Things I’m enjoying lately

Hello! Here is a list of things that I’m really loving.


  • Gouache! I did a few gouache paintings last year but mostly I turned to my trusty watercolors. I’m loving the opaqueness of gouache these days though – it’s everything I want from my acrylics without having to haul out my giant palette and do a ton of work. Usually I just want to sit down and paint, and it’s hard to get into the flow of acrylics because I keep having to pause to mix new colors or wash brushes or grab new palette paper.
  • Baking – I used to bake all the time and fell out of the habit. But lately I’m back in the game – I’ve made olive bread with tons of olives (see beautiful photo above) and also tried my hand at vegan creme brulee, which I had to add lots more sugar and vanilla, but it turned out really nice! I need a real kitchen blowtorch for the sugar because if you try to put this under the broiler, the whole thing melts. Not fun. Maybe I’m excited about all this baking because of…
  • The Great British Bake-Off! Everyone I have talked to has loved this show. It’s on Netflix. Please do yourself a favor.
  • The arcade. The neon colors, sounds of coins and tickets and that 8-bit arcade “you won!” sound. I love everything about arcades. Everything. We’ve been trying to make a habit to go to arcades more often. Last time we went we won 50 tickets, which was JUST enough to score us two sour Jolly Rancher lollypops. If that’s not a perfect prize I don’t know what is.
  • Tomie, by Junji Ito. They released the collection a few months ago and I finally got my grubby little hands on it. It’s everything I hoped and dreamed and more.

What are you enjoying lately? Any recommendations for books or games or shows?

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Moonrise Kingdom

For years of urging my friend had encouraged me to watch at least one of Wes Anderson’s films. “You’d LOVE them,” he promised me, and he’s my oldest friend and knows me really well, and yet for some reason I just didn’t. I’m just generally so busy with other things that I rarely watch new movies, but after learning that Moonrise Kingdom contains imaginary books that were made up just for the film, Rob and I sat down last night to watch it.

Girl looking out from lighthouse with binoculars

Painting with watercolors

Books

I loved everything about it, but the fake books Suzy carries around were just as wonderful as I had hoped. If they could have taken everything that is Becky and distilled it into a movie, Moonrise Kingdom was that movie. I wanted to move into every single set. Of course I also sketched the whole time!

As for where I’ve been, the answer is busy but also really uninspired and burned out on winter. I bought a Switch and have been spending most of my evenings vegging out with it. We’ve had a very odd winter, alternating too warm and too cold, and only a couple of fierce snowstorms. You’d think that weather would be perfect for just staying in and painting, but it’s instead sapped my energy. Starting to get back into it as we move slowly toward light and warmth.

What are you looking forward to in the coming months?

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I built a table!

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How was your Saturday? I spent my day not doing art – sometimes I like to work with my hands in a way that art doesn’t always allow for (at least, not in the way that I want). I wanted a little table for my living room but wasn’t satisfied with the look (or the cost!) of anything I found online so I just built my own.

Unfortunately my camera totally lost the photo I took of the parts! I got all of them from Home Depot – I got a round piece of wood (precut and with a nice edge to it, very handy!) for the tabletop, 4 legs that I had them cut to the size I wanted, and brackets.

The legs had screws already attached, which was handy! They could easily screw into the brackets, and then the brackets attach to the tabletop. Here are the legs all sanded and ready to go!
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The tabletop was a nice pine, but the color was a little yellowish, so I stained it with white stain. It was a gamble, honestly – I didn’t know they made white stain! It removed all the yellow perfectly, and left the wood a perfect blonde without diluting the details at all. So I got to keep the beautiful wood grain, but without the yellow! The kind I used was Varathane Antique White.

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The top half has no stain, and the bottom half is stained with Antique White. You can see that the top half is more yellow. It’s very subtle – I’m pretty much the only person who would care about it! But it worked out great and I’m so pleased.

I drilled holes and attached the brackets, pretty easy!

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After that, I just screwed the legs into the brackets, and then just used Varathane polyurethane on the top of the table. I actually tested out two polyurethanes on some scrap wood – Varathane and Minwax. Minwax was significantly darker! So I went with Varathane, which coated nicely and didn’t change the wood at all.

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Super happy with how this turned out! My living room is SO cozy now. The old table I had, I just moved into another room, and it works out better in there anyway! Augustus’ face in this picture cracks me up – he looks so accusing!

Hope everyone’s having a great weekend! Mine has already been super productive!

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Let’s do something fun today

So remember how I said I’d be posting like crazy! Following my creative process! Okay, well, last week I created 4 (that’s FOUR) new pieces – one painting and three shadowboxes. I also iterated through 20 logo designs for a friend and designed a poster/flyer for my NEW JOB. So this morning I woke up early, watched the sunset, and sat around doing nothing – no screens, just me and my coffee and my cats. It was really nice, I have to say.

Anyway pretty soon I will make a post about all of this, but for now, let’s do something fun! Let’s find out what Enneagram we are!

Take the test here and choose the Classical Enneagram Test (the one on top). Then comment with what number you got! You can read better summaries of the numbers at the Enneagram Institute. The thing I like about it is that it tells you how you act in times of stress and in health.

I’m a Four with a Five wing, which is labeled as the “Bohemian.” Fours are concerned with self-discovery and identity, and often feel huge emotions and self-blame. They feel like there is something missing from them that everyone else has, and they’d be happy if only they could find that thing. Though obviously these tests have a fair amount of confirmation bias, I’m enjoying reading about it, because it fits me to an uncanny T.

So what number are you? Let’s do something fun today and find out!

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Tour of my studio – Part 2

Last time I showed you my primary workspace. Now time to show you the rest of the studio!

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So, standing at my floor desk, if you turn around, you see this! In the far left bottom you can see my RADIO (as you remember, I LOVE radio and listen to it nearly every day). It’s on the floor so I can reach it easily while… sitting on the floor. Also my dress form, which has been invaluable (I make or thrift-and-alter most of my clothes these days). Then, my TV and SNES. Don’t judge – you wish you had that setup too. Nintendo used to make absurdly long cords, so the controllers reach nicely to the floor table and chairs (though not all the way to the window seat, darn it). I also keep a raspberry pi up there as a media machine for movies and TV shows.

Then, my printer, scanner, cheapy laser printer for printing out plane/train boarding passes and e-tickets, and storage – tons of storage! Namely, it’s all my paper and crafting supplies, mostly for bookbinding, which I love and do to relax. I also dabble in a ton of other stuff like crocheting, origami, and of course printing out my art. So lots of paper! Don’t worry though, half these bins are for Rob’s storage for his projects – his photograpy and his electronics projects with old cheapy phones, raspberry pis, and a billion different cables.

Oh, and my primary means of transportation. I ride my bike almost every day – it’s what I use to pick up supplies, get to and from work, run errands, and meet friends.

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My shelves are just to the left of this, behind where I sit at the floor table. I keep all my frequently accessed art supplies here – left to right on the top shelf, my sewing box, some junk, all my spare/filled sketchbooks and my “how to draw” books (and my collection of Hi Fructose magazine). On the bottom shelf left to right, all my water-based paints and mini canvases (and 3 mini-paintings in front), pens/pencils/markers/paintbrushes, bookbinding supplies, a jar of water and painter’s tape, snacks, books, a box of jewelry making stuff I got off Alibaba for ridiculously cheap and at some point I need to resell them because they’re not what I expected, and my acrylic case full of tiny things like erasers, lead, stamps and with some copics and microns on top.

Whew! Basically, tons of art supplies. It seems like a TON, but this is YEARS of collecting and getting a ton of stuff as gifts! Every year for birthday/Christmas, my family always gets me some art supplies. So I filled up very quickly! Outside of gifts, I don’t allow myself to purchase new art supplies unless I use up something first. So, filling up a notebook lets me pick out a new notebook or a set of markers of similar price. But I can’t just go out and buy new markers because I feel like it. It works out pretty well.

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To the left of the shelves is the window seat and my easel, also on the floor! You can see my almost-finished painting here. I haven’t had time to work on it with all the relatives visiting and all the travel. You can see a ton of finished paintings here and a pack of unused canvases. Also my giant art board – it was required for an art class I took in college, and it’s come in handy for large paper pieces. Ughhh, it’s a mess in this corner – I need to figure out a better solution!

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And, of course, my other helper! Sorry about the blurry photo, she’s squirmy and always hard to get a photo of! Kiki is our lap cat. She actually hates the studio and rarely hangs out in it, but will happily keep you company anywhere else!

So that’s it – that’s where I do 100% of my side art/design work and about 20% of my full-time job! Lots of time spent in here for sure. I’m so grateful to have such a big, bright (and it was super gloomy/rainy when I took these photos), and spacious room that is exactly to my liking to do my work in!

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