Mardi Gras, part one

So, in sticking with the Mardi Gras theme of "Riches to Rags," this is what I came up with from my pile 'o random junk I got from Goodwill. Kind of a Madonna meets Punky Brewster meets Boy George thing going on. But the skirt was fun to make and swirled around when I spun. :o)

I met up with Jen, Jeri & Kim at the Thirsty Monk, for a couple pints o' porter. Mmmm. Just enough brew to not really know it was as cold as it was! :o)

The Mardi Gras parade went all through the city, and ended in Prichard Park.

Me: "Hey man, I love your costume! It's kind of like Alf meets the Wuzzles. Do you know who the Wuzzles were?"
This dude: "Sure do. I'm a Fervert."
The colors, the music, the energy...it was all so alive!

Drummers in Prichard Park--made for some sweet dancin' and hoola hoopin' tunes!

The sun was shining bright, but it was still a pretty brisk day--a good one for dancing!

Woot! Woot! Look at my skirt and my beads!

Beads, beads, everywhere! (My BFF Anna would have had the time of her life!)
So this dude was like, "give me your camera so I can take a picture of you, so you can prove you were here. Don't worry...I'm a professional." Haha!

A parade display for Budha Bagels on Merriman.

Post parade, I went to an after party at the Grey Eagle. They had a tradiational cajun band and cooking. And thought the food lines was awfully long, it sure was tasty-- fried green tomatoes, red beans & rice, shrimp gumbo...mmmm!
This was the queen of the ball-- she made her entire dress from old plastic bags!
Weee! It was so much fun! Did I mention that I love this place?


Estelle, new hair & tattoos

Freelance graphic design has been flowing in and I have spent a lot of time working on logos, blogs, posters, and lots of interesting stuff...mostly at 2:00 a.m., when these sudden bursts of creativity have been hitting me. Luckily, I have a cheering squad: Estelle the cat (ohhhh-kaaaay...her real name is Gabby, but I call her Estelle). She's my buddy at that hour, when I am editing photos, listening to bad 80's music and telling myself that I need to get some sleep before the sun comes up.

In other (and completely unrelated news), my hair is now cut all funky and striped like a candy cane. :o)
In other other, super unrelated news, my brother and sister just got in this morning for a visit. They are staying for a week and we are going to have a fabulous time. Today alone was pretty stellar. There is talk of us all going to get some tattoos on Wednesday...more pics to follow. :o)


Costume making!

Yesterday morning was one of those beautiful Saturdays, where I hopped out of bed and went on my favorite adventure: yard saling. I packed a basket of snacks, made a tea for the road and hit a bunch of sales (favorite scores of the day: a vintage poodle skirt with a frog on it and a sequined flapper dress). My friend Kim suggested that I try the Goodwill Clearance Center on Patton Avenue if I was looking for some funky clothes. Oh. My. Gosh. I went in there, and first of all, there was a claw machine (y'know...the kind where you get stuffed animals for a quarter). Second of all, there was a snack machine, bad 80's music playing and everything in the whole place was $1.10/lb.! I had no reason to leave. I was in absolute heaven. Everything from vintage curtains to record players to bad costumes...I walked in there and well, let's just say I lost track of time. And now, today being the Mardi Gras parade, I am looking at this pile o' stuff and piecing it together to make something fabulous. I'll keep you posted!


Going green!

This is just a piece of what I have been working on with a super-cool (and going green!) company called Northeast Janitorial Supply. They are located in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey and pride themselves on producing and selling environmentally responsible products. Just showcasing a bit of what I have been doing for them...featured below is their Greenline logo (for their completely earth-friendly line of products), and a sample label I designed for them. If you need cleaning supplies, or know anyone that does, these are your guys: www.NortheastJanitorial.com. It feels awfully nice to do freelance work for a company that is not only great to work with on a personal level, but I can take satisfaction in knowing I am doing a teeny, tiny part in helping to promote the sales of something that won't kill the earth. :)


Happy Valentine's Day. :o)

Valentine's Day. It's a day that I love to hate, but admittedly, I hate to love it too. I've always thought it to be a made-up day, created by Hallmark, to boost the economy of cards and stuffed animals, but have secretly enjoyed a gift, if done cleverly (you may recall my downright hate for stuffed animals and carnations-grrr.). I am always stuck in the middle between despising the commercialization of red hearts and doilies, and just...loving love. Why do we need a holiday to tell the one we love that they are special? I laughed at the lines of men at the store today, buying crappy boxed chocolates and tacky bear-in-mug-with-fake-rose gifts. But then I also smiled at the sight of couples, who seemed to be walking a little bit closer together today, and the occasional red heart balloon tied to a mailbox. Sure, it's a dumb holiday, but all of this is also nice to see.

Even nicer to see were all the fun surprises I got, which of course make this holiday that I am oh-so-cynical about seem a whole lot cooler. Thanks Anna, for the Ninja Turtle valentine. Thanks Rox and Cindy for the glittery card. Thanks dad, for the Sesame Street card (WHICH I can flip over and color the back of!). Thank you Cheyenne for the fun yellow flowers. There was an unexpected delivery of sushi to my door yesterday that I'm going to bunch in with those gifts, too...since the note read Happy early Valentine's Day. (And, as I was typing this, Horseshoe called to wish me a happy V-day, so that was a nice surprise, too!)

So...as a single woman, who is both gagging at the sight of the red roses AND somewhat wishing I had someone to make a stupid valentine for, I decided that I was going to enjoy Valentine's Day exactly the way I wanted to. I got a large, unsweetened iced tea. Two lemon slices AND a bendy straw. I went yard saling and stumbled upon a retro estate sale, where I sifted through old jewelry, books and costumes and scored some old magazines. (My favorite: a cake decorating magazine from 1978 that featured the Big Bird cake pan my mom used for my first birthday). I got some Cold Stone Creamery ice cream and strolled downtown, trying on shoes and dresses. I bought myself a new cute jumper. Then I got a tuna melt (oh yeah, I said tuna melt!) and drove down some windy roads through funky, intertwines trees and found a few spots to picnic on rivers and lakes. I let myself get lost, and lazily made my way home on the very sunny afternoon.

And now, I'm going to go throw on my new jumper and head to a "Screw Valentine's Day" dance up the street. I just heard word that the DJ is going to be spinning old school Michael Jackson hits—tuna melts AND Michael Jackson? I know...I am crazy!
Happy Valentine's Day everyone!


Love and Family in a Japanese garden...

Bruce got this giant piece of salvaged glass and had a unique vision for it: to create a custom piece to hang above his couch in the livingroom. He found me through Craigslist and wanted to have this piece done to match his Japanese décor. The symbols translate to “love and family”: he and his wife have two little girls and I wanted it to be a painting that would have traditional elements, but that would be symbolic and they all would love. Their daughter Madeline loved the pink cherry blossoms, and got to watch me paint the mural—she was home sick from school. :( I really enjoyed doing this kind of work, which has of course opened my mind to a dozen other projects I want to try. It gave me a chance to whip out my set of traditional calligraphy brushes that have gone unused for a while now. I have always been facinated by Japanese culture and art. When most kids were begging their parents to let them join soccer or baseball in grammar school, my mom was driving me to non-traditional art lessons on Saturdays (such as Japanese calligraphy!) and early morning macramé classes. :) (See mom? It has paid off!) Thanks Bruce and family for letting me share my work with you!


Ice cream and elephants?

So I've been trying to make some lifestyle changes while in Asheville. These are changes that have been a long time coming...just trying to be healthier and more active. No wheat, no sugar...blah, blah, blah. My first step was to join the YMCA (I know, it's difficult to say it without envisioning the Village People...or at least the Indian dude), which hooks me up with sweet hula hooping and crazy dance classes. And while I am usually what I like to call an opportunitarian (my own made-up word), I decided to give the whole weight room thing a try. Why not? It's included in the price, and there is some sort of twisted satisfaction I get out of being in a room full of meatheads, listening to Thriller on my mp3 player, doing wimpy leg lifts and stupid arm-pull-thingies. Whatever. It's all funny to me, and they have an e-system that logs in your weight lifted and classes. So this morning I check my e-mail and, after fighting with a stupid Illustrator design file that was giving me a hard time (grrr!), I got a good laugh out of this:

First of all, this sundae hardly seems worth eating. Second of all, I lifted a third of an African Elephant? Not an Asian elephant...those are much heavier, as I learned in my sixth grade science fair project. :o)



Well, the Kliphouse family, who were originally going to name their dog Lucas, didn't think that was the right name for her. She has been renamed Darla (so Lucas is up for grabs if anyone is looking to name a dog). I just wanted to post a picture, because she is just so freakin' cute. :o)


The livingroom is done!

Here are pictures of our new livingroom! After finally getting the wall color right, sewing the curtains and finishing the faux-finished wall and swirly tree mural, it has all come together. It's such a happy space to walk into now. The red chair, we decided, was better in it's natural red leather state, and looks beautiful against the sea foamy tinted walls. The punch of primary colors add some funk to the room-- the red chair, a huge yellow floor pillow, and that super awesome vintage blue chair in the corner (that Cheyenne got for $25.00!) Note the cool mirror on the wall-- a Pier 1 Imports clearance rack find, that I painted the vines and flowers on to make it coordinate with the room. And check out the artwork hanging above the TV set-- those are 4 cheap-o placemats from World Market, that we just grommeted and hung with hemp. Light some candles, pour a glass of wine, and the room makes for a super cozy sitting!
Can I has cheeseburger now?



I took Janis (my van) for a drive downtown (gotta keep her in tip top shape!) and walked though West Asheville today for a bit, soaking in the beautiful sunshine and taking it all in. It's warm out here today, probably in the high 50's, and people are out and about. It feels good and I feel good....better than I have in years. My creative energy is flowing, I'm enjoying a delicious organic salad at the West End Bakery (a great place to get yummy salads, spelt goodies & herbal teas), and life is remarkably good here. :o)


Woody Wood & Hollywood Red at Jack of the Wood

That's a lot of 'woods'. :) Saturday night I stumbled upon perhaps the best local act I've seen since I've been here (so if I have said this before, scratch that). Woody Wood and Hollywood Red were featured at Jack of the Wood, my new favorite Irish pub on Patton Ave. For five bucks I danced the night away to this amazing trio of soul and funk. (I have the feeling that in short time, they will be playing larger venues and for waaay more than five bucks!) Good wine, great people, fun night. Check out Woody Wood's stuff here: http://www.reverbnation.com/woodywood. You won't be disappointed!Check out Mr. Tony Black's (on the left) groovy guitar (which is called a 'Woody')!


The most beautiful horoscope.

I never believe those things. They are generic and can predict the future about as accurately as a misspelled fortune in a cookie. That being said, I am guilty of stuffing a great fortune into my wallet for future inspiration when one comes along after a tasty Chinese dish, and I've re-read this one (found in Asheville's Mountain Express) a bunch of times already:

"When I grow up," writes Ramona McNabb, "I want to be a river." In the coming year, that would be a worthy aspiration for you, Cancerian. You'd generate a flood of benefits, some unexpected, by cultivating your ability to be perfectly yourself as you flow ever onward in rhythm with the sky and the earth, unimpeded by the fluctuations of light and darkness, and in love with the ceaseless movement of your own strong currents.

Wow. I still don't fully believe in astrology, but that it just gorgeous.

In somewhat related news, I am designing a series of t-shirts, which will be for sale this summer. I have some funky yet simple color schemes picked out, and they are going to be printed on cotton t's, just in time for summer. I have a few fun sayings and doodles...here is one that I was thinking of working with. There is also a funky owl design, and I'm working on a dancin' in the rain (my fave sayin') design...

Whattayathink? Please comment, or nod yay or nay. :o)