December 18, 2006

Fourth Night

I love these beautiful hand-dripped candles that we buy every Hannukah. There are innumerable colors in each box, and the glow is gorgeous and warm in our tiny menorah. Our family is fairly secular, but the tradition of lighting candles each of the eight nights seems to really fit the cold weather and early dark of the season. Peace, everyone.

December 16, 2006

Baby Feet Redux (Happy Birthday, Rowan!)

Another stencil I love! I do have to say, though, cutting out those tiny details is murder on the old repetitive stress injuries. But so worth it! This is for my friend Danielle's son... Ok, let's face it, it's really for her, in honor of his first birthday. He is Lara's best friend by default, since she is my best mom friend. She is an amazing woman, and I really feel grateful to have her in my life. Happy Birthday, Rowan!

By the way, what I haven't mentioned is that both this and this are canvas-covered photo albums I found on clearance at TJ Maxx. Have you been to that store? It's the best.

December 13, 2006

Our Far Flung Family

We basically dot the globe. We have family in San Francisco, Washington state, Massachusetts, Baltimore, New York, Milwaulkee, and Germany (soon to be Moscow) - and this is immediate family, not the various cousins-removed that inhabit all sorts of other countries. We made Lara a litte book to show her where everyone lives (printed by Shutterfly). Her supremely talented daddy illustrated each city and then we included photos of the people who live there. Here are some of his cute illustrations (he drew on paper, I colored on Photoshop).

My dad is a metallurgist who works in a foundry. (By the way, can we just pause for a moment and reflect on the fact that Misha was able to just draw out a foundry, from scratch, with no references, in about 10 minutes? Hello, talent?)

My dad also likes to sail.

We are the bunny family - Misha has blue ears, I have purple ears, and of course Lara is pink all over. Here, Lara is fishing with her dad on his dad's farm.

Us on a wine tasting picnic in Napa Valley.

And finally, here we are eating the delicious Napoleon layer cake that my grandmother makes from scratch (it's my favorite food in the world - notice my outside piece in this picture - and I probably wouldn't hesitate to kill you for it. I'm sure you're a very nice person, and thanks for reading my blog, but your life is forfeit if it comes between me and Napoleon.)

December 11, 2006

Inner Essence

When Misha was in medical school, he would come home and collapse on the couch after particularly grueling days - and that's how I painted him. I love this painting. Something about the way he is depicted just feels so right - the position he is sleeping in, the leg dangling over the couch, the arm on the stomach with the shirt raised, something about the colors also. Not sure. When he woke up and saw the painting, he exclaimed, "It's like you've captured my inner essence!" which I took to be the highest form of portraiture compliment....

December 8, 2006

Dangly Danglers

I love love love dangly earrings. Could this be because I don't have pierced ears myself? Perhaps. Long story short - I actually did get them pierced at 14 (take that, parents who said I had to be 15!), but the new holes were too much to take care of and you couldn't see any earrings I was wearing under my long hair anyway, so I let them close up.

Anyway, here are some I made for the be-punctured members of my family.

Handblown Czech glass with round faceted pearls.

Wooden circle beads.

Amazonite, howlite (?), and purple quartz.

December 7, 2006

Mommies and Babies

Another one, this time on a canvas-covered photo album. I'm really loving how these are turning out!

You'll recognize the image as "Flora and Juliet", below. Incidentally, check out the work of Flora's uber-talented artist husband, Robert Armetta. His work is incredible, and I am so grateful for his use of formal realism in this era of abstract installations and wacky performance art.

December 6, 2006

Art Corner

I love this little corner of our apartment - the placement of the paintings (if I do say so myself!) and the tiny rusty metal figurines above. Each of the collages is the work of Sam Ladenson, an unbelievably talented artist and family friend. He was an amazing, funny, always surprising man, and he is very much missed.

I also love the comfiest armchair (and ottoman that you can't see) in the house. It's my dissertation perch.

December 5, 2006

Small World

Has anyone checked out the Nikon Small World photomicrography website and competition? Because if you haven't, you need to click and go there right now - I have never seen colors and images like the ones these amazing scientists happen to capture when doing their experiments. And that there is a contest every year for picking the winners? Seriously, click the link.

Using a bunch of their images, as well as other photomicrographs found all over the web, I printed t-shirts for all the guys that are usually impossible to shop for. I made a whole bunch, but here are three that I haven't wrapped yet. They are themed. For a grandfather, a "Gray's "Papaya" shirt with images of hot dog meat, hot dog bun, and relish (the white tee). For an uncle, images of Burgundy, champagne, and Pinot Grigio (the black tee). And for Misha's cousin's boyfriend, whom we don't know that much about, just some very cool images of science-y things (the gray tee).

Incidentally, because I love it so, here is the clue for the wine shirt:

Part I:
I shivered in snow on the Champs D’Elysee
Sans warm winter coat, it wasn’t my day
To a salesman I said, “Pardon moi, monsieur”
Then my French failed me, so I just said, _____

Part II:
The last round of eating in “Meat versus Man”
There’s the fat guy from Jersey and Ken from Japan
Poised to devour each hot dog and bun
They drool as they wait for the ref’s starter _______

Part III:
A suitcase of cash I’ll dump on her desk,
Trying to bribe my orgo Prof Tresk
I’m now failing her class but I guarantee
At least this will earn me a nice passing ______

Get it? "Brr" + "gun" + "D" = Burgundy!

December 4, 2006

Stencil Frame

I think I was right about the stencils. Here is the one of me and Lara on a picture frame. What do you think? I'm thinking yay!

I really love the reduction of a complex image into just two colors - how amazing that our eyes are able to translate this very limited information into a three-dimentional image. I wonder though at what age this begins to happen - since I assume what allows us to understand the image is our lived experience? Lara is 13 months old - has she already formed a clear enough view of the world to be able to contextualize this stencil?

Also, are there visual puzzles based on this ability to understand stencils? You know, along the lines of other optical illusions?

December 2, 2006


My new idea - wouldn't these make cute stencils? Mommies with their babies. Above are Lara and I. Below are my friend Flora and her daughter Juliet (don't you just love that name?)

December 1, 2006

Nothing cuter

Than the girl of course. (Craftwise, this is the softest onesie ever made into long sleeved tee with ruffled bottom and barely visible pocket.)


I really believe in the need for beautiful presentation of gifts. Inventive, and surprising even. We have a wonderful new tradition going of non-store-bought wrapping for each holiday season (new because our tiny nuclear family has introduced it to our extended family). Sometimes it's been combined with the even more delightful old tradition of clues that each recipient must solve in order to guess what the present is before opening it (old because it has existed in my husband's family since his childhood). One year we bought tiny finger puppets from Ikea, and made each the star of a construction paper tableau on each gift - the tableau and an accompanying poem were also the clue. This year the wrapping is made of magazine strips glued to the outside of boxes.

Here is one of this year's clues (for a baseball-themed tshirt from the photomicrograph series I'll post about later):

Part I:

My beaker exploded in period three
The chemicals landed all over me
Forced to stand under the old safety shower
I was mocked and abused for over an hour
I had to go to my “happy place”
Because in chem. class I added acid to _______

Part II:

My fairy godmother cast a wonderful spell:
Instead of a carriage, a car faster than hell
Off to meet with the king’s son I go
In a sleek Maserati the color of snow!
But a manual transmission means stall after stall
How on earth will I make it in time for the _______

Get it? Base + ball!

(I love this wrapping so much I've submitted it to the Whiplash competition this month. Eek!)

'Tis the Season

I am working hard to keep up with my pledge to make presents for everyone, which is harder for our huge extended family all at once during the holidays than it is for individual birthdays. My favorite this year is this dress-up apron for my mother-in-law, featuring a patchwork of swatches from Lara's baby clothes (collective awww....).