Tuesday, July 31, 2007

the great monkey giveaway

monkey names

Here it is, people, the great monkey giveaway, otherwise known as my 100th post!!! I am indeed giving a monkey away! Although I can't assure you with 100% certainty that the monkey of your choosing will want to relocate, I'll do my best to sit the monkey down and try to meet your monkey needs!

Here's how it works:
  • Leave a comment, delurking if necessary (I love lurkers - I am a lurker too)
  • Indicate in your comment which monkey you love most.
  • Tell me a little bit about yourself! What's your favorite band, movie, TV show etc. I'll use this information to de-brief the monkeys. :)
You have until 11:30 PM (New York time) tomorrow today (8/1/07) to respond, at which time I'll throw all the names in a hat and have a monkey draw one out. Then I'll email you to get your name and address, and announce the winner on Thursday! I am giving away 1 wonderful monkey, and a few other goodies from my craft stash.

But, you may ask yourself, how is that fair? I read your boring blog X times a week, and what if I don't win? How can I bring myself to read your blog again?! Calm down, my friend! You too, can have monkeys!

Monkey desktop wallpaper, 1024 x 768

wallpaper! pink green camel

and, the monkey calendar:
monkey calendar for you

Finally, I want to thank everyone who reads this blog - the overwhelming sheer niceness of everyone continues to amaze me. Every visitor has inspired me in one way or another, and I'm so glad if you've found anything here that inspires you! And a special thank you to everyone who responded to the celebrity sightings post!

I'm happy to know, that between all of us, we have managed to see:
Special recognition goes to Carol who wasn't satisfied with just seeing Elvis Costello in a limo but actually took it upon herself to swipe his lighter, Gina E. who shook hands with John Wayne, and Rachel, who interviewed Bobcat Goldthwait. ;D

Thursday, July 26, 2007

star sightings and free stuff

Daniel Day-Lewis

So, I would be utterly remiss in not stating that I saw Daniel Day-Lewis yesterday. I must admit, I've never been starstruck, and the few actors I've seen on the road since I moved to NY have never moved me much. But this time my heart was thumping, my eyes got huge, and we even exchanged a look!

Of course the look I gave him was deer-in-the-headlights and the look he gave me was oh-no-please-don't-attack-me-you-strange-woman (but in a charming way, really). :) He was very thin and almost frail, and had a very concentrated seriousness about him. He held the hand of a tiny little boy as they walked down the street, and it was odd seeing his tall tall figure juxtaposed with the tiny rosy-cheeked child.

So of course I now have to summarize all the famous people I've seen since moving to NY, for your reading boredom... :)

Lauren Hutton, hailing a cab
Benjamin Bratt, with his wife Talisa Soto and baby, in a diner
Jonathan Rhys Meyers, standing on a stoop chatting with friends
Mike Myers, walking in Tribeca (he smiled!) :)
Ethan Hawke, walking with his little boy
Josh Hartnett(?) strolling through the East Village
Parker Posey walking her dog in the East Village

What about you? What famous people have you seen or would love to see? :) By the way, this just happens to be my 99th post! I never would have thought a blog about (mostly) my crafts would result in such long-windedness! And I've decided to be exactly like the rest of the blogging crafters and do a giveaway for my 100th post... maybe...

a monkey...
a family of 4

or some transfers... or crafty supplies? Or all of that combined? So tell me, what would be cool as a giveaway, and stay tuned for my next, 100th post (soon)!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

On the topic of Rockin'

Thank you to dear Ellia for nominating me as a Rockin' Girl Blogger - sheesh am I surprised! I've been nerdy pretty much since birth, so calling me "Rockin'" is quite a stretch and a very special compliment indeed... Well, you all know the way these things go, next I need to nominate 5 more Rockin' Girl Bloggers. First of all, I want to say that if your name is not on this list, and you are one of the many sweet, kind, generous, wonderful people I've met in my brief blogging time, don't hate me! I love each and every one of you - unbeknownst to you, I peek through everyone's blog who comments on my posts, and every one who is kind enough to link here. You all inspire me, and I can't list you all, only because there's not enough space!!!

So, here are 5 Rockin' Chicas for your perusal:
  • wip - Carol was one of the first crafty people I met through Flickr - we have a similar obsession for vintage embroidery and multi-tasking - but this lady truly takes the cake - she cares for her kiddos, works, and quilts and embroiders up a storm...

  • Buttons Magee - Rachel's pics first caught my eye on Flickr and I found my way to her inspiring, beautifully designed blog. She is also a crafty mama who sure knows her way around a camera.

  • Susie Can Stich - I also found Susie through Flickr - her wonderful pics always inspire me- be sure to visit her colorful blog if you need a crafty fix.

  • Stitchado - Claudia was also a Flickr find - her knack for gorgeous embroidery and her love of Mexican themes brought us together. I always find something inspiring in her posts.

  • Petunia - Veronica is a wonderful artist and you can see the creativity brimming out of her journals, mood boards, and embroidery projects. Also I love the sweetness with which she writes of her family - a visit to her blog always leaves me feeling warm and content.

Here's how this game goes:
-place the badge on your blog
-give credit to Roberta (She started the rockin' blogger awards)
-check out the latest list she has on her site
-pick 5 rockin' girls of your choice and tag em'

And to show you just how nerdy I am - here's how I really rock out:

(Thanks to my best friend in the world, for sending me this video!) :)

Monday, July 23, 2007

thinking of many things...

in progress

Finally, I am almost done with the "sad girl" I started so many weeks ago. This is the longest running project I've done so far, as either a drawing, painting, or embroidered piece. I put a lot of thought and emotion into this, and like most things that have a very personal meaning only for you, I found that meaning transforming and expanding to suit so many different emotions...

stitching the dress

I wanted to add more texture and complexity, so I stitched the entire dress area in a cream color which unintentionally looks like a dress I used to wear in high school. It was made of shiny beige crocheted threads that were as thin as a spider web - I found it at a thrift store for a few dollars and wore it until it was hopelessly snagged. My wardrobe definitely used to be my favorite form of expression - I'd always find little treasures in thrift stores and wear them proudly - expensive tailored 50's dresses for 2 dollars, couture skirts dug out of clearance bins - everything I wore became a conversation piece, whether I liked it or not. :)

finally, almost done...

Here she is, almost finished - I only need to fill in the roses and the bottom of the dress. I take my time with this because it's become very meaningful to me, especially since I began reading books on the murders in Juarez. Suddenly these words in Spanish took on a new meaning: "Always thinking of you", "Eternally in my heart", and "It hurts me so much."

Murders and injustice like what is occurring in Juarez touch everyone's lives - we are all truly poorer with every young woman who dies violently, there and everywhere. I feel robbed when I read their stories - young women who had dreams, who were hardworking, and whose only fault was probably trust. Young women with features that are familiar to me - with names and faces that remind me of relatives and friends. All these feelings crystallize so clearly for me in this piece, and it was all unplanned, like most connections are...

for my mom

In the meantime, with Fridays off I've had time to catch up on errands - I finally mailed the pillowcase for my mom and a Spanish copy of The Daughters of Juarez, which I just finished reading. My family has always had a firm belief in God, so in mailing this to her, I think of her strength, and how one more person knowing can honor the memory of these women. I didn't have time to take a picture of the other side of her pillowcase, but it was a line from her favorite Psalm, which had also been her mother's favorite Psalm. Sometimes, I think of those words, and that 3 generations of women have said them. I am so grateful for what I have, and can't stop thinking with sadness of the many mothers who miss their children, whose children have gone on before them to that mysterious place where there are no more words...

Monday, July 16, 2007

the Catskills

We drove up to the Catskills for a long weekend - the weather was cool, in the 70's, and the skies were full of sun. We stayed at a bed and breakfast in a gorgeous old Victorian house surrounded by woods, with a view of the blue and green mountains. It was so restful to be in such a quiet place, with no cell phone reception, sirens, or crowds. It reminded me of the old house I lived in just after college - I could see green trees from every window and loved to fall asleep on my bed in the sunshine, just like a cat...

view from the top of the falls

Our first day we hiked to the foot of Haines Falls, a thin stream of water descending from a great height and ending in a violent tumble of huge rocks and muddy shale. I stepped gingerly around the green mossy rocks, freezing my feet and legs in the cold, cold pools. The next morning we found a path to the top of the falls and we stood at a dizzying height on the fragile cliffs, looking out at the valley. It was strange to think how long this place had stood exactly so - every rock was covered with graffiti from every imaginable time period - from the 1800's to 2000. How many people had stood here, just like this, and seen the same thing I was seeing?


Places like these always leave me very quiet and overwhelmed, sort of the way I feel when I look at tombstones. To think of life, a very sacred thing, and yet there are so, so many lives, and so, so many people who have been alive, who have been my age, or who never lived to see my age. Life can be so dizzying when you think of every soul that's lived it...

When I'm overwhelmed, I look at flowers, they're like poems anyone can understand.

Later, we went tubing and I had... not much fun. Within 15 minutes I'd been knocked out of my tube, and was prying it off my head while trying to surface and being dragged downstream. I clung to my tube like a drowning rat while my worried boyfriend tried to come after me which resulted in him losing his shoes and hurting his feet on the rocks. Luckily for me, a kindly kayaker helped me get back in my tube, and his wife rescued my boyfriend's shoes. And I had another hour and a half of tubing to look forward to:

tubing sucks

All of which resulted in the highly emotional work you see above entitled: Danger: Tubing Sucks... ;)

Monday, July 9, 2007

the adventures of terry the terrier

with Terry

Soon after my nieces arrived for a New York visit, I also welcomed Terry the terrier to New York. As you can see, plaid monkey was quite partial to him, but Terry has a traveller's soul, and was soon exploring the steep steps of Tikal:

terry at Tikal...

Hee hee. Imagine 2 adults (over 30, I might add) posing a dog at the Museum of Natural History while 2 little girls stood lookout... But I must say Terry looks quite at home exploring temple ruins...

the dog visits Mexican ruins...

aww shucks...

almost finished...

I was interviewed for Feeling Stitchy (the Flickr Embroidery Group blog) over here

Monday, July 2, 2007

a barrel of monkeys

plaid monkey

What have I been up to? Making more monkeys, of course! I had a wonderful day off on Friday, which I spent taking long, lazy walks and staying away from the computer. It was a bit gray and overcast, but with that nice, heavy feeling that precedes a great thunderstorm. And I love thunderstorms. I finished gray monkey, pictured above, late Thursday night. And since it's hard to tell their finished size from my pictures, I included my big hand. :)

monkey thoughts

I love finding expressive little pics like these in my camera - in which my stuffed creations even seem to be... pensive. Maybe it's just me (as usual) assigning my personality to them... :) Gray monkey was made from an old dress shirt of my boyfriend's. Ever since I started the monkeys he's contributed more and more from his impeccable wardrobe. I'll only take stained stuff because I'm sure his good cast-offs would be happily purchased at a Salvation Army.

brief bunny interlude

Also from the same dress shirt and my dark brown corduroy I made a brown bunny from the Cute Book that is, um, not so cute. Brown bunny is cute in concept, but my ragged version is not so great!

I was too lazy to stitch the arms, legs and ears properly (you know - where you have to turn the finished product inside out). So instead I whip stitched the ragged corduroy edges and it's... not so nice.

On Friday I whipped up a brown plaid monkey:

the lineup

He has a grey face I initially planned on gray monkey having (but it blended in too much with his body). The brown plaid was from an old skirt I've used to make a few crafts - it's amazing how much mileage you can get out of a knee-length skirt, guys...

On Saturday we took a short train ride to see my boyfriend's parents:

meet Paisley Brown

Of course I had this monkey cut and ready to stitch. The fabric is from a soft paisley corduroy shirt of mine. It was once a western-style shirt with all the shiny snaps, and I loved it but hardly ever wore it. In just one hour the body was finished, and I sewed on the blue felt face at the parents' house. I felt like there was just.. something missing on that monkey, so I added a bow and presto, she was female. :)

monkey madness

So I now have 4 monkeys with another in the works... (The picture above only shows the first 3.) Is there something wrong with me? Am I possessed by the spirit of a sweatshop worker? :)

My boyfriend even started searching for antique barrels to put the monkeys in...