Tuesday, January 31, 2006

dare to repair

Dare to Repair : A Do-it-Herself Guide to Fixing (Almost) Anything in the Home seems to be the book of necessity for me... with a new home in need of both major and minor repairs, this book seems ideal... although i am not UNhandy, you can't quite say i'm a pro either! some of our walls are super hard to even put a nail in, and other walls are mere drywall so the nails won't stay put... i installed a towel rack and some coat hooks; both coming out in less than two months, leaving a big hole... so knowing how to patch a hole up would be nice without having to constantly call my mom and ask her, "how do you do this?" look, i'll even put up the gutter pc if i have to, since my hubby works double shifts and can't do it himself... however, thankfully, my dad is willing to help out in some of the more major issues... now that we have a new tenant, a few leaks, and some other minor problems, i am sure this book will help us all out.... and from the reviews, it seems to be quite a success! it even talks about how to switch ceiling fan directions which i always forget which one is for winter and for summer... there is just so much to remember in order to keep everything up to par, low in cost, and energy efficient... such a smart home-warming gift!

note: this book looks really good too The Savvy Woman's Guide to Owning a Home: How to Care for, Improve and Maintain Your Home

retro yarn...

here are a couple skeins of my retro yarn... i don't necessarily know how old they are, but apparently target once sold them individually like wal-mart... i think my mom gave me a big bag of yarn a couple years back, and she may have it for longer... and considering she bought it at a rummage (or perhaps, the thrift store), who knows how old these skeins actually are?! the orange one is the lion brand, the only brand i actually am familiar with! i have many browns around so if i attempt to make any more knitted babes, i will have many morenas lying around here... at least with using old-skool yarn, my babes will surely have a vintage look just like my miss edna...

by the way, i am wondering if you are supposed to ball up the yarn or keep it it in its original shape?! i think i need the stitchionary or something, so i can figure out this knitting bizness much better

a homely babe...

meet edna.... she was officially finished on january 27th, 2006 in the wee hours of the morning.... but stored away momentarily outta of slight disappointment... she is the 2nd thing i've knitted in my entire life; the first following a pattern... i wanted her eyes bigger but my hubby said she looked unhealthy- hahaha.... on the sides of her you can see the stuffing, due to loose stitching... [i am still learning how to add a stitch without it being so slack] her body is a tad lumpy and her head has to be reshaped every so often... but maybe some clothes will help her look better...

she is made out of some very old yarn that my mom bought, i believe, at a rummage... her eyes are from leftover felt used for my son's hiawatha costume... and the size needles i used were a #6, when the pattern really calls for a #2... however, i still knit EXTREMELY tight so i think #6, were the right gauge.... and for the minor stitches in the eyes and mouth?! well, i didn't have floss so at first i used book binding thread (i know, a poor choice!!!) and then later i used yarn... the latter worked out better... at least miss edna has an authentic vintage look to her... nothing is new on her but the stuffing

miss edna needs clothes

i want miss edna to be a ballerina... as i began to knit her shoes, i realized my needles were too large (yes, checking the gauge would be helpful)... not to mention, i think somewhere i added too many rows because it didn't even look close to what the book showed! so i might try to make my own pattern for now and see if it can turn out well... the same must go for the dress... some retro yarn for the upper... which i will knit it like a tube-top style, then sew in the tulle on the bottom... i have a couple bolts of white tulle i bought at a rummage sale for only $2... everything i use has been pre-owned other than the 3 pairs of needles i bought at wal-mart... now that i moved to a new neighborhood, i am looking forward to hitting the rummage sales around here... hopefully i can find more craft supplies- maybe even a sewing machine!

hopefully, this week i will finish her dress and maybe a few accessories to go with... i'd love to learn how to knit flowers [i've seen the crochet books though] but for now, i might end up using good ol' felt and some beads... stick a flower in her hair, a purse in her hand... and a beaded necklace around her mis-shaped neck

Sunday, January 15, 2006

life with a toddler.

one minute they are playing happily in their room. the next minute, toys are being thrown and tears shed. meet a typical 17mos old. first they hug, then somehow the mother/child bond is interrupted with a smack to the face. mom gives angry look, says, "no don't..." and is slapped again. the mood changes are nearly as hard to keep up with as a person is to a speeding city bus that was supposed to take them to work on time.

i love this stage despite the instant tantrums, roaming hands, curious climbing actions, and fighting over the very keyboard i type on. i love how my son kisses "moo-wahhhhh!" loudly and ending with a toothy grin. or how he hands me one dvd, then another. then another. and he'll clap his hands after each "thanks." but i don't like when the dvd is suddenly flung at me, especially for no reason. our communication skills are in need of work.

some days, his swings make me cry (and you wonder where he gets his frustrated mood from?!)... other days i can't help but to chuckle. today, for instance. he was happily jumping on his couch, playing, and screaming. he grabs a dvd and stares at it intently, while they might be giants' abc plays in his room. all of a sudden he chucks the dvd at me and goes into a full blown tantrum. i take him to his room and let him lay with his microphone. he's happy for a minute, maybe less. his cries re-play, repeat, and i cannot figure out its origin. a few smacks are blocked and because my husband needs sleep, i resort to my last option. i put him in his crib.

it could have been his medication that triggered such unhappiness. or perhaps he has cabin fever. after all, he's been in this house for over a week due to ear infections and cold weather. what i do know is this: one day he will be able to tell me what is wrong. for now, i can either laugh or cry, and put on the movie, shrek, one more time.

yes, i love this stage. i truly do.

*note: this picture was taken on a different day... however, his reaction to the crib remains the same... notice my niece laying down?!

diapers. coupons. makeup. license.

i have a friend named sue. she and i worked at a seafood market together for 5yrs until it closed. her and i were born in different decades although i love all the products from hers more so than mine. she and i have maintained contact for over 9.5yrs, calling each other as often as possible.

anyhow, she gave me the most ellia-esque present ever!! its a campbell's bag that i use for both a purse and a diaper bag. i am lovin' its beauty, size, and classic design. it makes me feel hip again, as i once did in college at miad... there are days when i want the chic look, other times i enjoy the artistic style. this bag allows the latter... i never ever want to look like the typical suburban mom who only wears capri's, slip-ons, and button down shirts... give me my too-baggy ripped up pants, my small tees, and the zip up tiny hoodies... give me my suede abby clogs, and mary janes please... and if i can afford it, give me that upperclass downtown successful career look... but really, the best look for me is my "ellia" look.... and this bag does me justice

a doll from childhood

i don't remember her name. but i've had her for nearly 18yrs. the past 6yrs stored in an attic or basement, awaiting for the nursery magic fairy to make her a real girl. unfortunately, she has remained hidden with hair getting nappier by the decade

today, i wanted her. while my son watched shrek yet again, i combed and brushed her unruly hair. if she was alive like toy story's woody, i bet she would have passed out from all the pain. and yet, her grin never fades. if i stopped washing, brushing, and conditioning my hair, there's no doubt we'd look like twins. it took the whole movie to get her washed, blow-dried, detangled, and re-styled. she ends up with a fro; curls brushed down in order to maintain composure.

when i first got her, it was either for my 7th or 8th birthday. my head was no doubt bigger than hers. our hair, however, just as curly, nappy and coarse. the length and style near the same. a few times, she'd be face down on my bed and my mom would think it was i lying there. a few people find her creepy. in fact, many people find most of my retro pictures and toys creepy due to their enormous eyes. of course, this doll is no cabbage patch yet i think she has far more personality than most of the cheap toys made these days. her grin can be interpreted as a grimace some days, secretive on others, and plain happy on the rest.

i like her. i always have. i know i haven't treated her the best these past years but i don't think my husband would want her adorning our bed. i like her body that's too frail to hold up her huge hard head. i even like the fact that she has a butt; there is a li'l piece of thread that resembles a buttcrack. i wonder if she at one time had panties.

i wish i knew her name. if ever i master knitting and/or sewing, i'd like to make dolls in her proportions. tiny body with big head. just like many of my illustrations.

*note: i kept most of my toys. i have an original cabbage patch doll that's around 22yrs old. his hair is quite a mess as well.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

my first knitted thing ever...

it took three books and several unsuccessful attempts to figure out how to cast on, and knit one row... the excitement was deflated by the fact that i couldn't knit row #2... no clickety click of the needles... i don't remember how i managed to do it, but soon i was knitting long rows of 28 stitches using soft green yarn... realizing that a scarf would take forever to make, i headed to walmart and bought some fat ol' needles- size 10 and 13.... and then some fat, itchy yarn that would have made the most uncomfortable scarf...

after several rows that took 15min each to knit, i decided to quickly learn to purl stitch, bind off, and pc together my very first unknown project... miraculously, once all together, it so happened to be a perfect fit for my digital camera... so i add a button, a loop, some eyes and a mouth, and oila! a knitted camera holding thing...

although i knit too tightly, leaving me wonder how the elderly manage to knit many-a-outfits, i am nonetheless proud of this creation i've concocted!

a project in the process

after many days of waiting for the mailman to ring my doorbell, i began to put my hopes on a shelf.... then as i am on the phone, ready to go to panera bread for coffee and some much craved bread, there is a box wedged between my screen door... forget about the phone call, i got my package!!!!

five wonderfully artsie crafty books including the one above, knitted babes ...this book is fabulous!!! photographs alone, these dolls prove to have character. there's a variety of outfits to make including teeny tiny bitty flip-flips, ballet slippers, and cowgal boots. this book is truly my utmost favorite thus far.

instructions are seemingly simple and so far, my first knitted babe is going okay. of course, i still knit too tight, causing my pieces to curl up extensively. i hope that when the times comes to assemble and stuff, this will work itself out. considering this is only my second time knitting, the first time following a pattern, i am pretty determined to make this project a success.

come back in a month to see results (or perhaps, the unravelings of a frustrated ending)

Monday, January 09, 2006

there is art. there is diego

meet diego... a 17 mos old who loves to jump, scream, dance, and suck on his two fingers.... he's pretty short and he has quite the fro these days.... he has eyes that go from gray to hazel to slate depending on mood and outfit... he likes chasing cats and doesnt find food the most amazing thing in the world... he loves wearing baseball caps backwards and walking around with grampa's real microphone....

diego is my son, my joy, my personality tweaker, my full-time job... while i once was merely an artist, i have now become a mother who finds scraps of time to work on art... unlike an illustration, motherhood has no deadline, no finished pc to frame and sell... diego is a work in progress... in fact, we are both a work in progress....

my life as an artist, mother, wife, and friend is ever changing and quite the experience at that... there are many mistakes, tears, laughter, and short term memory, but its worth it... the whole she-bang; its worthwhile!

*note: see that mark on his face? that is from jumping off the couch... thankfully, he is like Wolverine from x-men; he heals quickly leaving not a scar