from the jazz age to the space age

Category Archives: life aquatic

Oh Mother’s Day, no other holiday fills me with as much ambivalence as you.
So here’s my two favorite mothers and their words of wisdom:
tumblr_o1s3kqlOKS1ubc3b0o2_1280royaltenenbaums1“How long have you been a smoker?”
“22 years.”
“Well I think you should quit.”
(yes, I know the second picture is from a different scene, but I love her expression.)

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“If the clothes from that dry cleaning bag are on the floor of my closet, you’re going to be a very sorry young lady.”

Some days I struggle with the idea- “what is a good parent?” I had completely absent parents, so I have no real life, up close models to compare myself to. I usually describe myself as an adequate parent. My children are often insanely adorable, funny, and smart. But they’re also boring, unbelievably destructive, and occasionally mean. According to popular opinion regarding parenting, I’m responsible for both extremes. I know admitting, that for me, motherhood isn’t an “OMG! TREASURE EVERY MOMENT!!!!11111” experience probably makes people think that I’m not happy. But I’d say about 80% of the time I am. The other 20% though, holy shit. About 19 of that 20% was during Karl’s colic.
For me, being a mother has pried open parts of my psyche that I usually keep tamped down. (I’m now unbearably sentimental, complete with tears- curse you Harry Chapin!) While I try to keep things smooth and even, I find that most days I zig-zag between the smothering overattention of Etheline Tenenbaum and the exasperation/inattention of Betty Draper/Francis. But for all of that, becoming a mother has forced me to engage with the world in a way I’ve avoided. At times I’m both a better and a worse person than I was before- and an interesting side effect is, I’m a better, more inspired artist. I strive to create beautiful, meaningful paintings so that at some point in the distant future my children will have some idea of who I am beyond the “mother” they know.
So much of their personalities seem already set, yet I wonder what kind of people they will grow up to be. My secret desire for them both is that they are kind, but nobody’s fool- which is probably something I’m not supposed to admit in public. But I do. I want them to have the fortitude and wisdom to navigate life, and the grit to not be taken advantage of. That’s a quality I resisted up until I turned 30 and one of the few regrets I have is wasting decades of my life attempting to please people. I absolutely regret being “nice” and “cool” to people who didn’t merit it. And now I’m stuck with how to pass that lesson on to my children in way that they’ll embrace, rather than reject. They are already so far ahead of me than I was at their ages. They have so much confidence and determination. I can only hope I have many more years with them (even when they drive me crazy).


Yes, this song is ridiculously corny, but it makes me cry every time. Thanks a lot Mother hormones.


Here’s hoping this year is beautiful. Good Luck everyone!


I always feel like listening to Nick Cave when it rains.

Taking a break from Drawvember this weekend because the world is crazy.


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-

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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.

Brazil-inline-06On 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.
de-niro-brazil1I 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.
Always.

Brazil stills from:
https://thedissolve.com/features/movie-of-the-week/68-brazil-forum-style-gallows-humor-the-past-as-futur/
http://www.mustardweb.org/terrygilliam/


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.photo 1 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. ❤
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!photo 2We’re in total agreement Agent Cooper damn-fine-cup-of-coffee-e1336535321587-290x290Coop is from Welcome to Twin Peaks


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.
photo 1

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.

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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.


Photo 879 Photo 880Well, 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):

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Or these worn by Jeff Goldblum:

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Sure enough, we did. The Huxley in Tennessee Whiskey. He looks even cooler- if that’s possible!

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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…


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-from an “The Art of Dan Clowes: Modern Cartoonist”

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 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.

After these photos Karl and I made cookies!
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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.

Nuclear Unicorn

A landscape image of Shodan, a feminine face made up of green digital characters against a black background. 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…

View original post 3,815 more words


“Hey you with the pretty face! Welcome to the human race!”

10690147_10205409122897306_3151403374821173313_nMr. Anthony Thorbjorn is 4 months old!

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!haeckel_radiolaria

My love
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

It’s true
I am a shaky ladder
Intergalactic matter
Outside of space and time

But who is standing on your street
These buildings are not real
My tricks are useless here

“It’s true”
That’s what a lover hears
It’s what a fool believes
It’s not too late to try

Someday
I’ll step out from the shadows
Intergalactic matter
Outside of space and time

Dirty feet
Broke your teeth
Somewhere out beyond the stars
A funny face
Some lost in space
Are we?

Everyone’s enlightened everyday
You may reach nirvana when you comb your hair

I know
We’ll join this cosmic saga
Intergalactic matter
Where we will meet tonight
Spiralling out of sight
Outside of space and time


Vanessa made these awesome Valentine’s Day cards!

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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!

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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,

hunter-s-thompson-liebowitzand 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.


Some places you can get free and/or discounted coffee today on National Coffee Day~

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Shhhhhhh! I don’t want to hear any grousing about made up holidays when they involve free coffee ;D

And yes, I definitely got my Agent Cooper on and had a damn fine cup of coffee!


For a not particularly violent person, I love murder mysteries.

As I mentioned last time, I don’t find tv watching relaxing. The minutes crawl by, so I have to have something next to me to distract me, usually my phone where I’m reading an article (I don’t have social apps on my phone except Instagram). I would knit, but having the light bright enough doesn’t really enable my husband to watch tv comfortably. However, over August we made it through the first 5 seasons of “Supernatural.” After a predictably rough start, midway through the first season it got good- really good! It may have had something to do with Ben Edlund’s involvement (if you haven’t read or watched The Tick, find it immediately. It’s parody still holds up brilliantly, perhaps even more so now that ninjas & superheroes are hot again). After the end of season 5, which wraps up the series nicely, we decided to take a break before we watched the more recent seasons.

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Next we watched “Broadchurch.” WOW. I mean, we knew we’d love parts of it bc of David Tennant, but everyone was well written and well acted, especially Olivia Colman. They’ve remade it for America as “Gracepoint,” which will be starting October 1st. I don’t know that I love Tennant’s American accent and to be honest every else looks so shiny. But while the first two episodes of Gracepoint are supposed to mirror Broadchurch, from there it diverges and has a different plot. Who am I kidding, we’ll totally watch it, but probably start at episode 3 & power watch 1,2, & 3 at once so we don’t have that sense of disappointment. We loved Broadchurch so much that it left us with that feeling of a bad breakup. Does that ever happen to you? You love something so much and when it’s over nothing else compares (cue Sinead O’Connor and her glycerin tears).

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picture is Luther wallpaper from http://stylefavor.com/luther/luther_wallpaper/

We decided to rebound with Luther. We were first introduced to Idris Elba in The Wire (another show that left us like a bad breakup). Luthor is good, really good and it features a delightful anomaly: a female master villain. Neither my husband nor I found Ruth Wilson as Alice attractive. She has what I term, “the Innsmouth Look” (Lovecraft! & seriously, please stop putting fillers in your upper lip), but I soon fell in love. I explained to my husband that she’s like what would happen if Batman had to team up with Poison Ivy- (side note, how amazing would Idris Elba be as Batman? He’s tall, gorgeous, and radiates intelligence). He ended up coming around to her & now every time she shows up we squeal bc we know the show is going to get SO GOOD!!!

Oh! I should mention in case it’s not apparent, these shows are SUPER messed up and not for the faint of heart. Netflix has Supernatural and Luther, but you have to pay for Broadchurch on amazon. it’s worth it. Be careful, apparently the BBCAmerica version cut scenes out 😦


My husband and I celebrated our 6th anniversary yesterday, sort of for the second time. The first time was a couple weeks ago, when Mikael’s parents visited. We don’t eat out very much, maybe twice in a month, so food I don’t make from scratch is pretty luxurious for me. They watched Karl while we went out to breakfast at a local place I’d been wanting to try, Cafe Jolie. Mikael had an omelet & I had the croissant french toast (yes, french toast made out of croissants). Their coffee was delicious too.

Yesterday we took Karl into San Francisco, went shopping at Japantown mall and wandered through the Nihonmachi Street Fair. Then we popped over to Herbivore for Schawarma and afterward walked over to a game store for more shopping. Amazingly, neither of us found what we were looking for at either Kinokuniya (me) or the game store (him).

Finally we capped the evening with a trip to Cookie Bar in Alameda. They serve Thrifty ice cream, which was a blast from the past. I used to walk with my younger cousine to Thrifty for a 10-15 cent ice cream cone when I was a little kid. It was a solid 30 minute walk for us, but it was worth it. Our family didn’t buy a lot of sweets, so we had to save any change we got & buy our own candy bar or ice cream, as well as hoof it to the Thrifty ourselves.
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This dessert pretty much embodies my husband and I. I love cookies, he loves ice cream. Together we are invincible.

I ended up with Chocolate Malted Crunch ice cream on chocolate walnut chip cookies. It was pretty ridiculously decadent! Karl had a scoop of vanilla on a sugar cone & Mikael decided to wait for Ben & Jerry’s caramel core (he’s obsessed). IMG_2289

 It was a lovely mellow day. We both marveled that it’s been 6 years since we got married. Six years! How is he still the most interesting person I know? It’s sorcery! Sorcery I tell you!


Happy Father’s Day to my beautiful husband! I bought a mug at Starbucks that came with a black and white porcelain pen. Karl and I drew on it, then popped it into the oven for 20 minutes. Once it was dry it’s ready to be hand washed and filled with lots of coffee!

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Karl is obsessed with Kraang from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He’s also been referring to himself as Michelangelo, Mikael as Donatello, and me as Master Splinter.

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I also picked up some See’s candy for Mikael and some flowers. Snapdragons are his favorites, but they were out and the peonies were amazing! And you can see our new goldfish in the old coffee pot behind the flowers.

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Karl went to two birthday parties on Saturday. Unfortunately the first one decided that goldfish were to be the party favor. they meant well, but well… Anyway, we ended up with a goldfish. Karl kept calling him “Goldfish” so I explained that naming him that was like me naming Karl “Human.” I suggested “Spot” but after careful consideration Karl decided that the fish was named, “Ninja Turtle.”

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The second was a costume party. Karl dressed as the Hulk, although he went back and forth over whether he was Hulk or Michelango. Looks like I’ll be making a Ninja Turtle mask and shell very soon!


Today is my husband’s birthday! We celebrated with cake, ice cream, cream cheese bean dip, and chips last night. I developed hives after an allergic reaction to medical tape, so we had to post pone a get together with friends 😦
securedownloadI made a yellow cake from this recipe: and chocolate frosting by modifying my usual frosting recipe. Then I edged it in gold sugar-
Chocolate Frosting
3 cups conf. sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup softened salted butter
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup (and then more) whole milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt (and more to taste)
whisk the sugar and cocoa together in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix butter, shortening, vanilla. Add cocoa/sugar mix a little at a time. Add milk. Mix. Alternate cocoa/sugar with a tbspn of milk until the consistency is to your liking. It starts out really fudgey, but the milk will fix it. Lastly add the salt. You don’t have to, but I love salt in chocolate to cut the sweetness.

Anyway, I’ve been listening to a mix tape (on cd) that he made for me when we were first dating. This was one of the songs he put on it and it perfectly sums up how I feel~

Yes, I’m your angel
I’ll give you everything
In my magic power
So make a wish
And I’ll let it come true for you
Tra, la, la, la, la

Yes, you’re my fairy
You give me everything
I ever wanted from life
Have I made a wish
And is that why I have you
Tra, la, la, la, la

We believe in pumpkins that turn into princess
And frogs that turn into prince
We believe in moons that smile to us
When we hurry home before the midnight strikes
Tra, la, la, la, la

Yes, I’m so pretty
You’re so dizzy
And we’re so happy every day
Let’s make a wish
And let it come true for us
Tra, la, la, la, la

I’m in your pocket
You’re in my locket
And we’re so lucky in every way
We make a wish
And let it come true for us
Tra, la, la, la, la

We believe in houses built in the sky
And love that lifts us high
We believe in the sun that looks over our shoulders
And brings our shadows together
Tra, la, la, la, la

Yes, our hearts are one
Our bodies, too
And it’s so good (um) every time
We make a wish
And let it come true for you, too
Tra, la, la, la, la

Happy birthday, my love
I’m your angel
I’ll give you everything
In my magic power
So make a wish
And I’ll let it come true for you
Tra, la, la, la, la, la


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Thusday evening, Mikael brought me flowers and candy. See’s is my absolute favorite! (Yes, I already have candy on my pants.) We went to dinner at a local mexican restaurant and relaxed and people watched with our son.  IMG_1719

Friday I took Karl into San Francisco to Kinokuniya in Japantown. I found an awesome sewing magazine, “Female.” Afterwards, Karl and I went to Arizmendi Bakery and had coffee, milk, and treats. We picked up Mikael and got take out from Big Lantern (our favorite!). Their General Tso’s meatless chicken is to die for.IMG_1740IMG_1741 IMG_1743 IMG_1742

I love the fashion sense here! Everything is so clean looking!IMG_1744 IMG_1745

Some color photo instructions and some line art instructions.

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There were quite a few patterns, but some also required you to draft them yourself using a sloper. A great challenge for a seamstress!

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These are the patterns included with the magazine. So many really cute pieces.

Mikael is such a tv hog, but I got to pick what we watched and I chose “Pacific Rim!” It’s amazing! If you love mecha, Godzilla, Robotech, Voltron, etc, you’ll love it. Every character was an anime type. The movie had very few civilian deaths, little swearing, and no super creepy gender roles that you’re praying your kid doesn’t pick up on.

On Saturday we went to Berkeley. Browsed two books stores, got coffee and ice cream, and finally came home and crashed.


The sun had set and I’d just started watching David Fincher’s “Zodiac” for the first time. My cell rang and it was an unfamiliar number. I got a sudden thrill. “A cute boy is calling me!” I was pretty sure it was the guy I’d given my number to the day before. I let it go to voicemail, paused the movie and listened to his message. Yep. It was him. I was giddy with nervousness and decided that I would call him the next day and see if he wanted to meet up. Then I unpaused “Zodiac.”

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The next evening when we met up I found out he shared a love of the 70s, serial killers, and Donovan. And he lived in San Francisco. We have many “songs” but whenever I hear this one I’m instantly transported to the first time he called~
Thrown like a star in my vast sleep
I open my eyes to take a peep
To find that I was by the sea
Gazing with tranquility.
‘Twas then when the Hurdy Gurdy Man
Came singing songs of love,

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In case you’re wondering what a hurdy gurdy is and what it sounds like,

Happy Valentine’s Day!


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Feeling incredibly rejuvenated. Karl is back in pre-school. Finished a large job for a client. And I have personal projects organized and ready to create. Today I put on Grant Morrison talking on Keven Smith’s Fatman on Batman podcast. I loved Morrison’s “Supergods,” which made me feel like I could accomplish anything despite my anxiety. I knew that since I was going to begin painting “Brooksie,” that I would need an extra shove to get me started. Strangely, the detail work on a painting is the least stressful for me. It’s actually very relaxing to take each piece and tap away with my tiny brush. But the initial laydown of color always freaks me out. I start procrastinating. But I knew Morrison’s unique abundance of creativity would inspire and loosen me up- and it did. So much so that I started putting together a muslin of Karl’s shirt while the layers of my paint dried.

And I finally signed up for Instagram. Yes, filters are fun.


One of the things that’s great about being older is, I’ve had so many years to discover, explore, and love, artists, books, movies, and music. The other day someone posted a Leonard Cohen line, and it suddenly brought me back to where I was when I first heard him (Pump up the Volume) and my subsequent frantic accumulation of secondhand cassettes. Through the years, my favorite song of his teetered between, “The Future,” and “Waiting for the Miracle,” but this one, “Everybody Knows” transports me to that moment- when I’m a young girl in my thrift store dresses (back when they were the only affordable option for someone of my means) with my head shoved between my stereo speakers (the same ones a horrible creature who I had to put up with bc of school politics constantly told me were cheap) listening to various cassettes all purchased for less than $3, giddy with the knowledge that Mr. Cohen understood the absurdity of life.
Life is still frequently absurd. This year came in like a rabid lion and is leaving a ram. Here’s to next year being as wonderful for my friends as the second half of this one was for me.

Happy New Year~


Recently two friends gave me the most beautiful gifts. They were complete surprises and way out of my current budget for myself. Everything I make currently goes toward paying for Karl’s preschool, and since we’re isolated from family and most of our friends up here, preschool is important for his socialization. Both of these were on my “dream” list, but they showed up on my doorstep!

Janice makes the most beautiful quilts. If you can, take a look at her shop and blog~
I love this quilt pattern and the colors are some of my favorites 🙂

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Another surprise was this little beauty, Harper, from my friend Jennifer~

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Evangelione’s little dolls (they’re about 11″ tall) are handmade beauties. Made of muslin and simple embroidered faces they are ultra kawaii.

Even without these lovely and thoughtful gifts, I am incredibly fortunate. I always get the impression that when you write a blog you’re supposed to pretend that your life is “Pinterest Perfect,” even if it’s not. But living here in the United States, even though we’re part of the “first world,” is challenging and stressful. Obtaining healthcare for your family is difficult. Even though it’s provided through my husband’s job, he still had to forfeit any bonuses he made for an entire year. While I work from home, the work is uneven and requires late nights. And finding a job outside of my home would mean paying full time preschool/daycare for my son which is astronomically expensive- it starts at $800 a month and goes up- way up (we didn’t get into the only local co-op). Part time preschool, which starts around $600 for 2 half days simply didn’t work either. No one would hire me without a completely open schedule.
But this year, the ACA passed, my husband got a great internship at NASA, I’ve had the pleasure of working on a delightful and long commission, and we found a preschool that’s run through our local Parks and Rec that is completely affordable.

Now, I have some Thank You cards to write. God Jul and Happy Holidays! I hope everyone has much love and a respite from your burdens.


This land is your land This land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and Me.

As I was walking that ribbon of highway,
I saw above me that endless skyway:
I saw below me that golden valley:
This land was made for you and me.

I’ve roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts;
And all around me a voice was sounding:
This land was made for you and me.

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling,
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling,
As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting:
This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.



I haven’t had the energy to work on anything. Mikael, Karl, and I have been very sick. After three trips to the doctor, we were finally prescribed antibiotics and so we’re just now starting to get better.

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My husband started his archiving internship at the Nasa Ames Research Center. He’s wearing grown up clothes!

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Last Friday we went to the Nasa Ames research center to watch a broadcast of the launch of LADEE (Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer) from Virginia. There were lots of people all geeking out about science. And so many children! It makes me really excited for the future. Before the launch they had a live band playing, which quickly turned into Toddlerstock.

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I’ve been on a thing where we treat science the same way other people treat sports. It was great to be among people who do the same.

If you’d like to know more about LADEE, please visit Nasa’s website, here.


So, my husband and I forgot our anniversary. Someone well wished us 2 days before on facebook and that’s when we remembered. Whoops! In our defense, we were preparing to have Mikael’s parents come up for a 10 day stay, so we were scrambling to get the apartment into not just clean, but, “guest clean.”

Five years of married life! It doesn’t feel like we’ve been together that long. I feel like I’ll be saying the same thing ten years from now. Some people I know get really freaked out by marriage, but when you’re with someone that you not only have a lot in common with, but both of you are also committed to compromise and working together, it is amazing. It also doesn’t hurt when your significant other is a total fox. Instead of scrambling and stressing about planning something, we decided to forego presents for each other and spend our money going places with his parents. Seriously, we’re so lucky right now. The last thing we need is more “stuff” just for the sake of saying, “this is my official anniversary gift.”

Instead, we went to the Nasa Ames Exploration Center in San Jose. We had a blast!

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Karl is mega excited. He’s been really into planets and space lately.

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It was really dark inside because most of the exhibits were illuminated. Karl as an astronaut.

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I had to get my picture with the large astronaut cutout. Mikael was too shy to have his picture taken.

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Mikael and Karl In the space station.

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Gemini and Mercury spacesuits! If you want to know more about the evolution of Nasa’s spacesuits, check this out.

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The space shuttle simulation

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Karl and I fought over who was the captain.

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Standing in astronaut prints.

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Karl and his Grandfather

We had such a great time. It’s free and definitely worth going to if you love science, space, and exploration!


Last night I saw David Byrne and St. Vincent perform in Oakland. They were spectacular. It was nice to see musicians who wanted to perform instead of looking embarrassed to be onstage. I didn’t take any photos bc I really hate it when you’re trying to watch a show and people are flashing their phones. It’s very distracting. 

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All photos and videos are from the official Love This Giant website. Annie Clark (St. Vincent) has bleached her hair and wore a different outfit, Bryne was wearing the same outfit. I loved the brass band. The tuba sousaphone was incredibly popular.

Bryne and Clark performed synchronized movements. The lights were fun and my friend remarked that they looked like Daleks. They did. Could. Not. Be. Unseen!
Clark esp utilized the shadows thrown on the curtain behind them. Near the end they performed a duel over a theremin- (last night Bryne wore a Lucha Libre mask.)

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I was pleasantly surprised that the live show had them on equal footing. Clark shreds on her guitar. Byrne’s voice is even better live than on records- it’s really, really beautiful. He can take a note and make it soar. It was even more impressive since it was the last night of the tour.
They have considerable chemistry and I’m not going to lie, if they want to take a break from making art babies, it would be awesome if they made a human baby. I think it’s bc I’ve read Dune too many times and keep hoping for the Kwisatz Haderach so I’m kind of gross about wanting brilliant people to have children and make the world more amazing. (I’m mostly joking. He’s 30 years older than her and the rumor is she’s gay.) But they are beyond adorable on stage together. You can tell they have a lot of respect for each other and really enjoy their collaboration.

The album is on Spotify and a documentary of his solo 2010 solo tour, Ride, Rise, Roar (which shares some of the same aesthetic) is on Netflix.


My doll making progress so far:

photoThat crocheted octopus was a gift from my sister-in-law Lauri. It’s amazing. The chicken was a gift from my grandmother-in law, Farmor (her real name is Ruth, but she’s originally from Sweden).

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learning to paint on fabric & experimenting with faces. Whoops! found out the dry time is about an hour, otherwise there’s lots of bleeding.

photo (5)finally hemmed my dress. It’s one of those 80s dresses that’s inspired by the 40s.

photo (4)Karl’s balancing act

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So in love with my Moebius Arzach. I can usually only find “Blueberry” here in the US, so I was pretty stoked to find a guy selling a bunch of Euro comics. This is all in Italian, but I’m primarily interested in the art.

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And of course some awesome Cosplayers!
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This is Anthony Misiano and His girlfriend as The Joker and Harley Quinn. Sewing nerds take note~ their costumes are amazing. So much texture and detail, it’s nuts. Here’s his website, and here’s his fb. Check him out. Lots of talent. His look is based on Brian Bolland’s amazing Joker from “The Killing Joke.” The art from “The Killing Joke” is what got me into comics. When Tim Burton’s Batman movie came out, the newspaper ran Brian Bolland’s art and I was totally blown away. My older brother read comics, but none of the art was as awesome as that! Anyway, I got super into Batman (and others) and bought everything of Bolland’s that I could get my hands on. More about that later.

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Shazam! And Mary Marvel!

969285_10201077237122869_943292916_nAn adorable Deadpool

923501_10201076904514554_1961425357_nGhostbusters!


Legend, along with Labyrinth, was one of my go to early teen movies. Even at 13/14 when this movie showed up on HBO/Showtime (who knows, we had EVERY pay station) I realized I wasn’t into Tom Cruise but I was totally into Tim Curry- who is dressed as a giant red devil/minotaur creature. And I “Mary Sue’d” the hell out of Lily. I drew both dresses constantly, esp the  gravity defying black dress:

This movie also introduced me to Bryan Ferry (and thus Roxy Music). I used to just rewind the end credits so I could listen to this song. I eventually scraped together enough money and went on the hunt for a Bryan Ferry record. I found a used copy of “Let’s Stick Together” and fell in love. I mean, LOOK at that nose! It’s amazing!

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Enjoy his magnificent crooning and godawful 80s wear:


40

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My 40th birthday came and went. Lovely and mellow, it involved ice cream, buffalo fries and family and friends. I keep wondering if I’m supposed to have some sort of epiphany or meltdown but so far everything’s great. I feel as though I’ve already worked through all the freak outs I’m supposed to have had by this point in my life. I’m sure there will be more in the future, especially during menopause, but the societally dreaded Four Oh came and went like a lamb.

It’s probably because I feel pretty good about my life. I love my art, husband, and child. I never have enough time to rub two thoughts together, let alone to get out all the art that I have swimming in my head, but I do my best to putter away at projects. I restarted meditating last fall so my anxiety is being managed. I can recognize when it’s starting and take the appropriate action- and for a control freak like me, having a plan is pretty soothing and therapeutic. I still worry about money, but not as much. Our apartment almost looks like humans live in it instead of raccoons so I’m pretty jazzed about that.

And then there’s the whole looks/getting older thing, which when you’re a woman is what you’re supposed to worry about all the time. It can seem like from cradle to grave no matter what your other accomplishments and ambitions are, your boneabilty is your real job. And based on how every other woman I’m related to acted, I keep expecting it to bug me more. But, I was considered a plain child and an ugly teenager so by the time I became a young woman I was pretty over it.

As a figurative artist who frequently uses myself as a model, aging could be a recipe for disaster. It’s a whole lot of looking at yourself. I can see how the years have changed me and in some ways decimated the things I liked about the way I looked. Wrinkles are snaking their way across my face like rivers cutting through valleys. My plump cheeks are down at my jawline and I do think I have about 10 years of that before I flip out and have surgery to yank and smooth it out. Or not. Unlike my mother at 40 I haven’t had anything done. I did recently google treatment for my acne scars and melasma, and that’s a strong maybe. I come from a family obsessed by their own physicality, and who base their entire self-worth on how they look. When time inevitably changes them they haven’t been able to deal with it. My Grandma and Mother both had nervous breakdowns and my Aunt came very close. They just woke up one day and realized they had to live with themselves in the empty houses that pass for their souls, without even their mirrors for company. Unfortunately, instead of developing and filling themselves up with deep relationships and interests, they channeled the money and energy they once reserved for their bodies into decorating their real life houses. They traded one exterior for another.

Anyway, it’s on my mind because I’m working on my sketchbook project which involves a lot of self portraits and thus, a lot of photo reference. My reference photos are always taken in the morning and without makeup. Even though I feel like I have a pretty good body image, sometimes all I could see was everything I thought was wrong. But instead of feeling it in an emotional way, I did that thing I do to everything: intellectualize it. I took my feelings apart and examined them until they didn’t hold any interest for me. Then I filed them away. Which is kind of a cop out, but when you’re an emotionally volatile person like myself it’s a pretty good coping mechanism and certainly preferable to freaking the fuck out and being a general pain in the ass about everything. My pencil revealed every instance of asymmetry, every way in which I just don’t conform to the current western ideal of beauty, both high and low. But after the third drawing that started to change. Whether it’s the distancing that happens when converting a 3 dimensional object to a bunch of lines or the simple joy of drawing, I began to see myself the way I see other people- by delighting in their variety.

I realize our society pressures us to only value ourselves and others by how we look. But I also don’t think you have to deny the body completely in some sort of medieval frenzy. boschvanityYou’re not going to be dragged to some sort of Boschian hell for taking selfies on your camera phone. Sometimes I feel like I’m living my life by simply choosing “whatever my family didn’t do.” That includes body image. I spent my late teens/early 20s in almost drag by dressing like some sort of Victorian/Bohemian dandy crossed with Caddyshack. I shopped at the Disabled Veterans and bought men’s clothes because they were the only things that fit-and because they puzzled my Grandma, infuriated my Mother, and allowed me to quietly give the middle finger to society while living out my fantasies of looking like Sherlock Holmes. That would have been fine except sometimes I wanted to be Irene Adler as well as Holmes. I had a lot of trouble embracing my feminine side. I eventually found a middle ground where I didn’t feel like an enormous sell out every time I put on a short dress or wore high heels. The side effect was that I opened myself up to being judged. Once I stopped dressing like a man people felt entitled to casually remark on the many ways my face and body were really ugly to them. But by that time I wasn’t distressed by their general shittiness so much as impatient. I was wearing my lady costume and if they couldn’t read what I was saying with my clothes then I felt it wasn’t my problem or my job to set them straight.

Which brings me to the sketch artist “Dove” ad. Pros and Cons blew up my facebook. When I watched it my thoughts ran somewhere along the lines of, “That’s nice those poor women don’t think they’re Lon Chaney/Phantom of the Opera level hideous anymore. Jesus Christ, that’s sad that people hate themselves so much.”

I should mention, I didn’t know it was an ad at all until the Cons started showing up. Second, I thought there was a lack of diversity. Third, people are really pissed about it. Because you should never, ever, ever care about what other people think of your looks. They never, ever define you. If someone says you have nice eyes you should be like, “What evs, complement my personality otherwise you’re part of the problem, not the solution.”

I know we’re all supposed to not give a shit about how we look because we’re super awesome and are more than the sum of our looks, but I’m too lame to be able to do that 24/7. I enjoy fighting “the man” but I recommend you cut yourself and everyone else some slack. I also just don’t buy into Cartesian dualism. As someone whose brain has serotonin issues, it’s not my reality. While I don’t feel defined solely by how I appear, I’m not interested in pretending I don’t exist or take pleasure in myself as a physical creature. I don’t feel defined by how others view me, but I’m not immune to their gaze either. Because I choose to engage with the world, I also choose how to present myself. I let my external form be a bridge to my internal world. I try to present myself in a way that honestly reflects who I am. My worlds are a whole. And that, more than anything is why I feel pretty good at my mid-life mark.

p.s.~ the Dove ad, while sweet doesn’t address the truth (obviously, bc it’s an ad) which is, if you think you’re hideous, no amount of being told you’re not will “fix” you. You’ll always think the other person is lying or has an agenda. You need to address your own self loathing.


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On my 3rd cup of coffee this morning. Reviewing the sketches for my maps project. Some I love & some are ho-hum. But hopefully the work as a whole will be strong. Yes, those are daffodils and ranunculus in an “Astroids” glass. Ranunculus win for the best “most ridiculous to modern ears” flower names. Daffodils, why are you so short lived? 😦

I see another cup of coffee and some “Red Mars” in my immediate future. My husband is passed out on the couch while our son watches videos about shapes on Dada’s phone. Beware, this thing is an earworm. My little genius still poops his pants but he can tell the difference between a hexagon and a nonagon. wtf?

And speaking of shapes and earworms:

My husband has named this the most pretentious video he’s ever seen. lol, it is, but I still find it lovely XD I think the artist in me thrills every time he breathes deeply and it looks like a canvas sighing, and of course I love it when she starts to move. I’ve also been on a Peter Gabriel, Police/Sting, David Byrne kick lately. The weather’s heating up and I need music that doesn’t feel too emotionally complicated, at least for me. I have a pile of projects and I feel Spring is shaping up nicely!


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Oh hey, I’ve finally decided to use my Cal Patch book for something other than slash and spread tutorials.

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Those lovely marks on the wall are from where my husband used to store his bikes. We finally got a bike rack so I’m able to sit in front of the window!

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Karl is busy making dinosaur sounds.

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I really love the gathered shirt and cuffed pants look.

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I don’t know why there’s a raglan pattern. She doesn’t cover that. The instructions for patterns are: knit shirt w/ set in sleeves, button up woven shirt w/ set in sleeves, a-line skirt, and pants. The dresses are extensions of your shirt patterns. And there’s some fun beginning pattern manipulation involving shifting seams, and adding fullness in creative ways. My two favorites are creating a shirt with a pin tucked placket and creating a knit blouse with a bib? and then gathers around it. I’m not sure what it’s called, but it’s the purple blouse above.

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The other thing is, she doesn’t give any yardage information. Since you’re creating a block that’s unique to you, that information would be different to each person.

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She has a single page on grading and goes over the basics. It very informative for people who don’t know why commercial patterns are restricted to certain sizes.

IMG_0214 I really love this book. I’ve had it since it came out. It introduced me to the correct way to add fullness to pattern pieces, as opposed to just adding fabric to the sides (whoops!). It also has a great introduction to drafting knit shirts. It’s not a sewing book- at all. It’s strictly very simple beginner pattern making. She doesn’t even really talk about bust darts. I’d almost recommend it for the insane amount of measurements she has you get in order to make a sloper. Anyway, the information is great and works, although I added bust darts. I also tackled skirts in a slightly different way. Instead of choosing patterns from my widest hip measurement, which is my low hip, I’ve started choosing the mid hip measurement and then widening 3 inches down where my saddlebags start. Otherwise I end up with an excessive amount of fabric in the upper and middle hip region. I’ve been working on a new set of slopers for my post baby body.  Even at nearly the same weight my body is shaped differently, which is kind of fun. But clothes definitely fit me differently. The good news is I can wear different styles than I used to and like the way I look in them. Hello shifts!


Like the leaf clings to the tree,
Oh, my darling, cling to me…


My husband and I exchanged gifts on tuesday. We have a set budget and simple desires. He wanted another Elric book, along with a DC reprint “Ghosts” and the Mars Trilogy by Burroughs. I asked for a book of prints by Ernst Haeckel and “DIY Couture” by Rosie Martin (book reviews for both later.) Last night we spent playing Dungeon Crawl Classics with some friends, drinking out of light up Lord of the Rings chalices that a friend brought. It was fun. Valentine’s Day is great for reminding us how wonderful the other person is. And believe me, being together a bunch of years, having a child that takes nearly all your time and energy, working full time, going to school full time (Mikael is doing both)- it wears on you, and your partner can get lost in the shuffle of “life”. Haha, cleaning the bathroom does not make you feel sexy.

So, for us, it’s nice to have little breaks every month and holidays are perfect for that. Tonight I’m making Italian stuffed shells and cheese. For March we have St.Paddy’s and Mikael’s birthday. April is mine, and so on.

What I’m getting at is, it trips me out to see people hate Valentine’s Day. As another consumer driven excuse to buy more crap, well, yes, it’s gross, but so is every other holiday in America. I think it’s because V Day is supposed to celebrate love and when you’re single it makes you feel your singlehood acutely. Which is bad for most people. I don’t want to get too “Man Who Fell to Earth” on you, but I’ve never felt that. I’ve felt wistful and hopeful when single. Vaguely excited about who I might meet throughout the day, but not lonely. With my books and drawings, I could never be lonely.

I’ve only ever felt truly lonely in relationships. I don’t think there’s anything worse than looking at the person who’s supposed to care about you or love you and realize they don’t know who you are and don’t care. So, no, I can’t imagine why people get so crazy around Valentine’s Day and loathe people in relationships and snidely insinuate those relationships are false or the people are fooling themselves or they’re just going to break up eventually so it’s all a bunch of sound and fury signifying nothing. To you I say, “sour grapes.” And having been in a couple of long term relationships before I was married, saying that they’re going to end is like saying ice will melt in the sun. No duh. Everything ends. I’m going to call my Great Aunt Vi today because her husband died a few years ago and I know she’ll be feeling lonely. Everything ends, but what I’ve learned from people is, enjoy it while it lasts. Fully engage and live your life. Don’t hide or go in half way because you’re afraid it won’t last-it won’t. Nature will have it all.

Last night I lay in bed and talked about this with my husband. I told him, “I think without you, I would feel so lonely for the first time in my life. I can’t even imagine it.” He is, no joke, my best friend. Even if we had never been romantic, we would still be friends with tons in common. Luckily, we like each other. In the quiet moments of our lives, I look at him and still see the young man I married, with his dark eyes and long lashes, like sea creatures, waving in the tide. And I fall in love with him, all over. Everything ends, but everything also begins.

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A little over 3 years ago~ Mikael and my pregnant feet.


I’m pretty excited, I won “Doodle Stitchery” by Aimee Ray in a Burdastyle give-a-way! I love simple embroidery and have been wanting to decorate some towels for our kitchen, but as usual, I haven’t been able to decide what to do. This book provides plenty of inspiration. I have to admit, Space themed dish towels are appealing right now due to all the Star Trek: The Next Generation we’ve been watching.

Doodle Stitchery

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mermaid and octopus!
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the final frontier!
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garden gnome and matryoshka!


“You took my hand and led me down to watch a papillon parade,
And we let the kittens lick our hair and drink our chalky lemonade”
~Andrew Bird, Masterfade

I finally finished sewing something. Finally. FINALLY. It’s only been three years, so I may be a little excited. I sewed up a frenzy while I was pregnant, but after my son was born I just couldn’t budget time for husband/child/art/ and sewing. Annnnnd, I have a terrible sewing confession: I was a fast and dirty seamstress. I’d get so excited about making something I’d rush out, buy the fabric, cut it and sew it up- immediately. No pre-washing. Inevitably, when the blouse, dress, or skirt would need washing they’d shrink and obviously no longer fit. Also, seams and hemming, very sloppy. It didn’t even bother me because I’d have so many ideas I’d just move on to the next project. My Grandma would have been horrified.

I knew I wanted to create long term clothes this time around, but inspiration still eluded me. I ordered the Colette Sewing Handbook on a whim. It’s very pastel. Very. Like a packet of candy hearts. I look like shit in pastels, but sometimes you have to break out of your comfort zone. I skulked around the Coletterie blog reading past posts and saw a few patterns made up for Fall/Winter in palates more suited to my coloring (I’m an Autumn) and fell in love. That’s when I ordered the book. I read through it and was impressed. It’s- hands down- the best modern beginner clothes sewing book I’ve come across. I really can’t say enough nice things about the book. I decided to tackle the Licorice dress and make a loose blouse. Because I didn’t sew the waist shaping darts, I didn’t have to do a Small Bust Adjustment- warning, the patterns are drafted for a C-cup instead of the usual B-cup. My original book review is here. I mention having a cold. Turns out that was pneumonia. I got better, but then it was time for the holidays. So yes, now I have finally finished it. I love it. The pattern was a dream to work with.

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SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAI wanted it to be a little short. I’m pear shaped and let me tell you, long loose blouses do not do me any favors. Blouses that hit at my high hip are just right.

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SANYO DIGITAL CAMERASoooooooooo, what happened here? Short answer, I forgot to sew them closed and by the time I realized my mistake I’d sewn the outer fabric, collar, and lining together and really, really didn’t want to unpick it.

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SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAI knew I’d have to narrow the blouse to prevent front and back gaping. I used this tutorial (the second one) and it worked beautifully.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAI left the sleeves unlined. Hello Bubo (or Nyctimene, but that story’s kind of gross).

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SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAhere it is! What was going on where I forgot this?

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Next up, a dress from Burdastyle Sewing Vintage Modern Book!


Yes, I do pose for my own work, simply because well, try explaining that look to another person. “more snarky- woah- no, ease up there! mmmmm, i dunno, can you get your mouth over on the side of your face?” And yes, I raided my husband’s closet for the shirt.
Hmmm, on second thought, I probably should have put on some make up before taking these.
update: the illustration for these photo refs is HERE.
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p.p.s.~ the white paper made the rest of this photo so dark. However, you can see my Nosferatu hands rather well.
I have finally bought a print by Elsa Mora! Her work is very lovely. Whimsical without being saccharine and perfectly ageless! I became a fan of hers when I was pregnant with Karl, but money was always so tight. Then we moved and didn’t have any space. Now in our little apartment I’m slowly (omg, so sloooooooooooowly) decorating (which is also NOT my strong suit.)

Please check out her blog

And her shop

p.s.~ the print quality is magnificent.

Now where am I going to hang it?


Yesterday I went to the Colette Patterns Fall 2012 Launch at A Verb for Keeping Warm in Oakland. My husband, son, and I started off next door at James and the Giant Cupcake. Yeah, delicious cupcakes and an awesome low key atmosphere. They even had a table with paper and markers for kids to sit at. Unfortunately I ended up with blue frosting on my pants. What can I say, you can’t take me anywhere. Seriously though, if you’re in the area, check them out.

After the cupcakes, I went next door to A Verb for Keeping Warm. Their shop is lovely. I really wanted to see examples of the Colette patterns made up and I wasn’t disappointed. They were even better in person than in the pictures, as well as a little less intimidating. To expand on that- I discovered that they would also look good on my tall, small breasted pear shape and aren’t just for busty women.
It was interesting to see the fabrics chosen for varous designs. Quite a few were cotton/batiste/voile as opposed to a rayon or challis or other typical dress or blouse fabrics. I LOVE working with cottons so that was a big plus. The patterns have amazing details. Very vintage-y without being costume-y, which is important to me. I love vintage designs, but some clothing from the 40s or 50s, if done accurately, tends to make the wearer look upholstered and honestly, matronly. Beware, it’s a small step from Joan Holloway structured brilliance to looking like my Grandma’s ottoman. The Colette patterns sidestep this problem nicely by having small details like notched sleeve bands, tucks, small gathers, and clever, unobtrusive pockets without being fussy or overly cutesy. Quite a few would look perfectly at home on the set of Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom.” I fell in love with many patterns. There may be some Colette fan art from yours truly in the near future.
Despite my crippling shyness I did manage to meet Sarai & Kenn & have her sign my copy of the Colette Sewing Handbook. They were both polite and neither mentioned the blue frosting on my pants. I also ended up buying the “Anise” coat pattern. I was on the fence bc it doesn’t have bust darts and thought it would flatten me out more than I am. But, after looking at the samples I decided to take a chance. Worst case scenario- I add bust darts to the muslin.

I have something to admit: I am only a recent fan. Colette patterns are drafted for a c-cup {most patterns are drafted for a B} and I was reluctant to add another pattern alteration to the legion I already have. They also have their own sizing- I’ve written before about my loathing of vanity sizing as well as using random numbers to describe a size. My dead hobby horse is that sizing should just be measurements. Oh look, a 34″ bust, this is the one I buy. BOOM- problem solved. It is a little weird that on Colette sizing i’m a 2/4 when in tradtional sewing sizes, and my vintage clothes, I’m a 12/14. I buy a 6 or 8 in most stores (hello vanity sizing). It may seem obvious, but definitely double check your measurements for their size.

The Colette Sewing Handbook is the best modern sewing book for beginner/intermediate seamstresses I’ve read. Even better than my beloved Burdastyle {book, not magazine. The magazines are a totally different beast and are not for beginners} and Built by Wendy. The Colette book takes you through five projects of increasing difficulty. Everything is laid out in an easy to understand way and there are profuse photographs of everything. After reading through the whole thing, I started the “Licorice” dress at the end {I’m already an intermediate seamstress} and shortened it into a blouse. It’s almost finished despite me and my son Karl battling this ridiculous 2 week cold. The pattern was wonderful. First of all, the size 34″ bust fits my shoulders and arm scythe perfectly. I had to do a front & back gaping neck adjustment, move the bust darts down an inch, lengthen the sleeves & torso… and that was it. {That may seam like a lot to you, but trust me, I’ve had patterns where nothing fit correctly.} I only sewed the bust darts and omitted the waist darts bc I wanted it a little blousen. I think bc of this I didn’t have to do a small bust adjustment, which was a nice surprise. I’ll post photos when i’ve finished.

My sweet Karl at the beach.

Perusing my Colette Sewing Book {now signed!}

The Anise Coat pattern

The little book of instructions inside the pattern

a place for your notes


Wow!

4 years!

My husband & I have been married for 4 years. He’s my best friend and the best First Mate a Captain could hope to have. I’m so lucky to have met him.
Reflecting on these last 4 years I’ve come to some conclusions: if we can survive a baby and hammering out a financial plan, then we can survive just about anything. I’m not really sure what to write. How many times can you say via the internet, “I Love You!”? But, I do get asked a few questions about my relationship by my friends, so I’ll re-answer them here~  While both of us had reached a place where we thought we’d like to meet someone and get married, neither of us got married just to get married. We were really choosy. We share so many interests it’s ridiculous and by the 2nd date both knew the other was, “the One.” We’re both old school sci-fi/fantasy/comic geeks as well as rabid bibliophiles. I often joke that he married me for my books. We’re also both progressive people, dedicated to freedom and equality. My Grandmother championed civil rights from her childhood on, so I guess it’s in my blood. However, our approach to situations is different. I’m the Scully to his Mulder and the penny pincher to his spendthrift. But as our relationship continues, he’s encouraged me to be more indulgent, and I’ve encouraged him to be more responsible. His hard work and compassion makes me incredibly proud.

All aboard!

Now, please enjoy a coked up Bryan Ferry singing about doomed love. Why? Because doomed love is the best love. We’re all going to die one day, so technically all love is doomed. Time is fleeting. Don’t waste it being scared.


My anniversary is approaching {August 2nd} and i was thinking about our wedding and such. in addition to sewing my wedding dress i also drew our invites, r.s.v.p. postcards, and our thank you postcards. my husband and i are both comic book nuts {he said he fell in love on our first date when i said the words, “Frank Miller”}, although due to space we no longer buy issues, just collected graphic novels. and yes, that is “comic sans” on the inside- don’t be a hater ;P

{in case you’re wondering, i’m the owl and he’s the octopus. he’s the best at hugs.}

the front “cover” of our invite.

the inside- note there are no thought bubbles, we’re a modern comic couple ;P

the top image was our r.s.v.p postcard. the bottom was our Thank You postcard.

So, numerous things bug me about them, first and foremost my inability to draw a bike. wow. although at the time i was on a 2 year internet vacation. yes, i spent 2 years without the internet and it was great. but i didn’t have access to stock images of bikes and truthfully, tech is just one of my weakest areas as an artist. c’est la vie 😀

Well, back to working on art. i’m nearly done with my current humongous project!

For more incredibly geeky wedding invites check out this link~


i’m restructuring my site! 


39

i just realized that i didn’t post a picture for my 39th birthday. Here i am, freckles, acne, and acne scars all. 

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens may actually be some of my favorite things, but these books  definitely are! i wanted to do a quick post about some of the books i keep closest to me and frequently use for inspiration. There are boxes more still unpacked and i’ll post an update when i get a chance to unpack all my treasures!

{When i say “by” i mean illustrated by, not written by. artist bias!}

various Alice’s~ Moser, Rackham, Garcia, Tenniel
Green Porno by Rossellini
Paradox Box
Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam by Dulac
Milk Teeth by Morstad
Van Gogh
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Moser
Language of Flowers
Little Snow White~ victorian facsimile

House of Leaves by Danielewski
Cinderella by Innocenti
Sorcerer’s Apprentice by The Dillons
Dean’s book of Fairy Tales and Dean’s Mother Goose both by Grahame Johnstone sisters
various Walter Foster drawing/painting books
Sorayama
Mother Goose by Fujikawa
Dragonfeathers by Dugin/Dugina
Rene Magritte
Bjork
More Tales to Tremble By by Laite
Bosch
Epileptic Bicycle by Gorey
Tintin
Blythe

Miss Fury by Tarpe Mills
Bowie Style
Those Glorious Glamour Years by Bailey
Kwaidan
Dancer’s Body Book by Allegra Kent
The Living Sea by Cousteau
Mad Men by Dyna Moe
Fashion File by Bryant
Stylish Dress Book and Sweet Dress Recipe
Design it Yourself Clothes by Cal Patch
Twinkle Sews by Chia
Burdastyle Sewing Handbook
Sew U Home Stretch, Sew U, Built by Wendy Dresses
Mucha Playing Cards

Lots of favorites

 Tove Jansson’s Moomin series

even more favorites!