I finally put one of my favorite possessions up in the kitchen this afternoon — a kitchen-themed Vera tea towel calendar from my birth year, 1974. Seems a little bit fitting since I am an Ox and things have come around to my year again! Like most January birthday folks, I’m a tag-along with the calendar year before — I vaguely thought I was a Tiger for most of my life, until I realized that my birthday falls well before Chinese New Year and I actually join Andrew and everyone I went to high school with in Ox-world. Anyway. It is hanging on our little closet door, somewhat crazily (I think I have to rethink the pushpins) and I love seeing it!
It fits nicely with the sunny yellow kitchen in our 1949-1950 house, which is a lucky break, same as our old Los Angeles apartment where I whipped up the first set of tea towel curtains. And it’s facing down yet another set of tea towel curtains, too. I’m nothing if not predictable…
Speaking of vintage calendar tea towels, have you seen Kim’s round-up over at True Up all month? She has spotlighted some gorgeous ones!
And speaking of the kitchen, I’m trying out this cake recipe and hoping it’s good — I couldn’t get the freaking applesauce jar open, after five or six tries, so I had to do some substituting on the fly. We’ll see. It’s a pity it wasn’t one of the cooking exchanges and substitutes Vera helpfully provides. Well, good or not, I’m pouring a glass of wine to go with it. I hope that your Year of the Ox has been a happy one so far!
I just saw in a few places that the CPSC has granted a one-year stay on implementing the law governing testing in children’s products — a huge relief to crafters and small businesses!
The February 10 deadline has been pushed to 2010. Right on!
To celebrate, I think I’ll actually post twice today… a first in months and months of the baby running the show around here. But I just decorated my kitchen with a favorite thing and I think it deserves its own little spotlight!
I’m in a rush today so I thought I’d post links over to three tutorials I’ve done for CraftStylish recently… they’re all jewelry-making-related but I guess more embellish-y than anything else. Hope you like them!
Yesterday’s how-to is one of my favorites lately: converting broken costume jewelry into a spiraled flower brooch. This is one of my favorites because it rescued two things gathering dust, a broken 50s beaded necklace and a swingy camel-hair coat (after a long everyday grind as my only maternity coat last winter, it has spent an uniterrupted hiatus in the back of the closet). I’ve worn it twice since it’s been fancied up and it feels a little bit new again.
The one before that was craft room-related: adding a beaded “necklace” to a plain aluminum can for storing craft supplies (in my case, scissors, scissors, and more scissors — this is about half of my ridiculous collection).
And to celebrate my birthday a couple of weeks ago, I made up some super-simple wineglass charms with some favorite bits and pieces from Ornamentea.
Christina let me know about a really lovely handmade Valentine drive that Etsy is hosting — Special Delivery: Share Your Love. They’re rounding up crafty Valentine’s Day cards, which City Meals will deliver to homebound seniors in New York City, along with a nutritious meal and a friendly visit. Such a sweet idea!
I have been looking for a non-princess/sports/ugly toy box for Pearl’s room for awhile (my dream is to find the alphabet chalkboard-sliding door one from my childhood, but no luck so far) and craigslist and eBay hadn’t turned up any good leads. So last week when Caitlin and I went by Village Merchants, I spotted this padded bench/chest thing (on sale, even) and it seemed like a good start to my toy box mission!
I was originally thinking of pulling off some decoupaged and fabric-ed craftiness in good Pearl-like colors, but then I realized that the biggest toy black hole in our house is actually the living room, where we spend a bunch of time together. Her stuff ends up everywhere and I’m not crazy about 1) seeing and stepping over all of it all the time and 2) hunting for her favorite thing which is inevitably lost under the couch or behind the record cabinet. Our house was built in 1950 and we love modern furniture, so the boomerang/atomic-style pattern seemed to work with the rest of our stuff,
but the inside was really crying out for help. If you have hung out with a baby much, you know that anything that can go in the mouth will go in the mouth, and the prospect of this grimy beaten-up interior
brushing up against all the toys and books that she gnaws on was pretty off-putting.
So, one super-scrubbing later, I picked up a roll of woodgrain contact paper at Fred Meyer and started re-papering the inside! It was amazingly easy. I just measured the inside bottom piece and added a panel right over the old junky layer,
added diagonal strips at the corners, and filled it in with panels from side to side on each wall, and an extra strip all around the top.
It holds a bunch of her toys and even looks like something grown-up when it’s closed!
Anyway, I’m pretty embarrassed to write up a whole post raving about contact paper like it’s some brand-new revelation, but it really brought this thing back to life. The last time I remember using “shelf paper” was at my parents’ house — it was a geometric pattern in the aggressive 80s primary colors I do my best to avoid now, so it was cool to find a simple woodgrain print that was totally me and mixed with the atomic-style stuff so easily.
Now I have almost an entire roll left for the next thing that needs stylish papering over! This stuff is so addictive.
We watched the inauguration at home and had some lovely French toast (me and Andrew) and crunchies (Pearl). What a great morning! I loved the music, the moment of, the address after, and the poetry (which Melissa posted, it was so good to read it again). Pearl clapped with excitement for the new president while he was speaking, which was my favorite part too!
I put out photographs of my grandparents and my dad as it started, and lit candles to honor two other grandmothers. I thought that they would have loved to see this morning along with all of us.
Just for fun, I obamiconed this picture of me holding Pearl in one hand and my ballot in the other in October. It seems like so long ago!
One last thing I wanted to mention, speaking of way back then: I finally got my celebratory election postcards gocco’ed after two false starts (due to faulty toner on my original images, it turns out) and I am planning to finish rounding up addresses and send them out this week! The last while has been a blur of deadlines and doctor’s appointments, but I am excited to pass them along to some of my crafty buddies who are also fans of #44.
I read a captivating poem by Langston Hughes in the books section of the Oregonian yesterday that has stayed with me ever since…
I thought his beautiful lines were also beautifully framed by David Biespiel, who wrote: “A deft political poem, a poem that inserts itself into civic discourse with one eye on time and another eye on lyrical imperatives, is a rare and necessary piece of art.”
I feel very proud of how far we’ve come, and very grateful for the chance to go further.
See you in the morning!
So the Handmade Nation signing last night drew tons of crafty folks, and Faythe said it was her biggest crowd for a book event so far! Here are a few of my photos of the evening, and don’t miss my fellow gocco-er Kate Bingaman-Burt’s pictures, too. (I will warn you: the lighting was great for showing a film, not so great for point-and-shoot photos, so please forgive the many blurry crazy ones!)
We got there early to set up and get the gocco station ready to go. Faythe was introduced by Namita Wiggers of the Museum of Contemporary Craft, who gave a really interesting talk on craft culture, weaving in the effects of the Industrial Revolution, the GI Bill, the age of technology, and the rise of indie crafts seamlessly.
this one of Faythe speaking is actually good, so you know it’s Kate’s and not mine
Then Faythe described her process in joining the online craft community, opening a gallery, choosing to document it all, and her travels to film crafters and events nationwide. She also explained how the book came about as a result of her 8-minute YouTube clip (which has gotten more than 96,000 hits) and then showed a 20-minute insert of the feature-length film.
After the film clip finished, Faythe took questions and then signed books. Meanwhile, Kate and I got people gocco-ing their own Handmade Nation postcards off to the side!
Stay tuned for more on the film’s Portland premiere in April — we’re planning some really fun things for the weekend of the 4th and 5th. Hope to see you then!
If you are in Portland this weekend I hope I’ll see you at the Handmade Nation book signing at Powells Sunday night! The marvelous Faythe Levine herself will be coming to town for the reading, and I am really looking forward to it — the book is amazing and it is so cool to see it come to life as part of the community it honors. Here’s the description from the Powells event calendar…
Faythe Levine traveled 19,000 miles to document what has emerged as a marriage between historical technique, punk culture, and the DIY ethos. Handmade Nation (Princeton Architectural Press) features photographs of the makers, their work environments, their processes, their work, and discussions of how they got their start and what motivates them. This event is sponsored by the Museum of Contemporary Craft. Joining Levine are contributing writer, Susan Beal; featured artist, Jill Bliss; as well as the illustrator for the book, Kate Bingaman-Burt.
Kate Bingaman-Burt, who did all the illustrations and typography for the book (including the lovely maps above) and I will be showing folks how to gocco-print some souvenir cards previewing the Handmade Nation film premiere — mark your calendars for April 4 + 5, it will be screening at the Contemporary Crafts Museum! That will be a super fun weekend, too.
I’ll post more of a review and lots of photos from the event next week! It’s my birthday Sunday, and I can’t think of a nicer way to spend it than with craft books and crafty friends. Fingers crossed that this crazy rainy I-5-closing freakout simmers down…
Sarah took me to the Blazers game last night (a surprising victory over the Pistons — woo hoo!) and surprised me with this excellent hand-screened Channing Frye shirt. So cool! I’m hoping it isn’t really cursed…
In a nutshell for the crafty multitudes who are not Blazers fans, Channing kind of translates everything I love about Portland directly into human form. He is the star of the city recycling-rules booklet, he enthuses about restaurants he checks out, he loves to go to the coast, and he blogs about all these things. After a strong start, he has not had an easy time of it in the Blazers rotation lately, though, and I worry that he’s going to be traded soon. What can I say, I like the guy, and I love the current Blazers line-up just as it is (with Martell Webster and Brandon Roy back from injuries soon, knock on wood) so I’m hoping against hope that the trade deadline comes and goes with no action taken, and a revitalized #44 in the mix. Sarah has much, much more to say about this, with a lot more context, so I’ll just send you over to her and to this great Willamette Week article.
Back to crafts: be sure and check out all the screenprinting projects the unstoppable sewer-sewist crafty duo have pulled off lately, along with the eponymous sewing, Obama-ing, and skateboard revamping. Awesome!