Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The summer issue of Audrey

So I just got a PDF of my Steve Byrne piece that appeared in the summer issue of Audrey. And I have no way of posting it here. (Scans are okay, but they really don't compare to PDFs.)

But I will post it soon: on my new website. My goal is for the site to go live by the end of summer. I hope you'll all come visit me there!

In other news, I’m working on my part of a “he said/she said” column for the fall issue. It has been a blast to write the column — if only because I got to revisit the relationship in my mind. I know — I do plenty of that anyway!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Beth and the gnome

Yesterday we celebrated Beth’s 50th birthday. Gail and Jim, Beth and Doug's neighbors, hosted a shindig at their house. They roasted chickens on a spit and served up frozen margaritas poolside while their very large dog, Gus, looked on but did not eat the chickens.

After dinner, Doug cranked up the Lady Gaga for the gift opening. The pageantry started with a boa and tiara from the ladies in the neighborhood. Like Beth, they're avid runners, so they also put together a footcare-themed gift. (I loved the nail clippers with the attached magnifying glass.)

I wanted to make her a piece of jewelry and decided on a bracelet with 50 beads. Doug gave me the idea for the palette; he said she likes blue, purple, and magenta, “the way the clouds look at sunset.” I like these berry shades, too — or as Beth calls them, “bruise colors.”

Marilee also presented the gnome. He has traveled a lot (and has even been to a Brewer game). Whether he gets passed along quietly or amid fanfare, his handlers always make sure he shows up at his scheduled appearances. Colleen pointed out that he's actually a statue of one of the Marx brothers (Harpo, I think, not Karl) — but everyone refers to him as “the gnome.” It seems fitting.

It was a really fun night, hanging out with the tennis gang and Beth's neighbors. Good food, good people, and perfect summer weather before a night of thunderstorms.

Cheers to Beth!

P.S. The photo of Doug and Beth is a late addition. The evening was a flurry of movement, and Doug felt that his photographic likeness should be included. So here he is. (Sorry Doug, the other photo is of the back of your head.)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Steven James is saving our oceans

I wanted to give kudos to my friend Steven James: He’s a finalist in the Save My Oceans plastic upcycle contest.

For his winning entry, he made beads from plastic two-liter bottles — a toaster oven was also involved — and strung them in this bracelet. It's both ocean-friendly and reminiscent of the ocean. Nice!

Though they weren't entries in the contest, I also love the rings he made from bottle caps.

Steven is always doing creative projects (like making a lampshade from slides), so it's no surprise that the Craft crew is giving him recognition for his MacGyvering. Check out his Flickr photos for more backstory on how he comes up with these ideas.

By the way, he also loves dogs and their hijinx. Here's a Pez dispenser he rehabbed after Spoon did a number on it. (What is it with dogs and plastic?)

Anyway. A hearty congrats, Steven! You're my favorite upcycler — you really know how to turn everyday stuff into something beautiful.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Oh no, Papa: not the chocolate donuts!

Spoiler alert: There’s some gross stuff in here. So you may want to stop reading and instead just enjoy this photo of Pops enjoying a Frosty Paws frozen treat.

Okay, you were warned…

A couple of weeks ago, I came home from work to find two piles of black sludge.

I’d never seen anything like it: dark, solid, smeared into the living room carpet. A Papa ganache.

Turns out she had eaten 11 chocolate donuts at my parents’ house.

Luckily I had already scheduled an appointment with the vet. (Pops had been panting and limping a lot.)

Sidebar: The donuts were in my parents’ kitchen. My mom hid them under some noodles and said, “These are not for you,” before closing off the kitchen and leaving for a doctor’s appointment. So mayhem ensued.

The vet says Pops appears to be in otherwise decent shape: clear lungs and only a bit of a click in her front left elbow. She got some charcoal to absorb any leftover chocolate and was fine.

My carpet, however, required more attention. Lotsa chemicals and scrubbing. Oh, no.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hart Fest

On Saturday, Addie and I served beer at Hart Fest. When we started our shift, the sun was shining and the crowd was mellow — mostly families and people with dogs.

The night was by turns fun and harrowing: the spillover from the foamy High Life made for challenging maneuvering to the cash drawer. But our crew of Tosa East grads, parents, and teachers laughed it off.

By the time Addie and I left (11:00? 11:30?), we had mud- and beer-crusted feet. And we hadn't actually drunk any beer.

Also, Scott tried to give my XL t-shirt a Def Leppard look by cutting holes in it.

“You’ll get at least three or four compliments on that,” he said.

He was wrong.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Bead and Button Show: Soldering, shopping, and socializing

My Bead and Button Show week was something of a blur.

It started with Kim St. Jean’s Three Ring Circus class. Kim knows how to explain the physics of soldering in a fun and low-key way — she's a great teacher. Can you believe I soldered earrings, a bangle, and a worry ring in just a few hours?

Throughout the week, I shopped: metal flowers, Lucite flowers, chain, handmade polymer clay beads from Heather Powers — she brought one gnome, and I got him!, silver squares from Ands Silver.

(A brief sidebar: I'm not very good at thinking in grams, so if you have any tips on how to guesstimate weight when buying Thai silver, let me know. This would be a helpful skill to have.)

I also had time for fun stuff like dinner with Steven James. We've been friends since his Beadissimo days, and it was nice to catch up over burgers at Elsa's. Steven taught four classes and still had time to play with Papa and help me make earrings for my demo.

Sunday morning I met up with Kirsten (who, by the way, always has cool chain at Kipuka Trading). We had coffee at Starbucks while Yeshi relaxed in his rolling bag. He likes to chortle — maybe to show off his adorable underbite. He was totally at ease on the show floor, curling up and napping through the noise and activity.

It was a busy, productive week. Now, though, I'm ready for some rest!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Coach Wooden

Of course I didn't know him, but didn't John Wooden feel a bit like he was everyone's coach?

Now, with his passing, I'm taking the time to find out more about him. I just checked out the Pyramid of Success on his website.

The most inspirational building block? Intentness.

John Wooden started coaching at UCLA in 1948. He said that they worked hard each hour, day, week, and season — and didn’t win a championship the first 14 years. But then they won in the 15th year. And the 16th, and eight more times in the next ten years.

I never knew this, that it took a long time for him to achieve success as measured by championships. I’d thought of him as someone who always had the results. Then again, he didn’t seem like he defined success only in terms of wins.

Wooden said, “Intentness doesn’t involve wanting something. It involves doing something often for a very long time.” That seems like a good thought for the season, and beyond.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Steve Byrne in Audrey magazine

A bit of publishing news: My web extra, Byrne, Baby, Byrne, is now up at Audrey magazine's website. You can also pick up the summer issue for my writeup of Steve in their “Personalities” section.

I had a blast at the show and can't wait to see it again!

Many thanks to Todd Porter, who shot the photos from the show (including this one), and my sister, Yukie, who shot the interview photos. A side note: Todd and Diane write a blog, White on Rice Couple, about their adventures in cooking, gardening, traveling, and photography. So check that out, too!