Wednesday, July 29, 2009


That last post, the Grace Jones video, was something I intended to send to Natalie from YouTube. I had no idea I'd posted it here! LOL. Since I did, might as well add that I saw Grace at The Hollywood Bowl on Sunday night, along with another band that I'd never heard of but really liked, Of Montreal (somebody posted a video, check 'em out), and the show was fantastic. Me and the Bubs went, and we both enjoyed it. The week before Natalie and Joe took me to see Porgy and Bess at The Bowl, and that was awesome too. I love The Hollywood Bowl. I'm happy I got the chance to go this summer.

I'm still recuperating from my trip. I got to do nearly everything and see nearly everyone I wanted to. I thought maybe I could sneak off to Stitch 'n Bitch, but that didn't happen because I couldn't get off work. (Miss you, Laurie Ann! I hope to gaze upon your loveliness next time.) When I'm not so tired that I'm accidentally posting YouTube videos meant for private consumption, I'll post a few pics and highlights from my visit.

I have to say now, though, congratulations, Dr. Woolanthropy! You did it!

Monday, July 27, 2009

grace jones in el sonar 2009

Get your kitty cat mask and your band ready!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

i love l.a.

It's so easy to love what you miss, isn't it? I'm having a ball with Joe, Natalie, and their menagerie; Valecia; and that adorable Schmin. And today Ellen is having a birthday gathering. I timed my visit so that I could attend, and I can't wait to see my knitty girls!

Here are a couple of my favorite moments, out of many, from yesterday. I bought Schmin a typewriter to congratulate him on his success in college (he's going into his third term at LA City College, getting only A's and B's, and I'm so proud of him), and because I knew he'd appreciate it. I gave it to him along with his paintings, and he loved it. He's so cute. Look:

Then V took a turn on the turntable:

She typed and sang and typed and sang and produced two lines, after which she declared, That was exhausting! LOL. It's true that typing on a manual typewriter renders bicep curls unnecessary.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

and you know you love your cat when ...

you find yourself wishing you could give her a call while you're away.

gone back to cali 2

Blogging from my cell means a word limit per post. Anyhow, I'm excited about seeing my friends and family, and the good time we're sure to have. I'll share, and in the meantime I'm unleashing a wave of gratitude to you guys for the sweet, supportive comments on "Celebrant." Mister Stevens, I'm glad my paintings rub your eyeballs the right way.

gone back to cali

Hey, y'all. I'm at the San Francisco airport waiting for my connection to Los Angeles (well, Burbank, but close enough). I'm ridiculously happy to be here as it's my first time back in California since I moved. I'd be lying if I said I don't miss it. The lack of mysterious bugs and invasive lizards alone is enough to make me kiss the ground.

Monday, July 13, 2009


I'm very grateful to everyone who left a comment, or thought a good thought, for my dad. All the well-wishes worked; he's expected to make a full recovery. He can get back to being his normal crazy self very soon.

One of my students e-mailed me to discuss an assignment, and I mentioned my father's surgery to her. She wrote back and told me about her mother's upcoming hip replacement surgery, and said, It's really hard to see your parents vulnerable, isn't it? She hit that one right on the head.

In the midst of my father's healing came my mother's birthday, yesterday. My mother has been dead for 10 years this year. She would've been 59. Ten years, which I didn't think I'd survive without her, a landmark. I wanted to do something to celebrate her life, something that would go well with wine. I believe the best gift I can give my mother is to fully live my life (though I felt the opposite at first). I set out to live it and not be sad because I didn't feel sad. I felt grateful. So I worked a good while, then instead of melting into the sofa under the rays of the television, I got out my painting supplies and made this little trio of 8x10s for Schmin.

You didn't know I had these kinds of painting supplies. ;) With Hobby Lobby two minutes away I can dust off my old artistic visions and get busy. I hadn't painted much, and not in years, but after scouring thrift stores and Craigslist to find original art to gussy up my walls, and knowing exactly what I wanted but not coming close, I decided to realize a dream and do it myself. I'm no Ellen Bloom. I don't remotely profess to be skilled or good, but luckily I love abstract art, and am a fool for abstract expressionism, and I don't have qualms about slapping some paint around wherever I see fit and calling it a done deal. In fact, my only rule for my paintings is that I have to display them, or give them to someone else who will. Art supplies ain't cheap (I stick with acrylics and don't even let my eyes wander over to the oil paints, oy). With work last quarter I didn't have time to sew, or much patience to knit, but painting can be instant gratification of the creative impulse. And, you can do it 'til you're satisfied. Don't like something? Paint the hell over it.

Coming soon I'll post the other pieces I've painted, though I think the ones I did yesterday are the best (with the exception of one previous piece, which I'll show you). I'm learning better how to manipulate the paint and make it do what I see in my head. I'm also getting better at stealing -- um, using other people's work as inspiration. Schmin has been very supportive. Even though he named the paintings I hung in my kitchen Gay Pride Camouflage, he said the colors I used in them are very nice. No telling what he'll call his triptych.

I hadn't partied hard enough with Schmin's paintings, so I did one to go in my bedroom. When I sprayed it with varnish this morning, the colors struck me as perfectly 1950s, and it reminded me of my mother, who was born in 1950. Everybody called my mother Day, short for Dayletha, so I gave it a title playing on her name, Break of Day 1950. It's no Gay Pride Camouflage, but I love it. Happy birthday again, dear Day Day.

As a gift to anyone who likes abstract art, here's a version of Break of Day that you can use as a screensaver.

Friday, July 10, 2009

send a little light

Today my father is going in for lung surgery. There's a spot, it may be cancerous, and his doctor wants to remove it. The procedure will take about five hours. I can't be there at the hospital in Toledo with my family, but I'm sending my dad prayers and lots of love. He's scared; we're all scared, but I believe things unfold for the best.

If you have a spare moment today, please send a little light out to my father. We would both appreciate it so much.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

a swan, maybe

Thank you kindly, friends, for loving my side-table/nightstand/dealy-do makeover. It's back to pulling heavy duty next to my desk, and I rape it with my eyes every chance I get. It's really brightened up the space it occupies. I have to do a couple of finishing touches on the area, then I'll show it to you in context.

In the meantime, I'm back to work, which is actually a relief because it means I don't have time to find anything else to paint or spruce up, thank goodness. Not that I have room or need for anything else anyway. Well, rugs, curtains ... a few small things.

The last bit of making I'll be doing this go-round is some pillow covers for my Craigslist couch. It could use some window dressing. I'll be getting to those soon.

Remember the ugly stand? Here it is. (Sorry the images are soft and dark-ish. Plenty of light outside, but not enough inside for the old Canon.)

I'm probably going to use it for booze. It turned out fine, but I have to recommend Valspar spray paint over Rustoleum, which I used. After days, it's still not really dry, and every thing I set on the stand leaves an imprint. Also, when I run my hands over it, the paint rubs off. It's not a big deal in this case, but if you're going to use a metallic spray paint on something you're particular about, I'd go with Valspar. I've used it a few times, and never had a problem with it.

I also wanted to show you my dining set, because I'm smitten. It's all vintage, 60s, I'd imagine. I bartered for the chairs, which is such a fun, cost-effective thing to do. I found the table at a consignment store, and it fits the space, the relatively small space, to a tee. I have to credit my dad with its placement. I was planning to smoosh a table against the wall, but he said it belonged in the center, under the ceiling fan. He was so right.

Once more with kitty cat.

Friday, July 03, 2009

coup de grace

It's a good thing I'm so skilled at freehand painting circles. Just kidding. But I do know how to glue stuff. The Mod Podge is barely dry on this, but I'm so happy with it that I couldn't wait to post it. I fell for this little mid-century side table thingy the moment I saw it at The Guild. Y'all know I love a good price, and it was only 20 dollars. It came with a bonus of some taffy-like candy stuck in the top drawer. Mm-mm.

I knew I wanted to do something fun with it. Who couldn't use a bit of cheer in her work area? I contemplated painting it orange (of course), a retro green, then a Tiffany-esque blue. I was thinking about stenciling it. Then I started wondering about wallpaper. That's where I was when I came across this post via Design Sponge, I believe. (Isn't her train case terrific?) The moment I read that she used wrapping paper, that was it. I have several good ones that I picked up for a song at Pulp in LA last year. The one used here is my favorite, and every time I thought about wrapping gifts in it, I cringed. I wanted to use it for something I could enjoy, and voila! Sadly, I have no more, because I had to redo two of the three drawers. Someday I'll learn the beauty of models, drafts, maquettes, mock-ups, muslins, blueprints, practice, trial runs .... I swear. I was way too Mod Podge happy the first couple of tries. Anyhow, I love it, even with the shady paint job, which the wrapping paper so nicely draws the eye away from.

table this

Please nobody hand me a paint brush and furniture ever again. Give me a spray can, and I'm good. A brush, not so much. Just now as I was putting the finishing touches on one piece of furniture (read: trying to paint over mistakes), I realized the problem all along has been that I use way too much paint. A discovery that would've come in handy like, yesterday. Oh well. I've got something really cute in mind for the piece that I've jacked up the most. Something that will distract from the paint job, thank goodness.

In the meantime, to boost my morale, I'm posting these tables, which I spray painted, and am very happy with. They cost 10 dollars each, at Goodwill. I didn't mind them dark at all, but they didn't suit my, um, let's call it decor.

About 4 cans of Valspar's Almond color and now, they're oh so right.

Welp. Back to work. Have a great 4th, everybody! Eat a piece of barbecued chicken for me.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

weekday warrior

Projects I've been meaning to get to for the longest, day 2.

And what have I learned, lo these two days?

1) In the end, it's the mosquitoes who will rule this joint.
2) Painting furniture is not the walk in the park I remember. Especially not in the fiery furnace of a Texas summer.
3) A tack cloth is tacky. Not in the sense that it has bad taste, but in the way of being very, very sticky. Might I suggest gloves if you ever handle one?

Here's the ugliest thing I've ever bought:

It's like somebody gave it to his kid to puke on. It startled me when I saw it at Goodwill, then I saw the price, 8 bucks, and thought, hmm .... It's got a top tray, which I didn't photograph. It's my last painting project. I've sanded it, and will finish it tomorrow.

I started painting at 6:30 this morning to beat the heat (big fat ha). I opened my back door to this:

And a wave of humidity.

I've (only) been to Lowe's 3 times since yesterday, and Hobby Lobby once. I think I'm geared up for a big finish.