Thursday, November 21, 2013

Something not-so art related....sort of.

I'd rather be able to face myself in the 
bathroom mirror than be rich and famous.

In a way, this is going to be a not-so-art-related blog entry. Although I had to cringe a bit after writing that because the woman who I am writing about is one of the most inspirational artists I have even seen in person.

A couple of weeks ago I caught wind that Ani Difranco was coming to town to play a show. Growing up, I have always loved her music. This may not be surprising to those who know me well (especially who knew me in high school.) I was a very...unique....teenage. I never followed the crowd. Not only did Ani inspire me to find myself in my own feminism journey, but she inspired me in my music.

In 2006 I saw Ani live in Providence, and at that moment, witnessing this 4'11" woman on stage (whom, I might add, is the same height as me) I was inspired to take my music to the next level. Shortly after I decided to apply to Berklee College of Music. This was the only college I applied to in high school. It was Berklee or Bust! Luckily, I was accepted. Although I only stayed at Berklee for a short period of time, I still have to admire Ani Difranco for the inspiration she instills in others.

Ok, now that I got sidetracked and blabbed on about my admiration for her (and yes, I do have a woman-crush on her), back to my story. After I caught wind that she was coming to town I decided, less than 3 days before the concert, that I was going to buy tickets to her show! I only had enough money to buy 1 ticket other than my own. I went through the list of all the people who are closest to me. But I finally stopped at my father. My father, John, is one of the most inspirational people I've ever met. My father encouraged me throughout my whole life to be my own person and follow my dreams. When everyone else told me I couldn't, my father told me to prove them wrong. My father taught me to question everything, and to form my own opinion. And, although I may hate to admit it, I am a spitting image of my father. My father was the one who taught me to play guitar. He would sit in my room with me for hours on end teaching me how to listen to every note of a song, and how to mimic it on the guitar. He's the one who went out and bought me a brand new Martin acoustic guitar once I got accepted to Berklee. And when I decided to leave, he wiped my tears and told me "well...that's just not for you, but something else will come along".

So as a way to thank my father, I bought him a ticket...without forewarning him mind you. The next morning I went up to him and said "hey dad! Do you have any plans on Thursday night? No? Well we are going to a concert together." This threw my father through a loop and he instantly responded by saying "Uhhhhh why don't you take your mother?!". My father is, in a way, an introvert. He lived in a house full of women for 30-some-odd-years, and unfortunately he was never the first one my sister and I ran to for a parent date night. In fact, I believe I haven't had an evening out with my father since the father and daughter dances we went to in elementary school together. So, somewhat hesitantly, my father agreed. 

Now, my father is very liberal. In fact both of my parents are. They are very loving and accepting people. But I felt like I had to warn my father of the "Ani Crowd". If you have ever been to an Ani Difranco Concert than you know exactly what I'm talking about. He half-shrugged it off telling me I was worrying to much. When the doors open and we took our seats we found out that Buddy Wakefield would be opening for Ani. I'm not a huge spoken-word fan (at all) and I never really heard any of his stuff. But I thought to myself "It's poetry...I mean really how bad could it be?" Well, you should have seen the look on my fathers face when Buddy decided to tell the audience that "This poem is for Steve!" and that "Steve likes to stick his boner into my butt hole", then proceeded to go on talking about God and Religion. All I could think to myself at this point was "OH DEAR GOD! WHAT AM I TAKING MY FATHER TO?!" But luckily my pop was a good sport. He laughed all the awkwardness off. When Melissa Ferrick came on my father became more relaxed and started to enjoy the music.

But....when Ani came on....everything changed. My fathers face completely lit up. He couldn't stop smiling. He was constantly turning to me saying "Wow!!! She's so talented!!!" Then I father finally understood my obsession over her. Not just because she's an amazing bad ass political chick! But because this girl has some amazing talent! My father and I then started bonding over her talent. "Wow dad did you hear that augmented chord?! That's so cool how she just threw that in there". My father would turn to me and say "What is she tuned to?! Do you know?" and I would say "Definitely open G. Look at how she puts tape on her fingers to muffle the notes".

This was the first time in YEARS that my father and I bonded over something so strongly. Our relationship has been rocky for the past 3-4 years or so. But once the concert was over, we walked out with his arm over my shoulder and I felt like a 6 year old elementary school girl who just finished going to the best father and daughter dance of her life. I couldn't be more thankful for my father. We may fight and argue and scream and curse at each other. But we are exactly alike. I'm stubborn, moody, emotional, passionate and impetuous, and I have to thank him for that! To me, all of these "bad" traits make me who I am. I am proud that I am honorable and loving. I love the fact that I'm thick-headed and stubborn. And I love the fact that I am my fathers daughter. So many times I've had people say "You're just like your father" if that's something to be ashamed of. But all those people can go to Hell. No man will ever compare to my father. 

So to wrap this mush-fest up, thank you Ani Difranco for once again making my life a little bit better. I'll never forget the Ani Difranco concert that I went to with my FATHER! And he certainly will never forget it either!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Baby Blanket for Baby C!

"A baby is a little bit of heaven on earth"

I've ALWAYS wanted to make a baby blanket, but never had a baby to make it for. When my boyfriend's friends recently had their baby I thought it to be the perfect opportunity to start knitting my little hands to the bone. I have to admit though that I hate "baby" colors. Pink for girls and blue for boys. Who cares? A baby isn't going to be like "Woah hey now, I can't use this blanket man. The color is totally off!" So....I put my own little earthy twist on the blanket. I made the body of the blanket light grey, with a gold border and then bright knitted flowers going along one side. It took quite some time, but I'm so happy with the outcome and I was very excited to give the blanket to baby C's parents last night. I hope this is a blanket that baby C will grow into and love for years and years to come!

Miss Purl was a little sad to see the blanket leave!

I found the pattern for the flowers on the internet a few years ago when I knit a hat for my sister. I can't remember where I found it, but heres the pattern for all you crafty little knitters out there!

Cast on 4 sts leaving 3" tail
Row 1: (RS) Knit in front and back of first stitch (increasing one stitch), k3 (5sts).
Row 2: Knit in front and back of first stitch (increasing one stitch), p4 (6sts).
Row 3: Knit in front and back of first stitch (increasing one stitch), k5 (7sts).
Row 4: Knit in front and back of first stitch (increasing one stitch), p6 (8sts). Cut yarn and leave sts on needle, leaving 2-3" tail.
Make 4 more petals (casting on the first four sts on the needle holding the prior petals).

Don't cut the yarn after making the fifth petal.
Row 5: Join petals by knitting 40sts. Anchor tails as you go along.
Row 6: (P2tog) across (20 sts).
Row 7: (K2tog) across (10 sts).
Row 8: (p2tog, p3 tog, p2tog, p3tog) (4 sts).
Cut yarn leaving a 10-inch tail. Thread yarn onto tapestry needle and run through the four sts. Pull tight and anchor thread. Continue with same thread (on purl side) and sew open edges of 1st and 5th petal together loosely. Work thread back to center of flower.  Fasten off and cut thread close to the flower.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Feeling Nostalgic

“How quick and rushing life can sometimes seem, when at the same time it's so slow and sweet and everlasting.”

My birthday was this past October, and as a gift DK got me a negative scanner. Ever since I was a wee little girl, I have always loved photography. I used to admire my mothers photography (although they were just spontaneous family photographs) and I always wanted my own camera. My mother bought me my own camera when I was about 11 or 12. Of course back then, everything was film, and during the creative adventures of my teenage years, I took most of our old family photographs, glued them to my bedroom wall, and could never get them down. We've moved since then, and I'm pretty sure that wall has been torn down, which means all those family photographs are destroyed. Luckily, my mother is as much of a hoarder as I am, and she made sure to save all the negatives! 

Needless to say this digital negative scanner has become a bit of an addiction for me. It's amazing to come across old memories that I forgot existed, and some I never even lived through.

My older sister and I at our old house.

My beautiful, and sassy sister. I don't even know if I was born yet when this was taken!

One of the best cats I ever had. Kiki, how I miss you!!

Self Discovery Through my Paintings.

“It takes courage to endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.” 

I think I can accurately say that I'm a very selfless person. I love making other people happy, and I constantly put others before myself. I'm not sure if that's totally healthy, but it works for me and my lifestyle. However, through my painting I've done some self-discovery that has shocked me slightly. 
* Firstly, I have a secret talent for painting with watercolors that I never knew existed. I have tried in the past to paint with acrylic and hated it. I couldn't manipulate the paint the way I wanted to. One day I had this urge to try out watercolors. I've always been drawn to the look of watercolor paintings, so I figured "Hey, why the hell not?". 
* Secondly, I really only like to paint at night. I'm a bit of an insomniac. I often have trouble falling asleep unless I'm SUPER tired. I'm not sure if this is why I only like to paint at night, but I think painting definitely helps me relax. I guess it's like having someone sign you a lullaby to fall asleep.
* Thirdly, I am INCREDIBLY selfish with my paintings. I've discovered, to my shock and amazement, that I hate painting for other people. I mean, I really despise it. I don't like being told what to paint. I don't like having a time-limit on my paintings. And honestly I don't like having the pressure of peoples judgement put on me. 
Now....just because I don't like painting for other people doesn't mean that I won't, or haven't. But I can definitely tell that the quality of my art is significantly lowered when I have to paint for someone else. I think this is because I don't get to pick out what I want to paint. So my heart just isn't in it. I have to push myself when I paint for other people. I have to say "Ok girl (yes I say Ok girl to myself), time to sit down, pick up your paint brush and get this over and done with.". I hate feeling like my art becomes a chore. But sometimes that's the case. I guess that's with everything in life though.
I'm hoping if I keep painting for other people then it will squash this negativity that I have towards it.

The second watercolor painting that I have ever done was for my mom. My intentions were good. She loves frogs, and I love making her happy, so I decided to paint her a frog. All-in-all, for my second-ever painting it came out pretty good. But in my eyes I know I didn't try my hardest. I could have done so much better.

I decided to put my signature in the eye. I hate when an artists signature takes up half the painting!

Preparing for a winter of crafting

"Successful organizing is based on the 
recognition that people get organized 
because they, too, have a vision."

One thing I absolutely hate is clutter. My mother would probably tell you otherwise considering my room is always a mess. But trust me, I HATE clutter. I moved back home with my parents a little less than a year ago, and I haven't had a whole lot of time to organize and arrange things the way I'd like. I kind of just moved all my boxes in and and slowly unloaded everything. Shoving things into any shelf that could withstand the weight of my junk. But now that the weather is changing, and I'm getting cooped up inside, I've been getting anxiety from all the clutter around me. 

So much like how animals prepare for hibernation, I'm preparing for a winter full of crafting. I woke up in the middle of the night last night and decided that I really wanted to create a "crafting" corner in my room. I have SO many projects going on right now. They just get thrown around and then I lose track of them. So I woke up bright and early this morning, scoured our property for some old wooden boxes and got to work. I'm not sure which was more amusing, me trying to use a power tool or me trying to weave in and out of our old barns without getting my new winter jacket dirty.

Here is the before:

I found an old drum in the barn and I figured it'd be neat to hang up and put yarn in it. I had to get a little creative with how to keep the round drum on the wall. I originally wanted to use a L-bracket, but couldn't find any that were small enough. So this is what I came up with. You can just call my Mrs. Macgyver.

After lots of leveling, hammering, and drilling this is what I came up with:

I'm TOTALLY in love with the final outcome. It's perfect and exactly what I had envisioned. And now I'm super excited to continue with all of my projects and start tons of new ones! Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of reorganizing to help with the creative juices!