Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 meme

OKAY OKAY ... I am going to do one. I'll do the same one AnotherDavid (aka YoungerJew, my brother) did.

BEST of 2009

1- trip: Austin... it was only a couple of days, but we had a great time and ate some delicious food :D (also it was my only trip this year, I guess except visiting family in either TO or MD/NY). still waiting on a honeymoon...

2- restaurant: Penny's Noodles. I can't even count how many times I have eaten there this year.

3- article: dunno

4- book: Well I read the entire Rashi's Daughters trilogy, which was fun, light reading (yay Jewish romance novels). Otherwise I mostly read for class.

5- night out: I've had some fun nights out, the few nights I've actually gone out... But I think one of the highlights was going to Thanksgiving with my friends in Dallas the weekend before Thanksgiving. That was hilarious and SO much fun.

6- workshop or conference: Well, the only one I've been to this year was the American Art Therapy Association Conference, which was great.

7- blog find of the year: One of my favorite blogs to read is Cake Wrecks, but I can't remember if I found that this year.

8- moment of peace: have I had a moment of peace this year?? haha.

9- challenge: My current internship has been my biggest challenge, I think.

10- album of the year: Regina Spektor's new album, Fall. I have listened to it a BAZILLION times since I downloaded it in July.

11- the best place: home, on the couch, with JewishGuy and the kitty.

12- new food: don't know if I have been so adventurous food-wise this year.

13- change to the place you live: I got a bunch of new plants that are now taking over the windows :)

14- rush: GETTING MARRIED!


15- best packaging: cuties boxes, which I use for storage in the art room.

16- tea of the year: I drink a lot of Tazo ZEN tea.

17- word or phrase: "safe space" hahahaha... therapists.

18- shop: not too much shopping this year, I think. Oh I did have this frenzied shopping experience at the beginning of my internship, when I realized the attire was business casual and I had nothing in my closet that was business casual. YIKES that was exhausting.

19- car ride: coming home from the wedding weekend, looking forward to many nights of partying with friends :)

20- new person: does JewishGuy count..? His status in relation to me is new this year.

21- project: Last winter I did an intense fabric printing workshop... it was hard, it made me cry a lot, but it was really great in the end.

22- startup: don't know...

23- web tool: I'm not sure I really use web tools (?).

24- learning experience: This summer working with the kids in the residential treatment center for children with behavior disorders... I learned, you might not make a major change in someone's life, but that doesn't mean you aren't important to them.

25- gift to myself: art supplies :D

26- insight or aha! Moment: after the big car accident in August

27- social web moment: tagging everyone in my Thanksgiving food picture project on facebook and realizing most of my family is actually on facebook!

28- stationary: I bought robot stationary!! was that this year?

29- laugh: I've had some good ones but I don't know one in particular...

30- ad: I LOVE any ads that have a before and after, where the "before" video is in black and white and someone can't do something simple (like put toothpaste on their toothbrush).

31- resolution you wish you'd stuck with: I don't make resolutions on NYE.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Perfect Egg


Today I made an egg, sunny side up, on a piece of challah toast.



You can kind of see a fish-eye reflection of me and the camera in the egg yolk!



Perfectly runny center with a deliciously fluffy white.

It's taken me a long time to finally get this egg. I've overcooked it so many times it's sad. I probably will continue to overcook my eggs. But for now I am enjoying how pretty and beautiful it was, and how tasty it was.

(This is why I take pictures of my food!)

The challah toast is from a challah that JewishGuy made this week... an art he has perfected over the last few years :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Lazy days...



I can't help it... when I am home doing nothing and I get to see Lilly during her sleepy time of the day, I have to take lots of extreme close-ups.

Rainy Winter


In stark contrast to last winter, with below 0 temperatures and tons of snow, we have had a relatively mild winter so far with lots of rain. I'm not sure how I feel about all of the rain. Honestly... it feels like we have had more rain in the last 8 months than sun.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Embroidery


Like I mentioned a previous post, sometimes using string is a really helpful way for me to de-stress. I've tried crocheting and making those friendship bracelets, now I am trying embroidery. I made this last night while I was trying to de-stress before bed (was looking forward a potentially difficult conversation this morning).

This is just using a simple chain stitch... I will have to experiment with more stitches later.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cat & Candles


Lilly the art room assistant is also an observant Jew. She enjoys the flames of the hanukkiah but does not read by their light.

(hehehe)

Self-Disclosure: "i'm a jew"

I had a kind of weird conversation recently with someone. This person was under the impression that I was going to talk about being Jewish with my clients more than I do. Because, otherwise, I appear to just be another white person, someone who doesn't understand being a minority.

Anyway, I made a piece about it... I wanted to make a book where I could be revealed in pieces or as a whole.

I chose a skeleton to represent me because 1) I tried to draw myself and that was a disaster, and 2) because I really wonder how much disclosure she was thinking of. Just mention that I'm Jewish, or go down deep to my identity issues?

(I considered finding a naked person for this, but I felt like that would be too funny and not taken the way I intend.)




After making this I wondered if there was more relationship between making a skeleton to represent my Jewish identity in this book.

The image seemed gruesome to some but I think I am trying to express that I felt like I was being stripped of my individual identity. In this instant, I felt like what I am was more important than who I am. The parts of me that make me look unique (skin, fat, muscle, facial features, clothing) are all stripped away.

I kind of like this skeleton because he looks friendly to me. He has a posture that isn't like the standard medical posture, he's kind of extending a hand. He says, "Hey, let's make some art."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Love the Fried Food Holiday


JewishGuy made the raw latke mix (grated potatoes, cut onions, etc) while I was finishing homework and I did the frying (while he fried chicken). They were so crispy and gorgeous and delicious.

Unfortunately the fried chicken went so quickly I didn't get a good picture of it :( It was also extremely tasty and beautiful.

One of the things I love most about Judaism is the food connected to each holiday... there basically isn't any holiday food I don't like except matzah (well, and sufganiyot, but I don't like donuts any time of the year). But even with the foods I don't like, holidays are such a sensory experience... from sticky sweet Rosh Hashana, to the oiliness of Hanukkah, to the constipation of Passover, to the drunkenness of Purim, to the cheesecake overload nausea of Shavuot, and beyond. Each year is a cycle of the senses.

This year was the 3rd Annual JewishGal & JewishGuy Hanukkah Potluck. The first year was in Houston and we did it because HillelLady had some leftover deli from an event and offered it to us, so we fried up some latkes and invited people to come over for candles and bring some dishes. Last year was our first year in Chicago and we hadn't had much of a chance to invite people over for dinners (since we didn't have a big enough table), so we invited people over for the party... it was -10 out but everyone still came! Someone's breath froze on her glasses on the way over, though.

This year was in the mid-30s, so no outside temperature problems, and we managed to keep the kitchen cool with some advanced planning. At 2pm we turned down the thermostat, at 4:30 we opened some windows and turned on the fans pointing out of the kitchen. By the time we were done frying the kitchen temperature wasn't much warmer than the rest of the apartment, so we were able to close the windows at 9.

Next year in New York!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Spicy!



I made one of those orange ball things (pomander?) today. Our reed diffuser has run out and I thought it might be nice to have a fresh air freshener for a change. We would have done this with our etrog after Sukkot if we had known about the power of cloves shoved in citrons.

We can also use it for havdalah!

---

You need:

1 orange
lots of whole cloves
fresh rosemary
some kind of bag, netting, or ribbons

Just poke holes in the orange and stick the cloves in. I used a skewer to make the holes. Then I took a leftover netted bag (used to hold clementines) and hung it with fresh rosemary. It's now hanging in our dining room :)

I decided to do this today after checking out this blog: This Girl and Some Guy.

Classic Lunch


Peanut butter and jelly... a classic. I eat about 3 PB&J sandwiches a week.

Looking forward to taking pictures of latkes, fried chicken, and candles this weekend. (We are extending the tradition of eating fried foods to include fried chicken.)

Monday, December 7, 2009

First Snow


I'm pretty amazed that we made it all the way to December 7 before it finally snowed (it flurried a little last week but it didn't even make it to the ground). I woke up this morning to snow on the trees and grass, and slush on the sidewalks. It made my walk to the train interesting and slippery. I really don't miss winter at all.

Favorite Snack


Yum pirate booty :D

(Can you tell I really like my new camera???)

Yarn


My friend was making something out of yarn and had a lot of little bits left over on the table.

Problem/Challenge out of String

When I feel like things are particularly out of control and I am really agitated, what is most calming for me is to work with string. I had forgotten about this but I really think working with string is what got me through 7th grade (probably the hardest year of my life so far, with a bully who posed as my "best friend" and was both emotionally and occasionally physically abusive). In 7th grade, once I started making bracelets every night, spending hours tying knots, I soon was able to separate myself from this bully and asked to transfer schools for the next year.

I used colorful embroidery floss and started a little business that was perhaps surprisingly organized: 25c for a standard 3 string bracelet, 10c for every string after that - for custom orders it was 50c + the regular charges. I was a little entrepreneur. I made a lot of money in quarters that year, which partially went to buying more string (and eventually expanding to making beaded rings or including beads in the bracelets, also at extra cost). I'm still pretty proud of how organized it was. I used to display my inventory on my backpack (I hung the bracelets off of the back using safety pins) so people could see my wares as I walked the hallways. I did accept trades, as many girls were making elastic bracelets with big plastic beads - only a few years ago did I realize the colors of the beads on those bracelets apparently stood for various sexual acts the person wearing them was willing to perform. I just liked the colors.

My former bully was my biggest competitor in the market, but she priced her bracelets too high and her workmanship was shoddy. Everyone went to me, especially since I did custom orders, but especially because I wasn't an ass. So through the bracelet making I learned that nobody really liked this person who had isolated me and made me feel terrible about myself. I also had conversations with people who formerly hadn't spoken to me. I also spent a lot of time in a semi-meditative state, tying knots for hours at night, not thinking but allowing myself to relax. It didn't reverse the damage she had done to me, but it made me feel better in some way - is that wrong?

Anyway, I've tried crocheting at various points in my life and it is coming up again in grad school as an alternative medium for art therapy. However, I am sadly inept at crocheting. This is probably due to my inability to follow directions and keep track of what I'm doing.

Tonight I was feeling really agitated and angry (as you can read in my previous post about the craft fair). It wasn't only the craft fair that was making me angry, but I won't go into the rest here. I have a project due on Thursday where we are supposed to make an art piece about a problem or challenge at our internship. So instead of doing my standard watercolor painting, I dragged out the yarn and decided to crochet with no purpose and no design, letting whatever formed form, and not be disappointed in the results.

This is what happened:


I started with the circle, which was originally intended to be flat, but like I said I can't follow directions and now it is a mountain. The hand really grew organically, first I had a weird outgrowth of the circle, then a finger, then two fingers, then I realized it was a hand and finished the hand. I went back and reinforced the rest of the piece, including adding a handle, when I realized it looked a lot like a chamsa. I added the blue to the evil eye part to give it an extra protective element.


I think at first it was supposed to be about figuring out how to make all of the different elements work together. I started off with white, brown, and orange yarns, trying to use three pieces of yarn at a time. Then the orange ran out, so I added another yarn, which is kind of gray with multi-colored flecks in it. When I realized what was happening I was able to create a recognizable shape, but not just any shape, a protective shape.

I think one of the biggest challenges of my internship is figuring out how to be myself there. I feel so protective over people that I work with, but I think I don't take good enough care of myself. I have to see the bigger picture, and think of everyone involved and not just the particular client I am closest to at the moment.

I think the chamsa appeared as a wish to be more protected, because maybe I still feel very insecure there, even when I feel like I do a good job I don't feel secure.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Disappointed @ Renegade Craft

Last September I went to the Renegade Craft Fair and had a few really good finds. Most of all, I had a good time walking around, hanging out with my friend who was in for the weekend, seeing the vendors (a few I knew personally yayyy), and getting ideas for my own crafting.

I applied to the Holiday fair that was this weekend and didn't get in. I want to state for the record that I'm not at all bitter about it, that I'm pretty sure our application wasn't professional enough anyway, and had been looking forward to the fair since I got home from the one in September. I advertised it to all my friends, even saw a few there, and made sure I had enough cash (but not TOO much cash) to spend.

Boy was I disappointed.

First of all, I understand space constraints when you have a craft fair inside because it is freezing cold out. I get that. And there probably was some cost issues with finding a decent site. Okay. But it was so crowded I had to spend a lot of energy just moving around. That means I spent more time figuring out how to get from booth to booth than I spent at each booth.

Second of all, everything was priced too high. This was probably because it was a "holiday" sale and people thought they could get away with it. Well, that really sucks. Earrings I thought were worth $20-30 were priced at $40+. Even things that I was vaguely interested in were way above what I was willing to spend.

Also, a note to vendors: If you are "recycling" objects you found at the junk store, do not charge $100+ if you don't somehow elevate the junk store find from its junk store status. Don't find an "awesome" gear and then stick a necklace chain on it and charge $120. That is freaking lame. I didn't even take a closer look a booths where I saw that happen.

Ugh, I am so disappointed and sad. I went with money in my pocket to buy some interesting hand made things and ended up leaving tired and frustrated.

JewishGuy also pointed out that the entire fair was targeted at young women... like, middle-class women in their 20s (like me). There was almost no variety. I agree, but as the target audience I didn't mind as much, I just wished I could have afforded anything there. We went to the Renegade Craft Fair instead of the One of a Kind show (both going on at the same time) because I was sure the One of a Kind show was priced too high and I would leave feeling the way I do now.

In the end, if you didn't go this winter, you probably didn't miss anything.

Wow I am really in a bad mood now. What can I do to feel better?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Purple Flower


My pink spotted plant is growing weird, Burton-esque purple flowers.

Gift for Grandma

My grandma used to go to the weekly art group at her assisted living facility but recently stopped (which she didn't tell me). So when I found out I asked her why, she said because she was having a hard time with her grip and vision, and felt like people were looking over her shoulder (felt self-conscious about the quality of her work). I was pretty sad to hear that she doesn't go anymore because she seemed to really like it.

Her birthday just passed so I've put together a care package full of grandma-friendly art supplies.


At the top is a package of white Model Magic, which is this awesome clay that crayola makes. It is really clean and easy to use and air dries. Then you can paint or draw on it. I also got her a pad of drawing paper and an orange pencil bag (her favorite color, at least that's what I hear). The weird silver thing at the top is a pencil sharpener that fits both the thin colored pencils and the thick regular pencil. There's also a big eraser. I guess you can't see those last two things in this picture... Oh well.



I outfitted the pencils and paint brushes with foam for a better grip. I cut apart cosmetic triangle applicator things, cut a hole in the middle, and slid the pencils through. It was really easy to do and I think it will be effective (we'll see, though). The pencils are also triangle shaped, which is supposed to help with grip, with bumps on it, also for grip.

The foam also helps with picking up the pencils because they are lifted above table-level, as well as preventing them from rolling away.


The cool thing is that these are watercolor pencils, which means grandma can draw or color with them and then use a wet paintbrush to turn the drawing into a painting. This makes it a clean and easy way to paint. I think she can even use these on the model magic.

Also, just for the record... the pencils are made from reforested wood and the paper is made from paper recycled using wind power! Grandma has such a low carbon footprint. I guess... some people just care more than others about the environment... *smug smug smug* (Southpark reference) Maybe that makes up for the not-so-environmentally friendly brushes and clay and packaging.

:-P

I was careful not to buy the crayola products except for the Model Magic. A lot of times people feel like they are being treated like a child if they are given crayola products unless they are secure in their art making abilities. It's sad because crayola does make some awesome products but it is important, I think.

I am excited to figure out a way to modify art supplies for grandma. I hope they work out!
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