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March 21, 2006

offspring & inspire

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I'm crazy about greeting cards. I saw this image while browsing Oh Joy's blog and went to Binth to see more. So many of Binth's designs are wonderful, but I'm most inspired by the collaborative series called offspring. You can read about the illustration collaboration between the designer and her son. It's a sweet story and the results are quite fresh.
More great card designs (and other inspiration) —
paper + cup
1201 AM
Pantry Press
Lena Corwin's blog and her shop
Myla Land Photography
Ephemera {photo blog}
carte blanche pedicure {photo blog}
wish jar journal
my urban dig
not so simple {reading blog}

March 19, 2006

a snapshot

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These are the days. My knitting and rocking Max while he naps days are numbered and I know it. I'm holding on, trying to convert these to long-term memory because I know I'll never have them again. No worries, I'm not freaking out about it because I'm zen-ly embracing the fact that things always change and I'll enjoy those new moments too...but I really loved this moment and I want to remember it, forever. (isn't 17 month old Max absolutely GARGANTUAN?!)

p.s. not getting too far on the beastie bunny, I'm only at row 20 of 54.

March 16, 2006

making it up as I go

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I'm making some progress on figuring out how to design my beastie bunny and simultaneously writing my first knitting pattern. I swatched enough last night to determine the stitch and row gauges should I decide to stick with my practice yarn. I've got the head designed and the instructions written out. I think the only catch so far will be determining the right vs. left slanting decreases and how those will look given that I'm thinking in 2-D and am having trouble visualizing the 3-D result. I'm stopping the brain fry and going for the trial and error method in the hope that my k2tog and ssk's are placed correctly. I'm also hoping that my idea of having three stitches down each edge surrounded by all the increases and decreases will produce the overall boxy shape and the flat front and back I'm hoping for. I found a great knitting site with video instructions for both continental and english knitters. It's got lots of useful information and the videos are quite helpful, check it out.

So here's to hoping I can stay awake long enough tonight to get past row 28 to see how the decreases work. I'm thinking there's no way I'll make it since Max kept me up from midnight to 3 a.m. and I got up to greet the day three hours later. I'm guessing last night's trouble was all about his molars which are starting to come in. He was running a slight fever and pointing to his ears. Poor little guy.

March 15, 2006

buggin' on bart

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Well I tell you, I struggled this morning trying to find something worthy of photographing for my way to work wednesday project. I can't say I succeeded in finding an interesting something, so I ended up taking a picture of the women sitting across from me on bart. They were such a typical scene from my daily commute. One with her eyes half closed the other reading the local paper, so boring. Instead of hoping that the something I photographed would be interesting I decided to make the image itself engaging by fiddling with it, drawing, erasing etc. I'm happy with this roughed out sketch. I went web-trolling for a graffiti image to use and instead came across this fun site graffiti creator . Now that I give this a second look, I'm sure I was subliminally inspired by an ad campaign on the trains, I think it's for Sierra at Tahoe.

March 14, 2006

platen press II, part I

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I love letterpress. It's so satisfying to press the metal type into paper and then run my finger over the impression's texture and admire the lovely unevenness of the ink. Each print is a unique piece due to it's subtleties. It's really, really lovely. I can imagine a whole life where I spend everyday setting pretty type and doing short press runs. Well, for that matter I can imagine a life where I paint everyday too, which isn't much of a stretch since in my past life I spent year after year doing just that. Wah, I miss that. It's just a crying shame that it's so difficult to make a comfortable living making art. And I really know why people don't buy more art because I know how hard it is to just live and save enough for a good future, let alone feed your family and say go to the movies for a little escapism. It's tough to find balance in every regard...but I digress, this is really a posting about how fun it was to spend tonight locking up type, setting furniture and reglets, and doing lots of my own illogical (but works for me) measuring technique to center the paper within the tympan’s guides. I chose the type face styme in 18pt, and I wasn't that happy with it especially because the case was full of uneven "r"s. The two lined quote I chose was If I'd had more time — I'd have written a shorter letter.

beastie diagram

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Here I am proving that you can't get too far in the world of knitting without swatching. Since I don't know stitches per inch or rows per inch I can't really map this out. However, I have roughed out the proportions I'd like and I think I can start doing the math on figuring out how to get from X number of stitches to Y number over Z number of rows once I make some swatches. I remembered that hubbie got me a roll of pattern making paper a few years ago that's been in the basement gathering dust (from the days when I thought I'd design and sew some of my own clothes, but uh not so much has happened) so I'm thinking I can use that to graph out the number of stitches and add any design details.

My main problem is that once I get home and get Max to bed, say by 7:30 or 8 p.m., I'm usually too tired to concentrate on a project. These last few weeks I've been so tired I can hardly keep my eyes open let alone focused past 9 p.m. I wish I could go home this eve and give it another attempt, but I'm taking a class. I signed up months ago for Platen Press II, another letterpress class at SFCB. I probably won't get home until 10 p.m. tonight and I'll either be starving or too tired to eat, having dined on an Odwalla bar and water. I'm hoping to get a renewed sense of letterpress excitement since the Platen is a manageable size letterpress machine — one I hope to own and operate some day in my art barn dreams.

March 13, 2006

beastie bunny sketches

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I'm feeling pretty inspired for a monday. Being the little 'ol novice knitter that I am can you believe I'm thinking of writing my first pattern!? Ha, this should be interesting. I've been inspired by the sock monkey, amigurumi & other japanese crafts, Max's crib full of ugly dolls and Jess Hutch's knit toys. Combining all these ideas I've come up with beastie bunnies. I'm thinking of knitting in the round starting from the top down. I guess leaving a big open seam on top will work so I can then go back up there, pick up stitches and knit the ears. ya and I can use that open to seam to stuff the bunny. Hmmm. The legs look like fairly straight-forward tubular knitting. I'm thinking of making all the arms in a 2x2 rib pattern and attaching them afterward so they are nice and floppy. I think you can sculpt and shape the body when stuffing so they can end up squarish? Here I go experimenting...I'm sure my first ones will be wonky, but this should prove fun and a true embracing of my bunny and knitting loves and left over yarn.

March 12, 2006

hi munk'aay

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We struggled with what to do this afternoon because it's been pouring down rain and super freezing cold too so there was no chance of doing anything outside. It's tough having a toddler and not being able to let them roam free in a playground, rainy days are pretty much a serious drag. We could have tried harder to get together with friends but I hadn't showered (nice confession!) and daddy wanted to run a couple errands so we only needed to find an hour or so to kill and get home in time for dinner. I remembered what my friend Patty said she does on rainy days, she goes to a pet store or Room & Board. Since we hadn't been to Room & Board yet (and I didn't want daddy tempted to come home with any new pets) off we went. And what a fabulous place for a toddler, Patty is truly brilliant! The only draw back is the endless array of fragile vases and lamps on every available surface, but other than that (!) it's 3 stories of run around and climb stairs heaven, oh yeah! They have a kids furniture area too with cute accessories and entertaining props. While we were trying out all the kiddie chairs, tables and beds doing our best goldilocks impressions, Max saw a knit sock monkey hanging from a coat rack and for the first time said "hi monkey" over and over while waving to it. The way he says it sounds like "munk'aay." It was so utterly adorable I could have stayed all afternoon right there watching him waving to it. Of course, we had to buy it. We wanted to surprise him by putting it in his room and waiting for him to find it. Max saw it right before bedtime while we were changing him into his jammies. He smiled and said "hi munk'aay" again and this time he gave it hugs and kisses followed by lots of giggles. Okay, slay me here and now!! Of course I now must whole-heartedly endorse these super squeezably soft scrumptious knit toys by blabla. Check out the darling finger puppets, rattles, and the bunny family below.

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March 11, 2006

san francisco playgrounds

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Golden Gate Mothers with lots of playground photos and maps
PDF of parks by district, keep a print out in your glove box
San Francisco Government Park & Recreation Department
San Francisco Neighborhood Parks Council
Help improve SF parks by submitting information and photos of parks in need of repair to: Park Scan


OPINIONS, REVIEWS & RAMBLINGS

* * * * * McKinley Square— Vermont & 21st st.
Great fenced in park for ages 2-5 with three play structures, sand covered ground, some rubber grounding under one swing and on the playground perimeter, 4 bucket swings and 4 regular swings. Outside the playground are a few picnic tables and a grassy area for dogs. Parking is easy and it's not too crowded.

* * * * * Holly Park — Holly Park Drive at Highland Avenue
I need to go here everyone raves about it.

* * * * Duboce Park — Duboce & Scott Street (by N tunnel)
Medium sized fenced in and fully rubberized playground with small sandbox area. Two play structures with slides, tunnel and monkey bars, 2 bucket swings, 2 regular swings. Outside is a large grassy area for dogs. Parking isn't too easy and this park gets really crowded.

* * * * Eureka Valley Playground — Collingwood & 18th (by Cala Foods)
Fenced playground with rubber flooring and medium size sandbox, great play structure very new and really safe in comparison to any other I've seen, only 2 bucket swings, teeter-totter, and dome climbing structure. This playground is gated and though it's supposed to be open 9-5 it is sometimes not unlocked due to SF staffing problems. Parking is a little tough.

* * * * Potrero Hill Recreation Center/Jackson Playground 17th & Arkansas
Two separate fenced play areas for younger and older kids, with safe play structures in each and teeter-totter both with sand ground, 4 bucket swings in toddler area (not sure how many big kid swings). There's a large field with teams practicing baseball/soccer etc. and there's a recreation center building with other activities. Parking is easy.

* * * * KidPower Playground — Hoff St between 16th/17th & Valencia & Mission
Great gated playground with rubberized flooring and lots of play structures suited to toddlers, 2 bucket swings. Only drawbacks are there are never any kids in the park which is creepy, the neighborhood is dodgy and parking is tough.

* * * Douglass Playground — 26th & Douglas
Large open sand playground with two play structures. There are also some donated plastic huts, and kitchen stoves to play with and a plastic slide, 2 bucket swings, 2 regular swings. There's a nice tennis court that I've seen kids learning to ride bikes, scooters or skate boards on. There's a medium size grassy area for dogs and a slide up in the trees for older kids. Parking is easy.

* * * Mission Playground — 19th & Linda (between Guerrero & Valencia)
Fenced in playground half with rubberized flooring the rest is sand, 2 play structures for older and younger kids, 2 bucket swings, 2 regular swings, 1 tire swing. Outside the playground is a large basketball court and a recreation center (and I think a pool?). Not too crowded but parking isn't too easy either.

* * * Dolores Park — Dolores St. between 18th & 19th.
Large hilly and grassy park busy with all types of people and lots of activities. the children's area often has some older kids so it can be a little challenging with under 4 year old age group, 4 bucket swings in the upper playground, 4 regular swings in the lower playground, with lots of cement and a sloping grade (tough on toddlers), there's a fun wooden boat structure kids like to run across or snack on. There are 3 fun metal slides with varying slopes to slide down, and lots of sand to dig up. Lots of picnic tables (though you need to reserve them on weekends) and often the park is quite busy. Parking can be trying and the park is often pretty junky with cigarette butts, garbage and other nasties. On a clear day the city view is really beautiful.

* * * Precita Park Playground — Precita from Folsom to Alabama
Fenced in large size playground with cement and sand ground, 2 bucket swings, 2 regular swings, 2 play structures, and a spinning ride-on. There are some picnic tables and benches as well. Outside is a grassy slope for dogs. Parking is easy.

* Hayes Green Park — Octavia & Hayes St.
Fully rubberized gated park with only one climbing structure, better for lunch or strolling. Great for getting a fabulous latte from Blue Bottle Coffee and letting junior run around while you sip and enjoy.

* South Park — 2nd & 3rd/Bryant & Brannan
This open park is better for older kids, but really it's just better for local business people to eat their lunches. The play structures are dangerous and really old and though they have 2 bucket swings and a separate bigger kid area the sand is filled with cigarette butts, the grass has endless dog poop and there are lots of homeless on the benches and picnic tables and parking is tough too.

* Mission Recreation Center — Harrison & Treat Sts.
This place needs a serious cleaning and face lift, too yucky to review.

* Best Bay Area Parks
* Kiddie stuff to do in San Francisco

March 10, 2006

lovin' literary bunny

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Make a website about anything, maybe even just about some small bits of yourself, and you will get visitors. Just like that saying build it and they will come. Seriously, I guess old adages are true for a reason. I'm shocked that people actually find my site (ok not many in the scheme of the web, but still). I just received the sweetest comment from Cara saying my knit bunny was the cutest bunny ever and asking for the pattern (more kudos to patternmaker Jess, who—by the way—never wrote me back after I practically begged to buy more of her patterns, wah poor me and yet I still desperately want more!). Cara's comment more than made my day. It's so fun to make an effect in the world even if it's only teeny tiny. I keep thinking of what Reese said in her Oscar speech about what June Carter used to say when asked how she was doin'? She said, I'm just trying to matter. Me too-sies.

March 8, 2006

barbary coast trail

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who knew? I live on the Barbary Coast Trail! How authentically SF and truly debaucherous, yeah! I knew I liked my hood, but now I like it more. What's even better? This sidewalk seal is right in front of the city's oldest and most famous church. Well, upon closer examination of the website, I don't actually live on the tour but apparently I live on the extended city-wide trail? Huh, anyway the site is cool, showing the city's original waterfront and the location of sunken ships under SOMA. And now upon further research it turns out the bronze plaques were sold to pay for the project so each seal has the sponsor's name on it (see this one doesn't have the trail arrows). I'll have to look more closely at this one to see who it is...

... the sponsors of this medallion are: Lani & Kirk Hammett "it's not just a neighborhood, it's a lifestyle"

March 7, 2006

art barn bunnies

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uh oh wasting time again playing with bunny images and went a little 80s crazy, tee hee.

March 4, 2006

ride on rody

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well, five fingers are complete on one glove, but I'm not happy with the pinky finger knitting and am contemplating pulling out the scissors and snipping it right off. Better to be happy right? I accidentally made a yarn over and then tried to close it up while sewing in ends. When you're using the magic loop technique yarn overs are a constant threat. Making sure the yarn is cleanly coming out through the center and over the top of the back needle's cord is key to its success. I think I will start over but not tonight. I have to work up the gumption to cut, frog and re-do.

Isn't that orange horsey a-d-o-r-a-b-l-e!

March 1, 2006

like sands through the hourglass

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so are the days of our lives. And no, not so much for way to work wednesday...today was while not at work wednesday, and as I was out wandering through South Park I found an hourglass. Hourglasses are something I NEVER think about except maybe when playing a board game or when channel surfing past the opening credits for Days of Our Lives (which, just for the record, I do not watch), but having come across this simple and mesmerizing object I'm surprised I haven't ever considered its zen-ness. Huh, turns out the hourglass is a universal symbol for death. The hourglass was often depicted on pirate flags where it symbolised the fact that human existence is fleeting, and in England hourglasses were sometimes placed in coffins to symbolise the fact that the "sands of time" had run out. In literature, references to time measuring devices can represent death.

I'm thinking that it's no accident then that I have just taken notice of this object. No worries, I'm not dying any quicker than anyone else so far as I know, but I have recently been considering my own mortality. I think a lot about regret (hoping to die with little as possible) and what I should change in my life to achieve a better balance of happiness. I also feel time differently than I used to. I think it's because I now have a child. I measure time every week, every month, and every year much more closely than I ever have. I'm watching him grow, I talk about him growing and I'm asked about his progress almost everyday. Ironically, on New Year's Eve my sweetie gave me a watch for our nine year wedding anniversary. So for the first time in probably about eight or so years I'm also wearing time, everyday. Yep, I think it all makes sense.

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Want one too? Here's a wacky site selling sand timers, however, I got mine at Isda & Co, No. 19 South Park only two left.