Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Back to Painting

I felt like someday I'd be back here, maybe after I'd exhausted all drawing media, but I didn't see it coming this soon. Short story: I've been offered a wall space in a new restaurant, but the catch is that my work has to be up by the 6th. Yes, in a week. (Wow, a week!) Yet, despite that soon-approaching deadline, I decided that rather than use something I already had, I wanted to take advantage of the pressure and make something new. In a medium I'm uncomfortable with, using a subject I have little experience painting or even drawing,...and I've decided to do TWO 24" x 30" pieces of them.

Day one had me in tears: My practice painting colors were all over the spectrum, and what made it worst was that they were all in the harvesty hues that I hate the most. On top of that, my initial concept of pastel over acrylic was just not going to work. Blech, look!

Day two: I started working on the actual canvas. Re-did the initial painting of the flower both A) in a much free-er style (possibly because this was my third time drawing it), and B) in a less-obtrusive ochre (versus the purple I used for the first draft), and boy did that help! Then I remembered how in painting class we did something with a monochromatic underpainting, and then lay colored glazes on top, so I started shading it out with yellow ochre and raw umber till I got what you see at the top.

Day Three: Tonight. After 6 hours on my feet at work and then walking home in the rain, I can't say I really felt like working on my painting, but I knew I had to. The plan was to get a lot of glazing done, to get it out of its brown state, but all I ended up doing was mixing a bunch of colors and storing them in my Sta-Wet palette, which is a really cool thing for acrylic paints, but my sponge totally disintegrated when I wet it this time! I wonder if the paint that had been in there for a couple years now had anything to do with it.

I am no good at color-imagining and -mixing. What had happened in the past is that I just end up having to use whatever I happened to come up with. Kind of like how I cook. But this time I've vowed to be better! No more settling for unfortunate colors like this Barbie-skin-gone-wrong:

By the end of the night I had a couple colors tucked away into the palette:

They look pleasant enough; I just hope they're actually what I need/want! I guess I'll find out tomorrow morning.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Framed and Sold!

The first drawing of mine I've ever seen framed! I got it done at Frame-o-Rama here in San Francisco, and while it was quite expensive (all the little things really added up) the customer service was personal and friendly, and I think it turned out great. Amazing how a frame can make something look legit. Anyway, thanks to my buyer who made the framing experience possible! Oh, and for buying the drawing as well, ha.

P.S. This was posted on my iPhone from bed!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

No matter how well you think you packed them...

...don't put your pastel box in your check-in luggage ever again. Especially at $4.49 a stick.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Pringle "Squirtlenarf"

Grainy from the dust on the mirror. Eeeeeew...sorry!

I made this copy of Pringle's Amphora Stole years ago and finally I've started wearing it more, probably because I've been wearing my hair up a little more often now (with it down, my hair just gets all tangled by the wool rubbing up against it!). People always want to know what it "is." I don't know, does it need a name to be whatever it is? Someone finally termed it a Squirtlenarf (sweater + turtleneck + scarf), so I guess I have an answer for everyone now, though I don't know if it'll really help them understand it any better.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Taipei Traffic

Today's the day! I can now start the Bulky Coat because I just realized that I have more of the french grey than I thought I did. Possibly 6 skeins. Not quite sure, because it will require some frogging of the Evening Shell (that I like but just really never wear, mostly because it makes me look like I'm wearing a scuba-diving vest) and the sleeves of a partially-deconstructed Groovy Sweater dress (also unflattering on me, sadly—I so wanted to love it!), but it LOOKS like a lot of yarn, which is promising.

Sometimes, though, it's just easier to sit in front of the computer next to the heater than to do any work that actually requires moving, so here are some pictures from my July in Taipei, taken one night from the backseat of a car when we were stuck in traffic:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bulky Coat it is!

I found this video from Vogue Knitting on YouTube, and it was decided: I'd be making the Bulky Sweater.

I drove to the Main Library the next day and got there 13 minutes before they closed, rushed through the doors, and immediately was lost—I knew I had to get to the 5th floor where all the magazines were, the question was just HOW? Or, more specifically, where were the elevators that actually went UP? I was running out of time. I have an unhealthy tendency to cut it really close when it comes to time management; I wonder if I secretly enjoy it!

I finally found my way up to the top and basically ran up to the nearest library people and was like, "Where are the Vogue Knitting magazines??" I cut it so close—by the time I was leaving, there was only one exit left open and the security guard was ushering us out. But I now have the pattern for the coat, and I laid in bed last night reading through it, and now I'm wondering if I missed some final directions that might've been on the next page; mine seem to end kind of abruptly with directions for the collar...something about placing a marker, and that's it!

Anyways, I have two Twinkle Soft Chunkys (Chunkies?) to pick from: Haze (a greyed-down sea green) and French Grey. Although I have the 7 skeins that the pattern calls for...of neither. The Boyfriend Cardigan only took me 3 (not 4) skeins, so I'm hoping that I might miraculously only need 5 for this pattern... :]

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Debating Sweater Coats

Back from a very tropical summer in Taipei and now San Francisco weather is so cold in contrast! Granted, it's actually been pretty nice for this city the past couple days, but being back has me thinking about winter knits already, particularly about large slouchy sweaters over mini, silky dresses with riding boots. Or trouser socks and heels. So here are my inspirations and possibilities:

The Twinkle Diagonal Stitch Coat
What it looks like styled in an editorial:

And what it looks like in normal life, looking much less fluffy and cozy:

via NYmag

And in all the pictures on Ravelry, the sweater looks even less fluffy! Maybe because most people subbed for the Twinkle Soft Chunky, though. And I don't know how I feel about the shortened sleeves, but that's easy to fix anyway. And I really like the huge collar on this next one, but I wonder how that would look with the trellis coat..

Twinkle Mystery White Sweater Coat

via NYmag

Has the pattern for this sweater been published anywhere yet? In another picture I saw on flickr, the side view shows that the sleeves have braid cables on them, if that helps anyone help me any. :]

Twinkle Bulky Coat from Vogue Winter 2008

And on the runway:

via NYmag

Maybe I'll knit this one, since it's the most consistent-looking when you compare photos from different sources. (I just noticed that the two different models are wearing the exact same things for these two photos. Is that the only outfit that goes with the sweater?) Or the Siréne du lac cardigan from her Town & Country Knits. It's so hard to decide! I wish I could just try on samples of these and then decide based on fit and how they look on me. That would be taking away from the mystery and excitement, but it would also take away from the frustration when you're all done and you try it on only to realize that it is not flattering at all! Off to go think about this some more...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

WIP: Tonia Shorts

How do I work in a mess like this?  Least charming photo ever.

I used the Tonia shorts pattern from  It cost me $3 !  Yes, that's still very little to pay for a full pair of shorts, but I'd gotten so used to their patterns being free that this was a very big shock.  Paying for it made me feel more like I had to actually finish the shorts, though, since I get really excited about new projects, but have a really hard time finishing them.

So far, I've modified them a LOT.  A lot of guesswork was involved, and very little formal pattern drafting (as you may remember, I only took Draping last year), but I carried out my adjustments based on what I felt like common sense called for...and hopefully I'll prove myself right with the fit.  If you compare these with the original pattern, you'll see that these are the low-rise, short-shorts version.  With a fly that may or may not be constructed differently than the directions had instructed.  (Has anyone else found that burdastyle patterns are written really weirdly?)

But the best part of these shorts is that they will be scalloped at the bottom of the leg!  Yes! Inspired by the current Chloe collection (though it seems that they use a scalloped trim) and encouraged even further by a little how-to handout our Copying Couture teacher gave us on the techniques of Pierre Cardin, these shorts will be SO cute.  If all goes well.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Naked Pillows No More

I finally clothed my pillows!

So a while back, I made my sister send me [from New York!] her un-used pillow fillers, and since then, naked pillows have been sitting around my place, their weird unfinished seams bugging me. And the fabric I've also had for ages; definitely more than a year. But finally, they're done, and I must say it was quite easy, except that for something so easy and logical, it took quite a while to calculate everything so that every opening slit, etc. was in the right place in the end. I'm all for making things yourself, obviously, but I hate when things LOOK "homemade," you know? They should look professional!

I've only made those 2 so far, and I don't think I'm going to use the entire box of pillows that C sent me, but I think I still have a few to make.

P.S. It doesn't look like it's on anymore, but it says on the selvedge that this fabric is by Tina Givens for Westminster, collection name "Zazu." Flowers, chandeliers, and pink! Hmm...I don't think it's quite girly enough...

Friday, May 29, 2009

A New Place

Shabby Chic pillowcases. Too bad they closed before I was able to make it to their sale.

So it's been about 3 months now, but I've moved! From a fancy schmancy condo with no furniture to a cozy little typical San Francisco studio. Still with no furniture. But what it does have is everything in white wood, molding around the floors and ceilings, a little glass-doored cabinet for my very small (but recently grown) vintage Pyrex collection, and hardwood floors. AND an ironing board that folds out of a long + skinny cabinet door! That was the coolest discovery ever. I keep forgetting to get a new cover for it, though, so I've been ironing on a horrible little one on the floor, which I also realized needed a new pad and cover after I started pressing metal grid patterns onto my cloth.

Ah, all the renter's renovations I would do if I had a bunch of extra money! Replace the cabinet knobs with glass ones (I need about 20; so at 4$ apiece, Anthropologie is not a good idea), line my closet with oriental rugs, get a bunch of table lamps, change the blinds to shades...that I keep promising myself I will get around to making. Oh, and furniture. Like a bed. I can't believe I almost forgot. Sometimes I don't feel like this place is home yet, which is a little sad since it's where I live, but I suppose once I get the boxes out of here (yes, I am still living among boxes) and clean up a bit... and I feel like lighting makes such a difference, but nice lamps don't come cheap! Though I guess nice lighting can come from ugly lamps as well, but I don't want to accumulate things that I'm not going to want to keep in the long term. Off to Apartment Therapy to see what ideas they have for me...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Figure Drawing : Pastels

So I think I've left charcoal-only drawings behind for good. It's not that I don't like doing them...well it kind of is, but only because I think I've reached my capacity in that medium. I'm awful—when we're doing a longer pose in class, and I've only been working in charcoal, I either keep drawing over the same parts over again, or sit back and wait for time to run out. With pastels, though, I totally lose myself in the drawing and the colors, and the other day I even noticed that my heart was beating faster!

I used to use my Senneliers, but then I discovered Nupastels, which are firmer and better for finer lines. And less messy, though it's still hard to eat and work at the same time (I like to eat and do many other things at the same time)... I think I may start combining the two next time, though, using the soft pastels for broader, first-layer strokes, and the Nupastel on top. And maybe more Sennelier on top for contrasting texture. I'm getting all excited just thinking about it! Can't wait for class on Monday.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

my etsy

It's up! So far there are only 10 drawings, but there will be more to come every day. It's a lot of work for a newbie, geting it all set up: taking the pictures, editing the photos to get them to match the drawings in real life, writing descriptions and my profile,... I'm not complaining, but who knew it would be so hard to get the black and white ones true to life? I think I still need to change the banner, though. Even though I love that photo—it looks like nothing, but it's a picture I took at night in New York, of those glass circles in the sidewalk with the light from the basement shining through. I wonder what was in that underground room. Ooo, spooky..

Friday, April 17, 2009

Work in progress. And getting ready to post some stuff on etsy.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Fake Polaroids

Poladroid takes your photos and makes them look all dreamy and old-looking. I love this effect which is why I have so many toy cameras, so I feel like I'm cheating with this computery version, but it's still fun. It's a little gimmicky, like it takes forever for the "film" to develop, and you can only convert like 10-ish photos before it tells you the cartridge is empty and makes you quit and restart the program, but tonight I just worked on an unfinished dress from draping class last term while I waited for it to do its thing. So here are some from my first "cartridge" (second, really, since it froze during the first set and I had to restart it). I know Christmas is over, but I never got to post about it! These are actually from different Christmases, the bottom three photos from Paris (our family had a very romantic Christmas dinner—check out that lighting), and the first from a bank here in San Francisco—I love that one: a snowman choir! There were more I wanted to put up, but blogger was being stubborn. Actually, that last one is not very polaroided at But anyway, I want to see your poladroids, too.