Sunday, December 11, 2011

Papercrafting and Decorating for a Neighbor's 40th Birthday Party

Papercrafting my home for the holidays

I bought an evergreen wreath recently at Trader Joe's and I had candy-striped miniature ornaments to adorn it on my outside door. Well I also recently decorated my library with wreaths I saw on the Paper Source website--wreaths that cost $20 a kit. I figured out how to make them myself with white cardstock and red construction paper and discarded books and decorated similarly for my home. The wreath at the bottom was from a clearance kit I bought from Paper Source two years ago.


I recently signed up for a glassblowing class at the Bay Area Glass Institute in San Jose. I loved the first class of gathering glass on a punti and taking it to a glory hole and the bench to use the jack and tweezers to create these flowers. However, last Tuesday's class of actually using a pipe to blow glass...well I thought this just blows. Hated it. I only made one glass ornament and was not interested in making any more. I'm hoping to eventually enjoy the rest of the class if I can master making an acceptable-enough bubble on which to layer on more skills to create other projects like a vase.

Christmas presents!

I haven't canned since my twenties when I had a boyfriend with apricot and Meyer lemon trees and the zeal to buy a canning kit to make preserves and Preserved Lemons for a Moroccan chicken recipe. For Christmas holiday 2011, I decided to jar Zydeco Beans (dill pickled beans with the zing of jalapeño, habanero, and a serrano chile) and pickled red onions coupled with a recipe for Braised Beef Short Ribs with Pickled Red Onions enclosed for my holiday gift-giving. Mighty fun! A neighbor said she loved the spicy Mexican carrots I pickled, and so I want to make more of that. I turned to the book, Tart and Sweet by Kelly Geary and Jessie Knadler for inspiration (

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Banner

The day before Thanksgiving, I decided to create a banner that I saw on Etsy but with my own variation because I was in a mood to be crafty and get rid of a surplus of paper. I thought I was going to give this to my sister-in-law who loves fall colors or for my mother-in-law who was hosting my husband's family's Thanksgiving feast. However, my husband said he wouldn't give it to either of his relatives, and so I thought well fuck it, I'll hang it in my own home until the end of November. I like it, but I made it way too large for my dining space. Next I'm going to create a similar banner for my neighbor Tracy who will be celebrating her 40th birthday next month and has decided the colors for her party will be lime green and red.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Four years ago deep into grad school and desperately in need of some creative release from academic tedium, I took 2-day sewing classes at the now defunct Yarn, Paper, Scissors in Burlingame. One of the classes was an Amy Butler kimono robe and then a tunic, but the first class was a quilted square pillow. Very basic. Room Service, "a line of vintage-inspired pillows decorated with mod '60s prints, Hollywood Regency-style graphics, and boho kaleidoscope patterns" has two pillows I love. However, each pillow costs $39 which is a bit too steep for my pocketbook or wants me to endeavor to sew my own. Piping and a zipper would be the hurdles though. Oh yeah and there's the challenge of finding comparable fabric. And so I think my next projects will be pillows!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mosaic Tabletop

I finally grouted my mandala on Saturday.  I used gray grout, but I wish I had grouted darker.  However, I am pleased with the combination of aqua, blue and green though I wish I scouted for more mirror for the perimeter of the table.  Still it's all learning and all good and still attractive.  On to the next mandala!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Creativity as Problem-Solving

On Saturday, I joined my sister-in-law at Fireclay Tile in San Jose, California for Delaine Hackney's Pet Portraiture class. I had already made 3 pet portraits in Delaine's class, and so I asked if I could bring my own substrate and create a mandala instead. In order for me to "do something creative every day," I have to undertake a project. And so I found a three-amoeba-looking spiral pattern and started outlining one of the protozoans in aqua blue glass. However, I ran out of that hue in that particular kind of glass and needed to figure out how to change-up and improvise with other glass that I have. I had run to the Aanraku Glass Studio in San Mateo to see what kind of scrap stained glass I could find, but what I found is not going to be a perfect color match to the glass I already glued down. Plus I also needed to figure out what other two colors I was going to coordinate with the tesserae I had already laid down. I threw on top of my mandala another color I was considering: chartreuse. I'll probably go with that particular green, but what will be the other color? Sapphire blue? Orange? I initially thought of including beads and cabochons and chunks of colored glass to add texture to my cosmic circle, but this round piece of plywood is actually a tabletop and will probably not be wall art. It will probably end up as a side table alongside my easy chair for setting cups of teas, books and a lamp, and so it has to have as flat a surface as possible for other pretty objects. I was inspired by a mosaic sunburst created by Antoni Gaudi at his Park Güell in Barcelona, (to where I totally want to sojourn-- Gaudi's sunburst is gorgeously color-splotchy imperfect and I'm hoping my own lack of skill with incorporating opus regulatum (work that is regular but perhaps a bit too predictable) into my mosaic will likewise be irregularly attractive and still convey andamento (or pattern).

Friday, July 22, 2011

Art with Food

I love pretty, and it's no different with food. I'm on a Jenny Craig regime, which frankly has me very bored even though one is allowed to supplement with all the veggies one desires. Another reason I deviate from the diet is that I socialize with neighbors who gather at least once a week to drink cocktails or wine, and we also bring a nosh. And so I brought roasted red bell peppers garnished with Spanish green olives, green beans, a little bit of sundried tomato pesto, and drizzled with a bit of olive oil. Because I wanted to use up tomatoes in my pantry, I made a Caprese Salad (fresh mozzarella is probably not diet-friendly) sprinkled with fresh basil from the garden and again drizzled with a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I had returned from Louisville, Kentucky the week before and wanted the ladies to try the bourbons--Four Roses Small Batch and Elmer T. Lee--that enthralled me during the Urban Bourbon Trail and to go with my dessert of Rainier Cherries. But back to my love of modern. I toted all on a lime green melamine tray from Crate and Barrel. Yes, I mix up artisanal with a little bit of corporate when I can.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


cre-ate [kree-eyt] -verb (used with object) 2. to evolve from one's own thought or imagination, as a work of art or an invention.

func-tion-al [fuhngk-shuh-nl] -adjective 3. having or serving a utilitarian purpose; capable of serving the purpose for which it was designed: functional architecture; a chair that is functional as well as decoratiive.

art [ahrt] -noun 1. the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance. 2. the class of objects subject to aesthetic criteria; works of art collectively, as paintings, sculptures, or drawings.