Saturday, September 29, 2007

Virgencita tea towel

virgencita tea towel

It's been awhile since I did embroidery - I've been so busy making monkeys instead. So it was fun and relaxing to pick it up again - Carolina sent me a few sheets of patterns she just started selling on her blog, and I was amazed at the beauty of this virgencita pattern:

close up of the virgencita

I enlarged the pattern about 170% so it would fill more of the middle of the towel. As usual I had some frustrating moments with the colors - overall I chose light shades and dark browns. If you're looking for Halloween patterns pop over to Carolina's blog for a sugar skull freebie, and have a look at her Halloween patterns for sale. As a former tattoo artist, her patterns are amazingly intricate.

By the way, if you stitch any Halloween patterns (of Carolina's or any other Halloween pattern you find) be sure to join the Halloween challenge at Feeling stitchy! :)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

in my moleskine


I was flipping through the latest Vogue and not liking most of what I saw. My favorite was Shalom Harlow, who is one of the most gorgeous women on earth. I was listening to "Angel Baby" when I pasted these together...

a few days ago, another lunchtime painting:
lunchtime painting - my old room

I think a lot of this room I lived in years ago - a tiny apartment in an old house in Texas. It was truly a dump when I moved in, but I was strapped for cash and it was the cheapest I could find. I painted the walls red to make it cozy but that winter was still very cold. I remember feeling lonely at that time, so I'd surround my bed with books to feel less lonely...

And of course, more monkeys:
graph paper, colored index cards, post-its
This is what happens when I'm left alone with scissors, graph paper, colored index cards, and post-its... :) Thank you to everyone who responded to my last post - reading the things you love filled me with a happy glow - I wish you all lots and lots of things you love this weekend... :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I love

I was tagged a whole month ago by the lovely Anna - I'm sorry it took me so long to respond. I've done so many "things about me" posts, that I'm doing this differently - I dug up a list of things I love that I wrote during lunch weeks ago... :)

I love:
  • when blossoms rain down from tree branches

  • when stereo music pulses with a deep bass, like thunder

  • when sun dapples across the page I'm writing on

  • when wind ripples water

  • when people speak quietly and don't end their speech with a big finale

  • when people shy away

  • when people search for the right words and don't find them

  • when people shrug

  • when people wear a tender smile

  • when people help each other

  • when people you don't know, tuck your shirt tag in for you

  • when people (who often are in love) look into each other's faces with such wonderment, almost as if afraid, and with a look that says they are looking at the most wonderful thing on earth

  • when my sentences end right as a song ends

  • when bells ring:

Tell me a few things you love, on your blog, or as a comment... :)

Monday, September 17, 2007

monkey experiments #2 and #3

stripey pants monkey

So, to all of you talented pattern-makers out there, first of all, let me say I have a newfound appreciation for your art! As you know, I've been trying to design a monkey of my own and sheesh, it is no simple task. Quite simply, there's no guarantee on cuteness. So, allow me to introduce you to experimental monkeys #2 and #3. I first made monkey #2 out of a stretchy light grey material and he looked ridiculous. His body was too long, his belly was huge and weird and all the felt faces I'd cut for him just didn't look right. So I gave up on him and he sat, half stuffed on a chair for a week and half until last night, when I started making Stripey monkey:

Mr. Stripey monkey

Stripey monkey was only slightly better than my previous monkey. He, was also too long, his arms seemed kinda big and funny, and I struggled with the face. I was about to give up, looking at these 2 really wonky guys, half-stuffed and half-sewed on the bed.

I was watching 2 excellent movies for monkey making - first, King Kong (only the first half - the second half depresses me), and second, Anchorman. Anchorman is worth watching if only for the awesome street fight between all the different network news shows - ha ha, Ben Stiller as the Spanish language news guy rocks! :)

So, cheered up by this nonsense, I unstuffed them, snipped them both in half and swapped their bottoms, so voila, monkey #2 wears stripey pants and monkey #3 wears gray pants:

hanging around

So what do you think? Are either of these two characters worth their stuffing? :)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

lunchtime painting - monkeys

monkeys, before painting

A couple of days ago I painted these 2 tiny monkeys while thinking of the next "design". All I had around was hot tea, which I used instead of water to blend the paints. It had a different effect on the colors, that I really liked. I used an empty gummy lifesavers tray to blend my colors...

lunchtime monkeys

My favorite is the red monkey, he seems to be wearing a jumpsuit... :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

le Carotte in Maine

le Carotte stows away...

Le Carotte was very concerned that his adventures in Maine had not been properly highlighted, adding that the most exciting things generally tend to happen to him.

As you can see, he very stealthily stowed away in my bag, popping out only after we'd landed in Portland, where he made quite a scene, being the only stuffed monkey in the car rental area.

On the road to Bar Harbor, Giovanni contented himself with the beautiful Maine sunshine, and he certainly seemed to approve of the convertible...

on the road

However, once the weather changed the next day, and we found ourselves in misty conditions, he admitted that having the top down was "a tad too damp" for him:

carotte enjoys the mountain air

Neverthless, le Carotte loved Acadia National Park, saying that the climb up Cadillac Mountain (in a convertible, with the top down) is "not to be missed." He also added that "the impatient gentleman on the motorcycle" who made a lewd gesture at us when we took our descent very slowly was "quite a ragamuffin."

carotte climbs Cadillac Mountain

However, le Carotte's most memorable adventure was most certainly "the part with the pirates":

le carotte falls in with a rough crowd

We espied these two scoundrels guarding the entrance to the local mini golf, scaring away young children and being all-around sourpusses. But le Carotte's effect on pirates is indubitable, as within minutes we found this old seadog cracking a smile:

carotte makes the pirates smile

Giovanni now has an open invitation to the open seas, and we had the run of the mini golf course...

But le Carotte, being above all a huge nature buff enjoyed our last day most, when he spent plenty of time in a park near the water:

le Carotte enjoys the flowers

The dandelions were in full bloom, and drunken butterflies wobbled all over the horizon. And so ends the short tale of le Carotte's adventures in Maine... :)

Monday, September 10, 2007

adventures in Maine

in Acadia National Park

I spent last weekend in Maine, and although I have plenty of pictures, and drew, and thought a lot, when I got back I was so un-used to blogging (after only 6 days away) that I couldn't put anything together... It's such a gorgeous place, and the coast up north from Portland to Bar Harbor reminded me of California, all the mountains and woods and cool air...

from the top of Cadillac Mountain

What can I say but that all of it was beautiful. Even the one misty rainy day, when the clouds crept down the mountainside so mysteriously and the beaches were cool and drizzly.

We spent a lot of time in antique shops, poking through cool, dusty basements finding old rag dolls, embroidery, goofy paintings and samplers:

big eyes

I loved the many brightly colored dolls with button eyes, some so delicately stitched and wearing jewelry:

My favorite was the quiet you only find in the woods, and the small surprises in the secret-looking trails:

smiling dragonfly

In Portland, we walked around the quiet old port area and I was in awe of the beautiful slate tombstones in the Eastern Cemetary:

And down in a park, on our last day, le Carotte (who had secretly stowed away) enjoyed the flowers:

relaxing in the park

Thursday, September 6, 2007

lunchtime painting - Maine

lunchtime painting - maine

Our last weekend trip of the summer was Maine (which I was thinking about when I did the lunchtime painting above, today). I've been laying the gouache paint on pretty thick and opaque, so I thought I'd experiment with light and watercolor-y. And as I did that, the strangest memories came flooding back, with every tiny brushstroke I'd get a glimpse of painting with my sister in her watercolor class, as a child. I remembered chasing the little bead of paint around the paper very carefully to achieve different effects, and as I painted, hearing the teacher's instruction on how the paint dries, how colors will change, to not spend too much time in any one spot. Amazing how memories like that can spring up with just a few flicks of a brush....

Since I still had plenty of greens and blues left over, I started doodling on another page in my moleskine:

doodles with my extra paint

I especially loved the little bird, because I made him in just 5-6 strokes of green and blue. It was only the big black eye that went awry... :) I also love the boy in the striped shirt that "appeared" on the right. When I first set the brush to the paper I was thinking girl, but the hairstyle and the eyebrows created the boy... :) On the left (in my crummy cursive) is a story about my lunchtime painting the day before. The lopsided shoes were drawn on the train (I blame the sudden stops).