2014 :: Some Things I Learned

12/31/14

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It’s the last day of 2014, and over the past few days I have been reflecting a lot on the past year. I just finished reading Lena Dunham’s new book, Not That Kind of Girl, in which she recollects on what she’s learned so far as a young woman in her late twenties. I wonder if (and hope) she’ll continue to write memoirs. Because every decade (every year, in fact) we (and by we I mean YOU and ME, all of us) — if we are conscious human beings — learn more and more about what matters in life, about acceptance, about humility, about how to be ourselves and so many other things.

For some context, in two weeks I turn forty seven years old. Here are some things I have learned at forty-six:

1) Not everyone will like me or my work or my process or what I have to say, and that is okay. I am beginning not to care as much, and not because I have any plans to be lazy about kindness or treating others with respect. I realize that usually the reasons people don’t like you or your work have nothing to do with whether you are a kind or good person anyhow.

2) All of that said, I have also learned that, for the most part, most people are good and kind. And it is goodness and kindness that matter most. So I choose to surround myself with good and kind people.

3) I can survive a difficult experience. In 2013, I went through something quite traumatic — the most traumatic in my life, in fact. And it did not destroy me. In fact, I am better for it. What I learned made 2014 much richer in ways I could not have imagined.

4) I like being married. A lot. I am so grateful for marriage equality and what it has done for me and for my gay and lesbian sisters and brothers everywhere.

5) I can’t do it all in my career. Choosing the stuff I like to do the most and the stuff that brings me the most satisfaction (even if it’s not the most lucrative and even if it means I have to say no to prestigious opportunities) is what makes me happiest in the end.

6) That said, I don’t ever want to stop trying new things as an artist, expanding my practice, pushing myself, experimenting, keeping my everyday world exciting and new.

7) Life is not perfect and it will never be. Understanding that has changed me.

8) Showing up everyday and doing the work is what will get you to your goals and dreams as a creative person. Also: success does not happen overnight. Even once opportunities begin to arrive, being an artist/designer/writer/maker continues to be hard work every day, so you must find love in it and be dedicate yourself to enjoying the process or you will be miserable.

9) My unique path as an artist & my work are legitimate and worthwhile. And so are yours.

10) Nothing matters more than the present moment. Worrying keeps us stuck in the future. Lamenting keeps us stuck in the past. Today is for living.

And with that may you truly live every day of 2015.

Happy New Year!

With gratitude,

Lisa

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Happy Holidays & Thank You!

12/24/14

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{Above, white gel pen on black paper, 2014}

To everyone who comes to this blog: thank you. My career as an artist would not be possible without you and others who buy, commission, share, write about, and otherwise support the work I do everyday. I feel very grateful. Thank you, thank you!

May you all have a wonderful holiday!

Stay warm and cozy and have a happy Wednesday!

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2014 :: A Sewing Odyssey :: A Recap

12/23/14

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If you’ve been reading this blog for the past year, you may recall that in January I made a goal to consume less. As part of that goal I allowed myself new clothes for the year if I a) made them myself or b) bought them second hand. As a result, I started a little project called 2014: A Sewing Odyssey, and you can see all of the projects here. In a moment I am going to report on how I did with that goal.

But first, let’s review the sewing projects from the odyssey, pictured above, left to right in order. There are few things to notice: 1) I like dresses 2) my hair grew longer over the course of the year 3) Wilfredo appears in three photos and 4) I got new glasses this month! You can’t tell here but my sewing skills & attention to detail also improved exponentially. But the most important thing to notice is that that was honestly NOT a sewing “odyssey”. While I intended to make many more than eight new articles of clothing (and #5 was a vintage upcycle at that), I just didn’t have (or make) time with my busy work schedule to sew as much as I planned. So maybe not an odyssey (Sonya Philip’s 100 Dress project was more of an odyssey). However, it was a) more than clothing than I’ve ever sewed before and b) I’m hooked. And those two things feel great.

Now to report on how I did with my goal of consuming less by not buying any new clothing this year (my goal was to make new clothes and buy only used). With a few exceptions, I stuck with it. I did buy a handful of brand new clothing items, mostly a couple of workout clothing items which I use almost every day and leggings & t-shirts that are harder to find in good condition second hand. I also bought one new dress for a special occasion. Overall, though, I purchased fewer articles of new clothing than I have in one year since I was a poor college student. I did buy lots of vintage and used clothing, so I did get to happily satisfy my shopping appetite.

So what does 2015 hold?
1) More sewing. I love making my own clothing, from choosing patterns to finding the perfect fabric and notions. I love the process of sewing and the satisfaction of making things I can use. I also want to try more altering and restructuring of vintage like I did in Project #5.

2) A new sewing machine. I did purchase a serger and it has been helpful (and opens up so many options for me). But I do think if I want to cut down on frustration I need a new general machine that doesn’t give me problems every 10 minutes. This is something I didn’t discuss here, but I had regular fights with my sewing machine, which my mother generously handed down to me 10 years ago when she got a new one. Perhaps its time to invest in my own brand new machine? Saving my pennies.

3) Starting in January, I’ll make one new article of clothing with each print from my new line of fabric from Cloud9. I’ll be posting more about that fabric line  soon, along with sewing projects using my new line over the course of the year. Stay tuned for that!

Thank you for following along, friends.

Have a great Tuesday!

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2014 :: A Sewing Odyssey :: #8

12/22/14

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If you’ve been following along on my blog this year, you may know that I made a commitment last January to consume less. As part of that effort, I committed to only sewing new clothes myself or purchasing used or vintage. On Friday I completed my eighth and final sewing project of 2014, and, thus the odyssey. The result is pictured here!

It’s the “Rae” skirt from Sewaholic Patterns, which I purchased through Fancy Tiger Crafts (for the win, Fancy Tiger also carries yardage of my new Revelry line of fabric and has an awesome array of patterns and fabric). For this skirt I used African fabric that I purchased over the summer at a local fabric shop in Oakland.

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I made the “B” view skirt, which is a bit fuller than “A” and shorter than “C”. The directions for making the skirt were really well written and easy to understand. This pattern is great for someone just learning how to sew. All you need is fabric, 1 inch elastic, thread, a machine and basic sewing skills (and the pattern, of course)! Here’s a close-up of the skirt.

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Tomorrow I’ll be back with a recap of my year long “odyssey” and how I did meeting my goal of consuming less. Stay tuned!

Happy Monday!

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Recent Interviews

12/16/14

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Friends, I’ve done several interviews lately and wanted to share the links with you in case you are the interview-reading kind!

+First, this interview out today from the magazine Dirty Laundry – all about starting in the art world late in life, imposter syndrome, self promotion, illustration vs. fine art and other nuggets.

+Next up, this interview with Stephanie Reagan for her series Material Studies (Stephanie started this series recently and already has several great artist interviews up on her site).

+Recently Caitlin Bacher of Little Farm Media posted this interview with me about the role of social media in promoting my work and on my art career in general.

+Here’s an interview I did with Mohawk Paper about PERCEPTION.

+I already linked to it in this post last week on Rejection & Criticism, but here’s my interview with Susan Muldar for her series The Rejection Chronicles.

Thanks for reading and sharing.

Happy Tuesday!

 

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My Doodling Manifesto

11/06/14

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Earlier this year I designed this Doodling Manifesto and I realized the other day I had never shared here on the blog! If you’ve taken my line drawing class with Creativebug, you’ve probably heard me talk about some of these principles.

1) In doodling, there are no rules. We all have that voice in our head that says, on occasion, “you should be doing it this way.” And when we doodle, it’s important to tell those voices to shut up. Rules play a really important role in some forms of art making: how to hold your brush, what materials to use, how to create a lush background, on and on. But in doodling, you get to draw whatever you want however you want. And, furthermore, no one but you ever has to see what you doodle. So you have all the freedom.

2) Carry pens and paper with you everywhere. This is important because you never know when the opportunity (or inspiration) will strike. In line at the bank? The waiting room at the doctor? Make your down time (even the boring stuff) less boring with doodles.

3) Make time to doodle every day. Even if you only doodle for a few minutes a day, free form drawing can loosen up your creative juju and even help you process other more difficult stuff, like working through creative blocks or thinking about solutions to life’s problems.

4) Think of everything as lines and circles. You don’t have to “know how to draw” to doodle. Make shapes! Create lines! And if you do want to draw flowers or people or buildings, think of them more abstractly as a collection of lines and circles.

5) You are the boss of your art. You get to draw what inspires you. You get to draw what you want to draw, even if it’s the same stuff you always draw. If you keep a sketchbook to doodle (which I highly recommend), your sketchbook (unless you choose to share it) is your own private place that no one else ever has to see.

6) Imperfection rules. Do you know that Japanese term Wabi Sabi? It translates to something like “beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.” The idea here is that it is actually the “imperfections” that make something beautiful or interesting. What I often describe as “wonkiness” in art is to me what makes something really cool or different. Embrace imperfection in your doodling.

7) Doodling is art (end of story). Many of the large abstract paintings I make in my studio and sell to clients begin as doodles in pen in my sketchbook. Many of the repeat patterns I create that adorn fabric began as doodles in my sketchbook. Doodling itself, even if it’s never translated to things like canvas or surface design, is art. Every great artist doodles and every great doodler is an artist.

8) Black and white are beautiful colors. While I do use colored pens and watercolor paints in my sketchbook when I doodle, my favorite tools are black Micron pens and white paper. I encourage you to embrace the simplicity of using just one color (even if it’s not black) and even if it’s just every now and again. When you draw in black on white you will find great beauty in the monotony.

9) Negative space is as important as positive space. Whenever I teach line drawing, I remind my students that it’s important to pay attention not just to the marks you are making on the page (the positive space), but also to the white (negative) space that surrounds it. Composition is made up of negative and positive space and how they interact together, so ponder both as you doodle.

10) Everything you draw (even the stuff you don’t like) is part of your journey. It’s important to remember that even when you want to rip something out of your sketchbook because it is SO UGLY (and even if you do, and you can), the exercise of “making mistakes” or pushing something on the page too far when you should have just left it alone (sound familiar?) is all part of the journey of making art (regardless if you are a doodler or a professional artist). We learn & grow from those experiences. It’s important to learn to embrace the ugly, the mistakes, the “that looked so good until I added that color” moments. It’s all part of your path.

Have a happy Thursday, friends!

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2014 :: A Sewing Odyssey :: #7

10/20/14

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This past Friday I worked on my seventh garment sewing project of the year: a tunic made from some beautiful Nani Iro double gauze, which has been hanging around in my fabric stash since I purchased it earlier this summer. For this tunic, I used the same pattern that I used to make this dress, except kept the hem a bit shorter. [For those of you who are new to my blog, I started sewing my own clothes this past January. You can see all of sewing projects from the year here.]

To give this tunic a special pop, I used some neon pink bias tape for the neckline (also something I bought earlier this summer that I have been dying to use). I also recently purchased a serger, which I used to finish off all the interior edges of the dress (a very satisfying exersize, I might add!).

When I first started sewing clothes in January, I had no idea how much I didn’t know about garment sewing, and how different it is from quilting, the only other kind of machine sewing I’d ever done. Since then,  I have been working on refining my sewing skills every time I make a new garment. The first few pieces I made were humbling and frustrating, and I realized I needed to dig in my heals and learn some things, especially if I was going to make anything that I would feel proud to wear regularly. So I read a few books, took some classes and had lessons from my friend Sonya. And I finally feel like I am getting the hang of it, though I have so much more practicing to do, especially because I want to advance to more complicated patterns and techniques.

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This particular tunic is a very simple shape, just four pieces to construct. I know I will be using this pattern over and over again! It’s very flexible and easy to wear. My friend, pattern designer Sonya Philip, designed this pattern especially for me, but you can purchase very similar patterns of hers here.

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Have a great Monday and happy sewing!

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2014 :: A Sewing Odyssey :: #6

08/26/14

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This past Friday I ventured over to my friend Sonya Philip’s sewing studio in San Francisco to make a dress. You may remember that I am working hard this year to not purchase new clothing. My goal is to either sew for myself or buy vintage (for the most part I’ve been successful at this, except for buying a few pairs of pants and one new dress). You can see all of my 2014 sewing projects here.

I have realized the more I sew that I actually have no idea what I am doing half the time! So I’ve decided to take classes and learn as much as possible about sewing techniques. My friend Sonya is a sewing master, and I arranged two one-on-one classes with her. I had my first on Friday, and she guided me as I made the dress pictured above. I learned how to make a proper neckline with bias tape and also got to finish the edges with her serger (and promptly bought a serger of my own — they are magical).

You may also remember that last month I took a block printing class and printed the linen pictured below, which we used to make the dress.

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It felt a little scary to cut up this linen that I spent hours printing, but I am so pleased with the result! The back of the dress is plain grey (we used the remaining fabric that I did not print for the back).

If you’ve been a reader of my blog for awhile you may remember that Sonya made me this dress back in 2012 as part of her 100 Acts of Sewing Project. Since I love this dress so much (and wear it all the time), we used the same pattern (designed specially for me by Sonya) to make the block printed dress this past Friday.

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I plan to make another of this same dress next week out of some Nani Iro Japanese double gauze fabric I bought recently. Stay tuned for that. I’m on a sewing roll again.

Have a great Tuesday, friends.

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New Podcast :: While She Naps

08/11/14

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I’m so excited today to be featured with my agent Lilla Rogers on Abby Glassenberg’s awesome podcast series! We talk about working together (Lilla has been my illustration agent since 2008), our books, and making a living as an artist. You can listen to the podcast here.

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Tomorrow Art Inc is released! I’ll be back first thing in the morning announcing the blog tour for the book! Stay tuned!

And happy Monday.

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Father Jan Rossey

08/01/14

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We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep. -William James

The day before I got married last year, I got an email from someone I’d never met. This is not unusual for me. My life is somewhat public-facing — I keep a blog that many people read and I post daily images of my work & life on Instagram. I get emails almost every day from people I don’t know —  asking me questions or letting me know what they think about my work. Around the time of my wedding in 2013, I got a lot of congratulatory emails from people around the world — and I loved them all.

The email that I was most touched by, however, came from Father Jan Rossey. The first line of the email said this: “I wish you both a wonderful day tomorrow and a wonderful day every day of your married life. May God bless you and keep you.” He attached the beautifully lettered image, pictured above, to the email. Father Jan went on to explain that he was a Roman Catholic priest and monk in the monastery of Caldey Island. He also explained that he was an amateur lettering artist, letter carver and calligrapher since 1978. He learned calligraphy from the best teachers in the world: John Stevens, Brody Neuenschwander, Tom Perkins and John Nash, the Family Boudens and many others.

“Some time ago,” he said, “I came across your work and I love it very much. I like the ‘simplicity’ [which is not so simple] of your lettering work and drawings. I myself turn more and more towards the same simplicity, pencil drawn letters. Apart from some lettering I carve text in stone also. If you’re interested I’ll send you some pictures of my work.”

I was so moved by this email. First, a Roman Catholic priest and monk who lives in an abbey across the world in Wales was emailing me to wish me — and my soon-to-be wife — a happy wedding day. Second, this accomplished calligrapher was complimenting me on my lettering. It made my heart feel full, and made me feel a love for humanity. Here we were — two people from different generations, from two different worlds — finding connection. Father Jan and I corresponded a bit after the initial email, and I never forgot about him.

Fast forward to a year later. I got another email from Father Jan, this one entitled, “Happy Anniversary.” I quickly opened it. “I wish you a happy first anniversary of your wedding,” he wrote. “Lisa, I must say I’m very much inspired by your work and by the way you look at things in life. Last Christmas I had to make the Christmas crib here at the monastery and I took you [and Marimekko] as inspiration.” Father Jan attached this photo of his beautiful patterned trees. I thought I might cry that moment — how beautiful are these trees!!

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Father Jan continued: “Also your hand-lettering and drawings made me try myself. So I handlettered and illustrated one chapter of the Rule of Benedict, chapter 4, ‘The tools for Good works’.  As a token of my appreciation for you and as a late wedding-present I would like to send you a copy of the little booklet [A6-80 pages], but then I need you mail-address. It might inspire you in turn.” He also let me know that he was packing to travel to Tautra in Norway “not to make you jealous of course,” he said, which made me laugh because everyone knows how much I love Scandinavia! He was going on retreat in preparation for his Solemn Profession as a Cistercian Monk.

I quickly wrote back to Father Jan and thanked him for the offer of his book and gave him my address. I was really excited to receive it. Several weeks later I received Father Jan’s beautiful book.

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The book is called RB4 – The Tools for Good Works, and it is an illustrated version of Chapter 4 of the Rule of St Benedict, traditionally known as ”The Tools for Good Works.” The Rule of St. Benedict was written for monks, but Father Jan thinks everyone can benefit from living by the rules — or at least attempting to! Some of them are rather challenging! Anyhow, father Jan not only hand lettered the rules, but also illustrated them. The illustrations are based on everyday household tools. Here are a couple of examples:

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Even the end-pages of Father Jan’s book are beautiful!

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How does a monk living on an abbey on an island in Wales create such a beautiful book? Well, the same way any of us would: with pencils, pens, and, of course, Photoshop! Father Jan has some serious skills. If you would like to purchase a copy of RB4 – The Tools for Good Works, you can do so here.

After I received Father Jan’s book, I sent him a copy of Whatever You Are, Be a Good One, which he received last week. “Your beautiful book arrived this morning,” he wrote. “And it is a great thrill to take it in hand as it has such a tactile cover.”

I leave you with that, friends. And with these words from Herman Melville: “We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”

Have a happy Friday.

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Block Printing Class!

07/30/14

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As you may recall, I’ve been learning & playing around with block printing recently. I have been wanting to experiment with printing my own fabric so I signed up for my friend Jennifer Hewett’s Block Printing on Fabric class at Handcraft Studio School this past Saturday. The class is designed for beginners, and most people in the class had never carved blocks or block printed before. Since I had some experience, I had grand plans for the class! My goal was to print enough fabric to make a dress. I brought some of my own linen (Jen provides fabric if you don’t bring your own) and extra rubber blocks since I wanted to carve five different shapes to make a pattern.

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Carving blocks (especially when they have intricate detail) can take time, but it’s not difficult. Most people in the class exclaimed with glee at how addictive and fun block carving is! The rubber is soft like cream cheese and fairly easy to carve (as opposed to carving linoleum for linocut printing, which is much more time-consuming and a bit more difficult). Drawing your design, transferring it to the rubber and then carving the block is an important & enjoyable part of the process, but, for me, the printing is where the magic happens. My block designs were big, simple shapes, so it didn’t take me long to carve all five and I got down to printing pretty quickly.

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{Photo by Tracy of homesteadhandmade}

I decided to create an all-over design in four colors on my fabric. I didn’t make a perfect repeat. Instead, it was more random, but I was paying attention to overall balance and composition, using the shapes and colors as my guide — sort of like I do when I paint a canvas. Block printing is, by nature, an imperfect art — every time you lay down your block to print you don’t know what you are going to get! And that’s what’s liberating about it: the beauty comes from the imperfections.

After five hours of printing (whew!) with a short break for lunch, I managed to print this giant piece of linen. Later in August, I’ll be making a dress from this fabric (if I can bear to cut it up!). I’ve saved the blocks, of course, and I plan to print some tea towels with them soon. So stay tuned for that!

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I really, really enjoyed this class & the process of printing fabric! Jen is a great teacher. She explains the process really clearly, she’s there to help if you need her, and she is very encouraging! I also loved meeting & talking to the other women in the class. Here is my friend Rae printing some fabric with a small block she carved:

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And here is another class participant with the small tote bag she made from a more intricate block she designed:

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{Two photos above by Jen Hewett}

Bay Area folks: lucky for you, Jen is offering her class again on September 6 at Handcraft Studio School in Emeryville. If you want to learn to carve blocks and print on fabric, this is a fantastic way to spend a Saturday. To boot, Handcraft Studio School is a lovely, light-filled space run by the kind & generous Marie Muscardini. I can’t wait to take a class there again. If you are interested in printmaking, I also recommend following Jen’s 52 Weeks of Printmaking project.

Have a great Wednesday, friends!

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2014 :: A Sewing Odyssey :: #5

07/28/14

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Many of you know that I am working hard this year to not purchase new clothing. My goal is to either sew for myself or buy vintage. Lately, I’ve been so busy with work that I’ve had very little time to sew. In fact, the last dress I made was in April! So instead, I’ve been hitting vintage shops and thrift stores when I have the chance. Recently, when I was on vacation in Oregon, I had the chance to do a bit of vintage shopping.

Those of you who buy vintage know every now and again when you are digging through a thrift or vintage you find a dress that was made for you — it fits you perfectly, it’s got all “your colors” in it, and it’s something you could wear every day. I had one such experience recently in Astoria Oregon, shopping at Commercial Astoria. But before I tell you more about the dress I bought there, let me say I love this shop. It’s small, which means it’s not overwhelming, and it’s well curated. And for a curated vintage shop, the prices are great. And they sell vinyl (we also bought a bunch of records while we were there).

So back to the dress. You can see me modeling it above. But the thing is, when I bought it, it didn’t look exactly like this. It was floor length and the sleeves were a bit too long also. Typical 70’s style: cute, but not something I’d wear very often. In every other way it was perfect, however,  vintage Scandinavian print and all. So I decided to buy it and alter it a bit to make it more current — something I could wear every day. I chopped a couple of feet off the bottom of it, and several inches off the sleeves, hemmed them up and voilà: a new-to-me every day cotton dress.

Besides the fit, the thing I love most about this dress is the pattern. If you know me, you know I am obsessed with all things Scandinavian, and the fabric this dress is made of is no exception.

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While I love shopping for vintage and altering vintage clothes, I am going to sew more clothing again, hopefully soon. In fact, on Saturday I block printed a couple of yards of fabric (more on that later this week) and I plan to sew a dress from that before September is over. Stay tuned.

Have a great Monday, friends.

 

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One Year Later

06/26/14

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One year ago today and really exciting thing happened in the lives of thousands upon thousands of people: in a historic pair of 5-4 rulings on the final day of the term for the United States Supreme Court, the justices struck down the sixteen year old Defense of Marriage Act, which denied federal benefits to gay couples married under state law, and let stand a ruling that found Proposition 8 (a 2008 voter initiative that ended same-sex marriage in California) unconstitutional. What that meant for me was that Clay and I (along with thousands of other couples) could get legally married. Elated, I wrote about the ruling the next day here. And Clay and I did get legally married in July. It was a very exciting time in our lives and a time I will never, ever forget.

To commemorate the anniversary of this historic date and to advocate for the legalization of same sex marriage all over the country, I made a new piece of art, entitled “Love Conquers All” pictured above, which will be for sale as a print in my Etsy Shop starting July 16 (my shop is closed for the time being while I am on vacation). Sign up for my mailing list to be alerted when the print is available in July!

I wanted to also recommend a fantastic documentary, which I saw a week ago at the opening night of the LGBT Film Festival in San Francisco: The Case Against 8, which documents the fight against Proposition 8 in California. It’s a gut wrenchingly fabulous film airing now on HBO that follows the plaintiffs and attorneys in their multi-year struggle which ended this day last year. If you do watch, bring your tissues!!

Have a happy Thursday everyone! To marriage for all!

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Collaborations with Clay :: Project 2

06/24/14

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You may remember at the end of April that my wife Clay and I started a project in which we are periodically making gifts for friends & family. We made these bath salts, and have since offered them up to several people as thank you gifts. We continued that new tradition on Sunday when we made jars of Maple Ginger Almonds (information on recipe coming up). Along with making the nuts, we made labels for the jars using a simple image transfer technique.

We’ve decided to name each series of gifts we make, and this one is called “Nuts 4U” — a double entendre, of course! I hand lettered the label design and we got to work making the labels. You can learn about this transfer technique in this Creativebug tutorial by the amazing Courtney Cerruti, or you can also purchase her book on image transfer (which I wrote about here). Basically all you need are a photocopy of what you’d like to transfer, solid packing tape (I love 3M’s packing tape), a spoon for burnishing, scissors, and a bowl of warm water.

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Place a piece of packing tape over the image you’d like to transfer and burnish with the spoon (or any hard object). Cut out the piece you’d like to transfer and place in the warm water and let soak for a few minutes.

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Then peel or gently scrape the paper off the back of the packing tape. It will be wet and happens quite effortlessly. The image will remain on the tape. Let the piece of tape dry completely. And voila! You have a label! The adhesive survives the process with most packing tapes.

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Next we made the nuts. We used the Maple Ginger Almond recipe from the Pure Vegan cookbook. These flavored almonds are delicious, but they are a bit more savory than sweet in the end, so their name is a bit misleading. They use a lot of soy sauce (you could use Tamari sauce instead), and are deliciously salty with a hint of maple/ginger flavor. The recipe is super simple (four ingredients!) and we were finished making them in less than 30 minutes (though you need to let them completely cool and dry which takes several hours). We also tripled the recipe.

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We now have eight little jars of nuts ready for friends.

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We are already thinking about what we might make next. Stay tuned!

Have a happy Tuesday!

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On Change

06/23/14

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I am a summer girl. Since I was a kid, it has been my favorite season. I love warm air, swimming pools, the light that stays into the evening. The beginning of summer, like all seasons, represents change.

A few seemingly minor things have happened over the past couple of weeks that have made me realize that my world is changing. And they have reminded me that nothing is permanent — that things (even the things we wish wouldn’t) – evolve, and that they evolve constantly. And we don’t even notice most of the time. Things are always shifting and moving — in nature, in relationships, everywhere, all the time. That’s why Buddhists practice non-attachment. They say attachment is the cause of suffering. Since things are always changing, attachment can only cause pain.

We mostly notice when something changes when it begins to hurt. And then we say “WHAT THE *#$^# JUST HAPPENED?” And then we realize this thing that is causing the sting has been sloooooowly changing for a long time, and that we just didn’t notice. That circumstance we took for granted, that thing that grounded us — is no longer what we thought. And we have to start over and find new ground and create a new world view to keep ourselves feeling okay.

In very small ways this happens to us every day. Something in our reality is shaken. But most of the time these things are so small that we move through them with ease, and we might barely notice them. And other times they feel bigger and more significant. At forty-six I’ve been through enough painful evolutions in my life to know I will get through the current one, where when I was sixteen a similar situation might have made me crawl into a hole and not come out for weeks. The more change and related pain we experience over our lifetimes, the more adept we get at moving through it. And that’s a good thing to remember.

And also, let’s face it, while some change is super painful, other change can feel welcomed and exhilarating. Every dark side has a light side, or so they say. So on this lovely summer morning, I’m searching for the light in my current round of change, and feeling grateful for the stuff in my life that is, at least for today, standing still.

Have a good Monday, friends.

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