Severe weather alert?

Um… not really. I scratch my head when I see stuff like that and it turns out to be a frost advisory. It’s nearly November. A first frost is inevitable, and in fact I would pay for one right now if it meant my allergies would calm down a bit and I’d be able to move my head without feeling as though someone put a piece of flubber inside my skull.

It’s been a week of swag here, and I haven’t really done much work since I got back from ZebraCon. The net result is that the studio looks as if someone came along and shook it, and the office looks as if he then picked up anything that fell on the floor of the studio and dumped it on my desk. The amount of paperwork I need to do is horrifying. Thank goodness most of it is shredding and can be dumped into a basket until I get the time to feed it through the destructo machine.

In the swag department:

  • A load of yarn from NuMei which remains one of the more reasonably priced outlets for yarn in spite of their additions of higher-end yarns like Catena and Synergy. I bought a skein of each of these because they seemed like NuMei’s anaglogs to some of the more interesting Feza yarns like Alp, Dazzle or Premiere. I actually like the Catena better than any of the Feza line. Also purchased, some of the new Malibu, a few new Okimi colors, and several bags at extraordinary prices.
  • Three books from Paumes: “Paris Kitchens 2,” “Paris Studios” and “Lady Artists’ Studios “(Best left untranslated, IMO, as “Ateliers des filles.”) I love these and hope to order a few more in the not too distant future.
  • A stack of mostly Halloween-y films from Columbia House. They were cheap, I was in the mood. Alas, I’d forgotten how dreadful “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” really was. That, “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” and “Sleepy Hollow” go on my hella-cool-look shelf as inspiration for work, but not much else.
  • Stacks of magazines. I appear to be getting “Harpers Bazaar” as a freebie now. I have no clue why. Picked up three house and home mags while I was at CVS yesterday and found a stack waiting for me in the mail.
  • Halloween pressie from Banchomarba, a pair of ATCs! Woot, how cool is that??
ATCs from Ssimpson12

I’m trying to get back into the habit of taking my camera with me when I go out. Yesterday was nicely overcast, so I tossed the camera into my bag and set out to run my errands. I’ve got a bruise on my leg where the camera bounced against it, and I was almost back home before I saw anything I really wanted to photograph, but then I saw this little booger and couldn’t resist.

I loves me some squirrels

He and three buddies were scampering about, doing their “La, la, la, I’m a squirrel and life is good, la… oh my gosh, did I leave the gas on??? NO! I’m a squirrel! La, la, la…” This was one of the did-I-leave-the-gas-on moments. The squirrels in my neighborhood are fearless and as soon as you stop moving they run towards you figuring that you’re going to toss them a hunk of food. I was a little worried that if I stopped moving for too long I’d have one scampering up my leg.

Two little ghosts Then I saw these two little ghosties, waving from their spookily decorated window.

This isn’t a neighborhood that goes all out for Halloween, which is a shame. I love Halloween decorations, though in all honesty, I don’t put them out either. I don’t really have a good place to decorate, and I suspect that my reputation in this area is sinister enough as it is, living as I do in what resembles a fortress. If ever I move, I plan to do up the holidays right, and scare all the neighborhood children into joyful, shrieking fits. They’ll love me; I’ll give them all sorts of ammunition for delicious shivers.

My homegirls were over for supper on Friday and I made a wonderful butternut squash tika masala, with apples, snap peas and sweet potatoes, and some Trader Joe’s biryani. We opted to watch something other than Buffy/Angel eps this week, and ended up watching this week’s ep of Heroes again, and then “Serenity” because Glinda and I had both been jonesing to see it. How much do I want another Firefly universe film?

We had freshly baked cookies and vanilla ice cream for dessert, watched Keith Olbermann, discussed Big Gay Dumbledore, and finally did watch one episode of Angel because Judy Moe wanted some Lorne Love. It was a nice evening. We meet again on Dia de los muertos, so it’s Mexican food, and scary movies.

Finally:

Do not attempt to sautee and serve on toast

It’s been a long week

Most of it good, actually, which is a nice change. I reconnected with an old friend who I haven’t seen in at least ten years. The great thing about our friendship is that no matter how long it’s been since we’ve seen one another we just pick up where we left off. We catch up, and carry on as if no time has passed at all.

Along the way to trying to organize my life a bit better, I came across my photos from the tea party I had about 18 months ago. Some of them were so pretty I thought I’d post them here.

The table: The centerpiece here was made of nine frosted sundae cups I found at the local dollar store. I glued them together with Goop, and filled them with plants from the garden center nearby. The cascading ivy really made the look, I thought. I echoed that theme with the cobalt blue champagne glasses I found at the same store. Planted with impatiens and Dusty Miller, they made nice, individual floral decorations.

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I used my grandmother’s china for the place settings and Mom’s silver and wine glasses. Most of the teapots are mine. And the colorful chair on the far side of the table is the one I found in an alley and brought home to repaint.

June tea040106 022 The coconut cake, waiting on the stove. Mom had a box of these china… what are they called? I think they’re intended to be tops for boudoir dolls, but she always used them with food. I recall that she often made a skirt of a grapefruit draped in lettuce leaves with one of these doll busts at the top. I like this one with a big, ruffly coconut cake skirt myself.

And, of course, the buffet. Unfortunately I barely recall what I made now. I do know there were some tea sandwiches, two kinds of scone with clotted cream, individual chocolate cakes, pink meringues, cookies and a Russian cream with a mixed berry compote. And of course the cake. My guests waddled home, sated and happy.

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Left: The meringues in less than military order. Right: Another view of the centerpiece, showing the sundae dishes more clearly.

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Yes, it was a fantastic amount of work, and I doubt I’d ever take it on again, but it was meant to be a thank you to some of the people who had made my life more bearable during my caregiving years, and in light of that, I think it may have been quite successful. I was glad to have done it.

Autumn, always in movement

We’re having one of those ferociously windy days here in Chicago. It’s supposed to be a prelude to severe weather tonight and tomorrow, but for now there is the sound of autumn in the trees. You know it’s arrived, in spite of the unseasonable heat, when you notice that the wind is more constant suddenly, more restless, as if it knows that this is the time of migration and harvest, time for work and movement.

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Marshland, Autumn 200314

Irving Park 02 -- The Last Leaf

Gompers Nov 1 2005139

Irving Park 02 -- Leaf Print

*pokes head out of cave*

Still here. Just older, slower and sadder. October was birthday month for my folks, so I think it’s going to be a rough month for me for a while yet. And to add another layer, my furnace is out. Mike was here on Saturday and seemed to have fixed it but by Sunday morning, I couldn’t rouse it into belching out even a little bit of heat. Fortunately it’s been warmer since then, but it needs to be tended to soon.

Apart from that, I’ve pretty much been doing the proverbial this-n-that. I’ve also been participating in ArtSoMoFo over on Live Journal. Some people have decided to do a piece a day, some more, some less, some work on some art project each day. It’s pretty loose, but when it’s always at the back of your mind that you need to post something on a fairly regular basis, you do tend to prioritize your art so that it takes precedence over, say, computer games or reruns of The Dick van Dyke Show. Anyway, here are a few of my recent postings. Just to, y’know, liven things up around here, and chase away the crickets.

Just pencil. I’m in danger of forgetting how to do things like this, so I set myself to drawing a couple of shells.

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Pomegranate. Oil pastels on paper, scanned and Photoshopped. I like the way it’s turned out.

reSPomegranate PS1

Pomegranate. Pencil and Photoshop.

reSPomegranate BW ps1

Designs for dinner plates. I don’t know that I’ll ever get around to painting these, but it’s fun to think in terms of this format.

Plates 04

It’s all part of the process.

The last week has been spent more in organizational activities than actually making things, but I find it not only soothing (This is a rough week for me; today would have been my father’s 93rd birthday, and I’m missing him.) but an opportunity to give some serious thought to how I might use some of these components in my work. So I’ve managed to sort probably 20 lbs of assorted vintage and antique jewelry, buttons and beads, and even managed to find containers for most of them! Given how many buttons I have — who knew so many of those boxes from Dad’s store contained buttons?? — finding ways to contain them is tricky. All I know is that I need more big jars.

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More buttony goodness at my Flickr account.

Hard choices suck

But choosing between magazines to spend my money on, and pieces of property? I’ll take magazines every time. Fortunately I’m not yet in a position to lay out money for the property, so I’m just window-shopping.

My copy of “Altered Curiosities” arrived today along with a big box of buttons, beads and other interesting stuff from Glitterati2, and a wonderful, wonderful print from Yoko Tanaka. It’s even better up close than on the website. I’m just loving it!

The results of the great Diamond Glaze experiment are in: Interesting effect, but no good for stand-alone items. Diamond Glaze is quite flexible when dry, so it won’t make good cabochons. The copper powder I mixed into one mold really proved interesting. The back, which was exposed to air, went dark green within a couple of hours, but the rest stayed copper colored.

I’m thinking that very thin layers of DG encasing images, seed beads, glitter, thread or anything thin, might create interesting additions to fiber work. I’m going to try hand stitching one of the thinner pieces to see what happens to the needle, and how hard it is to pass through the object before I try to run it through my sewing machine, though. Broken, bent or totally gummed up needles aren’t much fun.