Friday, May 4, 2012

cool little finds

I love finding unique things. I love the hunt; I love the anticipation; I love the discovery. Whether it's a hand-embroidered napkin or an entire sofa, I love giving forgotten items a new home and a little TLC.

Since I'm in a transitional stage of life right now (e.g. moving back from the other side of the world), I don't have everything I need to start repurposing, reupholstering, and refinishing furniture. Not to mention all my power tools are still in storage.

In the meantime, I've collected some smaller nifty things which are inspiring me right now. Check it out:

Turquoise + Silver Ring from Burma... 
one of my favorite pieces of jewelry ever!

Hand-carved Indonesian Betel Nut Boxes - 
found both for $6 at a yard sale!

Diagonal silver ring from Thailand - love it!

While I love these fun little finds, I'm eager to get back to what I love most of all - making plain, uninspired spaces into works of art - unique, exhilarating, and beautiful. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

i'm back!

Wearing hanboks for Lunar New Year!

I just got home after spending the past two years teaching English in South Korea; I had a great time and it was such a rewarding experience on so many levels! I got to learn more about the world I live in and who I am as a woman; it was a time of tremendous growth.

Unfortunately, the one aspect of my life that actually withered (and nearly died) on the other side of the world was my creativity. I don't know why. I thought being exposed to a new way of life would open my eyes to new opportunities to create. Maybe it was the culture shock, or maybe it was that most of my time was devoted to adorable kindergarteners (see above.) Either way, I left my art in America.

Coming home has been wonderful. I miss my students and Korean friends immensely, but it's great to reconnect with my friends and family on this hemisphere, and finally tap into my creative energy again!

As we say in Korea, annyeong haseyo!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

creative family

My sister's blog... functional, fun and fantastic!

Have I mentioned that I come from a long line of thrifty, creative, do-it-yourselfer ladies? Yeah, I guess I have. Anyway, this post is just to add a little solid proof to that claim! 

Check out my older sister's blog, Cookie Cutter House. She and her husband and oldest daughter had to move out of a charming little bungalow just outside Chicago when Baby #2 was on the way. It was a great reason to move, but the new house pales in comparison to their swanky old bungalow. That doesn't stop my artistic sister from transforming her "Cookie Cutter House" into a chic, unique home! 

Follow her and her husband on their many DIY projects, ranging from laying tile to re-purposing plates. It's a fun, fresh look at how to make the most out of what you've got.

Oh, and did I mention they're doing a giveaway? No? Well, they are! Just check out her blog and comment on the article "A Fun Little Giveaway" and you could be randomly selected to win three really nifty plate hangers to get you started on your way to making your home as unique as you are!  

Friday, February 26, 2010

sweet gift

A sweet little gift from my locker neighbor at the Y.

Today my body went to yoga but my mind went elsewhere. After my body realized my mind wasn't doing yoga, my body didn't want to do yoga either. It became this frustrating battle of trying to engage physically and mentally until I realized, "I do not want to do this. This doesn't feel right for my body right now, and that's okay." So halfway through the class, I rolled up my mat and left.

To be honest, I felt embarrassed, weak and lazy. I hurried out of the room as fast as I could and tried to tell myself that I did the right thing, that it's okay to listen to myself and say "This isn't working for me today." As I was lost in thoughts of my shameful yoga "practice" I rounded a corner in the womens locker room and bumped right into my locker neighbor! She is a sweet sixty-something Vietnamese woman who speaks broken English but makes me laugh and smile every time I see her. 

We always run into each other. There could be no one else in the entire locker room, and we will inevitably be there, standing 4 inches apart, opening our lockers. 

And that's how we met. 

It just kept happening every day and now I look forward to seeing her. On the rare occasion that I don't see her, I write her a little note and stick it to her locker, even though I'm not entirely sure if she can read it. Neither of us really speak the other's language (at least she speaks some English, I have no idea how to speak hers!) We're an unlikely pair of buddies, but it works. 

Today, when I bumped into her, both of our faces lit up and we started laughing and saying the little phrases of English that she understands. She told me to follow her back to our lockers and pulled out a little package of cucumber makeup remover facial cloths and handed it to me. "I love you," she said. "You good lady." We hugged and my little Vietnamese buddy went off to "punch, punch" in her Hip-Hop class. 

I felt touched on two levels. First, that this woman would bring me a gift and tell me she loves me, even though neither of us even knows the others name. Second, I'm grateful that I listened to my body today and bowed out of my yoga practice. If I hadn't, I'd be suffering through an unproductive time of rote exercise, and I would've missed the special time with my locker buddy. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

family resemblance

My younger brother, Drew.

For my younger brother's birthday this year, he asked me to make a print of him. I was thrilled! Not only is it awesome to have a model besides myself, it's flattering to think that someone else would actually want me to make a print for them! (Granted, he's related to me... but he didn't ask me to knit him an afghan, so I assume he actually likes my prints!)

We tried a bunch of different poses, but my aviators came into play simply because I'm not the greatest with eyes yet. They look like eyes, true, but I think our eyes capture so much of who we are... and I'm not quite good enough to carve that soul into a block print. 

I will always love my aviators, but I'm looking forward to my skills progressing to the point where I don't need to use them as a crutch. My next line up of prints include some more chairs, as well as some human poses - but sans les  lunettes de soleil.

Thanks for being an awesome model, Drew!

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Having a little fun combining two things I love: printing and sewing!

I've been working on my curtains for a while now... and they're still not nearly done. In fact, to the untrained eye, they may look like a pile of fabric. Okay, they are a pile of fabric right now... because I've been working on designing and carving the print to make my curtains unique. Haven't quite gotten to the actual "curtain" part, per se, but the print is almost complete... and I have the callouses on my hands to prove it!

All that to say, I needed a quick little project to tide me over while I wait for this time-consuming one to materialize. (Hey! A pun!) So... I whipped up this little pillow that I printed with my tiny blueberry design. Simple, quick and cute. I'll need to remember those three words next time I decide to design, print and sew my own curtains. Though I suppose it could be worse - I could be weaving my own fabric!

Now, to find a loom... just kidding!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

lotus print yoga bag


My absence from blogging hasn't been time wasted, although I'm always sad when I let it slip into hibernation. Sometimes life just gets in the way, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

One of the things I've been doing with my time is practicing yoga. I've always enjoyed it, but decided last month to make it a part of my daily life rather than an occasional stab at wellness. Naturally, I couldn't carry my mat around in my drab old yoga tote, so I decided to make a fresh new one!

I used the lotus print that I made for my friend Jillian (an amazing yoga instructor!) and printed on some deep salmon-colored fabric I had laying around. After the printing was finished, I set to work sewing my bag, including adding a little extra detail to the pocket, even though no one will really see it besides me. Sometimes the little things you do just for you are the ones that can make you realize you're worth the bigger things, too.

I am really happy with the way it turned out, and excited to start on my next fabric printing endeavor: curtains! Stay tuned for more on that... and how printing 15 yards of fabric by hand can really test one's stamina and mental health! :) 

The finished fabric, prior to becoming a yoga tote.

The little pocket detail - a lotus bloom outlined in pink thread.