January 30, 2008
I've been working on a new line of notebooks and uploaded the first batch to my etsy shop last night. They're pocket sized pamphlet bindings sewn on the short side, made from recycled newsprint that I use as blotters while I'm printing (so the pages have all sorts of lovely print remnants on them). Right now there are two cover options, with more coming soon. I just squeaked in under the wire to satisfy goal #10 on my überlist, which is to have new things in the shop twice monthly.
January 29, 2008
i said i'd love you forever, but i never promised i'd be true
When last we visited our intrepid heroine, she was pledging her undying love to Miss Henry and settling in for a cozy afternoon with her newfound passion. Well, turns out she's a faithless bitch, and that very afternoon, mere hours after waxing poetic right here on this very weblog about her hot and heavy new sweater romance, she'd already thrown poor Miss Henry aside for another.
Meet Straight Outta Brompton, the backstreet girl our knitter couldn't resist.
What can I say, I've always been a sucker for a beautiful pair of wrists.
(by the way, how can anyone stand to actually compose an entire weblog in the third person? Ugh. How embarrassingly pompous.)
Miss Henry still gets my knitty heart fluttering though, and is now long enough to wrap her soft wooliness around my armpits. And also my elbow. She's still my preferred bus knitting at the moment. I've already slipped her wee bit of sleeve onto my arm two times? (three times? at least two times just today, I think) and forced Peter to look at how beautiful she is (oh, he loves that, I assure you).
Not sure why this wool is so impossible to photograph. Y'all might just have to take my word on how beautiful and soft it is. Really. So soft if you could feel it you'd want to rub it all over your body like the lady in the cashmere toilet paper commercial. You would too, don't try to deny it.
Straight Outta Brompton has had to come off her needle in order to do Miss Henry's sleeve ribbing, but she too has grown, with an almost completed yoke:
Both of these projects are part of my big stash and burn '08 project (I don't mean literally burn, not like some people. . . ), about which I still haven't written a dedicated post even though January is so over I can taste it. Because I am a lazy slag above all else. But you knew that.
January 19, 2008
i hope you get things done the way that you intend
'cause you know how to get things done, and not everybody does that
I'd intended to spend at least the first part of the day in the studio today, cutting new woodblocks and working on some prints for a portfolio exchange that's due soon. But the cold and rainy weather doesn't provide much motivation for leaving the house and getting things done, and somehow I whiled away the better part of the morning still in my pyjamas, futzing around online and leaving comments on photos from my old elementary school that other people have posted to facebook (I know, I KNOW).
So I got my umbrella and squelched and slid my way along the muddy, eroding foot path to the studio and grabbed my freshly-printed dresses off the drying rack (I wouldn't have bothered going in at all at this point, but I didn't have a dress to wear other than the ones in that rack), and came back home straightaway. I've just gotten off the phone with my mom (it's her birthday today!) and I think I'll settle back on the couch and spend some quality time with a nice pot of strong black tea and this, the newest object of my affection:
That's Ariann (but I'm choosing to call mine Miss Henry) by Bonne Marie Burns. Since I've publicly declared my intention to knit from stash this year (I've been dragging my arse on making a dedicated blog post about this and about documenting/cataloguing the stash, but it'll happen soon, I promise), I had to find something around the apartment for this project. I had my doubts as I cast on with this recycled secondhand Gap-sweater wool, all the reasons why the wool sucked competing in my mind with my stitch count: its boringness, its drab colour, its devastating lack of fancy-store-boughtness. But after soldiering on through the ribbing and into the eyelet pattern I began to notice how pleasingly sturdy my button band was, how perfectly defined the columns of decreases were, how wonderfully rich (not at all drab) the grey was, and how incredibly cozy-soft it felt. I wish I could let y'all feel it, the poorly-lit photo (see above re: cold rainy weather) doesn't do it justice at all. Because, you know what? Recycled secondhand drab grey Gap-sweater lambswool is PERFECT. And I am madly in love with this sweater already, even though I'm only nine inches into it so far. I plan to change that today, and woodcuts can wait until tomorrow.
And speaking of sweaters I love, allow me to clumsily segue into this, a show-and-tell of my totally awesome curling sweater, bought last summer at the Goodwill buckapound:
Not even having to explain to all of my students what curling is, and then later to my fellow grads that they're rocks, not tanks, could dampen my giddy happiness at wearing this silly thing. I think I'm going to make this my default winter coat. All I need now is a faded blue and red plaid lumber jacket to wear underneath. I bet the buckapound can help me out there, too.
January 16, 2008
it "snowed" tonight!
By the time I got the pictures uploaded, the snow had already turned to rain. Too bad, I was hoping for a snow day tomorrow. But you never know, if this rain gets too cold overnight they could declare it "ice" and shut down the university anyway. At any rate, I was ecstatic to have some snow here in Athens. I even danced in it a little.
January 13, 2008
pretend you saw this last month, because that's when i meant to post it
Another student, Tyler Jackson, made a stop motion animation for his final project. You can watch it here: The Reef on youtube.
Here are a few of my favourites from earlier in the semester:
January 09, 2008
something that made me cringe, then laugh delightedly (then keep twitching for a while after)
Remember the super-awesome Wax Jodi Head from last summer? If not, go check it out while I wait here.
Yesterday Nastassja posted a fantastic series of photos of the wax head dismantling process. This is the point at which my eyebrow twitch kicked in:
And that one spot where my bottom lip is ticklish started buzzing softly, right about here:
See the rest here. I have to say I'm glad to see that the wax head is impermanent and the materials all get recycled, partly because I don't have to worry about where my likeness ends up, but mostly because it's just more like I'd like my own body to end up, dismantled and reused rather than preserved forever. While embalming seems like a fascinating and tricky art to me, I'd really rather be allowed to decompose naturally, or be fed to crows or something. Since that's not really a legal option then I guess I'll go for burning (after anything useful has been taken, of course) but it's not my first choice.
Jeez. What it is about mortuary arts that get me all morbid? Oh. Yeah.
Here's something else that made me both cringe and laugh yesterday, but not in nearly as good a way: the iTaser. No, really. iTaser. For listening to mp3s and stunning people. Why didn't I learn about that in my self defense class? (the one where I learned, among other fun yet tasteless facts, how to kill a man with two fingers).
When Taser International comes up with something that can cook me a hot breakfast and wax my legs while I zap people, then I might be interested.
January 08, 2008
schedules and plans: the 2008 Überlist
I haven't been very attentive to this little journal lately; my 500th post somehow went by without my even noticing, even though it seems I almost never post here anymore. I'm going to try to change that, and take the time to write here more often. That is not a resolution. Just a plan.
I taught my first class of the semester this morning, and I'm pretty stoked. This is the first time I've been able to teach the same class for a second time, so now I have a chance to tweak the curriculum and do all of the things I wish I'd done last time but didn't think of in time and just generally become a better printmaking instructor than I was a few months ago. My class is from eight to eleven a.m. this semester, so I get to teach during my most productive hours rather than the sleepy midday hours that I had last semester. And several (four, I think?) of my students this time around are printmaking majors, which I'm expecting will have a very positive effect on the overall class mentality. I'm anticipating a lot of good printmaking going on in the litho shop this spring.
Peter and I banged out a schedule for the semester last night, and it's even better than I thought it would be. Since he's taking a study leave to work on a big research project, he's got a lot more flexibility with travel, and the longest we'll have to be apart, according to our master schedule, is slightly less than three weeks. So we've got these glorious four months, basking in that light shining on us from down at the end of the tunnel there, to ease back into life together, re-establish our routines. And then at the end of it all he's going to bring the kids down for a visit, we'll pack up the studio and whatever crap I can't get rid of, and go home.
I was hoping for this spring to be the time when Peter and I could take some longer trips in the South, especially to New Orleans. But it looks like there just isn't going to be time for that sort of trip. Instead, we'll do smaller, closer things. Asheville. Savannah. The place in Georgia where the Cabbage Patch Dolls are born. We're going to Baltimore for a weekend in February, I'm going to a conference in Richmond VA in March. After all this, we're going to try keeping our tourism within Canada for a little while (I've lived in Windsor for what, seven and a half years now and have never been to Point Pelee).
I've just completed my (slightly overachieving) Überlist for 2008. These are not resolutions, just things I hope to accomplish. They're not organized in any way, just in the order in which I wrote them down in my book; this will give you some idea of how my brain works, flitting from here to there seemingly randomly (like many of my generation, Sesame Street taught me to have a three-minute attention span) and then obsessively going back again and again to the same things. Big, difficult, life changing things (not too many of those, I'm not quite THAT ambitious) are mixed in with little, easy-to-accomplish things. Some goals, mainly home improvement goals, are things that Peter and I will likely accomplish together, but as we share the problem of allowing the house stuff to slide, I think these things can still count towards my list. So here goes, 2008's Überlist:
1. (try to) draw every day
2. knit only from stash (YIPES! there will be a separate post on this later, with some rules laid out)
3. finish or frog all outstanding knit projects
4. finish printed quilt
5. apply to 2 shows per month
6. apply to 6 residencies
7. comment more on blogs
8. get website up to date
9. -once up-to-date, update website twice monthly
10. new items in etsy shop twice monthly
11. get rid of (SELL) all t-shirts before leaving Athens
12. re-evaluate stash, give some away
13. write letters. real ones. on paper.
14. clean out inbox twice monthly
15. knit up all leftover sock yarn into blanket squares
16. ride my bike more
17. revive "edition-a-week" - stick with it!
18. draw during meetings instead of knitting
19. eat less junk
20. examine hungers
21. floss twice weekly
22. go through clothes: Goodwill or refashion 30% (thesis dresses don't count)
23. put up shelves in basement
24. purge basement of useless stuff (HUBCAPS?)
25. ditto for attic
26. take pictures of all the stuff on the plate rail to post on flickr
27. document student work throughout the semester instead of all at the end
28. get Fall 2007 student work up on flickr
29. go through the drawer of photocopied journal articles - pitch those I'll never read
30. read at least 50% of what's left
31. finish tearing down back deck
32. plant a flowering crab over the kitty graves
33. clean up junk from backyard. no more Sanford + Son!
34. can tomatoes
35. weed backyard
36. pour a new sidewalk out front
37. wash windows
38. eat locally and in season
39. buy more produce at the farmers market, less at Zehrs
40. more local tourism - visit Point Pelee!
41. and Uncle Tom's Cabin
42. go on a tour of Walkers
43. once back in Windsor, print at W.P.F. two days a week
44. re-work copper plates
45. re-work or throw away old zinc plates
46. when Peter is around, go to bed earlier (nudge)
47. when Peter is not around, less internet, more work/craft in evenings
48. put my toys away when I'm finished with them
49. re-organize filing cabinet
50. bake more bread
51. rip and re-knit Bridie sweater (in a size that will actually fit)
52. design submissions to at least 4 publications
53. write up Rosaleen scarf pattern
54. cut down bead stash - give away at least 50%
55. learn to play my accordian
56. make a new satchel
57. make satchels for the etsy shop
58. start some new house plants
59. water them
60. spin up 1/2 of fibre stash
61. paint our bedroom
62. throw out the last of the Barbage from the attic
63. make draft stoppers for upstairs windows
64. draft stopper for front door
65. re-organize record collection
66. listen to all of our records in alphabetical order
67. eat at least one meal at home per week with chopsticks, for practice
68. socialize more with the other grad students
69. clean up my studio and keep the table clear
70. cut up all the paper littering the studio (for binding into books)
71. bind books with it or throw it away
72. visit a province I've never been to
73. meet up in real life with 4 blog friends
74. post at least one photo (to flickr) every day
75. fix up my falling-apart Russian garb
76. put up at least one batch of preserves each month (seasonal)
77. eat less wheat
78. cook with Peter more often
79. learn to make the perfect whiskey sour
80. teach a workshop at the Printmakers Forum
81. volunteer at Artcite
82. read a contemporary novel or nonfiction per month
83. fold laundry the same day it gets washed
84. go to art galleries more often
85. don't bitch about people
86. go to the dentist
87. reduce amount of plastics in our home
88. organize my big binder of recipes
89. try a new recipe from every cookbook we own
90. shoot less digital, more film
91. convert an old camera to pinhole
92. and actually take pictures with it on a regular basis
93. make a good, professional-looking tailored jacket
94. get my next tattoo
95. get my learner's permit
96. get rid of all the dead ballpoint pens in the house
97. take pictures of the sculptures down by the river
98. take pictures of all the places I lived in Athens before I leave
99. take pictures of all the places I lived in London
100. spend a day taking pictures around Huron Park
101. tat enough lace to actually make or trim something
102. do more stuff with all of us, me/Pete/Dylan/Claire
103. throw all my change in a jar and then do something fun with it
104. yoga 4 times a week
105. take my vitamins every day
106. learn to make good bread without wheat (is this possible?)
107. let go of petty angers and annoyances
108. make 2009 Überlist before 2009 begins
January 04, 2008
january brought jane, but jane's so full of pain. . .
The cold that brewed steadily through the last days of December became a croaking, creaking pain by New Year's Eve, and a fun party-time evening with friends old and new was spent alternately coughing and slowly sipping scotch, hoping for some relief for my throat. My throat responded by dumping a thick pile of crud onto my vocal cords, where it has sat until today, when I spoke my first words of 2008 (unless you count stage whispers and hand gestures). I sound like a June bullfrog, that is when I can get any sound to come out at all. But it's starting to look like I may have enough voice in me to teach my class on Tuesday after all.