Tuesday, March 31, 2009


these lovely ladies are the entrepreneurs whose business i am helping to fund with my third micro loan through kiva. they are weavers in Phnom Penh City, Cambodia, who have started their own company to support their families. they buy raw materials from village farmers as well as planting and growing them themselves, and then they weave them into mats and rugs to sell for profit.

they will use my loan to buy more raw materials and expand their business, and then will pay back the loan within the next 5 months. at that time, i can re-loan it to another entrepreneur, and begin the cycle again. who wants to talk ab0ut how cool that is?

Monday, March 30, 2009


i found an old booklet of crazy upholstery swatches in my "i'll use this someday" bin (which lives in my kitchen, go figure). i can't imagine upholstering anything with these particular fabrics, but they are perfect for little animal things.
so i made this fierce tiger finger puppet. obviously.

oh, hello childhood

i remember you.

and i'm quite excited to see you again in october.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

art inspiration: melissa sue stanley

etsy is constantly bringing awesome things into my world. like, for example, the work of felt and fiber artist melissa sue stanley.

she makes adorable little crochet critters:

and these amazing little felted houses inspired by baba yaga, a russian fairy tale:

they are so whimsical and look so touchable. they make me want to felt something again.

mission: monkey making

this week the weather report is predicting rainy/snowy/sleety. which means i cant go for a walk to get a yummy coffee drink when i need a break from working on my thesis (which, by the way, is getting quite gigantic). but i will still need breaks. probably several.

so i am making it my mission to bring a new sock critter to the crew this week. giving myself crafty breaks will help motivate me to get work done. because i am kind of like a small child and need lots of positive reinforcements.

Friday, March 27, 2009

inquire within

today i went to an exhibit at the chicago cultural center titled "Inquire Within: Soul Searching and Truth Seeking by Artists with Disabilities". the website states that the show "seeks to break down barriers between mainstream culture and people with disabilities by focusing on the inner life and everyday experiences of people with special needs from their own perspective, in their own words, and on their own terms. Project Onward, Esperanza Community Services, El Valor, and The Nathan and Kiyoko Lerner Foundation Art Studio at Thresholds South are among the innovative studio art programs whose talented artists are represented in the exhibition."
there were no labels indicating the names of the artists, but here are some images i took at the show (which is up through may 17th):

art inspiration: emma cassi

dear internet,
do you want to buy me a present?
you do!?
in that case, i think this is what i would like:

these are my favorite pieces of emma cassi's intricate beadwork jewelry. completely stunning, don't you think? especially the necklace. but also everything she makes.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

we'll end up sitting on a rainbow

look at this kiki smith wallpaper! the design is called" maiden and moonflower", and it comes in several colors. who knew?
(you can order it here.)

also, this funny song always makes me giggle. and its catchy, too.
(written by john prine and performed with the wonderful iris dement).

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

note to self: stop being lazy

i really like erin hanson's daily reminders. you can see them and her other work on her website, recovering lazyholic. here are the ones that i could most benefit from having around... i am an especially bad getter-upper in the morning, and have been known to let dishes sit in the sink for... a really long time.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

interior inspiration: dream studio

the jealous, petty part of me wants to hate geninne for her unbelievably gorgeous home art studio (complete with little work areas for her two kids). the rest of me is just inspired and awed and dreamy.

grey with swallows

i just ordered a couple yards of fabric from etsy. here is one of the patterns i got:

i don't know what i'll make yet (ideas, anyone?). i'm excited.

Monday, March 23, 2009

who do you think you are?

"why are there so many women in art school, but a tiny percentage represented in major galleries? why does a woman have to choose between having a family and practicing her art? what are some of the hurdles that women face in the creative world? filmmaker pamela tanner boll explores these questions and showcases women who follow their artistic instincts and still function as wives & mothers in the new documentary "who does she think she is?".

Sunday, March 22, 2009

fighting the funk

i have been in a serious funk this week. it is sort of about my thesis, sort of about the job outlook, and sort of about lots of other things. when i get into funks, i tend to isolate myself. i know this about myself. so i decided to try to be proactive and fight the funk by making plans to get together with some lovely friends from college. this was a very smart move on my part.

on friday we got together at the iguana cafe for dinner (and appetizers, and cocktails, and dessert, and coffee drinks...) and lots of talking. we sat there for 6 hours. it was awesome.

i heart new york

i just read an article about a 15-year restrospective of jenny holtzer's work, which is on display at the whitney museum in new york through may 31. it appears to be featuring several of the same pieces that were at the MCA show i saw here in chicago this winter. (side note: here is a video clip of jenny holtzer discussing her difficulties working with such troubling subject matter).

this reminds me of all the reasons i want to go to new york. the museums and theaters are calling me... but mostly i'd just like to lay in central park with jeni.

Friday, March 20, 2009

one pose per second

here is the video for the blond redhead song "top ranking". it features miranda july, who is weird and awesome, and who i sort of want to be when i grow up.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

art inspiration: cartography

it might be bad that i discovered the website radical cartography. i could spend hours looking through maps. in addition to traditional land maps, the site also catalogs maps of uranium production, constellations, currency regions, and shopping malls, among many other odd/awesome things. from an aesthetic perspective, i am particularly drawn to a series of maps of the alluvial valley of the lower mississippi river (from 1944).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

bright ideas

i love lamp(s).

droplet lights from here

crochet chandelier from here

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

tiny house tour

here is a man who has mastered the art of sustainable living. jay lives in an eco-friendly little house (less than 100 square feet) with everything he owns. he started the tumbleweed house company, which manufactures tiny houses starting at just 65 square feet. in recent years, some of these homes have been used to house victims of hurricane katrina.

Monday, March 16, 2009

bonnie "pince" billy stole my granola bar

on saturday night i went to see bonnie "prince" billy at the vic theatre. the show was super-good. i thought about bringing my camera to document it but decided it was too large and conspicuous, and also heavy if i was standing all night. this turned out to be a good decision, because the security lady was totally hard-core. here is the conversation we had while she looked through my purse:

her: what's this?
me: my cell phone?
her: and this - what's that?
me: that's my daily planner.
her: and this!?
me: it's a luna bar.
her: (pause). can i have it?
me: (not thinking i have a choice). um, ok.

can you tell me what just happened? did she confiscate my luna bar because she was supposed to take food (which seems weird, given that the venue is a "brew and view"), or did she just want my delicious luna bar and knew she was much bigger than me and also intimidating with her flashlight and officialness?

good news

i might finally get to go to the zoo this week. i have been wanting to go forever.

here are a couple photos from my walk yesterday.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

knitted graffiti

a while ago i found this tree wearing a hand knitted tree cozy. it was part of a row of similarly adorned trees, each with it's own unique sweater. i saw this simple public art project as a statement of careful care and nurturing not only of the trees, but of the community as well. every time i walk by it i smile.

projects like this are being done all over - some large, some small. if you're interested in these warm fuzzies, check out this article about the knitting graffiti movement in vancouver.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

saturday afternoon

this morning i slept in embarrassingly late and then took my laptop to argo tea to work on the thesis. it was nice and sunny and everyone was out and about wearing their saint patrick's day gear.

also, there was a group of ladies at the next table over who seemed to be planning some sort of fundraising event, and they caught my attention several times when i heard them mention "art therapy", and heard two of them talking about when they were in art therapy grad school. but because i am sort of scared of talking to strangers and also didn't want to seem like a big eavesdropper, i didn't say anything (like "hey! i do art therapy too! small world! can you get me a job?"). this is why i am a terrible networker.

anyways, all that excitement made it hard to focus on homework. eventually i got going on my actual task at hand, but not before spending a good chunk of time looking at cute kitchens online.

Friday, March 13, 2009

i want to live in a crazy house

check out this crazy-cool cardboard model of a favela (a portugese shanty town).

it reminds me of dr. suess. and it also reminds me of an apartment building i saw in vienna that was designed by the architect friedrich hundertwasser. look at how crazy and hippie and wild it is:

i'm glad these things exist.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

she survives

i'm still plugging away on this project. and i'm still really enjoying working on it. the embroidery takes a long time, but it feels meditative (to a point - i have gotten crampy hands a couple times), and the power of the words keeps me inspired.

here is a little music by one of my favorites. i have been listening to patty while i sew...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

thought for today: some things stay the same

"time has changed nothing. amélie still seeks solitude. she amuses herself with silly questions about the world below."
(from amélie)

roots and branches

for my family therapy class we have each been doing research about our individual family trees, and today we presented our genograms and art pieces based on that research. i made this little accordion book with family stories transferred on to the paper using xylene.

it was really interesting to hear (and see) what bits and pieces of information survive and are passed through the generations, as well as what information has been lost. my classmates' family stories were so rich and thought provoking. i thank them for that.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

website updates and thimble gardens

i recently bit the bullet and bought my domain name, which i have wanted to do for a while. and i'm excited. so i spent some time today uploading pictures to my website.

also, here are some pretty mini potted moss plants that were featured at ohdeedoh. they are teeny-tiny, and are planted in old sewing thimbles. i am oddly attracted to mini things - they have an automatic sense of wonderment about them (can't you imagine little fairies setting them on their windowsills? or is it just me?).

Monday, March 9, 2009

art inspiration: upholstry swatches

these little booklets of upholstery sample swatches are too lovely.
i want a hundred of them. really.

just think of all the things i could make...

Sunday, March 8, 2009


when i lived in madison after college, i worked at a children's toy and clothing store downtown. this was lots of fun. i got to be around kids and babies everyday, and i got to play with toys. i love toys. like, a lot. i maybe like them more than kids do. specifically wooden toys, handmade toys, imaginative-open-ended toys, and toys made from natural/eco-friendly materials.

i found this one today, and if i had a toy store of my own i would put her and her friends in it immediately. she is a lullabaloo, and her name is lelu. each lullabaloo has a story. here is lelu's:

"Lelu listens carefully to all sides of a story and finds ways to make peace. She wears different colored stripes to remind us that not everything is black and white. We can work towards understanding and appreciating other points of view. When we strive to understand one other, we often discover that we are more alike than we thought."

also, here is a wooden food play-set you can "cut" in pieces. i had something similar as a kid, and it was one of my favorite things (velcro = magic!).

Saturday, March 7, 2009

umbrella blooms

it is absolutely pouring down rain in chicgao today. the gutters on my street are apparently dysfunctional, so i have my own personal river of rain. my mom is in town and we have been checking the the weather report to see the best times to venture out, but weather.com has like 5 words for "it's raining". i figure "showers" is worse than " few showers", but do you think "few showers" is better or worse than " light rain"? and where does "rain/thunder" fit in? or plain old "rain"? weather.com, you are not helpful.

i don't know where this picture came from. but I LIKE IT.
(it was in the very full "inspiration" folder on my computer. if you know where it really comes from, let me know so i can credit it properly).
*update * this installation was created by artist sam spenser, and the photo is by jessica rolland.

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