Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Creativity and the Computer

That title totally sounds like I'm beginning a scientific research paper. Not anymore! Now it's just something I think about and worry over. See, I spend a lot of time on the computer, my job involves mainly graphic and webdesigning work, and I have a growing obsession with reading blogs. So many inspiring people out there!

But I find that after hours on the computer - and I'm sure many are aware of how addictive internet browsing can be, and how fast the time flies in that activity - I am inspired by the wonderful things I have seen, but my own creative impulses are drained.

Case in point: I used to draw constantly. Everywhere I went a sketchbook went along, and doodles and scribbles were on every piece of paper I could get my hands on. Now, and I really think this has to do with my increased computer graphic work, I am finding sketching difficult. The results are never satisfactory, and the lines just don't come as easy as they used to.

My new resolution, therefore, is to draw every day. A little sketch or a large finished drawing. Just something!

I better go start!

Labels: , , ,

My New Toy

This is the new toy that is responsible for the type in my latest batches of cards. Found on Ebay, this is a Cub Rotary Press, an incredibly intricate and complex children's toy from the 1940s, which came with (apparently) all its pieces intact (signifying to me that most likely a child never got his or her hands on it!).

I have lately become enamored of letterpresses (check this out, I'm a big fan!) and was searching ebay on the off chance that someone out there had an awesome old press that they just happened to want to give away, possibly even deliver to Vermont. Naturally, that scenario didn't play out, but this little rotary press seemed a good place to start.

As it turns out, children of the '40s must have had incredible patience, or toy manufacturers of the time must have been very optomistic or out-of-touch, because this is just hard! The first job was sorting out the little bitty type and arranging it in its little bitty box.

Painstaking and neck-aching are two terms that come readily to mind. But see how neat when it was done? And the two little picture blocks came along too!

The mini bottle of ink that was part of the original set is firmly closed and no doubt dried up, so I tried caligraphy ink and it seemed possibly a bit too wet. I don't really know about ink consistencies, but I had difficulty coating the type. Using only a single line worked best, so I just made little word tags, but would love to try to write out something longer. Just got to figure out the ink situation. This evening I tried Chinese brush painting ink, but it seemed pretty much the same.

If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them!

Labels: , ,

Friday, May 25, 2007

A New Batch of Cards

I made a new batch of cards, thank you notes for all the lovely graduation generosity that came my way!

These are new postcards, now awaiting proper postage (it seems like postage prices are changing very often these days, I can't keep up). These are created out of handmade paper I made with a friend a few years ago. It came out rather stiff, so I had not found a use until now, but it was perfect for postcards! The writing was made on a little Cub Printing Press I just purchased on Ebay. More on that later.

I love making postcards because they are confined spaces, but have so many possibilities. They don't have the intimidation factor of a large canvas, and expensive or special supplies are not necessary. They must be relatively two-dimensional to go through the postal system, but other than that anything is possible. I enjoy collaging on postcards, partly because collage is difficult for me. I never would have imagined collage to be complicated, but there are certain people who just seem to have a gift for putting pieces together in ways that are pleasing, and for me that is frustratingly hard. But on the small scale of a postcard I do ok, and I thoroughly enjoy it.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

All Grown Up

I am officially All Grown Up. Weird.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

When it was Spring...

Once upon a time, winter ended and glorious Spring arrived in Vermont! The days were warm, and I got all excited and grilled fresh asparagus and mushrooms and salmon in my backyard.

But then, a dark cloud blew over the land. Heavy rains came, and time turned around! All of a sudden, the Northeast headed back into winter - out came the coats and mittens and flannel sheets, hot pots of tea replaced mike's hard lemonade, and the ashed charcoal in the grill was a bittersweet memory of happy days past.

Only the lilacs remained, a delicious reminder that Spring will come again.

Labels: ,

Monday, May 14, 2007

A New Floor

When I moved into my house two years ago, one of the first jobs was tearing up old nasty floors. The living room was first, and under the aged carpet was a gorgeous hardwood floor - it didn't even need refinishing. The kitchen was next, and under the scummy linoleum was another hardwood floor, not so gorgeous. Linoleum is a nasty business, especially since the installers glued it to the floor. We scraped that thing for an entire day, flooding it with water and working at it with putty knives. Never again.

Anyway, that was the end of floor work for a while, but the combination of the fresh, bright walls and the brown mottled floor kept bugging me. So a few months ago I bought paint. And yesterday I finally got around to painting.

Actually, in this light it looks kinda nice, the next one is closer to the truth...

So nice. I love the color.

I kept stepping in the paint. It's difficult to paint a kitchen floor - how are you supposed to get to the fridge?

Love it.

Labels: ,

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Good Cause

I just came across this site while browsing through blogs - not quite sure how I got there, but glad I did! It looks like a really wonderful organization - Women for Women International. I would tell about it, but it is probably a lot easier to go and learn for yourself!

Over the last year, I have become very interested in micro-loan and micro-credit programs and especially in craft cooperatives. Another favorite site of mine, also selling fair trade goods, is Fair Trade Quilts - their patchwork quilts by Mayan women are just amazingly gorgeous. Someday I will have one of my own!

It is difficult to be interested in doing good in the world, and to learn how hard it really is. I mean, little things are important, and little things are accomplishable - things like recycling and composting, biking and walking instead of using a car, turning the heat down, turning off lights, using insulated curtains to conserve heat - things like that. But hopefully, those things will become just a part of life, and then there is the desire to do something more. Only, when one is in school, or working, or both, so often life become busy busy busy and trying to figure out how to do this extra is a real conundrum.

I do feel that learning about all the great things that are happening, and passing the news along, is another little way to support good and combat all the horrors that seem so abundant in the world.

Labels: , ,

Friday, May 11, 2007

Enjoying My Freedom!!!

It's Spring in the North!

I had my birthday and my final presentation on the same weekend, and now I am free! Pretty nice. Now, I can concentrate on the hundreds of my own projects that I have been itching for over the past few months. Catch up on work work, and have some fun!

I have been creating some designs and graphics, and have put together a selection of gear for sale at CafePress. I intend to change the designs around as I make new ones, so check back!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Finishing Touches

These are the final days! Of my college career, I mean. Probably, if I wasn't so horribly tired, this would be a bittersweet time. As it is, I just can't wait until the weekend, when the presentations are over and the final papers submitted, so I can just sleep. Maybe for a few days.

My squares have been quilted...

And bound in black...

The photographs were ironed on, usng "Wonder Under" (sounds like underwear, doesn't it?)...

And a cover was constructed...

(this is the front and back - I think it looks like a banner or flag and I want to make more).

Now the pages are sewn together and its all set up on a podium in the presentation room. I had some random pieced squares left over, and we stuck them in frames and hung them on the wall to complete the exhibit. They actually look really great like that and I think I will do more.

It feels so good to have this project completed. When I look at the finished product, its so small that I feel a bit odd about how much time and energy it took out of me. But looking through the book and seeing each tiny hand stitch and remembering all the thought and research I did to make it more than just fabric, I feel like I have actually accomplished something. Of course, now that the work is done I am free to get really nervous about the presentation.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

They look like fun...

... but what are they?

All of these attachments came in the original tin with my sewing machine. Would anyone happen to know what any of them are for?