called isothiacyanates; the chemicals continue to develop until the vegetables are cooked.)

Spread the cauliflower out on a rimmed baking sheet--nonstick if you've got it.*

Roast the cauliflower for 25-40 minutes, turning very occasionally. This is one of those foods that benefits from a degree of benign neglect: if you turn them constantly, your oven will lose heat and you will never get the cauliflower caramelized. Still, you want to make sure any smaller pieces aren't over-roasting and that you aren't getting any too-dark spots.

This cauliflower makes a great alternative to mashed or roasted potatoes; it's great pureed with milk/broth for a hearty winter soup; you can add it to your favorite pasta dish; you can go Sicilian and serve it at room temp with chili flake, capers, and olives; you can make a bunch ahead and throw it onto a store bought cheese pizza (some slices of chicken sausage wouldn't hurt, either--I'm just sayin'). This may be the world's most underappreciated vegetable. But not if I can help it.

*Have you tried the Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch nonstick cookware? It ain't cheap, but Sweet Fancy Moses it sure works well. I am not affiliated with Williams-Sonoma in any way (though W-S, if you're reading, I'm happy to become a product tester!)--this is just one hell of a cracker jack product. I have three of the jelly-roll style pans (one large, two small) so that I can roast to my heart's delight. I've had my eye on the muffin tins for a while, but given the paucity of muffin baking going on at my house, I have thusfar exercised restraint. Admirable, yes?

Monday, November 24, 2008

On a Wee Bit of a Binge

Newsflash!! I drew something with my bare hands that doesn't make me shudder at its sight!

I had a bit of free time on my hands in court one day, and while I waited my turn, I started doodling some paisleys. I know, I know. We've been through the whole paisleys are weird and old and 70s thing. Whatever. I like 'em, and I like drawing 'em. And I kinda dug these sketches enough to force myself to haul out my mothballed scanner.

After over an hour of downloading drivers (since the last time I used this thing was three computers ago), I was finally in business. Scanned into Photoshop and then vectorized in Illustrator--this serves the dual purpose of smoothing out a few of the rough edges and making it possible for me to output perfectly rendered 5 foot tall paisleys...should the need arise (you never know). The pattern repeat is kinda shoddily thrown together, and if I look at it for more than, say, 3 seconds, I can find eleventy billion things wrong with it. BUT! Positive self-affirmation coming...wait for it, wait for it...I actually like the way you can tell I drew this in my own hand. I'm digging the homespun feel--reveling, even, in the imperfections that "enhance the natural beauty of this garment."

So I'm thinking of giving myself an assignment: 1 sketch per day that I don't scratch through, tear up, or toss. This would be major progress.

Film at 11.

(Also, I know that the green on green is getting a little repetitive here. But. Look, I'm a very industrious person with a lazy streak. And it likes green lately.)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

It's Saturday. So How's About Some Paisleys?

A very clever friend suggested that I make some downloadable desktop wallpapers. I thought, hey, great idea! I will knock a bunch out in no time. Yeah, right. I don't knock anything out in no time. I'm working on some that are really quite snazzy, but they are taking me forever, so I'm aiming to have them finished by Christmastime.

In the meantime, I thought I'd repurpose (does this count as upcycling?) a design I did for Spoonflower into a tileable wallpaper. I chose my paisley design because it relies on a dark background that isn't so great for use on their printing system. And because I think my husband would gag if I had this printed on to fabric. I don't think he hates them, but he always looks at them and says, "That's nice. For the seventies." As this same clever friend would say, "Whatever, dude."

So, if you want some very snappy non-seventies paisleys to add to your background, just right-click or ctrl-click on the image here, and save the .jpg to wherever you save your desktop patterns. When you select this as your desktop image, make sure to select the "tile" option (as opposed to stretch to fit or center or somesuch nonsense). Otherwise, you'll just be left with a weird stretched out square-o-stupid.

What's on your desktop? I take requests. I'll be here all week. Be sure to tip your waiter.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I want that Wednesdays #2

Have you ever taken a craft or art workshop? I think the last time I did I was about 8, and my white paint got tainted with ochre and I ended up with yellow clouds on my painting of some old building in Charleston. I want to try again.


Last week I decided that I'd create a recurring feature for my blog, "I Want that Wednesdays." Kinda cute and snappy. And consumerist.

And, look, consumerism gets a bad rap, especially these days, but I think that there is room for consumption that is conscious and conscientious--like buying handmade or "upcycled." I don't know much about physics, but I believe in the words "conservation of mass-energy." We are all here on earth for an indeterminate time, and we all have to find a way to entertain ourselves, make ourselves useful, and try to bring comfort and joy to others. I think that people who make things with their hands for the enjoyment of others are making the most of this mass-energy balance--entertaining themselves with their travails and entertaining others with the fruits of those travails.

So, this Wednesday, I want that. I want the spirit of thinking and making and giving that animates the best of art and craft. And I am feeling it more than ever as I reconnect with old friends, find new outlets for my ideas, and encounter the stunning richness of creativity that is but a click away thanks to the internet. More than ever, I am at home in my own abilities and able to enjoy the talents of others without jealousy. And I want more of that. More! I want to foster more connection and more encouragement. More friendship and more cross-pollination.


I remember the first time I bought a bead and strung it on a wire twenty years ago. My friend Nia had received these beautiful amethyst earrings for her birthday. I can still see them clearly: three smooth, round, deep purple (don't ask--I make an exception for amethyst) beads, each hung from a graduated silver pin. So simple, but so lovely. And I coveted them. So I got my mother to take me to the only store in Mount Pleasant that sold beading materials back then, and I bought some purple glass beads and eye pins and earring wires. And I had no idea what to do with them. I found my dad's rusty needlenose pliers and set to work. After hours of struggle, I had a decent pair of earrings--nothing nearly so fine as the ones Nia had been given, but attractive nonetheless. But the thing was so much less valuable to me by then than the making of the thing. I had imagined something and made it real, and that was exhilirating. I wanted the thing. What I got was so much more.


When my husband and I got married, we didn't have time or money for a honeymoon (I started law school the same week). And I have been fantasizing ever since then about a different kind of trip. A learning trip. There are several schools for art and craft within driving distance of our home that offer one- and two-week courses in all sorts of disciplines. I can imagine him spending a week on photography while I do a week on metalsmithing. Or he could do a week of lithography while I do a week of bookmaking. Sounds dreamy, right? So far, I've bookmarked the John C. Campbell Folk School, the Penland School of Crafts, and Asheville Bookworks, but I'm sure there are lots of others within range.

In the meantime, maybe a shorter workshop closer to home is a good idea? Redux Studios is a local print studio that has been offering a wide array of classes for the past few years. Hmm...

Any suggestions for other drool-worthy craft-nerd immersion programs? Experiences?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Giveaway Winners

Congratulations to the winner of the Buzz...Buzz... card giveaway, demmi, digital misfit, and musebootsi! I'll be sending your cards out shortly, and I hope you enjoy them!

So....I'm thinking about doing another giveaway, but this time of a piece of jewelry...any votes on what piece in my etsy store you'd like to win? Or should it be a new, mystery piece created just for this giveaway? Lay it on me!

Monday, November 17, 2008

A vote for Ginkgo is a vote for prosperity!

Soooo, Spoonflower is having a wee contest to pick the "fabric of the week." The winner will get free fabric, and the winning design will be made available for sale to the public through Spoonflower for one week only. How snazzy is that?

And. AND! My gingko fabric is one of the three choices!! I am beside myself. Would you please, please, pretty please go vote for me? The contest is described here, and that post has a link to the voting.

Part of why I am beside myself is that I do not do contests. I have not run for anything since my crushing defeat in the sixth grade student council race of 1986. I don't play games for keeps. I don't buy lottery tickets. I just don't ever put myself out there for stuff like this. Because, um, it stinks to lose. And you can't fail if you don't try!

Yes, it appears I have failed to learn the lessons of the many afterschool specials that touchingly addressed this very subject.

But today is a new day! Today I am putting myself out there and saying, "Hey, world! Here I am! Wouldn't it be cool if your 'I voted' sticker were printed with awesome orangey, patterny goodness?" Right?

Friday, November 14, 2008

I Should Be Committed

People who know me roll their eyes when I say that I am commitment phobic. I mean, I have a husband, a mortgage, two car payments, a kid, and a law degree, so it would seem that I am actually a commitaholic. But that's where looks are deceiving. I make bold decisions on impulse with long-lasting consequences and far-reaching impacts. But not commitments.

This is why I love vector-based illustration.

First, I don't draw well by hand. I can never get what's in my head out of my fingertips, mostly because I am such an uptight perfectionist that I am never willing to practice getting things wrong. And I hate the sight of my own handwriting unless I devote ridiculous quantities of time and energy to the task. This is where digital illustration comes in. Adobe Illustrator has freed me from the nagging permanence of hand drawings and opened up a world of infinite "undos" to me. I no longer fret about erasing embarrassing doodles or filling up my trash can with discarded fragments of ideas.

Of course, all this ephemera comes at a price. As has been recently discussed here, I love paper. I love fabric, too. I love tangible stuff. So, after wallowing in the endless possibilities of my digital canvass, I am always filled with a desire to make my ideas real, tangible. I wanna print something, right? Oh, if only ink and toner and paper weren't so darned expensive!! Every time I get near the printers, my husband takes a deep, brooding breath.

Now, after weeks of waffling and debating, I think I have finally settled on which two of my designs to have printed for my first Spoonflower order:

look familiar? yeah, i like gingkos. a lot.

i wanted an exaggerated fiber texture to be the foil to the crisp
orange background in the gingko pattern

I think I will buy fat quarters of each and make them into a small, single square cushion. Gingkos on front and back with the "burlap" as the sides, maybe tufted with covered buttons in the burlap fabric?

Of course, there's no where in my house where this will look good. But that's why I'm not committed to it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Get it on the table #1

Way, way back at the beginning of this century, I used to be a professional cook in Los Angeles. I cooked in some pretty fancy places with some pretty fancy people. And I was pretty good at it, if I may say. I would happily spend days simmering a stock into demi-glace. I cheerfully sliced bushels of carrots into perfect little matchsticks. I prepared three sauces to dress a single dish.

That was then.

Oh sure, I still love to prepare expansive feasts with fabulous ingredients and high-falutin' techniques. But in the intervening years since my time in the restaurant business, a few things have changed my priorities: marriage, law school, and parenthood, to name a few. So while I always crave well-prepared, delicious food, I have had to re-align my expectations and priorities. Working full-time means that I have limited waking hours to spend with my son and husband, and I don't want to spend all of that time waving my son out of the kitchen. Necessity has bred a few culinary inventions that I thought I'd share for others who find themselves in my shoes, so I'm incarnating a new feature for this blog called "Get it on the Table." Tonight: Spinach Fried Rice.

This recipe relies on several frozen foods that are staples in my home: frozen basmati rice and frozen spinach. I get my frozen rice from Whole Foods, but my operatives in other parts of the country tell me it's available all over. (Of course, you don't need to use frozen rice or spinach if you have cold, cooked rice and raw spinach lying around.)

Spinach Fried Rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 20-oz package Frozen Basmati Rice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 4-oz package Frozen Spinach
2 eggs, beaten
1 scallion, chopped
  1. Heat the oil in a large, preferably non-stick, saute pan over medium-high heat until you begin to smell the oil (and before it sets off your fire alarm).
  2. Add the frozen rice and stir to coat it with the oil.
  3. Turn down the heat to medium and cook the rice, turning occasionally, until it is warmed completely through.
  4. Add soy sauce and distribute evenly; let cook for 2-3 more minutes or until rice begins to brown and crisp.
  5. Add spinach, breaking up any large clumps and mixing well until warmed through.
  6. Make a well in the center of the pan and pour in egg mixture, scraping the bottom of the pan to make thin layers of scrambled egg; continue until all egg mixture is cooked.
  7. Sprinkle in sliced scallions and serve, adding soy sauce to taste.
Et, voilĂ ! Serves 4.

What's the buzz, tell me what's a happenin'

Have I mentioned that I love paper? I mean, seriously, I love it. I grew up in a print shop, so paper has always been a part of my life. Lately, I've been experimenting with a technique in my illustrations that makes my drawings look like paper collages. Which, um, yeah, I really like.

These bees are printed on linen-finish cardstock--I am addicted to Neenah Paper's linen-finish stock--and accompanied by guessed it, linen-finish bright white envelope...and packaged in a little glassine sleeve.

If you would like me to send you one of these little guys, leave a comment on this post before Midnight, EST, November 14 (that's tomorrow). I'll pick three names at random, contact the winners, and send the cards your way posthaste!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I want that Wednesdays #1

Ok, so Wednesdays can be a drag--the shine of a new week has long faded, but the weekend is still days away. I thought it would be good to highlight a nifty product or supply or craftsperson every Wednesday. You know, so that while we are all hung up pondering global economic collapse, we can remember what's truly important at least once a week: craftiness.

Without further ado, today I want one of these do-it-yourself, error-proof Kirigami card kits.

(partridge in a pear tree--available singly or as part of the 12-card pack--because these are DIY I'm sure I could make this in a color other than purple.)

I have always loved crisp cut paper silhouettes and pop-ups. These have a very clean, spare aesthetic reminiscent of Robert Sabuda's Winter's Tale.
(All of Sabuda's work is amazing, and for it he is deservedly famous; Winter's Tale is my favorite of them all.)

Anyhoo, I think these would be a great gift for a precocious kid or even a sodden old fogey like me. Having a nifty card to give as a gift is part of the allure, but even more exciting to me is to feel like I could have my hand held as I learn to reverse engineer these designs and adapt the concepts to my own use. Nifty.

So while we're talking about pop-ups and silhouettes, I should give a shout out to some other amazing paper artists who inspire me.

Matthew Reinhart
Matthew Reinhart is Robert Sabuda's partner in crime. He has what I could only describe as a more textured aesthetic than Sabuda. His shark pop-up book rocks the house.
He also went to my high school and was friends with some of my friends. He would certainly not remember me, but aside from him being all famous now, he is memorable to me for having been (and continuing to be), um, kinda insanely good looking.

Patricia Zapata
Patricia Zapata is a multi-talented designer from Texas (I have been following her adventures in textile design over at Spoonflower, too). I guess she falls more in the paper-cuts silhouette category, but her pieces are so dimensional that they are almost pop-ups. She sells kits to make her adorable little gift boxes, but I think that one of her paper collages would make a very special heirloom gift:

(morning mist wall art)

David A. Carter
In David Carter's pop-up books, art meets engineering and confounding puzzles. My cousin gave us Blue 2 for Christmas the year Marshall was born, and it is a family favorite. The only thing that would make it better is if this book were called Blue 4.*
He has a ton of amusing titles, ranging from the silly to the serene. Marshall's favorite is Alpha Bugs, and I must admit, I usually cringe at alphabet books because I know there will be a minimum of 26 pages (don't judge me), but I enjoy Alpha Bugs every single time.

* When I was a little kid, my favorite number was 4 and my favorite color was blue. There was a television station in town, Channel 4, whose logo was (and still is) a blue 4. To me, it was the most perfect thing in the world. One day, as my mom and I were driving somewhere, I saw the Channel 4 billboard. On that day, I was particularly happy with my mom, and I turned to her and said, "Momma, you're a blue four!" Since then "blue four" has been a code phrase in my family for a really great thing. My husband even had it engraved inside my wedding band. Aw.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pattern Science

Since I have become obsessed with pattern and surface design, I've started trying to educate myself about the theory and principles that underlie great design.

Design*Sponge had a tutorial a while back from Julia Rothman. It was eye-opening to me because I have always made patterns digitally by applying the principles I learned in our 9th grade geometry class unit on M.C. Escher (essentially, take a shape away from one side, add it to the other, ad infinitem). And while this works for me, I think that sometimes the effect is too linear. Julia Rothman's approach is more low-tech, i.e. pen and paper and some paper cutting sleight of hand, but really satisfying. I think it results in a more organic feeling pattern, which is definitely something I want to explore more.

So, like any good nerd, I have also started reading this book,
Pattern Design - A Book for Students Treating in a Practical Way of the Anatomy, Planning and Evolution of Repeated Ornament by Lewis F. Day, published in 1903. With a title like this, it's hard to understand why this one isn't flying off the shelves, I know. But if you are interested in pattern and surface design, OR you just like really bitchy snark about bad wallpaper, you must read this book. Mr. Day has, as they say, quite a literary voice and an opinion or two which may or may not condemn the vast majority of all design. But better yet, this is a really informative book about the science of satisfying pattern design. Say that three times and see if you don't get a little hot and bothered. And, AND: big chunks of the book are available online, so that even if your library's 63 copies are all checked out, you can get hooked up with the patterny goodness posthaste. Do it. Your ugly wallpaper demands it.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I'm Gonna Cut You.

Laser cut, that is.

Have you heard about this new business, Ponoko? They will laser cut your vector drawings onto wood, acrylic, felt.

Seriously? As if I didn't already have trouble sleeping, this has been keeping me awake for days--oh the possibilities! I'm thinking of modifying some of my Spoonflower designs to work with the Ponoko system.

Time out.

I have come up with, what?, dozens of designs for Spoonflower. And I have printed how many? Zero. I could chalk this up to money, of which I have very little. That would be a good explanation. But it flies in the face of the reality that I can ALWAYS rationalize the purchase of a supply. So what's the real reason? The same reason I will happily cook for hours on end and hate ordering take out or delivery. The waiting. Once that call is made, all I can think about is pizza/General Tso's/pad thai. Every minute is another soul-stealing romp through starvation.

So, yeah, I have not ordered my Spoonflower fabric BECAUSE I WANT IT SO MUCH. And Ponoko--they are in New Zealand. I might actually expire before my laser cut goodness could arrive. I think I'd rather keep trying to rig a fiery beam of light to my cordless dremel.

The New Meaning of Life

So. Now that the election has stopped gobbling up every of my available brain cells, I can return my attention to obsessive pursuits of yore: jewelry making, sewing, designing, ignoring housework, etc.

Whereas this time last week I was manically hitting "Command-R" (that's right, I'm keystrokin' it on a Mac, mmhmm) on every political blog known to humankind (which naturally excludes anything originating from Fox, NewsMax, Free Republic, etc.), I have found a new way to exercise my personality disorder: Etsy.

A couple of things:

First, let's talk about the name. I like it, it's cute and short. But, um, for lo these many years I have labored under the mistaken presumption that it's pronounces "eetsee." Nope. I have learned that the "Etsians" (yeah, I think that's a little weird) call it "ehtsee." I just can't get behind this. "Ehtsee" sounds like something my husband's grandmother would say crossly if you asked her how she was feeling. "Eetsee" sounds cute and tiny, like the name of a teacup poodle or something. So I'm gonna keep calling it "Eetsee."

Second, I wish that they didn't track your stats for you. Oh, don't get me wrong. I LOVE a statistic. I planned my wedding and the birth of my kid in a spreadsheet. But that's just it. I LOVE a statistic. So now I'm just hitting "Refresh" like it's my job. Not healthy.

Oh. So. Maybe you would check out my etsy store (pronounced however you like): That would be swell. No pressure. I'm just feelin' a little ehtsee and I'm thinking that might help.