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.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

ode to edamame

Oh soybeans, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...
- - -

Oh edamame- you fun tasty snack
You're always near by when the munchies attack
You're chock-full o' fiber and omega 3's
And for meat-heads your protein is sure to appease!

You're not pronounced how you're spelled
(it's  /ěd'ə-mä'mā/)
But still most people say
Edamayme, edam or eda-bombay.

That first one is common,
an understandable mistake
it's a Japanese word
so we'll cut Anglos a break

The second one's a cheese
that's always made backward
how they confuse it with you
is quite frankly absurd

I don't know about that last one
but I've heard it, it's true
they must love the letter B
and add it, superfluously, to you

All tongue-twisters aside
you're a great way to munch
be it snack-time or dinner
or breakfast or lunch

I'll keep you close at hand
when my tastebuds want to play
or when a friend comes to visit
and asks for eda-bombay.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes; often it's subtle and small.

Although I'm not exactly an avid blogger (note: trying to be better. Or trying to try to be better. I'm not big on lying.) I think you can probably sense a theme to ennaneve.

If you can't, I should probably work on my communication skills. Anyway, I'll just tell you... it's creativity.

There's something that just thrills me about creating something new, refinishing something old, or just exercising my inner child and letting all the colors and scribbles spill out into the world.

My entire studio apartment is full of unique creations that I've made, found or restored, and I'm going to try to be better about sharing some of these things... since art is not meant to be a selfish venture.

One of my walls is completely covered with pictures, prints, poems, color swatches and cards that inspire me. I think it's important to collect little things that we enjoy, not only to help us find our niche (usually a theme will emerge; like my older sister enjoys mixing urban design with influences from nature) but so that we will have something to help ignite our desire to create.

When you see a leaf that strikes your fancy, or love the color of ribbon tied around a gift... hang on to it. These tiny clues to our inner muse may just be the spark that ignites our next artistic endeavor.

creative tree

My Creative Tree takes after me: not very photogenic.

Nature is a big influence in my life and my art. From an early age, I remember being inspired by trees; from the roots to the branches and leaves. My older sister and I used to talk about a certain forest near our home in Maryland that we called the Cathedral Woods because when the sun shone through the leafy canopy overhead, the light trickled down in little green patterns like stained glass in an ethereal Cathedral.

I love every aspect of trees: the different shades and textures of the bark; the birds that nest in their boughs; the different shapes, colors and sizes of their leaves; and the fact that they give us air to breathe and shade to sit in. I think I would've made an excellent addition to the Swiss Family Robinson (living in a tree and throwing coconut bombs at pirates?! Sign me up!!)

You get the point. I like trees. So, naturally, I had to have one in my minuscule studio apartment. Meet my Creative Tree: it's a source of inspiration with a really boring, obvious name. Never mind that.

The cool thing about my tree is that I don't have to wait for Christmas each year to decorate it! I've used all different types of themes, from jar lanterns to little fabric birds. Any time I feel the urge, I just take down the current decor and try something new... very important for an impatient person like myself.

My current theme is words (which I am also a huge fan of... can you tell?) I made a paper chain out of several types of old paper I found in some vintage notebooks, as well as sheets of creative writing I typed out on my old typewriter. It was a fun, and time consuming, project.

Next, I took some old blank gift tags and decided to type random, incomplete sentences on them and do my own "mad libs". They turned out being silly, naturally, but they were a nice way to let my brain play.

Here are a few, for your amusement:

I may have to use this in an actual conversation sometime...

I made twenty-four of these... which began to make less and less sense.

Ha! A Freudian slip indeed!

While some people may think it's silly to have a tree (aka a very large branch that takes up a lot of room) in a tiny apartment... I love it. I'm always thinking of new ideas to try on my tree and it, in turn, is always there to shade me when I read.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

typewriter print

Many labor-intensive hours later... a print is born.

At long last... my typewriter print is complete! This photo was my first print with the carving, or "practice print" if you will, which I use to show me what needs to be touched up. Granted, there is still some work to be done, but I just got so darn excited, I needed to post it! Although it's probably looked down upon in the art world to show work before it's finished... the few touch-ups I need to make are minor and probably only visible to me, anyway.

At least I hope so.

At any rate, I spent so much time on this print, that I simply couldn't wait any longer to share it! Of course, I'll post the real finished piece, too, but for now, I'm happy that I've made it this far, since I've logged twelve hours on this puppy (which equals a lot of callouses!)


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

diy fabric printing

Tools of the trade: inking plate, fabric ink & brayer

You Will Need...
Heavyweight fabric
Large piece of cardboard that will completely fit under your fabric
Fabric ink (Speedball has some good varieties, available at most art stores)
Brayer or small paint roller
Inking plate (or another piece of cardboard will work, too)
Block design (Note: if you're unsure how to make a block print, stay tuned for my post on that. In the meantime, you can try carving a simple design into a potato with a sharp knife. Just like kindergarten.)

Now to Proceed...

Lie your fabric out on the cardboard and iron out all the wrinkles. Remove any loose bits of string or fuzz.

Using a small scrap piece, or the corner of your fabric, test your color prior to printing. For example, the first color I chose ended up having a weird consistency and it would have been difficult to change colors halfway through. Prep steps are a necessary evil.

Pour a small amount of your ink onto your inking plate and roll your brayer in the ink until you have a light, even layer. Roll your inked brayer over your block (or potato) and wipe up any globs or drips. Then, start printing! Use even pressure and apply your block to the fabric. While you may be tempted to double print (print twice without inking the block) don't do it. You'll get an uneven and sloppy-looking piece of fabric.

Keep printing. Yes, it takes a long time, but put on your favorite tunes and enjoy yourself! Print in straight rows (unless you're doing a sporadic design) and don't sweat the little mess-ups... it's part of what makes your fabric unique.

Et voila! When you're done printing the entire piece of fabric, wash all your tools in warm water (use soap if necessary) and allow your fabric to dry for at least an hour. Have a cup of tea. When your fabric is dry to the touch, flip it over and iron the back side with medium/high heat to set the design (be mindful of what your fabric can handle.)

And there you have it! Stay tuned for more on simple upholstering, space-saving tips and how to design and carve your own block print!

Monday, January 11, 2010

old chair / new chair

My favorite part? It's totally unique!

My internet has been down for the past week, so I had to find some other things to do with my time. Things like completely organizing my entire apartment, donating old clothes and trying out some new (and some ew) recipes. By far my favorite project this past week was this little chair I got a few months ago for $2 at a thrift store. It had brown vinyl covering it and it was horribly stained.

It just needed a little love.

When I brought it home, after giving it a thorough cleaning, I found that it actually folds up (with the help of a lot of WD-40 and elbow grease!) There's something so satisfying about taking an object that is clearly discarded and unloved and giving it a new home and new look.

My favorite part about this little chair's makeover is that I hand-printed the fabric with one of my lino block designs! I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but I just decided to go for it... and it turned out way better than I thought it would! Now not only do I have a sturdy, useful little chair, I have a cool new way to showcase my designs!

Stay tuned for: diy fabric printing / reupholstering!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

color me superficial

Yeah... totally bought the pomegranate for it's looks.

I realized something the other day. OK, actually, I realized it a long time ago, but I was unwilling to admit it until now. *sigh* Here goes:

I am a superficial produce buyer.


As much as I advocate being comfortable in your own skin and beauty being more than skin deep, I totally buy my fruits and veggies based on appearances. Sure, there's the obvious color-buying: yellow bananas are ripe and brown strawberries are bad. I get that.

This is more than that, though. I get completely wrapped up in a color scheme in my head and buy my produce accordingly. I've arranged bowls upon bowls of colorful fruit displays, only to realize that I don't like oranges, or that I have no idea how to do anything, whatsoever, with a starfruit.

I guess it's not all bad. I mean, it does get me eating a lot more fruits and veggies than I would if they all looked like potatoes. Surely I'm not the only person who buys produce they can hardly pronounce, much less prepare, because it looks really, really cool. Or am I? Color me chagrined.

Friday, January 1, 2010

hello again

Moss... Like the kind that's been growing on my blog. ;)

Well, I'm back.

Please excuse my hiatus from the virtual world... the real world became much more jealous of my time.

The past few months haven't been easy, but one thing I've learned thus far in my limited knowledge of life is that pain is often accompanied by growth. I'm not entirely sure how I've grown yet, but I feel that all-too-familiar ache of outgrowing the Old Me.

This is a good thing. For one thing, I outgrew an old flame and my heart is now - finally - free. Even though it hurt to open up the old wound, it ultimately resulted in healing. Sadly, I've also outgrown my sexy jeans and henceforth will be endeavoring to take better care of myself physically. I've also been outgrowing my old ideas about God, and I'm attempting to read some (previously dreaded) literature to dig a little deeper into the matter.

While I shy away from making any sort of New Years Resolutions, I think that 2010 is going to be a year of immense growth. I can already sense the moss of 2009 being pulled out of the crags of my life. I don't think it will be easy, but I think it will be freeing.

A good friend asked me what my word for 2010 would be. Just one word to describe what I want this year to hold. All sorts of happy words came to mind instantly: joy, hope, peace, love, contentment... but I know in my heart of hearts, my word is, simply, grow. It's not the word I particularly want, but I have a feeling it's the word I really need.