Tuesday, January 25, 2011


For Christmas this year the fella got himself a quilt. Or a partially completed quilt top, to be more accurate. Actual quilting will commence shortly after I purchase a new iron, since all pressing required for this project finally did in my iron. It made some weird clicking noises Sunday night, and hasn't gotten warm again since.

Here is the completed top for his quilt. I was working on it secretly while I worked on my own quilt top, but he pointed out to me that he would have had no idea, even if I'd been wandering around pointing out the different colors and layout.

This is going to be my quilt. I finished piecing all the blocks last night, but I need to go back in and straighten out several points where things are not quite aligned. Then I'm going to have to figure out what sort of border I want on this one. Probably similar to the above quilt, but I think perhaps a double contrast stripe will be in it.

I couldn't take looking at cathedral window quilts online anymore , so I went out and bought the supplies to make one. I think it's going to take forever and be very large. The color scheme is navy/indigo, grey, black and one deep red on regular old muslin. I'm cutting out one foot sized squares, which reduce down to 5.5 inches and will have about 4 inch windows in them. Still trying to figure out the exact placement of squares.

New Old Things

I've been thrifting recently, and of course there was also Xmas, where I obtained several delightful new kitchen gadgets. Here are a few new additions:

This is my new rolltop desk. I spotted it across three rows at the flea market, heard a hallelulah chorus. and then levitated to it by magic. They sold it to me for CHEAP and delivered it too. I also bought the basket to stow on ongoing sewing projects in. Note also my amazing new poster from my brother. I love it so. Still trying to find just the right home for it.

Thrifting also included a bunch of glass vases and bowls for succulents, so I could replant this window, which has been filled with some pretty sad houseplants for some time now. My favorite among this collection are two white bud vases (on is visible to the left)- it has an odd irregular top that looks something like a dinosaur egg being forced open.

Finally, not an old thing, but more of a new thing in an old style. I have this gorgeous new enameled cast iron oven courtesy of my parents. This is a preliminary stage of some really awesome short ribs I made a few weeks ago.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The "lanai"- one year later

This is my patio, now about a year after the great tile installation project. It's changed slightly.

These are my woolly pockets. I loves them and the company that makes them. Buy American recycled products that help build low cost vertical gardens for public schools? Don't mind if I do! My Boston fern (labeled as a "Chino Fern" at the grocery, because that was where the nursery was from, so perhaps it's actually now a K-Town fern) seems really happy with the move. The other guys are newbies from Home Despot, and I'm hoping they'll like it here- as long as they like being ignored, they'll love me!

This is the cat's observation corner. If you sit on her stool you will get cat hair on your butt. Some more of my ferns- in the corner is my maidenhair- its a year old now and it's just gone nuts- it wasn't more than 7 or 8 inches tall with 5 or so fronds when I bought it. The nearer fern is a "autumn" fern from the botanical garden plant sale.

My nasturtium has been pretty happy this year- I moved it to a more draining pot and into the "sunny" part of the patio, and it rewarded me with flowers. It's a little droopy here because I watered after photos, but it's still real neat to see it. I am interested in seeing if it will keep thinking it's a perennial and overwinter again this year. I've seen some really large nasturtiums in my neighborhood and even up in SF that make me think it could.

This is my worm composter. It's not full yet, but it's only been about 9 months or so since I started keeping the worms. I do harvest digestion juice from the tap at the base and that stuff makes the houseplants very happy, so I can't wait to mix all the castings into everything. Until then I'm just going to enjoy the pleasures of watching all my shredded mail being eaten by worms. Take that credit card offers! I refuse to participate in your capitalist mill of debt, go feed my worms!

This is the corner opposite the worm composter. More ferns of course- in the green thing is a birdsnest fern from Ikea and a mother in law tongue, and some dying moss. Above it is a...something fern...silver leaf? Japanese?...something and some english ivy (also once a teeny houseplant from my grocery store- which subdivided and thrived enough to be two separate trellises- the other is under the nasturtium).

Full length shot, showing off all my ferns AND the ikea furniture. Those sticks came from Josh and Heather who sometimes give me shout outs on their blog. Thanks for the sticks guys, they have come in handy! That's the trellis my clematis who I'm really hoping will decide to live ,is on, and I used jute, as a certain person suggested on a certain site, (you know who you are if you make it over here- so thanks for the idea!). Clem had a rough transition to that pot, namely because it lunged out of the pot during transfer and crunched a few major stems, but after cutting back a lot of dead portions I am encouraged by several of the new shoots and the overall healthy appearance of most of the leaves. Knock on wood.

Also visible on the table is my jug "terrarium" with polka dot plants busting out of it. This has proved to be a very successful garden strategy for the neglectful waterer I am. In fact almost none of my plant pots have drainage holes, for this very reason. The funnels are for subirrigation chambers in all the pots.

I still have another woolly pocket and a window box to install and some plans for tea light wall scones and perhaps an expensive but awesome chair swing, but overall, the patio is pretty sweet to sit on now. Can't wait till things sunny up in a few weeks.


I scored an awesome vintage adjustable dressform at the Long Beach Flea Market.

It was rusty and the fabric was gross.

So I put the cat to work recovering it in green jersey.

Despite these questionable labor practices, it turned out pretty well in the end.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Apt updates, bread and latest art project

Lots of things going on lately:

Recently reconfigured the living room- put the shelves from the bedroom against the wall, and added window shelves for my plants.

Got a bed. My bedroom is now VERY cozy. Having trouble getting up in the morning.

made some art about my visit to nepal. Papercuts forever!

Made challah. Challah back now!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

the living room/bike rack/art mess area

Hopefully this is something of the full 360 around the room:

My drafting table is GINORMOUS.

View from the kitchen

My fireplace. I couldn't get it working in time for my party so there are melted candles in there. Knock on fake wood I think I have my head wrapped around how to set this thingy up now, so we can have christmas around the fireplace.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Patio: The Big Reveal

Well, sort of. I don't think things out here are finished by a long shot, anymore than I think that I don't have things to do in the living room or kitchen or bathroom or bedroom. I mean I've only been living in LA for less than 2 years (Fun fact: my two year losangeleversary is exactly a month away! WOW!) and I find the amount of home stuff I own to be kind of minimal. I don't have much art. I don't have more than 2 chairs, or 4 plates, etc. I don't have a bed. I do have a couch and coffee table, some curtains, a DRAFTING table, art storage, a wicked cool chandelier and some hangy racks in the kitchen, lest you think I'm complaining. It's just that it's a slow process to get settled into a place and accquire the right things.

So the patio. I moved into an apartment with outdoor space. Patio and dishwasher were the big things I looked for in a new home. And this patio had a pretty perfect railing from the design aesthetic I really desired: cat proof. Which is to say my cat can't get up on it, get in trouble. But it did have a major flooring flaw. It looked like they took concrete, coated it with glue, put down some fake grass, and then after they go over it, and ripped up the grass (leaving a waffle textured glue floor with fragments of astro turf embedded) they painted it a battleship grey which really made the public school beige stucco, the studio apartment white accent wall and the state park brown railing pop, as they say on Project Runway. (Fun fact: I've been watching season 4 of project runway pretty much exclusively while I worked on this project and last night I had a dream that I was both the designer and modeling my look and I'd not finished in time and Nina Garcia was really snarky at me, and Tim Gunn was disappointed. Boy. I wish my model had showed up! Of course my dream dress was a pretty flimsy cotton print, so it was also my dream self's fault.)

This is the before:Mmm sexy- I want to squat on that dirty floor and read a book so bad.

So I put in just the weensiest bit of work on this patio...say..5, 10 minutes top to get this result:
The view from my bedroom of the same corner

Floor closeup of happily imprisoned kitty cat
The other corner

My string of pearls pots.

Closeup of the beach pails I just bought to make into hanging planters.

I still have lots more vision for additions to this space. I'm in love with Woolly Pockets and perhaps later on, when I've saved up 40 trillion dollars I can festoon the railing with pockets and pockets of gorgeous plants. I'd like to up the awesome factor of the furniture with cooler chairs, and maybe some side tables for beverage swilling, and an ashtray for my friend Bridget (we're working on a concept called guilt-trays, which will be ashtrays that make you feel bad about smoking, in a humorous way.) I definitely will be putting in some kind of mat for footwipage as I keep going in the house with muddy-ish feet- althought the worst is over.

Also you might note that the underside of the seats contain a lot of bags of dirt and the like, or that some of the pots are empty. That's because some pots are renovations in and of themselves- I'm working on creating an entire garden of subirrigation planters (the two white containers are sub irrigation planters from Ikea- which are so/so), but the installation of said planters is taking a bit of time as all the instructions I've found out there are for making planters which I think look ugly. Also I want a good way of monitoring the water levels- very few of the planters designs have perfected this yet. Expect a sub-irrigation primer in the future.

BUT! The tile is in! The grout and mastic have been scrubbed off with a wire brush and pads of steel wool. There are plants (many of whom are thriving more than I expected given the only moderate light of the patio). Oh how I love the plants! And most are edibles. I'm concentrating on herbs for now, except that I do get distracted and grab other things which are pretty at plant sales. Like the maidenhair fern or the string of pearls or the polkdot plant in the planter. You know how it is though, they sit there at the store looking all sad in their too tight pots, saying, "If you don't take me home they're going to KILL ME!" And then I feel guilty and try to get them all fake norwegian visas and smuggle them out of the store.

So. Patio. Done-ish.