Thursday, June 30, 2011

Push My Buttons

I'm really digging this vacation thing. Even though Nicholas has a super long day at work, and I try to spend as much time as possible with him, since we see each other so rarely, today has been great. I [finally] caught up on the [over 200] blog posts I neglected to read last week due to painting my room and adventuring throughout the midwest with Nicholas. And then I made this animated .GIF (after LA asked readers to draw the buttons from this photograph).

And now I have some old photographs that I'm embroidering to create more storylines like this one I made one night during the semester instead of sleeping.
And I still have some merit badges I wouldn't mind working on. I know you're supposed to take a break from pretty much everything during vacation, but that's nearly impossible for me. And besides, I love making things.
PS. For the month of June, I placed an advertisement of Rachel's blog Smile & Wave. I definitely recommend you check it out, especially since today is the big giveaway, and you could win over $175 worth of prizes, including one of my dreamcatchers! The winner will be chosen Saturday evening. And if you don't win, there's still another dreamcatcher, as well as many other marvelous things, available in my Etsy shop.

HOLY STOP MOTION BATMAN! (Another Reason Why I Love Moleskine)

Hello from the beautiful state of South Carolina, where I am currently visiting Nicholas. Yesterday we drove down from Cleveland, and stopped for some adventures along the way. I'll share more about those when I get the pictures off my camera. Today Nicholas is working, so I am sitting at a wonderfully big table working on all sorts of art, and browsing some artists I love online. Which is what led me to this amazing animation you are about to watch:

MINI PLANNERS from Moleskine ® on Vimeo.

Right? I love paper cut animations anyway, and I adore Moleskine sketchbooks, and cahiers, and planners. I love when my favorite things come together to produce something so beautiful! And just in case you were curious just how much they recycled, check out this behind the scenes video.

Making of Moleskine MINI PLANNERS VIDEO from Moleskine ® on Vimeo.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Possibly The Cutest Thing Mia Has Ever Done, Ever:

At my cousin & Ciara's grad party this weekend, which Nicholas and I drove to Detroit for, we were sitting on a bench talking to Mia, who really wanted him to kiss my hand (like a prince and a princess). Nicholas told her he couldn't because my hands had germs, so she takes off across the yard and returns a minute later rubbing something on my hands. I look down, trying to figure out what it is, and after smelling it, she announces, "HAND TANASIZER! Now Nicholas can kiss your hands!"

I might just explode, it was so cute.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Stop Motion Internship! & Other Good Things

Guess who just started an amazing job in a place with colorful walls and curvy offices and an old typewriter and top notch equipment doing stop motion, editing, and more?!
This girl! (Who very soon will be painting that outrageously lime room of hers. Yikes.)

Last week, an opportunity sort of fell into my lap. When I first started looking for internships in the Spring, I was (a) very very busy with school, (b) highly intimidated by super corporate companies, and (c) finding jobs at places that were nearly impossible to get to without a car (which won't be in my budget for quite a while). So I decided that instead of stressing out with 17 million applications, I would work at the library, research ideas for my BFA (which I think I know what I'm doing!), work on an amazing project with the amazing recipient of a Guggenheim, and do other freelance jobs. Easy. Enjoyable. And leaving me with plenty of time to make things. But last week, the lovely lady at our career center urged me to contact Think Media Studios who was looking for stop motion. Whoa. First of all, just about everything I previously looked at had no interest in stop motion, which means I'd spend all my time on a computer. Lame. But this place wanted stop motion. And they liked my stuff. And they wanted me to call them. Whoa.

I'm not gonna like, it's quite a bus ride away, so when I went there to talk, I quickly grew grumpy from the traffic, the walking, and the fact that they were located on one of those corporate campuses that have man made ponds (the epitome of everything I hate). But as soon as I walked through their door and saw colorful walls, curvy offices, and an old typewriter (!), I knew this had possibilities. It turns out, they're awesome. Their work is awesome. And they hired me! When I walked in today, I was informed that they just landed another job requiring stop motion, so I could get to work coming up with ideas. I love it already.
In 2 days, Nicholas will be here in Cleveland.  Where I will put him to work fixing ceiling fans and painting my room and driving me to and from work. Somewhere in between all that he better find time to steal a kiss or two. I haven't seen him since March.
And this weekend, Nicholas is driving me to Detroit for Ciara's & my cousin Ben's Grad Party Extravaganza. Mia is so excited to see Nicholas. The last time she saw him was at our Senior Ball in May of 2008 (she wasn't even 2!).

Mia's 5 now. I was home for her birthday a couple weekends ago. We went to garage sales and the antique store and spent lots of time coloring. It's so weird that she's starting kindergarten in the fall. And that magnet set I got her? She LOVED it. She still plays with it everyday, I'm told. Whenever she comes into the kitchen, she moves some pieces around. I want to make her more pieces.
And as promised, here are some better pictures of the magnet set when I gave it to her.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

There's a point in time where dads give up chasing boys away.

 I'd say it's by the time daughter #4 goes to preschool and comes home talking about her boyfriend everyday.

Happy Father's Day, Dad! (How you stay sane in a house with this many women and only one bathroom is beyond me.)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Secret Backyard Adventure Zoo

Because I am organizing ALL of my art supplies, and because organizing them requires essentially taking everything out at once to regroup it, I realized that just about everything I own is for art. Literally. Not just assuming. Fact.

Besides my flute and my ukulele, I don't think I own anything related to some other hobby. So if I wasn't an artist, and I didn't make things, I think I'd start a zoo. In my backyard. It would start with a bunny, who would be lonely and need a friend, so then I'd end up with lots of bunnies, and then I'd want a dog, but I'd probably marry a cat person, so we'd have to even that out, and I'd want a sheep (even if it wasn't to harvest its wool for felting or knitting or anything crafty), and the sheep would need an alpaca friend, which wouldn't let me ride it, so I'd get a horse, which of course I'd teach to do tricks, but it probably wouldn't be too happy about that, so I'd get an elephant, and it would just spiral out of control from there. Not like Animal Hoarders, but like Secret Backyard Adventure Zoo. And all the animals would have super awesome names, like Beatrice the sheep and Mr. Skraggles the one-eyed alpaca, but that's another story.

Ps. If you'd like to know more about Austin Animal Crackers, my friend Debbie made a field guide for them. You should look into it.

Free Crappy Portraits

Something amazing happened last night. (No, I didn't finish organizing, and yes, I'm still procrastinating a bit.) Four days ago, I emailed this picture to the folks at Free Crappy Portraits, which, by the way, is one of my new favorite websites.

Here's how it works. You email them a picture of your choosing. They also recommend that you tell them about the people in the photo. "It can be a list of your favorite cheeses, a tale about the ever-elusive Sasquatch, or a haiku about roller disco - we aren't picky...just keep in mind that you'll probably get a petter portrait if you entertain us!" This is the description I included:

This is a picture of my friends Debbie and Scott at an award ceremony that Debbie and I hosted, giving out awards for things like "Best Southern Drawl," which is what Scott won, even though he's from Columbus, OH and has no reason for having such a strong accent. We all go to school at the Cleveland Institute of Art, where we like to make things and go on adventures, which usually means getting lost in bad neighborhoods if Scott's driving. Debbie likes cryptozoology (as do I), especially Big Foot. She also likes banjos, and has a blog called Banjanimals, which features animals playing banjos, mostly one's she's drawn. My favorite is the Banjackelope, which she made for me. Scott has red hair and laughs a lot. He likes when tables line up with ceiling tiles, and East Coast Custard is his favorite place on earth. Since we go to art school, we only sleep about every other night. So we pull all nighters together in the library, but we refer to such events as Unsleepover Funstravaganzas. Usually we drink Dr. Thunder, which is the Walmart brand of Dr. Pepper. It's not very good and you get a terrible sugar crash later, but it's a lot more portable than a coffee maker. But when we're not pulling all nighters, we like to drink alcoholic beverages. Also, this weekend, some guy got drunk in my apartment and peed on my coffee table and pooped on my bathroom floor, across from the toilet. Not that this has to do with anything. I'm just very annoyed.
So after you submit your photo and description, you wait. They say to give them a couple weeks, which is why I was so surprised and excited to find it in my email last night. Voila, my very own Free Crappy Portrait, as immortalized by these lovely folks.

It's possibly the most beautiful picture I've ever seen. I like Scott driving like a maniac, the shops of the "bad neighborhood," the random cupcakes, the sale on mythical sea creatures, the Banjippo, and of course, the bottom left corner, illustrating my predicament the other day. All their portraits are amazing[ly hilarious], and I think it'd be really great if they did an exhibition with all the originals. How ridiculous would that be?! I'd love it.

You can get your own Free Crappy Portrait by going here.

Friday, June 17, 2011

This Is Why My Dad Thinks I'm A Hoarder

I prefer to say collecting collections...
Tonight I am starting the most ambitious project of my life: coming up with an organizational system for all my creative supplies...and fitting it all, nicely, in this small bedroom of mine.

Until I have a more permanent home with a decent sized room filled with Ikea shelving units and pegboards and tables, I have to work with what I have. Nicholas I coming to Cleveland next week, and he's going to help me paint my room and make more shelves for me (among other jobs I have lined up for him that involve tools I can't figure out).  So before then, I need to know what I'll want. Which means tonight I'm starting to go through everything. Because besides a few select items, everything I own is used for making things. It doesn't help that my favorite mediums to work with are stop motion animation (animating stuff), collage (cutting and gluing stuff), and everything fibers (sewing, embroidering, silkscreening, dying, felting... stuff). Obviously I accumulate lots of stuff. More so since I'm such a fan of flea markets/garage sales/antique stores/thrift shops/rummage sales/lemonade stands. (Not that lemonade stands fit in with that group, but I do love them.)

So before embarking on this ambitious project of mine (maybe more ambitious than my animation with 720 trees...), I decided to make a playlist of encouraging music, courtesy of Grooveshark. Which I'm sharing here, in case you also could use some motivation. It's not super fancy, and I didn't reorder the songs. I just searched for some of my favorite bands really quick and added them. But so far it's been helping me be productive [at procrastinating].

So... I might be up late tonight.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Artists in the Classroom

(Sometimes art takes over my life and it takes me a month to post something interesting.)

But this is interesting, I promise. This past semester, I took an art education class that met once a week, plus required us to teach an art class at an inner city school once a week. I actually had two classes (as did a couple other students), so every Friday, I ate a hearty brunch, hopped on the bus with tote bags full of projects, and taught kindergarteners how to make crayon resists and paint caterpillars and draw owls and make aliens. It was a blast and, while a lot of work, totally worth it. I always came back with wonderful stories, and was so excited by the enthusiasm of the kids who, before CIA started this program (ours was the first time running the class), didn't have art classes.

After the semester ended, we held an opening for our gallery show, featuring some of the amazing artwork these kids (kindergarten through 8th grad) produced. It was so much fun to set up and see what we did. Plus, some of the students and classroom teachers came to see their work hung up in a gallery. So fun! One of the benefits of teaching the little kids: you are always greeted with hugs. And I got plenty of them that night!

My classes made Very Hungry Caterpillars! They came out so cute!

We painted sheets of paper solid colors, then cut out the shapes later and collaged them.

The kids learned about mixing colors and making different brush strokes (which they really got into). 

And then they got to draw a background for their caterpillars. Did you see the one in the tree?!

Here's one of the gallery walls (we were still setting up so ignore the scraps everywhere!) featuring work from all ages.

Isn't that Superman collage awesome! It was made by 6th, 7th and 8th graders who each worked on a square.

There were these awesome spring themed mobiles made by 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders in classroom collaborations.

And on the far wall is some of the 1st graders' work.

We art teachers had our work in the show, too. (Sorry, crappy phone pictures now!) Here's work by Steve Basel and Martinez Garcias.

More work by teachers (Bobby Zamora, Tami Liss, and Anna Foti).

And the last section of teacher work. Do you see mine?

I included my silkscreened filmstrip 15 Frames of Mia, and two of my Scenarios/Narratives (I can't decide what to officially call them still! So sometimes they're Scenario #1 and #2, others Narrative #1 and #2.) I thought they went beautifully with more of Anna's work. These crosshatched Polaroids are amazing!

If all goes according to plan, I'll be in the art ed class again next semester, but instead of regular classes, I'll be doing animation workshops with a range of ages. I really do love working with kids.

I Don't Sleep Well Anymore

I can't remember much of my life when I did.

Yesterday I was given an amazing opportunity. While at first I didn't think it was something I wanted, I am now very grateful and looking forward to it. But I'll share more about that after everything's official.

Also yesterday, I think I decided what I want to do for my BFA. I'll have a whole year to work on one big project, which is amazing in the world of animation. But I don't even know if animation will be included. Maybe as part of a body of work. But the main piece would be something highly tactile and incredibly detailed and very honest. And of course whimsical. It's in line with my ideas from the spring semester. And I'm absolutely interested in this area, especially since it would give me a lot of freedom, so if my findings lead me in another direction, I should be able to adapt.

I Break Horses - Hearts from Bella Union on Vimeo.

Also, this video makes me want to make another blurry animation like this one I did. I have some ideas for little blurry sketches. And I'll be working on one of them in a couple of weeks with Nicholas. We plan on visiting beautiful places.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Head Might Just Explode

I have too many wonderful ideas.

So often, throughout the school year, I go completely blank on ideas. Ideas that fit assignments, anyway. But all summer, my ideas keep building up. I can't make things fast enough. And when I'm too inspired, I can't do anything. So I decided some good music would help. Well, when the music video is this fantastic, it stops you for a minute (so you can write down more ideas).

I'm not saying that this problem is a bad thing. I'm just saying that I'll be back with some things I made later tonight. You know, after jumping on my bed, listening to records, rearranging my glitter collection, sewing some merit badges, and sketching pictures of a Nutella fountain. Among other things.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Important Life Lessons from Apartment #5

Well, we have had quite the eventful weekend here in our little home. But, looking at it all...optimistically, we have definitely learned some very important life lessons. DO continue reading if you are thinking about getting an apartment, will be starting college soon, are moving in with new people, considering having one more beer, or debating hosting parties. DO NOT read if you are my mother, because you will judge me and you know I am a wonderful daughter that makes good choices. With that being said, here come the wonderful stories!
The weekend kicked off with one roommate, the official owner of Esteban (the cat previously known as Jon Cougar Mellancat), leaving for Philadelphia for a week. Being a loving cat owner, he of course cleaned out the litter box before leaving. Maybe I shouldn’t say of course, but that’s another story. Anyway, if you were wondering how we were certain he cleaned it out, then you’re one step ahead of me! You see, the contents of said litter box were placed in a plastic grocery bag and left on the floor, for us to discover the next day. The word “shitbagger” comes to mind. But, if you know the roommate, it’s hard to hate him. Unless you’re our landlord. But, again, that’s another story.
Saturday night, after making lots of things, showering, making more things, and watching CSI, I was about to go to bed when my roommate brought her boyfriend over along with a couple friends. They were out in the living room having a beer or two... And I went to bed. Sunday morning I wake up, and go to the bathroom to find oodles of bathroom cleaners on the sink counter. In fact, there were cleaners out all over the place. I’m pretty sure that anything with chemicals that is usually kept under the sink was on display somewhere in our apartment. At first I figured my roommate had one of her cleaning fits again, which I absolutely don’t mind. Except she was asleep. Everyone had found a couch to crash on. So I left for church and didn’t worry about it. She always takes care of any messes she makes, so why worry?
When I came back for church (see, Mom! I do make good choices! And I knew you would keep reading...), I found Vanesa in the living room, cleaning a table and the rug. Beer spill? No. She didn’t want to tell me at first because a) she was too mad to speak coherently, and b) I would be just as mad, which I had every right to be. What could be so terrible?
Well, Vanesa, who originally fell asleep on the floor, woke up in the middle of the night due to some...liquid dripping on her leg. She follows said liquid up the table it’s spilling off of, and to the guy who’s peeing on the table. Yep, he peed on the table. But that’s not all! A while later, Vanesa woke up and began walking to the bathroom (like most intelligent people do), where she discovered a poop that she described as “monstrous” on the floor. Across from the toilet.
In order to poop where he did, he pretty much had to prop himself up against the wall. (See, Mom, I warned you.) This does no good for the argument that most men are uncivilized. Just saying.
After soaking nearly every surface of our apartment in rubbing alcohol, bleach, and various other chemicals (with the windows open, Mom!), today I walked into the bathroom, wearing shoes, of course, to discover a silverfish. Now, if you haven’t lived in an old apartment, you might not know what these creatures are. Google them. I dare you. They’re terrifying. They look like the prehistoric relative of the centipede. Scared now? Anyway, they also run incredibly fast, making them incredibly difficult to kill. So, I called Vanesa over, where we stared at it intently deciding on how to make the kill. Remembering an old trick my grandma taught me, I shouted out “HAIRSPRAY!” Except a) that only makes the wings stick together for flying insects so they drop, and b) the hairspray was in my bedroom. Not handy. But there was a can of Lysol there! Kills 99.9% of germs...AND SILVERFISH! That’s right. Spray that sucker and it dies and stays on the wall for you to easily scrape off and flush. Done.
So what have we learned here today?
  1. If you clean the cat’s litter box, you do not need to save the poop for sentimental reasons. Dispose of it immediately.
  2. If you are at a friend-in-law’s apartment, do not go for that extra beer. You do not want to look like a jerk.
  3. Do not welcome people into your home if you do not know how they act under the influence of alcohol.
  4. Alcohol can make you do some very, very, very stupid things. Understand, kids?
  5. If you decide to “mark your territory” in someone else’s home, YOU should be the one to clean it up. You should also be incredibly apologetic. And you probably should not go there ever again, because you’re probably not welcome.
  6. It probably takes way less effort to sit on the toilet seat.
  7. Rubbing alcohol and bleach at least make things smell clean, despite that mental image you may be stuck with...
  8. Lysol kills silverfish!
The End.

PS. Tomorrow I'll be back to share a whole slew of wonderful things I've been making.

Apparently drunken friend-in-laws are not the only ones that feel the need to poop on the floor. Now the cat joined in!

(Never going barefoot in my apartment outside of my room again.)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I'm melting.

That is all.

Ps. As soon as I stop sticking to everything/do not live in an apartment that has a high risk of heat stroke, I will share a bunch of exciting things I've been making. Until then, I will continue drinking 8 water bottles an hour and dreaming of igloos.

Monday, June 6, 2011


I had quite a busy weekend. Maybe not as busy as the last couple. But it was still pretty packed. Wednesday night I worked hard at my sewing machine, embroidering feathers to finish up some dreamcatchers. Then, around 3am, inspiration struck, or rather, I realized that my case for my nice pens I always have with me was cracked. So I sewed a new case for my writing/creating utensils. I'll share pictures of that later, but for now, here are pictures of my first 2 completed dreamcatchers (available in the shop!).

After staying up...a bit past 3am, I woke up at 8am on Thursday, packed a suitcase, went to work at the library, hopped on a train, boarded a bus, and ended up in Toledo where I was greeted by a very excited 4 year old who leapt into my arms from about 6 feet away. She was so excited. We then got hot fudge sundaes from McDonald's with our dad, then drove home to Detroit.

The weekend was filled with all sorts of festivities (birthdays, anniversaries, garage sales...), but I'll share more of that later when I get all the photos off my camera. Right now, I am beyond exhausted (I've been getting up around 8 am or earlier everyday since Thursday!). Perhaps this is the end of my nocturnal days. That is, until August rolls around and I begin my BFA project. Yikes.