Monday, September 29, 2014

DIY... ish

Or in my case, "bring things home and have an over-zealous roommate with a dremel do it."

The only drawback of kitties is the litter box. It's worse for some people than others, and the Italian hates it. He wanted to turn a spare bathroom drawer into a box holder to keep some of the litter off the bathroom floor, but since we're renting I wasn't sold on that idea. But, having looked it up in the past, I had another idea ready to go. $10 plastic tote from Wally World, turn it upside down, and cut a door into it. I asked the boys for some sandpaper before I started the project, but Lo and Behold, a dremel appeared! Granted, they went a little overboard while I worked on the beef Stroganoff, but hey, you know what, the litter box cover [aka "Das Poop Haus"] was completed in record time, and probably relatively low effort. I'm not sure yet how the kitties are going to react to it. Also, I'm not a big fan of having the litter box on carpet, but really we're out of places to put one upstairs. Hopefully the combination of covered box and litter mat inside [not that you can really see it] will keep the litter out of the carpet.

Yes, there's an ohm on top.
Everyone could use some zen while they poop.

Aside from this last minute renovation [innovation?], I'm planning on repainting a bookshelf to use as a TV stand. The one we like is $100 at Wally World, but lacquer spray paint was only $20. It's pretty sturdy, so we'll see how it works. If not, meh, small loss. Also, the Italian's boss [no Mafia jokes, please, haha] is expecting--his wifey is about to pop any day now. Or better said, if she doesn't pop by the end of the week, they're dragging the little alien out. Realizing that being social requires certain... efforts... he realized we should do something sweet for them as little Z arrives. Which means, long story short, I have an excuse to crochet!! Wrapping up the bases for her blanket now... I'm not sure I'm sold on the monogram-type square, the Intarsia came out a little harder to read than I'd hoped. Worst case scenario, I might redo it with one letter per square, and do them catty-corner on the blanket. This has been my main project for the weekend. Once I run out of the multicolor yarn, I'll put edges on them all, and start connecting the squares. Yes I know, they don't look very square yet, but they will! I promise.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Army of Cranes

I guess it's been a little while, hasn't it? Adjusting to a new pace of life has been exhausting, exciting, and rewarding. Aside from some pretty nasty shoulder pain, things have been getting better. The nice new "part time" military  is working pretty well. It's really nice to have a day off to recover and get things done around the house, taking care of things around the house. Not to mention epic marathons of House... the show, that is. I suppose that's not very interesting, but it's very comforting.

I've only been dabbling in the arts lately, not as productive as usual. I've had a bit of the fog and fatigue going on, which is killing my attention span, motivation, and that 'good' feeling when you do things. The one thing that has been able to keep my attention has been paper cranes. I had a great idea a while back, about paper cranes as a Christmas ornament. So far I'm liking the wrapping paper ones better than the ones out of actual origami paper, but I'm getting more ideas. I still need to figure out how to preserve and strengthen them--torn between spray shellac and coating them with mod-podge or gel medium--but i'm excited to play with more papers and also two layers of paper. My dad is sending me more charts so I can play with them as well. I'm also thinking of doing some cheesy wrapping paper ones. Below, I had some fun playing with neon paints, and a quote that I am trying really hard to remember to practice daily. I need so much of a reminder that I actually posted it next to my bedroom door so that every time I leave the room, it catches my eye.

"Do not delay the difficult decisions or avoid the new habits that are necessary to advance your life. What must be done should be done with haste, for life is precious."

--Brandon Buchard

And, to complete this post, I leave you with... yes, it's a kitty with a pistol. Also a book on Bonsai and an unfinished zentangle. Such is the assortment of items on my bedroom floor. He loves helping.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

[finishing touches]

Had a fairly productive day, despite the feeling that I'm coming down with crud and a strange pulled... throat muscle? It's weird. Anyways. Starting Squat Challenge tomorrow, now that my workplace allows and fosters appropriate use of gym time, and doesn't wear me out or eat up so much of my life that it's impossible to self-care. On that note, I wrapped up today with a 30-minute Hatha bedtime routine, and a 20-minute neck/shoulders/upperback release routine. I already feel better.

I figured that after yoga I'd just pass out, but somehow I got the strange motivation to finish up a piece I'd put on the back burner. I was torn between finding a scratchy font or drawing the letters out myself, but today I decided that I'd stick to my style and just do the stamped tissue paper instead. Here's the--still wet--final result. I think the ModPodge helped bring out some of the colors from the failed transfer. I also think that Mr. Brown is going to love it. Now, if I could just sit down and start sketching for the 'little bird'...

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Chasing Aurora: The Best Failed Quest Ever

A few years ago, I was lucky enough to vaguely see the Aurora Borealis from some random out-of-the-way parking lot in Bremerton, WA. It was really fascinating, although as far south as we are, it wasn't the captivating desktop-wallpaper-worthy photos you can find on the internet. However, hearing about our most recent Sun Storm and semi-sciencey projections of a massive Aurora excited me enough to try it again. And so with a loose plan and a backpack of back-up "just in case we decide to crash somewhere for the night" items, commence what strictly speaking is a failed mission... but was honestly one of the most fun days I think I've ever had.

Lies! Lies, I tell you!!

The Italian had an appointment in Seattle in the late afternoon, and I suggested we take the ferry over to Bremerton, since that's where I'd had luck seeing the Aurora before. But... we'd need dinner at some point, and honestly, there's not much to do on that side of the Peninsula, so we decided to kill time in Seattle instead. Looking for a dinner place, I had an epiphany--Uwajimaya!! Situated in the International District, it's a combination grocery-store-slash-deli-slash-food-court-slash-book-store-slash-gift-shop. Seriously, it's like an Asian SuperWallyWorld, plus food court and deli. Super awesome if you're into that kind of thing. The first time I ever went, I did not appreciate where I was or what I was eating. Now, I did... and finally, I had someone with me who would actually appreciate it! We grabbed a basked and picked up some Soju, coffee, and some snacks. We also wandered through the gift/book store and found an Oatmeal calendar and Attack on Titan shirt. I had Thai red curry and he had some giant Udon stuff. After dinner we grabbed some Boba Tea and tried to make the next Ferry. Unfortunately, they were full, so we parked for the next one and wandered about the Pier area, stopping into the Curiosity Shop and a few other stores. Back on the Ferry, we wandered around a bit and caught some cool ocean air. I'd read that the Aurora would be best after midnight, so we still had about two or three hours to kill. We found a theatre [hooray for smart phones!] and settled in for a movie.

Here's where I'm going to go off track for a second. We watched The Giver. I'm not going to go too deep so I don't spoil it for anyone who does want to watch it. It wasn't our first choice, but honestly I'm glad we saw this one. The visual work was amazing, really intriguing. The kind of thing that--if I were still in college--I'd write an in-depth, analytical, 'deeper meaning' type paper on. As we walked out, he joked that it was 'a total chick flick,' because there was, of course, a love story involved. But I had to correct him: 'Actually, that movie was about depression.' He thought for a second, and somewhat agreed. [I will say, it wasn't completely original, it threw back or borrowed heavily from City of Ember and Pleasantville... but if you can get past that, it was pretty good.] If you have struggled with depression and have trouble explaining it to people, or if someone you know has struggled with depression and you never understood what they meant, I advise you to watch this. Wait til it's on Netflix or Redbox or whatever if you want, but 'as your attorney' I highly advise it.

So back to date night. Actually, that's kind of where it pattered out. I took a wrong turn getting on the highway, so instead of trying to find a quiet spot to watch the sky, we ended up going home instead. True, it was around midnight. We may not have seen anything neat in the sky, but really, overall, it was a great day anyways. Seriously, best afternoon and night I've spent with another person in a very very long time. Possibly if ever! I mean that seems kind of anti-climactic, but... well I guess if you saw The Giver, then it would make a bit more sense. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Yard Sale Win!

I was going to go on a very deep, introspective monologue about my latest work transition, but honestly I'm just too tired. Finally crashing from this week, I think.

Anyways, this weekend there was a garage sale [in the yard] less than a block away. It turns out that one of the guys who lived there used to own a gallery in Tacoma. Can you tell? I wanted to buy so much more, but I'll be content with these winners.

And by that I mean the painted vinyl. But yes, if you wanted more insight into the deeper workings of my life, on the right you will see my book case of poor lost souls [unread books], topped with a bit of art crap, the Edgar Allen Poe vinyl, a photograph I found [no clue where], a remake of the Gaelic Faodlah, and a charcoal [?] polar bear I demanded from a way-back-when friend. Left side, that's obviously Edward Scissorhands, but just btw, that Tank Girl is actually a Laser Disc, not a record. Yes, they existed, and yes, I have some. No, I can't watch them.

And this is the Godzilla wall I mentioned before. Fair warning, these were gifts for the specialest person ever, and I've got something else on the way. The top is a page from the original story boards, signed by Haruo Nakajima. Underneath that on the left is my art, but on the right, that's a framed and mounted 35mm clip from the original film. At the bottom is a print of the newest film's poster, the retro-styled version. Yes, I feed into his obsessions. And people used to claim I don't give good gifts!!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Down Time

Well, all the boys are out being social and whatnot, and while it's great to see everyone, I'm just really burnt out. I had two straight days of crazy hell at work, and I can really tell what a toll it took on me. I'm certainly not upset or anything, I just don't have the energy or mental clarity to be witty and personable, especially not for the purpose of making new friends--I think we will be getting along just dandy with our new neighbors though, to say the least. I'll probably jam acoustic with them at some point, just... I need a bit of emotional detox and recoup time.

For those that don't know, I have one of two of my metaphorical 'Golden Tickets.' I have my blue card to get transferred to a temporary assignment while I wait for the MEB docs to figure out how broken the military has made me. Although it tacks on another 10 or 20 minutes to my commute, there are no ladders and I'll actually be utilized either as a driver or a desk jockey most likely. It's still the military, so I can't cut loose civilian-style just yet, but at least I'll be with people who take my condition seriously and don't push me to, or past, my limits. It'll be good times. Or, worst case, better times. That's all I can really ask for.

In picture news, here's the artwork I mentioned a couple days ago. Since I had a smidge of down time today and nowhere to go tomorrow, I worked on finishing it up. It's my first take at anything remotely resembling a self-portrait. For some reason, the hardest part of this whole thing was actually sitting down to draw out the figure representing myself, capturing ME on page. I don't know if other folks have this block too, but it kind of makes sense to me. Of course I started off with some lyrics and worked from there on. I used some Atlas imagery, along with my research on his images. To transform my thought into a female form, I had to look for some yoga images to really work it into what I was trying to accomplish. Of course, it didn't exactly turn out like I was expecting, but that's just the way art is. I had to detail a couple things afterwards, which is why I didn't post this one the other day. Next project--an actual self portrait. If the lyrics are hard to read, check out the song itself.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Next Level Homemaker Maneuver!

I was hoping I'd finish a very special piece of art today in time to post, but it needs to finish drying and have a couple more layers worked out. I had a rather eventful day all said and done. Unfortunately it takes me about two hours to do the grocery shopping at Wally World because of the ADD and Fog, but you know, whatev. Overall it's been a good day. I can't remember half of it, but I feel good. And happy--definitely a new one for me. I didn't spend a single morning this weekend looking at the sunrise over a creek, so I guess I broke that part of the promise, but... walking back from breakfast yesterday, I really did feel happy. I had a big uncontrollable grin on my face. And it's been a year since I looked at a beautiful scene with someone whom I thought cared for me very much and felt absolutely dead inside. It's been a long, crazy trip since then, but I've come a long way. And it seems like things are continuing to move in directions that only indicate life will continue to improve as we move away from [un]lucky 2013. I would love to point to celestial bodies, but unfortunately I don't understand them enough to warrant an explanation.

Okay so anyways, moving on, I have pictures to share! As always, of course. They may not be of art in particular, but they are stuff I did.

 So, here is my bathroom door. Fun fact, it doesn't open in or out... it slides into the wall. Cool, sure, but I've noticed that when it slides into the door, the friction between it and the frame has been scuffing the paint on the door itself. I originally bought some fabric to mount on the door, but it got reclaimed by my tarot deck, so I went back to my original idea--painter's tape [I couldn't find any at the craft store, ironically]. So I lined the painter's tape across where the scuffs were starting to hit. I may do some stenciling or painting over the tape, just to add to the artistry of it. I also decided that I wasn't pleased with all the whiteness, so I lined the panels too. On the lefthand side you can see my "A Little Cracked but Still Not Broken" above my smallest bookshelf, and "Mo Anam Cara" next to the Godzilla collection [that's a whole 'nother rant, I should follow up on that!]

My other project for this evening only took me about five minutes! So, the kitties love to sit in this bathroom window. Unfortunately, one of them likes to nudge the orchids a little too close to the edge for my taste; also, I've found that they are getting too much direct sun in this window. You can see them to the very right, next to the Eucalyptus and Aliesha Larson's "Calavera Girl" [gorgeous art, she is a huge inspiration to me to 'keep at it']. Unfortunately, they always manage to run into the blinds. I'm a little paranoid since I left the apartment with a $1700 discrepancy, and now we already have to replace these blinds, as they've broken two slats already. But. There's a second-floor neighbor right across the way, so unfortunately we can't leave the blinds open all the time... so first of all, I picked up some spray-on window frost. All it really does is opaque the window a little bit, and theoretically I can clean it of with simple acetone when it's time to move. I also noticed that in their jumping onto the ledge--or perhaps off the ledge--aforementioned kitties are also scuffing up the tile or whatever. So I bought a small bathroom rug, the kind that's slightly grippy on the bottom, just hoping it would fit in the window. It fits almost perfectly, with just a small overhang that I was able to thumbtack in place. Now we have a wonderful kitty perch and much less damage to the rental.

Last photo. Over the past couple days, I've decided that I want to get into Bonsai. Well, sort of. Ideally I'd like to have a bonsai tree and integrate it into a sort of terrarium setting. Maybe a teensy tiny pond, rocks and pebbles, some moss and sand, ya know? Well, I found out that bonsai is less a type of tree, and more a style--sometimes a dwarf or a cutting, but the concept is to emulate or capture the whole of nature in a small, tabletop-sized pot. Although I stopped by a local nursery, I didn't find much. Most of the "kits" on Amazon are actually misleading, and start from seeds... which can take years to grow before you can even begin to work with them. I have a major soft spot for the super-red maples and whatnot, and although you can sometimes use them for bonsai-ing [yes, I made that up]. After coming up with not much at the nursery, I thought Wally World would be a long shot--and it was, until I found this little guy in the back corner. Technically a vine, something about a red sweet-potato? I don't know, but I love the color and the shape of the leaves. I should've picked one of the others that weren't so root bound, but this guy had a whole bunch of leaves, so I'm going to see how it goes. Of course, I don't have the proper substrate or the appropriate dish [my cheap fix idea didn't pan out because I can't figure out how to get drain holes into ceramic]. I plan on replanting it in the next couple days, so we'll see how it survives that.

Well. That about sums up my evening. I took my amiltryptoline for the evening, but it's kind of a slow effect, it's just been causing typos, not knocking me out. Signing off for now, good people. Do something today that makes someone smile, even if that someone is you.