Thursday, November 15, 2007
This year we discovered these adorable little gnome ornaments. Nooooooo... not the Travelocity commercial type.
We bought one and I decided I could make a bunch of my own. So I went to the craft store and bought the red felt, pink mini pompoms, wooden balls with a flat side and gray paint. The beards I made out of some alpaca roving I had. I sewed across and then cut so it makes a nice even beard.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
So, I'm thinking that one thing I'd like to do is do some research on El Anatsui. I was hoping to be able to do a paper on him in my last class, but he didn't fit the criteria. Instead I did a paper on another Modern African artist, Francis Nnaggenda.
I first heard about El Anatsui when I did a paper on 3 Nsukka artists, Uche Okeke, Obiora Udechukwu, and Olu Oguibe. Since then, I've seen how his art has progressed and actually got to see one of his wall hangings up close and personal at the Harn Museum in April.
He's also been a huge influence on his students at Nsukka. One of them, I've discovered is Nnenna Okore. I'd like to find out more about her, too.
This intrigues me since it implies that optimists aren't realistic (yes, I'm an optimist). It also, if you follow the logic, implies that everything that happens is a negative and not a positive. That life will always end up less than satisfactory and any attempt to be happy and content with the outcome of events is simply not being realistic.
Might I suggest that you see what you look for? Pessimists are not realists. They simply see what they are inclined to see and the same can be said for an optimist.
I can understand the need for a pessimist to redefine him or herself since the word is associated with words like defeatist, wet blanket, fatalist, cynic, and killjoy. No one wants to be a killjoy or a wet blanket.
But a word is only what you make of it and the action taken based on what you are is more important than the tendency.
To my mind there are two types of pessimists:
A true blue pessimist: One for whom there is no happiness unless everything goes wrong as predicted. The glass isn't just half empty, it will be completely empty very soon. Those who fall into this category can too easily find themselves indulging in their pessimism. They love to predict that everything will not only go wrong, but horribly wrong. I worked with a man who was like this and he pulled everyone down with him. It was a mental and emotional strain having to be in his presence for hours on end.
An optimistic pessimist: One who sees first what can go wrong but is very happy when it doesn't. The glass is half empty but they would be happy to see it filled up. These guys can be very useful in a organizational sense. They can see where a plan could go wrong, but are willing to look for a solution to keep it from going wrong. I have known a lot of these types since I have family and friends who fit this category.
Well we can't leave out the optimists, can we? These guys usually get all the good press. However, they have their pitfalls, too.
A true blue optimist: One for whom there is no evil or bad in the world. The glass is half full and there is no doubt in their minds that it will very soon be full. While being positive is generally a good thing, not acknowledging that bad things happen and have to be dealt with is definitely unhealthy. Bad things do happen and need to be acknowledged and dealt with. And no one can be around these guys for too long, because too much positive thinking can make the people they come in contact feel inadequate.
A pessimistic optimist: One who sees the good first, but can also see the bad. The glass is half full and that's okay. I fall into this category and it is related very closely to the optimistic pessimist. I can only speak for myself and hope that my personal preferences aren't clouding my judgement too much. I see the positive first, but I'm willing to acknowledge and prepare for the negative. It might happen, so you've got to be ready for it. But, in the end, taken appropriately and with a positive attitude, it will come out okay and I can be happy and content.
Friday, October 26, 2007
It was amazing how even the briefest descriptive notes brought back some wonderful memories and really got my imagination going so that I could see the places and events clearly in my mind. It was really refreshing to delve into those memories that I had forgotten until I read my journal.
So, I suppose this is a plug for keeping any sort of journal to help you keep from forgetting memories, ideas, and dreams. It's so good to go back and read parts that can energize your imagination and purpose for doing it.
I think that we rely to heavily on our cameras to remind us of things like people and places. A journal isn't just words, its a description of what you see, experience, think, and feel that is very difficult to communicate with just a photograph.
Monday, September 10, 2007
While at the Estes Park Wool Market I ordered a custom made nostepinde. It arrived this week and works really well. Here's a picture of my kit with the miniature spindle, portable mini-niddy noddy, and the new mini-nostepinde.
The box is my next obsession. While it works really well, a diaper wipes box somehow lacks the presence needed to accompany such beautiful tools.
So here are some of the things I've been working on:
I made a hat for my husband from some camel yarn we found and a pair of crocheted socks while we were in Maine.
I spun some black alpaca, brown camel, and white silk, plied them together and combined that with some handspun white cashmere to make my husband another hat.
I found some really nice blue alpaca yarn and decided to make my Dad a hat for his birthday. Shhh! Don't tell. I gave him an alpaca sweater last year and he really likes how warm it is compared to other fibers. So I thought he might like the hat for puttsin' around in the garage or camping.
Right now I'm in the middle of another hat from the same pattern. I'm knitting it from 2 handspun yarns. The white fuzzy one is alpaca and the yellower one is a combination of silk and soy. The finished look reminds me of corn flour.
Monday, July 23, 2007
This is was done just below the pass on the Breckenridge side.
Monday, July 02, 2007
So I bought some more Churro at the annual Estes Park Wool Market to add to what I bought last summer and last January. I also bought some Merino. Am I nuts?
I got to thinking about this allergy of mine. What do I know for sure?
1. I'm allergic to the most commonly used breeds which originate in wet/cool climates.
2. I'm not allergic to Churro which thrives in a dry/hot climate.
3. Merino is a dry/hot climate sheep. Am I allergic to it? Maybe not.
That's why I bought the Merino to test my reaction to it. I have it on my drop spindle and so far so good. If I continue to lack an allergic reaction to it.... Well a whole new world of wool possibilities has just opened up. I've done a little research and find that both Churro and Merino can be traced back to ...(drum roll please).... Spain!
So it would appear that I'm not allergic to Spanish sheep. Is anyone else out there like me? Has anyone done any research on it?
Friday, June 08, 2007
The Thunderbirds put on quite a show and people from all the businesses just across the interstate from the Academy stadium set themselves up out in the parking lot or at a well positioned window in order to watch the show.
I took this picture from the 3rd floor of the Oracle building.
As you can see here, I managed to fit my sketch kit in one. They’re gusseted and expand to about 1.5” with a zipper closure. There are 2 side pockets. A zippered mesh one and one with a velcro closure.
In my big one I keep my large sketch moleskine with a ruler and felt tip pen in the mesh pocket. It's big enough for me to also add a reading book to it.
While browsing the Denver Art Museum shop a couple weeks ago, we found them again. Except this time they also had the foam ones that International Arrivals makes. Great for electronic stuff like palms, iPods, and cords and accessories for all of the above.
It’s a Canon Powershot (last year’s model) and has a selective color setting. You can pick a color and set a color tolerance range. What happens is that when you take the picture, the color you choose is the only color. Everything else is black and white. The more color tolerance you allow, the wider the range of color. It’s pretty cool and really sparks the creativity.
One thing I find fascinating is the tidal pools and I took a lot of pictures of these in addition to the ocean and the local wildlife.
I have the beginnings of my African postcard collection.
While on vacation in May, I kept my eye out for them at antique stores and used book stores. I came home with 12 and they are all from either Egypt or Algeria.
I didn’t buy every single one I found, just the ones that I felt were affordable ($2 or less) and were very interesting.
Only one of the 12 was actually mailed and is dated April 1950. It says, “We don’t even know where we are, but we’re having a darn good Easter vacation!”
Monday, April 02, 2007
There were a couple of presentations on this and one photographer in particular that was mentioned was a guy named Fortier. The photo above is credited to him and I pulled it from a UNESCO site.
I had previously been introduced to these by the work of Houria Niati who incorporated them into her work entitled "Bringing Water from the Fountain Has Nothing Romantic About It" where she critiques and confronts the male French exploitation of Algerian women in postcards.
These postcards from the late 19th century through the first part of the 20th century could be compared to our contemporary media. They were responsible for how Africa was viewed by Westerners just as the media (TV, news magazines, newspapers, etc) are today. What people saw in those photographs and read in the captions affected what they thought about Africa and her people.
So, I'm going to attempt to start a little collection. I like to go antiquing, but I've never paid much attention to the postcards.
Determined to start seeking them out, I made my first attempt last weekend. However, while I found a lot of really interesting postcards, I didn't find any African ones. I'll just have to be persistent and patient, I guess.
Saturday, March 31, 2007
I am so glad that I found out about it with enough time to plan ahead and save up for it. Since it only happens every 3 years, I feel fortunate to have stumbled across the information on the internet.
Most of the sessions and events took place at the Cultural Plaza in either the Harn Museum, the Florida Museum of Natural History, or the Black Box Theatre. There were people attending from all over the world and it was fund to meet and see people whose work I have read and referenced in my school papers. It has also opened up some areas of interest for me as well. More on that later.
In the museum, they currently have a show of contemporary Ethiopian art which is really interesting. They also have an El Anatsui metal textile hanging in their main lobby area. I got to eat breakfast next to it every morning.
Okwui Enwezor gave the keynote address in the University Auditorium, but unfortunately the sound system was awful and I couldn't hear what he said. I'm hoping they'll publish a transcript.
The biggest thing that I'm coming away with is that there is a global community of artists and art historians interested in studying and promoting the art of Africa and its diaspora. The second is that they are all ordinary people just like me.
Monday, March 12, 2007
I used a technique called tapestry crochet. When I get a picture taken of it, I'll post it, but for now you'll have to use your imagination.
I used some scrap silk I had in a purple-maroon and white to create a triangle pattern like that on the web site I liked to above. I used an E crochet hook. Check the size after you've done a few rows to make sure it fits.
Using color A, ch 14.
Row 1: With first color (A) sc in 2nd ch from hook and continue across putting 2 sc in last chain. Round the corner to put and additional 14 sc in the other side putting the last 2 sc in the last ch. 28 sc. Do not join.
Row 2: Add second color (B) by sc around on top of it with the first color (A). Do not join.
Row 3: Using tapestry technique, sc in color A. (Pick up in A and finish in B.) 6 sc in B, 1 sc in A. Continue around to create 4 sections of B.
Row 4: On top of previous row, put 1 A on top of A in previous row, 5 sc in B, 2 sc in A, continue around.
Rows 5-8: Continue reducing number of B sc and increasing A sc by one every row. It will form a triangle pattern.
Row 9: Sc around with A.
Rows 10-28: Repeat rows 3 through 9.
Row 29: Dc around and tie off.
Crochet a drawstring that is 7 to 8 inches long. Thread through dc and tie together. Add a decorative bead if desired.
Crochet a neck string 30 inches long or to desired length. Secure to top sides of pouch below the dc row.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Achieving their independence in 1957, they were the first in Africa to do that. If you want to learn more, you can go to the official web site Ghana@50.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
I took a carry on sized roller suitcase for a 4 day trip. It was a little more than I needed, but I wanted the extra room for the trade show goodies I'd be coming back with. My coworkers showed up with suitcases almost twice the size of mine for the same amount of time.
So here's some things that I'd like to add as tips and tricks to travel packing:
• Pack thin. I've already mentioned this in my previous post, but it can't be said enough. Pack a thinner garment rather than the thicker one that is its equivalent unless you really do need the thicker item.
• Pack with multi-tasking in mind. If you can use it more than once in more than one way, that's a good thing. On the trip I just took I traveled from Colorado to Las Vegas. It is colder in Colorado and warmer in Las Vegas, so rather than packing a scarf and hat for the cold at home and a sweater for the air conditioning in Las Vegas, I packed a light weight shawl. At home it served as a scarf/head covering and in Las Vegas it kept me from getting chilled in the air conditioning. It's thin, so it packed small and I packed one item instead of three.
• Pack only what you need in your toiletries kit. DON'T pack the shampoo bottle, the hand lotion bottle, etc just like they are at home. Put some in a smaller bottle; just enough for the trip. I take the shampoo bottles from hotels, empty them of their contents, and fill them with my preferred potions. I suggest testing to see how many days you can get out of one of those bottles by using them at home. You'd be surprised at how small it can be. I've actually found that the bottles sold in stores for traveling are too large for a 1 or 2 week trip. They're more for continual travelers.
• Pack what you need and leave what you might want at home. I indulge myself in one or two small items that I might want, but when flying I try to resist the urge as much as possible.
• If traveling somewhere without laundromats, hotel hair driers, and hotel ironing boards, plan accordingly. Many hotels around the world offer laundry services, so plan that into your budget and take fewer clothes. If going into remote regions, pack a ziplock bag of powdered laundry detergent. Get a hairstyle that is lower maintenance. While I like to use a hair drier at home, I can very easily get along without one. I realize that some don't have that luxury, so perhaps you could try decorative scarves or some other solution that packs light. Or just take something else out of the suitcase so that you can put a travel sized hair drier in. Don't pack something that will need ironing, or learn to pack things like pilots and airline attendants do so that the creases are where they don't look bad.
• Can you carry it? If not, there's a problem. When I went to Las Vegas this week, my bag weighed between 15 and 20 pounds. One of my coworkers weighed in at about 30 pounds. When we got on the airport shuttle I was able to easily carry my bag into the shuttle and put it on the top rack. She managed but the weight and size of her bag meant she had to struggle with it. On our return trip we had added about 15 pounds of paper samples, booklets, and brochures, so my bag weighed in at about 30 pounds and hers was just short of 50 pounds. I was still able to carry my bag, the size making the weight more managable. She didn't even attempt it, leaving it for the driver to take care of.
Do you have some travel packing tips?
1. The journal
2. Pen: One that I like but won't mind losing
3. Sketch pencil: 5B or 6B
4. Plastic "stick" eraser
5. Travel size watercolor set
6. 2 travel style brushes: a 6 round and a 0 round
7. Mini waterbottle: unless I'm also carrying a waterbottle for drinking
8. Water dish: a large plastic pill box works well
9. Mini scissors: Like those on my multi-tool. However, traveling by plane makes this difficult unless I pack it.
10. Glue stick
11. Mesh bag for everything
Book board or good quality matboard
Linen binding thread
Paper or plastic CD sleeve
Book boards- cut 2 at 5"x6"
Drawing paper- cut 35 at 10"x6"
Cover stock- cut 7 at 2"x6"
Decorative paper- cut 2 at 6"x8" and 2 at 4 7/8"x5 7/8"
Linen binding thread- cut 1 at 80"
Drawing paper- fold in half to a finished size of 5"x6"
Cover stock- fold in half to a finished size of 1"x6"
Signatures- starting with the cover stock as the base stack 5 sheets of the prepared drawing paper. You should have 7 signatures when you're done.
Covers- glue the larger sheets centered on to the boards. Fold the corners of the paper around the board and glue. Fold up the sides and glue. Glue the smaller sheets on the side of the boards that have the folded edges.
Binding- mark the holes for sewing on the boards about 1/8" in from the edge. Mark where the holes go inside each signature on the inside fold. Then, using the awl, pierce each hole. Thread your needle and sew everything together using the coptic stitch.
They started when I found instructions for making one in a magazine. I decided to try it with a few modifications. The instructions called for 7 signatures made from 5 sheets of paper cut and folded to 5"x7". I decided I wanted something a little smaller, so I made it 4"x5" and bound it using the coptic stitch.
I had a lot of fun filling the journal throughout our trip. I wrote in it, drew in it, glued in business cards, maps, images clipped from brochures, etc. By the end of the trip I had decided what I really liked the idea of a special travel journal and what I wanted to do differently in the next one.
So my next book was 4 1/2"x6", big enough for postcards. I also began writing in it before the trip. I put in our flight and hotel info as well as a few things we might want to go see in the different places we were going. Throughout our trip I collected tags, tickets, business cards, and stickers that I glued in. Pages with maps or information were folded using the map fold and glued in. I even glued 2 pages together along the edges to create a pocket for putting brochures in. I also did sketches when we were still long enough to do it and intended to glue photos on the extra pages afterwards, but never did.
The third journal I made was adjusted once again. I decided to try the recommended 5"x7" size. I also upgraded the paper to good quality, light weight drawing paper. It really ended up being a versatile size for arranging the things I collected and added as well as sketching. But... I just couldn't quite convince myself to be comfortable with that size. My biggest regret was not putting a closure on it like I had the first 2. I couldn't tuck things in it to glue in later without losing them.
I decided to explore some very different options on the fourth one. I bound single 5"x7" sheets together with metal, hinged rings. My intent was to be able to add, move, or subtract pages as I needed to. I also decided to try a horizontal format. While it worked, I came to the conclusion that I like the coptic stitch binding and vertical format better. In addition, I'm still not sold on the 5"x7" size. The one thing that I did and really liked was that I put a sleeve in the back cover for the CD of digital pictures we took.
So, here's my plan for travel journal number 5.
1. Use the good quality, lightweight drawing paper.
2. I'm going to make it 5"x6" so that it's still big enough for postcards and putting the photo CD in the back cover.
3. I'm going to try using a simple elastic closure. My previous ones have been pretty, but a little cumbersome.
4. It will be bound with coptic stitch.
Monday, February 05, 2007
A travel journal, or road journal or travelogue , is an initially blank book carried by a traveler for the purpose of documenting a journey. Clippings, tokens, or tickets may be included as they are collected. The journal may also include notes written by acquaintances. Some journals feature hand-drawn illustrations, or even watercolors, of friends and places. A travelogue may also contains details of bad experiences.How to Keep a Travel Journal:
Do you keep a travel journal? For those that already do then I'm preaching to the choir here but maybe I can offer some new ideas. And for those who don't...I mean, you really should. Because you think you'll remember that hilarious interaction with a local character or those amazing, off-the-beaten path dining spots...but maybe you won't.
My favorite ready-made journal:
The 3.5"x5.5" lined pocket Moleskine.
All time favorite travel journal? Handmade by me.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
I did a search of the internet to see what kind of packing lists I could find and it's interesting to see what people have put together. I've gone ahead and made my own list. I don't get too specific on most things since every trip is different, but there are a few things I consider before pulling out the suitcase.
Have to have on every trip:
A book to read- I find traveling a good time to get reading for pleasure done since everyday life seems to get in the way of it.
My moleskine and/or a travel journal- I need to have someplace to record creative ideas and thoughts as well as recording the memories and experiences of the trip.
2 pairs of shoes- A lot of the lists say to pack only 1 pair of shoes and 2 if you must. I must pack 2. My feet benefit immensely from changing my shoes from day to day and, unlike men, we women are expected to wear something nicer than tennis shoes when we go out to a nice restaurant.
Things I like to take:
A sketch kit- I like to do at least a few sketches when we go places.
A digital camera- I really like being able to take a lot of pictures, to delete the ones I don't like, and then to store them all on a small CD when I get home.
A craft project- I only do this when we're driving (not flying) and it's usually embroidery or crocheting since they travel well.
These are the usual things to take and should be adjusted according to the type and length of the trip as well as the time of year. Longer trips should have days for washing planned to keep from taking too much:
Toiletries- Girls usually have more than boys and some girls a lot more than others.
Under things- Unmentionable but one for every day.
Shirts- Blouses/dress shirts for business and t-shirts or casual shirts for vacation. A different one for every day.
Pants/Skirts- Slacks/skirts for business and jeans/casual pants/shorts/skirts for vacation. These can be worn more than once so you can save space in this category.
Socks- I always take one or two pairs extra. You never know if you might get your feet wet and need a dry pair.
Warmer layers- Dress jackets, sweaters, and undershirts.
Jackets/Coats- Appropriate to the season. Fleece and gortex are always good choices.
Fluff and frills- Jewelry, scarves, ties, hair things. Take something to help you dress up a bit, but don't take anything too valuable.
The key to packing light lies in 2 areas. Pack less and pack thinner. Pack less just means that you only pack what you will wear, not what you might wear. Pack thinner means you take out the bulky aran sweater and put in the basic fine knit one. Or you might pack the silk undershirt instead.
I'm still working on the suitcase. Some people advocate wheels and some are opposed to wheels. I'm definitely a wheels person if I'm traveling by air and a non-wheels person traveling by car. When we went on vacation to England we took the train instead of a taxi as close to our B&B as we could. Then we walked the remaining 5 city blocks. I was very glad of the wheels both in navigating the Underground and walking from the station to the B&B. However, I find wheels get in the way when I'm getting a bag in and out of a car trunk.
How do you like to pack?
Monday, January 15, 2007
My next brain leap was to home decor. What if you used photos or ads to choose colors to decorate with? So here's what I did.
1. I went through the magazine and pulled out ads that I found particularly appealing. I didn't think about why, I just responded.
2. I cut them into strips so that it eliminated most of the subject and put the focus on the colors.
3. I chose the strips that I really liked, eliminated the "duplicates," and pasted them into my Moleskine. As you can see, some of the ad strips are similar, but sometimes I kept 2 similar ones because the color emphasis was different.
4. I've been pulling paint chips at the hardware store a few at a time to match the colors in the photos.I decided that this could really be a fun way to decorate if you only have a sense of how you want the room to feel. The colors wouldn't just be paint, they'd be all the main elements in the room. The walls, the floor, the wood, the fabrics, and the furniture and nicknacks.
So, if you're looking for that mountain lake look, the lavender fields look without the French influence, or the tropical escape look, I've got it already figured out for you.
We got there just ahead of the 14 inches of snow they got and it was beautiful! We stayed cozy in the Old Taos Guesthouse with our kiva fireplace.
The breakfasts there are marvelous and the first morning we sat next to the window where the bird feeder was.
So.. All of you who got a Christmas card from us... we love you all dearly and please don't assume a level of prestige based on the print number. You know who you are. : )
For those of you who are lost, let me explain what all the hullabaloo is about. Let me start with what I'm talking about when I call our Christmas card a print.
They are limited edition original prints, NOT reproductions. They are originals because they are pulled by me, the artist, and each one is unique. Our Christmas card is a linoleum cut just like the print pictured here. You can see the number that says 3/10. That means there are 10 prints in the edition and this was the 3rd one pulled.
For more definitions of what prints are, go to Donald Heald's web site. For more about printmaking, go to Wikipedia.