I took another class at Crafty Planet and this time I made pillows. We made inserts first with muslin and poly-fil and then we made the covers with invisible zippers.
The main reason I wanted to make pillows (besides the fact that you can never have enough pillows) is that our couch is an Ikea couch. It's tiny and easily transportable (which fits into our current nomadic existence), but it needs a little extra help in the comfy department. Hence, the pillows.
I picked up a bunch of canvases over the weekend and started laying down the paint.
I'm working on three of them. Usually, I have a clear idea of what I'm going to paint, but I've been taking a more spontaneous approach lately. I've even gone as far as simply closing my eyes and blindly picking a paint color. Basically, I'm giving myself up to the fun of improvisation!
Obviously, the paintings are in their infancy right now. I'm looking forward to seeing where they end up.
I recently painted the one below with my cousin Brianna (she's 3 1/2). She happily smeared paint all over the canvas. I think her favorite part, however, was spraying the canvas with water. She couldn't get enough of that. My favorite part was listening to her explain (very seriously) to Jonathan about each step we took to create the painting. It was really, really cute.
I mentioned earlier that I was taking my first sewing class soon. Well, I took it and loved it! I had a great time and created an awesome tote in the process. The instructor made everything seem really easy and even when I messed up (which I did--several times) she told me how to fix the issue(s) quickly and painlessly. No drama!
So, here's the tote (you can click on the pics to see the fabric better).
And hidden beneath the fabric is some durable canvas, so the tote is pretty darn sturdy too.
I'm looking forward to signing up for another class at Crafty Planet and soon!
It's so hot right now, I think I might melt. This heatwave has been going on for a few days, but it does make for a good excuse to stay indoors and watch movies. We escaped the heat on Sunday and watched the final Harry Potter film. Definitely worth seeing.
I'm also looking forward to seeing this film in December when it's frosty, cold and snowy. :)
Alright, I need some ice cold lemonade now. Try and stay cool everyone.
Last summer while visiting the MCBA, I noticed a collection of postcards in their shop. As I rifled through them I found myself smiling with delight. I bought four on the spot, left the shop and then returned five minutes later to buy four more. These postcards were bold, vivid and, apparently, irresistible.
What kind of postcards could make a person smile like a loon and buy eight in one day? Ones with Adam Turman's artwork printed on them.
Adam Turman is a graphic artist based out of the Twin Cities. Many of his illustrations and designs depict the things I love (cycling, the Cities) in a way that simply makes me happy when I see them.
And even though it's been a year since I found those postcards, I still can't get enough of his work! If you want to see more prints, and I know you do, go to Minnesota, Our Home (I've put a few up there too) or Adam Turman's website.
Lately, I've been experimenting with layers. I paint a layer of color on the canvas, I spray the canvas with water, I wait until it dries and then I add another layer. Unfortunately, I don't have a workspace with a hard, okay-to-get-messy floor and I don't think my landlord would appreciate me dripping paint all over the carpet, so I do all the messy work in the bathtub. That means cleaning up the paint after each spraying (so it doesn't stain). Result: my bathtub has never been cleaner! :)
Here's a picture of my latest painting. It's still in progress.
And just to share--here's another painting I did this spring. This one doesn't have the layering effect. I started playing with that technique soon after I painted this one.
I am loving this short animated film by French filmmaker, Joanna Lurie. It's called Le Silence Sous L'Ecorce (The Silence Beneath the Bark) and it's exquisite. At times the animation reminds me of something from Studio Ghibli.
I've been devouring fairy tale anthologies of late--mostly edited by Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow. Their anthologies are modern interpretations of the old tales and they're not for the faint of heart.
If you like folk and fairy tales, here are some of Windling and Datlow's collections that I've enjoyed :
The Beastly Bride . . . stories about shapechangers (like werewolves)
Coyote Road . . . trickster stories
The Green Man . . . stories of the ancient forest
The Faery Reel . . . fairy stories
Currently, I'm reading books from their older anthology series which takes stories like Cinderella and Snow White and reinterprets them:
Snow White, Blood Red Black Thorn, White Rose Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears Black Swan, White Raven (reading) Silver Birch, Blood Moon (read) Black Heart, Ivory Bones (read)
Reading all these fairy tales makes me want to go adventuring in the Black Forest, but it'd probably be safer to eat some Black Forest Cake instead.
Have you ever seen something and immediately fallen in love with it?
That's what happened to me when I first saw Papaya's glittering art panels. I was instantly smitten. It was 2007 and I had recently taken some tentative steps towards reclaiming my own creativity. I think that's partially why I loved the art panels--they were filled with inspiring energy. Soon my own creative space was decorated with three of them:
It's a creative company started by a mother (Gina Katkin) and a daughter (Anahata Katkin). In the beginning they mainly used Anahata Katkin's journal art for the cards and decorative prints they sold. They even glittered everything by hand (click here for a great blog post interview with Gina Katkin).
The wonderful thing is that Papaya! has grown more amazing with every passing year. They continue to expand their product lines with everything from water bottles to luxe totes. Anahata Katkin's art remains at the center of the Papaya! universe, but they've also incorporated the works of other artists, including Sabrina Ward Harrison and Flora Bowley.
They've even opened a retail space in Ashland, Oregon. Unfortunately, it's almost 2,000 miles from my current location. Private jet, anyone?
What I love most about Papaya! is the genuineness of their work. Their products are filled with true artistry. They don't just slap something together for a quick buck. They create authentic beauty. That's why, after all these years, I'm still crushing on them.
I contemplated starting a new blog, but I've decided to stay put. Instead, I just updated it a bit. I also hope to be a bit more diligent in my blogging and write more about everything that interests me (like books filled with adventure and chocolate cookies dipped in chocolate) and everything that I'm doing (painting, writing and taking classes).
Speaking of classes, I'm taking my first sewing class next week. I haven't sewn since 7th grade Home Economics. How did I sew that neon pink apron, anyway? I've completely forgotten. The class is being held at Crafty Planet. They carry so many beautiful, whimsical and kitschy fabrics. I've been looking forward to this for months. Their classes fill up so fast that it took a couple tries before I actually scored a spot.
I'm taking the Sew A Tote class. I've already chosen the fabrics. I went for a super-fun-ninja design.
The bolder fabric on the left will be the outside and the fabric on the right will be the inside (the characters are little ninjas).