September 30, 2008

Year of Color: Red Outside

Ok, so obviously I get an F for effort for last week's Year of Color assignment (Red Outside) because I totally failed to do it. So here is my belated entry.

Incidentally, this is the face I get when I don't pick "uppies" and instead snap pictures of the grumpster. Don't you just love that mixture of begging and disdain? "I am offering you the chance to pick me up, woman, and you are just standing there with a camera?"

Anyway, the idea of doing two shots of the same color is to juxtapose the two images in a little diptych, which with the reds looks like this:

Pretty cool, actually, if I do say so myself. It's fun to have the Lara theme carried through the animate and inanimate. I'll try to actually do the next ones (Lime Green) on time... better get cracking to find something lime green around here. Anyone else participating?

September 28, 2008

And now back to our regularly scheduled blog...

...or at least I hope so. I haven't been feeling the craftiness this past week, which has been doing wonders for my dissertation work, but not so much for this bloggie. But I do have a few doings to show all of you.

Another collage. I made both of these with pieces of really beautiful handmade paper from Linda (thanks, Linda!), which is just slightly thicker than tissue paper and thus really great for layering. I wish I could capture these better with my camera, but for some reason the color nuances are lost. Hmm... I sound a little pretentious there with those "nuances", but trust me, they really exist.

Lexi came to visit us midweek, much to general acclaim (Lara's because she loves playing with her aunt, and mine because I love chillaxing while someone else plays with Lara), and made these cute collage cards. I love that lion mane!

Also, my mommy came for the weekend, which was wonderful as always. We went to dinner at Alma de Cuba, which in my not particularly humble opinion is Philly's best restaurant - amazing, original fusion Cuban, with spice combinations which really boggle the mind. Just incredible. She also snapped this cute picture of Lara in her new overalls and last year's rain boots. Doesn't she look like a little fisherman? I love it.

September 20, 2008

Sandwich-Boardin' It

I hope this isn't some of kind of future career premonition, but Lara is quite taken with the sandwich board outside our building. It is really fun that she is finally fulfilling my secret climbing-under-things wish!

Also, for another birthday coming up soon - a mixed media collage with found objects:

Collage Landscape w/ Mixed Media

September 18, 2008

Year of Color

Red Inside

For the last two years, I've been admiring the Year of Color flickr group, a photography assignment collection that revolves around a weekly color administered by Amy of happythings, and have finally decided to do something about it. So above, my entry for "Red: Inside", the first theme of this year's Color Inside & Our: A Year of Color 3.

Lara made that print for Valentine's day, and I love everything about it - the heavy smears of the stamp she used, the not-quite-butterfly shape of the layout, the random crinkles in the paper from being rolled up and creased. Below is a Lara collage. In the corner, a luminous glass pear from Murano that is one of my favorite treasures. I have yet to be able to take a decent picture of it, not least because it seems impossible to capture the way the gold flakes folded into its glass layers reflect and refract sunlight. My mom has a lovely coordinating red and blue apple, but I love the pear best.

September 17, 2008

Guaranteed Amusements

Sometimes there just isn't all that much to do in that hour before dinner, so we head out to Penn's campus to wait for Misha to finish work. I won't lie - I've been known to stretch that 15 minute walk out to a leisurely 25 just to eat up some of those long minutes. In the summer, the campus is a lovely, empty park... but now of course the students have returned en masse, and they aren't too keen on avoiding a toddler whose walking path is lurchy and sometimes unpredictable. Add careening bikes and skateboards, and you can see why our campus trek is at least somewhat stressful much of the year. But still, there are some guaranteed amusements. For instance, this holey bench, perfect for sticking fingers into:

Or this piece of public art which we call "The Red Rocket" and which Lara sometimes decides is a house. She invariably tries to make that sloping edge on the right into a slide, which... well, all I can say is she's lucky that diaper is so padded!

On the way back, we see this guy. Ok, I see him. Lara doesn't care that much about a bas relief monk (scholar?) holding a book. I'm sort of obsessed with this sculpture. Is it a riff on gargoyles? Why is it there, on this building that has no other stonework or plaster ornamentation? I could probably find out, but I choose to love the mystery.

September 11, 2008

Stenciled Frame

Frame - Gus and Theo

I've always thought that for children's birthdays - especially the birthday of really young kids - it's the parents that should get presents. Or at least rewards. Or medals, or trophies on pedestals. Somehow I don't foresee society changing to accomodate me... but I've been doing my best to give parent gifts, and you know, fight the system from inside.

Thus, this will go to the amazing duo that is celebrating a small person's first birthday soon.

September 10, 2008

Shirt Recon

White angled tank with buttons

Made from two of Misha's old button downs. I mostly just use a pin-try-on-and-repin method of figuring out shapes because I'm too lazy/impatient to use patterns, don't yet have a dress dummy to do the modeling for me, and am unable to do the kind of architectural conversion of two-dimensional polygons into three-dimensional objects that you need to be able to create patterns in your mind. Do you remember the architect on Project Runway? I always thought that was an excellent fit in terms of the kind of visualization skills both fields require.

I really like how this came out - it's tunic length and goes reasonably well with my obsession with that baggy, loose, swingy style. Top bad it's a tank and we're about to head into fall.... One of these days I guess I should try to deal with sleeves.

September 8, 2008

Pasta Primavera

dinner - pasta primavera

It really came out delicious, with sweet yellow and red cherry tomatoes from Sandie's garden and with asparagus from the farmers market. Very easy to make too - took about 20 minutes:

- drizzle olive oil and salt onto tomatoes and asparagus tips and then roast them in 375 degree oven until they start to look wrinkled (about 15-20 minutes)
- cook pasta normally
- mix together a few tablespoons of olive oil with "some" (you know, a pinch of two each) of dill, garlic powder, pepper, salt, and any other spices. I just threw in Trader Joe's "21 Seasonings Salute" which tastes great on many things. Stir this olive oil mixture together - it will be the pasta sauce.
- drain pasta, add veggies, and pour olive oil mixture on top. Enjoy!

September 5, 2008

Found Object Necklace

Found Object necklace

A birthday is coming up soon... and this will be the present. It's quite fun to put together these disparate found pieces, to mix and match things that were not intended to go together but somehow do.

More prosaically, I also realized while fiddling with the wire holding this together that I do indeed need a pair of flat nose pliers, and can't quite get by with just the round nose ones I now have.

September 4, 2008

Fun in the Park

Another visit to our favorite local park. There isn't that much public art there - mostly just nineteenth century statues commemorating Franklin and Penn (the two Philadelphia sculpture stalwarts), but one park corner features a pair of beautiful stylized horses:

This one is calm and slow, providing perfect contrast to the other one, which from a distance looks like it's galloping out from behind a tree (sorry we forgot to photograph it - but you can see its head peeking out of the left side of the photo). I really like them. They have the perfect, paradoxical qualities that all good public outdoor art should have: an intrinsic belonging to their environment, and simultaneously an incongruity at being there.

There is also this pretty sundial, which Lara promptly climbed into and got stuck inside of:

It made me laugh that she instantly crawled into that little space because I remembered how much I wanted her to go under things for cute pictures when she was still just crawling. I would put her under our table and quickly dart to grab the camera only to find her intent of speedily getting out from underneath. Only once did I actually get my wish - randomly one day, when I actually had the camera all ready, she crawled inside her Exersaucer! I was so inordinately thrilled - and I have the 47 pictures to prove it.

She's all ready to be one of these caryatids, no?

September 1, 2008

Amish Day

We drove out west to check out Pennsylvania Dutch country this weekend, stopping by a recreation of an Amish village.

Behind us is the one-room school house and one of the family houses.

Lara really liked this unharnessed buggy (and also made friends with the local horse, whom we were sadly discouraged from petting).

Misha was a big fan of this rusty farm equipment. I think this is part of the horse-powered plow that the Amish use. The most amazing place for rusty metal tools was the blacksmith's shack with its display of eighteenth century technology (which is what is still used by this community). Dad, you would have gotten a kick out of the hand-cranked drill and its attendant mechanisms.

How beds used to be made - the mattress would be placed on top of these taut ropes stretched on the bed frame. Our tour guide pointed out that the expression "Sleep tight" actually comes from a host's heartfelt wish that a guest not fall through too-loosely tied bed ropes.

Finally, in the family kitchen was this exquisitely lathed high chair. So very pretty, and especially striking in surroundings almost entirely devoid of ornament.