Thursday, November 20, 2008

The thing

Right now I would rather be working on any thing than this one thing that I should be working on right now but am not because I am working on this other thing, i.e. this thing. Really, I would prefer to just work on nothing, but every time I wind up feeling guilty and doing some thing. Well it just kicked in. Back to work.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Lately my internet at home, which I borrow from my neighbors, has been less than reliable. Well, frankly it just hasn't been working. Fine--I've finally been found out and cut off.

Since I have internet at work all day, this wouldn't seem like any big deal. But as the week's gone on, I've gotten antsier and antsier. Finally here I am today, relying on a slow, weak, gone-any-second-now connection...and all I do is check email and Facebook. What did I do on the internet last week, back when I had all the internet I could stand? Email and Facebook. Wait! Before that?! Email, Facebook and YouTube. Wait! Go back even further! Email, Facebook, YouTube and bank statements?

And finally it dawns on me:

I think I used to have a blog.

I am going to do better. I swear.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

It sure has been one busy and beautiful spring.

cherry blossom festival


spring lunch

(more on Judy Chicago soon)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


March always marks a turning point in my mood. Suddenly there are plum blossoms, yellow crocuses, and women's history month-related activities everywhere you turn! This week, in addition to spotting the afore-mentioned flora, I went to the Women in Architecture Panel Discussion at National Building Museum.

about the panelists

my notes

The panel consisted of Karen Van Lengen from UVA, Francis Bronet from UO, and Donna Robertson from IIT. It was a little funny to see (in my opinion) three feminist archetypes sitting in a row. Van Lengen seems like the soft, feminine type who embraces her femininity as a strength. Bronet seems like the pissed-off bitch who isn't afraid to tell you what's on her mind. Robertson seems almost masculine--she has adopted "male" behaviors to make it in a "male" dominated field.

work sample

I spent a lot of my time at UVA trying to figure out what a feminine space was and how to create one. On Tuesday, I realized that whoever decorated my gynecologist's office had already beat me to it. The waiting room had chair railing, floral wall paper, and white wicker chairs. There were cute, crafted handpainted signs directing me here, there, and yonder and sprinkled between these were comics about menstruation, mammograms and menopause and Mary Cassatt posters. And everyone there was as smart and pissed off as I was.

That's the thing about March: I can even find something positive to say about the gynecologist's office.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


The more crafts, cooking and deep thoughts I have, the less time I can seem to find to post them. It's been a busy week or two--full of Seuss-inspired brunches, resumed knitting projects, banana nut bread, and a new painting routine.


And of course there has been reading, too-namely the Gossip Girl series and Charlotte Allen's WaPo article. I wish that I could get both of them out of my head, but instead tonight I found myself wallowing in despair and over-analyzing Girlicious. It's amazing how they can take three almost-sort-of-empowering songs ("Respect", "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", and "These Boots Were Made for Walking") and turn them into three almost-sort-of-stripper routines, the target audience of which--I learned today--is preteen girls.

Yikes, it's hard to keep it positive sometimes, but I guess that is something to strive for--one more reason that it's so important to create our own alternatives.

Friday, February 22, 2008

off the charts

Last week, I started a "water media" class at the art center nearby. For our first assignment, we were to work with 6 shades of gouache and create a convenient, easy-to-use color chart. Predictably, I got home and decided to work with 18 shades of gouache and create a ridiculous, cumbersome color chart.

color chart

As usual, something that should have been a relatively quick and easy task has morphed into a time- and labor-intensive ordeal. I'm not complaining. In fact I like it this way. I've suddenly found hours to spend drinking espresso and indulging my latent inner tortured artist.

This mindless task has given me a lot to think about--namely the totally unpredictable results of color combinations. The more time I spend staring at this masterpiece of organization, the more bizarre my color theories become. I think that there's more to this than light and dark values, complements and intermediates. There is something like a color's assertiveness.

I have also been thinking about Victoria Finlay's Color: a Natural History of the Palette. I don't think that the author emphasizes it enough, but what is "interesting" about these color histories is that they are so irrelevant now. I could go to any supply store and buy "cadmium yellow" in virtually any medium and feel relatively certain that it would look the same as any other cadmium yellow at any other supply store. Color, which was once governed by politics, nature, economics etc has become so standardized that it actually seems worthwhile for me to spend hours meticulously painting color swatches.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

there are worse things than being too busy

I am trying to make this blog a record of my happy creative little home life: what I'm making, what I'm doing, what I'm baking, what I'm reading. Like I always say, I like to think of myself as a housewife, except I'm a) never at home and b) not a wife. But I don't think that precludes me from being a homemaker.

Since I am an intern architect, I could probably meditate for hours on what it means to be a "homemaker" vs an "intern architect", the meaning of "dwelling" etc. But instead I will share this snapshot with you.

my disaster area

What a friggin mess. The past few weeks I have not been able to get out from under this harried feeling that I will never find enough time to knit, sew, read, bake, cook, bellydance, draw, design, blog... but after the past two weekends I have realized that there are much worse things than having an overactive, creative and curious mind.

working hard

our creations

Sure, I can never get it all done. But imagine if I didn't try. There are really much worse things in life than having too much fun.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


If you happen to be a short and robust individual such as myself, then you will probably believe me when i say that it is impossible to find pants that really really fit. This leaves you in the awkward position of hemming your own pants. In some cases, this is perfectly acceptable and frankly no one is the wiser.

Jeans, however, are a special challenge. You paid good money for all that distressing and stonewashing! A homemade hem just looks stupid!

Luckily I have finally had a major revelation. You don't want to do a hem, you want to do a seam between the original hem and the leg. I swear it didn't take much more time, and the results are infinitely better.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Is this how Greenland feels?

Have you ever had that moment? You are folding your clean laundry, grab a pair of pants, and suddenly realize the exact size of your ass when compressed to two dimensions? It's a lot like looking at Greenland on a world map. You know that what you are looking at is not really how things work in 3-d, but you can't get the image out of your head, either.

Lately I have been working on these knee socks, and I'm pretty excited about them. I've been working with the sock tutorial on HJS Studio and things are going great.

Everything except this:

That is the calf of my sock.

I have long known that my calves are larger than the average girl's. After years of failing to find knee socks that fit, returning stockings that I couldn't even pull up, and wincing at the thought of enduring another zip-up boot, I'm over it. I have big calves. Big, athletic, muscular calves. My only regret is that I don't excel in any sport, so their presence can be difficult to explain, especially when they are commented on by strangers (and, good grief, strangers do comment on them).

But something about this custom-fit sock has had me baffled for almost a week now. I can't take my eyes off it. I can't quit trying it on and staring at my own leg in slack-jawed wonder. I have some seriously big, muscular calves! ...Should I be wearing horizontal stripes?

Friday, January 18, 2008

knitting and hot chocolate

knitting and hot chocolate
Originally uploaded by themelliott
I am working on a lacy, pastel sweater and my first-ever pair of socks! A smart first-timer would probably make a pair of anklets, get it over with, and then assess whether it is worth ever knitting another pair of socks ever again ever. But instead I am diving in head first and making a pair of knee socks. After hours of intense labor I have about two inches knit.

bad weather calls for good soup

Here around DC we have a strict code of conduct largely influenced by the meteorological phenomena occurring outside our neoclassical windows. For example, when it snows here...well, I've gotten ahead of myself already.

Yesterday we had our first "wintry mix" of 2008! "Wintry mix" is a magical euphemism for a whole lot of crappy precipitation. (After carefully Googling the term, I have confirmed my suspicion that the wintery mix is a nearly exclusive mid-Atlantic meteorological phenomenon, and therefore I am clarifying.) It may include, but is not limited to, snow, sleet, freezing rain, and graupel.

In other words, "wintry mix" is totally unpredictable and we, as a city full of important people, have no option but to go nuts and buy all of the milk, bread, toilet paper and water we can find.

Personally, I believe that this shopping list leaves out many of the essentials for surviving bad weather. On days like that, when you step in 500 Slurpee puddles on the way home, the only thing to do is to eat a huge bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich.

I have my own little strategy for avoiding the all-too-common predicament of finding yourself sitting down to a sugary-tasting bowl of Campbells. USE BUTTERMILK. This miraculous liquid, of which I simply cannot sing enough praises, produces the greatest, richest, tangiest tasting bowl of soup you can imagine. Especially if you add a can of diced tomatoes (opt for no salt added!).

And those, by the way, are my home-made cotton knit pants. I wish that I had made them a little less low-waisted, but as one friend pointed out they ARE perfect for practicing Carmen Electra's Aerobic Striptease. Is that a complement?