Category Archives: Art

Springtime Greetings from the ‘Ville

Sometime last week I posted my status on Facebook indicating that if I wanted the precipitation and grey skies of the Pacific Northwest, I’d be living there. Nine solid days of cold,rain, and overcast skies was robbing me of energy, optimism and valuable early gardening time. My friend Lloyd, a Seattle resident, scoffed politely. “Only nine cloudy days in a row? Pfui!” or words to that effect. Geez, the weather gods even threw in a few frost warnings.

Behold a view of the back yard, snapped yesterday:

Yes, we’re swamped. I suppose I should be glad that it’s been so freakin’ cold, otherwise we’d be Malaria Central. But see that white glow on the water’s surface? It’s sunshine!

To quote the poet:

Come, fill the Cup, and in the Fire of Spring
The Winter Garment of Repentance fling

It’s still too cold for any garment flinging — I mean, kids this Easter Sunday are shivering in their hoodies, not strutting in their Easter bonnets — but man, those few fleeting hours of sunshine! Our hearts lifted, we climbed out of the dumps and the grumps, energy and optimism returned…

But as I write this today, the world’s glum again. We received the gift of a few hours of Easter sunshine, but now it’s all shades of grey. I try to remind myself that rainy Sweden has been named World’s Happiest Country, (Canada was #3, the USA #13)and that England’s green and pleasant land’s that way because it’s cold and damp.

Cheerier news from the ‘Ville: my friend Richard from Grand Rapids sent me this link.http://vintagraph.com/wpa-posters/general-wpa-posters/8907514 Isn’t this WPA poster fab, ‘Villians and non ‘Villians alike?

5 Comments

Filed under Art, Cheap and Cheerful Object of the Day, Home, The 'Ville, Worth it anyway

Boursin Boxes and Bliss

My readers have noticed , I’m sure, that I’m good at keeping myself entertained. Give me a piece of paper, half a pound of butter, a crochet hook, a yard of fabric or a book, and I’m all good. (In a couple of weeks a few package of seeds and a rake will keep me out of trouble until Memorial Day.)

Origami is my private place — it calms me, focuses my mind, satisfies my twin fondnesses for mystery and order. The mystery is trying to figure out how the hell anyway will I ever figure out the series of folds that emerge into a beautiful or practical object. The order comes from the knowledge that sometime, sooner or later, I will figure it out.

Saturday afternoon my fingers were twitching for a piece of paper and a challenge. I pulled Didier Boursin’s Advanced Origami from my bookshelf and decided that I’d try, for the seventieth time over a period of three years, to complete his Serving Dish. Biographical information on Boursin is scant — he’s a French architect and famous paper folder. His style is clean and modern and his fold patterns are, well, different. I’ve loved his work since I found it four years ago and I’ve wasted reams of paper trying to get it right. (By the way, my  piece on Boursin’s origami wallet is the most viewed post ever on this blog, so I’m not Didier’s only fan girl!)

Reader, I did it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love this little box so make, and was so relieved that I’d finally done it, that I tried to attempt two other boxes from Advanced Origami.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love these triangular boxes so much I’m going to post another picture. Humor me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was blissed out enough at my progress, and my boxes, to risk one more model I’d never completed before — this cunning cube box. You make two identical cubes, but there’s a tricky and satisfying series of folds that locks the inner box into the outer box — it opens by pulling opposite corners. It’s cool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not preening — there are at least forty more forms in the book I may figure out before I draw Social Security. Mais, merci M. Boursin for two hours of  perfect peace.

 


 

5 Comments

Filed under Art, Books, How Cool is That?, Into the Mystic, Less than 50 cents, Origami, Paper

Site of the Day: Photofunia.com

See dat? Folks are walking through an art gallery enraptured by photos of me and my family. That was in Santa Monica last year, and yes, there’s a seventy dollar catalogue of the show you can buy on line.

Not! It’s an example of the photo mash up fun you can waste weeks at if you call up http://photofunia.com/

Wanna see yourself on a billboard, a stamp, a watercolor sketch, Lara in Dr. Zhivago furhatted, staring out a train window? As Santa Claus? Inserted into a Klimt painting?

On a hundred dollar bill? Made from Lego?  Hee — as the star of one of those dreadful Motivational posters that anyone who’s done time in a cubicle will snarl at till they die?

Now, geeks, I know this is kindergarten stuff — my son-in-law was probably creating things like this in tenth grade. But for the rest of us, it’s so cool to see your picture on a billboard over Times Square!

Have fun.

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Free, HeeHee, How Cool is That?, Site of the Day

Twenty Second Tulip

My cold whomped my week. I remember a couple of trips to Walgreens for OTC meds that did exactly jack, blinding coughing jags and ears that haven’t cleared since I walked onto the tarmac two Thursdays ago. Oh yeah, there was that awesome Cooks Illustrated coffee cake I made a week ago.

What crushed me was my lack of ambition. Blog? Eh, about what — Kleenex? Start that apron I’m so excited about — a commission? Sorry, Janice, much as I’ve longed for my sewing machine, the thought of standing at the table, pinning and cutting seemed as likely as running a 5K. Pitching that book idea? Puhleeze.

I got comfy on the couch with John Le Caree,  Laurie R. King and Margaret Maron. It sounds like more fun than that it was.

I found a lovely thing, only two days ago, when I could lift my eyes to the stack of mail on the hutch : a teeny magic package of origami paper — maybe an inch and a half square. He said:  “Um, I think Priscilla sent it to you.”

Today I felt well enough to eat apple pancakes and sausage. I still can’t hear and cough too much, but I took on The Times Sunday puzzle, and played with those adorable paper squares. This tulip model has many creators, the stem’s from Gay Merrill Gross’s Minigami.

My pix are so bad that that these tulips might take you more than twenty seconds, the first time. I’ve included the stem pattern, but if you don’t want to fuss, pull out your green pencil crayon and draw your stem and your leaves.

 

 

 

 

Fold the square in half horizontally, then turn one side up slightly higher than the original point. Fold the left side up to match.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flip the flower over and fold in the points.

Turn it over, et voila: tulip. Twenty second tulip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the stem: use a bigger square than you used for the tulip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fold the paper in half, then unfold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turn the sides into the fold line, then do it again:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is fun: fold the bottom point up :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then fold the model in half vertically, left to right. This is fun too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then flatten it, and pull the stem out to the right. Stem and leaf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you grab a glue stick and a blank card what do you get? A card with a tulip pasted on it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I like it. Thank you, Priscilla.

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under About a buck, Art, Cheap and Cheerful Object of the Day, Cool Japanese Stuff, Origami, Paper

Shine on, Bright and Mysterious Objects

Laurie Colwin, wherever you’re lounging in Literary Valhalla — forgive me for bastardizing one of your best titles.

I’d planned to rent some skates today and ask Daddy to take some pix of me falling on my can as I attempted to glide along the beautiful Rideau Canal. Again God said “Hah! Not so fast, sister! ” and encouraged me to run a shopping cart over my left pinky toe. It resembles a baby eggplant and I can barely get my shoes on, let alone a skate. Perhaps it was Her way to remind me that I haven’t done the Hans Brinker thing for thirty years, and that a swollen toe heals faster than a broken leg.

So much for today’s plans, skate-wise and blog-wise — time to move the photography inside.I thought I’d share some of the objects from my parents’ silver collection and run a small contest. Some of them you’ll recognize and some may be mysterious. I’ll send a prize, made by moi, to anyone who achieves 100% identification of the mystery objects. None of today’s shiny things are the oldest or most valuable in the collection — they’re mostly Edwardian — but I love them. They’re mad cheerful, and for me they’re free;I get to use them and I didn’t pay a single pound sterling.

Here’s a snap of most of them to give you an idea of the scale:

 

 

 

 

 

I love engraving. Here I’m an Anglo Indian military bride:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I want to run out and buy Jordan almonds, licorice allsorts and wine gums to fill the little pans! The hallmarks indicate that it was made in Chester in 1908. The inscription reads:

Presented To

Capt. and Mrs. Farley

by

The NCOs & Men Of

“E” Company

2nd North Stafford Rgmt.

Peshawar India 1910

On the Occasion of Their Wedding

I can’t provide the date and provenance of this basket of beauty because I’d have to root around to find Daddy’s copy of Tardy’s. It continental and clever– each cup sits on a little peg so that the maid can’t jiggle the soft-boiled eggs about on the way to your breakfast table.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve never seen such a pretty piece of tea strainer engineering as this: The baskets turn to the horizontal when it’s time to strain a new cup, so that you can dump the leaves efficiently. Again, I’d have to find Tardy to check out the German marks. (I’ve hooked it over an epergne handle to give the general effect.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now I’ll move into the Mystery Item round. Number One, from Birks, a Canadian silversmith. It’s about seven inches long.

 

 

 

Number Two (Chester 1904)may be my favorite of the group because it’s just so plain weird. I’m sorry about the crappy picture ; when I decided to reshoot I found my battery was dead. You might want to consult the group shot above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Number Three, Birmingham, 1902.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, as they say, enter to win a Valuable Prize! And pray for me — I’ve been so accident prone I’m afraid I’ll fracture a finger flossing my teeth!

13 Comments

Filed under Art, Body, Cheap and Cheerful Object of the Day, Collections, Giveaway, History, Home, Incredible Edible Egg, Worth it anyway

Six Second Origami Santa

Maybe even a four second Santa. He’s kinda of a mid-century Mies Santa, all elegant angles. I decorated my Christmas cards will him a few years ago, and because I’m not thrilled with my card design this year I’m feeling nostalgic.

You just might have some red wrapping paper lurking — if so use it. There’s no reson to spring bucks for origami paper unless, like me, it’s irresistible to you. It looks best in a smallish size — an eight inch square is too big.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step One: Paper white side up. I’ve penned a dot on the upper left hand corner and half way down the right hand side for explanatory reasons — you wont need them. Fold the left corner over  to the halfway spot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2: Fold the paper backwards on a line between approx. 1/5 up on the right hand side and 1/3 up on the left hand side. It will look like this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step Three: It will look like this. Now turn it to the right and ta-dah!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hat, beard, bag and everything.

(Original folder Paula Versnik)

1 Comment

Filed under Art, Cheap and Cheerful Object of the Day, Less than 50 cents, Origami, Paper

Cheap, Cheerful, Paper, Thread and Useless…

… so of course I love it.

It’s a garland made from two inch paper circles, a dab of a glue stick, it’s folded, then sewn. I don’t remember where I got the idea from, but I remember that the prototype was all glue, no thread. Any symmetrical shape works  I’m particularly fond of a 3D Christmas tree I dreamed up, but it must have rolled under a piece of furniture after being batted about by a cat.

The only tiny snag is that the paper needs to be colored on both sides to produce a truly festive object, and because two-sided origami paper is pricey I glued two sheets of foil Christmas wrap together before I cut out the circles.

If the paper’s thin, cut out seven circles — if not, five will do. Fold each in half, then stack them.

This was, in fact, made from duo origami paper. Straighten the stack and sit down in front of the trusty machine, (It was welcoming a change from aprons.)

Sew through all layers along the center fold line. Now comes the magic part. Open each leaf, and arrange them to form a paper globe.

To firm up the globular shape, glue two of the leaves together. Or, what a swell idea for a pop up card — just glue two adjacent leaves to either side of the fold.

What can I say, it’s been a quiet week here in the ‘Ville.

3 Comments

Filed under Art, Cheap and Cheerful Object of the Day, How Cool is That?, Less than 50 cents, Needlework, Paper