Retold by M. Charlotte Craft. Illustrated by Kinuko Craft.
I know everyone hates Valentines Day because it makes them feel horribly alone, but I can’t help but love it. Not because I’m married either. I’ve always loved it, even when I was single. There’s so much candy! And, to be perfectly honest, I love when others are happily in in love. Valentine’s is also about showing love to your family and friends. People hate holidays, but as long as you don’t go totally fucking insane trying to create perfect moments, they’re actually just nice reminders to reach out to the people in your life, whether those relationships are romantic or platonic.
I first read “Cupid and Psyche” as a chid. I immediately recognized it as “Beauty and Beast”, which is one of my two favorite fairy tales ever. I’ve had plans to illustrate it for 20 years, but until then we can gaze at the beautiful paintings of Kinuko Craft.
A note inside tells us that the art is oil over a watercolor base.
Roughly, “Cupid” means “desire” and “Psyche” means “soul”. These are the names by which the characters are best known, however, Cupid is Roman and Psyche is Greek. In Greek, Cupid is Eros and in Roman, Psyche is Anima. Together they form the ultimate in love. Note the Morning Glory flowers on the left. According to Victorian tradition, Morning Glory meant a love that never dies. And of course we have Psyche holding a butterfly- psyche also meant butterfly in ancient greek.
Beautiful embossed cover. You rarely see covers like this anymore.
A King and Queen have 3 daughters. All are lovely, but Psyche is so beautiful the people believe her to be the Goddess Venus come to Earth. Her sisters marry, but Psyche, prized her her beauty, remains unloved.
Venus sends her son, Cupid to shoot Psyche with one of his arrows of desire and make her fall in love with a monster.
He gleefully goes to do her bidding, but upon seeing Psyche accidentally pricks himself with the arrow meant for her. The Oracle of Delphi proclaims that a monster so fearsome that even the Gods fear him has fallen in love with Psyche and wants her as his bride. They are to take her to a mountaintop where the West Wind will spirit her away to her Bridegroom.
But once there, Psyche finds a beautiful palace filled with invisible servants. Every night, in complete darkness her husband comes to her. He is so kind and gentle that she forgets that he is supposed to be a monster. But still, she is lonely and persuades him to allow her sisters to visit her.
The West Wind brings them, but even though they are both married to rich and handsome kings, they become consumed with jealously at their sister’s good fortune. When they discover she has never seen her monstrous husband, they convince her to break her promise to him and light a lamp to see what he looks like.
After they leave, Psyche decides to follow their advice. but instead of an ugly monster, she discovers that her husband is the beautiful God of Love. She is so shocked she drips hot oil on Cupid.
Heartbroken that she has broken her promise and wounded from the burning oil, Cupid leaves her.
Bitches get stitches.
Psyche beseeches Venus to have pity on her. The Goddess tells Psyche that all the stress that Psyche has put her through has dulled her own beauty. She sends the girl to the Underworld to borrow some of Persephone’s beauty. This painting reminds me of Kay Nielsen’s amazing illustration from “East of the Sun, West of the Moon”. That fairy tale is another variant of this story.
The beautiful and dreaded Persephone, queen of the Underworld. Persephone gives her a box containing a bit of her beauty, but warns Psyche to not open it. Note the pomegranate from Persephone’s own myth.
Psyche is really bad at following instructions. Like, really, really bad. She worries that her travels have made her look terrible. She wants to Cupid to see her in all her beauty and so she opens the box to take just a pinch of Persephone’s beauty for herself. But Persephone’s beauty delivers only deep, deathly sleep. Luckily, Cupid had been watching for her. Healed from his wound, he flies to her side and puts the sleep back in the box.
Psyche delivers the box to Venus. Cupid entreats Jupiter, king of the Gods to grant Psyche immortality. Jupiter and the other gods are happy to do so, thinking that Cupid will be so busy with his lovely wife that he will cause far less trouble for both gods and men. Even Venus is happy. With Psyche in Olympus instead of on Earth, mortals once again resume their worship of her.
As for Cupid and Psyche, they have a beautiful daughter they name, “Joy” and they all live happily ever after.
Most of my inspiration for my painting “Sirin” came from my general love of Russian Fairytales and Medieval painting. I spent a lot of time looking at 3 books I have on Russian Lacquer Miniatures. The art is usually on a black background with strong red and orange colors, with some lovely blue and green accents. This one in particular was very inspiring- “Sleeping Beauty.”
But I also used a few Pinterest pictures for reference and keeping me on track. With children about, I’ve found it easier to have a board rather than my usual pile of books. I still work with books of course, but I’m able to cut down on how high the stack gets by having my board up on the computer. –I made a separate board called, “Sirin.” At the top you have the “Maiden Tsar” from the Russian animated film, “The Magic Pony.” When I was a child, they used to show this movie all the time on KTLA’s Sunday Family Film Festival. In what seemed like a sea of wide eyed blonde princesses, she was a lonely island. Between her brown hair and her long, dark eyes with heavy eyeliner, she hit every mark on my childhood “pretty” target. Everything in this film is gorgeous. Don’t even get me started on the horses! Below, the two Ivan Bilibin pictures, as well as the image between them were helpful in my process of narrowing down my colors. I briefly considered a cream background. You’ll notice the Sirin on the left is holding a flower. She is proably a Gamayun, which were more likely to be shown with arms in addition to wings. I found this picture after I’d made my final sketch, but I still feel quite indebted to it. I gave my Sirin a sunflower to tie her to the Slavic solar god, (Dazbod or Belobog) as well as possible slavic solar symbols embroidered on her headdress.
Unfortunately Slavic mythology is still much of a mystery. A few beliefs which used to be taken for granted, like the Belobog/Chernobog dualism, are now questioned. (You may remember Chernobog from Fantasia’s amazing “Night on Bald mountain”.)
(PS- This is not a Danzig logo)
The Sirin in the center, with the red sun stayed with me, because for many decades I’ve had a reoccurring dream of a world lit by a black sun, black, not red like this picture- a sun that looks like an eclipse. The last time I started having the dream again was when I first got sick in the Fall of 2015. I made a few drawings and took some reference photos, but they’re somewhat sad and make me uncomfortable. It’s still there sometimes, that world lit by a black sun.
Russian headdresses, often called kokoshniks, vary from region to region. I have a little notebook with all the ones I’ve collected so far which I’d love, time permitting to turn into little paintings. Headdresses from the north usually feature freshwater pearls, while those from the south are more likely to have copious amounts of gold embroidery. I chose the more crown-like one on the upper right as my main inspiration. I loved the contrast of the blue ribbon and gold embroidery on the bottom left, which I incorporated, changing the blue to pale green. The totally bonkers beautiful bird woman in “Sadko” makes me want to track that movie down. The colors in the center picture made me change the background from black to a softer grey. The “Last Unicorn” has been on my perma watch list this winter. Amalthea has the best hair in animation, along with Aurora. The bottom center picture is a favorite of mine- midcentury art is the last time we saw art with small, dark eyes on a regular basis. Not soon after this, the adorable Dollybird’s with their saucer eyes began their beauty domination. And finally the amazing iridescence of raven wings. It helped me to be brave and add blue and green to the wings.
I have plans and sketches for more, but next I’d like to finish and paint my wolf girl sketches from November. Then, perhaps I’ll return to the “Land Beyond the Blue Mountains.”
gouache, acrylic, and pencil on 185 lb paper
I love Russian fairytales, folktales, and Slavic mythology. The Russian Sirin is thought to be a descendant of the Greek Sirin. Said to reside near the Garden of Eden, they sang beautiful songs of joy. Some stories tell that only truly happy people could hear the Sirin.
The Sirin often has two similar companions; the Alkonost, who sang sorrowful songs that inspired forgetfulness and oblivion in the listener, and the Gamayun, who sang songs of knowledge. All three birds were considered prophetic.
In line with my New Year’s resolution, I had planned on putting her up for sale, so that she could sing joyful songs to whoever wanted her. I even asked around to figure out a good formula for pricing my work. The “by the hour” doesn’t work for me. My work is too detailed. I ended up going with the “linear inch” model, which multiplied by our minimum wage gave me a fair price, at least fair in my mind. So, 9 + 12 = 21 x $12.00 = $252. But my husband ended up asking me to please not sell her. He’s grown quite attached to her, which is unusual for him. So, she’s staying here.
A photo of the finished painting. Unfortunately neither the scan above nor the photo capture the creaminess of working with gouache, but I still thinks she’s lovely. If you’re not familiar with gouache, it dries to a matte, suede like finish. Not fuzzy, but incredibly soft looking. It’s quite unlike anything in its strange, subdued beauty. Two of my initial sketches (there were two more that may become different paintings later). I wasn’t sure if I wanted to show her feet as well, but I decided to focus on her face, so I went with the sketch on the right. I took a photo for reference and started drawing.
I finished the drawing and transfered it to paper. I use a heavy duty 185 lb Canson paper that’s actually made for acrylics.
I love drawing hands. And here is the finished drawing on acrylic paper, ready for paint. I left out a lot of the details because I knew they would be filled in later by paint. I scanned her in and created a color key. The color key helps me to make sure my colors have some contrast and that I don’t end up with some random color in there which would stick out like a sore thumb. I also created a color map (not shown), which is where I took these colors and rough colored the drawing in photoshop to get an idea of where they would go. In that way I balanced the deep red of her crown with the deep red of her sleeves. After laying in the background color in gouache, I used burnt sienna acrylic to paint the outlines with a tiny brush. Next I did the coloring book colors. This part is always very hard for me because it looks like such a disaster. I felt much better once I had a chance to work on the background. The long process of creating the wings starts. I was inspired by iridescent raven feathers to use green to contrast with the red-orange.Sirins typically have bird bodies, but I wanted it to blur the line between whether she’s wearing a dress or whether those are her feathers growing out of her body.
Hanging out with Van Eyck’s Mary for inspiration. My photo reference is up so I can get the pink on her hands right.
I added gold paint to a few places. And some gold on her sunflower.Fin~
This year I’ve gone through my books and sold quite a few that I realized I was never going to use, mostly sewing related. As I did, I noticed some holes in my collection. I asked Mikael for a few and he ended up getting me everything, including a surprise James Jean book. We have a $50 limit on gifts which we both went over a little this year. We had a little extra bc this was the first year in 3 years that we didn’t have to pay for Karl’s pre-school. I kept wondering why I wasn’t as stressed out about money this year when I realized, oh right, we don’t have to cough up a pile of money right before and after Christmas.
“Wives and Stunners” is about the women who inspired the Pre-Raphaelites. Many of these women were painters and poets in their own right, but women were discouraged (to say the least) from a career in the arts. While I know quite a bit about Lizzie Siddel and Jane Morris, I’m very excited to read more about the others who I know only from their modeling.
“Surrealist Art” is a wonderful book I’ve read a few times through the library, but sadly never owned. It has a wealth of information, but the only downside is the pictures are mostly in black and white.
“Surrealism” remedies that. It has very little information beyond the title and artist, but each page has a beautiful, fairly large color reproduction of a painting.
“The First Fossil Hunters” proposes that fossils were the basis for many fantastic creatures in Greek myth, such as griffins and the Cyclopes. I saw a tv program on this a few years ago and have wanted to read the book ever since.
“Japanese Tales” is just that, and while I already have a book of Japanese ghost stories and two books on Asian myths, I do not have one dedicated to Japanese tales across the board. After I saw this in a store I put it on my wish list. I suppose I’m getting lazy in my old age bc it’s not always fun for me to have 5 books stacked next to me, bookmarked with the Japanese stories- that my baby promptly yanks the bookmarks out of. Sisyphean, I tell you.
And finally, “James Jean: Pareidolia” I have Jean’s “Memu:100 postcards” but I greatly wanted a large book so I could pour over his beautiful work. Like most people I was introduced to him through his exquisite covers for the comic book, “Fables.” And while I found the stories in “Fables” often lacking, the covers were worth the price of the books. Jean is an inspiration. There are times when I’m trying desperately to solve an art problem and he’s done it so neatly and beautifully that I can only sigh in admiration.
And case you were wondering what “Pareidolia” was:
“Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you’re at!
Up above the world you fly,
Like a tea tray in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you’re at!”
As I mentioned before, Elstir is supposedly an Irish version of Esther, which means “star”. I like that she’s my dark star. I finally scanned her in and tried to color correct her so that she’s close to her real colors, at least on my mac. And to wrap this painting up, here is a collection of my Elstir wips that were originally on Instagram~
Before Pinterest I used to have stacks of paper all over. I’ve written before about how Pinterest’s feed change made it useless, but it’s still very useful if you actually need a place to store images.
The idea, drawing, and color palette for Elstir came first. But afterwards I went through some of my favorite boards, like Magick and Princess Witch Palette so I would have a concise (for me) set of images to keep me on track through painting. Even though I painted her in September and October, I feel like Elstir is more of a Winter painting than and Autumn painting. Now that we are back from a ridiculously terrible family Thanksgiving trip, I can finally look through my sketches to see what to do next. Ideally I’d like to finish a couple of drawings before I start another paintings, but we’ll see ;D
I finally finished Elstir. She started as a postcard for the Bat World Sanctuary charity. I liked the drawing so much that I really wanted to make it into a painting. I’ll eventually scan her in and add her to my portfolio, but until then I took some photos. The top picture is the closest to her actual color- at least it is on my mac screen. The middle one isn’t too far off, but the third one I had to angle a bit because I wanted to try and photograph the gold paint, which is no easy task. Now I know why some of Klimt’s paintings look marvelous and some look terrible. When I captured the gold, the rest of the picture bleached out, but when I got the rest of the picture, the gold disappeared. Oh well. She’s lovely in person. Well, as lovely as a monster can be, I suppose :)
gouache, acrylic, white charcoal, and gold paint
12″ x 16″
I wanted a name that meant “star” and stumbled upon an Irish version of “Esther,” which is “Elstir.” I already had decided that her bat ears would be wrapped like double hennins. She wears a thick medieval style crown with a bat cameo in the center. She has a shear white veil embroidered in gold stars and gold edging. Her eye makeup is actually a very deep blue.
Painting wise, I’m very satisfied with her. She hits that sweet spot that I was trying to express- my love of medieval illuminations, like “Tres Riches Heures,” Russian miniature lacquer box art, Andrew Wyeth’s lovely tempura paintings with their delicate hatching, Van Gogh’s beautiful movement, every Pre-Raphaelite ever, and obviously my beloved Klimt. Klimt with his long necked, long fingered women who are either beautiful or ugly, depending on who you ask.
I learned something very, very important from this painting, and that is, that I have to make smaller paintings. Elstir is 12″ x 16″ and she took a long time due to my meticulous painting style. My next paintings and drawings are all 9″ x 12″, like “Roxanne.” I do wish I could paint looser and in a smoother manner, but it doesn’t please me personally. Whenever I’ve painted in a smoother style things start to feel too soft and rubbery. I like all the hard little lines, imperfectly blending when you’re close. They give my eyes something to grab on to. It’s very much like the sensation I have when I watch the sea or a great mass of trees on a hill. I never get tired of looking at all the tiny colors.
After 8 years of vegetarianism I’ve started eating meat again thanks to my gluten intolerance. I’m also not able to eat tofu, so it was kind of a done deal for me. But I have conflicting feelings about it. I don’t generally talk about it unless asked but, I became a vegetarian because I’m not in favor of factory farming practices. I think it’s bad all the way around. Bad for the animals, bad for the taste of the meat, bad for the workers, and generally bad for the environment. But I’ve also been open to the possibility of having to eat meat sometime in the future due to health reasons. I’ve known a few vegetarians who had to start eating meat post menopause because their bodies just weren’t able to extract what they needed from plants anymore- and I’m talking dedicated, lifelong vegetarians. But I assumed that day would be far in the future if it ever came at all.
As for my husband, he thinks it’s really gross. He’s been a vegetarian and occasional vegan since he was 16. I’m pretty sure it’s like finding out that your wife was bitten by a werewolf. I mean technically it’s a medical situation- and I won’t get too personal with the details, but eating gluten free with no tofu was making me really sick in a totally different way. After my hair started falling out and my weight went into free fall it was actually my husband’s idea for me to start eating meat. Luckily my health has stabilized, but it’s still an adjustment for him. He’s not going full Darrin Stephens here, but he’s trying. He didn’t even get grossed out last night even though I reeked of bacon.
In case you’re wondering, eating meat is not super duper the bestest thing ever. It’s definitely been nice to have some variety, taste wise, but it’s not so fucking spectacular that I regret my vegetarian. I’d rather stuff my face with cookies and bread, but that ship has sailed. And eating the gluten free versions too often hurts my stomach, so it’s pretty much a twice monthly thing. They don’t give me a reaction, just a general feeling of being a child that ate too much candy. The thing eating meat has helped with is a feeling of fullness. I was just hungry all the time. All the frickin time. Like a crazy, “I want to eat your face!” kind of hunger. But it’s better now.
Btw- here’s a selfie of me at Five Guys-
I had an amazing time doing Drawlloween. It helped me loosen up and be less self conscious about posting sketches and off the cuff drawings. As soon as I finish painting “Elstir” I have a couple of these to refine and paint. I found it deeply inspiring and over all so much fun. And, it looks like I’m not the only one mourning the end of Drawlloween. The wonderful Hoap put together an awesome Dravember list.
But first, my Drawlloween drawings~
“Haunted House” -Crimson Peak -I finally saw Crimson Peak. It’s basically a mash up of Fall of the House of Usher and Rebecca, which means I liked it. Nothing groundbreaking- but the costumes and sets are top notch. It’s definitely set in Del Toro’s universe and follows its rules, which is cool. I did find the story and characterization to be a little too slight. I thought that worked for Pacific Rim(one of my favorites) bc that’s essentially an amine that happened to be live action. But I would have liked more backstory on the Sharpes.
“Mask” – another old one from about 15 years ago. This is pretty much the genesis of me putting animal masks on people. The front is a cross between a noh mask and a kitsune, while the back is a storm spirit.
“Addams Family”- “Morticia and Ophelia” -I wanted to show Morticia and her little known older sister Ophelia as teens. This would be shortly before they met Gomez. Ophelia was initially betrothed to Gomez, but he fell in love with Morticia. Ophelia was decidedly NOT brokenhearted. I gave them vaguely late 60s Biba era dresses, with Morticia’s dress being a nod to how she dresses her daughter, Wednesday.
“Witch” – I ended up posting 2 for Witch- “Striga” and “The Great God Pancake”. I have more witch drawings than I know what to do with! “Black Cat” -I haven’t been since they changed it, but the original painting featured a beautiful woman who partially turns into a panther. I can still remember how beautiful her white dress was and how deeply thrilling it was to see her change. And finally, “Skull” – Like everyone else from my generation I discovered the Death’s Head Moth courtesy of “Silence of the Lambs”. But, fun fact, there are different varieties of the Death Head’s moth and one of them is Acherontia Atropos. Acheron is a river in the Greek underworld, and Atropos is the Fate that cuts the thread of life. I’d like to do a painting of this one once I work out the kinks in the drawing. Her right hand holding the stork shears needs to be moved and redrawn.
And now I’m on to Drawvember!
The top left image is from the Halloween Tarot by Bajema. Even though I don’t collect tarot, I fell in love with this project and ordered them. The golden film stills are from Fritz Lang’s two part epic, “Die Nibelungen.” Everyone is far more familiar with Wagner’s version, but the plot here is different. It’s based on a medieval varient. I’m going to post about this some more but if you can’t wait, it’s in the public domain and on youtube. Watch the golden one instead of the silvery black and white for the full beauty effect. It’s so incredibly beautiful. The first photo is of Kriemhild, the second is Siegfried in the forest.
If you’re already following my Instagram these are old, but what I love about my blog is that I’m able to talk a little more about them.
I love drawing werewolves. The first two are from about 7 years ago, inspired by the Warren Zevon song, “Werewolves of London.” I had read a great story before that that I’m pretty sure is apocryphal about what inspired Zevon’s song. The story went that he’d gone to England and saw a bunch of punks, hence, “I saw a werewolf walking with the queen of England…” Unfortunately, that story is most likely false and the song was actually just a nonsense song written while he was coked up.
And this lady is their far more respectable aunt, Mrs. Norther. I created her for my Sketchbook Project. Her title is, “Dangerous Pleasures,” which is the flower meaning of the tuberoses she’s holding.
If you’re in the Mascoutah, Illinois area, please check out Alexi Era Gallery’s show: Beauties of the Night.
“Beauties of the Night” is an awareness and fundraising exhibition for theBat World Sanctuary. The Exhibition will feature artworks on postcards from artists all around the world. All postcards will be priced $5-$50, and available to take home right away opening night. All postcards not sold at the opening will be available online the following morning. 100% of Proceeds Donated to the Bat World Sanctuary! We aim to raise awareness and create a special connection with our audience.”
100% Donation to Bat World Sanctuary (batworld.org)
I donated a postcard, “Elstir.” I love her and hope she finds a home.
“Come and play with us, Danny. Forever… and ever… and ever…”
The Shining scared the ever living crap out of me when I was a kid. I remember thinking that Jack Nicholson turned into a werewolf and was chasing his son through the maze. If you get a chance, watch “Room 237,” a documentary about people theories of The Shining. Some of them are completely insane, but quite a few of them are completely amazing.
For Drawlloween, I’m going to try to post Tuesdays and Fridays.
I am so in love with that first pin. I found it here: Sweet Leigh. The whole editorial is from Italian Vogue and it is just bonkers good. Total Game of Thrones, but better. If I wrote, I’d totally write a fantasy GOT rip off with a gorgeous black princess version of Daenerys Targaryen. Not that I don’t love albino Daenerys, but this would be awesome too.
At the bottom there’s a photo of Jean Harlow and Anita Loos. If you’ve never read Loos, I highly recommend her. She’s absolutely ruthless and hilarious.
We are having the most gruesome Indian Summer here. All I want to do is wear my Fall clothes and I’m still stuck in Summer wear.
Knock on wood, my health seems to be slowly improving and I’m back to work on art! I’ve had to make more changes to my diet. I had no idea so many things contain gluten. It’s ridiculous.
I had a great time working on this commission. I don’t get to draw men as often as I like. The client was very specific, but also incredibly easy going which made for a delightful working relationship. I’m fairly in love with the color choices. I originally have a deep, deep red background, but he asked if it could be made into more of a teal, which looked great. I got to choose the Blade Runner-esque type for an 80s throwback vibe and used a pencil texture to color it, giving it a rougher look.
If you’re a gamer, you can visit Jason on his twitch page: http://www.twitch.tv/xredjayx/profile
The oddest, scariest thing happened to me over the course of the last week and a half. My hands seized up and stopped working. I suppose it was actually my joints, but you get the picture. When I was pregnant with Tony I developed an allergy to rye. The kind of allergy where you break out in hives all over your body. It was bizarre. I’ve never been allergic to anything, let alone rye. I love rye! But no more, I cut out rye and wondered if maybe it would go away after the baby was born and my body went back to normal.
At the same time I noticed my right index knuckle was a little swollen. I put it down to baby water weight. But after the baby was born and I’d lost all the other water weight, the swollen knuckle remained. And then in April I began to have abdominal pain. I thought it was my left ovary which likes to form a cyst when ever I get even the tiniest bit chubby. But after a couple of months the pain was still there and my pinky knuckle had begun to swell. I was definitely going to have to have it checked out as soon as I figured out what was going on- and I kept bruising very easily as well. A sonogram with my obgyn revealed everything to be normal. A few weeks later I went to my gp. He wondered if maybe I had an abdominal adhesion which was causing a blockage. I went in for a CT scan. Nope. Some very minimal adhesions, common after a c-section, but nothing remotely major.
I went on a mostly liquid diet which resolved it. Then I ate some spaghetti and my stomach cramped and puffed up. Okaaaaaay, maybe I have to take it easy on the wheat, I thought. The next week I ate pizza made from Trader Joe’s herb and garlic dough. I broke out in hives. Turns out there’s rye seeds in the dough. Hmmmm. A couple of days later Mikael and I went to a pta meet and greet at Karl’s school. They had croissants and god help me, I ate 2.
The next day, Saturday, I couldn’t use my hands or wrists. The joints were frozen. I stopped eating much of anything. I went on an Anti-Inflammatory diet. On Tuesday I saw my gp who diagnosed me with osteoarthritis. Over the next few days I watched my joints blow up. It spread to my feet and back. On Thursday I tried getting a referral to a rheumatologist through my gp, which was the most hideous, Kafka-esque Gilliam-esque Brazil experience I’ve ever encountered.
On friday my gp emailed me letting me know he’d sent the referral, but I had to have labs and xrays. I did the labs that day and the xrays on Saturday.
On Monday I called rheumatology, but my gp had never sent the referral. And he wasn’t at work. The amazing rheumatology nurse tried to book the appointment for me, but couldn’t. I had to wait for my gp’s fill in to make a phone appointment that afternoon to talk to me before they’d send the referral, despite my gp emailing me saying he had sent it. The fill in decided that she needed to hear my whole story before she’d send the referral. I was so NICE. I even took a deep breath and let her know that she seemed NICE and that I was going to TRY to be NICE about this. And afterwards with my HELP she found the email my doctor had sent me. She did have to grace to apologize.
I really just needed Tuttle to fix everything.
I finally got an appointment from rheumatology for the next day, Tuesday. In the meantime, my hands and the rest of my joints in my body had been steadily returning to normal- including the first joints to swell months ago, my index and then pinky. But I still wanted to talk to the rheumatologist because I had a theory.
The rheumatologist was very kind. He informed me that my labs were normal and went through them. Next he went through my xrays and told me that they too were normal. I then told him that I had a theory, if he’d like to hear it. I opened my notebook, but didn’t actually need to consult it after all. It’s engraved on my memory. He said yes and I explained about my new rye allergy as well as what happens to me anytime I eat gluten. He examined my hands. There were still traces of puffyness in two of my joints, but my hands are normal. I have some slight bony growth on a couple of knuckles which is osteoarthritis, but it’s extremely minimal to the point where he would be surprised if it gave me any trouble in the next few years at all.
He thinks it’s likely I have a gluten intolerance, possibly brought on by pregnancy. Unfortunately in order to test for it, I’d have to start eating gluten again and there’s no way I’m going to do that. It was literally the scariest thing that has ever happened to me. Even scarier than my c-section scar becoming infected. Contemplating a life where I couldn’t use my hands was terrifying.
I know that Gluten Free is considered a fad and some people don’t think gluten intolerance is real, but all I can say is, my body hates it now and will do its best to immobilize me so I can’t ever reach for another croissant. Strangely enough, I don’t even miss it. Although I did celebrate yesterday with a gluten free cookie, I’m not rushing out to buy gluten free bread or pasta. I’m just going to let my intestines heal up over the next 6 months before I delve into the hoard of gluten substitutes. I’m also taking it very easy. The last few weeks have wrecked me. It’s light out at 9:30 for me. And I already feel so much better. My stomach is no longer swollen, my energy level is getting better, my happiness is improving- although the Zoloft may have something to do with that. After 5 years of being ssri free the perfect storm of my worsening health along with my Grandfather in hospice turned me into a perpetual motion machine of anxiety. I recognized the signs and decided it was time. I don’t enjoy feeling like a hive of bees has made their home in my chest. Hopefully I’ll be off them by January. In the meantime, I’m just so thankful they exist.
Of course, this means Pumpkin Spice Latte and I are breaking up. It’s a fucking Romeo and Juliet story, I tell you! I love you PSL, but we can’t be together bc no one knows if you’re gluten free. I’ll always remember our times together, though.
A few years ago I drew my disheveled unicorn, “Keeping the Dream Alive.” It was a bit of a joke on the perfection of unicorns. After all, it takes a lot of work to look that magical. Afterwards I sketched out my “Brunette Unicorn” to kind of continue the joke. Honestly, it was a bit how I felt growing up in the land of blondes, aka Southern California- a dark pool in a field of wheat. As I was doodling in my sketchbook it occurred to me that there would surely be a ginger unicorn or a black unicorn. I mean, why not?
These two ladies are finished, drawing wise, and waiting for paint. I have 2 more in my queue that I may be able to wrap up this week, leaving next week to begin painting!
Last week we had a brief moment of cooler weather which I took advantage of. I mentioned that I inherited some clothes from my husband’s great Aunt, and here are a couple of them. The soft brown tea length skirt has wooden button that go down the side. I had to take it in about 4″ in the waist and body of the skirt. It has an elastic waist so there wasn’t going to be a really great way to do that without cutting the elastic on each side, trimming it, reattaching it and then trimming each side. Orrrrrrr I could take it out of the center back seam which would shift the side seams toward the back. I took it out of the back simply bc that way I only had to do it once instead of twice, which is what would have happened by taking from the sides. But, with this tightly gathered style, you can’t even see the side or back seams at all, so it all worked out.
My sweet Karl is too excited to get some vanilla milk at Target to bother staying still. This is what I’m assuming is a home made brushed cotton dress. It had small shoulder pads that I cut out. The shoulders, even before this, were a little too wide for me & I contemplated taking the sleeve out and moving it in a bit. But that would change the sleeve length, which is like exactly where it is. So, I’m living with it. I cut off about 6″ from the bottom to make it a little more contemporary, otherwise it looked very “vintage drag”. There are pintucks running down each sleeve which really made me fall in love with this dress. <3
My husband Mikael took both of these photos to send them to his mother so she could see that her Aunt’s clothes are getting a new life. And yes, they all knew I was going to have to alter them for a better fit :)
We are ready to go to the neighborhood diner. I LOVE diner food. Love it. Give me diner coffee, eggs and hashbrowns and I’m set!We’re in total agreement Agent Cooper Coop is from Welcome to Twin Peaks
Pinterest stopped working a while ago, maybe a year ago, when they changed their algorithm. But it was one of two platforms I actually like (the other being Instagram) and I’ve hung on hoping they would change it again. It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen, but I recently figured out how to make it kind of work. Basically you can either bookmark your favorite follows “pins” page and visit them individually or you can do the same through Pinterest, though that’s several more steps. I haven’t looked at my Pinterest feed in ages and now that I’ve found a way around it, I can’t imagine I ever will again.
It’s a crappy fix, but it’ll do while I spend 20 minutes downing 3 cups of coffee, bleary eyed in the morning and trying to turn into a human being, while my kids play on the floor.
It’s summer and I have a baby, so that means that like it or not, there’s a lot of sitting involved. I decided to revisit the glorious train wreck that is Once Upon a Time. I got hooked on it a few years ago and it remains my favorite guilty tv pleasure. The acting is mostly good and in some cases very good/spectacular- Robert Carlyle clearly acts rings around everyone, going from manic to menacing to tender in the blink of an eye. But the writing suffers from one of my least favorite narrative devices- telling instead of showing.
Seasons 1 and 2 are delightful. Imagine Dynasty and Dallas where everyone is magical. ZOMG! Beginning with season 3 and going forward the writers seem to just churn out stories with some new novelty and forget about developing the characters we’re (supposedly) invested in. Season 4 in particular was a nearly complete waste until the very last midseason episode. Luckily the second half of season 4 picked up a little.
Seasons 1 and 2 also have some of the best costuming. I’m not talking about the Enchanted Forest scenes, which are pure Alexis Carrington run through Drag Race- in the best way possible. No, I’m talking about what they wear in Storybrooke, which is a twee girl’s fantasy.
Mary Margaret Blanchard is werkin’ the Amelie vibe so hard! Of course I love it.
number 1- buy a cardigan in every color. Every. Color.
I frequently page through my collection of Burda Magazines late at night and play dress up in my head. Can you tell I made a lot of paper dolls when I was a child… and a teen… and still. Anyway, Burda seems to have some holes in their pattern collections. I couldn’t find a simple shell with a lace inset collar. Obviously you can make one, which is what I’ll probably do. I don’t get paid by Burda, this is just because I love their patterns and find them incredibly reliable. But, I don’t spend much time on their website anymore since it turned into Craftsy.
I’ve recently figured out that the sewing world has changed enormously in the last couple of years- and not in a way that interests me. There are a lot of beginner seamstresses, which is great, but as a result there’s a trainload of money to be made is in simple, beginner patterns. And that’s trickled into every pattern company, including Burda. Along with the current fashion trend of simple shapes paired with expensive fabric this has resulted in the same ultra simple patterns all over the internet. It’s not that I hate simple. I just made a shift out of quilting cotton for crying out loud. But I’m definitely suffering from samey pattern fatigue. So, I’m consoling myself with my stack of magazines. These however I pulled from their website bc I’m not up for scanning everything.
I’m so into this outfit. I love the shoes. I used to have 2 pairs of lace ups that unfortunately wore out over the course of 15 years. I’m currently on the hunt for replacements. And how hot was Graham? He was on some British show I tried watching with Gillian Anderson, but I decided watching serial killers with my kid was a bad idea.
So many cardigans, right? Anyway, this was my least successful Burda find. While I enjoy a mandarin collar, i thought it was weird that there weren’t more sleeve options. I like the skirt pleats though. I’m so in love with both of the plus dresses.
Have I mentioned how much I hate pockets on dresses? Or anywhere on the lower half of my body. I think I’ve sewn one things with pockets and they were totally decorative. Oh- they work. You could put items in them, but never in a million years would I actually do that. Probably bc I don’t want to look like my saddlebags are giving birth to my keys. Anyway, this dress has been on my “easy make” radar since the issue came out. I love the Dior darts.
This one was impossible to find! It’s such a basic design that it seems weird that it wouldn’t exist. But I’m thinking that since most plus women are rectangular or ovoid with waists close to their bust measurement that maybe it’s not a popular style? I do know that the plus sized women I know in real life won’t be caught dead in a dirndl skirt, so maybe there’s that too.
I’m not going to make any of these anytime soon, esp since I already have my Autumn sewing plan. But I do love to day dream. Between Mary Margaret in season 1 and Belle in season 2, I have lots of clothes pr0n to ogle ;D
Ugh- procrastination over!
Screencaps from http://kissthemgoodbye.net/onceuponatime/index.php?cat=2
I first read Dune as a teen and every few years I go back to it. It never ceases to put pieces of my life into perspective. For years I’ve wanted to name a cat “Muad’Dib”, which inevitably metamorphosed into “Meow’Dib” because I love puns and am obviously incredibly lame. I can’t recommend Frank Herbert’s books enough- although for your own sanity avoid the horrible “prequels” that came out.
I wanted to show Paul with the waterfat cut away and old, slightly sad eyes staring out from his still youthful face… but, you know, as a cat. Crazy kitten Alia always makes me laugh. And the cheering “Furrmen” atop the Sandworm shout, “Meow’Dib!”
Available as a T-shirt for men, women, & children, as well as a print.
Next up- Unicorns for everyone!
Even though it’s only August, the trees here have already started to turn. I’ve been thinking about Autumn and everything that goes with it: shorter days, cooler weather, beautiful foliage, PSL (and everything pumpkin- I don’t care! I love it!), and cute clothes. Ahhhhhhhhh the clothes! Karl will be starting Kindergarten which means I’ll have a few hours (sort of) to myself in the morning, provided Tony naps on schedule.
I lost the baby weight so I’ve been eyeing my patterns and daydreaming. But, after buying some fabric over the summer I’ve vowed to work my way through my fabric stash before I buy any more. I’m pretty confident I can sew at least 2 things.
I like the neckline on the Eleonore (from the Republique du Chiffon book). I plan to transfer it to my Built By Wendy shift dress so I don’t have to make a toile for this. This is seriously the only way I can ever get anything done, sewingwise. These days I just don’t have the time to make endless muslins (esp from newer companies) trying to get a decent fit. The fabric is cotton from Stonemountain & Daughter in Berkeley. I’ve been meaning to peek in there for the last few years, but never got around to it. I really love their selection. Someone complimented me on my geometric dress and collar! But I was too shy to tell her I’d made them. Unfortunately the aisles aren’t big enough to get my stroller through, even though it’s not very big- which I understand. Space is at a premium in Berkeley. I ended up taking the kids back outside, putting the stroller away, and carrying the baby. Unfortunately carrying a baby and trying to carry a bolt of cloth to the cutting table requires a bit of dexterity. I’m going to have to remember to pack the Babybjorn or more likely just wait until Mikael’s days off.
Karl has been on a dinosaur roll so I’ve been making him paper dinos to color. He’s been hogging the dining room table with them. Archeopteryx and Pteranodon like to nest in the flowers. I have nightmares of the vase overturning and destroying any books I leave on the table.
I’m definitely going to have to make a muslin for this. It’s Burda 8/2009 #112 (BEST issue ever). I’ve had this pinwale, twee as fuck, corduroy laying around forever. I think it’ll be perfect for Fall. My son’s dinosaurs agree. I’m really, really excited to make this bc in the same issue there’s a more complicated version that I’ve been eyeing for a gazillion years. And yes, I have fabric for that too.
I also sort of inherited some clothes from Mikael’s Great Aunt. She was quite the beauty and a clothes horse. The clothes were shipped to my inlaws and I was given the chance to pick anything I thought might fit me. I’m also the closest to her in build, being tall and somewhat slim- although she had more of an athletic 1940s body as opposed to my pear shape. Her mother did quite a bit of sewing for her when she was young and turning the skirts inside out has demystified welt pockets for me like nothing else has managed to do. I picked out a few wool skirts as well as 2 Pendleton wool suits, a couple of beautiful day dresses, and a long cotton dress with a crazy puffed shoulder jacket that looks like something Rachel from Blade Runner would wear while picnicking with Deckard. I’m going to have to alter everything, but it’s doable so I’m incredibly excited. The best part is the colors! The most beautiful greens and deep blues. Gah! I feel incredibly lucky. The few things my Grandmother kept stopped fitting me when I turned 13 and grew into the kaiju I am today. I am happy I have a dress my Grandmother and I made together.
Back to work! I’m almost finished with a new illustration- then I have a painting I’m itching to do- and THEN I should be able to knock out the Eleonore dress and the Burda cape(let).
August 2nd was our anniversary. Seven years of marriage! We think. We actually can’t remember. Two days before, I was lying in bed trying to nap while our baby Tony was napping- yes, sleep when the baby sleeps is the best advice ever. Suddenly I remembered and texted my husband in the living room- “holy crap! It’s our anniversary in 2 days!” Yes, I texted him bc getting up entailed trying to be a ninja across the squeaky floor to avoid waking the baby. “Holy crap!” he texted back. I’m pretty sure we’ve forgotten every year except the first one, probably bc having a young child/children means we can’t take off for the weekend. Luckily his parents were due in for a week long visit the next day. We spent our evening of freedom at the theater watching Ant-Man (so much fun) while eating chocolate and drinking beer (our movie theater serves beer on the weekends).
Despite the day to day of raising children, worrying about money, and never getting to watch what I want on tv, I’m still crazy about my husband.
Well, these eyes have finally gone blurry. It’s pretty common for people in my family to need glasses in our early 40s, and sure enough I hit 42 and whammo! My eyes just gave up focusing up close. Reading and more importantly drawing and painting were giving me a headache.
I’d heard about Warby Parker through a friend and a few months ago we ordered some trial pairs for Mikael, who wears glasses full time and has since he was a child. I was hoping to find a pair for him that were dark on top and clear on the bottom- like these worn by Dr. Wells on The Flash (played by Tom Cavanagh):
Or these worn by Jeff Goldblum:
Sure enough, we did. The Huxley in Tennessee Whiskey. He looks even cooler- if that’s possible!
So, I looked through Warby Parker for myself and settled on the Ripley in Oak Barrel. Not only did they make me think of Sigourney Weaver’s character in Alien, but they were a winning combination of light and hugely owlish, so I wouldn’t be staring at the frames from the inside. We went into San Francisco to their store. Everyone was suuuuuuuper nice. We barged in, my husband, myself, our giant 5 year old Karl, and our stroller with baby Tony. Miracle of miracles, they didn’t act like they were allergic to children. We didn’t get any dirty looks at all from the staff, which was a welcome relief. The exact opposite. They had coloring sheets and crayons on hand, gave one to Karl, and seated him at a large central table. He was very happy and content. They even asked pleasant questions about our children and talked about their nieces and nephews. Shopping with children is stressful, and shopping with them in San Francisco is the stuff of nightmares, even though Karl is very well behaved. But people in SF hate children. They fucking hate them. And their parents. I know there are a lot of shitty parents who don’t control their kids in public, but damn! But no – Warby Parker was amazing! Mikael hit the nail on the head- they’re like an Apple store for glasses. And I don’t even care if it’s not genuine. It was great- like Mikael wants a second pair of glasses from them kind of great.
Also- I’m not shilling for Warby Parker- no offense to those who do- we’ve just had a genuinely great experience with them. And they’re inexpensive! Middle class Northern California inexpensive mind you, but yeah! And yes, I probably should have run my photos through a “make me pretty” Instagram filter, but it feels so gross to me. I know that’s really de rigueur for blogs, buuuuuuuttttt… I don’t go out of my way to post hideous photos of myself, but I also want them to still look like me. And I’m not a “blogger” so that let’s me off the hook. I think.
Anyway, wearing glasses, even a fraction of the time, is weird. I’ve always wanted glasses, but staring through them is taking some getting used to. And despite the adage that boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses, my husband keeps asking me to help him find a book…
I read that a little over a year ago.
Afterwards I immediately asked myself, “Does the internet make me happier?”
The answer was, “no.”
The next question I asked was, “But does it make me a better- and by that I mean a kinder, more considerate, more informed- person?”
The answer was also, “no.”
And so, a year ago I started paring down my internet use. I said to goodbye to tumblr, although I created a new placeholder account with a scattering of illustrations. I hardly ever used twitter but at that point I set it up to just tweet from this blog and my instagram. I don’t use it for anything else and check on it about every 3-4 months. I quit my favorite sci-fi website bc I’d been finding their ethics dubious. Pinterest is a sea of serenity that I used to spend 30 minutes a day on repinning my friends amazing finds. Then they changed their algorithm. I no longer see everyone’s pins so I drifted away. I maybe spend 30 minutes on it every 1-2 weeks. Instagram is currently my favorite. I am privy to the wips of so many amazing artists.
Which leaves Facebook. Unfortunately it’s still the best way to reconnect with old friends, but I do a lot of scrolling at high speed bc there’s no good way to filter posts. And of course you don’t see all of your friends’ posts anyway so periodically I have to look them up.
The virtual pruning has improved my real life immeasurably. I like people again. And I’m happy to engage in the delusion that they like me.
I still love to blog and read blogs, but the drawing table beckons…
I have a painting in the Jedi July show at Hive Gallery in Los Angeles. The show opens July 11th.
The painting is titled, “The Force is Strong in My Family.” 9″x12″ Gouache and Acrylic in 185lb paper.
I gave Leia a green lightsaber to reflect her original last name, “Organa” and connect her to the element of Earth, as well as inverted triangles. I designed her costume to mimic Princess Yuki from “The Forbidden Fortress,” one of Lucas’s inspirations for Leia’s character.
I also wanted the painting to have the colors of a woodblock print. I scanned in a couple of my favorites, as well as my pencil drawing of Leia. Then I played around with colors until I had the whole color map. I use gouache so over painting isn’t really an option. If I completely screw up a color I have to start over.
Next up I’m working on a T-shirt design for myself!
I created some art for the Murdock the Marvelous T-Shirt! Here’s the link if you’d like to pick one up~
A little about Murdock from his owner, Anna:
“Murdock was brought to the Sonoma Humane Society as a stray when he was only a few weeks old. He had a chronic infection in both eyes that had caused them to rupture. I took him home with me to take care of him & he never left.
I didn’t plan on keeping him while I was fostering him, but we went through so much & were very attached to each other by the time he was finally fully recovered. He was really sick for a long time & almost didn’t survive his first surgery. He had to have a blood transfusion & was hospitalized in an oxygen chamber.
Even while going through his trials, Magical Murdock has grown into a very loving and happy cat. His positive attitude and sweet disposition steal the hearts of many. He continues to thrive and doesn’t let his disability slow him down. He’s a true inspiration!”
Anna and her family are wonderful. She works full time and on top of that fosters animals :D
One of the things I wanted to accomplish with my 2015 Sketchbook Project, “Princess Witch,” was to actually use it as a way to narrow down which ideas I wanted to paint. I started with “Roxanne,” which although simple, is one of my favorites from the series. I chose “Roxanne” as a name bc one of its meanings is “bright” and I like the idea of a how a hypercube looks like a diamond.
9″ x 12″
Gouache and Acrylic on 185 lb. Paper
I’ve been wearing my new dress non-stop lately. The weather here has been bonkers- HOT-COLD-HOT! I find this little cotton dress to work in whatever temperature. I’m so in love with its pretty gold geometric print.
And now, some of my other favorite “Roxanne”s~
I was lucky to be asked to contribute my illustration, “Power Animal” to Black Hill Press’s anthology, “The Cost of Paper: vol. 2.” !
My son Karl just graduated from Preschool and I wanted something special to wear as well as something to wear with the Twin Peaks collar necklace I made last year. I found this lovely geometric fabric at Joanne’s in the quilting section. I washed it a couple of times and it got very soft, which is pretty standard for most quilting cottons I’ve gotten there. It’s thin enough to be breathable in summer, but thick enough that I didn’t have to line it or wear a slip. Here it is on the morning before we left for the ceremony.
And here we are after. I’m so proud of him! Yes, I’m a little wrinkled post sitting and socializing. Plus with a belt it has a tendency to creep upward, but all in all it’s very comfortable and easy to wear.
I added cuffs and a sleeve pleat from a Burda Easy pattern. I wanted an early 80s look with the shoulders which I think worked out nicely. I’m one of those broad shouldered women with even broader hips (Hello Joan Crawford!) so a strong shoulder balances me out nicely and makes me look less pear and more hourglass shaped.
I used the Built By Wendy Shift pattern from her Dresses book and swapped in the sleeve head from Burda Easy Spring/Summer 2013 (one of Burda’s best issues in my opinion).Given that I’m 35″ bust and 41″ hip post baby, with a few more pounds and LOTS of toning to go, I should have cut a Small bust and a Large hip, but I like my clothes slightly more fitted & in my experience most modern patterns have loads of ease. Loooooooaaaaaaads of it. I used the Xtra Small through the bust and graded out to a Medium in the hips, which ended up being totally unnecessary and I ended up with a Small through the hips ( which is bonkers).
I added an invisible zipper, which took forever for me to remember how to put one in, but eventually it worked out. The insides are just pinked so there’s no fancy finishing to show off and instead of a facing I used bias tape for the neckline, which reduced bulk.
Now I’m off to the store and hopefully I’ll be able to get some drawing done this afternoon~
I got an early Mother’s Day gift from my husband, a book called,”Wonder Woman- Amazon-Hero-Icon- ” Which was fun because I’d just finished an illustration of Princess Diana on Paradise Island before she becomes Wonder Woman- sort of a “what if?” Anyone following my Instagram knows how long I’ve struggled with this picture. It took forever to come together, but I’m finally happy with it.
A few years ago I was drawing superheroes with my son Karl. When I drew Wonder Woman I drew her costume a little differently each time (she’s had so many). One was a variation of this one & I really liked it. I love “Gladiator” and wanted to incorporate a Greek/Roman look, without falling prey to over designing it. While I’m also not a big fan of everything in comics having to be realistic or somehow “make sense,” I’m not opposed to a created world having its own logic.
Wonder Woman’s costume is constantly redesigned. For some reason people can’t deal with her swimsuit. Personally I love it. But the redesigns are usually a mess- not even a hot mess because there’s nothing hot about them- they’re just a mess. So, I set about figuring out why WW wears what she wears. I hit upon the idea that the Amazon’s think America worships Zeus bc of the American eagle on Steve Trever’s uniform. I expanded that to the Amazon armor having the animal totem of each Amazon’s patron goddess. In Diana’s case, a stag for the goddess Artemis. When she wins the contest to become Wonder Woman and travel to Man’s World the Amazons make her American armor with Zeus’s eagle.
Oh, and my dream Wonder Woman went to 1940s America with Steve and then went back to Paradise Island, only to eventually return to the US in the present day. Something she can do bc the Amazons are immortal- DUH DC Comics. Sheesh! Each reboot makes everything so ridiculously convoluted. She’s a magical princess! It’s so easy!
Anyway, here’s the lovely Princess Diana as she goes to investigate the mysterious crash off the coast of Paradise Island. (Yes, I know it’s Themyscira, but Steve can’t pronounce that so he just calls it “Paradise Island”. Poor Steve. He’s such a hot, good natured himbo.)
My sketchbook project, “Princess Witch” is online over at the Sketchbook Project: https://sketchbookproject.com/library/16064
I have trouble expressing how happy this project made me. It provided me with final drawings for future paintings- one in the works right now- and crystalized my vision of this little world that I’ve been working on for the last 5 years. It’s a wonderful feeling to get to a place where you’re finally happy with something you’ve created (until you look at it the next day ;D ).
“Princess Witch” explores the 4th dimension intersecting with our own, time perception in animals, pictorial language, identity, and magick with a K- all wrapped up in a pop culture love letter to Twin Peaks and clothed in pretty 1970s Biba -esque dresses.
My book is currently on tour!
I made this dress last year when I was pregnant with Tony. These photos were taken in late August or early September- when I was around 8 months pregnant. The pattern is from the book, Simple Modern Sewing by Shufu To Seikatsu Sha. It’s pattern 3, the “Boatneck Dress.
I LOVE this pattern. It’s incredibly easy. The neckline is wide enough that you don’t need a zipper, but it doesn’t gape. Be warned, the sizing on this is… interesting. The dress is supposed to be loose, but I like my clothing a little more fitted. Initially, I made a size Small, which is a finished bust measurement of 38.5 inches, including ease. this was way too big for me, even in the shoulders. I ended up making an XS, which has a finished bust measurement of 37″ and grading out to a Medium for the waist and hips to accommodate my tummy. At the time, my bust measurement was 36″, but post pregnancy, as I’ve been going back to my normal weight, I’m going to have to take it in quite a bit. I know a lot of people shy away from Japanese patterns, thinking they’ll be too small, but trust me, the fit is usually so loose that you often have to take them in for a more American look. I am 5’9″ so I had to lower the bust dart, but I didn’t have to lower or widen the arm at all. On the book model dress length is mid calf, but I cut mine to right above the knee for a slightly 60s look.
As you know, I’m critical of “social justice warriors”- not actual social justice, mind you, but the hate spewing/tears drinking/new-speak ing variety that has taken hold online. Somewhere along the way liberals decided that adopting the debating tools of the belligerent Tea Party loving Right was really satisfying.
I hope that we, as a society, can step back from this kind of action. And especially as Liberal/Progressives we have so much to lose from alienating people. It’s not going to matter if we’re on the right side of history if people stop listening to us. Our message may be wonderful, but when we present it with a “you’re a fucking bigoted, racist idiot” if you disagree with the minutiae of my position, then people will bypass you. The good work may get done eventually, but why should we waste decades of possible progress bc we’re not interested in conducting civil arguments? This isn’t about being a doormat- if someone tells you to go fuck yourself, you can obviously say the same back. Why is any dissent is handled in the most obnoxious, bullying manner? Why do we display a complete lack of faith in people who we know are allies? Maybe ask for clarification before branding them a bigot. Let’s not have every discussion become an endless series of clarifications so that we never end up having an a discussion about whatever it was that we wanted to talk about- as well as maybe stepping back from making an entire argument about a single word they used while ignoring the rest of what they said.
I recently had a chat with my neighbor. “I don’t really consider myself a feminist” she said. I waited until she was done and then said, “Yeah, I definitely consider myself a feminist bc I can tell you, if I’m doing the same job as a guy, then I better be getting paid the same, you know?” She agreed and we just gently proceeded from there. Turns out she has a feminist sister who, at family get togethers, likes to talk about how any women who gets married & has children, as opposed to putting a career first, is wasting her life. I didn’t dogpile on her sister. All I did was ask, “Ohhhhh, does she have kids?” No, but she’d just gotten married and wants to have one. At that point I laughed, “Well, hmmmm, I guess you’ll see how she feels if that happens. I’ve had a career and now I’m married with kids. I don’t think either is a waste. All feminism is, is if a woman wants to get married or have kids, or both, then society can be set up in a way where it’s safe for her to do so- and if a woman doesn’t want to get married or have kids and instead wants a career, then she gets the chance to do that. It’s all good.”
“Wow, you are the first Feminist I’ve ever talked to that I agreed with,” she told me.
That didn’t make me feel good. All you need to do is connect with people. Take turns talking and listening. You’re not converting people. It isn’t instantaneous. People don’t need to agree with you. You can put the conversation to rest without nuking it. If you start getting heated just let the other person know that it’s a personal issue to you & you don’t feel like you can continue talking about it. And if someone like me can do this, then you can do this. 99% of all the days of my life I have felt like an alien anthropologist, studying humanity without ever feeling like I’m a part of it.
I don’t want the next decade to be a rehash of the 80s where we lost the progress of 70s bc we let our infighting get the better of us until it became our public face. I have friends who are all over the political spectrum. I’m not going to trash them bc they espouse somewhat different ideas from mine- ideas that are often shaped by their life experiences, btw. I’m not going to burn bridges when I’d rather build them. And yes, that means building a bridge to the most privileged members of our society that doesn’t involve discounting anything they say with an off the cuff, “check your privilege.” When I talk to guys who don’t believe in sexism I just tell them a story about my own experience. And I don’t expect the scales to fall from their eyes as they yell, “thank you! thank you! I have seen the light!” Seriously? No. It just goes into the collective pit somewhere and who knows, maybe they’ll experience something or see something and think- “ohhhh, hey that’s like that thing I’ve been hearing about. That really happens? That’s kind of fucked up.” And yes, that has happened to people I know. It’s also happened to me.
I recently came across this post and it’s so good. So right on. It’s kind of long, but I hope you give it a read.
Digital Shodan by Chris R (http://twitter.com/offby1)
To all new readers: I’ve written a follow up to this article.
Not long ago my partner and I were seated in her car discussing the arbitrary nature of certain holidays and I opined, perhaps halfheartedly, that New Year’s was a worthwhile holiday simply for it being a useful vantage point for reflection, however arbitrary. It provides an overlook whence one can see a year of one’s life and world. A recent tranche of writing by severalprominentmembersof the trans and queer feminist gaming community has renewed my faith in that idea– with the overleaf of the year we suddenly find a great deal of penetrating insight into activist discourse and the risks incurred by our silence about certain excesses that have come to define us too often.
The wages of rage in our communities, and the often aimless, unchecked anger…
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“Hey you with the pretty face! Welcome to the human race!”
I went in for a scheduled c-section in October. Kaiser has upped its game- everything was really nice. After Karl’s disastrous birth (not at a Kaiser) which involved a neglectful midwife, hours of hard labor, & baby that was “sunny side up”, I ended up with a surprise c-section. Post baby, it wasn’t any easier- the nurses didn’t answer my calls for pain medicine, my c-section became infected, a colicky baby, and post-partum depression. I was determined to hedge my bets with Tony as much as possible.
My c-section was scheduled. I bought a belt to hold my guts in afterwards (surprise! Kaiser ended up providing one!). And I made sure that my pain management was something the nurses had to do every 4 hours.
For Tony, I had a spinal instead of an epidural, which was much, much nicer. And they asked what kind of music I’d like to listen to. I picked ELO, the Electric Light Orchestra. As fortune would have it, the staff liked 70s music & a couple were familiar with & liked ELO.
They almost didn’t get Tony out. Apparently I have a lot of scar tissue from Karl. Thankfully, they made it happen and as the opening bars of “Mr. Blue Sky” played, I heard a hearty cry. He was the pinkest baby that week and at 8lbs 5oz! truly a Thunder Bear!
Like Karl he has a different blood type than I do & was also jaundiced. Unlike Karl, he did not want to nurse. We tried everything. After receiving some spectacularly stupid advice from a lactation consultant- no Lady, I am not going to let him get hungrier until he eventually eats- I ended up pumping and formula supplementing. He had trouble with the bottle nipple too, but bc the milk could essentially pour down his throat, he at least got enough milk to poop out his jaundice.
I got a lot of push back for formula feeding, which I found so strange. After being told for the umpteenth time, “Well you know, breast fed babies have higher IQs,” I dryly intoned, “Yes. We’re hoping he won’t be TOO stupid.” Obviously I was pro breast. I had breast fed Karl until my 3rd bout of mastitis had put that to bed. Luckily both my obgyn & our pediatrician were supportive after I told them I had just started lying to people when they asked.
Interestingly enough, this time I’ve been pretty well rested. I bonded with Tony much sooner- and so did my husband. There was no colic this time around either. And I’m losing the baby weight much faster. It’s been *knock on wood* wonderful.
He is the sweetest baby. My little Libra is truly ruled by the goddess of love.
Happy Valentine’s Day to my beautiful husband, Mikael.
Today is one of those days where I don’t want to do anything other than cuddle up with my husband, eat some cookies, and maybe power watch something mindless like “Scrubs.” We’ve both been sick with a sore throat cough so the most romantic thing I can think of is an enormous amount of snuggling on the couch. There may be cocoa involved in my fantasy.
A far as gifts, which are always low key for us, Mikael wanted to do surprises this year. I hate surprises. But I decided to roll with it this year. This organism is trying to evolve!
Your house has many rooms
The kitchen’s filled with food
I’ll find a place inside
The dreams that pass across your face
Come from a secret place
Everyone close your eyes
I am a shaky ladder
Outside of space and time
But who is standing on your street
These buildings are not real
My tricks are useless here
That’s what a lover hears
It’s what a fool believes
It’s not too late to try
I’ll step out from the shadows
Outside of space and time
Broke your teeth
Somewhere out beyond the stars
A funny face
Some lost in space
Everyone’s enlightened everyday
You may reach nirvana when you comb your hair
We’ll join this cosmic saga
Where we will meet tonight
Spiralling out of sight
Outside of space and time
Vanessa made these awesome Valentine’s Day cards!
When Margot suggested we celebrate Galentine’s Day for our February #UntamedStyle post, I was so in. I LOVE my girls! Friendship and Lady Love reigns supreme! This is my year of Love, Radical Self Love, The Joy of Love! Loving myself is about acting out of love instead of fear. It’s been a conscious journey and an amazing ride, and its only just begun.
We all have our good days and our bad days. On my bad days, I have found that the women I’v surrounded myself with feel my pain, lift my spirits, and help me rise.
So I want to spread a little Love to all my friends and chosen family, who make up my Feminist Community of Love! I’ve made some Inspired Galentines Day Cards for my real life Sheroes. Feel free to share the LoVE!
Galentines, Thanks for Supporting my Self Love Affair!
Sending you So much Love, Light, and…
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Watched Backstrom last night. I love Rainn Wilson, but I’m over the trope. I was WAY over it while watching House- but the fine supporting cast kept me hooked. “Brilliant Asshole” still has the ability to provide some fun, but it’s going to have to be fresher. I don’t need another “not really racist-sexist cause they’re just tellin’ it like it is” character. 1. You’re never going to do it better than Hunter Thompson did in real life,
and 2. you need an emotional anchor. Sherlock has Watson, House has Wilson & Cuddy, Bones has Booth, Angela, Cam… okay, she has every other character in the show.
Here’s a news flash for you- you know what would be really shocking in a crime procedural? The brilliant asshole not being racist & sexist. How about a character that had picked up a book? Orrrrrrrr, ventured out of their office? Right? OMG! No way! If you want to drop some fucking “truth bombs” how about you have the “smart” character call the other characters on their bullshit while still acknowledging that yes, sometimes women are more in touch with their feelings or yes, sometimes people who aren’t white commit crimes? How about having the kindly Hindu doctor shut down Backstrom’s 9th grade soliloquy about how everyone’s afraid of death? Hey man, afraid of death? That’s fucking DEEP. Or- no wait, that’s merely a normal experience of most observed life on Earth.
Step it up. Wilson deserves better and so do we.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, published 1993. I was and am a big fan of the husband and wife illustrating team, Leo and Diane Dillon. I have a number of their books and would be hard pressed to pick a favorite. Nancy Willard crafts a sweet rhyming tale of the lovely apprentice Sylvia who apprentices with the magician Tottibo.
One of the best things about older children’s books is that in the copyright information they frequently include information about the illustrations:
“The full page illustrations were in watercolor, on Arches hot press watercolor paper mounted on board. The spot illustrations were in watercolor on Strathmore three-ply kid finish bristol board.
The geometric symbol worn by the sorcerer was devised by the artists bc of its meaning: the triangle stands for creative intellect, and the circle represents eternity- combined, they signify endless creativity.”
“Mount Dragon Eye’s? It’s very near,
yet no one travels it for fear
of beasts that mutter, huff, and blow,
round the magician Tottibo.
Beyond his house the earth looks dead.
‘Take heart, you beasts and bugs,’ he said.
‘Let spiders sing and panthers play.
My new apprentice comes today!'”
underneath the dust jacket, the front cover is embossed (I love details like this).Sylvia’s three wheeled trike. In the past women when women wore heavy skirts it was easier for them to ride bikes like this.
Sylvia’s clogs are on point.
“Mount Dragon Eyes? It’s very near,
and every day not far from here,
round a high stool with silver feet,
those who would study magic meet
The gryphons dance, the dragons doze;
they all admire each other’s clothes
while Sylvia teaches them to say
the spell she worked out yesterday
for turning pencils into pails
and failures into fairy tales.”
I thought I’d missed the deadline to send in my Sketchbook Project, but luckily I haven’t! It’s due in March. Last night I stayed up and collected all my doodles (they hardly qualify as sketches now) in one place. As soon as I have a final count for the book then it’ll be on to the next step: reference photos.
My work flow goes something like this- look at photos, movies/tv, & paintings for general mood. This helps a lot with composition. I have numerous Pinterest boards dedicated to inspiration.
– next, I doodle a general layout
-followed by a sketch
– then I take reference photos of myself. I’m going to be laying on our kitchen table for one of them which means my husband is going to have to snap a couple pictures.
-At that point I print them out on black and white, and start sketching in earnest. Sketches get cut apart, taped back together, & stuck up to the light so I can see them in reverse. I can do this in Photoshop shop too. It depends on how much tweaking the initial sketch needs.
-I trace over my rough sketch and draw. This drawing is still very simple with no shading. If it works for me, I transfer it to my final paper, which for paintings is Canson Acrylic paper and for drawings is Strathmore recycled drawing paper, which I prefer for the cream color of the paper itself.