Friday, November 30, 2007

good news bad news

The goods news is that I sold two pieces today.

The bad news is that today's been a really rough day; I woke up to one of the most jarring messages of my life and it's been weighing me down since. I'm trying to act on it by being productive, knitting madly for Christmas and listening to NPR and whatnot, but whenever I slow down or stop doing what I'm doing I feel myself getting sad and upset again.

Oh well. Here's hoping everything resolves kindly and smoothly. And soon.

On a completely unrelated front, my boyfriend and I are embarking on kind of a weird project. We both have a really good mutual friend, Pip, who aside from being hardcore talented and awesome is also vegan. Before Thanksgiving Pip came over to the apartment for a couple small dinner parties, and coming up with interesting and exciting menus over those couple weeks was surprisingly fun - possibly the most challenge I've had in the kitchen in a long time.

So we're going vegan.

Kidding! Well, kind of. Me and Camden eat meat, and we enjoy eating meat. We're lucky in that we live in Northern California, with easy access to companies like Niman Ranch and Rosie's Organics, not to mention the local butchers and charcuterie stands at the farmer's market, so we can support companies that practice humanely and compassionately. Have our meat and eat it too, if you will.

But it occurred to me that I like vegetables, and - miracle of miracles - so does Camden. In fact, I think thanks in great part to the amazing produce we get from our Full Belly Farms CSA, Camden has recently started to enjoy vegetables that he wouldn't even have used as toilet paper a year ago. But now? Pile on the kale and cauliflower!

So, as an experiment, we're going to try to expand our cooking and baking repetoires by alternating weeks of our accustomed diet with a vegan diet, not as a political or ethical statement but just for fun. By not using dairy or meat, Camden hopes to learn more about slow-ferment breads and baked goods, and perhaps resurrect a second batch of sourdough starter (the first died an ignominious death, alas); while I'm hoping this experiment will help me conquer my trepidation towards Indian, Japanese and Korean cuisine. I only wish it didn't get dark so soon so I could take better pictures of the results.

Thursday, November 29, 2007



Seven schools crossed off the list, six more to go.

You know what? After all that stress I think I'll treat myself and play hooky today. I'll stay home and knit and make more things for Pen and Paper and work on a couple canvases and drink lots and lots of tea.

Today is going to be awesome.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

this close

I am so close to finishing my UC transfer applications. I finished all of my essays and have all of the nitty-gritty filled out online, but I still need my counselor's blessing before I submit anything.

I'm meeting with her in an hour. Here goes!

Due to school assignments and finals and stuff I've not had a lot of time to make new pieces for the store, but there are a lot of ideas I've been playing with in addition to more faux bois designs. At the moment they're all waiting in the wings while I work on a couple canvases for painting and three major drawing projects; I'm pretty excited about the latter, actually, and I'll try to scan some of them once I'm finished.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

acceleration: pros and cons

Finals approach. Dun dun dun.

I normally wouldn't feel so stressed out, except that this quarter I'm cursed by something that I'll have to face for the next few years, at least: the ambiguity that is grading art. Personally, I'm really pleased with what I've learned this quarter, and I think I'm starting to learn a lot. This is the first time I really buckled down to learn all the technical stuff that didn't stick in high school, using mediums I'm not really comfortable with.

But I really need that A.

So, so shallow.

I've been distracting myself (probably a little too much) by doing a lot of work for Pen and Paper and making decorations for the apartment. Nothing big (my apartment couldn't really handle "big," anyway) but enough to have fun with the impending holidays. I have to say, not working at a Big Box Clothing Retailer this Christmas has really lightened my mood in regards to the season.

Check out the really nice mention Pen and Paper got in decor8!

The entry is here.

I've been reading decor8 for almost a year and to be included among the rich, lovely variety of stores and wares that Holly Becker showcases feels utterly thrilling.

Monday, November 26, 2007

two more

I'm really having fun with this faux bois paper. Since I cut each silhouette from a small section of the whole roll every piece has a different texture and pattern to it, like a fingerprint; and since the adhesive is already applied I can save a lot of time since I don't have to glue and press each piece.

well that's alarming.

Apparently the IRS is trying to pass legislation that would make it mandatory for online auction and selling sites to collect and report the SSNs of their registered members.

I'm not entirely certian what to make of this article, but it sure didn't feel me with a warm fuzzy feeling either.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

post-coma post

Oh man, was that tasty.

Thanksgiving was delicious and delightful. The spread included, among other things: king trumpet mushroom stuffing, brown buttered corn, caramelized butternut squash with arugula and vinaigrette and two kinds of turkey, the traditional oven-bird and a braised-then-barbequed bird. Delectable. The dessert spread wasn't too shabby either: apple pie, pumpkin pie custard with caramel maple shortbread, tons of other dishes I had to pass over because I was this close to exploding, and - my contribution - sweet potato and chestnut cheesecake.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007

there are so many school things i should be doing.

"Ichthus," $35. Newest addition to the shop.

This is one of many silhouettes I've cut out in the past couple days. I'm really enjoying playing around with the juxtaposition of themes and materials.

Plus, it makes me feel like I'm back in kindergarten. Paper! Scissors! Paste! Go!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

first round of additions to the shop!

"Married to the Sea, no. 2", $45

"Bear Skin Rug", $45

"Married to the Sea, no. 1", $30

"Molting Season," $30

These are the first of an ongoing mixed media series I'm working on. It's a lot of fun to work on something completely unrelated to school or applications or my portfolio.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

pen and paper

The Etsy shop is up!

Kind of.

There's nothing there right now - I'm, well, pretty freakin' swamped. I need to have final drafts of my UC essays by the twelfth, make slides of five solid pieces by the thirteenth, which means I need to have five solid pieces by the thirteenth when right now I kind of have jack squat, I have a twenty page paper on Iran after the second world war due on the fifteenth and you get the picture. There's a lot on my plate. There's so much on my plate, it could be a Thanksgiving plate.

Which reminds me, if you haven't checked out the November issue of Gourmet, you totally should. The recipes they featured have really whetted my appetite (no pun intended) for this year's feast. And yeah, I know Thanksgiving is sort of a big marketing ploy that glosses over the more horrific historical aspects of the season, but you know what? Right now I am feeling so stressed out of my mind that all I can think to say about that is, "Pilgrims bad, pass the gravy."

Country Gravy, or The Only Thing That Can Take My Stress Away Tonight


three tablespoons flour
three tablespoons of really good pan drippings, bacon grease or vegetable oil
a little less than two cups of milk
plenty of cracked black pepper, maybe 1 1/2 teaspoons
salt to taste

1. Make a roux of the fat and flour over medium or medium-high heat; stir constantly until the roux turns golden-dark.

2. Slowly add milk to the skillet using a wooden spoon or a whisk and making sure to press out any lumps as they form. Unless you're a heathen who likes lumpy gravy. I'm looking at you, Tom.

3. Turn down heat to low and stir until thickened to your liking. Country gravy is better thicker, in my experience, but if it thickens too much add a tablespoon of water at a time, stirring well in between each addition, until it thins out to your taste.

4. Salt to taste.

Serve with fried chicken, green beans, mashed potatoes, biscuits, grits, shrimp or any ungodly combination thereof. A good (if not terribly pretty; notice there is no photo accompaniment for this recipe) remedy for academic maladies.