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January 26, 2009

toy camera

Hotpink Vivi
Spaceshuttle Max
I so love my iPhone and some of the best things about it are the fun photography applications like camera bag and toy camera. I love the crossed processed look in the photo of Max and Vivi's hot pink lips and bright blue eyes are so sassy. Below are a few more snaps I took today that I really like — awesome color twists.
Purple Succulent
Bryant Street

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January 25, 2009

wax works

Amy Painting1
Amy Painting2
Amy Painting3
Found these lovely graphic encaustic paintings by Amy Ruppel at Rare Devices.

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January 22, 2009

pretty petals


By way of My Marrakesh blog I found these pretty stencil designs by Royal Design.

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January 21, 2009

studio window

Studio Window
The view of rainy rooftops from the staircase on the way up to my studio.

January 19, 2009

see my tongue

Max Jaewon1-1
Max Jaewon2-1
Max Jaewon3-1
Max and Jaewon had a fun time cruising through the California Academy of Sciences on their MLK holiday from school. We listened and watched diver "Charles" educate us about the worlds largest aquarium and the processes they used to create the Philippine coral reef we were gazing into. I was most impressed by my little genius boy Max who exhibited no inhibitions and raised his hand proudly to ask a question to the moderator. "How does coral grow?" he inquired. They explained how it divides endlessly and has a structure similar to our bodies with bones on the inside.

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January 18, 2009

winter beach day

Beachday Max
Beachday Vivi
After Max walked (ok really he was lovingly strollered by Maga & Paga) across the Golden Gate Bridge we met up at Chrissy Field for a quick Let's be Frank dog and some fun time playing in the sand.

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mind your bees wax

Mollycliff 1
Mollycliff 2-1
Encaustic Michele
Another other media technique I've been loving and wanting to try my hand at is encaustic painting. I've been surfing the web reading about it and wan tto log the links for future reference.
[encaustic art by Molly Cliff top & center; Mimi Doodles / Michele Bosak bottom]

encaustic how to slide show
RF paints & beeswax supplies
encaustic history
an artists explanation
another artists encaustic explanation
embracing encaustic book
blog link(s)
video how to; here too
waxing it up blog
encaustic over photographs

what's a glicee print? Clearly another posting is in order...

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a surface like water

Resinbirds Fernworks
Field Fernworks
Fernworks Small
I've been seeing lots of art covered in beautiful shiny liquid glass-like surfaces and loving them. Turns out its called "liquid plastic" and goes by the technical media name 'epoxy resin'. I've been doing some web research and want to log the links here for future use. [art by fern works]

general info article
TAP Plastics
various purchase options and how to use
EnviroTexapplication tips and how to instructions
Colores Resin
Devcon 2 part Epoxy
Diamond Glaze
doming resins
Treasure Crystal Coat
ModgePodge (works with acrylic) — directions
Jolly Glaze —acrylic sealers

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January 15, 2009

no regrets

Lily Moon
Been floating around Etsy again — it's addictive in there. Found this sweet illustration by Lily Moon, liking the pink palette and various textures.

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January 14, 2009

my new studio

New Studio
Now I've gone and done it. In the midst of the financial crisis and global markets melt down which has totally effected our lives both in our puny holdings and in our receiving actual pay checks — which we aren't!!@#%^&! I went and rented myself an artist studio. Huh?!!@#$%^! What was I thinking? We are living off savings right now and I'm spending extra rent (and supplies!) from my teeny personal savings on art?! We've got two kids to feed, a mortgage, credit debt I could go on an on with the giant list of bills — did I mention I live in super expensive San Francisco. Being an adult sucks sometimes! Oh my oh my, I'm following my heart here but my head says I'm "CRAZY!".

I seem to be in the midst of a midlife, post mommy, identity crisis mixed with the fear of death bed regrets. What's it all about Alfi? All that has been swirling through my head and I'm not on any medication. I need to make art just for therapy sake! I've been thinking for years about getting back into creating something — anything. I miss it. I miss my voice. I miss gazing endlessly at a composition. I miss being alone. I miss the process. I miss the introspection. I miss the smell of toxic chemicals. Yes, really! When I walked into the artist warehouse the smell of turpentine, photo chemistry, glue etc was similar to the warm happiness of smelling fresh baking bread— H-O-M-E.

Above is my "before" photo. It's just a tiny little corner of a shared space (but private in that it has a door with a lock) —it's something like 4 x 10 feet with some storage in the shelving behind the curtain. There are three other artists in the space. There's a young couple who make illustrated books (graphic novels?!) who sit in a parallel space with only doorway to glimpse into their world and a man, around my age, who is a sculpture and photographer who works right be behind me. It feels strange, but exciting. I have no idea what I will make. I think I may just sit and knit until I feel more relaxed. Oh and of course I'll be squeezing out as many hours as I can doing design work to pay for childcare. These are days.

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January 13, 2009

vivi walking

Vivi Walking-1
Vivi Blueeyes
Vivi is walking so much these days. She's not a professional yet — actually more like the cutest frankenbaby ever! it's a joy to behold her progress and she grins with pride each time she braves the journey. (adorable sweater from Gramma Sherry — thank you!!)

January 12, 2009

supreme stitching

Loveistiming Quilt
I've been really loving sewn and embroidered illustration over the last few years. Coming across Caroline Hwang's quilts and thread drawings is no exception — hers are totally awesome. I particularly like the one above titled "love is timing" as it really looks like just a loose colored pen doodle. Below are two drawings "about to set sail" and "dear friend" both are hand painted gocco prints found on her site and for sale through The Shiny Squirrel.

Her commercial site has lot of great illustrations too — wow —loving her stuff! Oh and she did the meat club graphic— that makes so much sense now that I know.

Dearfriend Hwang

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January 11, 2009

origami bunny

Origami Rabbit
Origami everything! Check out the Origami Club which has instructions both flat and animated for a wide variety of cutesy items. Happy folding!

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January 10, 2009

seeking inspiration

Eunsil Sheep
Maira Pete


Colored Baubles
You know there are days when I stare at the blank screen, page or wall and think there's nothing worthy — my mind draws a blank and creative panic sets in. Snap out of it, I tell myself. Look around, at anything and everything. Look harder, closer or farther. However sometimes I need a trigger. So I casually flip through books, magazines, websites culling for a cue. Recently there's been two source sites that I'm really enjoying, Shutter Sisters and Illustration Friday [blog].

Just so I don't forget these, a few other helpful links too.
Vector Tutorials by VectorTuts
Tutorial Sphere
vector patterns by Designious & Mujka
Photoshop Wiki
Good Wall tutorials

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January 6, 2009

my beloved miro

Miro Vignette
An open letter to my beloved Miro.

This has been a very sad day. We will never forget you our dear beloved Miro. Watching the light leave your eyes this morning was so painful. We had a wonderful friendship and you were the most amazing animal I — we — have ever known. Everyone who knew you has said so. I'm convinced you were a genius and had you been a man — well, there were days when I believed you would have made a perfect prince. I showered you with kisses in hope and called you "casanova" kitty.

When we first met, we three girly roommates decided you were the cutest girly kitty we'd ever seen so we named you "madeline". A few days later when we saw your photo posted on a paper stapled to a telephone pole in front of our house we learned your name was "smokey" — a boy. What were they thinking?? You were six months old and newly arrived in San Francisco by way of Chico. You'd been rescued by a college girl who had moved into a no pet apartment and had left you with her parents. They weren't sure what to do with you and had you living in their garage. You escaped and showed up on my door step only a house away. I of course, took you in, fed you tuna and milk and you never left. I 'll never forget your kitten face with an incredibly long nose, snaggle tooth and bright round yellow eyes.

You made friends with our other neighbors and I found out a few years later while moving out, that you'd spent many days a week laying on their warm dryer and they'd fed you lots (and lots!) of wet food. It's no wonder that you were always over weight — often about 18lbs. Amazingly it never stopped you from jumping fences or through windows. You caught and gifted me many darling little brown birds, teeny mice, disgustingly huge rats and even beautiful hummingbirds. I remember being both angry and impressed each time. The first night my future husband came to visit he rang the doorbell while you simultaneously jumped through the kitchen window with a giant rat in your mouth — I was standing there washing dishes and the surprise vision caused me to scream a freakishly frightening screech and scare my date to death. Thanks dear.

While living in the Marina, we somehow managed to talk our drunken scroogish landlord into letting us screw wooden steps onto the outside of his building to allow you jump down three stories so you could continue to be a happy outside kitty. We still aren't sure how we got him to agree — especially since looking back those steps begged for a burglar to visit our flat!? But you were a happy kitty having access to all those fancy backyards — good times.

Later we moved into a top corner loft in SOMA and you were an unhappy indoor only cat. You went bezerk and became so despondent that you cried all night long in the most horrible cat kinda way. You managed to get all sorts of stray alley cats to come to Lucerne Alley and cry back at you. Our neighbors loved us and we slept like babies. After a few months of this torture we called the SPCA and begged to speak to a kitty shrink. They told us to get a baby girl kitten for you to dominate and that her presence would keep the energy and attention inside the apartment, It worked, though we'll never really know if you loved her or just loved to torture her.

You and Madeline had an unusual relationship. You loved to snuggle and clean each other but you also fought until fur was flying and hissed and scratched until we had to separate you. Right now she's crying out wondering where you are. I think she's trying to tell us that you aren't there. Like we don't know?!

Once we moved to our house in the Mission you were much happier. You had a lovely backyard and sunny deck to lounge in, a warm living room with a wood burning fireplace and super fancy kitty door that gave you 24/7 access inside and out. Sure our lives became more complicated with the arrival of our first child, Max. But you graciously handled every grab, push and fur fisting pull that he delivered. In fact, you only once slightly scratched him, when he scared you out of a deep sleep while whacking you something fierce. Even the sweetest and tamest animal — which you were — would have done the same.

Our lives became even more stressed after Vivienne's arrival. I'll never know if if it was too much for you to have a second baby in your life or if it was just old age. After all it's been almost 16 years — a long life by any kitty standard. You were never the same once she took over our bedroom and drained us of any free moments. This last year has been so hard on us both and I'm so sad that you had to live downstairs away from your creature comforts — but dozens of urinations on our bed later (and while I was sleeping with the kids too!) and we had no choice but to have you sleep elsewhere. It makes sense now that we know you had a serious kidney disease. Still, I'm so sad. These last days have been even harder. Seeing you unable to eat, drink, jump, walk or even give a little kitty kiss has been so painful.

Coming home tonight was so hard and so terribly sad. I —we all miss you. We love you. We'll never forget you. We send you all our love — always. I hope there is a kitty heaven and that you are chasing birds and wooing the furry ladies for eternity. You'll always be my casanova kitty.

love always, mommy.

January 5, 2009

kindergarten application season

Max Schoolbook

I've blogged and kvetched about schools and their application processes in San Francisco here and here. I was griefed out for my middle class high anxiety views here and here and here. I've calmed down a lot since then — but we also got off the wait list at the last minute for a great preschool so it was easy to calm down. We've been very happy with Max's school and his progress over the last year and a half.

Now we are looking at the next level in the process — kindergarten and elementary school. I'm not as anxiety ridden now that I have preschool under my belt, however I am still tortured by the processes which essentially are chance vs who you know. Since Max has a late fall birthday, we've decided to apply to only three private schools this year which have 2-year kindergarten programs. If we don't get into any of those, we'll apply again next year casting a wider net covering both public and private. It'll be a hellacious fall season touring all the possibilities, picking the perfect lottery choices, writing essays and attending open houses and discussion forums. Yeah for fall 2009!

Anyway, the reason I got off on this topic is that the applications are due starting tomorrow. There was also an article published in SF Magazine that covers the struggle of one typical SF family.
SF Magazine article
SF K Files

bay area mom stuffs @ SF Gate