Monday, August 24, 2009

Waste Not.

Inspired by Project 90, I have emptied the contents of one of my junk jars to see what was inside.
I have always kept a junk jar. I find that large mouth jars work really well for throwing the small random doodads you have laying around into. It makes them somewhat visible for when you need to find that little something, but contains them so they're not lost all over your room!

Most of the knickknacks in this jar, I will probably never need or use again, but like Song Dong's mother and her belief in the Chinese concept of wu jin qi yong, or "waste not," I am just not ready to part with them. Most everything can be repurposed in some way and maybe one day, I will empty this jar again, in search of a tiny monkey, and there it will be! For now I like it displayed in a jar.

I had a little too much fun looking through the junk jar, so I pulled down another jar from the top of my shelves. My zipper jar...

... and I played with them, making some patterns...

I enjoy lining things up! Must be why I studied graphic design in college.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

in "the collection"

I have accumulated a lot of small stuff. I buy little things at flea markets, I find trinkets on the street— and so does Ashley. We are mini junk collectors and both of us have been our whole lives. It might run in both our family's. Anyway, this is one of our small collections. We call it "the collection" referring more to the letterpress drawer itself because the collection doesn't end here...

the little dolls.

A strange twisty tie person I found on the street in the east village and two vintage Liddle Kiddle dolls I bought at the Stormville Flea Market probably in like 7th grade. Now Mattel makes an updated vision of these minis and I picked one up at a Walmart while going cross country this summer.

The originals are so much cooler.

This is the smallest handmade clay doll I think I have ever seen—it's about an inch small. She's got a hand-painted face, curly thread hair and a little lace dress. I was kind of obsessed with it when I was a kid. I picked it up at this dollhouse store I use to make my folks stop at every time we went to Vermont. I could spend hours there.

I think my mom got this tiny porcelain baby doll for me there too.

There are a few weapons in the collection as well:

All are Ashley's. What a boy collects verses what a girl collects—go figure.

A combination of Ashley's and mine; some cameras, a walkman, camcorder & film recorder. Some vintage locks, with and without keys.

Ashley was really excited when he found these. Bought at the Avenue A flea market, he paid more than he would normally for these, but only like $4 a piece. They fold to be about 3 inches. Also displayed in the collection.

And much more where that came from...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

under the light.

Under an old florescent desk lamp on a shelf in my bedroom is one of my collections. The dead thing jars.

An adult bird, found in Brooklyn in the front on my old house.

A mouse, caught by my boyfriend Ashley's cat and left as a present on the doorstep of his parent's house. He saved it for me.

What started the collection over a decade ago—my Chinese Crested Powder Puff, Merlot's castration. The vet saved his balls for me.

An albino frog I call the "dancing frog" that I found dead in a tank at the pet store. I got it for free.

A friend of my Betta fish that didn't last more then a day with him. I found it after work under the credenza dried up like a fish chip.

My best friend Nicki's Chinatown red-eared slider turtle that didn't make it.

Two more presents from sweet Joejoe Noel, left at the doorstep on the same afternoon. A mole and a mouse.

A hatchling found on the sidewalk in Park Slope Brooklyn. It was covered in ants, but the alcohol took care of that.

A beautiful canary that got lost on-set after a pet segment. It was found a few days later when Aaron mistook it for a Christmas ornament. He put it in a brown paper lunch bag and left it on my desk.

A crab that one of my mom's nursery school kids bought to class. Mom took it to return it to the ocean but it didn't make it.

Nicki's second turtle didn't make it either.

Next to the exposed graveyard is a prayer for the animals.
No animals were harmed for this blog post.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

memory of a trip cross-country.

This past June, I had my first cross-country adventure moving Melissa from California back home to New York. I recommended we take the southern route but only because I had one thing in mind... petrified wood.

I kind of thought we would be stopping a lot, but once you start driving, it's hard to stop. You see something and think there'll be more, telling yourself the next one, the next one... and then you're in another state. So we pass right by what I was waiting for.

But we did stop at this Navajo shop off the route in bumble New Mexico. It was colorful and I screamed to pull over.

A great setting for pictures. Sean took some on film. I took about 100 digital.

And then we walked up to the store and what do you know! There it was! Petrified Wood!

Melissa jumped for joy for me! Yay!

So I snagged a little piece as a token and when we finally got home two weeks later, I wanted to make something with it. I went up to Metalliferious and searched for a sterling cap that would fit on the end and dazzle my tiny fortune. It didn't fit perfectly so I filed the top a bit with a good old emery board, inserted it into the end cap with 527 cement bond and now I've got myself a New Mexican petrified wood charm!

I strung it on a chain and added a silver feather that I also grabbed from Metalliferious for a dollar or so and piece of turquoise (from a old necklace my mom gave from when she was young) that I tangled a bunch of chain through—to almost appear like a knot.

I like it, it's random. I've been wearing it all summer.

Monday, August 10, 2009

BeDazzled? NO! Studded.

Did you BeDazzle that yourself? No I studded it... by hand.
A plain old Coach purse that Melissa picked up for me at the Pasadena flea market was dying for some attention and boy did it get some. 8 hours of non-stop pricking, poking, and pronging and this baby is now a stud!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

shopping in line for coffee?

So I've been back at work with Martha since Monday and I thought it would be nice to start my first day back with a giant iced coffee from Starbucks—I also needed some waking up! Well as I was on line for my regular iced-grande-in-a-venti-cup (I like a lot of soy milk), I spotted this colorful tote rolled up in a basket.

I loved the pattern and wasn't surprised to see that it was "African, handcrafted to celebrate and share their culture." Makes me think of Jane Goodall, Flo, and Freud and how amazing Africa must be.

I yearn for a visit there... but in the mean time I have a great new lunch tote for $12.95 that will "connect me to the community of artisans who are working to create a better life for themselves and their families. The vibrant patterns symbolize insight and sustenance through human effort." I like that.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

"S" is for Sean

Finding a perfect birthday present for someone is sometimes quite tricky. When you're having a hard time finding the right thing, sometimes it's better to just make something... or have something made.

Melissa was struggling to find the perfect necklace for her boyfriend Sean. Jewelry for a boy is usually hard to find—well actually, good jewelry for a boy is hard to find. So I suggested she have something made, but what? It was then that she pointed to a jar on my shelf full of old letterpress letters—maybe there's an "S"?

An "S" indeed. Melissa thinks Sean will like this, so now it needs to be cast...

First a rubber mold is made from the original steel letter.

Then it is injected with wax, which creates an exact duplicate of the original. A hole was drilled through the wax piece so that the final cast could hang as a charm.
The wax piece is then cast in plaster that is fired in a kiln, causing the wax to melt and essentially evaporate, making this process a "lost" wax casting.

Melissa chose to cast the charm in sterling silver, so melted silver is poured into the plaster mold which is then placed in a bucket of water that breaks down the plaster and reveals the sterling piece. The final step is polishing.

Outcome: a shiny, truly original gift!

After just a few days of wearing the necklace, the sterling is worn in and seems like it has been around Sean's neck forever.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Industrial Felt Cases.

I have always been drawn to industrial felt. The commercial grey color, the dense natural wool texture, the sturdiness, how aesthetically generic it is... but what for? Apartment therapy comments nicely, "Soft, raw, sort of dumb, cheap, felt is the outcast of the textile world and finds its home with children or under the housing of a jet engine."

So, when I got my laptop almost a year ago, I did indeed discover a good use for it. An industrial felt laptop case.

It not only stores and protects the laptop but works as a sort of lap tray for when it gets all hot from using it.

So that was working out and then I had an accident with my camera floating loose in my purse and I made another industrial felt case. Custom fit for my Canon PowerShot S80.

And then I noticed Melissa's boyfriend, Sean, storing his iphone in an old, dirty, white sock in his backpack when he was skating, so I thought I would make him a case too.
Okay, here goes...

And here it is...
a protection pocket for those expensive electronics you use everyday.
Oh boy, what fun stuff! And I am sure I will find other uses for it too besides these cases. Brainstorming right now...