October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

I posted this photo especially for John, who requested "more kid pictures!" Here I am at age 3, obviously quite proud of my trick-or-treating bonanza and about to devour this entire mountain of candy.

October 27, 2006

Nature Lovers Unite!

Here are some images from the November issue of National Geographic, which just arrived in our mailbox yesterday. As always, it is full of the most beautiful nature photography around. These two photos are of some white mushrooms from Ecuador and a leafy seadragon (cousin of the seahorse) found in Australia.

Every time I flip through an issue of National Geographic, three things are bound to happen:
1) I will read about something that sprains my brain (someone found some 3-million year old bones and was able to deduce that the first ever human beings looked like this?!?)
2) I will come across an amazing picture of a plant or a creature that I swear is the most beautiful and strange thing I have ever seen (see above).
3) I will slam the magazine shut after stumbling across a vivid, frightening photo of a lion eating a gazelle, a seal hunting a penguin, or any number of bloody events that occur in nature everyday.
Exciting stuff!

October 24, 2006

Sugar Skulls, Phase 1

We're planning a Day of the Dead/Halloween party with our friends Doug & Carrie for this weekend, and of course there are going to be crafts galore, including sugar skull decorating! So far we've made 13 of them, and look how cool they are! I'm excited to see how they look once everyone has decorated them with sequins and icing, but I have to say I kind of like the way they look pre-decoration too. Spooky and sweet, our favorite combo. We hope to see all of you Bay Area Guild members there on Sunday!

October 20, 2006

Seal of Approval

A few months ago, we introduced Lauren's mom to the wacky world of blogs. It seems that in doing so, we've created a monster. Luckily, it's a super-creative, interesting, fun, artsy-craftsy kind of monster. So the other day I was checking out her blog, and she had a great link to a site where you can customize your own seal (see above). I've always been curious about all sorts of heraldry, crests, and official-type ornamentation. And I'm still a sucker for patches and badges. Perhaps part of me wishes I had stuck it out in the Boy Scouts. Can you imagine what an awesome collection I'd have now...

October 17, 2006

Arts & Crafts Extravaganza!

Phew! What a weekend!
We already mentioned that we opened our Shoppe, but we also managed to squeeze in some great arts & crafts in our spare time.

Arts: On Sunday we ventured out to the Headlands Center for the Arts to check out their Fall Open Studios. As always, we were in complete awe of the place. Such a gorgeous location, so peaceful, simple, and inspirational, the whole place has the look and feel of an Andrew Wyeth painting. It's 15 minutes (and a world away) from the Golden Gate Bridge. The Center offers residencies and studio space to both emerging and established artists and is located in and around a cluster of decommissioned military barracks and facilities. We were particularly excited to visit Alex Clausen, one of the artists whose work will be appearing in our next show at the Hardware Store gallery. (more about that later...)

Crafts: Then we headed over to the Craft Gym for a party celebrating the launch of Craft magazine. It was perfect for us since we've been looking forward to checking out both the Gym and the magazine. The Gym looks like a ton of fun, they've got a great space and they offer lots of cool classes for all sorts of DIY-ing. The magazine looks fantastic too. It's beautifully produced, nice and thick, and since it's from the folks who brought us MAKE, we weren't surprised to find it filled with lots of crafty, smart projects. Some of the more ambitious ones remind me of the early days of the DIY movement when "Doing It Yourself" was less about making a wallet out of duct tape, and more about laying the foundation for your house. Luckily they've got a range of projects for all interests and skill levels. We were excited to see stories about some of the fun stuffed we've obsessed over here like crocheting chaos, loco gocco-ing, and the beaded wonderlands of Liza Lou.


Fall is here and Halloween is around the corner- for us this means carving jack-o-lanterns, eating a ton of candy and putting out our ghost salt & pepper shakers by Marcel Dzama. Oh, and hanging fake spiderwebs in the windows. And cutting bat shapes out of paper to hang all around the house.

But let's talk about Marcel Dzama for a minute! A couple years ago his art was everywhere- on the cover of Beck's last album, in a children's book by They Might Be Giants, and on products for Cerealart (including our beloved salt and pepper shakers).

Spend some time at the Royal Art Lodge website to explore more of his drawings, and those by his talented friends (many of the drawings are collaborations, and those are amazing as well) and if you have a chance, peruse one of his books, which are goldmines filled with all kinds of examples of his classic yet somewhat twisted drawings and paintings.

October 16, 2006

I love my crafty friends!

I know the pictures speak for themselves, but can I please talk about our friend Ellen's 50 States quilt for a minute?!?!?!? She finished it this weekend and we are soooooo impressed! First, by the fact that she managed to piece together all the states so perfectly. (Can you imagine adding a seam allowance onto a piece of fabric shaped like California?) Second, by the beautiful muted color palette, and third, all the incredible hand quilting! It looks so amazing, and I can't wait for the accompanying Hawaii and Alaska pillows.

Seeing other peoples' handiwork is so inspiring- I have a stack of fabric that is just sitting there waiting to be turned into a quilt, and I finally feel ready to embark on that project. Thank you Ellen for the inspiration! And congratulations on your cozy new quilt!

PS- if you're feeling inspired, check out the quilt kits we've got for sale in the shoppe. (So glad we can finally share this stuff now- it's been hard not being able to mention it the past couple weeks as we've been working to get the store open!)

October 14, 2006

October 13, 2006

Painfully Cute!

It was my birthday not that long ago, and my lovely in-laws bought me the 2nd Volume of the Wholphin DVD series put out by the fantastic folks over at McSweeney's. It's full of great short films, animated pieces, and "instructional" videos. This one called "Sour Death Balls" by Jessica Yu, is a personal favorite. Enjoy, Suckas!

October 05, 2006

Today's inspiration brought to you by the letter Z

I pulled our Andrea Zittel book off the shelf the other day and have been feeling so inspired by it. Everything from the environments to the furniture to the uniforms she creates are so amazing. I love her aesthetic, which is so clean and industrial, but also handcrafted. I love that her art is both practical and beautiful at the same time. And I love that she lives and works in Joshua Tree, which is on my short list of places to visit. (Can't believe I've never been there!)

A short Google search later, I was on her website, (zittel.org) which is really worth checking out, and lo and behold, she has a new blog! So far the postings are about driving through the desert and creating art installations there. Such a romantic life! A list of upcoming shows is posted in the "now" section of the site, and I was happy to see that her "Critical Space" show is coming to LA in the Spring, since we missed seeing it in New York before we moved.

Anyone want to plan a road trip to LA and Joshua Tree with me next year?

October 02, 2006

Best Gift Ever

We were doing some research on how to make a hollow book the other day, and it reminded me of the amazing gift Derek gave me for Christmas last year. It's a "French New Wave" kit, complete with false eyelashes, Chanel makeup and Lucky Strike cigarettes. Accompanied by a book about Fran├žois Truffaut and the "Band of Outsiders" DVD. How cute and crafty is that? And it's such a great gift idea! It seems like people are already thinking about the holidays, though they're over 2 months away. Time to start planning our holiday crafts, I guess! Maybe I can come up with a good theme for D and make one for him this year.

(Side note: I never expected that my husband would be the one to introduce me to a favorite new makeup product, but I am in love with and highly recommend the Chanel liquid eyeliner pen, the only item from the kit that I permitted myself to use. I wanted to keep it exactly how it was when I received it!)

Curiosity Guild Etching Workshop!

We had a ton of fun at yesterday's Curiosity Guild workshop "Itchin' To Get Etchin'". Thanks to all who participated! Everyone totally blew my socks off with their beautifully designed pieces, and I'm so glad noone took my advice to keep it simple! I wish we had more pictures to share, but as usual, we were too busy "ooh-ing" and "aah-ing" over everyone's crafty creations.
I would like to thank the anonymous vandal whose old tag on CG HQ inadvertently provided us with a very appropriate window treatment, as well as a good example of the many different uses of etching cream. Thanks Dude!