Friday, January 27, 2006

the finished product...

and as becky, the best knitting teacher ever, said, "you may wear this scarf every day from now until july." i think she's right because it's supposed to be 60 degrees in st. louis today, but i've still got my handknit wool scarf on, people!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

gratuitous cat pictures...

tootsie...helping me craft on a recent sick day. she was such a big help!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

unexpected differences...

do you remember the first time you ate a home-cooked dinner somewhere other than your childhood home? the way the fried pork chops were saltier and the milk had ice cubes in it and it made you homesick, even when the house was right next door? when we're young, those idiosyncracies can mean a lot, but as we age, they mean less. sometimes, though, they stick with us and we remember them forever.

**i was helping my friend finish his chores so that we could go out. i had offered to wash the dishes while he dried and put away. i washed the spoons and laid them down, willy nilly, on the dish towel on the counter next to the sink; he turned them over so the bowl was facing down. at my house you just put the spoons in the silverware basket of the dish rack, but at his house you let all the silverware air-dry...his tiny act made me feel unsophisticated.

**in the home of another boy i knew, they used pot polish on their pots and pans. no one in my family had ever polished the bottom of a pot...i didn't even knew that pot polish was something you could buy. to this day, i don't know where to buy pot polish and i wonder if i would use it anyway. my pots live in a cabinet. we never see the bottoms.

**in the same family as the pot polish, they made orange juice from a can in the blender each morning and sat in the kitchen and ate breakfast as a family. we, on the other hand, ate bowls of cereal in front of morning cartoons.

**they were also the first people i met who ate real butter. one summer i was visiting for a week and after they all left for work, throughout the day, i ate an entire stick of butter on pieces of toast. it was the first time i had tasted real butter and it was as if i was eating little bites of joy all day long. in between pieces of toast, i sunbathed.

**the parents in this house also showered together every morning. to this day i don't know if it was romantic, timesaving or motivated by a desire to conserve water.

**i knew a family who didn't have any living room furniture, but did have a baby grand piano.

**for a few months in high school, i lived with the family of a friend. on saturday mornings, everyone in the house did chores until noon and then you were on your own. one saturday i lied to the mom of the family and said i was going to spend time with my sister so that i wouldn't have to do chores. instead, i went downtown on the bus and went shopping. on saturdays in my house, you slept in, stayed in your pajamas all day if you wanted and ate chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese, didn't do the dishes and watched television.

**i dated a boy whose mother owned a beautiful turn of the century home. she was awarded the home in her divorce settlement from the boy's father. she couldn't afford to heat the home in the winter so we used to sit in the living room in january with our winter coats on watching old movies, and making out with cold lips.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

spt...reflections, the last...

this is where i would put a picture of my father, if i had one.

i have never met my biological father.

in the past few weeks through the self-portrait tuesday challenge of reflections i have shown you the men in my life...but there are days that i ponder the absence of a father and think that was the most impactful non-presence. i wrote a poem about him in my angst-filled high school freshmen year--about how not knowing what my father looked like caused me to see him in every man's face i passed, to wonder constantly about where he was and what he was doing and whether he wondered the same about me.

i now know my father's family but have still not seen any pictures of him and i think it's better that way. then i don't have a face to associate with the space his absence left in me.


other self-portrait participants may be found here.

Monday, January 23, 2006

dream car #2...

presenting the newest member of the wallace family calvalcade of cars...a 1970 ford ltd--four doors and two tons of america's finest steel. the fuzzy dice are already hanging from the rearview mirror!

Friday, January 20, 2006

studio friday...practice makes perfect

my dear friend, becky, taught me how to knit last saturday. since then i have been knitting and knitting and knitting this scarf that is now over 6 feet long! i have been practicing and practicing because i never want to have to learn this useful, fun skill from scratch again. practice does indeed make perfect as i have not made 1/2 as many mistakes in the last 3 feet of this scarf as i did in the first 3 feet! i plan on wearing it doubled, all jude-law-in-the-movie-alfie-style. the blue velvet ribbon will be interwoven in the stitches.

see other studio friday artists here.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

four things...

good gf, denise, tagged me, so here goes.

4 places you have lived:
saint louis, missouri
indianapolis, indiana
richmond, indiana
cuatla, mexico

4 tv shows you enjoy watching:
gilmore girls
gray's anatomy
globe trekker
the thursday night comedy line-up on nbc

4 places you have been on vacation:
paris, france
grand canyon, arizona (2x)
las vegas, nevada (2x)
acapulco, mexico

4 websites you visit daily:
dozens of blogs
check e-mail LOTS (btw, e-mail me okay? it breaks up my day:
the library website to check on the status of all of my requested items
my yahoo groups

4 of my favorite foods:
cottage cheese
fuji apples with organic peanut butter
ben & jerry's cherry garcia ice cream
lox & bagel

4 places i would rather be right now:
any beach
borders reading "free" magazines and sipping a decaf non-fat latte
in a cabin stocked with food for a week, equipt with a sewing machine, scissors and endless fabric
in my studio...this 9 to 5 is for the birds

and i'm adding this category:
4 jobs you have had:
potato chip girl
mcdonald's fry cook
china and silverware salesperson
customer service agent for an insurance company

thanks, denise! this was fun!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

spt..relfections part 3

my grandpa and his sister carmeline...upon his imminent departure to serve in the navy in world war ii (after lying about his age so he could serve). they are standing in the backyard of their childhood home in the famous st. louis neighborhood, "the hill," the very italian section of the city.

he supported his family from the age of 12. he was the most caring, kind and gentle man i knew (until i met my husband). his family always came first and he was the greatest example of devotion i have ever witnessed. i credit him with helping me become the woman i am today.

2 & 3 of 52 figments...

i fell behind in the past two weeks on the 52 figments project. week's two question had me baffled: "all expenses are paid and your safety is guaranteed...where in the world do you want to go?" i don't know why this query had me so bound up inside. i've done some pretty extensive traveling in my day. for goodness sake, i hitchhiked my way through central america, so fear of foreign travel doesn't bug me too much. so i had to really think about what my fears are. i finally decided i would take a cruise around the world. the thing that frightens me so much about ocean travel is, of course, sinking and then drowning (i'm not a strong swimmer) and then sharks. (i've heard plenty of stories from my wwii grandfather who served in the navy to know to be extra afraid of the shark element.) but if all of those fears are removed, then the cruise would be what i would do. here's the pic of my submission:

week 3's question was, "imagine having a conversation with yourself 20 years from now. what question would you want to ask?" i think i would ask the same question i always want to know the answer to now:

Sunday, January 15, 2006

sunday morning donuts...

fooling around with my new camera, i've begun a new series of photos of old donut shops and their signs.

don't donuts remind you of sunday mornings?

Friday, January 13, 2006

studio friday...eye spy

this week's studio friday challenge asks the artist to reveal in what objects they see faces in everyday objects. the picture above is a stretch, but tell me what you think...the eyes are the two screw holes on the top of my trusty white sewing machine, the nose is the wheel on the side, and the cords are the mustache. if you have trouble seeing the face in the sewing machine, look in the background and you'll see lots of faces---on the collage kelly made up of pictures of the two of us!

more artists here...

Thursday, January 12, 2006

be on the lookout...

the bag that started it all...
coming soon! a companion site to queen for a day...
queen for a day shoppe!
the place to go when you need adornments of personal expression,
created without equal or twin!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

growing up...

this is a 1967 dodge polora. on saturday evening we spotted this beauty with a "for sale" sign it its window. nathaniel immediately decided it was the car for him. on sunday afternoon we test drove it and spoke with the owner about arranging for a safety inspection. kelly was going to pick it up on monday afternoon and take it to our mechanic for a thorough once over. at 6:00 a.m. on monday morning our phone rang...the owner had sold the polara for $1800 cash the night before.

for 36 hours, nathaniel had a beautiful dream car. dealing with disappointment is a big part of growing up. in two days, nathaniel aged years and years.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

spt...personal history-part 2

part 2 in the series "the men of my life"
last week's submission featured me with the two most important men in my life, kelly and nathaniel. this week i've included a photo of me with my uncle rog...i am 15 months old; it's december 1966.

throughout the 40 years of my life, my 3 stepfathers, and my numerous boyfriends, he has been there since the beginning and is still there for me to lean upon. he has survived three bouts with cancer. he's an amazingly caring husband to my sweet aunt and devoted father to his children and a doting grandfather. in the void left by my grandfather, he has filled in with grace and has made my grandmother proud. he bought me my first real dolly. he took me to amusement parks. he carried me on his shoulders. he dried my tears. i am blessed to have him in my life. he is one of the biggest parts of my personal history.
for more self portrait tuesday participants click here.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

the weekend...

the sunsets this weekend have been amazing. this one is from friday night. kelly has mastered the digital camera. hence, not all pictures of me will be self-portraits.

saturday was spent with family--the last holiday celebration! i have a very american-style extended family (steps, halves, adopteds) and getting together with all contingents takes weeks-- from november through january. more family = more love!

today i mailed off my first postcard to swirly girl for the 52 figments project. with the encouragement of missy, i've decided to not only participate in the program, but use the weekly prompts as journal jumpstarters. good idea, huh? here's this week's submission... i'll try and remember to post my submission each week.

i plan on being extra-productive this week. will keep you all updated!

Friday, January 06, 2006

studio friday...artist's uniform

my studio uniform (in the winter, at least) is always something warm, since my studio is in the lower level of our home. striped tights make me feel funky and funky is how i need to feel to create.

note: this is not one pair of tights above, but two of my favorites! i'm funky, but not THAT funky!

click on the studio friday link on the sidebar to see other artists' submissions!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

theme: the year of focus...

via andrea's site, i've undertaken a year-long creativity project called 52 figments. my theme is

i am notorious for being easily distracted. i begin and restart projects over and over because i've begun another project that eventually is abandoned also. a common affliction many artists suffer from, i suppose.

i have a new journal from missy in which i plan to dump my creativity thoughts. some of the distraction comes from having too many ideas--too many things competing for the limited thinking resources i have at my disposal. then, when i go to my studio i may be distracted by the 10 gingerbread house kits on one table (please don't ask) or the pile of felted sweaters waiting for altering or the tiny christmas memory book i want to make for my gram or the bag of pom poms (sorted by color and size) that i want to make into a garland for my tinsel tree. what about the idea i have to paint all of my wooden studio furniture, cobbled together from tag sales and thrift stores, so that they all match? what about my mom's 60th birthday present? or my mother's day cards? or nathaniel's 16th birthday stuff? see? this can be draining to hold in your brain all the time.

focus is needed here.
with all these new tools at my disposal, i think i have a fighting chance to make it a very productive year.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

self portrait tuesday/personal history...

kelly, nathaniel & i...maui, hawaii
march 2003
i can't think about this trip without a sense of longing.
although there are limitless possibilities for vacations, this remains the place i'd return to time and time again. it felt like coming home. it felt like a long nap in a comforting bedroom colored turquoise and rose and cream. it was fresh fish and sweet pineapple and rum. it was paradise.