29 March 2009

mushrooms and sparrows and beans...oh my!

productive would be an understatement. i am bursting with all sorts of creative endeavors this weekend. let's just say after a visit to the tax people i am P-OO-R. on all fronts i have to come up with solutions to turn around the economic down fall. refusing to be defeated I have embraced this challenge with creativity, a bit of love and some serious flavor.

first i did a major budget overhaul and then i got cooking...literally. i raided the cupboards and pulled out the crock pot for a giant batch of Chili-Jilly Style. After sharing with friends last night I have been asked to post said recipe which you will find at the end of this blog. Here is a visual aid to keep you curious:
Next I got down to business with the brooches. After some trouble shooting from the last batch of prototypes and sketching all week i managed to make 10 brooches this weekend! (actually 11, but i gave one away to my buddy Chase who is obsessed with mushrooms right now!) I mostly worked on sparrows and mushrooms but plan to make some bees too, naturally. There is one anomaly in this batch-in the upper right corner you will note a seal made from a floral printed fabric. She was a spontaneous, 2am creation. Totally weird...I love her though!

All of the brooches are made with fabric, are slightly stuffed with some poly-fibers, have hand sewn details and have a felt backed pin. All of the materials, except the pins, came from a reuse source, such as the white elephant sale mentioned earlier this month, or scraps handed down from friends or found around the house. (after this i feel well on my way to being ready for minnow and the bee on etsy!)

I think using what I have in the house will have to be a way of life for a while. That is actually something I wanted to do anyways to minimize the clutter in the house and utilize what I have rather than play into consumerism's naughty ways. Now that I have no choice I want to make it as fun as possible. We have plenty of books and music, movies and games, art supplies up the wazoo, and good company too! It surely is an interesting time to be alive. I just hope we can manage to make ends meet and find a little joy along the way. so far so good:)

Chili Jilly Style:

Filled with veggies, beans and meat (optional), with a sweet/smokey flavor, made overnight in the crock pot, deliciousness awaits...the serious prep-time is worth it....Makes a ton-will serve 8-10 people. I usually freeze half.

Veggies-diced in food processor for fastest approach:
1 med yellow onion
3 stalks celery
1 carrot or 1/2 cup baby carrots
6 mini sweet bell peppers (yellow, orange, red)
2 sm zucchini
4 cloves garlic (finely chop and keep separate)

Spices etc:
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
4 Tbs chipoltle salsa
1Tbs tabasco

3 Tbs chili powder
2 tsp Cumin
2 Tbs agave nectar or honey
1 tsp tyme
1 tsp basil

1 big can (28 oz) Diced Tomatoes
1 big can (28 oz) Crushed Tomatoes with Basil
1 reg can (15 oz) Black Beans
1 reg can (15 oz) Kidney Beans

1 lb super lean ground beef (niman ranch or other grass fed choice)

Shredder cheddar
Sour Cream


In a medium skillet heat 1 Tbs olive oil. Add garlic and sautee over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add remaining veggies, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occassionally, until onion and celery is transluscent, then toss 'em in the crock pot.

Heat 1 Tbs olive oil and brown the meat, adding the salsa and tabasco as it cooks. Toss into the pot. (drain first if using beef that is not super lean)

Open beans, rinse and drain-add them to the pot.

Open tomatoes and add to the pot.

Add cumin, chili powder, tyme, basil, and agave nectar and stir well until combined.

Cook overnight or all day on lowest temp possible, turn up to med/med-high for last 30 minutes before serving.

Garnish with shredded cheese, sour cream and avocado slices.


27 March 2009

the lovely pause

so it has been a pause between blogs. trust me-it was for a lovely cause. My dearest husband and I celebrated our ONE YEAR anniversary this past weekend (the 22nd) and shared an overnight retreat in San Francisco. I will spare you the naughty details and just say that we had a wonderful time with a romantic Italian dinner in north beach and a superb breakfast in bed. We followed up our stay with a movie marathon at home the next day and of course ate the traditional year old wedding cake from the freezer. YummY. No, not really. but we survived the stomach ache... we later turned the cover of our anniversary memory book into a much more WE inspired memento. super fun...

The book tells you both the traditional and modern gifts for each anniversary and has a place to jot down a memory and a separate page for a picture. This year's traditional gift was paper. I love it! How vagueand imaginative
(cheap too)! You could get anything from movie tickets to hand made goodness! Of course we chose the latter. He made me a sweet handmade card and I made him a good ol' cootie catcher. Classic. If he chose the penguin or the bee (our personal iconography that even acted as a cake topper for the wedding...) then he got the anniversary message.

The remaining symbols were our cats, a tiki, a skull, a gnome and a ram. Underneath was mostly jokes or household sayings. Very fun. He was surprised and even a little bummed he did not think of it. His card was too cute though and I loveloveLOVE it.

Here's to love and life! xo

15 March 2009

getting on with it

well well well. i believe i was a bit too ambitious with the whole project a day thing. i have however worked on a project everyday which is quite satisfying. so far i have been sketching like crazy for my new card series i want to silk screen, plus continuing with the minnow and bee logo and biz cards, photographing everything from breakfast to my cats, and sewing. so getting on with it, here is the latest sewing project.

a large wrap-around-clutch of my very own design! (and my very first at that)
it's roughly one foot wide and folds out to 2 feet in length. keeping with attempts to reuse before recycle, i took one of the hubby's old dress shirts that was in the good-will pile, some fabric and a huge button from last weekends thrifty binge.

this project had it's special moments...there were a few cursing sessions followed by several ripping sessions and a button hole function mishap. no matter-this is all about learning. i think it's lovely despite the button hole, which you can't even see. in any case i will have a fabulous bag collection by the time i get good enough to sell something. it could be worse!

this new rekindled affair with my artistic process is strange but oh so fun! i am determined to make things and not stress about their imperfections. i would rather learn from them and keep the momentum going. overall it's been a good week. here are some of those pictures i mentioned:

until next time my fellow bees. x

10 March 2009

tout fini!

here are the finished projects i worked on yesterday...

this clutch was a project from Amy Karol's book mentioned earlier last month. i did a slight variation of my own for the clasp. instead of elastic i made a lace loop by wraping some cotton twine in lace and sewing a zig zag stich over top. the button is a dark navy blue and the lining is an orangey-coral red. this was such a satisfying project!thank you amy & thank you chase for letting me borrow the book!

this is the brooch i made. it's very alice in wonderland. i think i will call it 'go ask alice'. it's so fun. i am still working out some of the kinks with this one, but this last version came out pretty good so i thought i'd share. it's been fun trying to make brooches out of fabric and pure imagination. it is supe difficult to sew so small and curvy though. ugh. it's worth it though when you have the patience.

these little doodads make me want to try for a project a day. so no promises, but i will try and if it goes well, maybe i will make a formal pledge and set some rules. fun. yeah! x

playing hooky

oh my curious bees! i am so happy! i finally got the impetus to make make make and i feel so much better! between my recent inspirations and frustrations, i knew it would eventually happen. sometimes the artistic process is just like a zombie... slowly but surely.

and now i realize that i must give some credit to my creative friends that have helped reignite my drive to create. for instance, this weekend i was delighted to share a saturday with my friend chase (she has a super CUTE blog...pun intended). we went to the oakland museum's annual white elephant sale and spent hours rummaging through old fabrics, buttons and other notions. then we went on to peruse the books, crystal, baubles, and i scored some seriously fun stuff! a tea set from the GDR, some lovely fabrics, mostly in green, a plethora of super cute buttons sewn to old playing cards, and a few old books.

after some tasty diner food at merritt bakery we did a mini photo shoot for her etsy store and my soon to be etsy store with my pal ashley. all very inspiring. especially since chase's apartment is decked out in absolute cuteness. aprons, fabrics pilled high on shelves, buttons in vintage jars, color everywhere! she is quite prolific with her crafting and her entire life is a work of art. i am so happy to know her.

later we went to an art opening and enjoyed a lovely night out with our man friends (her boyfriend, my husband). the artwork was at the JFK Berkeley Art Annex where my husband is finishing up his MFA in photography. i really connected to the student work in the hall and there was a video installation in the main gallery that was super complex and dream like.

i was so busy having fun this weekend that i neglected my day to make art and i became so antsy to make stuff that i played hooky on monday to sew all day! [well, in between editing my husband's thesis and helping my friend natalia with burning a dvd of her new one minute short film... so i can't say too much came out of that session in terms of a final product. i did however conquer the alice in wonderland brooch i have been problem solving for weeks and began a cute little clutch bag that i hope to finish tonight! pictures of all of this SOON!]

yeah for super sweet inspirations that come from all of my loveliest relationships - i realize how much motivation i get from being around you all. it's nice to be a part of an artistic community that supports you and you them. i am so happy to be making things-my process feels authentic again. i look forward to sharing with you the outcome of my inspirations. thank you fellow bees!
you're the best!~ x

06 March 2009

long live the king

a combination of things, both deeply personal and mundane, has helped me embrace the fact that i rely on my intuition far more than i do my education. being raised with education at the highest level of human accomplishment, i struggled between what comes naturally to me and what i must work rather hard to achieve.

recently this matter has been weighing on my mind because of how absolutely academic art has become. granted, it has been considered academic for over one hundred years, since the turn of the twentieth century, but it has grown into what i now see as a massive machine that encourages concepts over aesthetics. as an artist i really struggle with this because i respect both sides of this. there is nothing wrong with bringing a deep philosophy or profound concept to the creative process. i do however see how so many people, myself included, get roped into the idea that we have to prove ourselves intellectually to survive in the academic art world.

now i have a theory as to how this all came to be...
after years of the bohemian stereotype of the artist, the artist had a desire to prove to the world that making art is not something that happens when you are on a shit load of meth or in some sort of ecstatic trance or better yet that somehow art is more important than food and therefore we become the "starving artist"...no the artist had something to say beyond the poetry of their craft and was going to change the stereotype, prove their educated minds, study critical art theory, write about how physics, philosophy, mathematics, engineering, science and literature are all related to art and the artistic process, because it in fact does, and somehow prove to the world that we are not idiot savants with paintbrushes, but rather we are educated people who happen to make art.

and i really resonate with that rant because it came from my mind, yes, but it also came from my experience and the witnessing of others. artist does not equal idiot. okay we get it. but let us not let art become equal to crap. use your heart, your intuition, your skills, and yes, your education to create. create whatever it is you feel in the moment. let it evolve. let it sit and stare at you until you get it. until you feel it in a way that drives you to make more. just refrain from trying too hard to prove yourself to someone else. an certainly try to avoid thinking too much-so much that you lose the balance between your creative energy and your intellect. in short, trust your instincts without over thinking them.

for my own process i have come to understand that everything i do, i do best when i use my intuition. draw, paint, sing, dance, cook, learn, love. and in the process i become more educated. imagine that.

here's to not letting others determine your self worth or the worth of your creations. here's to making art that matters to you. here's to making art an integral part of life. here's to the art of living. long live art.

01 March 2009

viva los angeles

it's been quite a weekend. we went to LA and had the opportunity to not only see the brand new Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCMA) at the LACMA, but also a wonderful LA debut of the file The Painter::Sam Francis by Jeffery Perkins at the MOCA.
Here is a little snippet about the B-CAM ::

Here is a little snippet about Sam Francis ::

In summary...
Sam Francis = major inspiration for working intuitively
BCMA (in three parts)
*part une: nice, well rounded collection-way better than what we were able to see at the MOCA (the permanent collection was closed that day...) I enjoyed how it was laid out by artist rather than chronologically or thematically. stunning robert rauschenberg's! this is my favorite:

Robert Rauschenberg, Canyon, 1959

**part deux :: well, the second floor as a matter of fact, and what an incredible exhibition!
Art of Germany, Cold War Cultures...words would never do here. recipe as follows: take some east german artists, west german artists, 1945-1989, dark, dark, dark, hammer and sickle, profound human suffering, plus one german identity crisis, and stir vigorously for at least the two hours you should spend walking through this spectacular, gorgeous, exhibition.
(then buy the book and take it home!)

***part trois :::
holy hell, richard serra's installation, 'band' and 'sequence'...

I don't think words would do here either.
Richard Richard Richard. I commend you for yet another oppressive, beautiful, gigantic piece of metal. I think it should be mandatory that you get to walk through this alone. Think haunted house-they usually ensure space between people to freak them out more, this deserves the same consideration. solitude allows full sensory experience and engagement to happen.
the gigantic 30 x 20 foot elevator ala barbara krueger was also a nice touch to the new space. i mean c'mon! this place (the LACMA in its entirety) is just fantastic! I was only musing about the new wing at this museum, let us not forget the Japanese Pavilion(a separate building dedicated to the art of one culture) but also the many other cultures represented african, korean, chinese, islamic, greek, american, german, plus modern, photography, and now contemporary ART. art art art. LA really does have it all. and it's all on wilshire boulevard.