Betsy of Baddins Design and I made this bag together and it turned out great! Some time ago we got together and decided to collaborate on making a custom laptop bag for a mutual friend of ours. I think that now that the bag is done, it has turned out better than we originally envisioned!

It's somewhat hard to photograph - but if you look closely you can see the lovely stitchwork provided by Betsy!

Our design session was spent on the floor of my studio with nothing but this lovely bright red canvas, the grey seatbelt strap, some measurements and the New Kids on the Block. (No design session is complete without geeking out to dorky but upbeat music - right?)

The bag is made of double layered heavy canvas with a zippered foam insert to project the laptop when in use, or it can be removed for regular messenger bag like use. It's got about a gazillionino pockets for goodies and best of all - the flap was custom stitched with Betsy's signature thread doodles. 100% Lovely.
Now I just got to make me one =)


What a fun short week this has been. The art life has been rocking for the last few days and lately I've just been feeling "ON".

You know - when things just zing! click! fall into place?

There was an art sale, a commission, a new ongoing correspondence with another etsy artist, the next painting in the String series is almost done and last night I did Body Pump at the gym for the first time in over a year. I am SO happily sore today and can't wait to cruise back into the studio to finish that painting tonight.

One outcome of the week is that I'll soon be recieving this lovely lady pictured here. She is a handmade pin doll made by Jessica of the Doll Project.

"Avi had Always Wanted to Fly" is my very first Etsy Trade. I know my friend Betsy is an avid Etsy barterer but I had yet to try it by approaching other sellers. Turns out I didn't have to because Doll Project approached me! She sent a nice little convo just telling me how much she liked my "Rains it Pours" jacket and how she hoped it would still be available when she could afford it in June. I checked out her shop, totally fell for her thoughtful, expressionate dolls and I then replied with the offer to do a partial trade. I'm not normally much of a doll person but Jessica's work is just so artful - wonderful fine portraits of pondersome women in 3D form.
If I had spending money to kick into the trade
I totally would have gone for this lovely instead:

This Steampunk doll totally makes me think of first) the Bordertown books by Terri Windling and second) Burning Man which I know is totally because of the goggles (everybody has goggles on their head or around their neck at Burning Man because of the dust storms.)
Seems like the word "steampunk" is cropping up everywhere these days though - yesterday a steampunk collection even made the Etsy frontpage. Interesting indeed.
Happy creating this weekend - I know I will be!


How did I not know about Saelee Oh?

My oh my do I love her work! She is an artist after my own heart with her Renaissance ways. She paints, draws, does installations, paper cutouts, animations, woodwork and on and on and on and does not appear to have any sort of conflict of identity whatsoever.

My goal is to pull that off for myself with the same grace and ease!

Look at this lovely cutout - isn't it just amazing? I think it is all cut from the same piece of paper even. I know, I know - I'm a sucker for the graphic lines.

If you have no idea who I am talking about then please, enjoy these links:

Saelee Oh's Website

Interview with Saelee Oh on My Love for You is a Stampede of Horses


New Art on Website

Just in time for spring - I've updated my website with new art!
Next step: Working on getting some prints made to sell on Etsy. Any tips, tricks or ideas from you experienced printmakers out there? Print at home verses outsource? Rag verses glossy?
I would be super thankful for any bit of info to help me get started. Perhaps even a test print or two sent your way as thanks?
In the meantime, I have started work on the next set of paintings in what I'm now starting to think of as the String Series. Stay tuned for some spunky swans...


Funtime in Birthdayland

Birthday candles
Originally uploaded by Elena777

Yeppers - it's my birthday today. Hooray! I've been celebrating for days now so here on the actual day I'm feeling a little ordinary. Which of course I had to remedy by wearing the best skirt in the world - all turquoise and red and swirly made by my friend Betsy. Birthdays are made for feeling like a pretty princess right? Of course.

So I mentioned I had been celebrating for days - and I haven't made a post since then so here is what I've been up to:

Thursday - Happy hour party planning session at Twist which turned into a silly & happy night.
Friday - Meeting up with my best friend Katie to go see my housemate Aaron perform in two bands which were all increcibly fun. Tiny Manhood and Dance Music for Deppressed People. I'll be seeking both of them out again.
Saturday - Big Birthday Bash with food, music, dancing and the delights of Betsy's favorite drink, the Shandy - also known at the Dark & Stormy. Ginger beer & dark rum over lotsa ice - yum!
Sunday - A hung over, sun worshipping trip with friends to wander the Arboretum and see all the incredible rhododendron blooms - WOW! And then onwards to the shores of Lake Washington to soak it up while by 8 year old friend buried herself in the sand. A lovely day.
Monday - a day of rest while I guiltily thought about all the web updates I had planned to make over the weekend - but man guys - it was WAY too sunny to be anywhere near I computer. Here in Seattle you got to jump on those blessed rays!
Tuesday - Taken out to a special pre-birthday evening by Katie. We hit up happy hour at the Copper Gate in Ballard and then wandered Market street to sober up. I had wanted to check out Archie McPhee's, but sadly they had just closed. So instead we went and both spent more than we planned to at Sonic Boom. (Why does that always happen to me there? Must be a vortex I swear) Then, Katie introduced me to my new addiction - which I think she must have done to get me back for me introducing her to the delights of the Copper Gate - Miro Tea House. Yum! And the perfect cap to a delightful evening.
Today - My actual birthday - who knows? In theory Andy is taking me out which I'm sure will be a treat. Until then, my mind is full of heavy contemplation. My usual birthday sort. For me and especially the past few years, my birthday has been more of a New Years than January 1st. It just feels that way to me. This paticular birthday has me reeling - just from thinking of myself 10 years ago and remembering how I thought of 10 years in the future and how I just KNEW by the time I reached this age I would finally be me. Of course I would have figured it all out by the time I reached that OLD age =)

And you know? That girl 10 years ago wasn't too far off the mark.
A Happy Birthday it is. Cheers!



Detail of "Awaiting Spring" - Oil on Wood

It is strange how the collective unconscious works.

Case in point: On Wednesday, it was announced the polar bears are officially endangered due to lost territory and global warming. Well... duh! - but that is for a different post.

The evening before that global announcement, I had finally finished the painting pictured above that I started about two weeks ago - pretty much right after this post. It is following the same strand of oil on wood series that I started with "SeeLine Woman Dressed in Blue". And the content (in case you couldn't tell) is of the polar bears and their plight. Done in a beautiful way, but disturbing nonetheless. (FYI - The full image of "Awaiting Spring" along with a few other updates will be added to my website this weekend.)

The same day of the announcement I happened to stumble upon a new-to-me artist, Jen Renninger who is keeping a blog of daily images. What was the topmost image when I clicked over to her 365 blog?
You guessed it - a polar bear, also wrapped in strands. Very different images, but you see the semblance correct?

It is a strange strange connected web of a world we live in and I absolutely love it.


I Oppose the US Orphan Works Act

Have you heard about this? I only just did this morning when it was posted on Drawn! The Illustration and Cartooning Blog. Basically, the US Orphan Works Act will make it infinitely easier for scandals to STEAL the work of small time artists by allowing the free use of "orphaned" works. Basically, if the Orphan Works Act goes through, artists would have to register each and every thing they have created with a private party copyright registrar. OMG - you have GOT to be kidding me!!
This on top of all the other copyright nightmares going on out there?

Below, I've reposted the write up from Drawn! and here is the direct link to TAKE ACTION!

"By now many of you are already informed about the proposed Orphan Works Act being introduced to the U.S. house and senate. For those unaware, this legislation, if enacted, can effectively undermine and dismantle your existing copyright protection.
Currently, copyright is granted the moment a work is created. This new Orphan Works legislation proposes a change in U.S. copyright that would (indirectly) require artists, illustrators, photographers, and any creative individual to actively maintain and defend their copyright by registering each and every work with privatized registrars. Failure to do so would leave everything you’ve ever created as an artist up for grabs by anyone who wanted to copy, reproduce, create derivative works of, or flat out steal your work since the act defines an “orphan work” as any work where the author is unidentifiable or unlocatable, and applies to both published and unpublished works, U.S. and foreign, regardless of age.
This is completely contradictory with international copyright standards and is ethically, logistically, and financially bonkers.
The two bills are S.2913, the
Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008 and H.R.5889, the Orphan Works Act of 2008. Markup of the Bentley bill is this Thursday, May 15, and it’s not too late to voice your concerns.
Taking action to prevent this from happening is not only vital, but incredibly easy. U.S. citizens, simply fill out one of these
templates provided by the Illustrators Partnership and your opposition will automatically be e-mailed to your members of Congress.
Non-U.S. citizens can simply
FAX these letters to the various U.S. agencies’ numbers provided.
This affects all of us, so I encourage you to educate yourself with the facts. For more information, I’d recommend listening to this eye-opening
interview (MP3) with Illustrator Brad Holland, who describes in detail the effect this legislation will have on artists.
Illustrators’ Partnership of America has plenty more information on the Oprhan Works Act, how it affects you, and what you can do to fight it."
-Drawn! The Illustration and Cartooning Blog 5.13.08

Fun with Patterns

If you haven't seen it already, there is a FABULOUS post on Design*Sponge on how to make a repeating pattern. (Course, most Design*Sponge posts are fabulous!)

The tutorial is by Julia Rothman and her simple explanation of pattern making just inspiration power-zapped me. I actually remember doing very simple versions of this in grade school art class but completely forgot. Immediately after reading Julia's how-to I had to pop over to Photoshop and play with some images digitally - just for my own immediate wow effect. I'm sure I'm going to end up doodling a bit at home - already the ideas are sprouting...
Thanks Julia & Design*Sponge!


Mom Day at Bonneville

For Mother's Day weekend I headed outta town on the long drive south for what my Mom and I have made into somewhat of a tradition:
Treating each other to a day at Bonneville Hot Springs Resort!
The first time we went, I surprised her with the appointment and trip and everything... which of course got her hooked so we have gone for 3 years in a row.
It has become somewhat of a special pilgrimage due to a near death experience we had on our way to the resort last year involving Cape Horn lookout, a slick road and an oncoming logging truck. It is thanks to my Mom's quick reflexes at the wheel that sent us into the blackberry bushes INSTEAD of over the cliff.
So now, Mother's Day weekend has become a celebration of not just my Mom in my life and the wonderful relationship that we have - but also the celebration of still being alive together--- period!
Sounds like a pretty good excuse for an annual spa treatment to me!


Seattle Ferryboat Rides

Seattle Ferry Boat "Yakima" photo taken 5/8/08 from neighboring ferry boat

Yesterday, I determined that if I was forced to make a commute, I would chose to do so via ferry if at all possible. a) you can read, nap or journal b) unlike a bus, you can get up and walk around and last but not least, c) you can take a piss without the other passengers thinking that you are mentally unhinged.

AND to top it off - how else would you get to hang out with THIS lovely lady?

Yep - living in the NW with an easy access to ferry boat rides sure is sweet.

That was my Thursday - how bout yours?



Painting direct on kid's clothing is so much more fun and easy than painting direct onto adult clothing - I must admit!

I made a whole batch of these for my holiday shows last year and not only were they quite fun to make, but I've only got a few left. I got the onesies and shirts from the cotton caboodle kids outlet which is in the Market so these guys aren't recycled. But they are still rescued.

I've been refraining from posting the kid stuff to Etsy for 2 reasons. One is that they're freakin adorable and it sure is nice to have a quick stash for all the baby shower gifts I've needed recently! Two is that I don't have a wee one nearby to use as a cute Etsy model.
What do you guys think? Should I just list these without a model? (I would be at least be taking better pictures!)

These thoughts were brought to me today by my Mom who was going to look for a baby shower gift on her lunchbreak today - and I was like "Wait! I've got a stash!"


bARTer Sauce and the Joy of Swap

Rosalie of bARTer Sauce makes a trade with Rekoj

Last Thursday it was First Thursday Arts Walk which I wandered down to. For literally months I had been hanging onto the pair of red screaming guys with the intention of trading them at bARTer Sauce. The red screamer guys were found in the bushes by Marlo & I underneath the stairs of her studio one night. (If these are yours then sorry dude - you'll have to trade with the bARTer Sauce to get them back!)
What is bARTer Sauce you ask? It's this cool art trading experiment run by my friend Rosalie who I met through our Seattle Etsy Street Team group, EtsyRain. Rosalie is rad and she has a super great fun writing style. If this is the first you've heard of the bARTer Sauce craze that is sweeping Seattle then you certainly should head here to check it out.
Instead of having me write up a witty story of intrigue and espionage of how I came across the pair of red screamer guys, Rosalie sent me some pretty fun interview questions instead.
Please enjoy:
Q. You live in a cool building. Wanna tell me a little about it?

A. I live at the Apex Belltown Co-op http://www.speakeasy.org/~apex/ and I get a nice cheap room in exchange for being awesome and updating that website. Actually I get cheap "rent" anyways. It's not really rent because I'm actually 1/22 of an owner of the building. Bought into it when I moved here and then my "rent" covers neat stuff like electricity and dish soap. Totally sweet. It's set up like a dormitory (except we're all adults who do our dishes) with each person having their own room and then we all share kitchens, bathrooms and a couple of lounges. Including a rooftop deck with plants and water views and stuff. And hey! Guess what? There will be a new opening in July. Maybe another bARTer Sauce trader needs a cheap place in Belltown?
Q. Tell the good people of bARTer Sauce how you stole the best skirt in the world from me. And you know if you don't tell them, I will.

A. The best skirt in the world was made by my friend Betsy. At the last Punk Rock Flea Market Betsy had a momentary lapse of sanity because she was moving and doesn't everybody have lapses of sanity when they're moving? Anyways she decided she would sell a ton of her cool stuff for $5 to clean out her studio. I was sharing a table with her at PRFM and after we got all set up I spotted the skirt and said OMG this is an amazing skirt! And I handed her $5 just as Rosalie, who was at the next table over with UglyBaby Shower Art came around the corner also holding out $5. The skirt was already in my hands so I won. But then Rosalie made unveiled threats at me all day as I pranced around wearing the skirt. I was quite lucky to make it out of there alive. And now I can't wear the skirt without looking over my shoulder all the time... Last time I wore it I was in Port Townsend where I figured I would be safe.
(To read Rosalie's side of the skirt story click here!)
Q. Gimme the link to your Etsy Shop, your website and anything else you want the good people to know about

Q. Tell me about your painting on sweatshirts and how cool you are.

A. I hand paint funky line drawings on used clothing that I rescue from various places. The line drawings are like magic giving used clothes new life. I find a sweatshirt or a skirt that is nice but kinda plain just begging for some graphic and I give them just that. Viva la Line! I started drawing these stylized line drawings all over my school notebooks until I realized that my doodles could serve a better purpose than being hidden in my film lecture notes. So, being way too impatient and indescive to ever commit to a screen for printing, I figured out a way to paint direct on fabric with screen printing ink. The rest, as they say, is history!

Q. Tell me about your first kiss.

A. Ha! 3rd grade - Josh Sawyer - in the cab of my Dad's truck as he was driving us to see a movie and had to stop for an errand. Josh was the playground bad kid and the only reason he liked me is cuz I kicked his ass on the monkey bars playing chicken the first time we me. I think I pushed him away and stuck my tongue out at him. Then we went and saw Hook which is a rad movie.

Q. Tell me about the meanest thing you ever did in grade school.

A. Breaking Josh Sawyer's heart by telling him I didn't like Vanilla Ice and couldn't hang out at his house anymore cuz he wouldn't stop playing it. Other than that I was pretty nice kid...

Q. Tell me about the strangest dream you can remember having.

A. The night before my grandpa passed away I dreamed about sitting and talking with him over a cup of coffee in his old cabin he used to live in before my Mom was born. The next day when we found out he had died I totally got the heebie jeebies. Then I wrote a bad poem about it.

Q. Do you like potatoes?

A. Of course. They're tasty =)

Q. Do you high five?

A. Just last week. But I'm thinking of quitting. You know... giving up the habit before I get permanently addicted.

Q. If I told you that a homeless looking woman just showed two men her boobs right outside my window, would you believe me?

A. Totally believe you cuz I live on 1st Ave too and there is some crazy shit out there in this town.

Q. What's your favorite movie and what do you like so much about it?

A. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cuz they say words like "Cowabunga" and kick ass and stuff. Plus film escapism doesn't get much better than giant talking turtles. And yes - I know that I just revealed just how much of a geek I am. Cheers!

Q. Have you ever tried to write a novel?

A. Yep - in 7th grade I worked out a deal with my English teacher that instead of writing a short story every month he would let me write and turn in a chapter a month. I got pretty far with it too. Granted... it was written by a 7th grader...

Q. What was it about?

A. The story was about a parallel universe from ours where elves & humans were at war and my main character could speak to dragons so to utilize that talent he was kidnapped at a young age. Later on he brings peace between the races by traveling to our world for the key. Like I said - it was written by a 7th grader. Sweet huh? Way too much Tolkien early on methinks.If I was to write a novel now it would certainly be about a rock star. Or a girl who lives in a crazy co-op trying to make it as an artist at the same time that everybody else in her demographic is trying to "make it" as an artist too... not that I know anything about that.


Get on the Sunny Day Bus

Upon arriving in Olympia we spotted this lovely parked across the street from Andy's house.

I of course was big fan of the bra wearing cow skull. Andy almost had to stop from stealing it in front of his neighbors! I elected to take a picture instead.
The weekend was lovely - it's pretty hard to beat Olympia on a sunny day. After a fine dinner at the Mark on Saturday night (including delicious ginger cocktails which was the main reason Betsy wanted to go!) we awoke nearly well rested the following morning determined to eat breakfast at Quality Burritto. Which meant that we needed to kill a bit of time as they don't keep the earliest of hours. So we all took a walk to the Olympia farmers market which was full of color, life and sunshine.
Today, I've got an "I miss Olympia" hangover. Wandered through the Pike Place Market today on my lunch break to pick up a few groceries and grab some lunch and it just wasn't quite the same. Oly has a pretty special unique charm to it that just can't be replaced.
Oh sigh.


Pigtable and Horselamp

Last night...
on my way back from the Pioneer Square Arts Walk...
I spotted these...
and had no choice but to cross the street...
And take lots of bad window glare pictures...
I think I need the horse for my hallway. To clarify - yes - these are both LIFE SIZE!
It was late enough that I didn't even think to find out what store was selling these - but it was on Western between 619 Western Art Studios and the Market. Anybody know?
Arts Walk was fun fun per usual... though I actually didn't see much art this month. The evening was mostly filled with friends, pints & fries at the Owl n' Thistle. And then we parted ways and I mosied on down to STIR boutique where I FINALLY made a trade with Rosalie of bARTerSauce. (More on that soon!)
Weekend is nearly here thank ye Gods as I'm barely able to contain myself waiting to dive into my oil paints! My big hip Friday night plans? Oil painting oh yeah oh yeah!
My big hip Saturday Day plans? Yoga class and more oil painting oh yeah oh yeah!
Saturday night I'm even much more looking forward to as Miss Betsy of Baddins & I will be road tripping to Olympia for dinner, organic libations and good ol' Oly fun time as we visit with "my" Andy and I get to show off a bit of "my" town.
Ah weekends - they are OH so sweet!