Sunday, March 30, 2008

Painting and thinking of movies

day 19 of 365 Sketch: thinking of movies

Whew! It's been a busy week! Hi there, if you found your way here from Meet Me At Mike's Week of Embroidery, or from Sublime Stitching. And thank you for all the compliments on the Secret Tea Towel project! I did find a little time do some lunchtime painting - this time I was inspired by various movies...

I saw Harold and Maude the other day and I was beyond charmed by Harold:
lunchtime painting: Harold

Also, I'm convinced it was Wes Anderson's #1 inspiration for Rushmore - the odd comic timing reminded me so much of Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums. I loved Harold's pert little suits and wide 70's ties, which gave me serious flashbacks to my dad's ties. So my little watercolor was half a homage to Harold and half a homage to my memories of dad preaching sermons in his pert polyester suits.

Speaking of Wes Anderson movies - do you have a favorite? I think mine's a tie between Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums - I recently saw Darjeeling Limited and really wanted to like it, but it just wasn't happening. Ditto for Bottle Rocket and The Life Aquatic, which had some good moments but altogether I didn't care for. Hmmm... I'm so curious I might have to start a poll on this one! Tell me your favorite! :)

the 400 Blows

Doing this small painting of Harold started me thinking about other movie characters I love, and I moved on to Jean-Pierre LĂ©aud of The 400 Blows. I like some Truffaut and don't like some Truffaut, and this is one I love. There was a time I remember fondly when my best friend and I had an obsession with this film and his character. We even had matching framed pictures of him in our apartments... yeah I know that is a bit strange... :)

Then, a few days later, I thought about Red Desert, a film I knew nothing about until a huge, scary-looking tattooed guy described it to me as the "most beautiful" film he'd ever seen. (Isn't it funny how the biggest, scariest, most tattooed guys can also be the most sensitive?) His description really piqued my curiosity so I watched it and instantly fell in love with Antonioni films and Monica Vitti...

monica vitti

I often love movies not just for the story, or the talent of the actors - there's also something indescribable I love about films - a quality that is a combination of the clothing, the set design, the sound, and the cinematography. So for example, even though nothing ever happens in Antonioni films, there's something so beautiful about the nothing that happens that it still affects me deeply...

In any case, I enjoyed my drawings so much in their outline stage, I was thinking they might make fun embroidery projects... maybe I'll try that sometime soon! I hope you all had good weekends - I saw a super hilarious, super talented guy last night, Tim Minchin - if you ever have the chance to see him (and have a dark, musically inclined sense of humor) don't miss him!

day 18 of 365 Sketch: movie inspiration

Will it be Spring soon? I hope so...

Monday, March 24, 2008

my part of the Top Secret Tea Towel

for Jenny

I can finally show you my contribution to the Top Secret Tea Towel for Jenny Hart! It's been (I can't believe it) 6 months in the making, traveling to so many talented crafters - I stitched my part 3 months ago!

I had a few ideas, but I ended up doing a portrait of Jenny:

pinned in place and ready to iron

I in no way captured how gorgeous she is but I'm still pretty happy with it. My favorite part is the needle and the heart... Jenny has been such an inspiration to me - she's an amazing artist and I'm so honored I was able to contribute! I'm planning a Jenny and Sublime Stitching post on Feeling Stitchy to commemorate the Top Secret towel, but for now I just wanted to show you my contribution. :)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

things I bought in Texas

inside the sampler kit

While I was in Texas, I snagged this sampler kit at the bookstore for only $5! I was doubtless the only person in the Rivercenter Mall that saw this kit and squealed, "Ooh! Samplers!" I thought it would be a great way to keep myself busy on the plane back to New York.

Inside are 3 cute old-timey sampler patterns, a motifs and techniques book, a wooden hoop, aida cloth, thimble, embroidery floss, and a big, dull needle.

I am such a slow cross-stitcher, and get bored and burned out with it very easily. Don't believe me?

This is all I did in about 4 hours of stitching (our flight was even delayed and I started in the terminal:

what I did on the plane

A weird and funny sidenote to that - I stitched while waiting to board the plane, with a big, dull needle. A woman sat across from me and stared intently at me - I just assumed she was a stitching fan. Anyhow, the minute I folded up my cloth and put away my needle to board the plane, she said, very loudly, "You'll have to check that needle at the gate." I smiled, looked confused, and said "Um, I've never had a problem with a needle before on a plane, " to which she very firmly and angrily replied "Those are the rules - you HAVE to check that at the gate." She repeated it a few times, equally loudly, and seemed about to report me to security. I was so confused and angry that I was about to throw away the needle just to get her off my case, when my boyfriend returned from the bathroom, asked what was going on, and very patiently took the needle over to the gate to make sure it was okay, which of course it was. To which the random woman replied, super loudly and forcefully, "I am so sorry - DO YOU ACCEPT MY APOLOGY?" When I didn't reply she again said "WILL YOU ACCEPT MY APOLOGY?!" I still have no idea what her problem was, nor did she even try to explain. I guess she was just the random rule police.

thread cutter necklace

One thing that is definitely not allowed on the plane are scissors, so instead of using my teeth again, I invested in a cute thread cutter. It's a very simple contraption and it seems impossible to cut yourself- you just slip the threads into the grooves to cut the thread.

It works really well and is even easier than having scissors. It also makes a cute pendant that I would actually wear. (I also scored that turquoise dress in Texas, for a whopping 14 dollars...)

Speaking of necklaces, I found a really fun one in Texas:

worry doll necklace

There's a string of small artsy stores on S. Alamo, just outside of downtown San Antonio, which is where I found this little gem - you need to see their sweet faces close up, to fully appreciate them... I love worry dolls, and I'd never seen them on a necklace before - there were 2 in the store, but I loved the bright turquoise and reds on this one.

I am so not a traditional gems and jewelry type of girl - expensive jewelry is offensive to me because I think it's a waste to spend a lot of money on trinkets. I love instead, little unique things like this, with a story and a memory behind them...

My only other "souvenir" from Texas was some delicious pan dulce:


I filled up a big bag, and comforted myself for a few mornings in New York, eating pan dulce with my morning coffee. That's about it for my Texas adventures... I'm feeling less glum now, thanks to your comments - it does make me feel better to know I'm not the only one missing family and home. The weather's improving and I really enjoyed Easter, even though there was almost no room at church for me. Hope you had a good Easter!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

a little bit glum

on my tricycle
me, back in the day

I've been feeling a bit down since I came back from my weekend in Texas. It's nothing big - it's just overwhelming for me to be there, where every scene I see floods me with a memory and I inevitably don't have enough time to talk to and spend time with everyone special to me. Also it gets me thinking of the things I love about Texas, how much I miss nature, and quietness and solitude. The trade-off of course of living in a big city like New York is all the marvelous opportunities you have literally at your doorstep - all the art, all the culture, all the talented and inspiring people. I wish I could say I took advantage of those opportunities more...

And yet I still find myself longing sometimes for what is familiar, for what is quiet. For a taco and a margarita and for a drive down a nameless highway in a pickup truck:

yellow flowers, from car
taken by my dad, circa 1950's or 60's

I miss you, Texas. Now don't get me wrong, Texas - I don't miss you when some random guy on a bike (who looks like he's packing a knife) flicks us off while we're strolling down the Riverwalk, screaming "Don't you know about Right of Way?" I also do not miss you when trying to find a parking spot and huge pickup trucks the size of moving vans hem me in on every side. However, I do miss you when it's mid-March and all the flowers are blooming, especially the purple ones that droop in heavy clusters and smell like sweet grapes. When the air is so sweet and soft with blooming freshness and every breath reminds me of things I haven't done and inspires me with the hope that I will do those things, someday (and maybe soon). When I look at the faces of my family, and see written there, all the things I want to say and all the times I'll want to hug them this year, and cannot. That's when I miss you, Texas.

Thank you everyone, for your comments on my last weird things post - it was so sweet how many of you are also "fish rescuers" (or were inspired to start rescuing). Maybe I should put a few tips together about caring for bettas (keeping in mind I am by no means an expert)... More soon, and thanks for bearing with my glumness today.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bettas, shoe rehab, clothes woes, drawings

Some of you have noticed a lonely new betta in my Flickr stream, which I intended to blog about a few weeks ago. So here, a little bit late, is my latest fish rescue, who is currently nameless:


Why is he nameless? Well, when I bought this fellow some 3 weeks ago he was on his last leg (er- fin) at the pet store. Enter Weird Fact #1 about me - I like to buy sad, unhealthy looking fish at the pet store. It's weird. My heart goes out to them, I know they're about to die and I just want to give them a clean bowl to spend their last hours. However, what's happened the last few times I've done this is - they're so happy they live for a year or two! This little fish is doing much better now - he has a huge bubble nest and is eating like a horse. So now it's time to give him a name.

Some of you inquired about my shoe rehab, which I didn't thoroughly explain. "What's this?" Some of you may have wondered - "is Floresita also a part-time shoe cobbler? Or is she really a full-time elf, with all the necessary cobbler accoutrements?"

shoe rehab

Ok, I know none of you were actually thinking that, but I thought I'd throw it in to make this post more exciting. And to use the word "accoutrements".

In any case, my shoe rehab was easy because the shoes are made of thin, man-made stuff I could cut easily with scissors. I guess I'll have to reinforce the raw edges but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it... :)

Enter Weird Fact #2: I routinely cut into clothing or shoes I am unhappy with. Some people cut themselves, I cut my clothes. Less weird? You decide.

Onward to more wardrobe woes:
day 17 of 365 Sketch: dresses

Last weekend I had to shop for a dress to wear to my cousin's wedding. You may think I love to shop from the amount of clothing I draw but in reality I hate shopping. So Weird Fact #3 is as follows: I hate shopping. Like a cat hates a bathtub, people. I have a bizarre-ly proportioned figure so shopping makes me feel bad about myself. Above are a few of the kajillion dresses I tried on (I visited about 12 stores) and in the end I still found nothing. Lucky for me my boyfriend's brother has a sweet girlfriend who is lending me a dress. That cute little shirred black number on the right. Sheesh.

day 16 of 365 Sketch: monkeys

Weird Fact #4 - you already know about me - I have a monkey obsession. Drawing, sewing, and dreaming up monkeys is soothing to me. Who knows, one day I may even have a real monkey. But I suspect they'd be much harder to clean up after.

day 15 of 365 Sketch: more fashion mag sketches

Here are a few more sketches from magazines to show that I am keeping up with my 365 Sketch resolution, albeit at my own slow pace. Notice that lovely, warped, deformed, "I am Melting" face on the upper right? This brings me to Weird Fact #5 about me which is - I am okay with sharing my drawing mistakes with the world. No problem. Here they are, laugh away... :)

As you may have guessed already, I've been tagged for the 7 weird things post again, (this time by the lovely Amy of Early Bird Special) and since there are so many weird things about me to point out I thought I'd just do it again. :) So Weird Fact #6 is - I wore a size 8 women's shoe by the time I was in the 3rd grade. I was the tallest kid in my class until middle school so I've always had a complex about being a giant-sized, gangly monster. :)

And finally, Weird Fact #7 - When people say "my peeps" I imagine rows of bright-colored sugary candies. I do not eat Peeps but the very idea of Peeps makes me happy.... In the spirit of which, I leave you, my peeps, with the following Peeps photo and caption sent to me by a friend:

The inappropriate behaviors exhibited by the Peeps resulted in a visit with the University Librarian. In the photograph above the Peeps can be observed listening to a stern lecture on library behavior.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Sketches, mail happiness, and musings on music videos

day 12 of 365 Sketch: magazine sketches

Here's my latest at-work watercolor sketches, they're not spectacular but were fun to do. I began these one night before going to bed, when on a whim I sketched faces in a fashion magazine. I used to do this all the time (you can find lots of cheeseball pencil renderings of Kate Moss, Amber Valetta, and Shalom Harlow in my high school sketchpads). :) Yes, it feels silly, but you've got to start somewhere... See that Marylin Manson look-alike on the lower right? Totally unintentional - she was actually supposed to be a beautiful woman. Sometimes the mistakes are so funny they're worth it. :)

My favorite was this one, although I rendered the cheeks quite goofily and badly:

I still find something lovely about her. Then, in the mail more than a week ago was some sweetness from my sister (also some sweetness from Cal and my dear niece - thank you ladies, pictures of that later!)

from my sister

I think I've mentioned my sister is an artist and a painter. She has a dayjob, but I think art and crafts are her passion. She's a wonderful, kind person, 1000 times kinder than I could ever be - she has this gift for volunteering and helping people. In any case, she's been selling hand-painted items for awhile now at craft fairs, and here's a piece she sent me. I absolutely love the colors and the polka dots! She also sent me some shoes, which are adorable. However, the brown ones just weren't working on my (let's face it) fat feet.

So I performed a shoe rehab with a pair of sharp scissors and sheer determination. Here's the before and after:
shoe rehab

And now, back to some more sketch updates, this time in my new watercolor Moleskine:
day 13 of 365 Sketch: faces

And finally my favorite recent watercolor sketch:
day 14 of 365 Sketch: a song

I do admit she was better before I filled her in with watercolor - I'm still clumsy, but every day I'm getting better. The words to her right come from a song that's been stuck in my head ever since my boyfriend started playing "Guitar Hero". I'd never heard this song before and I've gotten quite attached to it. I'm torn about the video, which I kind of want to share with you and kind of don't. I love it because, surprise - there's Mexicans in it! It may sound silly but I love the video for that fact alone, and it does have some wonderful moments (and some very cheeseball ones). And yet I don't want to share it with you because it wasn't what I was picturing at all when I heard the song, and so it kind of ruined it for me.

But what I was thinking when I wrote that phrase off to the side of my drawing - I thought about that first moment of love, probably your first love, when you look at this person and think to yourself they are everything, absolutely everything in the world to you. By the way, do you ever wonder who comes up with the ideas for music videos? Truthfully, most of them I really don't care for - I hate it when they're too literal and "show you" exactly what's happening in the song. That always feels like a visual pun to me, it makes me want to groan out loud. How much do you think actual bands have to do with their music videos - is any of it their idea? I wonder about strange things like that a lot...